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An Oral History of Vodka Red Bull, Dead Doctors and Rap’s Obsession with Rare Soda

The best of MEL from The Week That Was

Can you believe it’s already Halloween? Seems like just yesterday we were still stuck in the January from hell. Anyways, what’s everyone going as this year? If you’re still undecided, just don’t crib any last-minute costume ideas from Megyn Kelly, ya know? Personally, I’ve always preferred costumes that I can easily get in and out of an Uber with. Last thing you want to do is try to stuff your inflatable dinosaur suit into the back seat of a Prius. Now, if you’re planning on staying in this Halloween, no big deal — we’ll be here posting some really terrifying content for your reading pleasure over the next few days. But first, let’s take a look at the best stuff from this week:

For tears: This maddening story about Botham Jean, the black man who was assassinated in the press — just days after being assassinated in his own home by an off-duty cop. Same for this story about British women duped by boyfriends who turned out to be undercover cops assigned to spy on them.

For lols: Please laugh at us. I mean, laugh at the dumbest times we fucked up at work. Then follow that up by laughing at these mega-dumb LimeWire memes the internet has been churning out in a fit of nostalgia.

For help: Should you be freezing your sperm before you turn 40? Maybe. Should you be cutting out meat once a week? Definitely. Should you eat pizza every day for four decades? Absolutely not.

But if none of that is doing anything for you, here’s the best of the rest from The Week That Was…

Must Reads

“The Oral History of the Vodka Red Bull”
While it might be the favorite cocktail of staggering frat boys everywhere, and hold the top spot in the “drink most likely to land you in the drunk tank” sweepstakes, the vodka Red Bull actually has inauspicious origins. Bartender and MEL contributor Haley Hamilton takes us on a journey of Red Bull’s invention in Thailand to the slopes of Aspen and the after-hours party circuit in Boston. READ MORE

“Talking to the Men Who Photoshop Female Bodybuilders into Hulk-Sized ‘Fuck Warriors’”
When Oliver Lee Bateman published this story on female steroid users, he didn’t expect it to lead down a fetish rabbit hole. But that’s exactly what happened after a Facebook friend sent him a “muscle morph,” a photoshopped image of a woman’s head on the hulking body of a Mr. Universe contestant. READ MORE

“Goats Are All the Rage Right Now”
It’s easy to tell when something has reached “fad” status: Like when people are paying exorbitant amounts of money for it — or far, far more than they should. Think folks fighting over Tickle Me Elmos, or Beanie Babies going for thousands of dollars. Officially, we can add, uh, goats to the list. Because people are shelling out $40 to do yoga while a goat shits on their back, and $99 per hour to hike with a goat as part of goat therapy. What a time to be alive. READ MORE

“These Data Bros Are Making Graphs That Document Their Failing Relationships”
In a simple bar graph, redditor u/mvarun93 charted the number of times he messaged his ex-girlfriend over the course of their relationship — from the heady, text-heavy early days to the sad decline as things petered out. When he posted the graph on r/DataisBeautiful, he wasn’t expecting it to blow up. But in just a few days, it had 25,000 upvotes. Turns out, documenting the failure of a relationship through data really struck a chord with redditors. But seeing women as systems to be analyzed has some people worried. READ MORE

Five Things We Learned this Week

  1. Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is hardly alone in hating water. There’s a ton of seemingly normal people who are hydrophobic. And we spoke to a bunch of them about what it’s like risking severe dehydration to avoid H20 at all costs.
  2. Dark beer doesn’t necessarily mean unhealthy beer. That might fly in the face of everything you think you know about your suds, but styles like Porters and Stouts aren’t calorie bombs like their IPA cousins. And they’re rich in vitamins and minerals, which obviously cancels out their higher alcohol content (jk, no it doesn’t).
  3. Doctors are killing themselves at a higher clip each year than even veterans. Between 300 and 400 commit suicide each year, and yet for doctors in serious mental anguish, to talk about their issues with a professional is the equivalent of career suicide.
  4. Clean or dirty, your asshole’s gonna itch. Too clean and you might wind up with “Polished Anus Syndrome.” Too dirty and fecal matter will irritate the sensitive skin around Uranus. Basically, you’re fucked either way.
  5. Sorry, MTV Cribs — these days, rap’s hottest status symbol isn’t a Lambo in the driveway, it’s Fanta White Peach in the refrigerator. Which is why rappers from Offset to Drake are taking day trips to Northridge, California, to spend hundreds of dollars on extremely-hard-to-find sodas and snacks. And Exotic Pop — the company fueling the rare soda trend — is the hottest shit on the ‘gram.

Quotes of the Week

So there you are in all your uncircumcised glory, and your wife or girlfriend tells you she wants you to get cut. What do you do? You could start by hearing from men who’ve gotten snipped as adults, and from women who’ve asked others to have it done.

Forty-one-year-old Mike Roman has mind-bogglingly pulled off what most people only dream of: Eating pizza every day for 37 years straight, without it turning him into Fat Albert. We spoke to two nutritionists about how Roman might be pulling it off, and they were just as confounded as we were.

Meet former Ben Carson campaign manager Vernon Robinson, the man behind those racist radio ads claiming that electing a Democrat over Arkansas Congressman French Hill would bring back the Jim Crow South. What may surprise you is that Robinson is black himself — and he’s got grand designs for launching even more dogwhistle-y ads just like the French Hill one in support of other pro-life candidates.

The Weekend Binge

Yes, the John C. Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix Western The Sisters Brothers, which came out back in September, bombed. Probably because it was weird as shit. But it was hardly the first Western to fly its freak flag. In this week’s episode of The Weekend Binge, we’re serving up even weirder Westerns — from Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man to Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles to South Korea’s The Good the Bad the Weird.