“August is the Mississippi of the calendar. It’s beastly hot and muggy. It has a dismal history. Nothing good ever happens in it. And the United States would be better off without it.”—After railing against both pie and s’mores (S’MORES!), Slate has finally found a worthy target for its ire: August, which is the worstest month in the whole universe and which writer David Plotz proposed doing almost entirely away with in this rant reposted from a decade ago. Of course, messing with the calendar will do nothing to change the brutal and boring nature of these late summer days, but I’ll FEEL like it’s different. And when it comes to the misery of August, self-perception is half the battle.
“On her website placentapills.org, a disclaimer reveals there is no data to support placenta pills as a way to prevent or treat postpartum blues or depression. It is not FDA approved.”—Ever wanted to eat your own placenta but worried about all the messiness? Yes well, ABC News found a lady in Denver who will make pills out of your placenta for a mere $225. Experts disagree on whether or not there are real health benefits to eating your own placenta. But hey, I ate my own scab once so I’m probably the last person who should judge.
“People say brutal stuff about me all the time, of course, but not people that I thought were peers and friends. So, ya, I pretty much have no interest in illuminating anything that happened or happens on your site or bringing a single new pair of eyes to it.”—That’s comedian Sarah Silverman angrily rebuffing a request from Deadspin editor AJ Daulerio to collaborate with the site after Daulerio openly insulted her after a failed live chat at the site last year (DISCLOSURE: I write for Deadspin. DISCLOSURE II: Language NSFW in that link). I’ll give her this: A year later, she finally figured out how the reply button works.
“First of all: Watch the Throne actually, amazingly did not leak. For the first time in forever, a highly anticipated album made it to its release date untouched… basically it’s because no one — not even the folks at the record labels — had physical copies.”—Today is “Watch the Throne” day, and New York Magazine already has a full glowing review of Jay-Z and Kanye West’s long awaited new album. And the cruel irony of the album’s successful campaign against leaks is that a musical artist can only prevent album leaks when he or she is already so filthy rich that album leaks have little to no effect on their bottom line. You struggling artists out there shouldn’t expect the same success rate.
“I never gave up hope — I prayed, meditated, and now he’s with us again.”—That’s Upper East Side resident Bonni Marcus, overjoyed after being reunited with the stuffed toy monkey she and her boyfriend lost in Park Slope and treated like an actual child. Now Bongo (that’s the monkey’s name) is free to again live with his crazy, crazy, crazy parents, and I’m left to wonder why we don’t have a state-funded Beanie Baby Protection service that removes innocent Beanie Babies from harmful family situations.
“Twitter and Facebook have sucked up all the cognitive surplus younger internet users might have once devoted to building up Wikipedia and shattered it into a million fleeting hashtags.”—
Ever wonder just who it is logging hours and hours writing and editing Wikipedia entries? Turns out, not many people right now, as the site is seeing its bedrock of voluntary contributors erode, which gives me a mad idea: STOP RELYING ON FREE CONTENT FROM USERS AND PAY PEOPLE TO EDIT IT. THERE AIN’T NO FREE LUNCH, WIKIPEOPLE.
That’s the anonymous blogger who goes by the name Elliott Larkfield, announcing that he will no longer take photos of what’s on actor Steve Buscemi’s front stoop, after a request from Buscemi’s kid that he stop doing it. And while the blog was cute, I have to agree with the Buscemis: It’s creepy to root through someone’s old things, especially if that someone is Steve Buscemi. You might find a toe in there.
“It’s a Wawa World…Forget Comcast and Sunoco—the most powerful economic force in Philadelphia these days is the one making your Shorti.”—
It’s a Wawa World; We Just Eat In It. The quote above is the opening to a great read in Philadelphia Magazine’s August issue from Don Steinberg about how the local hoagie, gas and coffee joint is taking over the world, developing the type of consumer loyalty that most brands would pay big money for. Some classic (or Shorti, depending on your hunger level) Wawa stats from the story:
It’s now the number eight seller of cups of coffee in the entire U.S., and sells one of every five cups in the region
Wawa sells 80 million hoagies a year
It’s third in the Delaware Valley in terms of overall grocery sales (behind ShopRite and Acme)
Wawa’s annual per-store average is $5 million (excluding gas sales)
It is the country’s 50th largest private company
The stats go on and on, so just read the story. But another great takeaway is from Wharton marketing professor Stephen Hoch, who says of the store’s evolution from a convenience store to a one-stop shop: ““Wawa has become a fast-food restaurant with a gas station.”
A quick Facebook search for Wawa turns up multiple fan pages of those who love the chain and Philly transplants who miss it. The branded page itself has over 760,000 fans. It remains only in five states for now (PA, NJ, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia), and selfishly we’d like to keep it that way.
As The20’s @dhm said this morning about the business that we all love, “”Wawa is part of our culture. It’s part of our way of life.”
“Scott Brown’s latest work opens with an Ally McBeal reference, a joke that hasn’t been fresh for a solid twenty years. It then descends into a kind of silent dog whistle that only pretentious tool bags can hear: “hubristically deliberate bid … for the Exhausted Aughts … emo simulacrum of actual feeling.” Scott, do you wear a monocle?”—That’s “Scrubs” and “Cougar Town” creator Bill Lawrence in letter to New York Magazine theater critic Scott Brown, taking Brown to task for what he deemed an over-the-line critique of his “Scrubs” star Zach Braff in a new play. And while I too share with Brown a loathing of “Garden State,” Lawrence gives him an owning so thorough that I can only stand back and tip my cap. I love a good critical dressing down.
“Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino says he recognized elements of his Italian heritage when he saw how Italians talk with their hands and stage elaborate meals like his family.”—
And the abs/hair/fighting combination? Totally Italian, too.
Oh, the Jersey Shore is back tonight for a 4th season, and castmembers are promising it will be their most dramatic ever. They spent half of the time in Italy, but then returned to Seaside Heights after, I think, the entire country teamed up to kick them out.
“When you go to Paris and your concierge sends you to some… restaurant because they get a kickback, it’s like, ‘No. Where should I really be? Where is the great bar with organic wine? Where do I get a bikini wax in Paris?’ People know that I know that…It’s so much easier to sit home and not exercise and criticize other people. What I love is inspiring people. People come up to me and say, ‘I want to have two kids and wear a bathing suit and not feel terrible about myself. I see how hard you work and it makes me feel like I can do that too.”—Let’s play a little game of Who Said This. Here are your choices:
A. The Pope
B. Henry Rollins
C. Gwyneth Paltrow
D. Franklin Delano Roosevelt
The answer, of course, is D. When you needed a bikini wax in Paris, FDR was the man.
“Face It, Don’t Facebook It”—That’s the slogan for the Boston Public Health Commission’s recent efforts to teach kids proper etiquette when it comes to breaking up and Facebook. And these people are lunatics for insisting that kids endure the trauma of breaking up with each other face to face. Oh, what I would have given to be rejected over the Internet instead of right there in the middle of the 8th grade dance. HOW COULD YOU, JESSICA?! WE WERE MEANT TO BE!
Think Twice Before You Vandalize Someone’s Facebook Page. Every so often, you’ll stumble upon someone’s computer and they’ve left their Facebook account or email open, and perhaps you’re tempted to have a goof and post something as that person that thoroughly embarrasses them. Yes well, turns out that may be identity theft in California, and could now land you in jail. I’m no lawyer, but I think the legal definition of “identity theft” should be limited to “OMG THEY GOT MY CREDIT CARD AND THEY BOUGHT A PORSCHE WITH IT GAHHHHHHHHH!”
“Death approached me very closely. Closer than it is now, at my age, having lived through that moment, I can tell you – nobody wants to die.”—
That’s from a speech by Ukrainian Secretary of National Security and Defense Raisa Bogatyreva, and while that may strike you as a particularly deep statement, that may be because the most of Bogatyreva’s speech was allegedly lifted from Steve Jobs’ 2005 grad speech to Stanford University graduates. And it just goes to show you that you should NEVER accept substitute Ukrainian Apple wisdom for the real thing. If you don’t have a Steve Jobs, then you don’t have a Steve Jobs.
“New York is developing a Philadelphia complex. Jay-Z and Alicia Keys may soon be in a Keystone State of Mind. Woody Allen might film a comedy of manners in Rittenhouse Square. East Hampton wants a Wawa store.”—
Everybody Wants a Wawa.
As if scooping Cliff Lee and Nnamdi Asomugha from under New York’s nose wasn’t satisfying enough for Philadelphians, one of the Big Apple’s most prestigious newspapers just announced: Philly Out-New Yorks New York.
Taxi Excuses. Getting a cab to take you out of Manhattan is hard. But the videos that have come out of the cabbies’ resistance to it have been AWESOME, and Jen Doll wrote up the best excuses used by hacks to avoid crossing a bridge of any kind. Some of my favorites:
“So I decided that if Facebook was going to bombard me with fake birthday wishes, I was going to bombard Facebook with fake birthdays.”—Slate writer David Plotz was so tired of Facebook’s trite birthday messages that he decided to announce his birthday on the site constantly. And as someone who always gives places like Facebook an incorrect birth date, I can tell you that I STILL get a little warm fuzzy when a site sends me an automated birthday greeting, which says so very much about my gullibility.
More Americans Have Facebook Accounts Than Passports. And while you might find that stat a damning indictment of our isolationist ways, I think it’s a greater indictment of having to go to the mall to get a horrible passport photo taken of yourself for eight bucks. Facebook is easier than traveling, people.
“Interacting with other cast members carries the risk of “non-consensual physical contact” and should you contract AIDS, etc. during such an interaction, MTV is not responsible”—That delightful little legal reminder comes to you courtesy of MTV’s standard contract for Real World cast members, including “blanket rights to your life story.” And the contract itself almost feels purposely ludicrous, as if it were designed to weed out ANYONE with any trace of sound judgment. Clever ploy, MTV. Very clever.
“What we learned is: You can be too famous.”—That’s notorious famehog Spencer Pratt in a supposedly candid interview with The Daily Beast about he and wife Heidi Montag’s regrets from becoming reality TV villains. And the hilarious thing about the interview is that this is supposedly Pratt is now being honest and self-aware, yet his takeaway is the horrible above quote, when it should be YOU PROBABLY SHOULDN’T BURN EVERY BRIDGE IN THE WORLD IN A BAFFLING QUEST TO BECOME THE WORLD’S LEAST ADMIRED PEOPLE.
“They shouldn’t have canceled $#*! My Dad Says; it was too popular. And we were getting it right. I don’t know what happened in CBS’s mind. I’m told that it’s in the top ten in Canada, and here it was in the top twenty most of the time; it was in the top 25 all the time. So I don’t understand that.”—That’s the indefatigable William Shatner looking back at the cancellation of his CBS sitcom. Of course, while Shatner is correct in noting that the program was in the top 25, it was not in the top 25 of the crucial 18-to-18-and-a-half-educated-male-making-over-$560,000 demographic, which is really the only demo that TV executives consider when making programming decisions. LEARN THE BIZ, BILLY BOY.
Randy Moss To Spend Days Lounging About, Except Not Getting Paid For It. I’m a Vikings fan, and I don’t know that I’ll ever come across a player as simultaneously exciting and infuriating as Randy Moss. And now that he’s retiring, I can go back and think about all the brilliant plays he made, and wonder just how otherworldly he would have been if he played more often than just whenever he felt like playing.
EEEEEEEHEEHEEHEEHEEHEEHEE!!!!! In what will be a GHOUL time for all, TV BLOODucers are looking to REANIMATE HBO’s old anthology series, “Tales From The Crypt.” Only they promise this won’t be some HACK remake, rather a SERIALKILLERized, continuingly plotted show based on the old comic books. And I give FANGS for that, because I’d hate to see anyone LOSE THEIR HEAD over this new show. EEEEEEEHEEHEEHEEHEEHEEHEE!!!!
“Smith’s reps are telling celebs that the tentatively titled Kevin Smith Project will be “a daily 30-minute entertainment talk show for syndication … The idea is a Regis and Kelly talk show at the opposite end of the day for the opposite kind of audience — the 12-34 demo.”—That’s from a New York Magazine article about “retired” director Kevin Smith shopping around a talk show. And if you find that idea a little nutty, then you’ve never heard Smith talk, because he’s AWESOME at it. I will watch this every day and then watch it again to make sure I didn’t miss anything important.
“I thought it was ridiculous… That’s our colors. That’s who we are. That’s who our fans have wanted us to be since I’ve been at Boise State. That’s what it’s been through and through.”—That’s Boise State football coach Chris Petersen, complaining because the school’s new conference is forbidding the team from wearing all-blue uniforms on its all blue field. But Petersen is being disingenuous, because rival coaches have long complained that trying to watch film on the team can take three times longer than other teams because of all that freakin’ blue. So spare us your crocodile tears, coach. We know an underhanded tactic when we see one.
$400 Million Will Get You A Lotta Crullers. Dunkin Donuts has its IPO today, and the Wall St. Journal reports the company could rake in over $400 million as a result. And while the company has debt (it’s like every American company is REQUIRED to not make a profit), it’s still refreshing to see an IPO involving a company that makes TANGIBLE things, especially when those tangible things are stuffed with raspberry jelly.
Because it’s crap. It takes ages to play, suffering long action-free periods in which the players endlessly circle the board in search of the streets they need to complete a set, and lacks the interaction between players that we look for in a game. In short, it’s boring and lacks skill.
Except that it isn’t crap. Actually. You just have to play it the way it was designed to be played.
You just have to read the (expletive) rules.
”—The quote above comes from the Campaign for Real Monopoly, which encourages Monopoly players to heed the original rules, particularly the one that says any unpurchased property immediately goes up for auction to the highest bidder. Which kind of makes the game more like a fantasy football draft, which I’m completely in favor of. But they’ll pry my $500 for Free Parking from my cold dead hands.