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TWTW

The week that was

HBO host John Oliver traveled to Danbury, Connecticut to celebrate the renaming of the town sewage plant to the John Oliver Memorial Sewer Plant. The ceremony marked the end of a months-long playful spat with the town. Oliver remarked on his show “at the end of this awful, awful year, what could be more important than evidence that, if we want to, we can come together, overcome our differences and sort our shit out.

A troupe of yodelers who held two sing-along concerts in a small town in Switzerland have been fingered for a recent spike in Covid-19 infections. The performers were unmasked so as not to impede their yodeling as they played to an indoor audience.

A Swiss couple named their baby girl Twifia so they could get 18 years of free wifi.

Online conversations at a virtual paleontology conference ground to a halt when discussions became disjointed and hard to follow due to an overzealous profanity filter. Automatically censored words such as bone, stream, and beaver made chatting amongst the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology attendees a comical game of charades. The vendor of the platform (ironically named Convey Services) was not available to convey their comment.

A rapper who boasted on a YouTube video about getting rich off of unemployment benefits was arrested for committing unemployment benefits fraud.

All eyes are on Georgia state Representative Vernon Jones who threw CDC cautions to the wind and crowd-surfed sans mask over a crowd of maskless supporters.

Commuters in Brooklyn were put out when the Greenpoint public ferry stop was taken out of service because the Australian developers who owned the surrounding land and pier blocked access. The mayor called it a “quizzical situation.”

The race is on to monetize parents with young kids by putting up paywalls around nostalgia. First to go were Ernie & Bert and the Sesame Street gang which moved to HBO, this week it was announced that Charlie Brown’s Great Pumpkin and Christmas specials will only be available on Apple TV. As far as we know, the Heat Miser and Schwartz, Flick and the flagpole will still be available for appointment television.

TWTW is a weekly collection of bits and pieces I run across each week while looking after things at SmartNews. Feel free to sign-up to get this via email or forward to a friend.

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The week that was

Japan has been storing radioactive water from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant in leaky holding tanks since the earthquake in 2011. This week the government announced that it plans to release over one million tons of contaminated water into the surrounding ocean. Have they never seen Godzilla?

Singapore Airlines, stuck with a couple of massive Airbus A380 planes parked at Changi Airport, turned them into pop-up restaurants. Reservations sold out in 30 minutes.

Just like Champagne and Bordeaux, Humboldt County will declare itself an appellation for cannabis connoisseurs.

A Japanese tourist, who has been patiently waiting out the pandemic at the base of Machu Picchu in Peru for seven months, was granted solo access to the 500 year old Inca citadel.

Police searching for misappropriated public funds found a wad of banknotes concealed between the clenched buttocks of a Brazilian senator.

Nokia, looking for new markets, will install a wireless network on the moon.

A severed fiber optic cable brought down the voter registration site for the State of Virginia during the last hours before the registration deadline.

Two former Oklahoma County detention officers and their supervisor were charged with putting undue emotional stress on inmates by playing Baby Shark at loud volumes, on a loop.

Justin Beiber designed a line of Crocs and they sold out in 90 minutes.

Donald Trump said the only person more famous than him is Jesus Christ.

Just when you thought 2020 couldn’t get any weirder, a Zamboni burst into flames. The driver heroically drove it off the rink to save the ice.

Another brand from my childhood bites the dust. Coca-Cola announced the 1970s saccharin-sweetened soft drink Tab is being taken off the market.

TWTW is a weekly collection of bits and pieces I run across each week while looking after things at SmartNews. Feel free to sign-up to get this via email or forward to a friend.

Photo from @briansolis

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TWTW

The week that was

The number of Covid-19 cases in the UK was vastly undercounted due to a file size limitation in Microsoft Excel.

A Canadian seed company’s advertisements were banned by the Facebook ad quality algorithm because its photo of Walla Walla onions were deemed overtly sexual.

Venice’s annual acque alte was rebuffed for the first time in history. The construction of tide barriers, beset by years of incompetence and corruption, finally worked.

An internet-enabled chastity belt (who the hell thought that was a good idea) was found to be vulnerable to hacking that would lock up users and require “intervention of a heavy-duty bolt cutter or an angle grinder to free the user.”

Chinese bike-sharing startup Ofo famously flamed out a couple years ago, leaving monumental piles of abandoned bicycle graveyards. Now nearby residents are complaining they cannot sleep at night because the lonely, piled up bikes, designed to call out through an installed speaker when tipped over, cry out “Little yellow bike fell. Please hurry and help me up!” all thru the night in a sad, dystopian chorus.

The makers of the card game Uno once again tried to reaffirm how their game is played but was told to shove off by Uno fans who have made the game their own.

Yelp will start indicating if businesses have been accused of racist behavior. The Business Accused of Racist Behavior Alert will link to a news article where consumers can learn more about the incident.

For the first time since 1946, following a World War, the United States debt is projected to be larger than the economy, and soon “will be larger than any time in history,”

A financial stock trading app called Robinhood has been accused of being unresponsive when people’s accounts were hacked and drained of funds.

Astronaut Kate Rubins will vote from space listing her address as “low-Earth orbit.”

Raccoons on the White House lawn are apparently commonplace but they are now getting so aggressive that White House correspondents need to shoo them away, while on camera.

Everyone steeled themselves for another chaotic debate night in Utah. Even the vodka maker Smirnoff warned people not to drink and debate. But the real hero of the night was the fly.

Ready for a tear-jerker? Oreo is no longer just black & white.

TWTW is a weekly collection of bits and pieces I run across each week while looking after things at SmartNews. Feel free to sign-up to get this via email, follow on Facebook, or forward to a friend.

Photo: 102-year-old Chicago Teacher’s Union retiree Bea Lumpkin casts her vote-by-mail ballot.

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The week that was

Finland started screening incoming travelers for Covid-19 at Helsinki Airport with specially trained dogs that can sniff it out.

A Florida man called 911 when he heard his neighbors yelling “Shoot! Shoot!” The police arrived to find an animated trio of mates watching their Tampa Bay Lightnings in hot pursuit of the Stanley Cup.

Three Metro-North employees have been suspended without pay when a makeshift “man cave” was discovered under track 114, deep within the bowels of Grand Central Station. The hideout was equipped with a futon, microwave, refrigerator, and flat screen TV. In a statement, the MTA Inspector General accused the three of chutzpah.

Aviation company ZeroAvia ran its first successful test flight of its new zero-emission, hydrogen-powered Piper M-class passenger plane.

Japan announced plans to fuel shuttle rockets powered by water found on the moon.

Back on earth, scientists have perfected an enzyme that can “eat” plastic six times faster than their previous concoction.

The New York Times got their hands on some coveted Trump tax documents and shared various business expenses. The Donald was not shy with his use of write-offs which included $70,000 for haircuts, $750,000 paid to his daughter for consulting services, and $2.2 million in property tax paid on his upstate New York mansion, all for business.

Staff at the White House’s guest facilities for visiting state leaders demurely confessed that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu kind of overdoes the complimentary laundry service, bringing with him “bags and suitcases full of dirty laundry” on his trips to D.C.

The Governor of Florida said he felt it “incredibly draconian” to suspend a college student for attending a party because “That’s what college kids do” and proposed a student Bill of Rights to protect a student’s right to p-a-r-t-y.

The Irish Supreme Court rejected Subway’s appeal to qualify for a lower tax rate when they ruled that the high sugar content in their sandwich bread makes it not actually bread but “confectionery.”

The LA Kings mascot Bailey was fired after sexual harassment claims were filed by a female employee. Faithful TWTW readers will recall that Gritty was cleared of assault back in February and Phanatic beaned a fan with the t-shirt gun.

NASA will test a $23 million titanium space commode at the international space station. The updated design is smaller than the existing Russian toilets and better suited for women. The planned October 1st launch was scrubbed (sorry, dad joke) due to bad weather.

Former coal CEO Robert Murray, who fought federal regulations over regulations to cut the amount of coal dust in his mines, has filed an application for benefits from the U.S. Department of Labor for black lung benefits.

TWTW is a weekly collection of bits and pieces I run across each week while looking after things at SmartNews. Feel free to sign-up to get this via email or forward to a friend.

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The week that was

Ann Arbor, Michigan became the latest US city (after Denver, Oakland, and Santa Cruz) to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms.

UC Berkeley announced the opening of the Center for the Science of Psychedelics.

A California man was sentenced to six years in prison for sending almost two pounds of meth inside a piñata.

You can now buy face masks from a vending machine thanks to Portland-based footwear maker Keen. Several designs are stocked including designs from the late-Jerry Garcia.

Japanese light manufacturer Ushio has developed a coronavirus-killing UV light that does not harm humans.

Australians are so desperate to go somewhere that Qantas is selling out “Flights to Nowhere” to take citizens on a 7-hour loop around the country. So popular are these flights they are selling out in just 10 minutes.

After record wildfires set his state on fire, California governor Gavin Newsom announced the state will phase out sales of new, gasoline-powered cars by 2035. He signed the order on the hood of a cherry red, electric Ford Mustang.

The NFL Media audio engineer turned up the fake booing during their recent 37-19 loss at a recent Philadelphia Eagles home game. Fans agreed this made the game, played to an empty Lincoln Field, sound even more true-to-life.

After 18 months of a painstaking process of elimination, villagers in a remote town in Wales know why the entire town’s internet connection goes offline like clockwork. Every day at 7am one of the villagers would switch on their old TV which would in-turn knock out broadband for the entire village. (Update: It was Mr. & Mrs. Rees who were innocently tuning into Piers Morgan.)

TWTW is a weekly collection of bits and pieces I run across each week while looking after things at SmartNews. Feel free to sign-up to get this via email, follow on Facebook, or forward to a friend.

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no filter photo by @jachristian

A farmer just 10 miles outside of Kenosha, Wisconsin (yes, that Kenosha) decided enough already with 2020 and turned his entire crop over to sunflowers.

My childhood nightmare just became product reality.

In Australia’s Queensland, COVID-19 restrictions put the kibosh on dancing at weddings but, strangely, allowed for “group sex at approved swinger clubs and adult parties.”

A transgender anarchist who recently won an un-contested GOP nomination for Sheriff on the platform slogan of “F— the Police” is turning to Go Fund Me to raise funds to fix her recently vandalized car.

Jimmy Carter not only confirmed long suspected rumors that he allowed Willie Nelson to spark one on the roof of the White House but that the president’s son Chip was getting baked with him.

Just in case you were wondering, yes, the Pentagon has a plan just in case there is a zombie apocalypse.

The Tiger King rivalry has moved over to e-commerce. Joe Exotic launched his Revenge line back in May and now Carol Baskin’s “Hey all you cool cats & kittens” facemasks are here.

40-year-old Lia Ditton pulled into Waikiki harbor after 86 days rowing solo from San Francisco. She was put up in a suite with a beautiful ocean view but demurely requested a room with a view of the mountains.

Stay safe y’all and see ya later California! By this time next week, I’ll be posting from NYC!

TWTW is a weekly collection of bits and pieces I run across each week while looking after things at SmartNews. Feel free to sign-up to get this via email or forward to a friend.

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Hundreds of people assembled at a German church to hear an organ change chords for the first time in nearly seven years. The church is 19 years into performing John Cage’s Organ/ASLSP (As Slow As Possible) and is due to finish the piece in the year 2640.

Looking to differentiate itself from other sushi outfits, one Nagoya proprietor has hit gold by offering macho sushi delivered by body builder trainers temporarily out of work because of gym shutdowns.

While we may not be able to attend a football game in person you’ll be glad to know that you can light some scented candles so you can experience the game in smell-o-rama. Choose from the no description need Jock Strap or $18 Nachos, or Hashtag Field Goals which smells like fresh cut grass.

A man blew the roof off his house while attempting to swat a fly. The BBC wryly notes, “the fate of the fly is not known.”

Another man saw to it that he could stand in a tub filled with ice cubes up to his shoulder for 2 hours and 30 minutes. Afterward he said the sun felt “really great” on his back.

The Ukrainian priest who called COVID19 “God’s punishment” for gay marriage has contracted said punishment.

In upstate New York, a drowning ex-drug addict kayaker was rescued by a passing Tiki Bar boat full of priests and seminarians from a local Catholic retreat.

It happened in 2018, now it’s happened in 2020. This time, the folks that sparked a massive wildfire may be on the hook for millions in damages.

Because it’s 2020 police are asking residents in Eastern Tennessee to be on the lookout for a missing tiger.

TWTW is a weekly collection of bits and pieces I run across each week while looking after things at SmartNews. Feel free to sign-up to get this via email or forward to a friend.

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Using more than 150,000 single-use plastic bottles, CalTrans and sustainable landscaping company TechniSoil repaved the first mile of recycled plastic highway on a state road anywhere in the U.S.

Apparently a “guy in a jetpack” was flying around buzzing landing airlines at LAX.

Last week a 3-year old girl was plucked out of the ocean floating on an inflatable winged unicorn. This week another 3-year old girl, this one in Taiwan, was swooped high up into the air when her legs became tangled in the tail end of a kite.

A 53-year old Long Island woman joined a team of gymnasts ranging in ages from 9 to 15 is now winning championships.

Short collection this week – busy on a new project and will share more later! Stay safe everyone!

TWTW is a weekly collection of bits and pieces I run across each week while looking after things at SmartNews. Feel free to sign-up to get this via email, follow on Facebook, or forward to a friend.

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The week that was

Researchers at University College London redesigned optical cables so they can transmit data at 178 terabits per second. This speed is double the capacity of any system currently used in the world and is able to download the entire Netflix library in just one second.

The Greenland glaciers have melted to “the point of no return” and has gone beyond a tipping point that will bring them back.

A man who lives on his farm in the middle of Narita Airport popped back in the news to report that he, “finds farming easier now with less air traffic disruptions due to Covid-19.”

Hobbies have kicked into overdrive during the pandemic driving up prices of collectibles everywhere, including houseplants. One person bid over $5000 for a single plant, approximately $1300 per leaf.

KFC marketers decided that during a time where we are supposed to avoid touching our faces it might be best to pause the finger lickin’ good slogan. McDonald’s doubled-down and will release a spicy Chicken McNugget.

One particularly dedicated prankster managed to completely mess up the entirety of the Scottish version of Wikipedia. “The sheer size and scope is something to behold: look at virtually any of the 57,000-plus pages and you’ll find a nonsensical mishmash of English and Scots.”

Our diets have all gone to hell so the folks at Lucky Charms have decided to cut to the chase and now sell just the marshmallows. What does, “magically. delicious” mean anyway?

As part of a deal to resume the playoffs, which the NBA suspended in protest of the shooting of Jacob Blake, all league arenas will be opened as polling places in the upcoming election.

The law finally caught up with a Southern California man who has been posing as a Homeland Security Agent for years. Federal agents grew suspicious when Donovan Nguyen, 34, showed up at a raid wearing full tactical gear and no one knew him.

Can someone get into the Exclusive Website and report back what it’s about? I can only listen to the hold music for so long.

Cover Image: “The New American Gothic” by Criselda Vasquez, Oil on canvas, 2017

TWTW is a weekly collection of bits and pieces I run across each week while looking after things at SmartNews. Feel free to sign-up to get this via email or forward to a friend.

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The week that was

The 71-year old president of Portugal swam out to rescue two women in trouble when their kayak capsized off a beach in the Algarve.

Local authorities in the Florida Keys approved a plan to release 750 million genetically modified mosquitoes to prevent the spread of dengue fever and other diseases.

Fans of a 2004 video game have taken it upon themselves to work on a modern upgrade to the game based on the latest technology and techniques. Battle for Middle-earth: Reforged uses Unreal Engine, runs on modern computers, and looks amazing.

Record-breaking fires continue to rage, barely contained, in Northern California, almost completely surrounding the San Francisco Bay Area. With state and federal resources spread thin, people are resorting to their own fire prevention methods, including cans of Bud Light.

While sheltering-in-place, Lydia Cambron meticulously recreated 2001: Space Odyssey’s ending scene in her apartment, not only shot-by-shot but nearly look-by-look. (h/t kottke)

Because it’s 2020 the Gulf Coast is going to get an unprecedented double-punch of two successive hurricanes next week.

Goldman Sachs released a corporate font designed to make it easier to read financial reports. Fontheads sneered and accused the font of being “derivative.”

The Japanese city of Tokorozawa spruced up its manhole covers with anime characters and installed LED lights so they glow in the dark.

TWTW is a weekly collection of bits and pieces I run across each week while looking after things at SmartNews. Feel free to sign-up to get this via email, follow on Facebook, or forward to a friend.