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Humour Satire

EU SUPER-STATE – EVER CLOSER UNION

Published by:

Blog by Richard Heagy

PROPOSED REGULATIONS

 

Too many politicians are listening to their national opinion. And if you are listening to your national opinion you are not developing what should be a common European sense and feeling of the need to put together efforts. We have too many part-time Europeans.  – Jean-Clod Junker, President of the European Commission

PREAMBLE:

In order to preserve unity, accelerate EU integration and eliminate national identity, the following regulations will be proposed for individuals and companies in the EU.

WORDS AND PHRASES CONSIDERED UNPATRIOTIC TO THE EU, THOUGH NOT ILLEGAL:

Borders

Individuality

Nationalism

National governments

Populism

Public opinion

Sovereignty

COMMON LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS:

German will be the official language of the ever closer European Union.

Newspapers, magazines, TV commercials and outdoor signs must be only in German.

National languages of member states may not be spoken in public from January 1st.

The same rules apply to live or recorded music in public places.

CAUTION: Languages other than German may NOT be spoken in private homes if the windows are open as the prohibited languages may be heard outside; no exceptions will be made in hot weather when air conditioning is not working.

ANOTHER CAUTION: This applies to music played in your home, so keep the volume down.

LABELLING OF PRODUCTS:

All products produced or manufactured in the European Union must state their origin as the EU, not the country or region where produced or manufactured.

RENAMING OF NATIONAL FOOD DISHES:

The following are examples that must be renamed to remove national or regional identity on labels, menus, recipes, etc. The list of examples will be expanded from time to time, as is our custom.

Belgian Waffles

Chicken Milano

Dutch Chocolate

Greek Lemon Chicken

Hungarian Goulash

Irish stew

Italian Spaghetti Sauce

Norwegian Salmon

Spanish omelette

Swedish Meatballs

EXCEPTIONS: Brussels sprouts

REPORTING VIOLATIONS:

We expect everyone to be a good EU citizen and follow the regulations once implemented. Further regulations are under consideration for reporting violations by friends, neighbors or family members.

END

Editor’s Note: Any misspelling of names is purely intentional.

Humour Satire Sketch

French Incivility Brigade vs Dog Poop Street Art

Published by:

Blog by Richard Heagy

The hearings of the Committee on Legal Affairs, on recommendation of the Working Group on Copyright, take place in one of the EU’s modern cost-is-no-object buildings, with ceilings in the lobby so high that Michelangelo could never have painted murals on it unless he wore an oxygen mask and learned to levitate. The hearings today are being held in one of the smaller rooms of the cost-is-no-object building as not all members of the Committee on Legal Affairs are scheduled to be present.

Two members in long black robes with white wing collars are seated on a dais, three steps—not a mere one or two steps—above the floor in the small but well-appointed meeting room. Their shoes, no doubt expensive, are hidden from view by a long mahogany piece of furniture, similar to a long bench or credenza, which curves at an angle of 10 mm per 10 cm of length—the same as the maximum EU curvature rules allow for Class I cucumbers.  The EU flag flies from a pole at either end of the dais.

Their serious faces cast an impression that they have been frozen in time, possibly waiting for Doctor Who to appear. Actually, they are waiting for the third member—the Chairman—to arrive before they begin. In front of the dais are several rows of chairs, divided by a wide aisle in the middle. An usher walks up and down the aisle, quietly offering peanuts or popcorn for three Euros; beer is 6 Euros. The members are not happy about this, but it was one of the conditions of the vendor for selling his shop and small piece of land to the EU.

A Page enters, dressed similar to the Swiss Guards at the Vatican, and blows a trumpet.

PAGE: All rise.

(Everyone stands as the CHAIRMAN enters. The PAGE walks to a small stand, pushes a button and the national anthem of the EU starts rolling. The CHAIRMAN puts both hands to his head in agony)

CHAIRMAN: Turn that thing off. I have an awful hangover…I mean headache. No offence to Schiller or Beethoven, but I do not need ‘Ode to Joy’ this morning, not after last night.

(The music stops. The CHAIRMAN takes his place the centre of the dais and the PAGE tells those in the audience to be seated)

VICE-CHAIRMAN: It looks more like a hangover.

CHAIRMAN: Last night I violated one of most important principles of civilisation.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Which one?

CHAIRMAN: Never drink cheap wine.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: You drank cheap wine? I am appalled.

CHAIRMAN: It was not my fault. We had guests over last night and one of them brought a cheap bottle of wine, the name of which I would never utter in your presence.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: I certainly hope not, but why did you drink it?

CHAIRMAN: My wife opened the bottle, filled the glasses and passed them around before I could say anything. I had no choice.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: There is always a choice.

CHAIRMAN: Not when your brother-in-law brings the wine. Unfortunately, he is above even the slightest criticism in our house; I have to pretend to be nice to him when he visits.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: That must be difficult.

CHAIRMAN: Not really; I took several acting lessons some time ago.

(The PAGE departs and is replaced by the CLERK, dressed in a dark suit, much like a funeral director )

CHAIRMAN (to the CLERK): What is the first item on today’s agenda?

CLERK: There is a conflict between the recently introduced French Incivility Brigade and the rights of street artists, one in particular. That is all I know, being a lowly civil servant and not privy to the documents filed in this matter.

CHAIRMAN: Well, I have not seen them either. Are representatives here to represent all of the stakeholders who have an interest in this matter?

CLERK: Yes—the injured party and representatives of the French Incivility Brigade, Paris street artists, the French Patrolmen’s Association, and Professor Mockingbird, a copyright expert and author of Soft Sculpture and Copyright.

CHAIRMAN: Call the first witness.

CLERK: First witness, representing the French Incivility Brigade.

CHAIRMAN (to BRIGADE WITNESS): Can you explain what the French Incivility Brigade is?

BRIGADE WITNESS: Yes, Your Excellency.

CHAIRMAN: That sounds nice, but Your Chairmanship will do.

BRIGADE WITNESS: A little history, if I may?

CHAIRMAN: Be brief.

BRIGADE WITNESS: Of course. Several years ago Paris had a fleet of Motocrottes, but …

VICE-CHAIRMAN (interrupting): What is a Motocrotte?

BRIGADE WITNESS: A motorised pooper-scooper, used to pick up dog poop. They were expensive and later abandoned after it was determined that they were only collecting about 20% of the dog shit on the streets of Paris.

COMMITTEE AVOCAT: I got here on time to hear about dog shit in Paris?

BRIGADE WITNESS: There are more important issues involved.

COMMITTEE AVOCAT: I certainly hope so.

BRIGADE WITNESS:  Paris has recently established an Incivility Brigade of about 2,000 security agents to hand out warnings and fines to those who commit antisocial behaviour. They will be uniformed and armed with teargas spray and wooden-handled truncheons.

COMMITTEE AVOCAT: So, they are going to deal with bank robbers, jewellery store heists and other serious crimes.

BRIGADE WITNESS: Not exactly. They are going to track down and punish men who urinate against walls in public, litter-bugs who toss cigarette butts on the street and dog owners who do not clean up after their dogs poop on the sidewalk.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: I do not understand how this involves the EU.

BRIGADE WITNESS: The legality of the Incivility Brigade has been challenged by certain street art groups and artists in Paris. Artists in other parts of Europe are likely to encounter similar problems.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: That is an odd one; I would have thought that the dog owners in Paris would be the ones against it.

BRIGADE WITNESS: There have been some demonstrations but no legal action… well, only one.

CHAIRMAN: Please explain, but be brief.

BRIGADE WITNESS: The Mayor was finishing lunch at his favourite outdoor café and an angry dog owner approached him and complained about the new Incivility Brigade. One of the Mayor’s aides stood and told the dog owner to leave or he would be arrested; then stamped his foot to scare off the dog, sat and asked for the bill. Unnoticed by the Mayor or his aide, the dog made a deposit under the Mayor’s chair before running off. After the bill was paid, the Mayor slipped in a pile of dog shit when he got up to leave. A nearby policeman was called to chase after the dog owner and arrest him.

CHAIRMAN: We need to move along. Who is next?

CLERK: The representative of the French Patrolmen’s Association.

CHAIRMAN (to ASSOCIATION WITNESS): Are you here in support of the Incivility Brigade?

ASSOCIATION WITNESS: Not at all. We are against them.

CHAIRMAN: Please explain.

ASSOCIATION WITNESS: We are all in favour of cleaning up crime in Paris, even cigarette butts.

CHAIRMAN: Not dog shit?

ASSOCIATION WITNESS: No. First, Parisians love their dogs and are extremely unhappy with the Incivility Brigade; they will express their anger at all law enforcement officers, including us. Second, it is easier to catch criminals engaged in street crime when they slip on dog shit. We have special non-skid boots, so it is not a problem for us.

CHAIRMAN: Thank you for your insight; you are excused.  Is there someone here to represent the street artists?

STREET ARTIST WITNESS (standing): Right here.

CHAIRMAN: What do street artists have against the activities of the French Incivility Brigade?

STREET ARTIST WITNESS: Their enforcement actions will in some cases violate the protections of street artists under copyright laws.

CHAIRMAN: Such as?

STREET ARTIST WITNESS: The right to integrity—not to have your work altered, or the right to reproduce and sell your work—which disappears if your work is removed or destroyed by overzealous officers.

COMMITTEE AVOCAT: Have there been any cases of street art being removed or destroyed?

STREET ARTIST WITNESS: Yes. We brought a victim—the person who filed the initial complaint.

CHAIRMAN: Very well, next witness.

(The next witness is a dog owner, but not the one arrested by the Mayor)

DOG OWNER: I live in Paris in the 20th Arrondissement, where street art is encouraged, at least if it is on a wall.

COMMITTEE AVOCAT: Where is yours?

DOG OWNER: On the ground.

COMMITTEE AVOCAT: Be more specific—the sidewalk, the pavement?

DOG OWNER: On the sidewalk, but either would qualify for copyright protection. An idea or artistic expression, such as street art, requires basically no creativity, but it must be fixed in some tangible form to be protected under copyright laws.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: We all know the basic principles of copyright law. Why are you here?

DOG OWNER: Because the EU has been revising its rules to provide harmonization of copyright law throughout the 28 member nations. Criminal and copyright laws are in conflict in France; now it the time to sort this out and provide uniformity throughout the EU.

CHAIRMAN: Proceed, if you must.

DOG OWNER: The French Incivility Brigade destroyed one of my sculptures and gave me three fines.

CHAIRMAN: You are talking about street art, correct?

DOG OWNER: Yes. The first fine was for my dog pissing on a fire hydrant. I did not challenge that because the dog piss just went down into the gutter instead of creating anything in a fixed form. Next, my dog started walking away and the officer yelled at him. The poor thing was so scared that he made an extra big poop on the sidewalk. I lit a cigarette to calm down, looked at the poop and could not believe what I saw. It looked very much like a face, with an uncanny resemblance to the officer. I started laughing and stubbed out my cigarette. Then I stuck the butt in the dog shit just where the mouth should be.

COMMITTEE AVOCAT: I bet that went over well with the officer.

DOG OWNER: He gave me a fine for dog litter and another for the cigarette butt. When I refused to clean it up he shoved me with his truncheon and I stumbled onto the dog shit, destroying my street art.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: I believe that there is a case pending in the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit—Naruto vs Slater—which involves the question of whether or not an animal may be a copyright owner. If we adopted such a rule in the EU, your dog would own the copyright, not you, in the event that this particular dog poop constituted an artistic expression in fixed form. On the other hand, you might be the author of the dog poop face if you directed your dog where and when to shit, also taking into account your placement of the cigarette butt.

COMMITTEE AVOCAT: Let me interject. Depending on the consistency of the dog poop, it may be in fixed form only temporarily; and thus not entitled to copyright protection by anyone.

DOG OWNER: I would like Professor Mockingbird to testify on that point.

COMMITTEE AVOCAT: Professor, do you have a first name?

PROFESSOR MOCKINGBIRD: Yes, but I prefer not to say it.

COMMITTEE AVOCAT: I am afraid we need it for the record if you are going to testify.

PROFESSOR MOCKINGBIRD (in a soft voice): Elmo.

COMMITTEE AVOCAT: Professor, could you please speak up?

PROFESSOR MOCKINGBIRD (louder): Elmo.

(Everyone in the committee room starts laughing, until silenced by the CHAIRMAN)

COMMITTEE AVOCAT: I am sorry to hear that, but what are your qualifications?

PROFESSOR MOCKINGBIRD: I am the author of Soft Sculpture and Copyright, available in either French or English. If you would care to buy a copy, it is available online from Amazon and other booksellers. I am also a guest lecturer on the topic of street art at many universities throughout Europe.

COMMITTEE AVOCAT: My understanding is that for purposes of copyright law, a work is considered to be fixed when it is embodied in a tangible, stable and concrete form. Works that are transitory in nature are not protectable under copyright law as they are not fixed. Would you not agree with that, Professor?

PROFESSOR MOCKINGBIRD: Yes, as to dog piss, but not as to street art in the form of soft sculpture.

COMMITTEE AVOCAT: Would you care to define soft sculpture.

PROFESSOR MOCKINGBIRD: Street art is typically painted on a wall, on the side of a building or sometimes on the pavement. Soft sculpture is often attached to something, such as a building or a park bench, but can be placed on the ground or pavement. Although soft sculpture typically is made from rubber, latex or cloth, there is no reason why soft sculpture cannot consist of dog shit.

COMMITTEE AVOCAT: How can dog poop on the sidewalk be deemed to be in fixed form? It is transitory, ready to be swept away or washed away in the rain.

PROFESSOR MOCKINGBIRD: That is not necessarily so, especially in the non-rainy season. Once in fixed form, copyright attaches, even though the creation may subsequently be destroyed. For example, suppose I write a lecture on a piece of paper, read it to an audience and then destroy the paper; my copyright continues.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: Professor, are you sure that you want your lecture notes to be compared with a pile of dog shit?

PROFESSOR MOCKINGBIRD: Never mind.

CHAIRMAN: The EU has received more than enough criticism over the volume of its directives and regulations.  We do not need to add dog shit to the list. Hearing adjourned.

CLERK: All rise. Watch your step when you leave the building.

THE END

 

Satire Sketch

EU OFFICIALS SUMMONED TO MOUNT OLYMPUS

Published by:

Blog by Richard Heagy

After an all-day session hammering out the latest economic rescue proposal for Greece, if you could call a take or leave it deal a proposal, the meeting adjourned. The underlings leave the room, leaving only those who really matter: the Presidents of the European Council (‘TUSK’), the European Commission (‘JUNCKER’) and the European Central Bank (‘DRAGHI’), as well as the President of France (‘HOLLAND’) and the Chancellor of Germany (‘MERKEL’). It is late but many restaurants are still open—though only a few suitable to the standards of the esteemed group. It is ironic that the one they end up at is a Greek restaurant, fortunately one with a Michelin rating—only two stars, but sometimes sacrifices have to be made. The ensemble in elegant dress enters the restaurant where they fit in seamlessly with the other expensively dressed patrons and are ushered into one of the restaurant’s elegant private dining rooms.

Appropriate to their status, the meal commences with French champagne, followed by a choice of several house specialties: Roasted figs stuffed with feta cheese; Santorini Fava, with caramelised onions and black truffle vinaigrette, encircled with grilled octopus slices; Greek lamb quince stew; Fried sardines; and finally desert, Yogurt mouse with sour cherry preserves. Later, an after dinner aperitif—a sweet light wine with a unique but pleasant taste—is served by a surly waiter with unruly hair in a uniform that he must have borrowed from someone else. His eyes seem to radiate malice as he quickly refills their glasses. Unknown to them, and in spite of the rules that make it virtually impossible to fire employees of the European Union, he is the only employee known to have been fired by the EU. The effects of the aperitif are quickly realised as the diners motions slow; their speech slurs as they fall asleep in their chairs. They will eventually awaken, only to find themselves at a distant location.

A short time later the BUS DRIVER looks at his watch, then at the ancient Mercedes bus, one he had never seen or driven before. It was from another era, evidenced by its short stubby length and two-toned finish of blue and white (or was it once crème), or what was left of it. The elements had eaten into the finish, leaving ugly splotches of rust on the sides and top of the vehicle. Still in working order were large round headlights, one on either side of the round Mercedes emblem on the front. The windshield wipers had no doubt once worked, but the BUS DRIVER was not going to test them before he set out. No need to start with a negative omen; it wasn’t supposed to rain anyway.

The BUS DRIVER climbs aboard and counts his passengers—one woman with short hair and four gentlemen, or so they might be described if their manner of dress is any guide. The condition of the interior of the bus is no better than the outside, but the passengers do not notice as all are in a deep sleep. The engine sputters, then starts and the bus moves forward. That’s when the BUS DRIVER notices that there are no outside mirrors.

The bus drives for several hours, passing through a few towns before stopping at Katerini for gas; then it continues onward to Litichoro, the last small village at the foot of Mount Olympus before the journey is interrupted. The old Mercedes bus is travelling at a slow speed, but when it stops suddenly the passengers are thrown forward. Curses in sleepy voices break out in various languages. The bus driver looks through the front window and blows the horn several times without any response. Finally he opens the door, climbs out and approaches an object blocking the road—a wooden bathtub with a man crawled up inside.

DRIVER: What the bloody hell are you doing in the middle of the road?

DIOGENES: Waiting for the bus.

DRIVER: The bus doesn’t stop here.

DIOGNES: It just did.

DRIVER: Get that thing out of the way.

DIOGENES: Help me put it on the top of the bus; I’m going with you.

DRIVER: Certainly not.

DIOGENES: Then I am not moving.

(They stare at each other, neither wanting to budge first, until someone in the bus starts blowing the horn)

DRIVER: Oh, very well.

(DIOGENES crawls out of the tub and places a lamp on the ground. They carry the tub to the back of the bus. The DRIVER climbs up the ladder and DIOGENES hoists the tub up to him. The DRIVER pushes the tub onto the roof of the bus and secures it with a rope)

DRIVER (continuing): I hope you are satisfied.

DIOGENES: I will give you a good rating if you have a passenger satisfaction survey to fill out.

DRIVER: Do you realise that we are now behind schedule; there are some very important people on the bus.

DIOGENES: No doubt they think they are.

(DIOGENES gets on the bus and walks to the back, swinging his lamp to get a look at the weary passengers. The DRIVER jumps in and starts the bus; DIOGNENES falls into a seat as the bus lurches forward. The passengers doze off as the bus continues its long journey in the darkness along a narrow road that slowly winds its way up the mountain until it reaches Prionia, where the road ends)

DRIVER: All change please. Mind the gap.

(MERKEL gets off the bus while the others slowly wake up, wondering how they ended up on a bus)

DIOGENES: Are you bozos going to stay here all night?

(The DRIVER hits the horn a few times to wake up the stragglers)

HOLLAND: Who is that rude bum in the back of the bus?

DIOGENES: I am Diogenes, often called ‘Diogenes the Dog.’

HOLLAND: No wonder. You could use a bath and a haircut.

BUS DRIVER (from the front of the bus): Hey, no comments about haircuts.

DIOGENES: I lead a simple life. At least I don’t spend 10,000 euros a month on haircuts, not that your stylist has much to work with.

HOLLAND: It’s only 9,895 euros.

(One by one the remaining passengers get off the bus and look around, shivering in the cold)

TUSK: Where are we going?

DIOGENES: I thought that you knew everything, especially what is best for others.

TUSK: I wasn’t talking to you.

DIOGENES: Were you talking to yourself? If you were, I can recommend a good book on the subject.

(TUSK walks away from DIOGENES)

DRAGHI: What’s that awful smell?

DIOGENES: Don’t look at me,

(A LARGE MAN in a sheepskin coat and a cigarette dangling from his lips approaches, followed by several donkeys)

JUNCKER: I demand to know what’s going on.

LARGE MAN: All aboard. Mount up.

(The group looks around, puzzled and uncertain about what to do)

LARGE MAN: You can either ride or walk, but the mountain gets a bit sleep and sometimes the rocks loosen and fall. You are lucky because the donkeys usually haul supplies, not people.

JUNCKER: I am going nowhere.

LARGE MAN: You’re already there—nowhere. If you stay here you will freeze to death by morning.

BUS DRIVER: That would be a big loss, wouldn’t it?

(The BUS DRIVER takes off his cap and JUNCKER realises that he is looking at BORIS JOHNSON)

JUNCKER: It’s you.

BORIS JOHNSON: Sorry I can’t continue on with you. Maybe we can meet for tea next time you are in London.

(JUNCKER turns away and looks around. Although it is still dark, he realises that there is nothing for hundreds of kilometres and reluctantly mounts a donkey)

LARGE MAN (to DIOGENES): You going to walk?

DIOGENES: These well-fed bureaucrats must weigh more than the donkeys.

LARGE MAN: Don’t concern yourself about the donkeys. They usually carry much heavier loads.

DIOGENES (to MERKEL): I understand that you like hiking. Care to join me?

MERKEL (climbing onto a donkey): Not in these shoes.

(The next day the morning sun is slowly rising above the mist as the passengers begin to awaken in their new surroundings, feeling sore and stiff, wondering where the hell they are)

MERKEL (turning over): Who kicked me?

HOLLAND: It wasn’t me.

(They look around and realise that they have been asleep all night in a makeshift barn, together with the donkeys; the one next to MERKEL gets to its feet and moves away. They all fully awaken in response to a loud blast from a trumpet)

DIOGENES: Rise and shine. Today is your big day.

TUSK: What’s he talking about?

DIOGENES: Were you speaking to me?

(TUSK turns away from DIOGENES. The trumpet sounds again as a STABLE GROOM enters, dressed like a race track jockey in black cap, red jacket and white pants)

STABLE GROON: Sorry we can’t offer you a shower. This will have to do.

(He dusts off the straw with a whisk broom as they object. HOLLAND adjusts his glasses and brushes his hair back with his hands. MERKEL touches up her hair)

STABLE GROOM: This way, if you please.

(He leads them up to the Pantheon, the highest peak on Mount Olympus, nowadays more commonly known as Mytikas.  At the entrance of a courtyard they are welcomed by HERMES, god of travellers and hospitality, as well as thievery and other things. Inside, on a large gold throne at the far end sits ZEUS, surrounded by the other Olympians. The mist makes it appear as though they are suspended on a cloud; perhaps they are. The puzzled travellers walk forward and come to a halt)

HOLLAND: What is this—some kind of Greek theatre?

MERKEL: Maybe a Hollywood movie set.

DRAGHI: No, they are wearing Greek costumes.

DIOGENES: Don’t you fools know where you are?

HERMES (to the uninformed): You are on Mount Olympus—in the presence of the twelve Olympians.

(A thunderbolt strikes the ground, and the assembled group jumps)

ZEUS: I see that I now have everyone’s attention. MINISTER, you may present your case.

JUNCKER: What’s the meaning of this?

ZEUS: Silence, mortal.

(ZEUS throws his hand forward and a thunderbolt lands at JUNCKER’s feet)

FINANCE MINISTER: The bailout and austerity measures that have been imposed on the Greek people by the EU have caused widespread suffering, economic hardship and social unrest. The billions provided by this so called ‘rescue plan’ have gone 95% to the European banks.

TUSK (to ZEUS): You have no authority over the European Union.

DRAGHI: I say we leave.

(ZEUS shoots repeated thunderbolts at the feet of JUNCKER, TUSK and DRAGHI. They jump each time and their motion is similar to bullet dancing—shooting close to a victim’s feet—in an old western movie.

DIOGENES: I haven’t had this much fun in a long time.

(The thunderbolts stop and JUNCKER, TUSK and DRAGHI compose themselves)

DIOGENES: You are all fools, suffering from ‘endemic tower phobia.’

FINANCE MINISTER: That’s a new one on me. What does it mean?

DIOGENES:  It is a psychological condition that starts each morning during the chauffeur-driven ride by a high-level bureaucrat, most often unelected, to an expensively furnished office in a modern skyscraper that often reaches above the clouds. The condition accelerates faster for those who reach the top floor in a private non-stop elevator in less than sixty seconds. Once seated behind a desk that would have been the envy of the mighty ZEUS …

ZEUS: What’s that?

(DIOGENE’s explanation is interrupted by a loud thunderbolt)

DIOGENES: Begging your pardon, mighty ZEUS. I meant to say King Farouk.

FINANCE MINISTER (to DIOGENES): You were saying …

DIOGENES: Once seated behind a typically gold inlayed desk, the high atmosphere causes the close fitting tailor-made suits of these know-it-all big shots to compress, forcing pressure upwards into their heads, which then swell with self-importance.

FINANCE MINISTER: That explains a lot about dealing with the European Council, the European Commission and the European Central Bank.

JUNCKER: I’m not going to listen to any more of this.

DRAGHI: Nor am I.

TUSK: I didn’t come here to be insulted; in fact, I didn’t even ask to come here at all.

(ZEUS sends thunderbolts that barely miss the trio’s shoes)

ZEUS: One more peep out of you overpaid bureaucrats and the next thunderbolt will make those expensive shoes into open-toed ones.

(Another thunderbolt is shot as a warning)

ZEUS (to FINANCE MINISTER): You may proceed.

MERKEL (to the others): It’s not just a bad dream, is it?

THE END

Satire Sketch

BREXIT – Cameron thank you dinner for Obama

Published by:

Blog by Richard Heagy

The UK Prime Minister and the US President sit at a table in the far corner of a small upscale restaurant in Mayfair on a quiet street in London; nearby, but out of sight are several secret service agents and security guards. The WAITER approaches the table and asks what they would like to drink.

CAMERON: Whiskey.

OBAMA: Beer.

WAITER: I am sorry sir, but we no longer serve beer. Perhaps you would like something from the bar or maybe a glass of wine.

OBAMA: Wine will be fine.

CAMERON: I will have wine also; cancel the whiskey.

WAITER: Very good, sir, I will send over the sommelier.

(OBAMA and CAMERON listen to the sommelier’s suggestions and finally agree on one)

OBAMA: I brought you a present.

CAMERON: How nice. I hope it did not cost too much.

OBAMA: Not at all, but it is one of your favourites; at least that is what I saw on TV.

(OBAMA hands a nicely wrapped box to CAMERON, who holds up the box and shakes it. Something inside makes a noise and the contents shift a bit)

OBAMA: You will never guess what it is; might as well just open it.

CAMERON: You are right.

OBAMA: I am always right. It comes with being a Harvard law professor; no one questions you until you go into politics.

(CAMERON carefully tears off the wrapping and opens the box; then pulls out the gift—a tube of Pringles)

OBAMA (smiling): They are Paprika Pringles.

CAMERON: How did you know I liked these?

OBAMA: There was a video of you on the internet; you were on a budget flight eating Paprika Pringles.

CAMERON: How thoughtful.

OBAMA: Oh, I really cannot take all the credit, maybe most of it. You know how so many gifts are not what somebody wants at all. I had a White House intern do an internet search to find out what you really like—and here it is.

CAMERON: I do not know what to say, except thanks.

(He opens the tube, inhales, takes one out and tastes it)

CAMERON (to OBAMA): Would you like to try one?

(Before OBAMA can respond, a WAITER walks over to the table)

WAITER: Excuse me sir, I mean Prime Minister, but you may not bring food into the restaurant.

(The WAITER reaches out and takes the tube of Pringles from CAMERON, but unnoticed by either of them a SECRET SERVICE AGENT appears from nowhere, turns the WAITER round and butts him in the head. The tube falls on the table and the Pringles scatter on the floor)

OBAMA: I brought those all the way from Washington.

OBAMA (to SECRET SERVICE AGENT): Pick those up.

SECRET SERVICE AGENT: Yes, sir.

(The SECRET SERVICE AGENT squats, picks up the Pringles one by one, and blows the dirt off them before putting them back in the tube)

OBAMA: It is hard to get good help these days, even if you are the President of the United States.

(Blood drips from the forehead of the WAITER to his crisply starched white shirt as he holds his head in pain. The MAÎTRE D’ rushes over and helps the WAITER walk away)

CAMERON: Tell me about it.

(ANOTHER WAITER arrives to serve the drinks, followed by the MAÎTRE D’, who serves the starters in enclosed silver covers)

MAÎTRE D’: Compliments of the chef, in honour of the American President.

(He uncovers the dishes to reveal a surprise)

CAMERON: Looks like a tiny square hamburger to me.

OBAMA: It is a White Castle.

(He takes a bite and smiles at the MAÎTRE D’)

OBAMA (continuing): Please give my thanks to the chef.

(Dinner continues with a salad, bread with a plate of olive oil, followed by the main entre, all of which takes a few hours)

CAMERON: Had enough to eat?

OBAMA: It is probably enough to last all week. I should walk it off in Hyde Park in the morning, but my secret service agents will complain.

(As CAMERON and OBAMA are enjoying after dinner drinks, the WAITER returns to the table with several bandages on his forehead)

OBAMA: I am sorry about what happened. I was beginning to get worried—it took you so long.

WAITER: First, I called the nearest hospital emergency room and asked for an ambulance. When I described my injuries, they said it was not serious enough for an ambulance, and suggested that I take a taxi.

OBAMA: Looks like they fixed you up. Your socialised medicine is excellent, so I hear.

WAITER: Where did you hear that?

OBAMA: Uh …

WAITER: I waited in a large room full of tired and angry people, some coughing and sneezing, for four hours; no it was 3 hours and 48 minutes, as they must release you in 4 hours.

OBAMA: Well, anyway the exam must have been thorough.

WAITER: What exam? They dabbed my forehead with some stinging substance, slapped on three small bandages, and gave be two paracetamol—what you would call aspirin.

OBAMA: Again, I am very sorry about what happened. You should go home and get some rest.

(The WAITER nods and leaves)

CAMERON: I invited you here to express my appreciation for your support with the EU referendum, especially your recommendation that the United Kingdom stay in the European Union.

OBAMA: Remaining in the EU gives the UK more influence and is important for economic prosperity and security. It is most unfortunate that the Leave vote prevailed.

CAMERON: I should have never authorised the referendum. The Leave vote has been a shock to everyone, even the Leave supporters. The financial markets are in disarray and the pound is in the toilet.

(A tall stocky man with unruly blonde hair, much like a miniature haystack, approaches the table and pulls out a chair. He is BORIS JOHNSON, former Mayor of London and now a Member of Parliament)

BORIS (as he sits down): May I join you?

CAMERON: You already have.

OBAMA: I thought that the referendum was primarily about the economy and security, but it seems that immigration became a more significant factor as the vote neared.

BORIS: Maybe so, but substantial support for the Leave vote already existed for other important reasons. This is also about representative democracy. Unelected faceless EU civil servants impose endless rules, regulations and financial obligations on the UK. The press and the elite have neglected the obstacles the EU has created for business, especially small shopkeepers, as well as unduly interfering with the daily private lives of ordinary people with petty overregulation. The European Court of Justice overrules English laws and judges, something the US would never stand for, as evidenced by their refusing to recognise the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.

CAMERON: I did negotiate with the EU and got them to agree to some changes in our favour.

BORIS (to CAMERON): I know you tried your best, but you really did not get much. The bloated EU bureaucracy is extremely inflexible from top to bottom, starting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. He is so rigid that I would not be surprised if he could not even bend over to tie his shoelaces. The man has this ever-closer phobia and keeps pushing the EU down a one-way road to failure. What started as an economic union—with the European Economic Community in 1975—morphed into the European Union in 1993, a political union with an insatiable hunger for fiscal, diplomatic and unchecked legislative powers.

(Although OBAMA finished his dinner some time ago, a small piece of bread remains on the table. He picks it up and dips it in a small plate of olive oil)

BORIS (to OBAMA): It is much healthier to dip bread in olive oil than to smoother it with butter, do you not agree?

OBAMA: I believe everyone knows that.

BORIS: Dip away while you can. In 2014, the EU tried to ban the use of refillable bottles and dipping bowls of olive oil at restaurant tables. There was an unusual groundswell against the proposal across Europe by consumers and restaurant owners.  It was one of the very few times that the EU backed down and reversed one of its rules, never admitting it was wrong, but excusing itself by saying that the ban was not formulated so as to achieve wide support from the public, as if the EU has ever given a rat’s ass about public opinion. They always know better and want to impose their way of thinking by re-educating the public, a common trait of those in unelected positions. I would not be surprised if they tried something like this again; the UK will still be subject to EU regulations until they negotiate the terms of withdrawal from the EU.

ANOTHER WAITER (arrives out of nowhere, pushing a cart): Gentlemen, I have the pleasure of preparing Bananas Foster at your table.

(The cart contains a large skillet on an alcohol burner, brown sugar, butter, rum, banana liquor, and several bananas)

OBAMA: I have not eaten Bananas Foster for quite some time.

(An elderly man—the MINDER—with white hair, a face with more wrinkles than his tired ill-fitting soviet era brown suit, and a short military style haircut suddenly appears and pulls out a small tool—a digital angle finder, picks up a banana and measures its curvature or bend. He speaks with an East German accent)

MINDER (to ANOTHER WAITER): You will take these bananas back; their bend violates EU regulations.

(The MINDER puts the banana back on the cart and ANOTHER WAITER pushes the cart away)

CAMERON: I thought that the bend rules applied to cucumbers.

BORIS: Yes, but it is more complicated for cucumbers than bananas because there are two cucumber categories. Class I and Extra Class cucumbers allow a bend of 10mm per 10cm of length, whereas Class II cumbers can bend twice as much.

CAMERON: Wait a minute. I think the rule on bananas was modified in the UK a few years back.

MINDER: Nobody told me. I will have to fill out a report concerning this violation.

(He takes out a pad of forms and makes notations on the top one)

MINDER: Your names.

CAMERON: I am the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

MINDER: And I am the King of Bavaria.

BORIS: He really is the Prime Minister.

BORIS and OBAMA (to themselves): Not for long.

MINDER: And, I suppose you are the Mayor of London

(pause)

MINDER (continuing): For the pittance they pay me, I am not going to verify your names. I just need to write something in each blank on this form so none of the highly paid comrades in Brussels sends it back.

(He starts filling out the form and turns to OBAMA)

MINDER (to OBAMA): Don’t think I have forgotten about you. You look like a university professor. I’ll just write “professor”, since you gentlemen are playing games with me over your real names. They don’t matter because the guilty party subject to a fine is the restaurant.

OBAMA: That’s OK; I can get some Bananas Foster next time I am in New Orleans.

(OBAMA picks up a thin briefcase and pulls out a group of articles that mention Cameron and the EU referendum. He holds them out to CAMERON, but the MINDER grabs them and pulls off the large paperclip holding them together)

MINDER: What have we here?

BORIS: This does not look good.

OBAMA: The articles are not all negative.

BORIS: That is not the problem; it is the petty EU bureaucracy.

(The MINDER pulls out a small ruler and measures the length of the paper clip)

MINDER: Just as I suspected; this clip exceeds the allowable size under EU regulations.

(He bends the paperclip and it snaps in two)

MINDER: Oh, my, look at this. This clip appears to be made of materials that violate EU safety regulations. I’ll have to confiscate it and write another report.

(The Minder places the unclipped papers on the table, fills out another form and departs. Before he leaves, he clicks his heels together and raises his right arm in a Nazi salute)

MINDER: Sorry. Old habits are hard to break.

OBAMA: First it’s bananas; now it’s paper clips.

(He straightens the articles and hands them to CAMERON)

CAMERON: Thank you. I am sure I will find them interesting.

OBAMA: Who was that fellow?

BORIS: A minder.

OBAMA: Did you say a miner?

BORIS: No, a minder—one of those low-level officials assigned to follow you around if you visited Soviet controlled countries in the old days. They would stick to you like glue.

OBAMA: I thought that all went out with the end of the Cold War.

CAMERON: It is just something the EU is trying on a temporary basis.

BORIS: There is no such thing as temporary where the EU is concerned. They will make this so-called experiment permanent and expand it.

OBAMA: Why was that fellow measuring the bananas?

CAMERON: The EU wants to ensure that its rules and regulations are being followed. They have placed staff members in a few restaurants on a test basis to oversee compliance in the food service industry.

BORIS: Staff members, bloody hell. These are former minders from East Germany here to spy on us for the EU; a relic from the Cold War, straight out of Alexanderplatz central casting in Berlin. They are state employees who cannot be retrained for other jobs. An invasive program our Prime Minister has allowed into the UK.

CAMERON: I saw his resume—he comes with a recommendation, somewhat dated, from Erich Honecker.

BORIS: Wonderful fellow as far as apparatchiks go, especially known for organising the building of the Berlin Wall.

OBAMA (to himself): I wonder if Donald Trump has heard of him?

CAMERON: Don’t blame me; the UK has to follow the EU directives or they raise a big stink or take legal action.

BORIS (to OBAMA):  You probably thought the EU referendum was just about security and the economy.

OBAMA: Well yes. That is what first comes to mind.

BORIS: The problem that mostly affects the daily lives of UK citizens is the constant generation of new regulations, most of them quite petty.  Job security is sacred at the European Commission. It is almost impossible to be fired, but people still like to give the appearance of being busy.  I would not be surprised to find that they have classes to teach civil servants how to look busy when they have nothing to do.  More than 10,000 EU officials make more than our Prime Minister does.  The latest proposal, so I hear, is to offer an incentive system for lower-paid employees who submit three ideas each week for new things to regulate.

OBAMA: There is nothing wrong with big government, but I don’t know about that kind of incentive system.

OBAMA (to BORIS): You were a major supporter of the Leave campaign. What are their plans for carrying out the Brexit?

BORIS (ignoring the question): Do you own a dog?

OBAMA: Two.

BORIS: Well, you probably have the same rules as in the UK; you must carry a plastic bag and pick up after your dog makes a deposit.

OBAMA: Yes, but it is not a big inconvenience.

BORIS: You might have a problem with your dogs if you move to London after you leave the White House, at least until we are out of the EU.

OBAMA: I wasn’t planning to, but why is that?

BORIS: The EU regulators in their concern for the environment are going all out after plastic.

OBAMA: I see nothing wrong with that.

BORIS: They are considering banning the use of plastic bags for dog walkers.

OBAMA: Then, how are you going to clean up the dog deposits?

BORIS: Dog owners will have to train their dogs to sit on the pot to take a crap before they go for a walk. Quite an inconvenience for dog owners, but it will be good for business.

OBAMA: How is that?

BORIS: They already make special potty seats for small children and disabled persons. Now they will need to design special ones for dogs, and one size will not fit all. Even so, the solicitors will be concerned about liability if an owner uses the wrong size and a dog falls in and drowns, so more work for them. Potty manufacturers and the owners of pet stores will also benefit from increased sales.

(ANOTHER WAITER appears with the dessert menu and asks to take their orders)

OBAMA: I am not hungry anymore.

CAMERON: Me neither.

BORIS (to ANOTHER WAITER): Bring those bananas back. I’ll take them home and make my own Bananas Foster.

ANOTHER WAITER: I am sorry but the MINDER confiscated them.

BORIS: What is he going to do—send them with his report to Brussels?

ANOTHER WAITER: No. I saw him through the window, standing at the bus stop. He was eating the bananas.

THE END

Small banana X

Satire Sketch

Hitler’s Erasure – EU Article 17

Published by:

Blog by Richard Heagy

Someone long thought to be dead recently filed a complaint with the European Commission for violation of his human rights, in particular, the right to be forgotten and erasure of personal data no longer relevant pursuant to Article 17. They wondered if perhaps a relative or descendant filed the complaint. The European Commission, not burdened with budget restraints, dispatched one of its highly paid bureaucrats to the far ends of the globe to investigate the complaint, and in particular verify the identity of the complainant. After a flight from Brussels to Buenos Aires, followed by a lengthy train ride, and change of buses, the highly paid bureaucrat (unaccustomed to such uncomfortable travel accommodations) arrived at his fact-finding destination in Argentina.

BUS DRIVER: End of the line.

(The bus stops at the corner of a side street that abuts the town plaza and all depart, including a few chickens. The EU OFFICIAL is the last one off the bus. He holds a briefcase in one hand and with the other dusts off his jacket; then looks round as everyone seems to disappear. Small shops and cafés line the plaza, accompanied by a few kiosks or food stands here and there. Suddenly, what appears to be a taxi approaches, belching exhaust, and comes to a sudden halt)

DRIVER: Señor, at your service.

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