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The week that was

Estee Lauder is paying NASA $128K to have them take 10 bottles of its Advanced Night Repair to the International Space Station for a photo shoot. This is, consequently, what they’d pay an Instagram influencer.

Seven people in Russia died after drinking hand sanitizer when the regular booze ran out at a party.

You can no longer sneak in Stairway to Heaven, Guitar Center, the largest musical instrument retailer in the US, filed for bankruptcy.

New York Governor Cuomo was awarded an Emmy for “his masterful use of television to inform and calm people around the world.” I posted some thoughts on Cuomo and New York’s love/hate relationship with their governor earlier.

In the space of 24 hours, President Trump pardoned a turkey and convicted felon.

While out counting bighorn sheep, a Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter crew discovered a 10-12 foot high metal monolith standing upright is the desert. Reddit jumped in and solved the mystery. and then it disappeared.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Philadelphia busted members of the mob on charges of racketeering, illegal gambling, loansharking, and drug trafficking. Among the 15 defendants were 60-year-old “Joey Electric” and 73-year-old “Tony Meatballs.”

State officials uncovered what they are calling the largest fraud in California history. Prison inmates filed pandemic unemployment benefit claims totaling over $140 million. The claims used names such as John Doe, John Adams or, in one case, Poopy Britches. “Quite frankly, the inmates are mocking us,” said Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert.

A group of Princeton grads have won more than $6 million from lotteries in Indiana, Missouri, Washington and the District of Columbia. They say they are just lucky but they also incorporated themselves under the moniker Black Swan Capital LLC.

Dog-sized Argentine black-and-white tegu lizards have eaten their way across Georgia and South Carolina and are now threatening Alabama. “The entire southeast portion of the United States is at risk.” says Amy Yackel Adams, a biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey.

If you’re looking for “hilarious COVID-19-themed ornaments” for your Christmas Tree, we’ve got you covered.

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

Italian police used a Lamborghini to transport a donor kidney 300 miles in two hours. The car kept up an average speed of 143 mph.

In Belgium, a racing pigeon was sold at an auction for $1.9 million. The winning bid from a wealthy Chinese pigeon racing fan.

A commercial airliner struck a brown bear while landing in Southeast Alaska.

You can now buy bacon-flavored beer if that’s your thing. Waffle House at least thought it a good idea.

Theatre TikTok has been hard at work collaborating on a musical version of the Ratatouille story from Pixar. It’s really coming along and starting to get professional attention.

Microplastics, discovered two years ago in the Mariana Trench, was found at the summit of Mount Everest. “It really surprised me to find microplastics in every single snow sample” said Imogen Napper, the author of the report.

Harper’s Index tells us the US set all-time record highs for coronavirus cases and coronavirus hospitalizations while simultaneously topping out the S&P 500 and Russell 2000 stock-market indexes.

Covid came to Loving, the last Covid-free county in Texas. The Prime Minister of Samoa appeared on national television to announce to citizens the first positive test result in the small Pacific island nation.

The Miami Marlins hired Kim Ng, as the first woman General Manager of a Major League Baseball team.

Last week, New Yorkers teamed up to transport 17-pound sick swan to safety on the the A train. This week an owl was discovered wrapped up in this year’s Rockefeller tree bewildered, famous and available as a bobblehead.

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 local Queens paper announced the US election news matter of factually, Queens man evicted.

Putin, just to be safe, granted himself and all ex-presidents lifetime immunity from criminal prosecution.

The FBI warned Philadelphia police that a Silver Hummer, driven by two armed men, was driving into the city to cause trouble. Officers put out a citywide alert as they frantically tried to locate the vehicle and its occupants. When the Hummer was located, it already had a parking ticket.

McDonald’s announced it’s getting into the plant-based burger game with something they are calling, McPlant.

A Japanese town in Hokkaido has deployed a pair of robot wolves to scare off the the increasingly threatening bears encroaching on their village.

Lego unveiled it’s biggest set ever. Coming in at 9,036 pieces, the $550 Coliseum is designed to keep quarantined families busy until Spring.

Powell’s Books in Portland is diversifying into the perfume business. Being a house of words, great care was given to it’s catalog entry. “This scent contains the lives of countless heroes and heroines. Apply to the pulse points when seeking sensory succor or a brush with immortality.” (powells.com)

Virgin’s Hyperloop shot two passengers in in a pod though a vacuum tube up to speeds of 100 MPH. South Korea’s lesser-known Hyper-Tube reached speeds of over 600 MPH. No passengers mentioned.

The next pair of Air Jordans will feature auto-lacing technology where you can use an app to automatically tie your sneakers for you.

The leader of Turkmenistan erected a 19ft golden statue of a dog.

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

I know there was an election last week. Everyone’s talking about it. There are plenty of hilarious riffs on it too. Here’s what else happened while we were glued to the election.

A Florida man was mauled by a black leopard after paying $150 for a “full-contact experience” with the wild animal.

A Florida woman stopped by her polling place to vote, while on her way to the hospital to deliver her baby.

David Andahl won a seat in the North Dakota state legislature. Unfortunately, Mr. Andahl perished from Covid-19 in October.

Things did not start out well at the “roborace” for autonomous cars when one car took a hard right into a wall.

After multiple trips to Mars to look for signs of water, earthbound scientists say they found evidence in a meteor they found in our very own Sahara Desert.

Two men in India were arrested for conning some poor sap to pay them £72,000 for a tattered hunk of metal they swore was “Aladdin’s lamp.”

If you didn’t hear about the whale sculpture that caught the runaway Dutch train, read on.

We must count every vote – even if it’s late. But maybe not 41-years late.

Australian scientists discovered a massive, free-standing coral reef that rises 1600 feet off the ocean floor, making it taller than the Empire State Building.

Costco pulled coconut water off its shelves when they were informed that the vendor of that product forced monkey slaves to harvest the coconuts.

Donald Trump claimed the election was stolen from him and the votes against him were fake. DC voters also overwhelming voted to decriminalize hallucinogenic mushrooms.

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

Times are a-changin’ in San Francisco. The last blinking billboard within the city limits, the old Coca-Cola sign that sat at 5th & Bryant since 1937, was taken down. Downtown a developer closed on the purchase of the Transamerica Pyramid building for $650 million, a $61 million discount off the price agreed upon before the pandemic.

Trump’s campaign website was briefly hacked and someone guessed the Florida Governor’s online voter registration password (his birthday) and changed his address “to a small apartment more than 400 miles away.”

A spat between the Pimco co-founder Bill Gross and his neighbor over a delicate Dale Chihuly glass sculpture devolved into multiple visits by the Laguna Beach police and allegations that the billionaire bond king “blared the Gilligan’s Island theme song on a loop at all hours to annoy his neighbor.”

A Scottish cancer patient had part of her shin bone removed, taken away and treated with radiation at another hospital, and then returned and replaced.

Floods from climate change are impacting famed guitar maker Fender’s access to Swamp Ash wood used in its Stratocaster guitars.

A police chief in the Philippines sent to break up an illegal cockfight was killed, by one of the cocks.

Poor QA and sub-optimal translations caused much embarrassment for Amazon at the launch of its Swedish site. Someone confused the Argentinian flag for Swedish one and products featuring cats were described with the lewd double meaning of the word “pussy”

People keep calling the East Dallas police on Steven Novak’s hyper-realistic, crime scene lawn display. While some people embrace Halloween hijinks, Novak gives them a bear hug.

All you news junkies out there can purchase a Newsroom Scent candle to keep you company on Election Night. It smells of late deadlines, stressed editors, free pizza, lukewarm coffee and democracy.

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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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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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.