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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Chicken Poop for the Soul

(from 2001)
It was a dark and stormy night. Gramps lay on his bed, deathly ill from acute dryrot. Grieving for him, during TV commercial breaks I would visit him in his room. Not dwelling on his own condition, he would turn his grizzled head to me, and tell me inspiring stories about his hardscrabble life as a fisherman, made all the more difficult due to the fact that he lived in Kansas. Aspiring to leave these cruel fishing fields, he joined the army just in time to fight in the Coffee Wars of 1936. Suffering a grievous head wound while leading a charge in the battle of Mocha Grande, he still found the stamina and will to run for and win a seat in congress, despite the fact that his left cranium had been replaced with a small shrubbery. My troubles seemed puny in comparison to his suffering and triumphs. I nodded to him with a brave smile and thumbs up, knowing that I too could behave like I had half a brain. I gently patted him on the shoulder to reassure him of my love and confidence, and then his head fell off.

I am Somebody!

They always said I couldn’t accomplish much. I heard the same old story time and again. Me and my people were sticky fingered hoarders, practitioners of a secret rite who would callously buy cheap and sell dear. Frankly, we had no stamp of approval, and many of us went postal due to an indifferent society. Yes, we were a different breed of people, and in my little village, I think a very special type of people. We were Sioux City philatelists!
Ignored and shunned by the local numismatists who ruled our town, we had faith in our calling, and knew that we would earn a place in God’s album of the righteous. But yet, something in my soul stirred me to demonstrate to the great unfranked masses of society that we were a different and exalted breed. In my heart, I felt a calling from the Great Postmaster to become a shining beacon for my people, and to do it all before the coming rate increase.

With single minded determination I pushed the envelope of accomplishment, and was cheered by philatelists everywhere. I became the first Sioux City philatelist to fly across the Atlantic (in coach class), the first to buy an Elvis Stamp, and the first to drive across the entire USA, and that with only seven rest stops at Shoney’s. I felt that I could do anything, anywhere, as long as they took my VISA card. With an air of great triumph, I said to myself: Nobody can stop me now! I am a philatelist, hear me roar!!

Frankie Come Home!
Frankie always had a penchant for doing foolish and hair raising things. While other kids played with toy cars, Frankie played in the traffic, and instead of playing ball with the guys, he would play Russian roulette. He would always sooth my worries by coming home to greet me with a big smile as he asked for another helping of his favorite apple pie. My Frankie was brave, bold, and fearless, or in other words, a true idiot. But I loved him for it, even though he acted as if he had only four active brain cells. I knew that he wasn’t quite wired properly when he decided to reenact the story about some guy named Icarus, who in a feather suit flied like a bird until its waxy stitching melted when he got too close to sun. Frankie was too smart to repeat this mistake, and wove his feather suit with the finest chicken feathers and heat resistant super glue. Poised over a ledge on the Grand Canyon like a proud mascot for Chick-fil-et, he launched himself into a rising gust of wind, and promptly plunged straight down.
Splattered over an acre of the rocky canyon floor, there was not much left of poor Frankie save for a few bone fragments. But luckily the rescue team found four viable brain cells, and my heart leapt with joy and hope. Sending out for only a few spare parts from the local Radio Shack, I knew that the surgeons could rebuild Frankie into something maybe even useful. Still, the doctors shook their heads in despair, but I know that Frankie could come out of this Ok. I just knew he could make it. Pondering the remnants of Frankie as he lay in a petri dish, I knew that if he could talk he would say "Mom, I coming home! No matter what it takes I’ll be home for apple pie!" The doctors worked feverishly for ten, maybe twenty minutes. Then, with a triumphal grin, they handed me the ‘new’ Frankie, Version 1.0.

As a walk into my kitchen, I know now that my son had become more than what I had ever hoped he could be. Looking at at the LCD screen on the shiny box below my microwave, I see his happy face and pixilated smile. Yes, my Frankie had become an information appliance! Hello Mom! it said in a tinny yet endearing voice. "How about a nice apple pie? Simply take 4 ripe apples, 1 cup of sugar, preheat your oven at 350 degrees…." I turned away as I brushed aside a tear. My little Frankie had indeed come home!


He was such a cute little deer! He was a shivering pencil legged fawn when we found him huddled under the culvert. Looking at us with his big doe eyes, it was love at first sight. We nursed little Bambi back to health, and soon he became part of the family. As little Bambi grew he ate the lawn, the shrubbery, half the siding from my house and caused four road accidents as cars veered into trees to miss him. But every time I came home I knew that Bambi would be waiting for me in the middle of the road, transfixed in the glare of my headlights.
I knew deep in my heart that Bambi was ultimately meant for a special calling. And now as I sit around with my family at dinner, we hold each other’s hands in a prayer of thanks for our good fortune. I would look at my dear wife and say: "Honey, can you pass me the venison cutlets?"

Dick Job: Untroubled Guy
For most of us, our daily troubles can often wear us down But not Dick Job. He knew that bad things only happen to those who interpret them as bad. It was really all a matter of opinion. He knew better, Changing your opinion was just like changing the channel, just stay on ESPN and you’ll be fine. So Dick was untroubled, and as his mind buzzed with NHL factoids, he knew he could rise above daily troubles, and those very uncomfortable responsibilities. Quite unexpectedly, and unannounced by the sports channel, his wife left him for the milk man, his children volunteered to become poster children for the Christian Children’s Fund, and he lost his job as a paper collator when his boss began to use paper clips. But Dick rose patiently above it all. He would take all this in stride, and with chin up and eyes to the sky, he took a proud and defiant step forward. Strutting across the street like some proud drum major, he was promptly flattened by an 18-wheeler. His remnants were sucked down a drainpipe, and mashed beyond recognition at the county water treatment plant. All that remained of him was a crumpled pile of debris in the corner, with a soda straw feeder exiting the lint like but proud, if ground, mound. Always the one to make the best of any situation, he felt himself the Mt. Kilmanjaro of dust piles! Even better, Job knew that the worst was finally behind him, save perhaps for a rogue vacuum cleaner now and then. And besides, who says your luck can’t turn? As he figured with a sunny confidence, they can keep me on life support for decades, or at least until my insurance runs out. I can be a pile forever. Life was indeed good!


Yesterday, while playing pitch and catch, my little boy leaned over too far while trying to catch a fly ball, and fell six feet down into my water well. His legs tangled in one-foot tall crab grass and up to his ankles in muck, I had to get Timmy out now, or at least before the meeting of his Pokemon users group.
The news of Timmy’s plight spread fast. Banner headlines filled newspapers from coast to coast, and the will and compassion of our great people was marshaled to save my little boy from this harrowing inconvenience. But, as I read the bold print headlines in the New York Times, I knew I had to keep all this in perspective.
So as I read on, I saw in the fine print of the news that the God fearing Christian Serbians overran some small, insignificant town, and massacred 20,000 men, women and children of some infidel faith.
But they weren’t like my Timmy.
I also learned that a monsoon washed over three provinces in overpopulated, pagan India, killing thousands, and making a million people homeless.
But they weren’t like my Timmy.
Also, I read that in some backward, useless African nation, some tribe of stupid, illiterate Hottentots killed three million of their neighbors over the last few weeks over some silly cultural differences.
But they weren’t like my Timmy.
All over the country, we came together like family. Because we all knew that as one caring nation, there is no one like my Timmy. Today, as the fire department hoisted Timmy out of the well to the applause of hundred tearful onlookers, and millions of apprehensive TV viewers from across the land. I know that we should feel mighty good about ourselves. I am sure God will bless us all, as even HE knows there is no one quite like Timmy.

An American Success Story

My dad Jack Hoff is an American success story, and I am so, so, proud! As an employee of the Benadryl corporation, life was one headache after another. So, looking forward to better the lives of his family, he took a correspondence course in toaster repair. Always the tinkerer, his new found knowledge led him to design a new revolutionary invention that would lift us from our upper middle class desolation: the diesel powered riding vacuum cleaner!
Always thinking of the little people, my dad decided that his new invention should be shared first with those forgotten folks who lacked the essentials in life, or at least the essential appliances. So he sold his machine door to door to, the illiterate, the senile, and the brain damaged. He made payments reasonable so that all could afford. Indeed, the small $700 monthly payment was easily covered by a pensioner’s social security check, and the machine was soon paid off in a decade or so.
In time, dad founded a new corporation, the Ponzi Vacuum Company, to market his vacuum cleaner all over the world. Soon we had over 300,000,000 customer reps marketing our Suk-U-Vac, or SUV, to the great upswept masses of the world.
Now, as I gather with my family in the living room of my 200,000 square foot mansion on my private Hawaiian island, I look with moist eyes at my wife Kimmy, my little Girl Meg, my son Trav, and my precious little newborn son Arty. As I throw my table scraps to my 250 indentured servants, I stand tall as an exemplar of the American way. And so, the whole world knows this coda for the American dream, the one phrase that stands for what America is, and how we spend our time and energies.
And I am proud to say, it is JACK HOFF!
Trent Lobb: Your Home Town Representative

I am Trent Lobb, your Congressional Representative, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and Patriot. This past year was full of challenge and triumph, as I helped to guide several major pieces of legislation that benefited all our people, and kept our country strong. Let me list just a few of my achievements.
Lobster fisherman in Maine have been faced with a baffling 50% decline in their lobster harvest after a 50% increase in the number of lobster traps laid offshore.
I felt their pain.
Thus, I helped to secure a $50 million appropriation for the Trent Lobb Lobster Research Center, to be opened this fall in my home town of Pascagoulpa, Mississippi.
For the fourth consecutive time, the International Olympic Committee passed by the United States as the local venue for the winter games.
I saw a need.
Thus, I successfully spearheaded a bill to build the $500 million dollar Trent Lobb Olympic facility to lure the 2005 games to our fabled shores. The ice rink, grand slalom, and Olympic Stadium should be completed in Pascagoulpa just in time for the games.
The United States will in the future be endangered by nuclear missiles fired by deranged dictators from sub-Saharan Africa or Switzerland.
I will defend my country!
Thus, I have included $500 billion in my omnibus defense spending bill provisions for the construction of the Trent Lobb orbiting space station/deathstar/anti-missile defense system. This state of the art facility will be built and launched from the Cape Lobb command center in Pascagoulpa, Mississippi, and will provide an effective missile defense for the USA, and also present a defense against killer asteroids and alien lizard men from the planet Mongo.
Just thought you'd like to know how I have selflessly served my country. For I am Trent Lobb, a loyal American, and just a home town guy from Pascagoulpa, Mississippi.

Upon discovering Beethoven’s 10th Symphony

A few months ago, I made a miraculous discovery while rummaging through an old chest belonging to my great-great-great-great uncle Anton Spelunker, student and bunkmate to the great musical genius, Ludwig Van Beethoven. In the chest was my uncle’s meticulous copy of Beethoven’s long fabled 10th Symphony! It was a sublime and moving work, full of splendid melodies, powerful and assured orchestration, and a fugue for combined chorus and orchestra that seemed to sing to the heavens. With anxious anticipation, I brought my find to the Wolfgang Zaimond, professor of Cacophony and Grating Music at the John Cage Conservatory of Music. Alas, he rightfully dismissed the symphony out of hand. The work it seems was shamefully derivative of the work of late 19th century composers such as Brahms, Mahler, and Rachmaninoff. It was a hardly original counterpoint to Beethoven’s revolutionary works that sparked the Romantic revolution. Sad too that the manuscript wasn’t even in Beethoven’s hand, since that would have given it at least some value.
And now, as I line my garbage can with this now worthless reminder of a long gone past, it is nice to know that as we enter the new millennium, we still have some faith in progress, secure in the knowledge that the new will always surpass the old fashioned. I take to heart the adage that those who do not remember the music of the past are condemned to rewrite it. Thus, I am so, so glad that we will never need to hear the likes of Beethoven again!
Procrastination!: The ….(well I’ll get to it a little later)
In this age of plenty, we have all come to be aware of the truly great problems that beset our people. From epidemics of stress, addictions to fast food and video games, to the creeping corpulence that causes our behinds to widen alarmingly, it has been one major worry after another. Yet there has been one problem that outweighs them all, a problem that we have been very late to confront. That problem is the disease of procrastination. We all know someone who has suffered from this painful and embarrassing malady. Yet in spite of this fact, we are near unanimous in besetting its sufferers with disapproval and disdain. This shows in how disgracefully we treat procrastinators. Procrastinators always get the worst seats in football games and cinemas, suffer painful late fees, and get terrible parking spaces. Wives nag them, bosses reprimand them, and the IRS audits them. And yet, as procrastinators surely know, in an inner agony few share, that they really couldn’t help it.
But there is hope. Last year, the late congressional representative I.B. Tardy authored a bill to set aside ten percent of parking spaces, concert tickets, and Pokemon trading cards for procrastinators. It looks certain to pass, as soon of course as congress gets to it. But we can do our own part as well in confronting this dread disease. As researchers close in on the genetic cause of procrastination, we can take steps now to reduce the wall of prejudice and misunderstanding that separates procrastinators from the more timely among us. If all us, just once a day, gave an extra ten minutes to those who ask for it, it would sooth the suffering that procrastinators endure as the struggle to be on time.

We have to act now, or at least tomorrow. For as the saying goes, it’s better late than never.

Dana Valangio: A Valuable Life
Yesterday, our fellow Benadryl employee Dana Valangio caught her skirt on the print tray on a Hewlett-Packwad printer, and was collated to death. In her short 20 years of existence, Dana did little more than take up a parking space, and fill the day with vapid yakking. But life is what we make of it, but all of the things that had to be made to make you. For, if you don’t have a personal impact, at least you have an environmental one. And that’s a legacy that we shall all share. But what gave her life value? It is what the world has invested in her. In her lifetime, Dana consumed enough newsprint, diapers, and tasteless furniture to denude a patch of rain forest the size of Rhode Island. Her passion for lucky dogs, chicken nuggets, and double-stack burgers caused the needful sacrifice of 3500 pigs, 4200 cows, and 12000 chickens, and her obsession with watching teen soap docu-dramas helped keep our vapid pop culture vibrant and growing. So as we bemoan the sunk cost of an unfulfilled life, we are nonetheless inspired by the fact that Dana made a mark in reducing species, global warming, deforestation, and in perpetuating bad taste. Dana, and the millions like her, will leave an environmental and social impact that will never be forgotten.

True Love

Harry Lupton was in love with pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, Peggy Sue. He had the looks, he had the brains, he had the style, but unfortunately he did not have the cash.
So Harry worked hard, and collected accolades as a classical pianist, skate board champion, and Pokemon grand master.
But unfortunately, he did not have the cash.
So Harry worked hard, and soon learned how to sing Grand Opera, cook gourmet meals, fix broken toilets, and kill spiders.
But unfortunately, he did not have the cash.
So Harry worked hard, and found a cure for cancer, solved Fermat’s last theorem, composed three symphonies, and invented a perpetual motion machine through the deft use of smoke and mirrors.
But unfortunately, he did not have the cash.
So Harry worked hard, and scraped enough money for a bouquet of flowers for his beloved Peggy Sue. As he walked up to her porch, he saw Peggy Sue in the arms of the local slaughterhouse magnate, Mel Porcine. Peggy Sue turned to Harry and said: Sorry Harry, you just don’t have the cash.

The Big Game
It was the year that our school Sasquatch State joined the Big Enchilada Conference. It was our time in the sun. As coach of the SSU Turnips, we plowed through one opponent after another. Teams like Comatose State, Tiktok Tech, Wassamata U, and Vassar fell before our stunning aerial and crushing ground games. Finally, in a close match with the Springfield School for the Blind that was decided only when their field goal attempt went wide wide wide wide left, the conference championship was ours!
Now we had to prepare for the big bowl game, where our season was on the line. We had spirit and spunk, and we just knew our hard work would pay off in a stunning victory that would catapult Sasquatch State into the big time, and bring home the laurels of victory, a lucrative TV contract, and our pictures on a cereal box.
Finally, the big game arrived. I told my team to accept nothing less than victory. We burned with determination, and failure had no name. Victory was to be ours, and we saw our team as beginning a football dynasty like no other. We reveled in our glory to come, and saw ourselves as towering above all others like pigskin supermen. It was victory or death!!
Florida State pulverized us 400-0
As I’ve always said.
It’s not winning that counts, it’s rather how you play the game.
A Prayer to St. Judy

They said that nobody could sail off the summit at Pike’s Peak in a paper mache hang glider and live to tell the tale. They said I’d have to be a hopeless case to try that. But I have a personal friend up there who looks out for folks like me. She is my heavenly protector, the blessed St. Judy, the patron saint of hopeless cases. Every time I needed her, St. Judy has come through for me, and as I look down to the rocky valley below, I remember all those times when St. Judy answered my call.
St. Judy came through when I had the bad case of sniffles. The aspirin didn’t work, but after prayer, in six days, I was healed!
I was having a hard time at the slot machine, and had lost $20,000, but following a prayer to St. Judy, after twenty or so hours on the slots, I won $1,000!
I could never reach the tenth level in the video game Pac-Man, but after a prayer to St. Judy, my little Pac-Man was able to munch down the secret banana orb and propel me to the next level. After 1,038 previous attempts, only St. Judy’s intercession could have helped me.
But I also have to thank St. Judy for the time my team came from behind to win the big game, for that great job I have as a hamburger flipper, for the spacious slot I have at the trailer park, for the chance to live in the great town of Freezerburn, North Dakota, and for the near miss of Halley’s comet some years back.
St. Judy has always come through for me, and now as I plummet to the rocky cliffs below, I know that St. Judy will intervene, and save me in the next two seconds from being utterly squashed. I just know….….

Lady Dew

Lady Dew was our inspiration, our light, and our clotheshorse. Plucked out of the Home Depot finishing school to be the consort of the Crown Prince of Listerine, she was every girls fantasy of a story book princess. We thrilled when she accepted bouquets from dignitaries, marveled when she waved to the crowd, and beamed with pride when she spoke in complete syllables. Lady Dew was a true princess, just like the ones we remembered from Disney cartoons, and was just as colorful and deep.
She cut lots of ribbons, patted the heads of children, read forty-five word speeches to politicians, and thought about world peace. A grueling pace to be sure, but she was cruelly treated by her husband, who deserted her for the attentions of the more intellectually stimulating company of his long time mistress: Amanda the Polyethylene Love Doll.
She took comfort in the arms of Ibn Ass Ol Shazzam, Prince of the oil rich Sultanate of Yabadabadoo, and we were thrilled to see her find true love at last. Through the wonders of the printed word and telephoto lenses, we followed her as she cruised to Morocco, window shopped in Hollywood, and orbited the planet on the space station Mir. Sadly though, the fates conspired to keep her from true happiness.
While reviewing a Snak-Time dessert company assembly line on the company go-cart, she put the cart in high gear as she sped away from yet another photo-op. Tragically, she skidded into a pylon, and was ejected into a vat of pudding. She instantly congealed to death in a dreadful chocolicious and lip smacking end.
The outpouring of grief was unprecedented. Balloons and flowers and teddy bears and condolence cards festooned the gates of her castle. Under the summer sun, the whole pile soon melted into a pyramidal blob of color and goo. And now, as I make my annual pilgrimage to the Lady Dew memorial and soon to be theme park, my little daughter is naturally inspired as she points to the pile of refuse that will always remind us of the glorious princess that will live in our memories forever. "Look mom at that pile of doo doo!" I wiped a tear from my eye as I smiled at my daughter, hoping that maybe someday she too may be as lucky to be memorialized by such a pile of doo doo.

Bubba Goes to Heaven

Here in Yahoo County, drought has turned the fields to dust, forcing folks to move out to the big city.
It ain’t no problem of mine, but at least I said my prayers.


Heard about some ruckus in Europe, and that lots of folks are volunteering to get in the fight.
Just mindin’ my own business, but at least I kept the faith.


I was told that man had landed on the moon, and heard of computers and lasers and theories of the universe.
Don’t concern me much, but at least I read the holy words.

2001 and beyond

And now that I’ve made it to the green pastures of Heaven, as I amble towards a shady tree while I chew my cud, I am happy, and am without a thought of the world.

A Brave New World

They said I was fat
But now I know that I have the disease of obesity. So everyone knows better, and now the law requires that they build for me on-ramps and big seats, and they all look past my corpulence to see my inner beauty.

They said I had bad taste because I liked televised wrestling, grunge rock, and Gilligan’s Island.

But I’ve got the Emmy, TV Guide, and Peoples Choice awards to vouch for my preferences, and demonstrate the good tastes of the masses.

They said I was lazy.

But it was actually my self esteem that was being damaged by unreasonable demands that I learn how to read, write, and know useless facts like where Europe was. But my self worth was held sacred, and I got my college degree anyway.

They said that folks like me will be forgotten the moment we pass away.

But I know that we are all special because we say so. And it is a brave new world that has such people in it, and I know that our kind will be the standard bearer for our culture and our future for thousands of years to come.

Uncle Bill’s Knob Job

Uncle Bill got three knob jobs the other day, and the house is in an uproar.
Aunt Hillary was supposed to do knob jobs, but she stopped doing even simple things like screwing years ago. I really couldn't understand the ruckus, cause the doorknobs in the house were pretty old anyway. Besides, his friend Dick Monica was accomplished in such things, and gave him knob jobs for free. Uncle Bill felt that knob jobs weren't real carpentry, and denied that he had any wood-work done. Nonetheless, members of the house were horrified at this awful fib. How could he do other house repairs if he lied about basic things like his shiny knobs? So they all got together and tried to throw Uncle Bill out of the house. Uncle Bill complained that he still had two years to go on his rental agreement, and besides, certain members of the house had it in for him after he tried to put them under an expensive health care plan. Meanwhile, as all this was going on, all work in the house
stopped, the place got dilapidated, and was invaded by red army ants. Then
we got fed up and evicted all the squabbling house members. And so we
thought all was right with the world, and then the house fell down.

Ely, The Little French boy
He was found all alone, unattended for a minute or two in the jungle
adventure cruise at Disney World. A thoughtful worker plucked him from the
jungle boat just as he approached the scary robotic hippo. He was Ok, but
his parents were lost at the concession stand.

Swiftly, little Ely was put in the care of his loving fourth cousin who
lived in Yahoo City, Mississippi. He was introduced to cable TV,
Pokemon toys, and super-sized fast food, and he squealed with delight as he channel surfed to his hearts content. Ely soon settled down to a fun and fulfilling life of inert activity.

During all this, his relatives protested, to no avail. After all, they were from France.

So little Ely grew up American, and began to appreciate the subtle pleasures of driving sport utility vehicles, attending tractor-pulls and wrestling matches, and having intimate e-mail conversations with his friends about sports and the weather. He learned that there was no better country than the USA, and that no other countries even existed.

The French government protested, and orchestrated massive protests. But our government stood firm. Besides, they were French.
And finally, after a speedy twenty year appeals process, the courts said he had to go back to France. In a daring daylight raid, crack commandos whisked him from his sofa, with the remote control still in his hand. The American people were saddened and aggrieved at this great injustice, and amazed as the sheer stupidity and ignorance of their government. And then, in their wisdom, they asked, But what and where is France?

A Fate worse than….

I was just reaching for my bowling ball in the upper shelf of my closet, when it rolled off and fell on my head. The next thing you know, there was Gramps with a steaming hot cup of mocha grande, uncle bubba looking strangely bovine, my cousin Frankie flapping away in his chicken outfit, and my dear deer Bambi. Hovering above them in the clouds was Lady Dew in a cumulus go-cart, and attended by cherubs dressed in Armani. Looking out into the distance, I saw a colorful landscape of flowers, windmills, and waterlillies that looked like a French impressionistic painting. But I was in no mood to be shown the Monet, as my eye moved to other delights, like that concession stand offering all you can eat barbecued chicken, pork rinds, and fried pickles, and a beckoning hammock under a shady oak tree equipped with a built in TV with a 500 channel remote. Of course, life was not all eating, napping, and channel surfing. There was work to do, and I dove in to my new job as team coach, doctor, and masseuse to the Swedish bikini team.
Then before you knew it, I fell into a strange fog filled tunnel, and a figure clad in white beckoned to me.
The surgeon beamed as he told me that the operation was a complete success, and that my new titanium noggin would give me a new lease on life. Now I could return to my job as an assistant chicken plucker, with knowledge in fact that I have at least 50 good and productive years ahead of me, a far better fate than remaining in the coma from which he had just rescued me.

Erin Broccoli: Consumer Advocate
You know, I would have normally gone about my life as check out clerk at the local Quickie-Mart without a care in the world. But then I noticed a frightening thing happening to the kids in our town. Daily, I would see little kids, some as old as a few months suffering from sniffles, temper tantrums, and diaper wetting. Then I noticed the one hidden link that tied these mysterious symptoms together. All of the parents were buying carbonated cola products, and as I later discovered, were giving this stuff to their children!
I doggedly interviewed five families in our town, and found that all of the little children had suffered from time to time with head colds, constipation, and crankiness. This resulted in terrible family stress and sleeplessness, as parents had to forgo their beloved soap operas and game shows to attend to their squalling babies. After putting my evidence in front of the law firm Dewey, Cheatum, and Howe, we assembled a crack team of lawyers to bring
Big Cola to justice. Armed with the smoking gun of the USDA nutritional label and internal memoranda from the Betty Crocker cookbook, we discovered that cola officials years ago knew that cola could lead to weight gain, tooth decay, and a certain bloated feeling. And God knows what the long-term effects are of an exposure to carbonation. Indeed, evidence is mounting that a build up of carbonation in the atmosphere is contributing to global warming and a melting of the polar icecaps.
After presenting our evidence to our family court in Kangaroo, Michigan, the local judge agreed with us, and awarded 50 billion dollars in damages to the afflicted citizens of our town, subject of course to our modest 99% contingency fee. But in spite of our victory, we know our fight has just begun, since Cola makers continue to market to children, export their product to helpless consumers in the third world, and bundle their insidious product with ‘Happy’ meals worldwide.
But of course, in our continuing struggle, I still have a few guilty pleasures. But as I take a gulp from my $59.95 bottle of coke, I know that Big Cola is finally paying for its crime, and that there is justice for the little guy.

A Czikenfri Stake
As president of the national academy for the advocacy of Czikenfri people, I speak with a message of hope. Czikenfri have suffered from centuries of oppression, neglect, prejudice, and underexposure in TV situation comedies. Our people deserve a greater stake in America’s future, and I am happy to report that we have recently made some very substantial progress.
Our lobbying efforts have resulted in many real gains. Due our national boycotts, letters to the editor, and mass whining, elite schools such as Harvard and MIT have agreed to annually enroll the top ten illiterate graduates from Czikenfri high schools. We have also raised Czikenfri awareness by renaming all interstate service roads after our late esteemed leader, Kernel Sanderz, and by creating an annual Kernel Sanderz holiday that all Americans devoutly celebrate as they romp on the beach.
We have also won cash reparations of $1.50 apiece to all those 12th generation descendents of those Czikenfri who were ignobly shipped off to America from the principate of Slobbakia in the 17th century by evil King Popeye.
Finally, since it is well known the French have an aversion to anything Czikenfried, our people have developed an allergic reaction seeing any symbols of their hated repression. Thus, congress has passed laws barring the display of the French flag on our public facilities.
Now that we have addressed our problems by banning all jokes, innuendoes, stereotypes, and bad puns about Csikzenfri, and as we fine and imprison those who think we are a bunch of dumb clucks, we will be on the road to getting the respect we deserve.

Fishing on the Information Superhighway
It’s the year 2501, and we finally got it all hooked up. It’s a super-broadband world, a hyper-connected universe we live in, and I feel so fortunate!
Upon my barest whim, I can be instantaneously provided in 3D and super-surround sound all of the knowledge ever created by man. That means that all the music, all the art, all the literature, and all the science is here for me to explore and wonder.
But I’ll get to that later.
I can also virtually teleport myself anywhere in the universe to meet strange alien civilizations, explore strange new worlds, and go where no man has gone before.
But I can’t be bothered right now.
I can also transport myself to higher dimensional planes, visit deceased relatives, time travel to visit long dead civilizations, and pet my late dog Spot.
But I don’t have the time at the moment.
In the meantime, I can indulge my interest in what is truly important to me: bass fishing! I’ve configured my information portal to receive 500 bass fishing TV channels, 12 all bass radio feeds, 7 bass chat rooms, and a virtual lake full of infinite fish. But I’m not alone in my joy. All over the world, folks are setting up individual information portals that allow them to indulge in their own needful obsessions, like soap operas, cookie jar collections, and foot fetishes. Thanks to the universal information super-highway, we can all focus on the things we know are important to us. As for the rest, I am sure we will all still spare a minute or two, but we’ll get to that later.
A National Crusade
Every day, hundreds of thousands of little children get up at six o’clock in the morning to live cruel and traumatic lives that can only end with a tragic sense of individualism and a misplaced feeling of self reliance. These poor little kids are often forced to cut the heads off chickens, shoot poor defenseless ducks, and carve up helpless pigs. Among countless other chores, they carry buckets, sweep floors, and are often up to their ankles in animal doo-doo. Living in isolated houses that are tucked away on desolate prairies, they are miles away from other children and the stimulating pulse of civilization. Heaven knows how many lives have been ruined by the pathological work ethic, Christian fundamentalism, and libertarianism that this lifestyle has wrought.
But there is hope. Aided by the American Factory Farm association, we have convinced the Congress to increase tax subsidies and to reduce harmful environmental restrictions to international food processing conglomerates. That has empowered us to liberate these rural sweatshops. Sometime soon, we all can say with pride that we had a hand in finally ending this shameful American institution, the family farm.

Apologies are in order.

Today, as we live in a modern civilized world, it’s hard to believe that our recent ancestors were so insensitive, cruel, and really mean. Recognizing this, our government will soon apologize for the dreadful and appalling actions of our ancestors of a hundred years ago. But we know that a simple ‘We’re sorry!’ is not enough. Thus, plans are now in the works for sizable cash reparations, national holidays, monuments, and special edition postage stamps for all offended parties. We hope all this will make amends for our terrible discrimination against ugly fat bald men, our senseless slaughter of 57 trillion chickens, the extinction of the mastodon and dodo bird, and the thoughtless cancellation of Gilligan’s Island midway into its fourth season. Now as our nation enters the 22rd century, we can finally complete the process of healing to remove the lingering sore of guilt, and prepare the way for our evolution to the next level of conscious: that of super-intelligent spineless jellyfish.

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