Roman Sculpture Authenticated

ANCIENT ROME – A sculpture going from a dusty attic to the centerpiece of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence sounds like a fairy tale. But a recent authentication of an ancient Roman statue has brought this fairy tale into living reality-ness.

Crowds gathered to view the newly restored bust. “To be clear, this is not a run-of-the-mill-piece of art,” said curator Bertolucci. “This clearly demonstrates a link between the ancient world and the new. Or relatively new. As you know, two thousand years was a long time ago. Much before the Ferrari.”

The link Bertolucci refers to is the often pondered gap of why the men who brought down Julius Caesar in a governmental blood bath were not immortalized in marble during their lifetimes for their other accomplishments.

“Busts of the famous figures were carved many years later, and augmenting their haircuts for everyone to think that’s how ancient Romans wore their hair. They had running water, but not scissors. Why such hair cuts? It makes no sense,” Bertolucci espoused. “However, these men, judge how you will of what they did to Caesar, they were accomplished Senators and Tribunes and the like in their lifetimes. Why not celebrate this?”

The recently authenticated statue is of Marcus Brutus, reportedly Caesar’s close ally. Found in an attic of an old house, the homeowners contacted the museum.

“It’s unique,” Nardo, the owner said. “I thought we should at least ask.”

Bertolucci glowed as he described the piece. “Interestingly enough, or not, is that Marcus was for Pompey, but when Pompey was killed he aligned himself with Caesar. But what is even more interesting is the action of Brutus in the statue. He is eating a barbecue sandwich.”

People gawked as they examined the statue. Indeed, Marcus Brutus is mid-bite of a large barbecue sandwich with coleslaw.

“I’ve always thought BBQ was an ancient tradition,” claimed a tourist from Memphis, Tennessee. “Now we have proof. But who is this Brutus guy?”

– Dan Plighter

County Celebrates the Fourth on the Fifth, or Some Other Time

WISCONSIN – As each village competes to bring tourists to their trappings, Door County of Wisconsin managed to skip this year’s celebration of the 4th of July.

“We celebrate it on different days. It allows people to spend more money and drink more in different villages,” said an advocate and anonymous village board member. “We like that.”

Each village plans their own parade and activities.

“We do ours on the 3rd,” said a representative of Egg Harbor.

“Ours is on the 5th,” reported Sister Bay.

“Our village is too poor to do fireworks,” lamented Juddville.

As the NO dug further, it turned out no one organized fireworks displays for the 4th. The common answer to the question was ‘we thought someone else was doing that.’

That did not stop residents from setting fire to the noisemakers and light makers, however.

“We do fireworks all friggin’ week because I pay for this house that’s why,” stated a man who visits his property one week per year.

The small village of Valmy, however, said they are planning for an August 4th celebration of July 4th.

“It has the same number. I think people will like that.”

-Dan Plighter

Man Battles Signs. Wins.

NEW YORK – An elderly man in complete battle regalia was seen challenging sign posts on 125th today, in a quest for greatness. Onlookers gawked as he approached one sign after another, exchanged words, challenged it to a duel, and proceeded to pull out his rapier and fence with the inanimate object. At times, he called out “judgement!” in an apparent need of regulation and gentlemanliness associated with dueling.

However, it was not long before authorities, approaching cautiously, were able to talk the man down.

“I want mutton!” He exclaimed as he sheathed his rapier.

Later, in jail, after paying a fine for fencing in public with a deadly weapon, the man was recorded as saying, “I’m sorry, I know they were sign posts. But I can read the signs. I thought they might become fence posts.”

~ Dan Plighter

Recluse Moves to Big City and Loses Friends

NEW YORK – Shawn Kleg has lived in a remote part of the Idaho wilderness for over forty years. In that time he has grown and hunted his own food, fashioned his own clothes and shelter. He even made his own guns.

“I learned how to bore out steel rods. I used musket balls from the shavings. When I killed something, I’d reuse it. Everything took a while, but I had nothing but time.”

Kleg considers himself a philosopher.

“If there’s a thing to think about, I’ve thought about it. I had the time. And I had plenty of friends.”

Kleg then did the unexpected. He moved to New York City.

“I’ve thought about Manhattan for almost forty years. I figured it was time to give that lifestyle a trial run.”

He packed up his things, both of them, and hiked down to Boise where he caught a bus. As he traveled he noticed how things have changed since the late seventies when he ventured away from society and towards the wild.

“For one thing, people have their faces buried in their palms. I finally figured out those were phones. Of course, in the seventies we were all doing ‘ludes, so I guess this is the new drug.”

Over a seventeen day bus ride (due to delays and rerouting, and the generally slow progress of bus travel) Kleg arrived in the Big Apple. He has been staying in a hostel for the last week while he looks at apartments.

“I haven’t touched my investments I made since I walked off the pavement and never looked back. The last thing I did was buy some stock in a startup called Microsoft. I guess they did pretty well.”

Kleg’s biggest adjustment, however, has been isolation.

“There’s no one to talk to in New York. I don’t know how long I’ll stay.”

~ Dan Plighter

Portugal Sues the World

PORTUGAL – Today in an unprecedented lawsuit, all of Portugal’s Port wine makers sued the world to claim the exclusive use of the word ‘Port.’

“It’s not pocket science,” translated the unskilled translator from Courtroom B of the Judiciary of Portugal. “The name ‘Port’ means brandy fortified wine. It can’t also mean a place to put a boat.”

Some argue the name ‘Port’ should instead be removed from all brandy fortified wine from Portugal. 

“Why not call it Tugal?” Said Christiano. “Then there would be no confusion. This is just arrogance.”

Original exports of wine from Portugal spoiled during shipment between… ports. Until one day an alcoholic captain of the first order (official title) was seen drinking and happy aboard a ship where all the other sailors were miserably sober.

Historian Padraig Pallav explained, “Legend has it that particular captain always had a cask of brandy with him, though no one saw it. They think he disguised it as a parrot, though no one can prove that.”

Apparently, the captain added brandy to everything, including his wine. When it didn’t spoil, the idea caught on, leading to what is known as Port wine.

“What are we going to say,” added Christiano, “that we’re going down to the dock where the boats bob about and wait for shipping? No. I will say ‘port.’ I will always say ‘port.’ And I’m a teetotaler. So there.”

~ Dan Plighter

Cthulhu to Humanity: “Nah, you got this.”

MEDITERRANEAN – Shortly before 1:00 p.m. local time on Sunday, a massive creature, roughly the size of the island of Manhattan, with a vaguely humanoid body and an octopoid face, rose from the depths of the Mediterranean Sea to completely and utterly destroy the human race.

After breaching with a bellowing roar that shattered windows as far away as London, the beast took stock of the creatures that stood in its path. It thrashed and flailed, causing tsunamis in mainland Italy and Greece. It scattered boats that laid in its path, capsizing many. Then – abruptly – it stopped. 

“What….?” It said in a deep echoing boom. “What the hell have you people done? Look at this place!” 

The massive creature began gesturing wildly at the arctic ice caps.

“Holy hell! Look at those! The last time I raged and stampeded, they were one hundred times bigger – easily!”

It turned its eyes heavenward, examining the atmosphere of the planet.

“What have you done to the ozone layer!? Look what you’ve DONE to the ozone layer!”

The rampaging beast Cthulhu spun around, marveling at how dire the environmental health of the Earth had become. Lost for words, it dropped its massive arms and exhaled deeply.

“You know what, you guys. Nevermind. You got this.”

Cthulhu then took a wide turn and began sinking back into the depths of the Atlantic Ocean just beyond the coast of Spain. It turned back one last time.

“Jesus, y’all. I was ready to boil the oceans and rain fire from the skies, but this is WAY better than anything I could’ve come up with. Carry on.”

It slowly dipped back into the ocean, raising both middle fingers to the Earth. Its last words echoed through the air as it disappeared.

“Good luck, you monsters.”

Model Train Enthusiast Arrested for Railroading in Public

SANTA FE – The New Mexico Rail Runner Express (NMRX) is a commuter rail system serving the metropolitan areas of Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Over the weekend a model train enthusiast named Clive Johannsen was arrested for setting up an N-scale model replica of the NMRX, and surrounding desert, without a permit.

Authorities stated they found Johannsen next to the commuter rail tracks early Saturday, wiring up his model as gleeful children looked on.

“He had a completely realistic scene set up,” said one arresting officer. “It was an exact version of the surroundings. It ran and everything. He even staged a man getting arrested. It was like he knew he was going to get caught.”

One witness was unapologetically satisfied to see Johannnsen pinned to the ground and cuffed. “It’s practically graffiti, and he should be punished. His little toy was obstructing people with something better to do than to play with toys.”

Nearby, a father of two children, and his two children, were inconsolable. “I used to have trains when I was a kid and I would have loved to learn from this guy. Needless to say, he’s a criminal now so I wouldn’t associate with him. It’s sad on so many levels. But his modeling was a work of art. Truly original stuff.”

Johannsen had apparently worked for months to design his models, create the casting molds, paint them, and incorporate the desert surroundings, all to perfect scale.

Gloria Gertrude, a close friend and model tree foliage expert said, “His eye for the smallest nuance was impeccable. He could bring any diorama alive with that rare artist touch.”

The miniature scene was quickly dismantled and carried away in a shoe box to avoid obstructing additional commuters. Johannsen will be formally charged for defacing public property and bringing a bit of unexpected joy to passersby.

Gertrude commented, “I never expected this kind of rogue behavior from Clive. He was always a model to the rest of the model train modelers. I guess he just wasn’t seeing the big picture on this one.”

Young Man Takes Literature Literally

ST. LOUIS – A young man of eighteen read a book the other day. Then he headed west.

“It said,” he said, “Go west young man.”

Clarence Wesky packed up his things and hopped on a bus.

To Washington D.C.

“He was illiterate,” said a teacher of Clarence. He couldn’t spell eether.

by Dan Plighter

Unknown Actor Affronted on Mexican Beach

CABO SAN LUCAS – A stage actor of no notoriety (he works in regional theater) was insulted under palapa twelve  at the popular Club Cascadas in Cabo San Lucas. Witnesses to the indignity said it ruined their blended margaritas.

“I could barely taste the lime after that. I had to go buy sunglasses from a beach merchant to clear my head.”

Multiple reports of the incident have been pieced together from corroborating accounts of the trauma. Here are the facts: The unknown stage actor relayed a story about a recent project he’d been involved in that also involved a well known TV and film actor. In his excitement, the unknown actor misused the word “contingency,” when he should have said “contingent.” The listener let the unknown actor finish his story, and without any other comment, corrected the unknown actor’s use of vocabulary.

One earwitness said, “That’s the kind of thing strangers don’t do. It had to be a family thing. I don’t think they should bring their family conflict down here to Mexico. There are already cartels.”

Another commented, “It offended the actor, but he should learn English more proper.”

The listener, with a perfect vocabulary, then proceeded to talk about himself.

“He was an insurance agent. We all fell asleep listening to his snoozer stories.”

Other vacationers ducking out of the cold winter months of the US to find solace on the warm beaches of Mexico were unaware of tumult under the nearby palapa. The vendors trundling up and down the beach also had no idea of the family rift. They continued to sell their wares and their drugs. And Americans continued to buy them.

It is unknown whether the unknown actor has any upcoming prominent roles to brag about. Or if he will ever be known.

Or if he has a dictionary.

Dan Plighter is a cultural phenomenon, writing about cultural phenomenononon.

Stranded Airplane Offers Rare Glimpse Into Early Societal Development

DETROIT – Severe weather across the midwest on Tuesday forced the closing of airports and diversion of many flights. It also offered sociologists a glimpse into how societies develop with a common purpose.

“We were taxiing for the flight,” said Peter Kearney, 29, a circus performer, “And the weather was getting pretty bad. We thought we’d make it out, but then things changed.”

The plane, Delta Airlines Flight 8823, was scheduled for departure at 7:36 p.m. when the weather turned worse. While taxiing for take-off, Detroit Wayne Metropolitan Airport abruptly ceased operation due to ice and snow, and ordered all planes to hold in place until towing equipment could be brought in to escort them back to the gates.

“It didn’t take long for things to go south,” said Mary Whitney, 65, a retired school psychologist. “They said we couldn’t purchase wine or alcohol while the plane was on the tarmac.”

That was when the first coup began. A group of travelers led by Whitney and her husband, Emmanuel stormed the Airbus 320’s galley demanding to be served something to take their minds off the dwindling snack supply and the even larger existential realization that they all would need to wait to go through TSA again tomorrow. The Wine Nine – as they’re being called, not by this writer – quickly overpowered the flight attendants and laid claim to the galley’s modest twelve square feet.

“We thought we’d won,” said Mary Whitney. “We thought it was all-for-one and one-for-all. We never expected First Class to get involved.”

Mary is referring to the second coup of the evening, when the First Class passengers, led by their sole flight attendant, attempted to retake the galley from the Wine Nine.

“Such horror,” said Javier Escalonte, 35, an innocent bystander. “I’ve never seen so many bloody noses and bruised knuckles. And for what? Some wine?” Escalonte shook his head in disgust.

The First Class, lulled by years of rich diets and lack of physical labor, were no match for the Wine Nine, who bound them with their shoelaces and returned them to their first class seats.

In the aftermath of the second coup, around 9:15, the passengers began instituting a rudimentary barter economy; passengers with food and snacks were seen trading for travel size bottles of vodka and other spirits. The Wine Nine even held a brief election in which Mary and her husband Emmanuel were elected as the Free Leaders of Flight 8823.

In an acceptance speech, the Whitneys thanked Bacchus, the god of wine and debauchery, as well as the new favored deity of the passengers of the flight.

This story is ongoing and will be updated periodically.

by Pembry Cornish, a roving reporter with no apparent departure time… or destination.

Budget Airline, Frontier, Announces New Travel Routes, New Planes

DENVER – Ultra low-budget airline Frontier unveiled a new series of routes on Tuesday, as well as new and updated airplanes. The announcement sent the company’s stock soaring.

“We’re thrilled to be one of America’s top choices for cost-effective air travel, and we hope these new destinations give more Americans the opportunity to see this great country,” said Frontier spokesman Pamela Sutton.

The new routes connect cities like Harrisburg, PA and nearby Philadelphia; Bismarck, ND and Fargo; and Tucson, AZ and Phoenix. The new service will come courtesy of Frontier’s new line of planes, the MC-8 and MC-9 coach buses. At a launch event on Tuesday, Frontier debuted the coaches, emblazoned in the company’s green logo.

“Customers have been asking for an alternative mode of transport for many years now, and 2019 is the year that Frontier makes that happen,” said Sutton, standing in front of one of the company’s brand new six-wheeled coach buses. “These coaches will transport customers in comfort and leisure across the highways of the United States – America’s original airways.”

The new routes offer Frontier’s signature budget-saving additional options, options such as headrests, armrests, and seat backs. The company is also debuting a new fare plan, what the company is calling “Standing Room Only.”

“It’s exactly what it sounds like,” Sutton replied briefly. “No further questions.”

by Pembry Cornish

After Millenia, Window Closes

SEA OF CORTEZ – Tensions in the Northern Hemisphere reached a new climax last week when the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean decided to meet no more.

The result?

The Arch of Cabo San Lucas, known to locals as the “Window” will undergo a permanent closing process. Erosion is slated to continue immediately.

However, a source who works near the Window was unable to say when it might close altogether. “It could be a while. I mean, it’s been open for a while. It could be a while. I mean… a while.”

It is unclear why the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean decided not to meet again. It throws into question the future of the tourist industry, which now seems murky.

“People sail down here. How are they going to get from the Sea to the Ocean, or the other way, if the two don’t meet no more?”

Many locals showed their remorse for the breakdown in relations by swimming, snorkeling, taking water taxis out to view sea lions basking on rocks and barking incessantly from their smelly perch, and just about anything else to distract themselves from the grief they felt.

“It’s a shame,” said one tourist. “That window was always so clean. You could like… see right through it… like it was open or something.”

by Dan Plighter