William H. Macy reportedly not waiting for wife Felicity Huffman

Upon hearing the news that his wife had been sentenced to 14 days in prison, actor William H. Macy, through a spokesperson, announced plans to leave the marriage.

“While Mr. Macy is deeply saddened by the news of his wife’s severe 14 day prison sentence and wishes her all the best, Mr. Macy feels it’s best to move on with his life and put this regrettable chapter in his family’s history behind him,” said Macy’s spokesperson. 

Word of Macy’s decision stunned friends of the couple.  “Well, she’s eligible for parole in eight days,” said a mutual friend.  “With good behavior she might be out sooner. Not sure why he couldn’t wait.”

For her part, Huffman is planning to make the best use of her time behind bars.  She’s converted to Buddhism and plans to meditate extensively. She’s also started a program that matches convicts with university degree programs, and exhibited remarkable success at getting prisoners accepted into some of the nation’s most prestigious institutions of higher learning.

White House Office of Sharpie Revisions releases updated economic numbers

The White House Monday released updated economic data from its Office of Sharpie Revisions.  The revised numbers show August job growth increasing from 130,000 new jobs to 300,000. It appeared a Sharpie had been used to remove a one and add a zero to the previously reported figure.  Additionally, sluggish wage growth was revised upward from 3.2 to 32 percent, and a bar graph charting consumer confidence appeared altered to reveal the highest consumer confidence in decades.

Confronted by reporters, President Trump’s chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow explained the need for the revisions.  “The White House is trying to provide Americans with accurate data in real time. So many of these charts and reports take days to put together and even more time to print.  Wielding the Sharpie allows us to deliver the most accurate up-to-date data to the American people.”

Other crudely altered figures trotted out for public inspection by the OSR show President Trump’s approval rating rising from 39 to 89 percent.  “We discovered a printing error caused gaps to appear in the eight of the president’s approval rating, making it look like a three,” explained Brad Parscale, President Trump’s campaign manager.  “Thankfully, the Office of Sharpie Revisions was able to quickly fill in those gaps and get the true numbers out to the fake news media.” 

With election season approaching, White House officials feel it’s more important than ever to get accurate information to the American people.  “We’re using every tool at our disposal,” OSR director Sarah Spicer explained. “In addition to the Sharpie, we’ve begun using white out. Sometimes we’ll resort to the shredder, or in extreme cases, lease a wood chipper.  You never know when you’ll need to ‘disappear’ some data or some awkward communications.”

Chappelle causes wokest of woke media to go wokeshit crazy

If I hadn’t known better, I might have thought Dave Chappelle penned a controversial op-ed in the New York Times on Monday, or maybe he appeared on CNN where he launched into a misogyny laden, transphobic rant to the horror of panelists and viewers at home.  Nope, he released a Netflix comedy special Monday, and while the special was generally well received by the public and most media outlets, predictably, the wokest of woke media went wokeshit.    

Vice tried to get out ahead of the special by confidently announcing, “You Can Definitely Skip Dave Chappelle’s New Netflix Special ‘Sticks & Stones.’”  If Vice thought their “nothing to see here, folks, move along” review was going to limit viewership, my guess is they’re sorely disappointed. It would be interesting to know the ratio of people who heeded Vice’s warning versus those who tuned in because of it.  You can definitely put me in the latter camp.

For the woke millennial crowd who may never have heard of comedy, or who aren’t all that familiar with comedy or Dave Chappelle, Vox weighs in with its explainer piece, delivering fact-checks and unimportant backstory to many of Chappelle’s bits.  “Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special targets Michael Jackson’s accusers, #MeToo, and cancel culture” by Aja Romano reads like a critique of some author or intellect who’s on tour promoting a serious work of social commentary. Referring to Chappelle’s bits about Michael Jackson, R. Kelly and Kevin Hart, Romano says, “whether he framed those events fairly or not in order to mine them for comedy has become a contentious talking point.”  Why is Chappelle expected to frame events fairly for a stand-up comedy routine? Why does Romano take Chappelle’s hour-long monologue so literally and so seriously? People who enjoy comedy don’t care if the work has been thoroughly fact-checked, and don’t expect to get the comedians true convictions and most deeply held beliefs. Comedians talk shit, they embellish and they make shit up. That’s what makes it funny. Who gives a fuck if Chappelle’s account of his interactions with the director of Surviving R. Kelly differ slightly from hers?  A humorless writer for Vox, I guess. 

The consistent criticism levelled by the Vox piece and pieces in Slate and Buzzfeed is that Chappelle is punching down.  Okay, so I’ve never read the stand-up comedy handbook. I don’t know what the rules are when it comes to putting together a stand-up routine.  All I can go by are my decades of watching stand-up comedians, starting with George Carlin, Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy and moving through to the present.  If there is a rule against punching down in stand-up, this is the first I’m hearing of it. I thought comedians could punch whatever the hell direction they wanted.  Sure, comedians often go after celebrities, politicians and the rich and powerful because we’re all familiar with these folks, so they make good targets. But comedians also caricature ordinary people: a pimp, a drug dealer, a strict father, a strict grandmother, a sweet grandmother, bratty children, a classmate, a redneck, a convenience store clerk, a taxi driver, a co-worker, a person in line at Starbucks, a stoner, a fitness freak, a church lady, security guards…  There is almost no limit to the number and kind of individuals who have been caricatured over the years in sketch comedies, movies and stand-up routines.       

In Tomi Obaro’s piece for Buzzfeed entitled “Dave Chappelle Doesn’t Need To Punch Down,” the author takes particular offense at Chappelle’s characterization of “the alphabet people.”  Frustrated at Chappelle’s lack of thoughtfulness, the author at one point suggests, “It’s enough to make you want to tie Chappelle to a chair and force him to binge-watch episodes of Pose.”  Whatever that might accomplish, I seriously doubt it would improve Chappelle’s comedy, at least not in the way Obaro thinks it would. Towards the end of the piece, Obaro complains about Chappelle’s lack of maturity and asks, “why not strive to be more interesting, more original, more thoughtful?”  It should go without saying that Chappelle is not submitting an essay on LGBTQ culture for publication in The New Yorker. That Chappelle is “not a little boy. He’s a grown-ass man.” is true enough. However, my understanding of comedy is that many comedians, to a degree, suffer from a form of permanent adolescence.  It’s kind of what makes them funny. Comedians say the things many in society are thinking, but don’t say, because they’re too busy being respectful and acting like mature adults. Which isn’t to say everyone is privately a bigot and a phobe, it’s to say that we are all flawed and we like to laugh at how ignorant and irrational and immature we can all be sometimes.  And no one should get a pass. Because the minute we start handing out Comedy Exemptions is the minute we start taking ourselves way too seriously and cease to be able to joke about anything at all.

New guidelines sought as consumers demand to know the politics of their food

Activists on both sides of the political divide are calling on the Food and Drug Administration to establish guidelines for identifying the politics of the food Americans eat.  In recent weeks, there has been an uptick in calls to boycott various restaurants over their perceived political affiliations. Olive Garden responded to a call to boycott its establishment by noting that it does not contribute to political campaigns.  This confusion has prompted demands for the government to step in and provide some guidance.

“It’s getting really hard to know what food to eat,” said a 21 year old college student.  “I mean, I like Chik-fil-A but they support Trump, and they’re not open on Sunday, so their food really sucks.”

At the other end of the political spectrum, conservatives have gone after coffee giants like Keurig and Starbucks over their political leanings.  “I don’t need to ‘get woke’ to get woke,” said one bleary eyed Trump supporter waiting in line for coffee at McDonald’s. 

So far, the responsibility of informing consumers regarding what food to steer clear of has mostly fallen to celebrities like Chrissy Teigen.  In the absence of government intervention, her tweets have provided invaluable guidance to diners trying to avoid food flavored by the wrong political ideology.

“This salad is incredible,” said one Panera diner and Bernie supporter.  “This is what democratic socialism tastes like!”      

Poll Americans and you’ll find they’re just as divided over their food as they are over their politics.  A recent USA Today Twitter poll found that Americans prefer Chik-fil-A chicken sandwiches over Popeyes by a margin of 54 to 46 percent.  Chik-fil-A is currently the subject of an anti-Trump boycott while Popeyes meets the approval of the group.

The chicken sandwich poll represents good news for President Trump who has seen his numbers drop in recent weeks.  “The people have spoken with their taste buds,” Trump bragged, “and clearly they prefer the taste of freedom and market capitalism that four more years of Trump will bring.”  

Some have suggested the FDA provide simple, easy to understand labels denoting the politics of the food Americans consume.  At the conservative end of the spectrum, an image of Ronald Reagan would let anxious eaters know that their meal is Gipper approved.  For lefties, a Che Guevara stamp tells the diner they’re noshing the food of the revolution. 

Regardless of whether the government steps in, it seems likely many Americans will continue to dine along ideological lines.  Said one food service worker, “Good food shouldn’t divide us. Support me and I promise to make you the best goddamn chicken sandwich you ever tasted.”

DeepMind scientists: “Creating artificial general intelligence is really fucking hard, maybe we should just dumb down our world.”

Scientists for DeepMind, the AI project owned by Google parent company Alphabet, seem to have run into some roadblocks recently regarding its projects development.  According to a piece written by Gary Marcus for Wired, “DeepMind’s Losses and the Future of Artificial Intelligence,” DeepMind lost $572 million last year for its deep pocketed parent company and has accrued over a billion dollars in debt.  While those kinds of figures are enough to make the average parent feel much better about their child’s education dollars, the folks at Alphabet are starting to wonder if researchers are taking the right approach to DeepMind’s education.

So what’s the problem with DeepMind?  Well, for one thing, news of DeepMind’s jaw-dropping video game achievements have been greatly exaggerated.  For instance, in StarCraft it can kick ass when trained to play on a single map with a single character. But according to Marcus, “To switch characters, you need to retrain the system from scratch.”  That doesn’t sound promising when you’re trying to develop artificial general intelligence. Also, to learn it needs to acquire huge amounts of data, requiring it to play a game millions of times before mastery, far in excess of what a human would require.  Additionally, according to Marcus, the energy it required to learn to play Go was similar “to the energy consumed by 12,760 human brains running continuously for three days without sleep.” That’s a lot of human brains, presumably fueled by pizza and methamphetamine if they’re powered on for three days without sleep. 

A lot of DeepMind’s difficulties stem from the way it learns.  Deep reinforcement learning involves recognizing patterns and being rewarded for success.  It works well for learning how to play specific video games. Throw a little wrinkle at it, however, and performance breaks down.  Marcus writes: “In some ways, deep reinforcement learning is a kind of turbocharged memorization; systems that use it are capable of awesome feats, but they have only a shallow understanding of what they are doing. As a consequence, current systems lack flexibility, and thus are unable to compensate if the world changes, sometimes even in tiny ways.”

All of this has led researchers to question whether deep reinforcement learning is the correct approach to developing AI general intelligence.  “We are discovering that the world is a really fucking complex place,” says Yuri Testicov, DeepMind’s Assistant Director of Senior Applications.  “I mean, it’s one thing to sit in a lab and become really great at a handful of video games, it’s totally another to try to diagnose medical problems or discover clean energy solutions.” 

Testicov and his fellow researchers are discovering that the solution to DeepMind’s woes may not come from a new approach to learning, but instead, the public may need to lower the bar on expectations.  “We’re calling on the people of earth to simplify and dumb down,” adds Testicov. “Instead of expecting DeepMind to come along and grab the world by the tail, maybe we just need to make the world a little easier for it to understand.  I mean, you try going to the supermarket and buying a bag of tortilla chips. Not the restaurant kind but the round ones. Not the regular but the lime. Make sure they’re low sodium and don’t get the blue corn. That requires a lot of complex awareness and decision making.  So, instead of expecting perfection, if we send a robot to the supermarket and it comes back with something we can eat, we say we’re cool with that.”  

Testicov has some additional advice for managers thinking about incorporating AI into the workplace.  “If you’re an employer and you’re looking to bring AI on board, don’t be afraid to make accommodations for it, try not to be overly critical of job performance, and make sure you reward good work through positive feedback and praise,” says Testicov.  “Oh sorry, that’s our protocol for managing millennials. Never mind.”

Trump contemplates hostile takeover of Greenland

Despite the insistence of Greenland’s government that the semi-autonomous Danish territory is not for sale, President Donald Trump is pushing ahead with efforts to purchase Greenland with or without its approval.

Describing the acquisition as “essentially a large real estate deal,” President Trump has not ruled out a hostile takeover of the island.  “It’s hurting Denmark very badly because they’re losing almost $700 million a year carrying it,” said the president.

Administration sources reveal President Trump and his advisors believe they can turn Greenland around and make it profitable in less than 18 months.  “We’re looking at writing off some of its foreign debt, bringing in some undocumented workers and selling off some assets,” said an anonymous source close to the prospective deal.

According to President Trump, Greenland isn’t the only acquisition the administration is contemplating.  “We’re also looking at buying Denmark and Poland while possibly letting go of Puerto Rico and Michigan’s upper peninsula.  We’re still in the negotiating stages. These deals take time.”

News of a possible deal caused the stock market to close early on Friday as investors had no clue what to do with their money.  “We’re kind of in uncharted territory here,” said one investor. “What the fuck is the president even talking about?”

Antifa invades Hong Kong protests, steals American flags

Antifa stormtroopers were spotted on the streets of Hong Kong today, stealing American flags and punching protesters who sang the Star Spangled Banner.

Reminding protesters that the Stars and Stripes is actually a symbol of racism and oppression, Antifa strongly urged protesters to cease their American flag waving and take up the communist red flag of China.  Protesters who failed to comply were punched and pepper sprayed.

Jackbooted Antifa thugs also attacked journalists, smashing cameras and criticizing journalists for undermining Beijing’s efforts to impose communist party control over the prosperous autonomous territory.

Party leaders in Beijing were quick to praise the Antifa mob for their work on behalf of the revolution.  “The Chinese government is greatly indebted to these clueless American idiots for their efforts to suppress pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.  They recognize that free speech is a threat to the revolution and true peace and freedom can only be achieved through violence and repression. Thank you, Antifa, for doing our work for us and furthering our cause around the globe.”