Tuesday, December 31, 2013

President Obama to Reinvent the Wheel

Prototypes of new wheel designs

By Bill Britton

Special to TPN — After the resounding success of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), President Obama has decided to launch a new effort to reinvent the wheel. Leading this initiative will be former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, best known for having put Skippy Peanut Butter on the menu for all state dinners.

The announcement came during a routine news conference, when the President emphasized that “The Chinese have been active in this area for several years. We don’t want America to fall victim to a wheel gap, similar to the missile gap that surfaced during the Cold War.” When Chuck Todd of NBC News reminded the President that the missile gap was essentially illusory, the President shot back, “That’s ancient history. Even Senator Ted Cruz has stated that roundness is not the ultimate answer to wheel shape. His subcommittee is to hold hearings on the issue beginning next week.”

Former President Carter will be leaving his post as Honorary Chairman of the International UFO Bureau in Dallas, Texas. “My work here is done,” said Carter. “I’ll be giving a speech at the Roswell UFO Museum, then it’s off to Washington to solve the mysteries of wheel shape. I’ve been around long enough to know that there are no final answers, except for the wisdom derived from that wheel-shaper in the sky, Great God Almighty Himself, or Herself, Itself, or Whatever.”

In related news, Russian researchers are rumored to have found an alternative to “roundness” for wheel shape. Russian president Vladimir Putin will announce the researchers’ findings after the grand opening of the Gulag Workers Resort in northern Siberia but before the Sochi Winter Olympics begin in February. Putin is training for judo competition in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, where he hopes to extend his record to more than 3,000 wins.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Chewing Gum: The New Pavement Protector

Park Avenue at 43rd Street in NYC
By Bill Britton

Special to TPN — Constance Masticar, of the International Chewing Gum association, released data that offered hope for the world’s deteriorating infrastructure: “Chewing gum has been building up on the world’s paved surfaces since it was first used 9,000 years ago. Total consumption reached 100,000 tons in 2013, according to Wrigley research.”

The impact on paved surfaces is dramatic. In New York City, for example, the one-inch black splotches seen on the city’s sidewalks are “merging together and protecting the concrete from the ravages of weather and ice-melting compounds, in particular,” said former mayor Michael Bloomberg, now heading up the Department of Sanitation.

The preferred flavor of most masticators, spearmint, is also favored by the city’s residents. “It adds a minty aroma to the city’s streets,” according to Park Avenue shopper Spittle Patel, a recent immigrant from Pakistan. “In Lahore, it’s all odors of arm pits and fish curry. You can’t even watch a Lollywood film without being assaulted by the smells. At least you can shoot the terrorists.”

The $19 billion gum industry is attracting investors the world over. Abel Chompowitz of Zinger Partners sees a definite synergy between chewing gum and high tech: “Chewing and smartphone thumbing are habits in common. Apple has already begun production of iPhones with plastic cases that give off gum scents. The first model names are the iPhone Spearmint and the iPhone Juicy Fruit.”

In related news, the American Chiropractic Association has warned raised concerns about excessive chewing and thumbing, both of which can lead to repetitive injuries. “We’ve had reports of patients with both problems. Therapy includes a liquid diet for the compulsive chewers, and voice communication lessons for the thumbers,” said ACA spokesperson Ossie Articulacion.

Revised MacDonald's Employee Budget

Recently, MacDonald's came under fire for its suggested employee budget, which listed a second job for a single person to stay above the poverty line. I sent MacD's my revision, which, by adding a third job and the sale of 1 gram of crack cocaine each month, would move employees out of the bottom 5 percent.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Bad Breath Ends Senator Cruz’s Marathon Speech

Listerine stock rises on news

Cruz seen apologizing to the media

Special to TPN News — The senate voted on Wednesday to terminate Senator Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) marathon speech. For 21 hours and 19 minutes, Cruz leveled a verbal assault on President Obama’s signature healthcare law. The unanimous vote came after Senators could no longer stand the “incredible stench” emanating from Cruz’s mouth, according to fellow senator John Cornyn (R-TX).
The only coherent part of his speech came when Cruz repeated the text from the Dr. Seuss favorite, Green Eggs and Ham, fifty-eight times. Toward the end of this recitation, a clear majority of senators were seen slumped over sucking on their binkies.
In related news, the Senate voted by acclamation to declare January 10 as National Sardine Day.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Congress to Recess until after 2016 Election

“Grand Bargain” Struck by Pelosi and Boehner

Ted Cruz in a recent campaign photo
Special to TPN — Following a meeting described as “amicable,” Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and John Boehner (R-OH) announced that Congress will adjourn until after the 2016 election cycle. Pelosi opened a joint news conference by saying, “We both felt that, since nothing was being accomplished anyhow, why not take a long vacation and get away from all those pesky lobbyists and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) at the same time?” Boehner chimed in with, “Nan’s got it right. We’re both going to a local tanning spa to iron out details for reconvening in 2016, after which I see almost a thousand days of uninterrupted golf.”

When asked about the prospect of a government shutdown, Boehner replied, “Not to worry. The government’s more or less on automatic pilot anyway. It’s simple. The I.R.S. collects the money and Susie—I think that’s her name—in accounts payable cuts the checks. She’s only been on the job for three months, but I think she can handle it.”

As far as the Senate is concerned, Pelosi said that its members latched onto the idea of adjourning enthusiastically: “Both Harry [Majority Leader Reid, D-NV] and Mitch [Minority Leader McConnell, R-KY] said they logged onto Travelocity as soon as they got the word. Only Mike Crapo [R-ID] voted ‘no.’ He was mad at Rand Paul [R-KY] for making fun of his name.”

Ted Cruz was absent for the vote. He was last seen at Nellie’s, a gay sports bar on Washington’s U Street, attempting to recruit troops for his Teddy Militia, whose motto, “Screw Obamacare,” is thought to resonate with the LGBT crowd. “We advocate the peaceful overthrow of the White House, plus a new paint job for the old building,” said LGBT spokesman/woman Pied Léger. “We believe that rose blush with fuchsia accents would be a better color combo.”

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Florida OKs Hand Grenades for "Stand-Your-Ground" Defense

By Bill Britton
Bombs-4-U Mk-2 "Peacemaker" Grenade

Special to TPN — Florida Governor Rick Scott today signed into law an expansion of his state’s controversial “Stand-Your-Ground” statute 776.013. Those with so-called “carry” permits for handguns will be allowed to conceal on their persons not more than two standard hand grenades for self-defense purposes.

“Our citizen crime-fighters will enjoy a heightened sense of personal security with this addition,” said Scott. “It will be especially effective when used against gangs that enter white areas from the ‘hood.’ Not that I’m profiling African-Americans—after all, if it’s a group of five, they could only be looking for a pick-up game of basketball.”

Reaction from National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre was swift: “I see this as a natural progression from the flintlock firearms that our Founders used to overcome British tyranny. Today, we have the tyranny of left-wing bureaucrats trying to take our weapons away. I applaud Governor Scott for his wisdom and courage.”

Grenades are available online from Bombs-4-U, Inc. (bombs4u.com). A two-pack sells for $19.99 plus shipping and handling. For a limited time, the company is doubling the offer to four grenades at the same price. Bombs-4-U president Dudley Petard would not confirm reports that George Zimmerman, recently found innocent of murdering Trayvon Martin in Florida, would be hired as a spokesperson: “Mr. Zimmerman is a hero to the weapons industry. His level head and good judgment is what we need more of on the streets and in the alleys of this great country.”

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Edward Snowden Elected Mayor of Dudinka, Siberia

Picturesque Dudinka
Special to TPN — ITAR-TASS, the Russian news agency, announced that Edward J. Snowden, the former intelligence contractor on the run from the American authorities, has won the mayoralty race in Dudinka (Дуди́нка). Dudinka is the administrative center of Taymyrsky Dolgano-Nenetsky District of Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia.

The former prison camp has a population of approximately 22,000. Of its 86 eligible voters, Snowden captured 81, Chervi Gryazukha, 4, and Yurine Dripovicz, 1. However, Dripovicz contested the outcome, claiming that Snowden, as an American citizen, is not a qualified candidate. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov quashed this objection by exhibiting a birth certificate that clearly indicates Novokuznetsk as Snowden’s birthplace.

The office of Russian President Vladimir Putin issued the following statement: “We welcome Mr. Snowden back to his homeland. Representatives from Cheka [Russian secret police] are anxious to interview him to see what other American dirty tricks are afoot.”

The citizens of Dudinka hosted a reception for Mr. Snowden complete with a buffet table featuring borscht, carp, and sautéed pig entrails. Snowden was heard to say to one of his new-found comrades, Svetsky Stinkovich, “Святая корова. Это место супер, но где же торговом центре?” [“Holy cow. This place is great, but where's the mall?”] As he turned away, Stinkovich said to his wife Svetlana, “Хороший парень, но он слишком тощий для нашей дочери. [“Nice guy, but he's too skinny for our daughter.”]

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Texas Prohibits Pet Neutering

"Now, darlin', you're the one who wanted to live in Texas."

Austin, Tex. — On Friday, the Texas Senate passed one of the strictest anti-abortion measures in the country. Gov. Rick Perry is expected to sign the bill after a Democratic filibuster blocked its passage last month. Buried in the bill is a provision to prohibit pet neutering, or “spaying,” as it is commonly called.

Gov. Perry applauded lawmakers for passing the bill, saying, “Today the Texas Legislature took its final step in our historic effort to protect life [and] tirelessly defended our smallest and most vulnerable Texans, whether they walk on two legs or four.”

The bill was opposed by leaders of the American Congress of Gynecologists, which ran advertisements that questioned the scientific foundations of the legislation and told legislators to “Get out of our exam rooms.” The bill’s author, Representative Jodie Laubenberg, responded to the ads by saying, “Hell, I kinda like being in there. Got all kinds of videos I’ve uploaded to YouTube. Sold quite a few at the local flea market, too.”

Francois Puces, president of the Texas Veterinary Association, expressed shock at the anti-pet-neutering provision: “The legislature wasn’t thinking. This will only encourage ‘back-alley’ neutering.” Madge Geschnitten, chairperson of the Back-Alley Neutering Group (NYSE: BANG) defended her members by saying, “We provide a service. If they can’t get a doctor to do it, we will, at half the price. More BANG for the buck,” she laughed. BANG stock rose 17 percent on the news.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Mutant Crabgrass Threatens Corn Crop

Corn field strangled by mutant crabgrass

Special to TPN — Farmers in the Midwest have been plagued by a mutant strain of crabgrass that threatens to reduce the annual corn harvest by 50 percent or more in coming years. The species, Digitaria sanguinalis, is found throughout the world. The seeds are actually harvested and eaten in parts of Central Europe, where it is known as Polish millet.

The mutant grows up to three feet per day in the hotter months and is both drought and frost resistant. To compound the negative effects of this invasive weed, it is unaffected by Monsanto’s herbicide, Roundup®. Monsanto (NYSE: MON) has genetically engineered feed corn to be similarly unaffected by the herbicide. It is thought that excessive applications of Roundup® to corn fields for suppressing weed growth led to a “horizontal gene transfer” from Monsanto corn to D. sanguinalis.

Spokesperson Mais Konig denied any culpability on the part of Monsanto: “Monsanto has always maintained the highest standards in the seed corn industry. Farmers trust us explicitly. They have to. After all, we’re almost the only game in town.” Konig also denied that Monsanto has plans to patent the mutant crabgrass, although it is rumored that the Kellogg Company has been in conversations with Monsanto and has registered several trademarks, including Crabola Granola®, Crabby Energy Bars®, and Crabby Pop Tarts®.

Monsanto’s share of the world market for all farm seed is almost 30 percent, of which a major part is for feed corn and corn ethanol. Because of the possibility of a collapse in the 2013 yield, corn futures are up 46 percent, from $5.45 to $7.96 per bushel. Accordingly, Monsanto’s share price fell 14 percent to $84.24.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Forking Dilemma

A Package of Delinquent Muffins

The guiding principle for my life’s conduct has been this choral refrain from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Princess Ida:

“Isn't your life extremely flat
With nothing whatever to grumble at!”

I certainly do have a plethora of material to inspire such grumbling, including TV’s talking heads, natural and man-made catastrophes, and my Republican friends, among others. But the most recent grumble has been the failure of the Thomas’ Bread Company to properly fork-split their English muffins.

Up until a few years ago, the gentle application of thumbs to muffin’s edge yielded two halves with all the requisite nooks & crannies one could hope for. Sadly, such a bisection now requires the careful insertion of a fork all around muffin’s edge. Those nooks & crannies appear to be unchanged, as is the flavor, and the little pools of butter that fill the furrowed surfaces delight even the most selective of palates.

Samuel Bath Thomas created the Original "Nooks & Crannies" English Muffin through a secret process after opening his own bakery in New York City in 1880. I suspect that “forking” his muffins were de rigueur in the early days. But as mechanization took over, a machine with forking prongs was surely added to the production process.

Could it be that the prongs have worn down? Or has a management team from McKinsey & Company recommended that less forking would yield a better bottom line? The parent company, Grupo Bimbo (ticker: BIMBO—no, I am not kidding), has not responded to my several polite (unusual for me) inquiries regarding their failure to adequately fork-split.

In sum, it is a forking dilemma!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Texas to Auction off WWII Bazookas

By Bill Britton

Special to TP News — Republican Governor Rick Perry announced that 2,500 surplus World War II-era bazookas will be offered to the public in a special auction. These recoilless-rocket antitank weapons were used extensively against the Nazis during the war. Each bazooka will come with approximately 80 armor-piercing rounds.

Texas Secretary of State John Steen said that the auction will take place on the capitol steps in Austin. Asked if a permit would be required to purchase a bazooka, Steen said, “Hell no. As long as you’re white and own a pick-up truck, you’re good to go. Don’t want no illegals thinkin’ they’re Federales who can turn Texas into the thirty-second Mexican state.”

Noppen Doppelkinn, a captain in the 10th Waffen SS Panzer Division, and a spry 93-year old, recalls the terror of his tank being hit by a bazooka shell: “It scared the scheisse out of me. Mine corporal had a weak stomach and was seated right behind me. He surrendered immediately. Somesing about seeing a sister in the Bronx, although he was in the line of fire, so to speak, from mine gesass.” Doppelkinn emigrated to the U.S. in 1947, where he started the national food-store chain, Bratwurst-and-More.

In related news, Governor Perry announced that Texas will strengthen its gun laws by allowing residents to carry no more than six concealed firearms.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Vatican promotes Silly Hat Contest

Pope Benedict's entries

Special to TPN — Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, announced that the Convocation of Cardinals assembled to pick a new Pope will liven up the proceedings with a Silly-Hat Contest, which has not been conducted for 1200 years. Now-retired Pope Emeritus Benedict will lead the judging panel of six cardinals.

The winner will be a guest on a special presentation of Saturday Night Live, hosted by Father Guido Sarducci, who will also bless audience members for a small fee. “Waddaya think, I do-a this for-a fun? I gotta nun friend who get take-a-de-out pizza seven nights-a week. It ain’t-a cheap.” Sarducci’s brother, Father Angelo “Hit-Man” Sarducci will be in charge of crowd control.

First winner of the Silly Hat Contest, Pope Stephen VI, who reigned from 896 to 897, was famous for exhuming the corpse of his predecessor, Pope Formosus, and putting him on trial in the so-called "Cadaver Synod." Pope Formosus received honorable mention in that early contest.


Although Ralph Reed, former head of the Christian Coalition, was invited, he declined, saying that “we want to keep clear separation between church and state in America, unless I can find a good Christian fundamentalist to run for President. He’d be like a Pope, only he wouldn’t have to wear those damn hats.”
TPN cameraman on the scene