Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

Posts Tagged ‘parenting

Local Wife NEVER Sarcastic

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eyeroll 2Wedgewood, South Carolina, December 30 – Local husband Skip Murphy reported today this his wife Patricia NEVER adopts a sarcastic tone with him or their children.

Murphy, 37, forced his mouth into a thin smile before offering details of his wife’s goddamn perfect attitude. “She just shoved a load of unfolded laundry into my arms and said, ‘Here’s a little present,’ then stomped into the bedroom and closed the door,” he said, shaking his head. “Just goddamn perfect.”

The couple’s three children agreed with their father’s assessment. “Oh, yeah, Mom’s just greeeeat,” offered Ben, 16. “She’s just ALWAYS the sweetest, most supportive person. Like this morning, when I came downstairs for breakfast maybe thirty seconds later than I was supposed to because my sister had gone all prima ballerina in the bathroom as if she’s the only one who needs the place, and Mom’s all like, ‘Well, look who decided to join us! Alert the media!’ Yeah, I just LOVE that,” he added as he kicked the waste paper basket and scattered its contents across the den floor.

“So sweet of you to leave the rest of us to clean up your mess,” commented Lydia, 14. “Don’t mind us. We just live here too.”

eyerollAs for her mother, Lydia praised Patricia’s habit of always making sure to include criticism of some sort in her remarks. “It’s simply wonderful to see my self-esteem and sense of security are paramount in Mom’s eyes,” she said with a saccharine smile. “I wouldn’t be the way I am without her comments complimenting my choice of wardrobe by remarking how strikingly similar it is to some primitive nudist tribal culture. Thanks, Mom.”

“Like you’re one to talk,” interjected Susie, 11. “Little Miss Backhanded Compliment here is complaining. That’s rich. As if you don’t specifically pick out clothes you know will upset her.”

“It’s so cute the way you call me little,” oozed Lydia. “I’ll remember that next time you’re begging to borrow my sweaters.”

Skip professed bemusement at his children’s tone. “I have no idea where they learned to talk like that,” he said with a smirk.

At press time, Patricia was wondering aloud who had the brilliant idea that their home would be a good place for a reporter and photojournalist to spend an afternoon asking intrusive questions.

Written by Thag

December 30, 2014 at 8:51 pm

American Kids Celebrate End Of School Shooting Year

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

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

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

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

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

Written by Thag

June 12, 2014 at 3:10 pm

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

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

Study Confirms Your Parents’ Divorce Was Your Fault

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divorceBerkeley, CA, February 5 – Investigators researching your family’s history have concluded that if not for your existence and behavior, your parents never would have divorced. The study’s outcome vindicates the sense of guilt that you have been carrying ever since their marriage began disintegrating four years ago.

A team of researchers looked at the events leading up to your parents’ estrangement, separation, and divorce, and found that none of the difficulties in the relationship existed in anything but potential until you arrived on the scene, several years into the marriage. Attending to your constant needs disrupted the intimacy that had existed between your parents until that point, and your evolving requirements for attention, affection, care, and support gradually sapped your parents’ relationship of the mutual attraction and supportiveness that had characterized it until then.

The conflict between your needs and the health of their marriage was accented by the initial infertility that marked your parents’ efforts to conceive you. Your mother’s reproductive system had very delicate calibration, and several times the fertilized egg was unable to implant. As a result, your mother felt a special sense of urgency in nurturing you, a sense that your father did not share as deeply because the problem did not lie with his physiology. He therefore viewed her attachment to you as a source of tension and jealousy despite his love for you, tension that confused him and further warped his experience of the marriage.

According to the study, as you grew you remained completely unaware of the havoc your neediness was wreaking on the marriage, to the point that, by the time you were a eight, you saw nothing wrong with refusing a babysitter so your parents could actually spend time alone, forcing them to spend all their together time in the context of household pressures and in the very location that was so fraught with complicated emotional associations.

Friends, therapists, and your parents themselves took great pains to reassure you that the disintegration of the marriage was not your fault, but you nonetheless developed searing guilt over the divorce. The new study conclusively demonstrates that your sense of shame and culpability are in fact perfectly justified.

Written by Thag

February 5, 2014 at 9:30 pm

In Science, Math, US Students Now Rank Behind Mold, Cabbage

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Washington, January 22 – Data from standardized tests shows a new low in the academic achievements Among American high school students, placing their computational and analytical abilities just below those of the fungi and plant kingdoms.

As students from East Asia and the Scandinavian countries continue to excel, US students now rank 23,900,345,988,022nd, representing a severe drop since last year’s position as last among the world’s 208 countries with independent educational systems. Just ahead of the United States last year was South Sudan, a brand-new, war-torn African country, and Somalia, which the United Nations deemed a Failed State just a few years ago.

US leadership in education began to drop off in the decades following the Second World War, and has never really recovered. A stable period during the 1970’s saw the students maintain a position in top 20, but subsequent decay of the culture and educational system rendered any improvement impossible.

“We have to see this as a wake-up call,” said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “I really have no idea where we went wrong,” he added, noting that he was unsure whether that lack of knowledge was a cause or a symptom of the troubling results.


Not Irma Strumpf. Probably.

“The easiest thing to do is blame the children themselves,” said noted educator Irma Strumpf, 102, who teaches Biology at the Hebrew Academy of Nassau County in Uniondale, New York. “And that’s probably what we’ll do.” She said the fault certainly could not lie with the teachers, who know how to focus on priorities such as belittling students who fail to complete assignments, and unfavorably comparing younger siblings to older ones.

The rankings contain some anomalies that make them even more puzzling to researchers and educators. While US teenagers show little or no aptitude for basic arithmetic or the scientific method, they demonstrate keen abilities in remembering and processing the details of plentiful celebrity gossip, skills that could easily be adapted for use in academics. And with their proficiency in deciphering text messages with myriad non-standard linguistic expressions, educators expected the students to handle non-numeric mathematical symbols easily, which of course has not happened.

Written by Thag

January 22, 2014 at 8:55 am

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

Education Dept.: Not Enough Time Wasted At Parent-Teacher Meetings

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140px-US-DeptOfEducation-Seal.svgWashington, DC (AP) – Responding to an alarming increase in the risk of parents actually having time to accomplish things, US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan directed all schools receiving federal funding to allot more time for meetings with teachers.

Technology has allowed American parents to increase their efficiency, maintaining productive communication with associates, supervisors, and employees even while engaged in the mundane tasks of parenting a school-age child. Smart phones and other mobile devices help them stay in contact via text messages and other media even while they sit in a classroom as a teacher or principal drones on in cliché-ridden pronouncements about educational goals and parental involvement.

To combat this development, Duncan had his staff prepare a plan to restore the status quo ante from decades past, when parents had no choice but to sit idle, silently cursing themselves and their fates while being assaulted with hackneyed verbiage. The Taking the Initiative to Make Educational Sessions Unbearable in Conferences or with Kids (TIMESUCK) program makes it mandatory for all teachers to bar the use of mobile devices while parents are assembled for meetings with teachers.

Through TIMESUCK, the Department of Education seeks to keep parents in their rightful place: scrambling, frustrated, exhausted, confused, and as powerless as possible. “The mission of each cabinet department is to maximize the ways in which US citizens and residents are made to feel helpless and manipulated,” Duncan told reporters. “The Department of Education is charged with achieving that end through the school system.”

Traditionally, explained Duncan, the chief vehicle for cultivating and nurturing the persecution of parents has been post-secondary tuition fees and a program jointly sponsored with the CIA to maintain  certain level of drug addiction in middle and high schools. Further support for these initiatives comes form the Department of Health, which has consistently managed to ensure that a disturbing percentage of female high school students become pregnant at least once by their junior years.

However, uneven distribution of income and parental involvement in children’s schooling has meant that while the goals of the Department were being met, even exceeded, in inner cities and areas hit with socioeconomic distress, middle- and upper-class school districts still had unacceptably high levels of parental satisfaction and engagement. TIMESUCK, says educational consultant Hugh Sunavobicz, will make great strides in equalizing the frustrations of parents across the socioeconomic spectrum.

“In recent years, parents of means could insulate themselves from the soul-sucking experience of parent-teacher conferences, but this measure levels the playing field. In many ways, it’s a back-door achievement to further the goals of the Democratic Party, which prides itself on equalizing the opportunities that the economically disadvantaged normally do not enjoy.” In this case, noted Sunavobicz, few resources are necessary to implement the initiative, a point that short-circuits some of the anticipated criticism from conservative quarters.

Republican Senator Mark Rubio confirms that analysis. “The Republican Party does not oppose granting people opportunity, but it must be done judiciously and non-profligately. TIMESUCK seems to answer to both requirements, but only time will tell.” He added that the GOP has consistently supported other measures to keep parental optimism in check, such as a series of wasteful foreign wars, a government that blatantly violated human rights and constitutional protections, and election campaigns that leave no room for hope in the future.

Written by Thag

December 22, 2013 at 5:25 pm

Sesame Street Donates Big Bird To Feed African Children

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Big BirdNew York (AP) – Against the backdrop of civil wars and the constant threat of famine, the producers of the hit children’s TV show Sesame Street have decided to provide dozens of deprived African children with the protein-rich meat of that largest regular Sesame Street character, Big Bird.

The plan calls for Big Bird to be sent next month by boat to either Nigeria or Burkina-Faso, where he will be slaughtered and butchered. Refrigerated trucks would spread across the region to at least ten remote villages most adversely affected by privation, with the goal of reaching a minimum of one hundred children by the end of January.

Persistent unrest and unchecked disease have disrupted life for millions of Africans. Revolutions, ongoing ethnic conflicts, diamond wars, separatist rebellions, climatic upheaval, and rampant AIDS have made the continent one of the world’s most unpleasant regions, especially south of the Sahara. International aid efforts to distribute food and basic necessities are often stymied by political barriers and local warlords who seek to control access to resources as a means of exercising and consolidating power. Sesame Street Workshop intends to ship Big Bird meat to one of two West African ports, and from there to be distributed to hungry children in the Sub-Saharan region.

Sesame Workshop CEO H. Melvin Ming announced the donation this morning at the company’s headquarters at Lincoln Plaza in Manhattan, telling reporters that the effort will exploit the company’s connections in various African countries, connections forged over decades through international distribution, syndication, and licensing of the TV show for production and broadcast in more than 140 countries.

“The vision of Sesame Street from the very beginning has been one that brings together people from all over the world to help improve the quality of children’s lives,” said Ming. “But we fail at an essential level if we aim only at children’s hearts and minds, when those hearts and minds can only function if attention has first been given to their stomachs.” He added that the company had considered donating Mr. Snuffleupagus, Big Bird’s sometime companion, who would have provided even more meat, but that idea was dismissed because that would drive the species, whatever it is, to extinction.

In parallel with the shipment, slaughter, and distribution of Big Bird meat, Sesame Workshop will embark on a promotional effort to both raise awareness of the specific project and of the importance of self-sacrifice for the greater good. Big Bird will be memorialized on the show with a “plaque” that will appear in the opening and closing credits. A farewell episode will be broadcast at the end of December, in which the other characters will have a chance to say their goodbyes to Big Bird, and select letters from viewers will be read aloud on the air. The show will broadcast scenes from Big Bird’s grand final journey in subsequent episodes, leveraging the event to show children how slaughterhouses work.

Ming expects some of the show’s international partners to buy into the publicity, and several such “co-producers” have already signaled their readiness to carry the message of devotion to a greater good. The Iraq and Gaza Strip Sesame Street affiliates have announced that they will use the Big Bird self-sacrifice narrative to serve in recruitment of suicide bombers.

Written by Thag

December 11, 2013 at 3:59 pm

Benjamin Moore Introduces Booger-Color Paints

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booger paintMontvale, New Jersey (AP) – Seeking to tap into parental frustration over their children’s apparent addiction to spreading the contents of their noses on every available surface, the paint manufacturer Benjamin Moore & Company has begun marketing a line of paints to match the colors and textures of dried human nasal mucus.

The Pick-A-Paint series includes twenty-five different shades and five textures. With the selection, Benjamin Moore hopes to capitalize on the Sisyphean enterprise of keeping the walls of a house clean while children under the age of 14 inhabit it. Instead of actually trying to wipe – or, more likely, scrape – boogers off the wall, parents will now be able to paint entire walls or rooms the color of mucus and subsequently ignore the camouflaged boogers.

“Everyone can breathe more easily with Pick-A-Paint,” reads the company’s press release announcing the product launch. “Parents will love the convenience of never having to see these unpleasant sights on the walls. Children will never have to worry about waiting the excruciating twelve seconds it might take to get to the nearest available tissue to free up their nasal passages. And we at Benjamin Moore will be thrilled to know we’ve contributed to humanity by eliminating a major source of tension between parents and children.”

Company executive Dryden Crustee disclosed in an interview that Benjamin Moore expects certain selections from the new series to fare better than others. “There’s obvious demand for brownish-ocher-green with dark flecks,” he said, explaining that numerous focus groups of parents had ranked as “most disturbing” the discovery of blackish booger remnants festooning the walls above their children’s beds. “But we also found that some parents would appreciate the occasional shiny streak, to help mask the smears that inevitably result from some methods of booger disposal.”

Also available will be chunky streaks of red to mimic the occasional bloody boogers that parents often find, and paints that flake ever so slightly to replicate the texture and experience that wet mucus provides after it dries.

Benjamin Moore intends to roll out distribution of the new paints in January, initially along the eastern seaboard and gradually moving westward through 2014 and 2015. The parent company, Berkshire Hathaway, expects the stock price of Benjamin Moore to increase following the release of the products, betting that the appeal of Pick-A-Paint will stick.

Written by Thag

November 27, 2013 at 4:26 pm

Parent Scientists Isolate Ideal Bedtime

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Either a health risk or a manifest demonstration of  life lived correctly.

Either a health risk or a manifest demonstration of life lived correctly.

Cambridge, MA (AP) – Physicists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have announced the results of a multi-year effort to define the ideal hour at which children should be put to bed, including confirmation of a long-held assumption that a “golden window” exists during which children who cooperate with parental bedtime directives will enjoy happier, healthier lives.

A team consisting of thirty-five researchers across the country who are also parents of young children examined data regarding a cohort of 70 youths from the ages of six months to eleven years. They found that the best time for children to be tucked into bed was in the range of 6:45 pm and 7:30 pm, and even earlier if Mom or Dad had something special planned just for the two of them. The researchers published their findings in this week’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

According to the article, the benefits of adhering to this bedtime scheme include, but are not limited to: more frequent and more plentiful desserts; fewer occasions for parent-administered discipline; an easier time getting ready for school in the morning; more generous allowance; and a significantly decreased likelihood of getting grounded.

“This study essentially corroborates everything we’ve been saying for a long time,” said Dr. I. Sedso, a Columbia University professor of physics and father of three who was not involved in the research. “Our experience,” she said, referring to the informal studies undertaken by colleagues with small children at home, “bears out that the household functions at peak efficiency when children have dinner at about 5:15, have a bath or shower, change into pajamas, brush teeth, and are ready for maybe a bedtime story and to be tucked in by 7 pm, 7:15 if a lice-combing is necessary,” she said in a telephone interview.

The study is the most recent in a series of MIT efforts to define and quantify various aspects of the parent-child dynamic. A report released in February noted the character-building benefits of taking out the garbage even when one has already removed one’s shoes, and the myriad positive effects on one’s long-term satisfaction inherent in keeping that racket down.

The research is not without its detractors. “We believe studies of this nature are a priori biased,” claims Houston-area ten-year-old Greg Niedermeyer. “They fail to account for the negative social impact that adhering to, for example, an early bedtime, exerts on the life of a typical schoolchild.” Niedermeyer also criticized an earlier study that found only positive outcomes for children who finished their vegetables, noting that only losers ate Brussels sprouts or beets in any form.

Niedermeyer pointed to a conflicting set of studies conducted over the last year by children at various elementary schools in Texas, Vermont, Indiana, and Florida, which found a significant correlation between later bedtimes and freer access to candy. “It’s clear that from a happiness point of view, liberal parental attitudes are key. The studies indicating otherwise suffer from a prejudiced set of assumptions, among them that whatever a parent wants is ipso facto desirable.”

Adult researchers, in turn, have assailed the schoolchildren’s research as agenda-driven, and noted that it was all underwritten by manufacturers of unnecessarily sweet breakfast cereals and of violent video games masquerading as educational tools.

Written by Thag

September 17, 2013 at 11:45 pm

Bizarre, Warped Man Looking Forward To Family Reunion

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Gary and MelissaWoodmere, NY (AP) – A local man who experts say must have a chemical imbalance of some sort has grown increasingly excited during recent weeks as a planned get-together with cousins, parents, and siblings approaches.

Gary Innes, 37, of North Woodmere, has inexplicably shown greater and greater eagerness since the reunion was finalized in July, and exhibits no signs of awareness that such a positive orientation toward one’s relatives is widely considered weird. According to several neighbors, Innes has repeatedly mentioned how happy he was to be able to see his older brother again, seemingly oblivious to the fact that older brothers, as a rule, are not supposed to be viewed in a positive light.

Similarly, his iterative mentions of getting together with his parents has sent waves of revulsion through this bedroom community, where, as in any normal place, parents are seen at best as a necessary evil, and at worst – and most commonly – as a neverending source of awkwardness and shame.

“He seems so normal, so harmless,” said a neighbor who requested anonymity to forestall any further strain in what will soon be a stilted, overly formal relationship, at least from her end. “What sort of traumatic, depraved childhood did this man have that he sees absolutely nothing wrong with feeling close to siblings and parents?” she wondered.

Indeed, says Stephen Strohmayer, a fellow member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in nearby Hewlett, the attachment and affection that Mr. Innes feels for family extends even to the unthinkable: he apparently has warm regard, even admiration, for his in-laws. “I just can’t wrap my head around it,” said Strohmayer, who has appealed to others within the parish to come together to find a way to set Innes straight.

Lucille Bergen, another church member, even attempted to offer support for Melissa, Gary’s wife, gently probing to see whether Melissa felt perplexed or confused by Gary’s easy relationship with her parents. “She looked at me like I was the one from Mars, not her,” recalled Bergen. “I’m afraid he’s got her brainwashed or something, and she doesn’t even want to live in reality anymore. She seems to think it’s preferable to live in a world where family members love one another,” concluded Bergen in disbelief.

Eyewitness accounts indicate the extent to which Gary’s freakish world view has affected Melissa. Reports from other relatives indicate that at Christmas dinner last year, Melissa was seen smiling easily and embracing Gary’s parents, and alcohol was not served. The most serious, severe disagreement of the evening involved a spirited, good-natured discussion of favorite TV shows from the 1980’s, in which Melissa touted the virtues of MacGyver and the Inneses stood by their choice of Cheers. Not a single arch comment about the former’s child-rearing choices, sartorial habits, cooking, or lifestyle choices was recorded.

“I know it must be eating her up inside, to have this grotesque, supportive dynamic with her in-laws,” says the neighbor who wishes to remain anonymous. “It must be a Stockholm Syndrome kind of thing, where she’s adopted Gary’s espousal of outlandish family ideas as a sort of defense mechanism so she doesn’t have to deal with the manifest wrongness of it all.”

Written by Thag

September 16, 2013 at 9:40 pm

Report: No More Room On Earth For Children’s Art Projects

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The remains of Etruscan culture, which collapsed under the weight of accumulated school projects in 300 BCE.

The remains of Etruscan culture, which collapsed under the weight of accumulated school projects in 300 BCE.

Fresh Kills Landfill, Staten Island (AP) – Environmental groups and parents came together this week to raise alarm over the worldwide accumulation of projects that children bring home from day care, day camp, preschool and the early years of elementary school.

A new movement calling itself Don’t Employ Take-home Regalia In Teaching Us Stuff (DETRITUS) has issued a warning to local and national governments, admonishing them to do something to prevent children’s art projects from taking up any more valuable space in the nation’s homes, gardens, bedrooms, and storage facilities, which are already filled to capacity.

“Every parent struggles with the notion of disposing of the unwieldy, crude, and poorly conceived pieces of junk that their children bring home from nursery school or kindergarten,” said Polly Styrene, a DETRITUS representative. “But they must always confront the guilt that comes with throwing away anything at all, lest the poor children then get the feeling their parents care nothing for all the work that went into those pieces of crap.”

The accumulation of old projects has reached crisis proportion, DETRITUS warns. “Following a generation and a half of children bringing home seasonal decorative project after seasonal decorative project, parents do not even have the option of handing off any of these so-called objets-d’art to grandparents or other relatives, who spent their own children’s younger years saturating their homes with all that worthless junk, and have no remaining space to display or store the monstrosities.”

The DETRITUS statement outlined several crucial measures that must be implemented immediately if people are to avoid being pushed out of their homes by styrofoam, construction paper, sequins, wooden skewers, cardboard, cotton balls, toothpicks, stickers, glitter, gift wrap, matchsticks, feathers, yarn, plastic bottles, paper fasteners, ribbons, picture frames, popsicle sticks, plastic and paper cups, small jars, egg cartons, pipe cleaners, doilies, tissue paper, corks, socks, buttons, Elmer’s glue, stamps, beads, cellophane, milk cartons, crepe paper, beans, fabric swatches, plastic laminate, pom-poms, lanyard, dried flowers, empty thread spools, drinking straws, aluminum cans, modeling clay, little bells, rhinestones, bottle caps, flags, toilet paper rolls, key rings, signs, puff paint, tinsel, coffee stirrers, plastic containers, rubber bands, washers, dry elbow macaroni, colored sand, corn kernels, shoe boxes, old compact discs, colored pebbles, twist ties, foil, paper bags, disposable plates and bowls, papier maché, string, sealing wax, and other fancy stuff.

First, teachers and day-care workers must be barred under penalty of law from initiating any new projects, starting immediately. That would effectively reduce the creation of new problematic creations to zero. Strict enforcement would be necessary to ensure that no children would be instructed to make, for example, Christmas tree ornaments, Halloween decorations, or Mothers Day cards. Resistance to this measure is expected from teachers and others who work with children, who will be forced to engage in activities with their charges that do not involve permanent additions to this civilization’s archaeological record.

Second, government-supervised efforts must be made to eliminate some of the clutter already congesting America’s households, beginning with projects that no one ever uses whose creators have long since moved out or forgotten them. Local police forces will be tasked with ensuring, by force if necessary, that each household with children in its jurisdiction parts with at least 20 such projects over the course of the next two years. Power plants will be required to begin burning these objects to produce electricity and thus reduce the space the items occupy by an estimated 40,000 tons per month. The requirement to switch to art-project-based fuel will remain in effect until the availability of local art garbage falls to acceptable levels.

Third, In order to soften the sentimental blow, families will be allowed to apply for a team of archivists to document, photograph, and record clips of pieces that meet certain minimum criteria of nostalgic or sentimental value before their worthless crud is destroyed.

“We have to act now, before we are inundated by more crap,” said Styrene. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go to a school meeting, where the teacher has made sure each kid made some useless thing to welcome each parent,” she added through gritted teeth.

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September 12, 2013 at 3:37 pm

Students Protest Inconsistent Value Of X

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find xWashington, DC (AP) – Students across the country have begun to object to the variable value assigned to the character X in their mathematics curricula, and intend to petition the Department of Education to demand a single standard value.

The Disciples’ Union for Mathematical Basics (DUMB) has collected the signatures of over four hundred thousand middle school and high school students since the start of the academic year on a petition to have the federal government mandate that X represent a constant value, a move that would remove serious unnecessary burdens from the shoulders of tomorrow’s leaders.

“We students spend countless hours in class and at home, puzzling out something that could just as easily be assigned a value once and for all,” said DUMB president Blonde Zaff-Morfun, 17, a high school junior and captain of her Memphis, Tennessee, cheerleading squad. “That time could be better spent on pursuits with more lasting impact, such as exploring the proper use contraceptives,” she claimed.

Along with the support of those myriad students, the movement has attracted the unexpected endorsement of teachers. The nation’s third-largest teacher’s organization, the Disciplinary Union of Mathematics and Biology EducatoRs (DUMBER), issued a statement backing the students’ initiative, asserting that its members waste valuable classroom time training their charges how to discover the value of X, only to have X represent a different – sometimes vastly different – number in a following exercise, often on the very next line of the textbook.

“DUMBER educators fully support the DUMB petition to assign one value to X once and for all,” read the statement, in part, “much as it supported the successful effort to ban biological terms longer than ten letters,” referring to a 1995 campaign to simplify the life sciences for junior high and high school students. That campaign won over enough Congressmen and Department of Education program directors to go into effect nearly immediately, putting an end to, for example, the Endoplasmic Reticulum, thenceforth known as Squiggle.

Whether the push by DUMB and DUMBER will attain its goals remains to be seen, as it has encountered opposition from rival movements that would like to see priority given to other educational arenas. The Brawny Union for Lotharios, Lackeys, and Yes-men (BULLY), for instance, sees the elimination of the variable value of X as a threat to its members’ social standing, as proficiency in math and the sciences remains one of the few academic areas in which the differences between BULLY students and others are still apparent in the classroom.

“The progressive dilution of the American middle- and high-school curriculum over the years has effectively eliminated the few diagnostic tools our members have to identify the Poindexters,” read a BULLY press release. “Any further elimination of achievement-based indicators threatens the more physically endowed students’ capacity to make gym class and between-period hallway taunting a living hell for those elements of the student body too pathetic to merit being left alone.”

The statement added that such treatment of academic achievement has been a cherished, valuable part of the American educational heritage, and its post-high-school practitioners have influenced the development of American foreign policy since Eisenhower.

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September 9, 2013 at 3:05 pm

44% Of Broken Backs Result From Kid Stepping On A Crack

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step on a crackAtlanta, August 23 (AP) – The Centers for Disease Control has announced new findings in orthopedic research, noting that nearly half of the vertebral fractures among mothers occur subsequent to their child treading upon a crack in the pavement or the space where one piece of flooring meets another.

In a paper to be published in next week’s New England Journal of Medicine, the CDC team outlines its analysis of hospital orthopedics department statistics, which the study says indicate a close correlation between offspring crack-stepping and maternal spine fractures. The study authors did caution that the time interval between the stepping and the breaking has not yet been defined, but that the team currently believes it ranges from fractions of a second to several years.

“The implications of this study are obvious,” noted the lead author, Dr. Mo Thergus. “Beyond mere aesthetics and road safety, proper maintenance of road, sidewalk, and flooring surfaces can now be understood as a bona fide public health concern.”

Houston-area physician Allie Oxenfree, who was not involved in the study, agrees. “My orthopedic clinic sees a good number of back injuries among mothers, and one of my first questions is always, ‘Has your child been stepping on cracks recently?’ It’s been anecdotal for some time, and it’s good to see the CDC doing real clinical research to pin down this important injury factor.”

Others would like to see more research before they are prepared to accept the link between crack-stepping and back fractures. “We saw the same rush to judgment when alligator purses were linked to the likelihood of a doctor-nurse team paying housecalls,” said Lucy Steamboat, currently the head of pediatric orthopedics at the Hospital for Joint Diseases in New York. “But it turns out the sample size for that study was small, and it involved only fourth-grade girls with a sense of rhythm.”


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August 24, 2013 at 12:45 am

Preschooler Doesn’t Get What He Wants; World Ends

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What used to be Phoenix, Arizona, August 4 (AP) – Human civilization ceased to exist this morning (Sunday) after Jon Swarz, 4, of Scottsdale, was not given what he demanded.

While Jon’s mother was preparing a wholesome lunch consisting of homemade broccoli pizza and a side of carrot sticks, the pre-K student requested a chocolate ice cream cone. His mother, Beth, gently refused, reassuring Jon that there would be plenty of time later in the day for a treat, but now was time for lunch.

Unwillling to accept this rebuff, the junior Swarz continued to agitate for the creamy frozen delicacy, proclaiming the he was uninterested in lunch and wanted a chocolate ice cream cone forthwith. His mother set down the carrots she was slicing and threatened to send the young man to his room without lunch if he continued to behave in such an unbecoming manner.

Details are still sketchy on the events that then occurred, but the available evidence indicates that as soon as Jon discovered that his wishes would go unfulfilled, massive earthquakes struck major population centers and volcanic eruptions flooded low-lying regions with deadly hot lava. In this initial apocalyptic wave, approximately 800 million people perished in fear and pain.

Almost immediately afterwards, when Jon was on his way to his room, several asteroids the size of Iowa, with one more of them at least as big as Montana, entered Earth’s atmosphere and impacted at points in the Americas, Africa, Northern Europe, Japan, and eight locations across China. While living things directly in the paths of these interstellar rocks were incinerated even before direct impact, the kinetic energy and atmospheric disturbances wrought by the asteroids resulted in conflagrations that consumed thousands of square miles of woodlands, farms, and residential areas throughout the world. This second episode of destruction claimed an additional three billion lives. Among the victims were Jon’s parents, who failed to foresee the calamity that would be the inevitable result of refusing to honor their son’s wishes.

tsar bombAs the earthquakes and fires continued, the entire world’s nuclear stockpile detonated simultaneously, leveling all remaining cities, melting the polar ice caps, and inundating coastal regions up to fifty miles inland. Radiation poisoning quickly set in among the few surviving humans, condemning them to a brief, miserable time until death claimed them, as well.

Although this is the first time that the human population has been completely wiped out as a result of a preschooler not getting what he wanted, there have been several close calls. In 1980, Melanie Carter, 3, of Montreal, sneaked into the living room and turned on the television set in defiance of her parents’ explicit instructions to go to bed at once. Ms. Carter’s initiative narrowly averted the sun transforming into a red giant and making life on Earth impossible.

Similarly, in approximately 2500 BCE, a deluge of Biblical proportions erased all human life except for one family. That catastrophe occurred when one of that family’s sons was ignored by a parent who was too busy building a wooden boat to properly address little Ham’s request for an extra bit of pigeon steak with olives. Only when that need was finally met did the waters begin to recede in earnest.

Only ten generations later, four cities in what is today the Dead Sea region were annihilated by fire and brimstone when a young woman was refused some salt with her flatbread.

Prospects remain unclear for a reestablishment of human life on Earth, but public opinion seems not to be in favor of such a development, as it would most likely entail another plague of people with an overgrown sense of entitlement.

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August 12, 2013 at 8:06 pm

University Hopes Sex Scandal A Boon To Recruitment Among Pedophiles

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yuhsbNew York, August 11 (AP) – Still reeling from revelations that the institution covered up and did not adequately address allegations that members of its staff had abused high school students in its care in the 1980’s, the Yeshiva University leadership nevertheless sees a silver lining to the scandal.

The flagship institution of the Modern Orthodox movement in Judaism anticipates that its emerging history of treating pedophile faculty with kid gloves will attract other potential teachers to its high school, teachers in search of an environment that better accommodates their attraction to adolescent males.

“This episode could really work in our favor,” said Dr. Seth Taylor, Principal of General Studies at the Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy, the high school in question. “There are untold numbers of educators out there who could expose our students to everything imaginable, but who are deterred by the potential career and personal fallout from their tendencies.”

“But now that it turns out YU – and the boys’ high school in particular – has been friendly to those who have a more open way of expressing attraction to teenage boys, we fully expect to find quality applicants for teaching positions who would be afraid to apply anywhere else,” he concluded.

Head of School Rabbi Michael Taubes concurs. “MTA has unwittingly placed itself in the vanguard of institutions vying for the experience  – both inside and outside the classroom – that this uncharted demographic can get a better feel than most for the students’ bodies – I mean the student body,” said Taubes, who assumed his current position during the previous school year, referring to the boys’ high school by the initials by which it is popularly known.

In the cases that received recent media attention, several men who attended MTA in the 1980’s charged that the school had ignored their accusations that the principal at the time had engaged in inappropriate physical activities with students, such as wrestling; the principal and another faculty member were quietly advised to resign, and found employment in other Jewish high schools elsewhere in the country. YU declined to inform those institutions of the questionable background to those former employees’ resignations.

In a letter marking his retirement as Chancellor of the university, this year Dr. Norman Lamm, who served as president when the faculty members were accused of the misconduct, acknowledged that he and other administration figures mishandled the cases. In a response to that portion of the letter, current YU president Richard Joel honored Dr. Lamm’s expression of regret, but asserted that in fact the erstwhile scandal would in the end benefit Yeshiva by demonstrating its longtime commitment to protecting faculty who stray.

“Recent events in academia have shown what top-notch educators and leaders can do for our children when left unmolested,” wrote Joel, making reference to the saga of Penn State University athletics figure Jerry Sandusky. “We at Yeshiva fully resolve to pioneer a new avenue in the recruitment of faculty, drawing those teachers to us who would be uncomfortable anywhere else.”

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August 12, 2013 at 6:36 am

Classic Thag, November 2011: This Guy’s Head Needs a Caesarean

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Originally posted November 16, 2011.

Messy Childbirth - New Page (6)

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July 26, 2013 at 3:10 pm

I Should Be Doing Homework, but I’ll Butt into Your Conversation Instead

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June 6, 2013 at 11:22 pm

Bloomberg Administration to Regulate Birthday Party Goody Bag Contents

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lootNew York, NY (AP) – Continuing his efforts to employ mayoral authority to stem the rising tide of obesity, New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg launched another initiative today aimed at curtailing children’s consumption of fatty, sugary foods, this time as part of the treats traditionally distributed by the birthday celebrant to his or her departing guests.

The goody bag, or loot bag, as it is known in some quarters, traditionally contains several sweets and greasy or salty snacks, and sometimes cake or cookies. Some versions also include a small game or toy, but the focus of the new initiative – and of the kids who receive the bags – remains on the food portion of the contents.

Pending approval by the City Council, the measure would limit such bags to a single “fun size” sweet or salty treat, with the remainder of the contents comprising unprocessed fruits or vegetables and no more than 2 ounces of starchy, unsweetened material such as crackers or pretzels. Non-food items are not subject to the new legislation, and no limits would be placed on the quantity or type.

Earlier versions of the measure had a proposed mandatory inclusion of information on the importance of healthful eating habits, but according mayoral aides, Mr. Bloomberg quickly realized that such a requirement would be cumbersome and would necessitate further bureaucratic involvement to produce or approve such material and provide for its adequate distribution throughout the five boroughs.

The mayor’s previous anti-obesity initiative sought to ban the sale of large-size soft drinks. Though that measure passed the City Council, a subsequent lawsuit and opposition by the soft drink industry resulted in its cancellation. The goody bag industry does not enjoy the same financial and political clout as the soft drink companies, and experts expect the measure to remain on the books if it passes.

“Odds are this one will do well,” said N. Annie State, a political analyst for the journal Welfare Mom’s Day. “The snack food industry is too fragmented to put up much of a fight, and parents everywhere are getting more and more health-conscious.”

Other experts disagreed. “The demographic that actually puts together goody bags is not the demographic that suffers most from childhood obesity,” noted Ray Syst, who writes about diet and class issues for Time Magazine. “The people who buy the junk food in quantity are the ones who don’t have time to prepare a wholesome birthday party to begin with – they’ll just take the kid out to Burger King or some pizza place. This legislation misses the point entirely, and inconveniences people without accomplishing its goal.”

Syst said a better initiative would be to institute a minimum age for fast food items such as most states already have for tobacco products and alcoholic beverages, but acknowledges that would be an uphill fight even in regulation-friendly sates such as New York. Alternatively, he suggested, bag manufacturers could be required to print warnings regarding the dangers of overconsumption of unhealthy foods, much in the way cigarette packages must feature such a prominent label.

At press time, a crowd of several hundred parents from Park Slope, Brooklyn, were protesting the overuse of Dora the Explorer themes at birthday parties.

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May 29, 2013 at 9:12 pm

The Teenage Boy Hierarchy of Activities

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May 24, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Newborn Never Going to Live Down 34-Hour Labor

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worried baby

S, enduring the first of thousands of uncomfortable recountings.

Chicago, IL, April 24 (AP) – S, an infant born early last week, is already dreading the lifetime of hearing about the discomfort and trouble he caused his parents in the day leading up to his birth.

“I can’t wait for it to kick in,” remarked the nine-day-old, grimacing at the thought, or possibly at nothing. “You’d think world events, or actually amusing things, would make better fodder for conversation, but no, it’ll be decades before discussion of my mother’s experience with me peters out.”

His mother is expected to regale friends and acquaintances with the 34 hours of labor preceding S’s delivery by suction in the wee hours of last Sunday. After the postpartum period, when talk of the labor and delivery is typical of any birth aftermath, the mother’s relatively unusual travails will continue to be described when she wishes to contribute to a conversation about childbirth, or when she wishes to half-jokingly explain her child’s tendencies or behavior.

S’s fears are well founded, says Columbia University cultural anthropologist Beth Nossentrik. “The difficulty of a labor and delivery is a reliable predictor of the number of times the experience will be brought up in conversation,” she explained in a telephone interview. “For each additional hour of labor, a mother can be expected to tell her story an average of eleven times per year in the first four years, with the number gradually decreasing – unless she subsequently has more children, in which case the number actually increases by two until four years after the last child is born.”

According to Nossentrik, other factors can add to the number of times the narrative is rehashed. In this case, she says the fact the labor went on that long without a Cesarean Section being performed has the potential to add anywhere from six to eight occasions for relating the story over the next two years, and twice per year on average after that.

Chicago-area family therapist Hedda Schrinker  concurs. “The statistics are pretty robust in that regard,” she said in an e-mail. “Mothers tend to want to share the unusual aspects of their childbirth experience. What I would also add is that the numbers tick up again slightly when she is about to become a grandmother, and do not really come down again,” unless she eventually suffers a stroke or other debilitating condition that removes her ability to communicate coherently.

S’s parents also feature the additional augmenting factor of friends in multiple far-flung places who will need the story repeated to them individually, as they will not be in position to hear it collectively. Shrinker has attempted to reassure S that his situation is not unique, and that many other perfectly dysfunctional parent-child relationships have weathered this sort of repeated rehashing.

“He kind of whined when I said that,” admitted Shrinker. “It reminds me of when I had my second daughter…” she began.

Please Like Mightier than the Pen on Facebook, where you will not encounter such a tale because my wife insisted I have the contractions.


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April 23, 2013 at 5:27 pm

NY City to Levy Fines for Dispensing Unsolicited Parental Advice

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unsolicited adviceNew York, NY, April 19 (AP) – Responding to increasing pressure from parents, the Bloomberg administration announced this morning that it will begin penalizing people who offer advice to parents without being asked to do so. Additionally, people whose unsolicited remarks include implied or outright criticism will be subject to further fines.

At a press conference on the steps of City Hall, Mayor Bloomberg introduced the initiative, which he called Urban Parent-Youth Operation to Urge Restraint in Scolding (UPYOURS). UPYOURS, approval of which in the City Council is all but assured, will take effect in time for the more pleasant spring weather, when children and their parents return to playgrounds en masse, often attracting “helpful” comments from others.

“It’s high time we defend the good citizens of this city from the scourge of harassers,” said the mayor. He cited statistics compiled over the last decade which document a fourfold increase in the number of uninvited parenting critiques or remarks within the five boroughs. “As the most responsive administration this city has ever seen, our response is UPYOURS.”

therapistNeighborhood parent associations had taken note of the increase and began petitioning the city to address the problem. “We parents have enough challenges living in this city,” said Getta Wayfromme, a Park Slope mother of two preschoolers. “Between the mommy-child yoga, the swimming lessons, the interrogation – I mean vetting – of possible caregivers and the shopping for stylish accessories, it’s tough enough as it is. We don’t need people implying that we’re not already giving our children the very best, let alone saying it outright.”

Not everyone is pleased with UPYOURS. Sharyn N. Karen, 54, of Williamsburg, says she has seen enough parents to know which ones are doing fine and which ones could use some helpful guidance. “People don’t like to admit it, but they need other people,” said the childless, single artist. “It’s just good that there are people such as I to helpfully correct the errors of others’ ways, such as when they fail to impart when to use the phrase, ‘such as I’ instead of ‘like me.'”

Other provisions of the city ordinance include: greater leniency for advice-givers who have children the same age as the parent receiving the comments, all the more so if the children have been playing together for more than thirty seconds; additional fines for belittling or dismissing the anxiety of a parent over his or her child’s possibly fatal food allergies; and mandatory jail sentences for lecturing on the benefits of cloth diapers or for treating breastfeeding in public as objectionable.

At the press conference, Bloomberg praised the parents who first proposed UPYOURS. “This city has always benefited from citizens who understand where public action is necessary and where things are best left in the realm of the individual. As this administration has made clear before, it is not the place of other individuals to tell people how to live their lives.”

“That’s the city’s job,” he said.

Please Like Mightier than the Pen on Facebook, where super-size soft drinks were banned even before they existed.

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April 19, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Study Confirms: OK for Total Strangers to Touch Pregnant Women’s Bellies

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The researchers did occasionally encounter data management trouble when multiple belly-touchers acted at once.

The researchers did occasionally encounter data management trouble when multiple belly-touchers acted at once.

Cambridge, MA (AP) – Researchers at Harvard have found what they consider convincing proof that it is just fine for complete strangers to make unsolicited contact with the protruding midsection of a pregnant woman.

In a paper to be published next month in the New England Journal of Medicine, a team of physicians presents the evidence in favor of people you don’t know from Adam up and touching your pregnant belly. “It’s a life-affirming experience to encounter a mother-to-be, and the healthiest possible reaction is to invade the personal space of that mother,” said the lead researcher, Dr. Leonard Asperger. “Such women have already had several months to adapt to the notion that their bodies are not exclusively their own, and having complete strangers give them an appreciative pat or stroke is just the thing to bring everyone together in a warm moment.”

The study, which observed the social effects of 1,023 visibly pregnant women over the course of six years, cataloged over 4,000 individual incidences of stranger-belly contact. It found that invariably, the mood in the immediate vicinity of the contact improved, as indicated by the number of smiles and the increased heart rate of the pregnant woman. If the contact persisted more than a second or two, the cardiovascular benefits to the pregnant mother were even more in evidence, and if the mother’s romantic partner or sibling was present, those benefits extended even to them.

“The adrenalin increase associated with the touch of the stranger has myriad positive health benefits. The increased pulse can often help during gravidity, when many women experience drops in blood pressure,” the study says. “A consistent regimen of being in an environment where strangers feel welcome to touch the protruding abdomen can help in reducing the need for medication to combat the hypotension.”

According to the researchers, such locales include, but are not limited to, train stations, bus stops, waiting rooms, supermarket aisles and Park Slope, Brooklyn. They observed that the demographic most likely to touch a pregnant stranger’s belly was people over the age of 50. Approximately the same percentage of men and women could be counted on to engage in such impromptu contact.

Asperger intends to follow up the study with an investigation into the positive impact generated when strangers offer unsolicited criticism or advice regarding someone else’s parenting.

Please Like Mightier than the Pen on Facebook, and put a sweater on that poor child!

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April 17, 2013 at 9:11 pm

American Youth Running Out of Body Parts to Pierce

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piercedSeattle, WA (AP) – The Association of American Body Piercing, a trade group, is warning its members to expect a slowdown in demand in the coming years as American youth run out of body parts in which to make holes.

Citing statistics that point to the emerging trend, the association sent a notice to its 24,000 member practitioners that discussed the challenges soon to confront the industry as fewer and fewer American youngsters have available areas of epithelial tissue through which to stick a metal stud or other adornment. Though many piercing experts expected continued growth ever since the emergence of the punk scene decades ago, it appears that the industry has increasingly depended on repeat business from goths, misfits and just plain weirdos.

“We should have seen years ago that our business model was unsustainable,” said Loeb Needler, a tattoo and piercing parlor owner in Spokane. “But we kept looking at the total numbers, not once looking at the fact that we’ve been piercing the same people over and over again, and they’re running out of places to stick a new accessory.”

Perversely, according to the association notice, although more and more American youths are overweight or even obese, which should reflect vastly increased potential areas for piercings, the increasing prevalence of the overweight among American youth has a depressing effect on the piercing industry. Heavier people tend to be more sedentary, and thus are less likely to pay an impulse visit to a piercing studio. Also, the increased fleshiness of American youth means plentiful folds that wind up concealing or obscuring desirable piercing locations. That fleshiness both makes infection more likely and eliminates the aesthetic or social value, if any, of the piercing.

Another factor is the greater and greater reliance among American youth on social interactions in the online realm, where one can easily Photoshop as many piercings into once image as desired, but without the headache of actually undergoing what might be a permanent alteration.

Needler is not completely convinced, however, that the industry faces a mortal threat. “There have to be other people out there who aren’t obese,” he contends. “I mean, if American kids are so damn fat, who’s buying all the skinny jeans?”

Please Like Mightier than the Pen on Facebook. That is, if you can follow the link at all, what with your pierced fingertips. Good lord, that’s disgusting. What were you thinking? That it’ll impress the babes in the retirement home in sixty years?


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March 5, 2013 at 4:50 pm