Monthly Archives: December 2017

US Requests Extradition Of Fake Blacktip Island ‘Ambassador’

fake ambassador

United States authorities have requested the extradition of longtime resident Payne Hanover after the US State Department discovered Hanover was claiming to be the US ambassador to Blacktip Island.

The self-proclaimed United States ambassador to Blacktip Island is fighting extradition this week after United States officials requested the Tiperon Island government remand him to US authorities.

“Bunch of tight-asses who can’t take a joke,” longtime Blacktip Island resident Payne Hanover said. “Sure, I have a big State Department seal over my front door, but no one with any sense took it seriously.

“It was in good fun,” Hanover said. “We’d be sitting around drinking, discussing world events, and someone’d say, ‘Hey, why don’t you put in a good word for us with Uncle Sam,’ I’d agree, then we’d forget about it by the morning.”

Some on the small Caribbean island were angry at the news.

“I always negotiated with Payne in good faith and he burned me,” said island mayor Jack Cobia. “This explains why I never made any headway with the US. I thought Payne just didn’t have the kind of diplomatic stroke he said he did.

“It puts me over a barrel, what with the promises I’ve made in the community based on his say-so,” Cobia said. “And I’m out hundreds of dollars for all those US visitors visas. I’d love to chuck the rat-bastard on the first plane to Miami.”

Legal professionals say the case is not so cut and dried.

“To start with, there’s no extradition treaty between the United States and the Tiperon Islands,” said Ferris Skerritt, of the Skerritt and Skulkin legal firm. “And even if there were, no laws were broken. It’s not illegal to call yourself an ambassador.

“The State Department knew about Payne, but didn’t care,” Skerritt said. “What got their feathers ruffled was he sent in a joke request for Blacktip Embassy funding. Some low-level flunky rubber-stamped it and feces hit the props. But it wasn’t like Payne cashed the check or anything.”

Local law enforcement say they won’t honor the request.

“Payne hasn’t violated any Tiperon laws,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “Jack tries to ship him off island, Jack’ll wind up in jail himself.”

Many locals were upset by the developments.

“Payne’s had that seal up forever. We took it as classic Royal Payne exaggeration,” said resident Clete Horn. “Hell, before he was the US ambassador he was the ambassador from Ohinkey, with flowing robes and everything.”

Others were more concerned with practical implications.

“Payne throws blow-out parties with dignitaries and celebrities all the time,” resident Jerrod Ephesians said. “Now, with the diplomatic budgeting season on us, him getting busted means no gala embassy fêtes this year,” Ephesians said. “That’s a bummer. They really gave an air of civilization to the island.”

Hanover, meanwhile, remained defiant.

“Just because I’m not technically the ambassador’s no reason for me to close the consulate,” he said. “I’m still hosting the New Year’s Eve bash. Rafe Marquette’s the guest of honor.”

Hanover would not comment on allegations of suspicious activities in his bank accounts.

The US State Department would neither confirm nor deny the allegations.

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Undersea ‘Christmas Carol’ Brightens Blacktip Island Holiday Season

underwater xmas carol

The cast of the underwater ‘Christmas Carol’ run through the final scene at Bob Cratchit’s house during the dress rehearsal Wednesday afternoon. (photo courtesy of Mahdian)

Dive staff from Blacktip Island scuba resorts have joined forces to stage an underwater version of Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol in the shallows off the Diddley’s Landing public pier. The play will be performed twice daily through Christmas Eve.

“We wanted a fresh take on an old classic,” artistic director Cori Anders said. “The dialogue’s 100% scuba signals, with some new ones we got from the local Mime Divers Association.

“Each actor gives surprising nuance to the hand signs – is that ‘eel’ sign fast, slow, over-the-top, understated? Small inflections carry a ton of weight,” Anders said. “After the ghost of Christmas Yet To Come leaves, Scrooge’s desperate out of air sign had the crew in tears.”

The cast includes:

  • Elena Havens as Ebenezer Scrooge
  • Gage Hoase as Bob Cratchit
  • Marina DeLow as the Ghost of Christmas Past
  • Alison Diesel as the Ghost of Christmas Present
  • Wendy Beaufort as the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come
  • Hugh Calloway as Tiny Tim
  • Lee Helm as the Christmas Turkey
  • Finn Kiick as Old Fezziwig

“We didn’t really need the Old Fezziwig character, but it’s just fun to say and lightened the rehearsals,” Anders said.

The underwater venue allows for creative staging.

“Scrooge clomps across the sand in lead boots, while neutrally-buoyant ghosts float over and around him,” said Blacktip Haven resort owner Elena Havens. “And when the inevitable sting ray cruises past, it gives an ethereal quality to the performance.

“The audience is on scuba and can view the play from any angle, so long as they don’t interfere with the actors,” Havens said. “And we have morning and afternoon shows to give all divers a chance to see it.”

Some of the staging had to be curtailed for safety’s sake.

“We tried a night dive version, but the audience got mixed in with the actors and it turned into a real Charlie Foxtrot,” said cast member Gage Hoase. “Things blew up when the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come scared the bejesus out of a couple from Cincinnati. They bolted to the surface. But, man, did they tip well at the end of the week.”

The play is not without its critics.

“You have to be 10 years old to scuba dive, which means the younger kiddos can’t see it,” local parent Ginger Bass said. “And the sign language is a mostly gibberish. I mean, I know the story and I had a hard time following along. I think they make it up as they go along, and there were some rude gestures mixed in that are definitely not scuba signals.”

Performances are at 10:30 and 2:45 daily. Proceeds of the play go to The Blacktip Island Widows and Orphans Fund, minus expenses and incidentals.

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Painful Holiday Musical Scenes Highlight Blacktip Island Extravaganza

Excruciating musicals

The cast of this year’s Most Excruciating Holiday Musicals perform during their dress rehearsal Thursday evening at the Blacktip Island Heritage House. (photo courtesy of the University of Utah)

The Blacktip Island Community Players will perform its annual selection of cringe-worthy excerpts from a dozen Christmas musicals Saturday and Sunday evenings to raise money for local charities.

“Most people spend the holiday season watching one agonizing musical after another, often barely recuperating from one before the next starts,” said Doris Blenny, BICP’s creative director. “The point of this show is to tear off the Band-Aid, so to speak, and get the worst of it over with in less than an hour.

“After this, even if you want to watch holiday musicals, that urge will be burned out of your system,” Blenny said. “We think of it as holiday cauterization. Our aim is to get everyone through the agonizing parts of the holidays as quickly as we can.”

The event owes much of its appeal to the quality of the local singers.

“None of these people can sing a note, but that’s the point,” resident Jay Valve said. “Last year, Cori brought the house down with ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You,’ because she sang so off-key. You’ll remember, she was the one who voiced the airplane engines and the machine guns in Tora ! Tora! Tora!

This year’s performance will honor several classic holiday films.

“We’ll be paying homage to White Christmas, partly to take advantage of the talent we have this year,” Blenny said. “Antonio does a great Bing Crosby. Not the singing, mind you, but the body language. And Dermott does a surprisingly good Rosemary Clooney. We tried him in a Vera-Ellen dance routine, but he broke too much furniture.

“We’re also spicing things up with a Meet Me In St. Louis number,” Blenny added. ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ will feature Alison Diesel’s interpretation of little Margaret O’Brien’s snowman-bashing scene. Those in the first three rows are advised to wear eye protection for Christmas light shards, and motorcycle helmets in case Alison loses her grip on the baseball bat.”

Blenny’s warning was not necessary for some.

“I always wear ear protectors and earplugs at this gig,” resident Val Schrader said. “Payne Hanover and Catalina Luxfer’s screeching that date rape song from Elf about did me in back in 2007. The muffs and plugs don’t totally block the sound, but they take the edge off.”

Audience members are asked to wear ugly Christmas sweaters. Proceeds from the event to go Blacktip Island Meals on Wheels and the Retired Seaman’s Association.

**

Ask Dermott:

Yo, Dermott,

With everyone so tense about sexual harassment these days, the company Christmas party is going to be a minefield, what with the booze, the mistletoe and coworkers hanging out under the mistletoe – intentionally or not. Help me out here. Why’s it called ‘mistletoe?’ – Who in Whoville

Who,

‘Mistletoe’ is Old English for ‘kick to the crotch.’

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Tension High For Blacktip Island’s ‘Son Of A Bee’ Spell-Off

Adult spelling bee

An artist’s rendering of the 2016 Son of a Bee spelling contest, when crowd favorite Payne Hanover defeated Lee Helm in the final round. (illustration courtesy of Thomas Eakins)

Blacktip Island’s 17th annual ‘Son of a Bee’ spelling bee is slated for this weekend at the Last Ballyhoo bar. The two-day event, sponsored by the Blacktip Adult Literacy Learning Society, will feature the island’s premier competitive spellers going head-to-head in double elimination rounds.

“It started years ago as a dare at the Ballyhoo,” BALLS president Doris Blenny said. “Someone bet an inebriated Dermott Bottoms he couldn’t spell ‘cat.’ Then they spotted him the ‘c’ and the ‘a’ while the crowd cheered. Dermott was so drunk he lost the bet, but other patrons started challenging each other to spell words as a gauge of how sauced they were.

“It proved so popular, the Ballyhoo made the spell-off a standard event the first weekend in December,” Blenny said. “BALLS stepped in with sponsorship, gave it a snazzy name and it took off from there.

“The Ballyhoo requires all contestants to consume one drink per 30 minutes, so we instituted a double-elimination format to level the playing field,” Blenny added. “In the later rounds alcohol can become an impediment. Or, for some, a performance enhancer.”

Perennial favorites are Jerrod Ephesians, Finn Kiick and reigning Son of a Bee champion Payne Hanover.

“I’ve been practicing buzzed spelling for months to find that sweet spot where I’m toasted but can still spell,” Hanover said. “It’s easy to have that one drink too many and fall over the cliff.

“The strategy’s in knowing your opponent’s alcohol tolerance,” Hanover added. “Against a lightweight, sometimes if you hem and haw before spelling each word, the booze’ll win the round for you. But if you draw Antonio, you’re screwed. He gets better the more he drinks.”

The judges’ subjectivity often plays a key role in the competition.

“Last year Lee Helm may have spelled ‘perspicacity’ correctly in the final, but he slurred so badly two of the three judges scored him wrong,” judge Helen Maples said. “It cost him the match.”

Sponsors are hoping for a controversy-free Bee this year.

“Two years ago, Finn had to give up the title after we found out he bribed Peachy Bottoms for the vocabulary words beforehand,” Blenny said. “The year before that, there was no winner because all finalists had passed out before the final round.”

Bee officials say they’ve also beefed up security for this year’s event.

“It’s a two-day drinking event on a small island, Things can get physical,” Last Ballyhoo owner Marlin Bleu said. “Sometimes onlookers takes sides and quite the brouhaha breaks out.”

Proceeds from the event go to BALLS and the Last Ballyhoo repair fund.

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“Faux-Ever’ Lets Blacktip Island Churchgoers Sample The Afterlife

Faux-Ever

A member of the Blacktip Island Ecumenical Community Church, under the guidance of a church elder, gets a taste of the afterlife with the church’s new Faux-Ever headset. (photo courtesy of Justraveling.com)

The Blacktip Island Ecumenical Community Church Thursday unveiled ‘Faux-Ever,’ a virtual reality headset that allows churchgoers of any religious tradition to experience the afterlife of their particular faith.

“Users input information about their personal belief systems,” the former Reverend Jerrod Ephesians said. “It’s like a Buzzfeed quiz, only with a religious focus, and draws on the teachings of classic theologians as well as popular novels and cinema.

“We tried to be as inclusive as possible,” Ephesians said. “The headset provides more than 128 different versions of the afterlife,” Ephesians said. “You can get anything from sitting on lotus pads to hunting buffalo on the Great Plains to being at one with an expanding universe. We even have a Cthulu option, but that didn’t end well for the congregant.”

Church officials hope the devices will strengthen users’ faith.

“We see it as sort of a trainer, like what pilots use before they get in an actual airplane,” church elder Harry ‘Scratcher’ Wrasse said. “There’s no telling what the afterlife will be like. You want to get a hint of what to expect, maybe even a nudge to change your ways.

“A lot of times people’re surprised what they see after programing the headset,” Wrasse said. “One person expected milk and honey and instead got a wasteland and his mouth stuffed with clay.”

The program is not without its critics.

“Jerrod and his cohorts are making a mockery of religious faith,” said the Reverend Pierre Grunt of the Our Lady of Blacktip cathedral. “There is no way that gizmo can provide a glimpse of anything like Heaven. They’re turning religion into a video game.”

Faux-Ever has proved popular with early testers

“I filled out the survey, slipped on the visor, and the next thing I knew I was floating around the reef,” said divemaster Marina DeLow. “The reef’s pretty much my church, so that made sense. And was kinda comforting.”

Others were underwhelmed.

“I expected something nice, the whole 100 virgins sort of thing,” Lee Helm said. “Instead, I wound up sitting on a cloud, playing a harp, surrounded by chubby little angels wearing diapers. I just felt . . . depressed.

“James Conlee, he got eternity at the Sand Spit bar with unlimited beer,” Helm said. “It’s not fair.”

Ephesians is encouraged by Faux-Ever’s successes.

“We’re working on adding more options,” he said. “Going forward, atheists will see a black, blank screen. And for a small donation to the widows and orphans’ fund, we can throw in a séance so you can talk to dead relatives.”

**

Ask Dermott:

Hey, Dermott,

First there was Jefferson Airplane. Then there was Jefferson Starship. Then there was just Starship. Then they were all gone. My question is, who was Jefferson? – Slick With Worry

Slick,

Jefferson was Jefferson Beaumont. Beaumont, Texas’s named after him, too.

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