Tuesday, April 24, 2007

This Just In

By Steve

Nation Prepares for Unveiling of Bonds-Landis Monument
Famed Cultural Archaeologist Looks Back at His Landmark Find

(April 25, 2274, Jerrylewisburg) – This Saturday the nation prepares for the formal dedication of what is already considered one of its greatest monuments: the unveiling of the sculptures of the landmark 21st Century leaders Barry Bonds and Floyd Landis at the picturesque mountain that bears their names.

On the eve of the ceremony of Mount Bonds-Landis, Dr. Walter Leibowitz took time out from his busy schedule to discuss the discovery which brought him overnight fame.

It was Leibowitz, currently the Hadley Chair of Cultural Archaeology at Harris University, who as a young man was responsible for one of the greatest cultural finds of the 23rd Century, the discovery of the Bonds-Landis civilization.

“As is the case with so many great finds, the discovery of the Bonds-Landis civilization was purely accidental,” Leibowitz said with his characteristic modesty. “While rummaging through what we assumed was some type of storeroom, we came across several small vials containing an amber liquid. Subsequent analysis showed that they were samples of body fluids which had been carefully preserved for at least two centuries. Many of these vials were unlabeled, but we found two with faded writing that our cryptologists were able to decipher: B. Bonds and F. Landis. At first we didn’t know what we had, but even then it was clear we’d stumbled onto something of great significance.

“The rest,” Leibowitz said with a smile, “was history.”

Almost six years of continuous research followed, allowing archaeologists to fill in some of the blanks surrounding the lives of Bonds and Landis, and while many aspects of their lives remain unknown, Leibowitz says one thing is for certain.

“These two men were widely admired and respected. There can be no doubt of this. For a civilization to preserve these mementos and enshrine them as relics speaks volumes to the regard in which they were held. We can only speculate as to some of their accomplishments, but the scattered references we’ve discovered lead us to believe that they were certainly leaders, quite probably warrior-kings of some kind.”

The eventual collapse of the Bonds-Landis civilization, occurring sometime in the mid-21st Century, indicates an inability to replace the two men, Leibowitz said. “Evidence of the ‘Great Man’ theory of history is prevalent throughout the ages. Some leaders are simply irreplaceable, as were Bonds and Landis.”

Of the two men, Bonds is the most accessible to historians. “The evidence regarding the greatness of Bonds is undeniable,” Leibowitz said. “Why else would anyone seek to preserve the body fluids of another individual except as an act of reverence? We are currently searching for traces of ceremonies that might have been performed using the specimen in some fashion.

“In addition, we have fragments of announcements made by what appears to be an oracle of some type, judging by his stentorian voice, named Ber-Man, in which he refers to ‘Barry “U.S.” Bonds,’ which we take to be proof that Bonds was, indeed, considered the father of his country.

“And finally,” Leibowitz added, “there are the pictures.” He gestured toward the climate-controlled container encased in bullet-proof transparent glass, behind which are displayed the two portraits believed to be those of Bonds himself. Pointing to the word “GIANTS” written across the front of Bonds’ shirt, Leibowitz cited the pictures as the most graphic evidence of Bonds’ stature in his society. “The fact that Bonds was required to wear this – I suppose you’d call it a uniform of some type, although the helmet he’s wearing and club he’s holding suggest it might have been armor used in warfare – the fact that he wore this in public would indicate that his own people recognized his greatness in his own time. We can surmise that he must have worn it with some reluctance – it would be quite uncomfortable for a man of such humility to have it proclaimed across his chest like that.”

The historical evidence for Landis’ greatness is more obscure, Leibowitz said. “The mentions of ‘Floyd Landis’ appear to be confined to a relatively brief period, perhaps no longer than a year or two.” Fellow historians speculate that Landis may have been a boy king who died at an early age, or perhaps a martyr for the faith. However, "the existence of the ‘Landis’ specimen is clearly proof of his importance to this society.”

The use of the plural form of “Giant,” Leibowitz continued, probably was a reference to Landis’ co-equal status in his countrymen’s eyes. “A picture of Landis wearing the “GIANTS” shirt would probably be the greatest archaeological find of the century,” he said wistfully. “But such is the life of a cultural archaeologist – one challenge after another.” Security measures, Leibowitz said, probably prevented the two men from appearing together in public.

Referring to the nameless vials, Leibowitz said the full story would probably never be known. “Who can imagine those other pioneers of this civilization, their names known but to God? It’s not a stretch to think that we owe much to these unknown heroes.”

With regard to Bonds and Landis, however, history has given us clear evidence of their greatness. “One thing we can be sure of is that neither man disgraced himself in the eyes of his fellow countrymen,” Leibowitz concluded. “To have lived and died with such admiration from their peers – well, the shirts say it all. They truly were giants.”

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