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Volume 465

Ho-ho-ho, Merry Coolsh*tmas. For your final selection of the year, we come bearing gifts of boozy boots, amphibious abominations, and a signature Christmas dinner. Don’t mention it. Over and out. See you in 2024.

Pissed in Boots.

‘Foot Pints’ sounds like a pre-drinks game a rugby team might play on their Christmas social before hitting the high street and committing crimes against humanity whilst belting out ‘Sweet Caroline’. I don’t know exactly what the rules of the game would be, but it will presumably involve drinking out of eachother’s arse cracks at some point. Rugby lad is as rugby lad does.

But actually it’s none of that; Foot Pints are Guinness’ latest marketing gimmick. The sultans of stout have this week released some new winter boots that leave Guinness imprints in the snow as you languidly trudge home at 5am on Christmas morning. You haven’t known true despair until you’ve been forced to drink out of a puddle on the side of the A20 like a paradoxically self-loathing Narcissus while being able to see families waking up to open their presents. Happened to a friend of mine.

Those of you who want to get your hands on a pair of Foot Pints can now register on Guinness’ website, and then you better pray for a white Christmas. Just don’t stay up till 5am.

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I’m Signin’ It.

This may shock you, but people in Sweden don’t only eat meatballs. I know, I was disappointed too. The betrayal. I feel like I’ve just witnessed Gary Lineker scranning a bag of McCoy’s. Flame-grilled, naturally. He’s not a complete monster.

As it turns out, 30,000 Big Macs are ordered in Sweden every single day. With the burger being so iconic, McDonald’s Sweden decided that it was high time for the Big Mac to get its own autograph. There was just one issue that presumably presented itself almost immediately: burgers don’t have hands. What a pickle. So Maccies invited Big Mac fans across the country to come together and create a signature for it.

256,000 people left their contribution in the McDonald’s app in exchange for a free Big Mac, and these signatures have now been combined using AI algorithms to create one unique autograph drawn by a robot arm. And here it is. Isn’t it… something. Does look a bit like a child drew it. Quite shaky. Must have been the Big Mac jitters. We’ve all been there. And it doesn’t help that most people eating a Maccies have likely got a skin-full of booze.

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Fret Not.

Speaking of having a skin-full, Panhead Custom Ales have been getting people nicely in the Christmas spirit courtesy of some free tinnies. But simply giving product away would be far too generous and boring. No, you must work for your ale.

The New Zealand-based brewery invented a vending machine that operates via electric guitar and is controlled by the musical abilities of the user. Equipped with a fully-custom Explorer guitar, sub and beer tap guitar stand, the ‘Slay to Pay’ vending machine uses AI audio fingerprinting to rate people’s guitar skills in real-time.

In other words, you pick up the guitar, play a riff, and if you’re deemed worthy, you get a beer. If you’re deemed unworthy, then you’re back to drinking out of puddles. And it turns out this is a rather fussy vending machine, as it apparently rejected some of the best guitarists in the country. That’s got to sting. But it’s suddenly going to be a very merry Christmas for Auckland’s more talented vagrant buskers. Prost.

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What an Anchor.

For whatever reason, the Tesla Cybertruck has been memed as nauseum over the last couple years. Well, we say for whatever reason, but really it’s obviously because of many people’s less-than-positive feelings towards the company’s billionaire owner. But why? How could anyone possibly have an issue with such an influential figure re-platforming Alex Jones and broadcasting a live conversation with him about that time he defamed some school shooting victims? Alright, we take your point.

But the son oughtn’t be punished for the sins of the father, and seeing the Cybertruck purely as an extension of Mr. Musk feels unfair. Whether you like the bloke or not, it’s hard to dispute that the Cybertruck is at the very least something to behold. Or maybe I’ve just been suckered in by the cool edges. But come on, look at those edges. They’re so edgy.

Now, the Cybertruck can piss people off on land and sea, as Musk revealed plans to transform the vehicle into a fully functional boat. The man is just one permanent shitposting account animated into human form by this point. And I’m absolutely here for it. Cruise through the apocalypse in style. Bon voyage.

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God Bless AI-merica.

The decline of American democracy is a bit like the decline of Manchester United. It was funny at first, but now it’s just starting to get a bit sad. Likely facing a presidential choice between an octogenarian who isn’t sure what day of the week it is and an orange sociopath who may very well end up running his campaign from a jail cell, you can understand why it may be difficult for Americans to feel as if their country is boldly progressing into the future. Fortunately there’s a new wave of political talent making the most of nascent technology to move things forward. And they’re doing so in the most dystopian way possible.

Shemaine Daniels is a Pennsylvania Democrat – small ‘d’ given the party’s refusal to hold a proper primary process – who is the first politician to use AI to seek a congressional seat. Her campaign has enlisted an interactive AI chatbot named Ashley to call voters ahead of the 2024 election, with the company behind the program having claimed that the bot is capable of holding two-way conversations in real time and has already spoken to thousands of voters.

At least it’s kind of refreshing to see a politician not even attempting to appear like a human being. There’s a certain honesty in open dishonesty. Good luck, America.

Jingle Kettlebells.

We’ve had a glut of tear-jerker Christmas ads this year. I haven’t stopped crying for the last 3 weeks. I’m just absolutely overflowing with the festive spirit. You can’t see this but I’m actually writing this while dressed as Santa. People won’t stop sitting on my knee on the tube.

In the season of emotionally manipulative marketing, we may have saved the best till last. And it hasn’t come from where you might expect. No, it’s not John Lewis, it’s a random German pharmacy. A nation and an industry famed for their emotional depth.

In this day and age it would be utterly unreasonable of us to expect you to watch a 3-minute video, so allow us to summarise. An old German fella whacks on his smartest shell suit and undergoes a Rocky-esque training montage, much to the bewilderment of his concerned relatives and nosey neighbours. But it turns out it wasn’t an Andrew Huberman-inspired regimen, the old man was actually in training camp to allow him to pick up his granddaughter on Christmas day. Touching. Although they didn’t show the bit at the end when like a true powerlifter he spiked her down to the ground in celebration after a successful lift. Bloody muscle memory.

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