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Showing posts from May, 2015

TRIGGER WARNING: This Column Has Ideas In It

Kurt Vonnegut once said, "I hate it that Americans are taught to fear some books and some ideas as though they were diseases."

More and more people are becoming afraid of certain ideas, and want to put warning labels on them before anyone gets hurt.

The labels are called "trigger warnings," the belief that certain books, TV shows, or movies can trigger serious post-traumatic stress disorder in some people.

In others, these ideas can trigger feelings of sadness, crankiness, mild cognitive dissonance, or a general malaise. And since people don't like to feel slightly uncomfortable, they're getting apoplectic about trigger warnings as well.

Recently, some Columbia University students wanted to put a muzzle on their classrooms. In a recent op-ed piece in their college newspaper, four members of the Multicultural Affairs Advisory Board called on their Classics department to slap a "Trigger Warning" label on the Ancient Roman poem "Metamorphoses&qu…

Sponsor This Column

I've spent a lot of time at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway over the last couple weeks. In fact, as I write this, it's three days before the 99th running of the Indy 500.

Excuse me, the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, part of the Verizon IndyCar Series.

Not that anyone actually says that, but that's the official hoity-toity designation: The Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. And it's presented by the Verizon IndyCar Series. Not "IndyCar," the "Verizon IndyCar Series."

It's called that because Verizon is a major sponsor of IndyCar, the league that oversees the Indianapolis 500, the Honda Indy Toronto, the ABC Supply Wisconsin 250, the Angie's List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, and the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Most IndyCar races carry a sponsor name, although the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race has escaped that fate so far.

Speaking of sponsors and events, there's the "Indy 500 Snake Pit presented by Miller Lite" on Sunday morning, while on…

Fear and Loathing in Louisville, KY

Erik is out of the office this week, so we're reprinting a column from 2005, with a few updates.

It was a sad day for me in 2005 when I learned that Hunter S. Thompson, famed psychotic and drug-addled journalist, took his own life at his Colorado ranch. I'd been a fan of the good doctor for years, and have often imitated his style of gonzo journalism, the art form he perfected over nearly 40 years.

Gonzo journalism is a style of writing that blurs the line between writer as a silent observer and story subject, between fact and fiction, between quietly chronicling events and being enough of a pain in the ass that you have to tell people about it, if only for legal protection.

Thompson's reputation as a writer was outweighed only by his reputation as a hard-core boozer and drug abuser. Although some say his creative genius shone through in spite of, or perhaps because of, the frightening amount of substances he crammed in his body.

I like to think that Thompson and I had a …

No, Your Beard Doesn't Have Poop In It

In this week's Internet-induced hysteria, bearded men everywhere were told "your beard has poop in it" or that it's as dirty as a toilet.

Thanks to a "study" conducted by "news station" KOAT of Albuquerque, New Mexico, the "average" male beard was found to have enteric bacteria in it, which are part of the microbes found in a human's gastrointestinal system (i.e. your gut).

In other words, said the "news" station, enteric bacteria is found in poop. Enteric bacteria is found in beards. Therefore, there is poop in men's beards.

Except there's not.

A recent article by microbiologist David Coil in Slate magazine (official motto: "We're the Internet's smart news") debunked the entire story as the same kind of stuff found in bulls' beards.


First of all, there are germs on everything.

Ev. Ree. Thang.

Your toilet. Your sink. Your computer keyboard. Your mobile phone. The TV remote in the hotel. Your TV…

Why People Hate Humblebraggers

"I am so tired of constantly being asked for my autograph. Can't I just have some privacy?"

That's what we call a humblebrag. A boastful statement uttered by a complete jerkface in a feeble attempt at false modesty.

We usually see humblebrags on Facebook and Twitter, where people love to share their good news (or too-good-to-be-true news, which makes us secretly hate them), but they want to make it seem as if the good news is a burden.

"I hate to think what the potholes around town are doing to my brand new Jaguar."

"My new job has me flying to Paris. Again. That's the third time in three months. #jetlagged."

"The last time I ate this much fresh lobster, I was full the entire next day."

That's too bad. What a difficult burden you must carry. Let's take up a collection and see if we can make your life less terrible.

I know one guy who hates humblebragging so much, he tweets about particularly heinous humblebrags. He once even c…