Study: 72% of Americans Are Members of Arcade Fire

Cambridge, MA – In a recent report released by the Census Bureau, it was revealed that approximately 72% of United State’s Citizens are currently active members of the popular band Arcade Fire. 

Only a staggering, 18% of Americans reported that they did not play an obscure background instrument in the critically acclaimed band.  In other words, only approximately 9 million people residing in the United States do not play the theremin, the tenor harmonica or an old bronze coffee mug for the chart topping Montreal-based group.

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The Training

Santa Claus fell to the dusty earth.  His eyes watered and his ears rang from the impact of the strike.  He pulled himself up on one knee and watched the drips of blood form a tiny pool at his feet.  He wiped his nose with a soft white glove, flecks of crimson streaking the fur fringe.

“That was better,” exclaimed Trosto Menad.  He whirled his staff around his head and plunged the it into the ground.  “Let’s try again.”

The stars were still in Santa’s eyes.  He shook his head to clear the ringing.  Somewhere during the last sparring session, Santa had lost his own wooden staff.  Trosto had begun the session unarmed but through a series of pushes, punches and pokes, he had disarmed Santa and used his own weapon against him.  The violent numbness in his jaw gave way to a dull ache.  Santa’s weary body had been beaten, broken and bruised over this first year.  The Academy had turned out to be as difficult as he had imagined it in his nightmares.  No sleep, strenuous physical activity from dusk until dawn, and mental exercises which were somehow more draining.   

“I can’t,” Santa said as he plopped down.

Trotso moved slowly toward his fallen student, throwing his staff aside.  He pitied him in a way.  He pitied all of them really.  The twelve-hundred year old Elf master had trained so many Saints, Tzadiks, Walis and Rishis at this point that he felt he had forgotten more of them than he had remembered.  Each one elected to the Academy had some holy virtue about them, a sanctity only afforded to a chosen few.  However, they were men and women at their core and thus subject to mistakes and stupidity.  Trotso was there to beat the humanity out of the Spirit’s roster of soldiers.

Trotso knelt next to the budding young saint.  “One day my friend,” he spoke in his thick elvish accent, flicking his tongue at the end of each sentence.  “You will bring much happiness to the world.  Your name will be uttered in a thousand languages. And they will know you.  And the Spirit will know you.”

The muscular elf stroked Santa’s hair, his thick fingers gently caressing the young Saint’s head.  Trotso grabbed a handful white hair and yanked back, exposing Santa’s bare neck.  In one fluid movement, he had unsheathed his Chrono-Dagger and pressed it to Santa’s throat.  The ancient knife glowed with an eager violence, pulsing with the anticipation that it might slake its thirst.

“But” Trotso whispered.  “You are weak.  If you cannot even defeat an old elf like me, then we are surely doomed and The Spirit’s vision of the Solstice will never be fulfilled.  The desolate Winter will claim the joy of many.  And you will have failed.”

Santa’s eyes reddened and an unnamed strength animated his weary limbs.  His veins pulsed with the Stirring, boiling his holy blood.  He grabbed Trotso’s wrist and pried it from his exposed throat.  The Elf Master dropped the Chrono-Dagger, his hand throbbing from the immense grip.  Santa grabbed frantically at any weapon he could use.  Pawing at the ground behind him, Santa felt the outline of a large rock, which he swiftly crashed across Trotso’s face, staggering him.  A black haze spun around Trotso’s dizzy head.  The lump of coal had nearly disintegrated from the force of the impact.

Trotso waved the dark halo of swirling powder from his eyes.  As his vision sharpened, he saw a red-clad behemoth standing before him, ready to charge.

“Nice.  Very nice.”

Family Pride

EXT – MAIN STREET – DAY
An SUV cruises down the main drag of a small town.  The streets are congested with other vehicles.  JOHN is transporting his ten-year old son CHRISTOPHER to an oboe lesson.  He is in a bit of a rush.

JOHN: Jeez Louise!  What is the issue up there?  C’mon, we’ve got an oboe lesson to get to!  I’ve got a virtuoso on my hands here people!  You’re all messing with scholarship money!

CHRISTOPHER: Dad, it’s ok we’ve got a few minutes.

JOHN: Yes but I’m paying good money for that Hungarian to teach you to be a great oboe player.  Look at this guy!  He just shot right in there.  Didn’t even use his signal.

CUT-TO: A pick-up truck pulls up beside them and starts to merge in front of them. The trailer gate is adorned with multiple bumper stickers.

JOHN: Hey, hey!  What the heck is this!?  Does no one use their turn signal anymore?   What kind of person does that?  Well, he has lots of bumper stickers.  Let’s see what kind of idiot we’re dealing with. He obviously likes deer hunting.  Jerk!  What else does this idiot’s bumper sticker say?  Well, he’s a big Jacksonville Jaguars fan.  Moron!

CHRISTOPHER: Dad, it’s not that big of a deal.

CUT-TO: The truck completes the merge.

JOHN:  What’s that one say on the bottom left?  “My kid can beat up your honor student?”  Well, that’s it!

JOHN honks the horn loudly and motions for the truck to pull over.  He continues honking until the truck is forced to comply.

CHRISTOPHER: What are you doing?

JOHN: We have some pride in this family.  He’s not getting away with that!

JOHN gets out of the car and approaches the truck.  Christopher is left alone in the SUV, watching his dad and a strange man yell at one another.  After a few seconds of wild gesticulating, JOHN comes back to the car and gets in.

JOHN: OK, so here’s the deal.  We’re going to be late to the oboe lesson.

CHRISTOPHER: Fine, I told you it’s not a big deal.

JOHN: And you’re going to fight that man’s son.

CHRISTOPHER: What?

JOHN:  Yeah, yeah.  He’s in the truck too.  He looks a little older than you but I think you can take him.  Ah…there he is.

The truck driver’s son NATE get out of the passenger side door.  Nate is probably 5 years older than CHRISTOPHER and much bigger.  He looks as unenthusiastic about this fight as CHRISTOPHER.

CHRISTOPHER: No way!

JOHN: Yes way!  I already made a deal.  We can’t back out now.

CHRISTOPHER: I’m not fighting him.  He looks like he can buy beer.

JOHN: Yes.  Yes…he sure does.  Boy, he looked a little shorter when he was buckled in.  It doesn’t matter though!  Chris, I was never able to man up and fight anyone when I was a kid and as a result I grew up really scared of confrontation.  I just want this to be a learning experience for you.  You like learning don’t you?

CHRISTOPHER: I like learning about History and science and math, not fighting!

JOHN: Chris, what do you think those history books are full of?  Wars and battles.  These things changed the course of history.  And science?  Chemistry?  Our bodies are constantly going through violent changes on a subatomic level.  Matter colliding with matter.  And Math…you’re fighting…the urge to… destroy…the sub-denominator.  All of life is a struggle.  So go out there and fight that guy.  I mean, that kid.

CHRISTOPHER: That doesn’t make any sense.

JOHN: Important lesson number 2.  Life doesn’t make sense.  Now get out there and have at it.

CHRISTOPHER reluctantly gets out of the car, still wanting to please his dad.  JOHN stays behind to watch.  CHRISTOPHER slowly approaches NATE.  After a pause, NATE apathetically punches CHRISTOPHER in the face, picks him up over his head and slams him on the hood of the car.  JOHN winces.  CHRISTOPHER rolls off the car onto the ground, out of sight.  NATE returns to his truck.  The SUV door opens and a dirty, bloody and bruised CHRISTOPHER enters.  He pulls on his seat belt and stares forward.

JOHN:Well…the Jaguars still suck!

Lawyers Argue UPMC Merely a Figment of Pittsburgh Citizens’ Imagination

Pittsburgh, PA – On the heels of UPMC’s announcement that it does not have any employees whatsoever, lawyers for the healthcare giant argued today that the company does not exist at all and in fact is a lucid hallucination of the people of Pittsburgh.

“If reality is simply a construct imagined by humans to place feelings and experiences into categorical order, then it stands to reason that UPMC is simply one of those imagined constructs,” said William Pietragallo, counsel for UPMC.  “And there is nothing in the tax code of the City of Pittsburgh which requires ephemeral entities or illusory phantasms to be subjected to payroll taxes.”

Lawyers for the opposition were baffled as Mr. Pietragallo proceeded to blow their minds.  “I mean, think about it.  I had a dream last night where I was getting chased through an old zoo by something. I think it was like a big ball.  In that moment, it felt real.  But I woke up today and it was gone,” he explained.  “So what is real then?  What if everything I’m saying right now is just something that I’m dreaming?  Or what if this is all something you are dreaming?”

“Whoa,” muttered Ronald Barber, attorney for the city.

“What if?” Mr. Pietragallo continued.  “What if our absolutely massive, profitable company is just being imagined by a little boy in another Universe or something?  And when the kid gets done playing and imagining things, we all just disappear?  Or what if we’re all in a big marble being thrown by a giant alien like at the end of Men in Black?  Surely, you can’t forcibly tax UPMC’s ten billion dollar annual revenue if we’re all just rolling around in a cosmic marble!”

Judge R. Stanton Wettick adjourned the court for the day, stating that before proceeding with counter arguments, it would have to be decided if “all this is even going on at all right now.” He then stared at his extended fingers for a prolonged amount of time.

FIFA Announces Exciting Rule Changes to Soccer; Players to Run with Ball, Tackle

Zürich, Switzerland – In a press conference earlier this afternoon, Sepp Blatter, President of the Federation International de Football Association, announced a sweeping set of rule changes in order to make the game more exciting and accessible to American audiences.  Players will now be allowed to run with the ball, pass the ball in the air, and tackle players to the ground.

“We feel that in its current state Soccer is simply not connecting with the American consumer.  We’ve tried numerous attempts at outreach, but with little success,” said Blatt.  “With this fundamental shift in the way the game is played, we can finally make Soccer a moderately interesting spectator sport.”

Blatt proceeded to outline other exciting rule changes to Soccer:

– Goals will now be six points

– Round balls will be replaced with misshapen, oblong ones.

– Teams will have four attempts to move the play forward 10 meters (still Metric) down the field

– Kicking the ball will only be allowed in certain situations

– Officials will be much, much more lenient on player steroid usage

The rule changes were met with stiff opposition.  “They don’t need to change the rules.  Americans are just too stupid to notice the intricacies and excitement of this historic game,” said the one guy you know from work who acts like soccer is the biggest god damn deal on the planet. 

There are also plans to re-name the FIFA World Cup.  “I came up with the idea for a new name while at a Seafood restaurant,” explained Blatt.  “I noticed that a Bowl of Clam Chowder was much bigger and more satisfying than a Cup.  Therefore, the World Cup will be renamed to include the word Bowl.  Super World Bowl or something of that nature.”

In addition to these rule changes, players will be instructed to not conduct themselves like whiny little girls whenever someone lays a finger on them.  Flopping around like that…disgraceful.