Saturday, December 31, 2005

"Witsend Here" Hails Hundredth Hit

from Witsend’s What’s In - The staff of “Witsend Here” held a Where-Were-You-When-We-Rolled-Over-A-Hundred Party last night, commiserating the hundredth hit aboard a lavish yacht docked in the Witsend Harbor. T.M. Lindsey, founder of “Witsend Here” and publisher/editor of sister news source “Witsend Daily,” began the Witsend Here t-shirt (the gold-leaf lettering printed inside a five-pointed star) and blue-jean affair with a brief anecdote about his whereabouts when the site hit one-hundred. “I cannot tell a lie, I was at The Confessional (Witsend’s most popular drinking hole among the local intelligentsia),” he said as the crowd interrupted with laughter, “…working.” The crowd’s laughter escalated, eventually fading as Lindsey elaborated, “I was interviewing homebred rocker, Saint Thomas, when the bartender came to our table and whispered in my ear that he had just received a call that we broke a hundred.” The crowd roared with applause as T.M. lifted his plastic champagne glass in the air, signaling his genuine gratitude before quickly disposing of the glass’s contents.

T.M. followed up the applause with a brief speech he had composed on what appeared to be a cocktail napkin from The Confessional (the trademark rosary trim set against an evergreen background). “When we first started Witsend Here last week, we had no idea that it would take off so quickly. To reach a hundred hits this soon is an indescribable feeling, and makes me wonder where 'Witsend Here' will go next. At this rate, reaching 150 or 200 hits is certainly plausible, but none of this would’ve been possible if it weren’t for all of you, the citizens of Witsend, and all the loyal staff members who forwarded the site address to their equally loyal relatives.”

T.M. Lindsey stepped down from behind the lectern as other guests took the microphone and shared their Where-Were-You-When-We-Rolled-Over-a-Hundred stories, which ranged from praying for forgiveness and instant success at the Witsend Church for the Disenfranchised Souls, Inc., to painting toenails while watching The Hemp Bowl on local cable access television. Art Radley, local conspiracy theorist and author of Witsend Here’s sporatic column “Behind the Venetian Blinds,” gave a colorful, yet ambiguous account of his whereabouts, claiming he didn’t find out about the hundredth hit until the site had already hit 105.

The evening took an unexpected turn around the midnight hour when members from the National Security Agency stormed the yacht and demanded that everyone leave immediately, claiming the yacht had been illegally booked through a lobbyist working for Tom Delay.
-reported by Mandy Pamby (Witsend Daily's most reliable gossip columnist)

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Witsend Coalition Urges Boycott of “King Kong”

from Witsend Daily - A coalition calling themselves “Guerilla WarFair” has urged Witsendians to boycott the viewing of the nation’s number one box office movie, “King Kong,” decrying the film as exploitative and racist. The film began playing at the Witsend Mega-Complex two weeks ago with little fanfare, but has come under fire as of late when students in a Witsend University class, “Blaxploitation in American Film,” stoked the debate regarding the film’s racist overtones.

Guerilla WarFair is comprised of a myriad of local groups including the NAACP, SANS (Students Against Negative Stereotypes), PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) & PETG (People for the Ethical Treatment of Gorillas, a splinter group of PETA), the Witsend Human Rights Commission, and the Local Zookeepers & Pipe Fitters Union No.717.

The coalition is spearheaded by Dr. Jane Lee, a professor who teaches in the African-American Cultural Studies Department at Witsend University. Dr. Lee also teaches the class that helped fuel the controversy, and she first heard about the racist implications of “King Kong” when her graduate students broached the subject during the seminar. “I hadn’t even seen the movie," Lee said, "so all I could do was sit by and listen as the students presented their arguments. As an educator, I had no choice but to view the film that evening and they were right; the film is indeed racist.”

When asked to elaborate, Dr. Lee replied, “The film perpetuates a number of negative stereotypes that African Americans have been trying to shake since W.B. Griffith’s ‘Birth of a Nation’ hit the big screen. For starters, you have a white movie producer who wants to film the only unexploited territory in the world, “Skull Island,” and exploit this for his own fame and fortune in the film industry. The island’s aborigines are living caricatures of racist depictions in early American film. It’s as if they’re possessed by the white man’s devil; they dance and gyrate while their eyes roll in the backs of their heads. The entire Kong ritual scene, the sacrifice of the blond-haired and blue-eyed Aryan Princess to the black sexual savage, made me want to throw up.”

Dr. Lee further argues that the racial overtones spin into overdrive when the white movie producer helps convince the captain of the Venture to capture Kong and ship him back to the United States against his will, where he can be used to help replenish a scarcity of creativity in the film industry. “Sounds strikingly similar to the slavery movement to me. And the final scene is merely a rehashed incarnation of the white man’s fear of white women falling prey to a black sexual predator, only the white woman’s purity is saved when Kong is gunned down, in the back no less, by a squadron of planes and falls 101 floors to his death. The whole thing is disgusting.”

According to Jonathan Rand, another member of Guerilla WarFair and professor in the Art Department at Witsend University, “From an architectural point of view, the racism is pretty obvious, especially when considering the symbolism of the final scene. Here you have the Empire State Building, the tallest man-made building and phallic symbol in the world at the time, and you have Kong mounting the structure and climbing to the top with his sacrificial beauty clenched in his paw, only to fall to his tragic death while the white structure remains intact. To add insult to injury, the white damsel is reunited with the white writer atop the phallic structure, thus reasserting his white male dominance, albeit on the rebound. The real tragedy is that, thanks to institutionalized racism, Kong never had a chance.”

The filmmakers had no response to the racist implications, but the management at the Witsend Mega-Complex issued the following statement;“The movie, ‘King Kong,' is purely entertainment and nothing more. We stand behind the movie and will continue to show it in our theater.” Despite this attempt at atonement, the coalition has lined the sidewalk outside of the theater with protestors wielding signs such as “Racism Killed the Beast,” “Stop Gorillexploitation,” and other signs urging aboycott of the movie.

Guerilla WarFair has had some resistance in the Witsend community. People calling themselves Gorilla Love Godz and wearing t-shirts emblazoned with “Once You’ve had Gorilla/There’s No More Thor-illa,” staged a counterprotest. The group’s founder, Reginald Jackson, said Gorilla Love Godz was formed to embrace Kong’s death: “We need to see this tragedy for what it is and revere King Kong for what he stands for, a tragic sexual hero and martyr for our community.” Armed with a bullhorn, Jackson’s calls of “Long Live Kong!” prompted the Guerilla WarFair to pump their signs up and down in a unified defense while Gorilla Love Godz beat their chests and chimed in with Jackson, responding, “Long Live Kong!”

Sunday, December 25, 2005

A Visit from Saint Dick, by R.K. Muse*

The following poem was discovered on the make-shift stable walls of the "Nativity Scene" displayed on the lawn of Witsend's Mayor, Donald Lehman:

A Visit from Saint Dick

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the camp,
Not a conscience was stirring, not even a scamp.
The golden parachutes were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that the NSA is still unaware.

The children were nestled all snug in feather beds
While visions of green Bens danced in their heads.
And Laura in her pajamas, and I in my blinders,
Had just settled our brains for another year of never-minders.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I stumbled with a flash,
Threw up the shutters and tore down the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen cash flow
Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my blindfolded eyes should appear,
But Air Force One, and eight yes-men of yesteryear.

When a little old pilot, so stoic and slick,
I knew in a moment it must be ol’ Saint Dick.
More stealth than bombers his courses they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

“Now Dobson! Now, Delay! Now, Frisk and Rumie!
On Scalia! On Roberts! On, on Rove and Condie!
To the top of the food chain! To the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all.”

As empty promises after the wild hurricane still fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, it’s time to say bye-bye.
So up to the rooftop of my inland mansion the coursers they flew,
With Air Force One full of good political cheer, and ol’ Saint Dick too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard a crash through the roof;
The prancing and pawing of each grubby little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down through the attic floor Saint Dick fell with a thunderous sound.

He was dressed all in gold, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with sin and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had strapped on his back,
And he looked like a pirate, just opening his booty pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
Prepared to unleash an arrow dipped in golden glow.

The stump of a cigar he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly corporate elf,
And I chuckled when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the chutes, then turned with a jerk.
And flipping his middle finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up though the floorboards he rose!

He lumbered to Air Force One, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he flew out of sight,
“No worries, Lil’ George, what we did this year was right!”
*R.K. Muse is Witsend's first and only (de facto) Poet Laureate, since no other poet has stepped forward to make a claim on the literary title. Although no verification of R.K. Muse's existence has been verified through the Bureaucratic Regime, he has left a trail of poems in his mysterious wake. The poems have appeared all over Witsend, usually scribed in what appears to be a red, water-soluble paint. The CSI of Witsend has tested the paint, and their results contend the red dye is a mixture of animals' blood, which helps support the popular theory among Witsendians that his initials stand for "Road Kill" and his muse is inspired by the unsuspecting victims whose souls he releases during the night.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Trickle-Down Intelligent Design Flawed from Above

The intelligent design movement took another step backward when Judge E. Jones III ruled against a Pennsylvania school board’s attempt to slip creationism into high school biology classes. Proponents of intelligent design contend that life forms are too complex to have been formed by natural processes (that’s evolution to the rest of us) and must have been the workings of a higher intelligence, preferably someone or thing whose intelligence quotient is greater than the cumulative I.Q. of the Dover School Board.

The staff at the Witsend Think Tank, TANKED THOUGHTS PARADOX, has chewed on the notion of “intelligent design” and has released the following BOTTOM-FEEDER FIVE:

If all life forms are a by-product of a higher intelligence, who in their right mind would’ve designed:

5. Bill O’Reilly

4. Anyone who genuinely believes that there’s no such thing as a stupid question

3. Jehovah’s Witnesses

2. The Illegitimate Child of Democracy, King George

1. Infomercial Actors

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Hemp Bowl Lights Up Controversy

Reported by the Witsend Daily

Despite the NCAA’s reluctance to sanction the first inaugural Hemp Bowl at Witsend University’s Idler Stadium, the bowl’s sponsors still intend to hold and promote the event. The winless Idlers have already accepted an invitation to play the game, although Hemp Bowl promoters have had difficulty finding an opponent. According to the Hemp Bowl’s founder and leading organizer, Barry Fitzwater, “We’ve sent out several invitations to prospective teams. We’re still waiting to hear back from any one of them.” The game was scheduled to be played on Christmas Day, which has only served to fuel the existing controversy.

Officials at the University of Witsend still support hosting the Hemp Bowl despite opposition among some members of the Witsend community. The main opposition group, Mothers Against Drug-Sponsored Bowl Games, have organized a protest against the impending event. Founder and leading advocate, Mary Watkins, vowed to put a halt to the Hemp Bowl due to its sponsors, Hemp Growers of America, claiming, “Everybody knows the active ingredient in marijuana comes from the Hemp plant, and as a mother, I’ll be damned if I’m going to sit by and watch a tax-funded institution promote drug usage through some football game.”

Sponsors were quick to point out that the public has a deep-seeded misunderstanding of the hemp plant and wants to educate the public through public service announcements that will be broadcasted throughout the game. Although, since the game is unsanctioned, it will not be televised on any of the major networks and will only be shown on a tape-delayed broadcast to be aired on the local Witsend Cable Access station.

Fitzwater defended the Hemp Bowl, responding to critics, “An individual would have to smoke nearly 400 pounds of the hemp plant to achieve the same effects produced by the THC found in one marijuana cigarette. Like roses and poinsettias, the hemp plant grows naturally from God’s earth–only the former have been accepted by society and honored with bowl titles. It’s only fitting that the hemp plant should receive the same consideration. I’d imagine if you smoked 400 pounds of roses or poinsettias, you’d probably feel the same effects achieved by smoking a bowl of marijuana, assuming you don’t pass out from hyperventilation beforehand.” Fitzwater also took issue with the double-standard sponsorship, noting that nobody has ever taken issue with events sponsored by alcohol. “We have no problem allowing beer companies to underwrite bowl games with advertising and merchandising, but heaven forbid advertising an industrial-strength fiber that could help resurrect our ailing farm industry - the very fiber of our country.”

Members of the Witsend business community have come out in support of hosting the Hemp Bowl, indicating the game will bring in outside revenue. Rory Patrick, president of the Witsend Business Association and proprietor of Witsend’s most popular drinking hole, The Confessional, noted “It would be a sin to turn away any potential revenue to our berg. Besides, the Hemp Bowl might just put Witsend back on the map.”

Potential sponsors of the Hemp Bowl, Little Debbie and Hostess, are waiting to see how the controversy pans out before committing funds to the event. Meanwhile, the Idler football team has been practicing as if they will indeed play on Christmas Day. According to Idler coach, Kurt Frye, “We can’t just sit around and wait for this controversy to blow over. We plan on playing regardless of the outcome, even if that means playing with ourselves.”

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

R.K. Muse: Witsend's Poet Laureate*

The following sonnet, a parody of the opening scene of Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, was discovered descending the front steps of the Witsend Courthouse, each one of the fourteen steps tagged with a line from the poem while the title rested on the doorstep, serving as a doormat:

Corporate Hill: An Obituary

Two households, both alike in maladies
(In fair D.C., where we expose our scene),
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where Civil blood makes civil hands unclean.

From forth the fatal loins of these two foes,
An illegitimate child was conceived:
Whose misadventured piteous overthrows
Tyranny behind veiled Democracy.

The fearful passage of sinister Acts
Resurrecting Crusades twice removed-
Spinning webs of mass deception sans facts,
While claiming thee Almighty hath approved.

The which, if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend.
*R.K. Muse is Witsend's first and only (de facto) Poet Laureate, since no other poet has stepped forward to make a claim on the literary title. Although no verification of R.K. Muse's existence has been verified through the Bureaucratic Regime, he has left a trail of poems in his mysterious wake. The poems have appeared all over Witsend, usually scribed in what appears to be a red, water-soluble paint. The CSI of Witsend has tested the paint, and their results contend the red dye is a mixture of animals' blood, which helps support the popular theory among Witsendians that his initials stand for "Road Kill" and his muse is inspired by the unsuspecting victims whose souls he releases during the night.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Bush Defends Secret Surveillance on Self

SP - In an unprecedented move, Bush disclosed that he had ordered around-the-clock secret surveillance on himself, quickly defending his actions, "The activities conducted under this authorization have helped protect the American people, not to mention their Commander in Chief." When pressed by reporters about the violation of civil liberties, Bush responded, "In the 'War on Terror,' you can never be to sure who the enemy is, and I for one don't want to take any chances. Too much is at stake, and we must take any measures that will protect our freedoms."

Patty Hurston, Chairperson of the ACLU chapter in Witsend, claimed the President's actions are inexcusable, not to mention unconstitutional. "The President is headed wown a slippery slope, and before you know it, everybody will be spying on themselves. Americans will stop trusting themselves, and this is a dangerous precedent to set. Just because the President doesn't trust himself doesn't give him the power to violate this distrust."

Bush said his authority to approve what he called a "vital tool in our war against the terrorists" came from his constitutional powers as Commander in Chief. He said that he has personally signed off on reauthorizations more than thirty times, and nearly half of these authorizations involved increased surveillance of his whereabouts and the comings and goings of the Oval Office, Air Force One, and his ranch in Crawford, Texas. "The American people expect me to do everything in my power under our laws and Constitution to protect them and their civil liberties," Bush said. "And that is exactly what I will continue to do, so long as I'm the President of the United States. Thousands of lives have already been saved due these security authorizations. I hate to imagine how many more people would've died on the global scale had I not approved surveillance on myself. As the security reports will show you, I shudder to imagine these catastrophic possibilities."

In a Witsend Daily poll,76% percent of respondents agreed that the President does indeed pose a viable threat to himself and should authorize secret surveillance upon himself. Forty six of Witsendians polled agreed that the President's authorization of secret surveillance on himself did not constitute a violation of civil liberties since he ordered it upon himself, although 97% said if they ordered the same surveillance on themselves, it would constitute a violation of civil liberties.

Witsend's Doc T. Paine, the Other Party's 2008 presidential hopeful, contended that anyone could authorize the Intelligence Community to spy on oneself, especially on the taxpayer's dollar. The bigger concern is whether or not the President actually reads the Intelligence gathered on himself. "Had he read this Intelligence in lieu of the faulty intelligence he used to authorize the war in Iraq, intelligence gathering would be one step closer to detaching itself from the oxymoronic family. And maybe, just maybe, this could be a more powerfull tool in combating metaphoric wars such as the 'War on Terror.'"

State Finally Divorces the Church

SP - Witsend Municipal Divorce Court: The STATE vs. The CHURCH

After enduring over two-hundred years of being separated; The State and The Church finally made their separation official at the Witsend Municipal Divorce Court.

The case, presided over by Judge C. Meant, was brought forth by We the People who cited “irreconcilable difference” on behalf of their parents. “We the People have been torn for too long and can no longer be used as pawns by our parents, whose feud has spawned more illegitimate lawsuits than We can humanly fathom. We’d hoped the First Amendment would patch up preexisting hostilities between our parents, but the amendment’s vagueness has merely opened more metaphoric wounds, festering and spreading among Us like a cancerous crusade.”

Having taking sides with either The State or The Church during the lengthy separation of their parents, fire and brimstone filled the courtroom before the proceedings had even begun, forcing Honorable Judge C. Meant to step in and issue a decree, “I will not have the sanctity of this courtroom poisoned by these outbursts. Those of you representing The Church will be banished to the balcony during the proceedings while those representing The State will be regulated to the courtroom floor.” The Church reluctantly accepted the partisan Judge’s plea, rationalizing the balcony served to transcend them above the fray of ignorance, thus placing them one step closer to their respective deities.

Further rancor and brimstone ensued during the swearing-in process when The State refused to put its over-extended hand on The Bible and take the ceremonial oath, citing the oath would establish a precedent that would undermine its entire case. The Judge called for a recess and ordered The Court bailiff to beget a viable substitute that would appease The State. The Bailiff returned from the Witsend Historic Society, carrying the original framed copy of the Witsend Constitution underneath his arm. The document itself was obscured by a scratched Plexiglas window and hid behind the words, “Break In Case of Emergency,” spray painted in jagged blood-red letters across its body. The Judge’s gesture managed to simmer the fires, The State and The Church having been pacified – for the moment.

The fires were quickly resurrected during the custody battle when The Church took the offensive, accusing The State of repeatedly exposing We the People to its adulterous affair with The Corporation -- citing their relationship created an unhealthy environment for raising children.

The State countered that since they were separated the affair wasn’t technically adulterous, and they had done everything in their power to keep their affair hidden from We the People. “As far as we know, only the top one-percent of the financial community is aware of the intricacies of our relationship, and they seem quite pleased with how it’s matured over the years – both psychologically and monetarily.”

Upon hearing the final arguments and pleas by The State and The Church, Judge C. Meant retired to his chambers, the Court Bailiff trailing behind in his wake -- carting off a wheelbarrow filled with documents whose weight, ounce for ounce, would rival all revised drafts of The New Testament.

After a quick deliberation, the Judge returned to the bench and rendered his decision, “By the power granted me under the authority of the Witsend Municipal Divorce Court, I hereby decree the official separation of The State and The Church. Both parties will abide by the following terms of the decision…”

Recitation of the terms of the settlement, during which representatives of both parties nodded off as if caught in a sermonic crossfire, lasted longer than the actual proceedings. Some of the highlights of the decision included:
The State will no longer make a declaration of war in the name of God and must pay restitution to The Church for any previous wars, declared or otherwise, wherein God’s name was used to justify its actions.

The State must reimburse the Church for any taxes collected on monies won by anyone who accredited The Church for their winnings. In addition, any remaining post-tax revenue must be liquidated and donated to The Church.

The State will no longer include “In God We Trust” on the production of money, and The Church will take immediate possession of all monies inscribed with “In God We Trust.”

The State will remove the words “under God” and “indivisible from the Pledge of Allegiance.

For purposes of taxation, The State will no longer recognize any marriages bound and sealed by The Church.

With regard to the fate of We the People, The Court reached a split-custody decision -- granting The State full-custody of the Body, while The Church was awarded full domain over the Soul – although The Church was granted additional visitation rights of the Body on Sundays and alternating religious holidays.

After Judge C. Meant rendered The Court’s decision, The Church stormed out of the balcony seats with fire and brimstone deeply tattooed in their eyes, vowing they would appeal the decision to a higher, more reputable court.