Thursday, September 2, 2010

Muse demands return of inspiration taken by local psychopath

On Monday, a Cook County judge heard arguments from Schaumburg resident Michelle Brennan who is refusing to take responsibility for the disturbed writings, unnerving lyrics, and bizarre artwork of a local nutjob and is asking that the creative spark that was taken from her by this creepy basket-case be returned as soon as possible.

Brennan, a local actress and model, unwittingly provided encouragement and inspiration to area kook Thomas Franklin through her appearance in a Humane Society ad in the Chicago Sun Times last fall. The ad asked the reader, and was directed personally at him according to Franklin, to “Make a Difference!”

Franklin vowed to follow Brennan’s call to action and felt emboldened to write over 30 songs focused on her and the inspiring example she sets for animal advocacy. Brennan immediately filed suit, fearing that being in some way tied to Franklin’s insane creations might impugn her character, destroy her public persona, and ruin a promising career.

Brennan denied claims that she looked straight into the eyes of Franklin from the half page ad in the Entertainment section and said she had no personal message for him. Franklin countered in his testimony that he and his beautiful muse are connected on a spiritual level and thus the spark she provides is irrevocable.

“We are intimately involved,” Franklin told the court, “. . . like through our brainwaves, man!”

Brennan also denied she whispers words of encouragement in Franklin’s ears while he sleeps and rejected his account that she is mouthing “I am fated to be yours” in each subsequent weekend ad run.

“I was flattered for the first delivery of what would become a total of 18 dozen roses, but then I felt like it was getting out of control,” admitted Brennen, who has since moved back in with her parents John and Eva Brennan of Evanston out of concern for her privacy and safety.

“She puts thoughts in my head and drives me to create!” Franklin interupted more than once.

He also argued that her inspiration is a part of the public domain and is available to anyone. “. . .and for any reason,” he added while giving a knowing nod and a wink to the circuit court bailiff, which drew cringes and looks of disgust from Brennan and the other women in the courtroom.

Franklin was unconvinced by argument, saying that she is merely playing coy and prefers a low profile, allowing him to claim the spotlight.

“She’s just hiding how proud she is for breathing life into the play I wrote entitled The Passion of the Michelle.”

Barring any court injunction, Franklin’s play is due to begin its performance next month in the service alley behind the Harris Theatre on East Randolph Street. It is described on hand-scrawled paper napkins handed to passersby to be about salvation, redemption, and will include a 30-minute crucifixion scene.

Brennan is also asking for the removal of Franklin’s most recently crafted masterpiece currently displayed just behind the treeline in Millennium Park. The piece of “art” was unveiled this weekend to an audience of uninterested park-goers and park security who gave him a citation for not having a permit. Witnesses reported that Franklin revealed an 18 ft chicken wire and Play-Doh sculpture of Michelle Brennan holding both a Cocker Spaniel and a miniature version of himself in her lap; all encircled by a ring of a 3ft tall dancing anthropomorphized dog bone chewie toys.

“If that’s not malicious libel, I don’t know what is,” Brennan’s lawyer said. “I beg the court to end the defamation of this young lady’s reputation.”

Franklin ended his version of events with an appeal to the court’s sense of appreciation for artistic inspiration.

“She has given me the freedom and motivation to accomplish anything I want,” he said.

Anything, that is, except stand within a 500 foot proximity of Ms Brennan according to the restraining order then issued by the court.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Study finds tattoos, shaved heads, goatees no longer intimidating

According to a recently published study, shaved heads, goatees, and tattoos, once worn almost exclusively by bikers, bouncers, prisoners, and pirates are no longer as frightening or intimidating as they once were.

This finding comes out of the Violence Prevention Foundation, an educational foundation that studies the impact of violence on American culture. The report shows that while the characteristics have historically instilled a sense of fear or dread in the populace, they have since been relegated to mere fashion accessories.

“Long gone are the days where you run into a guy in a bar, who has most or all of these indicators, and expect to be robbed and pounded into a coma,” said Sheila Saunders, director of the foundation. “Now, he could very well be an accountant, or in marketing, maybe even your hair stylist.

No longer will such an individual immediately take an aggressive stance with you either, according to the study. Now there is overwhelming evidence that he might very well shrink away to avoid any confrontation.

“It really is an astounding shift in behavior that we are really only now starting to understand,” Saunders said.

In years past, a clean bald head was often brandished by a ruffian, a gang-banger, or say, a gladiator. It comes as no surprise that the public would want to avoid such a character. In fact, the foundation had only recently updated its brochures and counselling guidelines which previously recommended staying clear of these people at all costs.

Now, explains Saunders, the fashion fad of shaving one’s head, for example, is one of the most common styles that men choose when their hair begins to thin out. “It really is the 21st century version of the comb-over,” she said with a chuckle.

As for tattoos, the foundation was surprised to find out that there are only 234 people in America who have not yet been inked somewhere on their body.

“It really says nothing about you anymore,” Saunders said. ”No one can spend a drunk weekend in Panama City without being dared by your best friend and her sister into getting some Chinese characters tattooed on your lower back”.

Saunders also downplayed the barbed wire tattoos found on upper arms, saying that the “bad-ass quotient” applied to this feature in the study had fallen substantially over recent years.

“The guy that delivers our mail has one of those,” Saunders said, and then whispered, “I can tell you that dude hasn’t been to the gym in decades so I don’t know what he’s trying to show off.”


There are some exceptions, however. The study revealed that there are still some tattoos that will invoke justifiable fear in most people. For example:

  • Religious and political icons tattooed in between the eyes – indicates that your ideology trumps the safety and well being of those around you.  
  • Tattoos that spread across the neck and onto the face – shows you don’t give a shit about what anyone thinks
  • Branded tattoos, indicating that you’ve sold space on your body to market a product – seriously, we don’t know what to think about that
  • Your dead cousin’s name or image tattooed on your shoulder and/or back – tells everyone that standing anywhere near you might be dangerous

What are commonly called “goatees” are actually a variation of the Vandyke, a distinction that is brought up all the time, but one that no one seems to care about anymore.

“They were invariably worn by musketeers, in common depictions of the Devil, and popular with early 20th century magicians,” Saunders said. “We often associate this style of facial hair with alternate universe counterparts of ourselves or evil twins. . .that and eye patches for some reason.”

The research indicates that now, goatees are worn by almost a third of all 30-45 year-old men as an ineffective way to draw attention from a receding hairline.

Now that these once frightening characteristics are no longer good indicators of ferocity, the Center instead instructs that you visually inspect to see if the man standing in front of you in an aggressive manner is wielding some sort of weapon, such as a knife or a gun.

“The Violence Prevention Foundation now recommends you should avoid that sort of person,” Saunders warns

Study finds tattoos, shaved heads, goatees no longer intimidating

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Local couple adopts Asian highway

After all the red tape and years of waiting for the Illinois Adopt-a-Highway program to grant their wish of having their very own section of interstate to care for, Jeff and Jennifer Reed of Downers Grove grew frustrated and decided to take a very different route, yet one that is becoming more travelled with road-less couples in recent years. The Reeds will join the thousands of Americans who are adopting foreign roads and freeways.

While there is no shortage of needy expressways, thoroughfares and turnpikes in the United States, the time it takes to complete the adoption process has become burdensome and frustrating for Americans like the Reeds and so they settled on pursuing an adoption in China.

They had long considered other Asian countries like Laos and Thailand, as well as some locations in Central America. Finally narrowing their search to China, they eventually settled on looking at parts of the beltway just outside of Tianjin, a port city located along the Hai He River.

As it turns out, the Reeds made the right decision and adoption approval came quickly. With much anticipation and relief, they hopped on a plane to the opposite side of the world to finally see the two-mile stretch of the four-lane Chinese freeway they had been mercifully granted.

Jeff Reed explained that China was an optimal choice for them because of the millions of miles of un-adopted highways. Due to a recent bustling economy which is seeing a larger percentage of white collar workers and an increasingly skilled workforce, there are fewer and fewer people willing to take care of these growing number of abandoned roads. It is being called the Peking Parkway Crisis.

“It’s so sad,” Jeff Reed said. “You really can’t go more than a mile or two outside the city without running into a stretch of roadway that has no one to care for it.”

Jennifer Reed said that they have also wrestled with concerns about about how they would end up taking care of their newly adopted highway.

“We really debated about how we would treat it,” she said, “but in the end, we felt it best to maintain it like an American road because that’s what we are most familiar with.”

Upon arrival to the Tianjin area, they were driven by their local placement counselor past the littered and overgrown roads on the way to see their newly acquired bundle of asphalt and concrete. Jennifer Reed shook her head and wiped a tear from her cheek, and expressed how sad it was to see all of these unkempt, unloved miles.

“I just wish we could adopt them all!” she said.

As the car approached their allocated section, they could see a green sign surrounded by empty orange trashbags on the side of the road. An armed Chinese policeman stood stoic next to the sign; a welcoming sight. The Reeds thought back to all the waiting, the paperwork, the classes taken at the local community college about Chinese gathering techniques. Everything was now culminating to this one emotional event.

The couple’s eyes lit up as they got to their their destination. Getting out out of the vehicle they walked hand in hand, crying tears of joy as they approached the sign. A sign they had waited years to see. A sign, written in Chinese pīnyīn characters, that simply read:

Litter cleanup under penalty of imprisonment
next 3 km – The Reeds – USA

“Hope we know what we got ourselves into,” Jeff Reed said with a chuckle as he handed a orange vest and bag to his wife.

Local couple adopts Asian highway

Hot Canadian girl confirms relationship with local teen

Claims made by 16-year old Taylor Samuelson about having a “super hot girlfriend that lives in Canada”, have been met with resounding skepticism by everyone who knows the Waukegan area teenager.

That is, until this last weekend.

Samuelson’s seemingly fantastical tales of a deep –and previously unverified– love forged at Muskrat Rivers Computer Camp in central Wisconsin over the summer, were recently confirmed when a young lady matching the description he provided was found this last Sunday alive and surprisingly well in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Prior to this amazing discovery, friends experienced a whirlwind of intrigue, speculation, and vicariously-induced arousal for the last few weeks as Samuelson spun incredible tales about ”this hot chick from . .. uh. . .Canada” who let him get to second base. Samuelson’s only evidence of her existence was a picture cut out of Teen Vogue and it came as no surprise that his paltry evidence had been met with much incredulity.

“That’s BS, man,” said Taylor’s older brother Keith, making it clear to all who would listen that a magazine photos offers scant proof that “any girl would get near this total tool.”

“”Hey look everybody,” the older Samuelson joked while holding up a lingerie catalogue. “I”m dating Gisele Bündchen!”

But Samuelson’s siblings, and friends, and most of the town of Waukegan would soon eat their words.

Fortunately for the lovestruck Samuelson and to the astonishment of everyone, 16-year old Sarah Fox, who is described as “sorta tall, um, a great body, and uh. . .nice skin”, was finally found at the studio where she apparently models. Even when asked a second and third time if she serious, the 2010 Miss Teen Ontario runner-up was willing to fully corroborate his story.

Samuelson’s close friend, Chase Graham, was impressed to hear that his buddy had actually made out with some hot foreign chick he met at camp in the Wisconsin Dells area. “Of all places,” Graham added.

“She’s like totally into him, or so he told us,” said Graham, who admitted he was happy for his friend, adding that “[Taylor] typically kept his distance from the girls in our school because they think he’s a complete dork.”

Suspicions grew, however, when fellow students asked if they could meet this mystery woman. Apparently Samuelson struggled with the line of questioning, only replying that “it probably wouldn’t happen because she doesn’t live around here.”

“I gave Taylor the benefit of the doubt on the whole Canada thing,” Graham said, “because everyone knows that those Canuck chicks are so killer, right?”

Fox, who shares an interest in X-Men graphic novels, first person shooter computer games, and amateur astronomy was happy to talk about their relationship and expressed her own frustration with the disbelief from her own circle of friends.

Fox complained that none of her girlfriends believed she had met a kind, intelligent, and funny boy in the United States. “They thought I was making the whole thing up.”

Their cynicism was not unfounded, of course, owing to the common wild-eyed fabrication amongst attractive teenage Canadian girls claiming to have serious boyfriends who are really smart and really sweet and live just outside of Chicago.

Hot Canadian girl confirms relationship with local teen

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Penthouse forum letters getting way too political

UNITED KINGDOM -- As the political climate came to a boil this last year, readers' letter submissions to Penthouse magazine were soon to follow. Straying from the usual descriptions of fantastical sexual adventures, the reader's forum became dominated by political rants and policy opinion pieces.

Penthouse Media Group, Inc, which owns the magazine, recently acknowledged the concerns of investors, industry critics, and their readership that increased levels of political rhetoric as encountered on today's news pundit shows, town-halls, and on internet message boards have unfortunately spilled over onto Penthouse's Forum pages.

"It sort of crept up on us", said Sarah Trufant, Penthouse's communications director. "Last June we started to get a letter here and there about tea-bagging and we thought nothing of it.”

Trufant was shocked to learn that the term actually had alternative political overtones rather than when a guy....well, know. By then it was too late and the men's magazine was soon overrun with opinionated vitriol.

Now, political commentaries are typically drowning out the more familiar stories readers have grown accustomed to over the last 40 years. In depth stories describing home-from-college encounters with hot neighbors, European backpacking threesomes, and broken-down elevator trysts with complete strangers are being replaced with heated ideological rants.

Reading a forum letter from the May issue of Penthouse Magazine, Trufant made clear the disturbing trend.

Dear Penthouse Forum,
I never thought this would happen to me. I attend a small midwestern college and after I pulled my groin playing ultimate frisbee, I found myself alone with this hot triage nurse in the emergency room.

Boy, was I in for a surprise when she closed the privacy drapes, approached me slowly, and then told me that I had lost my health insurance coverage and I'd have to pay for my treatment out of pocket.

There was no way I had that kind of cash and I asked her with a wink if there was another way I could pay for treatment. She pulled closer and whispered that in fact the hospital had a Sisters of St Mary’s charity care program and I'd need to fill out some forms she could provide me....

A submission from a reader named Troy was similarly policy-focused:
Dear Penthouse Forum,

I don't normally write into men's magazines, but after reading Tricia from Maine's letter in the September issue, I got so hot and bothered with rage I could barely contain myself. The way she described the TARP bailout made me want to get her alone in a room and really give it to her in a way so she'd understand that the taxpayer should not have to foot the bill to save the 'too big to fail' banking industry...

The letter continued with how important it is to realize that the size of financial regulation shouldn't matter so much as how it is used.
Trufant hopes that once the mid-term elections are over in November, readers will begin to see the letters-to-the-editor section return to the fantasies of real people with real lives and away from lurid conspiracies of Nazi/Communist/Kenyan takeover and elicit descriptions of privatized Social Security.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Lonely Americans Saddened Census Is Only Barely Interested In Their Lives

Hundreds of thousands of lonely American citizens, consistently ignored by their neighbors, co-workers, and families, found some potential solace when they received a postcard from the Federal Government earlier this year indicating even they would be contacted as part of the U.S 2010 Census.

Upon learning that someone held an interest in who they were and what their lives were like, socially inept outcasts and the perpetually ignored citizens across the country waited with anticipation for the census forms to arrive.

As required by the Constitution, the U.S. Census is charged with counting every resident in the United States, even those citizens that nobody cares about. The questions are limited to collecting information about residents’ names, address, age, sex, and race in order to properly allocate federal funds targeted towards public works projects, hospitals, schools, and emergency services.

Having no common bond with anyone around her, Sarah Feldman, a lonely Chicago area resident, was excited to open up her newly arrived correspondence and eager to tell someone –anyone– about her personal attributes, anxious to share her hopes, dreams, and aspirations.

Unfortunately for Feldman’s fragile self image, the Census questionnaire was no more interested in her well-being --or what her summer plans were-- than anyone else she may boldly claim as an acquaintance.

“This is it?” Feldman asked with disappointment, realizing that the form was limited to 10 simple questions, and not one was about how her day was going. “It’s like only a page long!”

Feldman was quick to notice that there was no place to tell anyone about her three cats, who she claimed are like children to her.

“I’d want to write about how cute they are when they wrestle or how this one time, when Mr. Kittles found The Big Bopper lounging in his warm spot in the kitch. . . ” Feldman said as this reporter lost interest.

“Also, it didn‘t ask what religion I was.” Feldman said. “I had just converted to the Seventh Day Adventists and now I’m much more at peace. By the way, have you found Jes–.”

Feldman was unable to offer anything else of substance but was intrigued that the Census form did ask for her phone number. She has since spent long hours sitting by the phone waiting for someone to call.

Census Bureau Director Robert Groves has been surprised at the pathetic responses from Americans that spanned cultural, racial, and educational backgrounds.

“The slogan for the 2010 US Census is ‘We can’t move forward until you mail it back,’” said Director Groves. “Although, it appears as though some of our solitary citizenry are having a great deal of difficulty moving forward.”

The Census Bureau reports having received tens of thousands of letters from shut-ins and the homebound hoping that the agency that resides within the Department of Commerce would soon write back.

“They are begging that we please ‘ask them something else. . . anything’,” Director Groves said. “We cannot be your pen pal.”

Additionally, many were further distraught to learn that the Census is only conducted once a decade and won’t be back in 2011.

“I was hoping a census worker would drop by maybe next year,” said Feldman, who hasn’t had a face to face conversation with anyone for three months due to being chronically homebound with agoraphobia. “No one ever came to see me this time. . . . someone please visit me.”

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Al-Qaeda Inadvertently Accepts CIA's Facebook Friend Request

In one of the most successful intelligence windfalls in years, the Central Intelligence Agency is celebrating its recent acquisition of crucial terrorist operational data and network connections obtained only after becoming al-Qaeda's friend on Facebook.

Why the international terrorist organization made such a tactical blunder in allowing the American spy agency into their inner circle is not entirely clear.  However, after a years-long intelligence stalemate, agency sources indicate that al-Qaeda accepted the CIA's friend request in early May of this year.

"It was a complete one in a million shot but we had exhausted all of our options" CIA spokesman, Paul Gimigliano said, "but after experiencing only modest intel gains lately, we just went for it to see what would happen."

Gimigliano credits the Agency's success to a recently hired data analyst who suggested a new social media battle front against international terror networks.  In December, a request was sent to the Director of the Office of Terrorism Analysis for the establishment of a joint operation to click the "Add as Friend" button.

Five months later, "Operation Evildoer Link" was launched and after four days of nail-biting anticipation, a message came through indicating that the secretive terrorist organization finally accepted the CIA as its Facebook friend.   As a result, the CIA was rewarded with a treasure trove of network connections, photo albums, friend lists, as well as likes and interests.

CIA officials were amazed at how easy it was to access the terror network's inner friend circle but it became clear that the need for social acceptance was al-Qaeda's achilles heel.

"As it turns out, they were friending anyone who would ask," Gimigliano said. ". . .how do you have 4,000 friends, really?  We should have thought of this a long time ago."

Within days, the CIA exhausted their collection of data from al-Qaeda's main wall page, quickly cataloguing who it was talking to, recent insurgency operations it attended, and its "liking" attacks on infidels by other terrorist groups.  Investigators then stumbled upon a much longer record of its reign of terror by clicking an "Older Posts" link at the bottom of the page.

"It just opened up a complete history of their operations," Gimigliano said. "As it turns out, they were actually involved in the 9-11 attacks after all. . .glad we were able to put that to rest."

CIA analysts were again able to get a deeper understanding of the group's nefarious enterprise by clicking the "info" button which revealed what activities al-Qaeda was into, its interests, where it went for training, and its favorite movies (none), music (none), and television shows (none).

This release of operational information to western intelligence agencies has been devastating.  Al-Qaeda has subsequently found its leadership decimated and had several major attack plans thwarted over the last month.  However, just as it has in the past, al-Qaeda will adjust and adapt and the CIA is preparing for that day.

Example of thwarted al Qaeda operation

"Now that they've de-friended us, we'll have to look for other sources of information," said the CIA's spokesman. "We hope we can get one of our agents to join a Yemini terrorist club on or something."

Currently, the CIA is hoping al Zawahiri (al-Qaeda's #2) will accept their recent LinkedIn connection request.

"It's more of a business-oriented networking site," Gimigliano said, ". . . more of a trusted professional thing, so we don't think he will suspect anything."