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Friday, January 25, 2008

Settlement Reached in Jedi Abuse Case

IMPERIAL CENTER OVERSECTOR, CORUSCANT - The Jedi Council said yesterday that it will pay a settlement of nearly thirty million Galactic credits to the three former Jedi Apprentices who accused their trainers of sexual abuse.

One-time Padawan Learner Koon Saroon accused his former Jedi Master Zez Kai-Ell of sexual misconduct three years ago. The charge, issued before the Galactic Senate, was dismissed upon completion of the settlement. Following Saroon's accusation, two more former Jedi Younglings came forward with stories of misconduct while under the tutelage of Kai-Ell. Each described events which began with Kai-Ell offering a tour of the Jedi Temple. Midi-Chlorian analysis proved that Kai-Ell had been in the Temple Dormitories, and on the Temple balcony, and in the Temple Gardens, and on Master Yoda's chair.

Jedi Master Mace Windu released this statement on behalf of the Jedi Council: "The Council is pleased to learn that a resolution has been met for this horrifying set of circumstances. Unfortunately for Zez Kai-Ell, he will still face punishment internally by the Council. In addition, Master Yoda's chair has been replaced due to the inappropriate actions which took place on, or near it, multiple times by Kai-Ell. The Council now considers this to be a private matter and will make no more public statements."

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Bean Premiere Off to a Bad Start

McLEAN, VA - This isn't what Chuck Banner had in mind.

When word spread across the internet that Rowin Atkinson had climbed back into his Bean-suit, Banner was as giddy as a schoolboy.

Banner sits at a desk in his McLean, Virginia, home, an in-law suite he rents from his parents. The home, which he lovingly refers to as his "Beanquarters," doubles as the home office of, an internet site devoted to the encouragement of Rowin Atkinson to revisit his world famous character.

Banner, 46, says, "The world premiere was in Singapore on March, 22nd, 2007, and let me tell you, if I hadn't already made plans to attend Anime-Con in Okinawa, I would have "Bean" there to greet Rowin on the red carpet. I'm sure it was a maelstrom of excitement, though. 1-18-08's got nothing on 3-22-07."

Despite Banner's enthusiasm, it's hard to find many people who share his passion for Bean. "That's a fair statement," Banner remarks. He then adds, "We don't get very many hits on our website. Actually, my tracker shows that only my parents have visited the site. But now that the Bean is back, I think that will change."

Banner recently sent an Evite to his closest friends, inviting them all to the U.S. premiere of Mr. Bean's Holiday. Unfortunately, the returns on the Evite look eerily similar to the box-office business for Rowin Atkinson's Johnny English.

Banner responds, "Yeah, some people who I thought were my friend's turned out to not be my friends. And you know what I always say: 'Any non-friend of Bean is a non-friend of mine,' so I'm cool with it. I'm pretty sure my landlords will make it, though."

You can view the Evite here: Bean Movie Premiere Evite

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Pyrotechnics Expert Ruins Fireworks for Family

SEBASTIAN, FL - Stanley Pratt is retired - officially, at least. The former Head Pyrotechnic Engineer and creator of Disney's EPCOT Center Illuminations - a nightly fireworks show - left his professional life behind last spring and moved to this quiet Treasure Coast town to enjoy his golden years.

Unfortunately for his family, Pratt just can't let go of his profession.

The self-proclaimed "Gordon Ramsey of Pyrotechnics" ruined what should have been a magical fourth of July for his family. On the morning of our nation's independence, the Pratt family welcomed home their son from his second tour of duty in Iraq and also celebrated their daughter-in-law becoming a United States citizen. Pratt's fourteen year-old grandson, Kirk, used money saved from three months of allowances to purchase the items needed for what would be a spectacular fireworks show in the driveway of his grandparent's home.

Kirk led his autistic younger brother, Tommy, and aided his trembling hand in lighting the inaugural firework.

"NO! NO! NO!," screamed Stanley Pratt. "You can't start off your show with a Screaming Soldier! What is this, amateur hour?!"

Tommy, confused by the combination of fireworks, shouting, and his older brother's tears, immediately went into a state of shock, tensing up and refusing to move or speak. After being rolled inside on a hand-truck, it would be more than an hour before his muscles relaxed.

Once Pratt was calmed by his wife and persuaded to just enjoy the effort, his grandson wiped away his tears and executed the next fireworks in his program.

Bottle rocket. Smoke bomb. Black cat.

With the lighting of each firework, Pratt's rage intensified until finally he exploded upon the lighting of a sparkler.


Pratt's neighbors walked back to their homes. His wife, Annabelle, told him he was a monster. Kirk wailed and fled into the nearby woods.

All that remained were Pratt and the unused fireworks. He was ashamed by his behavior, and knew there was only one way to win back his family's love - by putting on the greatest fireworks show in the history of man. And guess what? He did.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Hospitalized Woman Still Awaiting Get-Well Card

ATLANTA, GA - Since being hospitalized over a week ago for an emergency appendectomy, Meredith Cooksman has been anxiously awaiting a "Get Well" card from her co-workers.

"I was pretty sure I'd get something from them before I was released from the hospital," she says, quickly adding, "But I was only there two nights, so I just figured that they didn't get it out in time."

The thirty-three year old woman is an Assistant Store Manager of Target in the upscale Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta. She describes herself as "well-liked" and "witty." Cooksman was positive that seven days after her surgery, she'd have received a card, or a balloon, or a funny e-mail. But after a full week, the silence coming from Target #4072 is deafening.

"The whole store knows that I had the surgery, because my appendix ruptured while I was working. I even managed to help unload the delivery truck while I was waiting for the ambulance to arrive, because we were a little short-handed that night." The four-time winner of the employee-voted "Manager of the Quarter Award" has kept busy at home by crocheting a blanket for one of her pregnant Target team members.

Cooksman says, "I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt. It's possible that the entire staff signed a beautiful card for me and then it was lost in the mail. Definitely possible. Or maybe they're planning a big 'Welcome Back' celebration. That would be just wonderful."

Editor's Note: There was no celebration upon Cooksman's return to work.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

National Geographic to Host Rock-Paper-Scissors Competition

ASHBURN, VA – National Geographic, Inc. (NASDAQ: NATGEO) announced Monday that it will stage the first Rock-Paper-Scissors Tournament in the history of the company and will hold the weeklong competition at National Television Annex in Ashburn, Virginia. The tournament comes on the heels of the organization's extremely successful Chili Cook-Off, which was staged in February 2007 at the Ashburn television facility.

The announcement brings together the leading global real-world media and entertainment company and the forty-seventh fastest-growing sport in America.

"We're extremely proud to have won the rights to host the competition," said Manuel (no last name), Supervising Supervisor of Facilities at NTA. "We have a state-of-the-art facility that will provide an amazing home to both the athletes and the game." It should be noted that no other facility placed a bid to host the tournament. Nonetheless, employees are ecstatic about competing in the tournament. From Marketing to Programming and from Sales to Master Control, NTA team members are coming out of the woodwork to sign up for their chance to compete for the Galapagos Cup.

The Teutuls of TLC's American Chopper have been commissioned to build a Rock-Paper-Scissors-themed bike in honor of the event. In addition, three employees will be chosen based on time of service, accolades received, and on-air reliability to discrepancy ratio, to carry symbolic rock, paper, and scissors into the gaming arena.

National Geographic's shares rose 4.7% on Tuesday following the announcement.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

OFI Submission Leads BOC to New Heights

(Writer's note: This article was written in February 2004.)

ATLANTA, GA - What started out as an OFI (Opportunity for Improvement) has become, quite possibly, the most defining moment of greatness in the history of Turner Broadcasting.

On November 14, 2003, Tom Royco made a routine trip to the vending machine. However, what happened to this veteran Broadcast Coordinator is anything but routine. As he watched his Lance Toastchee Crackers fall haplessly to its cruel inflexible destination below, he knew what awaited him when he was to pull his delicious treat from the vending slot: Broken Crackers.

It's a story old as time. You remove your bounty from the machine and you find the shattered remains of a once whole cracker.

It was at this time when Royco had an epiphany: "Wouldn't it only make sense to soften the blow of our snacks and drinks? How many other people were affected by these broken crackers?"

Before he could suggest an answer to his nefarious problem, he needed to think it through. Time after time good ideas are shot down due to a lack of research, facts and figures. He conducted a series of experiments using the snack time favorite Van-O Lunch Cookies (by Lance.) Coming in at a net weight of 1 3/4 ounces, it was Royco's hypothesis that each time a cookie package is released, the cookie that makes impact would partially shatter, resulting in at least 1/10 ounce of inedible crumb. Compound that with the fact that you now have one cookie with exposed vanilla crème and you've got a recipe for unsatisfied customers. And unsatisfied customers at work leads to poor employee performance.

At the conclusion of his experiments his hypothesis was proven to be correct in nine out of ten trials. What happened in the tenth trial, you ask? Results were inconclusive due to the snack getting stuck in the machine.

Royco then spoke to his coworkers. He conducted surveys and was given this feedback by one employee: "The next time I open a soda and it explodes on me I'm going to go berserk!"

His problem had now become a giant ball of yarn that was unraveling by the minute. When sodas exploded, precious liquid goodness was wasted, ruining clothing and tarnishing our beautiful carpet tile. He approached a member of Facilities - who wished to remain anonymous - to get their outlook: "Those carpet tiles aren't cheap! Constantly replacing those is driving our profit margins into the toilet! Now I really need to get back to work. I have a lot of perfectly good lunches to throw away before I can clean the refrigerator."

So the results were in and the fact was that the landing area in the soda and snack machines needed some sort of cushion to avoid these problems in the future. Royco took it upon himself to call the president of HappyTime Vending and offer his solution to their mounting problem. Jim Henley had this to say: "Look, we feel that the current landing areas in our machines are more than adequate. If a snack breaks or a soda explodes once in a while, there's nothing we can do about it. That's just the way the cookie crumbles."

Not being one to rest, Royco took all of his data and compiled it into the single most complete and magnificent OFI ever suggested. Immediately, cushions were added to the vending machines throughout Time Warner and just three months later the results are astounding. Morale is up, operator errors have fallen to an all-time low, and most importantly, bellies are full. This is just another example of how small ideas can turn into great accomplishments.