Reporting the news is serious business. In fact, it's so serious that on deadline day you'll find many of us pulling the hair out of our heads, pacing nervously back and forth between the printer and our desks, and mumbling incessantly to ourselves, "It rubs the lotion on its skin, or else it gets the hose again," all the while thinking about skinning our coworkers alive. The pressure is just so dang bad. Actually, it's nothing like that at all. Things are pretty chill. But that doesn't mean that we don't like a break from reporting the serious news of the day — whether it's about school choice vouchers or the troubles at the CSO. We like to let our hair down just as much as the next guy. We like to get a little foolish. And what better time to get silly with the news than on April Fool's Day? Enjoy.
The apparel retail chain Suburban Outfitters has announced plans for a new branch at Fort Sumter. The store is set to open just in time for the height of tourist season in Summer 2009.
It's been six years since the company opened its first Charleston branch on Romney Street. The triumphant endeavor reflects a nationwide success story for the chain, which reported revenues of $77 billion for the last fiscal year.
"When people come to Charleston, one of the first things they want to do is visit Fort Sumter," said Suburban Outfitters President Chuck Biscuits. "The second thing they want to do is shop. We're just combining the two."
The National Park Service has wholeheartedly approved the plan, part of a nationwide attempt to cut operating costs by partnering with the private sector and rebranding nationally known but profit-neutral sites.
In addition to performing their regular duties of security, resource management, and protection, Park Rangers will act as "greeters" when shoppers arrive at the fort, directing them to the relevant departments. According to blueprints released today, Battery Isaac Huger will be transformed into a furniture department and the Officers' Quarters will feature menswear. Women's apparel will be out on the west terreplein. The distinctive main flag pole, visible from Charleston harbor, will be converted into a cell phone tower.
The U.S. Department of the Interior also announced the rebranding of Yellow Cab National Park, Mount Walmart, the Lincoln Town Car Memorial, and the Google Canyon. The Virgin Islands will retain their original name.By Nick Smith
Frustrated by the continued debate over the Angel Oak Terrace subdivision on Johns Island, Charleston County Council announced a plan this week that should appease environmentalists and developers alike. After a March report concluded that the tree's death will be "considerably accelerated" by the development, Council member Wayne Kerr suggested that the tree's demise could help the community. He wants to use the massive oak to generate electricity.
"This development has already been approved, so let's make the best of the situation," says Kerr, who introduced a proposal to hire an arborist who can determine which of the Angel Oak's limbs are most likely to die off quickly.
He adds, "If we can get to those before rot and fungus set in, they'll be an excellent source of electricity for the new condominiums planned for construction on the site."
"Old growth live oak trees are an optimal source of power generation," says Jack Haas, manager of the North Rhett Incinerator. "In a time when the environment is of growing concern, there's truly no greener source of electricity."
Burning the Angel Oak will be a gradual process, staying one step ahead of the tree's natural death as the development encroaches. It's estimated that the full incineration will coincide closely with the 20-year proposed extension of the incinerator contract.By Stratton Lawrence
Charleston City Council member Francis Fussbudget says he's so discouraged by how some downtown residents dress for the day that he wants to establish a "snappy-looking" uniform dress code.
The long-serving, khaki-clad official's most recent proposal is based on sharp observations that some locals wear questionable attire around the peninsula's southernmost neighborhoods, such as jogging suits, basketball shoes, sweat pants, and athletic jerseys.
"If the classic preppy look is stylish enough for the tailors and clerks at the M. Dubai & Sons on King Street, it should be stylish enough for every Charleston gentleman and lady," said Fussbudget during a press conference held at Waterfront Park on Monday. The senator was elegantly dressed-down, wearing a yellow Oxford with a navy-blue necktie embroidered with mallard ducks and golden retrievers. "That's why the new Preppy Dress Code ordinance should pass with flying pastel colors.
"Genuine Charlestonians should dress appropriately because visitors from the Upstate still see them as role models," Fussbudget added. "Would you want someone from off to glimpse a gal or a fella as they perused down a city avenue without cuffed slacks, proper leather shoes, pressed dungarees, or a seersucker blazer? How would you feel if your sister or daughter was caught devoid of any bright green, lavender, or pink by a tourist's clicking camera? Those sad notions dilapidate the soul, I mean to tell ya."
Some in the legislature say they're rankled by the language, tone, and peculiar specifics of Fussbudget's Preppy Dress Code bill. Several others expressed polite support this week.By Pelzer McCants
Charleston's long-standing reputation as the nation's "Most Polite City" came to a sudden end on Tues., March 31, when Mitchell "The Mick" Cutler, a former Ohioan and now South of Broad resident, went on a profanity rampage on peninsula streets.
His vulgar display began on busy King Street, where Cutler tripped over the bluestone sidewalk. Witnesses say he was able to keep his balance, but the incident led to a stream of dirty words that left most onlookers aghast and a few scratching their heads.
"I don't know what a 'dongle' is, but I'm pretty sure he wasn't using the word correctly," says Lilly Rothbin.
An hour later at a bike rack near the College of Charleston campus, a witness saw someone who matched Cutler's description apparently enraged over his bike being stolen. When college junior Chip Lester told the angry victim that everyone gets their bike stolen, Cutler allegedly told the young man, who looks nothing like Michael Phelps, to go "choke on hippie water."
The last straw appears to have been a modest line in front of Jolene's Kitchen. The tourist favorite appears to have been Cutler's final destination, and he was not expecting to wait for his supper. Upon spotting the line as he turned the corner, Cutler allegedly said, "Great. That's just great."
He then proceeded to wish a pox on the waiting patrons. It could have been mistaken for a gypsy curse had he not made references to plumbing tools.
Charleston Mayor Joe Riley spent the night on the phone with the national ranking board, offering his apologies and pleading, politely of course, for reconsideration. But the board had already made its decision, mostly at the prompting of those bitches ... er, advantageous souls from San Diego, the former runner-up.
Riley has announced he will be creating a City of Charleston Office of Friendly Suggestions. The new staff will provide ideas to locals to help reclaim the top spot, including mandatory palmetto rose-making classes. See you there!By Greg Hambrick
With scientific evidence steadily mounting as to the increased likelihood of global warming-induced sea level rise, Charleston City planners have begun a feasibility study concerning the gradual transplanting of the city's fabled historic district (at least S.O.B.) to a huge, floating barge.
Mr. Delagault Dimwiddie, director of the city's newly formed Office of Apocalyptic Affairs, revealed in a press conference last week that various new options are being explored to save Charleston from the near-certainty that much of the city will be flooded by a sea level rise of five feet or more by the end of the century.
"I'm finally a believer in sea level rise," says Dimwiddie, citing the pernicious liberal conspiracy.
While technological and construction details haven't yet been worked out, Dimwiddie remains optimistic that the plan is practical. Unlimited cheap labor will be no problem, he says. His office is hard at work on a project to round up the hordes of South Carolina's unemployed and incarcerated citizens and put them to gainful work. "Slavery made Charleston great once ... maybe it's time to try it again," he commented.
Long-term funding is assured. Per the plan's "reverse tourism" feature, we'll eventually be able to take the Holy City directly to the tourists — on both sides of the Atlantic. Besides, unrestricted gambling, once Charleston becomes a big, offshore boat, is sure to generate significant further revenue.
"And seceding from the Union (at least for Charleston) won't be nearly as much of a problem next time," Dimwiddie quipped. By adding offensive weaponry to the Battery's shore defenses (and converting the south end of East Bay Street to an airstrip), the city can even subcontract to the Defense Department, giving Citadel cadets unlimited future opportunities to start new wars.
"We can even preserve Charleston's hallmark cuisine," Mr. D. mused. The idea is to hang seafood farming enclosures over the side, once the marshes have drowned and local marine species are extinct. "That way, we can preserve the Lowcountry oyster roast and keep serving shrimp 'n' grits." (The matter of grits procurement has yet to be addressed.)
"Just think," he concluded, "It'll be like Noah's Ark all over again: We can ride out this pinko-commie-liberal-generated climate crisis, and repopulate abandoned coastal regions once it's over. And there'll be nothing to stop us from maintaining our precious red-state traditions and fascination with the past."By Lindsay Koob
A remake of Gone with the Wind has been announced, with extensive location filming planned for Goose Creek.
Rather than going to Margaret Mitchell's novel for guidance, Oscar-winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman says, "This GWTW is geared far more toward teenagers. Titanic benefited so much from the fights and chase sequences. We aim to create the same level of action."
Director Uwe Boll is also focused on making the film relevant for a contemporary audience.
"It wasn't easy to cast Rhett Butler," says Boll. "But Shia LaBeouf gave such a strong performance in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull that we immediately knew he could fill the role."
LeBeouf provides a marquee name that will help bring in members of Hollywood's prime target audience, 18-30 year olds. Negotiations are currently underway to have Miley Cyrus play Scarlett. Joe Jonas is rumored to be up for the roles of both Ashley and Prissy. Dame Judy Dench will play the mysterious — and perhaps otherworldly — Union spy, Deep Moat.
Seaman's Sports Bar has been chosen to represent Tara. The bar owners remain unperturbed. "We've handled live sets from Saliva and Motorhead," says owner Garth Vader. "If we can handle Lemmy, I'm sure we can cope with a few crazed LaBeouf fans."By Nick Smith
Strolling by the glass facade of the newly-opened Leftover's Café, one immediately notices the sign in the window: "Fridge-Aged Fare: a Truly Unique Experience!" Indeed.
Husband-and-wife team Hugh and Gloria Mülleimer assembled the cozy restaurant on a shoe-string budget with the idea of serving authentic Southern food ... and serving it cold and "leftover style." It's a refreshingly stale, new approach to an old favorite: the American pasttime of munching on old, half-finished meals, straight from the fridge.
Open for lunch, dinner, and a Sunday brunch (from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), the place strikes a pleasant ambience, with sizeable booths, a marshy coastal theme, and two small black-and-white TVs showing local news and soaps. The floor is run by Gloria, and a small trio of attractive older women. Hugh runs the show in the tiny kitchen, a back room stocked with several small freezers and antique refrigerators. Hardly anything comes out warm or hot.
Small but unique, the main menu lists daily specials, a half-dozen entrées, and four "box lunch" deals, all of which are cute, cold, and quite reasonably priced. Beverages include flat Cheerwine and Shasta cola (chilled with no ice), room-temperature black coffee in Styrofoam cups (12 ounce), maple-syrup tea, and separated chocolate milk (fridge-aged in an open plastic vessel for two days).
The house specialty is the Ice Box Chicken ($5.50), three pieces of Gloria's homemade Sunday chicken, fridge-aged for three days, served slightly soggy and tough on a cold plastic tray, garnished with a runny bleu cheese slaw and half of a buttermilk biscuit.
The Bitten Pizza Slice Plate ($4.50) is one of the most popular lunch items. It's two pieces of two-day-old, thin-crust pepperoni slices, each with a "bite" taken out of the tip. For $5.50, customers may upgrade to the Curled Bitten Pizza Slices, which offer a slightly darker, more "moldy" hue, with an indicative "curl" along the edges.
Some local cafés try to be all things to all people and lose their way. At Leftover's, more than a few loyal customers have decided that the cold, chewy, unrefined fare is fine by them. Go decide for yourself.By Scallion Hobart
Facing $60 million in repair costs, the board of the U.S.S. Yorktown has agreed to a federal plan to redeploy the ship in the War on Terror.
Stuck firmly in 30 feet of mud for decades, the Yorktown's lower reaches are currently filled with saltwater and marine life, including a population of hermit crabs who Patriots Point workers claim can communicate in Morse Code by tapping the sides of the ship with their pincers.
"Charlie's the most articulate," says custodian Harry Balzac. "I once heard him tap out the most wonderful sonnet. It brought tears to me eyes."
Finding financial support for the ship has proven difficult. Board president Emerson Bigguns says, "We don't see any reason this great ship can't help take out a few more freedom haters from Eurasia. Or is it Eastasia? I forget who we're at war with this week."
Gov. Mark Sanford supports the plan and says that if a call for recruits doesn't turn up enough able-bodied men to man the aircraft carrier, he'll institute a draft from the state's growing number of unemployed workers and his opponents at the Statehouse. Sen. Glenn McConnell and Rep. Bobby Harrell have already enlisted.By Stratton Lawrence
It happens every day in the United States, somewhere, to someone.
A distinctly shaped car accelerates down the road, but before his or her mind can register it as a classic 1960s Volkswagen Beetle, someone else yells, "Slug bug," identifies it by color, and plants a fist in the slower-thinking individual's upper arm.
The result: a painful bruise. Ouch.
In the decades since this popular road game began, untold numbers of younger brothers and sisters have suffered in exactly this fashion because of the VW Beetle. One local attorney hopes to put an end to that.
"Some unfortunate individuals, through no fault of their own, just happen to have the kinds of arms that scream, 'punch me,'" says Max Gleet, whose law office is currently pursuing a class action suit against the automaker. "Disproportionately affected are school-age individuals from chess clubs as well as anyone in a marching band. It is inexcusable for this company to have produced a vehicle that caused these poor souls to be slugged on their arms repeatedly during their crucial developmental years."
The most enthusiastic approval for the case against Volkswagen thus far seems to be coming from online communities. Facebook, Twitter, and World of Warcraft users have all expressed hopes that the plague of punch-buggy punches will at long last be put to rest.
In fact, Morton Tot, computer science major at College of Charleston, has relentlessly advocated for exactly this kind of legal action for years on his personal blog, titled, Okay, Guys, It's Not Funny Anymore, Stop Hitting Me.
"I grew up with two older brothers," says Tot. Holding his hands a foot apart to illustrate. "I had bruises on my arms this big all through grade school."
He added, tears in his eyes, "Worst of all, they would always call, 'No punch back,' so I couldn't do anything!"
One potential complication in the suit is the question of whether the newer model Beetle, introduced in 1998, qualifies in a round of Punch Buggy Punch/Slug Bug Slug or if only the classic 1960s Beetle is a legitimate call.
Gleet feels certain it can all be sorted out in court.
"Putting these vehicles on the road has caused an incalculable dollar amount of pain and suffering over the last four decades. Well, actually, it can be calculated. So if you've been slugged, call Gleet today."By Jason Zwiker