The Late Movies: Between Two Ferns

If you're a fan of awkwardness and non sequiturs, you'll probably love Between Two Ferns, which is Zach Galafinakis' short-form interview show. In it he interviews celebrities like Natalie Portman, Jon Hamm and Michael Cera, and he does it -- yep -- between two ferns. Galafinakis is such an unpredictable host that you never know where the interviews are going (even though they're partly scripted) -- and even though his guests are in on the joke, he still manages to make them feel super awkward. It's a delight!

In the first episode, he tries to force Michael Cera to tickle him.

ZG: You were in The Day the Earth Stood Still.
Jon Hamm: Yes.
ZG: Why?

Zach yuks it up with Ben Stiller, insults him a bunch, and drops a few F-bombs along the way (just so you know).

Zach's gay, southern twin brother Seth pitches movie ideas about pugs to Sean Penn. It's awkward.

Steve Carell tries to outfox Zach, but his plan backfires.

Zach tries to get Natalie Portman's phone number, but not very hard.

Zach's interview with Hangover co-star Bradley Cooper is interrupted at one point by Carrot Top, who's standing behind him, texting.

Charlize Theron almost cries while talking about her sick dog and then Zach sticks a copy of Need for Speed II: Shift in front of her face.

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]

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

For those of you aspiring to be the worst dressed person at your family's holiday dinner, 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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