GET OFF MY PLANE!!! GIVE ME BACK MY SON!!!

Occasionally I like to kick back, grab my favorite smoking pipe and jacket, relax in an easy chair, and rest comfortably between the pages of a well-worn novel. Then I start flicking lit matches everywhere and farting uncontrollably because, by God, I still don't have this whole "sophistication" thing down yet. To tell the truth, 99% of my casual reading occurs when I'm in the bathroom, and 99% of the material consists of Wired Magazine, which I subscribed to years ago for absolutely no logical reason whatsoever. If I remember correctly, I was suckered into falling for some scam where a "disadvantaged youth" showed up on my doorstop and explained he was selling magazine subscriptions so he could get off the streets and make an honest income, one that didn't involve "gats" and "homies" and probably something involving "bitches," at least to a certain degree. Hey, I'm a white male and I live in a middle class suburban neighborhood, Spike Lee has trained me to believe the validity of such stereotypes.

I have no idea why I still bother reading that stupid magazine; every single issue is exactly the same, consisting of 20 pages devoted to copyright laws, 20 pages about blogging and the blogosphere and the blogorama blogination blogotopia and how to podcast your blog on a RSS feed using a Blackberry, 20 pages about "remixing" and "mashups" and "other ways to create shitty music that resembles two CDs run over by a garden mulcher," and concludes with 20 pages of trendy gadgets, futuristic predictions which will absolutely never come true, and various other attempts by the Wired staff to trick people into believing they're not just another generic mainstream magazine parroting back the hottest Internet trends from half a year ago. Not that I have anything against Wired Magazine; I doubt there's another publication in circulation which possesses Wired's unique ability to coerce the feces from my puckered anus like a really disturbing snake charmer.

A recent trip to the not-so-local bookstore brought a magazine entitled "Fate" to my attention, although, in my defense, I tried as hard as I could to refuse such an event from occurring. The issue, which was the size of a TV Guide and featured a highly mysterious plane flying over a highly mysterious body of water while highly mysterious text reading "Bermuda Triangle Mystery Solved!" immediately piqued my interest. Not only did the cover promise to reveal the secrets behind the infamous Bermuda Triangle, but it also tantalized me with headlines such as "NASA Photos Reveal UFOs" and "Spanish Ghost Exorcised by Witch." And to think, up until this very day I had been fighting through my hollow, meaningless life, wondering what was going on with the Spanish Ghost! Here's a brief rundown of the August 2005 issue of Fate Magazine, for those of you with too much pride to actually been seen purchasing it in a public location.

BIG FAT GROUNDBREAKING STORY #1: "Bermuda Triangle Odyssey"

Well, you know, anybody who writes poetry about baseball and vampires knows his shit.

The first thing to strike me regarding this journalistic masterpiece was the mutation from the cover, how the headline transformed from "Bermuda Triangle Mystery Solved!" to "Bermuda Triangle Odyssey." What a ripoff! I mean, that was the whole selling point of the magazine; somebody finally solved the mystery! The whole reason I passed over Newsweek and Time for the heralded Fate Magazine was because neither of the aforementioned periodicals promised a sufficient explanation of the Bermuda Triangle. "All this crap about that boring war in Iraq is well and good," I said to myself. "But honestly, what magazine has enough guts to cover the real hot topic plaguing this great nation of ours; that goddamn mysterious Bermuda Triangle?" I am plagued by paralyzing fear that each and every morning I wake up, I may find myself stuck in the Bermuda Triangle, unable to escape even if I scream really loudly and throw a rope in some arbitrary direction.

So the Bermuda Triangle mystery is still as mysterious as ever, and instead of presenting an article explaining in painful scientific detail why people have bothered writing roughly 60,000 articles about the stupid thing, Fate Magazine instead spends 10 pages telling stories that a friend told a neighbor who told a drunk man who told a humanoid bear wearing a bow tie and unusually large suit about a plane that flew somewhere and before the pilot knew it, something had happened to something else and he was COMPLETELY POWERLESS TO STOP IT. The article concludes with ace pilot Bruce Gernon explaining how "electronic fog" was responsible for, well, something. Gernon claims electronic fog can "stick to airplanes" and cause "time tunnels," which are like regular, non-time tunnels only they have a lot more time crammed into them, much like Golden Grahams. "How do they cram all that time?" is the motto of many famous time tunnels. The article concludes with the promise of science accepting the theory of electronic fog sometime in the future, perhaps after MIT begins offering courses on advanced Bigfoot removal.

BIG FAT GROUNDBREAKING STORY #2: "Exorcism Spanish Style"

Note the ad fails to explain how they're considered "magic." I guess a headline just reading "BAGS" didn't get as much attention.

While not nearly as hot and spicy as "Spring Break: Texas Style," this article somehow managed to shove more references to Spanish ghosts and witches than any previous article about Spanish ghosts and witches, at least that I know of. I could tell this article was going to be a scientific minefield of brutally disfiguring knowledge when it kicked off with the following intense paragraph:

One crisp, sunny October day in 1997, I sat at my desk in Colorado researching a book I was writing about the psychic arts.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is probably the best way to begin any fact-filled news article. President "President" George W. Bush should start more of his speeches with that line. "One crisp, sunny October day in 1997, I sat at my desk in Colorado researching a book I was writing about the psychic arts," Bush would remark while making that weird face where his bottom lip kind of just vanishes into another dimension. "Then I realized we should probably launch a bleak and pointless invasion of Iraq." Those pesky Democrats wouldn't have a leg to stand on! And if they did, President George "President Bush" W. Bush could pick up his book he's writing about the psychic arts and throw it at them. God bless America!

The author, "Morwyn," describes her experience inside a haunted Spanish cathedral inhabited by a ghost who doesn't really do anything at all. This lack of any obvious functionality was apparently grounds for her immediate dismissal from the realm of the living, so Morwyn grabbed all her stupid Wiccan shit like herbs and spices and oils and various other crap labeled "magick" with a completely unnecessary "k" at the end, and she performed an exorcism. The article contains many wonderful lines such as "in my roles as Wiccan priestess, ceremonial magician, and ghost hunter, I have performed many exorcisms over the years." My, what a busy life you must lead, Morwyn! I wonder if she has separate special schedule books for her Wiccan priestess appointments, ceremonial magician ceremonies, and ghost hunter duties. God forbid she show up to hunt ghosts in her magician outfit. The author included a couple photos of herself, and surprise - she looks like an 1980s lesbian on a Lifetime Network movie about abusive husbands who end up falling from an apartment railing and dying at the end of the film. Morwyn details her intense battle with the spirit, as she literally uses a broom to sweep out the ghost, a dead girl from the 18th century named "Ceci," and declares:

"With this broom, I sweep from this home the noxious vapors emitting from the world beyond. I free the environment of all visible and invisible malignant currents in the name of the Holy Trinity."

Well no wonder the ghost left. Who the hell wants to spend eternity haunting a house with this woman inside, violently sweeping enchanted brooms and babbling on and on about retarded Wiccan crap? She should work as a negotiator for the SWAT team. She'll have criminals killing themselves in no time with that Holy Trinity garbage.

BIG FAT GROUNDBREAKING STORY #3: "UFOs and NASA: The Best Evidence"

This article, or some permutation of it, has been written approximately one million times since the mid-1960s. Once again, the "best evidence" turns out to be stories about aliens that real life fictional nonexistent astronauts told camp counselors during a dream sequence in the title credits. It touches on those stupid Martian pyramids, that stupid face on Mars, and grainy, blurry, black and white photos of buttons floating in space. While the article fails to actually offer any evidence that anybody could accept as "best" or even "slightly better than a child's Crayola drawing of what appears to be a pregnant tree on fire," it does end on a promising, positive note:

It is my hope that the area of ET contact, both now and in ancient times, might become part of a normal course of study at colleges and universities. The emerging science of ufology may hold solutions to ongoing religious and political unrest that serves only to polarize humanity.

Yeah man, if only aliens existed! That would totally end all religious wars! The next time those pesky Muslim extremists try to blow up a city bus, we'll have a Predator unmanned drone dump a quarter ton of UFO photos on top of them, instantly crushing their misguided religious bodies to death. Bam, world peace thanks to UFOs. God bless you Martian Jesus.

Oh, and if you're curious, here's their "best evidence" so you all you readers out there don't just keel over and die from curiosity poisoning:

Hell yeah dawgs! If two photos of what appears to be close ups of creme brule doesn't convince those fatcats up in Washington to start spending hundreds of billions of taxpayers' dollars on UFO research, I don't know what will. I mean, just look at that face on Mars! He's making fun of us, gloating in the fact that he's a giant face - ON MARS - and we're clearly not! Let's pass that Republican bill authorizing the use of nuclear weapons on Mars and teach those space jerks a thing or two.

BIG FAT GROUNDBREAKING STORY #4: "The Two Deepest Secrets of Grigorii Rasputin"

Hahaha, secret #1:

RASPUTIN WAS A WEIRD CAVEMAN WITH A BUNCH OF DOOR KNOCKERS GLUED TO HIS CHEST

Secret #2:

RASPUTIN DRANK BECAUSE ALIENS WERE INHABITING HIS LIVING ROOM CHAIR

Sounds like concrete, irrefutable facts to me! After all, how could I doubt any article written by somebody as accredited as "Valenya?"

Oh well obviously this all must be true! One does not enter the knife engraving / Renaissance Faire industry without achieving significant credentials in both the Rasputin-researching and horse-kissing fields, especially if you're described as "obsessive." Go ahead Valenya, kiss the shit out of that horse and tell me about aliens throughout Russian history you crazy sow.

VARIOUS OTHER STORIES WHICH I GUESS WEREN'T AS HORRIBLY IMPORTANT:

Looks like a certain demon needs to get on a certain diet program.

"The Haunted Hospital" - Patricia Hagen claims a hospital is haunted by presenting us with photos that do not show any ghosts or anything even remotely unusual. This is because they are hiding, perhaps even behind other ghosts and ghostly walls that just happen to be in back of real walls! The article includes eyewitness reports from a janitor who claimed "the lights went on and off," one of the most popular activities for a ghost to engage in. Once you die, you become fascinated with light fixtures and flipping switches. I guess there's nothing else to do as a ghost but hang around hospitals and turn the lights off for janitors. Maybe, some day in the future, ghosts will learn how to push buttons on an X-Box controller and we'll be able to play Madden 2006 with them. Or, better yet, Microsoft will create a game about turning bathroom lights on and off. Man, the ghosts would go just absolutely crazy for that.

"On the Road Again - Truckers and UFOs" - As seen in the documentary "Smoky and the Bandit," the arch-enemy of any trucker is a UFO. Many truckers opt for early retirement out of sheer frustration from aliens stealing crates of Heinz ketchup from their trailer. The article details the story of Maurico Correa and his hitchhiker "Ricardo" who were hauling 20 tons of fish to Chile when they encountered a humanoid boar who smeared his face against the passenger window. Then, well, that's it. I guess he just appeared to say, "hey man, keep up the good work, you're one of the best Chilean truck drivers out there. And Ricardo, take it easy dude." Then he suddenly vanished into a cloud of liquor. There's another story about an Argentinean truck driver who claims he was abducted by some dorky aliens resembling Flash Gordon, who took blood samples of him on their UFO. All of this was revealed through a nauseatingly reliable hypnosis session, which are widely accepted in both the medical and science world, second in importance only to e-meter readings and "throwing a bunch of filthy rocks in a circle and seeing what happens in general."

"Bridgeport's Crying Stone Face" - A World War I granite monument in the middle of Connecticut has been seen "crying" by, well, somebody. Boo hoo, big deal, chisel some Kleenexes on those fuckers.

Still, it's better than reading .

"Safe Days" - This informative article advises the reader what days are safe to take a vacation without dying in some catastrophic event of monumental proportions. According to a compilation of almost 1,800 major disasters listed in the 2004 World Almanac and 1996 Encyclopedia Americana, "only four days were without incident." These days are March 30th, April 17th, April 24th, and November 30th. Keep in mind that your vacation must be scheduled for either the year 2004 or 1996, otherwise there's no telling what may happen. Also "the World Almanac did report that there were 44,000 auto deaths in 2002," so try to avoid visiting any family or friends if you travel back in time to that year and realize you really gotta go somewhere and brag about how many less auto accidents there are in 2005.

"Spiritual Counseling" - Psychic Shirley McDaniel uses her vague, magical powers of physically resembling an Orc to solve problems submitted by mental patients. Reader Dorothy Rayer writes about a ghost tormenting her family, partaking in evil deeds such as "placing the TV remote control in the sewing basket" and "poking her" when she tries to sleep. How horrible! Luckily Shirley is here to save the day! The first line of her reply to Dorothy reads, "My Dear Dorothy - I believe that your spirit's name is Mabel." Now that's some good psychic sleuthing! Zug zug! Harvest more lumber, Shirley!

"True Mystic Experiences" - Courtenay Savage, who looks more like a linebacker for the Raiders than an actual woman, claims the spirit of a "fairly young Mexican man" is trapped inside her because she has dreams about walking through a village with a lunchbox. She goes on to explain how she then traveled (in real life, not in the dream world) to Tijuana for some "dental work." Who the hell travels to Tijuana, Mexico for dental work, unless of course the doctor is grafting an extra dick to your throat? It looks like Courtenay has a small Mexican man inside her, although not exactly in the same way "she" claims.

Fate Magazine concludes with about nine pages of bizarre, completely worthless ads for crap like "Chinese Taoist Sorcery" and "TIME MACHINES" in all capital letters so you know they're better than those inferior "time machines" which lack any capital letters at all. By sending lump sums of money to select people, you can not only acquire real rune power, but you will obtain the exclusive "Vampire Bible," become a published author, learn the secret of invisibility, develop "real" psychic powers, unlock your potential, and have somebody answer any question you can email to them for the low, low price of $45. This includes a free spell! It's like a combo meal of psychic goodness!

Although the wonderful Fate Magazine has been in circulation since whenever the hell it came into circulation, I feel its fresh, monthly stories about UFOs, ghosts, witches, and "TIME MACHINES" in all capital letters offer a unique insight to the world of the paranormal that many of us are unable to achieve without the help of severe brain damage. I simply cannot wait until next month's issue, which will undoubtedly tackle all the same exact topics and conclusively prove, for the 540th consecutive time, aliens really exist.

– Rich "Lowtax" Kyanka (@lowtax)

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