The Vatican has announced it is seeking extraterrestrial life, in hopes of finding new life forms to convert over to the church. At a recent conference on astrobiology, Catholic leaders expressed an eagerness to determine if intelligent life exists on other planets, and if it does, what missionary strategy can be implemented to contact them.
The church gave the conference last week to end the long-time speculation that it was setting its sights on the stars. Last February, high-ranking bishops were seen leaving a remote installation in the Nevada desert, escorted by Air Force personnel. In May, a delegation of NASA scientists visited Rome, even meeting briefly with the Pope.
This week it was revealed that the Vatican has been quietly developing a deep-space program at an undisclosed location in Italy, with the Pope’s full blessings. The church has been pouring billions of dollars into the program, hoping to launch manned space missions by 2025. The church plans to deploy 3-stage rockets similar to the Saturn V launchers used by the Apollo program in the 1960s. There are reports of several dozen priests being recruited for the space program, with many currently in training.
“Life is sacred, on earth or anywhere else,” said Cardinal Joseph Eldredge, from his office in Rome. “If sophisticated beings exist somewhere else in the universe, we need to reach out to them. The church has a long history of accommodating aliens throughout the world. We have a two thousand year tradition of converting the godless heathens around the globe, so it’s only natural we should bring our message to all the godless creatures elsewhere. Jesus loves all the little flying-saucer people!”
In what has been called “Operation Gelgamek,” the Roman Catholic Church is asking its members around the world to “get involved in astronomy and keep an eye on the sky,” urging people to buy telescopes and spend evenings gazing at the stars.
“You just never know who’s going to spot something,” added Eldredge. “A few hundred million faithful followers armed with high-powered optics ought to turn up something.”
Meanwhile, reports have surfaced suggesting that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is proposing a similar program at a remote desert location in Utah.
Just in time for your discriminating holiday shopping, the idiots at Alligators In The Sewer have, in their infinite wisdom, decided to sell some tacky, outlandishly-priced stuff for you to spend your hard-earned money on. Yay!
Hence, our AITS merchandise. T-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs, caps, bags, mouse pads, and other useless crap. It’s your one-stop shopping center. Get all your holiday gift buying done without leaving the comfort of your mom’s basement! Check out our official gear.
Tiger Woods tries long drive, misses fairway, hits water hazard and ends up in the trees. And this all happened while he was backing out of his garage. The golf star was treated and released at a local hospital.
Freepers boycott Best Buy for acknowledging Muslim holiday. When the electronics retailer wished its employees a “Happy Eid al-Adha” (a Muslim holiday where its adherents give to charity) little did it know it would spark a firestorm, earning the scorn of the ultra right-wing publication, Free Republic. Since Freepers already boycott Wal-Mart (too many foreign-made products), Target (they kicked out the Salvation Army bell ringers), Costco (run by “liberals”), Amazon (ditto), chain grocery stores (unionized employees), Gap (ads say “Happy Holidays”), and now Best Buy, it appears the only chain store not scratched off their list is…Sears.
Utah teen fighting charges for McDonald’s rap. Spenser Dauwalder, 18, was charged last month with disorderly conduct after he and some friends tried to order cheeseburgers by rapping their order at the drive-through. Prosecutors in the tiny Utah community of American Fork have refused comment, other than to emphasize that the town is “finally cracking down on social ills like rapping, multi-culturalism, weird dancing and other public nuisances.” The case has garnered intense media attention, with an unnamed production company considering the story for a sequel to Footloose.
Uninvited dinner couple crash White House party. Michaele and Tareq Salahi managed to slip past White House security, reality TV cameras in tow, and sat down to dinner with the Obamas, the Indian Prime Minister and other esteemed guests. In fact, no one was the wiser until the Salahis started telling dirty jokes at the table, raising eyebrows and prompting a review of the guest list. Secret Service agents then whisked the uninvited interlopers out the door, but not before Barack and Michelle thanked them for the nice bottle of pino noir they brought as a gift.
This week’s edition of NFTS was compiled by Phil, who, during his many travels, has mastered the art of cooking fresh roadkill using a hotel iron.
Another holiday season, another harried routine of buying stuff for family, friends, co-workers, etc. We go out and fight the crowds, spending beau-coup money on gifts for all the people in our lives, only to receive stuff in return. A zero-sum game, unless your family and friends are a bunch of tightwads. But we digress…
We try to be gracious when receiving some bone-headed idea of a gift. We smile. We feign delight. We know that you meant well and went through some expense and trouble to pick out that special present. We try our best to suppress the natural desire to ask “What the fuck were you thinking?” So when the hapless recipient opens that box Christmas morning and says “Oh…you shouldn’t have!,” it really means “YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE!”
This holiday season, take a few tips from the boorish, ungrateful mouth-breathers at Alligators In The Sewer, and consider some things you should never give. Ever. Because abstaining from this sort of thing is the right thing to do. You’ll thank us later. Hopefully by sending us something really cool.
Gift cards. They’re not gifts, they are like giving money that you can only use in one place. Think currency for a really really tiny country. Like the size of Starbucks. If you’re that uninspired, just send us the cash and let us figure out what we want and where to get it.
Fruit cakes. Unless David Letterman decides it would be fun to drop heavy objects off the tops of tall buildings once again, we really can’t find much utility for these culinary abominations. Have you ever eaten one of these? Do you know anybody who has?
Lingerie. Guys, unless your significant other has ripped a page from a Victoria’s Secret catalog and taped it to the fridge, giving her something that’s black, satin and scanty is a really bad idea. There are lots of ways she could take it the wrong way and you don’t want to be anywhere within ballistic missile range when she opens that box.
Xmas ornaments/decorations/CDs/videos, etc. Talk about bad timing. If we wanted that stuff, don’t ya’ think we would’ve bought it weeks ago and put it up already? It’s bad enough that the Christmas season commences the day after Halloween. It’s been going on two months now. December 25th isn’t the day we finally get on board the holiday decorating train. And giving us something we have to immediately put away for 10 months is…well…kind of a downer.
Personal hygiene items. While giving stocking-stuffers like toothbrushes and toiletries may seem like a practical idea, we don’t need to be reminded once again that our breath stinks or we smell like a zoo animal. We know that already, we have have accepted it, and we’re at peace with it. It’s the burden we bear.
Gag gifts. Thinking that we might want to wear t-shirts or decorate our offices with something adorned with the latest Internet meme or South Park catch phrase is a really bad idea. In a couple months it will just look retarded. It probably looks retarded already.
Anything with NASCAR on it. Do we really need to explain that one to you?
Musical instruments and painting sets for our kids. Your passive-aggressive method of irritating us by using our kids as proxies has been duly noted. Two can play this game. Next year each of your kids will receive a large cup of espresso and a puppy.
Promotional items bearing your company’s name and/or logo. Do you really think we want to walk around in a sweatshirt with Aardvark Financial Services or Merle’s 24 Hour Towing emblazoned on it? Besides, we know you swiped it from the supply room at work, and nothing says gift FAIL quite like that.
Pets. “Oooh! Just what I’ve always wanted - something that claws up my furniture and craps on my carpet!” Seriously, pets are great, and we all love animals. But let US pick them out. Capiche?
Donations to charities in our names. It’s the“you’re being snubbed for gifts to let you know in no uncertain terms that I think you’re a douche” statement. Got it. Loud and clear. We know you were going to donate anyway, so keep us out of it and spare us the drama.
Here’s hoping that you get what you really wanted, like that big flat-panel TV you’ve had your eye on. Or an Android phone. Or a bottle of good single-malt scotch. We should be so lucky. Don’t forget us now.
In an unusual and desperate move, the Pentagon has authorized sending more than 11,000 attorneys to combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan. The military hopes the deployment will help stabilize some of the hot spots of insurgency in those war-torn nations. Congress has authorized the use of stimulus funds to pay for the deployment.
So far, the results appear positive.
“These guys are scrappy little bastards,” remarked a Marine lieutenant colonel, who declined to be named. “They throw just about anything they can find at the insurgents. Those suits stand there and argue until the jihadists simply get tired and leave. They just wear them down. And if that doesn’t work, they have a meeting and a few drinks, then come back with another strategy. They keep going after them until they’ve exhausted every means available. Have to give ‘em credit for their tenacity.”
Back at home, the deployment is overwhelmingly supported. According to the latest polls, over 93% of Americans support sending lawyers to combat zones in the Middle East, with 74% believing the U.S. should be sending more.
The arrival of lawyers has also boosted morale among the troops already there. Service members are relieved that new arrivals have come along to help pick up the load.
“About time someone else went out looking for IEDs and flushing out snipers,” said Army staff sergeant Chris Maxwell. “Now if we could just get them to shut the fuck up once in a while…”
Meanwhile, the deployed lawyers remain hopeful, and highly motivated.
“We’re making progress and have a good chance of prevailing here. We just need to keep track of our billable hours,” stated Ted Denziel, a bankruptcy attorney from Boston. “But we could use a ’surge’ over here to get the mission completed. We need a few thousand fresh law school grads to help out.”
Drilling for Scotch in the Antarctic. A team of wildcatters from New Zealand plan to drill for a lost cache of 100-year-old Scotch whisky buried beneath the ice. The stash of Whyte & Mackay single-malt was left there in 1909 by British polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. (Frankly, we could think of a lot of things we’d leave behind before ditching fine Scotch, but that’s beside the point.) If the New Zealand team finds the Scotch, they plan to bring it back to sell on Ebay. Yeah, right. Like a bunch of Kiwis are going to leave THAT stuff untouched…
Minnesota dad teaches Klingon to young son. It was revealed that d’Armond Speers of Minneapolis, spoke only in Klingon during the first 3 years of his son’s life. Speers’ son, now in his teens, shows no adverse effects of the early indoctrination in the Trekkie wharrrgarbl, and speaks normal English just like his peers. Interestingly, no one noticed the Klingon conversations at the time. Said one neighbor: “I just thought the dad was clearing his throat a lot. I suggested Mucinex.”
This week’s edition of NFTS was compiled by Gordy, who has no explanation whatsoever for the strange, green fungal matter growing in the AITS staff refrigerator.
Several noted climatologists and economists at the University of California-Berkeley have published the results of a study showing a correlation between the home mortgage crisis and the El Niño climate pattern in the Pacific Ocean. The 18 month-long study was a joint effort between the university’s economics and earth sciences departments.
The cause and effect described in the study reads like a Rube Goldberg device. Climatologist Todd Bishir of UC-Berkeley describes the chain of events:
“With an El Niño weather pattern you have warmer water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean. This increase in temps creates strong ocean currents which generates a convective effect in the atmosphere which in turn forces more moisture into the air. This added moisture moves inland, triggering more rain, more violent storms and more floods across the continent. People tend to not be in as much of a home-buying mood when it’s crappy outside, which depresses home sales. Fewer people seek mortgages from lending institutions. Lenders respond by offering more aggressive financing in order to meet sales quotas. This pushes mortgages on people with marginal financial means, resulting in massive amounts of foreclosures. The real estate and lending markets plunge, while housing prices collapse nationwide.”
The blue-ribbon panel of scientists and market experts released the results of the study during a press conference yesterday afternoon, adding that the data includes a 4 percent margin of error.
“It’s possible that a small number of foreclosures may have been caused by traditional market factors, such as unemployment, delinquent payments and the recession,” added Bishir. “But make no mistake - the climate is what’s really screwing things up here.”
The revelation sent the Dow spiraling, plunging 475 points by the close of trading yesterday.
Quick to respond to the issue, Congress and the Obama Administration are now considering earmarking stimulus money to help alleviate the problem. Funding may become available to hire ships to tow icebergs from the Arctic to the mid-Pacific, in hopes the ice will chill water temperatures.
Economists at the university believe that the housing market will rebound “with a vengeance” just as soon as the Pacific Ocean reverts back to a cooler La Niña weather cycle.
Meanwhile, another group of scientists is examining a possible connection between global warming and the number of Somali pirates operating in the Gulf of Aden.
D.C.-area sniper executed. John Allen Muhammad, convicted of shooting several people with an assault rifle in 2002, was executed by lethal injection in Virginia. Interestingly, not a single anti-death penalty protester showed up outside the prison. It seems everyone’s pretty much unanimous on this one.
Chemical in plastic found to cause impotence. According to a study just released, bisphenol A (BPA), an ingredient used in the manufacture of plastic bottles, has been determined to cause impotence and other sexual dysfunctions among men. Not surprisingly, the news of the findings caused a sudden plunge in sales of bottled water and soft drinks. “Our sales are going limp,” lamented one soft drink company executive.
Brazil suffers major power blackout. The outage, which affected several major cities, was initially thought to have been the work of hackers. After some investigation, it was determined that the blackout was caused by a chain reaction started when the lead hamster in the country’s government-run power company died after an overdose of saccharin.
This week’s edition of NFTS was compiled by Tina, who leads the Alligators In The Sewer staff in the number of drive-by stalkers and obscene phone calls received. It’s a matter of pride.
Already plagued by numerous problems and setbacks, the controversial Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has now suffered irreparable damage - actually, complete destruction - from its latest mishap: bird crap. The CERN super collider, buried 500 feet below the Swiss countryside, fell victim to a one-in-a-billion chance encounter with a wad of bird shit.
A crow apparently dumped its load into a thermal exhaust pipe on which it was perched. By freak coincidence, the bird poop was sucked into a sensitive coolant system inside a 600 megawatt proton accelerator. This in turn created a thermal runaway condition, which fortunately was stopped by quick actions taken by the lone physicist on site. Had that chain reaction been allowed to continue, the LHC would have triggered a complete thermal meltdown. A possible China Syndrome condition may have resulted, with the collider melting its way downward toward the core of the earth.
The heroic scientist, whose name has not been released by Swiss authorities, was instantly vaporized mere milliseconds after shutting down the main power grid. No one else was inside the underground facility during the tragedy, nor were there any known casualties at ground level. A plume of toxic smoke was seen billowing out of a crater where the giant particle accelerator had once been. Hazmat crews are now on site to monitor radiation leakage from the smoldering caldera.
Officials from the European Organization for Nuclear Research were stunned at the news of the collider’s demise.
“We’re out 6 billion Euros over a fucking crow!,” complained Jacque DuJour, chairman of CERN. “It’s going to take fucking forever to build another one of these things. Can you believe that shit? God damned birds…shoot ‘em all! This really chaps my ass!”
No word yet on the fate of the crow, though its chances of survival looked grim.
Police in Ohio telling people to leave. Residents of some crime-ridden neighborhoods of Columbus, Ohio, are being told by police they should “just move out.” The city’s chief of police, tired of fielding constant complaints “from all the whiny, drama queens around here,” instructed his officers to simply encourage people to leave the city if they don’t like it. The chief wouldn’t go so far as to have the officers tell them to “GTFO,” adding that there are certain public-relations protocols which must be observed. So far, more than 30 families have heeded the advice and pulled up stakes.
Flu shot scalpers hitting the streets. Thousands of black marketeers across the country are now scalping flu shots, including the rare and highly-coveted H1N1 vaccines. The loaded syringes, stolen from pharmacies and clinics, can command upwards of $50 on the street for seasonal flu shots, to over $750 for the H1N1 variety. Police and local health authorities are helpless in the battle over this vaccination trade, with no legal recourse to stop the dealers.
Man-eating lions’ body count reduced. An infamous pair of lions that preyed upon railway workers in East Africa in 1898 didn’t kill as many people as originally thought. Once believed responsible for some 135 deaths, DNA testing of preserved lion scat now shows that the total number killed to be no more than 35. When asked about the 100-victim discrepancy, historians in Uganda suggested that the other missing people were instead likely eaten by the pair of crocodiles which somehow managed to escape media attention at the time. Biologists in the area are pleased that the lions have been at least partly vindicated.
Canadian folk singer killed in coyote attack. More wild animal news…Taylor Mitchell, a 19 year old singer from Toronto, was hiking in Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Nova Scotia, when she was fatally attacked by two coyotes. Apparently, she didn’t notice the anvils, large boulders and Acme catapult perched atop the cliffs nearby.
This week’s edition of NFTS was compiled by Norm, shortly after awakening from a weird Ambien-withdrawal dream where he was standing buck-naked in the middle of a busy freeway interchange wearing an orange traffic cone on his head. Or was it a real event that happened when he was drunk? We’ll never tell…but inquiring minds might want to Google “naked conehead freeway incident.”
This morning we did something we almost never do at AITS. No, we’re not talking about brushing up on our personal hygiene…but come to think of it, that’s a must-do item that should go on the calendars of a few staffers here.
Today we actually interviewed a job candidate. We just hired an on-the-road correspondent not too long ago, and it’s not like we need any more demented people lurking around here, drawing a paycheck. But we did get a resume from one Margaret Salzenheimer, and thought, with a funny name like that we just had to meet her. So we told her to head up here the next day at 10AM. (No earlier than that, as our bloodstream caffeine levels would not be sufficiently elevated.)
Margaret doesn’t own a car, and so she had to take the bus. The bus line that passes through the worst neighborhoods in the city. You know where this story is going…
Our interviewee arrived punctually this morning, a few minutes before ten. Striking and tall, she looked nothing like we expected from someone named Margaret Salzenheimer (we had expected some cherubic, oompa-oompa-looking woman with a bad German accent). She had a look on her face that betrayed her feeling of sheer terror. Not terror of the interview to come, though that would be understandable, - perhaps even wise - given that Norm would be leading the interview. But we digress. No, this was a vivid display of the pure adrenaline-releasing, fight-or-flight reflex one can only get from riding the local transit system.
Margaret Salzenheimer, free-lance writer by profession, came to our interview armed with a portfolio crammed with previously-written articles, ready to dazzle us with her journalistic acumen. And we didn’t doubt for a minute that she could impress us. But we couldn’t care less about those old articles, as we were far more interested in hearing her fresh account of the ride in this morning. That, loyal readers, is the stuff good Alligators In The Sewer stories are made of.
Norm entered the room, looked at the nervous young woman seated in the lobby and said “Is this our test subject?,” with an impish, devil-may-care grin.
Introductions were made, and Ms. Salzenheimer (who Norm repeatedly called “Katzenjammer” by mistake) received the deluxe tour of the place. All one and a half minutes of it.
The good news: she hadn’t fled the premises. Yet.
Norm instructed Margaret to have a seat at the empty desk along the back wall, told her to help herself to some Cheetos and beer, handed her a legal pad and a pen, then bellowed, “Let’s see whacha got, Katzenjammer…write us a story about your day so far. Sink or swim!” We then left her to her own devises for well over an hour while we all surfed YouTube.
About the time Maynard returned with a bunch of hot sammiches for us, we all gathered ’round to look over Margaret’s story. This is what we got…
After a somewhat hellishly insane start to my day, getting out into the fresh air seemed like a great concept—until I got outside and saw the downpour. “Oh well,” I thought, “luckily I remembered my umbrella.”
Due to the latest construction on the street in front of my house, the nearby intersection currently consists of unquestionably uneven ground, allowing water to pool in all of the nooks and crannies (and, well, holes). Unfortunately, the stop for the bus is about 50 feet west of the aforementioned intersection, between a construction fence and one of the massive craters (which was greedily hoarding the pouring rain).
Waiting at the temporarily relocated bus stop was an elderly woman with an obviously new cast on her arm, trying furtively to keep it dry with a Target bag. When I asked if she needed some assistance, she stated she was waiting for the other bus which also stopped there.
After only a split second internal debate, I reluctantly watched my bus driver pause at the stop and leave, set my umbrella down, and helped her cover her cast with the Target bag and some duct tape (which I happened to have in my possession today—don’t ask). I then held my umbrella over her, as she was elderly and injured. Due to the fact that she was on the larger side - well, actually quite rotund - I got a bit wet as the umbrella didn’t cover us both. That’s when the light for oncoming traffic turned green. Things quickly went south from there.
Some guy in a behemoth truck (replete with numerous bumper stickers, including one emblazoned with “Git-er-Done”) came cruising through one of the massive puddles, launching a tsunami of brown water all over me. (I had fortuitously managed to block most of the spray from blasting the injured woman by quickly maneuvering the front of my umbrella between her and the bus).
After clearing the liquid from my eyes, I saw her staring at me, more specifically, at my chest area. Despite the fact that I had my headphones in (I hadn’t bothered to take them out from the get-go; I could hear the woman above them), I heard her say (slightly under her breath) “Oh dear!”
It was then that her bus pulled up, and after ensuring she got on board without incident, I was then able to use my umbrella as cover……..for my FRONT, as it was only then that I realized (mortifyingly) why the woman had given me such a funny look after I got soaked. I had on a white t-shirt, a SOAKING wet white t-shirt. Right in front of all my neighbors, no less. Sarcastically I thought to myself, “That’s just great. All I need now are some high heels, a thong and a brass pole.” As if on cue with my thoughts, Prince’s “Erotic City” began playing on my MP3 player. I thought to myself, “OK I can read between the lines: the universe is officially fucking with me.”
After what seemed like an eternity, another bus rolled up, and I gratefully hopped on. Entertainment on this morning’s bus ride was provided at no extra charge by the driver. He would announce each upcoming stop in a gruff, pirate’s voice. “Yarrrr…Seventh Street is next…” Every announcement into the microphone was prefaced with either a yarrrr!, avast! or ahoy! Naturally, I was the only rider on the bus giggling. Maybe all the other riders were pirates, and this driver was their captain.
I got off at the downtown transit station, and trudged into the restroom to change my shirt (luckily I had another one with me - I always carry an extra shirt AND duct tape!). Due in no small part to the dry change of clothes and the pirate improv, my day was looking brighter. I went on to walk a few more blocks (still in the rain) to catch my next bus.
Perhaps you thought that was the end of my ordeal. But wait…It’s only 9:35 and I haven’t caught my connecting bus yet.
The Ghetto Cruiser is one of those bus lines that stops at virtually every street corner, and even some places in between. It’s excruciatingly slow and it’s packed with some of the most unusual people you could ever hope to meet. Depending on the time of day, it typically loads and unloads several individuals at various stages of cleanliness and intoxication. Usually they sit by me. Today would be no different.
Today’s creep du jour was a scruffy fellow in his late forties who reeked of malt liquor and was wearing nothing but tube socks and his underwear. The bright, white Y-front kind preferred by 8-year-olds everywhere. The guy was decked out in the finest fashion by Hanes, and for some reason, the driver didn’t even notice him climbing on board. Neither did any of the other riders. It’s a regular thing, I guess.
Tighty Whitey sat down next to me and started babbling. The next 20 blocks were spent with me turning up my iPod to max volume, which did nothing to stop the chatter from my seatmate. I could shut out the sound, but unfortunately not the aroma. He smelled like a goat that had crapped himself while bathing in day-old Colt 45. I managed to hold back the natural urge to reverse-chow.
After a mile or so, Tighty Whitey got off at his stop and scurried into a corner liquor store, perhaps to pick up another fotie. Our bus trundled along until it was my turn to hop off. A couple blocks on foot and I was soon (thankfully!) walking in to the interview at Alligators In The Sewer. On time and dry. Oh dear!
Needless to say, after reading this intriguing (albeit verbose) tale of misadventure we were quite willing to carve out a niche for Ms. Salzenheimer - on an occasional free-lance basis. We told her she could work from home, which no doubt resonated with her in the best possible way. Stay tuned for more work from her.
It appears on Google Maps, but visitors to the area have never seen any signs, nor have they found a trace of it when driving by. The town of Argleton, West Lancashire, England, does not exist in the real world, nothing more than an aberration on the popular online map service. In fact, Google shows the “town” to be in the middle of a cow pasture.
That glaring cartographical error will soon be corrected. Residents of the nearby community of Ormskirk have banded together to build the new town from the ground up. When completed, the phantom town of Argleton will become a full-service English village, complete with paved streets, pub, petrol station, and a row of council flats. It is expected that the town, along the A59 just north of Liverpool, will sustain a population of around 150 to 200.
“We could’ve just contacted Google and had them remove it from their maps, but then it would be gone forever. What fun would that be?,” said Martin Alsinge, a pensioner from the nearby village of Aughton. “Besides, when was the last time we had a new town? I’m pleased that we’re doing this one proper.”
Civic leaders in the area are equally enthusiastic.
“The Americans have Extreme Makeover Home Edition on the telly,” said Verlyn J. Woods, building commissioner for West Lancashire. “We’ll have our bloody own Town Edition! I’d like to see them match that one!”
Completion of Argleton is expected in late January.