Some really uptight people have recently claimed the age of satire is over, which is another way of saying people are too stupid to distinguish between truth and parody.
It’s an interesting opinion, one The Forecaster takes seriously.
But not too seriously.
So, with an appropriate anthem and an accompanying lyric, The Forecaster presents its third annual Year in Review, the stories that had us shaking our heads and laughing out loud.
It begins with the requisite disclaimer: This is framed on real events, but the people and quotes are pure fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, or the truth, is purely coincidental.
Headline: Portland council vows to maintain bitter status quo
Anthem: “All You Do is Talk” – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
The scoop: Against a national backdrop of unity, Portland city councilors penned a resolution protecting the legislative body’s petulant behavior.
“The circus is in town, baby!” proclaimed Doug Superintense, a fiery Democrat. “And it’s here forever! Wooooo!!”
The resolution creates a standing subcommittee to safeguard partisan feuds and inane actions during deliberations, including looks of disgust, raspberries, middle fingers and serial self-righteousness.
The latter has been commonplace, particularly during discussions regarding the Maine State Pier, which pitted council Green Independents against Democrats. After a hopeful national election, some councilors worried the mere appearance of detente would result in a timely decision that actually benefits Portland residents.
“Screw reconciliation and screw progress,” said Councilor Keith Lookame-Luvme, a Green. “This is politics. This is about us.”
Democrats are particularly punchy after retaking the majority in the 2008 election by sacking Mayor Ethan Eccentrovic. Although Eccentrovic was a Democrat, he became party pariah when he voted with Greens to hire The Olympia Cos. to develop the Maine State Pier.
“Not only will the Dems eat their young, they’ll eat their crazy,” remarked Lookame-Luvme.
The council ended negotiations with Olympia after the firm said it would finance the $100 million project by leveraging mortgage-backed securities and mint condition Matchbox cars.
Donna Dovehawk ousted Eccentrovic after a bitter campaign, during which she denied distributing propaganda claiming Eccentrovic “palled around” with Vladimir Putin and did body shots with the Russian Prime Minister.
“(Dovehawk) may look like the stereotypical Prius-driving moonbat,” said Carrie Lonliman, the council’s lone Republican. “But that woman is a pit-bull with Burt’s Bees lipstick.”
Lonliman’s comments proved prescient when Dovehawk later threatened council Greens with a “drown-n-pound,” a popular mixed-martial arts maneuver, in a press release sent five times to every local reporter and editor.
Enters 2009 to: “Help yourself don’t think. Help yourself don’t speak. Help yourself don’t say a thing at all.”
Headline: Virus hits Brunswick, officials blame BNAS closure
Anthem: “Idioteque” – Radiohead
The scoop: A mysterious virus has infected large segments of Brunswick, turning previously inattentive residents into raving lunatics.
Authorities reported wild-eyed citizens staggering around Maine Street and assaulting passersby. Each incident is remarkably similar, with the infected often grabbing a complete stranger, pointing to the sky and yelling, “They’re leaving! Nobody told us they were leaving!”
Officials at the Centers for Disease Control believe such comments refer to the diminished presence of P-3 Orion warplanes, a staple in Brunswick skies since the 1960s. The P-3s are leaving as Brunswick Naval Air Station approaches its 2011 closure.
BNAS closure and its effects have been reported, discussed and debated since 2005, but officials believe Mid-Coast residents haven’t truly considered it until recently.
“What you have here is indifference morphing into psychosis,” said one CDC scientist. “It’s fairly common.”
The CDC is attempting to inoculate the population by administering a drug called Phacts (side effects include sangfroid and pragmatism).
Meanwhile, the search for those responsible continues. So far, accusations are split evenly between the laissez faire and Calvinists, who are accused of using the crisis to enact self-benefiting development plans.
“You have one side publicly calling this Hurricane Katrina while secretly buying FEMA trailers,” said one resident. “The other side’s only solution is to make sure everyone in Brunswick is composting. When you don’t believe either of them it’s pretty easy to just say, ‘Screw it, let’s get KFC and watch ‘American Idol.’ ”
In a related story, the Brunswick Town Council has scheduled its 15th meeting this year regarding a controversial Walgreens store. Some councilors say the project will help Brunswick cope with BNAS closure.
“Some folks scoff at a few retail jobs,” said one councilor. “But they fail to recognize that Walgreens is essentially a convenience store with drive-thru prescription drug service. Nothing says comfort quite like 2-liter bottles of Pepsi, Cheetoes and a fistful of Zoloft.”
Enters 2009 to: “We’re not scaremongering. This is really happening.”
Headline: Falmouth to SAD 51: ‘Eeew’
Anthem: “Better Than You” – Metallica
The scoop: Following voter rejection of a school district consolidation plan with School Administrative District 51, Falmouth is now proposing to construct a 50-foot-high fence along its northern border to prevent further incursions from Cumberland and North Yarmouth.
“I know some nice people in Cumberland,” said Geoff von Especiale VIII after listing off his credentials and degrees. “In fact, I have a friend from Cumberland. But Falmouth must stop this siege of outsiders or face dilution of its superiority.”
Falmouth officials say the fence is like the U.S.-Mexico barrier. The proposal has gained momentum ever since Falmouth was forced to consider district consolidation with SAD 51.
The plan would’ve led to a sharing of administration and not, as some Falmouth residents worried, the integration of students.
Falmouth residents rejected the plan in a November referendum. Cumberland and North Yarmouth supported it.
“Of course Cumberland wanted it, who wouldn’t?” said von Especiale. “But if you let them share administration soon they’ll be sharing bus service. If that happens which students will ride in front?”
Asked why Falmouth wasn’t building a fence along its border with Portland, von Especiale said Forest City residents already “knew the rules”: No crossings after sunset.
“Besides,” Especiale added, “we need an open border with Portland to get to work.”
Not all Falmouth residents support the fence.
“Build a 50-foot fence and they’ll build a 55-foot ladder,” said Martha Saucy Pierce-Hathaway-Edgewood. “And what will we do when we play Greely in soccer, issue temporary recreation visas?”
Enters 2009 to: “Better than you, yeah. Ha-ha, better than you.”
Headline: Racino developers guarantee peace, love, eternal life
Anthem: “Promises, Promises” – Naked Eyes
The scoop: Developers of a Scarborough racino have adopted a unique technique to convince voters that it’s in their best interest to support the gambling facility: promise everything.
Literature mailed to residents showed magnificent architectural renderings of community buildings, new schools and a so-called Fountain of Youth.
The fountain drawing depicted elderly people lining up like zombies to drink from its magical waters. Those who did decreased in age. Some did back flips. Others were pop-locking.
“All of this is possible if you vote ‘yes’,” the pamphlet reads. “Vote ‘no’ and your schools will crumble, farms will go to seed and your elderly will be home safely with the grandkids rather than hanging from slot machine levers and clutching plastic cups full of betting tokens.”
While such enticing prose clearly targets an older demographic, racino financiers, dubbed Bettinonsuckas, are also trying to woo property tax hawks. Another flier shows town officials reaching for the wallets of unsuspecting residents, only to be dragged away and beaten by racino pit bosses.
“Tired of skyrocketing property taxes?” the flier asks. “Vote ‘yes’ and we’ll be your Robin Hood. Steal from the poor to help the rich, that’s our reading of the fable.”
Enters 2009 to: “All of your promises you knew you’d never keep. Promises, promises. Why do I believe?”
Headline: Gas prices fall, drivers resume old habits
Anthem: “Jerry Was a Race Car Driver” – Primus
The scoop: After a summer of record high gas prices that prompted many motorists to slow down and increase efficiency, most are happily reverting to previous driving habits.
For most that means driving like jerks.
Most experts agree there are jerks behind the wheel everywhere, including, notably, those transparent jerks who run the red light on Falmouth’s Bucknam Road while pretending to be unaware of their malfeasance.
However, the highest concentration of jerks appears to be on Interstate 295 where, apparently, driving like a jerk is an unwritten rule of the road.
“I’ve seen it happen a thousand times,” said Sgt. Dan Lookaway, a Maine state trooper. “A driver can putt around town, watch for pedestrians and cyclists and be very conscientious. But something happens as soon as they hit that on-ramp. It’s like David Banner turning into the Hulk, except they’re turning into complete jerks.”
Lookaway reported increased instances of excessive speeding and profane gestures. Many public safety officials said the behavior ebbed during months of record-high gas prices, when drivers had a financial incentive to act like decent human beings.
“I used to watch my speed because it saved me money,” said one jerk, who provided only his first name, Jackass. “Now that the price has dropped thinking about the consequences of my actions gives me a headache. It’s easier to be a jerk.”
The return to jerk driving is disappointing to fuel conservation advocates who had hoped high gas prices would force motorists to finally realize that the best way to keep prices down was to dial back consumption.
“I hate to say this,” said conservationist Greg Wizznwind, “but the resurgence of jerk driving shows that many people had merely suppressed their inner-jerk. Ironically, these same jerks will be the first ones whining when gas goes back to four bucks a gallon.”
Enters 2009 to: “Jerry was a race car driver. And he drove so (bleep) fast. He never did win no checkered flag. But he never did come in last.”