Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Killer Queen

Killer Queen

I can’t remember the last time I was in a position to recommend a relatively recent arcade game; that industry isn’t exactly in growth mode, and when I do part with my hard-earned bus fare, it’s usually just to play some Golden Age staple like Ms. Pac-Man. But I can’t wait to blow another hefty chunk of change on Killer Queen, a newish indie coin-op that deserves all the cult fandom it has apparently accrued. Introduced in 2013, the “world’s only 10-player arcade strategy game” is two cabinets pressed back to back; teams of five assemble on each side, squaring off in a contest between warring species of blue and gold insects. There are multiple ways to win—kill the opposing team’s queen three times, harvest the right number of seeds, ride an agonizingly slow snail across the bottom of the screen—and all involve coordinated teamwork. But even for those who never get in sync with their fellow joystick jockeys, Killer Queen is madcap, infectious fun; it basically packs the melee mayhem of Super Smash Bros. into a strategy-game shell. Unfortunately, the game is only available in five cities: Chicago, Portland, D.C., Indianapolis, and St. Charles, Illinois. But no party game this supremely addictive can stay regional for long, right? Bonus points for the fair price of $1 per team, which makes spectacularly losing—as I did, over and over again—feel like a bargain. [A.A. Dowd]


The Katerings

If watching people cook on TV—like Martha Stewart or Ina Garten or hell, even MasterChef Junior—makes you feel horribly inadequate with your messy kitchen and less-than-perfect presentations, you will love the new web series The Katerings. The show features two Kates from Australia who offer the “journey of a food intolerant (Kate McCartney) and an intolerable foodie (Kate McLennan).” The duo spends their irreverent cooking segments making fun of everything from expensive appliances to vegans to farmers’ markets. The food-intolerant McCartney is always on a gluten- and fructose-free hunt, while sunny McLennan has a dark side that hilariously simmers to the surface occasionally (when she’s chopping onions, for example). So far the Kates have attempted to give up sugar with particularly disastrous results, and made a ragout sauce using native Australian meat; their latest episode involves making risotto using a $2,000 Thermomix, or “the kind of appliance that your rich mother-in-law gives you as a wedding gift because she doesn’t think you can cook.” Somehow this extremely fun show manages to entertain both foodies and the people who hate them. And the next time you’re chopping onions, you may feel better about the fact that at least you’re not face-deep in your vegetables, bemoaning your puffy ankles. [Gwen Ihnat]

The poop stool

What’s something that people do (mostly) every day, sometimes several times a day, that’s vital to everyone’s health and overall functioning, but that we get weird and awkward talking about? Pooping, that’s what. And something people talk about even less is how we poop. So a big thanks to the good researchers at the Stanford University Pelvic Floor Clinic, who used toilet posture studies to discover that sitting on toilets is a modern convenience that gets in the way of how our bodies were developed to poop. For a long time, we squatted, and the Pelvic Floor Center recommends squatting to its patients with ailments involving their butts. Sitting increases in hemorrhoids, constipation, colitis, appendicitis, and colon cancer. (The video below shows the mechanics of sitting versus squatting.) The Squatty Potty is a little stool that tucks underneath your toilet that you put your feet up when on the John, getting both the convenience of sitting on the toilet and the health benefits of squatting (though it should be noted that there is an active community of pro-squatters online). A step stool or anything resembling one you can put your feet on will do the trick, or you can buy a Squatty Potty online. It comes in plastic or wood, though it’s also possible to build your own. The one I have was made out of an old kitchen table, and the heavy wood adds an air of gravitas to the bathroom. Aesthetics and feeling weird about poop talk aside, using a poop stool feels great. Embrace poop health and try it. [Caitlin PenzeyMoog]

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