Mightier Than The Pen

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Archive for October 2012

FCC to Levy Fines for Annoying Ringtones

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Washington, DC, October 31 – The Federal Communications Commission has begun to crack down on ringtones that drive people crazy. It will also seek to reduce cringe-inducing and distasteful mobile phone usage.

The Silencing Harmful, Uncouth Telephone Users Program (SHUTUP), a new FCC initiative, will enforce an array of measures designed to cut down on ringtones that pervert otherwise decent tunes; that have no discernible aesthetic value; that grate on the ears of anyone with an ounce of good sense; or that attempt to reproduce a particular sound or association, only to succeed in producing in bystanders a desire to murder the phone user.

The first category is by far the broadest, said FCC chairman Julius Genachowski. “I don’t think there’s anyone out there who hasn’t heard some digital-sounding rendition of Mozart or Beethoven coming from a phone, and thought, ‘Oh, God, poor Wolfgang must be rolling in his grave, wherever that is.’ And most of us can’t walk down the street without our ears being assaulted by techno garbage,” he explained.

The FCC’s solution is straightforward: SHUTUP. SHUTUP has already formulated a set of guidelines for mobile device manufacturers and distributors that lay out the criteria for acceptable ringtones. Perhaps more importantly, the guidelines delineate what constitutes a violation of those criteria and what penalties apply to violators.

Both the customer and the retailer of the offending tone or tones will face fines. Those fines will follow a sliding scale, the severity of which will correspond to the magnitude of annoyance that type of violation produces. At the low end of the scale lies the misuse of famous tunes, for example a hold-music-worthy digital adaptation of the “Axel F” theme from the 1984 film Beverly Hills Cop. Such a minor violation, corrupting as it does a tune already primarily orchestrated electronically, would incur a $50 fine for the phone user and a $2,000 fine for the supplier of the tune.

Slightly higher on the scale, melodies massacred by techno or MIDI orchestration would incur fines of $350 for the user, with the creator or marketer of the ringtone liable for $5,000 per ringtone sale.

At the high end of the scale lies any tune by Barry Manilow, New Kids on the Block, Lady Gaga or William Shatner, among others. Those selections will incur a fine of $10,000 and confiscation of the mobile device that played the tune. The entity that provided the sound file would be fined $150,000, and the individuals responsible would face up to five years in prison. The internet provider that enabled the download would be similarly fined, and its Board of Directors forced to perform 100 hours of community service.

In terms of other heinous misuses of mobile phones, SHUTUP will target jerks, such as people who talk loudly in quiet environments such as commuter train cars and doctors’ waiting rooms; who let a phone ring until voice mail is activated or the caller hangs up, instead of actually answering or disconnecting the call; who neglect to turn off the ringer at venues such as movies or concerts; or who pretend to be on the phone or otherwise absorbed by its use so they can ignore panhandlers or avoid having to engage another human in actual face-to-face conversation.

That set of violations will incur fines of up to $300 and confiscation of the device. For pretending to use the device, the penalty will also include two hours in a closed room with the panhandler in question, or be forced to endure fifteen uncomfortable questions from the person ignored.

In a pilot conducted in the Virginia area during August and September, SHUTUP reduced breaches of mobile device etiquette by 85%, and cut annoying ringtones by 98%. The program ran into legal trouble when the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union sued the government on behalf of a violator, contending that SHUTUP constituted a breach of the First Amendment right to freedom of expression – which has long been taken to refer especially to unpopular content. The judge dismissed the suit when the counsel for the government played the offending ringtone – an electronic rendition of Beethoven’s “Für Elise” that repeated over and over – and ruled the plaintiff in contempt.

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Written by Thag

October 31, 2012 at 9:24 pm

Romney Campaign Protests Scheduling Hurricane Right before Election Day

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“I guarantee at least one Category-3 hurricane hits New York every year!”

Washington, DC (AP) – With the Republican governor of New Jersey praising President Barack Obama for his leadership and the scale of destruction wrought by Hurricane Sandy, Mitt Romney and his campaign advisers find themselves shut out of the top headlines in the crucial days before Election Day – and they’re not taking that sitting down.

“Obama and his reelection machine cynically scheduled the hurricane when his campaign needed it most,” Romney said to a group of second-tier reporters, whose elite colleagues were concentrating on the storm cutting a swath through the Northeast. “With malice aforethought, he’s exploiting the flooding and tragedy of a hurricane for visibility. The American people know better than that. Barack Obama, call off the hurricane!”

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a high-ranking Republican on the national stage, offered effusive praise for President Obama, specifically noting the latter’s confident, reassuring presence on the airwaves. The President, said Christie, projected the proper mix of solemn resolve and hope so critical in the face of Sandy’s dangers and damage.

The Romney campaign did not anticipate such words from a Republican, especially one so prominent as Christie, so close to Election Day. “When I’m elected I’ll make sure to move hurricane season to the winter, where it belongs,” said Romney. “In fact I’ve been saying for quite some time we need to reexamine this whole hurricane thing, but the current administration clearly has no regard for the effect that storms of this magnitude have on John Q. Taxpayer.”

“In fact,” added Romney spokesman John Sununu, “it was under a Democrat-controlled Congress that President Bush struggled to cope with Hurricane Katrina.” That 2005 storm became etched in the public perception as a case of Presidential mismanagement compounding state government incompetence, and the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, tasked with addressing the disaster, was forced to resign.

“Isn’t it convenient,” asked Sununu, “that with a Democrat in the White House the scheduled hurricane hits an area completely devoid of levees?” He referred to the dams that failed to contain torrents of rain and sea water during Katrina, which were built by the Army Corps of Engineers but could not handle the pressure or volume of water.

But Romney and his supporters have had a hard time getting their accusations to the public, which is engrossed in the drama of seeing the nation’s largest, wealthiest city get smacked by Mother Nature. The Republican candidate hopes the schadenfreude experienced by all non-New Yorkers will carry over to Election Day, when, he believes Americans will have the opportunity, as he put it, “to stick it to the elitist incumbent.”

“We all hate New York. Obama loves New York. You know what to do, America.”

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Written by Thag

October 30, 2012 at 11:00 pm

Survey Indicates No One Knows Who You Are

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New York (AP)  – A nationwide poll of adults over the age of 18 shows that almost no one has any idea who you are, CBS reports.

The CBS poll found that of the 15,281 Americans asked whether they know you, 15,280 said no. Fewer than one hundredth of a percent of Americans can claim any familiarity with you at all; the margin of error is two percent.

The survey results indicate little change since two years ago, when 9,665 Americans unanimously disclaimed any connection or knowledge of you, and that is not expected to change in the near future, says Losel Festeem, an unpopularity analyst with the public relations firm Brutish and Short.

“There’s nothing to indicate that Americans will have reason to find out more, certainly not in the next four to eight years,” she said in a telephone interview. “We’re not talking about even a D-list celebrity, or even anyone who might rub shoulders with people who rub shoulders with D-list celebrities.” You might stand a chance of garnering a few moments of notoriety if you set yourself on fire and dramatically threw yourself off a Manhattan skyscraper, noted Festeem, but all the numbers point to continued mediocrity at best.

Dram McQueen, also a PR consultant, disagrees. “Anyone can gain a decent level of attention and name recognition with a little bit of time and effort,” she stressed. “The question here is primarily one of will and resources – so right now there’s neither, but that can change.” She conceded, however, that no change in your unremarkable circumstances seems imminent, and that you will continue to be unrecognized from coast to coast at least through January of next year, barring some freak occurrence such as your getting caught in the door of a flying helicopter as your pants fall off into the East River.

Some specifics of your complete lack of fame have shifted in the two years since the previous survey. Whereas in 2010, 90% of respondents gave a direct “no” to the question of whether they knew you, this year’s poll recorded only 64% of respondents directly denying it. Accounting for the difference is the vast increase in respondents who said, “Huh? Who?” which stood at 25% this year, as compared with 4% two years ago. Holding steady at 3% was the group of people who reacted with nothing but blank stares before finally shaking their heads and giving the pollster a wary look. The remaining respondents also varied little from the 2010 sample, answering with variations on, “What are you talking about?”

Some analysts had expected at least a modest uptick in your prominence, as you have actually established a Facebook account and friended over four hundred people, in addition to diligently building up an utterly useless network of contacts on LinkedIn. The survey revealed that despite your online presence, which also includes contributions to forums and a photography blog, you remain essentially a non-entity for the overwhelming majority of Americans.

Especially telling was the datum that even those people who might have had online contact with you – including at least two documented cases of participating in the same thread on Facebook – disavowed any knowledge of your existence.

“That’s where the key is,” said Festeem. “This is clearly a case of someone who lacks not just friends in high places, but anything memorable about them at all.”

“Why are we talking about this nobody again?” she asked.

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Written by Thag

October 29, 2012 at 10:59 pm

Security Council to Condemn Israel for Splinters, Stubbed Toes

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“Those nefarious Zionists are at it again! This is even worse than when they made me bang my head on the bottom of the table when I dropped my fork!”

Geneva, Switzerland (AP) – Arab nations have brought a resolution to the United Nations Security Council that denounces Israel for perpetrating stubbed toes and splinter injuries throughout the Middle East, in violation of international law.

With the Palestinian Authority seeking yet again to establish itself as a non-member observer state some time during the coming year, Draft Resolution 4761 adds tension to an already volatile Arab-Israeli dynamic, which saw accusations fly earlier this year over the origins of body odor and ingrown hairs. Those resolutions were defeated by vetoes in Security Council voting, as both China and Russia did not want to encourage other nations to look into the national origins of lice and pimples.

In the proposed resolution’s current language, the Council “condemns Israel for continued victimization of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and in neighboring countries through the nefarious use of splinters and stubbed toes. The United Nations calls upon Israel to meet its obligations under international law and previous UN resolutions, and to cease causing injury to the innocent toes and fingers of oppressed minorities.”

Although Russia and China are expected not to veto this resolution, the U.S. State Department has expressed unease about its language, and most experts believe an American veto is inevitable, given profligate use of splinter and stubbed toe technology by U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Israeli officials have remained largely silent on the matter, but a Foreign Ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the Jewish state would expend little effort in lobbying its few allies on the Council to defeat the resolution, explaining that the country does not wish to call even more attention to its minor-foot-injury weaponry. It is widely believed in the intelligence community that Israel possesses wart and corn generators, and unconfirmed reports have surfaced in the last six months that the country has also developed a potent paper-cut-and-lemon-juice arsenal.

This finger is widely considered the one Iran has on the button.

Just last week a military facility in Sudan was destroyed by what appeared to be an air attack, and the Sudanese were quick to level accusations at Israel. In its aftermath, residents of the area began complaining of dandruff and itchy noses. Analysts believe the attack was intended to disrupt weapons supplies being smuggled into the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. The distance from Israel to Sudan is similar to that between Israel and Iran, and if the accusations are true, then in addition to its direct results in Gaza, the move could easily serve as a signal to the Islamic Republic that Israel has the capability to strike anywhere in Iran, deploying technology to cause mass tripping over cracks in the sidewalk and dropping heavy objects on toes.

An Iranian official canceled an interview via Skype chat, explaining that all of his delegation’s keyboards had a stuck letter “o”.

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Written by Thag

October 28, 2012 at 11:20 pm

Macbeth on the Financial Crisis

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October 28, 2012 at 2:17 pm

GOP Vows to Offend Every Woman in America by 2014

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Mourdock. If he gets elected, it’s God’s fault.

Washington, DC (AP) – The Romney presidential campaign and other prominent Republican leaders have undertaken to insult or otherwise offend every woman in America by the end of next year.

The GOP initiative accelerated this past week when Richard Mourdock, an Indiana Republican running for the Senate, explained his opposition to abortion even in a case of incest or rape by saying that such a pregnancy “is something God intended to happen,” leading American women to wonder why Republicans support a strong U.S. military, as that flies in the face of what is clearly divinely ordained Chinese military ascendance.

Earlier, Representative Todd Akin (R-MO), campaigning for one of Missouri’s seats in the Senate, claimed it was virtually impossible for a woman to become pregnant if the rape was “legitimate.” That statement kicked off a Republican strategy  aimed at making every woman in America feel revulsion at the party that produced landmark Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan, among others.

The abortion remarks are feeding an overall Republican strategy that puts such attractive issues as rape at the forefront of the election season discourse, which is sure to turn off a significant percentage of women, says Grace Underfier, a campaign analyst at Dunn-Diehl, a non-partisan think tank. “It’s clear from Republican statements throughout this campaign season that they intend to creep women out and drive them away from the GOP. It basically means that the Republican party feels confident enough to say how it really feels about women.”

Akin has a point – you know, *HE* never got pregnant from being raped.

The strategy has its pitfalls, warns Harry Nuckles of the Atlanta-based Research-Operations Task Force League (ROTFL). “The Republicans seem genuinely to believe their stated positions on abortion and rape,” he contends. “That means they expect others to believe those positions, as well, and women who also believe the GOP candidate’s radical assertions will be very hard to drive away – if rape can be legitimate, then there’s no reason to be offended.”

Nuckles surmises that the Republicans will address remaining women after it has successfully dissuaded the vast majority of American women from ever supporting the GOP, possibly by disenfranchising any women over the age of 18 who are not yet married.

“It’s tantalizing for the Republicans to envision a world in which women are primarily focused on the domestic sphere, instead of being out there in the world and making things so darn complicated,” concurs Hugh Wisch, a campaign strategist with Newt Gingrich’s abortive presidential bid. “Forget a Constitutional amendment to ban abortion – the Holy Grail for today’s GOP leadership is actually the repeal of the Nineteenth Amendment,” which in 1919 guaranteed the vote to women.

It remains unclear how the strategy to offend women dovetails with other Republican initiatives, such as the repeal of minimum wage laws, which would force women to work more and thus leave the kitchen. It seems likely, however, that any women incapable of overcoming the impossible odds of crushing poverty would be viewed by Republicans as deserving whatever misery comes their way, at home or in some unsafe, unsanitary sweatshop that probably employs only darkies or Spanish-speaking immigrants.

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Written by Thag

October 27, 2012 at 10:49 pm

The Great Kindergarten Contraband Intrigue Caper

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You thought you could trust your little children, didn’t you? I’m here to tell you you’re a fool.

You’re a fool.

With that out of the way, let us examine what happens when one makes unwarranted assumptions about one’s child’s behavior. Especially when those assumptions make one’s life easier. But in fact are so untrue as to make one wonder what the hell one was thinking. If at all.

Here is Figure A, which lays out the typical morning ritual of attempting to prepare a sandwich for our dear daughter to take with her to kindergarten.

The figure does not show the histrionics that accompany each refusal, which no two-dimensional medium can adequately convey. It is left to the reader’s imagination. Considering the reader’s online habits, he or she should have no problem conjuring up vivid images, if you catch my drift. Sicko.

All well and good, or as well and good as could be expected. Until last week, when the complaints suddenly ceased. Thus Figure B:

Notice the complete absence of complaints or histrionics. This being our third child, we should immediately have listened to the powerful alarms sounding in our brains – much in the way the silence emanating from several children can only indicate something catastrophic in the works – but this being before seven o’clock in the morning, our brains much preferred to leave those alarms in abeyance. SO much more civilized at that hour.

In fact, a chance conversation with another parent at drop-off revealed that Figure C more closely represents reality:

Key line from one of the parents whose child had eaten the white bread: “Could you buy whole wheat instead?”

At the very least, we have now settled into the familiar, if less than ideal, status quo ante, with the added bonus of an almost daily whine: why don’t we send our kid with chocolate spread sandwiches?

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Written by Thag

October 26, 2012 at 2:38 pm

National Park Service Suspends Take-Home-a-Grizzly Program

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Washington, DC (Reuters) – Following a number of unfortunate incidents, the National Park Service has issued a three-year moratorium on its Take Home a Grizzly initiative. It intends to revisit the issue in early 2016.

National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis told reporters that an unacceptable number of violent incidents had occurred involving the bears, and that for their own protection, many of the animals already residing with human families would be returned to the wilderness areas from which they were removed.

The NPS had already been monitoring the program after multiple reports of humans mistreating the adopted bears, including cases in which the bears were prevented from rummaging through dumpsters and trash cans, often the animals’ principal sources of food. Jarvis noted that although most of the applicants for bear adoption were diligent in following the feeding and care guidelines, neighbors often mistook the harmless, 400-pound carnivores for dangerous, and would chase the bears away or even shoot at them.

In one prominent case, a grizzly bear was foraging for barbecue leftovers in a suburban backyard in Oregon when an SUV driven by a neighbor shined its headlights directly in the bear’s face. The bear charged the vehicle and smashed its windshield and left side mirror with its paws, necessitating a veterinary visit for stitches.

Princess. Isn’t she just adorable?

“Bears don’t like getting stitches,” says Dr. Noh Duh, who supervised the effort to treat the bear, named Princess. “We had to tranquilize Princess just so we could get close enough to sew up the gashes, and we veterinarians hate doing that.” He said he sees about ten cases per year now, up from only about four a decade ago, before the adoption program began.

Take Home a Grizzly was the brainchild of Robert Stanton, who headed the NPS during the last few years of the Clinton administration. It was finally inaugurated under his successor, Fran Mainella, in late 2002. Since then, nearly two hundred grizzlies have found homes among suburban humans throughout the Northwest. Of those, thirty subsequently moved with their human families to locations outside the animals’ original habitat area, moving as far east as Chicago and as far south as Arizona.

Tense confrontations between humans and bears have happened for thousands of years, but with human expansion into previously pristine wilderness they became ever more frequent. In an effort to dispel that tension and promote peaceful coexistence, the NPS initially focused Take Home a Grizzly on visitors to the National Parks, and eventually to a nationwide audience, which responded with enthusiasm.

Selection criteria for adoptive families are strict. The household income must be sufficient enough to ensure the purchasing power to feed a grown bear, which can go through almost a ton of food just in preparation for hibernation. The combined IQ of the family must also not exceed 180, because only people that stupid can be trusted to put themselves between a grizzly and its welfare for extended periods.

An internal review of the program in 2007 called it mildly successful, citing such results as less population pressure in the bears’ original habitats, and consequently less competition for resources in those areas. It called “troubling” reports that bears were mauling humans in their adopted areas and leaving them to die.

“Our assumption had been that the grizzlies’ natural instincts would drive them to completely consume the mauled humans, especially as winter approached,” explained Ursa A. Horribilis, formerly the Assistant Director of the program. “But we found that humans had had such a deleterious impact on the bears’ habits that the poor creatures started behaving as humans do, treating everything as disposable and not cleaning up after themselves.”

The situation had not changed when similar reports were issued in 2009 and 2011. This year, Jarvis convened the relevant staff and informed them that he would be forced to close the program if the findings did not show improvement. He relented on ending it permanently, pending a new analysis of the data, at least until early 2016.

The first bears to be restored to their original habitats will be the ones removed from the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Northwest, according to a press release by the NPS. National Park Rangers will be authorized to tranquilize any humans endangering the effort. Grizzlies inhabiting areas within 200 miles of their original habitat will be allowed to remain, provisionally, with their host families.

A similar program with staphylococcus bacteria was halted in 2006.

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Written by Thag

October 25, 2012 at 3:16 pm

AMA Says Not Calling to Cancel Your Appointment Causes Cancer, AIDS

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Chicago, IL (AP) – The American Medical Association, the nation’s oldest and largest professional group for physicians, released new recommendations for patients, under which failing to call to cancel an appointment the patient knows he will miss is a risk factor in cancer and other horrible diseases.

Jeremy A. Lazarus, the president of the American Medical Association, told reporters at a press conference that the organization felt compelled to issue new recommendations after a review of statistics showed a dangerous disregard on the part of patients for the physicians and other patients.

“It’s not only cancer,” Lazarus warned. “Failing to give a reasonable amount of warning that you’re not going to show up to your appointment not only puts you at risk of enmity from doctors and fellow patients; it also means you’re more likely to contract, uh, cancer, herpes, syphilis, measles, smallpox, AIDS, meningitis, and it makes you, uh…yeah, it makes you seven times more likely to catch a bad case of the flu.”

He also pointed to data showing that people who neglected to inform their doctor they would be missing the scheduled appointment were twice as likely to be bludgeoned to death by other patients using rolled-up copies of U.S. News and World Report from the waiting room.

It is unclear what percentage of Americans are no-shows for medical appointments, but the AMA released data regarding the populous states of California, New York, Texas and Florida, showing that of the approximately 19,000 missed appointments in 2011 in those states, nearly 40% were not preceded by a phone call or message alerting the medical practice or staff of the impending absence; of those patients, the AMA eagerly anticipates upwards of 80% will suffer mightily from gonorrhea, mumps, shingles, lupus, sexual dysfunction, gastric ulcers, and several other diseases they haven’t thought of yet.

“Calling ahead is one of the pillars of preventive medicine, which is what modern patient care is all about,” says Stephanie Siegel, a cardiologist at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. “In the early years, physicians would focus more on treating existing conditions, but over the last century, we’ve shifted, fortunately, to a greater focus on preventing things from going wrong in the first place. Patients who disregard the basics of avoiding the risks have only themselves to blame” when a truck full of infected needles falls on them from a rooftop, she noted.

Patient groups welcomed the new AMA guidelines, praising the calling-ahead provision as a life-saving measure. “This AMA recommendation is an important step in making the period before a scheduled medical visit a safer experience for everyone,” said Nancy Davenport-Ennis, Co-Founder and CEO of the Patient Advocacy Foundation. “It’s been a long time coming, and unfortunately, too many patients have been ill-informed regarding the long- and short-term dangers of not calling ahead, but with the American Medical Association’s unequivocal stance on the matter, we can now work on actually getting people the care they need when they need it, assuming they prefer not to come down with dysentery, Huntington’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, hypertension and maybe even a nasty case of flesh-eating bacteria.”

The AMA guidelines are not unprecedented in the industry. Just last year the American Dental Association issued similar recommendations, focusing instead on lateness. Patients who arrived less than five minutes before the scheduled appointment time were six times as likely to suffer jabs in the gums from sharp implements.

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Written by Thag

October 24, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Farmers Looking Forward to Dollar Bill Harvest

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Thaler’s silo.

Topeka, Kansas (AP) – Currency farmers in this quiet city anticipate the most plentiful harvest of U.S. Dollar bills in decades, according to forecasts by the farmers’ trade group.

Once a crop with limited appeal, the U.S. dollar now commands high demand almost everywhere, but as with all agricultural products, its market value fluctuates. But with the commodities markets holding steady, dollar farmers are looking to make it their cash crop this year.

“Stability is the name of the game with dollar farming,” explained William Thaler, 62, a Wichita-area farmer who has been raising dollar plants for four decades. “When you do your planting in June or July, you want to know more or less what you’re going to get down the road.” The dollar crop is harvested during the late autumn, just in time for the Christmas shopping season, when most dollar bills are consumed.

A strong domestic market for dollars, combined with concerns over the long-term use of Euros, has contributed to a strong growing season. This year’s yield is expected to contain some newer feats of genetic engineering, including more fibers that will strengthen the bills and prevent them from inflating too much.

The dollar plant fields in Kansas are among the nation’s most productive. Industry groups claim the state produces 25 billion units annually, though that figure might be an exaggeration; some bills inevitably reach the consumer already worn and useless, and still others never make it to market because smugglers and thieves find them a tempting target. Overall, the Midwestern states account for well over ninety percent of the U.S.’s annual dollar production, and more than eighty percent of its currency acreage.

Dollar plants must be resown each year, and are harvested when the bills reach just the right level of ripeness. “The leaves – which you call bills – have to be removed carefully from the stalks when they’re not too soft yet. They have to be soft and supple, just enough to hold together,” explained Thaler. The specific ripeness of the currency is the source of the common expression “legal tender” with which each unit is subsequently labeled.

The initial softness of each bill early in the season calls to mind leafier greens, a similarity that gave rise to the term “lettuce” as slang for dollars. Although they are soft, the dollar has proved surprisingly durable, with some leaves still in circulation a decade or more after harvest.

Thaler, who plans to retire in the next five years, is often surprised at how ignorant so many Americans are about their homegrown currency. “We get dozens of tour groups out here every year, and there’s always a bunch of people amazed that the dollar is a vegetable.” He shakes his head. “I have to explain to them that money doesn’t exactly grow on trees.”

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Written by Thag

October 23, 2012 at 3:15 pm

George W. Bush Admits He Used Steroids; Election Victories Voided

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Former former President Bush

Washington, DC, October 21 (Reuters) – In a revelation already wreaking havoc on the U.S. government, former President George W. Bush released a statement this morning that he used illegal chemical enhancement in order to win the 2000 and 2004 elections. After a brief review,the Supreme Court unanimously declared those electoral victories null and void retroactively.

As a result, the 43rd President was actually Al Gore, the former Tennessee senator, and the 44th was John Kerry. The current President, Barack Obama, will remain in office at least until January, but his number has now been shifted from 44th to 45th.

In their published decision, the Supreme Court said they wished to send a message to political competitors everywhere that the use of steroids or other illegal means to gain an electoral advantage will not be tolerated. “We condemn in the strongest terms Mr. Bush’s use of drugs to defeat his opponents, and hereby void his presidency. We hope future potential leaders remember his fate when they choose their paths.”

Non-entity Cheney now owes $44 million in back taxes.

The Supreme Court decision puts to rest some of the criticism of the judiciary for their ruling in 2000 to stop the recount of Florida ballots, which many suspected would show an electoral victory for Gore.

The invalidation of Bush’s eight years in office also cancels some major legislation he signed into law, as well as a number of important foreign policy initiatives. The 2003 war in Iraq, it now turns out, did not happen, a development that calls for a reassessment of how many Americans were killed in combat, if in fact any were killed at all. The sweeping violations of civil liberties that took place in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, will have to be canceled, and whether or not an invasion of Afghanistan took place will need to be reevaluated. Cemeteries across the country will have to prepare to exhume the no-longer-dead soldiers and contractors previously deemed killed in action.

The Internal Revenue Service is preparing a major audit of the wealthiest Americans, now that the tax cuts Bush signed into law were never properly authorized. They expect to collect $220 billion over the next two years as a result. Added to that are the savings from undoing all the spending to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, meaning the U.S. government will save upwards of twelve trillion dollars all told.

The Department of Homeland Security was in fact never created, sparing tens of millions of air travelers the hassle and unpleasantness that the subsidiary Transport Security Administration had originally perpetrated against them. Additionally, the requirement that liquids be packed in specific sizes of Ziploc bags never existed.

Republican Congressional leaders questioned the legality of the Supreme Court ruling, noting that if in fact Bush’s moves as President were invalid, the Supreme Court Justices appointed by him were in fact not empowered to handle the issue. A Court spokesman dismissed the claim, noting that the unanimous decision would be binding even without the voices of Chief Justice John Roberts and Samuel Alito, both Bush appointees.

The first US President without scandal attached to his administration.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney will be replaced in history books first with Joseph Lieberman for 2001-2005, then John Edwards for 2005-2009. This makes Lieberman the first Jew to hold so high an office in the U.S., and the first non-Christian.

This marks the second time the Supreme Court has ruled to overturn a historical event. The only previous occurrence was in 1965, when the Court ruled that in fact that Lee Harvey Oswald had assassinated President John F. Kennedy, and not, as thought beforehand, by a pack of rabid weasels wielding machetes.

Mr. Bush was unavailable for comment, as he was busy preparing for a 2016 election campaign.

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Written by Thag

October 22, 2012 at 3:59 pm

How to Choose a Mobster Nickname

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October 21, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Study: Everyone Who Eats Vegetables Dies

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Atlanta, GA (AP) – The Centers for Disease Control have completed a one-hundred-thirty-year study on diet and mortality, and have concluded that people who consume fruits or vegetables in any form, at any time, will die.

The study examined the lives and habits of forty million Americans as young as two months old and as old as one-hundred-sixteen years of age. The researchers checked for the presence of even the slightest amount of vegetable matter in the subjects’ diets, including leafy greens, root vegetables, and fruit.

The CDC will publish its findings in the December issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The study is expected to wreak havoc with government dietary and nutrition recommendations.

“It’s like a bucket of cold water in the face,” said Beth Hirschhorn, New York nutritionist and author of Seven Servings a Day. “With the data in our face for literally decades, the entire healthcare and dietary industries have dropped the ball, big-time.”

Wallace Lehmann, a physician at the Cleveland Clinic, agrees. “The field of medicine has focused so much in recent years on treating specific symptoms that we’ve lost sight of the larger picture. And in that picture, tens of millions of people are dying every year.”

Although the study authors urge caution, they acknowledge the overwhelming evidence will prompt a radical reevaluation of prevailing dietary sensibilities. “I’d recommend waiting for further study, but the fact is, no one has found anything that would sever the vegetable-death link,” noted Mort Ality, the lead researcher.

Ality noted that, ironically, scientists had long disparaged one of the oldest indications of fruit as a killer: the Bible itself identifies the consumption of fruit as the very source of human death. “We’re still scratching our heads at that one,” he said.

This is not the first such research of its kind, but the CDC study is by far the most wide-ranging and comprehensive. A 1949 Canadian analysis found a strong link between Brussels sprouts and death before the age of 124, but no follow-up was conducted until 1966, when the research was expanded to include carrots in both raw and cooked forms, with statistically identical results. That study found no difference in death rates between eaters of raw vs. cooked greens.

Health food.

Already, soft drink manufacturers and animal product marketers have seized upon these results to their advantage. The American Pork Farmers Association and The Beef Council released a statement today that their new publicity strategies will stress the relative health benefits of bacon, ham, beef and other forms of mammal meat, noting that the carnivorous diet has never looked like a better choice, considering the alternatives.

The Coca Cola company is expected to tout its roster of artificial ingredients, and fast food outlets such as McDonalds, experts anticipate, will likely remove the token tomatoes, lettuce and other vegetables from its standard burger toppings, instead only including them upon request.

Animal rights advocates and promoters of vegan or vegetarian lifestyles will have to reassess the merits of their health-based arguments, admitted Carrie Ohn, President of Meat Is Murder. “Our position has not changed,” she said when reached by telephone. “We will simply have to appeal to other sensibilities than health.” She conceded she did not know what she would eat, considering that nuts, seeds and other fruit were also shown by the study to be associated with every manner of human demise, including asphyxiation, car accidents, cancer and immune disorders.

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Written by Thag

October 21, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Church Distributes G-Rated, 12-Page Version of Bible

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Chicago, IL (Reuters) – Concerned about the effects that exposure to violence, sex and gore can have on the impressionable minds of children, the Union Methodist Church has published a “family friendly” edition of the Bible. The new version has selected only those portions of scripture that its editorial team deemed non-threatening to youngsters, and it numbers a dozen pages.

“We are responding to the concerns of parents everywhere that they have less and less say in the ideas and images to which their children have access,” said Alicia Censor, the head of the editorial team. “Yet few of us ever considered that every Sunday we were undermining our own sensibilities by exposing our children to page after page of horrible ideas.”

So a group of church members volunteered to put together an abridged version that would offer parents and educators tighter control over what their children read and hear. Under the guidance of Pastor Rob Eublind, the team spent the better part of six months sifting through the Bible and retaining only those passages that do not mention nudity, sexuality, bloodshed, vivisection, corruption, or questionable behavior of any sort.

They therefore omitted the entire second chapter of Genesis, for example, in which the first man and woman lived unclothed, and the series of “begats” connecting Adam to Noah, and then Noah to Abraham, in order to avoid the question of how all that begetting took place. Cain’s murder of Abel was also removed, because of the killing itself; the mention of Cain “knowing” his wife; and several verses later, the mention of Lemech and his two wives, which could prompt uncomfortable questions regarding the sanctity of the monogamous family unit.

In some cases the team expunged entire books, such as Leviticus, which extensively details the slaughter and dismemberment of animals. They also gave the Song of Solomon the editorial ax, with its constant use of erotic metaphor.

Congregations and relieved parents have already placed orders for hundreds of thousands of copies, and RePress, the publisher, will have to produce a second run, as they only anticipated needing about twenty thousand. Fortunately, the new Bible is small, and shipment is inexpensive.

Eublind expressed satisfaction at the outcome, and pride in his congregation. “Sometimes the situation is so dire that even the leadership is paralyzed – but then along comes someone who stands up and takes action. It’s just like Phineas, who, in the wilderness – wait you aren’t going to let any children read this, are you?”

Parents in the community are similarly thrilled. “I’ve been all worried about how to teach my daughters about Abraham in Egypt, Lot in Sodom, and about Joseph in Potiphar’s house,” said Stephen Prude, 33, a father of three. “But thanks to this new Bible I know I can just skip those parts. Perhaps that’s the approach we should agitate for about all that sex education in the schools,” he wondered.

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Written by Thag

October 18, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Typo Results in Drug Users Sent to Diction Counseling

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Macon, Georgia (AP) – Eleven residents of the Macon Metropolitan Area convicted earlier this month of possessing illegal drugs were ordered to report to the Booker T. Washington Community Center this morning to undergo diction counseling. The residents, who each have histories of substance abuse, expression confusion as they were shepherded into a room with Connie Stern, M.A., a vocal coach and diction consultant.

“Let’s start with vowels. Repeat after me, everyone: ah, ee, ay, oh, oo,” she began. “Now ee-NUN-ci-ate, please.”

The convicts, clearly not expecting this environment, initially resisted. “Ma’am, how is this supposed to help us?” asked Ward O’thestate, 26, of neighboring Dry Branch.

“Please, pronounce the ‘w’ in ‘how’,” admonished Stern, “or I shall be forced to report to the court that you are not cooperating.”

Connie Stern (AP)

Several other attendees managed to express their consternation at the turn of events, telling the Associated Press they had been led to believe they would be enrolled in a drug abuse counseling program. But Stern engaged their cooperation throughout the one-hour session, the first of ten scheduled classes on proper vocalization and pronunciation.

“The court clearly sees the need for these citizens to transform the way they communicate as the key to turning their lives around,” Stern said after the session. “I’ve never done anything like this before, but the county clerk called me up saying she had a court order that some convicts undergo diction counseling, and there was my name, right in the phone book. She seemed as surprised as I was, but I’m more than happy to count Bibb County among my clients.”

The participants’ reactions were mixed. “That was, uh, different,” reported Meth Labb, 30, of Warner Robins. “It wasn’t like that the last time I went for counseling, that’s for sure. But it says right here on this form I’m supposed to be here, and I don’t want no more trouble from the court over this. I already got fined for missing a session last time around. Maybe this is the one I missed,” he said, scratching his head.

The participants’ bodies had developed a chemical dependency on certain controlled substances, among them crystal meth, heroin and alcohol. As first- and second-time offenders, their plea-bargain arrangements called for them to undergo counseling to help them overcome that dependency.

The process includes meetings with the families of the participants to engage their cooperation and support, and Stern has already met with the relatives of those enrolled. “I didn’t quite understand what we’re supposed to accomplish here,” said Bee Wildered, the mother of one of the convicts. “But I know the system – you just do like you’re supposed to and they more or less leave you alone when it’s done.”

“Do as you’re supposed to, Mrs. Wildered,” corrected Stern. “And make sure your ‘to’ and ‘you’ rhyme with ‘blue’.”

The participants generally agreed that the first session, at least, featured little of the hostility, browbeating and criticism that they thought they would encounter. “I guess I’ll come back – she’s a nice lady,” said Coe Caine, 19, of Fort Valley. “Man, I’m itching to get back home. Mom, can I have my phone back? I need to call Julie. She said she’d hook me up with some – uh, with some – with some books.”

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Written by Thag

October 17, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Protesters Aim to Preoccupy Wall Street

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New York, October 16 (AP) – Fed up with the single-minded focus on financial gain, members of the Preoccupy Wall Street movement staged a rally today at which they attempted to divert investment bankers’ attention from monetary matters and get them to concentrate, even briefly, on other pursuits.

“Look at all the bright colors!” urged A. D. Aitchdee, waving a variegated flag and touting the benefits of staring at Jackson Pollock paintings. “It’s all there! Just look!”

Another improvised booth had sinuous belly dancers in skimpy costumes, while a third simply brought out a large screen TV and hooked it up to a generator. Tables were set up with chess, Scrabble and other board games, and an open bar distributed free drinks to anyone in a suit and tie; passers by were engaged in conversation about the Yankees, celebrity gossip, the weather we’re having, the lousy traffic, the benefits of yoga, and assorted light topics.

“Direct confrontation just isn’t the way to go, so we decided the best route was – say, that’s a beautiful pair of shoes. Do you like shoe shopping?” asked D. Verting, the head of the local Preoccupy chapter. “You know, I always thought functionality trumps style, but then I got this pair of Easy Spirits that managed to fuse both goals. Here, you want to see?”

Police estimate about 1400 people attended the rally. The NYPD had to divert forces from other locations to oversee the event, which also attracted street vendors and performers. It remained unclear which street performers were officially registered with the event organizers and which opportunistically joined in the goings-on, but Verting welcomed both groups. “Wall street needs some distraction from all that white-collar greed. We welcome all the grass-roots participation – which reminds me – there’s a table over there where the sweetest little old lady shares her gardening tips.”

Visitors who attempted to discuss the financial markets, golf, government regulation, industry and other economic matters were quickly redirected to other topics of conversation, in which volunteer interlocutors tried to steer them away from talking shop for as long as possible. Other volunteers distributed promotional information on meditation retreats, “off the grid” getaways and vacations utterly disconnected from Wall Street.

A man holding a placard chanted slogans to distract brokers and banking executives; he rattled off limericks designed to pique their curiosity while prompting them to think about things other than bottom lines, leveraged buyouts and revenue.

“There once was a man from the Street
Whose ambition was just to compete
In a wireless game
By the simplest name:
How many rude words can you tweet?”

At press time, this reporter was playing Angry Birds.

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Written by Thag

October 16, 2012 at 2:30 pm

We Go Live to Our Reporter, Who Has Just Been Wedgied

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Originally posted December 15, 2010.

Muffin: Good evening and welcome to the Seventh Grade News. I’m Stud Muffin, with Jess Kidding.

First-period math got off to a shaky start today when half the class came in without homework. Mr. Cowell claims the students need to get their act together, while the class complains of unfair burdens. Lisp Nightly reports.

Nightly: That’th right, Thtud. The detailth are not a hundred perthent clear yet, but it appearth that at about nine-o-five thith morning, Mithter Cowell athked the thtudenth to plathe their homework on hith dethk, then thpent about a minute going through them, checking the nameth againtht the attendanth litht. When he got to the end, he thlammed the latht paper down on the pile and yelled at the clath.

What happened nektht ith thtill in dithpute. Thome thtudenth thay Mithter Cowell threatened to put a permanent mark in each one’th record if the lathineth perthithted, but otherth claim the teacher went even further, threatening to have the nektht clath trip cantheled.

Student 1: I dunno, so like, Mr. Cowell took attendance, and like, someone kept making, like, armpit noises, so, y’know, things were already, like, not so calm, and Jenna sneezed, and Mr. Cowell was all like, “OK, everyone, get your homework on the desk right now,” y’know? And so, like, he was like going through all the papers, and like ten of them were like totally missing, and he was like, “If you people keep skipping your homework, I’m gonna have to put it in your record,” which, like, whatever.

Student 2: So I’m sitting there in math class? And Mr. Cowell starts yelling at us? And I didn’t do my homework, cuz Britney, the girl who sits behind me? She had like a bad breakup with Brad? So I spent all of yesterday kinda making her feel better? And suddenly he’s yelling that we’re not gonna go on our next trip? And we have math homework like every single day?

Nightly: Mithter Cowell himthelf wath unavailable for comment, but the thtudenth themthelveth theem divided on the fairnethof their treatment. Thith ith the thecond time thith themethter that the clath hath had the threat of cantheled priviligeth dangled over them, and the way thingth are going, thome doubt they’ll ever go anywhere at all thith year. Back to you, Thtud and Jeth.

Kidding: Thank you, Lisp.

Gregg Mitchell was sent to the principal’s office for the sixth time this year during second-period history for mouthing off to the teacher. Here’s Fulla Vitt, with more on the story.

Vitt: Gregg Mitchell was whispering with Ellis Morton in the adjacent seat when Ms. Anthrope, the history teacher, asked him to quiet down. When Mitchell continued talking a few seconds later, Ms. Anthrope warned him, but he continued talking. That’s when she sent him to Ms. Urry’s office. That’s the third time in the last month that Mitchell has been sent there, and the sixth since the start of the year. Ms. Anthrope was the first teacher to send him to the principal back in October, as well.

Mitchell himself gave us the finger when we asked for an interview, but classmate Keith Antell says that Mitchell is just clowning around.

Antell: I don’t know why everyone’s getting on Gregg’s case. He’s just joking around. So he made a few jokes while Ms. Anthrope was talking. So what? It’s not like he hurts anybody. And he’s funny. Besides, history is boring.

Vitt: A school office official speaking on condition of anonymity informed us that the school psychologist is looking into Mitchell’s situation at home. For the Seventh Grade News, I’m Fulla Vitt.

Muffin: And now we’ll have a look at the weather, with meteorologist Dan Kandertti. Dan?

Kandertti: Looks like a calm second half of the week, but as you can see, the clique of Veronica Miles, Stephanie Durkett and Chloë Dumont are planning a series of embarrassing moments for Kari Wilmer on Thursday. Friday looks mostly clear except for the afternoon, it looks like, when the school will have a talent show, and only the popular kids will feel confident enough to participate. Here’s the five-day on your screens now; you can see the weekend shaping up to be troublesome, with Stephanie Durkett and her eighth-grade boyfriend having a fight on MySpace and spreading nasty rumors about each other. That storm will last into next week.

Kidding: It’s not a busy time for sports right now, but Jack Ovahltraids nevertheless has some news for us.

Ovahltraids: Yup. Jess, the new uniforms for the middle school basketball team are almost ready, and the boys will wear them when they get creamed by Edison Middle School on Sunday. The new uniforms are brown with yellow stripes down the side, and misspelled names on the backs. School officials say they have had to deal with budget cuts, so they purchased used uniforms from the Salvation Army and had volunteers sew the names. Go team!

Muffin: Well, that’s it for this evening. Join us again tomorrow when we give you an inside look at the janitor’s closet, and ask him about cleaning the boys’ locker room. Stay tuned for Midgets on Parade! For everyone here at the Seventh Grade News, I’m Stud Muffin. Good night.

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Written by Thag

October 15, 2012 at 8:24 pm

Romney Prepares to Boldly Lead America into the 1950s

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Washington, DC (AP) – Ramping up his Presidential campaign, Republican candidate Mitt Romney today reiterated his pledge to lead the country back to its simpler, nobler state: the 1950s.

“For too long, America has languished under the shadow of relativism, of questioning her values,” Romney said at a rally in Ohio. “But America has always been at her greatest without all that self-doubt. We knew Communism was evil, and we fought it without compromise. We knew American cars were the best, and we bought them with pride. Did anyone hesitate because of some wishy-washy ideas about so-called global warming? No!” he continued, to rousing applause.

The Romney campaign released a new brochure and section of its website detailing what it calls the Restoration of America’s Core Ideal Supreme Time, an initiative to remove all the complexities that have hampered American supremacy over the last few decades. RACIST aims chiefly to turn back the clock to a time before the upheaval and trouble of the civil rights movement, when “Americans knew their places and did their patriotic duty no matter what.”

But RACIST has a number of important secondary objectives, including a Constitutional amendment requiring all Americans to support the government’s policies, since the government, like father, always knows best. It also proposes reinstating the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy regarding gays in the military, pushing homosexuality back into the closet where it belongs, if it belongs anywhere.

On the world stage, RACIST takes an uncompromising position, asserting that no country or entity anywhere must be allowed to question, let alone challenge, American pursuits or interests, on pain of swift military retaliation.

Toward both the domestic and international ends, the Romney initiative calls for robust surveillance measures at home and abroad to ensure that the FBI, NSA, CIA and related agencies can better monitor suspected seditious activities such as operating country clubs that are not restricted to white Christians, or campaigning against capital punishment. The death penalty would be mandated for activism toward abolishing the death penalty.

RACIST would formalize lynching procedures, whereby any black man suspected of thinking lustfully about a white woman would be taken to a legally sanctioned area for beating and hanging.

Rape within marriage would be outlawed, meaning that it would be outside the jurisdiction of the legal system; wives would be legally bound to please their husbands sexually, to keep the home clean, to prepare dinner and to maintain an attractive appearance.

Reaction to RACIST has been mixed even among Republicans, a factor that Romney aides underscores the need for just such a program. “We’ve sunk so far from the clarity of half a century ago that even patriotic Republicans need a morale boost,” said Ralph Reed, a conservative lobbyist. “It’s partly because schools are allowed to teach evolution, and abortion is legal, and we intend to address those issues this coming January.”

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Written by Thag

October 15, 2012 at 11:46 am

Classic Thag, December 2010: Why You Should Become a Zombie

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Originally posted December 20, 2010

Zombies might not exist, but do you want to take that chance?

I don’t mean you should take some stupid, superstitious safety precautions to keep zombies at bay; that’s clearly a waste of time, resources, and whatever passes for your credibility. No, I’m thinking about the future: what happens to you after you die and your body starts to decompose? Wouldn’t it be the coolest thing in the world if your body could be reanimated as a zombie?!

Your remains, wandering around spooking people – and maybe even eating some brains for good measure. Does an urnful of cremation ashes offer the same jaw-dropping, scream-inducing coolness? Of course not. Just opt for burial over cremation and you’re set, on the off chance that bodies can rise from the dead as zombies.

I know what you’re thinking: it costs less to cremate a body than to purchase and maintain a burial plot. But not that much more, especially in some outlying areas – and as any good horror film student knows, it’s the suburbs where the undead action is. And no one says you have to have the grave maintained to be eligible for zombiehood. So if you’re willing to lay out a few thousand dollars more, at most, you can guarantee a chance to give your old skin, bones and rotting flesh a new lease on something vaguely resembling life! It’s like joining a retirement community!

We all want to make an impact on the world that outlasts our physical sojourn on this mortal coil. Unfortunately, we can’t all be Shakespeare, Einstein, da Vinci or Marx (Karl or Groucho). Or Stalin, for that matter. If we’re lucky, we might inspire a nice once-off memorial gesture by relatives, such as a donation in our names to the Elmer Fudd Speech Pathology Foundation.

Burial, however, offers the advantage of keeping a body available for diabolical reawakening and the overrunning of sleepy hamlets. If circumstances permit, your body might even participate in an full-scale zombie invasion of a major metropolitan area! There’s no way you could do that with a bunch of ashes. And the carbon emissions from the cremation process are just wrong. Your decomposing flesh will reintegrate with the ground in the most natural way while it waits to be mobilized for an undead offensive.

And if you’re really serious about it, you can even invest in embalming. But that’s for the really hardcore zombie wannabes, people willing to pay to guarantee an intact physical frame, even if the skin does take on a disturbing hue. But disturbing is exactly what you’re aiming for, after all; you want your remains to be disturbed so they can rise up and terrorize the populace.

The choice is clear. I know I wouldn’t be caught dead being cremated.

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Written by Thag

October 15, 2012 at 12:43 am

Fern Despondent after Being Defronded on Facebook

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Autumn, a fern in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, has withdrawn from social activity after a gymnosperm she admired defronded her publicly on Facebook.

The perpetrator accused Autumn of stalking and repeatedly leaving her hanging. The gymnosperm, named Twiggy, said she never got an anther to comments or questions, and when Autumn did offer any responses, she quickly back-petaled. Twiggy posted on Autumn’s cell wall for everyone to see that she would no longer subject herself to such treetment.

The relationship began several months ago when both Twiggy and Autumn happened to get trunk together one night, and they each discovered the other was an aphid fan of Botany Spears. But Twiggy, who always aimed to become more fully evolved, soon grew past whatever affinity they shared, and made several vein attempts to introduce Autumn to pursuits that were less, in her words, “bush league.”

But Autumn viewed any such changes as growth violations of etiquette, and made a series of more and more obvious digs at Twiggy. In late September she showered the gymnosperm with accusations that she had shared pollen with Chloro Phill. Twiggy initially gave those insults little more than a shrub, not wanting to go the root of outright conflict, but Autumn’s bark became progressively more biting.

After another bitter exchange sapped Twiggy’s will to maintain the relationship, she decided to nip further conflict in the bud. “I have tried to get you to be a good spore about things, but you have done nothing but soil my reputation. I must stem the flow of more insults. I’m sorry we grew apart. It wasn’t plant that way, but you seem incapable of doing anything but adding ovule to the fire,” Twiggy’s first comment read. Autumn reacted with shades of Greta Garbo, first claiming she wanted Twiggy to leave her alone, then publicly unearthing Twiggy’s thorny relationship with the comedian Billy Pistil, another mutual frond, and continuously needling her about it.

That was the last straw for Twiggy. She pruned her list of contacts to avoid any further association with Autumn, and the latter has barely said a word, only speaking up to voice regret at her “foliage attempt” to get along with Twiggy. “It just canopy.”

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Written by Thag

October 14, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Classic Thag, November 2010: Give Birth and I’ll Sue You

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Originally posted November 24, 2010.

Subject: Infant Smith v Mr. and Mrs. Smith

If it please the court:

I am writing on behalf of my client, Infant smith, who seeks redress on the following counts:

As Exhibit A demonstrates, my client was clearly happier in his previous quarters, as the lack of reality tv indicates.

1. On 20 October of this year, at approximately 4 p.m., Mrs. Smith knowingly and deliberately separated my client from his source of nourishment, warmth and safety, into an unspeakably harsh environment. Although my client continuously expressed his opposition to this course of action, Mrs. Smith proceeded to expel my client from the premises he had occupied for nine months.

2. While this was happening, Mr. Smith, rather than provide assistance, encouraged Mrs. Smith to continue her actions.

3. In addition to encouraging Mrs. Smith in her mistreatment of my client, Mr. Smith himself seized a pair of shears and severed my client’s metabolism from its source.

4. As a result of Mr. Smith’s act of vandalism, my client, accustomed to receiving oxygen to his cells directly, must inhale a mixture of gases through an untested and immature respiratory apparatus. This mixture of gases has been shown to contain countless pathogens and harmful substances.

5. As a further result of Mr. Smith’s vandalism, my client, accustomed to having nutrients fed directly into his bloodstream, must engage in a humiliating act called “feeding” in order to obtain nourishment: he must hold his mouth a certain way against a very specific part of Mrs. Smith’s anatomy, and repeatedly use his mouth to try to stimulate Mrs. Smith’s endocrine system to produce a substance for my client to ingest. The effort and discomfort involved in both extracting sufficient quantities of this substance and converting its components into physiologically useful materials takes a physical and emotional toll, causing my client to be perpetually tired, upset and uncomfortable.

And as you can see, he is clearly in distress during the procedure.

6. Moreover, whereas before his expulsion my client could efficiently dispose of his metabolic waste products through his circulatory system, he is now forced to expel much of the waste through his own anus, which can irritate his sensitive skin. He lies at the mercy of his abusers in this respect, as well, since only they posses the wherewithal to clean the area. My client’s immature muscular system simply lacks the capacity to address this need, foisted upon him by the defendants.

7. The harsh lighting and unfamiliar, loud sounds of my client’s unwanted new environment further contribute to his discomfort and displeasure.

8. In his rightful environs, my client had no need for garments, but now risks exposure to extremes of heat and cold, not to mention the fundamental violation of his human dignity inherent in that exposure. Here, as well, my client lies at the mercy of his victimizers, as they alone decide if, when and how to garb my client. In addition to the obvious humiliation this engenders, my client has no say in the sartorial selection process.

If it please the court, my client therefore requests his immediate restoration to his previous abode, under the same conditions to which he became accustomed over the course of his entire existence.

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Written by Thag

October 13, 2012 at 9:45 pm

No Hypocrisy Here; Move Along, Nothing to See…

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Written by Thag

October 11, 2012 at 8:03 pm

Saudi Arabia Outlaws Women

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Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) – The Saudi government announced today it will outlaw women, calling them a threat to the moral fabric of society.

As of 3 November, anyone in possession of a woman will face fines or imprisonment, with more severe terms for possession of multiple women. Producers of women will face the death penalty. The Saudi move comes at a time of heightened tension between the government’s west-leaning foreign policy and its cultivation of Wahhabist Islam, an ultraconservative interpretation of the faith.

“The Saudis walk a fine line between friendliness to its Western allies and commercial partners on one hand, and its adherence, at least outwardly, to a position that sees the cultures of those allies as a major threat,” said B.S. Windbag, a professor of Islamic Thought at Case Western University. “Banning women, whom they see as the chief vehicle for ‘western’ sexual mores, allows the ruling family to maintain its image as a guardian of Islam.”

Saudi Arabia already has restrictions on who may enter the kingdom; few non-Muslims are permitted, and then only under special circumstances, such as foreign diplomats. In the holy city of Mecca, no non-Muslims are allowed at all. According to Windbag, “This ban might be unprecedented in scope, but not it spirit,” referring to the existing Saudi policy that bars women from appearing in public without a male relative as an escort.

Historically, the Saudi ruling family has enforced standards among the most restrictive of all Muslim countries, not permitting women to obtain a driving licence and insisting all women wear garments that conceal every part of their bodies. The new policy is a tacit acknowledgment that even those radical policies have not been sufficient to safeguard the kingdom’s moral rectitude, according to Wyldas Gess, a political commentator for CBS News.

It remains unclear how extensive the ban will be; foreign diplomats might yet be permitted to bring along families that include women. Those details will be settled over the next few weeks as the authorities develop strategies for enforcing and monitoring adherence.

In a related development, Iran announced it is considering banning men in order to keep out such Western influences as homosexuality.

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Written by Thag

October 11, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Syria, Turkey Fighting over Which Is the Worse Hellhole

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“This is the hand I wipe with. I will now shake yours.” Assad (AP).

Cespul, Turkey (AP) – Fighting has intensified along the border of Turkey and Syria, where the two countries have escalated their conflict over which one is the more backward, filth-ridden craphole.

Syria, in the midst of an uprising that began last year, remains the clear favorite, but Turkey’s continual bungling in diplomatic, military and political matters has kept the contest close. Unwilling to relinquish its aim to lead the Middle East back into the seventh century, Turkey retaliated for Syrian incompetence last week after stray mortar shells struck the town of Septik, and fired artillery at Syrian positions near Flush.

The deadly exchange of fire cost lives on both sides of the border. In addition to the damage caused by the shelling itself, both Syrian and Turkish soldiers suffered injuries when they improperly loaded their weapons, causing them to misfire and wreaking havoc in the Turkish town of  Fikal and the Syrian village of Dayariyya as the ordnance fell short of enemy positions.

The rivalry over which country has done a better job of keeping the Muslim world in the Dark Ages has not always involved Turkey and Syria. In the 1980s, Iran and Iraq spent years at war with each other, vying for the title of Most Immoral regime in the Middle East. Other countries such as Libya and Afghanistan occasionally made token claims; in the aftermath of 9/11, as the U.S. prepared to bomb Afghanistan back to the stone age, they discovered the country was already there.

“I’m ambidextrous.” Erdogan (AP).

With the turmoil in North Africa over the last two years, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt all had to turn their focus inward and concentrate on rebuilding the corrupt systems that had come toppling down after years of unsustainable graft and nepotism. That left an emptier playing field, into which Syria, Turkey and Iran have all come tumbling. But while Iran has focused on making a complete douchebag of itself on the world stage, the other two republics set their sights on direct conflict with each other.

It began slowly, as Turkey, a member of NATO, harbored refugees and rebels seeking shelter from Basher Assad’s soldiers, and making noises about bringing in its more powerful Western allies. When Syria downed a Turkish military plane several months ago, the two countries realized they had an opportunity to come out of the conflict with their infrastructure and reputations at an all-time low, but that doing so would require continued escalation of a pointless, bloody, poorly managed and chaotic war, and they immediately embarked along that course.

As of press time, Turkish forces were massing at Stool, in case the Turkish leadership decided to order an all-out assault on the neighboring Syrian region of Al-Fissis.

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Written by Thag

October 10, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Malignant Chàvez Surgicaly Removed from Tumor

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Chavez (AP). He was safely removed from a colon tumor in June 2011.

(Originally posted January 2012)

HAVANA, CUBA (Reuters) – Venezuelan diplomatic sources have reported that a cancerous tumor has undergone surgery in the Cuban capital to remove a dangerous Hugo Chàvez. According to unconfirmed reports, the Venezuelan president’s colon was threatening the tumor. The tumor has been incommunicado since the surgery, fueling speculation that Chàvez might still pose a danger to it.

Chàvez is not the first world leader to put cancerous colon cells at risk. In 1985, US President Ronald Reagan was excised from a polyp, and later that year had to be removed from cancerous skin cells on his nose. That surgery had to be repeated twice more when a malignant Reagan threatened other such skin cells.

In 1951, surgeons operated on a tumor in the lungs of Britain’s King George VI, hoping to prolong the growth’s life; its host went into remission and died several months later, guaranteeing the tumor permanent safety from His Highness. Similarly, in 1964 doctors successfully removed King Paul of Greece from a stomach tumor.

According to the World Health Organization, cancerous growths are at risk of harm from approximately one third of the human population, the vast majority of which never undergo treatment or surgery, especially in developing countries where the tumors do not have access to adequate medical care.

An intestinal tumor like the one rescued from Chavez (Reuters).

In the case of the Venezuelan President, the latter has obliquely accused the US government of infecting cancers with Latin American heads of state, a charge US officials have been quick to dismiss.

Organizations representing tumors have grown significantly and spread rapidly throughout the world, but have nevertheless come up short in rallying people to their cause. Critics accuse the organizations of devouring the meager available resources they manage to procure, with little to show for their efforts but a bloated network of cells throughout the world engaged in nothing but continued growth.

Written by Thag

October 10, 2012 at 10:24 am