1/20: The Presidential Inauguration is held in Russian due to circumstances blamed on “a last-minute error.”

1/22: The Prime Minister of Great Britain announces a new referendum on Scottish, Welsh, Northern Irish, and English independence, calling it “Brexinception.”

1/31: New York City announces a new minimum wage of $100,000/year.

2/6: Wearing Bermuda shorts and sunglasses, the new head of the United States EPA announces that winter 2017 is “canceled.” He does not elaborate.

2/26: In a glitzy Hollywood ceremony, the 89th Academy Awards bestows “Best Picture” on the film Bait. Released in a limited engagement of one Hollywood theater in December 2016, Bait is the story of a priest in 1943 Krakow struggling to come to terms with the Holocaust, his own homosexuality, and the fact that he was born a woman.

2/29: Due to a “scheduling error,” an unanticipated leap year is held. One result: people with leap year birthdays are surprised by impromptu parties. Hundreds are rushed to hospitals with cake-related injuries.

3/3: Activists applaud the Philiadelpha Zoo for accepting Stanly Meyowitz Jr. into its gorilla exhibit. Meyowitz is the first legally-recognized trans-species person, and announces that he is saving for a species change operation.

3/15: Vladimir Putin arrives, unannounced, at the White House. Refusing all offers of assistance, he moves into the Lincoln Bedroom and changes the locks.

3/21: Dressed in a parka and arriving to the presentation by sled dog, the head of the EPA announces that spring 2017 and winter 2017 have “switched.” He does not elaborate, but proceeds directly to Washington Dulles airport. Witnesses see him loading suitcases filled with bullion onto a waiting 747.

4/1: Stanely Meyowitz Jr. is found dead of gorilla-related injuries. The head zookeeper of Philadelphia insists that this is “not a joke.”

4/7: The last remaining citizen of New York City, Mayor De Blasio, turns out the lights.

4/20: The President announces, via Twitter, that Doritos suck and that shiny objects are the best. The resulting panic results in the closure of Frito-Lay and a massive 1000% surge in Reynolds Wrap shares. Riots ensue in major cities as citizens begin to hoard aluminum foil.

5/4: Disney announces that it is suspending production on all non-Star Wars film, television, and interactive properties. This does not apply to its Marvel movies, which a Disney spokesperson assures reporters will be “assimilated into a galaxy far, far away.”

5/19: Authorities in San Francisco announce that the Golden Gate is actually a pier in a bridge’s body. In addition to renaming it, they initiate plans for pier conversion therapy and treatments.


6/6: The President unveils his new initiative for health care: a lottery that will allow uninsured citizens to be hunted for sport. Successfully outsmarting a hunter will result in insurance coverage. Vladimir Putin is seen on the White House roof setting up what witnesses describe as a “sniper nest.”

7/4: “China Presents: The Fourth of July” premieres. Officials are noticibly uncomfortable at the Guangzhou emcee in Washington, who consistently refers to the date as “the 11th of Ding-Wei, 4715.”

7/9: Iron Man 4: The Clone Wars breaks July box office records on launch.

8/31: In a stunning move, the Brexinception succeeds. Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and England vote to seperate. Not content with this, England votes to expel London, Wales accepts an invitation to join the United Arab Emirates, Scotland declares war on Scotland, and Northern Ireland declares that it will forcibly conquer the remainder of its island as “Southern Northern Ireland.”

9/16: The Secret Life of Jabba the Hutt breaks box office records upon release.

10/13: The Great American Eclipse, originally scheduled for August, occurs. It is blood red and accompanied by locusts and four men on horseback. “Don’t worry about it,” one of the men says, when pressed.

10/31: In a riveting 6-hour interview, the Zombie President, Millard Fillmore, details the coming zompocalypse. “The nourishment of your brains is palatable.”

11/12: Vice President Vladimir Putin reassures nervous officials that reports of gunfire in and around Washington are simply “the lies of mainstream medias.”

11/23: Chester the Turkey, scheduled to be pardoned, is instead executed with a 9mm bullet behind the ear. The remaining meat is served to the heads of every major government department with a note sources describe as “ominous.”

12/25: President Putin, in his first Christmas address, announces that future Christmases will be celebrated on January 7. “On plus column,” he says, “this means you get two Christmas this year.”

12/31: Disney announces its 2017 financials, indicating that the studio has made 10.7 billion dollars at the box office.

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Dear Sir or Madam,

We are pleased to inform you that your skills and pedantry in spelling, grammar, usage, and diction have led to your selection as a student in Roget’s School of Wordcraft and Spelling. You will find a list of neccessary books and equipment below.

Period begins on September 1st. Please indicate your acceptance no later than July 31, in writing.

Yours sincerely,
J. Interrobang Guillemet IV
Order of Mirriam-Webster, First Class
Grand Scriblerian
Solidus, Oxford Association of Punctuation
Head, American Vowel Association

One (1) set, period attire.
Five (5) boxes, 12ga. No. 2 commas.
One (1) box, Obelus’s Signature Punctuation Mix.
One (1) box, Fleuron Brand General Typography Symbols.
McGuffey’s Eclectic Primer (1st ed.) by William Holmes McGuffey.
American Dictionary of the English Language (1828 ed.) by Noah Webster.
Roget’s Thesaurus (1st ed.) by Peter Mark Roget.
The Elements of Style (Harcourt ed., 1920) by William Strunk, Jr.
The Oxford English Dictionary (1928 ed.) edited by James Murray, Henry Bradley, et al.

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-All ENGL 101 classes scheduled for 5PM have been rescheduled to 5AM due to a computer error. It cannot be reversed, so the new time will stand.

-A typo in Blackboard now means that classes scheduled in Bourke Hall will now take place in Burke Hall. As Burke Hall was demolished to make way for South Parking Lot C in 2009, this may require rain gear depending on the weather.

-Road construction continues on Campus Loop. Due to the fiscal year ending June 30, no construction was possible over the summer and the entire loop will be closed until Summer 2017. Please plan accordingly.

-Franchising issues have led the Chik-Fil-A corporate headquarters to withdraw its license. Starting in September, the student union fowlery will become a Lucky Dragon 777 Chicken, the first such franchise outside Guangzhou province.

-Conference issues have forced the university to reschedule its opening game. The season opener against the Northwestern Community College Dandelions will now be played against the East Alabama Sledgehammers. The Dandelions will play last year’s nation champions Arkansas A&M for their season opener.

-The Office of the Chancellor is pleased to announce that 17 new vice chancellors have been added to the university administration, including the Vice Chancellor for Vending Machine Affairs, the Vice Chancellor for Tailgating Issues, the Vice Chancellor for Alaskan Native Student Affairs, and the Vice Chancellor for Active Shooters (not to be confused with the Vice Chancellor for Trigger Warnings).

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Every day around Valentine’s Day, there is a massive backlash against the so-called “Hallmark Holiday.” That’s all well and good if all you want to do is piss and moan, but if you really want to put paid to Valentine’s Day, what you need is an alternative. That way, people who like Valentine’s Day can celebrate Valentine’s Day, and people who don’t will have an outlet for their towering rage.

May I suggest Valerian’s Day?

No one is quite sure at what time in the year 260AD the Roman emperor Valerian I’s army was annihilated by the Persians at the Battle of Edessa. So if we were to say that it happened to be on February 14, who’s to say otherwise? And what better antidote to the lovey-dovey, for those who wish for one, than blood and murder and death?

On Valerian’s Day, the Persians defeated Valerian I in battle, but that wasn’t the end of it. No, the emperor was forced to serve as a human footstool to the Persian king whenever the latter mounted his horse. When he had the audacity to propose buying his freedom with a random of treasure, the Persians had him killed by pouring molten gold down his gullet. Then, not satisfied, they skinned his body and stuffed the skin with straw and manure. It was only after a later Roman campaign ended in victory that the Persians consented to part with their taxidermy so the emperor could be cremated and buried.

The best part? Emperor Valerian I, along with his successors Gallienus, Valerian II, and Claudius II (it was a rough time for Rome in terms of reign length) were major instigators of the persecution that saw St. Valentine himself martyred in 269AD. That’s right: in addition to getting himself humiliated and killed with a brutality reminiscent of Mortal Kombat, Valerian I basically killed St. Valentine.

So, if you are one of those anti-Valentine grouches, a candy heart curmudgeon, or simply sick of the sickly-sweet…Valerian’s Day has you covered. Go forth and celebrate utter defeat, humiliation, rder, brutality, persecution, and killing St. Valentine. Exchange cards that look like they were made from the living skin of a 60-year-old man. Chug Goldschl├Ąger. Stuff yourself silly. Smell like manure. Persecute and oppress those who differ with you. And, most importantly, do it with the simpering and wheedling affect of someone who feels denied what they were entitled and greivously mistreated.

That’s the true spirit of Valerian’s Day, my friends.

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“Ready?” the warden removed a key from his neck. The head guard did the same, and they both inserted them into their respective locks. “Turn on three.”

At the warden’s count, the locks clicked open and the cell began to peel apart. Sections withdrew into the ceiling and floor, revealing the stasis tube holding the prisoner. Brayden Ellis Cunningham, age 16, looking just as dangerous as he had the day he’d been brought in.

“Doesn’t look that dangerous,” said Agent Tenga. “Just like any other snot-nosed kid.”

The warden and chief guard jammed their keys into a second set of locks and turned, beginning the stasis flush procedure amid klaxons. “That ‘snot-nosed kid’ caused 4 billion dollars’ worth of damage,” said the warden with a sneer. “He killed 27 people. Be careful.”

The stasis liquid drained from the tube, leaving Brayden Ellis Cunningham awake but groggy. The chief guard handed Agent Tenga a microphone. “Here, you can talk to him on this. No physical contact.”

Agent Tenga picked up the mic. “Mr. Cunningham?” he said. “Braydon Ellis Cunningham? This is Agent Tenga of the RIAA. We need your help.”

“Ah,” said Braydon. “First you lock me up for pirating Misty Chalmers’ new album, the entire fall lineup of NBS, and every movie released on Webfilmz since 2013. Then you ask for my help? Laughable.”

“You drove two dozen network executives to suicide,” said Agent Tenga. “But we’re willing to overlook that in exchange for your cooperation.”

“Cooperation with what?” said Brayden. “It’d better be good.”

“Someone has pirated the Oscar telecast,” said Agent Tenga, lowering his head. “It’s been leaking out at the rate of one minute per day.”

“That’s it?” Brayden cried. “Who cares? There’s another Oscars in a month anyway!”

“No, you don’t understand.” Tenga put a hand over his mouth and bit his finger for a moment before continuing. “Someone pirated this year’s Oscars. They haven’t even been filmed yet!”

“Oh. Oh, now that is interesting,” said Brayden.

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“I’ll be blunt, sir. Starting in 1952, we began placing the brains of specially trained cats into homo sapiens bodies tank-grown for that purpose.”

“Why would we ever do such a thing?”

“We needed agents who could be trained but were also capable of independent thought and deviousness and utter amorality. Experiments with natural-born humans ended badly since they were incapable of being trained, and dogs trained well but could not be taught amorality and were incapable of improvisation.”

“Hm. That’s not exactly what I had in mind when you said ‘classified’ but so be it. Why is this an issue? Was the program a success?”

“A smashing success, sir. Some of our best agents came from project Catmatter, though they all invariably went rogue.”

“Then what’s the problem?”

“Well, one of our former agents is the current premier of Russia. And we just elected another President of the United States.”

“My God.”

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Relatively few written works from the 20th century survive, thanks to their preparation on cheap pulp paper bound with cheaper acidic glue into a crude codex. Those that survive are highly prized as sources of ancient knowledge and windows into daily life before both the Deluge and the Picotech Revolution. Most are quite mundane–texts on chemistry, myths collected by the latter-day Ovid known as James Patterson, books on how to achieve a body shape that would appease the goddess known as Jennycraig, and so on. But one book has remained a puzzle to scholars ever since it appeared in a rare book dealer’s catalog in 3077 A.C.E.

The Gygaxian Manuscript.

A few things can be intuited from the thick volume. It was not originally one work, being rather 5-10 shorter books that were bound together at a later date, with their original front and end matter town out. This probably accounts for their preservation, as the resulting binding was high-quality, acid-free, and bore no title or title page. The author is identified in the damaged first pages, added in the rebinding process, as Gary of Gygax. This adds to the mystery, as no such nation or principality existed during the 1970-1980 D.C.E. date established by carbon dating. Soem have argued for an origin in Galicia or Greece, but the manuscript is written entirely in Middle Modern English, seemingly discounting this.

Far more puzzling are the contents, which explain the flora, fauna, and proscriptions for life and (especially) war in a world that bears only a tangential resemblance to our own. Fantastic creatures, some of which appear in earlier works but many of which are wholly unknown, are described in fantastic detail. Their strengths, weaknesses, and how many axe blows they take to kill are described in such detail that Gary of Gygax must surely have had some real-life analog to draw from. Yet no fossil evidence or contemporary accounts support this.

More puzzling still is the manual of arms, which seems to reduce martial combat to pure mathematics, a feat which even modern kinetics cannot manage. Many have toiled to find the constant that Gary of Gygax includes in his calculations, d, but none have succeeded thus far. Though many have claimed to solve some of the equations like d12+10 or 2d6, none have yet stood up to careful scrutiny.

Nevertheless, even with its mysteries unresolved, the Gygaxian Manuscript continues to excite curiosity, admiration, and horror among scholars of ancient papers.

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