What a Week! Jan. 10-16

Oregonians learn to pump their own gas; Google Arts and Culture app takes over the world; Hawaii gets a fake missile alert

click to enlarge Anyone know how to use this thing? - Photo: Many wonderful artists/Creative Commons
Photo: Many wonderful artists/Creative Commons
Anyone know how to use this thing?

Gas Pumping in Oregon: How’s it Goin’?

Nearly 70 years ago, Oregon and New Jersey banned self-service gas, which means gas stations in those states have old-timey assistants to pump gas into your car for you. How quaint! Oregon’s law was modified in 2015 to allow some stations to offer self-service at night and, beginning Jan. 1 this year, an amendment to this law went even further, allowing nearly half the state’s counties to drop their “gas jockeys” and make people fill their own damn cars. While the rest of us in a normal state would think, “NBD,” some Oregonians full-on freaked out. Imagine never having to get out of your toasty car in the rain or cold to pump gas for your entire life — then suddenly being expected to? As Jan. 1 neared, comments rolled in on social media with concerns ranging from smelling like gasoline to not being qualified to perform such a hazardous task. Predictably, people had jokes about these gravely concerned citizens, and now, weeks into this new way of life, Oregon residents are sick of being a laughing stock. Stop making fun of them! Besides, the citizens of New Jersey are now ripe for mockery as they begin to fear a similar fate.

Ballistic Missile False Alarm in Hawaii

You know when you’re sleeping like a baby only to be rocked out of slumber by an emergency alert on your phone? You groggily check the message, find an AMBER Alert for Indiana and chuck your phone across the room. Turns out that is only a mild inconvenience compared to what folks in Hawaii experienced this weekend. Shortly after 8 a.m. Saturday, everyone on the islands received the phone alert message that practically screamed out, “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” For 30 minutes, many thought that Little Rocket Man made good on his promise and they were all about to die until officials finally revealed it was in fact a false alarm. How does such an egregious error occur: Was there at some point a threat? Were we hacked? Nope! Turns out someone just clicked the wrong button. An employee at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency single-handedly caused chaos when he/she accidentally clicked “missile alert” on a drop-down menu instead of “test missile alert.” It was actually stupid easy to do. From now on, it will require two buttons and two people to engage that type of alert, and the employee at fault has been reassigned — not fired, as in the firing of a ballistic missile. Hope that’s comforting!

Who’s Your Fine Art Doppelgänger?

This week, social media was flooded with selfie side-by-sides with famous paintings. The Google Arts and Culture app allows users to virtually tour museums and search for artists and their works, but the most popular feature right now matches users’ self-portraits with the paintings that most closely resemble them. Just snap a selfie and Google’s visual search technology will analyze the shot, searching its database for artwork that matches your face, then reveals a few options with a percentage indicating just how much you look like the “Girl with a Pearl Earring.” Some folks got more accurate results than others, but at the end of the day, more people are being exposed to fine art I guess?

Unpopular Opinion: I am vehemently against the notion of a computer judging my appearance. There’s no way I really resemble Goya’s “Saturn Devouring His Son,” right? Right?!

Former Real Housewife Gets Dragged

Tons of famous makeup artists share their cosmetic transformations with the world, showing their skills and the power of contour. Super talented British drag queen Alexis Stone can paint herself up to look just like countless celebrities, from Cher to Leonardo DiCaprio, and shares these amazing makeup metamorphoses on social media. Stone must have run out of A-list celebs to impersonate because she dug down to the bottom of the barrel and pulled out some reality stars to emulate. Former Real Housewives of Orange County star Heather Dubrow caught a glimpse of Stone’s tribute to her on Twitter and blasted the photo, saying “Um, this is hideous. Are you saying I’d look better with surgery? Whatever.” The queen is so good, this bish thought the image of Stone as Dubrow was an actual Photoshopped photo of herself! It took all of three seconds for the internet to drag Dubrow for failing to understand the honor of a Stone tribute, and once she realized what the picture was, she quickly apologized. Meanwhile, I’m left wondering if Stone could paint my face in such a way to receive more attractive Google Arts and Culture match results… 

Yosemite to Get its First Starbucks

It’s a tired joke that there’s a Starbucks on every corner, but there actually are some places that have remained frap-free over the years, and one of those locations is Yosemite National Park. And those granola crunchers want to keep it that way, dammit! When word spread about the ’Bucks coming to Yosemite, frequent visitors and nearby residents petitioned against the coffee giant, worried that it would be a slippery slope that might bring Walmarts and REIs to the area. The horror! One problem: Yosemite’s hospitality services (which includes food and drink) have been run by mega-corp Aramark for nearly two years. The petition signed by more than 20,000 people really doesn’t mean anything to to the $14-billion, Fortune 200 company. You done already sold out, Yosemite!

This Week in Questionable Decisions…

1. Pizza Hut revealed plans for an autonomous delivery vehicle which sounds straight out of an episode of Black Mirror.

2. Mark Wahlberg made 1,500 times more than co-star Michelle Williams for All the Money in the World reshoots. Gender equality what? Wage gap who? Thankfully he donated the $1.5 million to the TIME’S UP legal defense fund in Williams’ name. 

3. Disney defended its decision to darken the skin of some white extras for the live-action Aladdin movie.

4. Pregnant? Prove it! A new IKEA crib-sale-offer asked expecting mothers to pee on the advertisement to reveal a special discount code. At least it’s a free pregnancy test?

5. A Toronto restaurant called Poop Café exists and serves toilet-themed desserts.

6. In an Oval Office meeting, Donald Trump reportedly said he’d prefer immigrants from Norway instead of “shithole countries” like Haiti or African nations.

7. Liam Neeson said the #MeToo movement has turned into “a bit of a witch hunt.” Cool it, Taken.

8. Eating Tide Pods is the latest dangerous teen trend.

9. H&M caught major heat this week when its ad featuring a black child model wearing a hoodie that said “Coolest monkey in the jungle” went viral. 

10. A driver went all Grand Theft Auto in Santa Ana, Calif. this weekend, going airborne and crashing into the second story of a dentist’s office.

11. Sam Rockwell dropped the Fuck-bomb minutes into hosting Saturday Night Live.

12. Trump referred to a U.S. intelligence officer as a “pretty Korean lady.”

Contact T.C. Britton: [email protected]

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