The Delta Variant is spreading, Congress is investigating a coup attempt, and the US west coast is on fire. But screw it, it’s summer in the US! So let’s talk about gymnasts’ mental health, baby ducks, and what happens if you eat ten pounds of bananas.
This week in sports: Simone Biles bails on the Olympics
Twenty-four-year-old super-gymnast Simone Biles shook the world earlier this week when she bowed out of the Olympics’ individual and all-around competition. Biles was considered a shoo-in for the gold medal in just about every event, but it was all just a little too much.
“It’s been a long year, and I think we are too stressed out. We should be out here having fun,” Biles said. “I came in and felt like I was still doing it for other people. That just hurts my heart that doing what I love has been kind of taken away from me to please other people,” she added.
Predictably, the world’s terrible people had terrible reactions, including conservative activist and mouth-breather Charlie Kirk who called Biles “a shame to the country,” and said, “We are raising a generation of weak people like Simone Biles,” to his audience of washouts (all of whom would totally have the courage to compete if they were a world class gymnast instead of the assistant manager at a batting cage).
Sorry, Charlie, but it’s actually the opposite. We are raising a generation strong enough to prioritise mental health over a stupid contest and wise enough to know when to call it quits. The days of calling someone like Kerri Strug a hero for competing even though her injuries could have permanently incapacitated her are mercifully over. Besides, Biles’ departure allowed her 18-year-old teammate Sunisa Lee to take home the gold in the all-around, so even with the second string, the USA was still number one, baby.
This week in labour relations: Kids do not want to work at terrible jobs anymore
Much like Simone Biles refusing to compete in the Olympics, young people all over are refusing low-paying summer jobs at retail chains and fast-food restaurants. This is an affront to all our pasts; without a soul-sucking summer spent locked into a Dairy Queen hotbox to prepare them, kids might expect basic decency in adult employment, too! The labour shortage in the hospitality industry is so severe, some stores and restaurants are cutting their hours, and some are actually considering raising the wages of employees.
Opinions are mixed as to why our nation’s Tylers and Olivias are making like Bartleby the Scrivener. Some blame the extension of unemployment benefits brought on by the COVID relief package, while other contend that those jobs suck and owners should just pay people more if they expect them to show up. Personally, I think the proliferation of enraged Karens attacking McDonald’s workers with ice tea dispensers is to blame.
This week in TikTok mini-trends: Abandoned duckies and frozen honey
“Steve, what’s happening on TikTok,” I hear you asking. Well, Dear Reader, this week is all about abandoned baby ducks and frozen honey.
The ducks come from influencers who have been adopting the little fowl to take adorable photographs. Awww! Soooo cute! But it turns out taking care of a real-life duck is, like, hard, so TikTokers are dropping their new pets off at animal shelters after the photo session. A representative for the Montreal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals told Washington Newsday, “We received 60 ducks this year from January 1 until today. We got six ducks last year.”
The honey-trend is less disturbing and more delicious. Many, many people on TikTok are freezing honey and eating it — videos under the hashtag #FrozenHoney have over 220 million views. Unlike the trend for pheasant in aspic popular at the palace of Versailles in the 1700s, it’s easy to make frozen honey. You just put some honey in a plastic water bottle and freeze it up. It doesn’t freeze solid, but provides a sweet, semi-mushy popsicle you can squeeze into your maw — just the thing for a global warming day at the park.
This week in music: The rise of NPR’s tiny desk concerts
The totebag totin’ liberals at National Public Radio are a lot of things — thoughtful, erudite, sonorous — but they were never “cool” until NPR’s music web series Tiny Desk Concerts took off. The web show has become the go-to place for non-wack musicians to perform on the internet.
The series started way back in 2008 with performances from alt-folk types and quirky weirdos like Dr. Dog, The Tallest Man on Earth, and my personal cult favourites, The Screaming Females, but the series grew in popularity, and the international lockdown led to the series featuring musicians at their homes. Eventually bands and singers that people actually cared about began perform on the show. Artists like Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, Ty Dolla $ign , Justin Bieber, and even K-Pop superstars BTS have graced NPR’s website with low key performances. Check out the whole archive, but don’t blame me if you fall down a musical rabbit hole that you never climb out of.
Viral Video of the week: What happens if you eat 23 bananas after fasting?
Chubbyemu is a Doctor of Pharmacy who posts amazing true medical tales to his YouTube channel. In this week’s viral video, the good doctor details the case of a fitness enthusiast who broke a week-long fast by eating 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of bananas. You’d probably suspect this is a terrible idea, but the genius of the video is in the insanely detailed explanation of exactly why it’s a terrible idea and exactly how the subject’s body went haywire from excessive banana consumption. ChubbyEmu gets down to the molecular level with this shit. When you’ve finished shuddering over the danger of banana overdose, check out what happens if you drink a lava lamp (bad things), eat Tide pods (worse things), or eat 25 of those silica gel packets that say “Do Not Eat” on them (surprisingly not-super-bad things.)