A spokesman for Somali pirates who hijacked a Ukrainian freighter — which is loaded with tanks, artillery, grenade launchers and ammunition — said today that the group didn’t know the ship was carrying arms when they seized it last week. “We just saw a big ship,” the pirates’ spokesman, Sugule Ali, told the New York Times. “So we stopped it.”
--The New York Times, Sept 30
Somali Pirate News Conference with Sugule Ali
Sugule Ali: Yo ho ho, praise Blackbeard. Please excuse the seating; at the last minute all we could find were the empty rum barrels. Let me start by saying 'Tanks for coming!'
But seriously, like I said yesterday, we really didn't know about the weapons. But let me tell you, that was a nice surprise! [Laughter.] We typically just hijack emergency food shipments and the like. So, this is all new for us, too, mateys. OK, the time is yours.
Reporter 1: How do plan to offload the tanks?
S.A.: Arrrgh! Very carefully! [Laughter.] I'm kidding of course. It goes without saying that the small arms are more our . . . shall we say, booty of choice. The rocket propelled grenades were like the cherry on top of our buccaneer sundae. [Laughter]. You there, landlubber in the back.
Reporter 2: What sort of ransom are you demanding?
S.A.: Got a treasure chest of jewels? [More laughter.] Well, originally we wanted $30 million. But we thought it over, and now, with the U.S. Navy--curse the scurvy dogs--ready to blow us out of the water, we've altered our demands. We'll take ten grand.
Reporter 2: Dollars?
S.A.: No, gold Dubbloons. Yes, of course dollars, you idiot. This credit crisis isn't going to last forever. We might also consider a few hundred barrels of oil. Marine fuel is through the roof.
Reporter 1: Are you still holding hostages?
Reporter 2: Where are they?
S.A.: In the hold. Avast! [Wipes parrot poop off shoulder.] I told them I wanted to use an inflatable parrot. You know, like Clouseau in that movie? This thing isn't trained.
Reporter 1: Why are you wearing an eye patch?
S.A.: It's piratey. Also the parrot pecked my eye.
Reporter 3: Aren't you afraid of the U.S. Navy? The Russians?
S.A.: No. We've got the tanks, remember. Putin does scare me though.
[Puts hand to earpiece, tilts head.]
Wait, hold on a second. [Nods head.] Right, right. Jolly Roger, over and out. OK, so listen, I've just gotten word that we've decided to reduce our demands. I'm just the messenger here, so I can't get too much into specifics, but let's just say that we need lots of limes and boat-load of cannonballs.
Reporter 2: Why? What about the ten thousand?
S.A.: Forget about that. We've just had word that the U.S. Treasury department is going to float the banks a huge loan. Now that's what I call a target for boarding! Praise Blackbeard!
Reporter 2: What are you going to do if they pay the ransom?
S.A.: Take a Disney cruise. The kids have been bugging me.
Friday, September 26, 2008
The Top 10 Ways To Survive The Not-Quite-So-Great Depression
10. Go to a swap meet. Swap all your credit defaults for some gently used Pez dispensers.
. Ask if we can pretty pretty please have our trillion dollars back now. Iraq
- Call a random
corporation. Claim to be Henry Paulson Jr. with “an offer they can’t refuse.” Use a gravelly voice. U.S.
- Introduce new
U.S.tourism marketing slogan: “The Collateralized States of America—you know, like , but without the free healthcare and the good cheese.” France
- Keep shopping. We’ve never met a crisis we couldn’t spend our way out of.
- Replace the stock market with a really big game of Chutes-n-Ladders
- Play “Which one of these is not like the others?” using Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Fannie Mae, AIG, Washington Mutual, Morgan Stanley, and Merrill Lynch.
- Replace all golden parachutes with anvils.
- Convert your retirement plan to crude oil.
- Party like it’s 1929.
Originally written for BBC Radio 4, Sept 26, 2008