Dispatches, metablogging

What is Dispatches?

This is one of those things I’ve thought I probably should write for a long time but never got to actually doing. Until now.

Dispatches, for those who don’t know, is a semi-regular feature on this site. It consists, essentially, of a few sentences that laments that our (fictional) reporter hasn’t been in touch in a while and then there’s the (fictional) report that he’s filed.

I’ve naively told myself for sometime that anyone who came across it would understand that this is what it was, but looking at it as an outsider I see how it’s not terribly obvious. If someone followed along from the beginning, they probably could have guessed because, well, the first two installments were about pretty blatantly fictional fare: unicorns and the lost city of Atlantis. They were also pretty bad, but that’s another matter entirely.

The reality is that in this medium people haven’t been, and can’t be expected to have been, following along from the beginning. The internet’s great for jumping in midstream, and that has created a far bit of confusion.

The height of that came in a letter I got recently, from a (real) lawyer regarding this story (which has been changed as a result of that letter). Confusing readers who stumble along is unfortunate but tolerable, the specter (even absent an explicit threat) of legal action is another thing entirely.

So, to explain Dispatches let’s start with Steve Finch, our reporter. Mr. Finch–who does not, to my knowledge, exist–is a 30-something newspaper hack or “beat reporter.” He’s an old hand who write clean straightforward stories that tend not to venture to far from the events and opinion relevant to the story. But he does have a passion for odd and unconventional stories that no one else is covering.

His existence is essentially to make it easier for me to write something about “wouldn’t it be cool if…” or “wouldn’t it be weird if…” for this site without having to present them as so many excessive hypothetical. The idea of animal racism, for example, was something that popped into my head one day. But I wanted to present the idea without taking explicit ownership of it; Dispatches allows me to do just that.

I hope that this will clear up any present or future confusion, and wasn’t too much of a bore to those who already understood. Thanks, as always, for reading.


Five Frequently Forgotten Facts about Pirates

Everyday, pirates seem to be getting more and more popular. I think this is absurd. Here are the five most important things we should not forget about pirates.

  1. Johnny Depp is not a pirate, pirates are not Johnny Depp. All this nonsense about good looking pirates has to stop. Pirates were probably some of the ugliest people on earth. Let’s not forget that Vikings were essentially pirates, and no one thinks they’re terribly attractive. And in a related point…
  2. Pirates STINK. Think about it, not only are they probably ugly, but you can have little doubt that they smelled bad. Sure everyone smelled bad, but pirates wouldn’t even shower if they had the chance. They think they’re too good for something like that. Plus you can be certain that no pirate ship ever made had a hot shower on it, and that’s no fun for anyone.
  3. The Pirates make a terrible baseball team. Even if you live in Pittsburgh, you know this is true. Pirates play baseball about as well as Rockies or Royals, whatever those are. And simply put, being bad at baseball is not only un-American, it’s unattractive.
  4. A pirate would kill you for a bottle of rum, or vodka, or probably even Schnapps. And that’s just bad news. Who wants to sit down to unwind with a bottle of their favorite liquor and find themselves dead and without any booze. One or the other might be okay, but if you’re dead you’d probably really want a drink.
  5. Less awesome than a unicorn, less strong than a T. Rex. Let’s be honest. Pirates are just senseless. Unlike ninjas which are both awesome and deceptively fast to make up for their lack of strength, pirates have nothing. They are not awesome, they’re mostly just silly. And they’re not going to defeat anyone in any kind of battle. I mean the three musketeers have better fighting skills than pirates. And they’re French.

Five Reasons that Unicorns are Better than Penguins

UvPPenguins have been getting a lot of press lately. At least 300 movies about penguins to have come out in the last year, of which Surf’s Up is only the most recent. But do you know how many movies unicorns got? That’s right. Not a single movie about unicorns has been released recently, and this is simply not right. So here they are, the five best reasons reasons to protest this injustice. Five reasons that unicorns are better than penguins.

  1. Penguins cannot fly, unicorns can. This is especially important because, as you may be aware, penguins are birds. This makes the point all too clear, while penguins are busy being deficient birds, unicorns are busy being awesome.
  2. Penguins waddle, unicorns run faster than anything else on the planet. Not only can unicorns totally fly way better than penguin, they also run way way faster. Like, incredibly. Unicorns are so fast that they make penguins look like rocks, stupid slow ugly rocks.
  3. Unicorns have a horn, penguins have flippers. Let’s say that a bar fight broke out, who would you rather have on your side, a unicorn or a penguin? That’s what I though. Not only can a unicorn poke the other guy in the eye, but then you can get a ride from him which would definitely be really cool and awesome and fast.
  4. Penguins lay eggs, unicorns just are. Penguin babies are little wimps. They come in eggs that their parents have to take care of and stuff. Even the daddy penguins. Lame. Unicorns just happen, wherever and whenever they want. If a unicorn wanted to, he could make a clone of himself and suddenly appear behind you. Pretty cool, huh?
  5. Unicorns have magic powers, penguins do not. Does anything more really need to be said?
Dispatches, fiction

Dispatches from the Field: Land Speed Record

Dispatches from the Field is our ongoing series of reports from our intrepid traveling reporter Steve Finch. This week, some insight on the most famously reclusive animals on the planet.

In the history of the world, there has only been one land mammal faster than the cheetah. What creature is so incredibly fast and nonchalant that it hasn’t made it’s amazing speed well known?

Unicorns have long scoffed at the frequent boasting of cheetahs and their adoring human fans. Papa Unicorn, who became their leader after the death of the great mother, made his disdain for cheetahs clear to this reporter by stating that their official comment on the situation was “no comment.” For these proud animals, that can only mean that they feel themselves above the cheetahs and the need to comment on such a story.

One unicorn, however, was both more forward and less dignified than Papa Unicorn, proudly boasting of his personal speed. Black Sheep, so-named because he is largely disliked and distrusted by the others, offered to give this reporter a ride. He promised that he would easily double the cheetah’s highest recorded speed of 70 miles an hour.

This reporter, having heard all too frequently from the group of Black Sheep’s questionable reputation, kindly declined. Black Sheep than galloped away, at a rate this reporter can only call “fast,” to display his disgust.

This reporter would clarify that Black Sheep’s attitude at this slight was uncommon. Though the unicorns are uniformly proud animals, they are also very polite. This reporter, for one, has never felt more slovenly than when in the presence of these noble and magical creatures.

Perhaps John the Unicorn said it best. When this reported pressed him about the speed record, he said only that the cheetahs could continue their boasting. The unicorns, for their part, will continue to avoid record of their speed because, he said, “We don’t go in for that type of thing.”

Until next time, this is Steve Finch signing off.