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Broetry: Poems for the Frat Boy in All of Us

What? You don't have a frat boy in you? Well, you might get a kick out of Brian McGackin's (AKA the "Broet Laureate's") slender-but-fun volume of poems anyway. They include gems like this, a bro-tastic send-up of William Carlos Williams' "This is Just to Say" --

I have finished
the beer
that was in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for Friday

Forgive me
this girl came over
so sweet
and so hot

Broems, McGackin told NPR, are poems for people who don't usually like poems: dudes. Although he's quick to note that many of our most lauded poets had dude-ish qualities: "Robert Frost liked baseball; he wrote about sports. His poetry was always very accessible. Even Shakespeare — Shakespeare was just writing about chicks."

The book, which occupies an hallowed spot on my shelf (just between The Waste Land and Harry Potter, somehow appropriate) is full of haikus, sonnets, and rhyming free-verse poems, some of which are, like the poem above, sort-of-parodies of famous poems ("O Captain! My Captain America!") as well as plenty of originals ("Ode to That Girl I Dated for, Like, A Month Sophomore Year," "Why Do Buses Smell?"). It could be the perfect way to get a reluctant reader of poetry into a book of verse (and by the way, if I had to give it an MPAA-style rating, I'd say it's about a PG). Check it out, bro!

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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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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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