All articles ©2002 or 2003 by Terry A. Heggy

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Con Artist Arrested

After a two-week investigation, police have arrested John “Shifty” Schaeffer in connection with a confidence scheme of grand proportions. Schaeffer’s latest victim, Mrs. Arthur S. Gammelputty, called police when she became suspicious after attending a local church service. “At first, the preacher said ‘all that glitters is NOT gold’, which stunned me, because I was pretty sure the opposite was true. But I know that he’s speaking from the gospel, so I figured I’d better listen carefully. But when he said we should all get on board God’s elevator to Heaven, I thought, ‘If there’s an elevator, then I sure don’t want to keep making payments on a Stairway.’

Mrs. Gammelputty still had over $40,000 left to pay when she notified the authorities. If convicted, Schaeffer is expected to receive 8 to 10 years at San Quentin. He is quoted as saying that he’s not worried, because he knows how “to be a rock and not to roll”.


Popular Officer Finally Receives Well-Deserved Promotion

After serving at the rank of Captain for almost 50 years, Buford J. Kangaroo was finally promoted to Admiral. Best known for hosting a children’s television program, Admiral Kangaroo has received numerous commendations and awards over the years. He has been recognized for bravery under fire after being subjected to uncounted ping pong ball attacks, moose assaults, and carrot robberies. His calmness in facing wild animals has won him the respect of the local Native American Tribal Council, resulting in Kangaroo earning the Indian nickname of “Dances with Bears”.

Kangaroo first ascended to Captaincy when his naval skills and military cunning led him to discover the long-lost giant key ring that allowed him to open the fabled “Treasure House”. Vigilantly guarding those special keys throughout the subsequent years led Kangaroo to experience many adventures quite unlike those experienced by less-capable servicemen.

His fierce loyalty to his subordinates also earned him the respect and admiration of people across the country. “Without the Captain’s determination to see justice done,” said one frequent collaborator, “I might never have overcome my humiliating fashion impairment. I’ll never forget the day he showed up with a pair of blue jeans for me.” Wiping a tear from his eye, the gentleman continued, “I just love that guy”.

Admiral Kangaroo is old enough to retire, but insists that he’ll continue to serve. He assured the audience at his promotion ceremony that he would continue to pursue justice against the enemies of our country. Though he could only refer to one particular enemy by what is assumed to be an animal code-name, Kangaroo was emphatic when he said, “I will not rest until I have outwitted that rabbit!”


Rap Fans Demand Their Money Back

Over 12,000 irate fans of Eminem (aka Marshall Mathers) stormed the City Arena box office last night when they discovered that the $28 tickets they’d purchased were not for a concert by the popular Caucasian rapper, but instead were for an act known as Enema-em. Instead of featuring an angry rampage of staccato poetry set to a driving drum beat, the performance featured a group of students from the Elam Medical School proctology program, singing lyrics about cleansing one’s colon -- in the musical style of a barbershop quartet.

Other ticket-holders who wish a refund due to this misunderstanding should keep the tickets in a safe place and wait the three or four weeks it will take to rebuild the box office building, which was destroyed during last night’s protest. The event promoter also agreed to honor the Enema-em tickets for next week’s performance by the Red Hot Chili Poopers.


“Clone” of Hitler Declared a Fraud

Investigators have been working around the clock to verify whether or not the recently proclaimed “Hitler Clone” is indeed a genetic equivalent of the universally-reviled tyrant who brought war and genocide to Europe during the middle of the last century. The alleged cloning was announced last week by a group of young Brazilian men who said they represented an offshore research company known as “Cloney Island”.

According to spokesperson Leni Reeferstahl, the clone was created from molecules of Hitler’s mucus that had been preserved when he used his own saliva to spit shine his shoes. Reeferstahl said the saliva was preserved by an airtight seal formed when additional shoe polish was applied to the moistened area. The polish was sold by the same firm that manufactured the popular line of German underwear known as “Über-alls”. Advertising brochures show that the name of the dark color roughly translates to “Non-white, and therefore inferior in every possible way, but good enough to shine shoes, I suppose.”

In addition to cloning Hitler, the company claims that they have proof that humans are all descended from the residents of the planet Talos IV, and that all human wisdom can be found coded into Spalding Gray monologues.

DNA testing performed by the University of Columbia determined that the “clone” was not Adolph Hitler, but was instead former Laugh-In personality Arte Johnson.


Terrorist Threat Traced to Local Mechanic

An eccentric local garage worker was arrested yesterday for threatening to blow up one of the town’s most respected businesses. Last Wednesday, the owner of the local barbershop, Floyd Lawson, received a threatening note shortly after announcing the the price of a haircut would be rising from $2.95 to $3.10.

                                   Note received by Mr. Lawson

“It was pretty simple detective work, really,” said Sheriff Andrew Taylor. “Since it didn’t seem like real terrorists would gain much by threatening poor ol’ Floyd, I just started wonderin’ about who might be upset with him. Probably somebody who’d gotten a bad haircut, is what I was thinkin’. So I looked around a bit, and sure enough, there was one feller in town who was always wearin’ this just plain awful Jughead hat. Now, why, says I, would he wear that hat unless he was coverin’ up somethin’? And sure enough, Goober confessed right away when I went over to the garage to talk with him”.

“Oooh,” said Lawson, “I was real scared. Real scared. Until Andy found out it was Goober. His hair is really hard to cut, you know. Ooh, it sure is.”

The mechanic, Goober Pyle, was briefly held in the cell normally reserved for Otis, the town drunk, but was released when Sheriff Taylor thought he’d learned his lesson. No charges will be filed.


College Updates Entrance Requirements

Citing the expense in administering standardized testing and industry-accepted college entrance exams, one local college has implemented a new and innovative method for determining a prospective student’s chances for academic success. Vincenzo Damito, Dean of Vinnie’s Legitimate Business College, explains; “SAT’s and IQ tests and all that kind of stuff is great for some folks. But we’re more concerned about whether the student will be able to respond appropriately in more normal situations. Plus,” Damito says, “you have to hire people to assess and keep track of all those things. At VLBC, we just give the recruit a short skills test. If they pass, they’re in. If not, they can take a hike.”

The test exposes the student to several scenarios, noting responses to each situation. Any single incorrect response disqualifies the applicant from admission to the school. Some of the scenarios and accepted responses are listed below:

Scenario: Accepted Responses:
Install a fresh roll of toilet paper. Paper rolls off the top.
Star Trek and Green Acres are on at the same time. Buy another TV so you can watch both at once.
Your cell phone rings in a movie theater. Turn it off. (Extra credit for taking it out to the lobby and smashing it to tiny bits.)
A driver fails to properly signal a turn. Wait until he stops, then puncture his tires. (Extra credit for incinerating him with a flamethrower.)
The President is delivering a State of the Union address on all TV networks. Not on the Cartoon Network, he ain’t.
The Oakland Raiders are playing. Root for the other team. (Extra credit for burning an effigy of Al Davis.)
Rap music is playing at a party.  Break the rap CD into small pieces and replace it with BTO’s Greatest Hits, or anything by Led Zeppelin.
Choose a commencement speaker for your class’s graduation...someone who represents the pinnacle of academic and public service achievement. Heather Locklear.

In response to a question about whether the school was accredited, Damito proudly displayed both a MasterCard and a VISA card. When asked what options prospective students have if they fail the entrance test, Damito responded. “I don’t give a flying fish. They can go to Harvard or something, I guess.”


Man Holds Royal Flush, But Folds

Local tire installer Kirk Bingham left his weekly poker game early last night after being dealt a Royal Flush. Bingham did not play the hand, but instead stood up, left the table, and did not return. Astounded co-worker Roger Hartwell said, “It was the weirdest thing. He got this phone call just as the hand was being dealt. He sat there for a moment holding the cell phone down by the table, and sorta staring at it. Then he said, ‘Gotta go,’ and just... left.”

Edwin “Duke” Ellerton, who dealt the cards, added, “Man, I just about lost it when I saw the cards Kirkie dropped. A Royal Flush! He prob’ly coulda won fifty, maybe sixty bucks. Heck, I had a full house, queens over eights, so I woulda helped him run the pot up. But the dude drops his cards and bails out. Weird, man.” Hartwell added, “The guy’s a weiner,” and then held his thumb and forefinger up to his head to make the “L - for Loser” sign.

Bingham explained that he had no choice but to run out of the game when he did. “My wife called me on my new cell phone. It is so cool, with video and all! She sent these pictures of this awesome dinner she was making,” he explained. “I tell you, when you see a juicy meatloaf on that .7 inch, 16-color screen, well, your mouth just starts to water. I don’t think anybody could resist running home that very instant.” When asked about the cards he had received, Bingham said, “I think my hand was mostly diamonds, and there seemed to be a bunch of face cards in there. But, I mean, there was meatloaf on my phone, man. C’mon.”

“We knew it was prob’ly a mistake to let a married guy play, but we need him to fill the table, so I s’pose he can come back,” Ellerton said. “But if he answers that damn phone during the game again, I’m gonna smash it over his little pin head.”


AT&T Spokesman Denies Family Ties With Restaurant Mogul

Popular comic and long-distance pitchman Carrot Top emphatically denied today that he is the illegitimate son of superstar burger clown Ronald McDonald. “Although it would be an honor to be related to such an entertainment and food service luminary, the fact remains that I cannot claim kinship with Mr. McDonald,” the comedian said, reading from a prepared statement. “The rumors that I’m the result of a one-night stand between Mr. McDonald and Raggedy Ann are patently false.”

After a brief interlude to flirt with an attractive female reporter (who ended up slapping him rather hard), Carrot Top continued. “We have DNA test results,” he said, “but they won’t be needed if you just think about it for a minute. I’m Carrot Top, right? Now tell me, where do carrots appear in the phrase ‘two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun’? I’m not ‘Lettuce Top’ or ‘Pickle Top’ now, am I? C’mon, people...get a clue!”

The press conference ended abruptly as reporters scattered when it appeared that Carrot Top was going to open his gag box and pull out his Giant Nose-Picking Finger prop.


New Voting Machines Impress Citizens

Voter response to the new touch-screen voting machines has been overwhelmingly positive. The machines were implemented for the first time in several local precincts. “These are way better than those stupid punch cards,” said voter Clyde Wombat. “I always got really tired having to work so hard to poke that little needle all the way through the cardboard.”

Informal exit polls showed that the new machines especially appealed to younger voters. “Yeah, it’s kinda like a video game,” said first-time voter Brandon Wilson. “You, like, stab the box, and the ‘X’ appears. Cool. I didn’t really understand what was supposed to happen after that, but I’ll see if I can’t look up some cheat codes on the Internet tonight. With any new system, you, like, guess which answers to pick for the first couple of days. I’ll probably do better tomorrow. ” When pollsters asked Wilson who he voted for, he said, “Dude, I just put ‘Xs’ in boxes. There was, like, a hot chick waiting behind me, so I couldn’t really take the time to memorize all the answers, you know? But since it was free, I don’t see any reason not to go back there and try again every day. It’s not like I have a job or anything.”

When the pollster explained that you could only vote once every two years, Wilson replied, “Man, that totally blows. In two years, those graphics will be SO lame. Like, the government ought to do something about that, you know?”

Election officials estimated that the new machines would save thousands of hours of tabulation time, though those savings would be partially offset by the expense of cleaning all the orange Chee-to fingerprints off the screens between voters.


Filmmaker Seeks Funding for Potentially Oscar-Worthy Film Project

Oscar-winning Director Ron Howard has been networking intensely within the Hollywood financial community to find funding for his latest project. With several of his recent films receiving Academy Awards in various categories, Howard is confident that his next effort will keep him on a winning track.

Howard explains, “It’s about a gorgeous model who communicates strictly through gestures. The working title is ‘A Beautiful Mime’.” So far, though, no one has committed to pay for the project. “It’ll be exciting as hell,” claims Howard. “There’s this climactic moment when she has to explain the details of a Commie plot to sneak an atomic bomb into the country – and she gets the idea across by pretending to be in a large invisible glass box. It’s killer stuff!” The press kit also mentions shots of the woman ‘walking against the wind’ and ‘pretending to be a robot’. There were also rumors about the inclusion of a talking pie, but Howard declined to comment on them.


CDC Fears Halloween Flu Epidemic

The Center for Disease Control has issued an announcement warning all Americans to take extra precautions against the flu this winter. Prompted by reports of a sharp spike in the sales of family-size packages of toilet paper during the last couple of days before Halloween, CDC experts conclude that large numbers of people must be suffering from severe and prolonged gastro-intestinal distress. “Wash your hands, people,” said Dr. Elmo Whipple. “I don't know how many times we have to tell you this.”

A random survey conducted shortly after the CDC’s announcement uncovered surprisingly few cases of influenza. “Naw, everybody’s fine,” said one teenage boy who asked not to be identified. “In fact, the whole gang is planning to turn out to get rowdy tonight. We’re gonna go over and really mess up the gym coach’s house. We’ll absolutely do the trees, sure, but we’ve even got eggs and stuff.” Another survey respondent agreed that everyone seemed to be healthy. “We’re going to a party. We’re really psyched about this mummy-wrapping contest they’re having over at Britanny’s house. She’s a cheerleader, you know.”



The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), acting on behalf of a group called “Fish Lovers Against Maligning Respectable Species (FLAMERS)”, filed suit in District Court today against the American Medical Association (AMA). The suit asks for 47 million dollars in punitive damages for unfairly causing grief and shame to the world’s fish population.

Court documents explain that “The term ‘carpal tunnel syndrome’ maliciously debases the good name of the noble carp, by seeming to accuse the fish of causing human diseases when it clearly does not, unless someone eats one that’s been sitting out in the sun for two or three days.” FLAMERS spokesperson Amy Dookrette adds that “The carp is a regal fish. It is one of the prettiest and smartest fishes. But even it weren’t, it would still deserve the same respect due to all fish, from the lowliest tadpole to the friskiest dolphin to the majestic humpbacked killer whale.”

Responding to the AMA’s statement that the word “carpal” is Latin for “finger” and has nothing to do with fish, Dookrette said, “Oh, and now the Latins are getting into it, are they? I thought our immigration laws were supposed to protect us from this sort of harassment. They must not have any fish in their native Latvia.”

“Besides,” Dookrette added, “it’s a dumb name for a disease, anyway. Carp don’t even live in tunnels...they live in, like, the ocean or something.”


NASA Admits Astronaut Résumé Fraud

Top NASA administration officials today responded to a reporter’s allegations that one of their astronauts had falsified his academic credentials. “It seems that we have been misled by Mr. Smith,” said agency spokesperson Mary Ellen Rogers. “We were apparently negligent by failing to perform a thorough background check before we allowed this gentleman to become part of a space crew. The evidence suggests that Mr. Smith never obtained a postgraduate degree of any kind, much less a doctorate.”

Smith is part of a research team aboard the interstellar exploration ship Jupiter II. His duties were supposed to include molecular xenobiology and advanced robotics, but since he has no experience in those fields, it is unclear how he is currently contributing to the success of the mission. His previous job was not as a professor at MIT as he had claimed, but instead was as a part-time laborer at the local Kresge warehouse. Former co-worker Armando Zapata describes Smith as a lazy and dishonest schemer. “We called him ‘Zack the Quack’,” Zapata said. “He was always trying to find some way to rip off the company. Nobody liked him at all. He used big words a lot, but he was really pretty stupid.”

The Jupiter II is under the command of Captain John Robinson. The crew includes members of his family, Major Don West, Smith, and the latest in advanced cybernetic devices, known as “Robot”. Though not on a strict schedule, the ship is expected to return to Earth any day now.


Missing Police Car Located

Using the latest “radio” technology, local police officers have been requesting the location of one of their two-man squad cars. Early last Friday, a local officer confirmed that they had located the vehicle. “It was right where it was supposed to be...parked in between Car 53 and Car 55.”

In an unrelated announcement, it was also announced that one of the station’s officers, known only as “Grandpa”, had been arrested on suspicion of vampirism.


French Visitors Support Chirac's Policy on Iraq

With the French government taking an official position of disagreement with the Bush Administration, one local French family spoke out in favor of their home government’s position. Interviewed as part of a local newspaper poll, they were asked if they agreed with the Middle East policy position of French President Jacques Chirac. “Mebst!” shouted the father of the family, who wanted to be identified only as “Beldar”. “Mebst! We have no hostile intentions toward your puny planet, and deny that we are scouting for a primary invasion force.”

When the reporter repeated the question, suggesting that perhaps the Frenchman had either misunderstood the question, or the publicly stated French position, the family’s mother (identified as “Primat”) spoke up. “What my spousal unit means to say is that we fully support our country’s policies. By the many moons of Meepzoar, we promise to rigidly enforce the ruthless will of the great Leaders of Remulak, er, I mean France.”

Then, the couple excused themselves to go consume mass quantities.


Taiwan Unveils Powerful New Electric Car

Bong Sui Hwan, Taiwan’s largest automobile manufacturer, announced today that it is introducing a new, powerful electric car into the American marketplace. Boasting a mighty 250 horsepower* 2-cylinder engine, the vehicle easily outperforms all other Taiwanese imports. The model to be sold in the USA is called the “Vengeful Monkey”, and comfortably seats 2 people (under 100 pounds each).

Available in 2 pleasing color schemes (“brown” and “other brown”), the Vengeful Monkey offers a full range of high-tech accessories, including side windows and ashtrays. Orders placed now should be available by Constitution Day (December 25th).

*Note: Taiwanese motor power is measured in seahorse power.


Orkans Assimilated

The relentless Borg have assimilated the inhabitants of the planet Ork, according to a news release from Star Fleet Command. Evidence seems to indicate that the Borg discovered the Orkans when one of their hyperspace cubes intercepted a transmission from Earth. Starfleet spokesperson Kirk Uhura explained that ordinarily the Borg could be expected to ignore such transmissions, but the whiny tone in this particular message led the Borg to believe that the Orkan culture was extraordinarily deficient and demanded immediate assimilation. “The message sender spent the entire hyperspace uplink time wondering why a creature named ‘Mindy’ required so many pairs of shoes.” Uhura said. “Hell, it made me want to wipe out their society, too.”

Star Fleet Command was able to retrieve some of the final garbled messages coming from Ork. “The Borg message appeared to say ‘Free cyst ants his few tile’, but that doesn't make any sense at all.” said Uhura. “Our codebreakers are working on it around the clock.” The last message from Ork was sent by someone who identified himself as “Planetary Commander Orson”. It said simply, “We are toast. Shazbat!”


Ultra-Marathon Running Provides Many Health Benefits

Running ultra-marathon distances (over 50 miles at a time) increases lung capacity and heart muscle strength, according to a recent study by the Institute for Lung Capacity and Heart Muscle Strength Study. While a regular exercise program (such as walking 1.5 miles per day) increases cardiovascular fitness by up to 30%, this study conclusively proves that stepping up to an ultra-marathon regime further increases those same values by an additional 1 to 2 percent.

“There’s nothing like ultra-running to keep yourself in tip-top shape,” proclaims long-distance enthusiast Jeff Dean. “It’s also just plain fun. You enjoy the outdoors, get a chance to catch some rays, and you develop that coveted runner’s body.” Ultra-runners do indeed all share a similar physique, with powerful legs and well defined calves beneath a set of rail-thin arms and bony shoulders. They are also recognizable by the glazed, sunken eyes with the vacant stare.

Are there any downsides to ultra-running? “No way,” says Dean. “It’s a totally positive experience. I can’t wait to get back out there, which I’ll do as soon as I get over this nagging knee injury.” The facts seem to support Dean’s enthusiasm for the positive aspects of the sport. In the past 15 years of ultra-running, he has shown a fairly typical ultra-runner profile of glowing health. During that span he has only missed 4727 days of training due to shin splints, hamstring pulls, twisted ankles, broken toes, dehydration/nausea/disorientation/diarrhea, skin cancer surgery, dog bites and rabies treatments, muggings, carbon dioxide poisoning from inhaling car exhaust, and prolonged psychiatric treatment for the trauma of never having had a girlfriend or a satisfying social life of any sort.


Laundry Detergent / Movie Promotion Announced

International home products giant Unilever Corporation today announced a movie tie-in promotion for one of their popular liquid detergent brands. Bottles of Wisk detergent will now feature a picture of Frodo Baggins on the front as part of their “Lord of the Rings Around the Collar” promotion. TV commercials will feature the dialog, “Ring around the collar? Just put a little Wisk on it, and you’ll hobbit removed.”

In a related story, Michael Flatley Productions has announced a deal to promote an exercise clothing line, with Flatley proclaiming himself  “Lord of the Danskin”.


TV/Movie Star Ejected from Parade

Emmy-winning TV star and movie actor Peter Falk was escorted from yesterday’s parade by a contingent of riot-geared police officers. Dressed in a rumpled and dirty trench coat and appearing to be disoriented and confused, Falk fumbled with a half-smoked cigar and frequently told officers he was sorry, but he’d thought of “just one more question”. A police spokesperson said that Mr. Falk seemed to be under the impression that the parade was being held to honor a character he had once played on TV.

Despite Falk's interruption, the Columbus Day Parade went on as planned.


American Film Institute Re-Issues Top 100 Films List

An embarrassed American Film Institute (AFI) today re-issued its Top 100 Films of All Time list. Spokesperson David W. Griffith explained, “We're not sure what happened. It was either a computer glitch or some kind of hacker-terrorist plot, but the list that was initially released was definitely not the one we intended to put out there.” Noting that the AFI was devoted to excellence in filmmaking, Griffith apologized for the unmitigated crappola that appeared on the original list.

“Heck, there’s not even one Jackie Chan movie on the old list,” he said. “Jackie Chan rocks! He could beat the stuffing out of Humphey Bogart AND Clark Gable. I can’t believe that anyone even took that list seriously.”

The original list, now being referred to as the “tampered” list, showed Citizen Kane as the number one film of all time. “Puh-leeze!,” Griffith said, “Citizen Kane is a boring piece of junk! Nobody could watch that garbage without falling asleep. It wasn’t even in color! Now, I could see where you might include The Wizard of Oz on the list, especially if you watch it high or on acid and stuff, but... Top 10? I don't think so.”

“I gotta admit that the flying monkeys were pretty cool, though,” he added.

Raiders of the Lost Ark was way down at number 60 – it's now number 2. And the real number 1, Back to the Future, wasn't even on the tampered list.” Griffith explained. “But it’s OK, now,” he said. “Terminator and Terminator 2 are back in, and of course, so are all the Python flicks.” 

Recognizing that some film fans still may not be happy with the final list, Griffith was quick to point out that some of the most beloved classics were left off simply because they were too short for the list’s entry criteria. “So,” he said, “even though none of the Stooges films are on the list, you can be sure we haven’t forgotten the cinematic contributions made by Moe, Larry, Curley, and Shemp. We’re doing a special tribute to them at next year’s Oscar Ceremony, right after the special Porky's retrospective.” He added that part-time Stooges Joe and Curly Joe would not be honored, because after all, they pretty much sucked.


Candidate Vows to Wipe Out Cannibalism in the State

Republican candidate for State Representative Owen Childers held a press conference today to announce his commitment to ending cannibalism within the state. Childers says, “My staff has informed me that over the last several months, several of them have received phone calls from people identifying themselves as ‘headhunters’ operating right here in this city. Well let me tell you, I don’t ever want to be walking our fair streets and suddenly happen upon a pile of those grotesque little shrunken skulls in the vacant lot behind the Dairy Queen. The way those tiny skulls always have their shrunken hair tied up in a little vertical troll-like ponytail really creeps me out.”

A spokesperson for Childers’ office revealed that their investigation has already uncovered several firms suspected of engaging in the barbaric practice of headhunting. “I demand to know why our current representative has not done anything at all to stop the nefarious activities of groups such as ‘AAA Technical Recruiting’, ‘Accounting Experts, Inc.’, and ‘All-Star Staffing’. Why, each of these outfits probably has explorers and archaeologists boiling away in their big black kettles as we speak, and nothing is being done about it,” Childers said. “It’s time for a change in leadership. Vote Republican, or it might soon be your own children being sprinkled with parsley.”


Next Harry Potter Plot Revealed

Investigative reporters have uncovered evidence that discloses the plot of an upcoming Harry Potter novel. Papers retrieved from author J. K. Rowling’s rubbish indicate that the new book will be called “Harry Potter and the Holy Grail”.

Various religious organizations have protested the Potter series, due to the significant use of magic within story plotlines. “The whole concept of magic is simply blasphemous,” said the Rev. Paul Lemon. “The very thought of invisible beings performing miraculous acts, just because someone said the right combination of words — well, it's preposterous. We have often prayed that God would send forth lightning to vaporize these vile books.”

When asked if the addition of Christian iconography such as the Holy Grail would change his opinion, Rev. Lemon stated that as long as he uses magic, Harry Potter is definitely going to Hell; though he admitted that fictional characters might be sent to a slightly  different version of Hell than ‘regular people’.

Further review of Rowling’s discarded notes revealed several original plot elements. In addition to standard magical ploys such as turning John Cleese into a newt -- Harry, Ron, and Hermione go on to encounter mysterious creatures called “The Knights of Nee”, enjoy the delights of the Castle Anthrax, and are finally forced to answer 3 difficult questions at the “Bridge of Death”.


Tourists Sue Travel Agency

Retired couple Jack and Margaret Hanson of Cleveland have filed a lawsuit against local travel agency Carribean Delights. The suit claims that the agency was deceptive in its promotions, promising a complete tour of all the most famous spots in the islands. Mrs. Hanson claimed that although they took advantage of every side trip offered, and carefully studied all the maps provided by the agency, they were unable to ever locate the town they most wanted to see. “All we did was get sunburned. We never did find Margaritaville.”

Mr. Hanson added “I was hoping to get one of those mysterious Mexican cutie tattoos that show up without you having a clue how it got there. But all we saw were a bunch of drunks complaining about their failed relationships. The whole trip was a waste.”


Queen of Soul Accepts Directorship

Singer Aretha Franklin was appointed to the Board of Directors of Internet startup company Hyper Global Meganet today. Her duties will include adding soul to Board Meetings and singing the National Anthem at the company’s upcoming IPO party.

Franklin described her compensation negotiations by saying “They offered me plenty of respect, but I said ‘Hell, no, honey, I want stock options.’”


Exorcism Successful

“The power of Christ compels you!” shouted Father Merrick. With sweat running down his brow, the 89-year-old priest was finally able to clean the last traces of evil out of the home of Fred and Ethyl Simmons of Mud Skunk, Idaho. Using the time-test exorcism techniques of shouting religious-sounding phrases loudly while splashing holy water liberally about the house, Father Merrick was exhausted by the end of the exorcism. “But the Dirt Devil is gone, so it was worth it,” he said.

Mr. Simmons was grateful to the wizened priest. “He may have saved us from eternal fire,” he said. “I was in mortal fear of the Dirt Devil, with its fiery red countenance and the unholy sound it made while sucking up dirt all over the place. And it scared the dog so bad he peed right there on the carpet. No, wait, that's just a puddle of holy water.”

Mrs. Simmons told reporters of the 7 Signs of Evil that had been present in the house during its possession. “There was that cold spot over by the cracked window, those loud moans every night that happened just after the newlywed couple next door got home, and that horrible, awful Jerry Springer show on television.” She stopped to wipe tears from her eyes. “Then there were those awful monsters that constantly rang the doorbell on October 31st, that carton of milk that went sour, and that foul odor that possessed the house the night we came home after attending the Boy Scout Troop 217 Ham and Bean Dinner. But the worst thing was the curse that kept Ed McMahon from showing up on our doorstep with that giant check he'd promised us.”

When asked what would happen to the recipient of the exorcism, Father Merrick commented, “According to God's will, it shall be confined within the holy Supply Cabinet at the church, where it shall be eternally monitored by the Our Sister of the Blessed Sacrament custodial staff. But for right now, it’s in the trunk of my car.”


Former Celebrity Wants Off the No-Call List

A law passed last year makes it illegal for a telemarketing company to contact anyone on the “no-call” list. While most consumers have enthusiastically signed up for the government's new no-call list, at least one former TV star has petitioned to be removed from the list.

Comic Ray J. Johnson has written to the State Attorney General asking to have his name erased from the no-call list. Now living in a cardboard box underneath the 12th St. bridge, Johnson owns nothing more than a couple of sets of clothes, a custom-made fedora, and the cell phone on which he wants to receive solicitations. “You can call me Ray,” he says, “or you can call me Jay, but please, please call me.”

David Sustrand, a spokesman for the agency in charge of the no-call list commented, “I must confess that we're a bit puzzled. Mr. Johnson is not on the no-call list, and as far as we can tell, never has been.” When reminded that Mr. Johnson had once been a famous comic who appeared on dozens of TV shows before his tiresome act and stupid-looking hat sickened audiences worldwide, Sustrand added, “Oh, yeah, I remember the guy. He was great. I loved it when he said ‘Dyne-O-Mite!’”


Unexplained Homicides at New York Marshmallow Company

Twenty-seven employees of the Sta-Puft Marshmallow company were found dead this afternoon when a UPS worker attempted to drop off a package. UPS driver Stanley Mutton said, “It was eerie, man. It was so quiet. It seemed like no one was around. I rang the delivery bell, but nobody answered. It was weird. Well, actually it would have been weirder if someone had answered, ‘cuz they were all dead.”

Police speculate that the murders were committed by some sort of giant food-oriented creature that had been activated by the growing presence of evil in the city. Detective Ashley Simmons said that all law enforcement agencies are on the lookout for an entity known only as “Gozer”. Described as a shape-changing demon who prefers to manifest as an “nasty-looking sleazy chick”, Gozer has been accused of wreaking evil of biblical proportions throughout recorded history, but has never been successfully prosecuted.

Detective Simmons urged the citizens of New York to be on the lookout for the Sta-Puft murderer. “We think the creature is huge, probably a dozen stories tall or so. I can’t tell you the details of our investigation, but I can reveal that we have evidence that leads us to believe the creature is based on one of the ingredients in S’Mores. Keep your eyes open for anything resembling a giant graham cracker, or possibly a 100-foot high Hershey bar.”


Humor Standard Debunked

Scientists at the University of Maryland today published results of a humor study that stunned the laugh-hungry public. Using the latest psychological test methods and control group philosophy, the study team has validated the results of the study within 2 percentage points.

“We ran the experiment over a long period of time, using over 2000 volunteer test subjects. We feel these results speak for themselves,” said Principle Investigator Dr. Edward Brock. “We expected to prove exactly the opposite of what we found. We would like to thank the US Navy for their cooperation in this study.”

Navy spokesman Cmdr. David Shipley commented, “We’re sorry to have lost so much valuable equipment to the bottom of the ocean, but it was worth it to learn what we have in the advancement of the science of humor. We now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that a submarine with screen hatches is not really funny at all.”

The UM team will continue this important line of research. Dr. Brock announced that the University has also received funding from Bethesda Naval Hospital to study the farcical effects of having a pay toilet in a diarrhea ward.


PETA Issues Strict New Membership Guidelines

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) announced today that they have implemented new requirements that potential members must meet before being accepted into membership. Existing requirements (strict vegetarianism, no use of cosmetics or medicines that were tested upon animals, no ownership of Ted Nugent albums, etc.) remain in force. But new requirements have been added.

Spokesperson Rainbow Moon Lichen said, “Due to the public perception that we’re all idiots, we’ve decided to require IQ testing prior to granting membership. Only those applicants with qualifying scores will be allowed to join.” Members who joined prior to this rule change will not be required to meet the restrictions, but any new applicants must take the test.

“We positively will not allow anyone with an IQ of less than 40 to join,” Lichen added. “40 is a pretty high standard, so our group will remain among the intellectually elite.”

When asked if there was an upper IQ limit for membership, Lichen replied, “No. We don’t mind brainiacs at all. In fact several of our existing members have IQ scores up in the high 60s and low 70s. Let’s see those animal-testing scientists try to beat those scores, by golly.”

Actress and talk show host Rosie O’Donnell was not available for comment, but PETA spokespeople fervently denied the rumor that she’d been kidnapped by Farmer Hoggett to help him herd sheep in a local sheepdog contest.


“Friends” Star Asks for Careful Pronunciation During Alien Autopsy Discussions

David Schwimmer, popular star of the “Friends” TV series, confessed to a TV Guide reporter that the thing that annoyed him most about the Fox network was poor pronunciation. “I really love those Alien Autopsy shows,” he said. “I mean, how cool is it that they have actually sliced up a space creature and found that his guts are nothing like ours. Totally cool.” Then he got on his soapbox. “It makes me mad, though”, Schwimmer said, “that they keep mangling the name of the town where the aliens are hidden. They pronounce it ‘Roz – well’, when everybody should know that it’s pronounced ‘Ross – well’”. Fellow series star Matt LaBlonke agreed, noting that reporters should always be careful to “say it right, and spell it right.”


Will Smith Launches One-Hour Photo Franchise

Movie star and rap Grammy winner Will Smith announced today that he will be opening a chain of photo-finishing stores, beginning in the upscale suburbs of Los Angeles. Specializing in quick processing, the stores will be called “Fresh Prints of BelAire”.


Recipe Contest Winner Selected

The American Dairy Association announced the winner of the annual “St. Patrick’s Day with Dairy” recipe contest. Ms. Samantha (Sam) Isabel Emm of Yonkers will receive a 3½ month supply of milk and 42 quarts of cottage cheese for submitting the winning recipe.

Here are the instructions for creating the winning St. Patty’s Day breakfast.

Preheat a 10-inch skillet to medium warm.

Insert two ¼ inch thick slices of premium USDA choice ham.

Cook ham until browned. Remove from skillet and place in warming basket under heat lamps.

Break two jumbo “Real Dairy” eggs into the skillet.

Add 4 drops of standard green food coloring.

Scramble and cook to taste.

Place the scrambled “St. Patty’s Day” eggs directly on top of the warm ham. Enjoy a wonderful breakfast.

NOTE: Best if eaten in a box with a fox.


Popular 70s Band Reveals that “Overdrive” is not a Real Person

In an announcement that stunned the music world today, both Bachman and Turner swore on a stack of Bibles that famed heavy guitar group “BTO” was named after two guys and a motor vehicle gearing ratio. Longtime top 40 DJ Casey Kasem commented that he was forced to believe the duo because “it wasn’t just one or two measley Bibles, but a whole freakin’ stack!”

“C’mon, you pinheads,” Bachman said. “‘Overdrive’ is what you go into after 4th gear. Haven’t any of you Bozos ever driven a stick shift?” Turner added, “Yeah, you’re all b-b-b-b-bozos. B-b-b-b-bozos, you just ain’t been driving sticks.”

Local heavy metal fan Buford Jones commented, “I just always assumed that Overdrive was the drummer. Or the tambourine guy. Or did they even have a tambourine? I dunno, I was pretty much drunk through the entire decade.”

When asked what the group had been doing since the 70s, Turner said, “Oh, you know. Just takin’ care of business.”


Actress Confused by Court-Mandated Arrest Procedures

Popular fruit-headed singer and actress Carmen Miranda was briefly in custody after a high-speed automobile chase last night. After a pursuit in which speeds sometimes reached ninety miles per hour, her car was finally stopped when the police tossed tire-flattening spikes under her wheels. The arresting officers, however, were unable to complete the arrest due to problems with the entertainer’s civil rights.

Officer: “I’m going to read you your Miranda rights.”

Carmen: “Sí, I am Miranda. Right.”

Officer: “No, I’m going to read you your rights.”

Carmen: “Well, if I’m right, why didjoo stop me?”

Officer: “You have the right to remain silent.”

Carmen: “What you mean, I am a Romain Salad? No vegetables. I have fruit. Apples, oranges, many fruits.”

Officer (to his partner): “This chick is bananas.”

Carmen: “Yes, we have no bananas.”

Eventually the officers decided not to arrest her, but instead beat her senseless with their billy clubs.