Monthly Archives: September 2015

Do Americans Know the Real Pope Francis?

Pope

Pope Francis makes his first ever visit to the United States this week, with stops in Washington, D.C., New York City, and Philadelphia. Many herald him as a new progressive force in Catholic leadership, though some conservatives bristle at some of his more untraditional viewpoints. But who is the real Pope Francis? Here are all the facts we Americans need to know:

Birth name: Jorge Mario Bergoglio.

Papal name inspriation: Coen brothers’ favorite Frances McDormand.

Height: Between 5′ 9″ and 6′ 11″, depending on silliness of hat.

Hometown: Buenos Aires, Argentina.

What most Americans think his favorite food is: I dunno, tacos or something?

Why he became a priest: Joined the Jesuit Order as a young man, believing it to be a college fraternity.

What sets him apart from previous pontiffs: He’s still got that new pope smell!

Number of Twitter followers: Somehow five million fewer than Ricky Martin.

His plan to reverse climate change: Get a free annulment for every tree you plant!

Most dangerous part of his American visit: If the pope comes in contact with an antipope, the chemical reaction could destroy the universe.

His central message to the United States: Don’t expect any divine words of wisdom since popes, like Pokemon, are only capable of saying their own names.

Odds of returning home with plastic statuettes of the Empire State Building, White House, and Liberty Bell: Very high.

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Ah Crap(pella)!

acappella2012

Since graduating from college a few months ago, there are many things about the lifestyle that I’m already missing. There was the booze, the parties, that time John Belushi and I totally pranked our uptight dean. But there is one cruel, inhumane, despicable facet of college life that I am incredibly thankful to leave in the dust.

A cappella.

What’s so bad about a group singing without instrumental accompaniment? Here’s the official mission statement of every a cappella group: “Hey, remember that song you like? Great, because we’re about to ruin it for you.” That’s a direct quote, by the way.

Interestingly enough, most a cappella members are good singers. But together they end up making life worse for everyone, just like the new Fantastic Four movie. They do that weird swaying thing where they swing their shoulders in rhythm with the song. All the while, their feet are glued solidly to the floor, as if Satan himself pinned them there until they carried out his dark musical bidding. There’s so many singers too, and inevitably every single one of them gets a solo. You’d be surprised how quickly the two and a half hour shows don’t fly by. I’d prefer that the dozen of them decided to beat me up instead. At least that would be over in five minutes.

Granted, a cappella groups do far more than sing. Song breaks are peppered with wacky antics, adding an extra dimension to their cardboard cutout of a good time. Then, of course, they get back to more singing. Catchy pop riffs twist into weird mouth noises. Monochrome outfits hop back and forth. At the song’s emotional climax, a soloist clutches her heart, or at least roughly where her heart would be if she hadn’t sold it to the devil. The only person in the group I actually enjoy is the guy in the back going “Dumb dumb dumb dumb,” because he’s the only one brave enough to tell it like like it is.

To be clear, it’s not that I actively seek out a cappella shows so I have an excuse to stew in my own misery for an evening. More often that not, you don’t find a cappella. It finds you. Whether you’re at an awards ceremony or sitting in the dining hall, a rogue a cappella group can burst in at any time and wreck everything, like the John Rambo of unwanted performances.

You know what the Viet-Cong weren't prepared for? Rolling in the Deep.

You know what the Viet-Cong weren’t prepared for?
Rolling in the Deep.

Maybe a cappella groups themselves aren’t the worst thing in the world, but do they have to act like they’re the pinnacle of human achievement? Take away the ridiculous alumni funding and friends pressured into buying tickets, and it’s all just another extracurricular that college kids dabble in before going into consulting. At the end of the day, a cappella is artistic in the same way as painting with feces–impressive at first glance, but deep down, just a bunch of shit.

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More MS Paint Effects from Star Wars: The Force Awakens (SPOILERS)

star-wars-7-trailer

As we learned from an exclusive story a few weeks ago, all of the special effects in the highly anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens are generated through Microsoft Paint, and archaic art program most popular in the late 1990s. Director JJ Abrams has released another batch of new screenshots from the movie guaranteed to get you more amped up than the Death Star laser.

However, readers BEWARE, for some of these images contain spoilers from the upcoming film.

Save a slice for me, Kylo!

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Baddie jedi Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) prepares to slice the Space Pizza, an intergalactic treat that serves as the main plot device of the new trilogy. “In the original Star Wars, everybody loves that cantina scene with all the crazy aliens jammed together,” explained Abrams. “We consulted [Star Wars creator] George Lucas to figure out how to capture that same sense of chaotic fun for our movie, and he said to us, ‘How about a pizza?'”

Heroes back in action

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Fans young and old can rejoice that Star Wars favorites Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) are back in their legendary Millennium Falcon! According to co-writer Lawrence Kasdan, Han and his Wookie pal are now the leaders of The Cloud Hat Gang, a retired group of smugglers dedicated to preventing spooky alien invasions. Speaking on the inspiration behind their new headgear, Kasdan said, “You know, we originally had a sci-fi western design in place so they could be these cool space cowboys. But then we did that thing in Paint where you scribble all over the page and fill in the chunks with different colors, and it was clear to everyone in the room that we had our Cloud Hat.”

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away

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Abrams and his team have even given an updated look to Star Wars’ iconic opening crawl. “It’s pretty crazy that the title sequence in [Episode IV] A New Hope was all done by hand with miniature models,” marvels Abrams. “We just did ours in Microsoft Paint. It was so easy!”

Stay tuned for more breaking Star Wars news in the future.

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Don’t go to a restaurant with King Solomon

Judgemnt of Solomon by Raphael(1)

Waitress: Here’s your check.

Me: I only got a soda, so…

Solomon: It shall be split in half!

For more short-form hilarity, follow @DannyFitz1020 on Twitter!

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Goldfish Death Watch: Day 2

fishbones

Our lives are filled with unanswerable questions. What is the passage between life and death? Can we travel it only one direction, or is it possible to pass through both ways? Is there anything in between, perhaps a tasteful foyer where you’re asked to take off your shoes?

These are the things I ask myself as I watch over my precious Laszlo. I am wholly committed to caring for him, now that the Great Allentown Fair has packed its bags and left town. Laszlo won’t say a word about how he came to be traveling with the Fair, so I can only guess how many times he’s been swallowed and pooped out by various carnie folk. Another one of life’s mysteries.

fish 2

Today, I find myself in a cautiously optimistic mood. Laszlo St. James has seemingly found a second wind, darting around as if he were ten days younger. At the same time, he eats very little. Whenever I sprinkle fish food onto the water’s surface, he cowers at the bottom of his bowl until I leave. I don’t know what to make of this. Maybe I caught him at a bad time; today could be goldfish yom kippur. Yom kipper?

But when I see that dead look in his eyes, I worry that he has lost all hope for the future. So what is best for Laszlo? Bathed in the faint rays of the setting sun, he calls me over to his bowl.

“How are you feeling, Laszlo?”

“I’m hurting, Helen. But I’m starting to remember certain…things.”

“You’d better get some rest.”

“If I die, the others will find the treasure.”

“The treasure!? You have to tell me. Tell Helen.”

“I would–but the pain. Just a bit more morphine, please.”

“No, Laszlo. You’ll fall back asleep.”

“Just a few drops, and I’ll tell you everything, my love. I promise.”

What should I do next? YOU DECIDE!

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Goldfish Death Watch: Day 1

Laszlo

I made a new friend and he is dying.

The friend in question is a certain Laszlo St. James. Miraculously, my sister won him yesterday at the Great Allentown Fair from a game stand that combined the business ethics of Enron with the budget of your childhood lemonade stand. Before you file any human trafficking charges, I should specify that Laszlo is a goldfish. A very special goldfish.

Why, you ask? It is true that my family has cared for several pet fish in our time, each purchased from an actual store, and not a dirty trailer peddling fried dough. But Laszlo is a carnival fish. That baggie he came in might as well have been a bodybag. When Pink Floyd wrote, “We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year,” they obviously had no idea how brief goldfish lifespans are. My guess is that the guys from Pink Floyd were swimming in a different kind of bowl, if you know what I mean.

We are doing our best to make Mr. St. James comfortable. In lieu of a proper fishbowl, Laszlo resides on the kitchen counter inside an old glass golf trophy, living out his final days as the winner he was always meant to be. Our purpose is clear–we feed him breadcrumbs and affectionately tap on his wall. I’ve even starting referring to the kitchen as “fish hospice,” with the hope that one day our food preparation area will be filled with dozens of dying fish.

I considered bringing in a priest to give him his final rites, but the whole idea seems redundant. When you spend your entire life in water, you’re bound to be baptized at some point, if only accidentally. Come to think of it, that’s probably why the logo for Christianity is a fish.

For now, all I can do is keep Laszlo’s worries at bay as he finds peace. In the wee hours of the morning, a throaty whisper drew me toward his trophy bowl.

“Helen, is that you?”

“No, Laszlo. It’s me. Dan.”

“Right. I’m sorry. [cough]. You know, I’m starting to think I’ll never make it to the South of France.”

“Don’t worry, Laszlo. We’re there right now.”

“Ah, good….is that you, Helen?”

“Yes, it’s Helen.”

And I’ll be Helen for however long it takes.

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