Pyeongchang Winter Olympics Primer

It’s once again time for that “other” Olympic games, the spectacle that occurs in even years between the real Olympics held on non-slippery surfaces.

This year’s games will debut plenty of new sports in addition to the fun-filled, time-honored classics such as curling, biathlon, figure skating, bobsleigh (not to be confused with “bobsled,” which is, at last glance, the same thing), ski jumping and luge. For those confused by the various sledding sports, lugers career down the track crotch-first, while the aforementioned bobsleighers sit upright, cozily spooning one another in the vehicle, and the skeletors, competing in the skeleton, lead with their skulls. None of them have figured out how to stop.

Last month, Jacques Fraust, head of the International Olympic Committee’s Subcommittee on Experimental and Tentative Olympic Innovations (known as SExTOI), revealed the list of new events slated for the South Korea games. The following rundown includes the more noteworthy among them.

Snowman: Participants will be required to build the perfect snowman in 30 minutes or less. Entries will be judged on height, girth, roundness and symmetry, along with more subjective concerns such as consistency of distance between buttons and materials used for hat, eyes, nose, mouth and corncob pipe. Event organizers fear a dry snow pattern, which threatens to emasculate the effort but, curiously, provide a decided advantage to the team from Zimbabwe.

Snowballing: Billed as “paintball with snowballs,” this event features dye-treated, color-coded spheres used to peg and thus eliminate enemies dispersed throughout a wooded glen. Competitors will wear white jumpsuits that will evidence hits and provide effective camouflage. Teams caught cheating, or “wiping,” will have their countries immediately removed from the U.N.

Ice Fishing: The controversy surrounding this sport stems from the requirement that participants must be at least 60 years old. While waiting for their “tip-ups” to signal a catch, athletes will huddle in makeshift huts and simmer canned baked beans on hibachis. Medals will go to those with the largest fish and the least amount of frostbite.

Winter Triathlon: Modeled after the venerable Polar Bear Club, this event involves a two-mile swim in frigid waters followed by a 100-mile cross-country skiing adventure and a 26-mile snowshoeing trek. It is expected that, when crossing the finish line, most participants will, in fact, be dead.

Tongue Lifting: In an event destined to favor powerful Nordic athletes, competitors will lift ever-increasing amounts of weight solely with their tongues, which will be frozen to metal bars. Medal hopefuls will be eyeing the world record of 3.8 stone, held unofficially by Lars “The Lizard” Heidrostadt of Sweden.

Agony of Defeat: In 1970, Yugoslavian Vinko Bogataj turned himself into a human avalanche while attempting a ski jump. The footage exemplified the “agony of defeat” on ABC’s Wide World of Sports for a generation. Now, in deference to the infamous fail, competitors will endeavor to recreate his mishap masterpiece, earning points for fidelity to the wildly akimbo launch and subsequent face plant. Those exhibiting an exact match of Vinko’s fractures surely will medal.

Snow and Ice Sculpting: The most artistic of the new “sports,” snow sculpting and its cousin, ice sculpting, ask participants to fashion creations celebrating the athletic pageantry that is the Winter Olympics. Accordingly, swans, the Disney castle, Pixar characters, dragons and Pegasus will not be permitted. Violators will be lined up and shot repeatedly by snowballers.

Icicle Epee: In a bizarre homage to the presumed perfect murder, combatants will duel using hand-picked icicles hanging from outhouses located throughout the Olympic Village. In this beautifully choreographed exhibition, ice fencers circle one another, dodge, duck, thrust, parry and stand in disbelief at the sight of their weapons shattered into 27 pieces upon contact.

Waterboarding: Initially decried as a human rights violation, waterboarding in this modernized form eventually gained sanction. Inspired by Jack Dawson’s selfless act in Titanic, athletes will bob in arctic waters buoyed only by a wooden door. Medals will be granted to those who can withstand hypothermia the longest and whose nostril icicles extend well beyond their chin.

Skate Blading: In this hybrid sport, participants descend ice-covered downhill ski trails on snowboards fastened to skate blades. The resulting conveyance allows athletes to reach speeds of more than 150 miles per hour. Finding a way to stop has proven difficult (much like with the aforementioned sledders), so the finish line has been established at the Mongolian border.

Halfpipe Hockey: The traditional halfpipe structure has been extended to 61 meters, the length of a hockey arena, and has maintained its concave shape. Goals are placed at both apexes, making scoring truly an uphill battle. To keep them from sliding toward the center, goalies are secured to their nets with short bungee cords. Given that scoreless ties are not permitted, it is expected that the first game will last the entire fortnight.

Kneecapping: In an ode to the Nancy Kerrigan-Tonya Harding soap opera that dominated headlines at the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics, athletes in this event will participate in a figure skating competition only hours after being whacked in the knee with an iron rod. No medals will be awarded in this one-time exhibition, but style points will be given for broken laces and demonstrations of a triple axel-double toe loop punctuated by a firm landing on one’s keister—a maneuver known in skating circles as “Gilloolying.” Three winners will receive a lifetime membership at an Oregon trailer park.


Trigger Happy

Visit Home Pic

Dear Class of 2020,

Welcome to Causet University! I am pleased you have chosen Causet to continue your intellectual pursuits and personal agendas.

As you begin your college career, I want you to be aware of several “ground rules” established by our Committee on Personal Expression (COPE). These guidelines are designed to promote a harmonious atmosphere in which all students can feel special and conduct themselves in a manner reflecting their own individual choices.

  • Our institution has proudly adopted a “campus carry” policy, meaning you can carry a concealed weapon at all times, except in the shower. You may not carry your weapon in such a manner that it remains visible to your classmates. This will only prompt them to conjure reasons for why you might be armed and, presumably, dangerous.
  • Those students found in violation of the campus carry policy will be issued a “trigger warning.” Following the first such warning, students will be limited to carrying three or fewer lethal weapons, including jackknives, grenades, nunchucks, Ninja stars, Glocks, Uzis and flashbangs. After the second warning, students will be required to write an essay comparing and contrasting the violence motif in Rambo III and Bambi. A student receiving a third trigger warning will be forced to keep all aforementioned weapons in the trunk of his/her/eir/pers/xyr car or in a backpack.
  • Students who feel threatened by the specter of gun violence may retreat to a “safe space.” Several such spaces exist across campus and are, in fact, reclaimed and refurbished smoking zones. (Smoking is now prohibited on campus, though smokers and vapers may partake provided they are 100 feet beyond or above the grounds.) A student may designate an unofficial safe space by standing in a chalk outline, raising both arms and loudly declaring, “I’m out!” All students occupying a safe space, whether official or unofficial, may not be shot or otherwise subject to bodily injury.
  • From time to time, the University will invite to campus prominent speakers who espouse viewpoints different from your own. Our community thrives on open, intellectual debate. Controversial speakers enjoy the freedoms protected by our Constitution and insinuated by the tenets of tenure. You may not shoot them.
  • Students carrying a concealed weapon may risk exposure of said weapon when visiting the lavatory. As such, the University has established “firearm neutral” bathrooms, inclusive and welcoming facilities that embrace everyone’s choice regarding personal protection. Use them at your own risk.
  • Any student—or employee, for that matter—who deems a name, image or likeness to be offensive may not take it upon his/her/eir/pers/xyrself to deface, destroy, mangle, obliterate or otherwise harm the offending item. Simply relay your displeasure to an appropriate University official and it will be promptly removed. Do not, under any circumstances, shoot it.

I trust you will abide by these few rules of conduct, which have been forged by months of hysterical debate. They exist for your own protection and are subject to your own interpretation, filters and worldviews.

I congratulate you on your decision to attend Causet and wish you well on your pilgrimage of self-discovery and -righteousness.

Sincerely yours,

Dr. Molly Coddle





The Bizarro Commencement Speech


College commencement season is once again upon us. Because I work in higher education, I’ve been to about 40 of these (some institutions host more than one per year). These events feature speakers who, like their counterparts at high school graduations, offer the same familiar bromides time after time. I’ve heard my fair share and can recite these platitudes by heart.

Were I asked to speak at a commencement, I’d confound expectations and offer the following advice and counsel.

Read the rest at the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop….


National Deciding Day

Jim: Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to National Deciding Day, the annual extravaganza to reveal where today’s hottest high school talent will be going to college. I’m your host, Jim Flore, and I’m here with my colleague Buck Teets. We’ll be bringing you 11 hours of uninterrupted coverage of this year’s committapalooza!

Buck: That’s right, Jim. Boy, am I excited! The nation’s best and brightest announcing live where they’ll be spending the next—not one, not two—but four years! I can hardly wait.

Jim: Well, let’s get right to it. Our first student is Chip Cash, who comes to us from Birdseed, Idaho. Chip attends an accelerated magnet school for gifted science and technology wonks. He’s graduating after only three years—how’s that for accelerated! Let’s watch a short video about Chip.

Buck: Wow, that was pretty awesome, Jim. I especially liked the raw footage of Chip kicking butt in the chess club, and that slo-mo of him acing the AP calc exam…breathtaking! I hear he nailed the chemistry combine to boot.

Jim: Yep, Chip’s a real blue chipper, so to speak. A 5.3 GPA, 2390 on the SAT, a 35 on the ACT just for good measure, debate club, state champ in the triple jump, Model UN, and president of Young Americans for the Equality of Everything. A can’t-miss prospect!

Buck: This future computer science major has narrowed his choices to MIT and Cal Tech. Any thoughts on which he might pick?

Jim: No idea, Jim. I hear Cal Tech is a bit light this year on circuit design recruits, so they could have promised him the moon. It’s a nervous time for everyone as we await his decision. Here he comes to the podium with his parents, John and May.

Chip: I, um, after a lot of thought and, you know, talking it over with my parents and friends and stuff, I, uh, am choosing to continue my education at…wait…wrong hat…MIT!

Jim: Whoa, a real surprise there! Listen to that crowd reaction! Giving up fun in the sun for good ol’ MIT.

Buck: Hey, now, let’s put “fun” in quotes! And how about that swerve donning the Cal Tech hat by accident! Pretty slick! Looks like MIT has a real advantage in next year’s Robotics Bowl.

Jim: No doubt. Moving on, let’s meet our next recruit, Jerry Elbridge. Jerry’s from Scrodborough, Massachusetts. A history buff, Jerry plans to major in political science and economics, attend law school, make partner, run for Congress and change the world. He’s got gaudy stats: a 4.8 GPA, perfect SATs, three-time epee champ, you-name-it-he’s-in-it-clubs, class president and treasurer, and prom king just for good measure. Talk about your Renaissance man!

Buck: From what I hear, Jerry got into six Ivies. He skipped two because he didn’t want to make a spectacle of himself. Talk about humility! He’s narrowed his choices to Harvard, Stanford and Chicago.

Jim: This guy’s got the whole country covered! My money’s on Harvard, the hometown favorite. He’d miss the Sawx, for Pete’s sake! But let’s go to the announcement.

Jerry: I want to thank my teachers at Scrodborough High for providing me such an outstanding education. Go Whitefish! I want to thank my parents for being there for me and helping me make this important decision. It is with great excitement that I announce I have decided to attend…Stanford!

Jim: Yowza! I did NOT see that coming! Most experts would consider this quite the upset, don’t you think, Buck?

Buck: I’d say. Did you see the look on his mom’s face? She turned three shades of cardinal! That’s going to be one long ride back to Scrodborough. Harvard’s gotta be smarting over this turn of events.

Jim: The one that got away. Anyhoo, we now turn our attention to one of this year’s very top recruits, Phil Estine. Phil’s a senior at Mudpuddle High in Boondock, Mississippi. He wants to major in chemistry and become a cardiologist. But he’s also said he wants to be an architect. Or a hedge fund manager. Buck, Phil is the total package, don’t you think?

Buck: For sure. I think this guy had AP circle time in kindergarten! He’s sporting a 4.99 GPA and scored a whopping 2370 on the SATs, including an 800 verbal. It’s easier to name the clubs he’s not president of. Plus he runs his own homeless shelter, The Philage, has climbed Mount Fuji twice and has made numerous pilgrimages to Borneo, where he’s taught orangutans to play squash.

Jim: And that’s just for starters! He’s also one of only three ambidextrous French horn players in the entire state and has a world Scrabble rating of 2085. The man knows his qi from his xu!

Buck: Gesundheit! Rumor has it Phil has trimmed his college choices to Michigan, Texas and UVA. Evidently he’s going public.

Jim: Texas? Does he play football?

Buck: Ha! Good one, Jim. But he is from SEC country.

Jim: What’s SEC?

Buck: Not important. I understand Phil has prepared his own video. Let’s take a look.

Jim: Quite impressive, Buck. I could have sworn I saw that Uggs guy in one of those shots.

Buck: Yep, sure looked a lot like Tom Brady. Could he be leaning toward Michigan?

Jim: These fans have waited long enough. It’s time to find out. Let’s hear from Phil.

Phil: After much soul-searching and meditation, much of it atop Mount Fuji, I have chosen to take my considerable talents to…McGill!

Jim: Mon Dieu! I didn’t even know McGill had hats! Our loss is Canada’s gain.

Buck: Woot woot! Climb aboard the brain drain train!

Jim: And that puts a wrap on this year’s National Deciding Day spectacular. We’ll return after these few words from our sponsors to tally up the winners and losers. Rough year for the Ivies, Buck.

Buck: They’ll be back. Recruiting the best and brightest is a tough business, Jim. I’m just glad we’ve had the chance to share it all with the American public. They sure appreciate true talent when they see it.


Grab Life by the Horns, Then Die


Do you lack energy?

Are you feeling depressed?

Have you lost your zest for life?

You might want to ask your doctor about Produatol, new from Trimortis.

With Produatol, you’ll be back on your feet in no time, ready to take life by the reins. You’ll rediscover your passions, ignite that fire within, re-engage with old friends and even fan the flames of your long-lost love life.

You’ll be the old you—or an even better you if the old you just wasn’t good enough.

Call 1-800-NEW-LIFE for a free sample, or consult with your physician to find out if Produatol is right for you.

The most common side effects of Produatol include dry mouth, headaches, dizziness, blurred vision and occasional incontinence.

Additional symptoms could include bloody nose, genital warts, conjunctivitis, dyspepsia, facial spasms and involuntary flatulence. Patients using Produatol also have experienced heart murmurs, bulimia, anorexia, dementia, carpal tunnel and epilepsy. On rare occasions, Produatol has been determined to cause tapeworms, elephantitis, gangrene, sterility, infantilism and mild bouts of leprosy. One in seven lab rats exposed to minor doses of Produatol have been reduced to small piles of anthrax. The other six simply bled to death. Additional repercussions have been omitted from this list due to their graphic and disturbing nature.

So if you’re ready to break out of your doldrums and tackle life head on, try Produatol for 30 days. But don’t say we didn’t warn you.