Friday, November 9, 2018

Celtics Trade First Round Draft Pick for Magic Johnson's Comic Books

"A Much Better Investment," says GM Danny Ainge

by Jeff Briskin

BOSTON. The Boston Celtics have traded their 2019 NBA first round draft pick to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for a collection of 4,000 vintage comic books owned by the Lakers' President of Basketball Operations Earvin "Magic" Johnson.
GM Danny Ainge arranged the trade with his former NBA playoff rival after deciding that the comic books would be a better investment for the team than any current draft prospects.
“Let’s face it—by the time it got to us all the high-value players would be gone and we’d be stuck with some 6’1” point guard who we’d end up cutting anyway,” said Ainge.
“But when Magic called to ask what I wanted for our pick, I knew that I wanted superheroes, not superstar-wannabes.”
A number of Celtics players were initially angry at Ainge’s decision to sacrifice the future of the championship contender for twenty boxes of comic books. But most changed their mind after they had a chance to look at the collection at Ainge’s Wellesley home.
“RJ Barrett or Nassir Little might help us out on offense, but I’ll take a mint condition 1963 Amazing Fantasy #15 over both of them anyday,” said Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving, referring to the rare comic book that introduced Spider-Man to the world.
Center Al Horford agreed. “Sure, we’re gonna need help on three-pointers and rebounds if we have any hope of beating the Warriors in the NBA Finals. But how often do you get your hands on Action Comics #1 from 1938 where Superman made his debut, not to mention the first Fantastic Four from 1961?”
Ainge had known about Jonhson's comic book collection when they faced off against each other during their epic NBA Finals in the mid-1980s.

“During the '86 Finals, Magic wouldn't stop trash-talking about the 1938 Batman debut comic book he said he picked up a yard sale in Brentwood. Years later, when we were both retired from playing, Magic invited me to his home in LA after an old-timers' game. While we were there, he showed me his comic books. Every one was in mint condition and stored in a sealed plastic bag. Growing up Mormon, I was never allowed to read comics that weren’t about Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, so for me it was like being in Heaven,” said Ainge.
Over the years Ainge tried to convince Johnson to sell him the collection, but the three-time NBA MVP refused. But after the Lakers finished 11th in the Western Conference in the 2017-2018 season, Johnson contacted Ainge to negotiate a trade.
“At first I offered him two future first-round picks, but Danny wouldn’t take anything other than the damned comic books. Since I was going to put them for auction on Ebay anyway, I ended up giving in just to stop him from calling, emailing and texting me every five minutes about it,” said Johnson.
Ainge plans to give some of the less valuable comic books to Celtics players and personnel as retention bonuses. Meanwhile, the GM is currently negotiating a trade that would send players Marcus Smart and Daniel Theis to the Utah Jazz in exchange for GM Dennis Lindsey’s collection of rare Beanie Babies.

Amazon to Build New Corporate Campus Next to Jennifer Lawrence

CEO Will Shift HQ to be Closer to Hunger Games Star

by Jeff Briskin

SEATTLE. In a surprise move, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has announced that the e-commerce giant plans to move its corporate headquarters from Seattle to Beverly Hills, California. 

The new 2.5 million square foot campus will be built on land abutting the mansion of actress Jennifer Lawrence.

Explaining his reason for the move, Bezos admitted that it has nothing to do with taxes, property values, or the proximity of talent from local colleges and universities. 

"I just lovvvveeee Jennifer Lawrence. I've been a fan of hers since seeing her play the teenage daughter of Kim Basinger in the 2008 film, The Burning Plain. Moving Amazon's headquarters next to Jennifer's home will dramatically improve my chances of becoming friends with my idol," said Bezos.

Before construction even starts Amazon will spend nearly $755 million to purchase 23 properties abutting Lawrence's home and another $300 million to raze more than 89 mansions, guest houses and other structures currently owned by a variety of Hollywood actors, industry executives and Iranian ex-expatriates. 

Construction of the new campus will cost nearly $2 billion, not including millions of dollars of infrastructure improvements Amazon will need to make to accommodate its energy, plumbing and transportation needs. But in the end, Bezos says it will all be worth it. 

"Just the thought of being able to look out of my corner office and see Jennifer sunbathing by her pool, performing yoga in her exercise studio or standing in her kitchen using Alexa to order take out from Zinque inspires me to see this through," Bezos said. 

While admitting that having 80,000 employees as neighbors might be unsettling for the star of American Hustle, Bezos says that any minor inconveniences will be more than made up by the level of red-carpet service Lawrence will receive from Amazon. 

"Anything Jennifer orders from Amazon, even it's a package of $1.98 thumbtacks, will be delivered to her house within 10 minutes by me. And if she needs to return anything, I'll pick it up myself, anytime, day or night. And she'll never have to pay a dime of shipping costs, because for her, Amazon Prime will always be free," said Bezos. 

And what does the CEO's wife, MacKenzie, think about the move?

"Well, I have to admit that she had some grave reservations at first. But when she found out that her new office will overlook [actor] Ryan Gosling's house she immediately warmed up to the idea," said Bezos. 

Bezos originally planned to build his new headquarters next to the home of Guardians of the Galaxy star Zoe Saldana, but those plans fell through. 

"I began to lose enthusiasm when she secretly married Italian sculptor Marco Perego. And when she took out the restraining order on me I knew that deal was dead."

Bezos is anxious to get work started on his new headquarters, which is expected to be completed in three years. What are his biggest concerns?

"Well, obviously, it would be terrible if she moved, or started losing her looks, but I'm crossing my fingers neither will happen," said Bezos. 

Russian Official Protests Suspension of Starbucks Card

Medov Decries "Act of Economic Terrorism”

by Jeff Briskin

MOSCOW. A formal complaint to the World Court has been filed by Evgeniy Murov, a member of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s cabinet, to protest the recent decision by the U.S. State Department to freeze the assets on his Starbucks card.
As Director of the Federal Protective Service of the Russian Federation, Murov, 68, oversees Russia’s secret police and anti-terrorism forces. An admitted caffeine addict, he is a longtime patron of the Starbucks branch on Proyezd Voskresenskiye Vorota at the State Historical Museum, a short walk from the Kremlin.
According to Starbucks senior barista Olga Ivaroff, until the suspension of his account Murov started each day with a Grande Cafe Latte topped with nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. He would return at noon for a Café Mocha and once more in the late afternoon for a Hazelnut Macchiato Stoli Lemon Vodka, a special alcoholic coffee drink created in his honor.
Murov claims that the U.S. action is unfair retaliation for Russian meddling in recent U.S. elections. 
"I have nothing to do with Putin's hacking of voting machines. I am humble interrogator and torturer of opposition leaders and homosexuals."
Murov funded his Starbucks Card with 2,000 rubles, the equivalent of US $56. He was apparently unaware that these funds were being held in an account with the Moscow branch of Citicorp, which was ordered by the State Department to freeze the accounts of all senior members of the Putin government.
In a recent interview with the BBC, Murov called the suspension of his Starbucks Card an “act of economic terrorism that infringes on Russian sovereignty and internal affairs.”
Looking exhausted and jittery, Murov waved his empty 20-ounce Starbucks stainless steel travel tumbler and complained, “How can I conduct brutal beatings of traitorous female rock bands or break fingers of Chechnyans if I am denied the energy and comfort provided by these most delicious coffee concoctions?”
While the Putin government has not responded directly to this action, an unnamed Kremlin source says that it is seriously considering invalidating all “Buy 6-Get 1 Free” customer loyalty cards issues to U.S. patrons of the Borscht & Blintzes, Russia’s largest fast food chain.

Former Ukrainian President Takes Over the Wrong ‘Stan

GPS Error Leads to Errant Coup in Tajikistan

by Jeff Briskin

DUSHANBE, TAJIKISTAN. Former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych thought he was embarking on a promising new career as the strongman of a former Soviet republic when he led a battalion of elite Russian mercenaries in the violent overthrow of the Tajikistan government.
But shortly after he gained control of the landlocked central Asian country, he discovered that he had taken over the wrong ‘Stan.
“We originally planned to invade Turkmenistan,” said a dejected Yanukovych in a recent interview with reporters at the presidential palace in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe.
“That place would have been perfect. Huge natural gas reserves, excellent Caspian Sea harbors, and the hottest women in all of the Caucasus.”
“Tajikistan, however, is a total dump. Per capita income is the lowest of all the former Soviet republics. Half the population are radical Muslims and the other half are married to their siblings. The country’s largest export is chickpeas and everyone still uses dial-up Internet access. AOL disks are more valuable than gold here.”
Yanukovych blames the errant coup on his TomTom GPS.
“Our convey started from Atyrau in Kazakhstan, with the Turkmen capital of Ashgabat set as our destination. But apparently one of my aides forgot to update the TomTom’s maps before we left. Instead of telling us to take the R-110 south it sent us more than 2,000 miles east on the A-380. Since none of us know any of these damned central Asian languages we couldn’t read the road signs or ask for directions. Somehow we ended up in Dushanbe, but before we could figure out where the hell we were we had already ousted President Emomalii Rahmon, dissolved the Parliament, defeated the army and killed hundreds of innocent civilians.”
An email from TomTom CEO Harold Goddijn rebuked Yanukovych's assertion that the GPS was at fault for the error.
"Our GPS products have had correct maps and routes for the entire Caucasus since 2012. It's far more likely that Yanukovych's aide simply entered the wrong 'des-stan-nation.' Get it?"
Yanukovych has apologized to the Tajik people and offered to turn over control of the government to civilian authorities or any would-be dictator, but his efforts are facing stiff resistance.
“It turns out no one wants to run the damned place. Now I know why.”

Tyrion Lannister Inspires Innovative Resolution of Israeli/Palestinian Conflict

Embed from Getty Images

Game of Thrones "Trial by Combat" Will Be Used to Determine Final Peace Settlement

by Jeff Briskin

JERUSALEM. After decades of stalemated negotiations between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority, an episode of the hit HBO series Game of Thrones has inspired a novel approach that will be used to finally end the conflict.
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have agreed that the terms of a final peace settlement will be determined by a tournament based on the “Trial by Combat” system of legal resolution created by Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin in his long-running series of novels portraying the power struggles among various highborn families on the mythical continent of Westeros.
Both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas are huge fans of the series, which is entering its seventh and final season. Both men were inspired by an episode in which the dwarf Tyrion Lannister (played by Peter Dinklage), on trial for killing his nephew King Joffrey, demands that his guilt or innocence be settled by Trial by Combat. In this ancient legal ritual, a defendant’s fate rests on the outcome of a battle-to-the-death between champions representing the accused and his prosecutors.
“After years of fruitless negotiations over borders, settlements, and water rights, I realized that Tyrion’s demand for quick and definitive justice offers a similar path for Israelis and Palestinians to resolve their differences once and for all,” said Netanyahu, who has read all five books in Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice series upon which the TV series is based.
Abbas, who admits he had never heard of the show until King Adbullah of Jordan sent him the first five seasons on DVD, agrees. “The dwarf has used Trial by Combat twice when he was charged with crimes he didn’t commit. Admittedly, his success rate is 1 for 2, but a 50% chance of victory is a lot better than the nothing we’re getting now.”
President Trump's son-in-law and special Mideast advisor Jared Kushner served as a mediator to establish the terms for the contest.
“If Abbas’s champion wins, Israeli will withdraw to its pre-Six-Day War 1967 borders, with minor adjustments to address its security concerns, give up all of its West Bank settlements, and a Palestinian state will be established with East Jerusalem as its capital,” he said.
“On the other hand, If Netanyahu’s champion wins, Israel will get to dictate the final borders of a Palestinian state, maintain control over all of Jerusalem, and build 500,000 new homes in the occupied territories.”
Kushner has also dictated the terms of the actual battle.
“Given the decades of bloodshed committed by both sides in this conflict, the U.S. government would certainly be opposed to any contest that resulted in the kind of carnage that occurred when Oberyn Martell, Tyrion’s champion, was on verge of stabbing Ser Gregor Clegane to death until the Mountain smashed the Dornish prince in the face with his fist, splattering his brains all over the ground. Ooops, I was supposed to say ‘spoiler alert,’ wasn't I? Sorry,” said Kushner.
Instead, this approach—renamed “Fight for Peace” to reflect modern sensibilities—will be a single-round, continuous match using standardized mixed martial combat rules. No weapons will be allowed. Victory will be achieved either by knockout or by voluntary submission by either combatant.
Aides of Netanyahu and Abbas are currently evaluating hundreds of well known kickboxers, cage fighters, mixed martial arts and bar-room brawlers. This whole process, along with the training of the selected champions, will be documented on a new FOX-TV reality series, HolyLand Headrollers.
The contest itself will be broadcast live on Pay-per-View, with an undercard of additional Fights for Peace that will resolve the dispute between China and Japan over contested islands in the Sea of Japan and the civil war in South Sudan.

"No More Championships!" begs Boston Mayor

Embed from Getty Images

Says the 2018 Red Sox World Series Championship Put City $10 Million in the Red

by Jeff Briskin

BOSTON. While most Bostonians were celebrating the triumph of the Red Sox in the 2018 World Series, one noteworthy fan is wallowing in despair—Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.

“Hey, I love a good championship as much as anyone, but enough is enough,” said Walsh. 

“You know how much it costs this city every time the Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots and Bruins win? Millions of dollars, that’s how much.” 

As a case in point, Walsh brought out a stack of invoices from this year’s Red Sox World Series parade. “Look at this—$3 million in police overtime. $4 million for the sanitation department. $2 million for the Duck Boats. Hell, the insurance policy we had to take out on Mookie Betts alone cost more than the city’s entire annual budget for summer jobs for inner-city youth.” 

Shortly after assuming office, Mayor Walsh ran a departmental financial analysis that revealed that 80% of City of Boston’s budget deficit over the last 17 years was due to championship-related expenses. 

“Winning five Super Bowls, four World Series, an NBA championship and a Stanley Cup may be great for fans, but it’s the City of Boston that ends up picking up the tab,” said Walsh. "It will take us years to dig ourselves out of this fiscal hole.” 

The Mayor said he has been encouraged so far by issues with the region's other three teams.

“The Patriots losing to the Eagles this year saved us $7 million alone. If the Pats' defensive woes hold up, the Bruins continue to be mediocre and the Celtics fold against the Warriors in the NBA Championships, this city may eke out a championship-free season in 2019. That’s something I’m really looking forward to,” said Walsh. 

Members of REO Speedwagon Mulling $23 Million Offer Not to Reunite

Embed from Getty Images

Zuckerberg, Gates and Spielberg Urge Band to Keep Their Day Jobs

by Jeff Briskin

CHICAGO. A consortium of some of the world’s richest men has collectively offered $23 million to encourage members of REO Speedwagon to cancel their plans to reunite and go on tour.
“Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg called me last week and offered $5 million if I promised not to lose 25 pounds, stop drinking or give up my full-time job in landscaping to get back together with the band,” said bassist Bruce Hall.
In April, Microsoft founder Bill Gates met with drummer Alan Gratzer and offered him $5 million in cash and free health insurance for life if he pledged never to record again or perform the band's unique brand of generic 80’s middlebrow pop on stage either in the U.S. or overseas.
“Even though the money wouldn’t be coming from the Gates Foundation, I consider this offer to be a humanitarian act—both for the group and for the population of planet Earth, which would never again have to be subjected to the band responsible for creating some of the most annoying songs in the history of popular music,” said Gates in a prepared press statement.
The lone holdout is former lead vocalist Kevin Cronin, whose histrionic falsetto on execrable songs like “Keep on Lovin’ You” and “Can’t Fight the Feeling” drove the roommates of hundreds of tone-deaf college students to nearly leap to their deaths from their dorm rooms during the early 1980s.
Cronin has so far rejected an $8 million offer from Hollywood director Steven Spielberg to curtail his plans to record a new REO Speedwagon album and go on tour with a lineup consisting of former members of the equally noxious Midwestern bands Journey and Styx.
“Steve Wynn offered me $10 million to get back in the game and take on a six week gig at the Encore Las Vegas,” said Cronin, who currently manages an Outback Steakhouse in Elgin, Illinois.

"However if Spielberg ups his offer to $15 million, I’ll seriously think about calling it off.”

Boston Narcotics Buy-Back Program a Huge Success

Embed from Getty Images

Dealers Line Up to Cash In

by Jeff Briskin

BOSTON. In an ongoing effort to end the scourge of illegal narcotics in Boston’s neighborhoods, Police Commissioner William Gross has declared a new drug buy-back program a success. 

Since the “Drugs for Dough” program started in April, Boston residents have exchanged more than 35 kilograms of cocaine, 47 kilograms of heroin and 60 kilograms of crystal meth for nearly $6 million in cash.

Given the historic intractability of drug addiction in Boston and residents’ natural suspicion of law enforcement officials, there was a great deal of skepticism that this initiative would reduce the prevalence of narcotics in the city. 

“People said it would never work. But look out there—the line’s halfway around the block!” said Gross, proudly pointing to more than 300 people waiting outside the door of the program’s South End headquarters on a rainy Thursday morning.

Dorchester resident Craig Smith, 21, has been participating in the program since it started in April.

“I used to sell cocaine on the corner and risk getting shot or arrested. But now I buy product from my supplier for $40 a gram and turn it in here to The Man for $80. That’s a 100% profit and I don’t have to deal with junkies and hos,” he said.

Smith’s girlfriend, Shenize Miller, 19, agrees. “Last week I bought an ounce of smack, a gram of blow and 40 Vicodin for $300 and cashed my stash here for $700. Sure beats turning tricks in the alley,” she said.

The success of this program is having enormous effects on Boston’s drug scene. Colombian and Mexican cartels are now diverting shipments of narcotics from New York to Boston. This is rippling down into the city's largest drug syndicates, which are resorting to violence to dominate the lucrative buy-back trade. Only last week, a member of the Alta Luna gang was gunned down while standing in line to cash in the twenty kilograms of uncut cocaine he was carrying in a duffel bag.

“Street value of that blow was half a million, but Five-Oh would’ve paid us one point five,” lamented a lieutenant in the Alta Luna syndicate. 

“Soon as we find the mother****** who kept us from participating in this valuable community service we’re gonna cap their asses.”

Jesus May Have Been History's First Tweeter

Embed from Getty Images

Newly Discovered Ancient Tweets May Reveal the Personal Side of the Son of God

by Jeff Briskin

CAMBRIDGE, MA. Jesus may have invented social media, if the authenticity of a newly discovered collection of 57 ancient tweets attributed to him is proven. The collection, written on fragments of papyrus, was found last December in a newly excavated vault in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.
Images of the fragments were sent to Dr. Karen King, a professor of divinity at Harvard Divinity School, best known for her research into the controversial “Jesus was married” Coptic gospel.
The age of the fragments is currently being tested in independent laboratories in Geneva, Rome and New York. But Dr. King believes that they are authentic because they are written in Aramaic, the language of Judea during the first century A.D., and “because they look really, really old.”
None of these sayings are longer than 140 characters, and largely communicate personal observations and summaries of Jesus’s daily activities, many of which can be corroborated with events mentioned in the New Testament. Professor King has released translations of a small sample of these tweets:
Had a great talk with Dad today. I’m literally walking on water!
Today’s cured: 6 cripples, 3 lepers, 8 blind people. A good day!
Just back from 40 hellish days in the desert. Looking forward to chilling with little bro +James.
A special shout out to +MaryMagdalene, the best foot anointer in Judea!
Going to the mount tomorrow to deliver some really killer +GoodNews!
Totally bombed in +Nazareth yesterday. Won’t be working my home town again anytime soon.
Mom keeps bugging me to meet a girl and settle down. Who has the time, LOL!
Memo to me: Get extra matzoh & wine for +Pesach next week. Judas is bringing special guests.
Some scholars have expressed skepticism about these ancient tweets. Dr. Bart D. Ehrman, a professor at the University of North Carolina and author of Misquoting Jesus, believes that these fragments were written by a counterfeiter hundreds of years after the death of Jesus.
“These so-called tweets portray the man Christians believe to be the Son of God as a shallow, self-absorbed millennial,” said Ehrman. “And using crosses as hashtags? Only an amateur medieval forger would resort to something so patently obvious.”
Dr. King dismisses such criticism as the “nitpicking of jealous humbugs.”
“Why couldn’t Jesus have invented tweeting? He was clearly an expert communicator, miracle worker and prophet. For all we know, Jesus Himself may have come down from Heaven to plant the idea of short, innocuous text messages into the mind of Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s inventor,” said King.
A spokesman for Dorsey declined to comment.