Sunday, April 23, 2017

Alternative Origins: Unicorns



Interestingly enough, we were contacted at the Unbelieva-base by a blessing of unicorns* Thursday.

Yep ... you read that right: Unicorns.

"Hello?" I answered when I saw them coming up to the false laundromat entry that fools our enemies into thinking "Hey, this isn't The Unbelievables' headquarters ..."

"Yeah ... we need a word with you guys. You busy?"

"I'm not" I told them "but the other guys aren't around. Can I help you?"

I let them in and we congregated in one of the Unbelieva-base's parlor rooms. 

"We wouldn't normally contact anyone. About anything. We're pretty secretive you understand. But this thing with Starbucks ... their new Unicorn Frappuccino ... it's pissing us off ..."

"I can't say I blame you," I confessed. "For the most part, it's getting a bad wrap. I know I wouldn't want to be associated with it ... and there it is, boom, with your name all over it."

"Check this out." One of the bigger unicorns showed me a video from his mobile phone (which perplexed me to no end):


I winced. "Ouch. And that came from a kid, no less. If you can't get the rugrats on board ... Still, I've seen a bunch of reviews about that nightmare of a concoction and none of them have been positive."

"Exactly the point," the creature said. "This kind of publicity reflects directly back to us. It could change not only the way we're perceived but also our legendary status! We're not frothy! We don't have sprinkles! We hate frappuccinos! And we certainly don't change tastes! If this keeps up our entire origin could be tainted by those yahoos at Starbucks! They didn't get permission to use our name, nothing! We're doomed ... !!!"

"Now, guys ... look," I began explaining. "This is a passing fad from those jokesters. They're only out to make a quick buck. By next month no one will even remember you're name was attached to this so-called beverage. You know it's only a five day promotion, right? That's a blink of an eye time frame. And there aren't a lot of people on board with it, anyway. That kid in the video? Probably the best promotion you can get, despite the fact it's negative. Why? Because your place in fantasy and dreams is secure. You've been around a lot longer than some monkey business promotional drink ... and with an impeccable record I might add. You're the stuff of wonder. You're regal and magical and coveted in literature. That calorie-laden sugar bomb of a drink isn't going to taint your name or history in the least. It's a joke - you are NOT. Nothing to worry about. Trust me."

"We're not so sure. It's just ... with all these "alternative facts" we've been hearing about of late we thought our good name might get people thinking this could be an alternative origin no one knew about us. We have an image to maintain, after all ... and this drink, it's a nightmare."

"Listen to me: You. Have. Nothing. To. Worry. About. These things balance out. You'll see ..."

"How? How can you be certain they'll balance out?"

"Well ... if what I've told you up to this point hasn't convinced you, here. Check this out. I think you'll be please with the yin and yang of it":




*Yes ... a group of unicorns is known as "a blessing" ...

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Alternative Origins: Fire Trucks

One of those oddities that occur from time to time, that's what it is. One of those things for which the original reason is lost in the mists of time. One of those things that just makes you sit and scratch your noggin for answers whence none have so far been dispatched. What am I talking about? Fire trucks. Why oh why oh why are fire engines red? 



When I tell you the answer you'll slap your palm onto your forehead and say "duh!" probably.

Firstly, though, let me tell you what answer you'll get if you ask a fireman:

"Well, they're not all red. Some are lime yellow because it shows up better at night."


Sassy answer if ever there was. Especially considering limes are green. Some are green anyway, but it's more of a Hunter Green.


 Still, doesn't explain why the red ones are red, does it?

There are many theories.


  • Red can be seen from a long way away.
  • In the early days, red was the cheapest paint available (not sure I believe that actually, but another version of the story says it was chosen because it was more expensive and therefore more important)
  • Back when all cars on the road were black, red stood out more (yes, but they've been red since before there were cars)
  • It's been red so long it's a tradition.
  • Oh, and the old joke answer -- They have eight wheels and four men. 8 + 4 = 12. 12 inches make a ruler.One of the greatest rulers was Queen Elizabeth I, who ruled over the Seven Seas. In the seas are fish. Fish have fins, the Finns fought the Russians and the Russian flag is (was) red. Ha ha ha.
  • Etc., etc.







I have my own personal theory (and don't worry, I'm not going to somehow try and prove that we somehow had a hand in the decision - I mean, that would be redonkulous!). No, my theory is very simple.


Red has always meant danger. In primitive cave paintings, enormous bison-like critters are shaded red.



 Red is used to represent hell and the Devil. 


Red tells you to stop at a stop sign or a traffic light.



 Red says, the idiot in front of you is jamming on his brakes, so stop now.



 Red also means fiery, hot, heat.


 So a fire engine needs to be red to draw people's attention to the fact that there's a fire somewhere and they're going to try putting it out. Nothing more complex than that. Straightforward. No messing. Simple, really.

Except, I just got an email from the Volunteer Fire Dept. of Bicep, IN with an accompanying photo of them proudly displaying their...pink trucks!?! 


The email reads "Explain this away! Ya can't, can ya?"

Ah, forget it.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Alternative origins: The American Revolutionary War, Independence Day and Mount Rushmore

With yesterday being Easter, if you were on any of your social media platforms instead of going to church and/or hiding/finding stray eggs, you may have come across this meme:
"Easter was originally the celebration of Ishtar, the Assyrian and Babylonian goddess of fertility and sex. Her symbols (like the egg and bunny) were and still are fertility and sex symbols (or did you actually think eggs and bunnies had anything to do with the resurrection?) After Constantine decided to Christianize the Empire, Easter was changed to represent Jesus. But at its roots, Easter (which is how you pronounce Ishtar) is all about celebrating fertility and sex."
Because if there's anything people love more than posting memes about how you should believe one thing, it's posting memes about those other memes being a bunch of nonsense. It would appear that in terms of this particular meme, the people behind it aren't as factually accurate as they'd like to believe.

The point of bringing this up isn't to take a side but rather to illustrate that alternative origins, be they true or false, do exist. And often, their very existence causes confusion and maybe even hard feelings. With that in mind, we're going to offer up some alternative origin stories for the sake of giving you something to think about, if not challenge your firmly held beliefs.

THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
Independence Day (July 4) is the next big whopper of a holiday celebrated in America (no offense, Cinco De Mayo enthusiasts and people who live elsewhere), so I'm going to cover this one.

WHAT YOU PROBABLY THINK YOU KNOW...
The American Revolution, also called the United States War of Independence or American Revolutionary War, (1775–83), was an insurrection by which 13 of Great Britain's North American colonies won political independence and went on to form the United States of America.

So what does that have to do with fireworks displays and grilled meat? Well, here's...
THE ALTERNATIVE ORIGIN
One day in 1775, George Washington was complaining about the high taxes on tea and said, "We could probably do a better job of running this place as our own country and not as some kind of remote branch office." Paul Revere said, "That's a good idea. I'll ride my horse over to England and see if they're cool with it." When he got back later that day, he said, "They're totally down. They're getting tired of trying to manage a property so far away so they were happy to hear about it. We can be our own country!" Washington couldn't believe it was that easy. "I can't believe it! It was that easy?", he asked and Revere said, "Yep! They already filed the paperwork and everything." Washington said, "Huh. I was kinda expecting some pushback. We didn't even run this by the citizens, some of whom may not think it's a great idea." Thomas Jefferson, who was there too, said "Then let's tell them we're having a war about it and that England is trying to push us around without representation." Washington replied, "Oh gosh, I don't want to fight a war with England. I have people who still live there." Jefferson said, "No, not an actual war with muskets and cannon balls and stuff. We'll just tell the people we're having one. It's not like they'd know. We don't even have newspapers yet!" That's when Ben Franklin, who was also there, said, "I think it would be a good idea if we had some newspapers, though. I'm going to start that." Jefferson said, "For the sake of what we're trying to do here, I kinda wish you wouldn't." Franklin said, "Oh, don't worry. I'll skew the coverage of 'the war' so it makes us look good... but just this once!" Jefferson said, "I appreciate that, Benjamin" and Franklin replied, "I got you, fam." Washington said, "Great! It's settled! You guys come over to my place on Saturday. I have some illegal fireworks from Korea (don't even ask how I got them! HA HA!) that we can set off and tell everybody it's bombs bursting in air and whatnot." Jefferson said, "I'll bring some burgers and dogs to throw on the grill. We can bring the slaves and kids and make a day of it!" Paul Revere said, "You mean, wives and kids?" and Jefferson replied, "Sure, whatever."


And that's why those four guys are on Mount Rushmore


My esteemed colleagues will present other alternative origins later this week!


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Top Easter Tips

What with it being Easter weekend right now, and the theme of the week being Top Tips, I thought I'd offer a few suggestions on how to improve your Easter, if I may make so bold. Here we go:

  • Just for fun, run into your local supermarket five minutes before they close on Saturday, grab a member of staff by the arm and say crazily, "Wait, do you guys sell Easter Eggs!?!"
  • Tip your hat to Jesus by deactivating your Facebook account on Good Friday and re-activating it on Monday.
  • On Easter Monday, bring the season to a jolly close by starting to bitch loudly everywhere you go about there being "Christmas decorations already in the shops" and the fact that "they start earlier and earlier every year, I swear".
  • Invite 12 family members over for Easter dinner, and while seated at the table, accuse one of them of betraying you, then go lock yourself in your bedroom for three days. Talk about authenticism!
  • Why bother going to those expensive egg hunts with your kids - save money by taking them to Poundland where the eggs are clearly displayed and easy to find.

  • Convince your friends and family that you are a time traveller by letting off a firecracker in your closet before emerging dressed as Pontius Pilate.


"Look, mate, I don't care who you are - I just don't like hippies."

Use as many or as few of these as you like in order to have a fun and enjoyable Easter.Ciao!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Tip Top Tips


It's always a good idea to do things the right way. Because the opposite of that is doing things the wrong way and that is a bad idea, which should be self-evident by the presence of negative words.

You should always approach every task you undertake with the pre-conceived notion that you're going to do it correctly, getting the maximum possible good results from doing it because otherwise, frankly, what's the point?

With that in mind, I'm here today with some Top Tips for you in a couple of different areas...

MARKETING
A lot of jerks work in marketing. So a lot of other jerks think, "I'll bet I could work in marketing!". And they're right! If they follow this advice...

  • Draw from real life - Most people you're trying to reach have real lives. They want to be spoken to in those terms. And they love a "ripped from the headlines" approach to advertising because it's real life!
  • Celebrate diversity - Don't narrow your focus to one basic demographic. Try to appeal to as many different kinds of people as possible.

Not so great
Not too shabby!
  • Try to get a Kardashian as your spokesperson/focal point - Everybody loves them!



CUSTOMER SERVICE

Not every one of your customers is going to be satisfied with the services you provide. Dealing with them can be tricky.
  • Get the right tools for the job - Human or otherwise
There's no such thing as too much body armor.
  • Treat the customer with respect, no matter what - Use dignity and compassion. Be complimentary.
"Oh my, somebody's been doing crunches! You look terrific, sir"
  • Beware of social media practitioners - Believe it or not, some people these days have the ability to capture photos and even video footage with their phones, and then immediately upload that to The Internet!
Potential troublemaker



CROCKPOTS
Preparing meals in a slow cooker is super-easy and convenient.
  • Use a liner - It makes clean-up a breeze!
It really does!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Time Once Again For Top Tips!





Yes ... it's been a while. Too long of a while as a matter of fact. And that's why it's time for another edition of ...


Unbelievable
Top Tips!


Look: In today's turbulent times, sometimes action needs to be taken. Of course, discerning common sense rules overall. But there are those instances when immediate action takes presidence over seeing a wrong and frowning at it and actually acting upon it. Here are a few examples:

You're in a restaurant sitting next to someone who's talking loudly on their mobile phone. First, kindly ask them to cut the call short, that they're being rude and disruptive to the other patrons in the establishment, not the least of which is you. Use words like "please" and "thank you" to ease tensions. If that doesn't do the trick, simply extricate the phone from their ear and drop it into that glass of lemon water directly in front of them. More often than not this action will get their attention.


This rarely, if ever, fails ...

That customer behind you who doesn't know the meaning of personal space? This one's easy. Simply start taking baby steps backward until they get the message. Or flail your arms about with exaggerated flair as you speak. They'll catch the clue, believe me.


This works wonderfully when you're on an escalator going up.

There's always that one joker behind you in the drive thru line who feels the need to honk when you're snaking through your local fast food joint for a quick snack and two extra feet of space appears ahead of you. Who is this clown, a member of the Extra Space Patrol Brigade? To annoy him/her further, a good trick is to shut off your car engine, take the keys out of the ignition and exit the car. Sit on the grass beside your car and watch them throw a hissy fit. Better: Park yourself on a nearby bench, cross your legs and get comfortable while they hit the roof. Who doesn't like a grand show, after all?


Remember: You're in front of them. You command the control ...

Of course, these are simple solutions to situations of the minor annoyance variety. For bigger problems drastic measures need be taken.

That's when a convenient glass window comes in handy. Don't be afraid to toss the offending party right on through that pane of see-through justice. (Hint: Don't second guess yourself. All you need to do is access a situation and use common sense. If someone's being an asshole, take decisive action. They deserve it.)


Boom. Problem solved.

And don't worry - they'll be fine once they regain consciousness.

Want more Unbelievable Top Tips? Clark and Jeff are coming up later in the week. Stay tuned!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Blob blah blah

"It didn't take long before Clark came up with something that took the spin out of the situation's sails and put everything in perspective ..."

"Let's squish him", I said.

Jeff and Michael just looked at me. Eventually, one of them said "what?" and the other one said "huh?" I don't remember which said what. Or huh.

"Let's squish him! Let's run up from behind, leap into the air and land on him with all the force of our combined weight and flatten him right down to the floor. If he really is Mr. Blobby, it won't hurt him, on account of him being made of blob material", I explained patiently.
"And if he isn't Mr. Blobby?", Jeff queried. "What then?"
I shrugged my shoulders. "I don't know. It could be cool."
"'It could be cool'?!?", Michael repeated incredulously. "That's your answer? How does that solve this case?"
I replied, "I'll be honest, I'm not sure what the case is at this point. We talked about RudeMan last week, and then we went to Qaqortoq, Greenland and we couldn't find him (although I did meet two nice girls there)
Aaruna and Batse. They're sisters!
so Charlie Sheen and Mr. Rogers got in a fight, with Charlie Sheen being in only slightly better health by virtue of not being declared legally dead yet and graffiti and mooning and now Mr. Blobby, I have kind of a short attention span and I'm already more than a day late with my chapter in the story so I thought maybe we could just wrap up the whole thing with a random act of violence and move on to something else on Monday, spending the remainder of the weekend doing Qaraoke in Qaqortoq with Aaruna and Batse."

Jeff and Michael looked at each other, frustrated with me and my lack of worthwhile contribution. That's when I said, "they have four more sisters, you know."
(L to R) Føbe, Gudrun, Ingka and Kaanaq with Aaruna and Batse (or is that Ingka, then Kaanaq...?)
Finally Michael announced, "I got dibs on all Journey songs!" and off we went.

So... The End?... I guess?

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Is There Really A Blob On The Landscape?





You remember The Rather Sad Case Of Mr. Blobby, right?

In many ways it was one of The Unbelievables' most disturbing cases. Disturbing because it showcased the unfortunate mental breakdown of a character in the wrong place at the wrong time. It wasn't Mr. Blobby's fault he was inundated with some of the commentary surrounding him. "A metaphor for a nation gone soft in the head." "Proof of Britain's deep-seated attraction to trash." And these are some of the nicer critiques of the character. 

Put two and two together and you can see where this is leading: Original Mr. Blobby creator Charlie Adams.



"But ... he's dead," Jeff noted. And Jeff was absolutely correct. 

"A minor inconvenience," Clark offered. And it was.

We put two and two together once more and << VOILA! >>: Noel Edmonds of BBC's Noel's House Party where Mr. Blobby was first featured ... and as a regular (and annoying) character. He was behind all the shenanigans!



But I reasoned him out of contention: "The thing is, though, Edmonds is up there. He's in his late 60s. Add to that his real estate developments and previous and successful public career and he has no reason to perform any monkey business of the sort we're looking into, let alone with or as Mr. Blobby ..." The guys were in agreement.

And that's when the lightbulbs lit over all our heads: Previous Mr. Blobby protrayer Barry Killerby. We had our RudeMan!

Culprit?

"Wait ... him? He's RudeMan ... !!!???!?? But why ... ??? Or ... is he? And what does that have to do with Charlie Sheen if anything? Or painted graffiti 'member' on a wall with misspellings?!?" These were just some of the thoughts rolling around in our minds as we glanced at each other silently back and forth, thinking the obvious. (When something seems straightforward, we rarely have to speak out loud to make ourselves understood. It's a handy Unbeliev-ability.)

It didn't take long before Clark came up with something that took the spin out of the situation's sails and put everything in perspective ...

Monday, April 3, 2017

A Blob On The Landscape

Our search for RudeMan received a little boost this week after he apparently received our little note. Saturday morning we received a postcard with this picture on the front.



This was enough to make Michael spit out a chunk of Cabot Vermont Cheddar. (He says munching on it makes him feel smart. So there ya go.)


"Pp-p-pp-t-tt-tooey! Charlie Sheen? What th'...?"

"I'm guessing this is in response to Mr. Rogers," said Clark, guessing correctly.  

"Does it say anything on the reverse?" I enquired.

"Oh myyy," said Michael, flipping the card.

WARNING: What follows is probably NSFW, so we've censored it as much as possible without totally obscuring it.


"Wait just a second! Great Scott! Hokey smokes, Bullwinkle!" cried Clark. "I think this may be a clue!"

"Oh yeah, in what way?" I asked.

"Well, you should know, Jeff. It's something that happened in your homeland. I read about it on the wire last week!"

"Yeah?"

"This lady had graffiti spray painted on her outside wall that did not look too dissimilar to this one. Only in her case, there was a message accompanying it.

"What was the message?" Michael and I said.

"Wait, I'll pull it up on the screen. Ah, here it is."

Here's the link for you folks. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/vandals-spray-obscene-graffiti-womans-10135867

"Y'know, the phrase 'big black cook' may not be a misspelling. It's entirely possible it may be in code!"

We immediately set to with various methods of codebreaking, and after 15 minutes Michael figured out that it was an anagram of "GO KICK A BLOB,C?"

Could it be...



Surely not?