Category Archives: Community

Philanthropic Cubs give unused champagne to poor African villagers

African villagers traveled long distances to receive free champagne courtesy of the underperforming Chicago Cubs.

African villagers traveled long distances to receive free champagne courtesy of the underperforming Chicago Cubs.

SOMEWHERE IN AFRICA—After finishing the regular season with 97 victories and home-field advantage throughout the National League playoffs, the Chicago Cubs decided it was OK to buy enough champagne to meet the demands of three locker-room celebrations.

Oops.

Each case of champagne included a handwritten note from Cubs G.M. Jim Hendry.

Each case of champagne included a handwritten note from Cubs G.M. Jim Hendry.

But Cubs officials decided to turn this questionable, jinx-fulfilling purchase into something positive: the team shipped nearly 347 cases of bubbly to an impoverished African village, reportedly located in a little-known area of Sierra Leone’s Bonthe district.

“If the [NFL’s New England] Patriots can clothe Nicaraguans with their presumptive 19–0 T-shirts, then, by God, we can send some of our hastily purchased celebratory alcoholic beverage to Africans who are probably thirsty or something,” said Cubs PR man Jeff Skedsmanik. “Until [Alfonso] Soriano is removed from the leadoff spot and our infielders learn how to catch and/or throw, we won’t need the stuff anytime soon.”

Position players Aramis Ramirez, Kosuke Fukudome, and Ryan “The Riot” Theriot and pitchers Jason Marquis and Ryan Dempster accompanied the shipment to Africa. They were greeted with a hero’s welcome, thanks to an announcement that referred to the players as “2008 World Series champions.”

“What, like they’re going to figure out the truth?” Skedsmanik quipped.

Villagers lined up around the town square to obtain their share of the beverage. Many were disappointed that the Cubs hadn’t sent sport beverage or bottled water or first baseman Derrek Lee.

Tempers flared during the seventh inning of the stickball game between the villagers and the Cubs.

Tempers flared during the seventh inning of the stickball game between the villagers and the Cubs.

Nonetheless, the villagers gave the bubbly a try. Despite a few minor incidents—several villagers fell ill from the alcoholic drink, and Theriot managed to seriously injure a town elder with a stray flying cork—things reached a point where everyone seemed to be having a good time. The villagers ended up challenging the Cubs to a game of stickball, extending the Cubs’ losing streak in the process with a 13-4 beatdown.

“Best of 5?” asked Dempster, who took the loss after giving up eight earned runs in 3-2/3 innings pitched.

Despite the loss, the players who made the trip seemed upbeat.

“Hey, it’s all for the love of the game and your fellow man, albeit one who earns way less money than me,” said Ramirez, who went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in the stickball game. “If it means we can do this next year, I can’t wait to choke in the playoffs again.”

Advertisements

“They all sucked”: No winner declared in coloring contest

OELWEIN, Iowa—In what is thought to be a first, there was no winner declared in the annual First National Bank coloring contest.

Also a first: the judge was arrested for allegedly attempting to assault one of the young artists over work deemed “nothing short of pornographic” by the artwork arbiter.

“The level of talent was obviously lacking,” said contest judge Earl Blads, 73, from a jail pay phone. “I hope to see some improvement next year.”

The contest, sponsored by the bank, has been a mainstay of the Oelwein community for nearly four decades. Previous contests have always produced a clear-cut winner.

This was Blads’ first year judging the contest, and he brought lofty expectations. “I don’t know what they are doing in those schools,” Blads said during his jailhouse interview. “Looks to me like the schools aren’t challenging our children in the coloring and magic marker area.”

There was nary an entry in either the 4–6 or 7–9 age divisions that Blads felt was even close to satisfactory.

“If this was just some leisurely activity, I might be merciful,” Blads said. “But I think my judgment was fair, possibly a bit soft.

“Christ, they all sucked,” he added.

The picture used in the contest featured 11 members of the Peanuts gang, a popular creation by Charles Schulz.

“Not a real challenge,” Blads said.

Alexis Channing, last year’s champion in the 7–9 age group, was back to defend her title. The rather cute 8-year-old was visibly excited as she submitted her entry.

Blads simply handed it back to her, frowning, and muttered, “Not very good.”

When asked to defend the decision that sent the defending champion into a bawling tirade, Blads said: “Did you see Marcie’s hair? Brown! When it should have been burnt sienna!”

Despite the entry disqualifications, bank president Jill Manello decided to hang the entries in the bank window anyway. “I thought they looked okay, aside from the ones that Mr. Blads crumpled up and threw back at the kids,” she said.

Blads allowed the display to happen without interference on his part, although he did bite his lip hard enough to draw blood as the pictures were exhibited. Blads’s face was also a color that he himself would have described as “brick red.”

He could not keep his temper in check after seeing the final entry of the day, submitted by David Jepsen.

Jepsen, a 9-year-old wise beyond his years, had done an admirable job. “He had proper color choices, he had good directional flow, and he stayed within the boundaries,” Manello said. “He did add a bit of freestyle work with a couple of Sharpies, though.”

The entry by David Jepsen in the First National Bank coloring contest led to the arrest of judge Earl Blads, 73, after he attempted to maim the young artist.

The entry by David Jepsen in the First National Bank coloring contest led to the arrest of judge Earl Blads, 73, after he attempted to maim the young artist.

Jepsen took the following liberties:

  • A heart hovering over the heads of two female characters, Marcie and Peppermint Patty, suggesting forbidden love.
  • A lit cigarette dangling from the mouth of Snoopy, and a smoking cigar (labeled “chronic”) pursed by the lips of Franklin.
  • The use of a beer bong by Lucy Van Pelt.
  • Erect penises jutting from the crotch regions of Charlie Brown (who also was sporting sunglasses courtesy of Jepsen) and Linus Van Pelt. The sexual organs found resting places in the mouths of Marcie and Sally Brown, respectively.

“I did the smokes and the shades and the beer bong, but I knew a missing link remained,” the boy said. “Then I noticed the looks of pleasure on Chuck and Linus and the gaping mouth holes on the gals, and wondered why ol’ Schulzie hadn’t thought of drawing the crossed swords himself.”

Blads did not take the artistic expression in stride. He lunged at the youth, reportedly threatening to “rip off Jepsen’s ‘little peach crayon’ and stuff it down his throat.”

“I guess next year we’ll do a background check on our judges,” Manello said.