A Nice Family Outing 

Monday, June 7th, 2021

The existence of billionaires is problematic, and it’s reasonable to wonder if our society should allow them to exist at all. The fact that Jeff Bezos is reportedly spending $500 million on a yacht that’s so big it needs its own support yacht is both obscene and disgusting. It’s also an incredibly powerful argument for stronger wealth redistribution.

However, Bezos has also spend his money to build a space program. Now, he’s going to use it send himself to space, along with his brother. If we’re going to have billionaires, that’s how you do it.

A Magic Show for Birds 

Friday, June 4th, 2021

Somewhere in academia, researchers learned slight of hand magic, and then attempted to use it to fool birds.

Land Shrimp 

Thursday, June 3rd, 2021

In more cicada-consumption news, you shouldn’t eat cicadas if you’re allergic to seafood. You probably also shouldn’t eat cicadas if you’re not allergic to seafood, because they’re gross.

Get in Early on the Next Pandemic 

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2021

You’re a trendsetter, an influencer, a real groundbreaker. Now thanks to CVS, when you protect yourself against COVID-19 by getting vaccinated, you’ll also have the chance to win a “pleasure” cruise. Catch the next pandemic before it gets popular.

The Time Charlton Heston Wrote to “Dear Abby”

Tuesday, June 1st, 2021

Back in 1998, advice columnist Abigail Van Buren took a letter from a woman who was deeply upset about her husband urinating in their front yard. Her response was, frankly, not terribly helpful.

This is not a subject that’s often discussed, but I suspect the practice is not unusual. Dogs and cats urinate to mark their territory. Your husband may be doing it for the same reason. For pets, the problem can be resolved by neutering; however, I wouldn’t recommend that for your husband.

That’s some advice, Abby. “Don’t have your husband neutered”. Got it. That really was about all she offered, except that according to the Los Angeles Police Department1, it’s “not illegal as long as it is not in public view.”

A few weeks later, the column printed a response from Charlton Heston. More than two decades later, I still think about it.

DEAR ABBY: Though a frequent reader (after my wife), I’ve only now found reason to write to you, in response to the lady who feared her husband’s habit of urinating on their lawn was inappropriate.

So it may be, but the fact remains that all men pee outdoors.

My best to you and continued good luck with your column.
— CHARLTON HESTON, BEVERLY HILLS, CALIF.

Once I get past the obvious joke about prying Heston’s outdoor-micturating penis from his cold, dead hands, I really just have to wonder what compelled him to write this letter. How could a world-famous actor feel so strongly about peeing outside that he’d take the time to mail a letter in support of the practice? Did no one suggest he might be better off passing up the opportunity to assert his allegiance to this particular cause?

Unfortunately for me, from Heston to his wife to (the original) Dear Abby, all the major players in this drama are now dead. As such, I don’t think I’ll ever get answers to my questions. However, at least now you can enjoy this bizarre occurrence as well.


Footnotes:

  1. I haven’t a clue why she chose the LAPD to answer this question. I don’t believe she lived in LA, nor does it appear the letter writer did, and her column was nationally syndicated. ↩︎

RoboCop Was Not an Instruction Manual 

Monday, May 31st, 2021

Citizen is a smartphone app which enables people to receive real-time updates about crimes and other incidents. Now, it seems the company is considering a plan to “deploy private security workers to the scene of disturbances at the request of app users”. I see absolutely no way creating a private police force can go wrong.

A still from the movie Robocop, a satirical look at a dystopian world with private police forces.

A Strip Club Vaccine Clinic 

Friday, May 28th, 2021

I hereby propose we replace the phrase “as American as apple pie” with “as American as a vaccine clinic at a strip club”.

The Shirtless Hunk Goes to Law School 

Thursday, May 27th, 2021

You may recall that clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch once had a sexualized brand featuring shirtless men. Whenever I hear the company’s name, this is what pops to mind:

A cat in an Abercrombie bag, positioned such that it loks like the otherwise headless model has the head of a cat.

What I did not realize, however, is that Abercrombie & Fitch once had a standard practice of having shirtless dudes in their stores. Slate tracked down five of these men to learn more about their experiences, and find out what they’re up to now.

Never Do Laundry 

Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

Last November, a woman bought a lottery ticket that hit for a jackpot worth $26 million. Then, apparently, she put it through the most expensive load of wash in history.

Alarming Dialog Text

Tuesday, May 25th, 2021

Recently, I asked Siri to delete all the alarms on my Apple Watch. It understood my request, and wisely asked me to confirm it before obliging. After that, however, it gave me a nearly incomprehensible response. I re-read it multiple times, concerned I was losing my mind or perhaps having a stroke:

I deleted all of your alarms. You also have sleep alarm met the conditions, you will need to open the Sleep app delete them.

You also have sleep alarm met the conditions, you will need to open the Sleep app delete them.

The gist of this incredibly poorly written message is that I have a special “Sleep” alarm, which is distinct from other alarms. If I want to disable that, I have to do it separately, in the Sleep app. But this copy has missing words, singular/plural mismatches, and a button that should probably include a verb like “Open”. Yikes.