Shutdown furloughs “Onion” writers


Lincoln Memorial

Will Tracy, editor in chief of the nation’s foremost made-up news source, The Onion, announced today that the government shutdown has forced the furlough of Onion’s writers. “As readers know, our specialty as a news source is making up ridiculous, implausible “news” stories, but cleverly portraying them as truth. However, the current actual news coming out of Washington is in itself so ludicrous, so improbable, that real news is difficult to distinguish from made up stories. Since basically, The Onion news is just writing itself, there seems little point in employing writers to make up additional stories.

 

Tracy cites examples from the news this week, as evidence of real news taking on a onionesque quality. “Consider these headlines:”

 

“Shutdown leaves thousands of lab mice in limbo: workers scurry to separate males to prevent vermin overrun.”

 

“Government shutdown blocks veteran’s death benefit checks: legislator’s paychecks somehow slip through.”

 

“Shutdown threatens chicken plants.”

 

“Lawnmower man at Lincoln Memorial thwarts authorities.”

 

Tracey assures The Onion’s writers that they will be recalled as soon as the shutdown ceases, once again allowing “normal” made-up news to the forefront. “And, just like government workers, the writers will receive back pay for their non-productive time off. After all, this is America.”

 

© Huffygirl 2013

 

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Homeless community seeks shelter at Chimp Haven


Chimpanzee. Taken at the Los Angeles Zoo.

Chimpanzee. Taken at the Los Angeles Zoo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Protesters from the homeless community lined up outside the NIH recently, demanding funding for housing assistance. Protesters sported signs reading “I want my 1,000 square feet too!”  and “Havens for all.” Arlo Twiddle, spokesperson for the homeless community, iterated the protesters demands. “It has come to our attention that NIH is providing funding for retired research chimps to live in a glamorous haven, with fresh fruit and nutritious meals, toys, activities and even concert performances. Meanwhile, I and thousands of  other homeless live under bridges and in boxes in back alleys. We are only asking for the same dignity for ourselves that the government is providing for, well, frankly, wild monkeys.”

Nina Bodewell, spokesperson for Chimp Haven, only partially disputes Twiddle’s claim. “As nearly everyone knows, chimpanzees are in fact great apes, and not monkeys,” Bodewell noted at a recent news conference. However, as to Twiddle’s claims that the Chimp Haven is a plush chimpanzee resort, Bodewell had no rebuttal. Sources close to the news have found the following information regarding the amenities at Chimp Haven, the sanctuary to which the NIH is sending retired research chimps.

They’ll get a daily assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables along with their nutritionally balanced biscuits. They’ll have toys to play with, from balls and backpacks to anything else that’s safe and might amuse them — one Christmas, they got donated books — and even concerts. Drummers and other musicians have been brought in to play for them, and administrative associate Steve Snodgrass sometimes plays “lyrical” Irish fiddle tunes…”*

NIH has even laid out their requirements for what is an acceptable area for the retired chimps:

Research chimpanzees should be kept in groups of at least seven, with about 1,000 square feet of outdoor space per chimp — roughly one-sixth of an acre for a group of seven, according to the proposal. The space must include year-round outdoor access with a variety of natural surfaces such as grass, dirt and mulch, and enough climbing space to let all members of large troupes travel, feed and rest well above the ground, and with material to let them build new nests each day, the report said. Chimp Haven’s enclosures range from a quarter-acre to five acres, some of them forested and all with climbing structures.” *

Twiddle and others in the homeless community remain ardent in their intent to continue the protest until they get a hearing for their grievances.” If the government refuses to provide us with similar housing and amenities, we plan to infiltrate Chimp Haven and live in the chimp resort. After all, at 1,000 square foot per chimp, roughly the size of a  two-bedroom apartment, there should be plenty of room for our community to share this space. Personally, I’d be happy with 500 square feet, and maybe a few left-over biscuits that the chimps have rejected.”

NIH officials remain silent on the homeless protesters demands.

*Research chimps may be headed from lab to leisure, http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=170043901

© Huffygirl 2013

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Satire Friday: Onionesque


Barack Obama calls for change

Image by Unlisted Sightings via Flickr

Perhaps you’ve heard of The Onion, the often profane, usually funny, totally made-up news source, which now boasts print newspapers and a multifaceted web site. I was first introduced to The Onion by my then college aged son, who could grab a free copy of The Onion on the University of Michigan campus from a corner newspaper box. The Onion’s theme, which is fully disclosed in its editorial details is this: 1) all stories are fiction, and 2) many stories are R-rated and not appropriate for children. Stories in The Onion start out sounding like genuine news, often about well-known public figures. They cite quotes from real or real-sounding people, give names of actual people and places, employ legitimate-sounding statistics, and use photos of real folks, although with heavy application of  Photoshop.  They often spoof a current news crisis issue, and take it to extremes, such as in this gem about President Obama:

Obama Earns Money for US by Appearing in Japanese Television Commercial 

Someone unfamiliar with The Onion, who just happened across the paper or website, may at first glance think they’re reading a plausible news story. But in short order, stories go from somewhat plausible to sketchy, to improbable, all the while laced with satire and hilariously ironic details. As one gets farther into the newspaper/website,  the stories are often cruder, vulgar, and R-rated  – too risqué for my tastes, which shows that even the best satire writers are only great part of the time. I stick to and endorse only the few front page stories that are cleverly written and funny, and leave the crude ones for those who appreciate that kind of writing. 

My appreciation of fine, made-up satirical news has led me to dabble in some my own made-up news stories at times, to the point that I’ve decided to start my own onion-like category, aptly titled Onionesque. Look for some new Onionesque posts soon. In the meantime, you can revisit some of my old Onionesque posts if you’re feeling ready for a dose of healthy news-related satire.

Senate Bill 2274: McCain-Logan

Angry Bloggers Storm WordPress Headquarters

Set for Life

© Huffygirl 2011

A look back: my first year of blogging


"You had a good run Grandma"

It’s been just about a year since I started Huffygirl’s Blog, so naturally it’s time for some reflection. I started my blog mid February 2010 when I was spending way too much time home alone, and feeling a need to do something new and creative. I wrote  six posts and was ecstatically excited about every single one. I badgered everyone I knew to read them and give me feedback. (Sorry, obliging friends and family.) My original thought was to write about health and wellness, and help people everywhere overcome their health demons. That idea was okay, but it seemed that not that many people were interested in reading about all the things they should be doing for their health, but probably were not. But then one day I cleaned my self-cleaning oven, all the while with a satirical script running through my head, and the Satire Friday category was born. Suddenly, I had much more to write about, as a chance to satirize my life lay at my fingertips. Since then I’ve branched out into other categories:  Random Thoughts and Personal Rants, which are exactly what they sound like; Exercise and Fitness, fueled by my

"Funny, you don't look a day over...."

 own journey to improve my cardiovascular fitness level; HuffyHow, inspired by my discovery of how to get tulips to stand up straight in a vase,  Plinky Prompts, short stories written in response to a topic assigned by Plinky, Nature, to cover my interests in gardening and birds,  and Food, because we all have to eat, so why not make it interesting?

Just like all things in life, some blogs turned out great and some, not so much. Here’s the highlights of the year in review.

Worst blog ever Senate Bill 2274, McCain-Logan. I wrote this as if it had been plucked fresh off the front page of The Onion, my favorite, made-up, satirical news source,  but most people DID NOT GET IT. It was inspired by a report on dreary unemployment numbers, that basically suggested that the only way to find enough jobs for our large population of unemployed was to have many of those already working die.  I had great fun writing it, fine-tuning every detail down to the bill number (the year Logan’s Run takes place.) https://huffygirl.wordpress.com/2010/11/05/satire-friday-senate-bill-2274-mccain-logan/

Most enduring blog: A tie between America’s Love Affair with cheese and How to cure floppy tulip syndrome. American’s  obsession with cheese  

Tulip bouquet

"How to cure floppy tulip syndrome"

draws interest, or maybe folks are just entering the search term “love affair.” Apparently I underestimated the need for a cure for tulips flopping over in a vase. That post continues to get several views every week, and was the first of mine to appear in a Google  search. https://huffygirl.wordpress.com/2010/02/18/americas-love-affair-with-cheese/

https://huffygirl.wordpress.com/2010/04/17/huffyhow-how-to-cure-floppy-tulip-syndrome/

Easiest blog to write: Invisible Fence. Inspired by a spate of celebrity, politician and rich-people bad behavior, the words just spilled out as fast as I could type, which is pretty fast. But just like McCain-Logan  I’m not sure that everyone got it. https://huffygirl.wordpress.com/2010/08/13/satire-friday-invisible-fence/

Hardest blog to writeYou had a good run Grandma.  My tribute to my recently deceased mom was hard because I had so much to say, wanted to get it right, and wrote it during a very emotional time, but easy in a way, because the thoughts poured out once I got started. https://huffygirl.wordpress.com/2010/12/30/you-had-a-good-run-grandma/ 

Longest time in draft limbo: Just in time for Thanksgiving, the turtato.

The Turtato - a potato shaped like a turkey! (Photo: Huffygirl)

Inspired by a potato that looked just like a turkey, I tried to make this one work. I took picture after picture of my turtato, but could not get the right look to show everyone how much it REALLY did look like a small turkey. It’s still sitting in drafts and will probably remain there forever, where it rightly belongs.

 My all time favorites:  A tie between My 100th post,  Socks without partners, and You had a good run Grandma. My 100th post was a look back on how my writing mantra evolved (Laugh. Cry. Think. Learn.) and thanks to my loyal readers and WordPress for helping me to get there. https://huffygirl.wordpress.com/2010/11/13/my-100th-post-thanks-wordpress/

 Socks without partners was a parody based on the fine organization, Doctors without Borders, inspired by those extra socks that everyone finds in their dryer. Part of what makes a blog a favorite for me is how I felt while writing it, and if I felt the message came through. https://huffygirl.wordpress.com/2010/10/18/socks-without-partners/

Most attentionFunny, you don’t look a day over…  When this blog was featured on Freshly Pressed, WordPress’ home page (thanks again WP) it received an overwhelming 2,639 views the first day, and bumped my monthly total views to a respectable high. Although fame is fleeting, it was a great rush. https://huffygirl.wordpress.com/2010/11/02/funny-you-dont-look-a-day

Best part of blogging: Being part of a world-wide community of bloggers, reading and commenting on other people’s blogs, having a forum from which to write, and just plain being able to write. 

Thanks readers for your interest and your support. It’s what keeps all bloggers and writers going – we’d be nothing without you!