Issue 3 - 12/24/18


  • Christmas Shopping Guide
  • Some Things That Can Happen During Surgery
  • How are People Getting to Their Places
  • What's Up with Waco's Billboards? Genuinely Asking
  • Bones: An Index
  • Reader Mail
  • Horoscopes
  • Office Chart

Christmas Shopping Guide

Ascendant-level contributor Matt Spradling

It's Christmas eve. You probably shouldn't be reading this. Or perhaps you're bored at a family reunion and this is but one tenuous lifeline to your normal daily life where food doesn't make you sleepy and racism is, all things considered, less on the forefront of your mind. My recommendation is to interact with your family, you carcass. Regardless, there is a distinct possibility you have some last-second Christmas shopping to do. I think I've been there twice, which is roughly 1-2 more times than one should be. Here are some expert suggestions:

World Market: Everything there looks fancier at first glance than it is, which is good, because everything there is also kind of The Lumineers of stores and will leave you feeling slightly hollow inside and also like time has passed about 1.5 times faster in the outside world while you were inside but not in the good way. Good for cobbling together wicker baskets with various types of hot chocolate powder inside, which, for a new relationship, is the gift-giving equivalent of toast for breakfast: it keeps you alive and looks decent but is not an indicator of health.

Target: A deceptively bad option. What do they have there? Clothes, candy, and video game consoles? So possibly an option if you are shopping for either your spouse or that one coworker whose name you can't remember, but nothing in-between. 

Your Old Books: A bold move, but doesn't require you to leave the house or also do anything. Plus it's funny to watch your relatives in a white elephant gift exchange trying to sell that Star Wars book about Mace Windu, the sequel to Holes, and Walk On: The Spiritual Journey of U2.

Starbucks Gift Card: I mean yeah. I think this is a pretty honest generation. We understand. It's fine. 

Amazon Gift Card: Ethical misgivings aside, actually fantastic. One day I will order a son from Amazon and he shall arrive two days old and easily returnable. 

Some Things That Can Happen During Surgery

Ascendant-level contributor Matt Spradling

Sometimes surgery is a thing that happens. Maybe you need it or maybe you are considering it just for fun. Regardless, here are some things that you may want to take into account before letting the anesthesia rip. 

  1. All the other patients are really old. Maybe this is more specific to heart surgery, but when after several appointments the next youngest person you've shared a waiting room with is roughly 70, you start to wonder if you are actually 70 as well, and just kind of forgot, which is easier to do when you're 70. This is not all bad, but is also not great.
  2. Nurses, as a rule, are your age but more successful and attractive, so it gets a little depressing to meet a lot of them. We don't ever see them because they're always in hospitals. But that also accounts for the flip-side, which is that they seem generally unhappy because they spend their lives working 12-hour shifts in hospitals, so it's kind of an everybody-loses scenario. 
  3. Hospital elevators are really slow. Defo not a big deal, and strangely fun if you're a Mass Effect fan.
  4. Hospital gowns are more confusing than they are unpleasant. I was in one for 24 hours and still have no idea how they're intended to work. Also the pattern was closer to camouflage than sterile white or whatever. Seems like a good way to lose patients. 
  5. Sometimes nurses like to talk to you about how you're wrong about weather while they torture you in the arm for ten minutes under the guise of drawing blood. This process does entail taking your blood and putting it somewhere that is not inside your body which is inherently the main thing humans try to avoid. 
  6. I know an anesthesiologist who is a great person, but sometimes your anesthesiologist will be a man whose name is basically a daft mispronunciation of Nietzsche and whose undertaker-like demeanor and slow ghoulish eyes promise he'll leave the drip on a little heavy so you'll have time to snuggle while you're out.
  7. Getting wheeled on your bed through crowded hallways is more or less the most ridiculous experience even without people looking at you confused as though it was your choice to be doing something so ridiculous.
  8. Usually surgery means you suddenly find yourself in a big room with spectator windows while every appendage gets things attached to it and doctors shave your body hair in weird ways. Probably fun if you like to imagine yourself as a race car getting worked on by a pit crew but I was neither blessed nor cursed with such a kink.
  9. Sometimes the last thing you're told before being knocked unconscious for the first time is "you're young so we're just going to give you an extra heavy dose. Bye!" I don't think nurses are supposed to say bye.
  10. Upon waking, your initial sensation will be that of having deepthroated an animatronic horse, because you basically have.
  11. If your surgery involves groin incisions, nurses will come by and ask to see your "groin spot" every hour and it won't be at all how you might've imagined in middle school.
  12. You won't get any sleep because hospital beds are what they are, your heart is like hey they just punched a hole in me, maybe stay alert and don't let literally the worst thing happen again, and then, just in case, somebody comes in once an hour every hour throughout the night. Sometimes this is to change the trash. Sometimes this is to weigh you at a confusing time as though they're suddenly worried they either took something out they weren't supposed to or left something in they weren't supposed to. Sometimes there isn't anything to do apparently so a man you've never seen before just tells you he'll be back at 5:00, then when he returns he does an EKG but also hooks it up to your kneecaps, giving the distinct impression that he neither works there nor knows anything about EKG's or even really human anatomy. 
  13. Actually I used to deliver food to hospitals frequently and they do in fact let just anyone stroll in most of the time. Once, a nurse ordered their food to a specific room, but when I got there there was only a patient alone in bed. I asked if they ordered food and that old man turned and gave me the blankest look I've ever received and I still think about it frequently. But yeah I defo had time to do a quick made-up test on his knees before anyone would've noticed. I wonder if that's how some people become doctors, like showing up to a game without a ticket but slightly higher stakes.
  14. Apparently it's a rule that you have to be discharged via wheelchair even if you can walk fine. The result is that you, a young person, get pushed around by an old volunteer who god bless her could definitely use a ride more than you and it's even more absurd than the rolling bed bit.
  15. Then you get to sleep and have other people lift things for you for a week and that's pretty ace.

5/10, pending continued vitality

How are People Getting to Their Places: A Good Old-Fashioned Judge-O-Thon

Provost-level contributor Alex Speed

I'm sitting in a coffee shop (the kind with no power outlets, lots of natural lighting, and where the music rotates between Joy Division and ironic early 2000's power pop) and I notice there are so many different kinds of middle class white people here. On my walk inside I gander at the parking lot - a slew of vehicles suggest a much more diverse crowd. This is my breakdown of trying to match each car with the dirty hipster sitting around this coffee shop. 

2012 Blue Ford Escape - This middle class white person has to appreciate practicality, style, and the ability to fit multiple dead bodies in the back without having to directly look at them. I imagine this belongs to the flannel wearing middle aged man drinking black coffee whilst typing on his MacBook. 

2004 Honda Rebel 250 (this one is a motorcycle) - This middle class white person has to appreciate a fun fueled ride, the freedom of only having two wheels, and the option of doing that weird hit and run where you just roll up and hit someone over the head with a pipe while you're still on your hog and drive away really fast before anyone knows what happened. I'm going to guess this belongs to the guy in all black and beanie who has been dead ass staring me down since I walked in. 

1997 Black/white Honda Civic - This middle class white person has to appreciate good gas mileage, dependability, and the ability to be a drug mule without rising too much suspicion while you're crossing the border with 50 pounds of heroin hid hastily under a bag of tennis equipment. This person likes to keep their options open and not be too tied down , I'm gonna guess they are the barista behind the bar. 

2016 Red BMW 3-seres - This middle class white person is the type of person who says they are middle class but everyone knows his dad, Terry, bought him this car when he passed Psych 101 on his third try. I'm goi- 

Oh shit, that guy in all black is walking over here 

I gotta go. 

What's Up With Waco's Billboards? Genuinely Asking

Ascendant-level contributor Matt Spradling

It's a horror show and I swear it gets worse every time I drive through. Perhaps you've noticed but blocked it out. 

First and foremost is the weird eyes one. I couldn't find a picture online which leads me to believe it might be demonic in nature. It's light blue and features a close-up of an apparently female face, especially the eyes, but there's something very wrong. I think we figured out what was wrong once - either one side is just a mirror image of the other, or they're both inside out, or something even less tenable - but I've since forgotten because it's so distracting and dreadful. I don't even know what it's advertising. Sam visibly flinches every time I point it out.

Another concerning number I didn't notice until recently (and in fairness to Waco, I saw it again further north as well) is the evidence baby. This one sports a blank black background, the words "There IS evidence for God!" and a picture of a baby dead-ass staring at you with the most serious, business-like look I've seen that side of pre-school. This raises a handful of followup questions I won't get into, but yesterday I did accidentally read it as "THIS is evidence for God!" like this specific baby is the one and all the others are shit I guess. Anyway yeah I was on the out but now I'm sold. A breath of fresh air into Waco's evergreen abortion billboard industry.

My favorite (by merit of being the only one that doesn't make me feel slightly ill) is the cheese cave one. The details are blurry in my mind, but I know it features a wheel of cheese, I know it says something about cheese, and then I know for goddam sure it then says "Visit our cave!" So this ad is very simply implying that there is a cave of cheese and it wants to meet you. I've actually come very close to stopping both times now. 

There's one that pops up pretty frequently featuring five men standing side by side and wearing identical white cowboy hats. It's either for dentistry or cars. Rather it be the latter if I'm choosing. 

Another newcomer is one I have no summary for. Plain text on another black background reads more or less "There is only one race:" and then in a dramatic red, "The human race" and all the while you're being stared at by some country singer who I think Sam said was Kenny Chesney. So - not to discourage our burgeoning racially conscious allies in the country industry, but what? There were multiple billboards before and after this one that were still struggling to work out the kneeling thing.

In a similar style and about as sensible is the brave vodka one. This time it's John Cena watching listlessly, the text is simply "Home of the brave" and there's a bottle of vodka in the corner. I'm going to go outside now.

Bones: An Index

Ascendant-level contributor Matt Spradling,

Provost-level contributor Alex Speed

HumerusOtherwise known as: Chunk Arm. Strength: if you came across the upper half of a skeleton in a desert, would maybe be the best bone to use as a weapon. Weakness: Predictable. Potentially improved upon by: a car-jack.

Ischium. Otherwise known as: First Pretzel. Strength: lends some menace when trying to sit on someone to death. Weakness: You feel silly knowing it's there. Potentially improved upon by: a medium-range wifi router.

Patella. Otherwise known as: Hearts of the Nether-Realms. Strength: primitive yoga mats. Weakness: one gets the impression that if they were trying to hold their legs together while being flayed in a sort of laser-heat-explosion event, the patellas would be among the first bones to jump ship. Potentially improved upon by: those big round M&M dispensers with the clear edges where the M&M's went and slotted around.

Calcaneal Tuber. Otherwise known as: Ankle Tater. Strength: as far as I know, mainly just for dogs. Weakness: as far as I know, mainly just for dogs. Potentially improved upon by: a hemi.

Cannon. Otherwise known as: Cannon, what more could you ask for. Strength: cow ankles are literally called cannons. Weakness: shames other bones. Potentially improved upon by: an actual cannon.

Reader Mail

Blex Speed: Hey I was just wondering why none of your articles have footnotes? Seems like you're missing out on a cool way to share information with your readers.

     I said I'm sorry, but also your original article wasn't even about anything so much as it was a maddeningly recursive use of footnotes as though meant to ply arcane passage into an ether-dimension consisting entirely of self-referential footnotes and through which your dog occasionally floated, which admittedly is pretty great, but I think that gem has to wait for technology to catch up.

Not the Editor: Did the great Christopher Lee create multiple heavy metal Christmas albums?

     Yes, the great Christopher Lee created multiple heavy metal Christmas albums. It's a good thing you asked, definitely not the editor, because for what is ostensibly a newsletter, this publication doesn't seem to be great at conveying such important and timely tips.


  • LIBRAS - consider sheep
  • BEARS - we take sheep for granted but they're actually pretty great
  • LEGITIMATE DR. SEUSS FANS - if we're ignoring animal agency, their main purpose in life is to bring us comfort 
  • BIBLE-TIMES TAX-COLLECTORS - they also look pretty adorable
  • BUS DRIVERS WHO STUTTER-STOP - seriously, look up the Valais Blacknose sheep
  • DEATH EATERS - it's like they crawled out of a pokemon game but aren't horrifying like most pokemon probably would be 
  • SPAM-BOTS - play settlers of catan and just stockpile sheep and no other resources
  • ...SHEEP - you won't win frequently but you'll have the moral victory and may also become known as Sheepmonger which is kind of a weird energy to take into parties

Office Chart

Car Seat Headrest - Sober to Death

Christopher Lee - Darkest Carols, Faithful Sing

Phoebe Bridgers - Friday I'm In Love

Monsters Of Folk - His Master's Voice

Conor Oberst - Danny Callahan

Bahamas - Lost In The Light

The National - The Geese of Beverly Road

Colin Meloy - Wonder



"Fleet Street Apocalypse" - Stanley Donwood