Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

Posts Tagged ‘music

SHOCKER: Sir Mix-A-Lot Reveals He Hates Big Butts

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Sir MixaLotLos Angeles, February 4 – The artist best known for trumpeting his attraction to women with ample backsides stunned fans and followers by admitting he does not actually care much for large derrières.

Sir Mix-a-Lot, whose 1992 hip-hop song “Baby Got Back” sold more than two million copies in short order following its release, spoke in praise of the Callipygian feminine form, famously declaring in the lyrics that the stereotypically “perfect” chest, waist, and hips measurements of 36, 24, and 36 inches, respectively, held no appeal for him unless “she’s five-three.” However, the 42-year-old Seattle native disclosed recently that he finds nothing especially attractive about a woman with “a round thing.”

“I wrote the song as a dig at women’s fashion magazines that only wanted to showcase anorexic girls,” said Mix-a-Lot. “But it’s time to come clean: I don’t much like large-butted women. It was all for show.”

Fans and admirers have long praised Mix-a-Lot for standing up for the attractiveness of less-than-fashion-model thinness, and it remains unclear what impact the new revelations will have on his popularity. Whether or not the artist’s disclosure is sincere, his two-decade-old declaration of desire for derrière-endowed dames has been firmly entrenched in popular culture, says entertainment industry commentator Anna Conda. “Dozens of other artists and celebrities have either covered, sampled, parodied, or otherwise referenced ‘Baby Got Back,’ she explained.

Indeed, as Ms. Conda noted, the twitterverse is rife with references to the song, making it likely that Mix-a-Lot’s actual lukewarm feelings toward generous fundaments will prove irrelevant. “It’s as powerful a social commentary and criticism as it is because of what it exposes, irrespective of the ingenuousness, or lack thereof, behind it,” she said of the song. “Trenchant social commentary is one of the bedrocks of hip-hop.”

“Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some buns to attend to,” she said.

Written by Thag

February 4, 2015 at 3:42 pm

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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June 30, 2014 at 4:12 pm

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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

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

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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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

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

Twisted Sister Not Going To Take It

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Were_Not_Gonna_Take_ItSan Bernardino, CA (AP) – Fed up with the stifling environment in which they have been forced to function, the heavy-metal rock ensemble known as Twisted Sister has announced they no longer intend to take it.

The three-minute-and-thirty-eight-second announcement touched on several points, chief among them that the group has reached the limits of its tolerance for the hypocrisy inherent in so much of the adult world. But the list of grievances included objections to repressive, enforced adherence to certain conventions and the cynicism that such coercion breeds. As an example of such cynicism the ensemble pointed to alleged attempts to buy their silence with money.

Included among the complaints were also several statements of intent beyond mere expressions of Twisted Sister having exhausted their patience for the status quo. The group intends to combat the situation actively, and called the attention of the powers that be to that very intent, specifically noting that manifest visual evidence of the effort to resist will be available.

Reaction to the announcement has been mixed, with supporters of the band – known colloquially as SMFs – hailing its boldness and defiant tone, and detractors voicing concern for the apparent lack of reverence for authority that the announcement and its accompanying video. Apparently to illustrate the sincerity and scope of their intent, Twisted Sister produced audiovisual documentation of what appear to be instances of youths resisting authority as the band cheers them on; it remained unclear at the time of the announcement whether the footage represented actual events of Not Taking It Anymore on the part of those youths, or whether the incidents were staged merely to emphasize the depth of the ensemble’s emotion.

Critics of the band’s announcement and its tone have said they intend to hold hearings on the threat the content of the video poses to impressionable minds; band member Dee Snider all but dared the authorities to do so, saying he would gladly testify before any such committee, if only to demonstrate for the nation exactly the controlling, repressive sate of affairs against which he and his colleagues were protesting.

Written by Thag

January 13, 2014 at 2:49 pm

Report: Dude Looks Like A Lady

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220px-DudelookslikealadyLos Angeles (AP) – A survey of the available data on the appearance of a male in the vicinity shows that he resembles a female, area observers have reported.

Researchers Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, and Desmond Child conducted a series of observations to catalog the clothing, hair style, facial features, jewelry, footwear, gait, and mannerisms of a New York man, and published their findings in the journal Permanent Vacation. The article, titled “Dude Looks Like a Lady,” describes the data that led the team of researchers to their conclusion.

Among the observations that brought Tyler, Perry, and Child to their conclusion were the carefully styled long hair and the facial cosmetics applied in a manner consistent with common female practice, as well as more obvious clues such as the wearing of garments typically worn by women and not men, such as a gown. The team included a list of the factors, and logged the events during the study that indicated an emerging picture of femininity despite the manifest anatomical indicators of masculine phenotype.

The site of that served as the arena for the observations was a business establishment reputed as a frequent location for the appearance of males resembling females. The team relied on informal reports from local residents and business proprietors as to the recommended candidate observation sites, and found in their research that the recommendations were corroborated by the ease with which they identified a dude who looked like a lady.

“The solidity of the evidence in this case is impressive,” says Euphegenia Doubtfire, a San Francisco expert on cross-dressing who was not involved in the study. “Based on the description of the area and the observed individual’s features as described in the article, it is clear that the researchers did a commendable job in identifying the actual, as opposed to assumed, sex of that individual.

Not everyone agrees with the premises of the observation, though few actually challenge the conclusions. Researcher Nikki Sixx, who was not  involved in the research but was apprised of its progress, disputes the accuracy of the circumstances surrounding the observation, and his claims, if true, would cast doubt on the reliability of the data set.

For example, according to Sixx, the observed individual was not, as Tyler describes him, a “drag queen,” but one of Sixx’s associates, Vince Neil. According to Neil himself, who claims to have been involved in the preliminary stage of the research, the impetus for the study was actually a member of the wait staff at a bar. Neither Sixx nor Neil, however, dispute the conclusion that the observed dude indeed looks like a lady.

Written by Thag

January 7, 2014 at 7:41 pm

Ornithologists: Doves Don’t Cry; Prince An Idiot

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When Doves CryLos Angeles (AP) – Scientists who study avian physiology and behavior have criticized Prince’s 1984 single When Doves Cry, accusing the singer/songwriter of sowing ignorance – or, more likely, betraying it.

Noting that pigeons do not even have tear ducts, ornithologist Dror Adler of the University of California at Los Angeles and several other UCLA researchers castigated Prince, whose number-one single, the lead track from the album Purple Rain, for spreading inaccurate information about birds in general and doves in particular. “Even if doves could cry, which any fool knows they can’t, they certainly wouldn’t sound like the garbage-pail-worthy lyrics Prince seems to think they would express,” wrote Adler in an article for the journal Ornithology Today. Nor would it resemble the instrumental portions of the song, which Adler likened to the results of a Read the rest of this entry »

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December 5, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Obama Cancels Failed Program To Get All Israelis To Drown Selves In Sea

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NickelbackWashington, DC (AP) – President Obama has instructed the State Department to end its four-year-old attempt to convince Israelis to resolve the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians and other Arab nations by voluntarily drowning themselves in the Mediterranean Sea. The decision was greeted with disappointment by representatives of Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority.

Four years ago, Obama directed then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to embark on a subtle publicity campaign aimed at engendering among Israeli Jews the resolve to drive themselves into the sea, as a way of ending the deadlock over Read the rest of this entry »

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November 17, 2013 at 8:18 pm

Scientists To McCartney: Lonely People Come From New York

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Eleanor RigbyLiverpool, United Kingdom (AP) – After nearly fifty years of research, scientists have finally been able to supply a satisfactory answer to a query first posed in a 1966 paper by noted social researcher Sir Paul McCartney regarding the origins of people with few or no intimate relationships. They point to New York, where millions of people live and work, and work very hard to avoid making eye contact.

The original paper, Eleanor Rigby: Lonely People in Aeolian and Dorian Modes, looked at the lives of two Lancashire residents who had no apparent friends or nearby relatives, one of whom died during the period of observation. The authors – McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and Pete Shotton – took pains to set the particulars of the subjects’ lives against the meta-questions affecting socially limited individuals, repeatedly returning to the question of where such individuals originate.  Read the rest of this entry »

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November 11, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Scientists: San Francisco Earthquake-Prone Because City Built On Rock & Roll

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We Built This CitySan Francisco (AP) – Seismologists have concluded that the origin of San Francisco’s relatively high incidence of earthquakes and tremors results from the city’s foundation’s composition of rock and roll.

For decades, scientists have attributed the unstable ground of the San Francisco Bay area, along with much of western California, to its location along the fault line where two tectonic plates meet and move against each other. As a result of the constant shifting, the theory went, the tremendous pressure would be released when one or more portions of the area gave way, resulting in sometimes severe earthquakes. Read the rest of this entry »

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October 21, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Video Arrested In Killing Of Radio Star

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broken guitarNew York (AP) – Police have detained a video in connection with the 1978 bludgeoning death of a radio star. The arrest comes after years of several self-proclaimed witnesses recounting the circumstances of the murder, but scant other evidence.

New York State’s statute of limitations does not apply to certain serious crimes including murder, so the time that has elapsed since the 1978 incident has no legal significance, but it may be the focus of efforts by the defendant to cast doubt on the reliability of the three key witnesses. Read the rest of this entry »

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October 19, 2013 at 9:50 pm

Billy Joel Denies Starting Fire

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Joel in 2009.

Joel in 2009.

Oyster Bay, NY (AP) – Noted singer-songwriter Billy Joel has maintained his and other suspects’ innocence in massive case of arson dating back to 1949, casting blame on more than a hundred other people, movements, and events. Joel repeatedly asserts that he and others did not start the fire.

While no one has named Joel or anyone else specifically as involved, the 64-year-old entertainer has issued an explicit list of persons of interest or other causes that, in his opinion, require investigation. The series of accusations began in 1989, with the release of his album Storm Front, on which the Bronx native spent more than three minutes listing the various characters who might have some light to shed on who started the fire.

The litany of alleged suspects includes presidents and other world leaders; entertainers and athletes; terrorist incidents; multiple foreign states; and the US government’s apparent neglect of veterans of the war in Vietnam, among others. However, at least one inconsistency in Joel’s words has led observers to question the veracity of the accusations. The singer claims the fire has been burning since the Earth began its rotation approximately 4.5 billion years ago, while none of the suspects he mentions was born earlier than the late nineteenth century.

Additionally, and suspiciously, every suspect he names attained some prominence in the news or in world affairs, leading some to wonder why Joel singled out only the famous, powerful, or notorious for an act of starting fire, which almost anyone can do.

Apparently unprompted, Joel rattled off the suspicious individuals and developments rapidly, beginning with Harry S. Truman, who began his second term as US President in 1949. Other prominent individuals who enjoyed fame around the same time are also included in Joel’s list. He proceeded almost methodically through the ensuing decades, mentioning names of celebrities, international crises, and medical disasters that made headlines during those years.

It remains unclear how the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963, for example, could have resulted in a fire, but Joel has repeated his claims in many subsequent encounters, including in the presence of tens of thousands of people at various arenas around the world. In the 24 years since he began flinging the accusations, interest has waxed and waned in the list of suspects and their possible accomplices, but has not entirely gone away. Police, however, have not commented on whether they lend any credence to Joel’s claims.

Nassau County Police Chief Joseph Buonarotti declined to offer any information on the investigation, if any. Sources within the department who spoke on condition of anonymity cautioned that any such investigation would probably lie beyond the jurisdiction of the Nassau County Police, as the people and events to be investigated have only a marginal connection, if any, to the county.

At press time, Joel was on a Downeaster boat named Alexa, cruising through Block Island Sound.

Written by Thag

October 3, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Opera Lyrics Said To Contain Actual Words

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written by Thag

September 8, 2013 at 4:49 pm

Appendix Has Inflamed Elton John Removed

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Elton JohnMonaco (AP) – Facing a growing threat from the development of an Elton John around it, an appendix has had the musician surgically removed. The surgery took place two weeks ago in Monaco.

In recent weeks the Elton John tissues in the vicinity of the appendix had become inflamed, and antibiotics became necessary to keep the John from causing further, possibly irreversible or fatal, damage to the appendix. Surgeons performed the operation after the regimen of medications had forestalled the immediate danger.

The appendix characterized the growth of the multiple Grammy Award winner as a “ticking time bomb” that posed a mortal threat. While the danger was very real, however, surgery to remove such parasitic entities from appendixes are exceedingly routine, and no complications were reported in this case.

As a result of the successful operation, the appendix has been spared having to go with an attached Elton John to the ceremony granting the singer the Brits Icon Award, where it would risk exposure to perilous levels of glurge, hyperbole, flattery, shallowness, gossiping, and vanity.

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August 14, 2013 at 11:38 pm

WHO: AIDS Could Be Eliminated If Everyone Calls It Something Else

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Not Margaret Chan

Not Margaret Chan

Geneva, Switzerland, July 30 (AP) In an unexpectedly ambitious proposal, the World Health Organization announced this morning that it has formulated a plan to completely eliminate AIDS by the end of this calendar year, simply by no longer referring to it as AIDS.

If adopted by enough countries, the WHO plan could change the face of worldwide public health, eliminating one of the most virulent scourges of the last three decades. By the simple and quick step of changing the name of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome to something else, governments and health workers in such devastated areas as Sub-Saharan Africa or South Asia can conceivably reach the point where there is no longer a need to fight AIDS.

“The most effective solutions to complex problems are usually the simplest,” said WHO Director-General Margaret Chan at a press conference to announce the bold new initiative. “And we can achieve, with this extremely simple measure, what the world has only achieved once before – the complete eradication of a communicable disease.” She referred to smallpox, which, in 1980, was declared eliminated. It thus became the first disease to be removed from the human population through human efforts.

Chan spoke of the funds that could be freed up to focus on research and treatment of the world’s myriad other health concerns. “In just a few short months – weeks, even, if our constituents act with sufficient alacrity – we could already be in the post-AIDS era. The hundreds of millions of dollars that go each year toward finding a cure for AIDS can now be directed toward other worthy ends,” she continued. “We are on the cusp of a revolution in health care and in public health policy.”

In developing the new policy proposal, WHO researchers noted that they were inspired by the way in which American society has confronted its racial tensions. Whereas in the nineteenth century it was common for white-negro relations to be the context for intense animosity and outright violence, by the middle of the twentieth century, the society had apparently outgrown that problem, which was well timed: the country now faced an equally troublesome white-colored divide.

The challenges and discrimination affecting the colored population have all but ceased in the intervening years, however, and the WHO was impressed by how thoroughly the US has moved beyond its troubling treatment of colored people. The latter case was cited specifically in the WHO proposal as an example of how crucial timely solutions can become; as the century progressed, the US found it more and more necessary to address racial issues with the African-American community. That demographic is not listed in earlier social literature, indicating that once again, American society freed up the necessary resources to grapple with discrimination against African-Americans by a timely elimination of its need to fight discrimination against colored people.

The precedents are not restricted to social history. In 1993, musician Prince was rechristened The Artist Formerly Known As Prince, meaning that the world would no longer be subject to any more new creations from Prince. However, in 2000 he began to be referred to once again by the former name, illustrating the commitment that the WHO must demonstrate if it is to spearhead the elimination of AIDS by changing its name, according to Barkeen Guptha Wrongtree, Professor of Public Health Policy at Harvard.

“The WHO and its regional subsidiaries must really stick with the nomenclature shift, or the consequences will be disastrous,” he explained. “I mean, it’s not on the same level of disaster that the return of Prince represented, but it’s still pretty bad.”

Written by Thag

July 30, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Bono Has Scaled Mountains, Walls; Still Hasn’t Found What He’s Looking For

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Joshua TreeLos Angeles, July 29 (AP) – Despite years of intense effort, the lead singer of one of the world’s most successful rock bands has still not located the object of his quest.

U2’s vocalist Bono has ascended steep slopes leading to extreme altitudes with the averred single purpose of spending time in your presence. To the same end he has sprinted or jogged across numerous open areas in rural or countryside settings.

Perhaps realizing that the above locations were ill-suited to fulfilling his desire, Bono conducted the same activities elsewhere: first he moved quickly on foot, irrespective of location, and when that mode of transportation proved inappropriate, got down on all fours and proceeded thus. He also made vertical advances, specifically going up the municipal ramparts, with the same aim as before.

As of this writing, however, he has yet to succeed in obtaining what he set out to find, and he has made repeated verbal observation to that effect.

Changing tacks, Bono attempted to achieve his goal by romantic means, notably some sweet-tasting osculation and receiving therapeutic touch from the digits of a female he has so far declined to identify. The result, he recalls, left a caustic sensation accompanied by lust.

Moving on to other realms to continue the pursuit, Bono conversed with both heavenly beings and at least one denizen of the underworld – perhaps Lucifer himself – and recalls that although the atmosphere remained of high kinetic energy even after sundown, he nevertheless experienced a drop in body temperature, or at least the perception of it.

Despite these efforts, as before, Bono has yet to locate the target of his quest, and he would tell you so again.

Turning an eschatological eye toward the future, the vocalist and social activist sees fit to proclaim his faith in the advent of an ideal, post-historic era when differences and conflicts will be erased, but for some reason his clinging to this belief has not relieved him of the need to continue moving forward quickly in his quest.

Now Bono addresses your actions directly, noting that you have undone certain restraints and removed fetters, in addition to wielding a symbolic crucifix simultaneous with his embarrassment, a fact that evidently carries so much emotional weight that he repeats it. He also asserts that you were aware of his credulity at the time.

Apparently, all of this psychological upheaval has made the vocalist somewhat distraught. At press time, he was repeating, ad nauseam, that he has yet to successfully lay eyes on the object of his search.

Written by Thag

July 29, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Why Yes, I’d Love to Waste an Evening at My Kid’s School

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School performances

Please Like Mightier than the Pen on Facebook, just as soon as you can find an excuse to leave your kid’s lame school event.

Written by Thag

January 26, 2013 at 10:33 pm

Some Celebrity or Other Star Arrested, Charged

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hello tagLos Angeles, CA/New York NY (News Agency) – A past-his-or-her-prime director/actor/actress/musician was arrested yesterday in the Los Angeles/New York area for driving over the speed limit/domestic violence/DWI/drug possession. His/her publicist/agent/attorney maintained his/her innocence and lambasted the media for the excessive, salacious coverage.

The former big-time star of stage and/or screen, known for his/her work on a hit song/production/film/show, has had brushes with the law before, notably when he/she was arrested on charges of shoplifting/soliciting a prostitute/prostitution in a previous year. The celebrity underwent rehabilitation/did community service and made a brief comeback.

Once a staple of celebrity magazine coverage, the fading star now finds himself/herself more often mentioned in publications such as The National Enquirer and as an element of twentysomethings’ informal trivia sessions among friends. The celebrity is best known for his/her Grammy/Emmy/Daytime Emmy/Oscar/Golden Globe/Tony Award winning performance/song/film/Broadway show, but also won a measure of fame for other work in music/Hollywood/television/theater productions.

The celebrity was discovered by famed/legendary producer/director/talent scout/casting director X, who saw/heard him/her in an amateur production of show/video/song/play and quickly signed him/her for a role in a movie/in a music video/in a stage production/as a backup singer, which gave the celebrity exposure and led to larger, more prominent roles/singing engagements.

Al BundyHe/she dated a notable athlete/actor/actress/musician/model until the latter admitted an affair with a different celebrity. This was followed by a relationship with a notable athlete/actor/actress/musician/model, which resulted in marriage that lasted several months. The two had met on the set of [production name].

The star’s biggest hit earned him/her millions and cemented his/her place among the red carpet names that year. He/she followed up with a strong performance/appearance in a subsequent movie/video/song/show, but eventually faded and succumbed to substance abuse and/or violence and dysfunctional relationships. He/she attempted suicide last year after overdosing on heroin/crack/meth/alcohol.

His/her press agent/publicist/attorney blamed media attention for his/her client’s sad situation.

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Written by Thag

January 7, 2013 at 8:19 am

China to Experiment with Non-Flammable Tibetans

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TibetBeijing, December 10  – Following dozens of highly publicized incidents in which Tibetans have immolated themselves to protest Chinese rule, authorities in Beijing are weighing the mass production of an experimental prototype of Tibetan that resists bursting into flame.

The model, unveiled at a Communist Party convention last month, promises to reduce the chagrin of local and national officials up to 85%, according to presentations conducted at the convention. Instead of dramatic, disturbing photos or videos of Tibetan monks dying in agony, the images and clips will show only the flames, but the perpetrators will emerge more or less unscathed. Beyond the obvious PR advantages, the technology will allow the authorities to arrest the would-be suicide victim and mete out appropriate punishment.

What’s more, mass production of the units could bring even more business to China, as other governments have confronted self-immolating protesters: Israel, Tunisia and Egypt have all grappled with the negative attention and fallout from such incidents in recent years, and market analysts foresee growing demand for non-flammable demonstrators.

One region slated for exponential growth is Europe, where economic stresses have strained the European Union and its currency, and the austerity measures taken by various member states have wrought havoc among citizens accustomed to generous benefits.

diamondsInitial research has also taken place into the feasibility of manufacturing large numbers of Africans uninterested in basic human rights; the diamond and subsistence farming industries have for years been at the mercy of their labor force’s desires for human dignity. And following the Arab Spring, a number of states in the Persian Gulf have expressed interest in models impervious to suggestion that authority be questioned, but all attempts to manufacture such units on any meaningful scale have produced disappointing longevity statistics, negating any economic benefits.

Since the 1950’s the United States has been the world’s leading manufacturer of the gullible, a product line with obvious economic benefits, but the rapid rise of the Chinese nouveau-riche class means that by 2030, if current trends continue, China will produce more gullible humans that the rest of the world combined. But American manufacturers have  released several new series with more powerful gullibility, including internet users who click on links in the belief that doing so will result in a cash windfall or unearned gift.

The leading market for such units is Nigeria, where the scam known as a 409 – after the section of Nigerian law covering certain types of fraud – has always been a burgeoning industry. Nigerian business groups are keeping a close eye on the new Chinese gullible products, but are loath to abandon the cash cow that is the American gullible manufacturing sector.

ABBAThe specialty human manufacturing field is not without its debacles. Several Scandinavian countries attempted to produce a non-corruptible politician, but inaccuracies in the formula resulted in such bizarre phenomena as ABBA and marketers of pretentiously named furniture. Finland and Norway abandoned their attempts to achieve incorruptibility in government, but Iceland, for example, has held out, despite mounting evidence that the pursuit of such a goal results in people who want to live in godforsaken places such as Iceland.

Please Like Mightier than the Pen on Facebook. We promise not to claim you were engineered to do so, but that would be an ingenious, if expensive, social media marketing plan.

Written by Thag

December 10, 2012 at 11:32 pm

FCC to Levy Fines for Annoying Ringtones

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Washington, DC, October 31 – The Federal Communications Commission has begun to crack down on ringtones that drive people crazy. It will also seek to reduce cringe-inducing and distasteful mobile phone usage.

The Silencing Harmful, Uncouth Telephone Users Program (SHUTUP), a new FCC initiative, will enforce an array of measures designed to cut down on ringtones that pervert otherwise decent tunes; that have no discernible aesthetic value; that grate on the ears of anyone with an ounce of good sense; or that attempt to reproduce a particular sound or association, only to succeed in producing in bystanders a desire to murder the phone user.

The first category is by far the broadest, said FCC chairman Julius Genachowski. “I don’t think there’s anyone out there who hasn’t heard some digital-sounding rendition of Mozart or Beethoven coming from a phone, and thought, ‘Oh, God, poor Wolfgang must be rolling in his grave, wherever that is.’ And most of us can’t walk down the street without our ears being assaulted by techno garbage,” he explained.

The FCC’s solution is straightforward: SHUTUP. SHUTUP has already formulated a set of guidelines for mobile device manufacturers and distributors that lay out the criteria for acceptable ringtones. Perhaps more importantly, the guidelines delineate what constitutes a violation of those criteria and what penalties apply to violators.

Both the customer and the retailer of the offending tone or tones will face fines. Those fines will follow a sliding scale, the severity of which will correspond to the magnitude of annoyance that type of violation produces. At the low end of the scale lies the misuse of famous tunes, for example a hold-music-worthy digital adaptation of the “Axel F” theme from the 1984 film Beverly Hills Cop. Such a minor violation, corrupting as it does a tune already primarily orchestrated electronically, would incur a $50 fine for the phone user and a $2,000 fine for the supplier of the tune.

Slightly higher on the scale, melodies massacred by techno or MIDI orchestration would incur fines of $350 for the user, with the creator or marketer of the ringtone liable for $5,000 per ringtone sale.

At the high end of the scale lies any tune by Barry Manilow, New Kids on the Block, Lady Gaga or William Shatner, among others. Those selections will incur a fine of $10,000 and confiscation of the mobile device that played the tune. The entity that provided the sound file would be fined $150,000, and the individuals responsible would face up to five years in prison. The internet provider that enabled the download would be similarly fined, and its Board of Directors forced to perform 100 hours of community service.

In terms of other heinous misuses of mobile phones, SHUTUP will target jerks, such as people who talk loudly in quiet environments such as commuter train cars and doctors’ waiting rooms; who let a phone ring until voice mail is activated or the caller hangs up, instead of actually answering or disconnecting the call; who neglect to turn off the ringer at venues such as movies or concerts; or who pretend to be on the phone or otherwise absorbed by its use so they can ignore panhandlers or avoid having to engage another human in actual face-to-face conversation.

That set of violations will incur fines of up to $300 and confiscation of the device. For pretending to use the device, the penalty will also include two hours in a closed room with the panhandler in question, or be forced to endure fifteen uncomfortable questions from the person ignored.

In a pilot conducted in the Virginia area during August and September, SHUTUP reduced breaches of mobile device etiquette by 85%, and cut annoying ringtones by 98%. The program ran into legal trouble when the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union sued the government on behalf of a violator, contending that SHUTUP constituted a breach of the First Amendment right to freedom of expression – which has long been taken to refer especially to unpopular content. The judge dismissed the suit when the counsel for the government played the offending ringtone – an electronic rendition of Beethoven’s “Für Elise” that repeated over and over – and ruled the plaintiff in contempt.

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Written by Thag

October 31, 2012 at 9:24 pm

Yankee Stadium Bleacher Creatures Required to Use Iambic Pentameter

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Bronx, NY (AP) – In an attempt to temper the rowdiest fans, the management at Yankee Stadium has announced that it will now require any chanting from the bleachers to have a coherent rhyme scheme, a proper poetic meter and a recognizable melody, according to a Yankees corporation press release.

The Bleacher Creatures, as they are affectionately known by the news media, engage in the heckling of visiting players common in most Major League ballparks, a practice that sometimes crosses the line between good-natured fun and outright violence. They also customarily serenade the Yankees one at a time by name until the player whose name is chanted acknowledges the recognition. The bleachers, located in right-center field, offer less expensive seating than the rest of the stadium, and tend to attract a different class of fan.

In order to filter out some of the foul notes emanating from that section, the statement says, only attendees who cooperate in chanting in more civilized fashion will be allowed to remain. Initially, the meter will be restricted to rhyming couplets of iambic pentameter, most famously associated with Shakespeare.  Bleacher gates will open an hour earlier than before, according to the statement, to allow for rehearsal.

After a suitable trial period the permissible forms will expand to include hexameter verse, the form employed by the classical Greek works The Iliad and The Odyssey. The press release cited those examples as demonstrations that the Stadium continues to be a Homer-friendly park.

In an interview, Yankees spokesman Rhyme Sandberg noted that this is not the first attempt to fuse lyricism with professional sports. When the Cleveland Browns football franchise moved to Baltimore, the team was renamed the Ravens to honor that city’s most famous poet, Edgar Allen Poe. “We’re not going to do it all at once; that would be more than anyone could handle. We intend to build a crescendo of civilized cheering. The wine-dark sea that is the baseball world looks to New York for leadership, and this is a golden opportunity to trumpet both our athletic and cultural success,” Sandberg said.

Not everyone is so excited about the change. Chris Lewis, 44, of Jamaica, Queens, has been attending Yankees games for nearly thirty years, and nearly always sits in the bleachers. “This isn’t a group of people who like being told what to do. They conduct themselves a certain way, and you can’t orchestrate their behavior for them,” he warned.

Tom Cokely, 40, of Midwood, Brooklyn, disagrees. “I look forward to a different tone coming from the bleachers.” Cokely has attended games regularly since 1996. “But it all depends how they handle it. The notes have to come out properly right off the bat, or people will walk. It has to be the perfect pitch.”

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Written by Thag

September 20, 2012 at 3:30 pm