Saturday, June 27, 2009

Grocery Store Admits To Slowing Down Whichever Aisle Betty Lewis Is In

by Benjo

I swear this happens to me at my grocery store, too. I am so going to catch those MFers, just like Betty!
Betty Lewis always thought she just had bad luck. “I always try to pick the shortest aisle at Dillon's, but it always seems to turn out being the slowest one,” said Lewis, 63, of Motterville.

But as it turns out, luck had nothing to do with it. On Tuesday, police arrested Dillon's Grocery owner Matthew Richards on charges of a months-long conspiracy to slow down Lewis's aisle each time she visited the store.

In a statement, MVPD spokesman Randall Mink called the plot the largest grocery-store crime in history. By the time of the Dillon's arrest, authorities believe that up to 90% of the town's population had become complicit in the plot. However, Mink tried to tamp down fears that similar crimes would arise involving town-wide efforts to inconvenience a specific individual. “To be clear, this was in no way connected to or inspired by the 2004 plot in which Highway 54 drivers conspired to ensure that Ted Davis's lane would always be the slow one, even when Davis switched lanes. All evidence points to this being the only current conspiracy involving 90% of the town.”

A Dillon's customer who was involved with the conspiracy, who spoke only on condition of anonymity, opposed the MVPD's decision to disrupt the plot. “This was something my friends and I looked forward to—it was a community-building activity. Just like public sacrifices back in the day. I mean, if we could bring public sacrifices, I'd be all for it. But we can't, so this is the next best thing.”

Lewis herself found a silver lining in the news of the conspiracy, in the form of vindication. After years of watching complaints to friends about her bad luck fall on deaf ears, Lewis's credibility has reached new heights.

Peggy Danforth, a member of Lewis's bridge club, said, “I used to just tell Betty she thought she had luck because she'd focus on the bad times.” But after hearing of the arrests, Danforth's feelings changed. “She was right all along. And I feel horrible for having doubted her all this time.”

Danforth expressed openness to giving Lewis the benefit of the doubt on other claims she had previously considered dubious. “Betty thought that Obama was making eyes at her during the speech he made at the high school during the campaign. Over and over she said, 'He was checking me out, he was checking me out! I think he has the hots for me.' That sort of thing. I thought she was out of her mind. But now? It's hard to be sure.”

Lewis was grateful for her newfound credibility. “Now I can tell my grandkids that Obama and I almost had an affair. It's wonderful,” she said. “We probably wouldn't have kids, Obama and me—I mean at my age.” Her voice trailed off. “But who knows?”

“He's doing a wonderful job,” Lewis said. “I will say, I wasn't crazy about that dog he picked. But we can deal with that when the time comes, if I end up moving in to the White House.”

Lewis said she has not spoken to President Obama since the conspiracy was uncovered, but she did hire an artist to create a simulation of her and Obama's offspring. “He's a beautiful baby,” Lewis said. “And I'll tell you what: he wouldn't have any trouble getting through the grocery aisle. You know, being the President's son.”

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Dick Cheney To Open Guantanamo Bay Yoga Retreat

by Benjo

An amazing report about the former Vice President's next project:
Former Vice President Dick Cheney, growing nostalgic for his purview over the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, has decided, in the free time he now enjoys as a private citizen, to open the Guantanamo Bay Yoga Retreat in his native Wyoming. The center, which is said to be the first yoga retreat in history to be surrounded by barb wire, is set to open this fall.

The retreat will teach a new discipline of yoga, authorized by Cheney, called Sivitanga, which roughly translates to Enhanced Interrogation Yoga Techniques. Like Bikram Yoga, Sivitanga is practiced at high temperatures. But while Bikram's 100-degree temperatures are intended to maximize blood circulation and calorie burning, Sivitanga is practiced at 225 degrees, so that its practitioners might be boiled alive.

While only four of the 22 students who took part in Sivitanga test sessions last week passed away as a result of the heat, session coordinator Anya Delylo predicted that that number would rise after the retreat opened. “These test sessions were conducted with some of the nation's finest yogis. As we accept students at Gitmo Yoga whose bodies are less toned, it is inevitable that many will reach terminal nirvana, or death, as a result of the sessions.”

The harshness of the techniques has resulted in criticism for Cheney's retreat even before it has opened.

“Let's call these disgusting techniques what they are: yoga,” said Red Cross spokesman Robert Bonner. “When the Khmer Rouge lined up dissidents in the streets and had them do the Bound Butterfly, it was yoga. When Mao took scholars out to the countryside and forced them to assume the Cobra Pose, it was yoga. This whole notion that it's yoga when other countries do it, but not when we do, is preposterous.”

The Red Cross teamed with other human rights organizations around the world in publishing an open letter calling on President Obama to ban Sivitanga, insisting that it violates the terms of the UN Convention on Yoga.

Cheney vehemently denied that the techniques constitute yoga, insisting that the word was used ironically in the name of his retreat. “The United States does not commit yoga. Period. These techniques were carried out in a manner that was humane, well-monitored, and conducive to increasing flexibility while improving general health.”

Student Ashley James, of Los Angeles, concurred. “I loved loved loved the waterboarding pose,” she said. “With all that heat in the room, it feels so good to have a little water sprinkled on you." James continued, "All of the survivors—or students, or whatever—were talking after the session, and we all agreed this is the most incredible kind of yoga we've ever taken part in. I just wish there was a Sivitanga studio near my apartment. If I could do Sivitanga after work and hit Jamba Juice on the way home? Ugh, it would be heaven on earth.”

Rose McDonald, of the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, agreed with Ms. James. “These new techniques are amazing. The limb-stretching exercises, and just the strain of being shackled for hours at a time, really helped me to get those last few pounds off after the pregnancy.”

According to one former advisor to the Vice President, Cheney decided to set up a yoga center within the week following the attacks of September 11. Another official close to the former Vice President suggested that, following his exit from public office, Cheney became obsessed with the idea that there was a connection between 9/11 and yoga instructors.

This account squares with descriptions of sitings of the former Vice President at the test sessions. “I saw him wandering through the hallway, all crazy-eyed,” said Will Rudy. “He was approaching every yoga instructor he saw—with his eyes, seriously, like darts—trying to get them to cough up information on where Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction were hidden.”

“I can't get over how creepy it was looking into those eyes,” Rudy said. “It was, like, torture.”

Friday, June 12, 2009

ATM Fees Begin to Exceed Withdrawal Amounts

by Benjo

Not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, it seems wrong to go to an ATM and not get any money back because the fee is greater than the amount you want to withdraw. But on the other hand, ATMs are really convenient.
Rising ATM fees are nothing new. But recently, some patrons who try to withdraw cash from an ATM have been met with a surprise: the fees are actually larger than the amount of money they're trying to withdraw.

“The other day, I was trying to take twenty dollars out of my account,” said Chad Denton, 33. “But the ATM fee, as it turned out, was $25, so the ATM just subtracted the difference, and I didn't end up getting any cash back.” Denton, a Bank of America account holder, said, “I actually have to get five bucks to B of A now.”

Millie Davis, a Bank of America spokesperson, confirmed that Denton's experience was expected. “At some of our branches, fees reach as high as $30,” said Davis. “If customers are interested in receiving money, they will have to withdraw more than that. If they fail to do so, as was true in Mr. Denton's case, they will end up owing us money.”

Davis attributed the rising fees to the increasingly sophisticated touch-screen technology used by the machines. “The touch screens literally provide a tangible benefit to our customers,” she said. “Customers always have the option of a no-fee ATM that doesn't have a touch screen: it's called a mattress.”

A spokesperson for Sealy confirmed Davis's claim, but indicated that the mattress company is looking into the possibility of imposing fees each time a customer withdraws money from under a mattress.

Despite the increasing costs of using an ATM, customers remain undeterred from using them. “It's just so convenient to have a place on my block where I can just get money,” Denton said. “I mean, sure, I didn't actually get any money this time around, but still, the convenience makes it worth it.”

In an effort to make customers' ATM experiences even more convenient, Davis said, Bank of America will soon begin offering receipts of their transactions to customers who pay a mere $5 fee.