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Archive for May 2014

“Backwash” Body Soap Selling Poorly

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shampoo bottleRochester, NY, May 29 – Procter and Gamble executives expressed disappointment this week when initial sales figures fro their new Backwash body soap proved negligible.

Company analysts had expected the product to sell relatively well on the strength of the product’s novelty and a campaign targeting the coveted 25-35-year-old demographic. However, the campaign seems to have little effect, and retailers are reporting only a handful of sales throughout the Northeast and Midwest regions.

The Backwash campaign highlights the product’s enzymes, which are suspended in a special formulation containing certain proteins such as amylase, which breaks down a set of common but complex organic molecules. The body wash produces a thicker, frothier foam when water is scarce, a contrast with other shampoos and soaps that froth best with a higher minimum level of moisture. The dry frothing was a feature that the company had hoped would translate into a selling point, emphasizing the water-saving advantages that Procter & Gamble calculated would appeal to the ecologically-minded Millennial demographic.

“We don’t yet know exactly where we went wrong,” said brand manager Abel Spitz. “The focus groups were pretty clear on the fact that this body wash’s features were promising, and that the design and color of the packaging was eye-catching and bright. We had a fabulous slogan for the ad campaign, so it’s going to take some more granular data analysis to get to the bottom of this.” The “Spray It, Don’t Say It” campaign launched in February, with ads on billboards, in print media, online, and a sprinkle of spots on network TV.

Spitz hopes his other brands make up for the losses generated by the Backwash failure. He also oversees a whitening toothpaste called Tartar Sauce and a nasal decongestant called Gland Opening. Even if they do well, says Spitz, “this one is hard to swallow.”

 

Also see PreOccupied Territory.

Written by Thag

May 29, 2014 at 3:44 pm

Convict Dies After Typo Has Him Sent Behind Bears

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grizzlyNew York, May 27 – A botched incarceration by the New York Board of Corrections has state officials on the defensive, after a judge’s order to place a convict behind bars was mis-typed by a clerk, resulting in the man being placed instead behind bears at the Bronx Zoo.

Orson Medved, 23, pleaded guilty to burglary charges last week, accepting a deal under which he would serve a reduced term of six months for a break-in he perpetrated in Brooklyn the month before. Judge Ursa Gurdov approved the plea deal, which spared Medved a longer sentence of ten months plus community service. A court clerk apparently inserted an extra “e” into the document, based upon which the Corrections Department placed Medved into the bear enclosure at the Bronx Zoo, where he was fatally mauled by Glacier, a grizzly bear.

Corrections and court officials were quick to trace the source of the mishap, and have assured the city and state that steps will be taken to prevent a recurrence. “We will implement redundancies in the documentation process so that such errors will be caught before it is too late,” said Forrest Forthtriese, a spokesman for the Department of Corrections. State Supreme Court representative Bea Sydapoint promised a thorough overhaul of the sentencing processing system.

The case recalls an earlier incident in which drug offenders were mistakenly sent to diction counseling after a court official misheard the word “addiction.”

Written by Thag

May 28, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Iron Man Credits Tin Man For Breaking Down Industry Barriers

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Iron Man coverHollywood, CA – Iron Man, the high-tech superhero whose metal suit protects him and provides superhuman strength, said at a press conference today that a metal character could never make it in the entertainment world if the Tin Man had not crossed the metal line all those decades ago in The Wizard of Oz.

Until The Wizard of Oz was released in 1939, hit movies almost invariably featured fully human characters. The notable exceptions were animated films, in which, for example, Snow White incorporated a slew of demi-humans the same year as Oz.

“It takes heart to persevere in an environment where nobody assumes you’re fully human, or worthy of the same consideration,” said Iron Man. “The Tin Man showed us all how to bear those slings and arrows with stoicism and empathy. He’s always been an inspiration to me.”

“‘Oz’ was a pioneer film in several respects,” noted social historian Meytal Urji. “It broke a color barrier, of course, being the first feature film to freely adopt the notion that black and white were irrelevant, even retrograde, ideas. It introduced the concept of a ‘Good Witch,’ laying the groundwork for Harry Potter. But almost as important, The Wizard of Oz made viewers and film executives alike think, ‘Well, why NOT take a bunch of burly males and emasculate them by putting them in ridiculous costumes?”

Some scholars of film have argued that in fact it was Superman, known as The Man of Steel, who spearheaded roles for such characters, but those voices remain the minority. Others contend that it was in fact Frankenstein’s monster who who should be credited, but still others note in fact the monster was anatomically human, just not all the same human.

 

Other types of mockery can be found at PreOccupied Territory.

Written by Thag

May 26, 2014 at 3:15 pm

Scientists Unable To Confirm That Happiness A Warm Gun

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190px-Charlie-brown-off-b'wayCambridge, MA, May 25 – Researchers investigating human happiness have yet to meet success in their efforts to arrive at effective parameters for happiness, a spokesman for the group said this morning.

A Harvard University collaborative study has been collating and testing numerous specific claims by earlier researchers into what constitutes happiness. The meta-analysis has so far looked at more than a dozen hypotheses, including two of the most prominent ones: a 1968 study by J. Lennon that happiness is a warm gun, and another by C. Gesner the previous year that happiness is two kinds of ice cream.

The researchers are subjecting each hypothesis to rigorous analysis, attempting to determine whether any of them can provide a compelling definition. By nature, however, many of the factors cited by the earlier researchers do not admit to standard methods of empirical analysis, requiring the scientists to formulate less precise tools to assess the accuracy of each.

Nevertheless, the researchers have been able to definitively rule out several hypotheses, somewhat simplifying the rest of the work. Gesner himself posited a good number of less-well-known indicators of happiness that the scientists were able to disprove with relative ease, finding numerous of cases in which their presence was demonstrated but happiness nevertheless absent: having a sister; a hot dog sandwich; finding a nickel; and sharing a sandwich, the last of which was actually found to increase resentment.

Also complicating the research is the notion, first posited by K. Solomon and later confirmed by E. Hemingway, that happiness and intelligence rarely, if ever, coexist in the same person. Thus the capacity to detect happiness tends to be inversely proportional to the likelihood of its presence. Increasingly, say the researchers, they are drawn toward the more parsimonious hypotheses that posit a subjective factor. W. A. Ward, for example, put forth parameters that see happiness as “an inside job,” a notion that perhaps carries a simple emotional resonance, but that the researchers find challenging both because they lack a way to measure it, and because the phrase evokes conspiracy theories, which in themselves are hardly parsimonious.

Alternatively, the researchers still have the hypothesis of one A. Schweitzer, who defined happiness as “nothing more than good health and a bad memory.” At press time, researcher W. Axl Rose was citing earlier researcher J. Beaumont in attributing the absence of happiness to his not having you.

Further silliness can be viewed at PreOccupied Territory.

Written by Thag

May 25, 2014 at 3:30 pm

Beatles Evicted From Yellow Submarine

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150px-Yellowsub-LiverpoolLondon, UK – A famous quartet of musicians was expelled from their underwater residence this morning, bringing to an end an existence that the group had come to call, “a life of ease.”

The Beatles – John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Richard Starkey (AKA Ringo Starr) and George Harrison – had failed to pay the rent on the vehicle. The landlord, a Mr. Parker, claims to have grown tired of the four claiming not to care too much for money.

“They can go on an on all they like about money not being able to buy love, but it does buy food and pay the bills. The tax man takes a good chunk of what I earn, so I need every penny,” he said. He said he was still fixing a hole from the last party the group had thrown there.

The various Beatles have so far reacted in disparate ways. “I’d like to be under the sea anyway,” said Starr, who was taking the news with the most equanimity. “The other band members seem troubled by this, but I say, honey, don’t. Everything will be fine if we just act naturally. Me, I’ll get by with a little help from my friends.”

McCartney found himself at the other emotional extreme, and had to be restrained by his bandmates from physically attacking Parker. “Come and get it! Any time at all!” he shouted as the other Beatles warned the landlord, “Get back!” McCartney continued to threaten, even warning that he would return whether or not Parker liked or noticed, hissing, “What you’re doing…you won’t see me.” Once the two had been separated and McCartney regained his composure, he confessed, “I’m down…I long for yesterday.”

“Cry, baby, cry,” offered Lennon, still digesting the eviction. He remained initially in firm denial, telling the landlord, “You can’t do that. That’ll be the day. Too much monkey business going on here – tell me why!” However, as the reality set in, Lennon, too, became resigned to it, wondering aloud if there’s a place the group could go, also telling Parker that with McCartney as upset as he was, prudence suggested running for his life while he can.

Harrison, too, expressed disappointment, but only in understated, sarcastic terms. “Piggies,” he muttered, presumably referring to those who profit from real estate. “I, me, mine, that’s all they care about.” He admitted having grown attached to the submarine, and finally asked Mr. Parker to “take good care of  my baby. You know what to do.”

McCartney asked Lennon that they begin searchin’ for new accommodations right away. Harrison suggested a location in the nearby Sour Milk Sea, but the others didn’t dig it.

At press time, at least three of the four were talking about eviction making them free as a bird.

 

Further imbecility can be found at PreOccupiedTerritory.

Written by Thag

May 22, 2014 at 2:36 pm

Art World In Uproar Over Realistic, Non-Abstract Painting

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Christie'sNew York, May 21 – Artists, critics, and art aficionados are all expressing bewilderment at a watercolor-on-canvas that depicts a scene realistically, apparently without a hint of irony or fantastical or exaggerated imagery.

The painting, currently on display at Gallery Montfort on the Upper East Side, depicts a woman walking her dog along a major city avenue. Each detail of the image is rendered with apparent meticulousness, such that in several spots the casual observer might mistake it for a photograph. Completely lacking are tricks of the light, political overtones, and the overall pretentiousness that suffuses most art, a fact that has sown both confusion and insecurity in the world of highbrow art.

Venerable artist Jeff Koons remains silent on the message of his piece. “I uh… I painted a woman walking her dog,” he says of the work, which he labels Woman Walking Her Dog. “Is there supposed to be something else? Do you think I left anything out?”

Critics are divided on whether Woman Walking Her Dog is groundbreaking or merely revolutionary. “This is nothing less than a watershed moment in art,” says Sotheby’s executive L. William Smoot.  “He is so daring, that Jeff Koons. Who else would be so bold in today’s art world?” he mused, “I foresee tens of thousands functionally identical work lines libraries,  nursing homes, and hospitals all over the world.”

Christie’s spokeswoman Ivana Kahn-DeScend disagrees, calling the piece “a searing indictment of modern art and a welcome return to basics,” which she hopes will inspire others to eschew shocking, provocative imagery intended simply to garner attention though shock value. “We all appreciate the sight of a Bible covered in hippopotamus feces, but that particular kind of conceptual art has lost its ability to titillate, and we’re looking for things that are even more over-the-top. This might just be it.”

The arts arena was in similar upheaval last year when venerable Broadway producer Edwin Black elected to stage Romeo and Juliet as taking place in the medieval Italian duchy of Verona, as Shakespeare wrote it, and not, for example, as a 1970’s Mossad-KGB thriller.

 

Check out PreOccupied Territory, where we make fun of an entirely different class of hypocrite.

Written by Thag

May 21, 2014 at 5:28 pm

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Oddjob Tosses Hat Into Presidential Ring, 4 Killed

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OddjobWashington, May 20 – With the 2016 election campaign barely two years away, political operatives are already exploring possible candidacies, including former henchman Oddjob, who tossed his hat into the ring today and ended up killing several people.

The four victims were about to announce their own exploratory committees when Oddjob sent his steel-reinforced bowler flying in their direction. Witnesses said one of the victims, as yet unidentified, managed to shout a warning to the others, but they were unable to dodge the hat. Oddjob was taken into custody and charged with four counts of manslaughter.

The three victims who have been identified were former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson, Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, and Former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner. The fourth victim is female, and died from a spinal cord injury. The other three had major arteries severed in their necks and died from blood loss.

Analysts are divided on whether the killings will adversely affect Oddjob’s electoral prospects. “People like toughness in a candidate during times of instability,” says expert Auric Goldfinger. “This might be just the incident to spark the public’s interest and demonstrate to them that Oddjob is the right man for any tough job.”

Others are less convinced. “The American public might appreciate a no-nonsense approach while in office, but an election campaign is mostly about finesse,” contends Pussy Galore, once a former associate of Oddjob. “I’m afraid Oddjob might have seriously hurt his chances with this.”

Ms. Galore acknowledged that getting rid of the narcissistic Congressman Weiner, twice-busted in sexting incidents, could only boost Oddjob’s popularity, but it would probably prove insufficient over the long term to offset other factors.

“President Obama got rid of Osama Bin Laden, but still had to wage a tough campaign in 2012, even as an incumbent,” she noted. “I realize Bin Laden was no Anthony Weiner, but still.”

 

More inanity can be found here: PreOccupiedTerritory.

Written by Thag

May 20, 2014 at 4:13 pm

Miracle Max Arrested For Selling Horcruxes

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Miracle MaxFlorin, May 15 – Miracle Max, the royal sorcerer emeritus, has been detained and charged with unlawful commerce in magical merchandise, including dangerous items such as horcruxes.

Max, 100, was taken into custody early this morning by a brute squad, and is being held until his arraignment. Law enforcement authorities have yet to give details of the investigation or the information that led them to Max, who has yet to retain a lawyer.

Horcruxes are sinister items used in dark magic to preserve a portion of a person’s soul, in order to protect against death. The production of a horcrux involves murder, though the warrant for Max’s arrest did not indicate that any such killing had taken place.

Friends and family were shocked by the news. “Max could no hurt a fly,” said Inigo Montoya, 31. “He would sooner give himself a paper cut and pour lemon juice on it than even think about such things.”

“He’s a generous man,” added Fezzik, another neighbor. “Treat so nice.”

Other associates were reluctant to rush to Max’s defense, notably an albino who requested anonymity. “Some strange things go on here,” he said, pointing in the general direction of Max’s cabin. “But you won’t find anyone to talk about it explicitly. As far as witnesses go, nobody’s hearin’ nothin’.”

Another friend speculated that the arrest was a frame-up, stemming from the fraught relations the sorcerer has had with Prince Humperdinck since the latter all but forced him into retirement. “Rumor has it the prince is trying to pin a coup d’etat conspiracy on Max as an excuse to declare war on Guilder.”

At press time, Max’s wife Valerie had just told reporters that they had retained a lawyer named Albus Percival Brian Wifric Dumbledore, who has experience in demonstrating that defendants have been framed.

 

For more silliness, visit PreOccupied Territory.

Written by Thag

May 15, 2014 at 3:06 pm

Gov’t To Suspend Traffic Laws When You Are In A Hurry

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RadarWashington, DC, May 14 – To recognize the necessary exception to traffic regulations, Congress has enacted legislation allowing you, specifically, to disregard laws when obeying them would prevent you from getting to your destination on time.

By a 239-102 margin, the House of Representatives passed the Driving Ordinance Urgent Circumstance Hurrying Exception (DOUCHE) Act, which will allow you to run red lights, ignore stop signs, pass on the right, tailgate, honk in quiet zones, speed past schools, disregard seatbelt and child safety seat laws, make illegal turns, travel the wrong way on one-way streets, block intersections and driveways, and implement lane changes and turns without signaling, if under those circumstances upholding the traffic law in question would cause a potential delay of more than 0.8 seconds. You, after all, are the most important person on the road, and your punctuality trumps everyone else’s safety.

The DOUCHE Act goes into effect on the first day of June, but sooner if you really need it. Potential delays of over 10 seconds will justify the violation of other laws, notably the right-of-way generally granted to pedestrians and emergency vehicles. Regardless of any delay, laws prohibiting the use of mobile devices while driving will no longer apply to you, because what you have to say is so important that other people’s lives take a back seat.

Congress enacted the law after you repeatedly voiced your wish that so many other people not be on the road when you, clearly, have needs that override theirs. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) sponsored the bill, and expressed satisfaction that DOUCHE enjoyed so much bipartisan support.

“This is a milestone in transportation history,” he told reporters after the vote. “It is always gratifying to see common sense win.”

Opposition to the bill came mainly from Tea Party Republicans, who said the measure did not go far enough, as it allowed these exceptions only for you. “As this proposal had too narrow a focus, we could not in good conscience endorse it; instead, Congress should be repealing traffic laws entirely, as they represent government overreach into the lives of private citizens.”

Schumer hopes to follow up with a law that would cancel all littering prohibitions as they apply to you, because you’re actually providing work for the people whose job it is to clean up.

 

More irreverence can be found at PreOccupiedTerritory.

Written by Thag

May 14, 2014 at 2:37 pm

Report: Phone Menu Options Have Changed

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menu optionLansing, Michigan, May 12 – Callers to the law offices of DuBois & Fernandez are being told by the automated answering system that the menu options have changed, city residents are reporting today.

The firm, which mostly handles real estate transactions, has apparently altered the contents of the menu. To prevent callers from selecting their desired extensions out of habit and reaching the wrong person by mistake, the partners instructed the technology consulting firm that handles their communications to alert callers to the changes.

People who called today in fact took note of the message, but as of 1 p.m. local time Monday, none were able to determine what menu options had changed. “It sounds the same to me,” said Rita Sciortino, who was attempting to reach Jake Riddleman, a junior partner advising her on the sale of her home.

Jamal Rashad, an office supplies deliveryman, agreed. “I sat through the whole thing like three times this morning, just to make sure I got the right extension, and it was all a waste of time,” he said.

Others took the change in stride. “What? People actually listen to the menu?” wondered Isabella Diaz, a client. “I just hit ‘zero’ at the first opportunity so I can speak to a human. I hate those systems.”

Similar developments occurred last year when a social services department of the state government instituted a similar change, although in that case the difference was noticeable because although the system options appeared to remain the same, the voice guiding callers through the process was clearly different.

“They used to have this sweet-sounding lady, but now it’s almost robot-like,” complained Henry Watkins, who was trying to arrange a social worker visit for his disabled grandson. “I do hope that lady is OK. Do you think she found a better job, so they had to hire somebody else to read the menu?”

A spokesman for PCC Communications, the consulting firm implementing the change for DuBois & Fernandez, said they had yet to reprogram the system with the changes.

Written by Thag

May 12, 2014 at 9:47 pm

Man Discovers Band Name Not “Haulin’ Oats”

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220px-Hall_&_OatesSacramento, California, May 11 – A local man expressed shock this morning that the name of the duo behind the 1982 hit single “Maneater” was in fact composed of its members’ surnames, and not a phrase referring to dragging sacks of oats around.

Chris Laggert, 36, was leafing through various back issues of magazines in his dentists’ waiting room, and came across a mention of the Hall & Oates induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame last month. Laggert reread the line several times, believing the magazine had made an error. He then asked two other people waiting whether they knew of the band, hoping to confirm whether the mistake was his or that of the anonymous US reporter.

The other two patients had not heard of the ensemble, leaving Laggert in suspense, until the hygienist was able to answer his question 20 minutes later. He shook his head at the discovery.

“I’ve been wrong about this forever,” he said.

Laggert first heard the single in 1990 as part of a “greatest hits of the eighties” program on the radio, and misconstrued the name of the band right from the start. Upon realizing his error, the paralegal performed a quick internet search and confirmed that he had been mistaken for 24 years.

It is not the first time an area resident has misheard the name of a band. Last year, retail salesperson Sara Martinez, 28, referred to a song by “Olivia, Newt and John” in a text message, leading to an embarrassing exchange with a potential date. Earlier last year, an unknown customer inquired of a ticket salesperson whether there were any seats left to an upcoming concert by “Van Hailin’,” who, presumably, thought the hard-rock ensemble was trying to evoke a particularly risky hitchhiking practice.

The phenomenon of mishearing song lyrics is well established, and is called a “Mondegreen,” a term that itself is a Mondegreen; it was coined when a listener heard a Scottish ballad saying, “They ha’ killed the Earl of Murray and laid him on the green” as “Lady Mondegreen.” No such term exists for the analogous phenomenon of mangling the names of band names, but social history professor Julia Douglas of UC-Sacramento suggests Into Neil.

“You know, after the band ‘The Captain Into Neil’,” she explained.

 

For snark specifically related to the Middle East and Israel, visit Preoccupiedterritory.com.

Written by Thag

May 11, 2014 at 8:55 am

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To Protest Owner’s Comments, Clippers Will Continue Sucking

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Clippers logoLos Angeles, April 30 – The aftermath of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s racist comments now includes a demonstration by the players themselves, who have vowed, in response to the comments, to maintain their historically abysmal win-loss record.

Although recent years have seen the franchise enjoy some success, even winning its division and outplaying the rival Lakers, through most of its years the Clippers have embodied basketball futility. In reaction to the team owner’s remarks to his partner that he does not want to see her in the company of black men, the all-black team and coach have announced that they will show their displeasure by putting extra effort into continuing to stink.

“Times such as these call for taking a stand, and the players and I all agree that we need to do something,” said team coach Doc Rivers. “We will do what we know how to do best – establish ourselves perennially in the basement of the NBA.” Rivers himself is no stranger to consistent team underachievement, as he played with the New York Knicks for two years.

“That’s what we love about his team,” said area fan Masso Kiszt. “They always keep it real. No big displays of showmanship, no over-the-top demonstrations. just quietly going about the business of losing. It’s so rare in this town.”

NBA representatives had no comment on rumors that the Minnesota Timberwolves were looking to hire Sterling as head coach next year.

 

Written by Thag

May 1, 2014 at 8:55 am