WASHINGTON—Brainstorming the wondrous features and amenities as they came to him in a flash of inspiration, President Donald Trump on Wednesday accidentally recorded over the tape containing his meetings with fired FBI Director James Comey with an idea for a candy hotel. “There could be a revolving door made out of peppermint swirl, and then you walk in, and there’s a giant lobby with chocolate fountains, peanut brittle columns, and beautiful rock candy chandeliers,” said Trump into a handheld cassette recorder, replacing over 90 minutes of crucially important conversations that could be used as key evidence in determining whether obstruction of justice occurred with musings about a gumdrop garden and olympic-sized pudding pool. “The ballroom could have a hard caramel floor with ornate wall designs carved into stucco made from nougat, and then red taffy curtains and a Jolly Rancher piano—oh, and all the beds would be made out of marshmallow, and the sheets could be cotton candy.” After realizing his mistake, Trump reportedly became paranoid that if the FBI got access to the tapes, they could steal his idea.
WASHINGTON—Needing a pick-me-up to shake his glum mood, Attorney General Jeff Sessions reportedly scrolled through some statistics about minority incarceration rates Thursday to cheer himself up. “African-Americans: 13 percent of overall population, 40 percent of population in jails or state or federal prisons,” said Sessions, the tension slowly draining from his neck and shoulders as he read that about 75 percent of drug offenders in federal prison were either Hispanic or black. “African-Americans are approximately five times more likely to be incarcerated than whites. Hispanics are twice as likely to be incarcerated as whites—only twice? We can do better than that, but I’m not going to get all stressed out again.” At press time, Sessions was reportedly feeling so refreshed, he decided to save the statistics on police shootings of minorities for another time.
SCHENECTADY, NY—Repeatedly seeking to ease his friends’ growing skepticism and disinterest, local man Joel Mayhew peppered his explanation of the rules of the board game Pandemic with reassurances that it will be fun, sources confirmed Friday. “I know you’ll really like it once we actually get going,” said Mayhew, flipping through the game’s instructions to clarify the rules while pausing frequently to promise that the game was much less complicated than it seemed. “Okay, so, basically, once you’ve completed the movement part of your turn, one option is to give or take a city card from another player. You’ll get the hang of it, I swear. Although—and don’t worry if you forget this part, because I can just remind you—you can only share a city card with a player who’s already in the same city as you. Seriously, you’re going to be addicted after we’ve played through the whole thing a few times.” At press time, two of Mayhew’s friends had abandoned the game, and he was hastily reassuring those who remained at the table that it was actually more fun with fewer players.
LAKE ZURICH, IL—In an effort to provide customers with a more practical product that better suits their typical usage, office supplies manufacturer Mead released a new realistic day planner this week that only includes entries for the first couple weeks after its purchase. “We wanted to make sure our products aligned with our consumers’ actual needs, so the new line of planners we launched for this holiday season only contains dates through the first half of January, and after that it’s blank,” said Mead brand manager Philip Walden, who added that, as a precautionary measure, the day planner features 14 date entries despite numerous consumer surveys showing that most people only used those on their planners’ first page. “We also included entries for March 11 through 13, as well as a couple random days in April and June, for when our customers suddenly feel guilty at various points in the year and try to take another stab at organizing their lives. The rest of the pages can be used for doodling, writing down grocery lists, or just as scrap paper.” Mead officials confirmed the realistic day planner had also been specially designed to fit seamlessly into any existing pile of clutter.
PURVIS, MS—Braking hard at the county line and watching as the fugitives they had pursued sped away in a cloud of dust, the nation’s outfoxed sheriffs reportedly leapt up out of their vehicles, threw their hats in the dirt, and shook their heads in disgust Friday. “Dagnabbit! They got away again,” said the lawmen, spitting out the sides of their mouths and stomping on their wide-brimmed Stetsons as the car filled with “the worst miscreants ever seen in these parts” faded into the distance. “Get back here, you no-good, dirty varmints! Tell me, is every deputy in this department a goldarned ignoramus? ’Cause I told you sorry sons-a-bitches to keep an eye on ’em! Well, don’t just stand there, Rudy—get on the radio and see if you can raise the highway patrol. Them outlaws will be halfway to Alabam’ ’fore we know it.” At press time, sources confirmed the nation’s hornswoggled sheriffs were furiously slapping their steering wheels upon realizing their cars wouldn’t start.
Has your son brought his horrible pals to the house again? Here are a few quiet ways to be productive upstairs while you wait for them to leave.
1. Folding laundry: Folding your family’s clean clothes is an excellent chore to do far away from the bad-news delinquents your son has over. Those boys have a mean streak in them; give them half a chance and they’ll rip you to shreds. No need to risk it. By doing laundry upstairs, you’ll be out of sight and virtually inaudible, so they can’t sneak one of your bras from the hamper and strap it on your neighbor’s dog again. While you’re at it, you can even rearrange your entire wardrobe a few times so you don’t have to leave the closet at all.
2. Getting a head start on your taxes: Here’s another neat trick: The moment you hear your son and his posse coming through the garage, why not head upstairs, withdraw to the guest bedroom, and quietly organize financial documents? Go the extra mile and place a towel under the door to muffle any noise that shuffling papers might make. You really don’t want to risk them finding out you’re upstairs, because they will immediately pressure your son into making you order a pizza for them. That’s basically their calling card.
Yes, doing the taxes is easier on the dining room table where you can spread out all the documents, but your son will tell you off if you ask them to hang out in the basement instead. That’s his idea of acting “cool” in front of his friends, and make no mistake: They will all snicker like a chorus of little monsters and further compound their influence on his awful behavior. Just stay upstairs until they’re gone. Foolproof.
3. Changing the bedsheets: Okay, so you’ve just overheard them making fun of your “nasty cottage cheese thighs.” Your son did not defend you. He never has and never will, because he is a follower. One great thing you can do in this situation is to stay stowed away on the second floor, gently put fresh linens on your family’s beds, and bury your face in the old ones to suppress the sound of you catching your breath from crying.
Consider storing some water bottles and snacks in the guest room ahead of time. It couldn’t hurt to be prepared to stay there all night in case your son has them sleep over (he will not ask for your permission to do this).
4. Ordering your son and his friends a pizza: Accept that this is inevitable. Just remember to whisper your order and payment information over the phone very, very quietly.
5. Dusting: Not vacuuming. Never vacuuming. Never anything that loud. They already call you “the vacuum fucker” behind your back, so there’s no point in giving them any more ammo to bully you with. Beyond being a perfectly silent chore, dusting can be a nice and meditative activity. Relaxing, even.
Try not to think about the toxic things they could be doing downstairs. Renting pornography on-demand. The choking game. Smoking pot—yeah, don’t put it past your son to let his low-life friends do drugs at your house. Wait, do these kids know your house as the “drug house”? Do other parents in town gossip about what they think you let go on in your home? Jesus.
6. Online shopping for your son’s Christmas presents: This is the ideal chore. You don’t even need the lights on to do it. The computer screen is its own light source, so feel free to shut the blinds and hide yourself from your son’s friends in near-total darkness. You’ll want to do this in the closet, too, because he very well might come looking for you upstairs specifically to ask about it.
Sure, he probably doesn’t deserve presents this year given how often he and his friends terrorize your home life, but think of what Christmas can be. A chance to turn things around. A chance to get him on your side. Maybe he’ll start standing up for you if he gets a PS4 even after his friends called you a “narc bitch” because you told their parents when they stole vodka from your liquor cabinet and threw up all over your basement. Don’t get your hopes up, though. For now, just mute your computer and browse Amazon as quietly as you can.
Some people would tell you we’re in a golden age of video gaming. Between incredible advances in graphics, a booming indie scene, and virtual reality just over the horizon, I am almost inclined to believe them. But while video games might be improving, nobody seems to be paying attention to what lessons the most impressionable gamers are learning from them. Like it or not, modern video games are giving kids totally unrealistic standards for how many swords they can carry at one time.
I make it my business as a mother to pay attention to the media my kids consume, and I don’t like what I’ve been seeing. I’ve watched them play video games where they can get 10, 15, even 20 swords, and carry them around without the slightest inconvenience. As an adult, I know that’s unrealistic, but children who haven’t even carried one sword yet can’t help but unconsciously internalize it as an impossible standard, one that’s setting them up for disappointment and frustration when carrying swords later in life. What kind of parent would I be if I just let that go unaddressed?
Of course, I’ve sat down with my children and explained that, realistically, a person can only hope to carry three swords at once, at most five, if they’re carrying one in each hand, too. The fact is, though, that video games are far more visceral and engrossing than any lecture can hope to be. They’ve experienced picking up longsword after broadsword after shortsword in full HD, complete with exciting sound effects and controller rumbles, and that’s going to leave way more of an impression than my unglamorous words of caution. Up against the thrill of a big-budget video game, a parent just can’t realistically hope to compete.
But out in the real world, I’m worried that they’ll be in for a rude awakening. I shudder to think of my kids grown up and staggering around with half a dozen swords strapped to their back and several on each hip, or worse, armfuls of unsheathed blades. How will they open doors? How can they possibly go up or down stairs? How many childhood gamers need to throw out their backs before we finally tackle this issue head-on?
When a generation that grew up thinking it can strap on nearly unlimited katanas, claymores, falchions, and gladiuses finally comes face to face with reality, it’s going to be ugly.
I’d love to be able to write these games off as harmless wish fulfillment, but what’s “harmless” about literally rewiring children’s brains to see effortlessly toting five swords, two axes, a dozen potions, and a hundred hobgoblin skulls as normal? Nothing.
I don’t believe the developers behind games like Skyrim or the new Legend Of Zelda are bad people, but I do believe they’re shirking their responsibility to our children. By creating thrilling, consequence-free sword-hauling simulators, they’re inadvertently teaching kids lessons about backpacks and weight limits that are going to be a lot harder to unlearn. In some cases, gamers are even being taught they can increase how many swords they can carry simply by trading in magic seeds or power jewels, as if their expectations weren’t unrealistic enough already.
When a generation that grew up thinking it can strap on nearly unlimited katanas, claymores, falchions, and gladiuses finally comes face to face with reality, it’s going to be ugly. People are going to get hurt, probably by tripping. When that day comes, if I were a designer who gave players dozens of inventory slots, I’d take a long, hard look in the mirror and ask myself what I could have done differently. And if I were one today, I’d ask myself what I could do right now to prevent some poor gamer from accidentally burying herself under a hillock of blades.
It’s not too late to be part of the solution.
Video games have so much to offer, from stimulating kids’ imaginations to telling immersive stories to encouraging social bonding. But as long as their creators keep slipping in irresponsible messaging about the capacity of a canvas rucksack, they’ll never reach their full potential. It’s long past time we changed that.
McSweeney's Internet Tendency
- Opens a window.
- Opens a window and then really oversells how nice it is.
- Opens a smaller, less obvious door.
- Says “Did you want that open?”
- Turns all the windows into window-sized doors.
- Reopens the door and just closes the screen.
- Moves the door to the south wall and mentions a Feng Shui class he’s taking.
- Remarks how a door’s peephole is kind of like a tiny window.
- Opens up about his dad, even though it’s clearly not the right time.
- Says, “Whoops! I meant to leave before I closed that.” Pretends like it was a joke, then awkwardly hangs around for five minutes before leaving.
Celebrity Weight Loss: Before, After, And Before Again
Stars really are just like us in that they also struggle to maintain a healthy weight. That’s why nothing is more inspiring than a celebrity who was once overweight suddenly looking less overweight at a different point in time. Let’s take a look at these celebrities before and after they slimmed down, and then again from before or a different time, too.
When he was the star of The Drew Carey Show, Drew Carey’s signature beer belly was a great source of comedy. But soon after taking the reins at The Price Is Right, Carey found a diet that worked for him and lost a whopping 100 pounds, making himself virtually unrecognizable. And then somewhere around 2004, before the aforementioned weight loss, Carey was still rather overweight during his tenure at Whose Line Is It Anyway. Truly inspiring!
Jennifer Hudson was never really overweight, but she was certainly a bit curvier when she hit the stage in the third season of American Idol. But seeing her nowadays you’d never know, because in 2010 she went from a size 16 to a size 6! Looking at these drastically different photos of the Dreamgirls star is enough to make you say, “Wow! Jennifer Hudson certainly did change a lot or remained the same, depending on when these photos are from.” We’d have to agree!
Just look at this old photo of Today host Al Roker and compare it to a current photo taken after his successful gastric bypass surgery. Boy, are we glad Al was able to find the help he needed to get down to a healthy weight. Now take a look at that same photo from before—again! Al Roker certainly looks different now in that older photo, compared to how he looked before in the newer one after the first photo. You can’t argue with results!
As a spokesperson for Jenny Craig, Kirstie Allie found a second career in flaunting her astounding weight loss. But even with the help of a strict diet and exercise plan, the Cheers star struggled to keep the weight off. Of course, it’d be difficult to tell that from these particular photos, seeing as the “after” photo is first, an older photo is second, and then there’s an even older photo from before she put on the weight. Regardless, when it comes to celebrity weight loss, photos of Kirstie Allie are included in this list.
Here are two of the exact same photo of Rosie O’Donnell, plus one newer photo from after she lost a significant amount of weight. See the difference? Doesn’t seem so crazy now, does it?
These are three of the same older photo of Kevin Smith. He’s lost quite a bit of weight since then by cutting sugar out of his diet, but you wouldn’t know that by looking at these photos—which, again, are exactly the same. If seeing the Clerks director like this doesn’t inspire you to have your body be a different body at a later time, then we don’t know what will. And you can too!