taylor-swift-time-magazine-cover

With great Taylor comes…what?

This morning, as I was walking through Barnes & Noble, I passed the magazine section, and happened to notice this cover for Time Magazine.  I know who Taylor Swift is — sort of.  I’m pretty sure she’s either a singer I’ve never heard (i.e. anyone who became famous after 2010) or the star of a CW show I’ve never seen (i.e. any CW show other than The Flash).  I’m vaguely aware that she’s younger and taller than she looks, but I don’t know why I know that.

Still, in spite of my vast knowledge (which runs the gamut from A to lower case a), I’m intrigued by the concept of “The Power of Taylor Swift”?  What is it?

  • Is it an attribute of Ms. Swift herself?  (“The power of Taylor Swift is derived from a corbomite quantum cell in her medulla oblongata, which is why her eyes do that glowing white ring thing.”)
  • Or is it a thing superheroes can do, like invisibility?  (“After being exposed to cosmic radiation, Brandi suddenly developed the powers of telepathy, Taylor Swift, and telekinesis, which is why her eyes do that glowing white ring thing.”)
  • Or is it a benchmark for comparison purposes?  (“The 2015 Lexus combines the sleek lines of a sports car with the power of Taylor Swift.  Just one test drive and your eyes will do that glowing white ring thing.”)

Or is this just one of those things that man was not meant to know?

Update: Those glowing white rings in her eyes remind me of this:

Aquaman11

I’m now certain that the power of Taylor Swift has something to do with seafood.

Update 2: Mystery solved below.

Mass Transit Atrocities

One of my favorite bands growing up in the 60’s was The Kingston Trio.  (Disclaimer: I was uncool before it was cool to be uncool, and long before it was hip to be square.)  Probably my favorite song was their 1959 hit The M.T.A., because it recounted an age-old tale of man’s struggle against mass transportation that really resonated with a pre-teen John.  Listen to this haunting introduction, and you’ll understand how I was captivated.

These are the times that try men’s souls.  In the course of our nation’s history, the people of Boston have rallied bravely whenever the rights of men have been threatened.  Today, a new crisis has arisen.  The Metropolitan Transit Authority, better known as the M.T.A., is attempting to levy a burdensome tax on the population in the form of a subway fare increase.  Citizens, hear me out!  This could happen to you!

How can you not be moved by this?  Listen to this tale of woe:

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christmas bucket

Killer gifts

As I was leaving the grocery store, I walked past the little bank embedded in the front wall.  To give it that homey, “We’re the faceless corporate behemoth that cares!” vibe, sometimes they put out a whiteboard with a handwritten message.

This was the whiteboard message today:

bucketlist

(Author’s note: For those unfamiliar with the terms, a “Christmas list” is a list of all the gifts a child (or adult) wants Santa to bring them.  A “bucket list” a to-do list of all the experiences a person wants to achieve before they “kick the bucket” (i.e. die).  A “Christmas Bucket List”, by extrapolation, is a list of all the things and experiences a person wants have before they die on December 25th.)

I’m still trying to wrap my head around some of these items.  As I write this, today is October 29th.  Christmas is 8 weeks away.  If I found out I had two months to live, here are some of the painful conversations I would have with my friends and loved ones:

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A spooky little sale like you

(Uncharacteristically Appropriate Disclaimer: This post contains graphic references to advertising graphics for actual goods and/or services that exist and may still be available.  I don’t make them.  I don’t use them, and I don’t recommend them.  My role is to mock them.)

Parental Advisory: The following post contains images of cookies, penguins, and deceased popcorn magnates that may be too intense for young bargain hunters.

As Halloween approaches, the stores take a brief break from the 30th week of Ordinary Christmas Shopping Time to roll out all the black and orange decorations that don’t really say “Christmas”.

About a week ago, my brain’s Noticing Subsystem was alerted to a local commercial advertising “Spooky Savings” on some product or another.  I don’t remember what it was, but I vaguely remember that it was some ordinary product, rather than something Halloween-related (costumes, candy, etc.)  What I do remember was the phrase, “Spooky Savings”.

Let’s take a step back.  The term “spooky”, according to some random Internet website, means “eerie, scary; like or befitting a spook”.  Like any sane person, when I think of things that are spooky, my first thoughts are, of course, haunted amusement parks patrolled by dinosaurs (above), and Scooby-Doo (below).

Scoobydoo_Super_Spooky_Double_Storybook_t

So of course, when I searched for the term “spooky savings”, I expected to find things that were eerie, scary, and like or befitting a spook.  (Disclaimer: No, I didn’t.)  This is some of what I found:

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Spoiler alert II

CDC Spokesman:

At approximately 1230 hours on Tuesday, October 14th, sensors at the National Irresponsible Research Laboratory in Chicago reported an Expected Apocalypse Event involving a lethal biological agent.  The incident has been traced to a lone researcher who accidentally shattered a vial of zombie virus while eating his lunch.  Per standard procedure, the laboratory was instantly sealed from all outside contact, and the laboratory automated sensor system immediately began analyzing the environment for any pathogens.

Upon verification of exposure by automated and manual systems, the CDC triggered Phase One of its SHAD Protocol.  As a Phase One risk factor, the exposed researcher was immediately Shot in the Head And Decapitated by the cleanroom’s Containment Drone.  The contents of the room were subsequently incinerated at a temperature of 2000°F, followed by radiation exposure sufficient to make the surrounding area lethal to all forms of life for the next 500 years.

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Spoiler alert

CDC Spokesman:

U.S. hospitals can safely manage a patient with the zombie plague by following our recommended infection-control procedures.  It’s important that we do not let fear of the undead overtake our reasoned approach to any zombie apocalypse.  There is zero danger to the U.S. public from these two zombies or the zombie plague in general.  People who are zombies are not walking around on the street.  They are very, very dead and pretty much confined to a hospital.  Zombies do not pose a significant risk to the U.S. public.  Keep in mind that zombie plague is not something that is easily transmitted.  That’s why, generally, outbreaks dissipate.  But the key is identifying, quarantining, and isolating those who contract it and making sure practices are in place that avoid transmission, such as not biting or getting bitten by a zombie.

 – Leaked script page from the upcoming prequel filmThe Walking Dead: We’ve Got This Under Control

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Home invasion for the holidays

In seasonal apocalyptic cheer news, leaders of Minnesota’s drunken zombie Santa community are calling for calm after one of their members paid an early visit to a St. Paul family.

The Santa, whose name is being withheld because he had been too dead to remember it and too drunk to pronounce it, was cited for premature breaking and entering by an undead intoxicated person, and hunting teenagers out of season.

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rat regret

Rats of contrition

In rodent psychology news, rats are capable of feeling regret about their own decisions, in sharp contrast to the popular stereotype of rats as confident pests with high self-esteem.

Researchers set up a test called “Put a Bunch of Food on the Floor and Wait to See What Happens”, in which they put a bunch of food on the floor and waited to see what happened.

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Drinking to a long shelf life

I was at Starbucks this morning, and there was a sign up on the board for their new hand-made sodas (some assembly required). I’m not sure exactly what the appeal of making sodas to order could be — it’s not as if the carbon dioxide (now with TWICE the oxygen of regular carbon monoxide!) can go bad. And it’s not as if the baristi (baristovians?  baristites?) have nothing better to do with their days than lovingly hand-craft something that sits on the grocery store shelf for weeks at a time.  But I have surprisingly little hands-on experience running a coffee empire, so I’m sure there’s some logic involved. (Disclaimer: I’m not so sure there’s some logic involved.)

But with all the possible advertising hooks Starbucks could come up with (“Twice the Oxygen of Carbon Monoxide — 50% Less Lethal!” or “More Fun to Watch Being Made than Sausage!” would be my suggestions), the Starbucks near my house chose this one:

Made Right Before Your Eyes!

I find this very off-putting.  My eyes were made in 1961, lovingly hand-crafted from only the finest rods and cones.  (Disclaimer: some of them have gone bad.)  I’m not sure I want to drink soda made right before that.  Wine or cheese is one thing.  (Disclaimer: Wine and cheese are two things, unless you put port wine in your cheese.  Never put Camembert in your merlot.)  But 53-year old soda has probably gone flat by now.  Although I feel bad about the Starbucks Corporation storing soda pop for over half a century, without even asking me if I wanted it.  (Disclaimer: I probably would have ordered 7-year old root beer when I was 6, if Starbucks had had the foresight to be founded in 1967.)

(Author’s Note: This is the kind of stuff my brain pulls on me all the time.  I often wonder how the rest of humanity functions.)