UnNews:Vowel mining set to peak in 2012, forecasters say
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11 June 2008
Speaking Tuesday at an international meeting of AEIOUPEC, a watchdog group for the vowel extraction and refinement market, Dr. Pythms T. Mnglls presented the results of a foreboding new study of the world's store of our most prized letters: "Previous studies, conducted under ideal circumstances and calculated with optimistic - one might say fuzzy - math, led us to believe that the worldwide supply of vowels was in no way endangered. Our most recent study contradicts this rather drastically: vowel fields across the world are drying up, and with populations rising and print media becoming ever more prevalent, we may hit our peak within the next five years. And after that, the ease with which we are used to peppering our speech and print with those five letters will be a thing of the past."
According to Dr. Mnglls, several major fields have already been exhausted, including the legendary Llaneairoullawyngyol field in western Wales.
"Why this impending disaster has been ignored is beyond me," said Dr. Mnglls in a press conference after the closed meeting. "The portents have been there all along, but the industry has been floating along on a cloud of good feeling for so long that the signs have just been blissfully pushed aside. And I cannot exonerate AEIOUPEC in this affair - obviously we have not pushed hard enough to obtain and present an accurate assessment of the situation."
Although US letter prices jumped nearly three cents a hogshead at the news, the market is expected to settle back down within the next week as long as supply remains strong.
Sylvy Lwng, director of media relations for A-Z Corp, a major Tunisian letter extraction company, released a reassuring statement following the AEIOUPEC press conference reminding people not to panic. "Yes, this is a product we rely on daily for basic communication purposes. To lose any of our twenty-six treasured characters would be tragic. However, this is merely one perspective of the market, and right here and now we would like to reassure our customers that we foresee no shortages now, in 2012 or any time in the future." Ms. Lwng also reminded people that even in the case of a vowel shortage, we still have twenty-one serviceable letters in abundant supply which could be adapted, if necessary, to fill the empty spaces.
"This is true - in fact, we're already doing it," asserted Liam Moolea, head analyst for the independent lobbying group LTTRZ, in an interview with the BBC Tuesday evening. LTTRZ, dismissed by many as a conspiracy-theory group, has been spreading their gospel of verbal government tampering for over a decade. "Ever wonder why we use y as a vowel sometimes? Rationing purposes."
"It started back in World War II. Remember, this is a time when the media really came into its own. Newspapers, radio shows, letters sent to soldiers on the front and back home to families. Letters were being used uncontrollably. And pretty soon it became clear that one vowel in particular, our venerable i, might be in trouble. This was the era of Hitler, Mussolini, Franklin Roosevelt. Eisenhower. Stalin - all names expending one or more of the precious characters. I has always been a difficult letter to mine due to its fragile structure, and we were spitting them out like watermelon seeds during the war. Especially the acronym WWII - terribly wasteful. So that's when the government passed a secret resolution to phase the vowel i out of some words for rationing purposes. Hence 'FDR' - no i needed! Hence 'VE-' and 'VJ-Day'. And hence the rise of that linguistic oddity, the use of y as a vowel. 'Happy'? 'Fly'? Why put a consonant in a vowel's place - "happi" and "fli" work as well and keep our natural order intact. Well, because we needed to save the is. It was done out of necessity and became an accepted convention without the world even knowing it. We're going to see more of this kind of thing and on a much bigger scale. Just wait."
The future could be dim indeed: imagine a world without balloons, without ribbons and cake, without even happiness itself. It could become a reality. And although corporations like auto service company AAA have assured their investors that their brand name remains safe because of its use of capital letters, an anonymous source within the vowel mining market has assured UnNews that this simply isn't true: "Capital letters use the same exact raw material as lowercasers - the refining process is what differentiates the two. Upper or lowercase, it's all screwed."
The announcement has caused enough of an uproar for analysts to throw out solutions ranging from feasible to ludicrous. One possible fix is the conversion of abundant letters or numbers into vowels; although currently a pricey technology, experts say with time the expense of the process would fall quickly, and the ability to convert, for example, an 8 into two os would be invaluable. Other suggestions fall into the realm of totalitarianism, including a suggestion by one analyst to place a moratorium on spoken speech: because spoken letters can be used only once while printed ones can be reused over and over, a ban on speaking would, in theory, drastically reduce worldwide consumption of those little letters that we use to express so much.
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There are rumours that the o crisis may be averted. Edward Woodward is going to change his name by deed poll to Edwood Woodwood, and the prevalence of the misspelling of the word 'lose' as 'loose', especially by Americans, will be an annoying but vital part of the recovery of the ailing vowel. The use of 8 as two os was dismissed, however, due to the associated accounting problems it would cause. Bingo callers and enthusiasts also objected, and riots broke out at a Lancashire bingo hall when, instead of 'two fat ladies' one caller referred to '88' as 'four perfectly formed nipples'. The bingo caller was later hung drawn and eighthed by the angry mob. Similar plans are in place for other vowels: the Aardvark's Guild met last Thursday to organise 'A Aid', an aardvark concert where fellow aardvarks will be encourages to give away one of their as for the cause. The Presdident of the guild, Anton Aardvrk, said "it is a small sacrifice to help the state of vowels today."