Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Witsend University Officials Urge Drinking Moderately While Absorbing the State of the Union Address

From Witsend Daily Members of The Binge Reality Project have pressured Witsend University officials to take a public stand against the harmful effects of the drinking game, “Buzzkill,” which centers around the State of the Union Address. Dean of Students, Ross Busch, said: “In no way do we support or condone any non-sanctioned activities associated with high-risk drinking. And we encourage any student, who is of the legal drinking age, to drink responsibly while watching the President’s address.”

The Binge Reality Project, a coalition comprised of Witsend University and Witsend/Witsend Heights community members, was formed in response to the surge of binge drinking in Witsend, especially among college students. “Most people in Witsend are completely unaware of the growing tradition of the drinking game, Buzzkill, and its harmful effects. Buzzkill may begin with the State of the Union Address, but the real “buzzkill” begins the day after. Its effects can last anywhere from a day to the next State of the Union Address, depending on the political fallout over the course of the next year.”

Buzzkill unofficially began in 2002 during President Bush’s first State of the Union Address, when Witsend University students gathered for a party and an impromptu drinking game ensued. According to Andy Sorenson, 7th-year senior and self-proclaimed President of the Witsend Buzzkill Society, the basic rules of the game involve choosing a list of words, or Buzzwords, and whenever the President says one during his address, participants are required to drink - the amount of each drink predetermined democratically by the assembled group. “Buzzkill has realty taken off in Witsend. I know more people who watch the State of the Union Address than the Superbowl. Buzzkill has helped make college the best four years of my life. My term as president of the Buzzkill Society has paralleled Bush, and I’m thinking of stretching out my undergraduate degree a couple more years and finish off with the Bushmeister.”

Witsend Buzzkill Society President, Andy Sorenson, at Last Years' State of the Union Buzzkill Assembly

This years’ Buzzwords were announced last Friday at the Witsend Buzzkill Society headquarters located in Sorenson’s unfinished basement: freedom, terror, fear, security, and the double-bonus buzzword, God. “We’re totally pumped about the buzzwords. We’ve poured through Bush’s speeches and quotes over the last year, and we’re expecting to see a lot of empty beer mugs come Tuesday night,” said Sorenson, adding: “A perfect compliment to the empty rhetoric served up by the Commander in Chief. And the beauty of Buzzkill is that you won’t remember anything he said the next day.”

Instructors at Witsend University have attempted to downplay the hype surrounding Buzzkill, although Political Science Professor, John M ontgomery, said: “The more you try to suppress it, the more likely students will do it. Maybe we should start suppressing the whole political process, and this might compel students to get actively involved. Similar to sex, if we started making politics taboo at an early age, youngsters might become more curious about politics and engage in political activity. The line between the two is already blurred for today’s youngsters. And like most cultural shifts, I’m sure there will be a group of naysayers who oppose political activity, claiming that political engagement at an early age will lead to political promiscuity. Tragically, Buzzkill is the closest most of my undergraduate students come to actually participating in the political process.”

University Officials had contacted The Witsend Buzzkill Society over the weekend, urging them to either modify the buzzwords, or maybe remove one of the words from the list. Sorenson said, “This is just another one of the administration’s attempts to take away our civil liberties. They strongly suggested we drop ‘freedom’ from the list. If we didn’t at least make the attempt, the official in question hinted that some of our freedoms might be hindered. What kind of crap is that?”

In response to the Buzzkill Society, Elaine Fitzsimmons, spokesperson for The Binge Reality Project, said: “They obviously cannot see anything beyond themselves. This is a classic symptom of high-risk drinking. If only they could see the harmful after-effects of Buzzkill. The number of verbal and physical assaults perpetrated on outspoken Democrats has nearly doubled every year since 2002. And this doesn’t include all of the unreported assaults committed; a lot of Democrats are just too ashamed to come forward.”

Local churches have also spoken out against Buzzkill, especially taking issue with this year’s double-bonus Buzzkill word, God. “To associate God with the drinking of alcohol is completely blasphemous,” said Father McCarthy of St. Mary’s Catholic Church of Witsend.

Binge Reality took their message to the source, contacting an agent representing Bush’s speech writing team and requested they not use any of the buzzwords. Speaking for her clients, Mary Jennings said, “I understand your dilemma, but removing those words would be catastrophic. I’ll have to give them (Witsend Buzzkill Society) credit; those boys have done their research. Although I haven’t seen the final draft of the President’s address, I’m certain those five words will be the cornerstone of his speech. Remove those, and the whole thing will fall apart. You might, just as well, ask the writers to omit all the modifiers; it would have the same effect.”

Thursday, January 26, 2006

What the G**gle!?: Smurf Gets Googled by Google

From Witsend Daily – In less than 7 years, the word “google” has already surpassed the “smurf” word in number of word variations used in the English language. Both words have been used interchangeably as nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, double entendres, and everything in between. The meaning of the word depends on what context it is used.*

The smurf word was introduced into the English language via the Smurfs in their self-titled cartoon, “The Smurfs,” which began airing in 1981. The s-word arose from the Smurf dialect in Smurf Village and is derived from “Schtroumpf”– the Flemish equivalent of the English language colloquial “Whatchamacallit,” which was inevitably replaced by smurf despite the Whatchamacallit Preservation Society’s fervent candy-bar campaign.

Google, the most dominant search tool on the web, surfaced in September of 1998, and has pervaded the English language ever since, not to mention, google has already been translated in 863 languages.

Despite the global surge of google’s usage, Smurf loyalists refuse to give up without a fight. Beth “Smurfette” Hawkins, curator of the Smurfosion Institute in Smurf Village, said, “I’ll be smurfed if I’m going to go down without putting up a smurfing fight. It’ll be a cold day in smurf before I smurf!” Members of “Smurf This!,” a militant smurfist group, has threatened to commit smurficide on the world wide web, smurfing google search engines with their smurf manifesto. The group’s leader, Rebel Smurf, promised a lengthy insurgency on the web, “We’re in for the long haul. This is unsmurfing-believable! In the spirit of Grouchy Smurf, I hate Google. Vive la Smurf!”

Grouchy Smurf: "Kiss my smurf, Google!"

*Top googled examples of google’s usage (context found in):

Domestic surveillance: “Hey Mr. President, go google yourself!”

“Big Brother’s googling you!”

Women’s Rights: “A woman has the right to google.”

The Newlywed Game: “When was the last time you and your partner googled?”

“Where’s the most interesting place you’ve googled?”

Teenage Vernacular: Every misuse of like or thing has been replaced by google.
(e.g. Can I google borrow your cell phone google?)

Catholic Church pre-Seminary Screening: “Have you ever googled, had any thoughts of googling in the past three years, or been googled by a googler?”

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Osama bin Laden Poses Threat to Oprah

From Witsend Daily – The reign of the Queen of Book Endorsements may soon be usurped by the King of Terror, Osama bin Laden The al Qaeda leader's recent endorsement of William Blum’s “Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower” helped catapult the book from the 209,000th spot on Amazon.com’s sales list to Number 30 in less than 24 hours. In an audiotape released last Thursday, bin Laden said an al Qaeda group was preparing more attacks on the United States and also told Americans, “It is useful for you to read the book ‘The Rogue State.’”

“Rogue State” also took over the No. 1 spot on the Witsend Here Creative Outpost import list, knocking off “America” which moved to No. 2 (see ad). Gale Simpkins, sales manager at the Creative Outpost, was not at all surprised by the news. “The book is a scathing critique of U.S. Foreign Policy, and that’s what’s popular nowadays, especially outside of the United States. If candidates in other countries can run a successful political campaign based on an anti-American platform, it was only a matter of time before the book industry caught up to this growing fad.”

In book-publishing circles, it is a known fact that Oprah Winfrey possesses the Midas Touch- every book she endorses turns to gold for the book’s author and publisher. Less Brockman, a literary agent in Witsend, said, “Osama’s popularity has shifted the tactics in the book publishing industry's ‘War on Marketing.’ The competition for Oprah’s endorsement came down to who could write and publish the most depressing, true-to-life book involving a protagonist victimized by a seemingly endless series of mental and physical abuses. The Oprah formula for success is codependent upon human misery."

“And now bin Laden, the incarnation of terror, has reared his head in the marketing mix, and the formula has shifted to an anti-American foreign policy model,” said Brockman. “The big challenge now is to see who can write the most searing attack on U.S. foreign policy without ending up in Guantanamo Bay or a Pakistani cave. Bin Laden has changed the rules of engagement in the publishing world’s ‘War on Marketing.’ All of the traditional rules of war have changed in the post-9/11 era, and we are now faced with guerilla warfare. Celebrity endorsements are no longer predictable, and we never know when an audiotape will pop up, endorse a book, and knock other books from the best sellers’ list.”

Some analysts in the book industry are not too concerned about bin Laden’s threat to Oprah’s power. They’ve dismissed his recent impact on book sales as a “novelty,” comparing the surge of sales to those of Hitler’s “Mein Kempf” when it was first published. Oprah’s people are not taking Osama’s threat to her throne lightly, however, and have already deployed a legal team to Pakistan with the hope of finding bin Laden and buying out his endorsement rights. Art Radley, Witsend’s residential conspiracy theorist, went as far to say, “The whole thing smacks of conspiracy. The Bush administration is desperate. They fabricated the whole audiotape bit to keep us scared, and the endorsement was icing on the cake of fear. C’mon, if there’s anyone in the world who could find Osama bin Laden, it’s Oprah.”

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Karl Rove Comes Out of Burrow, Sees Shadow: 10 More Months of Fear!

The Satiric Press – On Friday, D.C. Karl emerged from his burrow where he’d been hibernating for the past few months, saw his shadow, and predicted 10 more months of fear for the remainder of the political campaign season. Karl Rove, White House Chief of Staff and the President’s top political advisor, made his prediction in front of a prescreened audience of loyal Republican followers. “The United States faces a ruthless enemy," Rove said, "and national security will be the preeminent issue of this years’ campaign.”

The last time D.C. Karl saw his shadow and predicted 10 more months of fear was in 2004, and as it turned out, Karl was right. The unprecedented campaign of fear in 2004 helped President Bush win his reelection bid. While both predictions hinged on the fear of terrorism, the 2004 prediction took a two-pronged fear forecast by throwing homophobia into the mix by way of gay marriage.

There was no doubt as to whether D.C. Karl saw his shadow, for it eclipsed the entire Washington, D.C., area and eastern portions of Virginia. According to Jan Jorgensen, an astronomy professor at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, “I was in the laboratory making my daily calculations when the sky unexpectedly blackened. I thought for sure we had experienced a partial eclipse of the sun. It wasn’t until later in the day that I heard on the news that it was D.C. Karl’s shadow. Then it all made sense.” Startled by the ominous girth of his own shadow, D.C. Karl was reported to have fled his inaugural speaking engagement (see photo) before he could fully outline his fear forecast.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Anti-Lobby Group Lobbies for End of Lobbying

From Witsend Daily – In the wake of the Jack Abramoff scandal, a local anti-lobby lobbying firm, Downsize Me, Un-Incorporated, has stepped up its efforts to put an end to political lobbying, and inevitably themselves. The firm’s founder, Karl Smith, said, “Abramoff’s promise to name names has rocked the monetary bedrock of Corporate Hill, and we must seize this opportunity and help put an end to the legal practice of laundering money through our elected officials.”

The nonprofit firm, Downsize Me, Un-Inc., was founded in 1994 in response to the 1990s Lobbying-Firm Boom that has grown exponentially in the new millennium. Karl Smith, a former economics professor at Witsend University, had been an outspoken political activist in the early '90s and a champion of lobbying reform in Washington, D.C. The firm began as SPOC (Stop Prostituting Our Congressman) before changing its name to Downsize Me. The name, according to Smith, stemmed from an inside joke during the first few months of operation: “The biggest challenge of our firm was motivating our staff. How do you convince employees to work harder, when the harder they work means the sooner they’ll be out of work? Given the paradox, we had no other choice but to laugh at ourselves. A good sense of humor is a prerequisite in this line of work. Our firm’s mantra is ‘Looking forward to the day we no longer exist.’ It’s posted all over the workplace. To further boost morale, one of the employees came up with a t-shirt slogan, ‘Downsize Me,’ and the name has stuck ever since.”

In 1996, despite the resistance of lobbying firms, Downsize Me opened an office in Washington, D.C. “I was amazed at how embedded the lobbying firms were, in not only in the political but also the economic landscape of D.C.,” said Smith. “To be safe, we had to assume everyone was sleeping with everyone, and the last thing anyone wanted was an outside party to come break up their orgy. For the longest time we couldn’t get a building permit, nonprofit tax-exempt status, or a cup of coffee at the neighborhood Starbucks. Within six months, Downsize Me had become the laughing stock of D.C., an honor we lovingly embraced. The more we laughed at ourselves, the more motivated we became, knowing that one day we’ll have the last laugh. We even had a revolving door installed at our D.C. headquarters to parody the revolving doors of the congressmen on Corporate Hill, who join prestigious lobbying firms when they vacate their seat on the Hill. Of course, the inside-joke for us is that we will revolve from lobbyist to unemployed lobbyist.”
Downsize Me exit in D.C. Headquarters

According to a lobbyist (who has chosen to remain anonymous until the law requires full disclosure), “Downsize Me doesn’t realize the trickle-down effects of trying to take the lobbying out of politics. Thousands of lobbyists will join the ranks of the unemployed. Fewer laws will be passed in Congress, because congressmen will have to start doing their own homework. D.C.’s finest restaurants, hotels, and health spas will go belly up. God forbid, the last thing we need is a bunch of nonprofit people running around D.C., looking for Triple-A rates and tipping exactly 15% wherever they dine.”

Smith is not oblivious to the effects lobbying reform will have on the capital’s economic viability. “Not a day goes by when we don’t receive an anonymous death threat, a letter from a member of the business community, or a phone call from an irate caller telling us to get the hell out of town and go back to Witsend. Our staff has been trained on how to respond to these threats. Just smile, agree, and respond with the company mantra: ‘Like you, we look forward to the day we no longer exist.'”
When the news of the Abramoff scandal first broke, Downsize Me doubled its staff in D.C., while the Witsend staff has put in countless hours of overtime investigating and chasing the money trail. “Everyone tied to Corporate Hill is washing their hands of dirty money, donating to charity any funds remotely connected to Abramoff. Nobody is immune,” said Smith. “Even some funding we’ve received can be traced back to Abramoff. In 2000, we received a $5000 donation from a prominent Witsend businessman who received the money from a fellow businessman and teammate on the Witsend Polo Club who received the funds in question from a bet he wagered with a Witsend plastic surgeon who received the money from a pharmaceutical representative who received the money from a lobbying firm who represents a client in the pharmaceutical industry. We had no choice but to donate the money to our favorite nonprofit organization, Downsize Me, Un-Inc., whose existence is in imminent peril - or so we can only hope.”

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Witsend School Board Considers Outsourcing School District

From Witsend Daily – An unprecedented turn of events unfolded at last night’s school board meeting when board president, Elaine Plunkett, proposed looking into outsourcing the Witsend School District to India. “Financially, the Witsend Community School District is in dire straits, and if I may borrow from the Bard, ‘Desperate times call for desperate measures.'”

The school district has been operating in the red for the past four years, and none of the schools have achieved a level of proficiency since the enactment of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. The window for meeting the guidelines closes in August, meaning the Witsend schools will lose all of their federal funding as well. Addressing the board, since no community members were in attendance, Plunkett said, “We cannot wait for the feds to step in and take over our schools. We need to get proactive, and given the current global market, outsourcing our district makes good economic sense."

Plunkett outlined her plan, which involves moving the school district to one of three possible communities in India. All current teaching and support staff have the option of retaining their jobs in the transition, although yearly salaries will be greatly reduced to match the cost of living in India. Any vacancies will be open to the public, and unfilled positions will be either eliminated or filled by the local Indian population. Dr. F. B. Skinner, principal at Witsend High School, said, “I’m not sure how receptive teachers will be to this proposal. Some teachers are very resistant to moving to a new classroom, let alone another country. They can be extremely territorial.”

Possible site for new Witsend Community School District
Upon losing federal dollars, students will qualify for a voucher, and this can be used to cover relocation expenses. According to Plunkett, “The money we’ll save from not having to spend on testing under NCLB next year will finance the entire construction of the district, administrator and teacher salaries, the first year’s operating budget, and a textbook publishing company that will be staffed entirely by Indian employees. I’ve already been in contact with three perspective communities, and all of them are excited about the prospect of our district relocating in their community.”

Witsend Middle School Student Jena Alverson: "It could be cool. I've heard India is really nice."
School board member Pete Leff echoed Plunkett’s enthusiasm: “If the goal of a school district is to prepare students to be productive members of their respective communities, it only makes sense to move our district to India, since that’s where most of our kids’ parents' jobs were sent. They can be the next generation of workers. This definitely gives ‘No Child Left Behind’ a new spin.” The school board adjourned the meeting, making the outsourcing issue top priority at next week’s meeting. The board hopes to get feedback from the community, but if attendance over the past year serves as any indication, the board will be bouncing their ideas off the walls.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Debating Responsibly, or “Stupid is as Stupid Does”

In the middle of preparing for their debate on whether or not the United States should begin withdrawing troops from Iraq, Cold War Veterans’ efforts were hit with a preemptive strike when the Commander in Chief warned, “There is a difference between responsible and irresponsible debate…” The debate “Should We Stay, or Should We Go Now?” was slated for Friday night at the V.M.W. (Veterans of Metaphoric Wars) in Witsend.

The intended topic was put on hold when both sides of the debate split into opposing factions and began debating what qualifies as responsible and irresponsible debate. And as is the case in all metaphoric wars, the debate reached a stalemate. Neither side had an exit strategy, nor was either side willing to admit defeat. In lieu of hiring a mediator, both parties turned to the Witsend Think Tank, TANKED THOUGHTS PARADOX, for clarification. After a heated, yet responsible discussion, the think tank released the following BOTTOM-FEEDER FIVE:

Red Flags Indicating That You Are Engaged in an Irresponsible Debate

5. When one side loses argument after argument, yet keeps retorting with “Stay the course!”

4. When the My-Big-Brother-Can-Beat-Up-Your-Big Brother argumentative discourse is initiated

3. When the tie-breaker voter drops an F-bomb on either side

2. When a conservative talk show host has the only microphone in the room

1. When either side decries “Na Na Na Boo Boo!”

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Poll Indicates Mattel is the Intelligent Designer

Final results of the first poll conducted by “Witsend Here” revealed that Mattel is the Intelligent Designer, claiming the dubious honor with 28% of the votes. Oprah and Yoda were a close second, each claiming a respective 22% of the vote count. Upon notification of the results, Mattel responded, “Duh.”

Up until this week, Oprah had a comfortable lead over Mattel, but the recent revelation by thesmokinggun.com revealed that an Oprah Book Club selection, “A Million Little Pieces” by James Frey (a best-selling nonfiction memoir about Frey’s recollections of crack addiction and incarcerations), is "filled with fabrications, falsehoods, fakerry,” thus dampening Oprah’s bid for Intelligent Designer.

We tried to contact Yoda for an inverted comment, but discovered that Yoda is not taking any calls and has left the force off the hook since the premier of his latest film, “Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith.” Disappointed by the results, pollsters for the runners-up united and began a write-in campaign, speculating that if Yoda and Oprah were to conceive a child together, the offspring would be the second coming of the Intelligent Designer.

Karl Rove and Jehovah finished a distant last in the poll, each claiming a modest 6%. Both candidates have managed to disappear from the media spotlight and could not be reached for comment. Although, the “Witsend Here” staff was able to contact Jehovah’s press agent who issued a statement, but because the statement was in Arabic, we were unable to translate it before the post deadline.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Interview: Doc T. Paine, 2008 Presidential Candidate

The 2008 Presidential Campaign kicked off in Witsend when The Other Party officially announced on Friday that Doc T. Paine will be its candidate. With less than34 months until election day, The Other Party wasted no time unleashing their presidential hopeful and current frontrunner of the 2008 presidential race (according to a recent poll conducted by 'Witsend Daily"). Doc T. Paine granted "Witsend Daily" and "Witsend Here" exclusive first rights to the campaign. Doc T. Paine has claimed an office in the "Witsend Daily" building where he will run the initial stages of his presidential bid and continue writing his syndicated column, "Keep Off the Campaign Trail," which will continue running in the "Witsend Daily." I arranged to meet Doc at his new office and campaign headquarters. The office, previously occupied by the freelance obituary writer for the "Witsend Daily," is small and relatively barren, and Doc is standing on a chair and mounting a campaign sign baring the slogan “Know Paine, Know Gain” on the wall behind his desk.

Witsend Here: What compelled The Other Party to announce your candidacy so early?

Doc T. Paine: The political season no longer exists. It’s a myth. Like the Christmas-shopping season, the political season kept getting earlier and earlier to the point where it fused with the previous season, giving us the perpetual campaign.

WH: But two-and-a-half years?

DTP: If anything, I’m well behind the Republicrats. They’ve been campaigning since the day Democracy died in 2000. Ol’ What’s His Face and whoever fills his boots have been campaigning for president since the day he was inaugurated in 2001. This begs the question, “When an elected politician first steps foot in the office, who's running whom?"

WH: By ‘Ol What’s His Face? Do you mean President Bush?

DTP: No, I mean Ol’ What’s His Face. To name him would only further empower him. Besides, I don’t give free lip service to the competing party.

WH: Political pundits have already dismissed your candidacy, calling you a "Crackpot with a computer.”

DTP: I’m weary of anyone who calls himself, or herself, a pundit. Besides, I wouldn’t be the first crackpot to get elected to office, now would I?

WH: Pundits don’t view The Other Party as a viable political party, but rather, a P.A.C. (Political Action Committee).

DTP: I agree. The Other Party is a P.A.C., a Politically Active Coup. I find it interesting that pundits reduce the English language to acronyms when wielding their mighty pens. If they really cared about language and meaning, they would take a closer look at Political Action Committee, and observe that Political Action is an oxymoron. By definition, these two words cancel each other out, leaving us with Committee. And anyone who has served on a committee has seen political inaction at its finest. Committees are the life force of bureaucracy.

WH: The pundits have also questioned your credibility, especially when you claimed the day after the 2000 election, that you had a dream about a coyote who told you to resurrect democracy.

DTP: And how is this any less plausible than any other supernatural resurrection dream? God, your wife, a coyote - what difference does it make who told you to run? The puppet masters have a history of ignoring the message while crucifying the messenger. They should question the credibility of who's ultimately delivering the message.

WH: What do you mean?

DTP: Let me give you an analogy. The Son of Sam claimed demons spoke to him through his neighbor’s barking dogs and told him to go shoot innocent women to help ease his mental suffering. For killing six people, Berkowitz was sent to prison for the rest of his life. On the other hand, Ol’ What’s His Face claimed to be the messenger for God and that it was God’s will for us to liberate Iraq and help ease the Iraqis’ suffering. And thousands of soldier and civilian casualties later, Ol’ What’s His Face is reelected to office.

WH: Still not quite following; what’s your point?

DTP: We need to focus on the message, not the messenger. The benefit of having a coyote as a messenger is that I won’t use this as a crutch in my speeches. I would sound pretty ridiculous if I tried to justify my actions in a speech with coyote-laden rhetoric such as “It’s Coyote’s will…,” “Coyote willing…” or “It’s our duty to Coyote to preserve our Coyote-given freedoms....”

WH: Third parties have a poor record of attempting to defeat the two major parties…

DTP: There are two major parties? I though we only had the Incorporated Party, or what pundits would call the INC party. (laughs)

WH: How do you plan to take on these political and financial juggernauts?

DTP: We’re a netroots movement and intend to be a netroots revolution. Last I heard, excluding votes in Congress, votes cannot be bought. We won’t accept any monetary donations. We plan on using a barter system: a vote in exchange for a political voice.

WH: Sounds logical.

DTP: We are the Pro-Logic Party. We especially represent the disenfranchised who have nothing else to exchange. We will focus our efforts on voters whose voices have been silenced, you know, the other voting population who chooses not to exercise their rights on election day. And this is where The Other Party steps in.

WH: Any parting words of wisdom?

DTP: Just say no to pundits and know to Paine.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

The Other Party Announces 2008 Presidential Candidate: Doc T. Paine

from Witsend Daily – Witsend’s The Other Party made Doc T. Paine’s 2008 Presidential bid official, announcing at a press conference held Friday afternoon that its founder will be the party’s candidate and the next President of the United States of America.

The Other Party was established by Doc T. Paine in the wake of the 2000 Presidential Election when, armed with a bullhorn, Doc scaled the Witsend Courthouse stairs and boldly announced from the concrete mount, “Dear Citizens of Witsend, Democracy is dead!” Curious Witsend passersby and courthouse employees soon gathered on the steps as Doc T. Paine repeated his claim, eventually providing Doc with a viable audience to help fuel and further his new mission.

“The first step to resurrecting Democracy is admitting that it’s dead, so we can begin the recovery process. I can no longer live in a perpetual state of denial,” Doc said as his audience nodded their heads in apparent agreement. “I dreamt last night that a coyote was being chased by an infinite herd of elephants and donkeys. Fearing the pain of being trampled to death, the coyote led the masses to the top of a cliff, over which the elephants and donkeys plunged to their tragic deaths. Somehow the coyote had been miraculously spared. He stood at the edge of the cliff, cast a smile at me, looked me in the eye, and said, ‘It’s up to you to resurrect Democracy, Doc. But be careful of what you chase. It’s a long fall.’ With the latter statement, the coyote winked at me and leapt off the cliff’s edge. His fall jarred me from my slumber, and it was at this point that I knew I had been reborn.”

One week later, Doc T. Paine’s quest to resurrect democracy became more concrete when he founded The Other Party, Witsend’s Only Viable Political Party. At the grassroots level, The Other Party has been gaining ground in the politically-disenfranchised community of Witsend and has recently begun to build a netroots-movement. According to Therapist Bob, spokesperson for The Other Party and campaign advisor to Doc T. Paine, “Witsend is a mere microcosm of da politically disenfranchised and disengaged in da United States. Da Other Party will return da country back to where it belongs: To da People, mon! It’s time to bite da corporate hand dat has wrung our souls dry and get back to da roots of da people. Doc T. Paine and Da Other Party will take us to da Promised Land, da Land of Democracy, mon!”

Membership in The Other Party has grown exponentially since the 2004 presidential election and, as current polls indicate, looks to keep gaining ground among the disenfranchised. The Other Party’s mission, To Resurrect Democracy, has set the foundation for some of the underlying principles guiding the self-proclaimed, “Pro-Logic Party.” In a brief statement issued to the press, Doc T. Paine said, “The Other Party was founded to help flush the money out of the political campaign cesspool. Because the voices of Witsend don’t register on either of the two mainstream parties' monetary radar, we have been routinely ignored in the past presidential elections. We intend to run a netroots campaign that will redefine the nature of politicking, and when I become President of the United States, I intend to push for an amendment to the constitution that will draw a line in the political sand clearly separating the Political from the Corporate State.”

At the end of the announcement, The Other Party representatives declined answering questions hurled from the press corp arena, thus concluding the press conference.

To learn more about The Other Party presidential campaign, stay tuned to Witsend Here for an exclusive interview with Doc T. Paine and his debut column, Keep Off the Campaign Trail.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Interview: Saint Thomas, Patron Saint of Catholic Rock 'n' Roll

Saint Thomas and his Catholic Rock band, The Genuflectors, currently dominate the Catholic Rock charts and plan on kicking off their 2006 Ultimate Forgiveness Tour at The Confessional in Witsend. The Genuflectors began their careers as the house band at The Confessional, and with the success of their new CD, "Got Forgiveness?," the band is planning to branch out beyond their Witsend brethren, spreading their Catholic Rock influence across the nation. The title track surged to the top of the Catholic Rock charts in less than a week, and The Genuflectors round out the top five with “Forgive Me Father, For I Have Sinned…Again,” “The Ballad of John Kerry,” “Go to Hail, Mary,” and “God Hates Bureaucrats.” I was able to catch up with front man, Saint Thomas, at The Confessional where the band was preparing to kick off their tour with a New Year’s Eve gig. The neon sign hanging over The Confessional’s entrance, blinking “Protestants Welcome,” offered me a sense of comfort as I entered Saint Thomas’s musical sanctuary. I spotted Saint Thomas sitting in a booth adjacent to the bar. He was scribbling in a notebook and appeared to be in deep contemplation when I intervened.

Witsend Daily: What was the inspiration behind the idea of tapping into the unexplored niche of Catholic Rock?

Saint Thomas: Late one night, after playing a gig at The Confessional, I was having trouble falling asleep. I was still coming down from the rush of playing and feeling God’s energy flow through me. I’m telling you, it’s exhausting.

WD: I can only imagine.

ST: I was flipping through the channels on the tube when my thumb was struck with a temporary paralysis—divine intervention, if you will. My mind was wavering between the conscious and subconscious worlds when a commercial struck me. It was one of those late-night ads selling music compilations. You know, the ones selling a bunch of nostalgic one-hit wonders that sound good only when they’re all on one album and you’re already delirious with lack of sleep.

WD: Can I make a confession?

ST: (Looks around) Look where you are. We can go to one of the confessional booths if you’d prefer, or you can spill it right here.

WD: In a moment of weakness, I bought the “Greatest Love Songs of the ‘70s.”

ST: No worries, Brother Lindsey; you’re forgiven. I have the same CD. The commercial I'm speaking of, though, was advertising some Christian Rock “Best of…” compilation. And it wasn’t the words that moved me per se, but rather, the audience. There were clips of Christian Rock fans at concerts, the cameras panning the audience and capturing a sea of catatonic, glazed over looks in their devout eyes. I thought to myself, ‘Cha Ching!’ Their looks reminded me of Sunday mass when I was a kid and used to peek around the cathedral while genuflecting, catching wayward, yet deeply entranced looks of members who, like me, weren’t properly bowing down.

WD: Is this what inspired the band’s name?

ST: Yep. I always thought the Catholic Church to be too regimental, and I expressed this in my music while playing with my previous band, Witsend of the World. Our sound and the lyrics I wrote were too predictable, and that’s why we had trouble landing gigs.

WD: Your music, in particular your new album, has received mixed reviews from the critics. Some have embraced you, dubbing you The Patron Saint of Catholic Rock, while others have condemned your music, decrying it as blasphemous garbage.

ST: I’m flattered by the whole sainthood thing; it sure beats waiting around for word from the Vatican to trickle down. I bear no ill-will toward those who condemn my music. After all, it’s the whole forgiveness thing that underlies our songs.

WD: Did you know members from your own church have organized an event in which they plan on building a pyre with your albums, setting them afire on a wooden raft and casting them off into the Witsend Harbor?

ST: Yeah, I heard about it.

WD: If you could say anything to these people, what would it be?

ST: Thanks for buying my album.

WD: Fair enough. Because you labeled yourself Catholic Rock, any concerns that your audience will be too limited?

ST: Not really. Catholic Rockers are the target audience, but we hope to be a successful “crossover” band. We hope our music will cross over to other pop charts, and who knows, maybe someday we can land a hit on a Christian Rock chart. I also think our band will be a catalyst for musicians of other religions. Don’t be surprised to see Jewish, Muslim, or Mormon Rock bands carving out their own niche in the rock-'n'-roll world.

WD: Don’t you think these niches would compete against one another, and it could get ugly?

ST: The last thing I want is to start a Holy Rock War. Quite the opposite. Unlike politics and religion, I see music as a great leveler in our world. Music transcends borders and ignorance. In fact, we are building a solid Jewish fan base, and we’ve already booked a couple of synagogues on this upcoming tour.

WD: So what inspired this year’s Ultimate Forgiveness Tour?

ST: You’re a newspaper man; read the papers.

WD: Touché. Any final words you want to leave with our readers?

ST: Nothing my Boss hasn’t already told them.