Numlock News: October 14, 2021 • Tomato Sauce, Peppa Pig, William Shatner

By Walt Hickey

They Want Their Quarter Back

In what is somehow only the second-most heinous thing a prominent NFL figure has done in the past week, former Jets and Vikings legend Brett Favre was ordered by the Mississippi State Auditor to return $828,000 he received from state welfare funds. The money, which should have gone to needy families, instead went to Favre for speaking engagements he never attended for Families First For Mississippi, a non-profit under investigation for an alleged embezzlement scheme. Favre returned a portion of the funds in 2020, but the new statement now orders Favre to pay the rest back within 30 days or face a civil suit.

Ashton Pittman, Mississippi Free Press

Peppa

The developers behind the Peppa Pig theme park at Legoland Florida have announced one-day tickets will cost $34.99 at the gate, and $79.99 for an annual pass. The park, which is set to open in 2022, is a physical manifestation of the preschool television show and was presumably scientifically created in a laboratory to drive parents absolutely insane. Needless to say, with the supply chain for physical goods fairly borked, I can think of no better gift than a Peppa Pig Pass — which grants annual access to the Muddy Puddles Splash Pad, Grandpa Pig's Greenhouse, and presumably the Central Florida Sanatorium For Emotionally Broken Adults — for any and all of my friends with children, as dollar for dollar I suspect it might even beat a drum set.

The Associated Press

NHL

The National Hockey League announced that out of the more than 700 players participating in the 2021-22 NHL season, only 4 hockey players have not yet received a vaccine, meaning the league’s got a vaccination rate north of 99 percent. Last month the NHL announced unvaccinated players must submit to daily testing, must quarantine for a week before training camps, can’t exit the hotel or training facilities, can’t have visitors in rooms, and could face suspension from their teams. Seems like it worked.

Sharon Pruitt-Young, NPR

Records

Yesterday William Shatner became the oldest person to ever go above the Karman line, which some people consider the line where space begins. The feat, at age 90, beats a previous record of 82 set a month ago when Jeff Bezos brought Wally Funk above the Karman line. The string of billionaires buying tickets to what technically qualifies as space, and bringing along friends means that records are falling and will continue to fall, but mainly because the people involved are rich. For instance, the youngest person to ever go to space got the record because his daddy bought his ticket, and that trend is poised to continue. This is why we here at the Numlock Book of World Records hold that the Karman Line was invented to sell tickets to the boring part of the upper atmosphere at jacked-up prices, and that it’s only “going to space” if you orbit. The good news is that while initial estimates thought Shatner might — in addition to “oldest,” “first Canadian actor” and “first best-selling musician” — also take “surliest man in space,” our recordkeepers were quick to discern Buzz Aldrin will hold that distinction indefinitely.

Marina Koren, The Atlantic

Bins

Airlines have added new bins that significantly expand the amount of space available for carry-on luggage. American Airlines has the bigger bins in two-thirds of its fleet and wants to get that number up to 75 percent by April. The standard 60-inch bin carries four bags laid flat, while the 60-inch Space Bin carries six bags turned on its side. That’s important because American went from a seating arrangement that sits 148 on a Boeing 737-800 to an arrangement that seats 172, and things get pretty Lord of the Flies back in Boarding Group Z in terms of successfully getting the carry-on carried on. With the Space Bins, a 737-800 can hold 178 bags, up from 118 bags in the older style.

Scott McCartney, The Wall Street Journal

The Undead

The Walking Dead just had its final mid-season finale, and the numbers for the show all about the brutality that follows a massive pandemic are incidentally down quite a bit. The audience for the first episode of this season was down 44.6 percent compared to the prior season. All told, the average total audience for the episodes that aired in 2021 is down 84.9 percent from 2015, with the audience decrease in the 18 to 34 demographic down 96.2 percent. In general, it’s a rough time to be a cable television show that thrives on watercooler talk, given the demise of cable, television, and watercoolers.

Gavin Bridge, Variety

Glass

About 20 percent to 30 percent of food and beverage bottles used in the United States are imported from Asia or Europe. So while your pasta sauce may be American, the jar it’s in very well could be from the old country. This is posing an issue for food companies looking to get their wares ready for the holidays, as the snarled supply chains are driving up the price of glass jars. Domestic glass production is currently at full capacity, so it’s hard — and if even possible, expensive — to get a hold of glass. Pint jars used by Guglielmo’s pasta sauce went from 33 cents apiece to 47 cents each, a 42 percent increase that is pushing manufacturers to stockpile, exacerbating the supply chain even further.

Scott Horsley, NPR

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