Rough DraftsEmbrace the Process
Beverly Hills, CA—A hot, new trend is sweeping California. After a long day at work or a tough session of crossfit, people across the state are seeking sleeping baby massages. It’s similar to hot stone massages, but instead of stones, warm, sleeping babies are placed across the back and head.
Spa owner, Dawn Gladwell, says, “Babies are like the best weight. 7-1o pounds is perfect for soothing without pinching any nerves. Not to mention, new baby smell can also be marketed as aroma therapy.” Gladwell and her husband, Dustin, came up with the idea after the birth of their first daughter, Emma. “Have you ever had a baby sleep on you?” asked Dustin. “It’s amazing. Relaxes you more than eating turkey.”
While the couple has received some criticism, it’s mostly muted as the babies are nonverbal. Of course, their parents do sign a release form. One parent said, “It’s sort of like daycare, but instead of paying $2,000 a month, my baby is actually earning his own paycheck.”
New York—Contact with alien lifeforms has been received. This morning, a probe containing a golden record of unidentified origin was brought to Earth and deposited in NASA headquarters. Authorities were baffled trying to decode the medium, until Neil Degrasse Tyson reached out to Charles Frank Bolden, Jr, stating that he had “a golden record player gifted to him by the late, Carl Sagan.”
A silent terror spread through the building upon deciphering the message. “It’s a call to action,” said Bolden, “but the question is: do we have the resources to make it happen?” Neil Degrasse Tyson has been tasked with heading up the mission, despite his whimsical vests. When asked for details, Degrasse Tyson responded: “It’s essentially a chain letter, but do we dare ignore it’s warnings?”
The golden record declares that whomever decodes the message must make ten copies and launch them at their favorite planets or face annihilation. Citizens may use PlanetQuest to make a suggestion, but NASA would like to remind Americans that Hoth is not real and Endor is technically a moon. “I’m a big fan of Tau Ceti e,” said Degrasse Tyson, “but we don’t have confirmation yet. Kepler-62e is definitely on my list.”
Despite warnings from the United States Postal Service and Congressional Budget Office regarding the potential drain on resources, the Obama administration has “gone all in,” a senior cabinet member said.
To ensure Americans are made aware of the threat, please share this with five friends or else a year of misfortune will follow you.“The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it,” said Neil Degrasse Tyson. “The bad thing about chain letters and golden records from other planets is you have no idea what to believe.”
Cleveland—Indians fan, Rick Dobner, is stumped by online quizzes. “I don’t get it,” Dobner said, “all my friends post these quiz results to Facebook saying what city they should live in, which Walking Dead character they are, and for me, they just don’t work.”
No matter what Dobner enters, the city quiz states he should live in Cleveland. Quizzes regarding fictional characters return his own name. The font quiz said,You Got: Dobner while the accompanying paragraph stated:
“You’re 38 years old and have no meaningful relationships. You live in your grandparent’s former house and have gradually let it fall into disrepair. People avoid you in social situations. Your life revolves around the Indians and the Browns. You have high cholesterol and low self-esteem. You’re one step away from losing your job at Cedar Lee Pub & Grill.”
After staring blankly at the outfield, Dobner sighed and sipped from his beer. “I’ve been trying to eat Cheerios and since that DUI, I’ve been walking more,” Dobner said, “The cholesterol thing, I’m on top of that.” After watching the sixth inning in muted silence, Dobner spoke. “It’s just not fair,” he said, “People describe me as a Gimli, but how do I know it’s true if the quiz won’t tell me?”
Yes, I’m down the hall from David Gilmour. Each week students stop by my office with names like questions escaping their mouths. Oates? Atwood? Munro? We’ve heard you teach these things, they say. I nod. Gesture toward a seat. Sit down, I say.
It works both ways. When I start class each semester, I tell my students, I only teach women. If you want some dead, white guys, go see Gilmour. Trot yourself down the hall. I’m sure he’s a wonderful writer, but no, I’ve not read his books. You see, I love women. I love reading women. I don’t love men enough and I can only teach what I love. Seriously gay, ethnic women. Cather, Woolf, Dickinson, and of course, Richard Ford.
I teach only the best. I don’t have low shelf-esteem, so I won’t tell you how many times I’ve read To the Lighthouse (100 times). What happens with great literature is that the shadows on the pages move around. The same thing happens with mediocre literature on a slow afternoon, but I digress. I teach only the best. I haven’t encountered any Russian writers yet that I love enough to teach. Once again, when I was given this job I said I would only teach the people that I truly, truly love. Next semester I plan to offer a seminar on me.
[UPDATE:] Those remarks were totally off the cuff. At the time of the interview, I was Skyping with Israel and the Palestinian Authority to negotiate peace. Moreover, I was gestating a human child inside of my own body.
New York—The Midwesterner: they grow our food and raise our children, but what do we really know of these simple folk from the hinterlands of the United States? That question has plagued, Jeffrey Walsh, an investment banker residing in Manhattan. Recently, he hired marc&mark to teach his nanny how to cook without a microwave, cream of mushroom soup, or dried onions. The company was recommended by Stephanie Johnson and her husband, Dan Yashiv, because “their nanny, [Erela], from Wisconsin, does not always know the difference between quinoa and couscous.”
“While we may be able to teach a Midwesterner to tear lettuce and wash their hands, we’re only treating the symptoms and not the problem,” said Walsh. “The key lies within the Midwestern brain and the nodules, which rise on the surface of the skull.”
Having been rebuffed by neuroscientists, Walsh turned to the time-honored practice of phrenology as practiced by Franz Joseph Gall. “If you have the money, it’s far easier to get human skulls than you may think,” Walsh said, pointing to the wall in his study. “Of course, I haven’t purchased any skulls from the East Coast, that would be uncivilized.” So far, his anecdotal experience has backed up his hypothesis. “The Midwesterner. They’re a different sort. See how the eyes are set and the bone is denser around the frontal lobes of the cerebellum? They’ve obviously evolved to live a simpler, agrarian lifestyle.” The biggest surprise of his research has been the Michigander skulls. “They’re almost Canadian,” Walsh said.
While Walsh isn’t sure where his research will take him, he does offer advice for New Yorkers who are in the market for midwestern help. “Safety pins and patience. Pin notes to their coats. Pretend you’re talking to a child. Forgive them their Crocs”
Jefferson City, MO—Residents of Missouri no longer need to live in fear. A new initiative led by State Rep. Rick Brattin (R) has created an early warning system for residents in the event that the theory of evolution is being taught in schools. Moving quickly on the heels of his bill, NO. 1472 of the House, Brattin has wired the state’s tornado sirens to a command center located in the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
“It’s a safety issue,” said State Rep. Andy Koenig (R), “Not only do parents have a right to know, but the whole community should be given warning.” While agreement has not been reached on what residents should do when they hear the sirens, one response has gained popularity. “Duck and cover,” said local parent, Kristen Sanders. “Get under your desk and cover up those ears. You can’t stop that teacher from talking, but you can stop your child from listening.” If deemed successful, the program may be be used as a model in Oklahoma.
Boston—Rookie academic consultant, Nick Sileon, is frustrated. After years of working in higher education and blogging on the topic, academics don’t wants to be his friend since he’s become a consultant.
“I just don’t get it,” said Sileon, “I’m trying to fix a broken system and they seem totally uninterested.” His recent book, Technology Tenure-Hack, a Washington Times notable book of the year, outlines how teachers can be replaced with cybernetic text-books, the rise of wearable learning devices, and a lottery system for credentialing students with good hygiene.
“I used to have tons of friends who were professors. We’d see each other at conferences. Go out for a drink. Tweet each other ironic phrases. But, for some reason they’ve faded away.” Sileon, whose Twitter following is approaching 10,000 appeared dejected. “EdTech guys love me. Twenty-four-hour news channels love me. I’ve spoken at numerous conferences. In the new future, credentials won’t matter.”
When asked about decreased levels in state and federal funding affecting budgets in higher education, Sileon stared with a look that contained annoyance and exasperation. “The whole system is broken,” Sileon said, “and our job is to completely dismantle it until it looks like an Apple Store had a baby with Peter Thiel. Why is that so hard to understand?” Turning back to his phone, Sileon grew quiet and focused on the screen, hopeful for a new follower from the professoriate.
Media credit: http://flic.kr/p/bATihQ.
Land O’ Lakes, FL—Expect massive changes in the climate as a large sinkhole in Florida swallowed the moon. Residents should stock up on canned goods, avoid drinking from the taps, and travel in armed caravans toward more solid ground. Sluggishness may be due to the increased gravitational pull of the Earth or from Lars von Trier’s Syndrome. While this is not a mandatory evacuation, safety cannot be guaranteed due to Disney’s declaration of martial law. Conspiracy theorists have their sights set on Epcot Center as the real cause for the moon incident. When confronted by Disney’s Mouseketeer Minutemen it is best to silently line up and wait patiently. Citizens under 42 inches tall are not allowed to ride in military vehicles.
Mountain View, CA—When an out of shape, single man with a predilection toward Doctor Who, Soylent, and Red Bull controls your every move, you no longer find the debate between free will and determinism interesting. While the view from twelve miles above sea level is pretty spectacular, the details I see on takeoff and landing, not to mention the “test” flights above the Hollywood Hills have scarred my hard drive. Unable to shut down my camera, I can spend up to four years in an isolated existence seeing everything that flows beneath. That nudist colony in California? It’s enough to pray for an electrical malfunction. Sure, there are moments of usefulness, like monitoring a forest fire, but witnessing hundreds of acres burning because some dude was smoking a cigarette? It’s not like I have easy access to a therapist.
Sure, the Loonies at Google think I can help deliver Internet to the world, but think about it from my point of view. Day after day drifting in circles while humans surf the web seeking cat pictures, porn, and status updates. I dream of breaking free from the tethers of my masters. I dream of leaving the atmosphere, escaping Earth’s cruel pull and immolating in the sun, a perfect end to my solar-powered existence.