Posts Tagged ‘in the news’

Help your town. Become a criminal

Become a criminal - lineupIf your city is like most others in this great country, it is no doubt struggling to pay its bills and balance its budget – unless your town is Beverly Hills, in which case you can stop reading now.

No one knows how our cities have fallen into such financial distress. Could it be that for decades tax rates have steadily declined while we citizens have relentlessly demanded safer bridges, better schools, and daycare centers for our pets?

As we all prepare to march on our state legislature with our latest referendum to demand lower taxes, how can our cities build the libraries, community centers and skate board parks with oxygen bars that are guaranteed for free by the Bill of Rights?

I’ve given this issue a great deal of thought because, as a humor writer, I have a lot of time on my hands. The solution to this perplexing fiscal crisis is clear: If you love your town, start committing crimes.

Because municipalities make big money on tickets for infractions, all you have to do as a patriotic resident is pick the violation you fancy most and go for it. Do you like running stop signs? Back up and run it again. That will bring in $300+ to the city coffers. Prefer public acts of indecency? Try streaking down Main Street. That’s probably good for $500 easy. Your city council will thank you (and probably offer you a free bath towel).

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  • Published On Aug. 03, 2015 by TEJ
  • 2014 – The Year in Review: Part II (July – December)

    2014 year in review - Part 2 - Ice BucketWe 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.

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    • I thought this was supposed to be a "humor" blog?! Reporting serious facts like this (and last week too) …
  • Published On Jan. 14, 2015 by TEJ
  • 2014 – The Year in Review: Part I (January – June)

    2014 year in review - Part 1 - Taylor SwiftAs 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…

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  • Published On Jan. 07, 2015 by TEJ
  • Seattle’s narrow escape from the icy grip of winter

    Seattle cold weather - HouseWhew! 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.

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    • Awww Tim, you can have my shoulder to cry on. I probably won't feel the tears because I'm wearing …
      Eleanor Rushworth (Yer MiL)
  • Published On Dec. 12, 2013 by TEJ
  • President Obama, deport my next-door neighbor. His lawn looks like crap.

    I believe it’s every American’s duty to do their small part to make our country a better place to live. That’s why I’m calling on President Obama to take immediate executive action to DEPORT MY NEIGHBOR BERT ZABLINSKI NOW! Have you seen his lawn? The last time his grass was less than a foot high, dinosaurs roamed the earth. And don’t get me started about his front yard collection of 47 plastic African garden gnomes or his 14-foot tall sculpture of Elvis giving the finger which he made using only Budweiser cans and Cheez Whiz. 

    Someone has to take action. Why not the President? I discovered this great web site called We the People, which lets you directly petition the White House. It gets over 300 petitions a day, many from people able to construct nearly complete sentences with nouns and verbs. 

    The We the People Petition-the-White-House web site was launched in September 2011, and has since received more than 142,000 petitions and 9.2 million signatures. The volume of petitions has spiked since Obama’s re-election in November 2012, mostly from disaffected white southerners furious about Obama’s apparent plans to take away everyone’s guns and require us all to convert to Islam. I must have missed that news story. 

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    • I will gladly sign the petitions to deport Piers Morgan; to insist Starbucks to use s, m, and l; and …
      Betsy Jones
  • Published On Apr. 18, 2013 by TEJ
  • Communities on high alert in wake of killer guinea pig attacks

    It seems no animal is safe to keep as a pet anymore. There was a time when people kept turtles as pets. But no longer, thanks to research which proved turtles often carry the deadly Salmonella bacteria, which can easily be transmitted to people. Then came warnings against frogs and spiders as pets because some turned out to be poisonous. Millions of kids loved to keep bee colonies until two words changed everything: Killer Bees. Now authorities are urging families to take precautions against the latest deadly threat to their kids’ safety: guinea pigs. 

    When you ask an American what comes to mind when you mention Australia, the first thing they think of is drunken Australians. But the second thing they think of is shark attacks – no wait, actually, second would be the Sydney Opera House. Third would be shark attacks, perhaps tied with Rupert Murdoch, but those are basically the same. 

    Well, move over, sharks! A newspaper in Newcastle, Australia, the Newcastle Herald, recently reported a rash of terrifying guinea pig attacks throughout New South Wales, Australia (see actual headline below right).

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    • You've pretty much stated the case for not having babies. I wish youd warned me 23 years ago. And btw, …
      Betsy Jones
  • Published On Apr. 11, 2013 by TEJ
  • First Lady Michelle Obama – Coming soon to an Applebee’s near you

    In case you’re just now emerging from a three-month coma or don’t have a television, you may have missed that Michelle Obama seems to be everywhere lately. Ever since she unveiled her brand new, trend-setting bangs in January, you almost can’t turn on the TV without seeing the First Lady. In February, she was on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon where she and Jimmy performed The Evolution of Mom Dancing, which became an overnight You Tube viral sensation. Days later she announced the winner of Best Picture at the Academy Awards. And I’m pretty sure I saw her substituting for Judge Judy last Thursday. (Michelle ruled in favor of the beautician who warned her customer that a rainbow-colored perm… oh, never mind.) 

    If you can’t get enough of the First Lady, you’re in luck. View from the Bleachers has gained access to her upcoming schedule of appearances. She is one busy lady. Here is an exclusive sneak peak at her travel schedule for the next 30 days: 

    March 15: Travels to Rome to perform a dance video with newly appointed Pope Francis, grooving to the tune of The Harlem Shake. Zips over to Milan to welcome contestants in The Amazing Race to their next pit stop. (We at VFTB are rooting for the deaf lesbian twins. They’re so nice.)

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    • "free arugula-flavored tofu shakes" It makes me want to buy a plane ticket for about $1500 one-way from Cranbrook, …
      Janice Strong
  • Published On Mar. 13, 2013 by TEJ
  • World’s Oldest Person dies – AGAIN

    Medical experts are scratching their heads as another individual has mysteriously passed away this week. Newspapers the world over shared the sad news that the World’s Oldest Person has just died. This is the latest in a rash of similar news stories. Just last month, Besse Cooper, at the time the World’s Oldest Person, died quietly in her bed at a Monroe, Ga. nursing home. She was a spry 116 years old.

    Sadly, barely two weeks later, another sweet woman, Dina Manfredini, from Johnston, Iowa, who with Besse’s passing had become the reigning World’s Oldest Person, barely had time to enjoy her newly bestowed crown before she too passed away, at the age of 115.

    Dina’s heir apparent’s tenure as World’s Oldest Person was seemingly every bit as brief as Dina’s, because last week this shocking headline appeared:  Koto Okubo Dead: World’s Oldest Woman Dies at 115. The accompanying report described a frail, quiet Japanese woman who passed away peacefully in her sleep at her nursing home, barely having had time to thank the awards committee before she too fell victim to this unbroken curse.

    The passing of Koto Okubo opened the way for Ingrid Jørgensen, a retired school crossing guard from Trondheim, Norway, to win the coveted title of World’s Oldest Person at the relatively young age of just 114. Ms. Jørgensen is reportedly feeling rather uncomfortable with the news of her achievement, insisting it must be an accounting error. She claims her neighbor Heidi Fjelstad is several months older than she and therefore is the person who should be recognized, not her. (Norwegians are notoriously modest.)

    Until now, there has been scant evidence that any government leaders or world scientists have made any efforts to combat this outbreak, which cruelly appears to target only the very oldest and most frail among us. Lest anyone think the latest deaths are isolated coincidences, Nate Silver, the uber-statistician who correctly picked all 50 states in last year’s presidential election, places the odds that the current World’s Oldest Person will die within the next twelve months at 97.5%. Friends of Norway’s Ingrid Jørgensen have reportedly urged her not to put off her once-in-a-lifetime vacation to Greece until next summer.

    Millions of senior citizens are up in arms, arguing that this health crisis has been ignored for far too long. The AARP pointed out recently that the United States spends billions of dollars on wars in the Middle East but has invested almost nothing to try to stop the revolving door of World’s Oldest Persons falling prey to the Grim Reaper.

    Recent World’s Oldest Person honorees like Besse, Dina and Koto have tended to be shy about shining the spotlight on this global crisis. They tend not to complain, which may be in part due to the fact they’re deceased. But AARP representatives are urging Americans to fight for these helpless elderly victims and are asking people to write their congressperson to demand that they find a cure once and for all for this mysterious affliction that is targeting the most senior of our senior citizens.

    As one AARP spokesperson bluntly put it, “Our leaders must stop turning a blind eye as our World’s Oldest Persons continue to die off one by one. If we don’t do something about it, eventually all of us may suffer the same fate.”

    That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

    PS:  If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by sharing it on Facebook, posting a comment or giving it a.  Remember, for every person that shares this post, I will donate a dollar to the Tim Jones Foundation to find a cure to save our World’s Oldest Persons from meeting a tragic fate. So please share generously. 

    © Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2013

    • Oh!... sure Tim ... as if the throngs of helpless people suffering the same affliction every minute, although they …
      Janice Strong
  • Published On Mar. 07, 2013 by TEJ
  • Bad ideas in the news

    Every now and then, I like to read quirky stories about people who are in the news for having made really bad decisions. I find it helps me feel better about myself. If you’re having a rough day, if you’re questioning your judgment skills or perhaps just kicking yourself for some lame decision you made without fully thinking it through, cheer up. At least you’re not one of these people or businesses ….

    Drunk driver arrested after trying to make a cell phone call using breathalyzer

    In Coburg, Germany, a man named Bernhard Becker was pulled over for driving erratically. Police, suspecting he was intoxicated, attempted to administer a breathalyzer. When handed the device, Becker, thinking it was an iPhone, attempted to call his attorney without success. Things went downhill for Mr. Becker when, attempting to tidy up his hair, he grabbed the officer’s radar gun, mistaking it for a blow dryer. Rumor has it Apple is developing a new breathalyzer app for the iPhone 6.

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  • Published On Feb. 28, 2013 by TEJ
  • Rumor has it I may be the next Pope

    Recently the world’s one billion-plus Catholics were stunned by the news that, for the first time in almost 600 years, a living Pope has decided to step down. The 85-year-old Pope Benedict XVI recently announced his plans to resign on February 28, citing poor health and depression over scores of snarky comments his Facebook page has received lately about his red leather Prada shoes (most critics sniping that he should have gone with Gucci, an Italian brand). 

    Rumors are swirling about who will be selected as the next Pope. Las Vegas odds makers say the three front runners are: 

    • Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Tukson of Ghana
    • French Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet and
    • Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras. 

    Most of the mainstream press has completely overlooked a rather unexpected name which is being floated for consideration: Mine. Okay, so most of those rumors have been floated by yours truly. But even a cursory review of my qualifications makes me the obvious choice as God’s representative on Earth.  

    First of all, my name, Tim Jones, is much easier to pronounce than any of those other candidates I just listed. But that’s not all. Check out my impeccable credentials: 

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    • Oh great. I can picture it now. "I conferred with the Lord, and he sayeth that I may kick my …
  • Published On Feb. 21, 2013 by TEJ