Thing Tank

Party poopers, predictive graves, cat-ice, and more

Anderson Cooper (left) and Andy Cohen
Anderson Cooper (left) and Andy Cohen


If you’ve ever had a celebratory sip of champagne from a glass that was poured a year in advance, you know the experience many CNN viewers had on New Year’s Eve, when the once-bubbly duo of anchor Anderson Cooper and comedian Kathy Griffin (since exiled from Earth for an ill-advised anti-Trump photo shoot) officially downgraded to the team of Coop and real-life bestie, Bravo head (actually, mostly head) Andy Cohen. Together, they had all the chemistry of a warm cocktail of milk and orange juice, and the thousands of viewers gathered expectantly for their annual serving of Cooper giggling like a freshly tickled Elmo were left groaning and trying to make the most of the new year with Brooke Baldwin and Don Lemon, who apparently met his resolution to try alcohol. 


YouTube star Logan Paul (15 million followers and falling) thought it would be cool to venture into Japan’s Aokigahara Forest (well known as a “suicide forest”) to film one of his “crazy daily Vlogs!”  There, he filmed detailed shots of a body of a person hanging from a tree and uploaded it with the title “We Found a Dead Body in the Suicide Forest” (with the intent, he later posted, “to make a positive ripple on the Internet”). The thus-freshly-rippled Internet — from fellow YouTubers to celebrities — proceeded to drag Paul for treating the suicide of a stranger as an edgy destination for his virtual tourism, and a bleary-blue-eyed Paul soon took to every platform to issue a series of apologies. In equally empty but slightly nicer news, did I mention Paris Hilton got engaged? Let’s think about that instead. 


One of the many, many, good and worthwhile reasons to live and keep living is the opportunity to craft your own epitaph, which will live on long after you. (In the form of cold hard stone, but still.) Of course, if the whole living thing has you too tied up to focus on your inevitable grave, you can join the growing number on Twitter delegating their epitaphs to predictive text. “Write ‘Here lies [YOUR NAME]. [preferred pronoun] was. . .’ and let your phone finish the rest,” instructs Alex Zalben. The results are much more entertaining than most one-liners in marble. For any of you who don’t foresee making it to my post-presidential monument within your lifetime, know that according to my phone, “He was a good man in the morning and just wanted to see how he did.”



Finally, you know how there’s that one type of ice formation on the ground that you don’t mind stepping on because it makes such a satisfying crunch? Did you know there’s a name for that? There is. It’s “cat-ice” (because it could possibly bear the weight of a “light-footed” cat). Upon hearing this breaking news, the Internet just about cracked, and the experts chimed in with all sorts of cat-ice ephemera, like Alice Morse Earle’s unfairly sexist appraisal of the stuff from 1901: “If there lives a New Englander too old or too hurried to rejoice in stepping upon and crackling the first ‘cat-ice’ on a late-autumn morning, then he is a man; for no New England girl, a century old, could be thus indifferent.” You better tread lightly, Alice. 

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Michael Andor Brodeur can be reached at Follow him on Twitter: @MBrodeur