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Rant #114
(published December 26, 2002)
A Selection of Christmas Headlines
collected by the PMjA Staff


Phnom Penh— Early Christmas morning reports of an alien beast harrowing villagers continue to roll in, according to Cambodian officials. Police reports leaked to the press describe a gigantic fire-breathing metallic land-crab, capable of skewering houses and oxen with its razor-sharp legs.

Teams of investigators confirm that several rural sights, as well as two locations in the capitol city of Phnom Penh, sustained severe damage at some point in the night.

"This is indeed a phenomenal upheavel," one official commented, "the fire, these great gouges in the earth, the heaps of melted dolls and toy trucks— whole villages leveled. But, I hardly need to attribute this to a supernatural beast. During the American War, a single platoon could bring similar destruction to bear without a second thought."

But many villagers, despite the fear of governmental reprisal, are eager to tell a different story.

"What we saw was awful in the extreme," one noted, "It came from the sky, and broke the earth with its steal legs. It howled and groaned terribly, and pelted us with objects from its sack. Upon its head there was a crown, red as the blood that flowed, and its beard was long, for the Destroyer is wisend. And the eyes! Terribly eyes, seeing all, gleaning!"

Experts believe this instance of mass hysteria may be akin to those, caused by ergot poisoning, which most famously struck France in the late 18th Century, sparking the French Revolution, and again in the mid-1950s, accompanied by a slew of reports of werewolves and other fantastical creatures.

Ergot fungus is a parasite of rye and other cereal grains, and is the natural source of the psychedelic drug LSD. Although rye is not a staple of Cambodian cuisine, botanists are beginning to believe that a similar fungal blight, heretofore unknown, may exist, infecting rice.

"What is important now," Cambodian Minister of Health Hong Sunhuot said in an early morning press conference "Is that we put aside specious tales of the Ten Armed Destroyer and alien spacecraft, and focus all of our energies on securing a safe food supply for our people in the highlands and the cities."



Mogadishu— Rural villages in famine beset Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia have suffered further setbacks after a string of unexplained mid-afternoon bombardments.

Eyewitness accounts indicate that, without warning, they came under attack. What were initially taken to be much needed Red Cross food drops became suspect when they failed to deploy parachutes, barreling towards the earth at terminal velocity. In the aftermath, it was found that the projectiles were not aid packages, but rather an assortment of candies and popular toys— including hard-to-find hot holiday items, such as Bey Blades, Micropets, Zip Zaps remote control cars and Harry Potter Lego sets— overwhelmingly rendered inedible and functionless by their impact.

"My uncle we struck with a Playstation2. He shall not be the same. Who will tend the goats now?" one villager lamented.

Others complained bitterly of the leveling of an almost completed hospital, the fouling of wells, and the spooking of stock animals. But, overwhelmingly, villagers were shell shocked by the unprovoked attack.

"Barbi dolls cut through the roof of our hut, like knives hurled by Allah. I am only eight, yet know that suffering is our lot in life. My grandmother received a candy cane through the eye and passed on."

In an early morning press conference, President Bush indicated the strong likelihood of Al-Qaeda involvement in this "dastardly deed."



Kinshasa— The African Union has again condemned fighting in the northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, just one week after the signing of a peace accord.

Acting African Union chairman Amara Essy successfully urged all parties fighting in the South-Kivu and Ituri regions of Congo to lay down their weapons, only to find that assaults had continued using a variety of non-munitions.

"We have villages crumbling under an onslaught of children's toys and confections dropped from a great height," Chairman Essy noted. "Frankly, it is bizarre, in addition to being counter productive toward the formation of a unified Africa, focused on the very real problems of disease and famine."

He said the violence has hit civilians particularly hard, although the cookies and candies are appreciated.

The United Nations Security Council has roundly condemned these renewed hostilities, calling on all parties to implement a power-sharing agreement.

"Besides," noted one committee member, "I've stepped on a few Legos in my time. Those things really hurt. God only knows what they'd be like after attaining terminal velocity."

Although the Security Council singled out two minor rebel groups known as the Rally for Congolese Democracy-National and the Rally for Congolese Democracy-Liberation Movement, both signers of the Pretoria Peace Accord on December 17, each group denies any knowledge of the assaults.



Canary Islands— Multiple reports confirm that a single rotor helicopter went down over the mid-Atlantic late last night. This follows closely on a spate of reports of suspicious "black helicopter(s)" over a variety of unstable African nations, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo and war-torn Sierra Leone.

"Black helicopters"— helicopters lacking any official or identifying markings— are frequently sighted at sites of "paranormal" or abnormal phenomenon, and are a popular part of alarmist urban myth. Many conspiracy theorists link them explicitly to U.S. Government agencies and a "New World Order" global shadow government.

The United States' Central Intelligence Agency, British MI5 and Israeli Mossad have issued official statements indicating no knowledge of the crash or vehicle, and were reiterating these statements verbatim at the time of this report.

On condition of anonymity, a senior CIA official added "Honest, this isn't a quote 'denial'; it really wasn't us. Christ, Sierra Leone? What the hell is in Sierra Leone? They don't even grow poppies there, for chrisakes! It's Christmas; don't your people ever take a damn break?"

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