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Is The Old Boss Back?

"We plan absentee ownership as far as running the Yankees is concerned. We're not going to pretend we're something we aren't. I'll stick to building ships."
--George Steinbrenner to The New York Times, 1/4/1973

During his first twenty-three seasons as owner of the New York Yankees, George Steinbrenner changed managers twenty times. Like your classic serial dater, The Boss refused to settle down. He was on-again, off-again with Billy Martin five times. He briefly tied his fortune to guys named Dallas (Green) and Bucky (Dent) and Stump (Merrill). When Steinbrenner jettisoned the popular Buck Showalter after the 1995 season, the New York tabloids were furious ("Clueless Joe," read the NY Post headline, referring to Buck's replacement "“ Joe Torre).

But four World Series rings and eleven playoff appearances later, Torre and Steinbrenner are still together. For now, that is. A seven-game losing streak (broken Saturday) has the marriage on the rocks. Yankee pitchers have been routinely shelled, and the injuries are mounting. "I think [Steinbrenner] is going to wait and see what happens this weekend, and then we'll see," said Howard Rubenstein, The Boss' spokesman.

Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

When I started this post, the idea was to transition into a list of Steinbrenner's suspect decisions. Though I guess firing a struggling manager in his twelfth season can't really be called hasty. I'm a big Torre fan, and own a #6 Joe Torre t-shirt. As much as I'd hate to see him go, he has made a number of questionable moves this season. So let's wait until tomorrow to break down The Best of The Boss.

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History
The Secret World War II History Hidden in London's Fences

In South London, the remains of the UK’s World War II history are visible in an unlikely place—one that you might pass by regularly and never take a second look at. In a significant number of housing estates, the fences around the perimeter are actually upcycled medical stretchers from the war, as the design podcast 99% Invisible reports.

During the Blitz of 1940 and 1941, the UK’s Air Raid Precautions department worked to protect civilians from the bombings. The organization built 60,000 steel stretchers to carry injured people during attacks. The metal structures were designed to be easy to disinfect in case of a gas attack, but that design ended up making them perfect for reuse after the war.

Many London housing developments at the time had to remove their fences so that the metal could be used in the war effort, and once the war was over, they were looking to replace them. The London County Council came up with a solution that would benefit everyone: They repurposed the excess stretchers that the city no longer needed into residential railings.

You can tell a stretcher railing from a regular fence because of the curves in the poles at the top and bottom of the fence. They’re hand-holds, designed to make it easier to carry it.

Unfortunately, decades of being exposed to the elements have left some of these historic artifacts in poor shape, and some housing estates have removed them due to high levels of degradation. The Stretcher Railing Society is currently working to preserve these heritage pieces of London infrastructure.

As of right now, though, there are plenty of stretchers you can still find on the streets. If you're in the London area, this handy Google map shows where you can find the historic fencing.

[h/t 99% Invisible]

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holidays
Custom-Design the Ugly Christmas Sweater of Your Dreams (or Nightmares)
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iStock

For those of you aspiring to be the worst dressed person at your family's holiday dinner, UglyChristmasSweater.com sells—you guessed it—ugly Christmas sweaters to seasonal revelers possessing a sense of irony. But the Michigan-based online retailer has elevated kitsch to new heights by offering a create-your-own-sweater tool on its website.

Simply visit the site's homepage, and click on the Sweater Customizer link. There, you'll be provided with a basic sweater template, which you can decorate with festive snowflakes, reindeer, and other designs in five different colors. If you're feeling really creative, you can even upload photos, logos, hand-drawn pictures, and/or text. After you approve and purchase a mock-up of the final design, you can purchase the final result (prices start at under $70). But you'd better act quickly: due to high demand, orders will take about two weeks plus shipping time to arrive.

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