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Archive for September 2013

Correspondent On Diet Repeatedly Lapses Into Food Reverie While Reporting

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cheesecakeCoral Gables, FL (AP) – Ever since she began a restrictive diet last month, Michelle Cowan, a correspondent for the Associated Press, has been unable to complete a sentence in her article submissions without lapsing into fantasies involving luscious chocolate desserts and other decadent gustatory experiences.

The reporter, 38, finally resolved over the summer to do something about the unsightly extra adipose tissue accumulating around her midsection, resembling in texture a brioche before it has been placed in the oven and baked to fluffy, buttery perfection. So she embarked on a strict regimen limiting her caloric intake to no more than 1500 calories in any 24-hour period, hoping to shed the extra weight within a reasonable amount of time and not be constantly consumed by unfulfilled thoughts of creamy, sumptuous cheesecake with a subtle but cinnamony graham cracker crust.

pb cupsInitially, Cowan’s resolve and the novelty of the effort combined to keep her appetite and imagination in check, but within three days of lower caloric intake, her cravings for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or fresh, crisp french fries became overpowering. Her editor and coworkers noticed that every statement, irrespective of its relevance to the subject at hand, included an unnecessarily lengthy exploration of a memorable baked macaroni and cheese dish or homemade schnitzel right from the skillet, for example.

Within a week, the phenomenon had crept into Cowan’s written work, as well, at first manifesting as out-of-place analogies to chocolate-covered pretzels or a croissant. Her editors quickly noticed that the analogies to comfort food slipped into Cowan’s sentences as smoothly as warm butterscotch pudding down a waiting throat. The obsession began affecting others in the newsroom, spreading so quickly that virtually the entire staff of writers found themselves employing metaphors of toll house cookies, garlic-roasted potatoes, and, in the case of the sportswriters, wine-and-herb tilapia sizzling in the pan.

gnocchiManaging Editor Mark Mywords attempted to address the problem directly by sending out a group e-mail with a reminder of certain style policies, but was drowned out as reporters and interns shared recipes for teriyaki beef and gnocchi with tomato cream sauce. He followed up with a disciplinary meeting for several egregious offenders, at which Cowan and fellow correspondent Samantha Drakes continued to turn every line of conversation into a discussion of Entenmann’s crumb-topped donuts.

This is not the first time a journalism outfit has been compromised by thoughts of garlicky chicken soup with fluffy dumplings. A similar development occurred at the Washington Post in 1994, the year this reporter discovered a deli with a stacked corned-beef-on-rye to make even the most die-hard vegan salivate. The New York Times suffered the same fate in 1971 and 1973, when editor A. M. Rosenthal brought in leftovers from a family member’s Bar Mitzva celebration, and reporters were stuffing themselves on cream cheese rugelach for weeks.

At press time, this reporter was still ravenously desirous of a pastrami burger.

Written by Thag

September 30, 2013 at 9:24 pm

Supreme Court: Obamacare Actually A Kind Of Cheese

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Washington, DC (AP) – In a move surprising to both supporters and opponents of President Obama’s landmark universal health care law, the Supreme Court ruled this morning that the far-reaching piece of legislation, affecting hundreds of millions of Americans, is actually a variety of cheese similar to cheddar.

Democratic supporters and Republican opponents have waged a public conflict over the constitutionality, feasibility, and costs of the health care package, with Congressional Republicans threatening to withhold funding for the program. The Court ruling at once forces the administration to reconsider the application of the law and deprives Republicans of ammunition in the fight against it.

In a split decision, the Court decided 5-4 that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), as the package is formally known, is not a piece of legislation at all, but a semi-hard cheese with the pungency of of young Gouda and a texture evocative of Pecorino.

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts praised the PPACA’s strong flavor and creaminess, noting how unusual it is for a cheese made from cow’s milk to achieve the particular balance of flavor and texture normally associated with sheep cheeses such as Pecorino.

“We find the PPACA a sumptuous feast of the senses,” Roberts wrote. “The unmistakable aroma of a fine Pecorino gives way to the not-quite al dente feel of a sensuous, creamy Gruyère.”


Pecorino Romano

In a spirited dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia vigorously denounced that characterization, asserting that in fact Obamacare bears only a passing resemblance to cheese. Scalia minced no words in putting forth the argument that if anything, the PPACA calls to mind and palate a delicate veal carpaccio.

“Far be it from this judge to weigh in on matters of taste, but since the majority has already done so, let it be known that the majority would not know a mozzarella from a matza,” wrote Scalia, referring to a type of crispy, unleavened bread eaten by Jews on Passover. “In fact Obamacare would be best served with a nice Rosé, or better yet, an apéritif of some sort, but you won’t hear such things from the stodgy confines of the rest of the bench.”

In practice, the ruling leaves the PPACA out of the realm of direct influence from Congress, as regulation of cheeses and other dairy products falls under the aegis of the Department of Agriculture. While calling into question the medical application of the health care package, the Supreme Court has nevertheless granted the President effective carte blanche to apply it as the agency that answers to him sees fit.

“We certainly see this as a victory,” said White House Chief of Staff Jacob Lew. “A victory to be savored, perhaps on a rye cracker with nigella or caraway seeds.” Lew himself noted that he could not necessarily partake of the cheese, as he follows Jewish dietary law; the vast majority of cheeses available in the United States are not kosher, as they use rennet, an enzyme from animal sources that is considered a meat substance under Jewish law, and may not be mixed with dairy.

Congressional Republicans were quick to voice their disappointment. “Not what I expected at all, to tell you the truth,” conceded Mitch McConnell (R-KY). “We had been near certain the Court would see things our way, considering the Chief Justice’s own conservative tastes.” McConnell said he had yet to decide whether he would purchase any of the PPACA.

“My tastes run more toward Brie and Camembert,” he confessed, referring to softer cheeses.

Written by Thag

September 29, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Exclusive: The 2020 Democratic Platform

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Democratic donkeyWashington, DC (AP) – The Associated Press has obtained an advance copy of the official positions to be endorsed in the 2020 Presidential and Congressional elections by the Democratic Party. The proposed platform includes a number of far-reaching legislative objectives:

  • All firearms must be surrendered as part of voter registration.
  • Social Security, Medicare, and other federal benefits will be given only to same-sex couples.
  • Mandatory abortions after 22 weeks.
  • The right to vote and run for office will be revoked from US citizens and granted only to illegal immigrants.
  • Mandatory Spanish-language instruction for all schoolchildren to begin immediately; by 2030, all official government communication and forms must be conducted or issued in Spanish only.
  • States that wish to receive federal funds as part of their budgets must agree to destroy one Christian church every week.
  • Stop-and-Frisk to focus only on white people.
  • Compulsory participation in Gay Pride events for everyone 18 or older.
  • Elementary school curricula to include mandatory component on the benefits of Communism.
  • Shariah law to be applied in all US appellate courts.
  • Motion pictures and televised entertainment will be required to depict whites as evil and all other races as oppressed yet virtuous.
  • All physicians required to prescribe marijuana for all patients.
  • Deficit spending to be made compulsory at all levels of federal, state, and local government, and in households numbering at least one (1) person.
  • Limits removed on number of residency permits issued to those arriving from Mexico.
  • United Nations to be granted control of US armed forces deployed abroad.
  • Schools required to distribute condoms to all students daily.
  • Mandatory sex education classes to include mandatory sex.
  • Tax rates to increase to 231% for anyone who ever reported capital gains.
  • Daughters of the American Revolution to be declared hate group, outlawed, its members arrested and all contributors fined.
  • September 11 to be declared Protect Muslims Day.

Written by Thag

September 28, 2013 at 9:31 pm

Man’s Prayers Answered: ‘Shut Up Already’

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Gary BonnerRockville Centre, NY (AP) – The Lord God Almighty finally responded to repeated entreaties by a local man, instructing the 27-year-old to stop pestering Him and do something to improve his own life for once.

Gary Bonner, currently unemployed, has been praying for a windfall since he lost his job as a welder in late 2012. Rather than immediately seek another position, Bonner elected to place his trust entirely in the Lord, restricting his own revenue-related efforts to collecting unemployment benefits and buying various tickets from the New York State Lottery.

“Any God Who can provide for me by arranging a working position can also engineer events so that I don’t have to do any work to have a steady income, as well,” he reasoned, ignoring the Lord’s own pronouncements regarding the sweat of man’s brow as the default method for gaining bread.

Fed up, as it were, by the man’s attitude, the Lord appeared in a vision to Bonner and instructed him to cease all petition until he takes measures to indicate active participation in the live he was given. “I did not create thee to sit around on thy duff, waiting, as doth a goldfish in a tank, for magical food flakes to float down from Heaven,” the Creator of the universe informed the misguided soul. “Go forth and seek sustenance by thine own hand, and wait not, for thou art not a fetus in the womb that thy provisions be pumped directly into thy bloodstream.”

Unswayed from his lassitude, Bonner attempted to argue with the Almighty, citing the precedents of Elijah being brought food by the ravens, and the Israelites in the wilderness receiving a daily allotment of manna. “Lord, You’ve shown before that not everyone needs to work – why can’t I be one of those people, instead of the loser I am now?”

Although the Lord’s last serious debate occurred in the second millennium BCE, He demonstrated that He had lost none of His rhetorical sharpness. “Art thou Abraham, who beseeched Me to spare to wicked city of Sodom, that thou wouldst now engage in dispute?” the Lord retorted. “When was the last time thou sought to save anyone, let alone those whom others have dismissed as unworthy?”

“And as for your invocation of Elijah,” continued God, “when I see that thou hast devoted thy life to uprooting idolatrous practices and oppression of the meek, then shall I consider providing thee with thy daily bread through less effort of thine own,” admonished He Who spoke and the world was created. “And thou comparest thyself to the Israelites, My chosen people? The ones who followed Me into the wilderness, ready to accept My covenant of devotion when all other nations preferred to mire themselves in their orgies of oppression, castes, human sacrifice, and unbridled pursuit of power?”

According to witnesses, Bonner hesitated only a moment, but persisted nonetheless. “Lord, plenty of people have it easy, and they don’t seem to be doing anything worthy with their lives. Celebrities. Playboys. Bankers. I just want to be one of them instead!”

“Shut up already,” answered God, dismissing Bonner’s argument with a wave of His metaphorical hand. “Trust Me: if thou had any potential as an avatar of iniquity, thou wouldst already be decades into a life of debauched vanity. Now, for the second time, get off thy duff and seek gainful employment!”

At press time, Bonner was scouring the classified section of Newsday for available positions as corrupt dictator of a small Latin American country.

Written by Thag

September 27, 2013 at 10:26 am

Rouhani: Iran Seeks Better Relations With All Countries That Hate Israel

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Hassan Rouhani, displaying the friendly face the Islamic Republicwill show anyone who shares its assessment that Israel must die a fiery death.

Hassan Rouhani, displaying the friendly face the Islamic Republic will show anyone who shares its assessment that Israel must die a fiery death.

New York (AP) Addressing the United Nations General Assembly for the first time, newly installed President of Iran showed a softer side of the regime yesterday, preaching acceptance for everyone, provided they harbor animosity toward the Jewish state.

“The Islamic republic seeks engagement with the world, not discord,” said Hassan Rouhani to the annual gathering of world leaders, “and we can achieve that harmony if everyone accepts the premise that the Zionist regime is evil and must be obliterated.” Iran’s denies that its continued enrichment of uranium is intended to produce atomic weapons, while Israel and other Western countries have warned of the dangers of a nuclear-armed Iran.

Until recently, the official tone of Iran’s rhetoric has been defiant. Rouhani’s predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, repeatedly and unabashedly issued predictions and calls for Israel’s destruction. Iran has supported various armed groups that attack Israel, including Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. But with Rouhani now in office, the Ayatollah-run country has tried to burnish its image, portraying the new president as a more accommodating personality. Rouhani was heavily involved in the early stages of Iran’s nuclear program.

“It’s a hopeful sign,” said Venezuelan delegate Jose Maria Cortes. “For years, the world got used to hearing nothing but opposition to Israel’s existence, and now Iran has completely altered its approach, and they simply oppose the existence of Israel and are working to threaten it any way they can.”

French diplomat François Martin shared the Venezuelan’s assessment. “France has watched with concern as Iran repeatedly rebuffed the International Atomic Energy Agency,” he recalled, “but Rouhani and his fresh approach mean that now we can expect only further obstruction, concealment, and, ultimately, a nuclear-capable regime that has made no bones of its desire to rid the world of one of its neighbors.”

American officials have remained wary, and echoed Israeli admonitions to observe Iran’s behavior, rather than its pronouncements. “The Obama administration is certainly in favor of open discourse,” said US ambassador Samantha Power. “But we reserve judgment on Iran until it demonstrates a genuine shift in its policies, not mere lip service to the idea of removing Israel from the map.” The US has led an international effort to levy economic sanctions on Iran, and Iran’s economy has suffered as a result. Power said the US has noted Iran’s strong relations with such reputable states as Russia, Venezuela, Cuba, and Syria.


Written by Thag

September 25, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Supreme Court Upholds Death Penalty For Loud Cellphone User

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"Actually, this is too good for him," wrote Justice Kagan. normally an opponent of the death penalty.

“Actually, this is too good for him,” wrote Justice Kagan. normally an opponent of the death penalty.

Washington, DC (AP) – In a unanimous ruling, the Supreme Court validated an execution sentence for a Long Island man convicted of talking loudly on his cellphone during a train commute into Manhattan two years ago.

Irving Whitaker, 42, of Lakeview, boarded the 7:40 AM train to Jamaica, Queens on a Tuesday morning in July 2011. Within minutes of displaying his ticket for the conductor, Whitaker produced a mobile phone and began conversing loudly with a succession of interlocutors, repeatedly ignoring fellow commuters’ admonitions and requests to either reduce his volume or desist from talking. While some passengers managed to move to other cars, others on the increasingly crowded train were forced to remain in the same car as Whitaker. Word of one passenger’s misbehavior reached the conductor, but the latter was unable to negotiate the tide of commuters fleeing Whitaker’s company in order to reach the offender to remedy the situation.

As the awkwardness and unpleasantness in Whitaker’s car reached its peak, dozens of passengers rushed to get out as fast as they could at Jamaica, the next stop. Two platform bystanders were killed in the stampede and another six were fatally mauled as they were forced in front of an oncoming train on the facing track. A further twenty were injured.

Whitaker pleaded not guilty to eight charges of manslaughter, contending that he was not forcing anyone to leave; they could simply ignore his conversations as they did one another every minute of every commute. The jury was unmoved, however, and found Whitaker guilty on all counts. State Supreme Court Judge Fred Bodoff cited the defendant’s unrepentant attitude in sentencing Whitaker beyond that which state law provides, which is a maximum of 20 years for manslaughter. Bodoff noted other aggravating aspects of the defendant’s behavior, such as a tendency to laugh nervously and nasally at every single one of his own statements, and handed down a sentence of death by electric chair.

Last year a federal appeals court ruled that although the judge had not adhered to the mandatory sentencing guidelines, the circumstances of the case justified this exception. The appeals court decision focused on Whitaker’s repeated, lengthy use of “Uhhhhhhhh,” before each phrase.

The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case several months ago, and closing arguments were delivered in August. In a rare move, each justice elected to write a separate decision. Justices Bader-Ginsburg and Scalia found the defendant’s actions unconscionable enough in themselves to validate the death penalty, while Justices Sotomayor and Alito cited Whitaker’s overuse of, “bizarre,” “whaaaaaat?” and “I’m tellin’ ya.” Justices Kennedy, Roberts, and Kagan also mentioned the content of the defendant’s discourse, which never deviated from celebrity gossip; the continuing woes of the New York Jets football franchise and how to fix them, as if he possesses some special knowledge and expertise; and the unnecessarily salacious details of the very public affair that his secretary was having with the head of some other department at work. Justice Thomas recused himself, as he owns a significant number of shares of several telecommunications companies.

New York State is expected to finally execute Whitaker in December, barring a pardon from Governor Andrew Cuomo. A spokesman for the governor was quoted today as saying Mr. Cuomo would sooner walk on his lips through a sewage treatment plant than grant such a pardon.

Written by Thag

September 23, 2013 at 8:31 pm

Parent Scientists Isolate Ideal Bedtime

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Either a health risk or a manifest demonstration of  life lived correctly.

Either a health risk or a manifest demonstration of life lived correctly.

Cambridge, MA (AP) – Physicists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have announced the results of a multi-year effort to define the ideal hour at which children should be put to bed, including confirmation of a long-held assumption that a “golden window” exists during which children who cooperate with parental bedtime directives will enjoy happier, healthier lives.

A team consisting of thirty-five researchers across the country who are also parents of young children examined data regarding a cohort of 70 youths from the ages of six months to eleven years. They found that the best time for children to be tucked into bed was in the range of 6:45 pm and 7:30 pm, and even earlier if Mom or Dad had something special planned just for the two of them. The researchers published their findings in this week’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

According to the article, the benefits of adhering to this bedtime scheme include, but are not limited to: more frequent and more plentiful desserts; fewer occasions for parent-administered discipline; an easier time getting ready for school in the morning; more generous allowance; and a significantly decreased likelihood of getting grounded.

“This study essentially corroborates everything we’ve been saying for a long time,” said Dr. I. Sedso, a Columbia University professor of physics and father of three who was not involved in the research. “Our experience,” she said, referring to the informal studies undertaken by colleagues with small children at home, “bears out that the household functions at peak efficiency when children have dinner at about 5:15, have a bath or shower, change into pajamas, brush teeth, and are ready for maybe a bedtime story and to be tucked in by 7 pm, 7:15 if a lice-combing is necessary,” she said in a telephone interview.

The study is the most recent in a series of MIT efforts to define and quantify various aspects of the parent-child dynamic. A report released in February noted the character-building benefits of taking out the garbage even when one has already removed one’s shoes, and the myriad positive effects on one’s long-term satisfaction inherent in keeping that racket down.

The research is not without its detractors. “We believe studies of this nature are a priori biased,” claims Houston-area ten-year-old Greg Niedermeyer. “They fail to account for the negative social impact that adhering to, for example, an early bedtime, exerts on the life of a typical schoolchild.” Niedermeyer also criticized an earlier study that found only positive outcomes for children who finished their vegetables, noting that only losers ate Brussels sprouts or beets in any form.

Niedermeyer pointed to a conflicting set of studies conducted over the last year by children at various elementary schools in Texas, Vermont, Indiana, and Florida, which found a significant correlation between later bedtimes and freer access to candy. “It’s clear that from a happiness point of view, liberal parental attitudes are key. The studies indicating otherwise suffer from a prejudiced set of assumptions, among them that whatever a parent wants is ipso facto desirable.”

Adult researchers, in turn, have assailed the schoolchildren’s research as agenda-driven, and noted that it was all underwritten by manufacturers of unnecessarily sweet breakfast cereals and of violent video games masquerading as educational tools.

Written by Thag

September 17, 2013 at 11:45 pm

Bizarre, Warped Man Looking Forward To Family Reunion

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Gary and MelissaWoodmere, NY (AP) – A local man who experts say must have a chemical imbalance of some sort has grown increasingly excited during recent weeks as a planned get-together with cousins, parents, and siblings approaches.

Gary Innes, 37, of North Woodmere, has inexplicably shown greater and greater eagerness since the reunion was finalized in July, and exhibits no signs of awareness that such a positive orientation toward one’s relatives is widely considered weird. According to several neighbors, Innes has repeatedly mentioned how happy he was to be able to see his older brother again, seemingly oblivious to the fact that older brothers, as a rule, are not supposed to be viewed in a positive light.

Similarly, his iterative mentions of getting together with his parents has sent waves of revulsion through this bedroom community, where, as in any normal place, parents are seen at best as a necessary evil, and at worst – and most commonly – as a neverending source of awkwardness and shame.

“He seems so normal, so harmless,” said a neighbor who requested anonymity to forestall any further strain in what will soon be a stilted, overly formal relationship, at least from her end. “What sort of traumatic, depraved childhood did this man have that he sees absolutely nothing wrong with feeling close to siblings and parents?” she wondered.

Indeed, says Stephen Strohmayer, a fellow member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in nearby Hewlett, the attachment and affection that Mr. Innes feels for family extends even to the unthinkable: he apparently has warm regard, even admiration, for his in-laws. “I just can’t wrap my head around it,” said Strohmayer, who has appealed to others within the parish to come together to find a way to set Innes straight.

Lucille Bergen, another church member, even attempted to offer support for Melissa, Gary’s wife, gently probing to see whether Melissa felt perplexed or confused by Gary’s easy relationship with her parents. “She looked at me like I was the one from Mars, not her,” recalled Bergen. “I’m afraid he’s got her brainwashed or something, and she doesn’t even want to live in reality anymore. She seems to think it’s preferable to live in a world where family members love one another,” concluded Bergen in disbelief.

Eyewitness accounts indicate the extent to which Gary’s freakish world view has affected Melissa. Reports from other relatives indicate that at Christmas dinner last year, Melissa was seen smiling easily and embracing Gary’s parents, and alcohol was not served. The most serious, severe disagreement of the evening involved a spirited, good-natured discussion of favorite TV shows from the 1980’s, in which Melissa touted the virtues of MacGyver and the Inneses stood by their choice of Cheers. Not a single arch comment about the former’s child-rearing choices, sartorial habits, cooking, or lifestyle choices was recorded.

“I know it must be eating her up inside, to have this grotesque, supportive dynamic with her in-laws,” says the neighbor who wishes to remain anonymous. “It must be a Stockholm Syndrome kind of thing, where she’s adopted Gary’s espousal of outlandish family ideas as a sort of defense mechanism so she doesn’t have to deal with the manifest wrongness of it all.”

Written by Thag

September 16, 2013 at 9:40 pm

Report: No More Room On Earth For Children’s Art Projects

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The remains of Etruscan culture, which collapsed under the weight of accumulated school projects in 300 BCE.

The remains of Etruscan culture, which collapsed under the weight of accumulated school projects in 300 BCE.

Fresh Kills Landfill, Staten Island (AP) – Environmental groups and parents came together this week to raise alarm over the worldwide accumulation of projects that children bring home from day care, day camp, preschool and the early years of elementary school.

A new movement calling itself Don’t Employ Take-home Regalia In Teaching Us Stuff (DETRITUS) has issued a warning to local and national governments, admonishing them to do something to prevent children’s art projects from taking up any more valuable space in the nation’s homes, gardens, bedrooms, and storage facilities, which are already filled to capacity.

“Every parent struggles with the notion of disposing of the unwieldy, crude, and poorly conceived pieces of junk that their children bring home from nursery school or kindergarten,” said Polly Styrene, a DETRITUS representative. “But they must always confront the guilt that comes with throwing away anything at all, lest the poor children then get the feeling their parents care nothing for all the work that went into those pieces of crap.”

The accumulation of old projects has reached crisis proportion, DETRITUS warns. “Following a generation and a half of children bringing home seasonal decorative project after seasonal decorative project, parents do not even have the option of handing off any of these so-called objets-d’art to grandparents or other relatives, who spent their own children’s younger years saturating their homes with all that worthless junk, and have no remaining space to display or store the monstrosities.”

The DETRITUS statement outlined several crucial measures that must be implemented immediately if people are to avoid being pushed out of their homes by styrofoam, construction paper, sequins, wooden skewers, cardboard, cotton balls, toothpicks, stickers, glitter, gift wrap, matchsticks, feathers, yarn, plastic bottles, paper fasteners, ribbons, picture frames, popsicle sticks, plastic and paper cups, small jars, egg cartons, pipe cleaners, doilies, tissue paper, corks, socks, buttons, Elmer’s glue, stamps, beads, cellophane, milk cartons, crepe paper, beans, fabric swatches, plastic laminate, pom-poms, lanyard, dried flowers, empty thread spools, drinking straws, aluminum cans, modeling clay, little bells, rhinestones, bottle caps, flags, toilet paper rolls, key rings, signs, puff paint, tinsel, coffee stirrers, plastic containers, rubber bands, washers, dry elbow macaroni, colored sand, corn kernels, shoe boxes, old compact discs, colored pebbles, twist ties, foil, paper bags, disposable plates and bowls, papier maché, string, sealing wax, and other fancy stuff.

First, teachers and day-care workers must be barred under penalty of law from initiating any new projects, starting immediately. That would effectively reduce the creation of new problematic creations to zero. Strict enforcement would be necessary to ensure that no children would be instructed to make, for example, Christmas tree ornaments, Halloween decorations, or Mothers Day cards. Resistance to this measure is expected from teachers and others who work with children, who will be forced to engage in activities with their charges that do not involve permanent additions to this civilization’s archaeological record.

Second, government-supervised efforts must be made to eliminate some of the clutter already congesting America’s households, beginning with projects that no one ever uses whose creators have long since moved out or forgotten them. Local police forces will be tasked with ensuring, by force if necessary, that each household with children in its jurisdiction parts with at least 20 such projects over the course of the next two years. Power plants will be required to begin burning these objects to produce electricity and thus reduce the space the items occupy by an estimated 40,000 tons per month. The requirement to switch to art-project-based fuel will remain in effect until the availability of local art garbage falls to acceptable levels.

Third, In order to soften the sentimental blow, families will be allowed to apply for a team of archivists to document, photograph, and record clips of pieces that meet certain minimum criteria of nostalgic or sentimental value before their worthless crud is destroyed.

“We have to act now, before we are inundated by more crap,” said Styrene. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go to a school meeting, where the teacher has made sure each kid made some useless thing to welcome each parent,” she added through gritted teeth.

Written by Thag

September 12, 2013 at 3:37 pm

Tourette Syndrome Conference Degenerates Into Vulgar Shouting Match

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Tourette iPhoneBayside, NY (AP) – A biannual convention of researchers and people diagnosed with the Tourette Syndrome motor disorder erupted into chaos yesterday when a group of attendees began yelling obscenities at one another and disrupting the proceedings.

The Tourette Syndrome Association, headquartered in this Queens neighborhood, was holding its gathering to share updates on research into the origins, pathology, and treatment of the condition, which affects up to four percent of the population. It is typically associated with muscle tics, often including the sudden making of sounds by the mouth. One of the less common features among sufferers is coprolalia, or a tendency to spout rude words and phrases. In this case, they involved an escalating series of sexual and fecal expletives applied to the speakers, the audience, and one another.

According to eyewitnesses, three or four of the attendees apparently had that symptom of the disorder, and reacted loudly and obscenely in turn to certain announcements. Lisa Matlin, one of the association directors, attempted to ignore the yelling and continue her remarks from the podium, but the three shouting attendees got progressively louder and more offensive, forcing Ms. Matlin to wait until the three could be removed from the room. As they were removed, the offending individuals unleashed a barrage of curses and threats, colorfully likening the others present to the waste and seminal emissions of various large, malodorous animal species.

Even among those assembled, who are most accustomed to providing an understanding, tolerant environment for coprolalia sufferers, the outburst was unusually difficult to stomach. Sidney Rudolph, whose eleven-year-old son Trevor exhibits the tendency, acknowledged that he had never heard anyone so vividly and continuously compared to painful, lewd acts with power tools. “I couldn’t help but get angry,” he recalled afterwards, “especially since adults with coprolalia have usually managed to remove themselves from difficult situations when they feel a verbal tic coming on, There was something really problematic about the way these guys handled this.”

Indeed, according to Wesley McInnis, who is both a clinical researcher and who lives with the syndrome, the three men, who have not been identified, might well have exaggerated or completely fabricated the severity of their apparent conditions. “It’s suspicious to me that three grown men, none of whom any of us have met at previous conferences, would all show up and exhibit the same rare symptoms, precisely the ones that would generate the most intense reaction,” he said. “Who would think of sticking around long enough to have people hear you wish them raped by marauding pieces of frozen excrement?”

Dr. McInnis added that the societal view of Tourette Syndrome has long focused excessively and wrongly on the small minority of sufferers who also exhibit coprolalia, when in fact the overwhelming majority of people living with Tourette Syndrome are affected solely by non-verbal tics, and are able to conduct otherwise normal lifestyles.

“%$%# bastards,” he said. “I hope they get *&^ed with a *&^ing !#$@er.”

“Oh, sorry about that,” he quickly added. “I just blurt things out sometimes.”

Written by Thag

September 11, 2013 at 4:14 pm

Man To Reenact Ancient Yom Kippur Ritual By Flinging Cat Off Roof

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Guri and Tuli. Which of them is the evil twin remains undetermined.

Guri and Tuli. Which of them is the evil twin remains undetermined.

Jerusalem, Israel (AP) – A Jerusalem resident Intends to launch a cat off the roof of his apartment building this Saturday to commemorate an ancient Jewish atonement rite involving goats.

Gidon Levi, 40, will partially reenact the Biblical scapegoat ritual for the Jewish Day of Atonement, which this year begins this Friday evening just before sundown.

The practice, mentioned in Leviticus and given detail in the ancient text of Jewish law called the Mishna, has the High Priest use lots to select one of two identical he-goats upon which to symbolically place all the sins of the people. The goat is subsequently sent out into the wilderness and pushed backwards over a jagged cliff, becoming dismembered on the way down. The ritual has not been performed since the Second Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in the year 70 CE.

In the absence of the Temple – its site now occupied by the Muslim shrine the Dome of the Rock – and given the impracticalities of obtaining two identical, unblemished, one-year-old male goats on short notice in an urban setting, Mr. Levi will instead fling one of his two one-year-old kittens, Guri and Tuli, off the roof of his sixth-floor walkup and down into the rocky valley along the western approach to the city.

The ritual, known as Azazel, once served as a way for the people to express their desire to distance themselves from sin and devote themselves to God, explained Levi. “One animal was sacrificed on the altar as an expression of our reaffirmed dedication to serving God, while the other, identical goat, another part of ourselves, takes our iniquities away to be banished forever, an expression of our aspiration to rid ourselves of the failings that drive a wedge between us and God.”

Levi will use kittens, specifically, both because of their easy availability – there are thousands of feral cats in his Har Nof neighborhood alone – and because they come closest to evoking the vibe that goats did in the ancient world. “The Hebrew word for ‘goat’ is the same word used for ‘demon,’ and cats are similarly associated with all things dark and evil,” he noted.

On Saturday morning Levi will select which of the two kittens to launch to a grisly death by means of a lottery drawing. He will place two pieces of wood inside a box, pieces of wood identical in every respect but the words written on them: “For the Lord” and “For Azazel,” respectively, in Hebrew text. The term Azazel refers to the high, mighty cliff from which the animal is pushed, he explained.

Levi will swiftly pull out the two blocks and immediately assign them without looking, to ensure randomness, to the kittens, one of which will be marked with a red strip of wool to identify it as the Azazel animal. He will march the kitten upstairs onto the roof, and there, between the water-heating solar panels and the neighbors’ satellite TV dish, he will push the animal off.

If the ritual goes as planned, the kitten will travel down the seven stories that account for the height of the building, plus two stories of the hill’s natural severe slope, until impact, where Levi expects the descent to continue for several dozen meters until the animal is torn limb from limb, and atonement achieved.

The Jerusalem native seemed unperturbed by the notion that his intended activity constitutes cruelty to animals, noting that only a few radical activists would object to something that reduced the number of cats in the city. “They’re a plague,” he lamented, comparing the niche feral cats occupy to that of the raccoon in North America.

“I might raise a few eyebrows with the gory way in which I do it,” he conceded, “but this is the Middle East. The brutal slaughter of other creatures is a daily ritual in Syria, Egypt, Iraq, and sometimes Lebanon, so people are basically used to this kind of thing.”

Written by Thag

September 10, 2013 at 2:23 pm

Students Protest Inconsistent Value Of X

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find xWashington, DC (AP) – Students across the country have begun to object to the variable value assigned to the character X in their mathematics curricula, and intend to petition the Department of Education to demand a single standard value.

The Disciples’ Union for Mathematical Basics (DUMB) has collected the signatures of over four hundred thousand middle school and high school students since the start of the academic year on a petition to have the federal government mandate that X represent a constant value, a move that would remove serious unnecessary burdens from the shoulders of tomorrow’s leaders.

“We students spend countless hours in class and at home, puzzling out something that could just as easily be assigned a value once and for all,” said DUMB president Blonde Zaff-Morfun, 17, a high school junior and captain of her Memphis, Tennessee, cheerleading squad. “That time could be better spent on pursuits with more lasting impact, such as exploring the proper use contraceptives,” she claimed.

Along with the support of those myriad students, the movement has attracted the unexpected endorsement of teachers. The nation’s third-largest teacher’s organization, the Disciplinary Union of Mathematics and Biology EducatoRs (DUMBER), issued a statement backing the students’ initiative, asserting that its members waste valuable classroom time training their charges how to discover the value of X, only to have X represent a different – sometimes vastly different – number in a following exercise, often on the very next line of the textbook.

“DUMBER educators fully support the DUMB petition to assign one value to X once and for all,” read the statement, in part, “much as it supported the successful effort to ban biological terms longer than ten letters,” referring to a 1995 campaign to simplify the life sciences for junior high and high school students. That campaign won over enough Congressmen and Department of Education program directors to go into effect nearly immediately, putting an end to, for example, the Endoplasmic Reticulum, thenceforth known as Squiggle.

Whether the push by DUMB and DUMBER will attain its goals remains to be seen, as it has encountered opposition from rival movements that would like to see priority given to other educational arenas. The Brawny Union for Lotharios, Lackeys, and Yes-men (BULLY), for instance, sees the elimination of the variable value of X as a threat to its members’ social standing, as proficiency in math and the sciences remains one of the few academic areas in which the differences between BULLY students and others are still apparent in the classroom.

“The progressive dilution of the American middle- and high-school curriculum over the years has effectively eliminated the few diagnostic tools our members have to identify the Poindexters,” read a BULLY press release. “Any further elimination of achievement-based indicators threatens the more physically endowed students’ capacity to make gym class and between-period hallway taunting a living hell for those elements of the student body too pathetic to merit being left alone.”

The statement added that such treatment of academic achievement has been a cherished, valuable part of the American educational heritage, and its post-high-school practitioners have influenced the development of American foreign policy since Eisenhower.

Written by Thag

September 9, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Opera Lyrics Said To Contain Actual Words

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Carreras, on an album cover with names and other curious, meaningless symbols.

Carreras, on an album cover with names and other curious, meaningless symbols.

New York, September 8 (AP) – The classical music scene remains in a tumult several days after a prominent operatic tenor claimed that the lyrics to most, if not all, operas are composed of words, and not gibberish. The assertion threw into disarray legions of music scholars, producers, and performers, and threatens to reshape understanding of a centuries-old musical genre.

Jose Carreras, a Spanish tenor who has enjoyed operatic fame since his 1971 debut, wrote last week that in looking back over the hundreds of librettos he has seen over the years, it finally struck him that they were written in what might be described as a language, if in a crude, immature form.

Carreras further claimed that the operas could be grouped into several different languages, of which at least two are still spoken in various parts of the world – an assertion that immediately provoked demands that the singer produce evidence of such a claim.

It has long been axiomatic in opera that the librettist – who writes the text to which the composer fits dramatic music – is charged with producing a script that conveys the raw emotional and dramatic power of the music without actually resorting to the use of coherent words or phrases. Occasional exceptions are made for the insertion of names of principal characters in each work, but beyond those instances, gibberish has long been considered the preferred idiom.

If Carreras’s claim finds support among scholars, the entire body of operatic librettos will require reexamination to determine whether generations of musicians and audiences have been operating under a mistaken assumption. Each work will have to undergo reevaluation to determine what language, if any, the librettist used.

More importantly, says musicologist Tilda Fatt-Ladysingz, scholars and laymen alike will need to discover by what means they had been fooled for so long, and, if the phenomenon proves widespread in the classical repertoire, whether the composers themselves were privy to the secret. “Musical historians will likely take a new look at the collected letters of many famous opera composers, combing the letters for hints that, for example, the German-speaking, Austrian Mozart knew that the Frenchman Beaumarchais, the librettist for The Marriage of Figaro, had actually used an as-yet-unknown argot,” she explained.

Until now, continued Fatt-Ladysingz, references to “Italian” or “Russian” had been taken merely as made-up words synonymous with “gibberish.” But if it turns out they refer to actual languages, the entire Western view of the cultural landscape will shift.

Except, said the musicologist, in the U.S., where the existence and significance of other cultures has never meant very much.

Written by Thag

September 8, 2013 at 4:49 pm

Konami Code On White House Site Elicits Nuclear Launch Codes

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KonamiWashington, DC (AP) – White House public relations staffers are facing disciplinary action today, after a visitor to whitehouse.gov typed in a sequence of keystrokes known mostly among veteran video game players and walked away with the nation’s nuclear launch codes.

Toyooki Sonoda, who grew up playing on the Nintendo Entertainment System console, entered the “cheat code” up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, and was shown a dialogue box that said, “Congratulations! Here are the nuclear launch codes for this week,” followed by a series of alphanumeric sequences.

It remains unclear how the top-secret data came to be encoded in the files that support the White House web site. The content of the text and image files is maintained by non-technical staff, but the coding and back-end support are the work of a team of off-site consultants with mid-level security clearance that does not include access to information as sensitive as the nuclear launch codes.

Yet despite the severity of the security breach, Sonoda is unlikely to be accused of any crime. “I was just fiddling around, because sometimes web site programmers are themselves former gamers who want to pay tribute to the Konami Code,” said Sonoda, currently a General Surgeon at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan. He used the term by which the cheat code is generally known.

The Konami Code originated in the 1980’s, apparently when a programmer at the Japanese video game giant developed it to enable him to test a game more easily. The market version of the game was produced with the code still intact, and the code was intentionally included in many subsequent releases. Even several games not produced by Konami featured the key, in recognition of the popularity of the idea.

This is only the most recent debacle involving a government entity compromised by niche subculture references. Last month, a visitor to the National Security Agency site typed, “Do a barrel roll” in the home page search bar. The page appeared to turn 360 degrees, and in the process, transcripts of supposedly secure telephone conversations between foreign heads of state spilled onto the bottom of the screen.

In March, a Pakistani informant sent a text message to his CIA handler with the text, “All your base are belong to us,” triggering a drone strike on the informant’s location and the deaths of 3 civilians. Concurrent with the missile strike, the informant was sent an SMS reply with the words, “Somebody set us up the bomb.”

President Obama has yet to comment on the story, as he has been spending the day unsuccessfully trying to use the Konami Code on the online shoot-em-up game River Raider.

Written by Thag

September 3, 2013 at 10:41 pm

On Syria, Obama Vows To Restore American Weakness

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Muslim Obama gestures toward Mecca (AP).

“By the time we’re finished, what will remain of American influence in the Middle East will resemble this invisible basketball.”

Washington, DC, September 2 (AP) – President Obama took the case for a limited strike against Syrian targets to Congress this week, arguing that a contentious, politically fraught process an and uncertain outcome were the only way to ensure that no matter what the result, the US would emerge with a diminished standing.

In an address to reporters and fellow Democrats, the President gave the rationale for delaying a strike, if any, until after Congress takes up the question instead of summarily deciding against military action. As Obama sees it, simply letting Syrian leader Basher Assad off the hook for using chemical weapons would not have the same deleterious effect on American global influence as a protracted display of cowardice, backpedaling, partisan divisiveness, and lack of political will.

“Iranian ascendancy remains only one possible outcome of many if the US launches strikes against Syria,” Obama told those in attendance. “But to simultaneously guarantee decades of profound Ayatollah influence in the Middle East and a retrenchment of American power not seen since the withdrawal from Vietnam, we have to approach the very idea of military action with a manifest absence of confidence; with an unwillingness to deploy the power in which we’ve invested trillions of dollars; and with an ironic obliviousness to the effect this compromising of principles has on both our allies and enemies.”

In fact, said Secretary of State John Kerry, the ultimate foreign policy goal is not merely withdrawing from leadership on the world stage and slowly fading into history. The Obama administration aims to set in motion an accelerated American decline so irreversible that no matter who succeeds Obama in the Oval Office, by 2030 the US will wield roughly the same level of international clout as it did in 1799.

“My address last week on the urgency of American-led military intervention in Syria was simply to raise the stakes in the event of the inevitable, agonizing reversal,” explained Kerry. “In fact, since the beginning, talk of an American strike never went beyond consideration of a limited, targeted operation with no boots on the ground, meaning that neither Assad nor the mullahs of Tehran would have to seriously contend with American military might.”

That might, he added, is the only thing that might deter Syrian loyalists, Hezbollah, or other, similarly allied interests, from fully prosecuting the war against the Syrian rebels, whom Washington openly supports, at least rhetorically. The very fact that the on-again, off-again military operation was never even conceived as a campaign with actual deterrent value, and would only be a slap on the wrist for getting caught using nerve gas, has allowed Assad, his supporters, and anti-American groups the world over to claim that it was their threats of retaliation against American interests that kept the US from getting more deeply involved.

Following the meeting with reporters and supporters, Obama was to meet with representatives of the Chinese government to negotiate how and at what pace Beijing will take over as the leading industrialized nation.

Written by Thag

September 2, 2013 at 8:09 pm