I’m beginning to regret asking Donald Trump to be our games’s Dungeon Master   

In my defense, on paper it seemed like it would be a good fit. A dungeon master is a leadership role and who has more leadership experience than a former leader of the free world? I know that they are very different positions, but Donald assured me that he would be great at it. He actually said that “nobody knew more about the mechanics of Dungeons and Dragons than him” and that if he were to lead our campaign it “would likely have the highest ratings of any campaign in the history of campaigns”. I started to explain to him that this was just a simple game amongst friends and not a televised event, but this seemed to fall on deaf ears. I was still a bit skeptical, but since I was a bit tired of the status quo of our recent games, I decided to shake things up a bit and offered him the job. We shook hands on it (rather forcibly on his end) and agreed to have the first game in a week.

Typically a dungeon master would prepare a basic storyline for the players to navigate prior to the first meeting, but it quickly became clear that we weren’t dealing with a typical dungeon master.  One week after that handshake we all met in one of our player’s basement (which Donald promptly called “a shithole”) for our first session. We gathered around a table, dice and character sheets in hand, and excitedly looked at former President Trump to begin the campaign. It was at this point that he started ranting about Rosie O’Donnell for quite some time. I think we all gave him the benefit of the doubt at first; maybe this was just a long set up to the story that he had prepared. Perhaps learning that she is a “nasty, nasty woman” was simply to unite the party against this story’s villain. Knowing that Rosie O’Donnell “looks very much like a pig” was possibly foreshadowing her being a druid at some point later in the campaign? Jeff, one of our players who had been furiously taking notes during the whole rant, asked what Rosie O’Donnell’s hit points were, to which Trump replied that “she had no hit points and she never will because she’s a loser”. This is when we started to suspect that maybe Donald had in fact not prepared a campaign. I brought this concern up to Donald only to be rebuffed with him claiming that “he had a big campaign planned…maybe the biggest honestly” and that “we weren’t going to believe how big and planned this campaign was”. 

Our second game did not go much better, but at least he did have some basic narratives for the players to follow. The party had just made our way to the basement of the Mar-a-Lago, but rather than battling our way through, we were coerced into spending all of our gold and platinum pieces to get there. It was here that we were at last faced with our first fight with a monster (which evidently did end up being Rosie O’Donnell after all). Eager to finally use our spells and weapons, the party joyfully prepared for battle. Normally the Dungeon master is in charge of the characters that the party interacts with: monsters, townspeople, etc and not an actual member of the party themselves. That’s why it was to our surprise that at this point Donald had his own character, Donald Trump, enter the battle and proceeded to fight Rosie O’Donnell himself. Hoping to get in on the action, our party’s sorcerer, Dorudim Glowbeard of Fortaare, attempted to cast fireball at Rosie only to be told by our dungeon master that it wasn’t his turn because Donald Trump had “the best initiative bonus, the biggest initiative bonus we had ever seen”. Donald then rolled a 7 on his attack roll against Rosie, but insisted that it was a natural 20 critical hit, claiming that the dice used were “fake dice”. Of course since, as he mentioned before, Rosie O’Donnell had no hit points, our first monster was defeated by Donald’s attack before our battle even began. To Donald’s credit as an immersive dungeon master, this quick defeat was accompanied by a multitude of sound effects from him. Afterwards our sorcerer voiced his disappointment in not getting to be a part of the battle, but Trump simply mocked him and proceeded to refer to him as “Dopey Dorudim” for the rest of the game. 

Our third game is tonight and I’m a bit nervous about what to expect. I had a long talk with Donald yesterday regarding the players’ concerns about how the campaign is going so far. At first he was very defensive, saying that “all the players actually loved him and his campaign and that he could probably have a TPK (total party kill), and they would still come back the next week”. I pleaded with him to please give the party something else to do this game besides paying to stay at his properties, at which point Donald’s attitude totally changed. He folded his arms in a weird stubby fashion and told me to expect “fire and fury like we had never seen” next round. Before I could respond, he walked away from me and began doodling on a piece of paper in which I assumed was supposed to look like him working on the next game. 

In speaking with the rest of the party, we all assume that we will indeed probably be killed off this game, but honestly no-one seems too upset by this. We all agree that we are ready to be done with Donald’s campaign, but that it at least gave us all something to talk about the last few weeks.

I’ve been communicating with another Dungeon Master about taking over our game when this one is over. He seems a bit boring to be honest, but the consensus seems to be that boring would be much better than the games we’ve been playing so far. I’ve definitely learned my lesson in asking a former gameshow host to be our dungeon master and, going forward, here’s hoping that Joe can put together a reasonable and decent campaign for us.

Alex Laskey – 1.8.2022

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Nog Hog 2020!

It’s that time of year again and the annual tradition of Nog Hog continues! Cozy up to the fire, gather your loved ones near and pour yourself a glass (or 12) of your favorite eggy beverage as you commiserate with like minded nog aficionados Kevin and Emily!

Kevin White, Emily Galati, Ryan Doris, Sam Norton, Mary Mack, Tim Harmston – 12.24.2020

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Make Money as a Neurosurgeon: The New Side Hustle

Neuro

These days, many of you are worrying about how to make ends meet (or at least how to make ends wave to one another from a safe social distance). Maybe you’ve been “furloughed” or “laid off” or “fired and charged with harassment.” Whatever the reason, the bills must be paid, amirite? That’s where the side hustle comes in!

A scan of websites listing these types of job opportunities turns up the usual suspects (Doordash, Instacart, Instadash, Doorcart) along with a smattering of other ideas: wanna snap pix of your receipts to earn gift cards? How about signing up for virtual jury duty? Make $ by selling your old childhood stuff (siblings don’t count)? It’s all possible, but let’s face it: we’re talking chump change for the most part.

But here’s the terrific side hustle they don’t want you to know about—you can really rake in the moolah, work on your own schedule, and ANYONE with a basic knowledge of the human brain and a good sharp knife can do it! Yep, talking about neurosurgery! Those platform wedges you’re trying to unload on eBay will go out of fashion someday soon, but restoring a patient’s cognitive function—well, that’s always in style!

You may be asking: how do I get started? Fair question, and one we often hear. Begin by dressing for success! That face mask you’ve been wearing to go to Piggly Wiggly for Doritos? Neurosurgeons have been rocking that look for ages! Add scrubs and one of those shower cap looking thingys, and you’ll be on your way into the OR.

Next: learn the lingo. Look, we all know it’s just a mess of slimy gunk inside those heads, but that’s NOT how you refer to gray matter if you want to make it in this field. So, begin sprinkling terms like: “cerebellum,” “ganglia”, and “tumors the size of grapefruit” into your convos and soon folks will be asking where you went to med school.

And speaking of credentials, just make some up! “Graduated Magna cum Laude Lou from Southeast Western University’s Doolittle School of Medicine” sounds great, doesn’t it? No need to mention that you only have two classes at Podunk Hills Community College under your belt. And even if word “leaks out” (sorry, a little neurosurgery humor!) about your lack of an M.D., it doesn’t really matter. As anyone who attended an inferior, no-name school will often tell you—NO one cares about your Harvard degree once you’re out in the world. And those who do are just elitist snobs—who needs ‘em?

Almost set to go! Go ahead and list yourself on FindMyPhysician.com. Make sure to add that you are affiliated with some kind of hospital (General, animal, etc.) While you’re waiting to be called in to work, make sure you spend that time practicing! Almost any household item can be sliced and diced, from tennis balls to iceberg lettuce. As your skills improve, you can move on to cutting up sponges and lengths of tubing. Don’t forget the squirt bottle of ketchup for a little realism!

Ready? Sure you are! Now get out there, save some lives and make some serious bank!

Elise Seyfried – 5.26.2020

 

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Pine Water’s Police Chief Updates His Crime Policy

small town

Folks, you’ve known me for years. Detective Tough Shit. Sergeant Nails. Officer Iron Will. Humphrey. I’m a fan of the law. And I never want to see its gentle heart broken. I’ve made it known, throughout my career, that I consider crime to be the most heinous of all of man’s follies. 

“We’re tough on crime!”

“Report it, don’t support it!”

“No crime too small!”

And now, on the eve of my 30th year as the head of police here in our fertile little hamlet of Pine Water, I have to say, boy, maybe I’ve been coming on a bit too strong.

For nearly three decades, I’ve followed up on every lead, responded to every complaint, scuffed every collar, and honestly, I’m beginning to feel that not all of it has been positively received. 

Children involuntarily shudder when they see our boys in blue making rounds. Families spend more time visiting the clink than getting milkshakes and pralines. Sexually aggressive graffiti has been permanently inscribed onto the revolving doors of our station. 

There was once a time when families would invite their local officers into their home for a drink or a meal. But now, those invites seem so much more forced than they used to, a lovely halibut dinner made so needlessly tense by frigid silverware and stifled coughs. 

Many of you will recall that I also have a reputation of pushing for longer prison sentences. I believed that it provided strong incentive to abide by the law, that kindly mistress, but I’ve been told that these extended sentences are “pointlessly cruel” and “look bad on resumes.” 

I visited our cells for the first time in many moons the other day and they were surprisingly overcrowded, with nary a bright expression in sight. The prison pastimes of yore that we all remember so well have also been absent, the arts and crafts activities cancelled when the Maple River Meth boys burned holes into all of the plastic spoons.

Many released inmates have had trouble readjusting to civilian life, mentioning that modern technology is hostile and confusing. I’ve been told that the cordless phone is an especially unwelcome addition to the household, although we have noticed a distinct drop in suicides by rotary. 

In any matter, it paints an unsavory and restrictive picture of our system, with the town’s recidivism rate recently climbing past 100, a near-record high of the past fifteen months. 

So today, as Chief of Police, I make a promise that we will sometimes look the other way. That some crimes really might be a bit too small. That if you get three strikes, maybe that’s not that many and calling you out is a bit harsh, so maybe we’re playing with t-ball rules and you should really get back up there and keep on swinging, slugger.  

And to the glorious citizens of this great water hollow, I implore you thusly: You can, you know, like, cool down, just a bit. Let Jedidiah get away with a few stolen threads of candied yeast. Calm down when your neighbor makes some rolling stops by the Yuca farm. It’ll do all of us some good.  

And I can already hear some of the voices of dissent that will crop up, telling me the horror stories of how much worse our community has gotten.

“I was mugged on my way home!”

“I was left for dead by the E Street Band!”

“My niece’s fiance is now black AND gay!”

I hear you, I truly do. As the head of our great department and our resident expert on law, that coy little minx, I guarantee that I will never let its leash out my grasp. But somedays, maybe it’ll be good if it goes for a walk. Or two.

 

Aditya Mayya – 3.6.2020

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Reclusive Billionaire Genius Living In Crime-Ridden City Stays Home Again

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DARTHAM CITY, METROPOLIS – After a string of strong-arm robberies, alleyway muggings, and family-owned grocery stores getting trashed by thugs all brandishing the same suspicious hoodie with red bull horns on top, local billionaire and reclusive genius Wayne Kent has decided to stay home again. “I’m not going out there. Did you see the news? No way, man. My house has iron gates, and I have booze” declared Kent from his study with an excessive fireplace. “You know my parents died out there, right? My butler was like ‘Mr. Kent, the city needs a hero like you – only you can tame the Bull’, but I have a lot of 90 Day Fiance to catch up on, so I’m in for tonight. And tell them to turn off that stupid spotlight.” At press time, a the heinous visage of a bull with the phrase “Toro is Chaos” has been spray painted all over mailboxes and buildings across Dartham, and the clock atop city hall has suddenly begun a looming countdown to midnight, while Mr. Kent reportedly considered taking a bath.

 

Jack Ritchey – 1.14.2020

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Hamilton, Linda (Video)

Parody and homage to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s masterpiece, Alexander Hamilton. Honoring the actress Linda F**king Hamilton and the Terminator Saga.

Lyrics are original everything else is used without permission in the effort of making and silly parody song. Please just enjoy.

Lyrics written and performed by Jack Ritchey. Edited by Ryan Doris. 11.10.2019

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Proof of Aliens Found in Michigan Garden

Alien Grapes

A Michigan couple got a surprise last week when the woman went out to harvest the fruits of their garden. There was a lot of local excitement about it, so a reporter went to get a first-hand story.

“So what exactly happened on that day?”

“I couldn’t believe it. I was scared to death. I was like, ‘Harold! Harold! Get yer ass out here! Hurry!’

“Well, Harold came scramblin’, wonderin’ what all the fuss was about. He thought I came across a big ol’ snake, but it weren’t no snake, was it Harold?”

“Snake? Hell no, it weren’t no snake! You see this here? It’s a damn alien tomato. You see the two eyes, and a baby mouth, and how its head is bigger at the top? That’s a damn alien tomato, yessiree Bob. If ever I saw one, which I never have, but still, just look at that!”

“Do you mind if I get a picture of you two with the tomato?”

“Oh, hell no! No, no, no!” Wanda became quite upset at the suggestion.

“Ya see, Wanda here is superstitious. She made me pluck the tomato from the vine, and she hasn’t even touched it at all. She made me throw the whole plant away, and it had some nice maters on it, too. She thinks she’ll get them there alien germs on her and maybe transform into an alien, herself. She won’t come within ten feet of it.”

“I see. What about if we put it in that colander of grapes over there on the garden table, so folks can see how big it is?”

“That’s a right good idea. I’ll just set it right here. How’s that?”

“Perfect!” Click.

“Well, I guess I got the whole story now, so I better get going to the next one.”

The reporter reached out to shake Harold’s hand, and Harold pulled him back, hard. Harold stuck his snake-like tongue in the reporter’s ear, and it came out the other side. “Mmmm — brains. So good.”

Cheryl Ireland – 10.29.2019

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To All the Kitchen Appliances I’ve Loved Before

Kitchen Appliances

It’s time to stop flirting and settle down

Ahh, love is in air. You’ve always wanted to make your own snow cones and now you can. With the zeal of an infatuated teenager, you open the box of the ruby red snow cone maker. It works as advertised. You put ice cubes in and shaved ice comes out. You try the blue raspberry syrup. Then some green apple. You are excited about this new small appliance relationship. Snow cones every day!

But it is only a one-night stand.

Two years later you wonder why you can’t fit your Instant Pot into the cupboard and you realize that unused snow cone maker is wedged on its side, its power cord tangled with the unused Cake Pop machine you gave your spouse six years ago.

The serial dating of gimmicky kitchen appliances has become an epidemic in your life. It was love at first sight when you saw that air fryer — all the pleasure of deep-fried foods without the oil — you were going to be soulmates. But alas, after that first batch of tater tots, love waned. Swipe left.

The list goes on and on. The electric can opener, the banana hook, the fondue pot, the steamer, the quesadilla maker. Every free nook in your kitchen is a dreadful reminder of your lack of commitment. We can still be friends. I’ll call you sometime. Just hang out taking space in my pantry until then.

The list of your kitchen escapades resembles Lou Bega’s Mambo №5. There was Wanda the Waffle maker. She was different than the others. She would make you a hot breakfast in minutes. Loved those carbs. But a few pounds later you dumped her for Brenda the Blender, as you needed to get fit again. Just put ice, fruit, almond milk, maybe some chia seeds, and your life would be full of unprocessed passion. Those first few weeks with Brenda were bliss. So smooth, so many combinations, so much possibility. You don’t remember why that ended. Maybe it was Julia the Juicer that took your attention? Or was it Carla the Cappuccino Machine? She was hot, steaming hot.

Then there were those rebellious times where you just gave up and gave in to temptation. That one machine that made those pocket sandwiches. Those were dark days. You may as well have just microwaved a frozen Hot Pocket. And that chocolate fountain — the one you bought for that wedding reception you hosted. You try to forget that late night, dipping anything edible you could find into that molten chocolate bath. You finally stopped when you almost broke your tooth biting into your chocolate-covered smartphone. Talk about losing all control. You hit rock-bottom in the livid lasciviousness of small kitchen appliance hanky-panky.

The world of small kitchen appliances is a complicated one. It isn’t until you let go of the flirtatious gadgets around you, that you realize it is the long-lasting relationships that matter most — the large appliances. The large appliances are the ones you literally built your kitchen around; your gizmo-cluttered counters surround them for a reason.

You should appreciate the dark, tall and stainless refrigerator. It is there for you every day. Acknowledge the stalwart stove and its glass top range that is so easy to clean. Remember the dutiful dishwasher who patiently cleans up all the mess you create. And even the microwave who fills in for you more than you care to admit. Your love for them is everlasting; your interaction is daily. At least until they stop working and you buy new ones.

Stop and appreciate your major appliances. Clean up your cupboards. Free your counter. It is time for a candid kitchen catharsis. Have a yard sale if you need to. And while you are at it, throw away your old Tupperware.

So next time you plan to run off with that homemade ice cream maker, remember you can just buy some Haagen-Dazs. You will save time and a few cubic feet of cupboard space. And your faithful freezer, in the words of Richard Marx, will be right here waiting for you.

 

Jon Fischer – 10.24.2019

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Seven Things That Will Get You Hella Noticed at the Yule Ball

yule-ball

Parvati Scamander here, current editor in chief of the Gryffindor Gazette. As the leading Hogwarts tastemaker and Muggle slang-word connoisseur, I am “hella” qualified to dole out advice on how to turn heads at the fanciest fête of the year. That’s right witches, this weekend the Yule Ball will be hosted right here at Hogwarts! Make the most of this monumentally magical event by following my tips below…

1. It’s all about the accessories. Pair a trendy bag with your ensemble (I recommend a darling sequin clutch by Vera Vilhouse, Gilderoy Lockhart’s former personal stylist).

2. Everything old is new again, so raid your great-great-grandmum’s wardrobe for vintage dress robes. I don’t endorse the French, but I must say — très sorceress chic!

3.The night before the ball, I suggest using a “BIY” (brew-it-yourself) foot repair potion. Just use 200 ml of Merpeople tears, a teaspoon of porcupine dust, six globs of lobberworm mucus and a splash of eggnog from the Great Hall. Soak feet for 15 minutes and rinse with warm water. This’ll tame even the nastiest of Hippogriff hooves & allow you to strut your stuff with pride!

4. Hire a group of centaurs to help you make your grand entrance! Pro tip: enchant a few lyres to play “Warlock’s Lady” to REALLY ensure you get noticed upon arrival.

5. My sources interning at the Daily Prophet have exclusively revealed that the paper will be sending a photographer to cover the evening’s festivities. Casting a harmless “confundus” charm on surrounding witches and wizards will ensure that YOU are the best looking witch in the house!

6. Dance the night away in custom-made heels from “Zapatos by Zelda,” located on Charning Street in Hogsmeade. When making her bespoke creations, Zelda adds a special dancing charm to each pair of shoes. You’ll move and groove with confidence, with nary a stubbed toe in sight.

7. I spent some time with my Muggle cousin Jessie in California over summer holiday and she told me that after a thing called “prom,” all the students get together for a party after their big class party. I highly suggest holding an “after-party” of your own! Just make sure old man Filch doesn’t rain on your parade.

There you have it, boggarts and ghouls. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be blowing off my Transfiguration study group (sorry Luna & Remus!) to prep for the big night.

Parvati Scamander is a fifth-year Gryffindor student at Hogwarts. When she isn’t conducting interviews or reviewing research for her next article, she can be found cheering for her house’s Quidditch team or rehearsing with Professor Flitwick’s Frog Choir. She aspires to one day work as a writer for the Daily Prophet.

 

Corinne Fitamant – 10.22.2019

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We Would Have Birthed Our Children at Costco… *If they offered labor and delivery as an option

Costco

I admit my family has a serious problem. We seem to spend a lot of our money at Costco. Like all of it.

Based on the behemoth size of the Costco parking lot, I don’t think we are alone in our dilemma. Let’s face it, many suffer from the same affliction. Let’s just say we’d probably live inside Costco if they had on-site housing.

I paid for my membership and I intend to use it. I get exclusive deals for everything I need, want, may need, may want or may never need or want. All under one giant roof.

You think I’m kidding? I’m not. Here is a typical week for us:

Monday
Bad weekend. Need to eat healthier. Going in to get a bag of apples. I leave with a cart full of bulk size produce packs of mandarin oranges, strawberries, bananas, carrots, apples, not to mention the asparagus and salad kits — and a new $300 Vitamix blender. This place is great. We are going to eat healthy.

Tuesday
I get a text from my spouse. We need bread. I need to get gas on the way home anyway, I’ll just stop at Costco and kill two birds with one stone. Speaking of dead birds, I decide to pick up one of those hot rotisserie chickens for five bucks. I’ll be a dinner hero…hot, juicy, chicken and what a deal! I should get the ribs too. Just in case that one chicken isn’t enough. And potato salad. Almost escaped when I notice a new Dyson vacuum that really sucks. $400 later I get home with dinner. Oh, crap, I forgot the bread.

Wednesday
Okay, just getting the bread and nothing else. Focus, focus, focus. They have an instant rebate on laundry detergent, $12 off and limit two. Better buy a couple since this deal may not come back again. I think we need some dryer sheets. And cheese balls. And protein bars. A few other things. It was only $175 this time, not even half as much as yesterday. I hate how they always have to check my receipt when I walk out like I’m going to steal something. I grin and bear it. But I guess that keeps theft down and prices low.

Thursday
I forgot that I was supposed to bring home dinner. Ooh…we’ve spent so much this week, I know the perfect thing to help. I’ll get the famous $1.50 Hot Dog and Soda at Costco. In and out. As I walk in, I smell the faint rubber smell of tires…oh yeah, I forgot my treads are dangerously low. Tire sale is on. Got an tire appointment for tomorrow and escaped with nothing more than a Costco Travel brochure and dinner for $6.00. Victory!

Friday
Tire appointment. So glad I got this deal in time. Only cost $600 instead of $800. They’re practically giving the fourth tire away! And I got a new laptop while I was waiting for the tire installation. The tire savings alone paid for a fifth of it. Unfortunately, I got home to find out my spouse just bought a Disney vacation through Costco Travel. I should have never left that brochure on the kitchen counter last night. Oh well, at least we saved a grand on the vacation package for next month.

Saturday
We are out of money and nothing at home sounds good. Wait, I can take the whole family to Costco and we can have samples for lunch! After a ten-mile hike from the closest parking spot we hit the jackpot. A quarter of a blueberry muffin. A cube of cheese. Three chips and a dollop of mango salsa. A spoonful of microwaved lentils. A piece of an energy bar. And a sample of flavored sparkling water to wash it all down.

Sunday
We didn’t go to Costco — as long as you don’t count Costco.com. They had a great deal on patio furniture. Can’t wait until it arrives.

Costco is an evil place ingeniously designed to entice even those with the strongest of wills with “value” goods and wares until they finally succumb to spending all they have.

A month later…
I’m finishing cleaning up the kitchen before we head off to Disneyworld. In the cupboard I find a mound of moldy mandarins. And in the fridge, rotten asparagus and a mostly full container of potato salad. And a full loaf of bread covered in white and blue fuzz — I forgot to freeze that second loaf again. Oh well, we’ll deal with that after vacation.

“Okay, Kirkland, you and your sister hurry and get in the car. We’ve got to leave to the airport or we’ll be late for our flight to Orlando.”

 

Jon Fischer – 10.17.2019

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