The Hambone Award for Data Fabrication

Welcome October Intern Meggie and their Mysterious Benefactor

Congratulations to Giles, a New York City cat “who was named after a character in the cult-favorite TV show ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’” and won the Nationwide Insurance Hambone award this year for “getting stuck in a sofa.” An inspiration to us all.

A regular-looking black cat stares at rthe camera blankly, seated on a tan carpet next to a trophy shaped like a brass ham on a wooden plinth, with a plaque declaring it to be the 2023 Hambone Award.

Francesca Gino won the less-coveted Hartford Insurance Hambone Award for simultaneous feature articles about her (alleged!) scientific fraud by Gideon Lewis-Kraus in The New Yorker and Noam Scheiber in The New York Times. Gino “did not present as a fraud,” writes Scheiber, but appears to be AFAB (assigned fraud at birth). Podcast listeners are devastated, airport booksellers screaming, crying, throwing up, etc.

Tom Stafford posts: “I have eaten / the honor / that was in / this place / and the esteemed deeds / you were probably / commemorating / here / forgive me / they were a message / a system of messages / and so important”

But enough nonsense, it’s New Intern Monday! Meet October’s Intern Meggie Gates:

I've worked fact checking at In These Times, dabbled in local news for the Chicago Reader, and written lengthier pieces on internet surveillance and the fentanyl crisis for Shag Magazine. I like the heavy stuff but even more, I like the ~artsy~ stuff. Film, television, and pop culture are where I thrive. You? Covered it. Hunger Games? Podcast-ed about it. Tiktok? On it! Connecting with the youth at more than 90k followers for some reason! Some say my history in comedy, like occasionally appearing in the NYT for bizarre content and four Second City shows my mom continues to boast about, have been preparing me to write quips at Today in Tabs my entire life.

TLDR: Was catholic and am now a lesbian.  

Usually this self-intro would be Intern Meggie’s whole first post but while they’re very funny and enthusiastic, I can already tell that they’re not great at following directions because they also wrote a whole post for today. So what the heck, less content for me to write. This is what Interns are for, right?

Bye Bye Bye Kevin

If you need a bizarre ritual involving hundreds of snakes, Italians have the Rito dei Serpari in Cocullo but Americans have Congress, where after weeks of wrangling between Republicans and Republicans, a 45 day continuing resolution has extended government funding until November 17th. What happened? Kevin McCarthy tried his best to blame Democrats on Face the Nation this week, but “ninety Republicans voted against it!” snapped Margaret Brennan, making this exact face: 🤔. The bickering felt kinda high school, and no one is more into high school drama than bouffanted Florida Man Matt Gaetz. Free of hurricane season distractions thanks to New York, Gaetz told BF(renemy)F Jake Tapper he will oust McCarthy as Republican House Speaker more Swift-ly than Taylor and Donna Kelce’s new friendship. [Ed: goddammit.] Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is thrilled at this idea and can’t wait to take a break from gassing up Biden as the first President to join a picket line. (Shhh railroads didn’t count).

In the words of the resurgent NSYNC: Bye Bye Bye Kevin. 

—Meggie Gates is almost certainly not old enough to be making that NSYNC joke.

Our October and November Interns are sponsored by “supporter of independent journalism, publisher of the Sunday Long Read, and former low-paid reporter in newsrooms with unpaid interns” Ruth Ann Harnisch, who just emailed me out of the blue like: “how do I sponsor the Interns?” I feel like I’m microdosing MacKenzie Scott. Thank you Ruth Ann!

New Cyriak: HONK

What News of the Guild, Squire? WGA negotiator and friend of the Tabs Adam “Ruins the AMPTP” Conover explained what the Writers Guild won in their new contract. Clay Shirky reviewed Taylor Lorenz’s new book for The Times: “Two of the internet’s most famous Cats, Grumpy and Keyboard, are discussed at length…Liz Lopatto employed the advanced journalism strategy of “looking at his sources” to calmly eviscerate Walter Isaacson in The Verge. “One way to keep Musk’s myth intact is simply not to check things out.” Like damn girl, Isaacson’s ancestors felt that. And Andy Baio wondered what it would be like in an alternate universe where all of Weird Al’s songs were originals, and other bands were parodying him. Conclusion: “No current artificial intelligence is powerful enough to hide the weirdness of Weird Al.” Like all A.I. content, the A.I. content here is terrible, but Andy adds a bunch of interesting reporting about the current community and legal state of A.I. voice models. tooted: “Google search is so good now” with a perfect example in the form of a screenshot of Google’s information box for “boneitis,” which helpfully informs us that “Boneitis is a severe bone disease that is fatal if uncured or untreated. At first it is barely noticeable, but the bones of the affected person will eventually suddenly twist and break. It has been known since at least the 1980's.”

Today’s Song: JÉVON, “007”

Thanks to Music Intern Sam, Words Intern Meggie, Mysterious Benefactor Ruth Ann, and all the hardworking reporters creating the structure of facts that I come along and hang jokes off of. We’re building content like 13th century French artisans here.

Join the conversation

or to participate.