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Fictitious Times Journal

MONTHLY NEWS STORIES

This is a fictional publication featuring monthly news articles. Unless otherwise indicated, all the names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents in this blog are either the product of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

NEW YORK, FRIDAY, MAY 26, 2023

ARCHEOLOGISTS FIND CLEOPATRA'S TOMB

DIGGERS DISCOVER LAVISH CHAMBER, SKELETAL REMAINS IN EGYPT

Cassandra Mendoza, an archaeologist at the University of Santo Pascuales, has brought her thirty-year search for Cleopatra’s tomb to a close. Mendoza and her dig team unearthed Cleopatra’s final resting place from a 1,500-meter (4,921-foot) tunnel buried 17 meters (56 feet) underground, the Egyptian Minister for Excavation and Antiquities announced today. “Where we found her is an engineering anomaly,” Mendoza told Fictitious Times Journal.

Unlike other excavations Mendoza has conducted in that area of Egypt, this dig was executed without any climate interruptions or equipment malfunctions. “It was remarkable how efficiently we were able to uncover the identifying features of the tunnel and excavate it. I’ve never had a dig go like that,” remarked Mendoza. “There’s always something that needs to be addressed, then we resume as soon as it’s fixed and just hope our permit doesn’t expire before we get a breakthrough.”

The tunnel revealed a ceremonial sanctuary, a manmade grotto, more than 3,000 objects, statues, busts, gold coins, silver pieces, disintegrated sapphires and rubies, a painted corridor featuring Julius Caesar, the Ptolemies, and Queen Cleopatra herself, the Egyptian Minister for Excavation and Antiquities stated.

Keith Rafferty, an artifacts secretary and Egyptologist for the World Institute of Dynastic Rulers, says he has already begun cataloging the objects in the tomb. “We’re amazed by how close the burial site is to the Mediterranean Sea. It’s a wonder it didn’t get submerged beneath the water. It’s like something was protecting it, making sure it didn’t sink into the sea. What a shame it would’ve been to lose all these incredible artifacts because of an earthquake or something. This is a huge win for Egypt and world history,” he noted.

Rafferty and his team have been entrusted with studying the tomb. “This is a queen we’re talking about…all her royal vestiges and personal effects. We want to examine her as a historical figure,” added Rafferty. “We’re hoping her tomb and its surrounding chambers will give us clues about the Museum of Alexandria too. Cleopatra was at the center of history and culture during her time, so what’s in her burial chamber has so many implications, so many layers of importance. It will take some time to fully comprehend the magnitude of all this.”

Cleopatra’s skeleton has been transported to Rafferty’s lab where he will attempt to corroborate her cause of death with historical information. Recorded history indicates that, overcome with despair, she committed suicide by allowing an asp to bite her after Roman general Mark Anthony, her husband, died in her arms in 30 BCE.

“It’s only fitting that the most important archeological discovery of the 21st century is tied to such a romantic and dramatic story. Queen Cleopatra was like a deity, and, as far as we know, her life ended tragically,” said Mendoza in a statement she posted on Twitter today. “From this point on it’s our responsibility to ensure her life is portrayed accurately. We can provide more facts now. Her tomb is full of factual evidence about who she was and what her life was really like. We can finally stop theorizing and start documenting.”

Copyright © 2023 by Kristina León Cuvée

ALABAMA, FRIDAY, JUNE 30, 2023

MAN BECOMES MILLIONAIRE BY CHOOSING TO BE HOMELESS

LIVING IN A TENT, SAVING HIS INCOME RESULTS IN $15 MILLION NET WORTH

Tucked in the forest of the Forever Wild Land Trust, a public land area administered by the State Lands Division of Alabama, there is a tent belonging to Forbes Spademan. Two years ago, the 31-year-old man shirked every cultural norm prescribing a four-walled residence as one’s dwelling and decided to live rent- and mortgage-free in the middle of the wilderness. “It wasn’t a difficult decision for him,” said Spademan’s employer, the Vice President of Operations at The Harridon Lodge, a Four Seasons Resort, Alabama. “He hated being beholden to all the costs of living that come with maintaining a residence, so he got permission to pitch his tent in Forever Wild and now he lives there.”

When asked what it is like to live in the forest while maintaining a full-time, six-figure salary job at a world-renowned company, Spademan had no reservations in touting the benefits of being homeless. “It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. It’s given me the freedom I feel I’m entitled to as a human being. And look what I’ve been able to do with all the money I’ve saved. I’m only 31 and I’m a multimillionaire,” he noted.

Spademan told Tristan Vespertine, a managing editor at Fictitious Times Journal, that it only took him one year to save one million dollars by living this way. “As soon as I heard about Spademan’s homeless by choice lifestyle, I had to do a human-interest piece on him,” remarked Vespertine. “Everything about him fascinates me, most of all his disregard for all things costly, like transportation, electricity, sewage, and water. His success as a self-made vagabond has reminded us that technically you don’t have to spend a ton of money on the cost of living. That’s just a social construct…one that most of us adhere to without question.”

During his interview with Vespertine, Spademan disclosed how he converted his one million in savings into a net worth of 15 million. Using a two-part strategy, Spademan invested most of his money in commodities trades and put the rest in a high-yield savings account. “As the Director of Operations, I make 120 thousand dollars a year and take home 84 thousand after taxes,” said Spademan. “Besides my cell phone, I don’t have any bills, which means I was able to save six thousand dollars every month for a year. I only use about one thousand a month to live on—that includes my cell phone payment, food, toiletries, and batteries for my lanterns. Putting my first year’s savings into commodities yielded a return of one million within a few months. Then I put most of that money into gold, which was a calculated move. I waited until the market had softened a bit. I heard gold was down but was poised to spike soon, so I took a risk and went all in. Fortunately, it paid off.”

As for the money Spademan put in savings, he just lets it grow in his online bank account. By electing to use a 5% APY high-yield account, he makes 750 thousand dollars a year in interest alone. “After I made a bundle from my gold investment, I pulled all my money out of commodities. I’m satisfied with what I have, and I don’t want to gamble anymore. I could quit my job if I wanted, but I like being useful and it keeps me busy,” added Spademan.

“We fully support him. He walks to work every day—1.5 hours both ways—and believe it or not, he never smells!” added the Vice President of Operations at The Harridon Lodge. “He uses the showers at the resort’s gym and buys his essentials at a nearby mini mart. You’d never know he’s homeless. He maintains himself very well.” The Executive Director of the Forever Wild Land Trust, Dick Thatcher, can attest to that. When he visited Spademan’s tent in the North District, he found no indication of waste or trash. “There was no misconduct whatsoever. ‘Leave No Trace’ is our public policy, and that’s exactly what Spademan does,” commented Thatcher.

Although his fortune is not protected in the bank—his savings account only insures up to 250 thousand dollars—Spademan is willing to roll the dice on leaving it in there and letting it collect interest on all 15 million. “I view it as an intelligent risk and I expect good things from the universe,” said Spademan. “What I’ve done isn’t for everyone. I don’t know anyone who’s planning to become homeless like me. But extreme minimalism has been so liberating for me. I’ve loved every minute of it and one day I plan to take my experiment to the Caribbean Sea and use my wealth to plant a meadow of sea grass. We desperately need sea grass to keep the earth’s atmosphere chugging along. It basically has influenza right now—we’re choking it to death with all our industrial spew. Thankfully, sea grass fights climate change by sucking up carbon. It’s like the lungs of the planet…it captures carbon from the atmosphere 35 times quicker than tropical rainforests. I feel it’s my duty to live on less now so future generations can live at all.”

Copyright © 2023 by Kristina León Cuvée

ARIZONA, FRIDAY, JULY 28, 2023

CHILD’S BRAIN SCAN INDICATES FUTURE SERIAL KILLER

NEW AI-ENABLED PSYCOPATHY SCREENING PUTS CHILD IN CUSTODY FOR CRIMES YET TO BE COMMITTED

Today a child was taken into custody for a crime he has not committed but will eventually commit, according to a new type of brain scan. In efforts to advance AI applications in crime prevention, the Center for Predictive AI Brain Imaging has begun scanning the brains of adults, children, and infants to screen for characteristics that predict future criminal behavior. The center’s Principal Researcher, Dr. Charles Bombardo, advised the Phoenix Police Department to keep the 5-year-old in custody based on what he saw in the child’s imaging results.

 

“As of right now, we don’t have any legislation governing how we navigate this moral dilemma,” noted Dr. Bombardo. “This is relatively new territory for many law enforcement professionals, and we don’t have a clear path for future criminals while they’re still in the incubation period. The development of psychopathy can occur in infancy, early childhood, adolescence, or any phase of adulthood. So how do we, as a society, monitor serial killers in the making when we know the end result will always be the same? They’re going to be killers.”

 

Detective Chorro Gallegos is managing the child’s case at the Phoenix Police Department. Although Brett Hanover is only 5 years old, his cherub-like face and kindergarten voice will not free him from police custody until Detective Gallegos is certain that he is not a danger to anyone. “I have seen many imaging signatures like Brett’s before,” remarked Gallegos. “People with brains like his will inevitably act on their compulsions and begin a pattern of homicidal activity. Not all serial killers are psychopaths and not all psychopaths are serial killers, but we cannot be too careful, especially given the child’s history.”

 

Hanover’s parents consulted a criminal psychologist at the Crime Neuroscience Institute for a second opinion. Juliana Ginsberg, PhD, studied their child’s psychopathy screening report and concurred with Dr. Bombardo’s evaluation. “Based on AI-enabled predictive modeling, I completely agree with the recommendation that the child be detained,” said Dr. Ginsberg. “Everything is there in detail—I could even tell you what Brett’s modus operandi will be in the future. How he’ll choose his victims, the profile of victim he’ll be drawn to, how often he’ll strike, what he’ll do after he strikes, and so forth.”

 

Dr. Ginsberg told Fictitious Times Journal that crime prevention is a top priority for scientists and technologists alike. By looking at things like anatomical characteristics, neurological activity, and behavioral patterns starting from infancy, psychologists can identify maladaptive coping mechanisms that gradually root themselves in traits like aggression and violence. “These are structural and neurological domains that are tied to personality and various parts of brain anatomy,” added Dr. Ginsberg. “I can tell from Brett’s imaging that he has virtually non-existent levels of empathy due to the thickness of his frontal lobes—his lobes are extremely thin—and that he has numerous hallmarks of advanced psychopathy. If I were to examine him, I bet his pleasure and pain centers would respond how you’d expect them to in a person that is an experienced murderer.”

 

Since the use of AI-enabled brain imaging is fairly nascent in the field of law, Dr. Bombardo thinks the best course of action is to hold Hanover in custody while Detective Gallegos develops a surveillance plan with his parents. “It may seem farfetched by looking at him,” said Dr. Bombardo, “but this child could begin exhibiting dangerous behavior at any moment, and indeed already has. That’s why his parents took him to their primary care physician and their physician referred Brett to me. The child killed a neighbor’s dog by bashing its head with a flowerpot, then left the dog on the neighbor’s doorstep with a fingerpainting of a smiley face made from the dog’s blood. Evidently, the neighbor wasn’t home when it happened, but they caught the whole thing on video thanks to their door camera.”

 

When asked what happens next in Hanover’s case, Detective Gallegos said the State of Arizona needs to design laws for these special circumstances. There are no protocols for managing future killers—people who have yet to commit crimes but are scientifically proven to become dangerous. Similarly, no laws exist to protect people like Hanover—individuals who are not yet guilty of a crime but are inevitably going to become perpetrators of evil. “In cases like Brett’s,” added Dr. Bombardo, “environmental and developmental interventions won’t do anything. Neither will nurturing, responsive parenting. We need to use predictive AI modeling to prevent the results of psychopathy, and where possible psychopathy itself. Unfortunately for Brett, we’re dealing with the former and not the latter.”

 

Copyright © 2023 by Kristina León Cuvée

MALTA, FRIDAY, AUGUST 25, 2023

SCUBA DIVERS MAKE CONTACT WITH ALIENS

UNDERWATER COLONY OF EXTRATERRESTRIALS FOUND OFF THE COAST OF MALTA

Malta is probably not where most people would expect to find an answer to the age-old question, “Are we alone in the universe?” But today Malta’s southeastern coast has police officers struggling to contain all the foreign press demanding information about the underwater colony of extraterrestrials that was discovered yesterday. “So much has happened so fast. We are trying to determine who shares responsibility for making decisions right now,” said Prime Minister Matthias Bianco in a press conference this morning. “Maritime law dictates that the alien colony is in Malta’s territory, located just east of Marsaskala, therefore President Valdez and I are directing actions without input from foreign agencies at this time.”

 

Yesterday afternoon the prime minister announced that the Republic of Malta had found aliens in its waters, though he did not share details about what exactly had been discovered. In response to his press conference, many countries have weighed in on how Malta should handle the discovery. “Until further notice, we are only granting ocean access to the scientists that found the colony. In addition, we are allowing a team of researchers from the Planetary Geology Research Group to investigate. These two parties are best equipped to evaluate and advise,” stated President Andreas Valdez.

 

In the hours following the president’s statement, an international debate about who is entitled to act on the knowledge that extraterrestrials are off the coast of Malta has ensued. Though many world leaders have expressed their views, Prime Minister Bianco and President Valdez have remained firm that no other nation or regulatory agency will be permitted near the colony without approval from Malta’s government officials.

 

The team that stumbled upon the colony yesterday is from the University of Vienna. They arrived in Malta two months ago to conduct research on the origins of its seven megalithic sites. Their project leader, Dr. Johannes Böhm, was the one who spotted the colony when they were scuba diving. In an interview with Fictitious Times Journal, he said that it is his job as an evolutionary anthropologist to gather evidence to support his theory that the megalithic temples scattered across Malta were built by ancient aliens. “My team and I have been studying the island for weeks and we wanted to search for proof in the ocean, to get a marine perspective,” noted Dr. Böhm. “Until yesterday we had been focusing on the temples of Ggantija, Tarxien, and Hagar Qim. As we made more progress, we figured we are all experienced scuba divers, so why not explore the role that the Mediterranean Sea played in the temples’ construction. The ocean is always hiding secrets.”

 

It was around one o’clock in the afternoon yesterday, just as Dr. Böhm and his team were getting ready to surface, when they spotted alien structures in the side of a sea cliff. “It was not what we expected to find. We were looking for stones matching those of Ggantija and stuff like construction tools, or maybe alien equipment. Anything pointing to remnants of non-human technology. Never did we expect to find actual aliens,” added Dr. Böhm. “It is an odd location to situate their colony, in my opinion, but who knows why they chose to build there. As much as we would like to study them and explore their colony, we dare not disturb them.”

 

Benoîte Lavelle, the commander in charge of the Planetary Geology Research Group’s investigation, has already made a submarine excursion to see the colony for herself. “As the submarine operator, I hold the crew’s safety in my hands,” stated Lavelle. “We don’t currently have a way of interacting with the aliens to determine whether or not they pose a threat. Based on what we observed in our first voyage, they appear to have a protective shield around their structures. The closest we came to a member of their colony was when a life form emerged from the cliff, penetrated the shield, and approached our vessel. It came right up to the window and stared at us for one minute and 35 seconds before it disappeared. We couldn’t see it in detail—the water was pretty murky—but it was slimy-looking and had opalescent skin.”

 

Many questions remain about what the presence of the colony means and how to respond. For example, is the shield that Lavelle described for the aliens’ protection from humans, ocean conditions, or both? Does her team’s submarine encounter indicate that the colony wants to engage with us or not? “At present we do not have enough information to initiate a strategy. They are not hurting us, so we will not try to hurt them,” said Prime Minister Bianco. “Malta does not have a Project Blue Book, Majestic 12, or AATIP-type organization like America. Besides Dr. Steven Greer, the American ufologist, we do not want the U.S. involved because they do not share our values. Dr. Greer, however, has extensive expertise with alien communication. He knows people who have studied crashed spacecraft—all the ships that Americans have downed with missiles over the years. In terms of foreign intelligence, I am only interested in his guidance on how we proceed with attempting communication.”

 

The prime minister said until he and the president are ready to make a move, the most important thing is that Malta controls the narrative. “Now that knowledge of the colony’s existence is in the public domain, there will be no need for a disclosure project, whereby carefully selected pieces of information, photographs, and video are gradually leaked to the public,” said Prime Minister Bianco. “I cannot think of anything more insulting to human beings than treating them like toddlers that cannot tolerate facts about their own world. Withholding valuable information about the presence of extraterrestrials is a crime against humanity. That is why we shared our awareness of the colony straightaway. People deserve to know.”

 

Copyright © 2023 by Kristina León Cuvée

FLORIDA, FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2023

DONALD TRUMP, MICHELLE OBAMA START WINERY TOGETHER

PLANS UNDERWAY TO OPEN PURPLE PALM WINERY BY SUMMER 2024

Former First Lady Michelle Obama and former President Donald Trump are setting aside their partisan politics to join forces as co-founders of a winery. Obama discussed the details of their plans on a podcast last night, stating that the winery will be located northeast of Boca Raton, FL, not too far from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. “We kept bumping into each other at various places and finally we got to chatting about how much we love wine,” said Obama. “Then we had this wild idea to open a winery together, and that’s essentially what started it. Over the past year or so we’ve exchanged hundreds of emails, had lots of phone calls, done all the things you’d imagine to get things up and running.”

Trump spoke of their shared affinity for wine when he sat down with Fictious Times Journal for a Netflix special titled Purple Dynasty: From Rivals to Rebels that will begin streaming next month. “I don’t care about donkeys versus elephants anymore. Blue versus red…it’s all so boring,” stated Trump. “Michelle feels the same way, so we’re doing this together. It’s a great idea. I love the idea. Everyone teaching us about soil and sun is good. They’re all good people. I know these people.”

The unlikely business partners have chosen Muscadine grapes for the majority of their vineyard. While it could take between two to three years for their newly-planted vines to start producing fruit, they will borrow mature grapes from friends in the industry until their vines are ready for harvesting. Over the past few months, they have been making joint visits to their vineyard as they learn about winemaking and check on their construction site. “The winery will be right next to the vineyard in a classic sort of way,” noted Obama. “It’s going to look like an old sugar plantation, but modern and fancy, and feature historical information about the slave trade when it was active along the Atlantic coast. We want the winery to acknowledge the legacy of trauma that slavery left in the South, plus how both sides—the Union and the Confederacy—came to blows over an immoral ideology. Donald and I see today’s feud between Republicans and Democrats as history repeating itself. That’s why we’re starting the Purple Palm Winery. We’re merging both sides of the aisle to find common ground, blending red and blue to make purple.”

As far as Trump is concerned, though, not all battles have been laid to rest just because he and Obama have teamed up for a new business venture. “I’m a port guy and she likes sweet stuff…sparkling reds and, you know, sangria. We haven’t decided on our menu yet, so we’ll see who wins that argument,” commented Trump. Their head vintner, Kai Tanaka, said the dynamic duo have been learning about the winemaking process during their monthly visits to Florida’s wine country. “The Muscadine grape has specific needs. It requires a self-fertile variety every third plant to ensure good fruit production,” stated Tanaka. “I’ve been instructing Donald and Michelle on sun exposure, drainage, acid level in their soil’s pH, how to space each plant, and all that fun stuff. These grapes have been grown in Florida for winemaking for hundreds of years, so they know what they want from their environment: beautiful conditions, just like Donald.”

In her podcast appearance, Obama stated that she was excited for people to sample the distinct flavor of their grapes when they visit the winery for wine tastings. “The Purple Palm Winery was just certified by the Florida Farm Winery Program, so that’s something to celebrate,” noted Obama. “We’ll have to maintain a certain amount of annual production, public tours, and tastings to meet the certification’s quota. Our grapes are very aromatic and high in antioxidants, so I’m hoping that won’t be an issue. Donald wants to sell a warm mulled wine for the holidays, and I adore a sparkling red in the summer, so no matter when you visit, our wine will provide a lot of health benefits. That’s the whole point of the Purple Palm Winery: to bring people together and show the world that partisan politics is so destructive. There is no red versus blue, and no anti this versus pro that. When you come to our winery, you’ll feel the wellness, the balance between yin and yang. You’ll notice the palm trees surrounding the property have purple uplighting and bunches of purple grapes instead of coconuts. This place is our way of showing people that Donald and I are sick of the ‘us versus them’ story and have chosen wellness over war. We’re leading by example.”

 

Copyright © 2023 by Kristina León Cuvée

CALIFORNIA, FRIDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2023

ELON MUSK SURVIVES 300-DAY CRYOGENIC CHAMBER TEST 

PROVIDES PROOF OF CONCEPT FOR PRE-DEATH LIFE EXTENDING FREEZE

A recent trend among the mega-rich has made its way into Elon Musk’s portfolio of disruptions to the existing world order. As if leaving planet Earth to colonize Mars and driving the world’s transition to sustainable energy were not enough, Musk is also taking on the human life span.

Less than a day after his scheduled resuscitation from a 300-day hibernation spent in the comfort of his own cryonic chamber, his team of medical professionals say he is doing well and showing impressive levels of physical and cognitive function. Barely six hours after being revived from a -196°C (-320°F) cryonic freeze, Musk took to his social media platform X (formerly Twitter) with his first message to the world: “I’m ready to live forever.”

Perhaps being ultra-ultra-ultra-high-net-worth increases one’s quality of life to such a pronounced degree that it causes billionaires to not want their lives to end at all. Musk is not alone in his desire to cheat death, and, indeed, the aging process itself. Several other Silicon Valley tech tycoons have also bought tickets on the immortality wagon. PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos find themselves in good company with Musk, each having a unique ability to invest a portion of their wealth in cryonic technologies. Whether they are funding postmortem or premortem cryonic hibernation studies, they believe this field of innovation offers the possibility of extending lives for decades beyond the average human life expectancy.

By backing life extension companies, this brotherhood of technology gurus hopes to freeze itself at a pre-determined time in their lives, only to be revived when scientists have cracked the code to living longer lives: a chemically induced reprogramming of cells to reverse cellular aging.

But Musk is taking a different approach. Of this elite circle, he is the only one to invest millions of dollars in his own cryonic chamber, which is situated deep inside his Hillsborough, CA, home in the San Francisco Bay Area. “I named my life extension enterprise CryoDeep because it’s located deep in the underbelly of my home, and it can perform a deep body freeze,” Musk told Fictitious Times Journal the day before his chamber test began. “Prolonging human life and staving off death has become a passion for some. For me, it’s an obsession! I don’t want the life span of a moth in the grand scheme of things. Eight decades is not enough for me.”

Before Musk emerged from hibernation, no one had successfully attempted to cryonically suspend their life before they had died. “Until Elon, there was no proven method for safely freezing a non-deceased person and bringing them back to life,” stated Dr. Peter Davenport, the chief medical examiner at the Cryonic Life Extension Research Center.

“Many people think cryonic preservation is simply a matter of putting someone in a freezer for later use, like a bag of peas or loaf of bread. In fact, it’s an intricate and dangerous process,” said Dr. Davenport. “Thanks to Elon’s investment in CryoDeep and our research collaboration, we now have a first-generation procedure that we can use for clinical trials. He’s shown we can prevent the harmful effects of vitrification on the vascular system during a long-term cryosleep. There was no data on premortem hibernations before—not even a case study.”

Hundreds of deceased people have already been cryopreserved in cryonics facilities across the world, but cryogenics researcher Linda Perlotta, PhD, says engaging cryonic preservation science before death is a totally different ballgame. As the lead microbiologist at The Immortality Research Initiative, she investigates how cryonically freezing humans can enable people to hit pause on their life cycle before it ends. “Cryonics provides the opportunity to interrupt the dying process until the scientific conditions are favorable for reversing biological aging, slowing cellular decay, and remedying the effects of disease. Right now people can pay two hundred thousand to store their full body or eighty thousand dollars for just their brain after they’re dead. But imagine what we could do with a facility filled with frozen people who haven’t died. Someone born this year could still be walking this earth in the year 2200 or beyond.” 

 

Copyright © 2024 by Kristina León Cuvée

NEW YORK, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2023

TAYLOR SWIFT SWEARS OFF CELL PHONES AND POLLUTION

RETAILERS, TELECOM PROVIDERS SCRAMBLE AS SWIFTIES FOLLOW SUIT

Telecommunication companies like Verizon and T-Mobile are bracing for impact as thousands of Taylor Swift’s fans copy her choice to be more environmentally sustainable for the rest of their lives by renouncing their cell phones, among other things.

Last week Swift began a cultural phenomenon like only a global superstar of her stature could with the tap of a finger. And how did she accomplish this, you might ask? By simply posting a picture of herself on Instagram holding her cell phone, a bottle of water, and a t-shirt over a recycling bin in the middle of Times Square, NY, with a short caption beneath it: “Time to reconnect with what matters most. I’m done with cell phones, plastics, and new clothes. We are never, ever, ever getting back together…until they do no harm to our precious planet.”

Like the pied piper, Swift now has droves of people following her decision to sever ties with cell phones, plastic-based consumer products, and new clothing in efforts to clean up the environment and their social relationships. Since Swift’s announcement, fans of all ages have made their own public pledges to disavow themselves of mobile phones and new clothing, as shown by social media posts of them throwing away their phones and walking into clothing stores only to walk right back out emptyhanded. Many Swifties have also adopted her commitment to non-consumption of plastic products, as evidenced in TikTok videos of them crying as they finish their last sip of a bottled beverage and then tossing the bottle in a recycling bin as the song “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” plays in the background. 

Swift explained why she parted ways with these items in a series of her own TikTok videos, none of which include a request that others do the same. “This is a personal choice that I made. I don’t expect anyone else to do it too,” Swift remarked in one such video. “I’m tired of having conversations with people while they stare at their cell phones and nod. People that care about me do it, people on my staff do it. Everyone does it. But I don’t want to be like that, so from now on I’ll only use email to manage my music career and communicate with my loved ones. Everyone else can call me at home or send me a letter.”

This video features her sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch of her Nashville estate, petting a calico kitten in her lap as she discusses her desire to revitalize the art of letter writing. “I love putting pen to paper with my feather quill like they did in the olden days. Communication is so impersonal now…so sterile,” noted Swift. “I want to bring back the romance of committing to plans I made two weeks ago and having to keep those plans because there’s no quick way of changing them a million times. I want the excitement of getting a physical letter delivered to me and the joy of sitting down at my desk to respond.”

Among the reasons she gives for relinquishing new clothing, she cites the environmental toll of clothing pollution as her main motivation. “Textile production (also known as fashion, apparel, and clothing) is the second-largest water polluter and water consumer in the world,” said Swift. “I’ve got so many clothes; I don’t need to acquire more. I could change outfits 10 times a day for the rest of my life and never repeat the same look.”

Her video about giving up plastic products includes footage of marine animals tangled up in plastic garbage and a turtle trying to eat the nipple of a baby bottle. “We feed children with plastic bottles, but plastics and packaging often end up in the natural environment where they can kill or injure wildlife,” Swift added. “We need to manage our microplastics problem so that it doesn’t kill or injure living things. Until we find a way to safely discard and dissolve plastics, we need to cut back on them. By not participating in plastics usage, I become part of the solution.”

Since Swift’s pledge went viral a week ago, new hot spots of telecom customers cancelling their cell phone contracts with their providers have been appearing on heat maps every day. Retailers like Proctor & Gamble and Walmart have reported notable dips in sales revenue, and Amazon’s Executive Vice President of ESG & Social Impact, Dahlia Chaplain, told Fictitious Times Journal she has seen a significant increase in “plastic-free” product searches in the past week.

While no one can say for sure whether these fluctuations in economic behavior can be attributed to Swift’s announcement, there is a historically strong link between Swift’s actions and consumer activity. As Chaplain put it: “Where Taylor goes, many others go. At Amazon we’ve seen a huge uptick in stationary purchases since she invited the world to return to letter writing. The NFL gained a large swath of net-new female viewers thanks to her, and the hospitality industries of many countries greatly benefited from her Eras Tour. There’s no denying her influence, and I’m glad she’s using it to demonstrate social and environmental responsibility.”

 

Copyright © 2024 by Kristina León Cuvée

LOS ANGELES, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2023

TIME CAPSULE UNEARTHED FROM WALT DISNEY’S BACKYARD

COLLECTION OF TREASURES, LETTERS REVEALS SHOCKING INSIGHTS INTO HIS LIFE

Margaret Welch did not expect to make one of the most fascinating discoveries of her lifetime when she began uprooting sunflowers in her backyard last week. As the new owner of “Walt Disney’s Storybook Mansion” in Los Angeles, she had every right to keep what she pulled out of the ground, but instead chose to alert the Disney family to what she unearthed from her garden: a time capsule that belonged to Walt himself.

When Welch’s gardening trowel struck something solid, she continued digging until she uncovered an object that was stuck in the soil. Buried approximately one foot beneath the surface of her garden was a brass chest with gold hinges. “I had no idea what it was when I first pried it out. It looked like a pirate’s treasure chest…something you might see in a movie,” remarked Welch. “There was no lock on it, but it was hard to get open!” She finally yanked the lid off with a pair of garden shears, and soon realized she had found a time capsule that Disney had, at some point, hidden in the backyard of his Holmby Hills home when he lived there from 1932 to 1950, over half a century before Welch purchased the property.

“The chest was full of personal effects belonging to Walt. All kinds of interesting things, and some a bit surprising,” added Welch. In an exclusive interview with Fictitious Times Journal, she described what was in the chest: President Abraham Lincoln’s signed copy of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which included a personal note from the author, Harriet Beecher Stowe; a Ouija board from New Orleans; a Navajo Indian black crystal; a map of Fort Knox; and a series of letters exchanged between Disney and Adolf Hitler.

Of all the effects, Welch confessed that she was most shocked by the letters. “Evidently, Walt had been corresponding with Hitler in earnest between 1943 to 1944, imploring Hitler to stop the Holocaust,” said Welch. “After reading the letters, I almost felt sorry for Walt, to be honest. His naïve optimism comes through in each one, and to me it’s clear that he thought his efforts could influence Hitler; that maybe there was good in Hitler that just needed to be harvested out of him.”

The following day she gave the letters to the patriarch of the Disney family, as well as the other things in the chest. “I couldn’t keep any of that stuff because it didn’t belong to me,” Welch continued. “I’m sure there will be updates about it in the news, and I’ll stay in touch with the family in case they want my help. Some of those artifacts are bound to stir up trouble, if you ask me.”

Indeed, the map of Fort Knox went missing after Welch relinquished it to the Disney family. According to Welch, it featured a secret entrance to the United States’ gold depository and a phone number to call if the map was ever found. “I called the number, obviously, and a gentleman answered the phone. He told me to meet him at a specific location to discuss what I’d found, but that seemed a little suspicious to me. Instead, I called the family and the curator of The Disney Family Museum in San Francisco and told them about my discovery.”

The museum curator, Willamina Padovano, met with the family to assist them with analyzing Walt’s effects. “I spent two days inventorying the contents of the time capsule,” said Padovano. “I was intrigued by the Navajo crystal, especially, but also the map.” Without consulting the family, Padovano took it upon herself to contact the United States Mint Police—the federal law enforcement agency that protects the gold depository at Fort Knox—to see if they could dispatch an officer to evaluate the validity of the map. “I just wanted an expert to authenticate it. There was a hidden tunnel on the blueprint that literally said, ‘Secret Underground Entrance to Depository,’” she stated. Today, only a few days after receiving the time capsule from Welch, the family denied the existence of the map, and Padovano was forced to rescind her request for an evaluation from the Mint Police. “I know what I saw, but I’m not getting involved,” said Padovano.

 

Copyright © 2024 by Kristina León Cuvée

BERMUDA, FRIDAY, JANUARY 26, 2024

PENGUIN-PILOTED DRONES UNLOCK BERMUDA TRIANGLE

TRACKING DEVICES TRACE PENGUINS’ PASSAGE THROUGH WORMHOLES

On the island of Bermuda there is a nondescript office building occupied by a small team of scientists who investigate the phenomenon best known as the Bermuda Triangle. Today they sent out a press release announcing they are no longer in the data collection phase of their investigation and have begun the data analysis and conclusions phase. In a subsequent statement made public through a morning news broadcast, the team said it officially traced the whereabouts of a drone aircraft that disappeared from their radar three days ago while flying over the Bermuda Triangle.

These researchers run the Beyond Science Research Lab and specialize in investigating paranormal phenomena. In a statement to Fictitious Times Journal, Rusty Jackson, the engineer who develops the technology for their projects, said the Bermuda Triangle is their crown jewel of mysteries to be solved. “We’ve invested a massive amount of resources into figuring out what’s going on in the Bermuda Triangle. Without a doubt it’s the holy grail of paranormal phenomena in our world, and we just uncovered the first major clue to understanding where all those missing airplanes, cargo ships, naval vessels, and people aboard them went when they disappeared inside the triangle,” said Jackson.

“The triangle,” as Jackson put it, is common parlance for a defined region in the western section of the North Atlantic Ocean where a significant number of ships and aircraft have vanished over the past few centuries. Surrounded by Florida, Puerto Rico, and Bermuda, this triangular zone is the span of Atlantic Ocean that constitutes the center of these three land masses. Although it was first identified as a hot spot for sea vessel and airplane vanishings in 1950, the earliest record of the phenomenon dates all the way back to 1840, making it one of the most well-documented mysteries in modern history.

Dr. Daryl Donahue, the lead field researcher at the Beyond Science Research Lab, operates the drone airplanes the team uses to generate tracking data, which forms the basis of its investigations. For their latest study, he deployed five drones from a hidden cove on the coast of Bermuda where the team maintains a private airplane hangar. “Over a series of five weeks, I launched five drones into the hottest zone of the triangle—where the majority of ships and aircraft have gone missing,” noted Dr. Donahue. “I outfitted the drones with Rusty’s tracking systems so we could trace them if they disappeared somewhere in the triangle. We wanted to see if the drones went where we hypothesized they would go, and, basically, they did.”

While other paranormal enthusiasts have proffered similar hypotheses, none have been able to prove theirs. As Dr. Donahue stated in his study, “We expect the aircraft and pilots to get scooped up by a quantum field outside our spacetime continuum,” (Donahue et al., 2024). “To test this theory, we manned the drone aircraft with penguins so we could use their biological signatures to keep resonance with the tracking sensors that Jackson fabricated for the investigation.”

Petra Masterson, PhD, is the team’s physicist and biologist who is monitoring the penguins’ progression through the quantum field that Dr. Donahue alluded to. “Believe it or not, it’s easier to trace biological matter through a wormhole than pure quantum properties,” commented Dr. Masterson. “In the quantum field, the Einstein-Rosen bridge—also referred to as a wormhole—is what we confirmed is responsible for the aircraft and sea vessel disappearances. Our findings will be published in multiple scientific journals where the quantum phenomenon will be discussed in greater detail. Starting with the technological, biological, and physics-based variables that our constructs are designed to test, and advancing to the measures we based on Einstein’s field equations in our methodology.”

Ultimately, all five drones disappeared inside the triangle, but they all have tracking devices tracing the penguins as they traverse another dimension in the fabric of spacetime. “We chose penguins as our test subjects because they can go a long time without food. Sometimes over one hundred days,” added Dr. Masterson. “In the event that they disappeared, we wanted to ensure a long window to track them. We had to design the study in this way, even though some might consider it unethical. Until we have a better method, biological organisms are the most effective means of following spacecraft through a wormhole. If the penguins are somewhere comprised of matter, hopefully they’ll find food or someone will feed them.”

Whether or not these findings provide closure to the surviving relatives of people who have vanished in the Bermuda Triangle, the team’s investigation into the paranormal activity surrounding it has shed light on one of the most famous phenomena of the modern age. “To solve mysteries like the Bermuda Triangle, we need to not only think outside the box but smash the box and forget the whole concept of a box,” remarked Jackson. “The spacetime continuum transcends material reality. That’s why we use quantum mechanics to understand it and how it coexists with our world. This is only the start of our journey into the universe. Maybe one day we’ll find the people and penguins that went missing, but at least we know they didn’t just cease to exist—they’re in another dimension.”

Copyright © 2024 by Kristina León Cuvée

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