We continue this week with Part II of VFTB’s Year in Review for 2014. If you missed Part I, don’t worry, you didn’t miss much. A couple of wars, a few natural disasters and a political scandal or two – pretty much a replay of 2010 through 2013. Check it out here. Let’s continue now with Part II. Don’t skip ahead to December and spoil the surprise ending, okay?
July: In world news, Somalia sweeps again at the 2014 World’s Worst Nation Awards, barely beating out North Korea and Syria for most corrupt, morally bankrupt authoritarian regime. Somali Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke remarks, “It’s an honor just to be included in the company of such illustrious dictators.” He ends his press conference by thanking the great people of Somalia and announcing that all homosexuals will be executed at dawn for acts of treason against their loving supreme ruler.
August: In health and wellness news, nutrition experts say “Goodbye kale. Hello cauliflower!” proclaiming cauliflower to be the world’s most healthy snack. Critics suggest that nutritionists look up the definition of the word “snack”. Praising the vegetable’s many health benefits, researchers believe it may help fight cancer. Critics say they’ll take their chances with the cancer-fighting properties found in a slice of pepperoni pizza and a can of Pringles.
As has been the proud tradition of this Pulitzer-Prize-denied publication since 1952 – except for 2012 (when the Mayan Calendar predicted the world would end, so I figured, what was the point) – it’s time for VFTB’s Annual Year in Review for 2014.
In keeping with one of the hottest trends of the year, here’s your chance to binge read the important news stories of the past twelve months which you missed because you were too busy playing Candy Crush. Every week, I scour the hot stories, mainly by watching The Daily Show. There’s a lot to get you caught up on, so let’s get started.
January: A Gallup poll shows that for the first time in history a majority of Americans (55%) now favors legalization of marijuana. Pro-pot proponents postulate this number would have been even higher had several million stoners not been too high to locate their phone when the pollster called.
National retailing giant Target admits to a massive security breach in which hackers steal credit and debit card information, exposing more than 70 million customers to risk of identity theft. In a PR move aimed at stemming customer outrage, the retailer hurriedly announces that for the next month Target shoppers will be eligible for a free soft drink upgrade to 20 ounces (with a credit card purchase of $50 or more). Critics say that in retrospect Target should have offered 5% off dish towels, too.
February: This month sports stories become the main event. The Seattle Seahawks rout the Denver Broncos 43 to 8 in Super Bowl XXXLVMMXIVXXIVVXIX (okay, I could be off by a couple of V’s), thus proving after decades of futility that Seattle is no longer the Biggest Loser Sports City in the country. In a private ceremony, Seattle officially passes the crown of desperation to Cleveland. Read More…
Lately, all the media attention about the NFL has centered on the issue of domestic abuse. But long before that issue grabbed the headlines, another controversy had been building for months, even years: The often emotional debate over the name of the NFL team located in our nation’s capital: The Washington Redskins.
A tiny fringe group of a few million annoyingly sensitive Americans, including 35 Native American tribes and more than 50 organizations that represent various groups of Native Americans, seem to think the term “redskin” is an offensive stereotype that stirs images of primitive, angry, bloodthirsty savages screaming menacingly and wishing to annihilate their enemy – in other words, acting like a typical Washington Redskins fan. And they are demanding that billionaire team owner Daniel Marc Snyder change the team name to something less offensive – say, the Washington Camel Jockeys.
The list of suggested alternative names grows by the day. Some names that have been proposed include:
The Washington Gryffindors, the Washington Slytherins, the Washington Hufflepuffs,… well, pretty much anything you can think of from Harry Potter. Also, the Washington Redhawks (which personally I would find highly offensive if I were a Blackhawks fan), the Washington Skins (not sure how our nation’s nudists would feel about this one) or the Washington Pigskins (which I would find highly objectionable, personally, if I were a pot-bellied pig).
None of these names has generated much support, so naturally I came up with several much better ones. Tell me what you think: The Washington Lobbyists, or how about the Washington Cabinets? Or maybe the Washington Gridlocks? I thought about the Washington Senators – but then I realized I was too late. The Senators had already been bought.
BLACKSBURG, VA – A newly released longitudinal study reveals potentially upsetting news for millions of white Americans. The shocking conclusions: Black Americans are getting happier – much happier.
The study by the University of Pennsylvania, tracking the “happiness gap” between black and white Americans since the 1970s, reports that the gap has dramatically narrowed in recent years to the slimmest margin since the study’s beginnings. Fortunately for white Americans, they are, on average, still happier than their black counterparts – but not by much.
Even more alarming is the study’s finding that while blacks’ happiness has progressively improved over the past four decades, whites’ happiness has steadily declined. A spokesman for the National Association for the Advancement of Non-Colored People (NAANCP) argues that there can only be one conclusion to draw from this study: that over the past forty years, blacks have been deliberately and systematically stealing happiness away from whites, without even asking permission or giving so much as a thank you kindly, leaving millions of white Americans outraged and nervous about their futures.
The study’s researchers claim there are other plausible theories for why blacks are getting happier: higher income levels, increased educational opportunities, a significant decline in lynchings, and dramatic strides in career advancement, all of which have fueled greater optimism about their future. In fact, in most states, blacks rarely have to fear getting arrested simply for sitting next to a white person at a Denny’s (with the notable exception of Mississippi and parts of Arkansas). “Why are black people in such a hurry to have more happiness?” asked NAANCP spokesman, Ferry White. “They stopped being slaves a long time ago. What more do they want, anyway?”
It seems every week there is a new study about yet another popular food staple that has been linked to cancer or heart disease. It’s all very confusing. First experts tell you that grape juice is a heart-healthy beverage. Then other experts claim that it’s bad for you (containing as much sugar as soft drinks).
As one of the nation’s leading nutrition experts, I have compiled a comprehensive list of unhealthy foods. Avoid these foods and you should be able to lead a long and healthy life – assuming, of course, you don’t live in Afghanistan, Somalia or Detroit, in which case all bets are off.
FOODS TO AVOID
Cake, cookies, candy and ice cream. When I first discovered that these foods were considered unhealthy, it came as quite a blow. For years I had considered these to be the four basic food groups. But apparently no longer. They are all high in sugar, carbohydrates and polyunsaturated fat. Avoid these at all costs – unless you prefer to be happy.
Newsflash: Our prison population over the past two decades has soared to a record-bursting 2.4 million. Almost one out of every 100 Americans is currently incarcerated. (Personally, I blame Hollywood celebutantes Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton and Justin Bieber for much of the overcrowding problem.)
The USA has more people in prison than any other country in the world – yet one more achievement about which Americans can proudly shout We’re #1. The cost to house all these charming folks is staggering. Check out these startling statistics:
- The average annual operating cost in 2012 was $28,000 per inmate.
- Housing the approximately 500,000 people in jail awaiting trial costs $9 billion a year.
- The cost to put my two daughters through four years of college would be enough to house the entire prison population of Wyoming for four months.
- An ant can carry 50 times its own body weight.
- Donkeys kill more people annually than plane crashes.
As these alarming statistics clearly demonstrate, we need to do something about the runaway costs of housing our inmates – not to mention cracking down on Donkeys Gone Wild.
Dear U.S. Olympic Ski Team:
Congratulations on an outstanding Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. And hey, that 18 year-old Mikaela Shiffrin was impressive on the giant slalom. Well done. I just have one minor complaint to register: Why did you leave me off the team? I contacted you last summer, telling you I wanted to try out for the men’s freestyle aerials or half pipe or any alpine event you guys thought might attract babes. But nobody ever replied to my text message – which by the way I typed in ALL CAPS to get your attention.
I have to say, as qualified as the team members you selected may have been, your decision to leave me off the roster is confounding. I demand an explanation. When I attempted to get on the team plane for Sochi, one of your staffers refused to let me board. I must say he was very discourteous, even after I flashed him 100 rubles to let me get past.
I demand to know why you refused to let me compete with the rest of the skiers. Was it because I’m 59 years old, and the next oldest competitor was 37? News flash: I checked, and age discrimination is totally against the law. Besides, I may be almost 60, but sometimes I use Grecian Formula (dark brown), making me look closer to 52.
Was it because you learned I was married to a Canadian and you questioned my loyalties? Or were you worried my wife would get into a cat fight with the American women’s hockey players? Or maybe you learned about my humor blog and worried I might write a sophomoric column which would spark an international incident. I doubt I’d do that (although I confess I’ve never met a Russian figure skating judge I trusted).
Recently two states legalized the recreational use of marijuana: Colorado and my state, Washington. And as a result, their football teams (Seattle and Denver) are headed to the Super Bowl. That’s why I enthusiastically voted for passage of this law. And I want to apologize for my decision. I had no idea that legalizing weed would unleash a tidal wave of chaos, lawlessness and nonstop ESPN clips of Richard Sherman ranting that he is the best corner back in the history of the universe.
For years, my parents, my minister and my 7th grade science teacher, Mr. Curtis, warned me about the dangers of marijuana. The critically acclaimed 1936 documentary film Reefer Madness proved conclusively that even a single puff of marijuana could lead to a life of heroin addiction, crime and attempting to French kiss nuns during mass.
The evidence is overwhelming that prolonged marijuana use can interfere with one’s ability to concentrate and inhibit one’s motivation. In a 1987 study of rhesus monkeys, researchers found that those monkeys who had routinely inhaled marijuana over a six-month period displayed no motivation to accomplish anything constructive, instead opting to lie around and pick fleas out of their fur. Critics of the study’s findings argued: “What did you expect? Were you waiting for them to draw engineering plans for the next space shuttle? They’re rhesus monkeys, for fuck’s sake.” Critics of legitimate scientific studies often use very coarse language.
Whew! That was that a close call. There was a point earlier this week when I thought I might never see my kids again. Worse yet, I feared that my final blog post might be last week’s lame rant about Sarah Palin. How humiliating. I live in Seattle, and for the past ten days, the entire city has been hunkered down in the grips of an arctic blast so bone-chillingly cold that most of us wondered if we’d ever again be able to venture outdoors in December in flip flops and shorts.
You see, normally the high temperature in Seattle is required by law never to dip below 45 degrees any day from November through May. That’s because of the nearly permanent cloud cover that acts like a thermal blanket to keep us from ever needing to put on gloves or a scarf – which we still do anyway because we Seattleites are extremely fashion-conscious. Oh sure, we might have the occasional fleeting cold front that dips the high temp to 43. But we are a hardy stock. We’ve been known to weather conditions as low as 41 with only mild bouts of panic.
All of that changed last week when suddenly, freakishly, the clouds mysteriously parted. Temperatures plummeted to the low 30s by day and – I kid you not – into the teens at night. It was excruciating. It was chaos. And the only way to survive the brutal blast of frigid air was to put on, say, a Burberry overcoat and matching scarf, and perhaps a pair of J. Crew cashmere-lined suede leather gloves, accented by some Uggs. Now that I think of it, staying indoors might have worked too.
Christmas Day is just around the corner, a time of peace and love and harmony, unless you’re Jewish. But this year, our Christian values of tolerance and forgiveness are being overwhelmed by a cataclysmic war on a scale the world has never seen. The images we see on television are heartbreaking. When will this senseless war stop?
No, I’m not talking about the twelve-year war in Afghanistan, nor the civil war tearing apart Syria. I’m not even talking about the brutal Mattress Price Wars, although the televised images of those retailers viciously slashing prices before my very eyes is enough to make me cry. No, I am, of course, talking about something far more pernicious and deadly: The War on Christmas.
In her lovingly written new book, Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas, distinguished author and former Alaskan beauty pageant winner Sarah Palin launches into a heartwarming tirade in defense of Christian values against the onslaught of political correctness, the secularization of Christmas, and the abominations of atheists and liberals (which two groups are, of course, essentially the same). And I for one could not agree with her views more, even if I understood what she was talking about.