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August 2009
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!----- BREAKING NEWS -----!

This article was originally run on Aug 7, 2009

Boy Fingered in Smelting Incident

Centerville, August 7 (PFM): The source of an exceptionally heinous attack on the olfactory senses a few moments ago has been uncovered.

Other boys who witnessed the event used sound logic, a keen sense of smell, and reliance on the ages old adage of “he who smelt it dealt it,” to identify the perpetrator of the malodorous emanation as none other than Ethan Gholston, age 11, of 358 Main St. in Centerville.

The culprit was fingered by nearly every witness to the crime. Only Ethan’s younger brother Josh remained silent while the offense was being recounted. Investigators believe Josh may be protecting his older sibling.

Within moments of the identification, Ethan was met with swift justice. Quickly convicted under rules of time honored tradition, Ethan was punished with 2 minutes of taunts, insults, and detailed scrutiny of Ethan’s eating habits. The jokes and laughing are to be followed by a 10 minute ostracism.

Ethan will remain on a list of odiferous offenders for the foreseeable future. This will ensure that his friends, relatives, and a particular girl are made aware of the incident.

Ethan will be the first suspect in any future episodes. Investigators are currently sifting through memories of past incidents to ascertain Ethan’s whereabouts at the time.

This is a breaking news exclusive from PFM

News In Briefs - Around the Nation

These articles were originally run on Jul 30, 2009

Cash For Cash Program Meets Goal

Washington (PFM) – Treasury officials say the U.S. government’s popular “Cash for Cash” program has quickly exceeded all expectations and may soon be unnecessary.

The program has taken in a total of $1.3 billion which will go directly to the general fund. This increase to government coffers comes at a good time, as recent weak bond auctions have alighted fears of interest rates hikes.

The plan, which exchanges fresh cash for unused consumer cash, is just part of a multi-pronged strategy to get the economy moving. The rules for participating are complex but that has not dampened interest.

So far, over $1.4 billion has been distributed to participating citizens, with fully one half of that total going to the most economically stressed regions. Consumers, now flush with fresh cash, are expected to open their wallets and spend.

In addition, over 60,000 jobs have been created to administer the plan. About one fifth of those jobs will be necessary to handle the expected influx of tax activity.

Despite the success, some have expressed concerns over the $100 million difference between disbursements and revenues. But officials point out that this variance is much lower than other government programs.

Man Killed, Woman Hospitalized in Sexting Tragedy

Houston (PFM) – Police are investigating a sexting incident in northwest Houston, in which a man was killed and a woman was rushed to the hospital.

At 9:15pm, Houston police were called to a home on Ward Rd. near Woodfield. When they arrived, they found a man clutching his cell phone, who appeared to be in cardiac arrest. The 68 year old man later died at the scene.

An unclothed woman was found leaving the home through a window. She was in a state of panic, but did not otherwise appear to be injured.

The 22 year old woman initially declined treatment, but after being informed that the man’s phone would be held as evidence, she was rushed to Memorial Hermann Hospital for treatment of anxiety. She has remained clothed since that time.

At this point, police don’t know the circumstances surrounding the incident. But pictures have been circulated seeking leads from other officers throughout Houston and surrounding communities.

House Member Unapologetic For ‘Where the Chips?’ Remark

Washington (PFM) – Democrat Cass Mastern of Tennessee is under fire for recent comments he made at a House Ways and Means Committee hearing with the Network of Hispanic Health Professionals.

Network official Rafael de la Cruz had been invited to discuss his group’s concerns regarding the current $1.5 trillion health bill being considered. Mastern interrupted de la Cruz’s presentation, “I get what your saying, but I’ve got to ask, ‘Where the chips and salsa, señor?’”

When asked later to explain his remark, the Representative said he was merely pointing out that “the group is so focused on the meat of the plan, they’ve failed to consider the appetizers.”

He went on to explain that the bill designates nearly $1 million to fight obesity and diabetes within the Hispanic community.

Mastern, who has been inundated with questions all week, lashed out at reporters as he left his office today, “I don’t appreciate the implications. These questions are insulting to me and to the Hispanic community. I love Mexicans. Nobody can deny that.”

When reminded that de la Cruz is Cuban, Rep. Mastern replied, “Well, we don’t do too good with the Cuban vote anyway.”

Reports collected from the wire by Jake M. while in his boxer briefs

Obama: Elves Can’t Solve This Crisis

This article was originally run on Jul 26, 2009

Washington, July 26 (PFM): President Obama yesterday admitted that elves can’t solve our crisis.

“We can’t rely on elves to solve a crisis that Washington has failed to solve for decades,” Obama insisted before a Rose Garden ceremony.

“Change will not come if we wait for elves or some other benevolent beings from Middle Earth to change our fortunes. We are the change that we seek.”

Geithner: “I probably can’t help with this crisis either.”

In a speaking event held later in the day before the International Brotherhood of Grocers, Obama made clear that he has abandoned any hope of elfin help with this terrible crisis.

“When we think of our past, as a nation, as a people, the first thoughts to come to mind are disappointment and frustration. If we seek elfin support with each new crisis, we are merely pushing the problems out to our children.”

The President went on, “Let me remind the American people, the current crisis is not of my making. But I will take on this challenge without the help of elves.” . . . Read on »

Driver’s Education Offering Finds Captive Audience

This article was originally run on Jul 23, 2009

Expert Offers Tips, Tricks, and Trivia

Sudbury Township, July 22 (PFM): Kyle Hoatson, renowned driving expert, conducted an educational seminar Monday evening from 6:30 – 7:15 pm.

The unannounced event was conveniently presented from the passenger seat of Ryan Wilson’s 2003 Honda Civic. The instructional offering consolidated all of Hoatson’s greatest material from his driver’s coaching series into one program.

The training was held as a part of Wilson’s excursion to Sudbury Township to help Hoatson acquire a permanent source of transportation. “I guess it was just my lucky day,” Wilson said.

In addition to general help with directions, Hoatson’s lecture covered a wide range of topics including convenient shortcuts, gas saving habits that work, how to avoid tickets, and proper use of air conditioner controls.

Many advanced topics were also covered in detail:

  • Statistical analysis of lane choice options
  • Failures of traffic engineering
  • The physics of turning, and
  • Psychological profiling through identification of vehicle make/model/year

. . . Read on »

Starbucks “Taking It To The Streets”

This article was originally run on Jul 16, 2009

Recession’s Victims: Underemployed Geniuses Struggle To Be Heard

This story from Editorial Director P Madison is part of an ongoing PFM series on the emotional toll underemployment has taken on our recession stricken workforce

By P Madison
July 16, 2009

Ava Campos readies herself before a full size mirror in her bedroom. At 5:00 a.m. she is not sure if she can handle the day.

“I’m too good for this,” Ava reminds herself. “God I hate stupid people.”

Miss Campos is part of a new pilot program coffee retailing giant Starbucks dubs “Educating the Masses.”

Just after 6 a.m. Campos, 24, takes her place on the sidewalk in the Financial District of Manhattan. She has already worked two days this week. Exhausted, she jokes with a co-worker, “Look at those losers coming out of Dunkin’ Donuts. They don’t even know what a Macchiato is. I bet they didn’t even finish high school.”

Ava was promoted 2 weeks ago from her Barista position at the Cortlandt St. Starbucks where she now stands on the street corner peppering passersby with condescending quips and none too subtle allusions to her Ivy League education.

“Some people call it passive aggression, but I like to call it aggressive passion.”

As the recession has worsened, Starbucks sales have suffered. But Starbucks employees like Campos are front and center in the battle to correct potential customers; or as Ava says, “Fixing stupid.”

Condescension and arrogance are only some of the customer service tools Starbucks has used to build up their brand. But with dwindling business inside, Starbucks has decided to take the fight outside.

Starbucks management believes the primary cause of their dwindling coffee sales is the ignorance of customers who don’t know how to order correctly and are too embarrassed to come in. The “Educating the Masses” program seeks to remedy that.

As CEO Howard Schultz puts it, “If you can’t order properly, you’re going to end up with the wrong drink. Or worse, the help behind the counter will ignore the order entirely. That’s bound to drive away customers.” . . . Read on »

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