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

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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: Lincoln Internet Quote is Genuine, Researchers Find

July 7, 2015

La Satira News Service

A popular quote making the rounds on the Internet was indeed spoken by Abraham Lincoln, researchers at the University of Pomme de Terre claim.

The quote, in which the 16th president purportedly lays question to the reliability of quotations posted on the Internet, is frequently used to invoke skepticism about the reliability of postings made by others.

“Naturally we were surprised to find evidence that the quote is genuine,” said Adam Smith of the university’s Department of Historical Research.  “Everyone has always assumed that Mr. Lincoln died long before the internet age.  And so he did.”

Prof. Smith points to new evidence that, owing to the questionable activities of certain time travel researchers from the University of Punxsutawney, the nation’s 16th president actually spent some time in the early 21st century, sharing an apartment suite with Elvis Presley.

“The facts clearly point to the conclusion that Mr. Lincoln spent some time in the not-so-distant past, or perhaps even the present,” Prof. Smith said.  “How else could he have such faith that the Union would survive the Civil War?”

Above:  An example of the meme.

Asked how Lincoln’s fateful trip to Ford’s Theater squared with his alleged knowledge of future events, Prof. Smith pointed only to Mr. Lincoln’s deep sense of destiny.

For its part, officials at the University of Punxsutawney denied the existence of any past, present, or future programs for studying time travel, and suggested that Prof. Smith’s imagination was perhaps running away with him.

Prof. Smith acknowledged that his claims were bound to meet with a certain amount of doubt.  “I can’t blame people for being skeptical,” he said.  “After all, President Lincoln’s quote is true, whether you believe he said it or not.  And there are far too many people who take things at face value.  Or, as Dr. Barney Cull, the octopus specialist in our Marine Biology Department, once famously observed, there’s a sucker born every minute.”

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/.

La Satira News Service: The Year That Wasn’t

April 1, 2015

Yes, it’s April 1st (or thereabouts), which means it’s time for our now-traditional retrospective list of faux news items.  In the past, of course, we’ve done Top Ten lists for the total number of views as well as my personal favorites.  Since the list of all-time hits hasn’t changed that much in the couple of years since, maybe we’ll do something different.  I’ve thought of doing a top ten posts based on literature, or a top ten post based on history (a project which, perhaps ironically, will have to wait until I actually have ten history-based posts to report on).  I even thought of doing a list of “underperforming” posts.

But to keep things simple, let’s just look back at the past year and glean the best-ofs, as measured (as usual) by the number of hits.  Does this have the perverse effect of highlighting the posts that people have already read and dooming other, potentially good material to obscurity?  Perhaps.  Maybe next year I’ll do the “underperforming” list.  But meanwhile, here are the past year’s most popular news stories….

10.  News Flash: Senator Quits McCarthyism Committee Over McCarthyism Allegations

9.  News Flash: Salisbury Wood Convention Center Cancelled Over Budget Concerns

8.  News Flash: Skara Brae Village to Maintain Historic Preservation District

7.  News Flash: Cookie Sale Wreaks Havoc on Workplace

6.  News Flash: Smaug Ouster Weighs on Middle-Earth Economy

5.  News Flash: Apples to Blame in Medical Shortage

4.  News Flash: King’s Skeleton Found in Parking Lot–Again!  (Not a bad showing, considering this one is less than a week old.)

3.  News Flash: Tired of Waiting for Seating? Restaurant Tries Table-Metering

2.  News Flash: Amid Civilization’s Fall, Medieval Society Gets Last Laugh

1.  News Flash: Zombie Outbreak Tied to Low-Carb Diet Fad

Now it’s time for the interactive part.  Which one of these is your favorite?  Or is there another one you really like?  Comment below!  Meanwhile, happy reading, and here’s to another interesting year.

News Flash: King’s Skeleton Found in Parking Lot–Again!

March 27, 2015

La Satira News Service

Leicester, England–25 March 2595.  A panel of prominent archaeologists announced at a news conference this morning that the skeleton found under a slab of tarmac at the Leicestershire Regional Spaceport last year is, indeed, the sadly-abused body of King Richard III, the last English monarch to die in battle.

The skeleton was located and dug up after researchers identified Landing Platform 83 as the site of the former Leicester Cathedral, which was demolished in the late 22nd century following an error at the regional zoning and planning office.  Richard’s body had been interred at the Cathedral in 2015, where it was laid to rest after being discovered under a parking lot.

“Richard’s skeleton was in remarkably good condition, considering it’s more than a thousand years old,” said Dr. Anne Teak, who discovered the body, “and considering how many vehicles of various descriptions have been parked on top of it over the years.”

Meanwhile, a fight is brewing over where to dispose of the body this time.  Officials with the Leicestershire Tourist Authority and other local government bodies insist that the ancient king should be reburied in the Leicester Generic Religious Purposes Building, the officially-recognized successor to the demolished Cathedral.  Authorities in York, however, claim Richard should be buried there, based on his family’s historic connections to the city and dukedom of York.

All parties are in agreement, however, that the burial should not take place at the business of local personal transport salesman G. M. Ford.  Mr. Ford has suggested that, as the poor fellow seemed to keep ending up under parking lots, a lot of trouble could be saved by reburying him under Mr. Ford’s vehicle showroom.  “We like to say that our transport vehicles are fit for a king,” Mr. Ford was quoted as saying.  “Why shouldn’t our showroom be as well?”

“There’s no doubt Richard III had a turbulent life and a short and unhappy reign,” said Dr. Teak at the news conference.  “Who could have guessed, though, that that turbulence would go into quite this many extra innings?”

Copyright 2015

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News Flash: Late Big-Box Founder at Center of Power Generation Scheme

March 13, 2015

La Satira News Service

Over the last seven years, retail supergiant All-Mart has become something of a leader in the adoption of renewable energy to power its stores.  As of last year, more than 300 All-Mart discount stores and supermarkets were equipped with solar panels.

New reports out of the northeastern Arkansas, however, tie All-mart to an even more innovative form of renewable energy.  In this case, the man at the center of it all is Sam Allton, the late founder of the retail giant.

“I used to work in the state Department of Commerce,” says Keele O. Watts, now the chairman of the Arkansas Power Solutions Board, a trade group designed to fund research into new forms of renewable energy.  “We always used to hear complaints about the declining quality of the All-Mart experience since the death of Mr. Allton.  Patrons–or, increasingly, former patrons–would say that what the company was doing now would have Mr. Allton spinning in his grave.  Finally, we investigated–and sure enough he was.”

To Mr. Watts, by then installed at the Power Solutions Board, the phenomenon suggested an intriguing opportunity.  Mr. Watts got permission to move Mr. Allton’s remains from a lead casket into an iron casket, which he set on a spindle and enclosed in a large coil of copper wire.  The spinning iron coffin immediately began pushing electrical current through the coil.

Further refinements to the system design increased the efficiency and productivity of the output, to the extent that the innovation now supplies power to a number of communities in northeastern Arkansas for a low rate.  In order to avoid disputes over ownership of the profits, the various interested parties agreed to put any profits from the sale of electricity into programs that help low-income residents pay their electricity bills.

And yet there remains the question of what exactly it is that’s providing the motive power for this scheme.  Mr. Watts claims ignorance.  “We’ve had any number of supernatural investigators come out and look,” Mr. Watts said, “but they leave as confused as we are.  The only hint we’ve got is that the coffin seems to spin a little faster around the time of the annual shareholders meeting, and when the company rolls out its new clothing line-up each season.”

Statistics also suggest a positive correlation between the rotation speed of the coffin and the number of customer complaints and labor disputes filed against the retailer each month.  Mr. Watts adamantly denied the suggestion that the system was driven by the power of poor decisions.

Critics of the arrangement cite the slightly ghoulish nature of the deal, as well as the potential for conflicts of interest.  “The government is supposed to ensure the company follows fair and legal business practices,” said Meg Avolt of Power to the People, a consumer advocacy group for utility customers.  “In this case, it seems the government has an interest in boosting poor business practices on the part of this retailer in the interests of maximizing electrical outputs.”

Mr. Watts himself acknowledges the potentially unsustainable nature of this new power supply.  “There’s obviously a hazard in that the harder we push lousy products under miserable conditions, the more likely we are to alienate our customer base sooner rather than later, in which case we would have to start looking for an alternate source of supply.”  Indeed, the Board has already been quietly pursuing potential deals involving other late retailers, including R. R. Jetskey, the late founder of the once-powerful J-Mart retail chain.  In this case, however the Board made an unexpected discovery.

“It seems Mr. Jetskey has already been powering his little corner of the world for the last twenty years,” said Mr. Watts.

Public reaction to the scheme so far has been muted.  “On the one hand, Mr. Allton himself might salute the ingenuity and spirit of industrial enterprise that led to this solution,” said shopper Al Lacarte.  “On the other, it is kind of gruesome to think about, and I must say All-Mart is showing some unexpected class in not trying to get its share of the profits on this.  Either way, I suppose it gives new meaning to the expression ‘outlet store.'”

 Copyright 2015.

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Another word from our Sponsor

February 9, 2015

Why not get your loved one something a little different this Valentine’s Day?  I can think of a couple reasons….

News Flash: Cookie Sale Wreaks Havoc on Workplace

January 24, 2015

La Satira News Service

Wellesley Widget Corporation announced today that it was banning sales of Girl Guard cookies in the office, effective immediately.

The move follows a series of outbreaks of violence related to sales of the popular confection, which support the mission of the historic organization for girls.

“It’s one thing to advertise your child’s sale on the company bulletin board or leaving order forms in prominent locations,” said a company spokesperson who wished to remain anonymous.  “It’s quite another when people start hiding the order forms of others, sabotaging people’s cars so they miss a day of sales, or accusing their coworkers of diluting their supply with store-brand cookies.”

The spokesman emphasized that the move did not intend to single out the Girl Guards or their overall mission; it was simply their product that provided the impetus for the action.

The move follows a growing trend as more and more companies lower the boom on charity sales in the workplace due to similar incidents.

“In a way, it was inevitable,” said Professor Adam Malthus of the University of Punxsutawney’s College of Marketing and Biochemistry.  “Ideally, of course, the kids are supposed to learn the importance of industry and initiative, and all that.  But you can’t imagine sending kids door-to-door these days; and opportunities to sell in stores are limited.

“Having a parent take the brochures to work is not an unreasonable answer.  But then, of course, you face all that pressure to be a good parent and get as many sales as you possibly can.  Result:  parents end up doing very childish things in their competition to support an organization whose mission is to support character and cooperation.  And let’s face it:  not all the things that get sold in these sorts of events are as popular as the cookies, which just ratchets up the pressure.”

Companies that make and distribute items for sale in school fundraising drives are taking note of the changing sales environment.  Specifically, they are noticing the rising parental violence and suggesting schools consider selling tickets to boxing and/or wrestling matches involving the more combative of the parents.

“It’s a shame it had to end like this,” said Professor Malthus about the end of in-office sales.  “But I guess that’s how the cookie–well, you know.”

Copyright 2015.

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