Category Archives: Bud Buck

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Polar Vortex Redux

Image – NOAA Climate Prediction Center

Today’s post comes from Unreliable Journalist Bud Buck.

Meteorologists and paranormalists are watching with great interest as conditions conspire to raise some serious questions about the true nature of the mysterious forces that propel our weather.

Although I have talked to at least two people and maybe three about this topic, no one has yet been able to convince me that there is not something spooky and ominous afoot!

In a bit of timing worthy of a vengeful and nefarious supervillain, the dreaded weather phenomenon known as the Polar Vortex is coming back at exactly the right moment to make Minneapolis’ All-Star summertime a bummertime.

Starting off what is normally one of the warmest weeks of the year, this Monday will see a high temperature of only 65 degrees with 25 mile per hour wind gusts driving a cold rain into the faces of Important Visitors From Afar – those cherished opinion leaders congregating in Minneapolis for Major League Baseball’s annual All Star Game Tuesday night.

Unseasonably cool conditions are also certain to mar the beginning of a seven day stretch that the city’s mayor has identified as Bragging Week.

Coincidence? I put that question to TV meteorologist Gust Hailstone, who said “What are you talking about?”

I proceeded to explain to the clueless Hailstone that some people are saying the Polar Vortex is actually more than a weather system. These individuals believe the Vortex is actually a sentient being – a roiling stew of temperature differentials and moisture, brought into consciousness by the electricity in lightning, and configured just perfectly to have a vendetta against the city of Minneapolis!

“That’s ridiculous,” Hailstone spluttered. “I’ve never heard anybody say that.”

“You’re a liar,” I replied, “because I just said it, and you heard me.”

The real question is – why is the Polar Vortex trying to ruin our reputation by making all of America and the rest of the world see Minneapolis as a place that is too cold to visit, even in the summertime?

I put that question to paranormalist Jade Seance.

“That’s already our reputation,” she said. “Through the thick mists that separate this life from the next one, I can sense that even the dead people shudder when Minneapolis is mentioned.”

The moment she said “Minneapolis,” I felt a deep, clean chill, almost as if a door had been left open, or a ghost had walked through my physical body. I quickly spun around, expecting to see the Vortex standing before me in the form of a living, breathing arch-fiend!

But no! It was an open door. Her receptionist had quit the day before and Seance propped a chair against the entryway so passers-by could see us gathered around the table, holding hands.

“People will pay you good money and put up with a lot of malarkey if you’ll just hold their hand for an hour,” she said. “Some folks are really desperate to make any kind of human contact.”

Still, I had to ask. “What does the Polar Vortex want with us?”

At that very moment, the lights came back on, the wind blew the door shut and Seance said “Time’s up! If you want more answers it will be another hundred dollars.”

Indignant, I marched into the street, found a cop, and complained that I had been bamboozled by a paranormalist. But as soon as the officer found out I was a local person, she detained me on charges of raising the stress level when company’s coming and violating the promotional ethos of Bragging Week.

The Polar Vortex strikes again!

This is Bud Buck!

Naturally, Bud is trying to make this as dramatic as possible so he can draw attention to himself. But I think he imagined this entire episode, or at least embellished it. I’m confident that weather does not have needs or desires when it comes to complimenting or ruining our events.

Or does it?

When has the weather undermined your plans?

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Aggression Study Provokes Fight

Today’s post comes from disgraced journalist Bud Buck, who considers telling the truth to be “a content strategy that hasn’t really worked out.”


A team of researchers studying aggression in men has confirmed the long held suspicion that men will deliberately anger each other to get what they want.

Professor Kirk Buffdude of Pummel University led the study, which gave 140 undergraduate men a chance to call out to an opponent before competing with that same opponent in a fine motor skills contest.

The competition involved carefully threading lengths of puffy yarn through small holes cut in tablet-sized pieces of cardboard. Only one competitor was allowed to speak before the contest began, and that person had just three choices

Buffdude found that the participants who chose to issue a challenge to their opponent’s virility won the ensuing fine motor skills game 78% of the time, whereas those who chose to offer a supportive comment won only 3% of the time. The contestants chose to say nothing at all won the remaining 19% of the time.

“This shows that humiliating your opponent before a fight gives you a competitive edge,” Buffdude said. “The adrenaline spike of an impending confrontation makes it impossible to govern fine motor tasks, and aggressors inherently know this and use it to their advantage. It’s a major breakthrough, and it makes me the greatest aggression researcher of all time!”

But others in the field were not impressed.

“Buffdude’s study is a joke,” said Dr. Armstrong Slapdown, Chair of the Domination Department at Worrisome College. “If you add up the numbers, it’s apparent that the contestant who was allowed to talk won the competition every single time, no matter what he said. How is that possible? They must have been fighting girls.”

But Slapdown’s comments drew fire from Dr. Winsome Garrotte, holder of the Rob Ford Endowed Chair for In-Your-Faceness at Toronto’s Angst Institute. “Fighting girls is no picnic,” she said. “Professor Slapdown knows that very well from our joint appearance on the Bad Attitude Panel at last Fall’s I.V.A.C., the International Verbal Assassination Convention.”

In spite of the confrontational tone of the responses, the author of the study that sparked all the sniping was unmoved. “We don’t make a lot of forward progress in Aggression Studies,” Professor Kirk Buffdude said. “Mostly our work is a matter of posturing. You have to enjoy the show if you’re going to survive.”

How are you in a fight?

Fall Back

Today’s post is a Questionable News Dispatch from disgraced journalist Bud Buck.

Trying Not To Turn Back Time
Trying Not To Turn Back Time

Tea Party conservatives have mounted a last-minute filibuster to delay the return to standard time this weekend. Assuming a now-familiar position in the well of the Senate, Republican Ted Cruz said “I take the floor to speak until next Spring, if necessary, to keep the nation from making the grave mistake of turning its back on anything with ‘savings’ in the title.”

In the House, Speaker John Boehner has acquiesced to demands from the most conservative members of his caucus that clocks at the Capitol remain untouched throughout this weekend and until further notice because “… nothing about the United States is ‘standard’.” Sources inside the Republican caucus say the Tea Party contingent rejected a compromise offer from Boehner to change the name of the four month interlude between the end and beginning of Daylight Savings Time from the traditional “Standard Time” to “Exceptional Time”.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tentatively endorsed the effort, pending the discovery of a way to link the time change to Obamacare.

But as usual, not all Republicans were on board with the tactic. Arizona Senator John McCain called the strategy “asinine”, and said “Nobody needs an extra hour of sleep more than I do.”

How will you spend your extra hour this weekend?

Hobby Farm

Today’s post comes from disgraced former journalist Bud Buck.

People often ask me to explain how, as a one-time newsboy poster child and respected radio anchor, I became a disgraced former journalist. I always tell them if they’ll simply sweeten my palm with a $20, the story is theirs. Sometimes it works.


The short version is this – it became so difficult to manage all the true information that was in the world, as a self defense mechanism I started to make things up. It worked for a while and I began to see my job as a form of self-expression. It didn’t hurt to lie so much when I remembered that it really was all about me!

And now the rickety tower that was once the institution of American journalism is approaching total collapse with word that a famous newspaper with a storied tradition will be purchased by a very rich guy who needs a new toy to play with. And yes, I just ended a sentence with a preposition. That’s how dead good writing is! Deal with it!

Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, bought the Washington Post for 250 million dollars. It’s not a takeover by Amazon because Bezos, one of the world’s wealthiest men, is buying it as an individual.

And yes, he got free shipping!

Bezos is famous for focusing on “the customer experience.” I can only guess that his experience as a Washington Post buyer was satisfactory, though I guess I’ll have to wait for the customer review to be certain. But one thing you won’t have to wait for is the pundit review. People who write opinions for a living have fallen on this story like a family of bears on the last picnic basket in the woods. They are tearing it apart because it features all the things they love – journalism, money, and … well, that’s about it.

My opinion hardly matters in all this, except to me. And that’s the point! This is the next logical step in the total disintegration of communications. Every person is now his or her own media empire. I suspect Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post because he didn’t have time to start his own blog. Look for someone richer to step up soon to buy The New York Times, and someone wealthier still to snap up CBS, NBC and finally Trail Baboon. Then it’s a total free-for-all!

Someday soon, when every news source is a vanity project beholden to a single personality, we will all be so busy filtering and interpreting information we won’t have time to actually know anything. And when that day comes, I won’t waste your time with an “I told you so.”

Instead, I’ll say “Welcome to my world.”

This is Bud Buck!

Who do you trust?

Blame Is In The Air

Today’s post comes from disgraced and disreputable former journalist Bud Buck.

The FAA announced today it will assess delay-blame on a minute-by-minute basis across the entire nationwide air traffic system so travelers do not waste time nursing their misdirected ire.

“I’m mad as hell,” said perpetually angry regional sales manager Aaron Shoelicker. “If I have to sit on the tarmac for an extra 20 minutes alongside some whiney infant who can’t stop blubbering about his need to get to Tampa for a noontime meeting, I want to know immediately who I can hate for being put in that situation.”

Shoelicker complained that during an especially lengthy airport delay earlier this month, he was allowed to spiral into a towering fit of rage only to find out later that the culprit was bad weather at his scheduled destination.

“I got wound up and had a monumental tantrum at the check-in desk. Later, when I found out the reason for the hold-up, I felt like an idiot because I was essentially shouting about Minnesota having a snowstorm.” he said. “Back in November I was begging for snow, so the irony is not lost on me.”

Simone Forage, another frequently ballistic flyer, admitted exhaustion from repeatedly launching herself into a series of spittle-soaked tirades in response to a recent spate of unattributed flight postponements and missed connections.

“I didn’t know who, exactly was behind all this,” she said, wistfully. “So I let the flight attendants have it, and everybody in first class got a piece of my mind too. If someone had simply explained that it was really the Republicans’ fault, I could have focused my ranting more efficiently.”

The FAA will closely measure degrees of travel-delay blame and will categorize it across a spectrum of responsibility that includes Democrats, Republicans, the President, Congress, Gays, Television, the NRA, Hollywood, Video Games, the Koch Brothers, Mario, Luigi, and the Kardashians. The results will be posted on large information boards at all major airports, and airline employees from the pilots to the gate agents will apportion blame for each delay at the time it is announced.

“We owe this to the traveling public,” explained Special Agent Foster Wellington of the Federal Spleen Administration. “Helping people fly off the handle productively allows us to conserve our National Bile Stockpile, which needs to be nurtured in case we encounter something that’s really worth getting all upset over.”

How do you manage your anger?

Quiet Sun

Today’s post comes from formerly reputable journalist Bud Buck, now mired in entertainment and personality news.

Fans of The Sun are aghast at what she has been doing in recent weeks – and NOT doing.

“I’m worried about her,” The Moon told me recently. “This was supposed to be her year to cut loose but lately she’s been really boring and that’s just not like her.”


In fact, observers had predicted that 2013 would bring one flashy outburst after another from the celestial orb, always a daily favorite for those who can’t get enough of watching the stars. The Sun’s behavior has been tracked so extensively that patterns have started to emerge clearly showing a boom/bust cycle of outrageous activity followed by relative calm. The Sun had been on an upswing as recently as last Fall when a widely publicized incident caused considerable chatter.

“For no apparent reason she expelled at least two plumes of superheated gas in a really random, almost casual way,” said a passing asteroid. “We were appalled. You can’t eject stuff like that in a crowded solar system and expect that no one will notice.”

While there were no injuries in the November incident, it was reported as a precursor of outbursts to come. But lately The Sun has settled into a low-activity phase that has some observers predicting we are in for an extended lull. Some have even wondered if the recent “coolness” of The Sun might foretell a chilling effect that could counteract Global Warming.

Others discount that theory.

“Of course The Sun is hot,” explained Venus, also smoldering. “But everyone overestimates how important she is. Global warming on Earth is caused by a build-up of man made pollutants – the Sun has very little to do with it. She only wishes every little expulsion of hers would get noticed.”

But the consensus seems to be that the new quiet spell is only another moment in a changeable series of phases for The Sun.

“I wouldn’t call it ‘settling down’,” said Curiosity’s Mars Rover, which recently had to go into a form of mechanical hibernation to wait through an increasingly rare Solar Outburst. “She’s always going to be The Sun, so there’s unlimited potential there for explosive, really fiery displays. But I watch her all day, every day, and aside from the occasional tantrum that spews a bit of electrically charged hydrogen and helium, she’s been pretty quiet.”

Others worry that this is just a pre-storm lull.

“I wouldn’t put it past The Sun to be holding back – saving up material over time for an upcoming night of extreme craziness,” said another experienced star watcher, the Hubble Space Telescope. “Understanding,” he added, “that when you’re the sun, it’s never really night.”

Describe your behavior in its wildest, most unpredictable phase.

Just Say No

Today, we offer a spot of Uninformed Commentary by formerly respected journalist and currently desperate wordsmith Bud Buck.

It’s “genius grant” time again. And apparently all 23 of this year’s honorees will accept their prize.

The no-strings-attached $500,000 awards from the MacArthur Foundation go to people who didn’t apply and don’t know they are under consideration. Their potential is assessed in secret and honored in public when the mantle of “genius” is quite suddenly placed on their shoulders. So it comes as a complete surprise, unless you are the sort of person who fills your idle moments with casual daydreams about your own greatness, posing rhetorical questions like this:

When will someone else notice how amazing I am?

Alas, most of us are exactly that sort of person. But with the passing of each October 1st, we who were anticipating a gentle tap on the shoulder feel unjustly neglected.

“SHE got a ‘genius’ grant? With ME, right here in plain sight?”

Don’t get me wrong, the winners are nice enough people,but I believe they have allowed a Trojan Horse into the stockade. Now they will have to carry the “genius” title around everyplace they go and have it applied to them in everything they do. In other words, it will be Hell. The first time a recipient is in the slightest way baffled by the menu board at McDonalds, they will hear these taunting words:

This shouldn’t be hard for you. You’re a GENIUS.”

And let’s face it. Everyone is a dolt sometimes. That’s why I think these MacArthur grants are really a secret behavioral experiment designed to test the proposition that every human has an inflated sense of her own worth. The organizers are searching (so far in vain) for the one smart person wise enough to refuse any prize that comes with the onerous burden of the “G” word in its title. How can you continue to operate as a contributing member of society when everyone is constantly looking to you for brainy magic and measuring you against their outsized expectations while quietly hoping for your failure?

Yes, you may say you’re up to it, that it wouldn’t change you. But imagine receiving the call and doing the subsequent news interviews. There will be congratulations. You’ll be invited to parties. You’ll get introduced in a specific way. Let that title sink in. It will always be attached to your name from here on out. “Genius Grant Recipient” How does that make you feel about yourself? How do you view the non-“Genius Grant” people (meaning just about everyone)? Still feel like you won a prize? Don’t.

It’s a smugness bomb, aimed at your soul.

It’s so obvious! The real “genius” is the one who says “no thanks.”
That’s what I’d do – not that I’ll ever get the chance.

- Bud Buck

I don’t know if Bud is making a surprisingly cogent point about human nature or begging to be given the MacArthur Prize next year. Or both.

What prize would you most like to win?