Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

Archive for June 2014

Philharmonic To Stop Selling Beer After 3rd Movement

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From PreOccupied Territory:

IPO logoTel Aviv, June 29 – Troubled by unruly attendees in the audience, Heichal Hatarbut, the Tel Aviv home of the Israel Philharmonic, has decided to stop selling alcoholic beverages beyond the third movement of orchestral works of four movements or more, and after the second movement of three-movement pieces.

The decision comes after persistent difficulties with rowdy audience members who fight, heckle the performers, and present what Heichal Hatarbut managers call  “a disruptive presence and a safety hazard for our players and guests.” The hall and orchestra boards agreed to implement the change following an incident last week when a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 in F Major was repeatedly interrupted by shouts of, “Your Scherzo is a joke!” and “My grandmother could…

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Written by Thag

June 30, 2014 at 4:12 pm

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We Are Experiencing Difficulties, Technically

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So in the meantime you are invited to peruse the offerings at PreOccupied Territory.

Written by Thag

June 23, 2014 at 5:59 pm

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American Kids Celebrate End Of School Shooting Year

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AR-15Washington, DC, June 12 – Children across the country are excited for the end of the school shooting term, finally free not to attend the institutions where they are forced to sit in classrooms and are placed at increased risk for being killed or wounded by gunfire.

Since the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre at the end of 2012, 74 school shooting incidents have taken place in the United States. The litany of such massacres has had no impact on gun control efforts, leaving parents, teachers and administrators with no choice but to simply wait for the school shooting year to end and hope that yet another recurrence does not hit them in the meantime.

“Summer vacation is always a challenge, but this year we’re a little relieved the school shooting year is basically over,” said Eugene, Oregon-area resident Alex Mully. “Summer camp might be expensive, but even with all the climbing, jumping, hiking, camping, dirt, and wilderness, it’s still seems safer than school.”

Mully is hardly alone in his sentiments. Parents and teachers in high schools from coast to coast have joined Facebook groups and other social media venues dedicated to counting down the number of days left until a school shooting is no longer a possibility, as least until September. The groups have become a mixture of cheering each passing day, sharing techniques for coping with the sense of danger, and recipes for cupcakes and other treats to keep the children’s mind off the possibility that at any time in the next few days, a disturbed or evil person will kill and maim them with weapons and ammunition that the politicians seem powerless or unwilling to limit.

The Department of Education has put out an online publication urging principals and teachers not to be distracted by the impending sense of respite, and that they continue to shoulder educational responsibilities. “Let us not lose our focus on the goal,” said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in an introductory message. Our goal was and remains the provision of knowledge and skills for understanding and functioning in the world, and we cannot allow ourselves to be thwarted by the prospect of being pumped full of lead from an assault rifle. We must therefore ignore that threat.”

Written by Thag

June 12, 2014 at 3:10 pm

With Visibility Of Posts Downgraded, User Sues Facebook For Emotional Distress

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FacebookMenlo Park, CA, June 9 – The owner of a Facebook page struggling to reach and expand his audience is suing the social media giant Facebook for emotional distress resulting from the social media giant’s deliberate withholding of many of his updates from his audience.

Thag Boogerman, who writes for the blog Mightier Than The Pen and the satirical news site PreOccupied Territory, filed  a lawsuit today charging that Facebook, with malice aforethought, displays posts and links to only a handful of users, even when hundreds of users have expressly requested to receive those updates by Liking that page. For each post, the page operator is invited to “boost” its visibility for a cost; the lawsuit charges that this puts beyond Boogerman’s reach the level of exposure necessary to maintain, let alone expand, his audience, thereby thwarting him in his efforts to earn a living, exacerbating domestic tensions, and causing untold emotional distress. Boogerman is asking the courts to order Facebook to pay him $89 million.

Just yesterday, says the thirty-eight-year-old father of five, a user who Liked his page more than a year ago sent him an angry message, asking him why she had not received any updates from his page in six months. She refused to accept his explanation that Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm was at fault, and accused him of neglecting his audience.

“I can’t afford to promote every single post, link, and status update,” says Boogerman, who lives in Yehupitz Park. “Every one of my posts is important to me and my users, and Facebook makes truckloads of money on ads, data sharing, and who knows what else. This whole thing is a naked attempt to gouge people for more money, and it increases the gap between the haves and the have nots.” He added that this results in the sad irony of Facebook functioning for so long as a social equalizer – notably during the Arab Spring, when the masses of protesters used the site to coordinate anti-government demonstrations – becoming yet another tool with which the moneyed class presses its wealth to its advantage.

Facebook has yet to respond to the lawsuit, but experts expect them to argue for its dismissal on the grounds that they don’t give a crap about little people when there is so much money to be made. This consideration is especially important, they are expected to argue, since the disastrous IPO of the company’s stock last year.

Written by Thag

June 9, 2014 at 3:52 pm

Man Told To Make Like Tree, Get Out Of Here

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BIffHill Valley, CA, June 8 – A local auto mechanic told a dissatisfied customer today to emulate a tree by leaving, albeit in such a way that the play on words in the classic line was not made apparent.

Biff Tannen, who runs a car repair business, instructed an unidentified visitor at his establishment to “make like a tree” this afternoon and “get out of here,” apparently unaware that the second part of the line as correctly expressed instead uses the single-word imperative “leave,” which is both the verb that means growing leaves – what a tree does – and a synonym for “depart,” which is what he intended for the visitor to do forthwith.

Tannen has had trouble in the past with accurately rendered turns of phrase, leading observers to question his intellectual capacity. The native son of the area enjoys a reputation for attempting to intimidate others into acquiescing to his will, often with the implied or or explicit use of unpleasantly applied force. Such behavior has only sometimes served Tannen well: in his school days he was often successful in persuading others to complete his work for him, but his bullying ultimately cost him the girl of his affections as his mark unexpectedly stood up to him and decked him, forever securing the sweetheart’s love and completely reversing the roles in the other man’s relationship to Tannen from that point on.

Rumors have swirled about Tannen’s youthful escapades. Sources who spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing retribution, talked of the younger Tannen’s boasts regarding an ability to predict the outcomes of sporting events, an ability evidently never actually displayed in the real world. Whispers among Tannen’s closest associates – known by their nicknames Match, Skinhead, and 3D – overheard by those sources seem to indicate a missing document that could have changed the man’s life at a young age, and its absence has remained a constant source of frustration and low self-image since high school.

Speculation about the nature of that document was once commonplace, but with the passage of time it has died down, recurring only occasionally when other sources of local gossip at the Lone Pine Mall Hair Salon have dried up. The most widely accepted version of events has it that Tannen was set to inherit a fortune from ancestor Buford Tannen, but was never able to assert a legal claim. Others speak of his being privy to inside information that would enable him to profit immensely from some sort of investment, but the opportunity was squandered.

At press time, Tannen was neatening his clothes in preparation for a visit from George McFly, a longtime acquaintance and a client he always tries to impress.

Written by Thag

June 8, 2014 at 5:16 pm

Tina Turner, Bonnie Tyler Debate Needing Hero

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Tina TurnerHollywood, June 1 – Entertainment personalities Bonnie Tyler and Tina Turner faced off last night, arguing opposing sides in the question of whether a brave, manly presence is necessary, or whether it would be counterproductive.

Tyler repeatedly asserted that a heroic, preferably male, figure was the only acceptable solution. She offered from personal experience that the presence of such a figure could be sensed just beyond our current horizons, and, if enough patience is exercised, that hero will eventually appear and perform the functions that a heroic personality could be expected to do, such as sweeping women off their feet and appearing larger than life.

Turner offered a rebuttal centering on the contention that the model of a hero as a source of salvation has been tried repeatedly, but that it provides no lasting comfort and in fact is ultimately detrimental and destructive. While not proposing any specific alternatives to Tyler’s arguments in favor of a hero, Turner did put forth a point-by-point treatment of the dangers inherent in looking to a hero. Those dangers include diminished horizons, fear, a legacy of suffering, and perhaps most troubling, the notion that nothing can be changed.

Bonnie TylerThe audience was evenly divided on the merits of the positions. Those who accepted Turner’s contentions that we do not need another hero nevertheless acknowledged the visceral, emotional appeal of Tyler’s assertions. While Turner clearly wished for society to aspire “beyond Thunderdome” – clearly a reference to the narrow vision and potential of society as it now stands – Tyler invoked images of actually racing with that thunder, and “rising with the heat” – a call to transcend our current limits, limits that only a hero would be equipped to overcome.

Turner warned against such “castles built in the air,” fantasies with no realistic chance of fulfillment. She allowed that love and compassion might provide succor, but could not envision the situation in which that might be made possible, and that in the interim, she could not understand what love had to do with it.

Written by Thag

June 1, 2014 at 3:20 pm