Nigerian Businessmen Perplexed by Internet Communication Difficulties

[From the Vesperfire News Wire:] Nigerian businessmen are becoming increasingly mystified by their difficulties in exploiting the potential of the Internet to expand their business and make contacts with the rest of the world.

“We keep reading about the great communications potential of the Internet, but it never manifests,” complains Ighomuedafe Obadina, owner of “Gem of Nigeria” Textiles, a small but highly reputed exporter of specialty textiles in Lagos, Nigeria. “I am sending personal salutations to establish contact with potential customers, but it’s as if my e-mails never even get read. Even people I’ve done business with before by letter don’t respond.” He added, “I have tried to be exquisitely more polite and formal in my phrasing, but no help has this given me. I resorted even to dropping of names of important government officials I have worked with, but that only seemed to make it worse.”

Financial institutions seem particularly affected. “We were never able to communicate to arrange transactions, particularly monetary transfers. We gave up and returned to using paper orders and records via airmail. It’s faster and more reliable,” said Olamilekan Ogboyomi, International Transaction Specialist at First Nigerian Bank of Abuja.

The Nigerian government remains baffled by the complaints. One official told us, “We have had to upgrade our communications infrastructure several times, because a truly immense volume of e-mail traffic leaves our country daily. Yet our businessmen complain they never receive responses. It makes no sense.”

Wayans' Calender Predicts Disaster in 2012

[From the Vesperfire News Wire:] Keenen Ivory Wayans, well known in entertainment circles as creator of the sketch comedy series In Living Color and director of the horror movie parody Scary Movie, was surprised to find the entry “End of the World” marked in his iPhone’s calendar application on December 22, 2012.

“I figured it was some sort of joke by one of my brothers, but when I called them, we discovered it was marked in the whole family’s calendars, all ten of us!” Keenen Ivory Wayans told us, referring to himself and his nine siblings. “We deleted it, and it would just reappear. It was even on our sister Kim’s brand new Blackberry the first time she turned it on!”

Alarmed by this, Keenan decided he should warn people. “I made a post on my Facebook page, but unfortunately I forgot I had one of those ‘random upside-down letters’ applets turned on,” he said, sighing, “so I told everyone that the Mayans’ calendar predicted the end of the world in 2012. Fans had spread it all over before I realized the mistake.” The actor/director told us that he wasn’t too concerened about the mis-attribution, saying that he was just glad that the vauge, unhelpful warning got out.

Keenan stated that the family had no additional information on the nature of our impending doom. However, a friend of the family privately contradicted this, telling us via e-mail that they appear to be preparing to survive a “smarm of giant weteors”.

The Tragedy of Malnourished Cookie Monsters

[From the Vesperfire News Wire:]

A human that eats cookies all the time is a glutton. But a cookie monster that eats cookies all the time is just being a cookie monster.

– Dr. Charles Johanson of the Monster Health Institute

Cookie monster promoting fruit on TV

“The” Cookie Monster (with a singing banana) promoting fruit consumption on Sesame Street.

A well intentioned effort to promote a better diet for human children has had unintended and sometimes tragic consequences for cookie monsters everywhere. The children’s program Sesame Street has had their well-known cookie monster (whom they often call simply “The” Cookie Monster) promote moderation with regard to sweets and encourage the consumption of fruits and vegetables. They’ve even replaced his famous song “C is for Cookie” with a new song, “Cookie Is A Sometime Food”.

“That’s great advice for human kids, but unfortunately, coming from the mouth of the famous Sesame Street Cookie Monster, it’s led many people to believe that it’s also appropriate for cookie monsters themselves. And that’s simply not true,” Dr. Charles Johanson of the Monster Health Institute told me in a recent interview.

Just as vegetarian cat owners have sometimes endangered their cats’ health by putting them on a vegetarian diet, some cookie monster fanciers have attempted to feed their furry friends a healthy human diet, a diet that is anything but healthy for cookie monsters.

“Cookie monsters are obligate dulcivores; they must consume large quantities of simple sugars to survive,” Dr. Johanson asserted. “Highly refined grains and hydrogenated fats are also crucial components of their diet.”

Raw fruit is fine as an occasional adjunct to a cookie monster’s diet, Dr. Johanson conceded, especially the higher glycemic index fruits such as grapes, melons, and (non-talking) bananas. But the high fiber content of some other fruits can be hard on the simple digestive tract of cookie monsters. (Cookie monsters have relatively short small intestines, though their insulin producing pancreas can be as large as a watermelon.) “And though they can tolerate ingesting a huge variety of substances, they derive no nutritional value whatsoever from vegetables.”

Malnourished Cookie Monster on IV

A badly malnourished cookie monster receiving an intravenous infusion of high fructose corn syrup.

Dr. Johanson took me into the institute’s clinical ward, to show me directly what long term ingestion of a human diet can do to cookie monsters. The institute handles only serious cases, those beyond the skills of local clinics to treat, currently a baker’s dozen. The ward was quiet as we approached, demonstrating how ill these cookie monsters were. “Cookie monsters are naturally boisterous. Thirteen in one place should be absolute bedlam.”

The first patient (shown in the photo) was the most serious case. This cookie monster was slightly thin though not actually emaciated. He was listless, barely able to open his mouth to wheeze “Cookie!”, much less gobble one. His fur was dulled, almost grey in patches, and the whites of his eyes showed a mild jaundice. (Cookie monster’s livers need to process chocolate regularly to remain healthy.)

“What’s really heart-breaking to see are his aligned pupils. That’s a sign of a very sick cookie monster,” Dr. Johanson informed me sadly. Despite an emergency intravenous infusion of high fructose corn syrup with added trans-fats, this cookie monster’s prognosis is poor.

Other cookie monsters in the clinic were better, but most showed the ravages of prolonged sweets deprivation. But Dr. Johanson smiled as the characteristic “COOKIE! Om nom nom nom nom nom!” sound came from a nearby bed. “He’s almost ready to go home.” But the doctor fears that the bed soon will be filled again by another cookie monster misfed by well meaning but misinformed humans.

Cookie deprived Cookie Monster attacks

A sweets-deprived cookie monster attacks a person who offered him broccoli.

Of course, many cookie monsters instinctively reject vegetables and similar foods as unnatural for them, becoming quite irritable when confronted with such a diet. Poorly disciplined adult male cookie monsters can even become violent when offered vegetables instead of cookies, cakes, or candies (see photo). “In fact,” Dr. Johanson told us, “some people find their reactions amusing and will even restrain hungry cookie monsters and taunt them with cookies. Unfortunately, anti-cruelty laws for monsters have lagged far behind those for animals.”

Despite the upsurge in cookie monster malnutrition cases, Dr. Johanson doesn’t blame the Sesame Street producers; he knows that human obesity and its related health issues are rapidly growing into a crisis. “A cookie monster’s diet is no healthier for a human than a human’s diet is for a cookie monster. And a quick glance around any mall in America will tell you that we have far more humans eating like cookie monsters than vice versa.”

Dr. Johanson just wants to get the word out to the cookie monster community that “cookies are a sometimes food — for people”, but they’re always right for a cookie monster.

Healthy Cookie Monster
A Healthy, Happy Cookie Monster