Joseph Nickell, who authorities said was behind the killings of his parents, his girlfriend and his girlfriend’s mother in Kentucky on Saturday. (Facebook)
A Kentucky gunman killed his parents, his girlfriend and his girlfriend’s mother at two locations Saturday afternoon in Johnson County, before turning the gun on himself, state police said Sunday.
Cops released the victims’ names and their relationships with the shooter, Joseph Nickell.
Nickell’s parents, James and Arlene Nickell, were gunned down Saturday at a home in the McKenzie Branch area of Flatgap, Kentucky, and Joseph Nickell’s girlfriend, Lindsey Vanhoose, and her mother, Patricia Vanhoose, later were fatally shot at an apartment in nearby Paintsville, State Police Trooper William Petry said in a statement.
Johnson County Sheriff Dwayne Price said Joseph Nickell’s body also was found at the apartment in what investigators described as a murder-suicide.
Price said authorities in Paintsville, about 190 miles east of Louisville, received a 911 call on Saturday afternoon about a shooting and the Nickell parents were found dead in the kitchen of the home. After receiving a tip on the whereabouts of a suspect’s vehicle, the other two victims and Nickell were found later at the apartment complex, Price said.
A picture posted by Joseph Nickell of several weapons he owned. (Facebook)
Authorities didn’t give a motive for the shootings, which remain under investigation.
James Kelly Caudill, pastor at Tom’s Branch Free Will Baptist Church, said Nickell had been through treatment, but seemed to suffer a setback after his sister, Becki, died several months ago, according to the Herald Leader.
“This boy … he just never did really get over that. I think it just inflamed his addiction,” Caudill told the Herald Leader. “It just come to a head.”
He and his parents attended morning and evening worship services together Feb. 4. That night, Nickell sat between his parents on the front pew, but was “out of it” on some substance, Caudill said.
Nickell blurted out unknown words during the service, and his mother calmed him, Caudill said.
“This has been a horrific murder spree,” Price said in a Facebook post Saturday night. “There are no words to describe the heartbreak in seeing four lives taken due to the actions of one man. I have worked in law enforcement for 34 years. This is one of the most disturbing acts of violence I have ever seen.”
Price said later in another Facebook post: “Working a murder is never easy. Working the murders of four innocent people that are part of your community is even tougher.”
J.K. Rowling knows this better than most people. If you head over to the Harry Potter author’s Twitter feed, nestled among all those sweet shutdowns you’ll find plenty of helpful writing tips, as well as stories from Rowling about what it was like for her before she became a household name.
From editing advice to firsthand experiences, here are some of the tips she’s tweeted over the years.
1. The time she gave these awesome words of encouragement to a demotivated writer.
When I get lonely, you don’t just come to my mind because you’re already there. You’re permanently there. That’s why when I leave the bar and get into the Uber, they take me to your place. Because you save me when I’m lost on a Friday night. You are the refuge I seek when I need to settle the crazy. I need you to slow it down for me.
Before I met you, things were bad. Really bad. Moments would pass where I’d wonder if there was ever going to be a you and now here you are. Picture perfect. Except completely imperfect and that’s why it works. You’re the best-kept secret I’ve ever had. No one knows where I go at night anymore because I don’t need them to know. I don’t need them to prematurely judge what we’re doing before I’ve even had a chance to figure it out.
There’s nothing better than laying in your arms and listening to your heartbeat. I love the steady rise and fall of your breath. It reminds me that I too am still breathing. After everything that’s happened, you’ve managed to remind me that it’s OK to love again. You help me remember what has happened in past has happened and to leave it there. There’s no more time to waste on anything other than the now.
And God do I love the now.
All I think about when we’re not together is how to get to where you are now because you make everything feel alright.
How I even met you and fell for you is so confusing to me. I was just living my life, trying to pick the pieces of it back up to repair it and there you were. And the hell if I know how I got you to stop and talk to me. I have no idea why you said hello and why you even asked me out. I don’t know at all but I really to don’t care too. Because you’re standing right here, with that lopsided grin that makes my heart melt into a puddle. You’re the person who stood out from the rest and made it impossible to resist you.
And man did I try to resist you.
I made up so many reasons in my head why this wouldn’t work. Why there was no way you could be as genuine of a person that you are. There was no way you were going to be this big amazing thing in my life but you are.
There’s just something about you. Something that makes me feel brand new. Something that makes my heart stop when you say my name. Something that sends chills up my spine the second your fingertips connect with my skin. No matter how hard I try, I’ll never be able to figure out how you’ve captivated me in such a way.
You’ve changed the way I see things. You’ve made dancing in the kitchen more appealing than any club. You’ve made me feel beautiful when I’m just wearing sweatpants. You’ve made me feel like the funniest person when you laugh at some dumb joke I’ve made. You make me feel like it’s OK to be me and that’s the best gift anyone’s ever given to me.
Everyone else in my life has always been a stopover but you, well you’re my destination. And I feel so ecstatically happy to be here.
My husband walked in the door with a smile after having taken our middle child to an appointment, and I was just turning off the water at the kitchen sink. As it made a gurgling sound going down the drain I dried my hands on a striped towel and deposited a kiss on my husband’s lips.
“Hey, babe!” I said, then I leaned against the counter nonchalant.
He walked into the tidy living room to lay down his phone, but quickly returned with incredulous eyes.
“How did you get so much done with the baby here?” He asked in surprise. “Has she been upstairs this whole time?”
I heard the tiny feet overhead that sounded like a trampling elephant.
“No,” I answered. “She just now went up there.”
Then I proceeded to share how I had given her and her sister a bath, dressed her and fed them. I explained about kissing booboos and giving attention while also loading the washing machine and dishwasher.
“I guess I’m just good at multitasking,” I answered.
He nodded agreement, but his facial expression still radiated awe.
I smiled satisfied.
There’s a lot of things I feel like I’m pretty good at. I feel like I’m an above average nurse for my patients, and I like to think I’m a good friend and sister when people need me. I’m a decent writer, and I even learned I have some valuable leadership skills when I started my own business a couple of years ago. Despite many days of feeling like I’m a failure at motherhood, when my kids run to me excitedly with love in their eyes after I get home from work, I realize I’m a good mom. My husband tells me I’m a great wife, and his silence as he scarfs down supper tells me I’m a skilled cook. Of all the many hats I wear, I realize one thing holds them all in harmony. My superhero strength of multitasking. All women have it, I think. It’s like it’s coded specifically into our DNA.
Recently my husband has been able to spend more time home with our children. He’s gotten more involved in their homeschooling and the day-to-day business that is running a house. I think he’s always known my job at home was a full one, but I’m not sure he realized just how difficult it can be to get it all done. The fact is, you don’t. You just do what you can. Recently I was at work at the hospital and I received a text from him:
“I will do my best to fill your shoes around here today, but you may have to bear with me since it’s kind of new to me still. You are my best friend, lover, and partner in this wonderful life God has given us and I just want you to know you are very appreciated by me 😘.”
His words proved to me that he saw me, he saw how hard I worked around the house, and he acknowledged that he couldn’t do it like me. So many times women want to be able to do all the things that men can do, but in that, they lose sight of all the things they can do that men cannot. Women have unique talents that set them apart, multitasking being a big one. We are usually, natural nurturers, and we hold a compassion level and emotional connection with others that cannot be compared. We see problems and the world around us from a wise and distinctive perspective, and we’re typically excellent planners and solvers. For me, it’s nice to be able to work outside of the home, but it’s also wonderful to be appreciated for the work I do at home. I’m blessed my husband sees my success in both arenas.
He may not ever be able to multitask around the home like I do, and that’s ok. I wouldn’t want him to be like me because then he wouldn’t be the special man he is. Some things women just do better than men, and it’s ok to be proud of that. We as women should be proud of who we are as human beings. We are definitely fearfully and wonderfully made!
As the years pile on, all sitcoms will start to rely on old tropes and recycled plots. Whether it’s the clip show, the very special episode, or a terrible spoof of Cyrano de Bergerac, we keep seeing the same things over and over again, and will almost certainly continue to do so until the Earth falls into the sun. But sometimes the repetitions are so bizarrely specific that we can’t help but wonder if something else is going on here …
Santa Is A Real, Magical Being … And No One Finds That Amazing
An absurd number of otherwise-straightforward sitcoms have Christmas episodes wherein Santa Claus reveals himself to be unambiguously real. And yet instead of rewriting everything these characters know about reality, they seem to accept it as an everyday part of life. They are perfectly comfortable living in a world where no one laughs at jokes, romantic tension between friends lasts for years, and magic is absolutely a thing.
In The Nanny, Mr. Sheffield injures his butt on Christmas Eve, and while the Nanny and Co. are in the hospital, a crazy old man in a Santa suit gets thrown in the bed beside his. The nurses, naturally, refuse to believe the man is the real Santa, but when the clock strikes midnight, he’s mysteriously flown out the window, and the characters all look up at him as he chants “HO HO HO!” Those people should be screaming, “No! NO! NO ONE WILL BELIEVE US!” as their entire understanding of all things is shattered. Instead they’re warmed by the Christmas spirit that lives inside each of us as a flying man laughs at them from the sky.
Sony Pictures Television“Yes, I am real. Which means I know of your dark deeds, little girl. All of them.”
In the SECOND EPISODE EVER of Night Court, a crazy ol’ drunk claiming to be Santa Claus gets taken downtown, but it’s gradually revealed that he knows everything about everyone’s childhoods, down to the last intimate detail. Then he offers Harry Anderson the opportunity to succeed him as Santa. Again, this is the second episode, and they have already established that this courtroom exists in a world where Kris Kringle wants the judge to take over as the actual, real Santa Claus. And the next 191 episodes take place with all the characters in the show knowing that.
Warner Bros. Television“Yes, I’m the real Santa. Live with that. And live with this: One of you is an impostor. You have one week to find it before it becomes you. Merry Christmas!”
In Home Improvement (in the very first season!), Mark starts questioning Santa’s existence after Brad and Randy tell him that Santa died before he was born. “Wilson” then shows up dressed as Santa and gives everyone early presents, thus restoring Mark’s faith. As Saint Nick leaves, Tim remarks that it’s really nice of his neighbor to do something, only for Jill to point out that Wilson is over behind the fence, as always. So holy shit, who was Santa??? Mark stares up at the sky in wonder …
ABC Studios“One day your father will kill me in a feature film, young man! And anything that kills Santa becomes Santa! Why, 17 years ago, I was diabetes!”
In a near-identical twist, a Christmas episode of Gilligan’s Island from almost 30 years earlier featured Santa visiting the castaways and bringing them gifts. They all assumed it was the Skipper dressing up to lift their spirits, but when Santa walks away, the Skipper immediately enters … from the other direction! HOLY WHAT THE WHOA NOW.
Warner Bros. Television
Warner Bros. Television“Wow, the real Santa was here!? You know what this means, Gilligan!?” “Yes. He … he could have flown us away but … he left us. He left us here to die, Skipper.”
Santa’s even real in an episode of fucking ER, a show that won 22 Emmys. A normally non-insane character screams into the night, “There’s no God, there’s no Christmas … THERE IS NO FRICKIN’ SANTA CLAUS!” Suddenly, snow starts to fall and he looks up to see how wrong he was. Santa is flying overhead, laughing at him. Seriously, this really happened. On ER. Watch this crazy shit.
Warner Bros. Television“This … isn’t, like, a metaphor? He’s … a flying present baron who watches us all?”
Each of these characters has a legitimate reality-shattering experience, and then proceeds to live the rest of their lives completely unaffected. Not ONE time in the subsequent episodes of any of these shows does one character turn to another and say, “Pretty crazy how Santa’s been real this whole time, huh? Puts your little two-dates-for-the-dance problem into perspective, huh?”
Cars Crash Into Houses All The Damn Time
In an episode of Full House from March 1990, Stephanie decides to drive Joey’s car without his permission. In a wacky mix-up that car manufacturers could have never predicted, she mistakes the “R” on the gearshift for the radio and backs the thing straight into the kitchen.
Warner Bros. Television“Let’s have Joey come in and say, ‘YOU CAN’T PARK THAT HERE!‘” “I like that, but maybe instead Danny enters screaming, ‘WHAT THE- WHAT IS THIS! FUCK! FUCK!!! YOU STUPID GODDAMN KID!’” — Full House Writers Room, 1990
In an episode of Family Matters from later that same year, Eddie (who apparently didn’t watch the TGIF show right before his) also drives a car against his parents’ wishes, and does it straight into a house.
Warner Bros. Television“Let’s maybe have Urkel say, ‘YOU CAN’T PARK THAT HERE!’” “That’s good! I had the note Carl enters with gun drawn, firing six rounds into the windshield, screaming, ‘I’LL KILL YOU, MOTHERFUCK- wait, EDDIE!?’” — Family Matters Writers Room, 1990
But driving a car into your own home is a sitcom tradition going back decades. In an episode of the ’80s show Silver Spoons, Ricky Schroeder’s grandfather crashes the car into the house.
Sony Pictures Television“Let’s have Kate say, ‘Wha- wha!? You can’t park that in here!’” “What if instead she just dies? Dies from shock right there on the floor? Because life is nothing? All life is nothing? Ha ha, yeah. — Silver Spoons Writers Room, 1982
Marie manages to get the entire damn car into the house on Everybody Loves Raymond, which prompts a discussion about whether old people should still be driving. These people manage to turn the tiniest misunderstanding into 22 minutes of awkward hijinks, but they live in a world in which everyone they know gets killed by a speeding car while watching TV in their own home.
CBS Television“They have a bake sale? He gets a job as a Sherpa? I … I’m out of ideas.” “Me too. Let’s check to see if anyone’s driven a car into the house yet.” “Yeah! And then one of them goes, ‘YOU CAN’T PARK THAT HERE!’” “Ha ha ha ha ha ha! — Everybody Loves Raymond Writers Room, 1996
Something about a laugh track seems to attract vehicular manslaughter, because it happened again in The Suite Life Of Zack And Cody, when London drives into a building.
Walt Disney Television“I want to die. Kill me.” “We do it together. On three. One. Two.” *BANG* — The Suite Life Of Zack And Cody Writers Room, 2005
This doesn’t only happen when a stupid kid or an elderly idiot gets behind the wheel. Sometimes sitcom characters do it on purpose, like this jealous lover in the ’90s show Wings.
CBS Television“You can’t park that here?” “Fine.” — Wings Writers Room, 1990
Warner Bros. Television“How!? What!? Where are we!?” “The question isn’t where. It’s WHEN.” — Two And A Half Men Writers Room, 28,000 B.C.
There are many questions here, several about creative bankruptcy, but most pressing is: How fast does someone have to be driving to crash a car THROUGH a house? The answer, as any Mythbuster will tell you, is “any speed, so long as it’s a plot point.”
Basically Every ’90s Black Sitcom Had A Pool Hustling Episode
Of all the weirdly specific things to happen multiple times across multiple sitcoms, this might be the weirdest and most specific. The first time it happened was in a 1990 episode of Family Matters, when Eddie Winslow beats his friend at pool and gets cocky. He takes that cockiness to a local pool hall, where he promptly gets hustled out of $250 by a Texan named Boyd Higgins. Urkel then tries to win the money back, but Urkel is only magically good at chess, science, basketball, poker, and bowling. He sucks at pool. Luckily, Carl shows up, and it so happens that while this was never, ever mentioned before, he is in fact a world-class pool player. He sinks shot after shot, then turns the cue over to the family’s grandma, who hits a quadruple bank shot to win the money back. The kids and the hustler learn a valuable lesson about … how the last person to hustle someone in a chain of hustles is the good guy?
Warner Bros. Television“I sharked a kid.”
In an episode of The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air that aired THREE MONTHS LATER, Will drives Uncle Phil’s Benz to a seedy pool hall, where he proceeds to crush a bunch of locals and become hilariously cocky. He then goes down $300 against a local hustler named Charlie Mack, and has to put up his uncle’s car for collateral. Uncle Phil then shows up and turns out to be … hold on a second … a world-class pool player? He sinks trick shot after trick shot and wins back the money (plus $600), teaching the kids and the hustler a lesson: The good guy is the hustler who’s holding the money when the credits roll.
Warner Bros. Television“That’s why they call me Bel-Air Fats.”
Half a decade later, in a 1996 episode of The Steve Harvey Show, a kid named Bullethead crushes some locals and gets lesson-learning cocky. He ends up losing the school’s field trip money to two hustlers named Raven and Jody. This prompts Steve Harvey and Cedric the Entertainer to win back the money by dressing in African garb and pretending to be clueless Rwandan tribesmen who have never heard of pool. They win all the money back with a montage of trick shots and teach the same lesson: Only gamble against people who are worse than you at pool.
In 1995, there were episodes of Martin AND Living Single in which the main characters get hustled at pool halls. Queen Latifah’s sudden pool skills win back all the money in Living Single, but of all the wacky characters Martin knows, none of them are secretly world-class pool players. This was probably because his wig kept falling off when he played, and not because of a choice made by the writers. Still, it led to this being the only black sitcom of the ’90s wherein a character lost his or her money to a pool shark without winning it back via magically lucky circumstances. And so Martin remains, as ever, an unimpeachable bastion of realism.
There Are An Awful Lot Of Monkeys In Sitcom Worlds
Sitcom universes operate according to their own internal logic, but they overlap on one specific gag: Monkeys will be a part of your family or friend group at some point in your life. Which is odd, because monkeys are not really a fixture of the urban American landscape. In fact, in 19 states, it’s not even legal to own a monkey unless you’re a zoo. Which makes a lot of sitcom stories not only stupid, but also state monkey crimes.
Monkey plots in sitcoms fall into a few categories. One classic is the monkey-from-the-zoo episode, like the time Kramer has to apologize to one on Seinfeld.
Sony Pictures Television“I’m sorry, Jerry! I didn’t know Santa Claus was real when I made that wish!”
On Full House, they somehow end up bringing a chimpanzee home, which is cute, but also the reason we don’t call them the Olsen Triplets anymore.
Warner Bros. Television“Drop in to see the Tanners go BANANAS, Tuesdays at 8:30! My face! IT TOOK MY FACE.”
The zoo conceit works because it gives the show an air of plausibility. Zoos exist in cities, so it’s sort of possible that the animals might have to be temporarily placed into the homes of non-zookeepers with unpredictable, fragile children. But what’s really strange is how often we see sitcom characters straight up get a monkey as a pet. Monkeys are not great pets. They poop, throw poop, and screech maniacally as they tear out your eyes, which is why New York absolutely doesn’t allow them as pets. Yet here is Ross, palling around with little Marcel.
Warner Bros. TelevisionState crime? More like great time! Ross and Friends are Monkeyin’ around every Thursday at 8:30! My lips! Jesus Christ! It tore off my lips!
And here’s Jenna with her gibbon-son.
Universal Television“And this fall, 30 Rock is turning prime-time to PRIMATE time! AIIIEEE!
In Family Matters, Urkel ends up with a pet ape, which, according to Illinois law, means his home is classified as a research facility or zoo, making this only the 123rd most ridiculous thing to happen on that show.
Warner Bros. Television“How about … ‘SHE’S MUCH PRETTIER THAN YOUR LAST GIRLFRIEND, STEVE.’” “It’s good … but what if instead, the ape goes insane and tears off all of their genitalia? Absolutely all of them?” “WRITE IT. — Family Matters Writers Room, 1989
The Big Bang Theory, an abyss of diarrhea popular among the over-medicated, also has a pet monkey, and this one … smokes!? *laugh track*
Warner Bros. Television*laugh track* B A Z I N G A *laugh track continues*
Besides the visiting monkey and the illegal pet monkey, there’s a stock plot even more dangerously wacky: the evil monkey. Here’s one from the worst episode of How I Met Your Mother, in which a monkey villain robs Marshall at banana-point.
20th TelevisionIs that a gun, or did you tear off somebodys genitals again?
20th TelevisionSo at least its somewhat realistic.
And in Community, the school is terrorized by Annie’s Boobs, a kleptomaniac monkey living in the vents.
Sony Pictures TelevisionThe first thing it stole? Our hearts. The second thing? Our genitalia.
Of all the overused tropes, this is the easiest to forgive, because monkeys are the best. After all, if you had the opportunity to replace someone at your job with a monkey, wouldn’t you do it? They’re silly, they look hilarious in people clothes, and death by monkey is easily in the top 50 ways to die.
The Dumb Character Suddenly Becomes Smart
Every sitcom has a character who is helplessly, impossibly stupid. And somewhere in that grind of writing hundreds of episodes where the gang has to spend the night in a haunted house or inherits a race horse, some writer will eventually suggest, “What if they became, like, smart?” It’s like the plot to Lawnmower Man, which was a much more cyber version of the classic Daniel Keyes book Flowers For Algernon.
It happens in an episode of The Simpsons when they find a crayon has been lodged in Homer’s brain for over 30 years. The moment they remove it, he becomes supremely intelligent but also sort of an asshole, so everybody starts hating him except Lisa. So he does the only thing that makes any sense: He has Moe hammer a crayon back up into his brain to get dumb again. To make this more soul-crushing, he does it right after he bonds with Lisa over the loneliness caused by their unrelatable intelligence. Yes, in a beloved, long-running comedy cartoon, a father kills the only person who will ever understand his daughter so he can enjoy beer more. And it’s not the only time this smart-then-dumb-again trope got depressing.
In an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, it’s discovered that Patrick has had a piece of coral acting as his brain for years, thereby making him the dullest water creature in all of Bikini Bottom. At first he’s happy with his newfound intelligence, but when it starts making his friend miserable, he yanks out his brain and puts the coral back in. The point is, everyone hates the smart, so try to be dumber.
Futurama even did a version of this plotline wherein the monkey, Gunther, decides his intelligence comes with too much responsibility, so he reduces his brain power voluntarily.
John Stuart Mill, the Utilitarian philosopher, famously asked: Is it better to be a dissatisfied Socrates or a perfectly satisfied pig? It’s a complex problem worth discussing with the humans and pigs you know, but as you can see, cartoons vote pig every time.
Characters Always Get Stuck In Elevators (And Usually Assist in Childbirth)
If you ever find yourself in an elevator with a wacky neighbor, a monkey, or a pregnant woman, get the fuck out. That elevator is going to get stuck between floors. A sitcom actor gets trapped in an elevator with a crowning pregnant woman every eight minutes. Like in the Saved By The Bell episode “Earthquake,” where Zack and friends throw a baby shower for Mr. Belding’s wife in order to avoid a physics test. Unfortunately, they get in an elevator right as an earthquake strikes, and they end up turning the place into a maternity ward.
Universal Television“And that, kids, was my wife’s gaping, placenta-squirting birth canal!”
This has been happening for generations. In the All In The Family episode “The Elevator Story,” lovable racist Archie Bunker is trapped in an elevator with several nonwhites, and one of them starts pushing out a baby. It’s uncomfortable.
Sony Pictures TelevisionAll of it is very uncomfortable.
A slight variant happened on WKRP In Cincinnati. In an episode called “Fire,” a fire alarm sends the whole crew home early, except for Herb and the woman he sexually harasses on the show for laughs, Jennifer. They end up trapped in the elevator together, and while she doesn’t have a baby, Herb does confess to spreading rumors that he had sex with her. It’s less gooey than childbirth, but just as disgusting.
In “Porko II,” an amazingly titled episode of Gimme A Break, Nell Carter hosts a meeting for her weight loss group, PORKO. Yes, PORKO. The head of the group shows up, and they all mock him for regaining the weight he lost. But oh no! The PORKO members soon find themselves stuck in an elevator that can’t handle all their porking weight. In the end, Nell talks their leader out of suicide, and everyone agrees to lose two pounds a week. That’s what TV used to be like, kids.
Universal Television“Yes, this is Nell Carter, and YES, I am stuck in the elevator again! Oh no, you did NOT just laugh.”
In the Night Court episode “The Blizzard,” lady-chasing sex addict Dan gets stuck in an elevator with a … a gay man!?
Warner Bros. Television“Let’s have them sleep together?” “Like, full penetration!?” “That’s not what I meant, but maybe?” — Night Court Writers Room, 1984
And can you imagine getting stuck on an elevator with two sumo wrestlers!? The writers of Night Court could, in the episode “Earthquake!”
Warner Bros. Television“Are we crazy?” “Fuck you, talking bug monster.” — Night Court Writers Room, 1985
OK wait, this can’t be right. In yet another episode of Night Court, “The Blues Of The Birth,” Christine gets trapped in an elevator with two men and goes into labor. It took them a couple of tries, but Night Court, the industry leader in trapping actors in elevators, finally delivered its first elevator baby!
Warner Bros. Television“Oh! You know where we should have Christine give birth?” “Yes. Totally on the same page.” “Say it together on three. One. Two.” “ELEVATOR!” “CAR DRIVEN BY MONKEY CRASHING INTO COURTR- oh, thats OK, too, I guess … — Night Court Writers Room, 1986
Joel B. Kirk resides in the San Francisco Bay Area and thinks the retro ’80s music group The Midnight is too cool for words.
The original meme, which took over the internet in 2017, shows a man distracted by an attractive woman while his girlfriend looks at him in disgust. It’s the meme that just keeps giving, in part because any of the original characters can be substituted for just about anyone—or anything.
The Mario version of the meme plays on Mario’s relationships with Princess Peach and Pauline, who were both damsels in distress that Mario rescued in various games. But if we’re basing the romantic connection off of Super Mario Odyssey, neither seem to be interested in the ex-plumber protagonist.
Pauline, the original damsel in distress in Donkey Kongand mayor of New Donk City in the recent Odyssey, plays the part of the attractive woman in her signature red dress, while Mario is the “distracted” boyfriend. Princess Peach gives him that “wtf” look everyone has come to love.
Since Pauline’s revival as a prominent character in Super Mario Odyssey, fans have shipped her with Mario and questioned the relationship of the trio.
In a recent Q&A YouTube video published by Nintendo, Super Mario Odyssey producer Yoshiaki Koizumi was asked to describe the relationship between Mario, Peach, and Pauline.
Most people know that global hunger is a pressing issue — but what you may not know is that food waste is equally concerning.
This doesn’t seem to make sense: How is it that so many go hungry if there’s so much usable food heading to landfills? If you think the issue of food waste is counterintuitive, you’re not alone. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals outline a series of objectives to tackle global problems including hunger and food waste, among others.
There are a number of entrepreneurs who recognize that food waste is an unacceptable problem in our modern world — and they’re doing their part to bring the UN’s SDGs like zero hunger, sustainable agriculture practices, and sustainable consumption and production to fruition. Below are five individuals who are making a serious impact on every level of the food waste chain — from farming and agriculture to supermarkets and retail, all the way down to the individual consumer.
Campaigning to improve every link of the “food waste” chain.
When Tristram Stuart was just a teenager, he noticed a problem that many of us have likely observed at one point or another: Supermarkets, restaurants, bakeries, and grocers throwing away bins full of perfectly usable food.
“We were wasting food at every link in the entire chain,” Stuart says in a video detailing his philosophy behind Feedback, the company he started in 2009 to address the problem of food waste. Feedback organizes action and awareness campaigns (as well as events) that target food waste from — literally — the ground up. From working with governments and international institutions to educating businesses and rallying grassroots organizations and the public, the group aims to be a catalyst for changing global attitudes about food waste.
Stuart has dedicated his career to the issue; while researching for his book Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal, he realized how many of the food waste issues facing supermarkets are tied up in buying policies and cosmetic standards — and sometimes, even stemming from obscure governmental regulations. He founded Feedback to fight these policies on a systemic level.
Feedback’s first awareness event took place in London’s Trafalgar Square in December 2009 and fed 5,000 people — and the resulting media coverage was a catalyst for the UK government to change some of its policies about food waste. Today, Feedback has hosted similar events in 45 cities, and has had significant global impact on the way the world views waste.
Mitigating post-harvest losses for farmers in developing nations.
In Nigeria, Kenya, and Zimbabwe, more than 35 million tons of fruits and veggies are produced each year. Yet, according to startup ColdHubs, 45% of this food spoils due to inadequate storage methods. And beyond this region of the world, post-harvest losses of fresh fruits and vegetables affect 470 million farmers and retailers in other developing nations. The bottom line: Small farmers may lose as much as 25% of their annual income due to spoilage.
Enter Nnaemeka Ikegwuonuu, a Nigerian agriculturist. His startup is a social venture that produces modular, walk-in cold rooms that extend the shelf life of perishable foods — and not just by hours or days, but by weeks. The rooms are fueled by solar panels and high-capacity batteries, making them an eco-conscious solution for portable refrigeration.
The company designs, assembles, installs, and commissions these rooms, which farmers purchase on a pay-as-you-store subscription model. Ikegwuonuu has long-term goals for ColdHubs: He plans to have 1,000 units operating in the next five years.
While food waste on a mass scale often occurs on the front lines of consumerism (places like grocery stores and supermarkets) or on an agricultural level, in the developed world, almost half of all food waste takes place in the home. Entrepreneur Tessa Cook wanted to do something to cut down the £13 billion worth of food that the UK collectively throws out each year.
“It’s crazy that our solution to too much good food is to throw it away, and that there’s been no innovation since the rubbish bin,” says Cook.
To combat this issue, Cook and co-founder Saasha Celestial-One started OLIO, a free app that connects neighbors with local shops and cafes so that surplus food can be repurposed. The app (available for both Android and iPhone) is simple to use: Just snap a photo of items you wish to discard, and neighbors receive alerts and can request whatever piques their interest. Pickup is arranged via private message.
There are multiple use cases for the app, Cook explains: Like when families go on a diet, move home, leave for vacation, over-cater a party, or receive unwanted gifts. (Finally, something to do with all those holiday fruit cakes.)
“Demand for surplus food is incredibly high, with 40% of listings requested in less than an hour, and 86% of listings requested in less than 24 hours,” Cook says. The app, which launched in the UK in January 2016 and globally in October 2016, has accrued more than 225,000 users to date.
“So many go hungry and the environmental consequences are nothing short of devastating,” says Cook. “OLIO aims to make food sharing a viable alternative to the bin, and to do so in a way that is simple, convenient, and fun.”
So, what about food waste that’s already on its way to the landfill? Amanda Weeks is an entrepreneur tackling the problem from another angle: Using waste as a resource.
Industrial/Organic, Weeks’ Brooklyn-based startup tackling food recycling in urban areas, finds ways to put the water, energy, and nutrients of food waste to work. Through a multi-step recovery process (technically termed “anaerobic fermentation”), the company plans to up-cycle waste into bio-based products including household cleaners, fragrances, and organic fertilizer. It goes beyond composting; the process generates no methane, and produces fewer emissions and odors than other solutions.
“Our approach closes several crucial loops necessary to support public health, environmental resilience, and economic growth,” explains the Industrial/Organic website. “We reclaim the resources spent on food that is wasted, and reuse them to create a more sustainable system for future generations.”
Coming full circle: Up-cycling waste for agriculture.
Keiran Olivares Whitaker‘s company, Entocycle, takes another creative approach to food waste recycling — harnessing the power of nature.
“We are using nature to fight on two fronts: Tackling both the food waste we create, and the unsustainability of the protein farming industry,” explains Whitaker.
Entocycle transforms food waste into sustainable, protein-based feed for the agriculture industry — all using the power of insects. The company is developing the first fully automated “smart factory” that produces insect protein meal.
“Insects are nature’s recyclers, and a natural food for animals,” Whitaker explains. Entocycle’s darlings are black soldier flies, which transform food rubbish — things like spent beer grains, potato peelings, and fruit and vegetable waste — into viable animal feed pellets. The system employs vertical farming, so it’s able to produce large volumes of product in very small spaces. The whole up-cycling process takes less than a week.
Entocycle’s facility is currently up and running in the heart of London. In collaboration with the Good Kitchen accelerator program, Entocycle aims to revolutionize the $150 billion animal feed industry, eventually replacing environmentally destructive solutions like fish and soy meal.
Partnership for the goals: Achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals
This paper for the WEF Annual Meeting explores our progress in meeting our commitment to the UN SDGs, in particular our pledge to raise USD 5bn of client money within five years to fund the SDGs. We unveil more than 30 partnerships which UBS has forged with public and private organizations to support positive social and environmental change.
This is a tiny reminder to check in on your wife’s well being. Emotionally, spiritually, and physically. She might be really tired out, but not communicating with you about it very well. It’s quite possible she doesn’t even fully recognize it herself. Women tend to absorb the stress of their family members, and if not careful, they can burn out fast. Your wife might be so capable that even you expect her to handle everything with ease. But she can’t keep up that kind of pace. She needs you to have her back. Don’t let her take on the world because the world isn’t always very kind. Be the buffer.
Don’t let her work her fingers to the bones trying to be everything to everybody. This makes for a very miserable wife, and when the stress starts spilling over, everyone feels her pain.
When people are under a lot of pressure, they are less kind to others. When they feel like they can’t catch their breath, they will snap at those closest to them. If you aren’t considering your wife’s needs, don’t be shocked when she isn’t acting loving towards you. There is an old saying that expresses this perfectly: hurting dogs bite. If your wife is being negative and short-tempered, she might be barely holding it all together.
I have a great picture hanging up in my kitchen of a dashing rooster and his lovely hen. The rooster is standing watch next to his mate looking very serious. Nothing is going to happen to his chicken-wife on his watch. He is on the wall. Above them are the words, “Protect what you love.”
Plain and simple. Guard the gift God gave you.
Make sure she is getting the rest she needs. Give her downtime so she can breathe and reflect. Carve out time for her to spend time with the Lord. Maybe her days are so chaotic and demanding, she can’t even hear her own thoughts anymore. Give that poor woman a break and baby her a little. If she can’t seem to cope, make the way a little easier for her. If she is screaming at you, try looking at the big picture. Maybe she is so very tired and feeling isolated. Everything is easier as a team. Are you being a teammate? Can she lean on you when she needs help? If so, BRAVO. If not, don’t complain that your marriage sucks.
Talk with her about her schedule and see if there is anything she can whittle away. Women are really good at filling every nook and cranny with things to do. They are superheroes at multi-tasking, but eventually, crash and burn. Take off her cute little cape, fold it up, and lock it away in a drawer. Tell her to slow down because you care about her and want her to enjoy some peace. She is not to save the day. She is to take a nap.
While you are not her Savior, and shouldn’t carry that burden around, you are there to protect her. She has one knight in shining armor with skin on in this world. You. There isn’t another person that can make a greater impact in her life. Don’t let a great opportunity slip by. When you love your wife well and make sure she is holding up, she will deeply appreciate you. By putting her first, you will build trust and intimacy between you. You will spark in her feelings of joy and gratefulness. Deep down, we all want someone to love us and protect us. We want to know we matter. And we want our efforts to be appreciated. This gives us inspiration to keep going. Inspire her!
Look your wife in the eyes. Make sure there is a sparkle. Check in with her and ask her how she is doing. Pray for her. Walk beside her. Be her friend. Because this might be just the thing she is needing. If her face looks grouchy, maybe it’s because she is ready to flip out from all work and no play. We all need fun every now and then. Including your wife. She wasn’t put on this earth to simply slave away. In fact, she was once a girl. She is all grown up, but in that heart of hers are the same hopes and dreams. I am sure she has set aside many things for her family. This is precious and reflects God’s sacrificial love, but she needs space to slow down and hear God’s voice. She was created for His glory, not yours.
I am sorry if this sounds harsh, but it’s very important that you address your wife’s needs, so she can better care for yours. It’s amazing how that works out. It’s brilliant.
Pray and protect. Watch and listen. In that order.
Since he was elected in 2016, Donald Trump has tweeted more than 60 times about how great the stock market has performed under his leadership.
The world was gloomy before I wonthere was no hope, Trump tweeted a month before he was sworn in as president. Now the market is up nearly 10% and Christmas spending is over a trillion dollars!
If the Dems (Crooked Hillary) got elected, your stocks would be down 50% from values on Election Day, he tweeted a year later. Now they have a great future – and just beginning!
Yet for some reason, the president has been oddly quiet about the stock market on Twitter this week after the Dow Jones Industrial Average dove 1500 points on Monday before closing down 1100, wiping out all of those great early 2018 gains Trump eagerly continued to take credit for.
That changed Wednesday morning, when he finally found someone to pin to the economy besides himself. And it was perhaps his favorite target: the media.
In his first public comments about the global market rout, Trump wrote, In the old days, when good news was reported, the Stock Market would go up. Today, when good news is reported, the Stock Market goes down. Big mistake, and we have so much good (great) news about the economy!
During Trumps silence, officials from past administrations acknowledged the political peril of basking in the stock markets temporary glow.
Even though the stock market tripled under Bill Clinton, his view was that you should always focus your policies and your public messages on bread-and-butter kitchen table issues, economic adviser Gene Sperling to both Clinton and Obama told Reuters this week, and that focusing on the stock market would take your eye off the real economy.
President Obamas former White House Press Secretary Jay Carney put it more bluntly on Twitter:
According to Americas current businessman in chief, if the stock market goes up, he deserves all the credit. But when it goes down, the media must be reporting all that good (great) news about the economy wrong. He thinks he can claim the rise without owning the fall.
Pasadena-based hardware startup Miso Robotics just got a big vote of confidence from investors, in the form of a $10 million Series B. This latest windfall led by Acacia Research Corporation brings the company’s total disclosed funding to $14 million and arrives as it ramps up production and gets ready to deliver its hamburger-cooking robot Flippy to 50 CaliBurger locations.
“We’re super stoked to use this funding to develop and scale our capabilities of our kitchen assistants and AI platform,” CEO/co-founder Dave Zito said on a call with TechCrunch ahead of the announcement. “Our current investors saw an early look at our progress, and they were so blown away that they doubled-down.”
A robot’s view of the grill
The round also includes new investors, including, notably, Levy, aChicago-based hospitality company that runs restaurants and vending machines in entertainment and sporting venues in the U.S. and U.K. The company’s investment is clearly a strategic one, as it looks toward staffing solutions in its heavily trafficked locations.
“The Levy participation is really centered around their looking at this future world where people are increasingly wanting prepared foods,” says Zito. “People really like the idea of a kitchen assistant that can really come in and be that third hand for the overworked staff. They’re all reporting high turnover rate and increasing customer demand for fresh ingredients prepared quickly. Trying to keep that at accessible prices is hard.”
We’ve already seen a number of demos of Flippy in earlier iterations, including a peek inside the robot’s AI-based vision system back at Disrupt in September. The company promises a more public debut of the robot at the Pasadena CaliBurger location is set to arrive in “the coming weeks.”