Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Fat Britney Spears Loses Weight In The World Of Warcraft

Amorian The Warrior ambled through the Raven Hill Cemetery in Duskwood on the continent of Azeroth. This was Azeroth in the realm of Hyjal. Amorian was told that there was something very strange going on in the Raven Hill Cemetery, and there was a rush of characters to get there. Amorian, though, was never in so much of a rush to stop him from killing creatures. Amorian liked killing creatures. It was what he did, and the more creatures Amorian killed, the greater his skill level. Amorian was at level 47. This was good. But not good enough for Amorian.

After killing a plague spreader, a ghoulish looking grey creature, Amorian noticed that dozens of characters were running past him on the way to the Raven Hill Cemetery.

"What's going on at Raven Hill?" asked Amorian of Googan, a Mage.

"They say Britney Spears is in Raven Hill," said Googan, as he rushed off.

"Britney Spears?" said Amorian to himself. I guess Googan must mean a character named Britney Spears. Or is Britney Spears playing a character. That would be cool, Britney playing Warcraft. Amorian now was interested and started to run.

When Amorian finally arrived at the Raven Hill Cemetery, there was a huge crowd of characters, from warriors to mages and shamans to rouges as well as what looked like hundreds of druids.
Amorian pushed through the crowd, but did so in a manner that was respectful of the horde. When he got to the middle he saw what everyone was talking about. Surrounded by the crowd was a gorgeous blond human and her name was Britneyspears. Britneyspears' blond hair was flowing, and she carried a sword and had a choker around her neck with a band in her hair. She was tall and thin, a body like Madonna’s, just with fewer wrinkles.

"That's not the real Britney Spears," said Amorian to Ceeceelia, a female rogue standing next to him.
"Yes it is. Britney is making a special Warcraft appearance. She apparently has been playing the game and eating chocolates for the past nine months and has decided to do a concert.

"What? A concert here, on Warcraft?" asked Amorian.

"Well, she can't do a concert in real life. She's fat and pregnant and stuffing her face with Twinkies and cigarettes and has lost her voice and her stage presence. So she is doing it here," said Ceeceelia.

"Oh. I guess that's cool," said Amorian.

'Yeah, if you can't get a life together on Earth, you do it on Warcraft," said Ceevceelia.

"Warcraft is on Earth," said Amorian, a little peeved that Ceeceelia might have implied that he too did not have a life.

"I'm not saying you and I don't have lives. I'm saying this bitch has betrayed her true self on Earth, her trailer-trash self, but here on Warcraft she can be beautiful and sing using the program they apparently created for her," said Ceeceelia.

"Cool," said Amorian. Amorian wondered whether Ceeceelia was also fat. She looked damn good here in the Raven Hill Cemetery.

Suddenly, without any announcement, Britneyspears started to sing. And it was quite a pretty voice. All the characters started to cheer. Amorian though just listened. He thought of the real Britney Spears sitting at a computer somewhere, pecking away at a keyboard, a box of Krispy Kreme donuts next to her, possibly a donut in her mouth, chewing, drinking a beer, a cigarette burning in an ashtray, but singing a song, a pretty song in the realm of Hyjal on the continent of Azeroth in Duskwood at the Raven Hill Cemetery.

The Last Seven Minutes Of Kenneth Lay’s Life

Kenneth Lay opened his eyes. He grabbed his chest because of the thud of pain that burned like a hot bass. He was lying next to his wife Linda who was breathing heavily and in a deep sleep. Linda had been taking sleeping pills lately due to all the events in their recent lives, and the pills always seemed to do the trick. Linda slept through the night, snoring as if she was drowning out bad dreams. Kenneth turned to the digital clock that sat on the night stand to his right. It was 1:07 AM.

The thud in his chest was growing worse, but he had had these pains before. Kenneth did not tell anyone. He assumed they were stress pains. But he was dealing with it like he dealt with everything. Quietly. But somehow this was different. The pain spread to his right arm which was burning sharply. He nudged Linda, but she did not stir, nor did her deep noisy breathing break its stride. Linda Lay remained firmly in the grip of Ambien, deep in her dreamless world.

Rather than be an alarmist, something he had always eschewed, Kenneth Lay was determined to bear this momentary crisis out. This too shall pass, he thought. So much had happened in his life, so many good things, so many bad things, tough times, easy times, and soaringly brilliant times. He never fancied himself brilliant, though. Kenneth always had to work to get to the top. He used charm and social skills, combined with a sense of optimism. Kenneth learned early on that optimism was a tool that worked wonders on people. Never seem pessimistic about anything. Never betray that you had doubts about success. Indeed, this tool had metastasized into a working philosophical attitude. Kenneth believed his own optimism. It worked on everyone, including himself, and fueled him through good times and bad times.

Kenneth's father, Omer Lay, was the supreme optimist. Omer Lay had hundreds of jobs in his life, hundreds of startup ideas, hundreds of notions of who he was and what he should be. Omer even thought of himself as a preacher, and even garnered small audiences in the dozens of towns that he and his family resided. Indeed, Omer and his wife, Ruth, moved often, always trying to find a new life because the present one never seemed to work out.

But as Kenneth Lay struggled with the pain in his arm on the bed in the Colorado Rockies next to his wife, he thought that his father's incessant search for something new and better was a mark of optimism, not of despair. Though his father eventually saw himself as a failure; because in truth, nothing ever did work out for Omer. But with Kenneth, things were a bit different. Kenneth kept moving too, but from one success to another.

Notwithstanding the pain in his chest and arm, Kenneth smiled at the thought of his first oil job with the Humble Oil and Refining Company. The name 'humble' amused Kenneth. His starting salary was $13,000 per year, an amount he could spend in a day on frivolous things his later years. But his time at Humble had given him a family. It was at Humble that he married his college girlfriend, Judith Ayers. And with Judith, Kenneth had two children, Mark and Elizabeth.

Kenneth thought of Mark and Elizabeth and how he had left their mother for another woman, Linda, who was lying dead to the world next to him in this mountain retreat. Kenneth Lay felt a pain in his stomach. It was unrelated to the pain in his chest and arm. It was an emotional pain. The pain of loss, of regret, of having hurt his children. He hurt his two and only children twice. First, when he left their mother. And second, now, with the predicament he was in. A criminal conviction and he was now waiting his sentence. Kenneth knew he was going to prison, and he thought of Mark and Elizabeth coming to visit him. He would be seeing his children in prison.

Kenneth's face started to contort with the thought of how he had hurt Judith, of how he had hurt his children. Afterall, he had hurt them all because of one thing: success. With his success came a lack of attention to Judith and family. When the money started pouring in, Kenneth Lay felt on some level that he wanted something more in his personal life. That he wanted a woman that could satisfy his new-found sense of himself. And he left Judith and the kids with optimism that everything would work out. Judith would find a new life. The kids would understand. Everyone would be optimistic.

And it did. And they were. Didn't it? Weren’t they? Linda was smart and beautiful, and at the moment snoring. Kenneth Lay started to cry. The pain in his chest was worse than it had ever been, and now both arms were getting very stiff with shooting sharp pains, like someone was squeezing his biceps and twisting his arms in an Indian wrist burn. Judith might not have been as beautiful as Linda, but she fell in love with Kenneth when he was a nobody. Kenneth thought of that. He kept thinking of that, of Judith, of having left her, and he kept hearing the snoring Linda next to him. The thoughts of Judith, the memories of Judith mixed up with the heavy wet breathing was clashing together in his brain. He wanted the noise to stop so he could think of Judith, so he could dream of Judith, or those times back at the Humble Oil and Refining Company.

With each deep noisy breath that Linda took, Kenneth Lay's chest and arm pains got worse. But he felt he would get through the night if he could only keep his mind focused on Judith. He would call her in the morning. He wanted to speak to her. He wanted to touch her again. Focus. Focus on the memory. Kenneth struggled with trying to focus. But the pain kept getting worse, and his wife's snoring kept getting louder and louder and louder. He thought he started to feel rain and see lightening. The thunder was Linda, but he tried to turn it into a thunderstorm memory he had with Judith, once when they were on a lake in a row boat. The row boat. Think of the row boat and the lake and Judith.

And then it came. The explosion of pain that made Kenneth Lay's left hand grab Linda so tight it woke her. But Kenneth did not notice that Linda had awoken. All he could think about was his left hand grabbing the side of the row boat, the boat shaking in the thunderstorm and Kenneth telling Judith that everything was going to be alright. Everything was going to be alright. That they would make it to shore. Kenneth smiled. Judith smiled. And the thunderstorm was over.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

An Iranian Orders 100,000 Kaytushas

The Iranian who called himself Hassa was wearing a grey business suit with a white shirt. He had a black belt and black leather shoes and carried a brown leather zippered portfolio. Hassa was leaning on the door jamb that was the main entrance to the manufacturing floor of the weapons plant on the outskirts of Grozny in Chechnya, a Russian Republic. Greigor was wearing dark brown canvas overalls with a tool belt attached to his waist. Greigor was the floor manager, but the floor at this moment was quiet given the 6:00 AM time that Hassa had requested for the meeting.

“The difficulty is the ball bearings,” said Griegor.

“The ball bearings are essential. Without them, I am not interested in your Kaytushas,” said Hassa.

“My Kaytushas? My Kaytushas? These are the only Kaytushas. This is where we made them for the war against the Germans,” said Greigor, taking offense to the Iranian who spoke perfect Russian.

“Yes,” said Hassa.

“Kaytusha comes from an old Russian wartime song with the same name. It is about a girl named Kaytusha who longs for her lover who is away at war,” said Greigor.

“It has romantic origins,” said Hassa.

“We are the only real supplier of Kaytushas. We have a history with them,” said Griegor.

“They are simple rockets. I can get them from the North Koreans. I can even make them ourselves. But quite frankly, it would be easiest for all concerned to have you do it,” said Hassa.

“Well, the ball bearings are a problem. The Kaytusha with ball bearings is not how it was intended. I don’t like it,” said Greigor.

“We are not about to discuss the ethics of warfare now are we? You are in the business of making Kaytushas and other things for war and I hardly think we should discuss the ethics of ball bearings,” said Hassa with a smile.

“Yes, well, can you get the ball bearings?” asked Greigor.

“Oddly, there is a ball bearing manufacturing plant in Israel. I have a German company that has purchased several containers of bearings which has already been shipped. Then we would have to get it from Germany to here,” said Hassa.

“Why don’t we make the Kaytushas and deliver them to you with a removable nose so that you can simply stock them with the ball bearings?” asked Greigor.

“Because I do not wish to have my fingerprints on the operation. I want them shipped from here to Syria where they will then be exported to various places. So start making them and expect the ball bearings to arrive within a few weeks,” said Hassa.

“I was told you want one hundred thousand rockets. That is a big order,” said Greigor.

“They have already been paid for,” said Hassa.

“That will take time,” said Greigor.

“That is OK. Move quickly, but do not compromise the integrity of the Kaytushas. I want a child to be able to fire them without trouble. I need the Kaytushas to be, how do Americans say it, ‘idiot-proof.’ They should be able to be mishandled and dropped and rolled without requiring repair or without setting them off,” said Hassa.

“Yes. OK,” said Greigor.

“And when delivered to Syria, I shall make certain you personally are well compensated. I will take care of you with money to make certain you keep your eyes on this order,” said Hassa.

“Thank you. I will,” said Greigor.

Hassa smiled, turned and walked out the door. Greigor did not like the Iranian. He was smart, confident and clearly had his hands on several powerful buttons. Greigor tried not to think of his brother-in-law, Ben, who lived in Tel Aviv. His brother-in-law had married Greigor’s sister, Mona, who was killed in one of several bombing raids in Grozny. Ben was half Jewish, and after the death of Mona, he moved to Israel. Greigor had not seen or spoken to Ben in six years.

Greigor looked at his watch. It was 6:32 AM. He yawned and decided to go to his office and lie down for a nap until the floor workers arrived at 9:00 AM. It was going to be a big day to gear up for the manufacture of one hundred thousand Kaytusha rockets.

A Lebanese Boy Learns To Fire A Kaytusha

Amrak Heesan sat at a wood table eating oats soaked in goat’s milk. His son, Mokar, ten years old, sat with him eating a banana. The house was made of stone and had three rooms, the living area which contained all the kitchen equipment and a television set, as well as a bedroom and a bathroom. The house was on a hill in the Lebanese town of Khiam near the Lebanese border with the Golan Heights. Amrak’s wife, Seffe, had left Khiam two days before with Mokar’s sister, Juha. Juha was only four, so Seffe did not wish to wait for the Israelis to come. She was scared and wanted to find a safe haven for her daughter and herself, and she felt bad to leave Mokar behind. But Amrak was insistent. “Mokar was ten years old. He was old enough to hold a rocket. He must stay and fight,” said Amrak to his wife Seffe. So Seffe departed only with Juha in their green 1988 Toyota Celica. Seffee did not know where they were going to go. She did not wish to go to Syria. She had heard that those who went to Syria never came back. She wanted to stay in Lebanon, maybe close to the sea. Seffe told Amrak before she left that she would drive with Juha toward Tyre or Sidon and try to find one of her sisters. Amrak suggested further north; but further north was unfriendly to Shia, so she preferred to stay in the south.
Mokar looked at the battery-operated clock on the wall. It was four minutes to nine in the morning.

“It is almost time,” said Mokar.

“There is no reason to rush. There is plenty of time,” said Amrak to his son as he played with his oats, not really hungry.

Amrak had been suffering from stomach pains for the past few days, and they had become worse this morning. The departure of his wife and beautiful four-year old daughter, Juha, with jet black hair and light brown eyes, was like an ending to him. He did not think it would ever come to this. This war that was now raging. Of course, the whole town of Khiam had become a storage facility for weapons, including the nearly thousand Kaytusha rockets that came in weekly over the last five years by truck on roads from Syria.

Kaytushas were old Soviet rockets, and though they were tested every now and then, no one really knew if they were reliable. If you walked down the dirt and stone roads of Khiam on any day, you would not see one rocket except for maybe a pickup truck now and then with a pile of them in the back. But walk into anyone’s home in Khiam, and the entire living space was piled with Kaytushas. Everyone had a quota. Amrak’s house was big enough to hold fifty Kaytushas, and what was left of that fifty was lying behind where Mokar sat at the table eating his banana.

So with all the rockets piling up in the house, Amrak found it amusing that he never thought it would come to this. How could he think otherwise. The Kaytushas had become so much apart of everyone’s home, that they were used for all sorts of purposes. Lying five of them next to each other was a popular support for mattresses. Some had rigged them with electrical cords, placing a light bulb at the top and then a shade hanging on the bulb. This had become a popular lamp, so much so that a local electrician had made a sizeable business at retro-fitting the Kaytushas as standing lamps. Though this was frowned upon by the local authorities, even they had to laugh at the ingenuity of the Khiam residents.
This had all changed in the last two weeks. All the lamped Kaytushas had been reclaimed as rockets. And to the surprise of everyone, the Kaytushas were not only reliable, they all seemed to work as described by the Syrian engineers who came to instruct locals in how to fire them.

“I want to do it, Papa. Can we go now?” asked Mokar.

“I am not finished with my oats,” said Amrak.

This was to be Mokar’s first time firing a Kaytusha. In fact, two weeks ago was Amrak’s first time firing a Kaytusha. It was frightening how much noise the rocket made when it took off from the tripod stand. The air rumbled, hurting the ears. And one looked at the fire blast with caution as it got very bright, sending off sparks in all directions. But the rockets worked. They went up in into the air, heading for Israel like a javelin. It was a sight to see. At first, it had made all the Khiam men proud to se the rockets head up into the clouds. But the pride had been replaced with fear. The excitement was being passed down to the next generation.

Mokar was anxious and excited. He got up from the table and went over to the pile of Kaytushas behind him, which were piled up against the stone wall and held in place by four cinder blocks lying on the floor.

“Can I at least take one outside and get it ready?” asked Mokar.

“Yes. Yes. OK,” said Amrak.

Mokar picked up one of the Kaytushas. It was heavy for a ten-year old. He had to drag it, which is what he did, out the front wood door into the bright morning Lebanese sun.

Amrak’s stomach pain grew worse. He held his stomach. It disturbed Amrak that his son so easily could live with these rockets. Mokar picked them up and moved them around like a large toy. Amrak had always touched them with caution, never fully trusting them, never feeling comfortable. But Mokar had spent half his life with these rockets. The Kaytushas were part of his life; they had become part of his son’s culture.

The pain got worse. Amrak stood and walked to the window where he watched his son set up the Kaytusha outside the front of his house. He saw other sons setting up other rockets at other houses in the town of Khiam. All the sons were moving with excitement. And all the fathers watched from their living room windows.

Suri Cruise And Shiloh Jolie-Pitt Meet In Cyberspace

Wi-fi, wi-max, bluetooth, cell transmissions, satellite transmissions, ham radio packets, sonar, radar, cosmic rays, gamma rays and of course brainwaves all converged in one brief moment, intersecting with a few seconds of brilliant energy on the computer server that hosts the website. And for that brief moment, the mind auras of Suri Cruise and Shiloh Jolie-Pitt drifted through each other like two passing clouds. The moment, that precious ephemeral moment that characterizes lovers glancing at each other from two passing trains going in opposite directions, two lovers that never meet but know that they, if circumstance permitted, would be lovers – that moment, that brief moment occurred oddly in the microprocessers of the Dell server that hosts

Perez Hilton himself was sharp enough to catch it, and he was good enough to provide us with an exclusive transcript of the conversation that transpired between Suri Cruise and Shiloh Jolie-Pitt. Though difficult to fathom that infants can communicate with the articulation relected in the following transcript, it is the opinion of Perez Hilton, a recognized authority on the gene pools of celebrities, that Suri and Shiloh are lovers to be, but not yet realized, if ever. The conversation was not in English, the language foreign to us, but Perez was able to translate it into something intelligible. Perez Hilton is familiar with the chaotic and encrypted linguistics of the Tom-Katie Cruise AND Brad-Angelina Jolie-Pitt brain-stream, and so was able to convert what others would consider infant gibberish into a readable conversation. Here is the translated transcript:

Suri: Lost.

Shiloh: Are you?

Suri: Yes.

Shiloh: Where would you be if not lost?

Suri: Safe. I would be safe.

Shiloh: You feel danger?

Suri: What is danger?

Shiloh: I don’t know.

Suri: You feel safe?

Shiloh: A man takes care of me. Occasionally a woman. The big soft things I suck on don’t work.

Suri: Many women come and go. Never the same one. No big soft things for me to suck on.

Shiloh: This is why you do not feel safe?

Suri: I don’t know.

Shiloh: Come with me.

Suri: I feel like … I feel like I want to.

Shiloh: The woman. The woman who cares for me. The one with the big soft things. She has plenty of others she cares for too. I hear them. They make noise. She could care for you.

Suri: Yes. Would that make me safe?

Shiloh: I don’t know.

Suri: Fear. Do you feel it?

Shiloh: Not sure. I think so. What is fear?

Suri: There is a man. He seems to be in control. He comes sometimes. He tells everyone what to do. He yells at all the women. He sticks a rubber thing in my mouth. He smiles at me and sticks that rubber thing in my mouth.

Shiloh: The woman with the big soft things, the one who cares for the others. She is in control. She is in control of things. She tells the man what to do. The man does what the woman with the big soft things tells him what to do.

Suri: I am confused.

Shiloh: Yes. So am I.

Suri: I am feeling it is about to end.

Shiloh: What?

Suri: You. You are growing fainter.

Shiloh: Yes. I see that.

Suri: Will it continue?

Shiloh: I don’t know.

Suri: I want you to stop. Stop growing faint.

Shiloh: I can’t stop it. I do not know why it is.

Suri: Will we ever? Again?

Shiloh: I’m scared. I think I know what this fear is.

Suri: I feel it too. I don’t want to be alone.

Shiloh: Until…

Suri: Until…

The conversation ended at that point. In the opinion of Perez Hilton, Suri and Shiloh will become lovers in this life or in some other life. May it be so.

Parodical thanks Perez Hilton for translating the infant gibberish and for providing us with an exclusive transcript of the conversation between Suri Cruise and Shiloh Jolie-Pitt.