How I Learned to Talk to Strangers by Driving for Uber (via Success)

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Success — After sliding the on switch in my Uber app, I putter around the Indianapolis outskirts for about 10 minutes before receiving my first bat signal from a guy standing in front of a deeply suburban-looking office complex. He got right into my front seat, which I heard was an Uber party foul, but I didn’t want my first stranger interaction to open with me jerking my thumb and saying, “Backseat, buddy.”

A friendly, chatty Turkish immigrant, he’s headed back downtown after a job interview. He came to America years ago for an internship and simply stuck around. The Midwest, he says, was open and welcoming, but troublingly sedentary. He worried that our reliance on cars and endless fast-food options would make him look like a lot of the people he’s seen here. Random Fact No. 1: In Turkey, McDonald’s is considered something of a semi-expensive luxury meal.

I don’t usually care for small talk with a barista or Uber driver. So naturally I at first resisted the idea when SUCCESS asked me to drive for Uber to study the chance encounters that often come with participating in the YouEconomy—the massive entrepreneurial movement encapsulating the gig, sharing, freelance, on-demand and moonlighting economies that is already changing the life and work of one in three American adults.

The full story at Success.

Success Podcast: The Uber Episode

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How Trevor Noah Stays in Peak News-Skewering Shape (via GQ)

via GQ

via GQ

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GQ — As the captain of The Daily Show, Trevor Noah is required to keep strict and constant vigilance on what people seem to keep referring to as “the presidential election.” Because Noah must keep his mind and body sharp enough to not only absorb such lunacy but write jokes and soothe people’s minds about it, his job takes what Donald Trump might refer to as “stamina.” So he’s adopted a workout philosophy that’s not so much about daily gym visits and hourly kale smoothies but integrating what he can into his schedule. Here’s how Noah stays in peak news-skewering shape.

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The Five-Second Rule Is Still a Bunch of Hot Garbage (via GQ)

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GQ — Scientists can rip atoms to pieces, make spaceships buzz past Saturn, and create perfect copies of other animals, so we should probably believe them when they confirm—again—that when you drop food on the floor, your food becomes gross right away. Not after a honeymoon phase. Not after a consultation.

The five-second rule is childhood fantasy: a wishful assumption that if you drop a Jolly Rancher on the floor, the germs, bacteria and vermin on the ground will pause and hold a committee meeting before deciding whether to attach themselves physically to the candy’s adhesive surface. According to Rutgers researchers, who spent apparently two years knocking over fruit, bacteria transfers on contact just as soon as food hits the floor—which, conveniently enough, mirrors how science works in the rest of the universe!

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Springsteen’s Record-Breaking Night in New Jersey: There is Something Wrong With This Man (via Live Nation TV)

City = busted in half

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Live Nation TV — Something is wrong with Bruce Springsteen. On Tuesday night, to open a three-night series at MetLife Stadium in his home state of New Jersey, he played three hours and 52 minutes–his longest-ever show on U.S. soil and a demonstration of terrifying fitness for a 66-year-old. On Thursday night, at the same stadium, he ambled right out and promptly beat his record by eight minutes. His TWO-DAY-OLD RECORD. If you’re seeing him on Sunday night, bring protein bars.

Whatever your count, Thursday’s show is easily the speediest-feeling four-hour anything I’ve attended. It’s important to note that in the mythological Legends of Springsteen passed down through the generations, the marathon shows he performed on the Darkness and River tours often included an intermission, or a long speech about how he met Clarence, at the very least an encore break. The MetLife shows had zero of these. For the second night in Jersey, Bruce eschewed the full-River construct that was the basis for the River Tour in the first place, but dug up a bunch of the album’s high spots, including “I’m a Rocker,” “Cadillac Ranch,” and “Hungry Heart,” which he sang, naturally, strolling around the floor. Here’s what else he did.

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Welcome to the Real-Time, Live-Updating Portal Matrix For Tracking Your Child’s Grades Obsessively (via the Washington Post)

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On Parenting at the Washington Post — “Welcome to the new school year, parents. This year, we’ve made some changes to our grading process. This 12-minute video will briefly summarize how we’re using online resources to allow you to monitor and evaluate your child’s progress on a real-time, 24/7 basis. Please click below to begin.”

So we’re not getting report cards this year? Weird. Okay. (click)

“Welcome to PowerSuccess School MetricsSolutions, the convenient online portal for tracking your child’s successes at a glance. You’ll notice the page opens into Classic View. Click the button marked List View, which will be easier.”

 List View, got it. (click)

“List View expands into Grid Views for all eight of your child’s classes, listed here in reverse order. Over time, this Grid View will auto-populate with live evaluations of your child’s potential success metrics potential.”

 Wait, does that mean grades?

“Sort of. We don’t use grades now, we use evaluations of standards relative to your child’s individual talents and the aggregate performance of students in his or her age group, potential earning category and hair color, merged with bar-graph spreadsheets that determine within three significant digits whether your child will ever attend college. Those are also live-updated, just FYI.”

 Wait, so there are grades, or…

“Pay attention, we’re not even two minutes into this video.”

The rest of the video at On Parenting at the Washington Post.

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Olympic Athletes Simply Can’t Stop Lining Up For Free Big Macs (via GQ)

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You know you want one, decathletes

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GQ — The Olympics are a showcase for peak physical magnificence, a relentless Tinderfest (you think you don’t stand out in a bar? Try navigating a village full of gymnasts and swimmers in Rio de Fucking Janeiro), and proof that we are surrounded by golden sports gods and goddesses who can totally swim in emerald-green water and not die. So it’s a little weird that they’re all losing their shit over free Big Macs.

Indeed, aside from Biles, Ledecky, Bolt, Phelps, and the Slovakian canoe slalom team (REPRESENT, MY PEOPLE!), the clear winner in Rio this year is McDonald’s, which established a fully functional calorie tent in the Olympic Village to offer free Big Macs, McGriddles, and dirt-cheap loaves of meat to hungry Olympians looking to kick-start just a littttttle bit of body decline.

More at GQ. 

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How I Destroyed a Bruce Springsteen-Related Guinness World Record in 60 Seconds Flat (via Success Magazine)

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Success — Jumping right into the book of Guinness World Records with the mission of finding one to break is daunting. You’re not simply trying to decide how to order your eggs or which project to launch, you’re trying to be remembered for something incredible—something that will etch your name into a metaphorical mountain that will endure time, memory and erosion. Have you ever sat down and said, “All right, at what thing should I become the best in the world?” It’s scary. Big ambition can be. So I went with the only thing I knew I was really good at.

The full story at Success magazine.

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Inside Ark Encounter, Kentucky’s Preeminent Life-Sized Noah’s Ark (via GQ)

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GQ — Noah’s Ark is the first left after the gas station, down the street from the Mexican restaurant.

I know going in that it’s technically called the Ark Encounter, that it’s dry-docked here in Kentucky, and that it’s the work of a creationist organization called Answers in Genesis (AiG). But given that it constitutes a $100 million boat-shaped Bible theme park and the self-proclaimed “largest timber-frame structure in the world,” I’d expected a more dramatic approach. Maybe some animatronics. At least a little traffic. Instead the thing just appears in the distance, massive and curious and facing away, as if it has already started sailing without me.

From this perspective, I can already tell that it doesn’t look a thing like the Noah’s Ark I heard about in Sunday School, which was essentially a Little Tikes pool toy that eluded the laws of physics while ferrying a floating zoo to safety during a rainstorm. As the celestially appointed sea captain, Noah was depicted as a jolly Caucasian carpenter with kind eyes and a Dumbledore beard. He carried a staff, which he used to herd the koalas and llamas, all of which were extremely huggable.

The Ark Encounter is a lot of things, but it’s not huggable. Here’s what’s going on inside the planet’s judgiest, death-iest theme park. 

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Two Days Embedded in the World’s Hottest Brickyard (via Indy Monthly)

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Proud of self for taking this photo and not falling off a moving pickup.

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Indy Monthly — Two things about my experience at this year’s Brickyard 400, held Sunday on the surface of the sun: This was my first NASCAR race (though I’ve seen Cars 4,000 times, which counts), and I was lucky enough to spend it with Team Penske driver Brad Keselowski and his Miller Lite 2 crew. So while I can’t hear a thing anyone is saying right now, I can offer these thoughts from Keselowski’s pit box and Pit Road.

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What Is Pea Milk and Should You Be Drinking It? (via GQ)

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GQ — Alright, let’s get this out of the way: If you can say the phrase, “I’m about to drink a nice glass of pea milk” out loud without dissolving into hysterics, you have never been to seventh grade and I feel sorry for you.

And yet we need milk alternatives because cows are over and everybody hates them now. No one drinks milk anymore; we’ve all turned to an uproariously diverse buffet of beverages that includes, but is not limited to, almond milk, coconut milk, macadamia milk and hemp milk (yes it’s real, and no it doesn’t). The newest—and pretty much only—entrant into the white-hot alternative milk game is Ripple, a yellow split pea-based concoction that has already made the industry sit up, take notice, giggle at the name, and then say, “Eh, sure, why not.”

Here’s what this stuff tastes like.

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