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Sunday Reads: A Day in the Life of a Times Square Mascot, A Very Bad Week for Disney+ and the Pups Who Failed Guide School

Whole lotta chatter about Disney+ this week, but I’m not listening. Like, I’m sure the new High School Musical series and The Mandalorian are great and all, but I’ve never been into Disney shit and I could care less about Star Wars. And now that it’s live, I can’t help but feel somewhat justified in my disdain considering that Disney has spent most of the last few days stepping on their dicks, and upsetting fans online in the process. If the “maclunkley” fiasco and The Simpsons aspect-ratio snafu are any indication, it’s only a matter of time before Disney+ does something to ruin your nostalgia content. 

But the way I look at it, that can’t happen if you never felt nostalgia toward any of it in the first place.

Must Read

I Spent a Day as a Times Square Mascot
Last week, we shipped Brian VanHooker off to Times Square wearing a shitty Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles mascot costume and asked him to pose for photos in exchange for tips — you know, all the annoying things Times Square mascots do. The whole experience turned out to be extremely depressing, however: The Naked Cowboy hated him; he barely made any money; and most of the day was spent competing among the 200 other mascots seeking attention from passersby who go out of their way to ignore the mascots’ existence. And that’s not even counting his blood feud with Deadpool. READ MORE 

The Week in Features

Goodbye, Sweet Car
Unlike a significant other, a car will never leave you (on its own volition, that is). Nor will it shout at you, or say it’s too busy to spend time with you. And while it may suck thousands of dollars out of your checking account, nothing will travel as many miles with you as a lovable, old, beat-to-shit car. That’s why, for Eddie Kim, breaking up with his 13-year-old beater has been one of the most difficult things he’s ever had to do.

Who’s Got It Better Than Me? Nooooobody
We all worry that everyone around us is happier, richer and more sexually experienced. But statistically speaking, is that truly the case? Chris Bourn crunches the very large numbers.

San Diego Superhero Squad
Ever wonder what it’s like to serve your city as a caped crusader? Actually, there’s not much to it. In San Diego, for example, there’s a group of everyday people who, come nightfall, don masks and steel-toed boots and patrol the streets looking to catch criminals in the act. Isabelle Kohn joined them for an evening, and while their intentions are good, people seemed more annoyed by their offers for help than grateful. Yet for these masked vigilantes, the few occasions where they are able to provide assistance in a hairy situation makes the whole thing worth it.

A Non-Toxic Men’s Movement
The men are not alright. Unfortunately, many of the groups advocating for men’s issues are also enforcing traditional and toxic masculinity, which totally sucks. But guys do need some kind of communal space to work through their shit, and they do need some kind of movement toward positive masculinity. But what exactly does that look like?

Doggie Dropout

The Modern Debtors’ Prison
We haven’t had debtors’ prisons in the U.S. since the early 1800s, but that doesn’t mean the risk of going to jail for neglecting to pay your debts has entirely vanished. It’s a bit of a lengthy, complicated process, but if you ignore your debt for too long, you could end up in jail. These rules only apply, though, to certain kinds of debt that –– surprise –– are more common among low-income, vulnerable populations.

Five Things We Learned This Week

  1. Being an Olympian might be an honor, but for many athletes, it’s certainly not worth its weight in gold. Sorry for the pun, but seriously, there’s no money in it. At least not for athletes like this two-time Judo Olympian who explained just how far you have to go to merely eke by.
  2. If you’ve only got two bucks, Del Taco offers the healthiest options of the fast-food value menus. But if you’ve got $5, you should head to KFC and go for the kids’ menu
  3. Masks are having a particularly sexy moment. In TV and pop culture, from Watchmen to Orville Peck, all the hotties keep their faces covered
  4. These days, bank robberies are mostly only real in the movies. Because since the late 1990s, the country has seen a sharp drop in the crime.
  5. In a recent study, 60 percent of people who regularly used hallucinogens experienced flashbacks. However, only four percent found them distressing, meaning that all those horror stories about acid flashbacks are probably myths

Quote of the Week

Meet Dr. letef Vita, a midwife, high school teacher, organic gardener, chef, and oh yeah, a hip-hop artist and producer who goes by DJ Cavem.

DJ Cavem inhabits a unique corner of the hip-hop world because he doesn’t just rap about street life — he also raps about health and wellness, all through what he’s dubbed eco hip-hop: Vegan beats and environmental rhymes based on green living. Zaron Burnett III caught up with DJ Cavem for an interview about trying to turn the ‘hood green.

But Don’t Just Take Our Word For It…