A ˜°•very special•°˜ guest edition by @DepthsofWikipedia
Hi friends. Today is February 25, 2022.
And before we start: a note that this was all written and scheduled before recent and profoundly disturbing events in the news. I’ve been on vacation for the past week, and the brilliant Annie Rauwerda — a.k.a. @DepthsofWikipedia, a.k.a. one of the most consistently fun and fascinating curators in my personal internet orbit — gamely agreed to step in. (Truly, go follow her, you will not regret it.)
You may also already know Annie from her recent work on TikTok people-watching, weird Zillow listings and … the surprising love story behind the photos on the Wikipedia page for the “high-five.” (Amazing.) So we’re lucky to have her, especially at a moment when I know many of you could use a break from hard news. I’m back next week. — cd
Hank the Tank is still on the loose!!!!!!! The 500-pound bear is reportedly breaking into homes near Lake Tahoe in California in search of snacks, which is the most endearing burglary motive I’ve ever heard. According to The Washington Post, he’s “part of a hallowed tradition of rogue animals disrupting business as usual, becoming fugitives we can’t help but root for from the sidelines.” The authorities may be on his tail, but Hank bravely marches on.
You know what else marches on? Time. Today marks one year since Mr. Potato Head lost the honorific “Mr,” giving rage diarrhea to a tiny subset of the most annoying people on the internet (see also: backlash to Lola Bunny and the Green M&M). Potatoes, of course, don’t actually have a gender (while this may seem like common sense to people who know what a potato is, the not-so-obvious scientific explanation is that they are self-pollinators, meaning that every individual potato possesses both male and female flowers). A year later, the biggest spud strife of 2022 seems to either be “potato milk” or that Idaho Potato Commission’s French fry-scented perfume sold out so quickly. Po-tay-to, pot-ah-to, potoooooooo (get it? It’s pronounced “potato” because there are eight Os.)
It’s probably as good a time as ever to mention that monkeys in Japan learned to wash sweet potatoes in salt water because they seem to like the salty taste more than plain potatoes, which makes total sense and seems like something that snackahaulic Hank the Tank would totally get behind. Science like this is so vital, and it’s important to fund research so that we continue to make breakthroughs like cats being a liquid, the placebo effect working in dogs, the taxonomy of barney and the evidence-based fact that knives manufactured from frozen human feces do not work.
Anyway, I hope you have a great Friday. If the Queen keeps holding on, you can too (hopefully they’re letting her play her beloved Wii Bowling during quarantine). You can catch more from me on Instagram or Twitter, where I post Wikipedia articles that speak to me. And if you click no other link, please at least open this Reddit post with real-life cheats.
If you read anything this weekend
“White People Love Calling Other White People “White People,” by Houman Barekat in Gawker. There’s a certain type of white person that uses “white” as an insult even when discussions have no racial element whatsoever. They’re “lay[ing] claim to the moral high-ground at all costs,” as if pointing out someone else’s whiteness makes one less white.
“A Song of Shapes and Words,” by Twitter user “roon.” Ah, yes, another internet type-of-guy ethnography that means absolutely nothing yet becomes cultural cannon. “People are starved for good dichotomies and consumable sources of identity, and these neologisms turned out to perfectly combine the two,” roon writes, before introducing the “wordcel” and “shape rotator.” Wordcels are logic-oriented people who thrive with words. Shape rotators are abstract thinkers who are good at rotating shapes in their brains. It’s like humanities vs. STEM except apparently it’s not, and I can’t stop thinking about it.
“When Celebrity Nudes Were Everywhere,” by Constance Grady in Vox. “So many other female stars have had nude photo scandals by now that who can remember Vanessa Hudgens’s? It barely rates.” I loved this retrospective on the High School Musical star’s scandal — and its criticism of aughts tabloids.
👉 ICYMI: The most-clicked link from last week’s newsletter was this essay on the imminent vibe shift.
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Emoji mashups to delight the group chat. There’s AI that take your crude drawing and match it to a movie scene or turn it into a penis. Draw an iceberg and see how it will float! Skee-Lo did a cover of Mr. Morton from School House Rock. Why pee comes out in those helical patterns. Twitter thread about cows and beans that look like cows. An Ohio mayor things that ice fishing will lead to prostitution in ice shanties. Brochure from Cyberslice, a company started in 1996 that allowed pizza parlors to accept online orders.
Checkboxland, where everything is made of HTML checkbox elements. Some cultures incorporate whistling into their language. The woman who is breastfeeding out of her armpits. Toilets with threatening auras. Website with logos drawn from memory. I almost never watch TV shows all the way through, so this website which gives the best episodes for each TV show is great. Letterboxed reviews on this 10-hour shot of paint drying are shockingly profound. Maybe when you stare at a wall for 10 hours you have epiphanies... I must try this! How to Party 1950s Instructional Video. Aesthetics wiki about McBling. The State of the Species. It's a great day to learn about the Fermi Paradox. A site about Ronald McDonald statues with PERFECT web design. This online museum of old computer mice is almost as good.
That’s it for this week! Until the next one. Warmest virtual regards.
— Annie filling in for Caitlin
P.S. If you’re interested in doing a takeover in the future, please get in touch! I do hope to leave my house a *few* more times in the next 12 months.