UnNews:2008: Year in Review
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|This article is part of UnNews||Where man always bites dog|
1 January 2009
|This article features first-hand journalism by an UnNews correspondent.|
Horrible happenings in Middle East
According to various sources, things continued to be awful to people with the misfortune to live anywhere in between Morocco and Pakistan. According to a CNN poll, the people who live in the Middle East squarely place the blame for this on the people who live in the Middle East, including Arabs, Jews, Muslims, Christians, those Jews/Muslims/Christians who are the wrong kind of Jews/Muslims/Christians, the US Army and Mr. Habib who runs the corner shop.
President Bush promised that he could and would resolve the issue, and ensure peace for future generations of Middle Eastians. In the same speech he promised to roll back Russian militarism with the power of his mind, to cure cancer with baking powder, and fly to the Moon by flapping his hands.
- Communists take early lead in Cuban electoral polling. Few surprised.
- American politicians complain: new "Extended Play Primary, Gold Edition" relies too heavily on power-ups, bosses.
French President marries hot chick
In a move that surprised nobody, the President of France married some utter hottie. Bastard.
Nicolas Sarkozy married singer and former supermodel Carla Bruni, probably smirking all over his swarthy Gallic mug as he did so. In March, a nude photo of Bruni sold at auction for $91, 000 and that greasy, smirking asswipe gets to see the real deal for free.
Fuck the French. I mean seriously, just fuck them. Shit.
- Castro resigns: "What's the point of being president if all the babes are going to the frogs?" says aging beard-o. "Also, what's with all the Che shirts? Would it kill you to wear one with me on it?"
Tibetans riot peacefully
In an attempt to make their plight known to the world at large in the lead up to the Olympics, the peaceful, spiritual people of Tibet rioted in a spiritual, peaceful way.
"In any other nation, a riot would be an angry, violent bloodbath," said Richard Gere. "But in Tibet, the uncontrollable mobs targeting government buildings and the Han ethnic group do so in such a graceful, harmonic way that transcends their apparent bloodlust."
- Dalai Lama bitchslaps Richard Gere.
- Gere disliked by many.
- Academy of Motion Picture retroactively retracts Oscars awarded to An Officer and a Gentleman.
- Lou Gosset Jnr. bitchslaps Richard Gere.
Mugabe wins Zimbabwean election with 112% of vote.
Zimbabwean President was headed for electoral defeat, when fate stepped in to save him. His party office received an e-mail from the winner of last year's Nigerian election, Prince Mumuwabe. Mumuwabe had won his election with 74% of the overall vote, before a coup forced him to try to relocate his electoral success. Mugabe paid the transfer fee, and added the 74% to the 38% he'd won in Zimbabwe. This was totally fair, and all electoral observers agree that Mugabe is the legitimate President, and anyone who says otherwise is a terrorist.
There, I wrote it. Can I have my dog back, please?
- Some prick shot my dog.
Burmese leader tops Bush
A long standing bet between President George W. Bush of the USA and Senior General Than Shwe the de facto ruler of Burma was won, with Bush conceding. The wager began in 2005, when Bush bet Shwe that he could cause more deaths due to government negligence in the face of a major disaster.
"I'll tell you, after Katrina, I thought he had no chance of topping me before mid 2008, our agreed deadline," said Bush in an uncharacteristically lucid statement. "But now, I have to concede that even my unique brand of indifference, corruption and cronyism just cannot stand up to the raw iron-strong determined bastardry of the Burmese junta. General Shwe, I'd tip my hat to you, had I not eaten it in accordance with the terms of our wager."'
Bombing of Danish Embassy "Sooo last year", claim terrorists
"Denmark? You're still angry at Denmark?" demanded a hooded terrorist mastermind on an Internet video. "Hey, 2006 called: they want their outrage back."
A visibly miffed al-Qaeda spokesman issued a statement in which he sheepishly suggested that fury over the Jyllands-Posten newspaper's cartoons of Muhammad was "coming back in."
The government of Iran has suggested that al-Qaeda should "not even go there" and even went so far as to suggest that the terrorist organisation "buy a clue".
- NASA's Pluto probe getting tired of people asking "are you there yet?"
- Irish drunkenly reject Treaty of Lisbon, accusing it of touching their pint.
The Dark Knight released, all other movies now worthless
The bestest film ever was released, leading many thousands around the world to quit the entertainment industry forever in frustration.
"Nothing we could ever make will ever come close. Life no longer has a meaning" read a note found in a room containing the dead bodies of Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood, Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese. Police suspect a murder/suicide pact. Others, including several Oscar winning directors, actors and technicians have been checked into mental hospitals under close observation.
"This is terrible" said film critic Roger Ebert. "The only people not quitting or dying are those filmmakers who are so content with their own mediocrity as to be unmoved by an impossibly, unmatchably great film such as this.
- There was some sort of political crisis in the Ukraine. I really tried to understand it, but all the people had these, like, really long names, and it confused me. But it does give us an excuse to put up a picture of Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
Democratic Convention rejects racism in favor of misogyny
In one of the most tensely fought Primary battles in recent memory, Barrack Obama edged out Hillary Clinton, as the awful sexists who couldn't stand to see a woman in the Oval Office defeated horrible white-supremacists who despise black people.
"It's a terrible thing to see the character and reputation of this nation's first viable female presidential candidate torn to shreds," said Boston area Democrat Margret Wilkins. "I hate to see such prejudice in this day and age, particularly from a spear-chucking porch monkey! Enjoy your nominat-izzle, Sambo!"
Obama responded by promising that, if elected, he would appoint Clinton his Secretary of Shutting the Fuck Up and Bringing the President a Beer.
Olympic Games held for questioning
"The Games appeared innocent at first" said Wu. "But we soon noticed that a lot of participants were behaving in a highly unusual manner. This includes, but is not limited to: shouting slogans in foreign languages, taking photos in security areas such as the Olympic park, displaying joy and/or mirth and -- most suspiciously of all -- running, sprinting or cycling away at the sound of a gunshot."
The visibly bruised Games were eventually released, following a televised statement in which they confessed to anti-government activities.
- Hillary Clinton loses special "Hillary Primaries" to Hillary Duff and Hillary Swank. She ties with mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary, in spite of the fact he died in January.
Dadaist faction takes control of Republican Convention
Dadaist "anti-artist" John McCain shocked and wowed the Republican Convention by brilliantly overturning their petty bourgeois preconceptions about politics, and forcing them to reexamine their narrow, rationalist views.
"People of America!" he said in his nomination acceptance speech, "I stand before you, a symbol of honest corruption and weaselly straight talk! As you know, I became a war hero while imprisoned and unable to fight! As you know Caligula made his horse a Consul of Rome! I cannot, alas, match that wonderful achievement. However, I can present to you my running mate - a desperately ignorant near-amateur regional party hack!"
Reaction was unanimously positive. Republican Senator and art critic Rene Gascoine declared "It is beautiful! By presenting this wild, desperate move, McCain really makes you think about how entrenched contemporary politics are in middle-class notions of controlled power, forward planning and common sense.
"I have not seen such brilliantly absurd anti-politics since Bush won the 2000 election by losing it!"
- Viktor Korotaev and Nikolay Burov win World Helicopter Championship.
- Apparently there is a World Helicopter Championship.
- Who knew?
Global economic crisis revealed to be elaborate Halloween prank
On October 31st, millions were terrified into believing that the stock housing markets were crashing and that poverty and unemployment were on the rise. This fear has been traced back to an irresponsible radio play put on by Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre of the Air. The play The Crash of the Economy was based upon the novel of the same name, by H.G. Wells, no relation to Orson.
The novel was adapted into a radio play told as a series of news stories. Those who heard the play from the beginning would have been aware that it was a fiction; however those who switched over from CBS after Charlie McCarthy's sketch were unaware that it was makebelieve.
The following day, Mr. Welles issued a formal apology, and the Dow Jones dropped five thousand points.
Global interest in US Politics finishes
After a grueling eight years of giving a crap about how those gum-chewing, hamburger guzzling meatheads in the States choose to screw each other over, the rest of the world bid a sigh of relief as it apparently ceased to matter.
"Good. They elected that nice brown fellow," said Dublin electrician Finnian O'Toole, as he turned to the sports page. "No more of that other silly bugger and his... hello, Galloway's hurling team seems to be firming up at last."
In related news, the Chinese, Russian and Iranian governments have indicated they will be trying to take up the slack in global indignation left by Bush's imminent departure.
- Galloway's hurling team firming up at last.
I get kickass lawnmower for Christmas
No, this is interesting, you see it isn't like my old one, it's the latest model, and it has a built in mulcher, so much more convenient that that old one, well you remember, I lent it too you that time and you couldn't get it started, well this one has a different type of starter and it's a much nicer colour as well, don't you think, and its electric which is good because electricity is greener the whale fat that my last mower ran on and anyway a popular alternative for larger lawns is the riding (or ride-on) mower. The operator is provided with a seat and controls on the mower and literally 'rides' on the machine. Most use the horizontal rotating blade system, though usually with multiple blades. A common form of ride-on mower is the lawn tractor. These are usually designed to resemble a small agricultural tractor, with the cutting deck mounted amidships between the front and rear axles. The drives for these mowers are in several categories. The most common transmission for tractors is a manual transmission. The second most common transmission type is a form of continuously variable transmission called the hydrostatic transmission. These transmissions take several forms, from pumps driving separate motors, which may incorporate a gear reduction, to fully integrated units containing a pump, motor and gear reduction. Hydrostatic transmissions are more expensive than mechanical transmissions but they are easier to use and can transmit greater torque to the wheels as compared to a typical mechanical transmission. The least common drive type, and the most expensive, is electric.There have been a number of attempts to replace hydrostatic transmissions with a lower cost alternative, but these attempts, which include variable belt types (e.g., MTD's Auto Drive) and toroidal, have various performance or perception problems that has caused their market life to be short or their market penetration to be limited. Riding lawnmowers can often mount other devices such as rototillers, snowplows, snowblowers, yard vacuums, occasionally even front buckets or fork-lift tines.The deck of a rotary mower is typically made of steel. Lighter steel is used on less expensive models, and heavier steel on more expensive models for durability. Other deck materials include aluminum, which does not rust and is a staple of higher priced mowers, and hard composite plastic, which does not rust and is lighter and less expensive than aluminum. Electric mowers typically have a plastic deck. Rotary mowers typically have an opening in the side or rear of the housing where the cut grass is expelled. Some have a grass catcher attachment at the opening to bag the grass clippings. Special mulching blades are available for rotary mowers. The blade is designed to keep the clippings circulating underneath the mower until the clippings are chopped quite small. Other designs have twin blades to mulch the clippings to small pieces. Mower manufacturers market their mowers as side discharge, 2-in-1, meaning bagging and mulching or side discharging and mulching, and 3-in-1, meaning bagging, mulching, and side discharge. Most 2 in 1 bagging and mulching mowers require a separate attachment to discharge grass onto the lawn. Some side discharge mower manufacturers also sell separate "mulching plates" that will cover the opening on the side discharge mower and, in combination with the proper blades, will convert the mower to a mulching mower. These conversions are impractical when compared with 2 or 3-in-1 mowers which can be converted in the field in seconds. There are two types of bagging mowers. A rear bag mower features an opening on the back of the mower through which the grass is expelled into the bag. Hi-vac mowers have a tunnel that extends from the side discharge to the bag. Hi-vac is also the type of grass collection used on riding lawn mowers and lawn tractors and is considered more efficient. Mulching and bagging mowers are not well suited to long grass or thick weeds. A dead man's switch is required in some places so that the operator must hold a switch to keep the engine running. Typically, this is an extra bar that is held against the handle. Should the operator lose control of, or contact with, the lawn mower and release the bar, either the engine is turned off or the blade is disconnected by disengaging a clutch. Most higher priced mowers (and many at lower prices) have a manually activated blade clutch that allows the operator to stop the blade rotating without turning off the motor.