Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

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Study: Too Late To Make Resolutions For 2015

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resolutionsBethesda, MD, January 5 – Scientists at the nation’s leading institute for chronological studies have concluded that as of today, there is no point in resolving to make a positive lifestyle or behavioral change to mark the new year.

Researchers at the University of Maryland analyzed data from each year over the last 50, and determined that the temporal deadline for making a New Year’s resolution never occurs later than the fourth of January. Any resolution voiced or otherwise accepted after that date sill simply not take force, and the would-be resolver will have no choice but to wait until the following January 1 to make a valid commitment.

The study carries important implications for commitment studies, especially as they affect diets and relationships, says researcher Indyan Giver. “For many people, the onset of January activates their resolutions, but that only works when a person has a resolution lined up that can kick in the moment midnight arrives to usher in the new year,” she said. “But the calendar has some flexibility, meaning that as many as three more days can pass before it’s simply too late to make a resolution, and that person will remain unable to make any lasting positive changes for nearly 365 more days.”

To some, notes Giver, missing that tiny window of opportunity is a blessing in disguise. “Our study also found that up to 75% of Americans are physiologically incapable of sustaining a resolution beyond the third week of January, and 95% beyond the first week of February,” explained. “So this study is good news for most people, who shouldn’t bother anyway.”

The consequences of missing the resolution deadline generally involve becoming stuck in a rut of weight gain, bad habits, dysfunctional relationships, and undesirable work situations, with no hope of personal, professional, or any other sort of positive transformation. Which is just a well, says Giver.

“Imagine the deteriorating self-esteem that would result from all these losers being forced to confront their own inability to stick to anything positive,” she said. “The realization can be crushing, and send a person into an even more acute downward spiral of binging, guilt, inadequacy, shame, and a bevy of other unpleasant emotions. This way, they’re better off, knowing that it makes no difference most of the time anyway.”

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Written by Thag

January 5, 2015 at 8:24 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written by Thag

June 9, 2014 at 3:52 pm

Report: You’ll Never Make It As A Writer

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suicideNew York, January 29 – An analysis of the data available to date indicates that you have no hope of earning a living as a writer, let alone breaking into the big-time.

A new study that interpreted the information on the writing field, your talent, available opportunities for exposure, and competition from established or moneyed entities led the researchers to conclude that not only will your efforts to establish a career  as a blogger fail, they will do so in such a fashion you will be continually confronted with doubts regarding your worth and identity. You might be able to console yourself with the notion that at least the fruits of your creative impulses have been preserved for posterity, but that will prove cold comfort in the face of the overwhelming futility of your writing enterprise and the long odds of future generations caring at all.

Although the researchers recommend that you immediately cease pouring such time and energy into a fruitless pursuit, they also found that you would not heed such advice, and would proceed to double down on that investment, digging yourself into an ever-deepening cycle of disappointment, redoubled efforts, frustration, and self-doubt.

“There’s no way anybody can compete with the big boys for the online eyeballs,” said Arthur Buzzfeed, the lead researcher. “The established media companies can afford to spend big on exposure, whereas small-time operators can hope for, at best, an occasional item that makes the rounds on social media before fading away.” As a result, says Buzzfeed, your efforts will be stymied, but not in such an immediately convincing way that you will be prompted to pursue other, actually productive, outlets.

Social media expert Mark Zuckerberg agreed that the fate awaiting you involves pathetic stretches of time during which you will repeatedly refresh the browser tab that shows your visitor stats, hoping in vain for an uptick in traffic. “Alternatively, those periods will be spent staring at the Google Analytics real-time traffic monitor, with the horror and dread building as the minutes tick by and the big, black zero remains on the screen.”

According to Buzzfeed, that mix of negative emotions will be multiplied by the petty frustrations that confront all users, such as spotty internet connectivity: with every interruption of connectivity you will become convinced that you are missing some redeeming spike in visitor stats, “which will culminate in the crushing realization, when the wifi signal returns, that no one has been interested the whole time,” he explained.

At press time, you were laughing at this article and thinking how well it applied to several other people you know, but definitely not to you.

Written by Thag

January 29, 2014 at 12:41 pm

Wall St. Broker Can’t Land Dream Job Picking Fruit Because Of Illegals

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migrant workersNew York (AP) – The debate over immigration reform attained added urgency today when securities investment broker Wayne Stockton, 50, of Bronxville, NY, announced that he was unable to pursue his lifelong desire for a career in seasonal fruit harvesting because migrant illegal immigrant workers would work for far less.

Stockton, who handles trades for stock and bond investors totaling at least $50 million each day, has struggled to find a rural employer who can meet his wage demands. The Lexus-and-BMW-owning Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Thag

November 4, 2013 at 2:28 pm

Man’s Prayers Answered: ‘Shut Up Already’

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Gary BonnerRockville Centre, NY (AP) – The Lord God Almighty finally responded to repeated entreaties by a local man, instructing the 27-year-old to stop pestering Him and do something to improve his own life for once.

Gary Bonner, currently unemployed, has been praying for a windfall since he lost his job as a welder in late 2012. Rather than immediately seek another position, Bonner elected to place his trust entirely in the Lord, restricting his own revenue-related efforts to collecting unemployment benefits and buying various tickets from the New York State Lottery.

“Any God Who can provide for me by arranging a working position can also engineer events so that I don’t have to do any work to have a steady income, as well,” he reasoned, ignoring the Lord’s own pronouncements regarding the sweat of man’s brow as the default method for gaining bread.

Fed up, as it were, by the man’s attitude, the Lord appeared in a vision to Bonner and instructed him to cease all petition until he takes measures to indicate active participation in the live he was given. “I did not create thee to sit around on thy duff, waiting, as doth a goldfish in a tank, for magical food flakes to float down from Heaven,” the Creator of the universe informed the misguided soul. “Go forth and seek sustenance by thine own hand, and wait not, for thou art not a fetus in the womb that thy provisions be pumped directly into thy bloodstream.”

Unswayed from his lassitude, Bonner attempted to argue with the Almighty, citing the precedents of Elijah being brought food by the ravens, and the Israelites in the wilderness receiving a daily allotment of manna. “Lord, You’ve shown before that not everyone needs to work – why can’t I be one of those people, instead of the loser I am now?”

Although the Lord’s last serious debate occurred in the second millennium BCE, He demonstrated that He had lost none of His rhetorical sharpness. “Art thou Abraham, who beseeched Me to spare to wicked city of Sodom, that thou wouldst now engage in dispute?” the Lord retorted. “When was the last time thou sought to save anyone, let alone those whom others have dismissed as unworthy?”

“And as for your invocation of Elijah,” continued God, “when I see that thou hast devoted thy life to uprooting idolatrous practices and oppression of the meek, then shall I consider providing thee with thy daily bread through less effort of thine own,” admonished He Who spoke and the world was created. “And thou comparest thyself to the Israelites, My chosen people? The ones who followed Me into the wilderness, ready to accept My covenant of devotion when all other nations preferred to mire themselves in their orgies of oppression, castes, human sacrifice, and unbridled pursuit of power?”

According to witnesses, Bonner hesitated only a moment, but persisted nonetheless. “Lord, plenty of people have it easy, and they don’t seem to be doing anything worthy with their lives. Celebrities. Playboys. Bankers. I just want to be one of them instead!”

“Shut up already,” answered God, dismissing Bonner’s argument with a wave of His metaphorical hand. “Trust Me: if thou had any potential as an avatar of iniquity, thou wouldst already be decades into a life of debauched vanity. Now, for the second time, get off thy duff and seek gainful employment!”

At press time, Bonner was scouring the classified section of Newsday for available positions as corrupt dictator of a small Latin American country.

Written by Thag

September 27, 2013 at 10:26 am

8:00-9:30: Existential Shame

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Written by Thag

May 10, 2013 at 2:03 pm

Breaking News: Panhandler Successfully Avoided

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alcohol researchNew York NY (AP) – Bruce Feiler, 28, scored a coup this morning when, on his way out of Grand Central Station on 42nd Street, he managed to maintain a buffer of other pedestrians between him and a panhandler. Feiler thus averted eye contact with the pathetic soul, and thus prevented the profound awkwardness of encountering a fellow human in such dire straits and not offering substantial assistance.

The incident marks the second time this week that the accountant has evaded the massive guilt he would otherwise feel had he walked directly past the panhandler and given the man nothing. Instead, minuscule pangs picked at Feiler’s conscience for approximately 2.8 seconds, the time elapsed between the non-encounter with the beggar and arrival at the nearest crosswalk, where Feiler’s focus shifted to the red-light-green-light dynamic that governs the remainder of his walk to work.

Feiler selected the route within the first few days of his employment at his current firm, as he had observed that crossing 42nd Street any farther east would bring him into potential contact with at least two other panhandlers. He works on the north side of 42nd at Third Avenue, which requires him to cross back over the east-west artery. On several occasions he rationalized the specifics of the route by electing to use the ATM at the Bank of New York branch at 42nd and Park, which would necessitate crossing the street almost immediately upon exiting the terminal.

Other times, he bought coffee from a streetcart vendor on the south side, and felt compelled to praise the superiority of that purveyor’s wares over those of a competing seller on the north side of the street, despite the utter lack of distinction in quality or flavor between the two. Twice, Feiler also manufactured an intention to visit a housewares store on the south side of the street in order to justify his roundabout itinerary.

In an average workweek, Feiler succeeds about half the time in avoiding the awkwardness of direct proximity with the panhandler at the Grand Central exit, which is an excellent achievement, says Hope Liss, an analyst with GOP Poverty Solutions, a for-profit research firm. “Most working pedestrians have to plan their beggar-avoidance path at least twenty feet in advance of the panhandler, but emerging from the station on a crowded weekday morning during rush hour doesn’t afford you that wiggle room,” she explained. “So managing with such consistency to create a convincing image of not noticing the beggar takes considerable skill.”

The beggar in question, Felix Henderson, 50, has a history of drug addiction and unemployment, though he is currently clean, and is considered by veteran Grand Central commuters to be relatively adept at forcing eye contact and engendering sufficient empathy to warrant a donation of at least a dime, sometimes a whole dollar. He pleasantly thanks each contributor, and praises Feiler’s skill at pretending the panhandler does not exist.

“That guy with the gray suit and always-polished shoes? Yeah, I seen him. He one of the guys who happen to remember to be on the phone as they approaches,” said the homeless man.

He shook his head. “Never seen a more pathetic sight.”

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Written by Thag

January 15, 2013 at 4:09 pm