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Tuesday, 08 June 2021 18:10

Weird National Briefs (06/09/2021)

Written by Allen Adams

Record collection

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio (AP) — After nearly five decades of blowin’ in the wind, a double Bob Dylan album finally has a direction home: A man living in San Francisco has mailed the vinyl back to an Ohio library 48 years after it was supposed to be returned.

Howard Simon recently sent the album along with a letter to Heights Libraries apologizing for his tardiness, according to a news release from the library system outside Cleveland.

Simon checked out Dylan’s “Self Portrait” album in 1973 as an eighth-grader at a University Heights middle school. Simon says he found it between two other Dylan albums in his personal vinyl collection.

“As a recent retiree, I am taking the opportunity to turn my attention to some of the many vignettes of life that by dint of career and family have been neglected these many years,” Simon wrote. “I am returning with the letter an overdue item by my count, approximately 17,480 days overdue as of this writing.”

His letter says the album cover is a little battered after traveling with him from University Heights to San Francisco with various stops in between, but the library says the records themselves remain in “great shape.”

Simon also sent the library a $175 replacement fee for “Self Portrait” along with an album he recorded, “Western Reserve,” for possible inclusion in the library’s collection.

The library bore no hard feelings, or sense that Simon wasted their precious time, essentially telling him in the press release don’t think twice; it’s all right.

“The funny thing about this is that we don’t charge overdue fines anymore–as long as we get the item back, we see no need to penalize people,” branch manager Sara Phillips was quoted as saying. “We’re grateful that Mr. Simon returned the record. I’d said we can now call it even.”

TME – If it was “Down in the Groove,” they probably would have sent it back to the guy.

Tuesday, 01 June 2021 10:23

Celebrity Slam - Matt LeBlanc = Matieu McBan

Written by Allen Adams

This space is generally pretty consistent. Sure, we wander a little here and there, but for the most part, the stories that we address here stay within a fairly narrow range. You know the deal – some celebrity relationships here, some Twitter beefs there, but with the exception of a few memorial-type entries, we generally stick to the idiocy of the rich and famous.

Generally.

However, every once in a great while, an item comes along that doesn’t fit our usual modus operandi, yet we find ourselves compelled to include it. There’s nothing remotely Slammable about what follows, but in our quest to determine this week’s column, we found ourselves repeatedly returning to it, fascinated by its very existence even though – and this can’t be stressed enough – no one is really being any kind of jerkbag or douchenozzle. If anything, it might be one of the most wholesome things we’ve addressed in this space.

We’re going to talk about how Irish Twitter fell in love with Joey Tribbiani.

Tuesday, 01 June 2021 10:22

Weird National Briefs (06/02/2021)

Written by Allen Adams

Grouse in the house

NEW LONDON, N.H. (AP) — Some people are greeted by the family dog. For Todd Westward, it’s a ruffed grouse.

The bird started hanging out in the New London, New Hampshire, backyard last month with Westward while his family was away on a trip, his wife, Mary Beth Westward, posted in Facebook. Since then, the bird, named Walter, has made himself a fixture in the yard.

“I just thought it was a fluke before we left,” Mary Beth Westward said Friday. “While we were gone, this bird formed this crazy attachment. He was here every single day, all day long, following him.”

Walter has perched on her husband’s shoulder and arm, and has visited his backyard workstation.

Mary Beth Westward said she’s gotten a lot of positive comments from her post, and heard some similar stories about social grouses.

She said she and the couple’s daughters don’t have the same bond with Walter. He appears to chase them away.

“He runs like a feathered velociraptor while he chases us down the driveway in our cars. And he goes back up and sits on the porch and pretends to be our watch-bird,” Westward wrote in her post.

The ruffed grouse is the state bird in Pennsylvania. The “tame” grouse phenomenon happens in the spring, during the peak breeding season, according to a video last year from the Pennsylvania Game Commission. One theory is that the grouse is acting hyper-territorial.

TME – Tale as old as time.

Wednesday, 26 May 2021 10:07

Celebrity Slam - Everything old is new again

Written by Allen Adams

Look, we tried to let it pass by. We did our best to just let things slide. “Maybe it isn’t what it looks like,” we mused. “Maybe we’re just seeing some old friends reconnecting in a mutual time of need and there’s nothing more to it than that.”

Nope. Unless everything we’re seeing and hearing is somehow totally inaccurate, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez are a thing again.

We’re as shocked as you are, although the truth is we could all perhaps benefit from a trip back in time to the halcyon days of the early-00s, when boy bands still roamed the Earth, Amazon only sold books and social media wasn’t really a thing yet.

(Of course, it also means that this gig – our gig – wouldn’t really exist yet, but we’re willing to make that sacrifice for the greater good. As our main man Spock once said, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. We’ll take that hit.)

Our adoration for celebrity romance knows no bounds, but we were VERY cautious about this one. You don’t want to scare them off, you know? But with Ben visiting J-Lo in Miami and getting extremely cozy in an extremely public way, well …

*breaks glass*

THIS IS NOT A DRILL! WE ARE GO! BENNIFER IS BACK, BABY! BENNIFER IS BACK!

Wednesday, 26 May 2021 10:05

Weird National Briefs (05/26/2021)

Written by Allen Adams

Bodies in bloom

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — Residents of a San Francisco Bay Area city flocked to an abandoned gas station to get a whiff of a corpse flower — so-called because of the stench it emits when it blooms — after its owner decided to share the rare plant with his neighbors.

Solomon Leyva, a nursery owner in Alameda who deals in exceptionally rare plants, had been posting on social media about his amorphophallus titanum. When he saw a lot of interest in the giant blooming flower, he decided to wheel it Monday to the abandoned building, where a line of people stretched down the block for most of the day, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

“I grabbed my wagon, went down to my greenhouse, put it in with the help of a friend of mine, dragged it down here to this abandoned building and people just started showing up,” Leyva said.

Leyva relaxed in a camping chair at the old Art Deco gas station and patiently answered the same questions again and again. He estimated that by 4 p.m., at least 1,200 residents had visited the flower.

“Everyone is commenting to me that the last time they’ve seen this was in San Francisco, and there was a barrier, and they had to wait for hours, and they weren’t allowed to get near it,” Leyva said. “I think everyone’s tripping out that they can walk up and wiggle it and smell it.”

Himanshu and Sayali Jain brought their 3-year-old son after following the flower on social media.

“I just wanted to thank him, because I thought we’d never get to see it,” Sayali Jain said.

TME – A corpse flower by any other name would smell just as dead.

Wednesday, 19 May 2021 10:51

Celebrity Slam - The fight Game

Written by Allen Adams

We were back and forth about what we were going to cover in this week’s Celebrity Slam. Longtime readers are of course aware of our love of celebrity romances and the couple-name portmanteau opportunities that come with them.

And we’ve certainly gotten a few of them recently.

There’s the potential return of Bennifer, of course – the reunion between former A-list lovers Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez – though that one still feels a little up in the air. There was the surprise wedding of actress Kat Dennings and party icon Andrew W.K. (Andennings W. Kat? We’re still workshopping…), a relationship that we neither knew about nor were surprised by. And of course, the abrupt announcement of comedian John Mullaney’s divorce, followed by an equally abrupt revelation that he’s dating Olivia Munn (definitely Munnllaney).

But we’re not going to talk about them.

We’ve been blessed with ANOTHER of our favorite things – Twitter beef. Specifically, Twitter beef between famous people in which one famous person attempts to bring their internet conflict into the real world. That’s what we’re talking about.

We’re talking about the fact that The Game, apparently bored, hopped onto Twitter to challenge not one, but both of the Paul brothers to a fight.

Wednesday, 19 May 2021 10:50

Weird National Briefs (05/19/2021)

Written by Allen Adams

Good luck, bad luck

NORWALK, Calif. (AP) — The winner of a $26 million California Lottery prize may have literally washed the chance of a fortune down the drain.

The winning SuperLotto Plus ticket for the Nov. 14 drawing was sold at an Arco AM/PM convenience store in the Los Angeles suburb of Norwalk. Thursday was the last day to redeem it.

Nobody did.

Store employee Esperanza Hernandez told the Whittier Daily News that a woman came in Wednesday and told workers that she had put the ticket in her pants and it was destroyed in the laundry.

The store’s manager told KTLA-TV that surveillance video showed the woman who bought the ticket, and she’s known to store workers.

A copy of the surveillance video was turned over to California Lottery officials, the manager said.

The claim will be investigated, lottery spokeswoman Cathy Johnston said.

Lottery officials say someone who believes he or she is a winner must complete a claim form. But if someone loses a ticket, they must provide evidence that they owned it, such as a photograph of the front and back of the ticket, the officials said.

The winning numbers were: 23, 36, 12, 31, 13, and the mega number of 10. The $26 million prize can be taken in annual installments or as a $19.7 million cash option.

If the prize isn’t claimed, the $19.7 million will go to California public schools.

The store that sold the ticket will receive a $130,000 bonus.

It’s uncommon for large jackpots to go unclaimed, officials said.

Four prizes of $20 million or more haven’t been claimed since 1997, including a $63 million prize from 2015, lottery spokesman Jorge De La Cruz told the Los Angeles Times.

TME – That is NOT how money laundering works.

Tuesday, 11 May 2021 13:35

Celebrity Slam - A Raya light

Written by Allen Adams

One of the reasons we’re able to have so much fun at the expense of the rich and famous here in this space is the fact that they live fundamentally different lives than the rest of us. That separation leaves them existing in a bubble that removes them from the everyday human experience. That isn’t in and of itself a bad thing – and it’s part of the package, whether they want it to be or not – but with relatively few exceptions, wealth and celebrity tend to make people a bit weird.

For instance, the muggles among us may have just recently been reintroduced to the existence of an app called Raya, which began life as a dating app back in 2015 before eventually adding other professional networking aspects. It’s an exclusive thing, where you can only join if you’re recommended by someone who’s already onboard and then can get through some sort of vetting process; apparently, the acceptance rate for applicants is something like eight percent.

But when you start venturing into the realm of exclusivity, well … it turns out that even the famous folks among us can suffer the consequences of being weird online.

Actors Ben Affleck and Matthew Perry both found themselves in the spotlight recently thanks to recordings of their (separate) interactions on the app being released into the world.

Tuesday, 11 May 2021 13:33

Weird National Briefs (05/12/2021)

Written by Allen Adams

Fashion smuggler

ATLANTA (AP) — A Georgia woman was caught trying to smuggle $40,000 worth of cocaine in multiple pairs of shoes through the Atlanta airport, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Customs officers stopped the 21-year-old on Sunday after she arrived on a flight from Jamaica, the agency said in a statement Monday. Her bags were inspected, and seven pairs of shoes were found to have a powdery white substance concealed in their bottoms.

The substance tested positive for cocaine, according to the agency. About 3 pounds (1.3 kilograms) of the drug were recovered.

“Smugglers go through great lengths to conceal drugs from our officers,” Paula Rivera, the agency’s Atlanta port director, said in the statement. “Narcotics interdiction remains a priority CBP enforcement mission, one that we take very seriously.”

The officers turned the unidentified woman over to Clayton County Police Department for state prosecution.

Customs and Border Protection says it seizes an average of nearly 3,700 pounds (1,700 kilograms) of drugs daily.

TME – We assume they were high heels.

Wednesday, 05 May 2021 10:15

Celebrity Slam - The Flesh Prince

Written by Allen Adams

One of the things that we pride ourselves on here at Celebrity Slam is our ongoing effort to make sure that we’re selecting our targets mindfully. Our goal is to make fun of people for saying and doing stupid things – we’re not here to tease people for the way that they look. We’re not here to mock someone for their weight or anything like that; there are so many ways for famous people to invite our scorn and derision through their behavior. We don’t need to take shots at appearances.

But when they do it themselves, well … we’d be remiss not to address it.

This brings us to Will Smith. Now, Will Smith might not be the same prominent figure that he was a few years ago, but he’s still one of the most famous people in the world. So when he took to Instagram and posted a photo of himself sporting a full-on dad bod, that’s a bold move.

The photo – which really is a delight – features the 52-year-old star wearing nothing but shorts and a windbreaker with no shirt. And he looks like … a regular dude. He posted the following caption to accompany the image:

“I’m gonna be real wit y’all – I’m in the worst shape of my life.”

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