The Year in Shreddable News, Part 2


Some more shreddable stories from the past year. Tiger Woods, Susanna Maiolo and the White House Party Crashers definitely make my list as well, but I’ve mentioned them all quite recently. Is it just a short memory or does all the dumb stuff really do happen in the later half of the year?

Although it also sides on scary, the mental imagery of alleged terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s failed attempt to detonate explosives he had sewn inside his underwear can be quite amusing, depending on your mental state. Mine is depraved enough to have come up with what he might have reported back to his superiors:

FAROUK: So I detonated the device right in the middle of all the infidels.

BOSS: And?

FAROUK: It set my crotch on fire.

BOSS: Yeesh… The 72 virgins will not like that, my friend.

FAROUK: It’s ok. A kind infidel jumped the seats and stomped out the fire with his boot.

Sadly, we’re seeing the same spiel from the government on this we always do: we knew about the guy, we knew he was a danger, but heck if we know how he actually got on a flight to Detroit. Republicans will find a way to blame Obama, Democrats will find a way to blame Bush and terrorists will keep slipping by security checkpoints in C4 tighty-whities.

Usually, once you lose an election you sort of slink back and take yourself out of the limelight for a while. Not so for Palin. She quit her job managing moose in Alaska, released a book and… well, that’s really about it.

So why does the media pay attention to her so much, mostly to the tune of “we should all stop paying attention to this woman”? Why did David Letterman make a joke about her 14-year-old daughter getting “knocked up by A-Rod” which, unfortunately for him, was only the second-skeeziest thing he admitted to this year.

If the media really wants people to dismiss Palin as a dead horse, they should really stop beating her like one. It almost seems more people are liking her just based on sympathy toward how she’s treated.

Did you we’re going to have the 2016 Olympics in Chicago? Of course it’s going to happen! Not only do we have the President and First Lady over in Europe rubbing elbows with the deciders, they even managed to get Oprah Winfrey, in her infinite beauty and grace, to help as well! And come on, Chicago’s a perfect fit! It’s known for… pizza… and mobsters… oh! And the Bulls! They were good once! So let’s all go downtown and cheer on our city as they make the–wait, we’re already eliminated?

Sorry, Illinois. But don’t worry; you’re still getting Guantanamo Bay detainees.

The Year in Shreddable News, Part 1

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Someone in Times Square had the great idea to set up a paper shredder Monday for the public to destroy, in effigy, matters that really bother them.

From a journalistic perspective, the year provided plenty of shreddable moments, with a couple Pope-pullers and pant-bombers slipping in just beneath the deadline. So please join me, your Information Age Cabana Boy, as I skim some of the sullied and often frighteningly reality TV-related flotsam out of the news pool for your disposing pleasure. I’ll even let you press the big, shiny shredder button.

By far my favorite stinker of the year, October’s Balloon Boy saga quickly turned from a nationwide breath-holding moment over the fate of an apparently buoyant young boy to a firm focus on a crazy father with Doc Brown dreams and Keanu Reeves hair.

The plan was simple enough: Send up a homemade balloon that looked a lot like a giant Jiffy Pop bag and claim your son was aboard. Then, after every news outlet was solidly entrenched with your plight to the point of repeating the basic facts for the 19th time, get your kid out of hiding and ta-da! Instant ticket to a science reality show!

Or at least it would’ve worked if the parents had remembered one thing: kids make horrible accomplices. You just can’t get them to lie when you actually want them to! The gig was up on Larry King Live when the Balloon Boy himself said they “did this for the show.” It was such a low point in this family’s history that it came with its own fart sound effect.

Balloon Boy’s mom and dad now face minimal prison time, but perhaps the worst blow to reality show nuts one can give: the prohibition of profiting from the whole ordeal for the entire four years of their probation, or roughly 3 years, 11 months longer than anyone will care about this story.

Many women dream of becoming mothers; that’s a perfectly fine and normal urge. Not as many dream of being injected with 14 kids while still single.

Nadya Suleman, obviously, is not many women, earning the title “Octomom” after giving birth to octuplets in January, adding to the six she previously sired through in vitro fertilization. Thankfully, she long ago thought of a plan to pay for raising all these children: milking the media as long as possible. Lately, she’s been working on a documentary to pay the bills.

“I’m dammed if I do and dammed if I don’t,” the story reports her as saying. “Because if I don’t do what I need to do in the media to take care of and support the kids, I can’t take care of them.”

How sad. If only there was something she could’ve done a long time ago when she figured out she wasn’t going to be able to handle 14 kids on her own. Oh, right: NOT UNDERGO IN VITRO FERTILIZATION.

She still pops up now and then to say she’s having more, which keeps the populace squealing and pointing and somehow makes her money. Good luck to her, but better luck to the children.

He’s a 32-year-old man who tries to hide his receding hairline with Abercrombie & Fitch shirts. She’s a 34-year-old woman who went to the Donald Trump School of Parental Profiteering. Put them together, add eight innocent lives and a camera crew, and you have ratings gold!

TLC (which used to stand for “The Learning Channel”–I’m totally serious) had a hit for several years with “Jon & Kate Plus 8,” providing a window into the life of the Gosselins, including a metric ton of precious family moments and the slow realization that Kate thought of Jon as a little more than a withdrawal account for genetic material.

Jon’s eyes soon began to wander, as apparently every guy who’s followed relentlessly by the media feels the need to do, and the perfect family image was fractured. Jon was accused of sneaking out with younger women. Kate was accused of flirting with her bodyguard. TLC was accused of getting dollar signs in its eyes and shouting ‘Ka-CHING!’ At least three of these accusations were correct.

TLC tried to keep “Jon & Kate Plus 8” going as “Kate and 8” during the breakup, but legalities caused everything to fall through and the network had to fall back on its other main draws: cakes and little people.

Recently, Jon Gosselin’s home was allegedly broken into over the holidays but police are finding it suspicious. They doubt anyone could’ve carried items out of the pad and not have broken their neck tripping over the minefield of half-empty pizza boxes and Corona bottles littering the floor.

So what’s the lesson when it comes to family in 2009? Kids aren’t meal tickets? In vitro fertilization is crazy? People will pay attention to you more if you have weird hair?

Beats me, but if anything would actually make me pine for the dull repetitiveness of Family Circus strips, it’s these families.

The Vatican offensive line is worse than the Bills’

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I really have to give it to the Pope. He’s a man with a mission (well, likely several hundred missions around various world locales) and doesn’t let anything get him down–including bat-crazy red-sweatered female linebackers.

As you may know by now, Pope Benedict XVI was pulled down by 25-year-old Susanna Maiolo shortly before he celebrated Christmas Eve Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica. Maiolo reportedly said to Vatican Police that she wanted to give the Pope a hug, yet at the speed she jumped a barrier and rushed the elderly man, you have to wonder if they wheel her in Hannibal Lector style to family reunions.


GRANDMA: No! She’s breaking her restraints!

DAD: Get those shock batons on her!


GRANDMA: Aiiieee!

DAD: Shoot her! SHOOT HERRR!!

The Pope shook it off and gave his address looking no worse for wear. However, the most interesting fact about this whole ordeal–or the scariest, if you’re the Pope–is that the very same woman, wearing the very same-colored sweater, tried to rush him at the exact same place on Christmas Eve last year but had been taken down by security before reaching Pope Zero.

It’s rightfully brought up the issue of security around the religious leader. A senior Vatican official has been reported as saying everyone in the basilica would have needed invitations and to have given their names, and you can’t tell me Maiolo’s name doesn’t appear on some papal “Do Not Accept Hugs from These People” list.

GUARD: Name?

SUSANNA: Susanna Maiolo.

GUARD: Aren’t you that chick who tried to jump the Pope last year?

SUSANNA: You can’t prove I was going for him; I never touched him!

GUARD: Yeah, but c’mon–

SUSANNA: Let he who has not wished to glomp His Holiness cast the first stone!

GUARD: …OK, go ahead.

So if security isn’t going to keep out the rushers, what, as the Pope, are you allowed to do? When you see that flash of red coming at you and think, “Oh no, not this broad again, God bless her heart,” can you defend yourself? There’s nothing in the Bible that says, “Love one another, but do not be afraid to smite wackos with your staff should they attempt to get all up on you.” Would a judo throw be acceptable, or are you simply limited to turning the other cheek, the bob and weave, or juking?

They only have 362 days to figure this out, and she’s getting smarter…

Simple Saturday: Engagements

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Chrsitmas went pretty well this year on both sides of the family: my dad’s having a quaint dinner and splitting so some could go to Mass; my mom’s sitting around for 8 hours telling stories, with an entire 90 minutes dedicated to hilarious bathroom incidents. That’s about how it goes.

But even better is the fact that my cousin, Skyler, proposed Christmas night to his now-fiancee! It’s something I almost predicted to him, too, a long time ago. I said he’d get married by 21 and he just turned 22 at the beginning of the month.

I was feeling a bit smug until he told me that, if I was on the Price is Right, I’d be out of luck. : /

Do you have any Christmas stories to share? Please do!

Blog postponed for nog

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What are you doing gallyvanting around the Internet reading this now? It’s Christmas Eve! I’ll be back Saturday or Sunday, so when you think of returning useless stuff you don’t want, remember to return to this blog, too! : )

Maybe that’s not the best reminder.

Athletes of the Year decided by pudgy, Dorito-stained newspeople

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Some athletes come in 200 mph metal packaging

The Associated Press’s (AP) decisions for Male and Female Athlete of the Year are in. Voting for the awards is conducted through a number of news outlets that are part of the AP. If it works in other places like it does at my newspaper, you one day find a voting form lying on your desk and check a few boxes before handing it back in and getting back to important matters such as waiting for the co-worker on Donut Run to return.

Four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup winner Jimmie Johnson is this year’s top male athlete, making history as the first person to receive the award by sitting on his butt the entire time. Gary Kasparov and wheelchair rugby players have formally filed protest.

Tennis star Serena Williams earned Female Athelete of Year through her superior skills with a tennis ball and where she has threatened to shove it should you disagree with her.

Recent events have obviously shaken up the Athlete of the Year choices this year, which have perenially gone to “Tiger Woods” and “Tiger Woods if He Ever Got Gender Realignment Surgery and Came Back as Tigress Woods.”

The World finally admits it is against Bernie Mathers

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KALAMAZOO, Mich.–At a press conference held outside the overpriced one-room apartment of Bernard “Bernie” Mathers, The World publically admitted its longtime disgust with the schlub and its ongoing attempts to make his life miserable at every turn.

“What Bernie has thought to be true and has told everyone he meets for years really is true: I, wholly, am against him,” The World said.

The admission is bittersweet to Mathers, who could be observed peeking through the tiny, cracked window of his sixth-floor-with-no-elevator room, ducking down in fear whenever The World even made an inkling of looking up toward him.

Mathers says he first started thinking The World might not have liked him on a fateful May day in seventh grade, as he looked out an open window, daydreaming of being out and enjoying the clear day, and was struck by a freak arc of lightning for the third time in his life.

“It was that third one that gave me my tic,” Mathers said, his right eye convulsing with memory of the event.

Small twists of fate continued to dog him, resulting in — among other misfortunes — 28 failed relationships, five audits by the IRS and 47 days in federal prison after somehow being confused for Sirhan Sirhan.

“I’ve also been bitten by 14 different rabid animals,” Mathers said. “The last one was a marmoset. They don’t even live around here.”

When later asked about the marmoset, The World shrugged.

“I was getting tired of the whole rabid animal routine and wanted to end on something memorable,” it said.

The World added that it was responsible for destroying Mathers’ dream of becoming an architect, arranging small, Rube Goldberg-like disasters that got him fired right down the job ladder to a position more to The World’s liking: a voluntary paid human test subject for a health and beauty firm. As a result of his history of experiments, he completely hairless, possesses a slight greenish tinge to his skin and periodically emits an odor that has been pinpointed as “a mix of turpentine and Roquefort cheese.”

Elsie Taylor, a neighbor who lives on a lower floor, as Mathers’ floor only contains his room, knows him well but was surprised by The World’s announcement.

“He’s always said The World was against him, but I just assumed he really meant a combination of poor choices and depression-induced failure to see opportunities had left him in a downward spiral,” she said. “Good thing I didn’t become a psychiatrist!”

The World said he would likely continue to be against Mathers, although opportunities are slimmer than they once were now that he mainly stays locked in his room surrounded by various editions of The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook.

“It’s really not as satisfying as it used to be honestly,” The World said. “There’s more overall negativity in me these days. I think it’s part of my temperature fluctuations, or just people yappin’ too much about it. You know, I can’t even fully remember why I ever started on Bernie in the first place. I think it had something to do with his eyes. They were too small for his head, even as a kid. Made him look kinda like a domino. Ah, well.”

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