All things counter, original, spare and strange in Khujand, Tajikistan

April Fools!

In honor of the day after April Fools, here is my latest output of satire:

Math Major Dies in Tragic Conceptual Firestorm

At 7:55 last Tuesday morning Sophomore Al Pharkerson arrived early for class in Mills 380, entirely ignorant of the flaming inferno awaiting him. As best as investigators can establish he was reviewing his notes from the previous Thursday’s Concepts in Mathematics when he misapplied an extremely volatile matrix series to a fractal equation, resulting in what mathematics safety specialists have dubbed “the perfect storm.”

Apparently Mr. Pharkerson’s ignorance of higher mathematics, combined with the dizzying amount of complex concepts facing him, ignited the flammable substrate of pure numbers that hangs in the atmosphere around the third floor of Mills, resulting in a conceptual firestorm so destructive it nearly consumed the entire science department with its intense heat.

The Pharkerson Incident (or PI for short), as math historians have dubbed it, takes its place in the pantheon of mathematical catastrophes alongside such famous disasters as Euclid’s Logical Lightning-Storm and the Great Fire of Princeton in 1987, reportedly sparked by the invention of string theory.

“We regret that such a regrettable occurrence took place on our campus” said Dr. Snark, Covenant’s resident expert on the mathematical paranormal, “however, given the dangerous nature of the equations Mr. Pharkerson was dealing with, I think it can be safely said he knew the risks. The lesson we should all draw from this sad story is simple: math is dangerous, kids. Stick to the Liberal Arts.”

“Praise Hero” Allows Anyone to Lead Chapel

Microsoft’s latest Praise Hero video-game for the X-Box 360 has shaken up youth groups, church camps and Christian colleges everywhere with its egalitarian implications: now anyone can lead worship.

The video game is similar to the popular Guitar Hero and Rock Band games, but instead of classic rock tracks, it includes such praise music classics as “Lord I Lift Your Name on High” and “Heart of Worship.” In addition, optional accessories like the patented Hand Position Sensor Glove and the Obligatory Cello offer even broader possibilities for game play.

Covenant’s own Chaplain Messed’er is excited about the possibilities. “Now we don’t need to limit our chapel worship-leading positions to those who can strum three chords and carry a tune. Anybody can do it. And I mean anybody. We might even let Joel Piedt help out.”

Given the run-away success of Praise Hero, Microsoft has begun development on further Hero-style interactive product lines. Reportedly Philosophy Hero is a possibility for the academic market, along with other more controversial titles like Knife Fight Hero and Dead Cat Swing Hero. No word yet on the much-anticipated Do Something Real For Once Hero, which threatens to throw the entire franchise into an all-consuming black hole of self-parody.

The Hot Watch: “It” is In

“It” is the new thing in music. “It” is next. “It” is big. “It” is it. “It” is what’s on the Hot Watch this week. Oh yes my indie fishies. There is a new genre burbling out of the fecund pool of genius somewhere in South Brooklyn, and that genre is “it.”

“’It’ is like no-wave,” said one single 40-year old unemployed expert, “but without the wave. Or the no.” “’It’ just is, man” commented another lousy excuse for a human being, “’It’ is music in the realm of pure being.”

The semantic difficulties caused by the new genre’s baffling name can all be traced back to the movement’s founding band: ^*%!!!!), whose name is only pronounceable by trained linguists and native speakers of Igbo.

“It” has so far generated more buzz than Flo Rida’s admission to criminal possession of goat testicles, the growing self-knowledge of Madonna’s sentient hair-piece, and Britney’s come-back. This despite the fact that no band associated with the genre has yet released a single recording.

“We’ll get around to it” said ^*%!!!!)’s lead singer. First we have to re-design our web-site, start a tour diary and learn which way to hold the guitar.” Anticipation and pretension both remain high, as does this reporter’s tab at the Greenwich Village Pub, but that’s beside the point. Incidentally, “The Point” is probably the next genre on the Hot Watch.

Also next on the Hot Watch: the Grizzly Bear side-project chain reaction reaches critical mass; Chris Brown offers restitution to Rihanna to be payable in pizza bagels; and Matt Brown breaks into the underground trip-hop scene. Stay tuned.

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