Seven Things That Will Get You Hella Noticed at the 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


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:

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

We didn’t go to Costco — as long as you don’t count 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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Writing Tips from the Rest of the Iceberg


As a cold, isolated chunk of ice, I don’t want to sink you as so many other icebergs do in a screaming catastrophe; I want to keep you buoyant. As the rest of the iceberg below the tip, I support the tip by keeping it afloat. If you stop reading this, life will continue to suck and sink from this moment forward.


Do you want to be the most amazing writer ever? The only way you can do that is if you keep reading this clickbait. How do I know that? Because I’m writing with such confidence, and you’re crippled with so much doubt, you’re willing to desperately spend five minutes changing your life.

What makes me an authority on writing? I know how to use Medium, WordPress, and other content management systems to make it look all official and shit. Plus, these are my writing tips, nobody else has done this before and I’m the most insightful writer who’s ever written. I also put the word my in front of writing tips to make them specifically special. They’re my writing tips because I am me and I said so.


If you want to be a writer, you’re going to have to dig deep. Procrastination is key. Slouch deep, deep down into your recliner. Deep enough so you have to dig your butt out of the cushion when the procrastination phase is complete. Thus, digging deep. Proceed.


As if your tippy toes were the tip, and the bottom of the iceberg is your head drowning in a sea of ice-cold beer sorrow. The more sophisticated writer drinks scotch or brandy, but we’re writing on the internet so whatever you can get your hands on. Malt Liquor? That works.


If you think you can fake your way through the writing world, think again. Then think some more because you can obviously use all the thinking you can get. I’m gonna ramble on and on about reading and writing so I can fill up space and I don’t have to spend time thinking up an additional tip. Not obsessively reading and writing is like an athlete who doesn’t want to exercise. If that’s who you want to be, then go take up bowling, darts, foosball, or create a meme. All of them pair well with drinking. And, now I’ve typed enough to pass this off as another tip. You’re welcome.


The word ‘it’ is a broad term, but the key is don’t do other things, do it. Playing video games is another thing and not it. Writing is it, plain and simple. This is another great opportunity for me to write some more filler. You’re going to read this because you don’t want to miss out on any key writing tips. There’s a straw lying on the back of your success or failure, so don’t break that camel’s back because you can’t afford to fight animal rights groups in court.


Don’t just ramble on pointlessly with lame jokes. Say something but put it in the written word because it would just be vocalized if audibly spoken from your mouth. You can’t say what you want and call it writing, you have to physically type/write it out to call yourself a writer. There’s an app for that? Good enough. Go ahead and be lazy then. Great, this looks like a sufficient paragraph for when you manically scrolled up and down beforehand for answers instead of reading this.


Make sure you’re hyper-focused on devoting every single second practicing writing about a myriad of subjects. See how I used that word? Only with practice can you pull words like myriad out of your head and type it. Each time you practice you stretch finger muscles and increase the level of complexity to ultimately impress readers. But these words are my myriad of words.

The Titanic didn’t sink without all that practice. It had to hit that iceberg again and again until it learned to sink into the ocean properly so everyone could grasp at failure straws. Say you have never tried writing erotic fiction. Just say you haven’t. You can start by writing about yourself, and when you’re done with that, you can try writing about something way more interesting. Something with a myriad of orgasms and lovelier genitals.


Oh, yeah, and don’t fuck up. You can fuck, but don’t fuck up like a fuckup. If you’re willing to stay sober, the sky’s the limit (unlike an ocean), but good luck with that because you’re a writer. A writer is officially a tortured soul stranded on an iceberg grasping at straws that will break a camel’s back.


Adam Steininger – 10.15.2019

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Safe Words That Have Failed Me

1. Ow. I said “Ow.” Ow ow ow ow!!

2. Uh, that’s new…wait……ohhh sweet Jesus!! Nnnnnoooooooooo!!

3. What is that thing? Oh my god noooooo!

4. Supercallifragilaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!

5. Off limits!! Off limits!!

6. Your mother likes this. No, really. Owwwwwwwwwwww!!

7. That doesn’t fit. Listen — no no no — aarrgghhhhhhh

8. Da gag [hack!] id chogging be [hack!].

9. Is that blood? My blood????

10. Ohhh…feeling faint…wubba…bleh…..Call 9–1………


John DiCocco – 10.10.2019

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Seeking advice. My roommate might be a serial killer.


Last November, I found out that my roommate had been hiding a body inside the freezer we keep in the garage. I know, it’s already September, but the circumstances were dire back then. They still are. My first thought was to call the police, but my roommate hadn’t paid his share of the rent just yet. It wasn’t due until the 30th, and you know how difficult it’s to find people who pay on time. He always does. I decided to wait for a few days. Also, that very day, he surprised me with season tickets for the LA Opera, and well… Madame Butterfly. Tosca. The Flying Dutchman. At the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion… Have you ever been to the Dorothy Chandler? Oh, dear God, it’s a wonder of midcentury architecture, with its white terrazzo floors and those massive golden chandeliers in the lobby. You cannot say no to that, can you? I wouldn’t call myself a true opera enthusiast, I slept through most of The Flying Dutchman, but as a young, white homosexual growing up in godforsaken Kentucky, I often dreamed of attending a performance. Our appreciation of the beaux-arts is what distinguishes us from the bullies… Anyway, Madame Butterfly was superb, thank you, but last night I found another body. This time I’m evicting my roommate, no doubt about that, right after La Cenerentola.

I know, this time I shouldn’t wait, but, again, growing up gay in a red state, watching Disney Princess movies, and getting hand-me-downs from my better-off cousins from Nashville, all I could dream of is to achieve social progress through marriage, and, what do you know? The Italian version of Cinderella might have the answers. After the performance, I’ll be ready to call the police, yes sir, all I need is to come up with the money to pay for my roommate’s share of the rent first. That might prove to be a tad difficult, however, because I lost my job on Friday. Not my fault! Yes, I drank at work, to forget that I’m living with a murderer, but never more than one bottle, and yes, I didn’t have a sale in over three months, but I’ve been through so much stress — I cannot sleep! A cocktail of Tylenol PM and Lunesta doesn’t seem enough to keep me in the land of Nod for more than a few hours. A few times I’ve woken up screaming, which isn’t good, because then my roommate rushes into my bedroom asking “what’s going on, what’s the problem?” and while it may be comforting to have a strong man run to your room every time you have a nightmare, it is not so when the man in question is also the cause of your night terrors…

I guess my real question is this: Should I betray my meal ticket? I mean, yes, my roommate kills, and, yes, he’s not too careful about the way he packs the bodies. They now have these grayish-brown freezer burn marks; every time I open that damn freezer to get the Eggos, I squirm in horror. However, he’s kind. He has threatened to, but he has never beaten me. Except for that one time but it was totally my fault. And after he found out I lost my job, he offered to pay my rent and cover this months’ expenses. He paid for getting the kitchen repainted, and he offered to cover the cost of sanding the floors too. Yes, I am fully aware that I could be his next victim, but let’s be honest: looking for work is just so depressing. How could I concentrate, with two bodies hidden in my garage?

I am so stressed I can’t even enjoy wasting time on the Internet… Oh, my. Jarek’s a rather big fella… That must be a foot long. And look at those round peaches… Anyway, I don’t want this to sound racist, because it isn’t, but to think of all those black and Latino people on welfare and me in the most complete wretchedness. The government should send me a check to compensate me for all my suffering. I had a rough childhood! Discriminated. Persecuted. Forced to leave my paternal home and move to Southern California to escape a reactionary life on a hyper-caloric diet, and once here, never discovered! I shouldn’t have to work. I’m too meek. Too sensible. And too pretty. I’m like a Jane Austen heroine, raised by loving parents, with a handsome countenance, a kind heart, and good, old-fashioned manners, but in every respect unable to provide for myself or actually willing to… Oy, Matteo has a half-off sale. Would it be too extravagant to purchase new sheets, considering the circumstances?

Carlos Allende – 10.9.2019

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‘All Aboard!’ Screamed At Six Amtrak Passengers


KIRKWOOD, MO – During the Friday afternoon “rush” at Kirkwood’s Union Station Hut, sources confirmed Friday that “all aboard!” was violently screamed at the only six Amtrak passengers boarding the train. “There was a conductor pacing up and down the platform like a basketball coach, and yelling into our faces like it was the last day on earth. And yet we were all standing within four feet of each other. How many people are required to constitute ‘all’, anyway?” inquired ticket-holder Mike Enrich, noting that he ended up being the only person in his car, except for the conductor who entered and demanded to see tickets from nobody. “I was surprised when they told people not to stand in the aisles while waiting for a seat in the dinner car. They must really think people still use trains. I was only taking the Amtrak to downtown because my car broke and I’m avoiding the Metrolink.” At a news conference this afternoon with only two attendees, Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson urged the members of the press to quiet down, and that this was far too much media attention than they could handle.

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List: Tucker Carlson Describes Other Hoaxes


“‘White supremacy. That’s the problem.’ This is a hoax! Just like the Russia hoax. It’s a conspiracy theory used to divide the country and keep a hold on power. That’s exactly what’s going on!” – Tucker Carlson, Fox News

  • Dinosaurs – “Yeah right, like there’s a lot of big lizards? ‘Lot’s of big scary lizards that I see every day. They’re delivering mail, and they’re eating at the grocery store!’ Look, I don’t need some nerd science-tist to tell me what’s up. God invented the earth 6,000 years ago. Was Jesus a dinosaur? You tell me!”

  • Vaccinations – “Oh please, nobody actually gets vaccinated. No, I’m not one of these ‘conspiracy theorists’ who says ‘oh they’re bad for you, they cause autism, duh-duh-duh’. No. They don’t even exist. People just go to the doctor, sit in a room quietly with their kids for 40 seconds, then they eat lollipops. And if you don’t believe me, then why are there lollipops?”

  • The Moon Landing – (While interviewing Buzz Aldrin) “So you’re one of these ‘astro-people’? You’re a rocket ship man? Uh huh. You actually walked on the night ball? Right. Let me ask you, is it cheddar cheese or Gouda? Hahaha, sure. Thank you for coming on the show.”

  • JFK – “Hold on one second. Let me ask you this, if a president – a president – gets shot at from a book depository? And he gets shot in the head and he dies in front of thousands of people in the middle of the day on one of the busiest streets in America?! Well then, what does that tell you about books.”

  • If You Make A Face It Will Stay That Way – *blank stare into camera*

  • The Balloon Boy – “And I mean this kid and his poor parents went through a nightmare! He’s 80 feet up in the sky in a home-made balloon, and the left just laughs. He could have fallen to his death… I don’t know. I just think about how tragic this was. Thank God he was safe in his garage the whole time…”

  • Dogs – “Dogs are just barky cats!”

  • Cats – “Cats are just sassy dogs!”

  • Global Warming – “Our top story tonight, the loony left is at it again. This time they want to go around to all the farms in America and install giant wind turbines? That act like fan motors to make the earth go… faster? I don’t know. When it’s this nice outside, I don’t want us traveling faster around the sun. Plus they cause cancer. Moving on…”

  • Loch Ness Monster – “Here we go again with the giant lizards! Terrorizing a small lake side village in Scotland no less. Those poor, white, people. I say we Loch Ness Up! Loch Ness Up! Loch Ness Up!”

  • The Holocaust – “Look, I know the holocaust happened. Ok? There’s no question that millions of people died in one of the worst episodes of human history, a dark spot on the shared soul of our species. It was an unspeakable tragedy and just gut wrenching to think about the horrors those people endured. But the thing that was so terrifying, and so scary to me, was that so many of those people lived their lives in black and white.”

  • Crop Circles – “I don’t deny crop circles, ok? I know a lot of people are surprised by this, but I agree, those circles exist. But you know who made them? That’s right. Illegal aliens.”

Jack Ritchey & Ryan Doris – 8.12.2019

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If You Want A Diet Coke, Just Have A Diet Coke! Who Cares If You Get Cancer?


You’re unique. You’re a freaking unicorn rockstar! Maybe you’re a “wears flip-flops in the winter” type of girl. Or maybe you’re a “dances while people are looking” guy. Hah, I know I am. That’s why, if you want a Diet Coke, you should just have a Diet Coke! Who cares if you get a little cancer with it, that’s just the kind of person you are, bae!

Mmm, that is good. And it’s woke! And with all that aspartame turning your insides into a fuming discolored bio-hazard, you are free to live your life how you wanna live, no matter how short it will be! Maybe you wanna go swing on a jungle gym while you still have the strength? Maybe you want to travel to Rio before your bedridden! Either way, however you do you, do you! Before cancer does you!

Plus, medical science has come really, really far lately, am I right millennial? They’ve probably cured cancer by now, as far as you know or care. Besides, you’re 18 to 24 and you live in America, so you’re invincible. Obamacare? What’s that!? In fact, go climb up on that statue in your floppy hat and sundress, take a cute ‘gram with your BFF, and slap a goofy filter on it! Look at you! That will make a perfect “before” picture!

And did I mention we have delicious new flavors? Because Diet Coke by itself is basically just poison, we decided to dress it up a little for you. Like we do with rats. Mmm, goes down just like all the medicine will!

  • Ginger Lime – This refreshing combo of crisp lime with a hint of savory ginger is sure to make your tastebuds scream with delight, before your actual mouth screams with pain from the surgeries. Fun fact, old timey navy guys used to eat limes on board ships! That won’t help you though.

  • Twisted Mango – Woah, dude! How did they twist a mango?? Haha, just kidding fellow facebook user. Twisted mango is really just mango with ‘twisted’ slapped on front. However, “twisted” will accurately describe your stomach in a few years. Just like a dog! Tasty A F!

  • Zesty Blood Orange – Get used to the sight of blood early, only with ‘zest’!

  • Feisty Cherry – Tie a knot out of the stem on this crispy treat. There’s nothing artificial about this flavor, except all the artificial flavors! After you wash down the combination of tangy cherry and chemicals you’ll be sure to say “that was both refreshing and created in a laboratory!”

So don’t listen to what all those haters or doctors say, you just go and do you. Because you are the only you there is, until there isn’t anymore!

Diet Coke. Who cares if you get cancer? Just drink it!

Jack Ritchey – 8.8.2019

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Angry Mobs For Rent – By Hans Kracauer

Crowds on Demand, a Beverly Hills firm that’s an outspoken player in the business of hiring protesters, boasts on its website that it provides its clients with “protests, rallies, flash-mobs, paparazzi events and  inventive PR stunts  … We provide everything including the people, the materials and even the ideas.”

Los Angeles Times – October 21, 2018

A lavishly appointed office.  A huge overhead banner reads: “ANGRY MOBS FOR RENT”.  A smartly dressed executive is seated at a desk. He is the company recruiter.  A sloppily turned out guy in a T-shirt and jeans sits across from him.  He is a job seeker.

RECRUITER –  Welcome to “ANGRY MOBS FOR RENT”.  As head of Human Resources, I welcome your interest in joining our company.

JOB SEEKER – Sure, sure.   But first I have a question.  Can you let me know what the working hours are?  I find I don’t get angry after dinner.

RECRUITER –  Sorry – in this business you have to be ready to get angry around the clock.  If we wind up working together, let me  make a suggestion.  Don’t have dinner.  Or have your dinner at lunch.

JOB SEEKER – Just how angry do I have to get?

RECRUITER – It depends on what — or who — you’re angry about. Your supervisor will let you know.  Generally, companies will require a higher level of anger than politicians running for office. Of course, the highest level of anger is reserved for proposed legislation. The very thought of it should make you look like a crazed dog ready to rip someone’s face off.   Now let’s get down to your qualifications.  May I see your resume?


RECRUITER – Why not?

JOB SEEKER –  It would be nothing but a list of jails I’ve been in.  I doubt any of those jails would give me a recommendation.

RECRUITER –  Excellent.  The last thing we would want in our employees is a distinguished employment history.  Now what’s your marital status?

JOB SEEKER – I’m a bigamist.

RECRUITER – What?  You have two wives?

JOB SEEKER – Three.   I was about to marry a fourth when I discovered she was a bigamist too.  Had to call off the wedding. (sternly) I won’t tolerate dishonesty in a woman.

RECRUITER –  Let’s continue.   Where did you go to school?

JOB SEEKER –  I have a degree from Harvard.

RECRUITER – Really?  I never would have suspected you studied at Harvard.

JOB SEEKER – Who said I studied  at Harvard?  I just went to Harvard.

RECRUITER –  You were sight-seeing?

JOB SEEKER –  Just looking for a way to kill the afternoon.  Anyway, it happened to be Graduation Day. So I mugged an honors grad and stole his degree.

RECRUITER – You stole the degree of an honors grad?  Hey, I understand.  You needed validation.  It was just your strategy of satisfying your thirst for knowledge.

JOB SEEKER – You hit the nail on the head. Anyway I deleted his name and substituted my name.  Then I framed that degree and it’s hanging on my wall today.

RECRUITER –  Wow!  I think congratulations are in order.  You boosted your self-image while at the same time demonstrating a keen whimsical taste in interior decoration.

JOB SEEKER –  Fraud is a gift that keeps on giving.

RECRUITER – Now we come to the last part of this interview.  Do you have any problem screaming, spitting  or waving a placard?

JOB SEEKER – You kidding?   Those are some of my favorite things.

RECRUITER  –  Are you at all picky about who – or what — you’re ranting against?

JOB SEEKER – Absolutely not.  I never feel more alive than when I’m ranting at the top of my lungs. The cause?  Who cares!  There’s nothing healthier than giving your lungs a good workout.

RECRUITER – (shaking the job seeker’s hand) Thank you very much.  You may go.  My board will review your qualifications and inform you of our decision.


RECRUITER-  (Smiling)  Well done!  You just passed the last test.  The slightest provocation and you fly spectacularly off the handle.  You’re in.  Report here at nine tomorrow morning.


Hans Kracauer – 6.26.2019

Hans is a WGA writer living in Los Angeles.   His screenplay and television web site is:  WWW.MANICMOONBEAMS.COM.


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My Algorithms Can Beat Up Your Algorithms – By Hans Kracauer

Vaak, a Japanese startup, has developed artificial intelligence software that hunts for potential shoplifters.  Algorithms analyze footage from security cameras and alert staff about potential thieves. They look for fidgeting, restlessness and other potentially suspicious body language.

Shoplifting cost the global retail industry billions of dollars in lost sales in 2017. Today, retailers are beginning to invest heavily in this new technology.

Los Angeles Times – March 6, 2019  



INSPECTOR 77 – Can I help you, sir?   

LARRY – I don’t see how.  Ever since I’ve been an adult, I’ve been able to choose what socks to wear all by myself.

INSPECTOR 77 – Really?  Is that why you’ve picked up and thrown down 29 different pairs of socks over the last ten minutes?  

LARRY – What are you?   A super-advanced breed of snoop?    How did you know that?

INSPECTOR 77 – My algorithms told me.

LARRY – Your algorithms?   I don’t know what algorithms are but your algorithms are liars.  I only picked up 26 pairs of socks.

INSPECTOR 77 –  My algorithms always tell the unvarnished truth.  You must have picked up the same socks multiple times.

LARRY – This is ridiculous. Why are my shopping habits any of your business?  

INSPECTOR 77 –  Permit me to introduce myself.  I am Inspector 77. My job is to identify possible shoplifters.

LARRY – You’re kidding! You mean you seriously suspected me of plotting to swipe your precious socks?  (mockingly)  Oh no!  My evil plans have been foiled.    Curses! I’ve been ambushed by a mind-reader from the future!

INSPECTOR 77 – It so happens I’m imbued with A. I. – Artificial Intelligence.

LARRY –  It so happens you’re imbued with C. S. – Congenital Stupidity.

INSPECTOR 77 –  Did you know that shop-lifting costs retailers billions of dollars every year? Well, I’m the new weapon against it.  My artificial intelligence software works with our security cameras and we scan footage of every person in the store.

LARRY – What put me into your cross-hairs?

INSPECTOR 77 – My suspicions were aroused when you picked up and kept stretching every single pair of socks on the display table.

LARRY – It’s called testing the merchandise.   

INSPECTOR 77 –  It’s more like committing assault and battery on the merchandise.

LARRY – What are you going to do with me now?

INSPECTOR 77 – Well, you didn’t steal anything.  But by my calculations you could have been moments away from doing just that.  So you’ll have to join that line.

(Inspector 77 points to his right.  Standing a short distance away is a long line of outraged shoppers.  Each is handcuffed and shackled. The two thugs start to similarly handcuff and shackle Larry.)

LARRY – (Shouting) You deranged piece of scrap metal!   You’re arresting me?  

INSPECTOR 77 –  I’m not arresting you.  I’m detaining you. Along with all those others.  As soon as the police come, they’ll haul the bunch of you to the station. There they’ll question you. If your answers are satisfactory, they’ll release you.  And hand you a brochure on how to behave and not behave when you’re shopping.

(Suddenly a man — obviously in a towering rage — walks up to Inspector 77.  This is Mr. Farnsworth, the president of the department store.)

FARNSWORTH – Inspector 77!  (Pointing to the long line of handcuffed and shackled shoppers.)  Have you taken leave of your senses?  (Going nose to nose with him) Of course I’m assuming you even possess any senses that you can take your leave from!

INSPECTOR 77 –  I’m only doing my job, Mr. Farnsworth. Each shopper there has behaved in a manner I am programmed to recognize as suspicious.  I am only detaining them until the police arrive.

FARNSWORTH –  You digital asshole!  Look in front of you!  You’ve arrested almost half the customers in this department store!

INSPECTOR 77 – Why does everyone use the word “arrest?”  I’m only holding them for questioning.

FARNSWORTH – (Grabbing Inspector 77 and shaking him) Moron!  You’ve deprived all these people of their freedom. Particularly their freedom  to wander up and down the aisles and purchase my merchandise.  Do you know what they’ll do when they’re released? (Almost apoplectic) They’ll sue me! They’ll sue the store! The media will crucify us 24 hours a day!  Lawsuits will fly from coast to coast like there’s no tomorrow. (Shaking Inspector 77’s body again) Nobody will rest until we’re completely out of business.

INSPECTOR 77 (to the two uniformed thugs) – Take him away!

FARNSWORTH – WHAT?   You’re taking me — your employer — into custody?  

INSPECTOR 77 –  Sorry, Mr. Farnsworth.  But my algorithms tell me that your physical behavior exhibits all the signs that require me to forcibly apprehend you.

(Suddenly another robot — twice as tall as Inspector 77 — appears.  He too has a sleek, silvery body with tiny flashing lights all over his body. This is Inspector 78.  He moves directly in front of Inspector 77.)

INSPECTOR 77 – (astonished) Who are you?

INSPECTOR 78 –  I am Inspector 78.  I have bad news for you.  Headquarters has taken note of your deficiencies and developed a better, more advanced model of you.  I am that model.

Inspector 77 – You mean —-

Inspector 78 – That’s right.  You’re now defunct. Headquarters wants you to report back immediately. (To the two thugs)  Go and remove everyone’s handcuffs and shackles. (the two thugs start doing that.)

INSPECTOR 77 –  Then I guess —

INSPECTOR 78 –  Correct. You can’t stop the relentless forward thrust of progress.  Be it a newer version of a car, a computer or a robot. (addressing the entire assemblage)  My company’s apologies to all of you.  If you wish to file a lawsuit … our lawyers will be happy to meet with your lawyers and reach a just compensation.

INSPECTOR 77 (He moves off slightly and starts singing.  The song is from “The Sound Of Music”. Its title?   “ So Long, Farewell”. He accompanies himself by dancing the same steps as the Von Trapp children in the movie.)

So long, Farewell, Aufwiedersehn, Goodbye

(As he dances, he sings the entire song before he turns and disappears.)


Hans Kracauer – 5.13.2019

Hans is a WGA writer living in Los Angeles.   His screenplay and television web site is:  WWW.MANICMOONBEAMS.COM.

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