West Elm's couch from hell (Update: couch from hell goes to hell)

Anna Hezel just saved us from an inadvisable couch purchase with her horrifying article, Why Does This One Couch From West Elm Suck So Much? Read the rest

"Waste of my fucking time" whispered into hot mic after Paul Ryan defends Muslim nation travel ban

At a press conference where Paul Ryan defended President Trump's Muslim-targeting travel ban, someone within whispering distance of a hot mic muttered "waste of my fucking time" as the House Speaker walked off.

Ryan denies saying it; consensus is it was a "bored cameraman" lurking around the lectern after he exited. Read the rest

Is this the ultimate "I'm not racist, but..."

My friend Michelle Fox spotted this vehicle in New Mexico. The "non-racist" really makes it! Read the rest

Helmet camera captures skiier tumbling over 150-ft cliff

He's fine. Fine and damnned lucky: "Turns out I am afraid of heights."

Skier Devin Stratton managed to ski himself off of an unmarked 150-foot cliff last week in the backcountry of the Wasatch Range in Utah, and escaped without so much as a bruise.

Stratton was capturing his run using a GoPro attached to his helmet, giving the world a first person POV of what it looks like when you accidentally find yourself skiing off a cliff. According to an interview with the Washington Post, he rarely wears the camera, but for some reason he flipped it on for this run.

In the clip, Stratton can be seen hitting fresh powder with some nearby runs. A few ski trails in the snow lead to a small hill, but Stratton doesn't notice that they stop before it's too late and he's going over.

Stratton turns his body as he's falling and manages to land on his back. According to the Post, Stratton credits the two feet of fresh powder and his packed backpack for cushioning his fall.

Read the rest

Light turnout for Trump inauguration

On the left, Obama. On the right, Trump. I guess no-one could find a dress. Read the rest

Trump running Facebook ads asking people to attend inauguration

We knew President-elect Donald Trump was having trouble finding acts willing to perform at his inauguration, but now we know he's worried about public turnout too. How? Because he's running Facebook ads begging New Yorkers to attend. Read the rest

Yahoo to change name to "Altaba"

Marissa Meyer is to leave Yahoo, which is to change its name to "Altaba" Read the rest

Media spokesmillennial actually 55 years old

Dan Nainan is a 35-year old who often speaks for the Millennials: he crops up in piece after piece as a secondary source, reinforcing whatever angle the story takes on this most endlessly fascinating of generations.

Ben Collins writes, however, that he's actually a corporate-gig comedian in his mid-fifties. Moreover, the spokesmillennial thing isn't some clever, media-trolling prankery: Nainan insists he's 35, even as public records says otherwise. He obviously wouldn't pass for his claimed age--even his pro headshots are tell-tale--but seems to be doing quite well for himself as retirement age approaches. Which leaves the rather unsettling question: why?

I get it, I told him. It’s time to tell the whole story, I said. Being in your 40s and leaving Intel to become a millionaire comedian is even more impressive than some guy in his 20s making it in comedy like everybody else, right?

So tell me, are you 35 or 55?

Then a pause.

“I’m 35,” he said. “The mistake is in my birth record.”

A few minutes later, he said he wanted to talk to his lawyer before he said anything else.

Discussion centers, fairly, on his representations to the media and our mindless complicity in publishing them. There's also a some spiteful pleasure being had shaming him for his apparent vanity.

I'm struck by the thought that it was once common and reasonable for bachelors to be evasive about their age. The reasons for doing so are largely historical now, but way back when it made it harder for people to find material to blackmail or expose you or otherwise screw with your professional life if there was something about you that could unfairly compromise it. Read the rest

Stereogum's worst music of 2016

It's not done with you yet: Stereogum's Scott Lapatine assembled "The Worst Playlist of 2016," with all the year's most terrible tracks. Highlights include Eminem's "Campaign Speech," Corey Feldman's "Go 4 It," and "The Entire Genre of Simpsonwave," a full hour of which I have embedded here for your morning enjoyment. Read the rest

Interview with a captured ISIS commander

There's no question of ISIS batallion leader Abu Taha's guilt. But Taha's is a nom de guerre, so when Taha is executed for killing dozens of Iraqis, Malik Khamis Habib dies with him. Rotting in a jail cell, what is he thinking? Kim Dozier, returning to the middle east after being critically wounded there, interviews someone few would sympathize with but everyone can now understand.

Why did you join ISIS? I asked.

“Someone from my neighborhood came to me. He explained we must make a change, that Shias were hurting Sunnis.”

Did you ever know a Sunni personally who was hurt by a Shia Muslim, I asked?

“No. Just rumors,” he admitted. ...

My translator pushed him to explain his role in dispatching car bombs. He later told me this brought back some bad memories for him, too. Sporting a 101st Airborne sweatshirt and reciting proudly the designation of the 3rd Infantry Division unit he’d also served, he explained he’d lost five U.S. battle buddies in a car bomb that hit his team years earlier. He’d been thrown 50 feet, escaping with a concussion, broken bones, and the sadness of a survivor. He knew this prisoner had dispatched such car bombs against Iraqis, and he too wanted to know why.

“What do you want me to say,” the prisoner asked. “I destroyed myself. I destroyed my family.”

He has a message for Americans, too. Read the rest

Compilation of Florida drivers discovering red lights are not optional

Believe it or not, Florida is only the 14th worst state for accidents, according to The Daily Beast's breakdown of per-capita stats. But its unique combination of aggression, stupidity and good weather (worst-state North Dakota has a pretty good excuse) puts it in a league of its own. Read the rest

Man learns his walnut cracker is actually an old grenade

A Chinese man learned that the device he'd been using to crack walnuts for 25 years is, in fact, an old hand grenade. Alex Linder at Shanghaiist reports that he realized what it was after picking up a safety leaflet about explosives, then handed it in to the police.

Ran said that he received the "nutcracker" as a "gift" back in 1991, though he didn't say what kind "friend" had given him the device.

It's also not clear what Ran will use to crack open walnuts now.

村民用手榴弹砸核桃25年 称顶端坚硬拿着顺手 Read the rest

Machine burns fades into denim with lasers

In the age of fast fashion, it's too slow and expensive to pay humans to hand-distress denim for impatient shoppers. Golden Laser makes machines that laser print fades onto jeans—as in literally burn off the dye with a goddamn laser—while playing epic orchestral music. Read the rest

Kentucky woman launches into racist rant against other shoppers, who ignore her

A Kentucky woman was banned from JCPenneys after directing a racist tirade against shoppers ahead of her in the checkout line.

Just go back wherever the fuck you came from. Hey, tell them to go back where they belong. You know, they come here to live and they act like they’re everybody else. Get in the back of the line like everybody else does.

It [the line] starts back there...And it don’t bother me if I say it and I don’t care if everybody hears me. I think everybody here probably feels the same damn way I do.

Just go back wherever the f*ck you came from,” she said before turning to the cashier. “Hey!” she said. “Tell ’em to go back where they belong. You know, they come here to live and they act like they’re everybody else. Get in the back of the line like everybody else does.

You’re a nobody. Just because you come from another country, it don’t make you nobody! Nobody, as far as I’m concerned. You’re probably on welfare, the taxpayers probably paid for all that stuff.

... Speak English, you're in America.

A friend of the shopper in front had added further items to her basket, thereby adding several seconds to the checkout time and earning the white woman's racial ire.

Only the store clerk challenged her racist tirade; the targets ignored it and at least one person egged it on. But Renee Buckner captured it on video and posted it online. Within hours, the footage had millions of views. Read the rest

Newspaper corrections of the year for 2016

Poynter collects the wildest journalistic corrections of the past year. Among the best, here's one from the New York Times.

Because of an editing error, an article on Monday about a theological battle being fought by Muslim imams and scholars in the West against the Islamic State misstated the Snapchat handle used by Suhaib Webb, one of the Muslim leaders speaking out. It is imamsuhaibwebb, not Pimpin4Paradise786.

Times corrections are often clever and succinct works of journalism in their own right. But most "corrections" are just the consequences of humorous typos, math errors, jumbled names, etc.

What's great about it all, though, is how pretty much everything in the corrections roundup is so trivial. Good to know the media's been correct of late on all the big things.

Here's Boulder, Colorados' Daily Camera

EDITOR'S NOTE: Comments attributed to a Trump campaign spokeswoman were removed from an earlier version of this story at her request after she learned she would be identified by name.
Read the rest

The Mummy trailer goes online missing most of its audio and it's the best

Tom Cruise is starring in a reboot of The Mummy. The film's distributors uploaded a version of the IMAX trailer missing most of its audio. The result is a surreal dreamy silence, punctuated by the sudden grunts and yells of Cruise and his costars.

They pulled it from the official channels, but it's too late. Here's a backup embed:

If the embed doesn't work, here's the direct link. If it's taken down, be sure to tell me!

It has already been noted that the Vader reveal from Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith is improved immeasurably by Cruise's performance

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Ambulance arrives quickly after accident

Emergency response times in Zalgo county are superlative! [via] Read the rest

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