Friday, April 28, 2017

The U Filephiles

We're used to having fans.
They're loyal, they're enthusiastic, and they're everywhere.
Look very carefully at this photo; zoom in and enhance
But we also have diverse subsets of fans, those who are devoted to niche aspects of what we do and how we do it. In this case, they are the U Filephiles. This is an especially fervent sector of fans and their interest is... intense. Often, they're on the scene before we even get there! That's because they're not only keeping track of our actions via various intenet chat sites and bulletin boards, but also all the sites devoted to the "paranormal, supernatural and extraterrestrial" activity being reported around the globe. Their support is appreciated but it also makes it difficult to do our jobs sometimes. And sometimes, these fans get themselves into trouble.

Tulsa, Oklahoma - Ladies, please. Step back so we can see what's happening here.

Berrien Springs, Michigan - Hi. Nice to see you all. Please, we need to set up our equipment.

Alice Springs, Australia - Okay, you're standing in the middle of the road. Someone is going to get...

Oh dear. Oh no. That's unfortunate. Hoo boy. Medic...maybe? No. Never mind, probably. Darn. Gonna need to do some extra paperwork and clean-up now.

Well, I guess we all learned a valuable lesson today. I mean, we didn't. We already knew that getting too close to a UFO could mean getting spritzed with a laser weapon and being turned into a skeleton. You learned something. Hopefully.

Be a fan, but BeWare!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Not so U-File ...

Jeff note Monday

"We solve cases and kick butts. That's our main function. But every now and again we are asked to deal with stuff that's more paranormal, supernatural and extraterrestrial ..."

True. To the extent we did have to set up a hotline to field those U-File requests. 

And, naturally, quite a few calls of the shenanigan variety intermingled with "legitimate" calls as you can well imagine. Kip and Ulf get a kick out of passing some of the stranger ones our way, making the tedium of sifting through those U File calls a little less dreary. (Well ... for Kip at any rate. Ulf doesn't really take any notes on what comes in.) Here ... see for yourself:

Oprah! She's an extra-terrestrial ... right? She's gotta be! Her "mind control" abilities run rampant when she congregates an audience! Folks'll buy her books at her mere mention! Didn't she do that Weight Watchers gig? Any idea how much money that company made off her and her supernatural power to sway people on over? Couldn't we wrangle her into doing some good for a change, you know ... like transfix the likes of North Korea's Kim Jong Un or The Kardashians and the like and obliterate them from the planet? Look into that, will you?
Jed Perkins, Fallow, Tennessee

Sorry, Jed. Oprah's here to stay. Nothing we can do about her.
And there's nothing we can make her do, either.

Hey, Unbelievables:
That Unicorn Frumpaccino from Starbucks ... alien technology, amiright? All that sugar and empty calories renders partakers brain-numbed and subject to coercion. It must be stopped! Just do it!
Sedgewick "Sedge" Jablowskivich, Capertown, Georgia

Yeah ... that ended this past Sunday, Sedge.
We didn't have anything to do with it but ... you're welcome.

Dudes of Unbelief:
The 1960s: They weren't fake. They were real. But they inspired some pretty funky goings on the verged on the magical, you have to admit. If they were to reappear, it wouldn't be "good for business" if you catch my meaning. Don't let the 60s back into today! 
- Duncan Canterbury, Fallon, Nevada

We won't Duncan ... we won't. (All of us rolled our eyes at this request.)

Monday, April 24, 2017

The U Files

Over the years, we've received more than our fair share of mail asking us to get involved in stuff that's, well, a little outside our remit. We're crimefighters, primarily. We solve cases and kick butts. That's our main function. But every now and again we are asked to deal with stuff that's more paranormal, supernatural and extraterrestrial, to quote Robert Stack. Ghosts, freaky goings-on, aliens, Martians, UFOs and the like.

Now, we've never had much time for this sort of mumbo-jumbo Arthur C. Clarke malarkey. In fact, we've often pooh-poohed it. We refuse to be drawn in. But now that it's come to light that Yvette Fielding and her camera crew from Ghost Hunters have actually filmed a credible ghostly shape after 15 years of trying, we are a bit less likely to pooh-pooh you.

Yvette on the left, ghostly shape on the right.

Also, since recent findings from NASA probes have shown that there are other planets and moons out there that likely capable of supporting life, we don't dismiss the idea of aliens so readily. Especially if they look like this.

Hello, alien ladies!

As a result, we've set up our own alien/paranormal hotline so that these sort of requests and queries can be dealt with properly. The hotline is manned 24/7 by Kip the Mail Boy and Ulf the Unbelievadog, and so far they have fielded quite a few questions. Here are a couple samples.

Dear Unbelievables, 
                  Here's a snap I shot out the window of a moving train somewhere between Tahlequah, OK and Humphrey, AR one Saturday morning between June and October a couple of years back. What do you make of it?

Sincerely, Willie Buggart, Bison, KS

Simply explained, Willie. Three professional mushroom hunters stumbling upon a world-record porcini.

Dear Unbelievable peeps,
       While visiting my parents in Los Bocas Vistas in Tampa I snapped this pic of their apartment complex. There appears to be something odd in the sky. What do you guys think?

Regards, Himmie Jendricks, Sugar City, ID

Nope, nothing odd there, apart from that floating sports stadium. Can you see it?
Hi Unbelievable fellas, 
    Recently while out dancing at my local nightclub I saw three freaky lookin' sexy girl aliens. Real or fake?

Best, Dirk Cruncher, Crank, St Helens, Lancashire, UK

Um... that's Lily Allen. Hello, Lily!

Sorry, but that's Nicki Minaj. Hello!

Heaven knows what that is.

Alright, folks, there'll be more from The U-Files on Wednesday. The truth is out there!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Alternative Origins: Unicorns

Interestingly enough, we were contacted at the Unbelieva-base by a blessing of unicorns* Thursday.

Yep ... you read that right: Unicorns.

"Hello?" I answered when I saw them coming up to the false laundromat entry that fools our enemies into thinking "Hey, this isn't The Unbelievables' headquarters ..."

"Yeah ... we need a word with you guys. You busy?"

"I'm not" I told them "but the other guys aren't around. Can I help you?"

I let them in and we congregated in one of the Unbelieva-base's parlor rooms. 

"We wouldn't normally contact anyone. About anything. We're pretty secretive you understand. But this thing with Starbucks ... their new Unicorn Frappuccino ... it's pissing us off ..."

"I can't say I blame you," I confessed. "For the most part, it's getting a bad wrap. I know I wouldn't want to be associated with it ... and there it is, boom, with your name all over it."

"Check this out." One of the bigger unicorns showed me a video from his mobile phone (which perplexed me to no end):

I winced. "Ouch. And that came from a kid, no less. If you can't get the rugrats on board ... Still, I've seen a bunch of reviews about that nightmare of a concoction and none of them have been positive."

"Exactly the point," the creature said. "This kind of publicity reflects directly back to us. It could change not only the way we're perceived but also our legendary status! We're not frothy! We don't have sprinkles! We hate frappuccinos! And we certainly don't change tastes! If this keeps up our entire origin could be tainted by those yahoos at Starbucks! They didn't get permission to use our name, nothing! We're doomed ... !!!"

"Now, guys ... look," I began explaining. "This is a passing fad from those jokesters. They're only out to make a quick buck. By next month no one will even remember you're name was attached to this so-called beverage. You know it's only a five day promotion, right? That's a blink of an eye time frame. And there aren't a lot of people on board with it, anyway. That kid in the video? Probably the best promotion you can get, despite the fact it's negative. Why? Because your place in fantasy and dreams is secure. You've been around a lot longer than some monkey business promotional drink ... and with an impeccable record I might add. You're the stuff of wonder. You're regal and magical and coveted in literature. That calorie-laden sugar bomb of a drink isn't going to taint your name or history in the least. It's a joke - you are NOT. Nothing to worry about. Trust me."

"We're not so sure. It's just ... with all these "alternative facts" we've been hearing about of late we thought our good name might get people thinking this could be an alternative origin no one knew about us. We have an image to maintain, after all ... and this drink, it's a nightmare."

"Listen to me: You. Have. Nothing. To. Worry. About. These things balance out. You'll see ..."

"How? How can you be certain they'll balance out?"

"Well ... if what I've told you up to this point hasn't convinced you, here. Check this out. I think you'll be please with the yin and yang of it":

*Yes ... a group of unicorns is known as "a blessing" ...

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Alternative Origins: Fire Trucks

One of those oddities that occur from time to time, that's what it is. One of those things for which the original reason is lost in the mists of time. One of those things that just makes you sit and scratch your noggin for answers whence none have so far been dispatched. What am I talking about? Fire trucks. Why oh why oh why are fire engines red? 

When I tell you the answer you'll slap your palm onto your forehead and say "duh!" probably.

Firstly, though, let me tell you what answer you'll get if you ask a fireman:

"Well, they're not all red. Some are lime yellow because it shows up better at night."

Sassy answer if ever there was. Especially considering limes are green. Some are green anyway, but it's more of a Hunter Green.

 Still, doesn't explain why the red ones are red, does it?

There are many theories.

  • Red can be seen from a long way away.
  • In the early days, red was the cheapest paint available (not sure I believe that actually, but another version of the story says it was chosen because it was more expensive and therefore more important)
  • Back when all cars on the road were black, red stood out more (yes, but they've been red since before there were cars)
  • It's been red so long it's a tradition.
  • Oh, and the old joke answer -- They have eight wheels and four men. 8 + 4 = 12. 12 inches make a ruler.One of the greatest rulers was Queen Elizabeth I, who ruled over the Seven Seas. In the seas are fish. Fish have fins, the Finns fought the Russians and the Russian flag is (was) red. Ha ha ha.
  • Etc., etc.

I have my own personal theory (and don't worry, I'm not going to somehow try and prove that we somehow had a hand in the decision - I mean, that would be redonkulous!). No, my theory is very simple.

Red has always meant danger. In primitive cave paintings, enormous bison-like critters are shaded red.

 Red is used to represent hell and the Devil. 

Red tells you to stop at a stop sign or a traffic light.

 Red says, the idiot in front of you is jamming on his brakes, so stop now.

 Red also means fiery, hot, heat.

 So a fire engine needs to be red to draw people's attention to the fact that there's a fire somewhere and they're going to try putting it out. Nothing more complex than that. Straightforward. No messing. Simple, really.

Except, I just got an email from the Volunteer Fire Dept. of Bicep, IN with an accompanying photo of them proudly displaying trucks!?! 

The email reads "Explain this away! Ya can't, can ya?"

Ah, forget it.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Alternative origins: The American Revolutionary War, Independence Day and Mount Rushmore

With yesterday being Easter, if you were on any of your social media platforms instead of going to church and/or hiding/finding stray eggs, you may have come across this meme:
"Easter was originally the celebration of Ishtar, the Assyrian and Babylonian goddess of fertility and sex. Her symbols (like the egg and bunny) were and still are fertility and sex symbols (or did you actually think eggs and bunnies had anything to do with the resurrection?) After Constantine decided to Christianize the Empire, Easter was changed to represent Jesus. But at its roots, Easter (which is how you pronounce Ishtar) is all about celebrating fertility and sex."
Because if there's anything people love more than posting memes about how you should believe one thing, it's posting memes about those other memes being a bunch of nonsense. It would appear that in terms of this particular meme, the people behind it aren't as factually accurate as they'd like to believe.

The point of bringing this up isn't to take a side but rather to illustrate that alternative origins, be they true or false, do exist. And often, their very existence causes confusion and maybe even hard feelings. With that in mind, we're going to offer up some alternative origin stories for the sake of giving you something to think about, if not challenge your firmly held beliefs.

Independence Day (July 4) is the next big whopper of a holiday celebrated in America (no offense, Cinco De Mayo enthusiasts and people who live elsewhere), so I'm going to cover this one.

The American Revolution, also called the United States War of Independence or American Revolutionary War, (1775–83), was an insurrection by which 13 of Great Britain's North American colonies won political independence and went on to form the United States of America.

So what does that have to do with fireworks displays and grilled meat? Well, here's...
One day in 1775, George Washington was complaining about the high taxes on tea and said, "We could probably do a better job of running this place as our own country and not as some kind of remote branch office." Paul Revere said, "That's a good idea. I'll ride my horse over to England and see if they're cool with it." When he got back later that day, he said, "They're totally down. They're getting tired of trying to manage a property so far away so they were happy to hear about it. We can be our own country!" Washington couldn't believe it was that easy. "I can't believe it! It was that easy?", he asked and Revere said, "Yep! They already filed the paperwork and everything." Washington said, "Huh. I was kinda expecting some pushback. We didn't even run this by the citizens, some of whom may not think it's a great idea." Thomas Jefferson, who was there too, said "Then let's tell them we're having a war about it and that England is trying to push us around without representation." Washington replied, "Oh gosh, I don't want to fight a war with England. I have people who still live there." Jefferson said, "No, not an actual war with muskets and cannon balls and stuff. We'll just tell the people we're having one. It's not like they'd know. We don't even have newspapers yet!" That's when Ben Franklin, who was also there, said, "I think it would be a good idea if we had some newspapers, though. I'm going to start that." Jefferson said, "For the sake of what we're trying to do here, I kinda wish you wouldn't." Franklin said, "Oh, don't worry. I'll skew the coverage of 'the war' so it makes us look good... but just this once!" Jefferson said, "I appreciate that, Benjamin" and Franklin replied, "I got you, fam." Washington said, "Great! It's settled! You guys come over to my place on Saturday. I have some illegal fireworks from Korea (don't even ask how I got them! HA HA!) that we can set off and tell everybody it's bombs bursting in air and whatnot." Jefferson said, "I'll bring some burgers and dogs to throw on the grill. We can bring the slaves and kids and make a day of it!" Paul Revere said, "You mean, wives and kids?" and Jefferson replied, "Sure, whatever."

And that's why those four guys are on Mount Rushmore

My esteemed colleagues will present other alternative origins later this week!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Top Easter Tips

What with it being Easter weekend right now, and the theme of the week being Top Tips, I thought I'd offer a few suggestions on how to improve your Easter, if I may make so bold. Here we go:

  • Just for fun, run into your local supermarket five minutes before they close on Saturday, grab a member of staff by the arm and say crazily, "Wait, do you guys sell Easter Eggs!?!"
  • Tip your hat to Jesus by deactivating your Facebook account on Good Friday and re-activating it on Monday.
  • On Easter Monday, bring the season to a jolly close by starting to bitch loudly everywhere you go about there being "Christmas decorations already in the shops" and the fact that "they start earlier and earlier every year, I swear".
  • Invite 12 family members over for Easter dinner, and while seated at the table, accuse one of them of betraying you, then go lock yourself in your bedroom for three days. Talk about authenticism!
  • Why bother going to those expensive egg hunts with your kids - save money by taking them to Poundland where the eggs are clearly displayed and easy to find.

  • Convince your friends and family that you are a time traveller by letting off a firecracker in your closet before emerging dressed as Pontius Pilate.

"Look, mate, I don't care who you are - I just don't like hippies."

Use as many or as few of these as you like in order to have a fun and enjoyable Easter.Ciao!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Tip Top Tips

It's always a good idea to do things the right way. Because the opposite of that is doing things the wrong way and that is a bad idea, which should be self-evident by the presence of negative words.

You should always approach every task you undertake with the pre-conceived notion that you're going to do it correctly, getting the maximum possible good results from doing it because otherwise, frankly, what's the point?

With that in mind, I'm here today with some Top Tips for you in a couple of different areas...

A lot of jerks work in marketing. So a lot of other jerks think, "I'll bet I could work in marketing!". And they're right! If they follow this advice...

  • Draw from real life - Most people you're trying to reach have real lives. They want to be spoken to in those terms. And they love a "ripped from the headlines" approach to advertising because it's real life!
  • Celebrate diversity - Don't narrow your focus to one basic demographic. Try to appeal to as many different kinds of people as possible.

Not so great
Not too shabby!
  • Try to get a Kardashian as your spokesperson/focal point - Everybody loves them!


Not every one of your customers is going to be satisfied with the services you provide. Dealing with them can be tricky.
  • Get the right tools for the job - Human or otherwise
There's no such thing as too much body armor.
  • Treat the customer with respect, no matter what - Use dignity and compassion. Be complimentary.
"Oh my, somebody's been doing crunches! You look terrific, sir"
  • Beware of social media practitioners - Believe it or not, some people these days have the ability to capture photos and even video footage with their phones, and then immediately upload that to The Internet!
Potential troublemaker

Preparing meals in a slow cooker is super-easy and convenient.
  • Use a liner - It makes clean-up a breeze!
It really does!