Saturday, December 31, 2011

IN AND OUT 2011: All The Rest!

Letting your iPhone (a.k.a. “Siri,” with whom you’re already, let’s face it, a little bit in love) do your thinking for you is in, and doing actual thinking is out. In a related story, inching ever closer to the inevitable robot revolution is in.

President Obama is, amazingly, in, despite caving in to the GOP left and right. But thanks to him, Osama bin Laden is out, so maybe it’s a wash.

The Tea Party is over. Please go back to your militias and wait for the impending government invasion.

Electric cars are still out, because despite the fact that they may save the world, they’re wussy. What we need is an electric car the size of a tank, preferably with machine guns mounted on the sides. Electric-powered machine guns, that is.

Thanks to the Green Bay Packers, cheese is in. And thanks to Tim Tebow, praying is in, and groping women, texting images of your private area and running dog-fighting rings are out. Take that, Satan!

Denying global warming is out, now that it’s too late. Fiddling while the world warms up is in.
Zombies continue to be in, and why wouldn’t they be? But vampires are suffering from overkill (sorry) and werewolves are just plain out. Yes, even “Teen Wolf.” OK, especially “Teen Wolf.”

Oprah is out of sight, but not out of mind. At least not at our house, thanks to our wall-sized Oprah shrine.

And finally, probably owing to the state of the economy, scaled-back versions of in-and-out lists are in. And you know what that means: We’re outta here!

Follow Peter Chianca on Twitter at

Friday, December 30, 2011

IN AND OUT 2011: Sports

In: Collapsing

Just when you thought the baseball season was destined for another ho-hum conclusion, the Red Sox and the Atlanta Braves suddenly and unexpectedly began engaging in a death struggle to see who could suffer the most complete and embarrassing September breakdown. It was close, but Boston pulled it out! Pulling it out is in.

As a result the Sox are out, especially Terry Francona, Theo Epstein and Jonathan Papelbon, who are all now out of town. Boston fans probably shouldn’t have been surprised, though, given the Patriots’ collapse against the Jets in last season’s playoffs and the Celtics’ collapse against Miami in the semifinals. Let’s face it, they all folded like cheap umbrellas. Cheap umbrellas are in.

The exception of course was the Boston Bruins, who managed to ward off the Canucks to take the Stanley Cup. Warding off Canucks is in, and if you don’t believe us, just try spending some time in Canada. This just goes to show you that even though they’re the lowest paid and the most unkempt of professional athletes, if you just give them a shot, hockey players will beat you within an inch of your life.

Out: Working

Actually showing up seems to be becoming a problem in professional athletics, with exhibit “A” being the almost-aborted NBA season. Of course, the players were “locked out” by the owners, who were very upset that the players were making all that money for doing the playing when they felt they should be making more money for doing the owning. We’re paraphrasing but we think that was basically it. Owning is out.

Of course the NFL also had a lockout, but luckily that one occurred during the preseason, when most of the players on the field tend to be strangers who’ve wandered in from the parking lot. (The preseason is out.) Fortunately they were able to resolve that, and now the players are out there playing, with the exception of the Patriots’ defense.

Baseball players have no trouble showing up for work, because, let’s face it, who’s working? Pass the chicken wings!

TOMORROW: All the rest!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

IN AND OUT 2011: Entertainment

In: Everything Old (ideas, that is)

Of the top 10 movies of 2011, eight were sequels and two were based on superheroes who were invented in 1962 and 1941, respectively. And the big family movie of the holiday season featured ancient Muppets (who, granted, never really went away, thank God). Apparently, original ideas are out.

But nostalgia is in! This may be because in a tough economy and with so much unrest in the world, we look back to the things that gave us comfort in our youth — you know, things like the first four “Fast and the Furious” movies. It’s the next best thing to curling up with a blowup doll shaped like Vin Diesel. Blowup dolls are in.

Even the new ideas are old, with TV shows like “Mad Men,” “Pan Am” and “Boardwalk Empire” taking us back to a simpler time, when men were men, and women were stewardesses, and a guy who looked like Steve Buscemi could attract flappers. And in music, top artists include Lady Gaga, who musicologists believe may have stepped out of a time-traveling Delorean straight from 1984, and Adele, who sounds like she just opened for Ella Fitzgerald in Berlin in 1960. (Ella Fitzgerald is still in.)

Musicians who are actually old are also in, judging from the excitement over pending tours by Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and even the reunited Beach Boys, who will be performing the entire tour in white tank-top undershirts, too-short swim trunks and black socks with sandals. Sandals are in.

The most original idea of the year, meanwhile, comes in the form of “The Artist,” the Oscar-buzzy black-and-white silent movie set in the 1920s. We can only hope that means silent films are in, because that would greatly improve the next Adam Sandler movie. Adam Sandler is out.

Out: Everything Old (media, that is)

Ironically, even though no one’s had an original idea in years, we’re determined to consume all these old concepts on media that looks like it was beamed here from the planet Zarcon.
That means watching movies in movie theaters is out, watching TV on those boxy old sets that could trap you for days if one fell on top of you is out, and reading things on paper is especially out. If you’re reading this on paper right now, we can only hope it’s as you lay it down on the bottom of your cat box, you silly old coot.

Those seeking not to be out have gone in to their local electronics retailer and purchased an iPad, a Kindle and a 3-D hi-def TV with the relative thickness of a Saltine. DVDs are out, and so are CDs, so the in crowd is streaming its movies and music from “The Cloud,” which is likely to become the name of a Steven King novel you read on your Kindle within the next year. The Cloud is in. (It’s just Netflix that’s out.)

There is one exception to this trend, that being vinyl records, which are in among audiophiles, hipsters and stoners alike. Sometimes all three of those are the same person. You know who you are.

TOMORROW: Ins and Outs in Sports

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

IN AND OUT 2011: News and Politics

Ah, the new year — what better time to take stock of what’s really important? You know, things like what’s in and what’s out in news, politics, entertainment, sports and life in general. But don’t worry, we’ll do all the heavy lifting. Heavy lifting is out.

In: Uprisings

In case you were wondering, we’re mad as hell, and we’re not going to take it anymore, whatever “it” is. As to who “we” are, it’s basically everybody. Not taking it anymore is in.

Around these parts, occupying was in, whether it was Wall Street, Boston or Wal-Mart on Black Friday. In each case, the result involved pepper spray. Pepper spray is in.

The Occupy movement may not have had a clear agenda, but it did get across at least one important message: the 99 percent are in, and the 1 percent are out. Unless you’re talking about living in mansions, owning yachts and eating fois gras, in which case, it’s the 1 percent who are in, and the 99 percent who are outside, looking in. You know who you are.

Of course, in other places around the world, occupying got a little more hardcore. We’re talking about places like Libya, Tunisia and Egypt, where protests were less about drum circles and portable libraries set up like little literary M*A*S*H units, and more about armed dissidents setting things on fire. In other countries, arming dissidents is in. They eat pepper spray for breakfast in these places. We’re pretty sure we mean that literally.

Standing up for our rights is also in, whether it be same-sex marriage, saying “Merry Christmas” or having a Facebook feed that doesn’t look like the MSNBC news ticker threw up. Granted, not all these carry the same moral weight, but it’s the idea that counts. Moral relativism is in.

Out: Accountability

Taking responsibility isn’t exactly a huge pastime right now. For instance, the Occupiers don’t want to pay their student loans or replace the sod that came up when they pitched their REI tents. And rich people don’t want to pay higher taxes, and by “higher” they of course mean “any.” And Kim Kardashian doesn’t want to stay married. Being married to a Kardashian is out.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the world of politics, which resembles Khazad-Dum in Middle Earth, except with more Orcs. For instance, you have people like Rep. Anthony Weiner, who thought it was perfectly fine to send close-up pictures of his underwear to strange women and then lie about it. This wouldn’t have been acceptable even if the underwear still had been in its original packaging, although that certainly would have been better.

Then there are the GOP presidential candidates, such as Herman Cain, who dropped out of the race after he was accused of sexual harassment or illicit affairs by … wait, let us check our notes … EVERYBODY. He admitted no wrongdoing, and said instead that he would be going on to “Plan B.” Plan Bs are in.

Mitt Romney, meanwhile, refuses to accept accountability for his previous, more moderate stances, saying that the media have taken his entire life out of context. (Context is out.) To his credit, Newt Gingrich has taken full responsibility for every one of his 230 affairs. Wait, that’s actually the number of people Rick Perry has executed. It’s so hard to keep up. Keeping up is out.

Others who’ve failed to take responsibility for their questionable actions include Casey Anthony, Charlie Sheen, Rupert Murdoch and Alec Baldwin. Arnold Schwarzenegger, for his part, did in fact take credit for the love child he fathered with his maid, but only after the boy started talking in an Austrian accent. Austrian accents are out.

TOMORROW: Ins and Outs in Entertainment.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

AT LARGE Fake News Saturday: Ordinance Renames Manger Scenes 'Holiday Barns'

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (CAP) - A new ordinance passed this week by the Cambridge City Council officially designates that any manger scene placed in public view be referred to as a "holiday barn."

"To see a creche or a manger scene right out in public might offend someone who's not Christian," said City Council President Richard Vanderhaven. "But if you think of it as sort of a holiday petting zoo, it's fun for everybody."

Vanderhaven points out that in order to be fair to all religions, under the ordinance mangers will join the former Christmas tree, now a "holiday tree," and other objects, like a dreidel (now a "holiday top") a menorah (now a "holiday candleholder") and a Kwanzaa kinara (also a "holiday candleholder").

"Referring to them as holiday candleholders doesn't favor a particular religion," pointed out Vanderhaven. "Anybody, no matter what his or her religion, can appreciate a candle holder that you happen to put out during the holiday season. Technically, you could roast chestnuts over it. You know, one at a time."

Asked how people might tell the difference between a menorah and a kinara if they're both now referred to the same way, he answered, "The kinara's the one being lit by a black guy.

"Wait, sorry, African American," he added quickly.

The phenomenon is far from limited to Cambridge, though. In nearby Saugus, an annual trip by Santa Claus to area schools was almost cancelled when the superintendent determined that the visit could violate state law. It was only reinstated when Santa agreed to be referred to as an "overweight holiday visitor" and wear street clothes instead of his traditional red suit.

"It's unfortunate, but we simply can't allow these things in school the way we used to," said Superintendent of Schools Dick Langhorn. "What if Santa came in here with little canisters of holy water trying to baptize the Jewish kids? We could get sued."

[Read the rest at CAP News.]

Friday, December 23, 2011

Column: 2011, the year that wasn't

APRIL: Obama budget plan would save ‘One Life To Live’

WASHINGTON (CAP) – President Barack Obama continued to reveal details of his deficit-reduction plan this week, including a controversial provision that would raise taxes on the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans in order to save the recently cancelled ABC soap opera “One Life to Live.”

“‘One Life to Live’ is, uh, part of the cornerstone, the bedrock of American culture,” said Obama in a press conference Monday. “How many of us spent lonely afternoons following the adventures of, you know, Bo and Clint Buchanan, and Viki, who suffered from dissociative identity disorder and became Niki, the sexually promiscuous party girl, and Karen and Larry Wolek, who, uh, had control chips implanted in their brains by the evil Dr. Ivan Kipling.”

But potential Republican presidential contender Sarah Palin, star of “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” called Obama’s “One Life to Live” plan “redonkulous,” saying, “Who wants to watch a big, dysfunctional family of crazies with dumb names say stupid things and go all over the place having babies and stupid stuff like that?”

Obama did say he was willing to compromise, noting that his plan includes no funding to save the also-cancelled “All My Children.”

“That show is just silly,” Obama said.

JUNE: Previously unknown hockey team discovered in Boston

BOSTON (CAP) – Thousands of Massachusetts residents are reeling at the discovery of a professional hockey team that has apparently been operating unnoticed in their midst for decades.

The team, known as the “Boston Bruins,” apparently in reference to a type of bear, began to appear on Boston residents’ radar screens late last month after suddenly turning up in the Stanley Cup Finals.

“And they’re pretty good, too,” noted a clearly surprised David O’Reilly, a financial advisor from Cambridge. “I watched a few minutes of their game the other night, and that Patricia Bergeron, she was excellent.”

Jon Zincway of Dedham was decked out in a Bruins jersey, baseball cap, temporary face tattoo and foam finger while waiting in line to buy tickets for the Stanley Cup Finals. “If I’d known they were an actual hockey team I would have bought all this stuff much sooner,” he said. “As long as they, you know, won all the time.”

JULY: Whitey Bulger demands return of Metamucil

BOSTON (CAP) – Feared legendary mobster James “Whitey” Bulger seemed to have lost none of his swagger or arrogance in his first court appearance after 16 years in hiding, brazenly asking the judge to “return my Depends and my Metamucil, gosh darn-nabbit!”

He then glared icily at the prosecutor in what could have been a soulless look of pure evil, or gas.

FBI agents captured the 81-year-old Bulger in Santa Monica, Calif., after following him home from the Bay Cities Deli, where the mobster had allegedly eaten some lime Jell-O.

“He was driving very suspiciously,” said FBI Special Agent Josh Harwood, who noted that he was going about 10 miles per hour below the speed limit, cut off two other drivers and then shook his fist at them like it was their fault.

“And his blinker was on the entire time,” noted Harwood.

FBI lured Bulger out of his apartment by sending two young boys onto the front lawn of his apartment complex, ostensibly to retrieve a baseball that had rolled there.

“Get offa my lawn, you darn kids!” witnesses quoted Bulger as yelling at the boys. “Or I’ll give ya something to complain about, gosh-a darn it!”

“That’s when we slapped the cuffs on him,” explained Harwood.

OCTOBER: Family calls 911 from inside Space Mountain ride

ORLANDO (CAP) – A Massachusetts family caused a splash in Disney World this week when they called 911 from inside the Space Mountain ride, apparently fearing they would never make it out.

“I don’t see anybody. I’m really scared. It’s really dark,” the mother told the Orlando 911 dispatcher, yelling over the sounds of the famous indoor roller coaster. “I don’t know what made us do this. It was daytime when we came in,” she added.

The dispatcher patiently tried to explain that if she just remained calm the ride would end by itself, but the woman insisted that they send help.

“I can’t even see where we’re going … I think we may be in space!” she yelled.

The dispatcher then asked to speak to her husband, who said he was concerned because everybody on the ride was screaming.

“I see lights over there, but we can’t get there, we’re smack right in the middle of the ride,” the husband told the dispatcher, although it was later determined that they were only seconds from the end of the ride, and the attendants asking patrons to wait until the car came to a complete stop before exiting should have been clearly visible.

DECEMBER: Focus group finds Mitt Romney hiding under desk

CENTREVILLE, VA (CAP) – A dozen Republicans who participated in a focus group in suburban Virginia, most of whom said they found Mitt Romney “aloof,” also found the GOP presidential candidate hiding under a desk in the corner of the room.

Romney at first denied that he’d been under the desk, according to the group.

“Well, your assessment of my recent whereabouts is just not accurate,” Romney reportedly said. “So, one, we’re going to have to be better informed about whether or not I’ve been under desks, or not under desks. Which I haven’t been.”

After being badgered by the focus group for several minutes, Romney changed his stance, saying that he had in fact been under the desk.

“I have never claimed not to be under the desk, and I’m not sure where you’re getting that from,” Romney told the focus group.

Told he’d just denied being under the desk minutes before, Romney said that after studying the issue and in the face of new information, his stance on desk-hiding had “matured.”

“That’s what you have to do in the private sector, adjust to the situation as it changes,” said Romney, noting that he’d spent over 25 years as an executive at Bain Capital, spending much of that time hiding under desks.

Peter Chianca is editor in chief for GateHouse Media New England’s north-of-Boston newspapers and websites, and an ocassional contributor to CAP News. Follow him on Twitter at

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

AT LARGE Fake News Tuesday: Amazon Offers Discounts For Torching Retail Stores

SEATTLE (CAP) - Brick-and-mortar retailers and some legislators are up in arms over Price Burn, Amazon's new mobile "app" that will provide a discount for shoppers who go into a local retailer, use the app to compare the store's prices with's prices for the same merchandise, and then burn the store to the ground.

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) called the promotion "anti-competitive" and "an attack on Main Street businesses that employ workers in our communities."

"Plus, I'm pretty sure it's a felony," she added.

"It's wrong to try something in the store and then buy it online," added Leslie Tweedle, who owns a bookshop with her husband in Chicago. "And burning down the store ... that's very hard for a small retailer to deal with."

Tweedle said her husband had to confiscate matches, gasoline and at least one blowtorch from cell phone-wielding customers during Amazon's promotion earlier this month. One patron did manage to burn several copies of Twilight: Breaking Dawn, but "let's face it, that's not a huge loss," said Tweedle.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos defended the app, noting that in the end it helps the consumer find the lowest prices, which is important in a tough economy. Also, he noted that it doesn't explicitly encourage shoppers to burn down retail stores, but rather just notes the types of kindling and accelerants that would be most effective given the kind of store the shopper is in.

For instance, if the shopper is in a bookstore, the readout reads "kerosene," but in a card and gift shop it recommends "mineral turpentine."

"It's really for entertainment purposes only," said Bezos. "Besides, many of those places have more than adequate insurance, probably."

Some legislators were in favor of the app as well. "Amazon is just doing what it needs to do to succeed, which is the beauty of the free market," noted Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who received a $4,000 contribution from Amazon in 2010. "Not a lot of $4,000 contributions coming from locally owned independent bookstores," he added. "I'm just saying."

[Read the rest at CAP News.]

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Column: The only GOP candidates guide you’ll ever need

Can you believe it’s almost here already? No, not Christmas — the GOP primary season! And if you’re one of those people who hasn’t been paying very close attention, it’s entirely likely you’ll soon find yourself in front of your ballot with no idea which candidate to vote for, and wondering what happened to Herman Cain. (Which, coincidentally, is exactly what Herman Cain is wondering.)

But don’t worry — the following guide should tell you everything an uninformed GOP voter needs to know. And if you are informed, please don’t read it, because I hate getting angry letters.

Mitt Romney

Bio: Romney is a self-made millionaire, starting out with only the shirt on his back and a father who was CEO of American Motors and governor of Michigan. He feels that if he is elected president, he would be president, which would be awesome. He’s been known to heat his New Hampshire lakeside estate by burning $100 bills.

Pros: Odds are if he got elected president, he wouldn’t actually do anything he says he’s going to do, which changes every day anyway.

Cons: May actually be a hologram.

Newt Gingrich

Bio: As a congressman in the 1990s, Gingrich is often credited with engineering a Republican majority in Congress for the first time in 20 years, so you can blame him. He has been a devoted family man with all three of his families. He is known as a straight shooter who says what he thinks and would rip out your still-beating heart if given the opportunity. Those ethics charges were a big misunderstanding.

Pros: Probably too old to have any more affairs, so there’s that.

Cons: Worst president name ever.

Rick Perry

Bio: As governor of Texas, Perry has overseen the execution of more than 230 prison inmates, some of them in his own driveway. He thinks there’s something wrong in America when gays can serve openly in the military, but if you go to church on Christmas, President Obama will bludgeon you with a crowbar. (Paraphrasing.) Perry has several far-reaching plans to change the scope of government, some of which he can even remember off the top of his head.

Pros: Would actually make George W. Bush look pretty good in retrospect.

Cons: How much time have you got?

Michele Bachmann

Bio: Bachmann and her husband, Marcus, have taken dozens of foster children into their Minnesota home, where they work hard to “pray away” any potentially embarrassing personal traits. Since declaring her run for the presidency, Rep. Bachmann has immersed herself in the important issues facing the country, such as where the Revolutionary War was fought, and what it was. Fun fact: When in the same room with Michelle Bachmann, no matter where you go, her eyes seem to follow you.

Pros: It’s about time the United States had a woman president.

Cons: Just not this woman.

Rick Santorum

Bio: Santorum is a former senator from Pennsylvania known for his fiscally and socially conservative views, and for being a secretly gay man. He’ll soon be discovered in a compromising situation with another man, possibly in an airport bathroom. A lecture tour with former Sen. Larry Craig and Rev. Ted Haggard will likely follow. You heard it here first.

Pros: It’s about time the United States had a gay president.

Cons: One who’s a little less self-loathing would be nice.

Ron Paul

Bio: Rep. Ron Paul of Texas is a well-spoken physician and organized campaigner who polls well across the nation, has a lot of common-sense ideas for putting the United States on the right track and a large, extremely devoted following of dedicated constituents and campaign workers. So naturally nobody takes him seriously.

Pros: No more wars!

Cons: He’s a weirdo.

John Huntsman

Bio: Former Utah Gov. Huntsman has … I’m sorry, who were we talking about?

Pros: He’s smart, funny, has vast experience with international diplomacy, has a solid business background and probably stands the best chance of beating Barack Obama next November.

Cons: I’m sorry, who were we talking about?

Hmm … Reading these over, it seems possible that it may still be difficult for people to pick a candidate. But even if the choices don’t seem ideal, remember: There’s always hope.

After all, Herman Cain may run again in 2016.

Peter Chianca is editor in chief for GateHouse Media New England’s north-of-Boston newspapers and websites. He wishes there was going to be a Democratic primary, so he could make fun of them too. Follow him on Twitter at

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

AT LARGE Fake News Wednesday: Nicole Scherzinger Sobs Her Way To Success

HOLLYWOOD (CAP) - You've seen her on TV's The X Factor, where she's cried and hugged her way into the hearts of millions of viewers. But who is the real Nicole Scherzinger? And how did she become the beloved reality show judge who can't make a decision that we know so well?

"Nicole is completely genuine," insists fellow judge and X Factor producer Simon Cowell. "By that I mean, she's the same dithering emotional wreck in her everyday life that she is on the show. I mean, really."

Cowell cites an incident in Starbucks prior to a recent taping. "She couldn't decide between a Shaken Iced Green Tea Lemonade and a Cinnamon Dolce Frappuccino Light," Cowell recalled.

"I can't make this decision," Cowell recalled a teary Scherzinger saying, before she made her way behind the counter to hug the barista.

"I had to tell her, please, Nicole, there are people waiting for their bloody coffee," says Cowell. "Since then I just send my servant to get my espresso."

The scene was of course reminiscent of the recent X Factor episode where an emotional Scherzinger used her vote to create a deadlock between performers Marcus Canty and Rachel Crow, eventually resulting in viewers voting Crow - an emotionally unstable 13-year-old special needs child - off the show.

Scherzinger said at the time, between jags of crying and rending her sheer, clingy garments, that she couldn't make the decision because she'd "been up there and I know how it feels." Scherzinger scholars say she was probably referring to an incident that happened to her in 1992, when she was 14.

"It was down to Nicole and one other girl for the top prize in the Louisville Singing In Garters Competition," recalled Karl Munson, then-president of the Louisville, Ky. Chamber of Commerce, which sponsored the contest. "When they announced the other girl's name, Nicole broke down uncontrollably.

"She was curled up in a ball on the stage, and you could see the tears pooling up on the top of her bustier," said Munson. "It was very awkward."

But many believe that experience fueled her determination and helped her eventually land a spot as lead singer for the Pussycat Dolls, where she got to sing in garters in front of all of America. Famous for its dynamic live shows, the group was known for ending concerts with a sobbing, lingerie-clad Scherzinger hugging every single member of the audience.

[Read the rest at CAP News.]

Monday, December 12, 2011

Friday, December 09, 2011

AT LARGE Fake News Friday: Rick Perry Vows To Continue Alienating People Until Elected

AUSTIN (CAP) - Following his universally reviled campaign ad entitled "Strong," presidential contender Rick Perry vowed to continue alienating huge swaths of the populace until he is chosen as the GOP nominee.

"And after that, I will continue to horrify and disgust people until I'm elected president," said Perry, reviewing the ad at his campaign headquarters this week. "That's how I roll."

In the ad, Perry says "there's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school." The ad has almost 1 million "dislikes" on YouTube, has inspired Internet parodies in which Perry slaughters puppies and bunnies, and has resulted in a spate of injuries throughout the country when people's jaws literally struck their desks while watching the ad on their computers.

"He seems to be taking the strategy of being a complete a-hole," said Yale University political science professor Grayson Vaughn, who noted that the approach has not been particularly successful with presidential candidates in the past. "Just ask John Kerry."

Still, Perry seems undeterred, releasing partial transcripts of the next several ads in his "something wrong in this country" series. These include statements such as:

- "There's something wrong in this country when blacks can marry white people but you can't beat one up without getting arrested."

- "There's something wrong in this country when someone who doesn't even speak English can waltz in here and take our jobs, but we can't eat their children."

- "There's something wrong in this country when you have get off a woman just because she says no, but if you go to church on Easter, President Obama will bludgeon you to death."

Perry said he also plans to release ads attacking Jews, the handicapped and one more group he couldn't think of at the moment.

[Read the rest at CAP News.]

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Column: The people versus my dogs

To: “Penny,” “Sally,” “Lilly” and “Corona”

From: Ronald Effinger, Attorney at Law

Dear Mesdames Penny, Sally et al:

Please be advised that I, Ronald Effinger, Esq., acting as licensed attorney for Peter Chianca (heretofore referred to “your owner”), am hereby presenting you with an official request to CEASE AND DESIST your constant and deliberate efforts to make him look stupid, which has caused him significant pain and suffering.

As substantiation of our claim of suffering we put forward the following evidence.

1) On Nov. 28 of 2011, shortly after your owner let you out into the enclosed area at the front of your property, Penny scratched on the door, presumably to request re-entrance into the home. Upon your owner’s opening the door, Penny stared at him quizzically and refused to enter, instead returning to the yard to retrieve a muddy bone and continue barking at her own echo.

This is a pattern of harassment that has continued on a daily basis for at least the last three (3) years and has left your owner subject to the ridicule of neighbors, who have been known to observe the scene and shake their heads, as if to indicate that your owner has lost control of his own pathetic life.

2) Despite the fact that your owner has provided you, free of charge, with full run of his household — including use of numerous couches, beds and ottomans and unfettered access to the area beneath the dining room table — several of you have insisted on bolting through open doors without the slightest provocation.

This has resulted in your owner having to seek you out on foot, at times traipsing through the yards of disapproving neighbors (see No. 1, above), and at other times driving slowly down the street in his wife’s Saturn Astra, shaking a box of Milk Bones out the window like a “demented maraca player” (to use his term).

3) During your nightly excursions with your owner into the backyard, you have refused to cooperate in an orderly fashion unless he provides you with a “cookie” (Milk Bone, Pup-Peroni, etc.). Over time this has resulted in a proliferation of said treats in your owner’s pockets (of coats, jackets, sweatshirts, ponchos, etc.), making him smell vaguely of beef, chicken and lamb. This has caused him embarrassment in several personal and business settings.

They have also caused him to smell of bacon, which we are willing to overlook, because he doesn’t really mind that.

4) Several times during walks in public parks and woodlands, your owner has given in to your entreaties to be allowed “off-leash” (delivered by you in the form of big, sad eyes and insistent pulling). But on more than one occasion you have failed to live up to your end of the agreement, which requires you not to bolt toward advancing walkers and greet them with jumps, licks to the face and sniffs of their personal regions.

To the contrary, you have engaged in this behavior frequently, most often with walkers of greater apparent size and strength than your owner, some of them armed.

Between that, and your tendency to take advantage of the times your owner has forgotten to bring along a plastic bag by “doing your business” in the most public possible areas (sidewalks, centers of soccer fields, on veterans’ memorials, etc.), walking with you has often become a traumatic experience.

Despite your otherwise unconditional devotion, your constant companionship and your irreplaceable contributions to the family unit, if you do not cease and desist in your efforts to undermine my client’s self-esteem and personal standing, we will have no choice but to seek compensatory damages.

Also, you’d better get in the darn car if you want one of these Milk Bones.

Peter Chianca is editor in chief for GateHouse Media New England’s north-of-Boston newspapers and websites. Follow him on Twitter at

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

AT LARGE Fake News Wednesday: Focus Group Finds Mitt Romney Hiding Under Desk

CENTREVILLE, Va. (CAP) - A dozen Republicans who participated in a focus group Thursday night in suburban Virginia, most of whom said they found Mitt Romney "aloof" and "unapproachable," also found the GOP presidential candidate hiding under a desk in the corner of the roo

"My pen rolled under there, and when I bent down to get it, there he was, plain as day," said Sue Gramm, a 61-year-old retailer from Ashburn, Va. "He was all crouched up in his suit, holding his knees so he'd fit."

It took several focus group members about 20 minutes to get Romney to come out from under the desk, at one point trying to coax him out with truffles and foie gras, to no avail, according to Michael McConahey, a 54-year-old consultant from Herndon, Va.

"At first he just ignored us, as if we might just go away," said McConahey. "Finally he made like he'd just found a contact lens and tried to excuse himself from the room."

Confronted by the focus group, Romney then denied that he'd been under the desk.

"Well, your assessment of my recent whereabouts is just not accurate," Romney reportedly said. "So, one, we're going to have to be better informed about whether or not I've been under desks, or not under desks. Which I haven't been."

"So we told him that we'd seen him under the desk with our own eyes," said Leann Dunne, a 43-year-old homemaker from Vienna, Va.

"There's no question that people are going to take snippets and take things out of context and try and show that I've been under desks, or created the foundation for Obamacare, or changed my stance on climate change, abortion, immigration, sex, Harry Potter and my magic underwear," Romney allegedly responded. "I say phooey on them."

After being badgered by the focus group for several minutes, Romney changed his stance, saying that he had in fact been under the desk.

"I have never claimed not to be under the desk, and I'm not sure where you're getting that from," Romney told the focus group.

Told he's just denied being under the desk minutes before, Romney told the group that after studying the issue and in the face of new information, his stance on desk-hiding had "matured."

"That's what you have to do in the private sector, adjust to the situation as it changes," said Romney, noting that he'd spent over 25 years as an executive at Bain Capital, spending much of that time hiding under desks.

[Read the rest at CAP News.]

Monday, December 05, 2011

AT LARGE Fake News Monday: Facebook Fined For Violating Privacy Of Stupid People

WASHINGTON (CAP) - The Federal Trade Commission has levied steep fines against Facebook, alleging that the social media powerhouse has unfairly violated the privacy rights of millions of stupid people.

"Facebook knowingly took advantage of the fact that a large percentage of its users are idiots," read the commission's report.

The report continued, "Facebook's privacy settings virtually guarantee that when a moron uploads a picture that no thinking human being should be sharing, or makes a comment that someone of even rudimentary intelligence would know was dumb or embarrassing, that person is bound to suffer ill effects."

Not surprisingly, the decision was met with approval from imbeciles all over the world.

"It's about time," said Josh Elkind, 21, a Tufts University senior who uploaded pictures of himself in bed with a girl in his dorm room while his roommate was sleeping, and posted a status update about the "hot boobs" on the actresses in the '80 sex comedies he was watching on Netflix.

"My girlfriend was so pissed! Facebook should have told me that she might see those," said Elkind, whose girlfriend, "Donna," is Elkind's friend on Facebook, where the couple actually shares more than 150 mutual friends.

"He's such a stupid idiot," said Donna, adding, "It wouldn't have been so bad if I was the one in the pictures."

Marc Fenderson, 17, who was fired from his job at the Hardees in Effingham, Ill., when he posted on Facebook that he had put his own bodily fluids into the fry vat, also cheered the decision.

"Facebook never told me that if I posted that my boss would read it, and my mom, and my priest, and everyone at my school," said Fenderson, commenting that he was lucky that at least potential future employers wouldn't see it.

Told that any potential employer would most likely be able to find the post in a matter of seconds, he balled his hands into fists and screamed to the heavens, "FACEBOOK!"

For his part, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg seemed contrite in the wake of the controversy.

"Overall, I think we have a good history of providing transparency over who can see your information," he wrote in a blog post. "That said, I'm the first to admit that we've made mistakes. For instance, we never realized that people would be stupid enough to upload photos, videos and statements that could damage their relationships, reputations and careers.

"Our bad," he added.

[Read the rest at CAP News.]