Ridiculous stories from the Hill

Slow news week, for me at least. For everyone else, it’s a bad combo – a beautiful week and lots of tests, papers and theses looming in the near future. Damn.

But we gotta keep pluggin’ along in the print biz, bubba, which might explain why sleep time’s been spent mostly on a pile of newspapers.

Literally.

Nothing poetic about it. No voodoo-osmosis. Wake up with ink drool and a temporary Obama tattoo on the face. Just a total disregard for my own well-being.

In times like these, I fantasize about sneaking into the Traveler office late at night and inserting ridiculous stories and obscene pictures in place of the normal news. Guerrilla Journalism. You know, that sort of thing.

Maybe I’ll slip a few into the column. Forget an April Fools issue. The time is now.

Turf war sparked on campus mall

More than 20 people were severely injured and hundreds more received minor wounds when a riot broke out at the Union Mall Wednesday.

The riot occurred at about 10:30 a.m., with employees and patrons of the two rival campus coffee shops duking it out with cups of hot coffee, chairs and parts from espresso machines.

Medics reported that most of the injuries were third-degree burns, although two unidentified people reportedly died from suffocation caused by coffee beans.

“It appears as if an entire sack of beans was shoved into their throats,” said Stewart Belt, chief medical examiner. “I’ve never, never, seen anything like it.”

Police are unsure what or who started the violence, although they attribute the number of deaths and savagery of the riot to the campus’ morning coffee rush.

“Many of the victims were simply bystanders who had no connection to caffeine whatsoever. We suspect the employees – and the loyal patrons – of the two competing coffee shops were simply too close to one another,” said police chief Sampson.

RZ’s, located in the union, had been the single distributor of the morning caffeine buzz until Arsaga’s set up shop a month ago, not 500 feet away.

Several eyewitnesses at RZ’s said someone was yelling that the café only had one pot of “fair trade” coffee.

“He kept screaming that Arsaga’s was the only conscientious coffee shop,” said one unidentified woman. “He just wouldn’t stop and eventually some of those in line who weren’t awake yet just pounced on ‘im. He left and came back with a cappuccino army.”

Police are still investigating the matter and university officials announced that they will provide free doughnuts for students and staff while the matter is being resolved. The UAPD’s gang unit will be heading up the investigation.

Athletic department to take over Old Main, Kimpel next month

Chancellor James Black and Athletic Director Banky Foils announced in a joint statement Sunday that Old Main and Kimpel hall will be handed over to the athletic department next week.

The annexation of the buildings is “just a token of appreciation for all the scholars and investments the athletic department has brought to this fine university,” Black said.

The buildings will not be torn down but will be renovated and updated with the most advanced security system, Black said. Beginning March 6, all security passes and keys will be given to the athletic department and staff. All classes and offices in the buildings will move either to the agriculture center on Garland or to the Morrilton campus.

“I’m very honored to accept this gift,” Foils said. “I mean, whatta they gonna do? Fire me?”

Old Main will be converted to an “educational facility” where student-athletes can study in upgraded “smart rooms,” Foils said. Kimpel hall will become a coaches’ college, where the university hopes to mold some nationally-competitive coaches.

“God knows we need it,” Black said.

Attacks leave officials Baffeled

The normally friendly squirrels roaming the UA campus have become violent in recent weeks, prompting university officials to issue a campus-wide “red alert.”

More than 25 attacks have been reported since February 19 and officials are stumped as to the possible explanation.

The campus’ squirrels – which have never been overly-fearful of pedestrians – began single-strike attacks on students and faculty, said a UA official, who asked to remain anonymous. In the past week, however, the squirrels have been attacking in groups of seven or more.

“They’ve been going for the eyes,” the official said. “But several fingers and a couple toes have been reported missing.”

Officials are asking students and staff to remain “calm but vigilant.”

The warning, sent out Tuesday, recommends students and staff carry guns or air-rifles on campus, although nothing larger than a .22. It also reminds women they can make a simple, defensive blow-torch with a lighter and some hair-spray.

“Frankly, we’re not sure exactly what we’re dealing with here,” said the official. “But it looks like somebody gave these damn things crack.”

[Original piece available here.]

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