Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

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

Milkshake Brings Boys To Yard

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milkshakeForest Park, Ohio, April 29 – Residents of this Cincinnati suburb reported disturbances this morning after a local woman made a milkshake and began drinking it in her front yard.

Kelly Rogers, 19, of Fairborn Avenue, put chocolate ice cream and milk into blender at about 7:25 AM Tuesday. Neighbors soon felt the ground rumbling, as thousands of young men, some as young as twelve, streamed onto the street and crowded into and around the Rogers property, apparently to watch Ms. Rogers consume the liquid breakfast.

The crowd continued to grow for almost an hour, according to Denise Jefferson, who lives several houses away. “We felt the earth shake, and then it just kept shaking until maybe 8:30, I don’t know,” she told reporters. “There must’ve been thousands of guys here, but they disappeared almost as soon as they showed up.” She noted that once Ms. Rogers had finished drinking her shake, the throngs of youths quickly dissipated, leaving behind extensive damage to front lawns, road signs, and parked cars. At least six residents were delayed by the crowd on their way to work.

“We never see anything like this,” said Jamal Watts, who was unable to get to the hospital where he works on time. “It’s supposed to be a quiet street – I mean, that’s why our families chose to live here. It’s a quiet neighborhood in general. I never expected to have to push through such a crowd of people just to get off my street.”

Residents of Fairborn Avenue are considering the measures to take against Ms. Rogers, or perhaps against the Rogers family as a whole, but are uncertain as to their options.

“It’s not really clear what recourse the neighbors have, legal or otherwise,” says property law expert Sol Liss. “The phenomenon of milkshakes attracting throngs of young male visitors to an enclosed suburban property is certainly documented as far back as 2004, but has never been subject to court attention,” he explained. “In fact I’d wager it’s the same incident being cited over and over again, and not a genuine trend that anyone could be expected to consider before making a milkshake.”

 

For a snarky take on the Middle East, visit PreOccupiedTerritory, and laugh. Or weep.

Written by Thag

April 29, 2014 at 12:13 pm

Nation Holds Breath As Teen Deliberates Liking Friend’s Selfie

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selfiesUrbana, IL, April 28 – The United States remains on tenterhooks as Samantha Johnson, 14, determines whether or not to click “Like” on the self-portrait of her friend Paula McMaster, also 14.

McMaster, a classmate of Johnson’s at Urbana High School, uploaded a picture she took of herself in the bathroom mirror this morning, just before leaving for school. Seven minutes later, Johnson saw the image in her Facebook feed, and these next few seconds will prove crucial in the developing relationship between the two freshmen.

The stakes in the decision have grown high over the last few days, explains professor of psychology Ben Shwarmer. “The two young ladies move in different cliques at school, and as such are not close friends. Each one considers the other likable enough, but the fact that their parents are pushing them to become close has made each of them wary of doing just that.” Then, three days ago, McMaster and Johnson were the only people their age at a community event to which their parents had dragged them, and the commiseration that they shared sparked a potential new friendship nevertheless.

The two teens exchanged phone numbers and friend requests on Facebook, but had little online interaction in the intervening days, as McMaster’s charger was unavailable. Once she found it and charged her device overnight, she photographed herself several times and chose the image she found most satisfactory to post to her wall. The next several minutes were the first time both of the teens were on line for any significant duration at the same time since they friended each other.

Experts are divided on what will happen. “There’s probably still some residual awkwardness from all the parental associations, and we’re likely to see Ms. Johnson ignore the image entirely,” says Yenta Gross, who writes about social media use for several teen publications. “Shes shown some admirable restraint in the past, such as the time three weeks ago when she tactfully pretended that a friend’s drunken, lewd rant never appeared in her feed.”

Educator Jack Kass disagrees. “Kids are stupid,” he insists. “That’s an ugly picture, it’s obvious the girl is fishing for compliments, and Samantha has a low tolerance for such things.”

“In fact, I think I’m going to post a mocking comment right no – crap. I can’t comment if I’m not a friend. OK, teenage creepy alter ego here I come…”

Written by Thag

April 28, 2014 at 6:26 pm

Satan Denies Possessing Gays

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HellHell, April 24 – The Prince of Darkness has weighed in on the raucous debate surrounding homosexuality in American society, flatly ruling out any direct influence on people’s sexual orientation.

“The factors that determine whether a given individual will be attracted to men, women, or neither, is not in the Satanic domain,” he said in an address to reporters. “I do, however, take glee in observing the discomfort and discomfiture of right-wing windbags reacting to people’s gayness, and I do all I can to magnify that.”

The exact extent of the belief that homosexuality is either a “lifestyle choice” or the result of such demonic possession is unknown, but the view that it is genetically determined, while accepted in the scientific community, has yet to gain significant traction among demographics that put more stock in what their preachers say than what the left-leaning media say. The same demographic group, however, comprises a large number of people also wedded to belief in an active Satanic presence in the world, and his announcement will have an as-yet-unclear effect on those segments of the population.

“The Satan-belief folks are often the same ones who deny empirical evidence in favor of a stubbornly literal reading of Scripture,” says social scientist Rick Santorum. “There’s no telling whether the trend will continues with this bit of evidence – it could be that, much like the geological and paleontological evidence, they will dismiss it. Or they might take such a direct communication from Satan himself at face value. My money, however, is on a schism between both factions, which is, after all, the American political and religious way.”

Satan declined to elaborate on any actual subjects of demonic possession, preferring to leave that as a source of tension and confusion. But he did allow that certain populations were predisposed to such manipulation, especially those in pursuit of power.

Written by Thag

April 24, 2014 at 4:46 pm

Pregnant Pachyderm Refuses To Discuss Elephant In Womb

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elephantSerengeti, Africa – An eight-year-old female elephant has so far declined to acknowledge the subject of her ongoing gestation, sources close to the animal reported Tuesday.

Celeste Babarina, a member of the Lumbago clan of East Africa, has been carrying a fetus since January and displaying all the requisite symptoms of her condition, but familial and social mores dictate that no one is permitted to bring up the subject for fear of embarrassment. Her pregnancy lies at the root of myriad unusual interactions and their consequences, and the negative consequences cannot be adequately addressed without openly discussing Ms. Babarina’s pregnancy.

For example, the cow’s irritability has sparked at least four known feuds among members of the herd, confrontations that have had adverse impact on claiming and maintaining hold of prime watering holes and grazing grounds this season. Rival clans have made inroads into territory traditionally considered a Lumbago stronghold, and other species such as rhinoceros and ostrich have enjoyed unprecedented freedom to wallow in the mud and water previously off limits to them.

Normally, say elephants who declined to be identified for fear of retribution, Babarina’s friends and sisters would collectively enforce the ban on other wildlife, and would effectively bar other herds from encroaching. But the divisions that have grown out of refusal to discuss the elephant in the womb are causing a breakdown of the social hierarchy, and the rivals are exploiting that breakdown.

It remains unclear how much longer the herd will tolerate the situation, but with more than a year remaining in Babarina’s pregnancy, the herd will be hard pressed to maintain its integrity without a shift. When asked for an opinion for this article, the pregnant elephant declined to comment.

“Can’t talk now,” she said. “I gestate.”

Written by Thag

April 22, 2014 at 10:20 am

Scientists Discover Non-Scowling, Non-Yelling Parent At Walmart

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WalmartMahwah, New Jersey, March 27 – Researchers studying the population of one of the largest retail chains in the US were shocked today to discover the occurrence of a parent shopping there who was not interacting negatively with the children in tow.

Observing the customers at the Walmart here for a doctoral thesis, sociologists Mor Bidley-O’Beese and Trey Lertrache spotted a man in his thirties escorted by three children under the age of ten, each of whom seemed to be content. At first assuming that the lack of fighting, throwing, vandalism, running around/away, and whining was attributable to the children being medicated, the researchers soon realized, to their puzzlement, that in fact the group was inherently polite and well-behaved. Such a family grouping has not been previously documented at Walmart.

“The initial observation of the subject in question naturally led us to the conclusion that some pharmacological component was necessary to explain the behavior of the children,” said Lertrache. “We had no precedent for a non-dysfunctional dynamic in this environment.” It was only after they witnessed the non-ironic use of such terms as “please,” “may we?” and “here, you can use mine” that Lertrache and Bidley-O’Beese began to realize the anomaly they had encountered.

“We had been unaware that such a creature existed in this habitat,” said Bidley-O’beese. “No previous studies have found an intra-Walmart parent-child framework that was not riddled with passive or outright aggression; raised voices; snappy retorts; sarcastic remarks; verbal abuse; or borderline physical abuse.”

A further anomaly occurred when the family in question intentionally spent time in the dental and personal hygiene aisle. “In our experience, that’s generally a pass-through-it-to-get-to-the-snacks kind of aisle,” noted branch manager Iona Methlab. “It doesn’t get much in the way of people heading there to get an item on their shopping list.” She said others have stopped in that aisle before, especially seniors looking for denture cleaning materials, but certainly no families had headed there initially.

At press time, the family was waiting at the checkout line without berating the cashier and the people ahead of them not to take all day.

Written by Thag

March 27, 2014 at 8:34 am

Man Asks Permission To Count Ways He Loves Thee

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flowersLondon, March 23 – Cedric Montague has submitted a petition to recount the different ways in which he finds reason to express affection for thee, local media reported today.

Montague, 26, of Berwick Manor, has been attempting to woo thee for nigh a fortnight, and has finally secured an audience with thee. The ensuing conversation convinced him that thou art the wench for him, and he proceeded to request your consent to hearing the various justifications for his feelings toward thee.

In a request entitled,”Let Me Count the Ways,” Montague seeks to gain thine ear for a complete inventory of his motives in finding thee attractive, witty, charming, warm, humorous, attentive, and appreciative, though he wishes to clarify that the foregoing does not in any way constitute an exhaustive list of The Ways. “Would that thou grant me thy attention if but to give ear to my pining,” he explained.

This is not the first time a suitor hath attempted to woo thee thus. Nary four months ago, Sir Hubert de Mille similarly tried to win thee with sweet words and expensive gifts. That episode came to an ignominious end when thou discovered that Sir Hubert was already married, and already conducting any number of scandalous affairs.

Such expressions of affection are apparently common in thy family, as thy father wooed thy mother with a similar set of compliments. “She hath always been a sucker for the sweet talk,” he hath been known to comment.

Written by Thag

March 23, 2014 at 7:57 pm

Study Links Enunciation Of “T” In “Often” With Low Intelligence

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stupidityCambridge, MA, March 14 – Neurologists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say they have discovered a correlation between improper pronunciation of the word “often” and poor performance on cognitive tests.

According to the study, people who pronounce the silent t in “often” are more likely to show significant deficiencies in problem-solving, comprehension, and basic common sense. They are twice as likely never to have mastered such skills as touch-typing, tying one’s shoes, and harboring a distaste for hip-hop “music,” and three times as likely to put just plain wrong toppings on pizza, such as anchovies, pineapple, corn, and tuna – even simultaneously.

Pronunciation of the t, which is manifestly wrong, according to anyone who knows anything, follows the example of the word soften. “Do people use fabric sof-tener when they do laundry?” asked the study’s lead author, Dr. Yogi Berra of MIT. “Apparently, the unintelligent hear other unintelligent people mangling the word and it sounds higher-class, so they adopt it, as well. It’s basically a plague of stupidity.”

The study found a similar correlation among people whose locutions include “between you and I,” “at the and of the day,” “last but not least,” “blogosphere,” “Web 2.0,” “peace process,” and “in the future/in the past,” the last two of which Dr. Berra calls an indictment of English-speaking civilization as a whole.

Dr. Berra is developing diagnostic tools to predict, at an early age, which children are likely to develop into mentally deficient adults who pronounce the says of the week as if they are missing the penultimate letter.

Written by Thag

March 13, 2014 at 5:56 pm

Researchers Unearth Ancient Use Of ‘Science!’ Without Exclamation Mark

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overreactingOxford, March 4 – Linguists at Oxford University have announced the discovery of an earlier form of the word “Science!” indicating that it did not always have an exclamation mark at the end.

Researchers examining manuscripts from ancient sources in the years Before Chat (BC) found multiple occurrences of the word without the terminal punctuation, indicating that it may have been pronounced with considerably less zeal than is standard today. Older dictionaries had always contained an entry without the exclamation mark, but sources with the term in actual use in its sparer form were not known. The discovery indicates that the pursuit of science! may have been a more sober undertaking in times of yore.

“We’re excited to be able to provide another piece of the linguistic puzzle, because science!” said lead researcher Brittany Hashtag. “It was mostly thanks to the hard work of those who compiled and collated the archival material with the help of technology. Science!” she added.

A similar study late last year revealed that originally, it was considered standard in online communication to end a sentence without appending “LOL” or an emoticon, a discovery that provoked a chorus of “OMG” from the academic community, which praised the researchers for its innovative use of science!

“Recent developments in linguists have me going, like, WTF?” says cultural anthropologist V@ne$$a $chultz. “The language and philology worlds are totes ROTFL over them. I’m glad these things are happening now, when I can observe them, because #YOLO, you know?”

At press time, researchers agreed the findings were amazeballs.

Written by Thag

March 4, 2014 at 3:45 pm

Global Warming Linked To Hot Local Singles In Your Area

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Friends castCambridge, MA, March 3 – Climatologists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have published findings that point to a previously unknown source for the rise in the global temperature: the hot local singles in your area.

The researchers found a striking correlation between the localized instances of higher atmospheric temperatures and the number of positively caliente available romantic partners within an hour’s drive of your home. Scientists found that these hot local singles clustered around certain cities, as indicated by the frequency of offers to introduce you to them via your home computer or mobile device.

The number of delicious, sultry, and delectable members of the appropriate sex just waiting for you to contact them was overlaid with a satellite map of temperature fluctuations in the atmosphere over the last year. The climatologists were surprised to find an almost 100% correlation, a fact that has important implications for efforts to combat climate change.

“We either must reduce the hotness of the local singles, or reduce their concentration,” said the study’s lead author, Jay Dait. “In some localities this might not be such an apparent problem, as those places either have few singles, or at least only a few hot ones. But elsewhere, this could prove a major new front – and a formidable challenge – in formulating climate policy.” He mentioned Brazil and Argentina and major sources of hot singles, with Russia also an important contributor.

If confirmed, the study calls for vast shifts in the entities responsible for implementing change. Whereas until now global warming had been attributed to the industrial activities of developed areas such as Europe, the United States, and China, the new data sees a more evenly distributed, though still unequal, burden, as hot Asian women constitute a tremendous source of the warming, and, as internet ads demonstrate, are available in large numbers everywhere.

Written by Thag

March 3, 2014 at 2:24 pm

Girlfriend Still Demanding Attention 2 Days After Valentine’s Day

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wiltedToledo, OH, February 16 – Local man Stewart Robbins is reporting that his girlfriend of eight months, Natalie Wilder, seems not to have noticed that February 14 has come and gone, meaning that she still expects romantic attention from him.

Robbins, 33, drove out to Denny’s for breakfast this morning and received a text message from Wilder asking where he was. The home appliances salesman replied that he was getting his regular Sunday morning pancake and sausage, which resulted in Wilder, 30, actually calling him on the phone to express her indignance that Robbins had not wished her a good morning despite the romantic weekend they were sharing.

Robbins promised to return as soon as possible, explaining that his car needed gas. After disconnecting, he expressed puzzlement at his lover’s assumptions. “Valentine’s Day was Friday, right?” he asked the waitress, who hesitated and eyed him before nodding. “So it’s not Valentine’s Day anymore. that’s what I thought,” he added, and proceeded to order breakfast. The waitress recorded the order and left for the kitchen a little more quickly than usual.

Relationship experts agree that Robbins can expect difficulty upon returning home. “It doesn’t bode well for him that he was unable to anticipate Ms. Wilder’s continued desire for closeness,” says Ruth Liss, a couples counselor. “It’s an understandable mistake, considering that the one day a year for expressing love was two days ago, but women’s sensibilities are not dependent on the solar calendar,” she observed.

Robbins is not the first to encounter the anomaly, according to Bay Area social historian Dina Ben-Hamor. “It’s rare in our society, but in many primitive cultures, men are expected to show affection to their romantic partners at least once a month,” she notes. “Even here, fancy restaurants handle a dinner clientele that once-a-year romance doesn’t account for,” a phenomenon that she concedes probably also stems partly from culinary considerations.

Widler was unavailable for comment, as she was inexplicably ignoring her Incoming Text Message alerts as she remade the bed, a development of which experts were unable to fathom either element.

Written by Thag

February 16, 2014 at 4:01 pm

Woman Uses iPhone To Take Picture Of Someone Other Than Self

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original selfieUrbana, IL, February 14 – In a daring violation of social convention, local woman Stephanie Brill used her smartphone to photograph someone else, a bold departure from behavioral norms.

The 19-year-old freshman at the University of Illinois had several friends pose facing her, at which point she stood several feet in front of them and snapped the picture. The friends remained in their pose for almost half a minute afterwards, expecting Brill to return to the group and extend her arm to photograph herself with them, as any normal person would do, but she stowed her iPhone in its case. “I took the picture,” she told them. “You can stop posing now.”

Confused, her friends challenged Brill, who produced the phone again and showed them the image already stored on it. This only served to puzzle the group further, who had understandably never encountered a photograph of humans that was not a selfie.

“She showed us this selfie, but it…is selfie even the right word? What do you call a selfie of other people?” wondered Briana Dowland, 20. “I’m not sure I’m comfortable with this.”

“I like it,” said Brittany Marcus, 19. “It’s edgy. People will look at it and be, like, ‘Was the phone floating in mid-air?’ It’s very Magritte-like.”

The group discussed the non-selfie with several acquaintances, who were divided on the propriety of such photography. “I think it’s a violation of protocol,” offered Derek Mills, 20. “People just don’t expect that, and while there’s nothing wrong with the image, it’s just impolite to deviate like that from what everyone expects.”

“So why should we blindly adhere to ‘what everyone expects’?” challenged Alex Giles. “Aren’t we here at college to explore new horizons and challenge ourselves and the world? I say more power to her.” He was hesitant to say whether he, personally, would participate in a non-selfie selfie.

“I wouldn’t even know where to stand in front of the bathroom mirror,” he said.

Written by Thag

February 14, 2014 at 1:37 pm

Blind Date Not Buying “40 Is The New 20” Argument

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40-20New York, February 12 – Gregg McIntyre, 40, of White Plains, has so far been unsuccessful in convincing his blind date, Kathy Chen, 21, that his biological age can be redefined based on cultural criteria.

Invoking the saying, “Forty is the new twenty,” McIntyre had hoped to overcome Ms. Chen’s opposition to the gap in their ages – and thus the presumed overlap in their cultural touchstones. Her reaction to seeing him in person has involved an escalating exchange of expectations, accusations, and defensive remarks, setting an awkward tone for the beginning of what both had hoped would be a pleasant, if not necessarily romantic, evening.

“I don’t get it,” wondered McIntyre. “People have been saying for years that age is just a number and that forty is the new twenty – so why Kathy won’t accept that and move on to the fun stuff is beyond me.” He suspects that her real objections, which she is too embarrassed to voice, involve his appearance or some other outward attribute. “She probably doesn’t want me to see her as shallow,” he reasons.

Ms. Chen disagrees. “When you fill out a form you give accurate information,” the cum laude Columbia graduate insisted, referring to the online personal details that led each of them to agree to see the other. “Go see whether the IRS agrees with such asinine math,” she retorted.

The first six minutes of the blind date have been otherwise tense and stilted, with each participant only barely willing to give the encounter more time. The initial two-minute exchange of accusations and guardedness gave way to a brief conversation about a place to get a drink, but both McIntyre and Chen admit they no longer see the potential they had anticipated only minutes before.

“At least I’m no longer nervous,” said McIntyre. “Last night I hardly slept forty winks.”

“Wait, what exactly do you mean?” asked Chen.

At press time, the two were fiercely arguing over what you see is what you get.

Written by Thag

February 12, 2014 at 3:22 pm

Report: Apparently, Shirley Temple Was Still Alive

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220px-Little_Princess_4Woodside, CA, February 11 – Shirley Temple Black, one of America’s most iconic film stars, was apparently still alive until yesterday, various news outlets are reporting.

Mrs. Black, it emerges, was 85 years old and still very much breathing and functioning until her passing by what her family called “natural causes.” Admirers and film aficionados were as saddened by her death as they were by the news that until that point she wasn’t dead yet.

“We though she’d gone a long time ago,” said veteran director Roman Polanski. “I mean, she was Reagan’s ambassador to Czechoslovakia, but then she kind of disappeared. We thought she’d quietly passed on sometime in the nineties, maybe.”

Even those who might be expected to know better were taken by surprise that the actress, who starred in 44 films in the 1930’s. “I, uh, I guess this is unfortunate,” said Elise Dorkin, President of the Shirley Temple Admirers Association. “But we had all assumed Shirley died some time in the last fifteen years.” She said she would take a poll of the organization’s membership to determine who, if anyone, was aware that Mrs. Black was still among the living until yesterday.

“You’d think it would be an easy thing to look up, considering the Wikipedia page was just updated a few hours ago,” said Liz Smith, who writes about celebrity gossip. “It probably never occurred to anyone to look at the stupid page,” she mused, noting that obviously at least one person outside Mrs Black’s family knew she was alive, at least when the Wikipedia entry was composed: “It didn’t include a death date when it was written, obviously.”

After becoming America’s sweetheart as a child in Depression-era movies, Shirley Temple more or less stepped away from Hollywood in 1940 and toward a life more involved in politics and diplomacy, a function of her husband’s ties to the Republican Party. While she occasionally starred in or produced film or television content, her life in front of the camera gradually faded, leaving legions of fans in the dark as to her continued existence.

Written by Thag

February 11, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Hipster Uses Phone For Making Actual Phone Calls

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HelveticaWilliamsburg, Brooklyn, February 10 – In what observers are calling an intentional use of irony, local man Trevor Dyckman used his iPhone 5 today to speak to someone else using a phone number.

The avant-garde behavior occurred as the bearded Dyckman sat on a bench opposite a Starbucks, commenting to an acquaintance on the lameness of those who emerged from the establishment. At about 11:40 this morning, the 26-year-old college dropout adjusted his black-rimmed glasses and proceeded to call up the “phone” app on his smartphone screen, selecting 11 digits in a particular sequence that made someone else’s device ring in a remote location.

The “dialing” of the number represents a radical departure from the standard mode of communication involving a mobile device, in which the voice is used only as a hands-free method of operating it. Dyckman expressed no surprise whatsoever that the person on the other end of “line” answered his call, and the two conversed for approximately four minutes before Dyckman disconnected the call and resumed mocking other white people.

Witnesses were unable to identify the person with whom Dyckman conducted the conversation, but those who saw the incident expressed distaste. “Hipsters,” muttered Darren Giles, 26, as he made sure his scarf was slightly crooked and his short-brimmed Fedora at a slant.

Alicia Martin, 25,  agreed. “He’s probably compensating for something,” she reasoned, absentmindedly skipping through indie tracks on her iPod. “If he were really confident in his style, he’d be eating something that indicates actual taste, such as this artisanal brie you can get at this wonderful hole-in-the-wall. It’s so authentic. You’ve probably never heard of it.”

“I bet he thinks in five years we’re all going to be communicating like that,” she said. “As if anybody even communicates with fellow humans like that anymore.”

“Well, other than baristas, I mean.”

Written by Thag

February 10, 2014 at 8:40 pm

Ignored On Blog, Man Bets On Being Ignored By Much Bigger Audience On New Site

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PoT AnalyticsTired of having his efforts to attract lucrative attention via a WordPress blog come to naught, Thag, the author of Mightier Than The Pen, has decided to move some of his niche material to a new site in hopes that a bigger, more passionate readership can ignore him there.

Over the last several years, Thag has devoted only a small amount of attention to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, though many of his acquaintances and family members harbor strong feelings about it. The material covering Israel or loosely Jewish themes amounted to perhaps 5% of his output, but tended to generate the posts with the most page views, the number of which would still be laughably short of the traffic necessary to make the blog a financial success.

Thag therefore decided to spin off the Israel content into a separate site, preoccupiedterritory.com, where he could find a new niche crowd of potential readers not to give him the time of day. PreOccupiedTerritory even has a WordPress theme that costs actual money, and technical flexibility and control not available on the free blogging platform. Thag hopes the investment will pay off in increased numbers of people across the world overlooking his material, numbers that will be reflected in a 1000% increase in the advertising revenue he currently enjoys.

“The cool part about that is I get to choose whatever percentage I want to for that figure,” says Thag, “and it will still be true.”

Though fully operational for less than a few weeks so far, the new site has already attracted an exciting new array, and higher class of, spam comment submissions. “I used to get the same solicitations for SEO stuff and sports jerseys,” Thag recalled. “But on PreOccupiedTerritory I now get random phrases from technical manuals and philosophical treatises, so I know I’m in better company with the new site.” He has yet to determine whether to aim even higher, where the spam bots might offer material on historical analysis or astrophysics.

In contrast to Mightier Than The Pen, PreOccupiedTerritory welcomes submissions from readers, both for article content and tag lines. That way, Thag’s nonexistent readers can engage more deeply in their nonexistent literary relationship with him, a prospect everyone might find rewarding if there were anything to feel rewarded about.

Written by Thag

February 9, 2014 at 4:36 pm

More Guy-Bashing. It Just Doesn’t Get Old.

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It’s been a while. Two years, nine months, and twenty-eight-days, to be exact.

Mightier Than The Pen

Stimulus

Good Response

Typical Guy Response

Ultra-Guy Response

“Does this dress make me look fat?”

Take her in your arms and kiss her passionately.

“No! Of course not!” (She knows you’re lying, you jerk.)

“The dress doesn’t make you look fat; all the flab on your body makes you look fat.”

Crying lover

Say nothing, but make sure she knows you’re with her. If she feels like saying anything, indicate only that you’re listening intently.

“Jesus. What the hell happened to you?”

“What’s this? Where the &@#$ is my dinner?”

Another driver cuts you off in traffic, in the presence of a woman

Shake your head at the stupidity of other people and move on.

Shout obscenities at the other driver.

Cut off the other driver repeatedly in retaliation, since failing to react thus can only mean you have a small penis.

Your child has a soiled diaper

Immediately change…

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February 7, 2014 at 1:11 pm

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