Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

March News Digest: April Fool’s Edition

Dumping Ground Found

A capital improvement project turned ugly last month after the discovery that the Harrisburg incinerator site long has served as a dumping ground for central Pennsylvania’s infinitives.

“It’s a grisly scene,” said Jim Warner, executive director of incinerator owner Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority. “The ‘to be’s’ are just piled up on top of each other.”

State Police spokesman Lt. Gil Sanders said his office long had been searching for the missing infinitives in such phrases as, “That chicken needs cooked,” and, “The dog needs washed,” but couldn’t locate them until now.

“It’s a total massacre,” he said. “All that’s left are parts of speech.”

He added that police suspected pre-meditation, as some of the infinitives clearly had been split before they were dumped. The case is being investigated as a possible word crime.

Jill Stevens, a forensics expert from Penn State Harrisburg’s English department, was brought in to examine and diagram the scene.

Her analysis, she said, revealed that the infinitives clearly were designed to show future action, but had been crudely dismembered from verbs like “drank,” “cleaned” and “driven.”

“I don’t know what to do now,” she said. “I guess they just need buried.”


Zumba Mounts Coup

Zumba, the global dance fitness phenomenon with a rapidly growing base of practitioners, seized control of Harrisburg municipal government last month in a bloodless coup.

The program, which combines samba, salsa, reggae-ton and other dances in a signature workout regime appropriate for all ages, reportedly swept into city hall early on March 30, where it encountered an unsuspecting Mayor Eric Papenfuse preparing for a meeting.

“I’m a victim of the beat,” a flushed and sweaty Papenfuse told reporters in the plaza outside city hall later that day, his voice barely audible over the mambo-like music emanating from inside the locked front door. “Next thing I know, my abs are on fire, my legs feel like jelly, and I’m out on the street.”

Zumba’s plans for the city are not yet known. At press time, the only communication from the new regime was a series of commands to step, bend and “add some hip,” issued over and over by way of the city’s emergency broadcast system.

“We are not, at this time, going to risk angering Zumba with a counteroffensive,” said a breathless Police Chief Thomas Carter, as he engaged in an energetic merengue march back and forth across Market Square. “My advice to Harrisburg residents for now is this: Dance, dance, dance!”


Computer Takes Over

PennLive last month fired all its editors, replacing them with a computer algorithm.

Coverage now will be dictated by the most popular terms in the online paper’s reader comments section.

As a result, content will be approximately one-third partisan harangue, one-third potentially libelous slander and one-third stories about parking tickets.

“Penn State meter SEX hellhole morons Obama Obama Obama,” commented PennLive’s new executive editor, the disembodied presence of its search engine optimization (SEO) application.


Critics Indicted

In a stunning reversal of expectations, a Pennsylvania grand jury last month handed down a string of indictments on what it called “armchair critics” of Harrisburg’s former Mayor Stephen Reed and his 28-year reign over the city.

“We started off thinking the evidence would show that the former mayor’s predilection for risky debts and strained interpretations of state law would be the culprits,” Attorney General Kathleen Kane said of her department’s probe into the causes of Harrisburg’s near-bankruptcy. “To the contrary, as a preponderance of evidence shows, the problem was the people who doubted him.”

In fact, Kane went on, there would likely never have been a financial collapse at all if Reed had been given “just a little more time” to “complete his masterful tapestry.”

“The people at the helms of power had nothing to do with it,” Kane said. “All along, it was the critics in their armchairs, who, despite having no control over events and few, if any, connections to local power brokers, managed to ruin everything with negative thinking and bad vibes.”

In keeping with the results of the probe, convictions will be pursued against all Harrisburg residents who never thought the Wild West Museum and Sports Hall of Fame were particularly good ideas.


Market To Be Sealed

Caught between financial pressures and customer demands, the Broad Street Market board of directors last month announced plans to shroud its ailing stone building in a giant bubble for the foreseeable future.

Under the proposal, vendors who currently operate out of the building, as well as any customers currently shopping or eating inside, will be hermetically sealed inside an enormous, transparent polymer enclosure until further notice.

“This move should help further the market’s goals of fending off critics while simultaneously shielding vendors from the negative effects of competition and the steady advancement of time,” said board President Jonathan Bowser.

“We look forward to one day piercing the bubble, peeling back the layers and taking a peek at what a period of sustained inactivity has done for the interior.”


Neighborhoods Renamed

The Papenfuse administration plans to rename most of Harrisburg’s historic neighborhoods, now that it has dubbed a portion of Allison Hill as “Mulder Square.”

Mayor Eric Papenfuse said he has deployed the same creative team responsible for the name “Mulder Square,” which combines Mulberry and Derry streets.

From now on, Midtown will be known as Vercumbergreen Triangle, Uptown as Curtsixthcampisco and Shipoke as TuscaconnaPennDOT. Downtown will continue to be called Drunkie Lawmaker Quadrangle.


Parking Program Debuts

Amid criticism over city parking rates and fines, Harrisburg officials last month debuted a weekly alternative-parking program, “Tonight We Park In Hell.”

Under the program, drivers will be given a choice of either paying regular parking rates or parking in a special “hell-themed” garage, complete with pitchfork-wielding attendants, eternal fires and pits of brimstone. In exchange for enduring the underworld-type torture, drivers will get free parking all evening.

“Unrelenting torment or $3 an hour—your choice,” said Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse.

Initial reports of the program were mixed, as some drivers, though clearly unhappy about the intense heat and mocking by horned demons, found the unpleasant experience preferable to meter fees and enforcement fines.

“Sure, I came away with some blisters, and a guy in a flaming red robe kept yelling ‘This is the payment for your sin’ over and over,” said Matthew Kopecky, who parked in the satanic garage last Friday. “But my friend, who parked on the street, had to pay six bucks for two hours. So, in the end, I think I win.”


Beer Week Extended

The founders of Harrisburg Beer Week last month announced that they would extend their event indefinitely.

The new “Beer Years” involves drinking 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, for the foreseeable future, an extension supported by 97 percent of Harrisburg area residents.

“Eff it,” said Beer Years co-founder Tierney Pomone. “We’re just gonna drink all the time anyway. Might as well give it a name.”


Anonymous Commenters Honored

Anonymous commenters on local news sites were honored last month at the annual Capital Region News Media gala.

Awards for “Longest Rant,” “Least Relevance to Article” and “Most Blatant Racism” were given out to posters to comment sections throughout the Harrisburg area.

The gala was a cold, eerily quiet affair, as commenters such as ColdDeadHands, ThaHarrisburglar and Th@nksObama accepted their awards remotely, by way of a live-stream comment section projected on the ballroom walls.

The annual “Longevity” award was also bestowed, for the longest amount of time a veiled slur was able to escape censorship. The award-winning comment, though deemed unprintable, can be viewed underneath the Web version of this article.


Same 3 Guys Speak

Those same three guys who speak at every City Council meeting did so again last month during council’s two regular legislative sessions.

For the 135th consecutive meeting, those same three guys informed council of their complaints about the Broad Street Market, noise downtown and the white man, respectively, until told that their time was up.

Council members fantasized about winning the lottery and getting the hell out of Harrisburg until the meeting’s public portion was over.


Drinks Menu Analyzed

On her Facebook page, Messiah College Intersectionality major Denise Duncan last month dissected the drinks menu of a local bar, finding more than two dozen examples of micro-aggressions, triggering words and ableist language in the establishment’s two-page list of on-tap beers.

“India Pale Ale?? Are you kidding me???” Duncan wrote, before giving a lengthy history of the high-alcohol-content beer’s “colonial imperialist roots.”

Among the other drinks Duncan lambasted: all of New York-brewed Doc’s Draft Ciders, for endorsing the country’s “medico-industrial complex”; Colorado-brewed Yeti stout, for being “specist”; and California-brewed Ten Commandments dark ale, for “replicating and perpetuating the female prison of patriarchal monotheism.”

“Seriously, this stops now,” Duncan reiterated at the bar that night to her friends, before consuming two large glasses of white zinfandel and falling asleep in a taxi.


New Marketing Campaign

Young people looking to begin their careers should choose Harrisburg over Ganymede, Jupiter’s largest moon, according to a new marketing campaign launched last month by the Harrisburg Regional Chamber.

The “Live the Life You Want” campaign features a slick online video that tells the story of college graduates Anna and Ben, two attractive white people just beginning their careers. One stays in the Harrisburg area, while the other moves 365 million miles away in search of better job prospects.

“Anna was attracted to the big moon excitement and the magnetosphere,” says the video narrator. “Ben decided to stay in the Harrisburg area and now enjoys a low cost of living and surface oxygen.”

The video wraps up with Ben diving into his new pool, while Anna drowns in the deep salty ocean beneath Ganymede’s icy crust.

“While other places in the solar system may seem more exciting, Harrisburg is right here on Earth,” the narrator concludes.


Candidates Struck

This year’s municipal primary election has been plunged into chaos, as a series of court challenges have struck virtually every candidate from the ballot due to paperwork errors.

Candidates for City Council, school board and other offices were felled by seemingly avoidable errors, such as submitting papers on the wrong date, in the wrong county or with signatures from pets and children. Several apparently struggled to remember their own names.

One candidate’s papers were invalidated, according to elections bureau director Gerald Feaser, simply for being “too sticky.”

“It’s not supposed to be that hard,” Feaser said. “I always tell candidates to remember the three ‘don’ts’: don’t complete your paperwork in the dark, don’t use Klingon script and don’t eat jelly with your hands while filling out your petitions.”

Unaffected were the races for countywide office, as those are filled each year by a lottery among the Republican county commissioners’ friends and family.

It’s possible that the events on this page didn’t happen. Happy April Fools!




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