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Weird Wild Stuff

Weird Wild Stuff

Words by Shelton Hull


The new year has begun and with it a feeling of freshness and new possibility … most of which will dissipate like morning fog before the end of the month. But until then, we can revel in the hope that 2023 is at least slightly less tragic than 2022. The news doesn’t stop, and neither do we, so here are a few choice nubbins that have come in since last month. Enjoy! 


In Britain, a regulatory body body called Ofcom (which has nothing to do with “The Handmaid’s Tale”) recently cited the Sky Atlantic network for an alleged computer error that allowed an uncensored episode of “Game of Thrones” to air at 7:35 a.m. local time on Aug. 19—a Saturday morning. Sadly, we don’t know what episode it was, but one assumes it was neither of the last two episodes, which the entire world has agreed to purge from the record, like those guys who were airbrushed out of photos with Stalin. British law forbids profanity on TV before 9 p.m. They also cited the channel E4 39 times for airing a re-run of Gordon Ramsey’s “Kitchen Nightmares USA,” which hopefully gives him joy.


Have you ever read the journal “Neuron”? Yeah, neither have we, but we did take note of a study published in a recent issue. A biotechnology startup called Cortical Labs (don’t let them out of your sight!) did the unthinkable: loading 800,000 individual brain cells onto a silicon computer chip and teaching them to play video games. The cells were gathered from human skin cells (turned into stem cells), as well as mouse embryos, and placed into a grid of electrodes that did the real work. Now, to be fair, they’re only playing Pong. It will be years, if not decades before they’re able to teach DishBrain how to play Mario Kart. This could greatly impact our ability to study the brain and how it functions, but for now, it’s just silly.


We don’t typically get into politics in this column because we get plenty of that elsewhere in the media, whether we want to or not. However, there were few things weirder and wilder than the jockeying that took place to decide the Speaker of the 118th Congress, which was guaranteed to be a total mess that will likely get innocent people hurt or killed later this year. Conservative Republicans took control in January after riding waves of hate speech and disinformation to victory in November. As one might expect from people who are morally bankrupt and stand for absolutely nothing, leadership is in short supply. The presumed front-runner couldn’t get enough votes because no matter how stubbornly he simps for his master Donald Trump it’s just not good enough to satisfy his deranged supporters. So they flooded the field with a veritable plethora of freaks, frauds and fools, stalling his ascent through repeated rounds of voting, all while Democrats just sat back and laughed at them. It got so bad that some Republicans actually nominated a Black guy for the job, a feat of trolling that nearly induced apoplexy among the caucus. He was eventually voted in—on the 15th ballot—which left him and his caucus effectively crippled, right out the box. Good. We wish them nothing but misery for all their days to come, and they probably wish the same for each other, as well. 


While we’re wishing misery onto others, ditto for Andrew Tate, a former champion kickboxer turned incel gawd, known for his incendiary rhetoric on gender, among other things. You will note that his attempt at trolling Greta Thunberg in December ended badly, after an errant pizza box helped give away his location, leading to his arrest on sex trafficking charges. Nothing funny about that, but note also that he faces charges in Romania, which has been fighting this problem for a long time. So long, in fact, that an organization had challenged the Romanian government to act more vigorously on these crimes, nearly two years ago. Now, here’s your punchline: They are called the “Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings” We’re not sure how, but apparently their acronym is “GRETA.” All this is total coincidence, but let’s just pretend that it’s not. 


About Shelton Hull

Shelton Hull has been writing for Folio Weekly since 1997, but his resume goes back even further. He has written for almost every newspaper, magazine and zine in Northeast Florida, as well as publications like Orlando Weekly, Narrow GNV, Creative Loafing Tampa, Charleston City Paper, Ink19 and The Atlantic. He currently writes the "Folio Weed" column, which he created in 2018; he remains one of the widest-read and most influential cannabis writers in the world today. He also compiles material for "Weird Wild Stuff" column, and he previously wrote the legendary "Money Jungle" column for Folio Weekly from 1999 to 2009. He is a regular contributor to "First Coast Connect" on WJCT, as well as the Jacksonville Music Experience. He is a co-host of "The Contrast Project" and the "Bold City Civics" podcast. He is also a co-founder of the record label Bold City Music Productions. He can be reached at [email protected].