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Thing Tank

From the strange specimen of Paul Ryan to Uber’s big dropoff


Protesters protesting Marco Rubio’s vote to confirm former ExxonMobil head Rex Tillerson for secretary of state redefined the notion of a picket sign when they taunted the senator with a human spine, winning much acclaim. But protesters protesting Paul Ryan took it a step further and redefined Paul Ryan. Last Thursday, the Wikipedia entry for invertebrates briefly included the singular spineless species of House Speaker/De Facto Presidential Personal Trainer Paul Ryan among the insects, corals, and “others” (“sponges, other worms, etc.”). The alternative fact remained only a few hours before Wikipedia corrected the entry and removed Ryan, noting “most invertebrates are actually really solid dudes.”



And the award for performance by an ensemble cast goes to . . . Winona Ryder’s face at the SAG Awards. Her free-wheelin’ wincing, grimacing, and fist-pumping through costar David Harbour’s fiery acceptance speech (“Stranger Things” won for ensemble cast in a drama) was as lovably unhinged as her performance in the sci-fi series, so the fact that she appeared to be trying to swallow a defiant hummingbird actually seemed right in line with her character. Glaringly absent from Harbour’s rousing political speech: Any call for justice for Barb.


According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Swedish furniture retailer/marriage destroyer Ikea has “plans to roll out soon what it calls its first ‘open source’ sofa,” allowing customers to “hack” pieces of furniture and customize them to their needs. The company calls the forthcoming line Delaktig, and says the project “challenges the traditional concept of comfort” — which I gotta say sounds a lot like the bed I already have from Ikea. Unfortunately, customers will not be able to customize their own product names, leaving whatever FLERFENBURGLE is to furnish only the empty quarters of your dreams.



Thousands of users deleted their Uber accounts after the rideshare company continued to pick up passengers during a taxi strike in solidarity with a protest at JFK Airport against President Trump’s travel executive order. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick (who serves as an economic adviser to Trump) tried to assure the departing masses that the company would compensate affected drivers for lost wages, but many had already decamped to Lyft, which just donated $1 million to the ACLU and is . . . (wait for it) partially financed by Trump advisers. Now trending:


Michael Andor Brodeur can be reached at mbrodeur@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MBrodeur