Archive for January 2014
Scientists analyzing the information for the Department of the Interior surveyed the results of the inquiry and determined that don’t even go there. They further stated that continued pursuit of the inquiries would result in an undesirable state of Too Much Information. The researchers would have published their results in a scientific journal, but it’s none of your goddamn business, come to think of it.
The team of researchers came to the clear conclusion based on a thorough second look at the data, which all pointed to the fact that they could tell you, but then they would have to kill you. In fact, they insisted, the most convincing interpretation of the data is, well, frankly, they would rather not talk about it.
“It’s basically unequivocal, and I’m not entirely certain how we missed it in earlier studies,” said lead author Sy Lentz. “I could say more, but, well, I think everyone’s better off if I don’t.” He added that he’d already said too much, and that he was sorry he even mentioned it.
Other experts confirmed the analysis. “Really, discretion is the better part of valor here,” said Ignatz Izbliss, who was not involved in the study, and is grateful for that fact. “Please, change the subject.”
The study strengthens the sense derived from previous research that, no, we can’t tell you, because you can’t then un-know it. Those studies, in turn, grew out of data pointing to the notion that let’s pretend you didn’t ask that.
A new study that interpreted the information on the writing field, your talent, available opportunities for exposure, and competition from established or moneyed entities led the researchers to conclude that not only will your efforts to establish a career as a blogger fail, they will do so in such a fashion you will be continually confronted with doubts regarding your worth and identity. You might be able to console yourself with the notion that at least the fruits of your creative impulses have been preserved for posterity, but that will prove cold comfort in the face of the overwhelming futility of your writing enterprise and the long odds of future generations caring at all.
Although the researchers recommend that you immediately cease pouring such time and energy into a fruitless pursuit, they also found that you would not heed such advice, and would proceed to double down on that investment, digging yourself into an ever-deepening cycle of disappointment, redoubled efforts, frustration, and self-doubt.
“There’s no way anybody can compete with the big boys for the online eyeballs,” said Arthur Buzzfeed, the lead researcher. “The established media companies can afford to spend big on exposure, whereas small-time operators can hope for, at best, an occasional item that makes the rounds on social media before fading away.” As a result, says Buzzfeed, your efforts will be stymied, but not in such an immediately convincing way that you will be prompted to pursue other, actually productive, outlets.
Social media expert Mark Zuckerberg agreed that the fate awaiting you involves pathetic stretches of time during which you will repeatedly refresh the browser tab that shows your visitor stats, hoping in vain for an uptick in traffic. “Alternatively, those periods will be spent staring at the Google Analytics real-time traffic monitor, with the horror and dread building as the minutes tick by and the big, black zero remains on the screen.”
According to Buzzfeed, that mix of negative emotions will be multiplied by the petty frustrations that confront all users, such as spotty internet connectivity: with every interruption of connectivity you will become convinced that you are missing some redeeming spike in visitor stats, “which will culminate in the crushing realization, when the wifi signal returns, that no one has been interested the whole time,” he explained.
At press time, you were laughing at this article and thinking how well it applied to several other people you know, but definitely not to you.
Cambridge, MA, January 28 – Biochemists at Harvard Medical School have confirmed that unlike the intestinal gases of others, your flatulence carries neutral, even positive, associations, as opposed to connotations of decay, nausea, and disgust.
A team of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows tested the emissions, sampling the various mixtures of gases that followed the digestion of sausages, pizza, burritos, peanut butter cups, falafel, ice cream, cholent, and chili. Your emissions were compared with those of everyone else’s, with specific testing of odor, potency, and associations that resulted from the inhalation of the flatulence.
The researchers discovered that invariably, your emissions were less offensive to the olfactory sensibilities and created exclusively positive, often humorous, associations, while those of other people’s intestinal gases produced feelings of repulsiveness, and created associations of death, shame, and existential fear. The scientists will publish their research in the upcoming issue of the journal Beef.
The results confirm what you have known all along, according to Cutter Limburger, a Columbia University gastroenterology professor who was not involved in the research. While the scent of your farts represents, “a celebration of life, exuberance, and lighthearted humor,” those of others call to mind, “the very brimstone pits of Hell.”
“It’s quite remarkable how clear the results are, really,” said Limburger. “Smell that. You see what I mean?”
Flatulence occurs primarily when certain carbohydrates are present in food, carbohydrates that the human digestive system does not produce enzymes to break down. Instead, bacteria feed on those compounds, and one of the byproducts of that bacterial digestion is the gasses that compose a fart.
Each human has a unique mix of bacteria in his intestines, giving rise to different fart compositions. The study demonstrates that your particular blend of bacteria produces the most pleasant aroma, while even a slight adjustment to the balance of microorganisms in the digestive tract produces a mixture of gases that transforms exuberant, youthful humor into the dark, abusive scoffing that arises when one’s existential security is threatened. As everyone else’s farts only serve as a reminder of humanity’s inescapable animal nature and eventual demise and decomposition, it is only natural that their smell would produce such shame.
New York, January 27 – Sports Illustrated publisher Frank Wall told reporters today that TimeWarner would make this year’s swimsuit edition the last, as the company no longer sees the annual issue as a core part of its commercial appeal.
Wall assembled a press conference to announce the news, noting that the American sports fan has grown ever more sophisticated, and base appeals to sexual desires are no longer the sales draw that they once were. “With the maturity of the American male sports aficionado, the annual swimsuit issue just doesn’t suit our target market anymore,” he said. “Our strength has always been in trenchant analysis, not cheap pandering to the male libido.”
The decision brings to an end a fifty-year-old practice. For years, the swimsuit issue was the magazine’s best-seller, but according to Wall, TimeWarner’s board decided late last year that it was time to move beyond the adolescent appeal of lithe, bronzed supermodels showcasing designer bathing suits in provocative poses. “We have more respect for our audience than that now,” said Wall, “and of course we regret subjecting women to such treatment, thereby fostering their objectification and warping the way in which people view romantic relationships.”
Once release of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition ceases, there will be only two American magazine publishers that use sex appeal to engage the male reader. Maxim and Muscle&Fitness magazines will be the only remaining such publications available at newsstands. Penthouse, Playboy, and Hustler, all one-time mainstays of the pornography field, folded over the last few years as interest in their offerings faded with the rising maturity and morality of their audience. Other, lesser-known purveyors of smut have likewise gone under or moved their operations exclusively to the internet, where discreet access to the crude content is still available to the few with stunted sensibilities.
The pair, which are part of a larger group of sewer slugs subsisting on decaying human excretions and other liquid waste, were nonplussed by changes in the composition and texture of their environment where your residential plumbing feeds into the city system. They remarked that nowhere else had they encountered such a dismaying indication of a diet gone wrong.
“We’ve been around the block a few times,” said Glorph, with an unusual literalism, “and both of us have seen some nasty [expletive]. But neither of us has ever seen anything like this,” he said, gesturing toward what appeared to be the remains of barbecue-flavor Doritos eaten simultaneously with overripe bananas and vinaigrette.
“That’s nothing compared to Wednesday,” added Mlug, who described the scene at the same location not two days ago. “What was it, toothpaste? With hedge trimmings? And maraschino cherries, like fifty of them?” Glorph nodded his confirmation.
The slugs also expressed concern for your welfare, noting that it was not healthy for a human digestive system to handle so much butter at once, and certainly not in conjunction with cream cheese eaten straight from the container. They also distanced themselves from association with what could only be what was left of a peanut-butter-and-bacon sandwich on spelt bread, and garlic-mushroom ice cream.
“We don’t really want to know what’s going on outside those pipes,” said Mlug, “but at the same time we’ve developed this morbid fascination that won’t let us stop thinking about it,” he confessed.
“I guess that’s not surprising,” noted Glorph. “If you are what you eat, well, how can we [expletive]-for brains be expected to ponder anything else?”
My children have me at my wits’ end. No matter how calm I try to keep the house, all the children do is yell. I can’t hear myself think. I model quiet talking for them, but they don’t even hear me. What can I do about all the noise?
– Going Deaf in Des Moines
Dear Des Moines:
Your last cable bill was $450.88, suggesting that you expose the children to the idiot box more than you should. What do you expect? See if you can get them to spend spare time at the library instead of in front of a screen. But keep an eye on Greg, your fourteen-year-old, whose literature of choice involves internet sites of which you would not approve.
I think my husband is having an aff-
My brother has an alcohol problem. We tried an intervention but that went badly, leading to an even bigger series of outbursts. Beyond the obvious concern for him, how can we avoid the humiliation of the whole community finding out, but still show him openness and love?
You’re not “Anonymous,” sweetie. You never were.
What’s the best way to impress a potential employer and perhaps score an interview?
First, in your cover letter you spelled “excellence” wrong. Second, get better neckties – those paisley ones are just ridiculous. And third, forget it: the Powers That Be have ordained that you are to remain unemployed until mid-2015. Sorry. Also, just because it annoys us, quit putting a double space after each sentence. One just doesn’t do that anymore.
My neighbors’ dog constantly leaves droppings on my property, and the owners feign ignorance and neglect to clean up. How can I best insist that this stop, without jeopardizing our otherwise friendly relationship?
It might help if you stop vindictively flinging the doggy deposits into their back yard when you think no one can see you.
Could you publish that inspirational poem from the woman who lost a daughter to terminal illness?
No. Have you no respect for boundaries? People hate that treacle.
Washington, January 22 – Data from standardized tests shows a new low in the academic achievements Among American high school students, placing their computational and analytical abilities just below those of the fungi and plant kingdoms.
As students from East Asia and the Scandinavian countries continue to excel, US students now rank 23,900,345,988,022nd, representing a severe drop since last year’s position as last among the world’s 208 countries with independent educational systems. Just ahead of the United States last year was South Sudan, a brand-new, war-torn African country, and Somalia, which the United Nations deemed a Failed State just a few years ago.
US leadership in education began to drop off in the decades following the Second World War, and has never really recovered. A stable period during the 1970’s saw the students maintain a position in top 20, but subsequent decay of the culture and educational system rendered any improvement impossible.
“We have to see this as a wake-up call,” said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “I really have no idea where we went wrong,” he added, noting that he was unsure whether that lack of knowledge was a cause or a symptom of the troubling results.
“The easiest thing to do is blame the children themselves,” said noted educator Irma Strumpf, 102, who teaches Biology at the Hebrew Academy of Nassau County in Uniondale, New York. “And that’s probably what we’ll do.” She said the fault certainly could not lie with the teachers, who know how to focus on priorities such as belittling students who fail to complete assignments, and unfavorably comparing younger siblings to older ones.
The rankings contain some anomalies that make them even more puzzling to researchers and educators. While US teenagers show little or no aptitude for basic arithmetic or the scientific method, they demonstrate keen abilities in remembering and processing the details of plentiful celebrity gossip, skills that could easily be adapted for use in academics. And with their proficiency in deciphering text messages with myriad non-standard linguistic expressions, educators expected the students to handle non-numeric mathematical symbols easily, which of course has not happened.