Thursday, February 18, 2010

Shaun White Training Four-by-Four, Animal Style for 2014

VANCOUVER -- Shaun White's soaring performance in Wednesday's halfpipe competition yielded lots of gold: a medal for himself, along with a marketing bonanza for McDonalds.

A minute after securing the gold medal, White took his victory run, capping it with an element sure to make the most hyped list of 2010, just after the iPad -- a Double McTwist 1260, involving 3 1/2 twists and two flips.

The name of White's jaw-dropping move drew immediate comparisons to burger giant McDonalds. "The Double McTwist, the Big Mac, whatever you want to call it," said NBC's snowboarding announcer, wiping drool off of his chin. "I don't care what you're going to call it, that was unbelievable."

But if In-and-Out Burger has its way, NBC commentators Pat Parnell and Todd Richards will be making no reference to the golden arches at the Olympics in 2014 to be held in Sochi, Russia. The West Coast-based burger chain with an intensely loyal cult following struck a deal with White's agent Thursday morning to secure exclusive tie-ins for the daredevil's tricks.

According to an individual involved in the negotiations, "In-and-Out Burger and Shaun White are a perfect match. They both originated in California and are the epitome of cool."

Additionally, the nomenclature for the "secret menu" at In-and-Out Burger already aligns nicely with White's elements. Customers in the know can order a three-by-three -- standing for three meat patties with three slices of cheese.

Four years from now, In-and-Out Burger hopes that Parnell and Richards will be trumpeting White's successful completion of a four-by-four, animal style -- four twists, four flips with the extra amplitude and flair that is White's trademark.

In fact, one of White's nicknames is "Animal," and any burger or french fries at In-and-Out can be ordered "animal style" with pickles, extra spread, extra grilled onions and fried mustard on each patty.

As news of the deal began to leak out, the main reaction from other competitors was envy. But Dolf Van der Wal of the Netherlands, who finished 18th in the qualifying round, was already angling for a small slice of the endorsment pie, saying that he would happy to be known as "The Flying Dutchman" (two meat patties, two slices of cheese, no bun).

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Google Buzz Reveals Man has Lame Social Life

NEW YORK -- Most of the buzz around Google's latest social networking innovation has involved concern over the publicizing of people's frequent contacts -- and resulting potential to reveal liaisons with mistresses or interviews with rival companies.

But one man's worst fears were realized when Google Buzz revealed that the man's supposedly sizzling social life was a total fraud. According to his snickering co-worker, the man had always boasted of his exciting weekends filled with booze, sex and multiple hot women.

"[Greg] would come back on Monday morning with stories of slurping oysters off naked women at exclusive night clubs and other crazy stuff," said the co-worker. "He's kind of a plain guy, but we figured he must be sexual napalm in bed or have some ridiculous trust fund that let him jet to St. Lucia for the weekend."

However, when Google Buzz debuted last week, everyone at the office was wondering how it worked and they clustered around "Greg's" computer screen to observe. His most frequent contacts, as measured by the contacts that he was automatically assigned to follow, were revealed to be a pizza delivery service, movie and video game rentals, 1-900-HOT-GURLZ -- "Your wildest fantasies from the comfort of your home," and his mother.

"It was really awkward," said the co-worker. "Greg turned bright red and made some joke about how his account had been used by his teenage nephew when he was visiting, but he was obviously obviously lying."

Aside from some mild ribbing, the co-worker said they had not called "Greg" out on his tall tales. "But I threw out the napkin that supposedly had Bar Rafaeli's lipstick that he gave me for my birthday," he said. "Just the thought that I've been sleeping with a dirty napkin under my pillow that has Greg's lipstick kiss gives me the willies."

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Southwest Scuttles Plans to Charge Passengers by the Pound

An unfortunate mishap with a famous overweight director has caused Southwest Airlines to shelve plans to offer reduced prices to skinny passengers.

The proposal, now in the dustbin of bad ideas along with New Coke, John Edwards' decision to allow Rielle Hunter to produce videos about his campaign and Napoleon's invasion of Russia, would have charged an extremely low base fare for the first 125 pounds for women and 170 pounds for men. Every additional pound would have added fifty cents, or $5 for every 10 pounds, up to the cost of a second seat.

According to an individual involved in drafting the proposal, Southwest was hoping it would appeal to slender people -- who, in fact, cause less fuel consumption due to their lower weights.

They had also been in talks with Weight Watchers to create an incentive program for frequent fliers hoping to lose weight, with free Weight Watchers meals thrown in if they could show a minimum three pound weight loss from the prior flight.

However, the recent highly publicized ejection of Kevin Smith, director of Clerks, Chasing Amy and Zach and Miri Make a Porno, after being seated on the plane, has caused Southwest to discard the proposal. Smith, who admits he is overweight, buys two seats when he flies, however he opted to fly on an earlier flight in which only one seat was available. He was forced to leave the plane despite protesting that he was able to lower both armrests and that his purchase of a second seat was out of dislike of other people and not necessity.

Asked to comment, a former executive for a rival airline company to Southwest said that the proposal ignored reality. "Forcing people to step on the scale typically reserved for baggage then telling them they're 40 pounds overweight would not have gone over well with 99 percent of the population that lies about their weight," said the executive. "And can you imagine the scandal it would have caused with celebrities? Records on how much celebrities actually weigh would be leaked faster than confidential medical information at the UCLA hospital."

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Canadians Ramp Up Aggression in Quest for Olympic Glory

VANCOUVER -- Canada's "Own the Podium" initiative goes far beyond limiting access to training facilities, according to a handbook obtained exclusively by Salty Caramel.

The guide, apparently passed out to Canadian athletes and coaches, contains instructions on how to behave and what to say (and not say).

For example, athletes and officials are to refrain from saying "Eh," in the presence of foreigners as it "sounds weak and leaves one vulnerable to mocking." They should also work on Americanizing their pronunciations of "about" and "pasta" to the harsher, less euphonious "a-bowt" and "pos-ta."

The movie "Taxi Driver," in which Robert De Niro is a down-on-his-luck New Yorker, is being played on a continuous loop in the communal rooms for Canadian athletes as an example of the ideal diction, with awards given nightly for the toughest "You lookin' at me?" rendition.

Courtesies such as holding open doors, shaking hands and initiating friendly conversations should be reserved until after competition, and behavior such as cheerful whistling should also be averted.

Under the guise of friendship, athletes can encourage visiting athletes to partake of poutine -- a Canadian specialty of French fries slathered in gravy and cheese curds with an average of 1,100 calories per serving -- "especially those from Asian nations, where there is a high incidence of lactose intolerance."

Although no mention is made in the handbook of logistical intimidation, participants from Africa and other nations with warm climates have reported heaters that didn't work at their Olympic Village housing. A Canadian official dismissed the complaint, saying, "Naturally the Canadian winter will feel chillier to those athletes who grew up near the equator." However, a visit to the rooms of athletes from Ghana, Jamaica, Ethiopia and Mexico revealed indoor temperatures of 40 degrees Fahrenheit and below, despite thermostats reporting balmy temperatures of 70 degrees.

Participants aren't the only ones encouraged amp up the aggressiveness. The guide directs Canadians to tell their supporters to refrain from clapping, cheering or ringing cow bells for opponents at any point during the competition "unless a Canadian victory is assured."

In order to intimidate foreign tourists and possibly prevent them from attending events to cheer on their countrymen, a car was lit on fire by expertly trained firefighters after Alexandre Bilodeau won Canada's first gold medal in the moguls Sunday, with actors paid to play the part of rampaging locals. As preparation for the inferno, they watched tapes of Chicago and Detroit fans after their basketball teams won NBA championships, according to one of the participants. "I felt kind of bad, but it's work, eh?," said the man, who declined to give his name. "Ever since the X-Files stopped filming here it's been hard to get acting gigs."

Not every part of Canada's "Own the Podium" blueprint ended up working out, according to an assistant of one of the officials involved in the secret plans. Canada had originally hoped to have an Opening Ceremonies that exceeded Beijing's 2008 Opening Ceremonies in grandeur, but the "First Nations" participants balked when they tried to recreate the spectacular "wave" effect using the movable boxes.

"We bribed the Chinese director in charge of that box piece to replicate a grander version for our Opening Ceremonies with promise of citizenship and unlimited Google access, but our First Nations participants revolted when we told them it would require living in boxes for 18 hours a day for three months," said the assistant.