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Pop Sins

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Complaints: mriggs [at] theatlantic [dot] com
  • November 6, 2013 1:56 pm

    I wonder if it ever got confusing

    From 1951-1954, the Boston Celtics simultaneously had four players on their roster named Bob: Bob Brannum, Bob Cousy, Bob Donham, and Bob Harris. Going into the 54-55 season, they lost Harris and Donham, and picked up Bob Houbregs. By 55-56, they were down to one Bob (Cousy). 

    Other teams also had Bobs on their roster between 50-56: the Rochester Royals had Bob Davies and Bobby Wanzer; the Minneapolis Lakers had Bob Harrison, Bob Carney and Bobby Watson; the Philadelphia Warriors had Nelson Bobb and Bob Schafer; the Knicks had Bob Knight and Bob Peterson; Bob Lochmueller and Bob Lavoy were on the Syracuse Nationals; Bob Priddy and a pre-Celtics Bob Houbregs played for the Baltimore Bullets; Bob Feerick was on the Washington Capitols (which was a basketball team from 46-51); Bob Naber and Bob Lavoy were on the Indianapolis Olympians; Bob Carpenter played for the Tri-Cities Blackhawks. 

    The only team to rival the Celtics’ single year Bob percentage was the Milwaukee Hawks, who, in the 53-54 season, had Bob Harrison, Bob Lavoy, Bob Houbregs, and Bob Peterson. 

    Today, the NBA is completely Bob-free.

  • October 9, 2013 9:32 am

    "On April 8th, 2009, user countryboyWVU of the anabloic steroids discussion forum AlinBoard asked “do you even lift?” while criticizing another user’s physique (shown above)."

    — The Know Your Meme entry for “Do you even lift?” is a treasure trove of weird shit. 

  • July 19, 2013 12:29 pm

    Thank You, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, for Turning a Four-Hour Drive Into a 12-Hour Ordeal

    To: Max at Enterprise Rent-a-Car
    c/o Care@enterprise.com

    From: Michael Riggs
    Phone number: [Redacted]
    RA# [REDACTED]

    Max, 

    Yesterday afternoon (July 18) at 2 p.m. my girlfriend and I picked up a 2013 VW Golf with 3,173 miles on the odometer from Enterprise at Ronald Reagan National Airport. We rented the car for a weekend getaway in Roanoke, Virginia, our first vacation in ages. 

    Shortly after 5 p.m. we found ourselves stranded with a VW Golf covered in transmission fluid on a grassy median at the bottom of the southbound I-81 off-ramp in Staunton, Virginia; 160 miles from where we started and 81 miles from our destination. Roughly a minute earlier, the car had stopped responding to the gas pedal; the RPMs would increase somewhat, but there was no power going to the wheels. We had to navigate our way off the Interstate using only momentum. Absolutely terrifying. 

    What happened after the car broke down was even more upsetting. I immediately called Enterprise to speak to someone from roadside assistance. The agent asked me for my rental agreement (RA#) and where I was. I gave him the number and told him I was on the edge of the median near a traffic light at the bottom of an Interstate off-ramp. The agent told me that Enterprise did not consider such a location to be safe for an Enterprise-affiliated tower to drop off a new car and pick up the disabled Golf. He told me to call back when I’d moved the car to a parking lot, then hung up. The two police officers who stopped to offer us assistance disagreed with the Enterprise agent’s safety assessment, as did the non-Enterprise-affiliated tower (thanks, AAA!) who moved the Golf to a nearby parking lot. Nevertheless, I did as instructed. 

    With the car in a safe place, I called roadside assistance a second time at around 6:55 p.m. The agent I spoke to asked for my phone number in order to look up my rental agreement. When that number—the same one I’d given to Enterprise at Reagan National—returned no information on my rental, the agent asked for the reference number from my first call to roadside assistance. When I told her I hadn’t received a reference number, she finally asked for my RA#. Had the car been moved to a safe place? Yes, I told her. It was now in a massive parking lot in front of the Staunton Walmart. I gave her the address, and the agent told me she would request a tower to pick up the car, my passenger, and me, and have us taken to the Charlottesville (Virginia) airport, where we could trade cars. I would receive an automated call in 15-20 minutes, the agent said, letting me know that a tow truck had been dispatched. She gave me the reference number that the first person I spoke to should’ve given me, and we hung up. According to my phone, that call ended at 7:27, two hours after we’d broken down. 

    Then my girlfriend and I waited, and waited, and waited, in a hot parking lot. By 8:04 I still hadn’t received an automated call from Enterprise, so I called back to ask for an ETA on the tow. This time I was asked for my name (rather than my phone number or my RA#) in order to look up my rental information. I spelled it exactly as it was spelled on the rental agreement, and the dispatcher told me there was no rental under that name. She then asked for my phone number—the same phone number I’d given before; again, no rental information. Finally she asked for my reference number. “Aha,” she said. That had worked. Then she asked, “Have you moved the car to a safe place?” 
    Was she kidding? I’d moved the car to a safe place more than an hour before. I told the dispatcher (the third one I’d spoken to by this point) that I’d moved the car and was checking on the tow that had been requested. Sorry, the Enterprise agent said, no tow has been requested. Actually a tow has been requested, I said. It doesn’t say that here, she replied. She offered to put in a new tow request, and I—exhausted and shocked—agreed.
     
    Imagine my surprise then when she said that the closest Enterprise was in Richmond—107 miles southeast of where our car broke down. I asked her what happened to Charlottesville Airport, where the previous two agents said I could swap cars, and which was was only 33 miles away. “You want to go to Charlotte?” The agent asked. “CharlottesVILLE,” I said. The agent paused. “There is no Charlotte, Virginia” the agent replied. “Richmond is the closest.”
    At this point I really wanted to talk to a supervisor because I’d lost all trust in the ability of an Enterprise agent to help me. I don’t know if you know how terrifying and bizarre that feeling is, Max, but it’s just awful. So I forcefully but calmly insisted on speaking to the agent’s supervisor (the first time I’d done this while speaking to three different people from Enterprise), and the agent agreed to transfer me as soon as I’d given her my location. The exchange went almost exactly like this: 
    Me, the stranded customer: My car and I are in a Walmart parking lot. The address is 1028 Richmond Ave—
    Enterprise agent: Did you just that you’re in Richmond? 
    Me, the stranded customer: No, the road is Richmond AVENUE. I am in Staunton. It’s spelled S-T-A-U
    Enterprise agent: Staten Island! 
    Me, the stranded, terrified customer: NO. STAUNTON VIRGINIA. S-T-A-U-N-T-O-N. 
    Enterprise agent: Please spell that again. 
    Me: Put me through to your supervisor now. 
    I was then put on hold for 15 minutes. The agent eventually returned to the line. Her supervisor was busy, but it turns out there was in fact an Enterprise in Charlottesville. She would request a tow for us as soon as she figured out how late the Charlottesville airport Enterprise was open. When I told her it was open until midnight (I’d already Googled it from my phone), the agent finally agreed to set up the tow, and said I could expect an automated call in 15-20 minutes. At 8:34 p.m., the call ends. At that point, my girlfriend and I had been stranded for three hours.  
     
    At 8:53 p.m., my phone rings. It’s not the automated call, but the tow-truck driver. He is on his way. At 9:45 p.m., the tow truck arrives. we roll into the Charlottesville airport parking lot around 11 p.m. Six hours after our Enterprise rental broke down, we finally have a new vehicle. We arrived in Roanoke after 2 a.m., 12 hours after we picked up the car in Northern Virginia
     
    If it’s not obvious, I’m furious. Maybe the Golf being a lemon isn’t your company’s fault, but everything that happened afterward was. The first agent didn’t give me a reference number for my tow request, the second agent said she’d put in a tow request, then didn’t, and the third agent was borderline incompetent; all three of them asked for different bits of personal information to verify my car rental when all of them should’ve just used the RA#. 
    Here’s what that poor customer service cost me: $200 for a night in a hotel that I didn’t actually get to spend there, six hours of my time, an extra 70 miles on the road (to Charlottesville with the tow driver, then back to I-81 in the new rental), and a totally unnecessary amount of mental anguish for me and my passenger. 
    What are you going to do about it? 
    Sincerely, 
    Michael Riggs

  • April 18, 2013 7:48 am

    "At one point, the executive producer, Jim Bell, commissioned a blooper reel of Curry’s worst on-air mistakes. Another time, according to a producer, Bell called staff members into his office to show a gaffe she made during a cross-talk with a local station. (Bell denies both incidents.) Then several boxes of Curry’s belongings ended up in a coat closet, as if she had already been booted off the premises. One staff person recalled that “a lot of time in the control room was spent making fun of Ann’s outfit choices or just generally messing with her.” On one memorable spring morning, Curry wore a bright yellow dress that spawned snarky comparisons to Big Bird. The staff person said that others in the control room, which included 14 men and 3 women, according to my head count one morning, Photoshopped a picture of Big Bird next to Curry and asked co-workers to vote on ‘Who wore it best?’"

    — From Who Can Save the ‘Today’ Show?

  • April 9, 2013 3:34 pm

    "For his part, Judge Rankin was the fourth judge assigned to the case. The first three all had to recuse themselves because of ties to Sidwell."

    — My favorite paragraph in a seamy tale about bored rich people fucking other bored rich people. 

  • March 22, 2013 11:36 am

    "It might sound like a good idea now but, when you explain to Stanford that you have in fact already published your first work of short fiction—your letter of recommendation!—they probably won’t admire the way you play with genre."

    Caity Weaver channels Dear Prudence

  • March 13, 2013 8:49 pm

    These screenshots represent unsold tickets for Wizards (20-42) home games. Grey sections are sold out, light blue sections are mostly full, and dark blue sections are mostly empty. The top screenshot is for the Wizards game against the 76ers (24-39) on April 12; the bottom screenshot is for the Wizards game against the Heat (48-14) on April 10.

  • March 5, 2013 1:43 pm

    Joel Osteen talks to Arthur Schopenhauer

    OSTEEN: Arthur, I want to talk to you about the power of “I am.” What follows these two words will determine what kind of life you live. “I am blessed,” “I am strong,” “I am healthy.” Or: “I am slow,” “I am unattractive,” “I am a terrible mother.” The “I am’s” that are coming out of your mouth will bring either success or failure. Many times we use the power of “I am” against us. We don’t realize how it’s affecting our future.

    Here’s the principle. What follows the “I am” will always come looking for you. When you say, “I am so clumsy,” clumsiness comes looking for you. When you say, “I am so old,” wrinkles come looking for you. It’s just like you’re inviting them. Whatever you follow the “I am” with, you’re handing it an invitation, opening the door, giving it permission to be in your life. Now, the good news is, you get to choose what follows the “I am.”

    SCHOPENHAUER: I am sometimes dissatisfied with you in your capacity as a philosopher.

    OSTEEN: Ha-ha. Every time you laugh, it boosts your immune system.

    Whole thing over at BookForum

  • February 20, 2013 2:06 pm

    "[T]herein lies one of the greatest divides between the haves and the have-nots of twentysomethings in this city. Can your parents cover some of your living expenses while you take one low-paying—but potentially career-building—internship after another?"

    From “The Age of the Permanent Intern.” 

  • February 19, 2013 10:26 am

    "The second post was written disjointedly, on trains and on strange couches and while sitting in a lecture hall at Yale Law School, half-listening to panel discussions about impact investing in emerging markets. As such, it wasn’t one of those posts where you have something to say, and then you write it down, and then you press “publish”; instead, it was one of those posts where you write a bit, and then you do a podcast, which gives you another idea, which you squeeze in somewhere, and so on. The perfect blog post is exactly one idea long; in that respect, this post was far from perfect. I just didn’t want to spend all week writing about Maria Popova, so I tried to get everything covered in one fell swoop."

    The second paragraph of Felix’s mea culpa has absolutely nothing to do with why he said something stupid, as evidenced by the fact that he stood by what he said through an extensive public lashing and only changed his position after a private email conversation. And yet, the first link I saw to his piece, from a dude blogger, featured this bit of commentary: “Very sympathetic to @felixsalmon's second paragraph here.” So tell me, fellow dude bloggers, what other failings can be  ameliorated by one’s busyness and importance?