Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Pirate News Conference

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?

S.A.: Yes.

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

I’m From The Government, And I’m Here To Help You:

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.

  1. Call Iraq. Ask if we can pretty pretty please have our trillion dollars back now.

  1. Call a random U.S. corporation. Claim to be Henry Paulson Jr. with “an offer they can’t refuse.” Use a gravelly voice.

  1. Introduce new U.S. tourism marketing slogan: “The Collateralized States of America—you know, like France, but without the free healthcare and the good cheese.”

  1. Keep shopping. We’ve never met a crisis we couldn’t spend our way out of.

  1. Replace the stock market with a really big game of Chutes-n-Ladders

  1. 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.

  1. Replace all golden parachutes with anvils.

  1. Convert your retirement plan to crude oil.

  1. Party like it’s 1929.

Originally written for BBC Radio 4, Sept 26, 2008

Monday, August 18, 2008

Goings on

Yes, it's been a while.

I've been working on finishing up This Green House, my newest book. It'll be out in 2009. As soon as I get permission from the publisher--even though I own it; isn't publishing wonderful?--I'll be posting some excerpts . . .