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The History of the Illegal ‘Alien,’ The Pissy Reason Soldiers Love Gatorade and An Ode to the Plumber’s Crack

Though it’s Alien Week (thanks, Storm Area 51!) and MEL is covering all things extraterrestrial, it behooves me to remind you that not all aliens come from outer space. Some, as our Founding Fathers remind us, come from other countries. And though for much of this country’s history, those types of aliens were, in fact, welcome, a lot has changed in how Americans feel about them.

Kinda makes you think, if we treat human “aliens” as bad as we do these days, what’ll we do to the kind that come from galaxies far, far away?

Must Read

“How ‘Illegal Alien’ Became an American Lightning Rod”
Donald Trump, in all his infinite wisdom, did not invent the term “alien” to describe a foreigner. That honor goes to George Washington, who all the way back in 1790 signed the Naturalization Act, a law that was the first of its kind to describe how an “alien” might obtain U.S. citizenship. In the nearly 230 years since, that policy has morphed into an unrecognizable behemoth — and so has the debate surrounding the use of the term “alien.” READ MORE

Major-ing for Dummies

College is one of those weird times where you’re forced to make decisions that could affect the rest of your life, a lot of which boils down to what major you choose. Problem is, and maybe I’m projecting here, many students aren’t quite sure what it is they want to do with the rest of their lives. So maybe they pick a major for less than, shall we say, intelligent reasons:

Miles Klee documented many cases where folks picked their major for silly reasons, if only to prove that it’s more common than you might think.

Take It Easy on Yourself

For too many people, the very idea of being nice to yourself sounds like a narcissistic fantasy. But it doesn’t mean you have to be selfish to a fault. It just means loving, valuing and taking better care of you.

The Bionic Man

Prostheses have been around for thousands of years, but only in the last few have they made the transition into bionic limbs. While much of the latest and greatest tech in cybernetics is still years away from being affordable for regular folk, our future as a society of cyborgs looks bright.

Engine Running, Gas Pumping

Is it okay to pump your gas with the engine on? If you’re used to cold, North Dakota winters, you might say, “hell yes.” It’s true that, odds are, nothing bad will happen if your engine happens to be running while you’re filling up. But there’s a slight chance that things could go south in a hurry under the right (wrong?) circumstances.

The Real Star of ‘High School Musical’

When High School Musical came out all the way back in 2006, screenwriters clearly positioned Troy Bolton (as played by Zac Efron) as the protagonist people could identify with. How mad must they be, now, that instead of Troy being the character that pushed a generation of kids to believe in themselves, it’s the movie’s “villainess,” Sharpay Evans, a spoiled rich girl, who’s bopped on top?

Crack Kills

When you think of the kind of person most likely to offer you a cursed look at their ass crack, you’d probably think of a plumber. No doubt, the bit about plumbers and asses is long and storied. But how long and storied? Brian VanHooker scoured deep into the online crevasse to see just how far back the old gag goes.

Gatorade: A Soldier’s Port-O-Potty

There aren’t many tools in a soldier’s toolbox as versatile as a plastic bottle of Gatorade. Yes, it’s hydrating and there are good flavors. But also, it makes for a wonderful tactical piss bottle, whether stuck in an armored personnel carrier on mission, or in the barracks when getting up to use the head means waking 20 other guys. It’s one of those truisms about being a soldier that you won’t read about in your field manual.