Why is nearly every ice bag in nearly every ice bucket in nearly every hotel in America too small for the bucket??


Why do Zuda’s webcomics blur needlessly between pages??


Why is it so hard to find black bottled ice tea without any kind of sweetener in it?? (Especially in NYC)


Why is it so hard to find official confirmation (instead of just message board chatter) on whether uncooked French green beans are really toxic or not (something I hadn’t even heard of until recently, but is apparently a “well known fact” in Europe—WTF??).


How can the employees at my local UPS office watch as people go in the wrong door due to the bad signage, day after day, month after month, year after year, FOR TEN YEARS yet never think to change the signs??

(Okay, that’s not something anyone can answer, but I had to get it out of my system).


Why are some people so passionately devoted to the movie Apollo 13? I mean, it’s a perfectly competent movie, and the box of junk scene is awesome, but what’s the big deal??


Why did it take centuries for people to realize they could put wheels on suitcases?? Is there another super-obvious design solution that we’re overlooking??

Discussion (34)¬

  1. Avram says:

    I haven’t looked recently, but I know I used to be able to get Snapple “Just Plain Tea”, which was unsweetened tea, in various Manhattan delis. And there’s a Japanese line of teas, called Teas’ Tea, that I’ve seen around, and they make an unsweetened black. This Chowhound thread from 2003 gives some suggestions.

    • Scott says:

      I might have given up looking at Snapple after so many failed attempts, but I’ll keep an eye out for that. (Snapple really owns Manhattan). I like Tejava myself, but rarely come across it out east.

      • Gary says:

        Seconding the Ito En, and Honest Tea has several unsweetened varieties (although mostly green).

        Apollo 13 was such a big deal because significant portions of it were filmed in actual zero gravity (okay, free-fall), about 30 seconds at a time, on the Vomit Comet. Hanks, Bacon, Paxton, Opie, and the camera crew may well hold the collective world record for flight time on that thing. Also, the heroes wear pocket protectors instead of mocking them.

      • Vicemage says:

        Try Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods for Tejava. I know the former has it, and I think the latter does too. And it is delicious indeed.

  2. Mike Leung says:

    Hey, Avram.

    2. The contrast to reason is experience, and the contrast to experience is reason. Therefore, we see in art the practice of presenting a disintegration of form to evoke an enrichment of experience. The fade is such a disintegration of form.

    3. Bottled unsweetened tea is available in NYC?

    4. If the green beans are instead, say, e. colified, you can’t officially say they are toxic, by definition.

    6. Not everyone baffled is a victim, but all bullies baffle someone. Maybe Apollo 13 receives the overflow of love from people baffled by 2001, and therefore cannot gush over it.

    5., 7. The command of the British Navy knew that 3 spoonfuls a day of lemon juice would prevent deaths from scurvy for 150 years, before they implemented the practice of stocking citrus on their ships. For 5 generations as we know them, they put up with whatever fraction of mortality that resulted.

    You deliver fire to man and they turn around and try to create a panic over you being a fag. It’s easier to keep your head ducked.

  3. fedora says:

    7. First they had to create nice flat roads without bumps

  4. Matt says:

    What’s the deal with airline food?

  5. simon says:

    #2: Its the easy access to special effects for the untrained to be as cool as the big boys mentality, just like lens flares in the 90s and gratuitous 3D shots will be in the 2020s.
    #7: Legs & Sentient Pearwood. (See Terry Pratchett’s Colour of Magic.)

  6. ursonate says:

    Bottled teas and iced tea by definition in this country are sweetened. However, I do highly recommend ItoEn’s Teas’s Tea which seems to be available everywhere, including strange places like Target. I usually buy it at Whole Foods or japanese grocery stores. I also like their Oi Ocha.

    And Scott, it’s going to be okay.

  7. Max Vaehling says:

    4. ‘a “well known fact” in Europe’, heh? I’m European, and I never heard of it. Now you had me look it up.

    According to German Wikipedia (which may or may not count as internet chatter), beans contain ‘Phasin’ (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phasin – couldn’t find it in the English version, sorry), which can be toxic in large doses, but it’ll cause vomiting and diarrhea first, i.e. make your body get rid of it before it breaks something.

    My 40-year-old dead tree dictionary doesn’t have an entry about Phasin, which may mean it hadn’t been discovered back then. Other sources do mention it, so I don’t think it’s a hoax.

  8. sarah says:

    #7… Now I’m gonna be thinking about that all day. This is going to bother me forever. 🙁

  9. #5. A) Because the UPS employees think it’s funny to watch. or B) Because it won’t matter. The front door to my store has a very obvious handle on it and I see people every week push or pull on the wrong side. I don’t mean they push when they should pull and vice versa, but they push or pull on the side of the door that the hinges are on, not the side that moves.

    I guess my answers boil down to A) Cruel humor and B) People are dumb.

  10. We should add wheels to everything. Word.

  11. #1, because hotels are cutting costs by using their old sandwich bags as ice bucket liners.

    That’s why you may see peanut butter or jelly smeared on the edges.

  12. NoCashComics says:

    The answers to all of these questions are as follows (pick rthe one that applys best) :

    1. People are Stupid.

    2. Just to Annoy you.

    3. Everything is better with wheels.

  13. Brian says:

    Apollo 13: Because it is almost (sadly) unique in that it presents scientific and engineering concepts accurately. Plus, it’s the primary accessible historical document about the Apollo missions. Not much else has been done that’s accurate. From the Earth to the Moon is longer and more detailed, but not many people heard about it.

    It’s really depressing as a scientist to sit and think about all the science fiction films that have been made, and realize how little actual science is in them. For the particular type of person made sad by that (and it should be obvious by now that I’m one of them), Apollo 13 was a breath of fresh air.

    P.S. – Despite a few metaphysical moments, the movie Contact was also somewhat refreshing in this regard.

  14. […] Facepuncher is back, as Huffman grabs a page from McCloud (who, as we all know, asks the really big questions about comics and other things) and uses the rudderless detective to push the boundaries of what […]

  15. Morgan says:

    I can get bottled unsweetened iced ted at my Brooklyn food co-op. Honest-T brand I believe. The catch: you’ve got to be a member of the co-op to shop there. You want me to hook you up with some?

  16. Tom Galloway says:

    Second liking Tejava. Tea’s Tea is also quite good, and easy to find in NYC (particularly oolong), but tends to be a bit expensive in my opinion.

  17. Mike Leung says:

    What do they call Apollo 13 in Spanish language countries so people are burned when they don’t see “To Chicken 13?”

  18. I have a theory about Zuda comics…

    When I press the “next” button, ideally, the next page of art would appear instantaneously. But of course there is that load time issue. Of course, they could keep the current page up with the small loading icon in the middle, but here’s the problem:

    When I press the “next” button, I’m psychologically ready to “no longer see the current page.” Seeing the un-blurred page remain after I click the button would make me feel restless.

    The blurring keeps me in the story, while at the same time moving me away from the page I’m ready to move away from.

  19. jdalton says:

    No. 7 is an interesting question. In a similar vein, why did no one invent the wheelbarrow for the first few thousand years after the wheel was invented? Not everyone has an ox or a horse to pull their cart. And yet there’s no intermediary between buying a horse and carrying everything on your back? Crazy.

  20. larrymarder says:

    If my memory of my research done some 30 years plus years ago is correct the Romans considered beans to be poisonous. If this is a belief that still exists that’s possibly where it might have started. It is akin to the earlier belief that tomatoes are poisonous. Until someone actually ate a tomato and didn’t die…everyone trusted everyone else’s word, I guess.

  21. JJ Brannon says:

    Yes, abundant flat surfaces are necessary for small roller wheels, but I understand that the key component to the development was the oral contraceptive that permitted more women to enter and advance in the workplace as it was a woman who design the rolling suitcase with extensible handle. Remember the name Debrilla Ratchford, flight attendant, for this essential innovation patented in 1978, the next time you travel.

    Oddly, this is the second discussion item I’ve encountered today related to female interaction with technology that changed society for the better.

    Lois McMaster Bujold sent me a link to her Dragon*Con interview where she notes that it was the invention of power-steering in cars that allowed more women to drive and expand their independent mobility [also fitting for Black History Month].

    Raw kidney beans are toxic. British subjects once considered tomatoes poisonous:

    It seems that Colonel Johnson, a local worthy, had eaten tomatoes in Europe and wanted to encourage local cultivation as a food crop. Naturally, he met with heated resistance from farmers who thought that tomatoes were poisonous and the Colonel was crazy. To prove to the locals that tomatoes were edible, he announced that on September 26, 1820, he would stand on the steps of the Salem County Courthouse and consume a basket of tomatoes in front of anyone who cared to come and watch him do it. Rumor has it that thousands gathered at the courthouse to watch the Colonial drop dead and were astounded when he survived. Tomato cultivation in New Jersey is said to date from this time. — http://hubpages.com/hub/History-and-Lore-of-the-Jersey-Tomato-Recipes-Tips

    Former Jersey Farm Boy,

    PS: Scott, when’s the next time you’re visiting Capt. Blue Hen’s in Newark?

  22. JJ Brannon says:

    Ooops! The noted African-American inventor was Debra Ratchford. I attached the parenthetical aside to the end of the wrong paragraph.