Head Cheese 3 - the news as you think it should be!
Now bite-sized for people with short attention spans!!

Headline News - Negi Changes Name to "Head Cheese."
Local News - Builder of Blind Corners Lynched, Honda Civic Now Completely Unrecognizable, New Millenium Delayed By A Year, Only Other Person in the Room Says "Who, Me?", Young Mother Names Daughter "Cake-o", Local Beauty May In Fact Not Be Very Beautiful, Man Upset That His Girlfriend Is Now Taller Than Him, Search is Still On For Captain Santa Copywriter, Hot New Trend: Pet Vultures, Sarcastic English Teacher in Japan shocked by Students Witty Retort, Handsome Heterosexual Japonophile does not find Japanese Women Attractive, much much more.
International News - Secretary of Illegal Labor Appointed, Football Friends Plan to Surprise Friend Working in Japan and Stay at his Mansion
Editorial - the Slow-Witted Shall Inherit the Earth, The Armchair Commander: How to Hyper-Stimulate the Economy
Arts and Entertainment - Watership Down to Get Live Action Remake, Time Magazine Covers Trendy Issue, Zine Editor Sheepish About Delay,
The Voice of Donald Duck Discovered to be a Real Duck!  Popular Music Group OG3 the Object of Ridicule in Japan, CD With Japan Only Bonus Tracks, more.
Society - English voted world's stupidest language.
Science and Technology - Much-Abused Email:Fwd Function to be Disenabled in all Software, Hot New Inventions - the Karaoke Walkman, New Gadget Gets Free Hype - Inventors Assured of Millions, Scientists to Distinguish "Good Calories" From "Bad Calories", more.
Sports - Harlem Globetrotters Heading to Regional Finals, Golf Wins Sports Award
Business - MIKI HOUSE to Introduce New Theme Song, 7-11 to be Renamed 24/7,
Features - Quote of the Week, He Said/He Said: sex vs. money; Wieners and Loosers; Hissy Fit of the Weak, Letters to the Editor.

Other issues of Head Cheese:

Head Cheese 1.
Head Cheese 2.
Head Cheese 3.
Head Cheese 4.
Head Cheese 5.
Head Cheese 6.
Head Cheese 7.
Head Cheese 8.
Head Cheese 9.

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Headline News

Negi Changes Name to "Head Cheese." - The satire magazine Negi, which ran a mere two issues, has recently announced a name change to the less vague and abstract "Head Cheese."  "We felt that although we already have a strong readership," said Negi/Headcheese publisher Brian Xerxes, "we were prevented from growing by the fact that not everybody knew exactly what a 'negi' really is.  We hope that the term 'cheese' can be appropriate match for the byline 'bite-sized for people with short attention spans' and the snazzy cheddar color can conjure an appetizing image.  The head goes for the cerebral part of the news business.  As an added marketing bonus, we hope we can appeal to real producers of head cheese who think that we might be an industrial broadsheet."  Head Cheese will be published later this month.

Local News

Sarcastic English Teacher in Japan shocked by Students Witty Retort - James Elmore, a high school ALT in Tatatsuki remains in shock after his sarcastic comment about a lazy students lack of English ability was met with a witty retort.  Elmore allegedly told one of his third year students, Nakano Yukio, "maybe if you studied just a wee bit  more you wouldn't be so poor at English". Nakano, responded with, "Maybe if you'd studied just a wee bit more when you were a student you wouldn't be a forty year old unmarried loser that had to come all the way to Japan to find a job because no one would hire you in your own country"
With reporting by Quentin Quigglesworth

Builder of Blind Corners Lynched - Yesterday in Osaka, an angry mob of local residents stormed the home of housing builder Yamamoto Yoshiaki, hung the unfortunate man from a street light, and set his house on fire.  Yamamoto, 56, had been discovered to be the infamous builder of hundreds of residential homes located at intersections that included walls that went to the curb and made dangerous blind corners, which in turn were responsible for the deaths of over 250 school-children, young mothers, bicyclists, and old ladies with strollers throughout the region over the last 10 year period.  The incident began at 10:00 AM when a 3-year-old was struck dead by a passing car at just such a corner.  A group of local men who had been playing gate-ball in a park facing the crash site gathered around the young child.  Their grief quickly turned to anger, but instead of venting it on the motorist, they used their gate-ball wickets to demolish the wall that was responsible for the reduced visibility, making the corner so dangerous.  The incident quickly turned into a rampage, with the angry men sweeping the neighborhood and demolishing all similar blind corners.  The mob quickly grew to over 60 when it attacked the house of local resident Asahara Shoko, who informed the mob that the builder of the blind corners in fact lived nearby.  The now-bloodthirsty quickly moved to builder Yamamoto's house, dragged him on the street, and mercilessly executed him.  Drunk with power and in the control of an insane blood lust, the mob moved to the downtown area where they slashed the tires of cars parked dangerously at intersections or blocking pedestrian traffic, often overturning them and setting them on fire.  Riot police were called in with water hoses to disperse the crowd and the streets were peaceful again at 6:00.  No charges have been laid.

Woman Begins and Ends Each Sentence with "sumimasen" - Fujiko Morimoto, a 68-year old grandmother and village matron, is most widely known in the area she lives in as the woman who begins and ends each sentence with the term "sumimasen," which roughly translates to mean "I apologize," but which also carries dozens of other nuances; among the other nuances supposedly carried by the word are "thank you," "pardon me," "excuse me," "I'm just being polite," "I'm just being modest," "can we change the subject," "and that's all I have to say about that," and "I never really liked you anyway."  While it is quite common for people in Japan to use the word "sumimasen" more than once in any sentence (especially among people working in the service industry, sales representatives in meeting with their clients, and among women over fifty), local consensus is that nobody uses it as consistently as Mrs. Morimoto.  "Sure I like to affect the appearance of being modest, polite, and humble," says local grocer Sachiko Obi, " but I try to vary my placement of the word, often leaving it out of a sentence entirely.  She can be counted on to have it at the end and beginning of each and every sentence no matter what she's saying.  To be honest, I think she's overdoing it a little, sumimasen."  Being repetitive is not a crime in Japan, and Mrs. Morimoto maintains above all the correctness of her practice.  "Sumimasen, that's just the way I talk," Mrs. Morimoto commented, "so if you have a problem with it why don't you please get wet, if you don't mind my saying so, sumimasen."

Healthy Man Enjoys Wearing Surgical Mask - While suffering from a cold last month, door-to-door salesman Ruriichi Fujimoto donned a surgical mask as a courtesy to the people around him and to prevent his cold from being pass on to other people and as part of a concerted effort in Japan to isolate this disease and wipe it out.  But while he was in the midst of this cold, a strange thing occurred.  "I found out that there were certain advantages to wearing the mask," explains Fujimoto, "and that I also actually enjoyed wearing it."  Among certain advantages were that he could remain anonymous in any situation, nobody seemed to want to disturb his privacy, people were polite with him yet brief, he was never detained in unimportant conversations, and was always given prompt service.  "I also like the feel of the cool cotton on my face, and it keeps my skin soft, especially in the winter.  I think I'll wear it all the time, except maybe outdoors on hot days.  I wonder why more people don't wear them."

Mysterious Elbow Injuries Rising Among Single Women - Physicians in local hospitals have taken note of a surge in recent years of ankle and elbow injuries among single women.  In a study by Dr. Roboto Gozii, it was shown that cases have risen from a handful of cases in 1990, which was consistent with the previous yearly averages for such afflictions, to nearly triple or quadruple that number.  "Ankle injuries can be attributed to the popularity in recent years of platform boots, but it is the elbow injuries that are more mysterious and troubling," adds Dr. Roboto.  "One theory is that it is the result of wear and tear and friction produced by carrying two heavy bags in the crook of the arm while walking to work or shopping, another theory is that is it caused by careless women stumbling into walls and telephone posts while walking and talking on a cell phone at the same time.  Some elbows are also believed to be accidentally stabbed by the hook of umbrellas."

Scooter Gang Swatted Like Flies By Harleys - Yesterday evening in the quiet Osaka suburb of Higashikitaguchi local residents were bothered first by the high pitched whine of a large group of local youth tolling slowly along the streets and revving the engines of their 50 cc scooters to produce the maximum amount of annoying noise, then by a small gang of motorcycle enthusiasts touring through that part of town on monstrous Harley Davidson motorcycles.  The 50 cc scooters, spread out on both sides of the street, were quickly wiped out by the larger machines and their unsympathetic and unimpressed drivers, who swatted them aside like flies leaving the broken scooters littered in the street, their riders with broken bones and severed limbs crying out for their mamas.  Local residents, who are annoyed by the scooter gangs at least once a week, have prepared gifts and written letters of thanks to the anonymous Harley gang, but have been unable to find the proper recipients of their gratitude.

Local Beauty May In Fact Not Be Very Beautiful - Rumors abound in the small Japanese town of Okamoto that local beauty Sakamoto Ruri may in fact not be very beautiful after all.  The local woman, who has always had her pick of local boyfriends and never has problems getting free drinks and small gifts from admirers, has been the object of close scrutiny when gas station owner Asano Hitsuji made came to the realization that her head is somewhat small in proportion to the rest of her body.  "Sure, you don't think about how big her head is, especially when you get a glance of those luscious jugs and that full head of perfect hair, but when you look a little closer, you realize that the head is pretty small, and that all that hair is really more like a helmet than anything else.  Her neck is also maybe just a little too long, besides which she really has no butt to speak of."  Many local residents admit to having been fooled all along, but now see that her nose is kind of ridged, and pinched-looking.  "I know that a lot of people really look up to her, especially the younger girls in the town, but now people are starting to see her in a little different light.  She seems more human now, more like the rest of us."  Ms. Sakamoto would not comment to Head Cheese, except to say that her life has not changed much since the start of these rumors, and that she still gets plenty of free drinks from her admirers.

Catchy Celine Dion Song Stays in Man's Head for over 2 Weeks - John Fowler, a local English teacher, has just been released from a Japanese mental institution after recovering from having a catchy Celine song going through his head for just over 2 weeks.  The song, which entered his head in his first week in Japan and refused to leave, seemed to cause him excruciating torment when he found that he could never quite escape from humming it or playing it over in his head.  "My Heart Will Go On," a number one hit song based on an Irish theme featured throughout the hit film "Titanic," has been called catchy by many, but until Mr. Fowler's case nobody has had cause to complain of excessive catchiness.  "I went to see the movie with a girl I met at a bar, but it was so long and dull and the theme kept playing throughout the whole movie.  Then I heard it whenever I went into any store.  And then we went to karaoke a few days later somebody sang it three times throughout the course of the evening.  I think that's when it got lodged in me noggin'.  Several days passed and I found myself humming it everywhere I went.  It got on my nerves almost immediately, but I really began to worry when I found I couldn't sleep at night because the song just kept going and going and going on and on and on.  I tried getting drunk, I tried listening to Metallica on the headphones, I tried vigorous exercise, I tried loitering in a pachinko parlor, I even tried bashing my head against the wall.  The song was always there no matter what.  Finally my boss caught me swearing at my students in class: I was yelling my head off, mad as a hatter, he had me committed and I was sent to the loony bin.  A few years of therapy kept them from operating, which was good, but I'm not allowed to go into video stores since that horrible movie is now available on video, and I have to listen to a walkman or wear earplugs when I go into public places in case I hear it playing somewhere.  It's really dangerous.  I thought about moving to Siberia, but I fear the silence could bring on another attack.  I hope nobody near me starts to hum it.  What a nightmare."

Sudden Lane Change Causes Pedestrian Pile-up - Tada Shimami was walking along the pedestrian lanes in front of the busy Hankyu Department Store in downtown Osaka yesterday when suddenly a woman made a sudden lane change in front of him.  Horai Sachiko, catching a glimpse of a Louis Vuitton window display out of the corner of her eye, impulsively changed the direction she was walking and began to head towards it, causing a head-on collision when she walked right into Mr. Tada, bonking him on the head.  The small two-person collision, which occurred at the busiest time of pedestrian traffic in the hall when pedestrians are nearly shoulder to shoulder, snowballed and created a serious pedestrian pile-up.  Security guards hurried over to the scene and began helping people back onto their feet and aiding them in the collection of shopping bags, briefcases, and errant walkman headphones.  Finally they managed to separate Mr. Tada and Ms. Horai, who was apologizing profusely and near tears.  "I don't think that people should just walk into each other," Mr. Tada commented.  "I should be angry, but I saw how pretty she was and I just couldn't lose my cool.  We were pretty close together for a while there.  I guess I should be happy.  But people should really try to walk in straight lines in crowds like this or all hell will break out.  Which is why you get what we had here today - all hell breaking loose!"  Ms. Horai, who seemed uninjured, seemed puzzled about what really happened.  "Suddenly this guy came from out of nowhere.  I didn't know that he was there.  Walking in Hankyu Hall is just so dangerous these days.  I thought I broke a heel when I went down, but luckily I didn't break a heel - I didn't even broke a nail.  But that man was so dignified.  Maybe I should go over and apologize again and see if he wants to know my phone number."

Lottery Tickets Keep Dying Woman Alive - In an unusual case in southern Saitama prefecture, an elderly matriarch on life support is reportedly being kept alive by lottery tickets and the hope of winning 100 million yen.  Yamaura Boriko, 83, knowing that her family is waiting for her to die so that they can inherit her property, has told her family that she has placed a file with damaging information about them in a safety box that will be released to authorities upon her death, and that they should be trying to keep her alive as long as possible in order to delay the release of these papers as long as possible.  "We were a little shocked by the news that this was the new situation," says daughter Yamaura Keiko, gritting her teeth, "but we love our mother and want her to be comfortable.  We saw her getting weaker and weaker a few years ago, she seemed to have lost her will to live, so we panicked.  Someone came up with the idea of getting her addicted to some kind of gambling, and we thought about the lottery.  We began buying her lottery tickets and she seemed to cheer up, living for the next number selection, always the next, always the next.  God forbid she should ever win, though, because she'll probably have a stroke and then we'd all be in a fix."

"The Addams Family" Causes Loss of Face at Friendly Gathering - The film "the Addams Family" recently caused an embarrassing loss of face at a friendly gathering of foreigners in a small pub in Osaka last week.  Michael O'Koff was making a joke about a recent celebrity marriage when Brian Horniman spoke up and explained that it reminded him of a joke in "the Addams Family." Realizing by the awkward silence around the table that nobody else had seen the film in question, Horniman tried to change the subject, but it was too late and face had in fact been lost.  "I felt like a real weirdo at that point," explains Horniman.  "I mean, I was like some sort of film keener bragging about all the stupid Hollywood no-brainers he's seen, someone who didn't get the point, but I always thought that 'the Addams Family' had a good reputation as being a proper, respectable film - stylish and funny.  The only painful thing about it was probably the M.C. Hammer song in the credits - yeesh!  But then there's 'Addams Family Values,' the rare sequel that's actually better than the original.  And wasn't Christina Ricci cool?  Now the third film, 'Addams Family Reunion,' that's one I won't want to admit I'd actually seen."  Mr. Horniman, methinks thou dost protest too much.

Caring Father Likes to Point out Roadside Attractions - Caring father Orimoto Tadashi is well known in his community for being a good father to his two sons, but none of his neighbors are aware that Mr. Orimoto's care sometimes actually does more harm than good to his two teenage boys.  "Dad's a great guy and he used to be really fun to be around," explains older son Orimoto Raruhu, "but these days - I hate to say it - he kind of gets on our nerves."  "Yeah, especially when we're driving," adds younger son Orimoto Pitaru.  "Right," continues the elder brother.  "When we're driving he's constantly pointing out things at the roadside, like 'can you see that building over there, the one with the fire engines in front?  That's the fire station,' or 'there's a train, boys, look,' or 'hey, we just passed a 7-11,' all this obvious stuff.  Like all we need to do is have our eyes open and we'd see all of those things by ourselves.  I guess when we were 5 or 6 years old we could have learned something from that, but not when we're 15 and 16.  Somebody should tell him, but how?"

Police Board Adjusts Good Cop:Bad Cop Ratios - For the first time in over 5 years, the National Police Authority has called on all national police departments to adjust their good cop:bad cop ratios.  The previous ratios, which called for all police teams to have a 75% good cop:bad cop pairing, 15% bad cop:bad cop, and 10% good cop:good cop.  A new push for good public relations for police all over the country is now being encouraged, which will mean a possible reduction in both bad:bad  and good:bad teams, and an increase in good:good teams.  "Previously we used the good cop:good cop teams for visits to schools and TV shows," explains NPA chief Bob Radley, "but now we hope to send some of those teams out to deal with traffic accidents, domestic violence calls, and even some small-time drug busts.  We're aware that there will always be bad cops, but we want to reduce their presence as much as possible, especially in the case of bad cop:bad cop teams.  It's time for a new trust to be established between the police and the public at large."

"Inauguration" Used By in the Media For First Time in Four Years - For the first time in four years, the word "inauguration" has been widely used in print, radio, and television media.  Dusted off for the first time since early 1997 for the second inauguration of former president Bill Clinton, the word was used once again for the inauguration of George Bush Jr.  "I had to practice it a few times," says radio announcer Sawaguchi Hiki, "just to get it right.  Lots of vowels.  I'll be glad for the next four years when I won't have to use it at all."

Young Expat's Name Forces Him To Leave Japan in Shame - Gary G. Ketts was always proud of his name - or at least he was until he came to Japan.  After arriving in Japan and starting a job teaching English, Mr. Ketts learned that his name translates into Japanese as "buttful of diarrhea and hemorrhoids."  Mr. Ketts was unable to be taken seriously by any of his students and co-workers, who would often laugh long and loud when they learned his name.  "I eventually got wise and began calling myself Clark Kent, which nobody had any problem with, but I still had difficulties when I had to sign my name on anything since I had to use the old Ketts name, 'Clark Kent' isn't exactly legally binding.  I got suicidal once, but now I think it's just a matter of leaving Japan.  Goodbye Japan, I hardly knew you.  The funny thing is that just now as I'm leaving Japan I'm meeting all of these people who have the same problems as I do.  There's Ben P. Dasai, whose name means 'constipated hick,' and Beth Nuhaff, whose name means 'ugly transvestite,' Deb Heather's name means 'fat and ugly,' Hannah Gee could mean 'nose bleed' in Japanese, and Hannah Misou means 'snot.'  Michelle D'Amay got off easy, since 'damay' just means 'don't,' but my Chinese-American colleague Dai A-ho has to suffer with a name that means 'big jerk.'  Sully O'Tuck has a name that means 'pickpocket freak'; Uta Hetta is a German girl whose name means 'can't sing a note,' or 'tone deaf,' while John Chiquan's name means 'pervert dog.'  Wow, what a rough country this is!"  In a response to the name crisis, Japanese officials have planned an education campaign teaching the people of Japan to be tolerant of funny-looking foreigners with funny names.  Conversely, the right-wing party has taken a more hostile approach by drafting a proposition that foreigners with funny names should be barred from entering Japan and disturbing the peace.

Heavy Competition Among Religions Groups Creates New Religious Marketing - New religions, in a struggle to compete with longer established religions for the faithful, have initiated a new era in religious marketing.  One offers creative new super powers to the faithful, another promises a luxury Southern mansion with a whole stable of lusty and beautiful slave girls in the afterlife, another grants retroactive conversion for all past ancestors and future descendants to people who convert.  "It's getting really tough out there," says Fountain of Youth founder John Wonka.  "Not like the old days when you could just say your guru is in India and you'd get a bunch of people signing up eager to give you their life savings.  Now we have to promise extravagant gifts in the after-life before we even get anybody's attention.  I guess you really do have to be in the right place at the right time.  Which is why as part of our package we're offering unlimited internet usage and full acceptance of any sort of cyber-sex as part of our dogma.  And I think it's really going to catch on this time."

Camping Family Owns Nothing But Camping Equipment - Lounge in the living room of the Suzuki family house in downtown Uehonmachi, and you'll probably be lounging on a folding chair with some unzipped sleeping bags thrown over it.  Go into their kitchen to make a cup of tea and heat your water in a tiny pot on a Coleman stove.  Look for some cutlery to eat a piece of cake with and find the fork at the end of a folding utility knife.  The Suzukis are camping nuts and every item in their house is camping related.  "We used to have real furniture, cutlery, appliances," explains family father Suzuki Motoyuki, "but we found that we were actually doubling up lots of things when we began to really get into camping.  So we got rid of the regular household stuff and we just use the camping stuff now.  So when we go on our weekend trips we basically empty the house and put it into the Pajero and hit the road.  The house is really clean when we get back, we can sweep the floors and unpack.  It's really convenient.  I often pity families that have real furniture and no kerosene lamps.  There's something romantic about kerosene, and I found that running the TV off of a gas generator much cheaper anyway.  I wonder why everybody doesn't do it this way."

Former Friend Informs of 8th Email Change of the Year - Ronald Jakes has just informed his friends of his new email address.  There is nothing unusual about that, people change their emails all of the time; what is a little unusual is that this is his 8th email change this year.  His ping pong-like changeability has some of his former friends on the internet scratching their heads.  "Ronald and I used to be pretty good email buddies," explains internet support technician Donald Pleasure.  "He'd tell me about cool sites, we'd send each other humor forwards, things like that.  But these days he has a new job and seems pretty busy.  So then I started getting his emails telling me about an address change.  Sometimes I'd get the same message twice.  I'd respond to them and they'd bounce back.  I guess he'd send them to all of the people he knew, then some people would use the reply-to-all feature and everybody on the list would get a copy of the response.  It was weird and stupid.  So I'd be polite and write to him and ask him how he's doing, then I'd get no response for a while until his next email announcing an email change.  It just went on and on like that.  My address book was a mess.  After the sixth or seventh new email address I began to lose interest, and now when anything from him comes in I just delete it right away.  What a waste of time keeping up with people like that."

Man Orders Coke, Gets Offered Pepsi Instead - Yesterday in a McDonalds in Shinasibashi, a man ordered a Coke with his meal.  He was asked if Pepsi would be OK instead of Coke.  After a moment of confusion and indecision where the customer and the clerk looked each other nervously in the eyes, the customer finally told him that it would be OK, whatever.  Later, while eating his french fries and sipping his Pepsi, the confused customer replayed the scene over and over in his head.  "I don't mind drinking Pepsi, but I don't understand what that guy was really trying to imply.  I mean, I asked for a Coke, why did he change the subject?  Was there something wrong with the way I said it?  Was he taking advantage of me?  It's pretty strange when you think of it."

Single Male Interested in Other People's Sex Lives - John Sina has been single for the last 4 years since his previous girlfriend broke up with him.  Since that time he has become more than normally interested in other people's sex lives.  "Well, since I'm on my own anyway, I try to meet friends as often as I can, otherwise it would get pretty lonely," explains Sina.  "Somehow the conversation always gets around to sex, I don't know why exactly but it always does.  So I always have to ask people how often they have sex, what they like to do, what their girlfriends like to do, if they ever tried public sex, things like that.  Some people don't feel comfortable talking about things like that, so I try not to push too much.  I like it when women open up to these kinds of questions, although they usually don't and I'm usually too shy to ask anyway.  On the other hand, some guys I ask I later can't get to shut up.  Everybody's different when you get down to it.  But sometimes I have to wonder why I've been celibate for 4 years.  There's nothing really wrong with me, right?  So why can't I get a date?"

Man Upset That His Girlfriend Is Now Taller Than Him - Matsumoto Hiroyuki always had a good relationship with his girlfriend.  Or at least he did until the day she showed up for a date wearing platform shoes.  "Yoko was always shorter than me," Matsumoto explains, "but I never noticed it until the day she came out with those 30-cm. platforms and was actually taller than me for the first time.  How can I be seen around town with a woman who towers 4 or 5 centimeters over me.  It's strange - I was once thinking of marrying her, but now I have no choice but to break up with her."  The young girlfriend, Ms. Sashimi Yoko, has worn the platform boots every time the couple had a date, mistakenly thinking that tall women turn guys on, and has been recently seen shopping for a new pair of boots.

Search is Still On For Captain Santa Copywriter - The mysterious Captain Santa copyrighter has still not been found, say a group of intrepid reporters competing against one another to get the first interview with the elusive copyrighter and coiner of new cultural slogans.  Captain Santa, a character featured on men's and children's clothing, is a jolly older man with a nicely trimmed white beard often seen relaxing in leisure ware with a grinning reindeer and a smiling dwarf, playing tennis, enjoying a poolside martini, or roaming the earth in a shiny golf cart.  Some of the phrases immortalized in the Captain Santa line are "He is shining new star in leisure ware," "Just act leisure, Captain Santa will do the rest," "Captain Santa will always win the day," and "Happiness days are even after Christmas in Captain Santa's world."  "I have a funny theory about this copywriter," says Joel Strumard, one of the reporters on the trail of the Captain Santa copyrighter.  "I'm pretty sure he's this guy I once knew when I came to Japan.  He was this Philippine-American guy who had a Ph.D. from Cornell and he went around doing crappy technical writing for Japanese companies.  His English was terrible, but he was really into leisure wear and always trying to scam his way onto a golf course.  I don't want to give anything away, but I feel like I'm pretty close to him.  And when I find him, I'm pretty sure he'll be wearing an expensive leather Captain Santa bomber jacket."

Hot New Trend: Pet Vultures - Pet trends come and go, but the most recent trend has confused and alarmed some city officials as more and more people have begun keeping pet vultures on perches outside of their apartments in the large crowded Japanese cities.  The vultures, which can be bought inexpensively from importers, often grow to enormous sizes, but many people insist that having a pet vulture is a rewarding experience like no other.  "Sure they're ugly as sin," says vulture owner Mamamoto Papajiro, "but they eat carrion and watching a vulture bite into its food is an experience like no other.  Vulture eggs are also tasty, and getting the eggs away from the vultures with their sharp claws is always a fun challenge."  As a result of this trend, so many vulture owners have been feeding their pets on rotten meat from butcher shops that the shops have now begun to charge for what they were once happy to be able to dispose of.

Young Mother Names Daughter "Cake-o" - Starting a new trend of baby names in Japan, a young mother in Saitama Prefecture has announced that she will be naming her daughter "Cake-o" instead of the more traditional "Keiko."  "Both names actually sound the same," explains Horikawa Fujiko, "but I think that using the word 'cake' is much cuter.  I know my baby will love cake when she gets a little older, and I want to try something new."  Mrs. Horikawa is not expecting the city registrar to refuse the registration of her child's name as happened several years ago when parents who wanted to name their child Akuma ("devil").  Name refusals are rare.  Some other names given to children in this most recent trend for cute names has been U.G., U-ta, K-ta, Q.T., Q.K., I, You, Me, She, and Doraemon.

New Millennium Delayed By A Year - The new millennium, which was thought by many to start on January 1st, 2000, was delayed by a year and finally started January 1st, 2001.  "Yeah, I remember celebrating the new millennium a year ago," says New Year's Eve reveler Yamamoto Kuniko, "but I think that was the wrong year, this is actually the turning of the new millennium so we're going to celebrate again.  Hey, I don't mind partying twice for the same thing."  Rumors that the new millennium was going to be delayed for yet another year due to fears that a killer plague would wipe out the earth's population have been put to rest and the new millennium entered and made itself at home without incident on the stroke of midnight of December 31st, 2000.  Happy New Millennium, finally.

Only Other Person in the Room Says "Who, Me?" - Yesterday in Osaka a young woman asked her boyfriend if he wanted to go out and eat some ramen.  The young man, who was reading a racing newspaper at the time, pointed to his nose and responded "who me?" without looking up from his newspaper.  As he was the only other person in the room, the woman repeated her question, to which the young man replied "maybe later."  After some time, the woman was thirsty and stood up to make some tea.  She asked the young man if he wanted to have some tea too.  The young man, who was now reading a pachinko magazine, said "who me?" without looking up from the magazine.  The woman looked to her left and to her right, then said, "sure I mean you.  I don't see anyone else in this room that I could be talking to.  Do you see anyone else?  I don't see anyone else around here, so I must be talking to you. Now do you want some tea?"

Honda Civic Now Completely Unrecognizable - A small white Honda Civic is now totally unrecognizable after its owner has spend over a year painstakingly customizing all of its features.  The car now has a completely redesigned hood and tail, tinted glass all around, a fin and a huge whale tail jumping up from behind, fuzzy dice, doilies covering the dashboard and furry slippers, a 200,000 yen stereo system, fluorescent lights under the body, thick black racing tires, and titanium hubcaps.  "Sure, it was once a faceless Honda Civic," says car owner Yamamoto Daisuke, "but now it's my car."  The car was recently featured in the Honda Civic drivers magazine "Backwards and Forwards Civic."

Handsome Heterosexual Japonophile does not find Japanese Women Attractive - Randy Smith know everything about Japan.  He has been in the country nearly eleven years, during which time he has immersed himself in studying the language, playing the Japanese flute, learning tea ceremony, pottery, rakugo and kyogen, some kabuki styles, kodo drumming, judo, kendo, karate, ninjutsu, sumo, and even meditation in a zen mountain retreat for over a year.  Yet during all this time he has never had a Japanese girlfriend.  Mr. Smith insists that he is a strict heterosexual, merely one that does not find Japanese women attractive.  "They're cute, but only in a little sister way," says Smith.  "Although I have to admit that sometimes I really do find myself mildly attracted to one.  I like some of the pornography and nude photography out there, but what really makes my head turn is when I notice that there's a new blonde in town.  It almost makes me want to work for one of the big schools - the foreign women who work there are real lonely I hear, and I'm the perfect one to show people around."  Smith is currently looking for a companion to accompany him on a one-year hike along the spine of Japan from Aomori prefecture to Shimonoseki through some of the most remote areas of Japan.  Anyone looking like Xena, Warrior Princess is urged to contact Mr. Smith, c/o Heacheese.

Kansai Gaijin Does Not Know Who Guido Is - John Holmes is just like almost any other Kansai Gaijin - he teaches in an English language school, he has a pretty young Japanese girlfriend, he likes to hit the bars weekends for a pint with his English-teaching mates, he has learned little Japanese in two years in Japan, and he has outstanding debts in his native country and no plans to go back there any time soon.  But there is one thing that sets John apart from all other Kansai Gaijin - he does not know who Guido is.  "All I keep hearing about is this guy Guido.  Guido, Guido, Guido," Holmes complained loudly at Sam and Daves last Friday night.  "Everybody knows this guy Guido except me.  What is he, some kind of big man around Kansai?  I don't know anybody called Guido - not here, not there, not anywhere."  Guido has no comment, other than to say that he knows who John Holmes is and has his eye on him.

Japanese Woman who likes hip hop has African-American Boyfriend - Kaori Sakamoto is a big fan of hip hop music.  She buys all of the CDs that come out, she sees the bands that come to town, she even once went to New York and offered a voice sample to the Wu-Tang Clan that they didn't end up using.  Now back in Japan, Ms. Sakamoto has an African-American boyfriend who helps her look after all of her hip-hop needs.  "Sometimes he helps me get my look right - lacing my shoes the way Queen Latifah does, getting the angle of my hat right, working on my slang, things like that.  He's really great."  When asked if the two would marry soon, Ms. Sakamoto snorted.  "I'm a little young for that.  Besides, I've already got my eye on another African-American guy.  But I don't think I'll be marrying him either unless he turns out to be an investment banker."

International News

Secretary of Illegal Labor Appointed - In a surprise announcement by President-elect G. Dubyah, a new post in the cabinet was created for Secretary of Illegal Labor.  This spot will be filled by Sandro Fernandez, an expert in the field of illegal labor who himself has employed several illegal immigrants as maids, drivers, and "companions," and who has invested heavily in corporations that are known users of child labor.  "It is important that we cover this important field with experts that are the most suited to administer policy due correctly to the course of action to be undertaken by this administration," Mr. Dubyah announced in a press conference in the capitol yesterday afternoon.  "I am happy that I have this opportunity to serve the country and my president," said Mr. Fernandez in a prepared statement to the press, "and I hope I can bring awareness to the needs of illegal laborers in this country and others."  Use of illegal labor is expected to grow by ten percent in the next four years.

Satirists Looking Forward to Next 4 Years - With the "successful election" of new President G. Dubyah, there has been no industry with greater cause for celebration than the satire industry.  "We lost a lot of potential when the Gingrich 2000 and Quayle 2000 campaigns fizzled, but Mr. Dubyah's 'presidency' may almost make up for that.  A lot of people are eagerly awaiting four years of gaffes, goofy grins, and general silliness," says occasional Head Cheese writer Quentin Quigglesworth.  Shares in popular satire publications have been surging all week, and several prominent writers have been commissioned to write books by mid-year and are already engaged in research in Houston, Dallas, and Austin.  "I've got a good feeling about this," adds Quigglesworth, "I'm glad that the other guy didn't win.  The most we could have done is kept that internet quote thing alive and maybe dug up some of that committee stuff his wife was involved in ten years ago."

Hulk Beats Superman in Superpowers Derby Final - Ending speculation over who would win in a "Superhero Olympics," the Hulk has been named the clear winner in a charity competition that involved him in competition with Superman, Spiderman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Silver Surfer, Thor, the Green Lantern, Spawn, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, and Mike Tyson.  The Superpowers Derby, held in remote uninhabited south Pacific islands, but broadcast by an army of TV and cable networks, concluded last night at 8:00 Pacific and Western time, in a 2-hour finale that rivaled even the "Survivor" finale in popularity.  Mike Tyson beat Spider-man in basketball, Tiger Woods beat Wonder Woman at golf, and in a surprise near-upset, Mike Tyson nearly had final champion the Hulk down for a ten count before the green goliath staggered to his feet and went on to victory.  "Just can't beat that guy when he gets mad," Tyson is reported to say.  After eliminating other contestants in the once-around-the-earth triathlon, only Superman and the Hulk were left to vie for the title in a bout of super-powered sumo wrestling.  "Super Man tough, me nearly lose when me nearly change back to Ban-ner.  But then Hulk get angry, then Hulk smash!"  Superman, speaking from a hospital room in his Fortress of Solitude in a hidden location in Antarctica, told reporters, "well, I guess the best man won.  But I wonder what would have happened if super-villains could have joined the fracas.  And everyone seems to have forgotten the Man-Thing.  For whatever knows fear, burns at the touch of the Man-Thing!"

Popular Philosopher Makes Complete Reversal - Opera Godfrey, host of the popular TV daily afternoon philosophy show "Who Wants To Prove Their Existence" has shocked fans by completely reversing his theories live on a live one-hour TV special.  "I surprised everybody, I even surprised myself.  If you had told me that morning that I would make a compete turnaround, I would have told you that you were crazy.  But now I can see my mistakes as clearly as I can see you," said the egg-headed national idol, peering out from behind owlish glasses.  "I know now that my previous thinking had been corrupted by revisionists, not to mention the unexpected success of the show.  I feel like I have woken up from a deep sleep, you can't imagine what it feels like."  Some of the fans may know what it feels like, since the show is one of the most popular afternoon shows ever, despite what some nay-sayers may think.  "He says that his reversal was the result of an epiphany that happened live on TV, but I think the whole thing was staged," says former Existence Fan Club president John Hawkes, who resigned from his leadership of the club he founded in disgust with the show.  "Just when the ratings start to dip a little, he pulls this.  He used to prove so conclusively that man actually has no free will, yet now he is saying that all that was false and that man actually does not have free will.  How can he call himself a philosopher, how can he live with himself?"

Football Friends Plan to Surprise Friend Working in Japan and Stay at his Mansion - Manchester, England.  A rowdy group of local lads, while having a few pints at the local pub last night, began discussing a mate who is working in Japan teaching English.  When it was discovered that one of the members of the group, which meet every weekend for a lively game of football and some pints afterward, had received a letter from this friend in Japan, it was also learned that he lived in a mansion.  "Guy wrote and told me that Japan is great - pubs, women, fried food, and great salaries.  And that's not the only thing - he lives in a mansion there!"  The group of friends quickly devised a plan to drop in on their friend, who would surely not be able to refuse putting them up in his mansion if they dropped in on him unexpectedly.  One of the enthusiastic travelers works in a travel agency and will be able to secure relatively inexpensive air tickets to Japan, as well as some football association funding to pay for the tickets and to provide a small amount of spending money if they travel as a football team.  "Japan, Rodney, here we come," the group cried happily all through the evening and well into the week.  Their flight leaves next Tuesday.

Killer Tornado Still at Large - Kansas - A killer tornado, which hit central Kansas last night leaving a trail of destruction, is still at large.  Tornado Sally, which left Kansas with 13 dead and over 5 million dollars in damage has managed to elude police, despite her large size, and a manhunt with over 500 men has been organized and is combing the plains for Sally.  "Something that big can't hide from us for long, which has got all of us scratching our heads," says manhunt organizer Brett Sherwood.  "I mean we should just have to follow this trail of destruction.  I don't suppose she can have made it to Nebraska, that's still a fair bit off.  But no worry, we'll apprehend her before she causes any more trouble.  We always get our man.  This killing spree stops here!"

Few Attend the Funeral of the Car - Detroit - Few attended the massive funeral for the car held last night in Detroit, Michigan.  While over 200,000 car lovers were expected to show up, less than 5000 enthusiasts actually came out on the rainy night to pay tribute to the once-loved contraption.  With the immense popularity in recent years of alternate energies and transportation devices, dangerous fossil-fuel powered transportation devices such as cars and motorcycles are virtually extinct, having "gone the way of the dodo."  Car lovers, generally a rowdy group that has been known to protest violently against the phasing out of car production in Detroit in favor of a clean website-design technology industry, mostly stayed away, sulking at illegal car rallies on the edge of town and revving their dying Red Baracettas.  "What this shows to me," says funeral organizer Richard Greenlaugh, "is that people mostly don't miss the stinky, noisy, dangerous cars after all.  I guess nothing lasts forever... besides human ingenuity, that is."

John Lennon's Sainthood Lasts Mere 20 Years - John Lennon, who was assassinated in front of his home just over 20 years ago, appears to no longer be remembered as a saint by the public at large.  The former Beatle, whose sainthood came to an end recently with a flood of disparaging remarks by critics who call attention to the mediocrity of his drawings and other creative projects fuelled by his fame as one of the best songwriters ever, was once regarded as a potential Nobel Peace Prize candidate for his unique peace plan and a call for a kindler, gentler era, an end to war, combined with increased procreation and access to mind-altering drugs.  "He was no saint," complains conservative museum curator John Public, "he was a fornicator and a drug-user and created bad art.  Who made him famous?  The masses!  That just proves that he can't be any good, for what does the average person know about art?  I rest my case."    Recent sales of Lennon-related music and art have been lagging, and there is a marked decrease in the number of wreaths that adorn his grave.  "I still like him," says young music store clerk Dave Jenking.  "He's the guy who sang 'Stand By Me,' right?"


The Slow-witted Will Inherit the Earth - Last week we postulated that the geeks will inherit the earth, now we have revised our opinions somewhat to include the slow-witted, who we believe will also inherit the earth.  The slow-witted are always slow to respond to insults and sit and stew instead of confronting their enemies.  This is especially common in situations where alcohol is involved.  This is not to say that the slow-witted are cowardly, they are just thick-skinned, patient, and slow to react.  By being slow to react, they avoid anything hasty, avoid dangerous situations, and remain safe.  When the quick-witted and the hasty are out killing each other, the slow-witted will be in the pubs relaxing, having a pint, the geeks will be manipulating the world economy through the internet, and they will inherit the earth together. Next week: the geeks vs. the slow-witted.

Column - The Armchair Commander: How to Hyper-Stimulate the Economy - Economists and businessmen have been wringing their hands for nearly a decade now discussing how to bring Japan out of its long economic slump, despite the fact that the answer to this and any recession is painfully obvious - raise wages and raise prices.  A hyper-stimulated buying atmosphere (which some people call induced inflation) would make Japan the richest, albeit most expensive, country in the world.  Given a stable yen-dollar exchange rate, economic policy that keeps this as its goal can only be met with success.  Increasing the price of a large bag of rice to over 10,000 yen and a 6-slice loaf of bread to 400 yen may seem suicidal, but if this was done in concert with doubling consumer wages the average person would shop with greater confidence.  Extra sales could bring in extra taxes, and a revitalized federal spending program could reduce unemployment to near-zero.  It's quite simple really, so what's stopping us from trying?

Economics and Finance

U.S. Ozone Emissions Important for Global Prosperity - Last week in the global environment conference in the beautiful Pompeii resort the leaders of most of the world's nations with more than 5 million consumers met to discuss viable preventions for future environmental problems.  The United States of America once more declared its intent to sacrifice its portion of the atmosphere in order to spur on its production economy and increase global prosperity at the same time.  "It is important that we continue to sacrifice our part of the world's clean air in order to fuel global prosperity, since the prosperity of the United States in inextricably related to world prosperity," U.S representative Brent Bought told economic reporters visiting the conference.  "This is just us doing our part to save the free consumer world, as we have been since 1941, and keep things alive and healthy," Bought continued.  "We may be sacrificing a lot, but it is definitely what we have to do.  Let's all do our best to keep the engine going, day to day, week to week, month to month, year to year.

Arts and Entertainment


CD Released with Japan Only Bonus Tracks - Last week in Tokyo, Virus International announced the release of a CD with Japan only bonus tracks.  "Our reasons for doing this are two-fold," says Virus International Records spokesman Yamasake Nomoi.  "First we wanted to increase the export value of these CDs, but besides that we also wanted to reward our loyal fans in Japan."  Most CDs have room for several bonus tracks but there is apparently no appeal to a "Canada only bonus track" or a "Vietnam only bonus track," according to Virus Records vice president in charge of bonus tracks John Scanford.  "If there was a Canada-only bonus track, people would have to assume that it is Canada-related.  But Japanese bonus tracks have that 'samurai/tsunami/ronin/kamikazi/media outlaw' spirit, so they get the bonus tracks.  Besides that, they pay more for their product."

Popular Music Group OG3 the Object of Ridicule in Japan - The popular gangsta-rap/new jack swing crossover act OG3 may not have been able to crack the charts in Japan, but they have managed to crack a smile on the faces of most Japanese music fans.  The group, whose full name is "Original Gangsta Three" is a trio from Memphis, Tennessee that has sold over a million copies of their debut CD "Ozone" to general critical acclaim in North America, but in Japan they have been treated with just as much ridicule.  The reason behind this is the fact that the name OG3, when spoken in Japanese, sounds like the Japanese word ojisan which is the Japanese term for uncle, but is often used when mentioning old men in general.  Compounding this is the fact that the title "Ozone," which is chemically written as O3, can be pronounced in Japanese as ossan, which is a derogatory term for an old man, similar to "geezer" or "fossil."  "It's obvious that this is a disastrous name to have in Japan," says OG3 manager Swish Banks, "but we're still hoping to build up some appeal from the ground up.  If we can let our music do the talking, maybe they'll stop calling us ojisan and just call us o-ji-suri."

Marilyn Manson Sister Band Charles Monroe Fails to Crack Charts - Astonishingly, given the popularity of sister band and mentors Marilyn Manson, the long-standing underground goth-metal-pop band Charles Monroe have failed to appear on any of the major charts published by radio stations and media journals around the United States this week.  The band, which originated in the same Florida town as Marilyn Manson, has been active since the late '80s, and all members are intimate with the members of Marilyn Manson.  "There's a reason they're our sister band - it's because we're all sisters," says Charles Monroe lead singer Charles Monroe.  "But I still don't understand why if America and the world loves Marilyn Manson so much, why don't they love us?  We have the same look, the same types of songs, the same energy, the same shocking stage show.  What's up?"  Besides Charles Monroe, none of the other bands associated with Marilyn Manson in the group's underground days have managed to become major international acts selling millions of albums to the point of being reported in gossip magazines and being invited to Hollywood parties to cavort with Hollywood celebrities.

Music Review: Die Schmidts "Die Queen ist Tot" - Die Schmidts have blown the music scene wide open in Germany recently with their third release called "Die Queen ist Tot."  The album, combining catchy harmonies, frantic rhythms, bright guitar riffs, and the dowdy singing of depressing/clever lyrics is sure to be a landmark of this generation.  Song titles include "Friedhof Tor," "Grossmaul Streikt Nochama'," "Pfarrer Tutu," and "Aber Sag Docha'ma Ehrlich Herr Schanklei."  Lead singer Mundlich and guitarist Jochen Mara have been working as the Lennon-McCartney of the German underground pop scene for some time now and have won brilliant accolades for their astonishing revitalization of the always-uninteresting G-pop scene.  Mundlich, well known for being one of the most quotable pop stars in town, with his controversial views on celibacy and horny writers such as Rabelais, is also a media darling the likes of which haven't been seen since Nena.

Music Review: the Suzukis "Huredi Makyuri Nakunata" - The Suzukis have blown the music scene wide open in Japan recently with their third release called "Huredi Makyuri Nakunata," i.e. "Freddy Mercury is Dead."  The album, combining catchy harmonies, frantic rhythms, bright guitar riffs, and the dowdy singing of depressing/clever lyrics, is sure to be a landmark of this generation with its reverence of the songs of Queen and Freddy Mercury.  Song titles include "Reien-mon," "Oguchi-san semmete," "Oboo-san no hakama," and "Nande sonna, Shankri-san."  Lead singer Morushi and guitarist Jonima have been working as the Lennon-McCartney of the Japanese underground pop scene for some time now and have won brilliant accolades for their astonishing revitalization of the flaccid J-pop scene.  Morushi, well known for being one of the most quotable pop stars in town, with his controversial views on celibacy and horny writers such as Tanizaki Junichiro, is also a media darling the likes of which haven't been seen since Izam.  Also available on the CD version of this release is the early EP "Niku Koroshi" and the hit single "Ima itsu."

Sleazy Boy Bands Hottest New Trend in Japan - One of the most shocking pop trends in Japan recently has been the resurgence in sleazy boy bands, groups of impossibly handsome young men with perfect hair-dos cavorting splendidly on celebrity TV shows, cavorting unashamedly with drunken harlots, and brashly making fools of themselves in concerts to hundreds of thousands of adoring fans.  Leading the sleazy boy bands are the Kinky Kids, a duo of baccanalist who are known for devouring virgins by the dozen nightly.  One of the members' nickname is "Ke"Tsuyoshi or "Pan"Tsuyozhi for his love for panties and women's buttocks.  Another kinky boy's band is V69, whose name is self-evident, and visual-kei wonders Gay.  Among the youngest of kinky boy bands on the scene are Ayashi, five baby-faced youngsters whose bright faces can be very deceiving - don't turn your back on them.

50 CD Set Changes Man's Life - Jon Ichiro only had 5 CDs when his cousin gave him an old stereo that had a 40 CD changer built into it.  With only 5 CDs of his own, he had no idea how he could fill his changer up with quality music - that is until an unlikely chain of events caused him to buy 50 CDs in one day.  "I was going through a heavy Merzbow phase," Ichiro explains, "when I heard that Merzbow was going to release a 50 CD set of music.  This was too interesting and unique for me to forget, and since I had just started my first part-time job, I began saving money with the intention of getting the set and filling the changer with it.  Well, the store that had it took credit, and I paid them off in two months and there I was with 50 CDs and only 40 to fit in the CD changer, 41 I guess if you put one CD in the CD player itself.  It was great, though, I could spend a whole weekend just listening to the set, waking and sleeping and doing my homework, listening to those strange sounds.  A year went by and I got to know the whole set almost like it was a part of me.  Except for those last 10 CDs that I kind of neglected.  I mean, at the beginning I would listen to all of them evenly, but after a while I got lazy and just kept the first 40 in there.  Now when I remember that I haven't listened to the last 10 CDs in a while, I put them in and it sounds really strange.  I guess that whole continuity has been lost.  What a drag."

Classical Music: Minuet For a Piano With One Broken Key - Fans of modern classical music will probably already be familiar with the name John Musgraves, the man responsible for giving the world the now-classic modern composition "Prelude For a Piano With Only One Key."  Now Mr. Musgraves has followed this piece up with a companion piece "Minuet For a Piano With One Broken Key."  The 20-minute piece, which can be used on any piano that has one broken key, no matter what the tone, is essentially an inversion of his previous piece.  "What I wanted to accomplish with this piece," says Mr. Musgraves, "was not only a response to my previous piece, but also something for all those people out there who have pianos with one broken key - I think more than half of the pianos out there are like that.  Now those people will have something to play on those silly pianos with their empty sounds.  Call it marketing if you will, but I just think that there are so many people out there who aren't being accommodated.  But I guess that the bottom line is that a piano with one broken key will now no longer be useless.  I just see this as me as a pianist and composer just doing my job.

Willis Fans Eagerly Anticipating Second Return of Bruno - Fans of Bruce Willis' brief recording career, among the most long-suffering music fans around, have been encouraged by recent rumors that the busy star is in the studio recording a follow-up to the million-selling 1982 smash album "the Return of Bruno," apparently titled "the Second Return of Bruno" with typical tongue-in-cheek Willis humor.  "It's been a long 18 years, but I'm glad to know that there's a light at the end of the tunnel," says Bruno Fan Club president Kathy Slacker.  "Now we have some ammunition to lobb at those rotten Eddie Murphy fans who have been taunting us for years.  It doesn't look like there will be any 'My Girl Still Wants To Party All The Time,' suckers!"


Film Review: "Being Charlie Sheen" - Any time that a movie comes out of nowhere and surprises the world and Hollywood financiers alike by earning its budget back several times over, it's no secret that a sequel is already hastily being thrown together.  And so hot on the heels of "Being John Malkovich" comes the sequel that really not everybody was waiting for "Being Charlie Sheen."  The sequel, which has none of the talent behind the original film besides Charlie Sheen, is a quick relief sequel while "Being John Malkovich" director Spike Jonze concentrates on the prequel to his movie, to be titled "Being Caspar Weinberger."  The new film follows the amorous adventures of Charlie Sheen as he films his role in "Being John Malkovich."  Plot twists develop when his body is taken over by the dispossessed spirit of John Malkovich himself.  As Sheen/Malkovich stumbles through life with an identity crisis, Malkovich takes over and wins Sheen/Malkovich a part in an Academy Award winning film about the life of... Spike Jones!  Directed by Emilio Estevez, who has not directed his brother Charlie Sheen in a film since the pair teamed up to make "Men At Work" in 1990.

Watership Down to Get Live Action Remake - Among the animation films to be granted a live action remake this year is the classic "Watership Down."  Following in the heels of the popular live-action remakes of an animated feature "101 Dalmations" and "102 Dalmations" remakes, the live-action "Watership Down" will feature real rabbits escaping across picturesque meadows, burrowing in holes, and engaging in assault and war.  A large farm rabbit has already been cast as the General, a huge rabbit prone to biting other rabbits off.  The killer rabbit from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," once considered for the part, was removed from the billing when it was later discovered to be stuffed.

The Voice of Donald Duck Discovered to be a Real Duck! - Speculation over the true nature of the voice of Donald Duck was put to rest last week when it was revealed by sources in a studio that sub-contracts that for Disney Inc. that the voice actor in question was an actual duck.  Fans of Disney films, who have struggled for years to understand what the much-loved but oft-misunderstood character is desperately trying to say, reacted with a mixture of surprise and disbelief when the closely-guarded fact was finally revealed.  "I always wondered if it was actually a human voice or not, but I can't believe that it was actually a duck after all," says Donald Duck Club president Stephen Willie.  "Now I have to wonder why Disney chose to use such a voice after all.  I mean most of the other characters are intelligible, just Donald isn't.  That's part of the fun of watching him, but a duck.  A real duck.  A stupid duck!!!"

Woody Allen Falls off Sexiest Man Chart - For the first time since he entered the Sexiest Man Alive chart in 1977, Woody Allen has failed to be listed.  Riding a wave of popularity following the successes of both "Annie Hall" and "Manhatten," Allen debuted in the annual charts at number two and has remained on the charts for over 20 years, longer than anyone other than Sean Connery and Tom Jones, outliving such stalwarts as Don Johnson and Mickey Rourke.  He is the longest lasting cerebral sex symbol, lasting twice as long on the charts as even Arthur Miller or Marshal Macluhan, who appeared in a cameo in Allen's film "Annie Hall."  Reasons for his leaving the charts may be the result of a move among critics to admire Allen imitators such as Wilt Stillman, Nora Ephron, or even Kevin Smith over Allen himself.  Some critics also believe that it could be due to his absence in his own films in recent years in favor for hot young stars like Sean Penn and Leonardo DiCaprio.  Others believe that younger actors like Kenneth Branagh and John Cusack can imitate Allen almost perfectly, thus making Allen himself less important.  Branagh and Cusack have also fallen off of the Sexiest Man Alive charts.

Real Lupin Calls New Lupin Film a Disgrace - The real Lupin the Third has called in from his hidden lair somewhere in Europe to taunt Interpol by announcing to the world that he finds the new Lupin film a disgrace.  "Lupin the Third and Charlemagne's Condom" has been a big hit in Japan and in other countries around the world, but it has lost credit for its accuracy by being criticized by the real Lupin the Third.  "For one thing," said Lupin in his 5 minute conversation to arch rival Zeni Gata, which was cut off just before Interpol was able to make a trace to his hidden lair, "my sideburns are too long.  And I never wear hemmed slacks.  I stopped using the Walther P-38 a while ago - I have a laser now since I was able to acquire the white diamond of Cleopatra to focus the rays.  It's the most expensive gun I've ever carried.  The most, that is, besides my... besides my... besides my... heh heh heh."  The directors of "Lupin the Third and Charlemagne's Condom" have already announced that they are studying the message and will attempt to correct any inaccuracies that the film reflects.


Time Magazine Covers Trendy Issue - For the fourth time this year, Time magazine is preparing to reach out to younger audiences by tackling a trendy issue - internet sports!  The tackling of trendy issues, going back to an early '80s cover story on video games, will give Time the opportunity to reach out to the next generation of Time subscribers, not to mention fill pages with colorful graphics and charts.  "Trendy issues, while not exactly news, are important for us to understand the trends that are shaping today's society," says Time spokesman Davide Jame.  "Past generations had wars to get involved in, or at least the Cold War, and those were all well-documented by Time, but since the late '80s and all those stories about the collapse of the USSR and how we won and all that there hasn't been anything sensational for us to dig our teeth into."  Recent months have shown the magazine tackling the internet, information technology, the next wave of video games, the next wave of cell phones, and information technology on the internet.  Now with the true development of internet sports past the fad stage, writers are being assigned bold new articles to write and exciting new side boxes to fill.  "Internet sports is exactly where we are right now, right at this moment," says Jame.  "We just can't let this moment pass."

Zine Editor Sheepish About Delay - In the opening editorial address, a zine editor sheepishly expressed his regrets for the tardiness of the release of the newest issue of his zine.  Although the zine doesn't have a fixed publishing schedule the way a regular magazine does, the editor had been promising fans and friends that the zine would be finished promptly and would be available in the fall.  Well, the fall stretched into the winter and into the spring, and in many ways it's a miracle it even got out as soon as it did, late and all, since anything that could have gone wrong went wrong - i.e. Murphy's Law: the editor broke up with his girlfriend, lost his job, his best proofreader and lay-out helper quit on him by moving to Hollywood with some guy she met at a concert, his dog died, the printers went bankrupt and lost his proofs, he was evicted from his house and his car was stolen, and none of the people who said that they would write for him actually did.  Still, somehow the zine got put together, warts and all, and out into everybody's hot little hands, so are you satisfied already?  That's all the zine editor has to say about that, he doesn't feel that he has to prove himself to anybody and he doesn't owe anybody anything and most people wouldn't have put up with as much crap as he has.

outofthecloset.com New Home For Celebrity Confessions - Thanks to the openness of the internet, closeted celebrity homosexuals have a place to turn to in the form of a tell-all website called www.getoutofthecloset.com.  The website has proven to be a haven for thousands who have been living a lie and want to find the proper forum to expose their marriages of convenience without harming their careers.  "I'm relieved that somebody thought of something like this," says a major Hollywood star whose most recent film was one of the most well-attended films of the year.  "I married for convenience and it was always a burden to try to hide around it, but now with this website I feel freer than I ever have."  Check the site out today!

Book Review: "Hypocrisy in America" - "Hypocrisy in America" is a new sociology study that inspects the history of hypocrisy in America, from the colonial times, through slavery, all the way up into the Eighties.  The author, Yarbard scholar and professor of philosophy Darryl de Toqueville, has used a keen sense of analysis to overcome objections in the academic community and written the book that America needs to confront it's dark side.  "Everybody knows that this and any society is based on hypocrisy, the very core of all misogyny, racial prejudice, social inequality, and a whole other list of crimes," says author de Toqueville, the 18th pale descendant of Alexis de Toqueville, author of "Democracy in America.".  "I know that this is going to be an unpopular book, but this needs to be documented.  As I say in my book, I believe in what I call 'the tyranny of perjury,' where anybody can cry wolf and say 'perjury, perjury,' and use some kind of stupid trendy rationale to strike down truth and honesty.  It's a crime, really, it's a crime."  "Hypocrisy in America" is a 20 volume set although volume 19, which deals with the Kennedy-Johnson-Nixon years, has not been released yet as the manuscript was misplaced the day before publication.

Zine Published Without Incoherent Rambling CD Reviews - 2000 Pound Sumo Wrestler Zine, a small zine published out of Gary, Indiana, may be one of the first zines ever published without incoherent rambling CD reviews.  The zine, which features interesting articles by well-known writers in the zine community, seems to have neither space, time, nor interest in incoherent rambling CD reviews.  "I know that incoherent rambling CD reviews are a staple of the market, but I'm pretty busy with other things and don't really want to commit the space to trying to describe my feeling about a piece of music without being trite - you know, I don't want to 'dance about architecture,'" says 2000 PSW publisher Brian Thompson.  "Zines publish thousands of incoherent rambling CD reviews, but nobody really reads them unless they already have the CD, already heard the CD at a friend's house, or have seen the band on tour recently.  It means that CD reviews in zines are basically irrelevant and that's something I don't need to be a part of.  I guess somebody might buy a CD just because a reviewer says it's cool, but I don't think I would.  Besides that, incoherent rambling CD reviewers usually hold up the zine itself since they always take CDs with the intention to review them later so that they can turn around and sell them for a buck or two but they never seem to be able to stop drinking beer or rolling blunts or going to concerts or getting tattoos or scamming women or trying to be in an underground movie to actually write an incoherent rambling CD review.  I know it's not cool to say this, but we actually got our inspiration from some of the big magazines that won't write incoherent rambling reviews; not for trendy new CDs, not for cool reissued CDs that the companies are hoping to breathe new life into, and especially not for CDs advertised in the magazine.  They won't even do the old standby and review the same CD twice in the same mag!  I admire that, as much as I hate the magazines themselves.  Lots of people send me their CDs blind, I listen to them or I sell them or I give them away, but I never review them.  I didn't ask for the CDs.  When friends of mine in bands ask me to review their CD, I tell them 'no, no way, no way man, I'm not going to review your CD!'  Actually, it's funny because I'm thinking of doing a CD review in the new 2000 PSW... but that will be the first and last one ever.  And I'm going to be sure to tell everybody repeatedly when I do and make sure they understand!"


English Voted World's Stupidest Language - At last night's Language Awards, presented by the United Nations Special International Council of Languages, English was chosen among all the world languages as the world's stupidest language.  "And the award... for the world's stupidest language... goes to... the English language!" announced the ecstatic awards presenter in English, nearly spilling out of her expensive dress.  On hand to pick up the award was a group of recent Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners from English-speaking countries.  "We felt that English outdid itself in all categories, from irregular verbs to confusing homophones and ambiguities and unnecessary use of trite synonyms," explained UNSICL spokesman Bruno Ungerecht. " There are also lots of items that don't have words in English, things that will simply be called 'that big thing,' or 'red wing black bird,' or 'short-legged running hare.'  That's not a language, that's just a random collection of words."

Science and Technology

Much-Abused Email:Fwd Function to be Disenabled in all Software - At a recent technology conference in Las Vegas, representatives of the large web-browser software producing companies met in a rare effort to agree on browser feature standards for the next generation of web browsers.  Among the unanimous decisions the software-makers agreed on was to discontinue the much-abused email:fwd function in all of their upgrades; the reason - email fwd. abuse.  "In studies conducted in past years, it was discovered that one of the major complaints that people who used email had was the number of useless forwards that hit their in-boxes," explains Booble designer Steve Hoo.  "It seems like a case of one percent of emaillers using this powerful function to annoy over half of the people on the net.  Emails with attachments especially are a nuisance to anybody who has a slow connection, be they friends, acquaintances, or complete strangers.  When we were designing this software, we never would have imagined that the forwarding feature would be the most powerful one, not to mention the most contentious or abused!"  News of this step back/improvement in the software world, which rarely issues "downgrades," has been met with sighs of relief from frequent emaillers.  "In the past I would just instantly delete things that were forwarded to me, or send them back," says email addict Jeff Sparkley.  "Now I won't even have to bother.  I hope everybody gets the downgrade with the reduced features.  Now people who want to forward something will have to physically retype an address or go to their address book for every individual they want to forward a message to.  Now if they can just get rid of that stupid 'reply to all' feature!"

Hot New Inventions - the Karaoke Walkman - The music walkman has already been around for nearly 20 years, shrinking in size and going through various format changes.  Bored commuters have for years been clamoring for the next generation of handy gadgets to accompany them in the long hours on the trains and subways.  Finally, it looks like a new electronics company is ready to offer thousands of people on the move something truly innovative - the k-walkman, a portable karaoke entertainment system.  "Plenty of people like to listen to music," says KMusic Technologies president Syd Bilious, "but my company is willing to bet big R & D money that nearly as many people like to sing music as like to listen to it.  People are really never able to find enough time to karaoke."  Music can calm the heart of the savage beast and set the heart free, and with the K-walkman, anybody can sing anywhere they want and at any time.  A small DVD format disk is prepared, and the lyrics to the songs in question scroll across a mini readout and the user sings into a mini-microphone that clips into a shirt collar while the voice and accompanying music is piped into the earphones.  "We suppose that some of the music may be overheard by people nearby," explains Bilious, "but the beauty of an invention like this is that nobody will oppose a little singing since deep down in the heart of it really everybody loves to sing.  An invention like the K-walkman will even enable people to break out in spontaneous song just like they do in the musicals - Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Judy Garland, Julie Andrews, Frank N. Furter, all of them; I know it's always been a fantasy of mine.  Won't you like to sing... today... just a little?"

New Gadget Gets Free Hype - Inventors Assured of Millions - In what could be called the first over-hype of the new millennium, a mysterious gadget called Ginger (named after Ginger from Gilligan's Island) found opportunity in a slow news-week by capturing the imaginations of journalists and letting them create a huge buzz.  The gadget, which could be anything from a new type of sea monkey to a truly operative pair of X-Ray Specs, has become a household word among most of the western world, assuring its inventor of billions in licensing commissions and fees.  "It's a joke, a huge big joke," says John Pringle, inventor of an inexpensive drug made from commonly found garden plants that can cure most forms of cancer.  "This guy just has to put out a rumor and people throw money at him.  This guy is a trillionaire already and we haven't even seen there goods.  What's this guy all about anyway?"  The anonymous inventor of Ginger has remained silent, stating only that he intended to follow Ginger up with six other inventions, each named after a castaway from Gilligan's Island.

Scientists to Distinguish "Good Calories" From "Bad Calories" - Dieting and culture has created the great 20th century fear or "calories," a kind of boogie-man to the weight-challenged and the sole factor responsible for their social stigma.  Well, now scientists have begun to probe the jiggly world of calories and have discovered enough in the last few years to be able to offer some good news to dieters - besides "bad" calories, there are also "good calories."  "Bad calories are the kind of calories that make you fat," says team researcher John Troy, "but good calories are the kind of calories that give you energy, let you play sports, help you to get up in the morning and go to work, allow you to procreate, keep you alive.  It is the challenge of a good working body to be able to metabolize bad calories and turn them into good calories.  And this is where the real challenge of the dieters lies."  Luckily for us, the power of nomenclature still allows us to put a proper spin on the world of the calorie, be it good or bad.  Now the only real challenge is for the large percentage of large people in our society to turn their bad calories into good, and to get that spare tire in use and running at high speeds on the highway.

Study Reveals that 1 Birth in 1000 is an Immaculate Conception -Church and Medical Authorities Say "Huh!?!" - In a study released by the Church of the Afterbirth, researchers have revealed that one birth in a thousand live births may in fact be a product of immaculate conception.  "Immaculate conception may not be as rare as we have previously been led to believe," stated project leader Leon Mergatroyd.  "History only shows evidence of one immaculate conception, but hospital records often tell a different story.  Many of the children walking around may not have a biological father at all.  There could be over 250,000 people like this walking around the United States alone, who knows if the rate is higher in other countries!"  When asked to comment, church authorities were unable to answer to the findings, appearing to choke and stutter in utter disbelief.  In a rare show of solidarity with religious officials, high-placed members of the scientific and medical community were equally disbelieving, often uttering comments like "say what?",  "huh?!?", "what?", and "hmmmmmmm?!?!"

DNA Manipulation Can Now Make Real-Life "X-Men" - No more "mystery of birth." - Have you ever hoped that your child could be born with angel wings, or covered with blue fur and endowed with superhuman athletic activity?  Or even better yet, able to utter destructive blasts of power from his or her eyes?  Well in the wake of this summer's Hollywood smash-hit the X-Men, based on the Marvel comic book that has kept geeky outsiders captivated for decades, a team of scientists has been hard at work trying to find out how to use genetic information to pre-condition human DNA to produce real life mutants.  Although the procedure is in the early stages of development, researchers have assured the medical community that mutants of some sort or another can be created in test tubes and artificially inserted.  Years of research may be needed before doctors can program the types of mutant powers that future generations can be born with, but "the first hurdles have already been passed, and the next will follow," says head researcher Walter Smith.  "At this point we have to be careful to keep this in the public eye.  If evil governments or opportunistic corporations set their eye on this, not to mention the few super-villains that are around, we could be in for more trouble than it is worth."

Inventor of Teleportation Device Needs Funding to Build Second Prototype - John Gage looks like your typical mad scientist and sometimes talks like one, but if what he has invented really works he may be able to revolutionize the way we live.  His invention is a teleportation device, or a box that can reduce molecules to energy, send them in the form of a coded radio message to another location, and recreate the original body.  It can also double as a cloning device.  Unfortunately he has been unable to receive the proper funding to continue his work and the world may never see this innovative new doohickey.  "When I invented this teleportation device - which really works, by the way, for real human beings and not just for steaks like in the movie - I got picked up by a few local papers, but that was it.  If I had enough funding, I could build a second teleportation machine and send myself wherever it was and back again.  I believe that the airlines and trucking firms are in league with the financiers to prevent me from building a working device."


Harlem Globetrotters Heading to Regional Finals - Despite being one of the most well-loved basketball teams on the planet, not to mention being stars of their own TV specials, the Harlem Globetrotters have never won a regional or national title.  This may end this year because the "Trotters," as they are affectionately called by their millions of loyal fans, seem poised to head towards the regional finals.  Already hot on a streak of 10 wins, the Globetrotters and their affable captain Curly Charles are feeling stronger and better than they ever have.  "We've always just been a local team," explains captain Curly, "with only really local support at the games, we never had good draft picks or anything, but we always kept with it, sweating it out on the courts.  And this is where all the years of history and dedication pay off.  It's really incredible, it's magic, I can hardly believe that it's all just happening to us right now!"  While the Globetrotters of old tended to be weakened by on-court antics, such as stealing the ball from their own members and fooling around excessively with the ball, the team has finally found a way to make it work for them, allowing the team to win by the first-ever basketball shutout.  "What a joke that was," says Curly, shaking his bald head.  "What a joke.  I still wake up in the middle of the night and laugh my head until I pass out."

Golf Wins Sports Awards - Golf recently swept the annual Sports Awards by picking up 8 trophies, among them Silliest Sport, Worst Fashions, Best Bourgeois Sport, Most Environmentally Destructive, and Most Engaging Form of Non-Exercise.  Adding even more to the glory of this sweep is the fact that this is the first year that golf has been able to compete in the Sports Awards as it has only recently been recognized as a sport.  This is the largest sweep of awards since Baseball won nine titles in 1978.  Other sports to win trophies are basketball for Least White Players, hockey for Least Black Players and Best Fights That Don't Involve Gunplay, and baseball for Most Ridiculous Fights and Best Sport For Overweight Men.  Tennis, failing in recent years to earn any awards since the downturn of John McEnroe's career, finally won awards in the Most Determined Stalkers and Spectator Stiff Necks categories.


MIKI HOUSE to Introduce New Theme Song - MIKI HOUSE corporation has this week announced that it has received the rights to use the familiar "Mickey Mouse Club" jingle and will use it in commercials that will market its product to children and young mothers.  The familiar tune with the adapted lyrics "M-I-K...I...H-O-U-S-E" is hoped to not just make children more aware of but also to teach them how to spell the company name.

7-11 to be Renamed 24/7 - In a press conference yesterday, a spokesman for 7-11 Corporation, owner of a large chain of convenience stores with locations in several nations, announced the intention of the company to change its name from "7-11" to "24/7."  "In the past, the name 7-11 reflected the usual opening times of the individual stores," spokesman John Marsales told a group of reporters, "which was novel at a time when most stores closed before 8 P.M.  Incorporated in the name was the image that the stores would be open from 7 A.M. to 11 P.M., and customers didn't need to ask what the opening times were.  But these days, 7-11 requires all new stores to stay open 24-hours a day, and the name has actually become inaccurate.  Some people who have the urge to snack or pick up a carton of milk after midnight stay away because they believe that 7-11 will be closed, and this is bad for business now that we are keeping the stores open all day and all night.  To rectify this, and to teach people that we are in fact open all the time, the company will change its name to 24/7.  Besides this, it was felt that to have two odd-numbered digits in a name carries a negative image, something we want to avoid in the highly competitive convenience store industry."  The corporation hopes to have completed the change by the end of this year.


Quotable Enough to Quote:

"It was literally raining cats and dogs!" - Hank Unterwasser.
"1,199 million" - Time Magazine
"You're driving me inane!" - insane 4-year-old girl to her nervous mother
"Mostly I thought this stuff was worth printing simply because it was a simply, plainly stated request on behalf of a consumer to a business which was answered with a very insulting, defensive, and unprofessionally 'sensitive' response from said business - and while that's just the kind of response a similar (handwritten) letter might get from this magazine (were I still handling that kind of thing) it is not the kind of thing that a label that gives it's acts backstage deli trays and free license to make lame long distance phone calls at their expense, can really afford to do."  - Kris Rockhead
"The whole scene would have been laughable had it not been so pathetic and so on the edge of getting totally out of hand."  - Triple XXX Probe writer

Wieners and Loosers: An information table where we decide who is a wiener and who is a looser.
the Economist - for sending out their news by email for free. 
Time - for stepping out on a limb and calling Adolf Hitler a loser. 
Rolling Stone Magazine - For going a year without putting Billy Joel of Bruce Springsteen on their cover.  Keep up the good work. 
Time - for harping website-only content in their print edition. 
Time - for earning the wrath of Argentinians by calling Pinochet a winner. 
Anna Nicole-Smith - for winning $425 million and coming to the attention of Time magazine's poison pen. 

Hissy Fit of the Weak: Soccer vs. Football
Name: Guy Brit
Age: 21
Occupation: English teacher
Best Punch: "Football is football.  There is no soccer." 
Name: Joe Yank
Age: 22
Occupation: American English teacher
Best Punch: "What's the big deal?" 
Winner: Guy Brit.  Any sport played with the feet should be called football, so throwing an olive-shaped ball actually doesn't qualify.

Letters to the Editor -

Dear Negi,
I dig your newspaper, it is probably my favorite source of world information.  I think you should make fun of famous people more than you do.  And when are you going to publish pictures?
Your friend,

Dear Negi,
When I was a kid I used to read comic books a lot, and I wrote a bunch of letters to the comics and none of them ever got published, and I began to wonder if they actually make up the letters that they publish.  Do you think that may be true?  Would you ever do that at your newspaper?
Your friend,

Dear Negi,
What's up with the name change?  I think you should change your name to the News Paper, then people would know what it is.  Or you could call it the Online Newspaper, although there's actually no paper involved.  By the way, can I write for you?  I have lots of good ideas,
Your friend,

Dear Negi,
I like your newspaper, when are you going to publish a Taiwanese edition?  I think Taiwan needs something like what you got, for sure.
Your friend,

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email: Peter Höflich
created February 4, 2001
All writings copyright Peter Hoflich and Matt Kaufman, 2001
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