CHINA—Expressing deep regret for the historical errors in her latest novel, author Mary Pope Osborne of the popular children’s book series The Magic Tree House apologized Monday for showing young readers a completely fictional massacre at Tiananmen Square in 1989 that never happened.
“While I hoped to educate children on the importance of democracy using a poignant moment in history, I now realize I should have checked my sources before sending Jack and Annie on a journey through time to witness some phony public mass execution,” Osborne said, making clear that there were never any tanks involved, not a single soldier that took aim, and certainly no casualties whatsoever.
“Looking back, perhaps I should’ve written about a true event—like the day the world celebrated when the CPC took power—instead of minutely describing the nonexistent hailstorm of bullets that tore through a protestor’s flesh and sprayed Jack’s glasses in a red mist, along with 13 consecutive pages of internal dialogue where Jack debates taking his own life after witnessing swathes of people fall prey to their own government,” Osborne went on, admitting that she should’ve consulted a history book and focused the story on something real and not Annie being trapped in history and used as a guinea pig to test experimental drugs in a Chinese concentration camp.
“If I myself could go back in time, I would change the name to something more accurate than Magic Tree House: Martial Law In The Morning,” Osborne said. “Maybe something like Just A Normal Day In June.”
After thanking Chinese distributors for correcting her mistake, Osborne went on to say her next novel set in current day Hong Kong is extremely accurate and will be titled Magic Tree House: Futile Protests On A Friday.
DURNSHIRE WOODS, MOONMYST ISLE—Attributing a drop in polls to her ideas being too profound for the average American to comprehend, presidential candidate Marianne Williamson told reporters Tuesday the nation may not be ready for a president who is a devoted practitioner of the dark arts.
“As a full-fledged Scion of the Sixth Serenity, I know firsthand how much the nation could benefit from the blessing light of Lunaria. But for mere mortals who have never bathed in the glimmering Pools of Salvatar or studied the three schools of blood magic under High Priest C’Thajh, I can see why my ideas are difficult to grasp,” Williamson said, adding that she regrets her Eight Fold Illumination plan for the United States will never see action.
“I was to bring reparations to African-Americans just as I brought justice to the Highborne persecuted in their own cloud haven! Global warming could’ve been cast to oblivion if I had the chance to replace vehicles with Dragon Serpents of the West Wind! Solving the homelessness crisis is as easy as summoning the ancient Tree god Gungor for shelter and hate could have forever been undone simply by having each citizen peer into the Mirror of A Thousand Infinities!” Williamson echoed, noting that with two Etherwood Fickles and a four-verse incantation, she also had plans to cast a peace ward on the Middle East.
“Despite reminding Americans frequently of my qualifications—such as when I vanquished the life-stealing necromancer Ar’Qir or the time I protected the realm by polymorphing an ogre abomination into Ted Cruz—they still write me off as some lunatic. Their loss I guess,” Williamson said, signaling an aide to fetch her grimoire.
For the time being, Williamson concluded she would open a portal to the Night Elf capital of Ala’Ska where she will seek council from Eternal Outcast Palin and lie in slumber until the nation heeds her call.
NEW YORK—Marking the 18th anniversary of the event that occurred on 9/11, the Music Television Channel took a moment on air Wednesday to reflect on the horrific day Mariah Carey’s “Glitter” album hit shelves.
“Let us take pause to acknowledge the millions of Americans whose lives were changed forever by the sickening, at times appalling ballads heard in ‘Lead The Way,’” MTV Networks CEO Frederic Sims said.
“A historical moment that changed how we think about pop and hip hop, Carey’s off-key blend of New York Latin disco and hair-salon soul will forever be remembered for its deadly attack on the nation’s speaker systems,” Sims went on. “Fortunately, ‘Glitter’ ultimately brought Americans together in its sheer atrocity. We became stronger, more united, and cognizant that our ears could be the victims of a subpar remix of ‘Last Night A DJ Saved My Life’ at any time.”
As a nation, Sims stated we must never forget the day we stood in disbelief as Carey tried to hit and hold the High C.
FORT MEADE, MA—In an effort to preserve the integrity of future elections, officials from the National Security Agency stated Thursday the specialist organization known as ‘Geek Squad’ has just finished renovating the country’s cyber defense system.
“Today I am proud to announce a comprehensive revamp of the National Security Agency’s digital hardware and cybersecurity systems, only made possible by Kevin,” said NSA director Frederic Sims (72), noting that his IBM PC and yellowing, buckle spring keyboard are now relics of the past.
In addition to replacing their dial-up internet with a fiber-optic connection, Kevin—who refurbished the National Security Agency with HP Pavilion desktop PC’s—garnered Sims’ praise for swapping out the old password [usa] with a new, “uncrackable” code that incorporates numbers, uppercase letters, and “that squiggly line above the tab button.” Sims took pause to assure agents concerned with the all-encompassing overhaul that the new password is on a sticky note on his monitor should anyone forget.
“Above all, America will now and forever be seen as the standard for impenetrable election security with the addition of Norton AntiVirus Plus,” Sims said, daring any foreign entity to try and get past the real-time protection of Norton’s pop up blocking 1 month free trial.
Sources indicate that while the bulk of Kevin’s efforts focused on cyber security, he also took the liberty of answering questions and addressing some much needed quality of life improvements.
“Kevin was vital in installing the ‘Google Chrome’, updating what is known as ‘Adobe Flash Player’, showing defense operatives how to connect to wifi, importing The Eagles “Desperado” album to my iTunes library, transcribing the steps for checking email, and helping Chief Intelligence Officer Alfred Greenblatt save a .pdf,” Sims said.
Kevin, who started with Geek Squad in July, told reporters he was happy to assist the National Security Agency with their common tech troubles.
“It was pretty easy. The hardest part was explaining they could still play solitaire,” Kevin said, who added that it took several minutes to convince Sims he would now be able to use his office phone and browse the internet simultaneously.
UNITED STATES—Giving Americans a look into the week ahead, the Weather Channel highlighted key locations across the country to expect national tragedies.
“Here we see nothing out of the ordinary with some light gunfire coming in off the east coast, followed by scattered shots in the afternoon, and a few more millimeters that evening,” said Channel 7 meteorologist Frederic Sims, urging parents to provide their children an extra layer of clothing like a bulletproof jacket.
“Looking out west, expect a 77% chance of a preventable disaster in the Santa Clarita vicinity to impact traffic on the 5 and parts of the 405,” he said, advising those with a commute to make ample time for delays.
In the Midwest, Sims warned a high of 45 deaths Monday with mostly thoughts and prayers all day Tuesday, however, normal conditions should resume Wednesday with a massacre at a college bar in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
ORANGE COUNTY, CA—Alleging that they were given unfair treatment based strictly on the level of their intelligence, parents are threatening to sue an Orange County high school for giving their dumbass children worse grades than smart students.
The plaintiffs claim they [good-for-nothing assclowns who get high and play Fortnite the night before an exam] are being systematically displaced by students who pay attention in class, study, and generally care about their future.
“Both of my kids are colossal idiots and have been ostracized at school precisely because of the letter of their grades,” mother Claire Selinsky said, pointing out the school has unashamedly reserved higher learning classes for students that can add and read. “The system is rigged against them. How can they get into a decent college if the school is gatekeeping required courses to students who got at least a C- in Ceramics?”
Additionally, certified dipshits claim teachers have given preferential treatment to students who weren’t vaping in the back of the classroom texting Justin’s “chill” older brother to buy them Malibu for Kelsey’s thing this weekend.
Unfathomably dumb sons of bitches also report that some of the promising students have resorted to name-calling, using derogatory terms such as “shit-for-brains” and “full-on fucksticks” and, in certain instances, abusing their “smart privilege” by asking minority dumbshits if Jack In The Box has a retirement plan.
Since then, grade-A morons have organized rallies in front of the school where they hold signs that read ‘End The Injustis’ and chant for a ride in someone’s trunk so they can skip fifth period.
PASADENA, CA—Asserting that their research has reached a firm conclusion, seismologists at the Caltech Seismology Laboratory determined the next big or small earthquake would be in a place and at a time.
“After analyzing the shifting plate tectonics of the recent 6.4 and 7.1 magnitude earthquakes, the data we have gathered definitively proves that the next earthquake will be of a magnitude greater than zero,” said lead research engineer Frederic Sims, noting that his team would have a more accurate prediction a day or two after it happens.
At E3 this year, I was among the select few invited to a private beta test for the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare reboot.
Although I went in not expecting much from an otherwise exhausted franchise, I was blown away by one feature that made me believe a series rebirth is possible. Known for its over-the-top combat and futuristic setting in recent years, Modern Warfare is a breath of fresh air for its rich array of nonviolent conflict resolution techniques intricately designed to calmly de-escalate any hostile encounter.
Single Player Campaign
For all of its violent battle mechanics—like airstrikes and blood-spattering headshots—Modern Warfare boasts just as many mindful, level-headed approaches. Take for example, the opening sequence where you choose between a sniper rifle, submachine gun, and a copy of The Peacemaker by Ken Sande. Right away, I had to decide whether to dispatch the target from a distance, get up close and personal, or look within, realize I’m getting emotionally involved, and opt for a self-care day to meditate on next steps.
Better yet, another particularly gruesome scene gives players the option to follow orders and gun down innocent civilians in an Azerbaijan market square—a choice that sparks World War III—or tackle the issue privately with Captain Price and learn that he made the impulsive call on an empty stomach.
You’ll find many moments like these in the carefully designed choice-driven narrative that organically culminates in one of 57 different endings, ranging from a nuke decimating a quarter of the globe to having a kickass time at mercenary leader Imran Zakhaev’s cabin in Breckinridge tearing up the slopes and roasting smores.
Whether you use your breath to steady the sniper scope or your emotions, the fate of the world is in your hands.
With a richly detailed character customization screen, I was awestruck with how I could choose from over 75 weapons, compliment my load out with flashbangs and throwing knives, and put my stamp on it with a camouflage skin. Equally, however, I was able to go for a more holistic approach and catch my militant foes off guard with the Relaxed Posture and Positive Attitude perks.
By stringing together consecutive steps in resolving conflict, a player can unlock what is known as “Kindstreaks.” In one situation, after I invited a hostile to take a seat, thanked him for coming, and asked if he would like a La Croix, I could then call in an “Uber Eats Airdrop” to enjoy with my blood-thirsting enemy as a gesture of good faith.
The beautifully reimagined map “Overgrown” in particular struck a nostalgic chord as I relived the days of my youth quickscoping enemies from afar with the iconic M-40A3 bolt-action rifle. But as an adult, I was more impressed by the new map, “Closed-Door Office”: a safe space where players can engage in a meaningful 1-on-1 close quarters discussion.
Certain game modes encouraged diplomacy in voice chat by motivating players to discuss why their battle is occurring rather than blindly escalate the situation with violence. For example, after I validated the other team’s feelings in a round of Domination, I then coordinated appropriate times for each team to capture flags without any killing needed. With a final score of 200 – 200, everybody won.
By far, my favorite addition was ‘Peacemaker’ mode: a co-op game mode for advanced players to de-escalate heated arguments in the fastest time possible. Similar to Spec Ops in previous titles, players need to use active listening and be adept at I-statements to stand a chance. For example, instead of saying, “you’ll piss me off if you murder the hostages”, it is more effective to hold ‘X’, bring up a list of dialogue options, and select, “I would feel unheard if the hostages are murdered.”
Before I knew it, I was denuclearizing a volatile country by avoiding sharp words and maintaining a gentle tone of voice with a radical Middle Eastern terrorist organization!
“Our mission is to give players full-control in the heat of combat. For some, that means unloading a clip of your red dot sight M-60 into enemy lines, but for others, that might mean halting battle, climbing atop a Humvee, and asking, ‘Hey, can we just chill out for a second?’” game director Frederic Sims said.
Between choices like sleeping on it, taking a walk to cool off, and readdressing the issue at a later date, Modern Warfare adds a unique RPG element that makes combat thoroughly enjoyable, even for the most pacifistic gamer.
Rarely does a video game impact me IRL, but I would be remiss not to mention that Modern Warfare has made me a better person at heart. Many of the techniques I learned in game are surprisingly useful in the workplace and at home. These have reminded me that, if I take a moment to remember the Three R’s: Regulate, Relate, and Reason, there is often an easy way to avoid a messy fight. And when there isn’t, I always have that rocket-propelled grenade launcher under my bed.
It’s refreshing to see a little modern welfare in Modern Warfare.
“No, after you!” a viciously courteous man demanded as he and a bystander fought to hold the door open for one another into the subway, which was already experiencing major delays after the whole train refused to sit down amid harassing an elderly woman to take their seat.
Traffic reportedly came to a halt when two pedestrians engaged in small talk in the middle of a crosswalk, where sources confirm the acquaintances shot the breeze for nearly 3 hours in a surface level discussion about the weather. Stranded drivers just about reached their breaking point when a woman in a 2013 Toyota Prius C considered honking her horn.
More extreme pleasantries were exchanged when graffiti artists took advantage of the friendly chaos by tagging wholesome messages across the city, such as, “have a nice day” and “your mom is a nice lady!”