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Fresh Hell

The best dispatches from our grim new reality

Ghost in the Shell

While we sleep, the people rise and the pasta simmers. A Florida woman has embarked upon an upwards-of-five-million-dollar lawsuit against Velveeta for their fraudulent claim that their signature Shells & Cheese macaroni can be prepared in 3.5 minutes. Well, not if you take longer to cut open the sauce packet! Not if you need to remove the lid! And what about the time it takes to microwave? In her milestone case against Big Macaroni, Amanda Ramirez has taken up the cause of lazy shut-ins across the country, alleging that the rampant false advertising of the Kraft Heinz Food Company preys upon the easily led consumer, who presumably also bought a package of hot dogs under the false impression that they would soon be supping upon canines and doesn’t find the size of the mini-Snickers “fun.” Too long have we allowed noodles to drain the brine of our dignity; let us take to the courts and demand back the time cellophane has stolen from us. Life’s like that, delicious with clause.


Breathe the Pressure

In Germany, the land of chocolate, a seventy-two-year-old woman has been arrested on suspicion of turning off her hospital roommate’s oxygen ventilator because the machine was too loud. After her first attempt to end the maddening din, she was warned by hospital staff that her fellow patient might literally die—and yet she persisted. This is of course a design blunder unique to Germany, as we more enlightened Americans have long since replaced the institutional buzz—enemy of beauty, truth, and sleep—with the sounds of hamsters rubbing their noses together, rain trickling down the roof gutters, the last ten seconds of ABBA’s “Chiquitita.” Still, it’s wrong to blame the machines altogether; there is a flaw in death’s design.


Leaf and Limb

Urban forestry has joined law enforcement in their tireless persecution of the common man, as Gothamist reports: independently contracted security firms are imprinting trees in New York with surveillance tokens that keep tabs on the homeless, the idle, and the urgent urinator. This is of course no fault of the trees themselves, which politely look the other way and see to their elves and entwives, and a flagrant despoliation of conservation laws that flies in the face of dedicated arborists, one of whom was quoted as saying, “They’re totally wounding the tree,” adding “man.” Trees are just the latest confirmation that you are being watched by the inanimate—joining soap dishes, velvet Elvis paintings, floor lamps, refrigerator magnets, yellow flowers, and the Brawny guy in judging you. And they are displeased with what they have seen.


Boning Down

A Bushwick-based hipster recently profiled by the Guardian who has an earring, flowing soft hair, and leaves the top two buttons of his diaphanous shirts unbuttoned has made a small fortune selling skeletons to weirdos over Instagram, making him perhaps the coolest living human being. A pelvis goes for $80. Fancy a femur? That’s $480. And for the classic ghoul who needs a skull to punctuate their billiard room, those are in the $6,000 range. Despite essentially updating the work of nineteenth-century resurrection men for the skinny-jeans-leopard-print-scarf-TikTok-famous jet set, Jon Pichaya Ferry, bone daddy-in-chief of JonsBones, is philosophical about his creep-friendly trade in mandibles, opining that “everybody has the right to study bones.” After all, this is likely the fate that awaits us all: reclining sans-skin in a sketchy warehouse presided over by a fancy twenty-something dressed like a pirate, a Red Bull resting upon our ad-hoc coffins while our souls barter for Charon-change with the ghosts of the champions of the Nyquil Chicken Challenge. 


Tales From the Crypto

As the fetid corpse of crypto continues to molder in its unquiet grave, the bones of its fallen luminaries are being picked over by vultures who, in the end, are no more craven than, for example, FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, broke and repentant after defrauding investors of billions of funds. Bankman-Fried was recently subject to a phishing scam that used a Deepfake and manipulated footage of his likeness to lure Twitter patrons to a suspicious website with the promise of recouping their losses in exchange for a small investment. It’s not the pot calling the kettle black so much as it is the pot appearing on an infomercial for the Psychic Hotline to fleece the kettle of the money it made speculating on Beanie Babies. The crypto bros have taken to resale sites like AutoTrader to offload their luxury automobiles now that their mileage has come to exceed their engine. Meanwhile, Black American investors in Bitcoin and the like have, as The Atlantic reports, born the brunt of the plummeting market for make-believe wealth. All that glitters is not gold and, if Mario can collect it after killing a turtle, it is unlikely to sustain your appetite for go-karts.