Archive for the ‘News Flash’ Category

News Flash: Count of Monte Cristo Hospitalized; Sandwich Blamed

July 18, 2017

Marseilles, France–Sources close to the household of the Count of Monte Cristo report that the Count was taken to the Marseilles hospital late last night with symptoms resembling either severe gastric distress or a heart attack.

The Count, whose opulent lifestyle caused a splash in Paris society a six years ago, recently returned to his native Marseilles for an extended visit following a world tour, ostensibly to pursue his researches into haute cuisine, specifically the croque-monsieur sandwich.

Authorities are exploring the possibility that the Count’s research into the sandwich, a deep-fried ham-and-cheese sandwich with jam and powdered sugar, may have been the cause of this week’s hospital visit.  The Count is said to have been on a regular diet of the confection since before his return to France.

“The Count once spoke of having fulfilled his lifelong mission when he left Paris six years ago,” said Dr. Avrigny (retired), a friend of the Morrel family, who are said to be close associates of the Count.  “It’s not unusual that a person in such conditions would experience a bit of ennui before finding a new interest in life.  And while culinary pursuits can certainly be worthwhile, we seem to have reached the point of obsession–consuming three of these sandwiches a day seems excessive.”

Rumors of the Count’s illness elicited a variety of responses.

Health Minister Lucien Dubray issued a statement warning against over-indulgence in rich foods.  “It’s all very well to try to achieve the perfect croque-monsieur,” the statement said, “but one should try to ensure that Monsieur doesn’t croak in the process.”

“To me a heart attack seems unlikely,” said Mme. Danglars, a nurse at the Marseilles hospital and the former wife of one of the Count’s business associates. “You have to have a heart first.  Still, it’s hardly a surprise that he’s in ill health; when you eat that kind of food, it’s bound to wreak some kind of vengeance; it’s just a question of when.  It would serve him right if he died of it and ended up getting the sandwich named after him.”

Neither the hospital nor the Countess of Monte Cristo has not released an official statement on the Count’s prognosis.

Copyright 2017

News Flash: Hacker Killed by Self-Driving Car

December 28, 2016

La Satira News Service

Police in Manhattan have identified the victim of an accident involving a self-driving car as Lars Gynt, 34, of Oslo, Norway.  Mr. Gynt, a computer systems integration consultant, was attempting to cross a street outside a crosswalk when he was struck by the vehicle, which apparently failed to register the presence of a pedestrian.

The human occupant of the vehicle, Nadia Driver of Lower Muttering, Vt., was not injured.  Ms. Driver reported that Mr. Gynt had stepped out in front of the car without looking.  The car, an electric-powered model, would have been inaudible in the busy street.

Some witnesses have suggested that the car, rather than braking, accelerated slightly as it hurtled toward Mr. Gynt.

The company responsible for developing the car, GGM, has declined to comment pending an investigation into the car’s control software, sensors, and telemetry.

The accident highlights continued concerns over the safety and reliability of self-driving cars in the chaotic road environment.  While proponents continue to point out the advantages of computer drivers–faster reaction time, the ability to “see” in multiple directions simultaneously–skeptics often counter with doubts about the computer’s ability to distinguish what it sees or make moral judgments about how to react, as well as the potential for the computer to fall under the malicious control of computer hackers.

In an ironic twist, the hacker category is one that includes Mr. Gynt himself.  Records indicate Mr. Gynt, operating under the handle 1G0Tch@10101010, had worked with a number of hacker organizations over the past decade.  He was also under investigation by the FBI for his suspected involvement in a previous cyber-attack on control systems developed by GGM.

Rumors that the police are considering the case as one of justifiable homicide by the computer on grounds of self-defense have been flatly denied by police spokespersons.

Copyright 2016

News Flash: Mickey Mouse Elected As US President

October 2, 2016

La Satira News Service

NOVEMBER 8, 2016–Come January, Michael K. “Mickey” Mouse (pronounced “MOWZ”) will have a new job:  President of the United States of America.

It’s not a job he campaigned or even asked for.  Instead, the 53-year-old plumber from Punxsutawney Springs rode a tidal wave of political discontent and name recognition to rise to the highest office in the land, winning on the strength of millions of voters who, dissatisfied with the choices offered by the major parties, chose to write in the name of Disney’s famous cartoon creation…a name which Mr. Mouse happens to share.

While Mr. Mouse is not the only real person to have a such a name, he is the only one whose practical-joking friends went so far as to submit paperwork at the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to make him a bona fide candidate and therefore eligible to receive credit for any write-in votes with his name on them.

“Any big election will have a few ‘Mickey Mouse’ ballots cast by snarky voters,” said Dr. Adam Jefferson of the University of Punxsutawney’s College of Political Science and Herpetology.  “It’s just that this time around, there were so many people fed up with the major candidates–and, for once, there was a candidate legally qualified to receive these particular votes.  In terms of the sheer improbability of his manner of arriving at the Presidency, John Tyler and Gerald Ford have nothing on this guy.”

If Mr. Mouse himself is pleased by the prospect of his new career, he is so far being modest about it.

“What do I know about politics?” he wailed upon being informed of his successful candidacy.  “I’m a plumber, for crying out loud.”

So far, Mr. Mouse has been assigned a Secret Service detail.  He has also been deluged with phone calls and e-mail from well-wishers and others in search of one of the hundreds of diplomatic assignments or other political jobs at his disposal.  Almost lost in the shuffle have been several bitter tirades from a few minor party candidates and a series of increasingly desperate call-me-back messages from White House staffers trying to set up situation briefings.

Mr. Mouse’s friends, who filed the initial paperwork on his behalf, were not available for comment, having fled to Canada for reasons of personal safety.

Public opinion about Mr. Mouse’s sudden election has been decidedly mixed.  Some members of the public express nervousness about his lack of political experience and potentially insular worldview.  Others have expressed enthusiasm for Mr. Mouse based on those same attributes, some adding that his background as a plumber may make him uniquely qualified to drain the cesspool of Washington corruption.

Meanwhile, political analysts and governments around the world are combing through Mr. Mouse’s statements and other records, searching for clues about the direction his presidency is likely to take.  The best guess at this point is that Mr. Mouse will push to lower middle-class taxes while increasing spending on urban infrastructure such as water and sewer lines.  While Mr. Mouse is a member of a local union–a virtual job requirement in Pennsylvania–he has not been a particularly active one, and his presidency is likely to hold to a middle ground on labor issues.  His widely-quoted statement on foreign policy (“How should I know?  Let them sort it out by themselves”)  suggests a trend toward isolationism.

Still, there may be a broad difference between his stated policy goals (if any) and the actual direction taken by his administration (if any).  “In a curious irony, Mr. Mouse in many respects is the ideal candidate for the voter who detests the political insider-ism of one candidate and the wealthy chauvinism of the other,” said the University of Punxsutawney’s Dr. Jefferson.  “However, when he gets in office, he may suffer from Ventura’s Syndrome:  being elected on his own, without a party to back him up and introduce his legislation, he may have a difficult job actually doing anything.”

The election, of course, is not official until the Electoral College meets and the electoral votes are counted in Congress, but a drastic change is unexpected, thanks to state laws requiring members of the electoral college to vote according to the results of the election.

However, the Electoral College does have one degree of freedom that it can exercise:  selecting a Vice President, since Mr. Mouse’s campaign–what there was of it–did not propose a candidate for that office.  Some pundits are said to be pushing for the job to be given to one Donald L. Duck, a media research specialist at the University of Pomme de Terre in Idaho, presumably on the basis that his background in the media will help give depth to Mr. Mouse’s policy team.

“I understand both parties are appealing to the FEC to try to get the results overturned,” said Dr. Washington.  “It’s a pity–if the parties had done a better job appealing to the electorate as a whole, rather than individual constituencies, maybe we wouldn’t be in this pickle.”

Copyright 2016

News Flash: Increase in Alien Abduction Reports Tied to Video Game Fad

July 24, 2016

Game May Be Prelude to Invasion, Officials Fear

La Satira News Service

Astatine, NV–Officials at the Center for the Avoidance of Extra-Terestrial Intelligence (CAETI) are mulling the possible connection between the most recent video-game craze and a significant uptick in the number of reported alien abductions.

“In the four or five weeks since this game was released, we’ve seen a thousand percent increase in the number of people coming forward,” said Dr. Elliot Spielberg, director of statistical analysis at CAETI.  “Granted, the original numbers were pretty low, so a thousand percent increase doesn’t mean we’re talking about huge numbers yet, but the trend is frankly alarming.”

According to Dr. Spielberg, the abduction reports cover a variety of experiences, ranging from a simple close encounter to vivisection.  The alleged victims are returned in generally good health, apart from a tendency toward short-temper, neglect of responsibilities, and obsession with the game.  “Of course it’s difficult to tell whether these symptoms are indicative of an actual abduction experience, or merely video game addiction,” Dr. Spielberg admitted.

The game in question, Pachymen Grow, requires players to use their smartphones to travel to different locations in the physical world in search of Pachymen, cartoon-like creatures that can be collected and “grown” to compete in so-called Pachymen Jams.  Some areas turn into Pachymen hot-spots, areas were large numbers of Pachymen “hang out” and can be collected by players.  The peripatetic nature of the game, while supposedly promoting exercise and social interaction, can also lead players to explore in relative isolation, leaving them vulnerable.

One hot-spot was reported at a former storage facility for Caterpillar heavy equipment.  The isolated location continues to be a hot-spot but has waned in popularity since reports surfaced of the temporary abduction of Pachyman players from the site on three occasions.  The affected players did not respond to requests for interviews.

Meanwhile, many are left wondering, if a connection does exist, whether the abductions might be a prelude to a more serious action.  “Whoever they are, they’re taking a lot of effort to train people to move in the direction of the nearest Pachymen activity,” says Dr. Spielberg.  “At some point, all they’ll need to do to harvest a sizeable portion of humanity is to set up massive hot-spots near major population centers and pick ’em off as they come.  And we’re still no nearer to knowing who or why.”

CAETI investigators will continue to monitor the situation.  The organization recently received a government grant to cover the costs of a number of smartphones which Dr. Spielberg claims will be used by staff for “field research” on the subject.

Copyright 2016

News Flash: Acting Troupe Banned from Retirement Home After ‘King Lear’ Fracas

May 9, 2016

La Satira News Service

Authorities tonight say they are considering whether they will file charges against several senior citizens who allegedly assaulted participants in a performance of King Lear at the West Punxsutawney Retirement Home.

“Every actor wants their performance to resonate with their audience,” said Margaret de Vere, the artistic director for the Punxsutawney Players, an acting troupe based at the nearby University of Punxsutawney that specializes in bringing theatrical performances to unconventional venues.  “Evidently we stumbled onto an undamped sinusoid.”

According to witnesses, the trouble started during the second act, when a small number of audience members began to heckle the actresses playing the parts of Goneril and Regan, the title character’s daughters.  As the behavior of Lear’s “daughters” deteriorated, so did the behavior of the crowd, which started throwing bits of food, pill bottles, reading glasses, and even a couple of partials.  The unrest continued to spread, and the actors were obliged to exit as the crowd threatened to rush the stage.

“I have no idea what they were thinking, bringing in this sort of subject matter,” said Dr. Elizabeth Woodville, the director of the facility.  “While most of our residents are on quite good terms with their families, we’ll thank our visitors for not stoking any embers of inter-generational angst that might be lying around.”

“Somebody really should have seen this coming,” said Richard Gloucester, the local constable who was called in to deal with the situation.  “This may not be on par with shouting ‘Fire’ in a crowded theater, but it’s up there.”  Constable Gloucester said that the circumstances of the aggressors were being taken into consideration.

The cost of the performance was covered by Shoddi, Smarmy, Rude and Associates, a nearby law firm that specializes in estate management.  A spokesman for the firm refused to comment, apart from insisting that the firm’s only interest in underwriting the event was the desire to provide a service to the residents.

Dr. Woodville indicated that the Players will not be invited back for future performances at the home.  Any future touring performers will be subject to vetting for suitability by the staff before they are allowed to perform at the home.

“I don’t think they’ll have to worry on our account any further,” said Ms. de Vere, the Punxsutawney Players representative.  “I think after this we’ll stick to doing less controversial stuff, like Julius Caesar or Midsummer Night’s Dream.  Even Titus Andronicus might be less traumatizing than this has been,” she added.

The un-invitation from the West Punxsutawney Retirement Home is a second set-back for the Punxsutawney Players, after the cancellation of an engagement with the Bandwagon Society‘s annual charity fundraiser event.  At last year’s event, the Players presented Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens, in which a wealthy man ruins himself through unwise generosity.  The Players were asked not to return after the performance was linked to an 85% drop in pledges and donations.

Copyright 2016

News Flash: CDC to Join Fight Against ‘Iowacoccus’ Outbreak

January 28, 2016

La Satira News Service

Sources at the Centers for Disease Control have indicated that, contrary to normal practice, resources will be deployed in an attempt to mitigate the effects of the ongoing Iowacoccus plague that has been affecting 10-20 people across the country.

“Normally this wouldn’t be a problem,” said Dr. Germaine Flew of the Office of High-Consequence Pathogens.  “Every few years we have a small outbreak, and apart from a few weird symptoms, the cases typically resolve themselves in a few months.  However, over the past decade the trend is for the outbreaks to start sooner and resolve later.  This is of course worrisome, and we feel it needs further investigation.”

The current outbreak has been active for most of the last two years, though Dr. Flew suggests the contagion may have been active much earlier.

Fortunately, the indications of the disease are not especially severe.  The main symptom is usually an irresistible urge to wander around the countryside shaking hands, kissing babies, eating terrible food in a terrible hurry, and making outlandish promises that the victim has no credible means of fulfilling.  The disease may also manifest itself as an incipient or fully-developed narcissism.

The Iowacoccus disease has only been observed to be fatal to presidential aspirations.

While many people see CDC involvement as a welcome intervention, questions remain about what can actually be done to help the sufferers.  “That’s part of what we need to find out to combat the disease,” admitted Dr. Flew.  “There’s some reason to think that a series of lectures on basic economic principles might be helpful, along with a course of demotivational therapy.  Until we identify the primary source of the infection, this may be the best we can do for now.”

Copyright 2016

News Flash: Santa Sued Over Escaped Sable

December 20, 2015

Following the long holiday weekend, the justice system this morning is puzzling over a lawsuit against one S. Claus for unspecified damages following an incident in which a wild animal was left unattended with a Christmas tree.

The plaintiff, E. Kitt, filed the suit, which alleges negligence, personal injury, and breach of contract after she woke up on Christmas morning to find her living room in a shambles and her Christmas tree in ruins. The plaintiff discovered the culprit to be a live sable, which bit the plaintiff on the hand as she tried to restrain it.

A source close to North Pole Enterprises, Inc., denied that the company was liable, saying that the plaintiff’s Christmas list stated very plainly that she wanted Santa to “slip a sable under the tree, for me.”  “So he did,” said the source.  “What the sable chose to do after that is between it and the plaintiff.”

A spokesman for the plaintiff responded that, based on the materialistic nature of the other contents of the list, including but not limited to a ’54 convertible, a yacht, decorations from Tiffany’s, and the deed to a platinum mine, Santa might have figured out that she meant a sable coat, rather than a live animal. “Let’s face it; sables are vicious little creatures,” said the spokesman.  “If my client had wanted to keep animals, she probably would have gone for something a little more friendly.  Like maybe a few cats.”

The case is expected to go to court early in the new year.

Copyright 2015

News Flash: New Power Plant Runs on Outrage

November 12, 2015

Investors Hail Exploitation of Infinitely Renewable Resource

La Satira News Service

In an age of increasing concern over long-term energy security, physicist and venture capitalist E. M. Schock thinks he has the perfect answer.

“I was watching TV a while back–some daytime talk show–and I noticed how thoroughly people were getting worked up over things that ought to have had absolutely no personal relevance to them whatsoever,” said Mr. Schock.  “And I kept thinking, if only there were some way to bottle all of this energy….”

Within the next few months, Mr. Schock and his venture capital firm, Schock Value Management, plan to break ground on the world’s first operational power plant run entirely on outrage.  The project builds on the results of an earlier program to tap gymnasiums and exercise centers as potential sources of power as part of a new carbon dioxide capture system.

In the facility currently under development, groups of paid volunteers will operate stationary bicycles while watching politically-oriented talk shows.   The bicycles will be attached to electromagnetic turbines that will be in turn connected to power collection circuits.  As the volunteers see stories that make them angry, their adrenaline will rise and cause them to pedal harder.  Early research suggests that the outrage arising from watching talk shows increases the power output of each participant by 10-50%.

“The beauty of it is, it doesn’t even matter what side of the political spectrum the viewers belong to, or which channel is being shown,” said Mr. Schock.  “If the viewer is from the right and we show MSNBC, they’ll be hostile to the viewpoint.  Result:  outrage.  If we show them Fox, they’ll sympathize with the viewpoint but will be incensed by the content.  Result:  outrage.  Same thing if the viewer happens to be from the left–but the other way around, of course.

“And if the viewer happens to be from the center of the political spectrum, he’ll be annoyed by how worked up everybody is getting.

“We’re sitting on one of the few genuine sources of infinitely renewable power,” said Mr. Schock.  “As long as we have Washington and Hollywood, there’s no reason we should ever run out.  And talk shows.”

As idealistic as the project may sound, it faces resistance on a number of fronts.  Some critics of the proposal claim that the early results have been falsified, and the actual energy output has been bolstered by an auxiliary power source:  the combustion of the works of any historical personage whose life featured some element deemed offensive or unacceptable by modern society.

Mr. Schock dismissed the fraud claim as absurd.  “It’s absurd,” he said.  “Destroying that kind of material would be detrimental to the Outrage Generation scheme.  Do you know how many kilowatts of outrage can be generated by suddenly revealing that a much-admired historical figure was in the habit of, say, picking his nose in public?”

Other critics questioned the practicality of the system.  “Using outrage as a power supply is a bit like trying to harness lightning,” said Professor Nicolai Westinghouse of the University of Punxsutawney’s College of Engineering and Applied Silliness.  “Sure, there’s a lot of electricity floating around in the clouds, but it’s highly dispersed, which means it’s hard to collect–until, of course, it discharges as lightning, and then it’s too violent to manage.  In any case, we may question the wisdom of developing a power system dependent on increasing society’s psychological angst.  Do we really want to be in the position that we’re dependent on people being mad all the time?  Or perhaps Mr. Schock has a solution for that,” Professor Westinghouse added, referring to Schock Value Management’s pharmaceutical subsidiary specializing in antacids, antidepressants, and blood pressure medications and operating under the name of Schock Therapies.

The scheme has also caught to attention of the so-called Citizens’ Civility Enforcement Brigade, which seeks to eliminate societal outrage.  “There’s already enough outrage on the market without deliberately generating more of it,” said Si Kopathic, the group’s leader and chief spokesperson.  “And it’s going to stay that way until we can get people angry enough to show that they just won’t take it anymore.”

The current schedule calls for the first stage of the power generation project to be complete in plenty of time for the Presidential debates.  In the event that the scheme doesn’t work out as planned, sources suggest Mr. Schock is already looking forward to his next energy solutions project: a proposal to build a power plant run on toddler-power.

News Flash: Plan to Drain Slough of Despond Mired in Controversy

September 6, 2015

La Satira News Service

A plan by the Vanity Fair Regional Development Authority to drain the Slough of Despond suffered a setback this week when an environmental interest group filed suit against the project, citing inadequate mitigation of the projected environmental impacts.

The project calls for the construction of a road and bridge across the Slough of Despond, to be paid for by the development of most Slough into an up-scale community of homes and shops.

Among other objections, the suit by the Vanity Valley Nature Club claims that the proposed project would eliminate several hundred acres of established wetlands and destroy a significant habitat for Woodpeckers of Illusory Prospects.

“We believe this lawsuit to be frivolous and unnecessary,” said VFRDA executive director Faith N. Lucre in an interview.  “For one thing, the Woodpecker of Illusory Prospects is hardly an endangered species; everyone gets visited by one at some point in their lives.  Moreover, the Woodpeckers aren’t the only things that call the Slough of Despond home:  it’s also a fertile breeding ground for the Mosquitoes of Disappointment, the Leeches of Self-Doubt and the Adders of Dysfunctional Relationships.

“Besides, the plan clearly shows that any wetlands destroyed in this project would be replaced by new wetlands to be developed in the nearby Swamp of Ambivalence and Bog of Ennui.”

In addition to the lawsuit, the project is also threatened by the possible withdrawal of one of the groups that originally proposed it.

“What we had initially proposed was a simple bridge,” explained Guy D. Way, a spokesman for the Celestial City Travelers Association.  “We get a lot of people coming from that direction, and we were hoping to ease the trip a bit.  But somehow the project morphed into, not just a bridge, but what amounts to a small city.  With the crowds and all, this could turn into a bigger obstacle than the Slough itself.  The decision to call the development ‘Materialism Manors’ didn’t exactly increase our comfort level, either.”

A preliminary hearing in the case will be held next month in the Court of Arcane Procedures.

Copyright 2015

News Flash: Residents Told to be ‘Werther Aware’

April 4, 2015

Short Term Forecast Calls for 60% Chance of Fancy Toffees

La Satira News Service–In an unusual move, the local meteorological service has instructed South Florida residents to be ‘Werther-aware’ during the overnight hours.

“We have to emphasize that this is not a typo,” said Dr. Claude Foreman, the director of the service, in an interview with local media.  “You really do need to be on the lookout for toffee-storms.”

The warning comes in the wake of a freak event at a local sugar processing plant.  A passing thunderstorm delivered an unusually powerful burst of lightning to a storage bin, causing temperatures in the bin to rise past the melting point of sugar.  At that point a tornado passed over the same point, whipping all the superheated sugar into a frothy state and sucking it into the stratosphere.  There, meteorologists believe, the caramelized sugar condensed into small lumps resembling toffee, which remain aloft, supported by updrafts associated with the thunderstorm.

As the storm subsides, the toffees should begin to fall.  “The effect should be something like nickel-sized hail,” said Dr. Foreman.  “But these hailstones won’t melt in the warmer air temperatures.  We’re especially concerned about locations where more conventional precipitation may follow the toffee showers–all that sugar and all that water in the same place could really make for a sticky situation.”

The governor’s office will reportedly decide tomorrow morning whether to pursue a disaster declaration.  Such a declaration would release emergency funds to bring in teams of aardvarks to deal with the expected boom in the fire ant population.

Copyright 2015

La Satira News Service is not associated with Werther’s Originals.  For more information about their toffees, caramels, and assorted products, please follow this link:  http://www.werthers-original.us/.