Buzzfeed Poached and Murdered ZooBooks: An Investigative Report

zoobooks lion

Maybe it wasn’t Buzzfeed. Maybe it was just the Internet in general. Or maybe it was us, the consumers. 

But somewhere along the way ZooBooks were murdered by poachers. 

Like most greedy ventures this one started small. Household pets like cats and dogs were featured on every website ever created. Even CNN.com had a video category called “Just a Distraction,” consisting mostly of cat videos. Nearly every child has access to an iPad allowing them to see the final result of insane (yet extremely patient) pet owners forcing their confused pets to do something adorable while they spend embarrassingly long amounts of time trying to catch the desired act or image on their phones.

This sweeping sensation served no immediate threat to ZooBooks. The appeal of the colorful and thin magazines was not everyday animals that you could find at PetSmart. The appeal was seeing images of exotic animals that could only be found in foreign countries or remote locations or, yes, even zoos. Like the descriptions near each exhibit at the zoo, the words were rarely read in ZooBooks, people only stared at the pictures. 

zoo books m

Little did they know, something big was lurking around the corner….something that would bring them to the brink of extinction.

No child actually knew where ZooBooks came from, they just sort of appeared. 

In the late nineties, ZooBooks were so prosperous that children would have access to them without having to even seek them out.

“I’m pretty sure I never paid any money for a ZooBook,” says former child, Gerald. “But there was always a new one on that table in the living room where things sort of pile up. There was also usually one just barely sticking out from under the couch. Don’t even get me started on the dentist’s office waiting room.”

Unfortunately, ZooBooks can no longer be found in those places. 

The websites became greedy. They stopped focusing on household pets. They began to realize that people could be distracted by animals all over the world. They started targeting some of the key animals featured in ZooBooks. When the Internet learned of the distracting power of sea lions and pandas it was the beginning of the end for the rainbow colored publication. 

The death nail was Buzzfeed’s creation of the “Cute” button. With it came hundreds of animals doing adorable things. Buzzfeed didn’t come with accredited stamps of approval from accredited zoologists, but it was no matter. They made people say “awwhhh.”

18 Facts To Help You Appreciate Manatees.”  

Giraffe Kisses Dying Zoo Keeper Goodbye.”

How could ZooBooks possibly compete with this? Slowly, they began to die off, as their habitat had been ransacked by people taking breaks from quizzes to determine which Rugrats character they are.

I made it my mission to find a ZooBook and, hopefully, preserve hope that they have not all fallen extinct. Unfortunately, every magazine rack I checked was void of the randomly colored magazine. After days of research seconds of googling, I found that ZooBooks still has a website. What I saw upon clicking the link was comprable to witnessing a family of polar bears slowly die as they watch their arctic climate melt away.

zoo books p

The website looked like it had not been updated since the nineties. There were very few options to click on. Yet, I did find the hope that I was looking for:  Zoobies (for ages 0-3), Zootles (ages 3-6) and ZooBooks are still being sold at a subscription price of $29.95 a year. 

Perhaps the most daunting result of the vicious poaching that has been going on for years is this poorly constructed video made in attempt to keep ZooBooks on the market.

Pause the video at 0:26. The face on the baby says it all. She wants panda GIF’s. 

Environmentalists are still trying to save ZooBooksEfforts have been made to reinsert them into school settings, but many children already have iPhones and ignore the magazines altogether.

“There are still ways to save them,” claims magazine rights activists Janet Moore. “If we buy these magazines for children before we expose them to Buzzfeed, then they can learn that reading about interesting things is fun and you can actually learn instead of just constantly trying to find the next thing to distract yourself for 45 seconds.”

At press time the actual number of ZooBooks in existence is unknown, but they have been classified as endangered. 

Jonny Auping

Which Parks and Recreation Character Are You?

parks and rec

We all love those quizes on the Internet that help determine which character from TV sitcoms most closely represents us. They are a fun way to interact with our favorite shows. They’re just flat out addicting and irresistible. 

So I decided to create one myself for my current favorite comedy on TV: Parks and Recreation. Will you be Leslie? What about Tom Havorford? Are you a lovable nerd like Ben? Or maybe a wildcard like April or a goof like Andy…There are so many possibilities. 

The quizes that most websites use ask the participant a bunch of random, unrelated questions and using an algorithm, they take the combination of your answers to show you which character you are. 

Unfortunately, here at Stories For Sunday we don’t have access to the same technology as sites like Buzzfeed  so instead of allowing you to click on each answer we have a different system. I have assigned a numerical value to each answer for you to write down and you will have to do the slightest bit of math at the end. You simply add all your numbers together and I have developed a system that will determine which character you are depending on where your range of numbers falls.

Without further ado here are your eight questions and your character will be revealed at the end:

*Remember to write down the number next to each of your answers in order to find out your character. 

What is your favorite kind of music?

music

1. Country

2. Classical 

3. Hip Hop

4. Pop

5. Rock

6. Jazz

What’s your favorite sport to watch?

sports

1. Soccer

2. Football

3. Baseball

4. Basketball

5. Tennis

6. I don’t like sports

What country do you most want to travel to?

map

1. Spain

2. France

3. Mexico 

4. Australia 

5. Japan

6. You won’t catch me leaving the US of A.

What type of food do you like most:

food

1.) Hamburger

2.) Hot Dog

3.) Taco

4.) Pizza

5.) Sandwich

6.) Pasta

What’s your favorite kind of soda?

soda

1. Coca-Cola

2. 7-Up

3. Root Beer 

4. Mountain Dew

5. Dr. Pepper

6. Sprite

What’s your favorite meal of the day?

meals

1. Breakfast

2. Lunch 

3. Brunch

4. Dinner

5. I eat 5 small meals a day

6. Midnight snack

What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?

rainy day

1. Catch up on paper work 

2. Come up with a new business idea

3. Watch movies

4. Read a book

5. Do home exercises 

6. Rain doesn’t stop me from interacting with nature

What’s your favorite decade?

decades

1. Roaring Twenties

2. Free Love Sixties

3. Disco Seventies 

4. Reagan Eighties 

5. Grunge Nineties 

6. I live in the present 

—————————————————————————————————————-

Alright, have you kept track of all your answers?

It’s time to find out which Parks and Recreation character you are….

…we have determined that you are……………..

Jerry

 

JERRY GIRGICH!!!!

After running the numbers we came to the conclusion that none of the other characters on Parks and Recreation would take a quiz to determine which character they are in a TV sitcom. Furthermore, most of these questions are completely arbitrary in just about every sense that one would need to relate to this show and thus Jerry is the only character who would continue taking this quiz all the way to its conclusion.

Thanks for participating in our first ever quiz!

By the way, if you were wondering which New Girl character you are, it’s not Jess.

-Jonny Auping 

This Week in Internet Advice: Thought Catalog Still Misses the Nineties

nostalgia

“This Week in Internet Advice” is a response to the overwhelming number of arbitrary advice columns on the Internet. The Internet has long been the place that we go to with our questions and as a result, over the past few years the Internet has responded by giving us unsolicited advice that we didn’t realize we needed. In this feature, the author picks one of these articles and points out the unintentional humor it provides. 

 

The problem with Stories For Sunday is that it’s not a serious site worthy of your respect. The articles are just a bunch of random jokes with absolutely no intelligent thought behind them. None of them represent a satirical commentary on the generation we live in. I mean, the guys running this site can barely even write. 

Luckily, all you millennials have Thought Catalog to make up for all of our many faults. Thought Catalog is like the New Yorker of our generation, except instead of insightful commentaries that teach us, it’s full of relatable posts that make us feel more independent. Each piece is a perfectly well-crafted collection of sentences with insight so valuable that you’ll be sure to share it on your Facebook wall and get a minimum of 15 ‘likes.’

Oh you don’t believe me? Well, I’ll prove it by randomly selecting an article from the site and sharing the main points so you can see just how thought-provoking they actually are. 

Today, we’re going to take a look at “6 Things You Miss From the 90s” by Brianna Clark. 

Brianna introduces her piece as such:

“I was born in the 90s. I grew up in a time full of change. I also grew up in a time full of bowl cuts, mullets Harry Potter glasses,  overalls, and choker necklaces…But I feel like society in general has changed so much since I was a kid. Things are so different. A lot of things that I grew up with aren’t around (which obviously in some cases is a good thing) but there are definitely some things from my childhood I miss.”

Perfect. I totally agree. The political and social context has changed so much since the nineties and it’s undoubtably reflected in popular culture and consumer trends. I’m excited to see where this piece goes. In fact, I’ve got an idea. Let’s both say the thing we miss the most on the count of three. Maybe we’ll get the same thing. Ready? 1…2….3!!!!

1. “Green/Purple Ketchup”

….Princess Dian…..oh….uhh, yeah…green and purple ketchup….It’s just, I thought we were going to focus more on….no, that’s what I was going to say. 

“Does anyone remember this? I’m not really sure why Heinz thought that anyone would like this. I’m also not sure why I thought it was so cool. Its actually pretty disgusting. But needless to say, it was awesome and I miss it. But the only color ketchup I would eat is pink.”

So…you wouldn’t eat red?

2. “Computer Games”

“Like Oregon Trail. This game was my literal shit. It was a computer game and you basically had to cross the Oregon Trail without dying.”

Yeah, I know what Oregon Trail is. I don’t think you know what “literal” means. 

“Oh and don’t even get me started on The Sims. I would still play that game.”

What do you mean you would still play it? It still exists. Wikipedia says The Sims 3 came out in 2009 and has sold over 10 million copies. 

 “I also used to make them “woohoo” and I thought I was being so sneaky and rebellious because my characters in a PG computer game were making babies…what.”

What?

3. “YoYos”

“You could just call me the yo-yo master.”

I could, but right now it would have to get in line behind a number of other options. 

4. “Kool Aid in a Bottle”

Once again, this still exists. They didn’t stop making them. I’m getting the feeling that maybe you just miss being a child rather than actually missing the time period of the nineties. 

Ohhhh, I get it. You’re making a statement about the childlike state that exists in all of us and that’s why you’re writing like a preteen and your work is littered with grammatical and punctuational errors. Thought Catalog, you’ve done it again. Sometimes societal commentaries are just over my head. This is why your stuff is so much more high brow than Buzzfeed. They’d be talking about stupid TV shows or something…

5. “TV Shows”

“Honestly I would do anything for some more seasons of All That, The Amanda Show, Rocket Power, Full House or Keenan and Kel. I wish my kids could have those shows growing up. Nowadays Disney’s and Nickelodeon’s shows are all a little too grown-up, in my opinion. I babysit a lot (which is why I watch this kind of stuff still..) and sometimes I feel like I shouldn’t be allowing the kids to watch these things! It’s a little ridiculous.”

I’m pretty sure Rocko’s Modern Life, Ren and Stimpy and Ed, Edd N Eddy were all really unsuitable for kids. Brain definitely beat the shit out of Pinky almost every episode. 

6. “Hit Clips”

“These were literally the coolest things ever at the time. Even though you could only listen to like 10 seconds of a song. I had a Britney Spears one and an N*SYNC one that I never went anywhere without. It’s so funny to me that these were like revolutionary for that time. And now we have iPods with touch screens and shit.”

Totes. It’s almost like we’ve replaced small, chopped down version of songs with chopped down, improper versions of the English language. 

“It was such a fun time to grow up. My roommates and I were talking about some of our all-time favorite movies from our childhood, and it’s crazy to think that some of them came out like twelve years ago already. Princess Diaries, Legally Blonde and Monster’s Inc – yeah, I was in 1st grade. Miss Congeniality- I was in kindergarten. It’s crazy.”

It is crazy. It’s crazy that there are people out there not reading Thought Catalog. How would they know what Brianna and her roommates’ favorite movies were? You might not have thought you missed these six things, but you do. If Thought Catalog says you miss them, you miss them. 

Jonny Auping

What is a Billiken, Anyway?

This Year’s Most Overlooked Contender and Its Unique Mascot.

billiken nyc

“What is a Billiken, anyway?”

 I think it’s the addition of that final word: “anyway,” that really strikes a nerve with students and alumni of Saint Louis University. Call us paranoid, but that “anyway” usually comes with a condescending tone and, in the context of college basketball, it implies “you don’t actually belong here.”

 Why wouldn’t Saint Louis University belong with the elite basketball programs in the country? Is it because it doesn’t have a rich and successful basketball history? In 1948 they were arguably the best team in the country and won the NIT back when it was more prestigious than the NCAA Tournament. Is it because they don’t send players to the NBA? What about “Easy” Ed Macauley who won an NBA Championship in 1958 and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1960 or Larry Hughes who was the eighth overall pick in the NBA draft in 1998? Or is it because in “modern” history Saint Louis has failed to maintain a consistently winning basketball program? Perhaps that’s fair, but what if they’re in the process of changing that?

Or do they not belong for other reasons? Maybe it has something to do with the fact that recruiting pitches are much more likely to involve the letters B.A. than they are to include the letters NBA. Or maybe it’s the enforced academic standards and lack of special treatment to athletes. In four years at Saint Louis University, I took three classes with members of the basketball team. Just like me, our star player had to say “Puedo ir el bano?” to go to the bathroom in Spanish 110. Could it have to do with a moral standing that every player is held to, coinciding with the University’s Jesuit mission statement? In 2010 the roster was decimated when a sexual assault case was brought up against a number of core players. The charges were dropped in court for all the players, but months later, just before the season started, all the players involved were suspended one semester because the incident violated the school’s conduct code. Two of the players transferred rather than serving the suspension. Another, Willie Reed, declared for the NBA and was eventually signed by the Memphis Grizzlies. 

Maybe it would make sense if these things were why Saint Louis doesn’t belong with elite basketball programs. There’s a way of running big time college sports programs and Saint Louis University just doesn’t fit in. 

“So…what is a Billiken, anyway?”

…And why would the legendarily successful and respected coach Rick Majerus want to coach a Billiken? Well, there was actually a practical reason for that. Majerus’ mother was ill and being treated in Wisconsin when he was hired as head coach of Saint Louis in 2007. The job allowed him to be closer to his mother in what were likely the last years of her life. He had recently turned down the head-coaching job at USC. 

A paragraph could never sum up what you need to know about Majerus, but I can give you the bullet points. There were three things that just about everybody seemed to know about him: he loved basketball, he said what he wanted to say whenever he wanted to say it, and he ate whatever he wanted to eat….whenever he wanted to eat it. Majerus was candidly funny about his own weight issues, but some found his opinions on other subjects less humorous. In his first season at Saint Louis, he made comments regarding Hilary Clinton that suggested he supported women’s right to abortion. The archbishop of the city of Saint Louis stated publicly that he expected SLU, a catholic institution, to take proper disciplinary action.

On the basketball court, Majerus immediately implemented his ‘slow the game down’ offense with his inherited team. He coached a style of play that was meant to frustrate other teams and, more importantly, allowed his perhaps less talented team to maintain a close score until the end of the game. In other words, it gave his squad a fighting chance. In January of his first season (about five weeks after I had decided to attend SLU), Majerus slowed the game down a little bit too much against George Washington. The Billikens only scored 20 points the entire game as a team, setting an NCAA record for least points scored in a game. The Billikens finished 16-15 and 7-9 in the Atlantic 10 conference that first season.

Over the next five years, Majerus refused to stop saying whatever popped in his head (whether brass, hilarious or self-depreciating) and he refused to stop coaching his style of play. A funny thing happened along the way. It was almost like he had a plan all along. Almost like the guy who won over 500 games without coaching a traditional powerhouse program, and who had taken the University of Utah to the National Championship, just maybe knew what he was doing. His words eventually won over the St. Louis community and his style of play eventually won him a lot of basketball games. All the while, he spent his off-seasons barreling into living rooms in Chicago, Wisconsin, Texas, Australia and New Zealand to talk about food and convince mothers that Saint Louis was the place for their baby boys. 

“What is a Billiken, anyway?”

Never have I been asked that question more than during the opening round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament, my senior year at Saint Louis University. The Billikens were back in the ‘Big Dance’ for the first time since 2000. My buddy, Donnie, and I decided to forgo Spring Break shenanigans in the Gulf Shores to drive to Columbus, Ohio and support our team.

As basketball junkies, the atmosphere of the NCAA Tournament’s opening round was everything we dreamed of. Everyone (including us) sporting the colors of their team, walking around aimlessly, anxious for the day’s games. The morning we arrived we went to a diner for breakfast and while waiting to be seated, met two white-haired men in their sixties, natives of Columbus, with no specific rooting interest, just ready to watch some basketball. For thirty minutes we talked about everything from high school basketball to John Wooden’s UCLA teams. They even asked us what a Billiken is without the “anyway!” After being seated, Donnie and I joked that the two men were “basically us in 40 years.” Four eggs and six pancakes later we asked for a check and the waitress told us that it had “been taken care of by two men.” 

Camaraderie sparked by a love of basketball and tradition. “This must be what it feels like to be apart of a good basketball program,” we thought. It felt like we were somewhere we belonged.   

That feeling didn’t last long when we arrived outside the arena where eight NCAA basketball teams would play over the next two days. There weren’t nearly as many blue Saint Louis University shirts as there were NC State, Memphis or Michigan State polo’s and windbreakers. Preceded with a smirk and followed by a chuckle, people kept asking that question (with the “anyway”).

“A Billiken is what’s about to beat your team in the NCAA Tournament,” Donnie replied to one particularly obnoxious Spartan fan. 

Embarrassed, I immediately put my face in my palm. I didn’t leave him hanging, but it was still such a corny comeback.

The Billikens won their first NCAA Tournament game in 14 years that day beating Memphis 61-54 and sending a lot of overconfident Tiger fans back to Tennessee early. Saint Louis followed that up by pushing a number one seeded Michigan State to the brink of elimination before losing by just four points. Donnie and I left the arena with our heads held high. No one asked us that question on our way out.

That was the last basketball game that Rick Majerus ever coached. In the press conference he broke character and shed a few tears claiming he would miss the players in the future. It was like he knew.

He died eight months later of heart complications. He outlived his mother by one year.

“Yeah, but…what is a Billiken, anyway?”

Well, they’re Jim Crews’ team to worry about now. When Majerus was going through medical issues in the fall of 2012 Crews took over on an interim basis. When Majerus passed away on December 2nd, 2012, shaking the Saint Louis community, the “interim” label was essentially dropped. Convinced by Majerus to come out of retirement and be his lead assistant coach a year earlier, Crews was now leading the ship of a team with unfamiliarly high expectations. But there was no question who the team was truly playing for.

The players rallied for their late coach. They won nine straight games after his passing. They played themselves into a top 25 ranking and never looked back, winning their conference for the first time since 1971.

The Billikens went into the tournament as a fourth seed, their highest seeding ever. With a veteran roster, they were prepared to honor Majerus by focusing on his two key fundamentals: defense and rebounding. After handily beating New Mexico State in the first round, they had their first poor performance in months against Oregon and suffered a disappointing loss, unable to advance further than they had the previous season.

“What is a Billiken, anyway?”

They’re back in the top 25 this year, finishing the regular season ranked number 18 in the nation with a 26-6 record. 

They have what is considered by many prognosticators to be one of best defenses in the country. They strung together a 19-game winning streak from December to March, the longest in school history, which at one point earned them the number 10 ranking in the country.

In 2012, Majerus predicted he would make Saint Louis a top-10 team in three years.  It only took two. And it happened on what would have been his 66th birthday.

They start a lineup of five seniors. A senior class that was recruited by Majerus. A senior class that committed to Saint Louis at a time when most causal sports fans didn’t realize the school had a basketball team. When key players were suspended in 2010, it was this class (then freshman) who were thrown into the fire before they were ready to carry a team. Four years later they will graduate with more wins than any class in school history.

Dwayne Evans leads them at power forward, quietly getting double-doubles by using his 6’6 body to overpower smaller forwards and blow by slower forwards.

Jordair Jett, the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year, is the most recognizable player on the team with long dreads and a build that makes him look more like a running back than a basketball player. Despite being only 6’1, he loves to block shots into the third row and he does his name justice by quickly getting past defenders and finishing in a fashion that has students calling him “Air Jordair.”

Jett provides most of the team’s flash, but that’s not what the Billikens are about. They are all business. They are still about defense and rebounding and frustrating their opponent (and their opponents’ fans). 

Losing last season was painful for the SLU community because it was all in Majerus’ honor. The Billikens’ success last year was supposed to be their gift to his memory.

But perhaps the fact that the Billikens are right back in the spotlight is the real gift. At times this season SLU has been ranked higher than North Carolina, Michigan State, UCLA, Louisville, and Kentucky. In other words, the elitist of the elite. They have reached the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year, this season as a fifth seed, waiting to play the winner of Xavier and North Carolina State. 

Rick Majerus didn’t put together a good team. He built a program.

“What is a Billiken, anyway?”

billiken

Well, originally a Billiken was a good luck charm created in Kansas City, Missouri in 1908. Giving someone a Billiken was like wishing them good fortune. They became extremely popular, sort of like the Beanie Babies of their era. Eventually Japanese culture became enamored with the Billiken and they could be found all over the country. Saint Louis University still had a football team at the start of the 20th century and their head coach, John R. Bender, was said to resemble the little creature. Reporters started jokingly referring to the team as the “Billikens” and it stuck. Eventually the university officially adopted it. 

I guess that’s the most accurate answer… 

….You know what? Disregard that.                                                     

A Billiken is what’s about to beat your team in the NCAA Tournament.

Jonny Auping

The Buzzfeed Dictionary

I recently found out that a lot of people think I hate Buzzfeed. That’s not actually true. I do think their website looks like a McDonald’s drive-thru menu, but I don’t hate them. In fact, their long-form section actually offers some very good features on occasion, including this story on Mexico’s “Monkey Woman.

However, no one thinks about long form writing when they think about Buzzfeed. That’s because they hook their readers with much more scattered and trendy forms of content. If you’re someone like me who is more accustomed to actual pieces of writing with an introduction, a narrative, sentence structure and a conclusion then you might be a little thrown off by the way Buzzfeed operates. You might have no idea what’s going on.

So to prove to the good people at Buzzfeed that I don’t hate their website I decided to make a dictionary defining all the most common terms you might come across on the site. This can serve as a guide for someone who is new to the site.

You’re welcome.

Cute (adj.) – Cats. Dogs. Hamsters. Penguins. Jennifer Lawrence.

Example: “This Video of a Penguin Chasing Her Human Friend is the Absolute Cutest.”

Everyone (pro.) – Some people. Used to imply that certain demographics will feel a certain way about something.

Example: “22 Worries Everyone Has During Pilates

Fail (noun or verb…not really sure) – When someone makes a mistake. Sometimes it will be epic.

fail

Example: “The Truth Behind the Most Epic Twerk Fail Ever.”

GIF (n.) – A two second video on loop with a caption. It often features a celebrity or recognizable situation. The GIF accompanies the actual content of the article in order to make the content seem substantial.

Common synonym: Buzzfeed article

22 Struggles Of Binge-Watching A Show

Humanity (n.) – Something that your faith apparently needs to be restored in. It will be done with the help of “Ways” and “Things.”

Examples: “21 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith in Humanity.”

List (n.) – A foreign word that is never used on Buzzfeed. Those who say the website is simply a compilation of lists are committing an (epic) fail.

Memes (n.) – recurring pictures with captions that are relatable and clever. Used in place of legitimate writing  content.

Example:

Proof (n.) Examples for something that is not actually true. Not definitive.

Example: “Definitive Proof That Jennifer Lawrence is a Fainting Goat.”

Quiz (n.) – How one determines which character they are in a sitcom. Jess from New Girl will be advertised as a possibility, but will be an unlikely final result.

Example: “Which ‘Boy Meets World’ Character are You?

Reasons (n.) – Justification to do something that is likely irrational through the use of bullet points, lists, GIFs and memes. See also: Tips and Ways.

Example: “10 Scientific Reasons to Eat More Pizza.”

Signs (n.) – Examples of how two different entities are actually the same entity.

Example: “23 Signs Jane Lane From ‘Daria’ is Actually You’re Spirit Animal.”

Shocking (adj.) – Slightly surprising.

Example: “17 Shocking Food Facts That Will Make You Question Everything.”

Struggles (n.) – A list of burdens that only certain kinds of people will understand. The burdens will be extremely insignificant in comparison to most world problems.

Example: “29 Struggles Only People With Big Butts Will Understand.

Things (n.) – The only word that can describe all of the topics that are discussed in one Buzzfeed article and could never be related to each other without the help of GIFs.

Example: “99 Things That Suck Less Than Your Unpaid Internship.”

Tips (n.) – Instructions that should not be taken literally or even followed in any sense. See also: Ways and Reasons.

Example: “9 Foolproof Flirting Tips for the Socially Awkward.”

Totally (adv.) – An unnecessary word used in the title of an article meant to imply that you will relate with nearly every point that is made in the article. Unacceptable in most other common forms of writing.

Example: “Michelle Branch’s Music Still Totally Holds Up.

Ways (n.) – Overly simple advice that should never be put into effect upon reading. Also used to explain how two unrelated things are somehow related, typically with the help of GIFs.

Example: “29 Ways to Be the Worst Person at Starbucks.”

Jonny Auping

 

Man’s Timeline Fills With Cliffhanger Headlines. What He Does Next Will Shock You…

Dale Jeffries, a 36-year old man from Texas, logged on to Facebook for the fourth time at work on Tuesday. Each time his timeline was filled with articles with the same ridiculous headlines and cliffhangers. 

This Employee Quits Her Job in the Worst Way Possible. What Her Boss Does Next is Even Worse…”

This Man Got Mugged at a Train Station. What He Did Next Was Genius….”

“Man Tries to Hug Lion. What Happens Next Will Shock You…”

“This Woman Caught Her Boyfriend Cheating on Her. How She Responds is Legendary..”

Dale couldn’t take it. He remembers when people used to use social media to share interesting content that they created or came across, like news-breaking articles or thought provoking pieces or funny takes on current affairs. Now people were specifically creating content to throw on to social media with insane headlines just so they can get more clicks for their stupid video or 100-word article. 

Every dumb cliffhanger headline distracted from any actual content on social media with even the slightest bit of purpose. No one was reading anything that had any actual thought put into it (like maybe a satire or something). 

Dale felt like the only one who was noticing this. He prayed that he could find one article posted on his timeline that didn’t have a cliff hanger in it. He found one…

15 Life Lessons We’ve Learned From Barbie Dolls…”

It was hopeless.

What Dale did next will restore your faith in humanityamaze you, totally shock you.

Jonny Auping

Snap Chat Time Machine

“I thought SnapChat was free,” Russell said to his friend Chris.

Regular Snapchat is free. This is SnapChat Time Machine,” Chris replied. “It’s way cooler, but it cost $2.99.”

“Yeah, but I don’t get it. What’s the point?”

No one gets it until they start using it. They say it’s stupid. Then they use it constantly.”

Russell was skeptical of downloading apps that cost money, but he did like how the little creature on the logo reminded him of the Minions from Despicable Me and anything with the words “time machine” in the title was certainly intriguing. So he asked Chris to explain.

“Well, it basically allows you to go back in time and chat with yourself for up to 10 seconds. It lets you take a sign with you so you can write out a message and hold it awkwardly over your face or body to communicate with the past version of you. They just came out with a bunch of new fonts. They’re pretty cool.”

Russell felt like he was missing something.

“That’s cool and all, but if we have the technology to travel back in time why are we only staying there in 10-second intervals? And why do I have to write my message on a sign? Won’t that be annoying since it will kind of be in the way?… I heard phones came up with technology to let us text pictures back in time. What’s the difference between that and Snap Chat Time Macine?”

“Ugh. You just don’t get it.”

………..

So Russell downloaded the app and waited until he was by himself to try it out. He decided to go back in time to that morning. He had forgotten to wear a rain jacket to the store and ended up getting completely soaked. So he wrote out a sign that said “Remember rain jacket” and sent a Snap Chat to 10:00 AM right before he was about to leave. Unfortunately, he didn’t realize he had to hold the button on the screen of his phone in order to stay back in time for the full 10 seconds. He went back in time for 1 second then came right back to the present. Then he held it for an additional three seconds until he just ran out of time. He basically just looked like a broken hologram flashing on and off. When the Snap Chat was finished he was still soaked. It clearly didn’t work.

The next day Russell decided to go further back in time and fix a more serious problem. The other day he had met a girl at bar and by the end of the night things were getting pretty intimate. The girl told him that she was on birth control and he had enough to drink to assume that he didn’t need to use any other form of protection. Now the girl is pregnant. Russell barely knows her and he’s going to have a child with her.

The best strategy he could think of was to send a Snap Chat to himself the night that he met her and warn himself that she was not on birth control. So he sent himself back to 12:48 AM the night he met her. At that specific time the girl had said that she would go get them a cab while he went to the bathroom before meeting back up with her outside. Russell brought a sign with him that said “SHE’S NOT ON THE PILL.” If he could pull this off it could change his life drastically.

Ten seconds later he wasn’t sure if it worked or not. He checked his phone. He still had the text from the girl that said “OMG I’m pregs! I’m gonna look like Olivia Wilde!!”

“How did this not work?” Russell asked in frustration. Then he looked up and saw himself in the mirror next to his door. There was a bruise around the corner of his eye. It looked like the remains of what used to be a pretty bad black eye. “I don’t remember that,” he thought to himself.

Over the course of the next few days he slowly pieced together what happened: The bar that he was in that night was very crowded. He chose a bad font and color for his message and it sort of blended in with the background. There were people dancing all around it. It was hard to read. Apparently, “SHE’S NOT ON THE PILL” looks a lot like “SHE’S GOT ALL THE BILL” to a drunk version of Russell. He thought that future him went back in time to warn him that he didn’t have to pay the bill for their drinks because she already paid for them. The bartender disagreed with this claim, but who would you believe: some bartender or a future version of yourself that traveled back in time to communicate with you? Eventually the bouncer got involved and that’s how he ended up with a black eye. Mission failed.

Russell decided that he would stop trying to go back and Snap Chat with himself. However, there was a feature that allowed him to go back and chat with other people. This seemed like a good idea. He knew that his ex-girlfriend had been training for a marathon for months, but he totally forgot about it the day of the marathon. He felt bad that he didn’t even acknowledge it, having known how hard she worked. He decided to  Snap Chat her the morning of the race to wish her good luck while she was stretching. So he went back in time with a sign that said “GOOD LUCK IN THE MARATHON!!!”

The feature that allows you to Snap Chat Time Machine other people doesn’t restrict you from sending the message to just one person. You could theoretically send the same message with the same sign to 20 different people in 20 different time periods. Unfortunately, the recipient has no way of knowing if he or she was the only one to get the message or if they were just part of a group Snap Chat Time Machine.

Sometimes this leads to over thinking….

Russell’s ex-girlfriend initially took the message as a nice gesture. Then she got to thinking, “was I the only one he sent that to?” which led to, “does he know another girl running this marathon?..” which led to, “did he just Snap Chat some other girl he’s dating and then decide to include me out of pity?” which led to, “I told him when I started seeing someone, how could he keep this from me?” which led to, “Maybe I was the only one he sent it to. He’s clearly not over me. I need my space.”

This cycle of thoughts went on for some time and although she started the marathon, she made a detour to stop at Russell’s house and berate him with incoherent ramblings about boundaries and not needing his pity. After the 10 second Snap Chat ended, Russell noticed a bruise in his other eye.

———————–

“I don’t know, man. This Snap Chat Time Machine you told me to download seems like it just causes me more trouble than it’s worth.”

Chris took a break from trying to make a Vine out of a bulldog riding a skateboard and looked up at Russell quizzically. 

“Oh you’re still using that thing?..yeah, it was a pretty silly concept in the first place.”

Jonny Auping

Tuesdays with 2 Chainz: A Cameo on Downton Abbey?

2 chainzabbey

Listen up Downton Abbey, I’m talking to you. The Walking Dead is back. And it’s coming hard for your Sunday night viewers. I know you’re probably thinking “we are on PBS, our viewers are far too sophisticated to watch zombie shows.” WRONG. My studies have shown that upwards of a bajillion people watch The Walking Dead so the probability would suggest that there is at least some crossover. 

So I’m here to help you out with some advice. You have to shake things up. I have an idea. I’ll admit that I have never seen an episode of Downton Abbey. I do know, however, that it seems to lack diversity, which is never a good thing for a show trying to get viewers. I have also done studies that prove that you’re not attracting a ton of black viewers (considerably less than a bajillion). 

So here’s my plan: give 2 Chainz a cameo on Downton Abbey. I’m not trying to imply that all black people enjoy 2 Chainz (I would never make such a generalization), but he would help diversify the show a little bit and he’s a popular musician/one time star of 2 Broke Girls).

Why would 2 Chainz do this? Well, just as your lack of diversity has cost you certain demographics, 2 Chainz is also struggling in one demographic: middle-aged moms. Moms don’t like 2 Chainz/know who he is. On the other hand ALL moms love Downton Abbey (I’m totally comfortable making this generalization). It’s a win/win for both sides.

Oh, you don’t think a rapper would be interested in appearing in a show about an aristocratic British family in the early 1900s? Well, 2 Chainz isn’t like most rappers. He’s different, as evidenced by this song:

I can already tell you’re probably worried about his lack of acting experience. Well, before you start making assumptions let me introduce you to 2 Chainz’ cameo in Law and Order: SVU last year:

“Dis man will peel my face off, sew it to a soccer ball, and kick into my mother’s yard.” Has Robert Crawley ever delivered a line with that much passion? I doubt it.

Not convinced yet? How about this cameo on 2 Broke Girls:

Think about it, he was asleep for 70 percent of the clip, yet he still managed to have the best performance of anyone in the scene. 

First you hit em with the Law and Order: SVU. Then you come at em with the 2 Broke Girls. The next logical step is Downton Abbey

You’re probably wondering how 2 Chainz’s character should be involved in the plot. I can’t do your entire job for you. You’re creative people, I’m sure you can figure something out. I don’t even watch the show. I heard Mary Crawley is looking for a new suitor. Might I suggest Sir Duel Chainz throw his hat in the ring? I’m hearing clamoring that Nanny West could use a cool sidekick. Nanny Chainz would be a nice plot twist, dont you think?

That part is up to you, but as the person who came up with this idea I do have one request: I think his character should have to say the words “biscuits and crumpets” at least once. I don’t know if that is a regularly used phrase in your show, but I just want to hear how he says it. I bet he thinks of a really cool way to say it. I also think it would be a funny idea to have him always refer to it as “Downtown” Abbey even after being corrected numerous times. I didn’t realize the extra ‘w’ wasn’t there until sometime during season two. 

In conclusion, you’re welcome and, as they say in England, cheers.

-Jonny Auping

PawBook: Facebook’s Revolutionary Site for Pets

After revolutionizing the way people keep in touch with each other and enjoying years of social media dominance, Facebook has begun to lose some of its allure. The social networking site that inspired the creatively titled movie The Social Network starring Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Timberlake has faced legitimate compeition from rivaling sites like Instagram and Twitter in recent years, leaving many social media users to feel less dependent of Facebook as they might have been in years past.

Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg and the rest of the company realized that in order to remain relevant they would have to come up with something innovative that the world had not yet seen.

The new site that they plan to launch before the end of 2014 should do just that. It’s called PawBook and it’s the world’s first social networking site for dogs and cats. The research and development team at Facebook discovered that, much like the gloves that are sold with holes cut in the fingertips, the lack of fur in specific parts of cats and dogs’ paws allow them to use touch screens. Thus, they would be able to access PawBook via an iPad. 

“We did a lot of research and realized that a lot of people still waste an incredible amount of time on Facebook,” said a representative for the company. “In fact, even though less people are posting on Facebook some people still spend hours refreshing the homepage and looking through the same photos and statuses. So we thought ‘who else likes to waste time staring at the same things over and over?’ Cats and dogs.”

Facebook was kind enough to speak with me and let me in on a few of the features that PawBook will be implementing. Here’s a preview of just a few:

The ‘Lick’ Button:

A few years ago Facebook had a resurgence of popularity by adding an extremely simple feature. They called it the “Like” button. It allowed users to show appreciation for other users by clicking ‘like’ on their recent activity and a small thumbs up would appear as a show of support. 

PawBook will implement a similar feature called the “Lick” button. If a pet posts something on PawBook another pet can ‘lick’ the post and PawBook will keep count of how many licks it gets.

Here’s an example:

(10:17 AM) Buster: “Master tried to hide the treats, but guess who found them? Luckily I’m better at hiding vomit than he is at hiding treats LOL.”

**Daisy and Comet licked this**

While PawBook is very confident in the ‘Lick’ feature, I caught up with a few pets that are a bit more skeptical. 

“I don’t understand the point,” claimed local dog, Scout. “I mean, wouldn’t my self esteem have to be pretty low for me to need other pets to press a button just so I could feel good about myself?”

It was suggested to Scout that many humans get strong feelings of self-worth based on how many ‘likes’ they can garner, but he was no longer available for comment as he noticed a squirrel. 

Surveys have shown that cats are also largely uninterested in the ‘lick’ button, but wouldn’t mind a ‘dis-lick’ button that expressed a lack of support for particular posts. 

“Pee” on a Friend:

dog peeing 

Facebook has long had a strange feature called “poking.” It allows users to ‘poke’ a friend and the only available response is to either ‘poke’ back or just do nothing. It serves as a way to initiate interaction with another user without using words.

PawBook will allow pet users to ‘pee’ on each other as a way of getting each other’s attention. A dog or cat user will simply get a notification that says “Misty peed on you! Would you like to pee back?”

“Pets do that kind of thing to each other, right?” asked a representative for PawBook. “I’m going to be honest, we didn’t really do any scientific research for this, but I’m pretty sure that’s a thing. Like don’t they mark their territory with pee? Whatever, people don’t really poke each other in real life and we still keep that button around.”

The Future of PawBook:

dog and cat

“PawBook is the next step in true social media innovation,” claimed Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg. “We are confident that it will not only allow pets to keep in touch with each other at a level like never before, but it will also help create cross species friendships between cats and dogs that could really change the world. PawBook is the future.”

Still, some remain skeptical of the site. Many animal researchers are adamant that dogs and cats would rather play outside or simply enjoy the real world than waste time seeking attention and unfairly comparing their lives to those of their peers. 

The pets that I interviewed would not commit to using the website themselves.

“You realize I’m a dog, right?” said Border Collie, Spike. “Is this a joke? Am I getting Punk’d right now? I can’t read, how would I even use this? And who would stare at the same thing for so long? There are like a million things to do in every room.”

Cats too remained uninterested.

“There are certain aspects that I like,” claimed local cat, Nugget. “I certainly don’t hate how easily it allows me to judge others. But it just seems like a website for pets to try to make their lives look better to other pets. Why would I need to do that? I’m a cat. I don’t need anyone else’s approval.”

At press time, Nugget had fallen asleep in my lap. 

PawBook plans to begin its big marketing campaign this week. They have already purchased a lucrative commercial spot that will run in the second quarter of the Puppy Bowl.*

Jonny Auping

*There is an 88 percent** chance that everything written in this article is fabricated.

**There is a 100 percent chance that everything written in this article is fabricated***

***Fabricated means false. This story is false. It’s not true. Pets can’t talk.****

****Or can they?

This Week in Internet Advice: Without a Leather Jacket You’re Not a Man

leather jackets price

“This Week in Internet Advice” is a response to the overwhelming number of arbitrary advice columns on the Internet. The Internet has long been the place that we go to with our questions and as a result, over the past few years the Internet has responded by giving us unsolicited advice that we didn’t realize we needed. In this feature, the author picks one of these articles and points out the unintentional humor it provides. 

The last edition of “TWIIA” (yeah, it’s got an abbreviation now, that’s how you know we’re blowing up) featured a breakdown of a Huffington Post article urging readers to move to Hawaii. Let’s just say the article didn’t exactly cater to the 99 percent.

This week I found an article on the Huffington Post titled “The One Item Every Man Should Have in His Closet: A Leather Jacket.” Once again, I think the writers at Huffington Post are forgetting one seemingly important detail: we’re not all flush with disposable cash. 

But I am a man. Or at least I thought I was. So I decided to to give the article a look and determine if I really need to buy a leather jacket. Here’s a breakdown of their reasoning:

1.) Leather jackets have been the uniform of cool guys since the era of Brando, Dean and Zuko…

This is true, but fedoras and varsity jackets were also pretty neat back in the era of Brando, Dean and Zuko. Racial segration, atomic scares and Soviet paranoia were the bees’ knees back then too. So even if Sandy really liked Zuko’s jacket I might take a different approach. 

2. … and for guys today, like Beckham, Pattinson and Pitt.

pitt pattinson beckham

When you put on your leather jacket people are going to be all like, “is that Brad Pitt?” and their friends will be like, “No, I’m pretty sure that’s David Beckham.”

It’s a pretty common mistake to think that Pattinson, Pitt and Beckham are actually really good looking. The reality is that they just have really great leather jackets. 

3. You can wear a leather jacket with just about anything, from jeans and plaid shirts to dress pants and a tie.

leather jackets

So basically you can wear them vaguely ironically, ironically or really ironically. 

Also, you know how many people can pull off the the three styles pictured above? Three people. The three people in the pictures above. And they can only pull it off the way the way Zach Galikinakis can pull off the fat, bearded weirdo look; it works for him now, but if he weren’t famous and were eating lunch in a break room I’d probably wait until he was done to eat my lunch. 

What to know before you buy a leather jacket:

1. Decide what kind of style you want. A jacket with oversized lapels (far left)? A motocross jacket with a petite collar (middle)? Or a bomber with a fitted waistband and sleeves (far right)?

leather jackets

It’s kind of obvious what they’re trying to say with this point/picture. They may be showing different styles, but they just needed this picture to be like “see, black people can wear them too.”

On a separate note, the listed prices for these three jackets are $895, $1,197, and $1,280 respectively. If I’m going to spend that much money for the jacket that Tyrese wears in the Fast and the Furious movies then it better be the actual jacket Tyrese wears in the Fast and the Furious movies. 

2. Decide how much you want to spend. A higher price often indicates softer leather, higher quality hardware and a better fit. But there are great jackets at a variety of prices.

Yep, there’s a whole variety of prices. Some cost about as much as a few months rent while others just cost about as much as few months electricity, water and groceries. 

3. If you’re hesitant about making the splurge, give it a test-run: Faux leather jackets are more abundant (and look better) than ever.

One of the listed prices for these “faux leather jackets” is $228. So they are suggesting you spend over $200 to test-run a jacket so that you can spend over $1,000 to buy a real leather jacket. That car payment might have to wait, but when you’re riding the bus in your leather jacket you can look at the driver, give a James Dean-esque head nod and say “the Huffington Post says I’m a man now.”

4. And whatever you do, do NOT get a leather blazer.leather blazers

Apparently fat people wear those. 

I’m pretty sure if you put Beckham, Pitt and Pattinson in the leather blazers and these three guys in the leather jackets it would really screw up this article. 

Look, I’m all for lazy, economically insensitive, gender role enforcing fashion advice, but this article made a glaring omission: They didn’t say anything about Fonzie.

They easily could have written an article convincing guys to buy leather jackets that looked like this:

FONZIE 

I know, you can make the same argument for Fonzie that I made for Brando, Dean and Zuko, but when the Fonz’ flashes the double thumbs up you’re going to go with the flow. It’s just inevitable. 

Jonny Auping

To read about why the Internet says you should move to Hawaii, click here.

To read about why the Internet hates young married couples, click here.

To read about how the Internet helped you with your Christmas shopping, click here.