November 11, 2020


Happy Veterans Day! I mean, as "happy" as it can be to honor the brave men & women that serve in the armed forces. Wouldn't it be nice if we could resolve all disputes — regardless of scale — with reasonable, measured conversations and a friendly round of rochambeau? Then those wonderful people could spend their time farming, art-ing, building, gardening, and whatever-else-ing it is that, uh, sparks joy for them? I think so. Be sure to thank the veteran(s) in your life for their service! That includes you, Uncle Al!

For those of you who skew a bit more loud, happy Metal Day! This day, month, and amp all go to 11.

Per the subject line and headline up top, completing this week's link roundup was a challenge...but not an impossible one. If you're cutting your cyber-calories and want to skip right down to those, feel free! But if you're like me and trying to revel in one last hurrah this morning before a root canal procedure...let's have some cake!

 First up, с Днем рожденья to novelist, essayist, philosopher, journalist, and all-around curmudgeon Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky, born this day in 1821! Mr. Dostoevsky's works were known for their exploration of the bleaker side of human psychology as filtered through the lens of 19th century Russia. Key works: Crime And PunishmentThe Brothers KaramazovThe Idiot (not to be confused with the excellent Iggy Pop album of same name) and Notes From Underground, which is widely considered one of the first examples of existentialist literature.

• Next cut a piece for legendary (and at times controversial) General George S. Patton, born this day in 1885! General Patton commanded the U.S. Seventh Army in the Mediterranean theater of WWII and the U.S. Third Army in France and Germany following the Allied invasion of Normandy in 1944. He was immortalized in actor George C. Scott's portrayal in the 1970 film Patton, which won seven Academy Awards.

• Moving back to the literary side of the spectrum, sling a slice across the table to postmodernist writer and satirist Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., born this day in 1922! Mr. Vonnegut struggled to followup his 1952 debut novel Player Piano, but once Cat's Cradle came out in 1963 his career really took off. Other notable works: Slaughterhouse-FiveBreakfast of Champions, and Bluebeard.

• Today is also the birthday of actor/comedian Jonathan Winters (1925), and actors Stanley Tucci (1959), Demi Moore (1962), and Leonardo DiCaprio (1974).

OK, link time!

1. This UK vacation rental company has built a hedgehog resort next to all of its locations, and it's about as adorable as you'd expect.

Did you know that British hedgehogs are now endangered and could be extinct within the next two years? True —and terrible — story! This fall, Parkdean Resorts unveiled a holiday hibernation resort next to each of their glamping locations and have been working on ways to educate the public on things they can do to protect the remaining British not setting them on fire. (Apparently hedgehogs like to hang out near the center of bonfire pits this time of year because they're dry and protected from cold and wind. The more you know!)

2. Murals going up around the world are converting pollutants into harmless nitrates in a cool collision of art and science!

They're being painted using a photocatalytic paint that contains titanium dioxide, which attracts airborne pollutants that get converted into those nitrates when the paint comes in contact with sunlight. Kinda makes you wonder why we're not making this a requirement for all paints globally. Is there a titanium dioxide shortage? Is an adverse side effect of titanium dioxide that it turns people into werewolves? Or are the Benjamin Moores and Sherwin Williams of the world just being jerks? C'mon, Big Paint! What's the holdup?

3. Ever wanted to smell like an old used book? Of course you do, and now you can!

The erudite geniuses at Powell's Book — that bastion of analog edification in Portland, Oregon — is now selling book-scented unisex fragrance with notes of violet, wood, and biblichor, because of course it is.

4. McDonald's has announced the creation of their plant-based burger, and that they will begin testing it in some markets worldwide next year.  

If response is anything like it was for the McVegan that they introduced in Sweden in 2017, it'll be a hot seller, but the marketer in me feels like, as with most things McDonald's does, they really phoned it in with the name. The McPlant? Really, McDonald's? You're not even trying. 

And for those of you who still have a McRib-shaped hole in your stomach, don't worry — they're bringing it back nationwide for the first time since 2012! You can't keep a rib-shaped composite of meat product down, I guess. (McRib lovers, please don't reply to this trying to convince me I'm wrong about that sorry excuse for a sandwich. Your protestations will fall upon deaf ears! Mostly because I will have plugged them up with filet o' fish patties.)

5. This wildcat of a human being makes "the world's best paper airplane" and documents it in an instructional how-to video for Wired magazine.

You'll want to strap in for this one, my friend. Why? Because making said "paper" airplane requires multiple tools and/or components (including something MADE OUT OF BONE) and THIRTY-SEVEN MINUTES OF YOUR LIFE. Sure, John Collins may have slowed it down a bit to explain what he was doing each step along the way, but OMFG, why is this video 37 minutes long? I burst out laughing at the 3:10 mark when he offhandedly remarks "you can use the ruler to double-check the measurements on your tape gauge (WTF is a tape gauge?!), but that's really overkill, you don't NEED to do that." Oh, THAT'S overkill? That's the one laughably superfluous task involved in your THIRTY-SEVEN MINUTE-LONG VIDEO ON HOW TO MAKE A PAPER AIRPLANE? Got it, cool. On with the show!