Category Archives: Culture And / Or News

You Will Excuse Us Cubs Fans for Maybe Being a Little Nervous (via The Loop / Golf Digest)

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The Loop / Golf Digest — Chicago Cubs fans are a murderously emotional lot, and by that I mean all of us lined up every spring to be routinely punched in the face for 108 years before finally — FINALLY — enjoying what people in New England call “Yeah, so?” The last time we Cubs fans had to deal with a post-championship hangover, it was 1909 and hangovers basically hadn’t been invented yet, so you will excuse us if we look at Jake Arrieta’s puffening ERA, the pervasive lack of clutch run support and Kris Bryant’s three-day dysentery attack (probably) and think WHELP, SHOW’S OVER, LET’S CHUCK IT ALL AND READ UP ON WHOEVER THE BEARS’ QUARTERBACK WILL BE NEXT YEAR.

It’s probably too early to worry about the Cubs, what with “four months left in the season” or whatever, but, then again, NO IT’S NOT, WE ARE CUBS FANS, WE DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO THIS.

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Fidget Spinners: Making the End of America a Little More Manageable (via The Loop / Golf Digest)

Whee

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The Loop / Golf Digest — It’s a fidget spinner! You hold it and spin it around, and it spins. It’s like an adorable little propeller/ninja throwing star. You know those prizes you won for crushing 20 straight skeeball games at Celebration Station in 1987? It’s like one of those, except it’s made mostly of Rollerblade bearings, costs $32.99 and will arrive via Chinese steamer in six weeks, after which, in due time, it will end up in a crate in your damp crawlspace making friends with the Tamagotchi.

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How to Host the Andrew Luck Book Club on a Non-$140 Million Budget (via The Loop / Golf Digest)

The Loop / Golf Digest — The Andrew Luck Book Club is, to date, the only consistently active book club captained by a functional NFL quarterback, excepting the one briefly launched by Jim McMahon in 1985. (They mostly read the backs of Van Halen albums.) The Indianapolis Colts QB/only football player on Earth to be regarded favorably as “the team’s librarian” is well-known as one of them fancy readers, and his book club has quietly evolved into a genuine civic joy that promotes literacy and has been adopted by a number of city schools.

The club is currently online, though an audio version is coming to Indianapolis public radio this month. And it’s had the side effect of calming many of our city’s important sports debates about dropping $140 million on this guy. (“A hundred and forty million dollars is ridiculous!” “But ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ is a glimmering parable about the magic of youth and bravery YOU SON OF A BITCH” people will yell before throwing pork tenderloins around.)

Regardless, with Luck as inspiration, you might consider taking it a step further and hosting your own in-person book club. If so, a few tips for getting literate in your very own home:

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Why Can’t Any Politician Figure Out How Sports Work (via The Loop/Golf Digest)

“Run lengthy and catch this porkskin”

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The Loop / Golf Digest — White House Chief of Staff Reince Preibus reportedly emerged from the GOP’s House healthcare victory last week by telling a reporter, “The president stepped up and helped punt the ball into the end zone,” a statement that assumes:

  1. You can score touchdowns while punting.
  2. Punters have helpers, and . . .
  3. Trump wanted to… safely return the ball to the opposing team?

Whatever. We take Preibus’s meaning, and it’s entirely feasible he mixed up metaphors in the giddy thrill of getting a bill a third of the way to completion. But he’s merely the latest example of why politicians should stop with the bringing up of sports.

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The Secret Fast-Food Menu Items OF THE DAMNED (GQ)

bill-lewis-starbucks-most-expensive-cup-of-coffee

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GQ — As if we needed further evidence that the whole secret menu craze at fast-food restaurants has jumped the shark, yesterday a latte enthusiast named William E. Lewis Jr. ordered himself a very much off-the-menu XXXXL cup of coffee including 101 shots of espresso and 17 pumps of vanilla syrup.

What’s next? We got to guessing. Below, the eight next secret-menu items we expect to see:

Burger King: America Burger. It’s just a regular burger, but every time you take a bite an air horn goes off and the chorus of “Rock You Like a Hurricane” starts playing.

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Read the full list here.

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I Really Need These Lego Robots to Stop Blackmailing Me

Why can't you all just be nicer, like this guy?

Why can’t you all just be nicer, like this guy?

Island Packet — If it wasn’t for all the blackmail, sign-ups for this Lego Robotics team would be going pretty well.

It’s not a problem with Legos (which my 10-year-old and I love) or extracurricular activities (which are good) or robots (which are mostly good, with the obvious exceptions of Siri, the Matrix, Mechagodzilla and those little red ones that claim to vacuum your house but are hopelessly baffled by stairs). No, it’s a problem with humans, and the pressures they create. Because my son’s Lego Robotics team currently lacks one key component: a coach. And I’ve been warned that without a coach the team will be canceled, deleted, become as hopeless as a Roomba trying to reach a second floor.

This, of course, is bad. Obviously I don’t want my son to miss out on extracurricular Lego camp, for two reasons: 1. His is a mechanical, engineering-oriented brain that would benefit from such imaginative exploration, and 2. It represents several weekly 90-minute blocks that he’d be out of the house, and thus not asking me endless questions about dragons while I’m working.

But — and there’s really no way around this — I can’t coach a Lego team. There, I said it. Yet the emails about my son’s team needing a coach have gone from gently encouraging to increasingly insistent to essentially bulletins from a shattered dystopian future where there are no Lego Robotics teams, or, if I’m reading this right, human joy. “If we are unable to find a parent coach THESE TEAMS WILL BE DISBANDED and refunds will be issued,” reads a typical email.

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How the World Cup Turns Even Non Sports Nerds Into Foam-Fingered Face-Painted Bar-Trashing Maniacs

THIS LOOKS SO DANGEROUS, DON’T YOU GUYS HAVE ANOTHER GAME TO PLAY?

GateHouse — You win, soccer!

I learned something in the World Cup in 2010: Turns out that if you furnish a scorching last-minute sudden-death winning goal, and add the subtle, unrelenting pressure of most of my friends and all of Twitter, I turn into a dynamic, perspiring World Cup fan! At least for a few days, or weeks, or years, or however long this thing goes on. I haven’t the foggiest idea.

But that’s OK, because I’m still new to this soccer thing, this severe, rash-fueled case of World Cup fever that makes me want to occasionally punch random strangers in the throat. But I confess to being baffled by my sudden enthusiasm, and by “enthusiasm” I mean “the fleeting brush of elevated interest I feel because everybody else is watching it and I’m a unrepentant meerkat who wants to know what the group is talking about.” Because, like all of America, and despite what the more self-satisfied portions of America might claim on Facebook, I don’t generally pay the remotest smidge of attention to soccer unless a soccer game is interrupted by a camel invasion, Alison Brie photo shoot or velociraptor attack, and even in the case of the latter I’d probably just watch the highlights (“Just look at the way those raptors are using cooperative hunting to distract the American goalkeepers, right before slicing them to pieces with their sharp, slashing claws! Amazing, isn’t it, Jim?” And then the camera would cut to Jim, and we would see that Jim has just been sliced to pieces by velociraptors. I am pretty sure it’s paragraphs like this that made me not get the callback about that ESPN job.).

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Keith Richards Wrote a Kids’ Book — Why Can’t These Guys?

if-rock-stars-wrote-childrens-books-article

NickMom — Keith Richards teamed up with his daughter to write a children’s book called “Gus & Me.” That’s right, KEITH RICHARDS is now more appropriate for your children than Hannah Montana. Here are other kids’ books we’d like to see from our valuable rock stars.

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Great News, Everybody! We’re Almost Out of Clowns!

sad_clownGateHouse — GATHER AROUND AMERICA, I HAVE THE BEST NEWS OF 2014.

That’s right, 2014. No better news will come out this year. If I find that a mysterious rich uncle left me $55 billion and a yacht it will not be better news than this. If the Cubs decide to avoid baseball this summer and save us all the errors and collapsing it will not be better than this. If Sean Hannity plunges into a sinkhole filled with monstrous giraffe-sized worms who feast on pouting, it will not be better than this. OK, that last one will be pretty close, but still: Bring the children into the room, find a comfortable chair and grab a nice bottle of seltzer, for drinking:

The United States is facing a severe clown shortage.

HOW GREAT IS THAT? It’s working! We’re getting rid of clowns! Which is frankly long overdue, because it’s been like 300 years and several circus mergers since anybody needed them. And I say that as someone who has purposefully attended an Insane Clown Posse concert, which was — and this is not a joke — easily the most positive clown-related environment I’ve ever been in. (Seriously, however much Faygo you think those guys spray at an average small-market concert, it’s like a million times more Faygo. I didn’t know Faygo made that much Faygo. And the concert ended with like 20 guys on stage, mostly in face paint, and lights and confetti and lasers and Faygo and everyone hopping around stage performing a thrice-punctuated track called “Bang! Pow! Boom!” and it was maybe deeply entertaining? I don’t know, all the confetti was very disorienting.)

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Monopoly Isn’t Getting Rid Of Jail, But I Will Still Crush You At It

MonopolyMan2

YOLO

GateHouse — First of all, the good news is that Monopoly is NOT getting rid of jail. JAIL IS SAFE, EVERYONE. Well it’s not safe, because it’s still jail, and I’ve heard enough about “Orange Is The New Black” to know what I’m talking about, but you get the point.

This is a big deal because last week there was concern when The Internet, which is the thing you read when you sort of want news but mostly want to know about “14 Things That Happened When A Waffle House Opened In The Braves’ Stadium,” reported that a new version of the venerable board game was doing away with jail.

That’s right: NO MORE JAIL! Why, the very thought of it was enough to send the Internet’s army of unpaid clones into a tizzy about the injustice of a world that allowed modified board games, an injustice that was so fierce and disturbing that it left little energy for fact-checking, which would have saved loads of time since the story turned out not to be true. I KNOW, you’re saying, The Internet usually doesn’t get things wrong, unless it’s Boston bombing facts or the name or the occasional school gunman, but it’s straight-up all over this “32 Signs You’re A Weasley” thing.

Let me back up a little: For you youngsters reading the paper (HA!), this “Monopoly” is a Precambrian “board game” once played by children before the invention of a video game you played by hopping around your living room like a lunatic, and it basically made family-friendly sport out of basic economics. That’s probably why fewer people are playing it now, because most modern parents can’t hand over even fictional cash to theoretical utilities without bursting into tears.

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