Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome aboard Delta Airlines flight seven seven seven eight with nonstop service to sunny San Antonio, Texas. If you could all please stow your carry-on bags in the overhead bins, and make your way to your seats as quickly as possible, we can close the cabin doors and be on our way.
Just so you’re all aware, I suffer from a crippling fear of heights. Once we’re up in the air, I’ll be golden, I just don’t do so well with the up and down parts. So if I seem a little unsettled, or appear to be having a panic attack, or a heart attack, or any other kind of attack, don’t worry, because worrying makes it worse, so maybe just don’t worry, okay?
The captain has just informed me that we are in fact about to close those cabin doors, and just so you all know, once we do that, what’s going to happen is we’re going to drive real fast and just shoot ourselves right into the sky. I would just like for all of us to take a second, and think about whether that sounds like a good idea. We do? Hm. I was… not expecting that. Alright. Hm.
In your seat back pocket, you will find a suspiciously compact safety guide. Please follow along as I perform a mandatory review of our in-flight safety procedures.
In preparation for take off, please fasten your seatbelts by putting the little end into the big end like it’s going to make a difference if for some reason the plane doesn’t climb from zero to thirty thousand feet like we all assume it can and will.
In case we lose cabin pressure, which, I mean, who knows, right? These little yellow masks will drop down from above you. Loosen the strap and place the mask on your face like so - and once it’s on, tighten it up. Tighten it right up. It’s going to save your life, right? ‘Attention! Attention! The plane’s going down! Oh, wait – we have little plastic face cups? OH THANK GOD WE’RE SAVED!’
Sir, please return to your seat, I’m fine. Sir. I am not crying. Sir. Sir, my mental state is… passable, now sit down.
In case of emergency, inflatable life vests can be found underneath your seats. Of course, that’s only helpful if we’re flying over water, which, you know, we’re not. What about parachutes, right? Why don’t they just give us fucking parachutes? Oh, and your seat cushions, they float too. What I like about that is it’s both cool AND relevant.
SIR PLEASE TAKE YOUR SEAT. SIR.
So just sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight, and we’ll have you to sunny San Antonio in just over eight hours.
Our own Rachel Hastings made this Tina puppet in celebration of the new season. Dig on it. And it’s been a while since we’ve gotten any fan art from you people. If you’ve made any, zip it on over: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coming this week: another contest of some kind!
LOS ANGELES, CA—It is no secret that over the years, the use of slang words has become more prevalent in everyday conversation. But even more widespread is the use of slang in rap and hip-hop music. What many of the genres’ artists did not foresee, however, is that the use of a number of such terms might have dangerous medical repercussions. The specific terms in question are the words “sick,” and “ill,” which, in slang, translate directly to “almost unbelievably good.”
A recent UCLA study sought out to uncover the recent hospitalizations of artists Lil’ Dizzy, QuartR DollR, and Big Dizzy. On three separate occasions, each of these individuals was rushed to the UCLA medical center with appendicitis, severely low blood sugar, and a mild concussion, respectively.
The issue at hand was that, in attempting to express feeling medically unwell, these artists repeatedly told their entourages that they were feeling “sick” or “ill,” to which their company responded with affirmations, thinking that the artists were commenting on the crowd-pleasing performances they’d just put on. Lil’ Dizzy, for example, expressed to his friend Trey-Trey that he was “feeling very ill,” to which Trey-Trey replied, “yeah, Dizzy! You the illest!” Luckily, Lil’ Dizzy’s appendix was removed just before it was about to burst, but he remains under close doctor’s care.
PACIFIC OCEAN—Aboard a ship traveling through the Northwest Passage, oceanographer Tony Oriondo looks longingly toward the horizon. “Just give it a little while, and this will all be mine. I mean, ours,” he says with quiet determination.
Oriondo is one of the main United States scientists involved in the battle for the nation’s exclusive right to use the famed Arctic shipping route and, in addition, claim the abundant natural resources found in it. He, as well as numerous government and corporate outfits, describe it as “a commercial wonderland.”
The proclaimed wonderland, though, is still fairly ice-covered, which presents a slew of problems for ships attempting to pass through it or harvest its resources. Oriondo believes that the problems will work themselves out soon enough, with the aid of vessels that can facilitate the ice-melting process. “Can you believe that just a few years ago, we were trying to keep all this ice here?” He pauses as we pass a polar bear resting on some of the aforementioned ice. “What were we thinking?”
The key to gaining claim of the area, he explains, is establishing a presence. And he’s confident in our nation’s ability to do so. At this point, the biggest challenge is dealing with naysayers who are upset that the ice is being broken up instead of conserved. To them, Oriondo says, “It’s like building a new mall where a meadow used to be. Like, it was fine as a meadow, but now there’s a mall there, you know? Who doesn’t like a good mall?”
WASHINGTON, D.C.—This past Friday, Standard and Poor’s downgraded the U.S. credit rating from AAA to AA+, indicating a less favorable projection of the United States’ ability to repay debts. While this may affect the government’s ability to borrow from other countries going forward, it has also had a tangible, immediate impact on many U.S. citizens.
Joseph McInnes, a small business owner in nearby Arlington, V.A., expressed a sentiment shared by many, “This whole debt ceiling thing has been crazy. It’s amazing how broken everything is.” When asked to elaborate, McInnes replied, “I don’t know what would have happened if they hadn’t reached an agreement, but man, they should have done it sooner, I think.”
McInnes’ wife, Holly, continued, “You know, I was really upset when I heard about the downgrade, but to be honest, I don’t know what it means except that it’s probably not good. I’m not sure how it affects me, or if it changes anything about how Congress would have done things anyway.”
Mrs. McInnes went on to explain that while she’s fairly well-informed about current events, and would like to find a way to help - or properly express her feelings, at least - she has “literally no idea” what’s going on. She ended by stating, “I tried to watch the news too, but they’re just arguing about the arguing. I mean, I’m not going to stop trying to figure it out, but, ughh.”
TANEYTOWN, MD—Any well-rounded childhood includes a certain basic slate of pastimes. This includes bicycle riding, tree climbing, and in most cases, swimming. Yet one particular mainstay has, as of late, been negatively affected by governmental use of its terminology. The staple I am referring to is bubble blowing.
Bubbles tend to hold a special place in many individuals’ memories, since one can observe their transparent glory at a very early age, then transition to creating them with nothing but a wand and the breath from one’s own lungs. The travesty is that due to bubbles’ unique ability to inflate and burst (excluding balloons, of course), they have been subject to unwanted association with various governmental and economic entities.
"Sadly, we’ve all heard the terms - ‘the housing bubble,’ ‘the unemployment bubble,’ ‘the stock market bubble,’" said childhood psychology specialist Dr. Samuel Grant. "And it’s like, I used to like bubbles, but now I just think of being disinterested and confused. Obviously, I have only the government to thank." When asked what else the government might be able to call such inflating markets in lieu of ‘bubbles,’ Grant replied, "Maybe ‘hide and go seek?’ I never really got into that."
HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA—“What’s in a name?” One might assume that in reality, the answer is “probably not much.” However, recent research has found that names can - and do - certainly affect their bearers’ lives dramatically. If you have a cool name, then, great! Things are probably pretty swell. You have friends, perhaps a family, maybe a dog. But what if a clerical error had taken the possibility of all that away before you were mere minutes old?
That is the plight of local resident Rebis Johansen, a recent graduate of Golden West College. His mother stated, “I told the nurse I wanted his name to be Regis, and - I suspect - that since the letter B is close to G on a keyboard, she typed Rebis instead. And once a name is there, it’s there. There’s no turning back. Lots of red tape, paperwork, you know. That’s what I’ve heard anyway.”
After refusing to speak (and/or sobbing through his pre-interview) Rebis himself added, “I can’t believe mom waited this long to tell me. I’ve always been picked on. Kids would say ‘what kind of a name is Rebis? Does it mean to bis again?’ And I never had an answer because I just. don’t. know.” Once more, he broke down, proceeded to regain his composure, and said, “And even if it hadn’t happened, Regis is still a stupid name.”
ST. LOUIS, MO—When it comes to sleep, one cannot stress the importance of a solid eight hours. Individuals who achieve this goal find their waking hours to go all the more smoothly. However, insomnia plagues more than 30% of would-be sound sleepers, causing daytime fatigue, and in some cases, an undesirable temperament. But what causes this particular pattern of sleep, or lack thereof?
Well, after weeks of unsatisfying rest, local resident Jacob Weller finally decided to visit a sleep specialist. In describing his nightly periods of unrest, he explained, “When I wake up in the middle of the night, I think about what’s happening to me, and then I get a song stuck in my head. But the only songs that have lyrics that relate to what I’m going through are, like, this one Enrique Iglesias one where he goes ‘I can’t sleep, I’m up all night,’ and then there’s this one Matchbox Twenty one about being up at 3AM… and then I start thinking about how awful the state of the world is cause those songs are so shitty, and then that keeps me up… It’s pretty dismal.”
Dismal indeed. But what’s the solution? Dr. Franklin Williams, sleep specialist, suggests that “some good artists write songs about being up at night. I know that most bands are up late anyway - it’s just part of their lifestyle - and it’s not a problem for them. But if some better bands would throw us non-nocturnals a few solid songs about insomnia, I think the quality of life among insomniacs would be a little better. Maybe not much. I don’t know.”
FAIRFIELD, IA—At Fairfield Elementary, a class of fourth grade students recently began reading Beezus and Ramona. While the students were relatively eager to read the story out loud during class, their excitement was instantly demolished. The sudden drop off can only be attributed to two words: popcorn reading.
Popcorn reading is a method enacted in many elementary and middle school classes throughout the country. One student will initially be called on, and will then be required to read a certain allotment of sentences or paragraphs. When the current student’s run comes to an end, however, he or she will exclaim “popcorn..”, and then, in a suspenseful moment, choose another student and state aforementioned student’s name. That student then bears the burden of reading next.
But although the purpose of popcorn reading is to ensure that all students are paying attention, it takes the focus away from the actual text and puts it onto the question “Am I next?" and the statement "I will DIE OF EMBARRASSMENT if I’m next!" Fourth grader Jimmy Nelson summarized the sentiment, stating, "I want to read the story but I don’t want to have to read out loud. I might go slow or mess up and I’m scared everyone will make fun of me or hate me forever. FOREVER. [cries]”
So what is the advice that students would give to teachers? After settling down, Jimmy said, “You should just call on us. Every time we do popcorn reading everyone calls on me cause they don’t like me. You have the power to solve this. Or I guess maybe we should just learn to read on our own.”
If you’ve never heard me rant before, or get angry, or even vaguely upset about something, and you’d like to, this is your chance. I like knowing about the news. In the morning, before work, I watch the first 20 minutes of the Today Show (the actual news part - time it, it’s exactly 20 minutes) and then I switch over to CNN, because for whatever reason, I prefer it to MSNBC.
Like many others, I often get frustrated with CNN. Giving candidates a ridiculously short amount of time to answer questions during a debate? Letting viewers choose which story you’re going to report? You’re a 24 hour news network. Report all of the stories. You have literally all the time in the world.
But anyway, my relationship with CNN came to a breaking point this morning. Obviously, they’ve been reporting on this whole Anthony Weiner situation, showing the photos, discussing whether he should resign, etc. And this morning, they covered the breaking news that his resignation was, in fact, announced.
Now - the other Congressmen and Congresswomen were calling on him to resign because the scandal was “a distraction” and they wanted to continue with progress they were making on Medicare policy. And CNN would report the fact that the scandal was a distraction, and that Congress wanted to move forward. But was the Congressman himself the distraction? Or was it the fact that the media was covering nothing but the Congressman’s scandal? And then CNN itself answered my question.
Nancy Pelosi had a press conference scheduled for 10:45 a.m. EST that the CNNewspeople were getting very excited about, because hey maybe she’ll say something about Weiner! We’ll have another sound bite to play repeatedly for the rest of the day! BUT NO. Pelosi came out, they cut to her, and she said something along the lines of ‘I’m not going to say anything about Weiner until he speaks later.’ And then she started talking about acutal, you know, ‘policy,’ or ‘her agenda’ or whatever. AND THEY CUT AWAY FROM THE PRESS CONFERENCE.
So here you go, CNN - do you think maybe the congressman had to resign, not because his actual behavior was a distraction, but that YOU ARE NOT COVERING ANYTHING ELSE? And guess what, I bet you’re still going to be covering him, and it’s still going to be a distraction. And then Wolf Blitzer says, "I THINK HE MAY WANT TO GET BACK INTO POLITICS SOMEDAY." You think? You think the politician who was forced out of office even though he’d devoted his life to it, might want to get back to the thing he’d been doing as, you know, his career?
Now I’m not saying that what he did wasn’t disgusting, or unfaithful, because it was. But what I am saying, CNNers, is that I don’t think it’s right for you to play a large part in ruining one person’s career in order to make yours better for fifteen seconds.
JUNEAU, AK—And we’re off. Over 24,000 printed pages of Sarah Palin’s e-mails from her former career-ish in politics have been released to the public. And in case that sounds like a normal sentence, let us emphasize PHYSICAL, PRINTED PAGES OF ELECTRONIC MAIL DOCUMENTS.
The fact that email is supposed to save paper aside, the e-mails are just… fascinating. Well, probably. We haven’t read any of them yet. But we imagine they may go something like this:
Hi Toddy [Todd Palin]!
Whatcha doin? Wait, don’t tell me. But whatever it is, I bet it sounds funner than what I’m doin. Sometimes it’s like, I know I’m the governor, but I just don’t feel I’m making a difference all chained down in an office with all these pens. Who needs all these pens? I broke two of them earlier, but I still have seven more I think, so I probably only really need three out of the seven
How does Russia look right now? Go out on the front porch and look at it and come back and tell me. Okay. I’m going to go for a run and shoot a few hoops and shoot a few mooses and then I’ll be home later. Make sure there’s no contraception in the house!
Sar-bear (it’s the first part of my name with bear on the end cause it rhymes)