VATICAN CITY, Rome –– Sensitive to the image of the selection process for a new Pope as a secretive, even sinister, undertaking, Conclave ’05: Papalpalooza organizers have sought to cast a wider net, as their Lord might have counseled. Though sworn to secrecy, a handful of the 115 holy voters confessed that they’d seen some very surprising members under the traditional crimson robes this week.
Despite a wariness of the influence of the United States, several past and present St. Louis Cardinals (2004 NL pennant winners) have been invited to deliberate including Manager Tony LaRussa, star slugger Albert Pujols and closer Jason Isringhausen. Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith will be attending, although his nickname, the Wizard, made a number of the more medieval attendees nervous. Due to the recent steroid scandal in which he all but admitted to not relying upon his God-given talents, disgraced Home Run King Mark McGwire will sit this one out. Inexplicably, current Cardinals shortstop David Eckstein was never asked.
Out of deep respect for his influence on the recent history of the Philippines as Bishop of Manila along with an abiding appreciation for his absolutely priceless title, Jaime Cardinal Sin will be prominently featured in daily press releases. And in order to stay connected with the young people who so loved the departed pontiff the Conclave ’05 crew cut a deal with Sony to provide all attendees with a PlayStation Portable loaded with an exclusive version of the action-packed game, Cardinal Syn.
The uber-traditional German Cardinal Ratzinger, considered by many a frontrunner to fill John Paul II’s corrective slippers (although the prospect of a Pope Fritz I dismays many members of the Mediterranean contingent) apparently resisted inviting the long-of-tooth, former sex bomb of Italian cinema, Claudia Cardinale, on the grounds that she aroused an impure thought in an unnamed bishop while he was watching The Pink Panther in 1963.
THRONG OF THRONGS
VATICAN CITY, Rome – A week of mourning for Pope John Paul II in St. Peter's Square produced total crowds estimated by church officials to be "a hundredfold the multitude present when Charlton Heston parted the Red Sea." Secular Italian observers likened the vast assemblage to "a really bigga pizza pie." Gadfly William Donohue of the Catholic League couldn't resist terming the numbers "heavenly," adding, "and we didn't miss John Kerry and his abortionist buddies."
Entertainment industry insiders marveled, "that's a solid quarter at Euro-Disney." Per the Rome-based correspondent for Variety, "Auds for Pontiff Terriff." Movie and theater admissions were down throughout the region, but concessionaire sales to the pilgrims of refreshing 'pope encyclickle' frozen treats boosted the euro in world markets.
The Chief Statistician for the city of Krakow put the number of Poles attending at 76,000,000 or roughly twice the total estimated population of his country. "The Holy Father always was a big draw in his homeland," the bean counter explained.
He then calculated the probability of another Polish Pope in our lifetime as, "about equal to the likelihood of there being a Hassidic Grand Ayatollah in Iran" during that same period.
The news media reported obsessively on the ebb and flow of the Holy Queue with hourly updates on the wait for Il Papa as though he were a ride at Knott's Berry Farm. The flock was said to be well-behaved and respectful though chilly weather conditions conducive to the sniffles had nervous officials add a Sneeze Guard to the Holy Bier.
Relatives of defunct defense attorney Johnnie Cochrane sent congratulations to the Vatican on the big turnout, but noted, perhaps somewhat competitively, "we didn't see too many brothers there who weren't wearing hoods." The family of departed pullet patriarch Frank Perdue offered to ship over a boatload of Oven Stuffer Roasters to feed the masses, saying that they would even remove the pope's nose out of respect, but the Holy See declined.
Putting aside his Methodist distrust of the Papacy and his inability to pronounce the Pope's given name, President George W. Bush joined his wife, father and former Fornicator-in Chief, Bill Clinton, in paying his respects to the man who viewed his primary foreign policy initiative as a "defeat for humanity." In praising His Holiness, Bush took a swipe at the permissive 60's, "Maybe it was John Paul and not John or Paul who was more popular than Jesus."
World opinion on Charles and Camilla's wedding ranged from mild indifference to hostile indifference. Still, the nuptials went off as planned with gifts and well-wishes arriving from every corner of the globe.
What People Gave
(The Top 10):
(1) A rat's ass
(2) Diddly squat
(3) A damn
(4) A shit
(5) Scented candles
(6) Two hoots (a matching set)
(7) A fuck
(8) A flying fuck
(9) A flying fuck at a rolling donut
(10) £10 Gift Certificate to Harrod's
Congress Goes Where Angels (and Devil Rays) Fear to Tread
WASHINGTON, DC – The House Unsportsmanlike Activities Committee has summoned Major League Baseball stars past and present to appear in the nation’s capitol to answer the question, “Are you now or have you ever been juiced?” Fear of being blackballed or, in light of the testicular effects of steroids, noballed moved the one-time Bash Bros. of the Oakland A’s, Jose “el Snako” Canseco and Mark “the Liar” McGwire, to plead the fifth when asked about their presumed doping.
Canseco, whose jockraking memoir, Juiced, spurred much of the current outraged interest in better batting through chemistry, depicted himself as baseball’s savior who bravely stuck a needle in the game’s gaudy balloon of deception even as he had pricked Mr. McGwire’s buttocks. For his part McGwire, the former Home Run King and American Hero, blubbered like a 12-year-old girl experiencing her first period.
Three current players denied outright that they had ever indulged in performance-enhancing drugs (Rafael Palmeiro skillfully avoided any sniggering mention of his role as a Viagra spokesman), although Sammy Sosa’s fractured Spanglish disavowal left some room for interpretation. Later in the day, Baseball Commissioner (and former owner of The Milwaukee Brewers) Bud “Weiser” Selig defended the League’s new drug-testing policy against charges that it did not meet the “gold standard” set by the Olympics by pointing out how many gallons of urine were produced each season by his game’s testees.
Earlier testimony by the parents of teenagers who had committed suicide allegedly due to their abuse of Gym Candy produced a list of warning signs that other parents could look for if they were as utterly blind to their kids' needs as these people had been. Among the red flags for boys were rapid buildup of upper body mass, acne on the back and shoulders, sudden violent moods and the sprouting of breasts. In light of these revelations, HUAC Chairman Tom Davis vowed that he would call further witnesses in the near future to stem the infiltration of Roids.
“Their fellow travelers are everywhere – in our high schools, college campuses, gyms, health clubs, even the Senate Cloak Room – how’d you think Teddy Kennedy got so big?”, averred Rep. Davis. “One of those we expect to subpoena is Coach Bill Parcells of the Dallas Cowboys. Not because we’re after the NFL, but did you get a load of his titties?”
ASSUME THE FETAL POSITION
WASHINGTON, DC – In light of their failure to usurp the powers of the judiciary in the ghastly Terri Schiavo case, the Republican Congressional leadership plans to write sweeping new legislation to “protect the rights of the unborn and the undead,” according to a confidential memo. The memo goes on to clarify that the ‘undead’ being referred to do not include vampires or zombies, but rather sentience-challenged Americans who may have voted Republican before they lost all of their cognitive abilities.
President Bush is studiously avoiding the spotlight on this issue, allowing his allies to take the expected heat from the extreme rational minority, even as he monitors developments and offers tacit approval. “My advisors feed me information and I would not want to have that tube removed,” noted a pettish President. “Yet some in the media want to make it sound like I’m uninformed. A reporter said to me about Ms. Schiavo, ‘Y’know, she was in a persistent vegetative state.’ ‘Course she lived in Florida, I knew that, Jeb told me.”
A central proactive pro-life proposal would be the granting of voting rights to fetuses. As Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA), a prime architect of the measure, explains, “We’re talking limited voting rights here, for things like American Idol or America’s Next Top Model. We’re not actually expecting to mandate that voting booths be fitted with ultrasound monitors to allow the tabulation of a thumbs up or down (or in the mouth) vote on national candidates. That was nixed after the first draft.”
Other provisions that the lawmakers hope will become part of a XXIXth Amendment to the Constitution (after a XXVIIIth banning gay marriage) would include a fetus’ right to bear arms (after the second trimester) and the in utero right to own property. “So mama could sign over the deed to the family’s second car or a time share in Boca,” offered representative Jeff Miller (R-FL). “The idea is to enfranchise the little booger and protect him from abortionists.” Remedies that are less likely to find public support include the postdating of conception to the day the child is a twinkle in his mother’s eye and federal subsidies for parents who legally adopt stem cells.
And even as they seek to define when life begins, these legislator-philosophers are determined to say when it ends. “First we’ve got to educate the non-Christian population about the sacredness of life, using pagan sources if necessary,” suggested Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX). “I hear there’s a song in that new Broadway musical Spamalot where they sing “I am not dead yet” – that’s a powerful message for young people. Our Lord could’ve sung that on Easter morning. Then there are those Vincent Price movies from the 60’s where his wife was always crawling out of the crypt because she was put down too soon. Look, I started out in pest control back in Texas and I learned early on that there’s only one true Exterminator and you gotta check with Him before you turn on the gas." Apparently Mr. Delay got the go-ahead from the Almighty when he pulled the plug on his own father in 1988.
BLACK ROCK, New York — Eccentric news monologist Dan Rather has ‘spit the bit’, ‘been bucked from the bronco’ and ‘pulled out of Elsie 'fore she got knocked up.’ His premature (in the sense of long-awaited) retirement from his post as the CBS Evening News’ anchor (in the sense of a heavy object which renders a network motionless as it sinks to the bottom of the ratings) that takes effect March 9 drew exultant yelps of victory from the Fox Newshounds and the vast kennel of Republican lapdogs.
Long considered a crypto-liberal by crypto-Nazis, it was his clueless handling of a dubious damning document that ultimately doomed his flagging career. Some would say that his inability to judge the veracity of a make-believe memo concerning the make-believe military service of a make-believe cowboy who had been elected make-believe President was almost forgivable. His self-delusional insistence that he and his TV colleagues had been upholding the highest journalistic standards over the previous 24 years, however, suggested a dangerously unhinged personality.
Although he's been condemned by co-worker and neocon alike, the tetched Texan will continue to contribute hard-hitting reports on attractive middle-school teachers who sleep with their students to CBS News organs. He will also be allowed to don his safari jacket for the occasional rainstorm, but the plum hurricane assignments will fall to more reliable reporters. Rather's dilemma was summed up succinctly by the former White House correspondent for Talon News, Jeff Gannon (aka James D. Guckert, online male escort), "He's just not credible."
CBS polled it's aging viewership for their choice of replacements for Mr. Rather, but their candidates, Huntley and Brinkley, were previously interred. The network settled on the-less-than-robust Bob Schieffer as an interim anchor (pending his next annual check-up.) To make their senior demographic more comfortable, CBS is redesigning the set to resemble the medical wing of an assisted living facility and having Leslie Stahl periodically visit the set in a nurse's uniform to deliver health-related news items and to take Mr. Schieffer's blood pressure.
BLAME IT FORWARD
White House to Stop Blaming Predecessor, Start Blaming Successor
WASHINGTON, DC — Perhaps sensing that it is no longer viable after four years in office for President George W. Bush to blame failed programs and policies on Bill Clinton, the White House today announced that it will now blame failed programs and policies on whoever becomes president in 2008.
"The buck stops here," said a resolute President Bush, "And it'll still be here when the next guy takes over."
"This president is boldly accepting responsibility," said White House spokesman W. Harlan Durvich, "For seeing to it that those who will solve these problems are on notice that they will be held accountable for whatever they do then because of what we're doing now," continued Durvich, "We have to stay focussed on the work at hand. We can't be distracted by thinking about consequences. Besides," Durvich summed up, "There's no use crying over spilt milk, especially if you're not the one who has to clean it up."
Fox News pundits praised the president's "decisive vision" and "visionary decisiveness". Meanwhile, liberal radio network Air America devoted the remainder of the week's programming to debate over whether Bush's use of the words "Next guy" was an intentional bitch slap at Hillary Clinton's presumed presidential aspirations or just further proof of enthusiastic servitude to his reactionary, patriarchal corporate overlords.
–– L.K. Peterson
WASHINGTON, DC – Wily-as-a-fence-post Confounder-in-Chief GW Bush is tub-thumping his quizzical Social Security fix across several uncomprehending states. To save a system that he insists will be insolvent by 2018 he proposes the U.S. government spend some $2 trillion to allow lucky taxpayers to invest a portion of their savings directly into stock brokers' fees. Bush likes to refer to these as 'personal' rather than 'private' accounts due to the elitist connotation of that latter designation much as he likes to refer to atomic bombs as 'nucular' weapons because he can't pronounce that word correctly.
This debate-and-switch tactic has become a popular ploy with an administration which soundly defeated reality in the recent election. They responded to the attack of al-Qaeda by invading a country with no affiliation to that group in search of weapons of mass destruction (perhaps even nucular weapons) that did not exist. They combated over-priced prescriptions for the elderly by subsidizing the drug manufacturers who overcharge and closing off the borders to the pernicious Canadian scrip pushers. They battled dangerous forest fires by enlisting the lumber industry's Red Adairs to clear cut the deadly trees.
Suggesting that workers shoot craps with their retirement savings to stimulate the Dow while what the Social Security fund needs to achieve solvency is additional tax revenue from the earnings of the nation's wealthiest might seem curious, like confronting adult illiteracy by enlisting a troupe of rhesus monkeys to masturbate into tin cups. But this Solomoronic approach (King George would have had Project Rescue stone both would-be mothers) appeals to the diversionary instincts of The Little White Lie House.
President Bush explained that he was inspired by an episode of Mission: Impossible where Mr. Phelps posed as an Eastern bloc nucular physicist to infiltrate a Red missile installation and stop the launch of a nucular warhead aimed at Austin, TX. "You should've seen when he pulled off this mask that covered his whole face, I mean, I knew it was Mr. Phelps, but he sure faked out the enemy. That's what this is like. Or let's say, you were to keep talking up Gay Marriage and Abortion and The Lord to appeal to a segment of the voters that would put you back in office even though you were only serving a tiny, super-rich minority that worships the Almighty Dollar? Heh, did I say that? See, I had you goin'! That's how it works, you lead the other guy down the garden path then...Gotcha'!"
OL’ BLUE NOSE IS BACK
BRANSON, Missouri — Startling those who expected him to become a lobbyist or join a conservative think tank, outgoing Attorney General John Ashcroft today announced that he has purchased a theater in Branson, Missouri where he intends to pursue his lifelong dream of singing professionally.
"I’ve got the music in me,” said a relaxed Aschroft, dressed in khakis, penny loafers, polo shirt and looking less like a beefy, world-weary former Attorney General of the United States than a beefy, world-weary Perry Como, “And it’s time to let that music out, baby.”
“We’re still in the midst of renovations,” he intoned in his smooth baritone from a canvas director’s chair on the bare stage of the Branson Bijou theater. Gesturing toward the balcony Ashcroft pointed out the carpeting, upholstery and curtains being replaced due to smoke damage from a long-smoldering fire just outside the theater, “The good news is that I got the place for a song,” Ashcroft chuckled.
Ashcroft will emcee a variety program featuring guest performers and sing two or three songs per show, including an inspirational patriotic or religious number, a ballad and something upbeat from the Orrin Hatch songbook. Ashcroft also had several Cole Porter standards on his list until he rented the movie De-Lovely and made some shocking discoveries about the composer. He would neither confirm or deny that “Let the Eagle Soar” will be the encore at each show.
“And, please, call me ‘J.D.’,” Ashcroft chided after a reporter addressed him as Mister Ashcroft, “I’m only Mister Ashcroft to my personal assistant, housekeeper, chef, masseuse, secret service detail, office staff, gardener, driver, local tradesmen, The Washington Post, Democratic members of congress, my wife and two of my three children.”
Rumor has it that Ashcroft will reunite the “Singing Senators,” his barbershop style-quartet from the 1990s who haven’t performed together since their acrimonious breakup over tenor Jim Jeffords (I-Vermont) departure from the GOP. Former Singing Senators Trent Lott (R-Mississippi), bass, and Larry Craig (R-Idaho), lead, have each committed to making guest appearances but neither would comment on reunion plans.
Having left the country blessedly free of crime, drugs, terror and bare-breasted statuary, Ashcroft now feels free to follow his heart. “Music is my life, now,” said the The-Crooner-Formerly-Known-As-Attorney-General-John-Ashcroft, as he slung a jacket over his shoulder, tipped his fedora at a rakish angle and ambled toward the backstage door through a series of spot lights, “It’s showtime, baby.”
–– L.K. Peterson
Product Placement to Offset Inauguration Day Price Tag
WASHINGTON, DC - In an effort to quell the storm of controversy around the skyrocketing costs of George W. Bush's Second Inaugural, the Republican National Committee issued a press release stating that the tab for the day's gala events and security will be covered, in large measure, by product placement and corporate sponsorship.
Taking its cue from the motion picture industry that has long subsidized films by prominently displaying brand name consumer products in them, the RNC offered up prime moments of the Inauguration Day festivities.
Along with riding to the inauguration ceremony in the new Cadillac DTS limousine - with its new sharper-edged styling - Mr. Bush will pause long enough while entering and exiting the car to allow for adequate footage to be shot for news organizations as well as the promotional purposes of General Motors. The president will also be visible drinking a Dunkin' Donuts® Orange Mango Coolatta® during his short walk through the White House portico to the waiting Caddy and be seen taking a last, satisfying gulp of a Snapple® beverage and removing an Old Navy® fleece parka upon exiting the vehicle at the Capitol steps.
While taking the oath of office Mr. Bush will rest his left hand on a Bible embossed with the Amazon.com® logo. Chief Justice William Rehnquist's customary stripe-sleeved judicial robes will sport the Nike® swoosh instead, and upon finishing the oath of office Rehnquist will ask, "George W. Bush, you've just been sworn in as President of the United States, the first Republican since Ronald Reagan to win a second term! What are you gonna do next?" According to the script, the President will reply, "I'm going to DisneyWorld®!"
Not all of the tie-ins involve the President directly. Featured prominently in the crowd behind Mr. Bush during the swearing-in will be the Verizon® "Can-You-Hear-Me-Now" Guy, The Gieco Gekko®, Donald Trump® (with apprentices) and David Spade®, who will take delivery of a Domino's Ultimate Deep Dish Pizza® during the ceremony.
Sponsorship of the various Inaugural Balls was modeled on the corporate naming of sports stadiums. The evening's events include The Meet the Fockers Ball, AOL's You've Got Balls, ABC Presents Dick Clark's New Term's Rockin' Eve Ball (Guest Host, Regis Philbin) and IBM's Big Blue Ball. For the select few high rollers, there is The Halliburton Ball and for lower-level campaign contributors there is The Wal-Mart Ball.
–– L.K. Peterson
IRAQ THE VOTE
In preparation for Iraq’s first free (not counting the $150 billion or so in set-up costs) and fair elections scheduled for January 30th, Baghdad’s League of Women Voters has issued a guide to aid the neophyte. Here are some helpful pointers:
• Buttons, placards, pamphlets, funny head scarves, over-sized foam hands with extended forefinger or RPGs that are imprinted with your candidate’s name or likeness are strictly prohibited at the polling place.
• You may not write in the names of Saddam Hussein, L. Paul Bremer or Al Gore on your ballot, even as a bit of jocularity.
• The one-millionth voter will receive a decorative Kevlar jacket with the words Democracy Rocks emblazoned across the back.
• Those pine boxes lined up at the back of your polling place in case of an emergency are not voting booths. Stay out of them unless you plan on supporting, you will forgive the implication, the Paradise Party.
• Get out the vote campaigns by popular musicians such as Puff Ali or Bruce Shiiastiin shall be suspended on Election Day.
• In the event that a race is too close to call, the winner shall be decided along the lines of the American model –9 old fools in black robes will flip a coin.
• Avoid hanging Chads at the polling place, unless, of course, they are willfully hindering the process. Then we suggest you gouge out their eyes first and then hang them.
• Ignore the naysayers. The Sunnis will come out tomorrow. Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow there will be Sunnis.
• Remember that the race is to the swift. So hasten like a camel spider once you have cast your ballot.
• Consider that you are not voting directly for your leaders. Instead you will be electing a 275-member National Assembly and that assembly will elect a prime minister and a cabinet, and it will also preside over a constitutional convention that will try to write a new constitution, which will, God willing, go to a referendum sometime this year. Only then will the first constitutional national elections actually be held, in December 2005, if Allah is merciful. So if you have a headache or something and can’t make it this time, do not sweat it.
Blurred visionary filmmaker Oliver Stone lashed out at a presumably homophobic American movie-going public to explain the epic failure of his film Alexander. At a press conference before the film’s UK premiere he blamed “a raging fundamentalism in morality in the US” for dreadful reviews and audience indifference. The Oscar-winning director stated, “From day one audiences didn’t show up. They didn’t even read the reviews in the South because the media was using the words, ‘Alex the gay’. As a result you can bet that they thought, ‘We’re not going to see a film about a military leader that has got something wrong with him’.”
Word of his novel defense (which would have tickled Johnnie Cochran, ‘If the crowd don’t pack shit, the film ain’t a hit!’) has inspired the makers of other misunderstood cinematic misfires to identify the underlying prejudices that may have doomed their creations.
In an interview with E! television actor/ex-director Kevin Costner bristled, “The public has long demonstrated its antipathy to the mail-gathering minority. I have often heard derogatory phrases (‘hey, a**hole, this isn’t my address’) directed at this underclass and I have seen them attacked by fierce dogs. It is no wonder that the very title of my Post-Apocalyptic masterpiece, The Postman, should inspire an ugly smear campaign (no, I didn’t give back my Oscar!) And Waterworld? My character had webbed fingers, was part fish…c’mon, you saw X-Men, ignorant people hate mutants. But check out the big Tsunami, we were ahead of our time.”
John Travolta, reached in the cockpit of his private jet, fumed, “What is sadder than religious prejudice in a great country like ours? Isn’t that why the Pilgrims came to California? To participate in cults without the fear of taxation? Battlefield Earth was, in my humble opinion, the greatest science fiction film since The Postman and it was destroyed by critics who couldn’t even see it, who’s thetans had been corrupted. They just wanted to nail Scientology, to crucify L. Ron Hubbard, the Judases! But that’s cool, the box office was monster in other territories, on other planes of existence, and now I’m talking to Quentin Tarantino about doing Dianetics as an action film.”
Madonna faxed major news outlets the following statement: “The specter of anti-Semitism still haunts the United States. We Jews are hounded for our beliefs and denigrated for our efforts to express the mysteries of our ancient and very mystical culture. There are those who would like to see us Swept Away, but we shall overcome. Shalom, bitch.”
Attending Deer Hunter Night at the Clairton, PA VFW, former wunderkind Michael Cimino reflected on the epochal failure of Heaven’s Gate. He mused, “Anything-gate took on a negative connotation after Nixon—maybe the Liberals, who should’ve loved it, were suspicious of that and thought it was rightwing propaganda. Or maybe Heaven in the title stirred up the atheists. Umm, or, maybe it just sucked. Hey, you need a videographer? I’m free after tonight.”
Back in Europe, Oliver Stone fulminated, “You say I’m indulging in a film conspiracy theory? You say JFK actually convinced you that Oswald acted alone and I'm just paranoid? Well, it's your loss, I'm not gonna do my Eleanor Roosevelt film with Catherine Zeta-Jones, not after this. Unless...maybe I can work in some mud wrestling at Campobello. Get Penelope Cruz as Lorena Hickok..Jude Law as FDR..."
DEPARTMENT OF KERIKTION
On December 3, Bernard Kerik, New York City’s former Police Commissioner and Chief Prison Screw was nominated to head up the Department of Homeland Security by President Bush who enthused, “His broad practical hands-on experience makes Bernie superbly qualified to lead the Department of Homeland Security”. A week later after Mr. Kerik withdrew his name from consideration, and it became clearer what his hands had been on, the White House backtracked somewhat from its earlier praise, noting, “he belongs in his self-named Detention Complex in Manhattan in a cell with a convicted cop killer.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Kerik’s former boss and fellow fear merchant Rudolph Giuliani, who championed his nomination, scrambled to avoid damage to his political ambitions. Though both men have a long history and much in common (including the heart-breaking Tourette’s-like syndrome which causes them to uncontrollably yelp '9/11!' when speaking in public) Rudy felt compelled to clarify their current business relationship by stating, "He's not part of Giuliani Partners," cleverly leaving out the ‘ner’ to distance himself from his then Senior Vice President.
Rudy continued, “Look, it’s a simple case of miscommunication – sometimes New Yorkers and the Texans they love have these problems. 9/11! President Bush probably misheard my off-handed suggestion as I removed my tongue from his ear at Madison Square Garden during the Convention. 9/11! I jokingly said, ‘Y’know who you should make Head of Homeland Security when you’re reelected, Mr. President? How about Bernie Goetz?’”
HOLLYWOOD, CA – In response to the controversy surrounding Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum pop star-themed nativity scene, the Hollywood Wax Museum in California has unveiled its own star-studded celebrity creche.
The famed London waxworks was accused of hitting "...a new low in the cult of celebrity worship" for posing British glam couple Victoria 'Posh Spice' and David Beckham as Mary and Joseph, respectively, and the display was denounced by the Vatican as "cheap and tasteless".
"Hey, if we in Hollywood know anything," boasts Phil de Blanc, curator of Tinseltown's wax museum, "It's just how low the cult of celebrity worship can go. I mean, we invented it, for Chrissakes. If those Brits wanna go toe to toe with us lowering the bar on what's cheap and tasteless, they better be ready to limbo."
Rising to what it perceived as a challenge, the Hollywood Wax Museum's Nativity extravaganza features likenesses of David Hasselhoff as Joseph, Julia Roberts' newborn twins as the baby Jesus and, as the Madonna, Madonna. Other figures include The Three Tenors as the Wise Men, and (albeit dressed more for a toga party than a Bible story) MASH's Jamie 'Klinger' Farr, Seinfeld's Michael 'Kramer' Richards and Walker, Texas Ranger himself, Chuck Norris, as shepherds.
The manger scene's stable animals, too, are stars of the big and small screens. Trigger, Mr. Ed, Donkey from Shrek, Babe the pig, Rin Tin Tin, Benji, Bambi and Lassie all stand guard around the newborn king.
Visitors approach the tableaux by walking along a velvet rope-lined red carpet, at the end of which stand Joan and Melissa Rivers, microphones in hand. "I half-expected Joan to ask me who I was wearing," giggled one delighted viewer.
Filling out the crowd of celebrity onlookers surrounding the creche are Marilyn Monroe, Mel Gibson, W.C. Fields, Pamela Anderson, Santa Claus, Elvis Presley, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and, looking surprised as they step from their time-travelling DeLorean, Back to the Future stars Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox.
–– L.K. Peterson
THE STORY OF O'
(A transcript of a recent telephone conversation betweenFox News commentator Bill O’Reilly and an unidentified female.)
O’Reilly: Hey, Lady J, that you?
Unidentified Female: Who is this? What are you selling?
O': C’mon, J, it’s me, the Boss.
UF: Oh no, not you again, I already told you…
O': What are you wearing? That loose toga thing, the one that reminds me of Pam Grier in that gladiator movie with the white chick?
UF: ...I told you I that didn’t want to talk to you. I said…
O': And you’re holding that sword? Nice and tight? I’m holding a sword nice and tight, too, Lady J.
UF: There are laws against this sort of talk. I should know…
O': And I really, really hope you’ve got the blindfold on. The blindfold turns me on for some reason. You ever fantasize about doing it with a blind dude? A Stevie Wonder? A Ray Charles—when he was breathing, of course? A Blind Boy of Alabama?
UF: This is harassment, sir, and it is, indeed illegal. And it would be worse yet if I were your employee.
O': Hey, sister, I saw how much Mr. Murdoch paid to get the media laws changed in this great country--I say you work for us.
UF: That’s outrageous--there are, or, at least, were, laws protecting against monopolies and I believe…
O': Look, babe, spare me the lecture, it’s spoiling the mood. Now say something dirty to me—something really nasty.
UF: But, what…what…
O': I don’t know, go all Democrat on me, pretend I’m Bill Clinton, you’re Monica, and that’s a cigar in your hand instead of a phone.
UF: You must be mad, this is repulsive…
O': C’mon, say “I wanna be on The Factor, Big Boy, I wanna be grilled by you!”
UF: I’m hanging up and then I’m calling my lawyer.
O': Just say the word factor real slow… and repeat it. Factor…factor….factor…
UF: That’s it. (a click is heard at this point in the tape)
O': …factor…Factor…Factor…FACTOR…FACTOR! I (inaudible) HER! I (inaudible) HER! I…(inaudible as a loud thumping sound is heard followed by a crash as the phone apparently drops to the floor and is disconnected)
ROXANNE, YOU DON'T HAVE TO PUT ON THE RED LIGHT
GREENVILLE South Carolina – School patriarch Bob Jones lll and the Classic Players blew away audiences at his eponymous University in a production of Edmond Rostand's shnozzbuckling classic Cyrano de Bergerac this past November.
Best known for his devout adherence to conservative Christian values and race-baiting the sometime Presidential advisor* assumed the lead role as the lovelorn, though eloquent, rhinological oddity.
When asked about his turn on the wicked stage he suggested that Jesus as a carpenter might have worked on sets in Judean summer stock. He added, "We've all enjoyed the Acts of the Apostles and I'm pretty sure Peter was a bit of a drama queen. I played my scenes as if I was passing mash notes to my Lord."
"Of course the female students spend a lot of the time on their knees here at BJU," continued Dr. Jones, "praying for inspiration. And the Lord sure answered those gals in the theater department. The costumes they created made me feel like I was living in the 17th Century (don't I wish!) and the prosthetic nose was amazingly lifelike and easy to apply. You just strap it on!"
*He wrote Bush a congratulatory letter November 3, 2004, counseling , "In your re-election, God has graciously granted America – though she doesn't deserve it – a reprieve from the agenda of paganism... You have been given a mandate. ... Put your agenda on the front burner and let it boil. You owe the liberals nothing. They despise you because they despise your Christ."
LET THE EAGLE SOAR
Providing a dim ray of hope on a dark day in U.S history, Attorney General John Ashcroft announced his resignation in a hand-scrawled letter to George W. Bush dated November 2, 2004. He noted that "the objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and terror has been achieved" (apparently that very morning) and offered some explanation for his departure by suggesting "the demands of justice are both rewarding and depleting." The President empathized and recalled, as he had in his debate with John Kerry, how watching the war on television had been such "hard work."
Tapped to succeed Ashcroft is the torture-friendly judicial spitfire Alberto Gonzalez ('Speedy' to George W., 'The Gardener" to AG Ashcroft.) Feisty Democrats warn that they will fight to stay awake during the confirmation process and ask at least one question of the nominee that includes a reference to Abu Ghraib.
Meanwhile Ashcroft will return to his beloved Missouri, the state that had propelled him to Washington by voting in a corpse to replace him as Senator. He plans to devote himself full time to his inspirational song writing and musical career by opening The Patriot II Ole Tyme Music Hall in Branson. He hopes to attract other musically-inclined politicians like Utah's Orrin Hatch to join him onstage for concerts that promote faith, family values and wire taps.
"Folks won't have to worry about comfort or safety at my theater," insisted Ashcroft. "Just go and try sneaking a cooler in." When asked if he could be convinced to run again for statewide office, he responded with a smile and what might have been a hint of irony, "Over my dead body."
VOYAGE OF THE WESTERDAMMED
The Lusitania. The Andrea Doria. The SS Minnow. And now, the ms Westerdam. The Weekly Standard invites you to join your favorite neo-conmen on a Cruise to the Caribbean aboard Holland America’s newest floating mall from February 6-13.
Visit exotic ports of call — see where Junior's nanny was born! Expect the unexpected -— ‘unscheduled’ stops to visit your tax shelter in Paradise! Eat, drink and make money – listen and learn from featured speakers, Editors William 'Billy' Kristol and Fred 'Flintstone' Barnes! Buoy Battle Ships, Sink Swift Boats and dance the night away to the pre-recorded Latin stylings of Augusto Pinochet.
The Deluxe Suites are already sold out, so hurry and don’t get Klinghoffered on this titanic deal. You’ll be glad you shared the extreme starboard view – because in the Bush years ship definitely floats.
I FEEL SAFER ALREADY
On October 27, U.S. Customs sent a letter to Top Shelf Productions notifying them that copies of the anthology Stripburger had been seized, charging that Richie Bush by Peter Kuper constituted "clearly piratical copy" of registered and recorded copyright. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has retained counsel to challenge these seizures.
Richie Bush, appearing in Stripburger (Vol. 12) #37, is a four-page parody of Richie Rich that also satirizes the Bush Administration by superimposing the personalities of the President's cabinet on the characters from the comic. "Customs seized fourteen copies of the issue containing Richie Bush. Top Shelf is the American agent for Stripburger, an Eastern European comics publisher that releases anthologies of comics from cartoonists around the globe.
Upon investigating the shipment, Customs released the copies of Miniburger, but held the issues of Stripburger, giving Top Shelf thirty days to either forfeit the shipment, request administrative relief, or initiate court action.
On November 24, the Fund retained counsel in Charleston, SC who hand-delivered a letter to Customs stating that the comics are protected under existing First Amendment case law and should be either immediately released or that court action should be initiated.
"In this case, it looks like Customs is overreaching its authority," Top Shelf and CBLDF President Chris Staros says. "The comics in question are clearly within the acceptable bounds of parody, and there is absolutely no likelihood that consumers would confuse these works with the subjects that they are parodying."
We wish this item was a parody, but you can't really compete with the U.S. Government when the reality is this absurd.
FCC YOU, HOWARD!
WASHINGTON DC — FCC Chairman and nepotism’s poster child, Michael Powell cracked down on potty-mouthed shock jock Howard Stern by imposing $495,000 in fines on six Clear Channel Communications radio stations carrying his sophmoronic show. In response, the media conglomerate, citing the First Amendment’s clear irrelevance, bravely canned the Poop Chute Poobah.
Further harassment by the agency has driven Stern to the Sirius Satellite Network where listeners will have the privilege of paying to partake of his brown bon mots. Sirius' stock price poetically headed towards the toilet based on their shit-headed investment.
Emboldened, the rabid watchdogs have now moved to extend the so-called seven second delay to a full seven minutes across the broadcast spectrum, in order to allow censors sufficient time to identify and excise all suggestive references.
Chairman Powell observed, “You can’t believe how many words or phrases put the listener in mind of defecation or fornication –– of necrophilia or coprophagia. Seemingly innocent words! I mean, we had to bleep Rush Limbaugh when he called
my Dad, the outgoing Secretary of State, by his first name.”
PLAN B FROM OUTER SPACE
WASHINGTON, DC – The Supreme Court reaffirmed that justice is duck blind as it rallied around Judge Antonin Scalia to rule that his hunting buddy Vice President Dick Cheney does not have to release a list of participants from his 2001 closed-door sessions of the National Energy Policy Task Force. The consultative group was rumored to include a number of Energy Industry insiders who, crybabies allege, unduly influenced the pro-business agenda the task force ultimately produced.
Now word has emerged from the world of publishing that former Environmental Protection Agency Chief Christie Todd Whitman has penned a startling memoir of her tenure in the Bush White House entitled I Was an Oil Rig Whore in which she sheds light on some of this group’s inner workings. Valdez-like leaks from the publisher suggest that the Administration cast a very broad net indeed in pursuing expert advice.
The book details an April 23, 2001 meeting at the VP’s official secret hideout where the participants included the CEO of Exxonmobil, the Chairman of the Nuclear Energy Institute, a National Coal Board representative and Lt. Commander Worf of the Starship Enterprise.
Whitman writes, “The distinguished Klingon, who in those simpler pre-9/11 days barely needed to show his library card to get into the underground bunker, didn’t say much as the other participants presented their wish lists to Cheney (“Shall I sit in your lap when I read you this?”, quipped one oilman.) But when it was his turn the extraterrestrial electrified the group with his presentation on the potential of trilithium crystals. He stressed that this amazingly potent, though admittedly rare, clean energy source could, he said, “not only power every vehicle on your Earthian Orb for a few hundred darseks a year, but would also drive your future starships as they boldly go where no man has gone before.”
“Where’s that, my daughter’s bedroom?” dead-panned the veep. “Naw, really, I love the idea, Junior will love it, too – we’ll throw mucho dineros at this while we pursue more traditional solutions in the short term. If this thing takes off we’ll rename your hyperdrive there, Worf Speed!”
“The Lt. Commander seemed to growl at that suggestion even as Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham spit out his chimichanga from laughing so hard. Apparently it was this scientific revelation that inspired the President’s visionary Deep Space Nine initiative for planetary exploration when it was presented to him months later in a 10 line PDB entitled Bin Laden to Use Spaceships to Attack US Targets, Including 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on July 4.”
“It was shortly after this meeting when I received the directive to ‘sell the shit’ out of the potential for mining energy-rich mineral resources from off-world locales that I realized my reputation was fatally damaged. I longed to once again just be the punchline of New Jersey jokes. I wished that I had never batted my eyes at George W. Bush at that Governor’s Convention and that I hadn’t blushed when he told me how my name reminded him of his Savior.”
Hoping to short circuit the potential political damage from these revelations the White House will release compromising photographs of Ms. Whitman with former first-Spaniel, Spot.
The President further announced, “a set of measures to safeguard against another widespread blackout during peak periods of electrical usage. These include the opening up of all city and municipal parks for clear-cutting by the lumber industry to protect against some tree limb falling off in a storm and knocking down a powerline.
We are also urging all Americans to sleep in their cars with the AC set on low on nights when the average temperature remains above 72ºF to relieve pressure on the grid. And we’re encouraging our young people to generate additional kilowatts by following the patriotic example of Ben Franklin and flying kites with keys attached to them during lightning storms. Good for their cardiovascular systems, too.”
DUBYA’S MYSTERIOUS MISSING WEEKENDS
George W. Bush Was Never AWOL from the Texas Air National Guard —
He was on a Top-Secret Special Assignment, Touring with the Rolling Stones!
Using the latest in conspiracy technology, Now What has pieced together this compelling and totally plausible scenario explaining George W. Bush’s absence from his scheduled National Guard duty weekends (Note to Oliver Stone: The film rights to this conspiracy theory are attractively priced): The “gap” in George W. Bush’s military service — May, 1972 to July, 1973 — closely coincides with the Rolling Stones’ North American and Pacific/Australia tour that ran from June, 1972 to February, 1973.
Our proposition: During George W. Bush’s “absence” he was the co-pilot of the Rolling Stones’ fabled tour plane (with the legendary “Sticky Fingers” lips logo emblazoned on its tail), having been planted there by high-ranking U.S. Government officials to keep an eye on the British rock band and possibly even act as an agent-provocateur, encouraging behavior that might cause the band to be arrested, thereby aiding the re-election bid of President Richard Nixon.
Given the number of creative, cloak-and-dagger-loving dirty tricksters working for Nixon, it’s not hard to imagine that some especially clever CREEPer (Committee to RE-Elect the President) connected the dots between the following disparate facts and came up with a plan convoluted and outlandish enough to make Ian Fleming envious:
1) J. Edgar Hoover routinely sent FBI agents undercover to infiltrate organizations he deemed subversive. These undercover operatives would frequently incite the organization to perform illegal activities intended to lead to members’ arrests, and to discredit or neutralize it. By the early 1970s, hippie peacenik agitators topped Hoover’s list of the dangers facing America.
2) Nixon’s need to stroke Hoover — who loathed him — in order to gain access to the FBI files on his political “enemies” thereby gathering enough ammunition to undermine any serious competition in the upcoming election. Major points with his hardcore supporters could also be scored if he could come up with a way to deport some noisy, foreign-born troublemakers.
3) It was on this tour that the Stones first used their own private jet, a McDonnell-Douglass DC-9, rather than regularly scheduled commercial flights, and they needed a flight crew that would pass FAA muster.
4) The Chairman of the Republican National Committee, George Herbert Walker Bush, had a son, George W, with solid bona fides as both a pilot and a party animal.
5) It was well known that the Stones’ tour would be filmed, so it wasn’t much of a leap to assume that filmmaker Robert Frank might record ample enough evidence of the Stones’ drug use and debauchery to allow the U.S. Government to deport them.
This would explain why there’s no record of George W’s service in “Alabama,” except for pay-stubs (a bonus extra for CREEP that W was already being paid by the Texas Air National Guard), and the forms requesting a transfer. It would also explain why no one in Texas or Alabama saw him the whole time. They couldn’t have. He was partying down with the “Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World”, while simultaneously spying on them so deeply undercover for the U.S. Government that no file of his daring mission could be allowed to exist.
But what of the infamous, incriminating film, you ask? The documentary made of the tour, Cocksucker Blues, is virtually banned owing to decades-long lawsuits, court orders and government red tape. Why? According to those who’ve viewed bootleg copies, the Stones’ flight crew frequently partakes in the mile-high debauchery and would have been subject to any prosecution aimed at the band.
Why, then, did this brillant plot fail? Clearly, the flight crew’s misbehavior didn’t help, but that could have been gotten around. The bigger question is why there isn’t even a rumor about a trace of a record of such an audacious act of political skullduggery? Hoover died in May, 1972 just as the mission was getting underway. Nixon was soon caught up in Watergate, and whatever files there were got fed to the nearest paper shredder and any conversations about it became gaps in White House tapes. Bush Sr. went to the CIA and learned how to stonewall so well even he doesn’t know what he knows. The documentary film has been kept under wraps owing to the incriminating footage of W, and possibly other ops, “keeping up with the Stones”.
As for what W knew and what he remembers of it, well, he spent nearly two decades after his bacchanalia with the band on a howlin’ hell-raise, so you can’t really blame him for not remembering his whereabouts for a few months — Mick and Keith sure don’t — and Robert Frank isn’t talking.
And did Hoover and Nixon’s nefarious plan to ruin the Rolling Stones really fail, after all? I mean, have you heard what they’ve recorded since Exile on Main Street?
–– L.K. Peterson
REMEMBER WHAT I TORTURE!
WASHINGTON, DC – At an Armed Services Committee hearing convened to review his scathing report, Gen. Antonio Taguba testified to the abuse of Iraqi detainess by U.S. military personnel and contract sadists at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad. His account moved one of his interrogators, an indignant Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-OK), to put things in perspective. He averred that he, like others on the committe, was “...more outraged by the outrage than we are by the treatment.”
He continued with the helpful suggestion that “...if pictures are authorized to be disseminated among the public, that for every picture of abuse or alleged abuse of prisoners, we have pictures of the four Americans in Baghdad that were burned and their bodies mutilated and dismembered in public. Let’s get the whole picture.”
Later in the day, the Senator’s office issued a list of further guidelines for the release of ‘alleged abuse’ photos past and present. It includes the demand that “photographic depictions of lynchings in the American South during the 20th Century be desseminated with a visual record of miscegenation – stills from the motion picture Mandingo will suffice – along with representations of the general shiftlessness of the African-American population of the day.”
“In the interest of historical balance we also believe we need to revisit a painful episode in more recent history which touched the lives of many American families. For every photograph of the survivors of a Nazi work camp, we would like to see documentary evidence of an honest German shopper being gypped by a non-Aryan merchant.”
DON'T TOUCH THAT DIAL!
The most shocking thing about the reality/game show Be My Baby, where Barbara Walters hosted a contest in which childless couples vie for the offspring of a 16-year-old unwed mother, is that it wasn’t on Fox. It aired on ABC. Which is owned by Disney –– Disney! –– Out-Foxed by DISNEY!?! Still, like it or not, this is just the first glimpse of the coming new low. Below, some suggestions on hastening the apocalypse and just getting it over with, already.
The witless, to whit:
Coma to My House (ABC/Disney)
Dozens of dwarves compete to be one of the Final Seven who get to kiss a beautiful young woman who is either comatose or just a really deep sleeper. The one whose kiss awakens her gets to marry her on TV. Whether she likes it or not. Her parents signed a waiver.
Touched by a Jackson (Fox)
Parents of young boys (6 to 9) perform wacky stunts for the chance to have their little money maker spend time with a member of the Jackson clan. Winners’ spawn stay overnight at Neverland Ranch, runners-up go to Chuck E. Cheese’s with Tito.
Where There’s a Will (Fox)
Potential heirs to a dying multi-millionare’s fortune will do anything — and we mean anything — he demands of them if it gets them into his will (they’ll get to answer the question — does he wear boxers or briefs? Depends!) This being Fox, however, there’s every chance that he’s not really dying or that he’s not even really a multi-millionare.
Gepetto Your Life (ABC/Disney)
Wooden marionettes compete for the prize of being transformed into a real boy.
Mayan So-Called Life (WB)
Contestants battle each other for the privilege of being chosen to live like a celebrity — mansion in the Hollywood Hills, fancy cars, hobnobbing with the hoi-poloi, all the sex partners of their choosing, a makeover; their wishes are our commands, FREE — for a year (from this Cinco de Mayo to next Cinco de Mayo) before having their still-beating heart cut out of their chest in a televised ritual sacrifice atop the Pyramid at the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Co-sponsored by Corona and Taco Bell.
Lottery of a Lifetime (Court TV)
Towns across American compete to host this unscripted enactment of Shirley Jackson’s chilling cautionary tale The Lottery. After a town is decided upon, its inhabitants pick their preferred form of mob violence (stoning, lynching, beating and kicking), then TV viewers phone in their choice of lottery method (short stick, drawn straws, rock-paper-scissors). Once a citizen of the town is picked, the fun begins! Don’t miss the thrilling once-in-a-lifetime season finale!
– L.K. Peterson