Thursday, August 30, 2012

At Large Fake News Thursday: Photogs Spy Prince Charles Nude In Stoke-on-Trent

STAFFORDSHIRE (CAP) - Apparently taking a cue from his randy son Prince Harry, Prince Charles is the latest royal to find himself in hot water thanks to some unfortunate photos turning up in the British tabloids.

The Prince of Wales was photographed this past weekend cavorting nude with his wife Camilla Parker Bowles following a game of "strip cricket" in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. In one picture, a stark naked Charles is seen obscuring his genitalia behind a wicket bail.

"You'd think he would have used the bat, just to keep up appearances, wot?" said Nigel Tambling-Goggin, publisher of the London Star-Mirror, which ran the photos on its front page.

In another photo, the naked Charles gives a bear-hug from behind to Parker Bowles, who appears to be wearing a gray leather bodysuit.

"But it turns out that's actually her skin - she's as starkers as he is!" said Tambling-Goggin.

"You'll notice the people retching in the background," he pointed out, before having to turn away to avoid becoming physically ill. "Blimey ... I'm starting to wonder if this press freedom is really worth it," he added, wiping sweat from his brow.

The photos were apparently snapped by a group of pensioners who were in town for the Newcastle-under-Lyme Pottery Festival and Extravaganza. Stoke-on-Trent, part of a conurbation considered to be the pottery capital of Great Britain, is known for the wild antics "one might expect from such a pottery haven," according to tourism brochures distributed by the North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NSCCI).

But those antics are not meant to be broadcast beyond the local borders, says NSCCI president Cornelia Trickelbank. "As we say around here, what happens in Stoke-on-Trent stays in Stoke-on-Trent," said Trickelbank. "Or at least doesn't go any further than Newcastle-under-Lyme, or, on extremely rare occasions, Wolstanton.

"You get the idea," she added.

[Read the rest at CAP News.]

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

When Bruce Springsteen met Pete ...

Yes, I know: The title of this post might give you the idea that Bruce Springsteen and I recently sat down over Cabernet and crullers to discuss music theory and world politics. Actually, our encounter was slightly more fleeting — it took place during the final chorus of “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out” at Gillette Stadium, when Bruce was running by me at the approximate speed of a charging rhino. But never mind that — what’s important is that it was CAPTURED ON FILM.

Well, maybe not film per se — this is actually a screenshot from a YouTube video. But as you can see, it looks exactly like Bruce has just told me a very humorous anecdote (possibly involving Stevie Van Zandt getting thrown out of some amusement park or another), and I’m responding with a hearty guffaw. Or maybe I was just delirious from my temporary proximity to his sweaty aura. One of those two things.

If you're interested in my take on Springsteen's recent concerts in Boston, I wrote A LOT about it. Check out reviews of Fenway night 1, Fenway night 2 and Gillette Stadium. And check out more (much more!) at Blogness on the Edge of Town.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Column: Where do the candidates stand on asteroids?

I’m very concerned that despite a growing disgust among the populace, the presidential candidates continue to dwell on extraneous topics like taxes and the economy and refuse to address what’s most important to the American public: namely, what they’re going to do to keep us from getting hit by a giant space asteroid.

Personally, getting hit by a giant space asteroid is currently my own top concern, even more so than my concerns over a zombie apocalypse. This is because while the latter is definitely unpleasant, it’s never happened before, whereas it seems there was a time when earth was being pelted practically nonstop by space asteroids, like some giant, unfortunate pinball bumper.

I’m basing my information on a book I’m reading, "A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson. It came out in 2003, but since I’m just getting around to reading it now I’m hoping that "everything" hasn’t changed too much during the past nine years. I do know we haven’t been hit by a giant asteroid during that time, because as Bryson makes very clear, I would have heard about it.

For instance, if we were to be visited by a meteor like the one that hit Manson, Iowa 74 million years ago, immediately before it hit "the temperature below it would rise to some 60,000 Kelvin, or ten times the surface temperature of the Sun … Everything in the meteor’s path – people, houses, factories, cars – would crinkle and vanish like cellophane in a flame." And after that, things would get really bad.

I won’t go into the graphic details. (Earthquakes? Check. Volcanoes? Check. "Blizzard of flying projectiles?" Checkeroo.) But you’d think that with literally millions of these things flying around the heavens, protecting us, the citizenry, from crinkling like cellophane would be a no-brainer of a campaign platform. By contrast, Medicare reform does very little to help a senior population that’s been incinerated.

And yet, according to Bryson, "the number of people in the world who are actively searching for asteroids is fewer than the staff of a typical McDonald’s restaurant." About the only good news about that statement is that at least asteroid hunters have advanced degrees and are unlikely to do unpleasant things in the Fryolator.

This is why, if I were running for national office (an experience I imagine is not unlike being hit by a blizzard of flying projectiles), I would do so based almost exclusively on the giant space asteroid platform, making the following promises:

 1) I would immediately create a Division of Asteroid Hunters (DAH) that would employ thousands of people to sit on mountaintops staring through telescopes into outer space. When one of them spotted an asteroid headed in this direction, they would point at it and shout "ASTEROID!" This is what is known as a "job creator."

2) I would order NASA to immediately stop paying all that attention to Mars, which has pretty much no chance of slamming into us, ever.

3) Instead, I would have them start training an elite team of asteroid blower-uppers, like in the movie "Armageddon." I never saw that movie but I’m reasonably sure that it involved Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck blowing up asteroids, possibly while listening to Aerosmith songs.

There are still a few details to work out – for instance, Bryson points out that even if we managed to blow up an oncoming asteroid, it would probably just slam into us in a bunch of pieces, "with the difference that now the rocks would be intensely radioactive." This is what is known as "class warfare."

So here’s hoping that either President Obama or Gov. Romney take up the call – whomever adopts the giant space asteroid platform first is bound to sway the ever-important independent voter who doesn’t want to be hit by a giant space asteroid. After all, if the fact that it’s estimated an asteroid could take out 1.5 billion humans in a single day isn’t enough to sway the public, the candidates can always point out the following:

A certain number of those humans are bound to wind up as zombies.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

At Large Fake News Thursday: Oops! Mars Rover Tech Forgot To Pack The Big Lens

PASADENA (CAP) - In one of the few disappointments so far involving the Mars rover Curiosity - which landed on the red planet last week - several technicians were reportedly horrified to find NASA's F-7000 High Density Lens in a storage closet at their jet propulsion lab yesterday.

The lens, which NASA scientists developed over five years at a cost of approximately $350 million, was supposed to have been mounted to the rear of the rover, where it would take in-depth photographs at a far higher resolution than those that have been transmitted by the device so far.
"I know we certainly intended to put it there," the project's head imaging technician Kris Hanford told CAP News. "I'm pretty sure Carl was supposed to do it."

Carl, a NASA technician who declined to give his last name, said he definitely mounted something there, but now he's thinking it might have been something other than the F-7000, like a piece of PVC pipe.

"The funny thing is, I remember when we stored the lens in there I thought, I wonder why we're putting this in here with all this PVC pipe?" Carl recalled.

The news was reportedly not taken well when it was announced to mission control, where dozens of men broke instantaneously into tears, crying uncontrollably down the fronts of their powder blue golf shirts.

Adam Seltzner, the NASA scientist who had been preparing to study the images that were to be sent back from Curiosity using the F-7000, was particularly inconsolable, given that he now has nothing to do for the next five years.

"F-ing Carl!" sobbed Seltzner, removing his horn-rimmed glasses to rub his bloodshot eyes. "I'm still convinced he was the one who put the bad tire on the Spirit rover in 2010."

"It wasn't a tire so much as an old piece of rubber," recalled Carl. "But I'm pretty sure it was circular."

[Read the rest at CAP News.]

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

At Large Fake News Tuesday: Springsteen's E Street Band Suffering From 'Exhaustion'

HELSINKI (CAP) - Several members of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band were admitted to the Helsinki University Central Hospital last week, apparently suffering from exhaustion following a concert at Olympic Stadium that lasted anywhere from four to nine hours, according to various reports.

"It was harrowing ... they just started dropping like flies," said Lasse Hamalainen, one of the few audience members to make it through the entirety of the mammoth performance.

Most accounts have keyboardist Roy Bittan, 63, being the first to show signs of fatigue, missing some notes in the piano solo on "Backstreets" around hour five, and then falling unconscious with his head on his keyboard.

"It made sort of a plinky sound," noted Hamalainen.

Others soon followed, including guitarist Nils Lofgren, 61, who collapsed behind the horn section Fender guitar in hand, and bassist Garry W. Tallent, 62, who curled up into a fetal position on one of the stage risers.

Witnesses say that shortly thereafter Max Weinberg's arms froze in an upraised position during "Candy's Room" and the 61-year-old drummer fell over backwards, "sort of like an uprooted Greek statue," said Hamalainen.

All through the carnage Springsteen, 63, continued to rally the crowd, waving his arms, sliding across the stage on his knees and hanging upside down off his microphone stand.

"He never slowed down, except when he tried to crowd surf over the 'pit' in front of the stage and as it turned out most of the crowd had passed out by around hour eight," said Hamalainen.

Luckily for Springsteen, two large men who had managed to stay conscious - identified only as "Aleksi" and "Joonas" - were able to hold him aloft until he could get back to the stage.

Witnesses report that by the 12th encore the entire band was strewn out around the stage in various states of consciousness, from staggeringly dazed (saxophonist Jake Clemons) to full-fledged coma (Steven Van Zandt, looking not unlike his character Silvio Dante in the last episode of The Sopranos).

"When he realized there was no one backing him up anymore, he ran offstage and grabbed his acoustic guitar" - Springsteen's guitar tech had apparently also passed out - "and started doing a solo show," said Hamalainen, who had taken to keep himself awake by pinching himself and burning his arm hairs off with a cigarette lighter.

[Read the rest at CAP News.]