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Volume 16, Issue 1: Cretan Times

U.S. Mars Rover Finds and Taunts Lonely European Probe

Douglas Jones

PASADENA, CA—NASA publicly apologized Tuesday to the European Space Agency for recent antics by NASA’s space rover Spirit before it ran into technical difficulties itself. NASA admitted Spirit had secretly taken gloating photos of itself next to ESA’s malfunctioning Beagle 2 lander.

The antics of the Spirit rover do not reflect official NASA policy, said mission manager Mark Adler. Spirit apparently spotted Beagle 2 just before Martian dusk and made its move during its downtime, around 0200.
Spirit beamed photos of itself back to media satellites, and the photos quickly spread around the internet.
Several photos show Spirit sneaking up behind Beagle 2 in a goosing position. Others images are close-ups of Spirit in the process of cow-tipping Beagle 2. One odd-angled photo apparently shows Spirit pretending to give mouth-to-mouth resusciation to the European craft. The most widely broadcast image shows Spirit pressing Beagle 2’s main camera mast into the Martian soil, while raising two of its other leg-wheels in the air. The ESA was quick to lodge a complaint with NASA.
ESA mission director Colin Pillinger said, We are very grateful that Spirit found Beagle 2 after it fell into silence, but we are now asking Spirit to uncuff the Beagle 2 Mossbauer spectrometer. NASA immediately programmed the uncuffing, only to find Spirit attempting to wedgie Beagle 2’s heat shield.
Though Beagle 2 has been silent since its landing, NASA’s Spirit cajoled it into making a public statement to clarify the mystery. After drooping its solar panels, Beagle 2 transmitted the message: In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.
The ESA identified the transmission as an Albert Camus quote but offered no further comment apart from urging Spirit to give it some space. Upon registering Beagle 2’s transmission, NASA’s Spirit replied Doctor, Doctor, Mr. M.D., now can you tell me, what’s ailing me?
NASA repeated its public apology on Wednesday and Thursday, finally stating that the apology should be considered in effect until further notice or until Spirit can keep its comments in-house. When NASA’s second rover Opportunity landed, it successfully transmitted images until Spirit stalked it and apparently challenged it to a dust wrestle, in which it was apparently victorious. NASA conceded Spirit used various illegal wrestling holds. Before refusing further transmissions, Spirit relayed, Nobody snaps pics in my house.


 

Poll Shows Most Americans Credit Schwarzenegger with Capture of Saddam

Douglas Jones

ATLANTA—A CNN/UAW poll reveals 73% of Americans believe California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was the official actually responsible for capturing former Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein.

Arnie’s the man. It’s clear only he could pull that off, said Brad Davis, one of the poll respondents. It was like, like that time he found those terrorists in Liar, Liar [sic]. Respondent Jerry Barr explained It had all the marks of a Schwarzenegger job. The intel. The boldness. The women. Only Schwarzeneggar has the upper body strength to lift a man up out of a hole like that.
The White House denied any involvement of Schwarzenegger in the mission. Press Secretary Scott McClellan insisted the Army’s Fourth Infantry and President Bush should receive the credit.
Arnold Schwarzenegger declined to comment on the poll. His office conceded the governor was out of the state during the capture but only over the border in Nevada for a day.
They’d have to say that, noted respondent Bill Metting. Nevada is a great take-off spot for missions like that. He could easily rally there with Bruce Willis and Sly.
17% of the respondents credited Bush, with the remaining 10% crediting Keanu Reeves.


 

Pete Rose Inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

CLEVELAND, OH—The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted confessed baseball gambler Pete Rose into its ranks Friday. The move came in response to baseball’s probable rejection of Rose into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

I couldn’t be happier. It’s always been my dream to be in the Hall, said Rose, who accepted the honor before a crowd that included Steve Tyler and Kid Rock.
Rock and Roll Hall spokesperson, Jenny Williams, explained, Rose is a great man by our standards, and he deserves the honor. We encourage gambling on rock
. . .ROSE ROCKS / A9


 

Family Research Council Calls for Constitutional Amendment Against Lightning

Douglas Jones

WASHINGTON, D.C.—In response to increasing lightning hits across the nation, the Family Research Council has had its Federal Lightning Amendment introduced in Congress with bi-partisan sponsorship. The FRC goal is to have the Constitution protect the common-sense view that lightning is a threat to the American family.

The Federal Lightning Amendment reads, Lightning in the United States shall only be allowed to strike rock outcroppings far from American families. Neither this Constitution nor the Constitution of any state shall be construed to permit lightning to harm families.
In his State of the Union address, President Bush expressed his support for the Federal Lightning Amendment. FRC’s Tony Perkins commented, We are grateful to President Bush for saying he opposes lightning in response to legal challenges across the nation seeking to permit lightning to hurt traditional families.
Polls show that an overwhelming majority of Americans want laws to send a positive message to children. Most believe that lightning has a right to fall as it chooses, but it doesn’t have a right to reconfigure the nature of families, especially with such high voltages at work.
When asked the reason for focusing on an act of God like lightning, Perkins said, Families don’t deserve this sort of thing. Why would God be angry with traditional families? Our children adore us. We’re not like others; extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.


 

Pope Denies Endorsing Gibson’s “Passion”
Confesses Approving “Pirates of the Caribbean”

Douglas Jones

VATICAN CITY—Papal spokesmen denied published reports that Pope John Paul II had approved Mel Gibson’s controversial film The Passion of the Christ.

Gibson’s production company had quoted the Pope as praising the film detailing the last twelve hours of Christ’s life with the comment, It is as it was. Opponents of the film inundated the Vatican with formal protests.
The Vatican was quick to clarify the Pope’s comments actually were made in reference to technical problems in the papal theatre. John Paul II had repeatedly asked technicians to correct a projector that continually skipped frames and frustrated viewing. After watching The Passion of the Christ, the repair remained inadequate, and the Pope, sighing, said, It is as it was!
After technicians made additional adjustments to the faulty projector, the pontiff viewed The Pirates of the Caribbean, as the second of a six movie marathon. Papal spokesmen admitted that the Pope could not stop laughing.
The Pope confessed he had never actually ridden the Disneyland attraction on which the film is based, but the film accurately depicted the culture of pirates during that era. It is as it was, he commented, with two raised thumbs.
The Pope said he is urging members of the academy to vote for Johnny Depp as best supporting actor. I hope Hollywood bears me out, he said.


 

Shark Attacks Down Dramatically. New Sharks Introduced

Douglas Jones

MIAMI—After the third consecutive year of declining shark attacks on humans, shark experts have introduced record numbers of new sharks along the Florida coast.

Year-to-year fluctuations do not worry scientists, but a three-year decline clearly indicates a longer term trend. At this rate, sharks could soon only be seen in aquariums. We needed to beef-up their natural equilibrium with humans, said marine biologist Jack Flannerty. These are beautiful creatures, and the world would be a sadder place without them.
Florida marine biologists note diminshing attacks are due in large part to fewer swimmers and surfers. This is just unacceptable, says Marsha Carte. We’re coordinating efforts with the Florida Tourism Council to get more meat in the water. Time is definitely running out.
The South Beach Surfers Association has consistently protested ships offloading sharks just miles off the coast. We’ve proposed a simple solution, said Taff Wansick, association president. We say like sharks should be shipped inland to Florida’s lakes, you know.
Carte complained, That’s the sort of ‘Not-in-my-backyard’ selfishness we have to deal with day in and day out. I wish surfers had more of a passion for volunteer work.


 

Sales of Beef-Flavored Ice Cream Skyrocket in Atkins Craze / B6

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