Archive for: March 2015

In Coma, Games ARRG Great

By Coma News Daily Staff

The school day had already ended, but pairs of boys sat in a dimly lit computer lab at Coma Middle School, hunched over tablets as they worked their way through a series of games.

They were beta-testing a new program from the Coma company Smash-IT Games, which specializes in explosion-related games.

The game was “Blast Town,” based on urban fighting during the recently concluded Iraq War.

It featured challenges such as “Code Breaker,” in which they used logic to decipher a coded puzzle; and “Pipes,” which required connecting a series of pipe bombs.

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Periodically during the hour-long session, Smash-IT programmer Robert McGuiness would collect feedback from the seven boys on what features they liked and didn’t like, and which worked well and not so well.

The event was a meeting of the ARRG Tech — Athletes Really Rule at Gaming — program at the Coma school. The program is designed to boost participation among middle school athletes in technology-related activities.

It was started after its organizers kept hearing from teachers that middle school athletes were losing interest in technology, said McGuiness.

Jocks approach technology differently from non-athletic kids, said McGuiness, whose childhood love of soccer in his native Scotland blossomed into a brief semi-pro career.

“These athletically inclined lads can react to losing more viscerally than most kids and smashed controllers can cut short a rich and rewarding digital experience,” he said

They also need to hear that IT careers are available to more than just the painfully uncoordinated “Marys” and antisocial stalkers, he said.

One local parent, Jax Owen, who was initially skeptical of the program, now counts himself as a leading supporter.

“While most IT jobs will never pay as well as typical jock professions like car sales, lobbying, and working as business professionals, the relatively non-existant stress and steady paychecks could provide plenty of down time hunting, fishing or just hitting the target range to blow off stream,” said Owen, who Owns Jax Used Cars.

Not only has technology changed a lot in recent years, but jocks today seem much more confident in using that technology than they were 10 years ago, MacGuiness said. The program brings in former athletes in tech-related fields to provide role models for the boys.

In May, a data scientist and former ultimate fighter will come talk to the boys, McGuiness said.

“It does spur their interest. It gets them to think ahead and to stop smashing things so much,” he said.

An Organic Artisan

Road kill and weeds among offerings at re-branded Coma retailer.

 
By Coma News Daily Staff
Everything takes a little longer at Bob’s Organic but they wouldn’t have it any other way.
The Coma convenience store, formerly known as Bob’s Mart, re-launched with a remodeled and re-branded store this week. Instead of specializing in cigarettes, liquor, salty snacks, cheap toys and leisure wear, the new store will aim to provide a wide selection of foods and products that are 100% OTC-USDA Certified Organic, truly raw, and free from pesticides, gluten, dairy, soy and processed sugar. Or put plainly, it is mainly expensive road kill and weeds.

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“Instead of shoveling creature comforts to Coma’s blue collar folks, we have evolved to provide guilt-free indulgences to the more enlightened and evolved residents of our community,” said Bob Smith-Smith, the store’s chief artisan.
And is no easy thing to be the mission-driven provider of craft premium organic products when you seek to move beyond traditional organic standards.
“Ever since that big study last year found that organic food isn’t any healthier than conventional food we realized we need to raise the bar to provide only food that occurred completely naturally without any planned human involvement,” Smith-Smith said.
The locally sourced products require a network of contributing regional artisans, like Jax Owen.
“I offered them some of our annual cull of the massive deer herds around town but Bob insisted on only organic,” Owen said. “With the prices they’re paying, I dropped the guns and pretty much just hunt using off-road vehicles these days.”

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Early community benefits of the store include a marked reduction of early spring weeds around town.
“Those guys are paying like $100 a pound for dandelions–dandelions, dude!” said Chase Donovan, a local teen.
This week’s specials include stone-ground acorn butter for only $20 an ounce, pine needle beer six packs for $40, and geese guano spread freshly prepared and priced daily.
At Bob’s, you never know what surprises nature will provide next.

Podcast: Luck of the Luckless

It’s 42 degrees in Coma and no potatoes, shamrocks or little green people were injured in the making of this newscast.

It’s ‘Star Wars Episode II’ meets ‘Serpico’ but with ninjas.

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Are You Strong Enough to Be My Spanx


Sadie Cracker

It’s karaoke night at Bear’s Biker Bar and if that sounds like pressure then you don’t know blarney.
The St. Patrick’s Day themed event primarily consisted of replacing the regular brown beer with green beer, drinking it faster and not caring that your alcohol dry throat can’t carry a tune.

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Tonight’s theme is female ballads, which are sung by drunk bikers with large beards. Charlie, the Coma Librarian, is onstage yelling “R-E-S-P-C-T find out what it means to me”. The tune is slightly off and jarring and after a couple of verses the ballad has moved toward “Danny Boy” and what’s calling him.
My father, Stan, is sitting next to me. Today, he went to leave for his internship with Coma News Daily without his pants. He forgets sometimes. After mom passed away, I moved back to town to help him with these things and it’s not so bad yet that I need to be with him every day. Once he starts to forget the underwear he’ll have to move in with me and then I’ll be dressing my two boys and my father.

“Just a little bit. Just a little bit. Sock it to me,” Charlie sings as he spins and spins all tattooed and light like a heavy metal ballerina.
Dad and Bear the owner of this bar are having a discussion of failings.
“My hip won’t move until about 8:30 in the morning,” Dad said.
“My elbow hurts all the time now,” Bear said.
“My back is so sore I have to sleep on a heating pad,” they both said.
And I shift uncomfortably on my barstool because I’m wearing the hellish Spanx. The “support undergarments” are so constricting that I can’t eat during the day. I’m not sure why I need them or what I am pretending to hold in rather than letting go. Not sure why I am wearing Spanx under jeans. I’m not at a fashion show or wearing an evening gown. No one here even sees me they are either drunk or caught up in their own failings.

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What I do know with increasing certainty is that I can’t breathe. Not helping matters is that onstage Charlie has switched to singing “Breathe” by Faith Hill at the top of his lungs.

Nature’s call seals the deal, I take off through the door that says “Men, Women, Whatever makes you happy,” and face the widely dreaded Spanx removal.
Maybe the problem is me. I keep telling myself the Spanx are the problem but they are just a choice I made.

There’s a place on the bathroom door where Michael wrote our names. Etched there from a bathroom make-out session 15 years ago is “Michael and Sadie forever.” And we were forever before he got sick and died.
The battle to free my body and bladder makes it painfully obvious that the Spanx are not going back on.
So I let go. The Spanx go in the trash can.
Now Charlie is singing Sheryl Crow’s “Strong Enough.”
I go sit beside my dad and give him a hug mid-sentence as he talks about the mole he recently had removed that looked a lot like Billy Joel. “How are you feeling, Sadie?” he said.
“Weightless.” And I quietly sing along with Charlie.

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Beloved News Leader Found

By Coma News Daily Staff

The latest chapter in Coma News Daily’s 100-year-old tradition of being “both in love and at war with its prior self,” began Monday with the hiring of a new editor-in-chief.

An exhaustive–and exhauting– search for a new editor that lasted at least a week and a half resulted in the hiring of S. Michael Knight.

“This newspaper’s most important survival skill has been to attract new champions from beyond its inner sanctum,” said Davis Montgomery, publisher of Coma News Daily.
Knight will take the place of Don Johnson Michaels, a beloved editor who dissappeared in January after obsconding with one of his employer’s prize ponies. Montgomery noted that a $50,000 reward remains available for information that leads to the return of his pony.

Knight, who is recovering from a stroke, will communicate  with his staff through his wife Maeve Knight-Ryder.

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When pressed by a Coma News Daily reporter on the logistical challenges of such a non-traditional arrangement, Montgomery said “it’s the thinking that matters, not the form in which it is conveyed.” The newspaper also is likely to cease publication of its print edition, he said.

Contacted for comment, Knight’s wife said the new editor hopes to bring to bear 20 years of experience writing for the Obituary section of the New York Times and car advertorials for the Lansing Standard.

“If this publication is to be influential, and not merely survive, it can no longer afford to represent the views of one privileged class, nor appeal solely to a small demographic of political elites,” Knight-Ryder said for Knight.

When asked who the “elites” were, Knight-Ryder said only that Knight planned to focus “less on facts of what this town is and more on the hopes and dreams of what it could be.”

Robert McGuiness, a former reporter for Coma News Daily and local media critic, said in an interview at Bear’s Biker Bar that he hoped that the new leadership would help the paper revert to its former role as a trenchant champion for truth.

“and if that doesn’t work they can bring me back.” He then pointed at himself and belched.

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Marlee Bumgartener Ruins Everyone’s Day

This future news was brought to you by T.S. John’s peyote fueled fever dream and does not reflect the views of Coma News Daily.

by Thomas Steven John

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A change of routine for Marlee Bumgartener will produce a cascading serious of unfortunate results for residents throughout the twon this weekend.

Saturday’s fateful choice by Bumgartener, a Coma private detective, came to this reporter in sweat-soaked fever dream.

While ordering coffee this week, Bumgartener will decide to order a Boston cream donut instead of her usual apple strudel, which will completely throw off the day for many other townsfolk.

“We only make a certain amount of Boston Cream donuts per day and Dr. Jimmy usually gets the last one,” said Bob Smith-Smith, who will sell the confection to Bumgartener at his store, Bob’s Mart.

Later in the day, Dr. Jimmy will bowl an 88 during his afternoon league game at a Home for Those Guys, which will lead his team to lose badly.  A bowling alley waiter will feel the brunt of Dr. Jimmy’s anger after a verbal thrashing and 0% tip. The waiter will then go on to serve Mayor Dave Anderson the wrong meal, featuring peanuts to which he is allergic. The growing tip deficit for the week will leave the waiter unable to pay his bi-weekly car payments to Jax Owen who in turn will then miss his own boat payment.

A hastily called press conference Tuesday called by Anderson after this reporter’s queries on the impending doom, revealed the mayor does not believe any of the coming events will occur

“It’s mathematically impossible to predict minute details about a town’s day,” Anderson said.

Despite the Mayor’s doubts, an mob of angry townsfolk will believe the prediction, barricade Bumgartner’s house, and suggest that she take the week off.

“That sounds like something I would do, I don’t care much for change.” Stan Bargmeyer, supposed leader of the mob, said when asked about his future mob forming plans.

 

Podcast: A Hazy Shade of Sasquatch

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