Head Cheese 8- the Best of Head Cheese!!
The news as you think it should be!
Still bite-sized for people with short attention spans!!

Previously Unreleased Stories - President Held Sexually Accountable, Campaign Promises Forgotten;  Forgetful Woman Forgets She Has Bad Memory;  Neither Theologian Nor Atheist Able to Prove Causes;  Leg Lengthening Operation Ends In Failure;  Foreign Analyst Specializes in Guessplanations;  Evil Computer Guru Senses a Great Disturbance in the Net;  Questionnaire: Which Vision of the Future Do You Hope is the Real One?  Family Trapped On Escalator For 8 Hours;  Cell Phones for Infants;  Placebo Brand Panacea Drugs Hit The Market;  Too Much of a Good Thing May Cause Cancer;  Cell Phone Cancer Brain Drain Hits Economy;  Cowardly Villain Killed Before He Has A Chance To Fire A Second Round;  "It's Not Fun To Tease OL Any More"  The Onion Tops Head Cheese For Best SUV Satire;  Power Decentralized Further, the Commonwealth of Independent United States of America Created.
Local News - Gaijin Sets Record For Making Bad Japanese Puns, OL Walks From Station to Home While Staring Into Pocket Mirror, Last Tamagochi in Japan Finally Sold, Man Accidentally Buys Tissue Packets, Chinese-American Gets Pissed Off!, Momiji Season Makes Local Canadian Man's Heart Surge With Pride, New Metric System to include Metric Time, Hot on Tokyo Menus: Greenpeace Treehugger Sashimi, Local Woman Stretches a "Thank You" out to much over 10 minutes, Woman Calls Off Wedding After Taking First Drive With Fiancee, Divorced Couple Having Affair, Sarcastic English Teacher in Japan shocked by Students Witty Retort, Woman Begins and Ends Each Sentence with "sumimasen", Healthy Man Enjoys Wearing Surgical Mask, Scooter Gang Swatted Like Flies By Harleys, Catchy Celine Dion Song Stays in Man's Head for over 2 Weeks, Sudden Lane Change Causes Pedestrian Pile-up, Caring Father Likes to Point out Roadside Attractions, Young Expat's Name Forces Him To Leave Japan in Shame, Camping Family Owns Nothing But Camping Equipment, Former Friend Informs of 8th Email Change of the Year, Man Orders Coke, Gets Offered Pepsi Instead, Man Upset That His Girlfriend Is Now Taller Than Him, Young Mother Names Daughter "Cake-o", Only Other Person in the Room Says "Who, Me?", Honda Civic Now Completely Unrecognizable, Nervous Mother Sees Tissue Packets, Jumps to Wong Conclusion, Foreigner With Jet-Black Hair Mistaken For Local, Japanese With Unusual Features Mistaken For Foreigner, Gaijin Takes Acute Offense At The Term "Gaijin", Time Magazine Cover Urges Us Stop Caring About AIDS, Complaining English Teacher Shuts Up When Asked If He Remembers Any Of His High School French, Exchange Student Uses All His Spare Time Deconstructing the Japanese Psyche, Woman Rides Bicycle Slower Than Walking Pace, Corrupt Politician Busted For Accepting $20 Bribe, Man Pushes Both "Up" and "Down" Buttons, OL Wears Out Mirror, If Only They Could Talk - Famous Shogun's Favorite USJ Attractions.
International News - George Bush Sr. Stood In For Jr. , George Jr. Anxious to "take the country out for a spin.", Woman Heard Farting, Secretary of Illegal Labor Appointed, Satirists Looking Forward to Next 4 Years, Football Friends Plan to Surprise Friend Working in Japan and Stay at his Mansion, Submarine Ramming Incident Raises Headlines All Over The World, Man Ignores "Say Hello" Request, "Partners" May In Fact Be More Than Just Partners, Witty Retort Arrives 24 Hours Late, Man Lies to Wife About Affair With Secretary, Mailroom Clerk Gives Himself $5 Million Bonus, Population of Liechtenstein Passes 1 Billion, Bill of Rights Syntax Error Debated.
Economics and Finance - U.S. Ozone Emissions Important for Global Prosperity.
Opinion - "I Object To The Word 'Madman'"
Fashion - Instant Elegance - Just Add Shawl.
Arts and Entertainment - Virtual Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame Established, Popular Music Group OG3 the Object of Ridicule in Japan, Sleazy Boy Bands Hottest New Trend in Japan, Willis Fans Eagerly Anticipating Second Return of Bruno, Mariah Carey Faded and Wrinkled, Heavy Metal Fan Indignantly Refuses to Believe That His Favorite Bands Suck, Critics Undecided as to Whether "the Bone Collector" is Worse Than "Copycat", Eyes Wide Shut - Director's cut, Joe Esterhas to Star in New Joe Esterhas Movie, Post Attention Deficit Disorder: the Movie, Film Review: "Being Charlie Sheen", Watership Down to Get Live Action Remake, Movie Review: "Big Daddy" - Lucky Half-Canadian Bastard Kid Gets to Grow Up in America, Movie Review: "Casting Couch - the Movie", A Night at the Sub-Genre Awards, Only In The Movies:, Melanie Griffith Wins Oscar In Virtual Fantasyland, Julia Roberts Updates "Mystic Pizza" Role - Wins Oscar, Erin Brokovitch Nearly Nominated For Cameo Role in Erin Brokovitch, Sequel Mania: "The Insider 2: Inside Hollywood" and "Gladiator 2: Beyond the Walls of Sleep", Book Reviews: This book is just one long exercise in building similes and metaphors, like some sort of a long hallucinatory trip, Book Review: Book Title, by Book Author, Bloom County Now Completely Forgotten, Magazine With "Collector's Edition" Printed on Cover Fails to Become Collector's Edition, Special "Double" Issue Actually 1.5 Issue, Cultural Icons of Today - How Will They Be Regarded By Our Children?
Society - Birth Rate Among Gay Couples Dangerously Low , Pig Latin on Endangered Languages List, English Voted World's Stupidest Language, "Cloning Hurt By Negative Image Portrayed in Films" Says Advocacy Group.
Editorial - Electoral College Still Protecting Americans From the Tyranny of the Majority, Cars kill more people than cigarettes do!  Canadian Suffrage - Give Them the Vote!
Science and Technology - Cell-Phone That Doesn't Give User Brain Cancer Developed!  New "Spork-Knife" an Instant Hit, Chopsticks Version 2.0 - Eating Utensils Design Improved For First Time In 5000 Years, Much-Abused Email:Fwd Function to be Disenabled in all Software, Hot New Inventions - the Karaoke Walkman, DNA Manipulation Can Now Make Real-Life "X-Men", Inventor of Teleportation Device Needs Funding to Build Second Prototype, My Time Machine Will Take Us To Year 2002, New Study Reveals That Julius Caesar May Actually Have Committed Suicide.
Sports - Harlem Globetrotters Heading to Regional Finals, Golf Wins Sports Awards, Sports Editorial - Sure, He Beat Me By 0.001 Seconds - So What!
Business - Microsoft to sue two Japanese cities for copyright infringement, Publishing Industry Seeks Ban on Cut and Paste Function, Katzenberg Calls Eisner "Big Midget", 7-11 to be Renamed 24/7, Chicken Farmer Counts Chickens Before They Hatch.
Features - Quotable Enough to Quote, He Said/He Said:Only Love Can Break Your Heart vs. Only Love Can Make You Happy; Wieners and Loosers; Hissy Fit of the Weak, Let's Make A Bad Joke, 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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Previously Unreleased Stories

President Held Sexually Accountable, Campaign Promises Forgotten - As the great American saga of observing other people's sex lives continues, a new Presidential Sex Watchdog Agency has finally been created.  It's sole purpose - to make sure the President of the most powerful nation on earth keeps his willy on the right side of propriety and upholds his sacred wedding vows.  In order to pay for this new institution, funding has been diverted from the Political Integrity Watchdog Group, a group of analysts that charts diverted or broken campaign promises and analyzes various spin techniques.  "We felt that sexual integrity was more important than political integrity," explains Republican representative John Silver, "especially considering the rather lowbrow activities of our last president.  Political integrity is not really held to be as important as sexual integrity.  I mean, like, when was the last time a real political scandal held the public interest anyway?  I rest my case."

Forgetful Woman Forgets She Has Bad Memory - Naomi Jura is not forgetful enough to forget her own name, but she is still such a forgetful woman that she continuously forgets that she is forgetful!  The condition of being so forgetful that the sufferer forgets that he or she is forgetful has not yet been named by psychologists, excepting perhaps the term rather vague term "acute forgetfulness," but Ms. Jura is clearly a case study in this newly identified condition.  "Mom is really forgetful, she forgets that we told her something and she can't be reminded," says exasperated daughter Naoko Jura.  "Then we tell her that last week she forgot to pay the electricity bill so our electricity has been stopped, she doesn't believe her.  Then we tell her that this isn't unusual and that it's because she's so forgetful, she denies that she is forgetful.  We tell her about all the other instances in the past where she has forgotten things, but she doesn't remember them and thinks that we are teasing her.  We all have to wear name tags, or she wouldn't remember our names.  We don't know what to do.  The doctors tell us that this is not senility or any syndrome, she is just naturally forgetful - has been all her life.  It's hell for people she has to deal with, but I guess it's probably nice for her.  Every day is a new day.  I wish I could be like her, but I always forget to forget to remember.  Oh well, maybe with practice..."

Neither Theologian Nor Atheist Able to Prove Causes - A recent panel of debating judges in the United Nations Supreme Debating Chamber has called a draw in the latest round of the eternal debate between atheists and religious believers as neither theologian John Putty nor atheist Richard Parks were able to conclusively prove their positions in final debate last week: just as Putty was not able to prove the existence of a Supreme Being, neither was Parks able to disprove the existence.  Their strongest arguments were all rejected by the judges of the debate, and after a month of heated argument a draw was reluctantly declared.  "It was a tough call," says head debating committee judge Arthur Maynard, "since both Putty and Parks are such good debaters and seem to clearly have iron-clad beliefs.  But the subject itself defeated them.  How do you define the ineffable, how do you describe the unviewable?  But - strictly personally speaking - if I had to throw my towel in with either one of them, I'd go for the theologian.  After all, what's the atheist really trying to say - that all of this is a coincidence?  Yeah right!"

Leg Lengthening Operation Ends In Failure - Juniko Mariyamamoto, a beautiful young hostess who has devoted her life to beautification through plastic surgery, has entered a coma after the final operation in her complete body make-over ended in failure.  Juniko, who has changed her face, neck, arms, breasts, waist, and buttocks region, has had her attempts re-creating herself as a perfect object of beauty stymied by the fact that she was cursed by being born with legs that were rather short in proportion to her height.  "Juniko was the most beautiful person I knew, despite her rather short legs," says tearful co-worker Marisa Nakayama, "and she had spent a fortune being made that way.  But she could never be truly satisfied with her beauty as long as her legs were not slinky enough.  It was the final step in total beauty.  It's so sad that just as she was about to become one of the most perfect individual alive, she had to be stopped short by limits in medical technology."  Ms. Mariyamamoto had agreed to undertake the experimental leg-lengthening procedure, despite the risks involved and the advice of her doctor.  "I just don't want to live with short legs when I could be perfect," said Ms. Mariyamamoto.  "I want to be perfect.  But if the operation doesn't work, at least I may help doctors some day understand how to truly lengthen a person's legs so that plain, dumpy girls in the future will finally truly be able to become goddesses."

Foreign Analyst Specializes in Guessplanations - John Throaty is not only a leading expert on deconstruction of the Japanese culture, as featured in previous issues of Head Cheese, but has recently also established himself as a specialist in guessplanations.  This has resulted in his being regularly quoted in books and articles on Japan for his seemingly credible explanations as to why Japanese people have certain habits that are less widespread in other countries.  "As an alert male analyst in such a fascinating country, I am able to use deductive reasoning combined with my Western perspective to improve our understanding to the way Japanese do things," explains Throaty.  "For instance, a lot of people ask me things like 'why do the Japanese bow so much?'  Well, the reason is much simpler than you would imagine.  From the dawn of time, the Japanese have been bowing when they enter rooms because of low arches and the curtains that are often hung in doorways by people who could not afford doors, so bowing is as ingrained in the Japanese psyche as walking from room to room is.  Another interesting thing about the Japanese is that they seem to get stomach cancer.  Why?  I believer that this is because of the large quantities of sashimi that they eat.  What connection does sashimi have with cancer?  Who knows.  Then there is the lack of street names - I believe that comes from the fact that they wanted potential invaders of Japan to get lost - only local people know their way around a town with no street names, after all.  And the fabled habit of eating raw fish?  That comes from the high importance placed on taste, and the philosophy that 'if my food isn't fresh enough to be eaten raw, then I don't want to live anyway.'"

Evil Computer Guru Senses a Great Disturbance in the Net - David Varig, an evil hacker guru with immense power on the internet, has been growing uneasy recently due to an unspecified sense of foreboding.  Observers and evil henchmen have noted the lost look in his eyes as he mutters to himself saying "I sense a great disturbance on the net.  Could it be that..." then turning, clasping his hands behind his back, and stalking out of the lab.  "I think that David has seen Star Wars and maybe the Matrix just one too many times," says fellow evil hacker David Serious.  "It's all pretty complicated doing evil hacking and creating an evil computing empire, but I told him that he needs to keep things in perspective.  That weird screen saver that he has, showing people evaporating and living on as benevolent ghosts, is pretty creepy.  I'm sure he must care about the mood around here, but a lot of us are getting alienated.  What if there really are forces of good out there bent on stopping our evil, yet righteous plans?"

Questionnaire: Which Vision of the Future Do You Hope is the Real One? - Results from a recent Head Cheese questionnaire regarding future trends and preferred visions of the future have shown mixed results, with no single vision of the future particularly favored.  Despite this lack of definition, Star Wars is still the clear leader, possible out of the popularity of the feature film but perhaps also due to recent talk of actually introducing a Star Wars defense shield around the entire earth to protect us from ID4-type space invaders and Armageddon-style killer satellites the size of Texas.  Also, indicating a clear winner in the Star Wars/Star Trek popularity race, a mere 8% voted for the Star Trek movies as a whole, while the three Star Wars movies had a combined share of 27%.  "Thinking of which vision of the future is important," says futurologist Steven Perkings.  "If we think about visions as shown in film and popular fiction, we can take steps to actualizing that vision for the future.  All of them have their pluses and minuses.  Blade Runner and the Matrix are cool movies, but their visions of the future are pretty bleak.  On the other hand, movies like the Fifth Element and the Running Man were pretty dismal narratively, but their visions of the future were pretty cool.  The leader are clearly the Star Wars and Star Trek films.  But do we really want to have Captain Kirks figures running around, drunk with power?  And what about those stupid Tribbles?  And Jar Jar Binks?  And the Ewoks?  Please, no.  But I would like to have a Wookie or a Hutt hanging around.  Maybe what this questionnaire teaches us is that a truly ideal vision of the future would be a 'best of' combination of the Star Wars and Star Trek future worlds... erm, disregarding the fact that Star Wars supposedly happened in the distant past and not the distant future."

Star Wars: 10%
The Empire Strikes Back: 9%
Return of the Jedi: 8%
the Star Trek TV series/films: 8%
Gattaca: 4%
Battlestar Gallactica: 4%
2001: a Space Oddyssey: 4%
A Clockwork Orange: 4%
Space: 1999: 4%
Strange Days: 4%
Alien: 4%
Aliens: 4%
Logan's Run: 4%
the Matrix: 4%
They Live/The Hidden/Men In Black: 4%
ID4: 4%
Armageddon: 4%
Robocop: 3%
Total Recall: 3%
The Fifth Element: 3%
The Running Man/Death Race 2000: 3%
Blade Runner: 3%
Lost in Space: 1%

Family Trapped On Escalator For 5 Hours - Yesterday afternoon in Osaka, a family of four were trapped for five hours when the escalator that they were riding on suddenly stopped.  Although there were dozens of others riding on the escalator, only the Matsudayamura family were unable to walk up the steps under their own power and waited patiently for the escalator to resume motion.  "It was a long escalator, and I really hate climbing up the steps," said mother Matsudayamura Yumingko later when the escalator had been repaired and she and here family were brought to safety.  "The kids wanted to move on, but I told them that I wanted to wait, so we all waited together.  After a while I started getting impatient, so I sat down and had a smoke.  I don't care that there is no smoking allowed on escalators, if they can't hold up their end of the bargain and have escalators that work then I won't hold up my end and refrain from smoking either.  I could see the people working on it.  It was really ridiculous.  I couldn't get home to start dinner on time.  I bet my husband won't believe me when I tell him that I was trapped on an escalator all afternoon, but won't he be surprised when he sees this report!"

Cell Phones for Infants - As the cell phone market reaches near saturation, a new entrepreneurial group has discovered a previously untouched niche market.  Responding with lightening speed, Jolomono group has released a new line of cell specialized phones and aimed it specifically at the previously untapped infant market.  Now, for the first time, infants will have their very own personal communication devices in order to call their mommies when they need milk, or if they see a kitty cat of a bow wow doggy.  "Infant needs, outside of the obvious needs of food and sleep, are often ignored," says Jolomono group chief executive Nakamiyama Taro.  "Infants are people too - after all, weren't we all once infants ourselves?  And now they finally have a method of communicating with their mommies... and with other infants as well.  There is also a special voice sample feature available for a small subscription fee where the infants can call a certain number and hear the voices of certain popular characters like Thomas the Tank Engine, Maisy the Mouse, and others.  Of course, infants as such have no buying authority, but we are hoping that their mommies will think of their precious darlings and make sure that they all have their own personal cell phone.  And that's, naturally, where we come in."

Placebo Brand Panacea Drugs Hit The Market - Being described by some researchers as a panacea drug, Placebo Brand drug has created an incredible buzz in anticipation to its release on the market next Tuesday.  Competitors are already worried about the panacea drug, which can cure seemingly any disease, will put them out of business.  They are particularly concerned by the fact that this drug will be reasonably priced in order to compete effectively in developing nations against other drugs developed by greedy Western pharmaceutical companies.  "Our panacea drug will surely bring untold happiness to mankind," claims Placebo marketer John Wallyamsin.  "After all, if people can be cured of their painful ailments or given a second lease on life, wouldn't they be quite happy to buy our product.  And the best thing about Placebo, as opposed to the famous panacea drugs of the past like cocaine - used by Sigmund Freud - and heroin, is that Placebo is not addictive.  Make sure you always have some handy for any situation.  After all, the only ailments that Placebo really can't cure is good health and death, and if you're in perfect health or if you're dead you really won't be needing anything anyway."

Too Much of a Good Thing May Cause Cancer - Cancer researchers have discovered that "too much of a good thing" is not only not good for you, but it may cause cancer.  In tests conducted in rats that were allowed to have too much of a good thing, nearly ninety percent of the indulgent rats developed one or more of a variety of fatal cancers.  "The rats were wined and dined," says cancer researcher John Smithhee, "they were allowed to take long vacations, they spent hours in saunas and jacuzzis, they lazed in the sun, they mixed cocktails, they smoked cigarettes and listened to jazz, went boating, had sex all day and just generally indulged themselves.  I guess they died happy, but I'm sure even rats don't enjoy dying of cancer."

Cell Phone Cancer Brain Drain Hits Economy - As more and more young professionals are hospitalized and dying of brain cancer induced by regular cell phone use, human resources teams are finding it harder and harder to fill vacant executive positions as the first epidemic brain drain/ technological business epidemic begins to fully escalate into unmanageable proportions.  The brain drain, the first experienced by industrialized nations, is hitting the economy where it has always been the most protected as highly educated, privileged executives, research scientists, engineers, and businessmen fall victim to the "cell phone plague," ironically brought on by their educated and privilege statuses and the corresponding need to be constantly "in touch."  "What we're finding here is that people who previously had never owned cell phones, either because they had been out of reach economically or because they had no need for them, are filling our top positions.  Often these people are under-qualified and under-educated, but we have no choice here.  In many cases, it's first come first served."  Besides yuppies and businessmen, drug dealers and swinging singles are also falling victim to the "cell phone plague."

Cowardly Villain Killed Before He Has A Chance To Fire A Second Round - In New York last week, a deadly battle had been fought, a crime ring uncovered, and a murder of a beautiful young female witness narrowly averted when a courageous young investigative reporter managed to beat a cowardly villain into submission with a blunt object he luckily found within arms reach.  Having apprehended and brought to certain justice a nefarious villain, the courageous young reporter turned his back on the man in order to aid the beautiful female witness who had been lightly injured in the confusion.  Unseen by the two, this villain crawled to where his gun had fallen and managed to shoot the heroic protagonist in the leg, injuring him and leaving him without a weapon to defend himself with.  Clearly intending to kill both the young man and the beautiful young female witness, the villain took aim, but was killed before he has a chance to fire a second round, shot in the back by a former business associate who has had a change of heart and now wants to do the right thing.  Elsewhere in New York also, a similar incident occurred between a maverick young police detective who had cracked a corruption case, who narrowly being killed by a corrupt superior on the police force - saved at the last minute by a disgruntled former partner of the corrupt officer, suspended on trumped up charges but soon to be reinstated.

"It's Not Fun To Tease OL Any More" - New studies have revealed that one of the many psychological effects of living in Japan for extended periods of time is a sudden decrease in the urge to tease young Japanese women.  The sudden decrease usually takes place after a non-Japanese person has been living in Japan for a period of three to four years.  "Our research has indicated that non Japanese-nationals, particularly males, tend to follow similar behavioral patterns when they come to Japan," says Osaka's Japan Gaijin Institute researcher John Savory.  "There is the honeymoon, the questioning period, the outraged period, and the depression of the first year, then the long acceptance period of the second year when non-Japanese tend to feel they understand the system enough to mock it.  But then they enter their third year, and they lose even their ability to mock the most obviously laughable trends, the silliest pop sensations, or the silliest giggles.  I believe that this is also the time when Japan's 'you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave' policy loophole finally begins to make itself aware to these people."  Although his thesis has not been without some controversy, it already has adherents in the local non-Japanese population.  "I fully understand the condition Dr. Savory is describing," says local non-Japanese resident Peter John.  "When I came to Japan I went through all those phases myself like clockwork.  The best year was definitely the second.  I'm in my fourth year now and experiencing acute frustration.  I used to have so much fun teasing and mocking OLs - the shoes and the inability to walk in them, the short legs, the intricate hair-dos and the checking of the hair in every mirror they pass by, the calculated messy look or the Coco Chanel look, the rainbow hair dye jobs, the heavy bags over the elbow cutting off the circulation, the chirpy enthusiastic cell phone voices, the 'anno-na... anno-na... anno-na...', the leather Louis Vuitton bag combined with the paper Chanel bag, the bags of cosmetics and folding mirrors getting whipped out on the commute, the shameless vanity... I used to make fun of it all.  But then I kept noticing women who can actually walk in their heels, pretty women who wore no make-up at all and had long straight black hair that had never been dyed, stylish women who didn't carry Louis Vuitton bags... and I just lost it.  My one source of pride and joy, taken away from me.  I've been robbed.  What am I doing here, anyway?"

The Onion Tops Head Cheese For Best SUV Satire - Despite Head Cheese's desperate efforts to create the ultimate in SUV satire, editors this week reluctantly had to concede defeat to rival new satire journal the Onion for writing the SUV satire article that clearly couldn't be beaten.  The article, with the headline "Car Maker Introduces SUV That Can Hold 10 Passengers And Their SUVs", clearly outlines the most ridiculously huge SUV ever, beating out Head Cheese's own "SUV Gives Driver 9.5 Times The Horse Power He Needs," "Films of the '90s Reflect Increased Automobile Vanity," and "New SUV To Be Powered By Bus Engine."  "The Onion has obviously pushed the envelope as far as it will go this time," says Head Cheese editor William Kopfkase.  "It's like that scene in 'the Empire Strikes Back' when you see those huge Star Destroyers from the first movie now dwarfed next to an even bigger vessel.  The Onion have definitely topped us here, and then there's always the graphic they used, with one huge SUV that has other SUVs crawling around it like ants - that was pretty funny, dude!"

Power Decentralized Further: the Commonwealth of Independent States of America (CISA) Created - Following the Russian model for once, Congress has agreed that the future of democracy lies in governmental power being decentralized further so as to be nearly non-existent.  A final phase in the creation of a constitutional Pure Democracy, this upholding of the integrity of the infallible Constitution of the United States of America may in fact also actually benefit the people of the 50 states themselves.  To accomplish this, a new political entity called the Commonwealth of Independent States of America (CISA) has been created.  "The government of CISA will be a handful of powerful individuals," explains CISA creator Russ Parrot, "who will only have control of the military and the coast guard.  The government of the CISA will be supported not by hated taxation, but by sponsorship from Coca Cola and Microsoft.  They will have no seat in the despised United Nations.  There will be no FBI, and the CIA will be replaced by a group of highly trained mercenaries hired for individual missions, kind of like in that Tom Clancy book.  We hope you like the new CISA.  Thank you very much."

Local News

Gaijin Sets Record For Making Bad Japanese Puns - In a stunning marathon of bad puns and jokes, local English teacher Richard Anderson broke the all-Japan record for making bad puns in Japanese.  Anderson made 656 bad puns in two hours, with his highest single-minute rate a shocking 20 bad puns!  The previous record had been set by former Swedish ambassador to Japan Swen Malmsteen.  Some of the bad puns included puns on people's names, place names, katakana-English puns, alternate kanji readings, kiddy Japanese puns, food puns, place-name puns, and apparent in-joke puns.  Despite the fact that had alienated all of his students, as well as his foreign and Japanese friends, Anderson remains optimistic: "my wife is ready to divorce me, but she'll change her mind when she hears about this.  I always knew that I'd be recognized for something one of these days."

OL Walks From Station to Home While Staring Into Pocket Mirror - Last week in Osaka a private detective was hired by a young man who believed that his girlfriend was cheating on him to follow the young woman in question.  During his investigation, the detective noted that the woman was able to walk the whole way from her subway station to her home while looking into a small pocket mirror and applying make-up.  "It was incredible.  She moved around obstructions like dogs and small children, stepped over potholes, dodged cars, the whole while putting on the make-up.  I've seen this plenty of times with women examining their cell phones read-outs while walking some place, but this is the first time I've seen a make-up trick.  The girl is obviously a professional."  When asked to speculate why the young lady in question was applying make-up on her way home, the detective was too distracted to be able to come up with a likely answer.

Last Tamagochi in Japan Finally Sold - Finally ending the fad that began five years ago when tamagochis were sold for up to $1000 apiece, the last known tamagochi was finally sold in a small tobacco shop in the Fukui prefecture town of Gominomiya.  According to store-owner Ohara Sukareto, the tamagochi had been there as long as she could remember.  "Some drunk customer who was trying to flirt with me finally paid for it.  I charged him 300 yen.  I have no idea what it was really worth, but I usually sell nice cigarette lighter key chains for 300 yen, so I gave it to him for that.  I hope he doesn't feel ripped off, but he was drunk and probably doesn't remember anything.  I get that a lot."  Several attempts to revive the classic tamagochi over the years have all failed, including the disastrous "gold tamagochi" special edition.  The mass amnesia has entered most people who once owned tamagochi but insist they never did is now being investigated by scientists.

Man Accidentally Buys Tissue Packets - Yesterday in Osaka, an American man walked into a convenience store and made several purchases including a multi-pak of mini tissue packets.  Only once outside of the store did Joe Fraser realize that he had bought something which is regularly distributed free.  Realizing that he had spent money unnecessarily, he went back into the convenience store and tried to refund his money for the tissue packs, but the convenience store staff appeared confused at his request.  Frustrated at his inability to make himself understood to the Japanese teenagers who staffed the convenience store he tried to use his insufficient and clumsy Japanese, before trying again in English.  Speaking slowly and deliberately did not help, so he raised his voice, and finally stormed out of the store.  When asked for comment, Mr. Fraser actively tried to look on the bright side,  "Yeah, sure, I made a stupid shopping choice, but I really like the convenient size of these tissue packets.  I guess in a way I'm also helping out Japan's stagnant economy.  Those tissue packets must have been on the shelf for quite some time.  If I didn't buy them they would have just gotten stale and been thrown out unused, and the thing I really hate most is wastefulness."

Chinese-American Gets Pissed Off! - Diane Lee, a California-born Chinese-American English teacher for a large chain of sexy station-front language schools, nearly exploded in rage in a ramen shop in Shinsaibashi yesterday.  "This is the tenth time today that people have spoken to me in Japanese, they all think I'm Japanese even though I barely know konnichi-wa.  I've only been here a week.  Can't anybody see that I'm obviously not Japanese?  My eyes are different, I don't have bleached hair or wear platform boots or rabbit-fur jackets – I don't even had a cell phone yet."  Lee, who was recruited in Los Angeles by her employer, claims to have initially been interested in the competitive salary and the chance to travel in Asia, as well as opportunities to eat cheap sushi.  "Sushi is way cheaper back home, I have been so ripped off.  I think one of these days I'm just going to answer people in Chinese, although my Mandarin kind of sucks.  But they wouldn't know that!  I met this Italian guy the other day who speaks good Japanese, he translated all sorts of stuff for me.  Now that was weird."

Momiji Season Makes Local Canadian Man's Heart Surge With Pride - Local English teacher and Vancouver native Joe Turner's heart surged with pride once again this year at the start of the momiji (maple leaf) season, when billions of tiny maple leaves on Japan's millions of Japanese maple trees turn red at once.  "I almost feel like I'm back home," says Turner, who often goes by the moniker Joe Q. Canada and arrived at Kyoto's Sanzen-in temple decked head-to-to in made in Canada clothes, many of which had red maple-leaf designs.  "I have been out every day this week if I didn’t have to work, these maples are incredible, and besides that I love nature anyway.  I think it's amazing that this country I have decided to live in would pay such stirring tribute to my home and native land, the second-biggest country in the world.  I haven't been back home in nearly ten years, but this takes me back every time.  It also helps me to forget my anger over seeing Canadian cities portrayed as... ugh... American cities in film.  I'll never forget my disgust when Jackie Chan tried to pass Vancouver off as New York in that piece of crap 'Rumble In The Bronx.'  I mean, what are those big Rocky mountains doing ringing 'New York City' in that movie.  Give me a break."

New Metric System to include Metric Time - The international standard of weights and measures known as the metric system will be expanded in the new year to include metric time.  The system, which was created in France in 1790 and implemented in most countries around the world since the 1960s and putting an end to unwieldy and varied systems of weights and measures, never included time in its original system.  Time is not broken down into units of ten the way that other measures are, rather a day has 24 hours, an hour 60 minute, a minute 60 seconds.  A second is defined as 1/86,400 of a day, but will now be defined as 1/10,000 of a day.  1 metric second (ms) will be slightly shorter than a traditional second.  10 seconds will be a decisecond (ds), 100 seconds will be a kilosecond (ks).  A metric day will have 100 kiloseconds.  A metric week will be 10 metric days, a metric month will have 10 metric weeks, and a year will have 3 metric months.  Every second year will contain a metric leap-year month, and every tenth metric year will contain two extra metric leap-year months.  Failure to comply with new metric time will result in fines and punishment from the new Metric Police, newly established by the United Nations and armed with nuclear weapons seized by the U.N. in Iraq.  Billions of replacement metric time watches and clocks have also been produced and calendars have been changed accordingly.

Hot on Tokyo Menus: Greenpeace Treehugger Sashimi - A hot new item has hit the menus of Tokyos trendiest sushi bars: "greenpeace treehugger sushi."  Named after the environmental association that opposes Japanese whaling, the main ingredient is in fact the meat of captured Greenpeace volunteers.  The volunteers, usually in Japan to sabotage whaling efforts or on Greenpeace vessels like Rainbow Warrior attempting to stop Japanese whalers, are tried, executed, and their bodies sold to sushi bars around Tokyo.  A meal of "greenpeace sushi" costs about 50,000 yen, or $500, but is difficult to find because of its immense popularity.  When asked if the concept of "greenpeace sushi" was unethical, all of the diners questioned responded with the same answer.  "Why should it be unethical?" asked Tokyo resident Sashi Miyake.  "Nobody thinks that eating cow or pig is unethical.  Some people might suppose that Greenpeace volunteers are human, so eating their meat is unethical, but in fact they aren't human at all.  For example, mermaids aren't human either and nobody has a problem eating mermaid sushi, so why not 'greenpeace sushi'?"

Local Woman Stretches a "Thank You" out to much over 10 minutes - Witness in Kyoto yesterday reported an incident of a local woman stretching out a thank you message to over ten minutes.  Kuniko Matsuyama, a prim 72-year-old Kyoto woman, yesterday met milk deliveryman Imo Satsuma on the street and proceeded to thank him for his excellent delivery service throughout the year.  She began with thanks for his tireless service, moving on to thanks for continued commitment to her, despite her age and slight infirment, then sympathizing about the hardships of life in modern Japan, the ailing economy, difficult weather, construction hazards, illegally parked cars, reckless students, weeds growing between cobblestones, finally hoping that continued loyal service wasn't hindering Mr. Satsuma's family life of irritating his lovely wife, to whom Mrs. Matsuyama also owes a debt of gratitude.  Having finished her message of thanks, Mrs. Matsuyama moved on her way, Mr. Satsuma breathed a sigh of relief, and observers stopped their stopwatches.  Time: ten minutes, eight seconds.

Woman Calls Off Wedding After Taking First Drive With Fiancee - When Ms. Yoshida Yuki took her first drive with her fiance Kuni Chan, she got quite a lot more than she bargained for.  As Ms. Yoshida and Mr. Kuni both live in Tokyo and aren't able to afford a car there, their first opportunity to drive together came when visiting Mr. Kuni's parents in their home-town in Nagano prefecture.  "I couldn't believe Kuni-san was the same person when he got behind the wheel,” Ms. Yoshida told reporters.  “First of all he turned the fan up high, then cranked the music.  I couldn't understand anything he said, although actually he practically ignored me the whole time.  At every stop sign he came to a rolling stop and then hit the gas.  I was slammed against my door a few times and hurt my arm even.  When we came to stop signs he'd wait until the last minute then slam on the brakes, and when we were driving he'd pump the gas, even accelerating when traffic lights turned red just in front of us.  I was always jerking forwards and backwards, left and right.  He'd get angry at other drivers and yell at the windshield.  He was always cutting people off, then he got lost and blamed me for not telling him he missed the exit on the highway.  It wasn't my hometown, it was his!  He couldn't parallel park, so we wasted ten minutes trying to get in a space, then he gave up and we ended up parking at a street corner in front of a fire hydrant.  He was at least a meter out from the curb!  Other cars and bicyclists had trouble getting by him.  He didn't know the first thing about driving.  How he got his license is amazing.  I'm probably not the best driver in the world either, but I would never do any of the things he did.  He drives worse then my little brother.  He even drives worse than my dad!  I tell you, you think you know someone, but you never really know someone until you drive with them.  I'm glad I had this experience, though, it opened my eyes to a lot of things.  I'm definitely not marrying this guy."  When asked for comment, ex-fiancee Kuni Chan seemed quite bitter.  "It's probably a good thing I'm not marrying that scrawny, uptight little loser.  How she can even cross the street without panicking surprises me."

Divorced Couple Having Affair - John and Betty may have divorced over 5 years ago, but these days they are still as "in lust" as ever.  Now remarried to other people, the hot couple began a smoldering affair three years ago that still has the bed sheets of local area motels on fire.  "I can't believe his passion," Betty, who asked that her last name not be used, told Head Cheese.  "He makes me tremble from head to toe.  I can barely stand when we are in the same room together.  It is like a dream and a nightmare at the same time.  I've never felt this way about anybody before.  Wow!"  John, whose name has also been withheld, has similar thoughts.  "Wow, Betty is awesome.  I can't believe that we were married once and it didn't work out at all.  I think we had to divorce before this could happen.  We have no plans to remarry each other, it’s better this way.  I feel bad about my present wife, she must know what's going on.  I wonder if I divorce her if things will improve between us, though."

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

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."

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.

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."

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?"

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.

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."

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.

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.

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."

Nervous Mother Sees Tissue Packets, Jumps to Wong Conclusion - Yesterday in Asakusa, a young man was nearly kicked out of his home by his hysterical mother who had jumped to the wrong conclusion when finding a large amount of tissue packets in the young man's bedroom.  The tissue packets, which are distributed free in shopping arcades, are examples of paid advertising that are generally the resort of money loan organizations and hostess clubs.  "When I saw those tissue packets," explained Mrs. Ishimura Buriko, "I instantly became suspicious that my son had been frequenting those establishments, like going to the loan organizations to pay for wild nights in the hostess bars, which can cost a small fortune over time.  And the interest rate payments on those things are so high, we'd have huge bills that we could never pay off in our lifetimes.  And when I confronted him as to why he had those tissue packets he turned red and began stammering, trying to pretend that they weren't his.  I could tell he was guilty of something.  But I called those loan sharks and found out that they have never done business with him, now I feel a bit better.  I nearly had a nervous breakdown, though."  Mrs. Ishimura's son Isaii tells a similar story.  "My mom nearly went insane.  It was something nobody should see happen to his mother.  I wanted to tell her what I needed so many tissues for, but I think it would be even more embarrassing, so I just let her worry about the loan sharks, kept her from asking too many questions.  Yeesh."

Foreigner With Jet-Black Hair Mistaken For Local - The most distinguishing feature of most of the expats living in Japan is size and hair color.  But what about foreigners who are not tall and have black hair?  John Partridge is just such a person - standing at 165 cm and with thick jet-black hair, he is often mistaken for a Japanese man, especially when he wears a dark blue suit and a trench coat on his way to work at a western trading firm in Osaka's business district.  Mr. Partridge explains that he is used to this sort of treatment.  "Back home a lot of people thought I looked like Kyle MacLachlan - you know, that guy who was in the Flintstones movie - except with thinner eyes; now here they think I'm Japanese.  Like I'll be buying the English paper, the lady will begin chatting with me in Japanese, I'll tell her in broken Japanese that I'm a foreigner and I can't speak Japanese, she'll chuckle and continue talking and talking, then after a while she'll actually notice for herself that I'm not Japanese and look at me funny and clam up.  Also happens in bars and restaurants with bartenders, waiters, and waitresses, actually."

Japanese With Unusual Features Mistaken For Foreigner - Mr. Kimchi Okajami has a high, arched nose, pale skin, sallow cheeks, and thin, light black, naturally wavy hair.  Because of this he is often mistaken for a foreigner.  As a result, whenever he encounters a foreigner they often nod their heads to him or perhaps attempt to strike up a conversation.  But since Mr. Kimchi has never learned how to speak English, these attempts are stymied by the inevitable language gap.  English-speaking foreigners often go off assuming that he is an Italian-, Romanian-, or even Farsi-speaking foreigner after they have given up trying to communicate with him.  "It's really frustrating, you know," complains Mr. Kimchi.  "All of my Japanese friends think that I have really typical features, there's no mixed ancestry in my family as I know of, I don't know why all of these foreigners think I'm one of them.  Still, it makes me wish I had studied English harder when I was in school..."

Gaijin Takes Acute Offense At The Term "Gaijin" - John Ketts, a gaijin English teacher, has begun a petition to bar the word "gaijin" from acceptable use in Japan.  With already over a thousand names on his petition, he intends to ask his Japanese girlfriend to present the petition to her local representative and ask him to take it to the Japanese diet in Tokyo.  "I've heard this term 'gaijin' from the day I got here, and it never fails to get on my nerves," explained Mr. Ketts.  It's been the root of some serious fights that have gotten me in a bit of trouble with my employer and the authorities as well.  It's not my fault, it's this racist word.  People tell me it simply means 'from other places,' like 'stranger' or 'foreigner,' but I know it has other sinister nuances - basically, in my book, it's racist.  Why can't people call me 'friend,' why do they have to emphasize that I'm a foreigner just because I was born in another country?  I can't help that.  And the term 'gai-koku-jin,' or 'gaijin-sama' or 'gai-koku-jin-sama,' all of these are just euphemisms for the problem.  I want them all barred.  And besides that, anybody who lets themselves be called a 'gaijin' without putting up a fight is just some kind of Uncle Tom."  Mr. Ketts conceded that he had no problem with the older terms "keto" and "ijin" for his kind of person and hopes that they will one day be reinstated in the popular language.

Time Magazine Cover Urges Us Stop Caring About AIDS - In an unprecedented move on the part of a news magazine, Time Magazine recently urged anyone who read the cover of their recent issue on the damage done by the AIDS plague in Africa, where men, women, and children are dying of the pitiless disease.  "I may be wrong," says Time reader John Williamssen, "but when they say 'try not to care,' I think they really want us to stop caring.  It doesn't make much sense to me, those people look like they're suffering mightily."

Complaining English Teacher Shuts Up When Asked If He Remembers Any Of His High School French - John Smith, irate over his high school students' complete inability to learn a single English phrase despite excellent materials, native teachers, and high repetition, stopped his complaining instantly when asked by a colleague if he remembers any of the French he learned in high school.  Smith, who never learned a lick of French in seven years of study, seemed able to empathize perfectly with his students once his co-worker brought his way of thinking around and gave him some perspective.  With his head on straight, Smith found it much easier to go through the motions of teaching a foreign language to disinterested students, learned to stop taking things personal, and has since been sleeping much easier.

Exchange Student Uses All His Spare Time Deconstructing the Japanese Psyche - John Throaty, an exchange student at Hiroshima Gaidai University, is slowly becoming an expert on the Japanese psyche.  Although he has only been in Japan a year, he has used all of his available free time analyzing and deconstructing the character of the Japanese people and has written several long treatises on it, some of which he has published on his homepage.  All of his emails home to friends are intense musings on the forces that drive the Japanese and shape their worlds, their priorities and motivations, as well as several theories about the evolution of Japanese cultural institutions.  "I noticed all these things, constantly, from the first day that I got here and on and on, every day - little things, big things, the Japanese are so mysterious," explains Mr. Throaty excitedly.  "Sure they do all the same things we do - take trains, ride cars, do the laundry, fix food, go to work, come home, relax, watch a movie, eat, sleep, have a beer with friends, smoke too many cigarettes, plan a vacation or two a year - but somehow they do all these things just slightly different than we do.  For example, in the trains you never see anybody eating, or sipping a drink.  Why is that?  I have a few theories.  It's so different back home, people eat sandwiches, candy bars, drink pop on the subways, whatever. When I went home for Christmas, some dumbass put her Pepsi on the floor of the subway for a second so that she could get something out of her backpack, the subway slowed down suddenly coming into a station and the full drink tipped over and rolled all over the subway car making a mess, it was ridiculous."  Throaty has theories on everything from the popularity of manga, sex roles in Japanese society, the popularity of cell phones, Hello Kitty, masked characters and masks in general, phallic imagery in train stations, the evolution of rice triangles, uniforms, shrines and temples, love gods, subway groping, vending machines, and the types of aprons favored by matronly grandmothers.  Friends and family of Mr. Throaty are also fascinated by his ideas, and are slowly becoming versed in Japanese cultural psychology themselves.  "John's emails are lengthy and fascinating," says father John Throaty Sr.  "I think he should publish them in book form.  My son could be up there with the great Japan deconstructionists like Pico Iyer."  Others are not quite so enthusiastic.  Ex-girlfriend Marsha Graves wonders what all of the fuss is about.  "All of this analysis of what Japanese women wear?  What's it all good for.  I think John should just finally come out of the closet and stop living in denial."  Unfortunately, Throaty has suffered a bit of an ideological setback recently following a shattering revelation.  According to Throaty,  "all of my theories fell apart when I realized that none of my Japanese friends have a personal Zen master."

Woman Rides Bicycle Slower Than Walking Pace - Kumi Masatakamoto's preferred form of transportation when going further than 500 meters from her house has for the last 60 years been her trusty mamachari bicycle.  But what makes Mrs. Masatakamoto so exceptional is that she has in recent years actually mastered the art of riding a bicycle at slower then a walking pace.  "I often see Kumi-san on the streets," explains Mrs. Masatakamoto's 65-year-old neighbor Shiiko Borimoto, "and I always say hi as I walk past her, even if we are going the same direction I can usually overtake her at my regular walking pace.  I wonder how she manages to ride so slowly - if I try to ride my bicycle that slowly I usually fall over.  Kumi-san must have fantastic balance, I wish I could have such balance even at my age, I wonder what will I be like when I get to her age?"  Kumi Masatakamoto is said to be over 93 years old.

Corrupt Politician Busted For Accepting $20 Bribe - Cut rate local politician Wakamoto Kurumataro, forced to bring down his price of doing "favors" for local building contractors and organized crime figures to around 2000 yen (US$ 20), was recently convicted of accepting bribes from authorities working for Shikiwiki Constructions.  Wakamoto, who issued a public apology for his actions, claims that he ddn't knowingly commit a crime, and had asked the judges to consider the low amount of money as transportation costs that the construction company were paying him for coming to the meeting.  "It may seem like a bribe," claimed Wakamoto, "but actually it was just Shikiwiki offering to help me defray transportation costs and other expenses.  I took the subway over, it cost 880 yen one way, which surely accounts for most of the 2000 yen, doesn't it?"  Wakamoto was convicted twice last year of accepting bribes, all under 5000 yen (US$ 50).

Man Pushes Both "Up" and "Down" Buttons - A man waiting impatiently for an elevator to take him from the seventh floor of the building he was in to the twelfth floor decided that he could speed up the elevators by pushing both the up button and the down button; this is in spite of the fact that he really only wanted to go up and not down.  Later an empty elevator going down stopped on his floor.  Seeing that the elevator was going down, the man realized it would make no sense to get into the elevator that was going down when he in fact wanted to go up.  The elevator went to the first floor, then stopped again on the seventh floor on its way up and he got in it.  He was instantly whisked to the twelfth floor where he proceeded to complain about the slow elevator service in the building.  "I had to go from the seventh floor to the twelfth floor - that's five floors up.  If it had been only one or two, I would have taken the stairs, but five is a bit too much for me - I guess I should cut down smoking.  I really should quit. But before I do that, I really want to see better service in those elevators!"

OL Wears Out Mirror - Anybody who thinks a mirror is something that cannot wear out through overuse had best think again - Kumi Yamamoto of Osaka, Japan has just become the first person on record to do just that!  Ms. Yamamoto, who never goes anywhere without her cell phone, her make-up bag, and her pocket mirror first began to notice her pocket mirror wearing out last year.  "Well, you know, the color was beginning to fade a bit," Ms. Yamamoto explained excitedly, "and I was thinking that it was because I was wearing a bit less make-up that day, but then I noticed it every day, even on bright sunny days when I wasn't wearing sunglasses and when I knew for sure I had heavy make-up on and all that.  Then it began to go pretty blank, kind of like a piece of white cardboard with some saran wrap over it, so I decided to go out and get a new mirror.  It made a huge difference, now I can even see all of my pores and everything - gross!!  But I can't be without a mirror, I check it all the time... well, I guess I use it every spare minute I have really.  But that's pretty weird, isn't it?  I never heard of anybody wearing out a pocket mirror.  I have heard of people wearing out their cell phones, though.  I've gone through three of them myself, wore right through most of the buttons themselves, wow!"

If Only They Could Talk - Famous Shogun's Favorite USJ Attractions - Cultural observers in Japan rarely miss a beat, and with the opening of Universal Studios Japan there has been a flurry of analysis regarding how the Japanese, a.k.a. the tradition-bound people who are yet still pioneers of designing the future, will take to the park in contrast to the sights of Kyoto, the brilliance of Mt. Fuji, and the child-like glamour of Disneyland and Hello-Kitty Park.  Will the Terminator 2 3-D ride cultivate virtual technologies?  Will the Back to the Future ride encourage research in time-travel?  Will the Waterworld ride resuscitate the career of Kevin Costner?  We asked cultural observer and Japan deconstructionist John Throaty to span the generations and use his expert opinion to speculate on which rides would probably have been the personal favorites of the most famous (and infamous) figures from Japanese history.  "Well, to lead up to the modern era, we would have to go back to the warring shogun period that established the Edo period, the last great shogunate before modernization and industrialization.  To start with the three great shoguns of the warring period, Tokugawa Ieyasu, Oda Nobunaga, and Toyotomi Hideyoshi... I believe that Oda Nobunaga would have gone for the Terminator 2 attraction, since it is the most shocking and violent.  Tokugawa Ieyasu, being a progressive with his eye on the future, would have naturally gone for the Back to the Future ride, and I think that Toyotomi Hideyoshi would have gone for a Snoopy ride - he was an old softy who loved spending time with his grandchildren after all.  Natsume Soseki, the great modern writer, that's a tough one.  I think he would have been most interested in the Rockin' Halloween show, since it's a bombastic amalgam of modern ideas and progressive intellectuals like Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and the free-spirited Beetlejuice.  Sakamoto Ryoma, the founding revolutionary who helped to set the Meiji Restoration on its way, would probably have gone for the Waterworld ride, since it could remind him of the battle of the Gulf of Tosa.  Regarding the emperors themselves, I would be unwilling to speculate.  They already have their own theme parks dotted around Japan in the form of all those shrines, graves, etc."

International News

George Bush Sr. Stood In For Jr. - Close inspection of election coverage videos taken in the month of July show that on at least three occasions, ex-President George Bush stood in for current presidential candidate George W. Bush, a.k.a. George Jr.  While these claims were initially denied, despite the fact that it is clearly the ex-President giving speeches in Billings Montana, and Butte, Idaho, the George Jr. HQ was later forced to confirm the reports.  "I didn't think that there was anything wrong with it," Bush Sr. told reporters.  "I have a lot of friends in Billings and Butte, and I haven't been able to get out there in a while.  I had a lot of support there in '92, and to tell you the truth, I thought I'd do a better job for George Jr. on this one than he could himself.  I want the people of Billings and Butte to know that when they vote for George Jr., they'll be getting two presidents for the price of one.  I stand behind my son all the way."  When asked if he will run for election in 2004, possibly opposing his son in the primaries, ex-President Bush simply stated "I haven't decided yet.  That just depends whether George Jr. is a good boy in office."

George Jr. Anxious to "take the country out for a spin." - As the nation prepares itself for it's 43rd president, sources close to president-elect George Bush Jr. have stated that Mr. Bush Jr. is "increasingly getting more and more excited day by day," and can hardly contain his joy.  "He goes around hugging people, sometimes slapping backs quite painfully, or he uses that crushing handshake of his," says staff assistant John Miles.  Mr. Bush Jr. himself has told the press that he is anxious to "take the country out for a spin," and regrets that he has to wait until the end of January.  "Dad told me I really had to wait until the day, no jumping the starting gun here.  He gave me some advice on how to warm things up, then speed things forward gradually, always taking care to halt and take stock when going into new territories, but what he doesn't know is that I fully intend to jump into the seat, hit the gas, spin the wheels, lay a patch, and whip right out of there.  Nobody's going to see what passed them.  I'll be like that guy in Back to the Future, I bet."

Woman Heard Farting - Yesterday in Louisianaville, Washington, a young woman was reportedly heard farting.  John James, 26, was in a convenience store shopping for toothpicks when he thought he heard what sounded like a fart.  He instinctively looked around the store for the perpetrator, assuming it to be another male since "it sounded pretty ripe," realizing finally that he was alone in the store except for the young female cashier who appeared to be busy with her work.  "At first I thought I might have been hallucinating - you know, like a sound hallucination?  I get that a lot.  Anyway, I forgot about it, but later when I went to pay for my toothpicks, I smelled that awful stench.  It was disgusting.  I surely wasn't hallucinating that!"  Louise James, 23, has not admitted to the fault.  According to her store manager, she will not be disciplined.

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."

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.

Submarine Ramming Incident Raises Headlines All Over The World - The training-boat ramming incident that occurred in Hawaii earlier this year, though largely ignored by the world press, has nevertheless has sparked some headlines in some of the smaller newspapers.  Among them are "Nuclear Submarines Useless Except To Kill Foreign Civilians In Peacetime," "America: the New Rogue State?" "Submarine Party Spoiled By Pesky Gnat-like Foreign Training Boat", and "US Military Moves Anti-Japanese Troops From Okinawa To Hawaii."  All newspapers have later printed apologies for the seemingly hateful nature of these headlines.

Man Ignores "Say Hello" Request - John Fartridge was walking home from work late one Thursday night when he was stopped by an acquaintance he barely knew.  Detained for only a minute, the acquaintance asked him to give his regards to Fartridge's wife, even though they had never actually met.  When Fartridge arrived home that night, his wife was in the bath and his dinner was waiting for him on the table.  Taking some time to eat his meal and watch a bit of television, Fartridge allowed his mind to wander as he took some time to drink a large scotch before he got ready to sleep as one of the dead.  It was only the next morning that he realized that he had failed to convey the previous evening's request to "say hello" to his wife.  "I remember when I was a kid," related Fartridge, "and I met my former babysitter on the street one day.  Her younger brother was my best friend.  She asked me to say hello to my mom.  It was the first time that I had somebody ask me to do such an outlandish thing, so I kept putting it off and putting it off.  It's now thirty years later and I still haven't conveyed the message.  I think they haven't met in those thirty years, and they're both getting on in age, I better not wait too much longer.  It's always been a traumatic incident for me to convey my regards to people, I just hate doing it.

"Partners" May In Fact Be More Than Just Partners - A recent conversation around a company water cooler in which a man told a story about his "partner" has led to some speculation among participants as to what the exact nature of the two men's partnership is.  "We have a pool at the office about this," says QuickMinute middle manager Robert Owings, "most people think that they might be tennis partners, other people believe that they are business partners in some kind of side business.  One person even believes that the partner might actually be some kind of kinky sex partner!  It's all in fun, though, really."  More recently, a new pool has started with participants betting on the actual sex of the "partner" in question.

Witty Retort Arrives 24 Hours Late - When his co-workers were chiding him for describing the guitar style of Jimmy Page as "moody" at an office party on
Friday, Brian Pooflech needed a witty retort at his ready command.  Unfortunately when it finally arrived, it was 24 hours late.  The boys were juiced up, having already been drinking for over two hours, when Pooflech arrived relatively sober and with a friend in tow.  Being thus disadvantaged, there was little he could do then the tiny arrows began to fly.  "I'm not very good with witty retorts anyway," Pooflech later told people.  "My witty retorts always arrive about 24 hours too late, I think I need to go to a witty retort seminar or something, other people seem to handle them with ease and I always wonder why I take such a long time to come up with real stingers.  I mean, there are people who are quick as a whip, and that is a talent that can be learned as well I'm sure.  Some people just blurt out their retorts ill-formed, I don't want to be like that.  But what good is a witty retort if it's a day late?  Either come on time, or don't come at all I always say."

Man Lies to Wife About Affair With Secretary - There are times when John Roobani wishes that his secretary were less attractive, but no more so than on nights when his jealous wife accuses him of having an affair with the gorgeous blonde single mother former beauty queen.  Finally one day last week, Roobani gave in to pressure and told his wife that he was indeed having an affair with his sexy secretary; Jane Roobani moved out the same night.  "I didn't want to tell her that I was having an affair," Mr. Roobani reported.  "I'm actually not having an affair with Miss Chamberlain, my secretary, but Jane refused to believe me, so I lied and told her what she wanted to hear to shut her up.  I don't know if I did the right thing, but this is such a mess, I don't know what I can do now.  I probably would have had an affair with Miss Chamberlain, sure, if she were interested, but she turned me down every time.  She doesn't need an affair with a married schmuck like me when she can have her pick from half the town.  Now I have neither wife nor mistress.  Why are people so willing to believe lies, so unwilling to believe the truth.  What a mess."

Mailroom Clerk Gives Himself $5 Million Bonus - In a bold attempt to mimic the president of the rich international electronics organization he works for, mailroom clerk Brian Benson has given himself a $5 million bonus.  Eagerly awaiting approval by the board of directors, Benson discussed his move while waiting for the results of the decision.  "I'm pretty sure I'm going to get it, since I know that I'm a valuable asset to the company and my work this year helped increase sales 1000% while I cut mailroom costs to a fraction of what they were last year by bringing my kids and getting them to work without pay, not to mention outsourcing to a Central Asian sweatshop.  I'm pretty close with most of the members of the board, so I'm hoping that they'll help me out the way I helped them out last year - believe me, I haven't forgotten to remind them.  The fact is, though, that I've already spent some of the money - the loan sharks are closing in.  But if I get it, I should have more than enough for a couple of years.  I've got big plans.  Two weeks off coming to me, Monte Carlo here I come!!"

Population of Liechtenstein Passes 1 Billion - The population explosion in Europe hit another benchmark last week as the population of Liechtenstein, one of the smallest countries on earth, passed one billion.  The tiny alpine nation is nearly entirely covered with housing, and in fact more than 75% of all of its citizens live outside of Liechtenstein's borders in nearby Switzerland, Austria, and Germany, often commuting over three hours every day in order to work in the commercial corridors of Vaduz.  Liechtenstein, once a sleepy nation reliant on banking and a small tourism industry, saw a population explosion in the last decade of such unrivalled proportions that the population doubled every couple of months.  The king of Liechtenstein, with over fifty children of his own, has responded to the problem by building an extra wing on his castle and declaring a national emergency.

Bill of Rights Syntax Error Debated - Constitutional law has been torn apart in recent weeks by the discovery of an apparent syntax error in the second amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, which gives the people of the United States of America the right to "bear arms."  In a controversial new study released by acclaimed constitutional historian James Brindrommy, the author claims that the drafters of the second amendment did not have firearms - guns, rifles, and other explosive weapons - in mind when they passed the amendment, but rather the "arms" of bears, or what we would in modern times call bear paws.  "At the time in America," explains Brindrommy, "a lot of people hunted for their food with bows and arrows, and parties would often go out and kill bears for their meat; bears are considered dangerous, but in fact they are slow-moving and easy prey to large hunting parties.  The native peoples of the time coveted bear paws - mostly for the claws which were used to make jewellery considered a sign of a hunter's bravery and capable of bestowing further luck - and some battles were fought between natives and settlers about who final possession of the paws of the bears; the rights to bear paws was a very important issue at that time.  So Congress needed to pass a law protecting the so-called 'bear arms' in question.  It really puts a bit of a spin on the whole gun debate, now doesn't it?"  So far, the NRA has refused to comment on the controversial report.

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.


"I Object To The Word 'Madman'" - by Sven Thoorsson
Time and time again I hear people using the word "madman."  "Who is that madman driving?"  "What kind of madman would send his kid to a school like that?"  "What can those madmen in government be thinking?"  Even the term "work like a madman" is already commonplace.  In this era of political correctness, have we forgotten the feelings of entirely half of the human population?  Everybody knows that mad acts are not only attributed to men.  In fact, most of the crazy, stupid, insane acts are the inspiration of dumb chicks who don't take a second to think things through!  Just because it is men who run government, doesn't mean that all of the failed projects are the result of the "mad" ideas of "men."  The point is that when we don't fully understand the subject that what we're talking about, we should never ever assume the sex or identity of a lunatic, in any situation whatsoever.  After all, if you assume, you make and "ass"” out of "u" and "me."  Nine times out of ten the stupid idiot in question turns out to be female in persuasion anyway, so I think I should start introducing the word “madwoman” to the English language and see if it catches on since it is statistically accurate.  It should, if there is any justice in the world (but watch this space for updates as to whether or not there is any justice in the world just in case, you madwoman).

Fashion -

Instant Elegance - Just Add Shawl - Not enough elegance in your life?  Simple - just throw a shawl over your shoulders.  Whether you're trying to make a good impression on a first date or going to the office or just watching TV, a shawl will add all the elegance you need and then some.  Shivering from the cold?  The fact that these elegant bolts of cloth keep in the heat is just an added bonus, so why deprive yourself of even an ounce of elegance when you can keep yourself warm at the same time?  These great new fashion accessories go with any look, from stiletto heels and black leather mini-skirt to jeans and sneakers, a shawl will hide your gangly arms and place extra emphasis on that beautifully overlooked part of the female body - the shoulders!  Need to look good as you walk to the store for some cigarettes?  Just add shawl.  Need something to fumble with and balance as you walk your dog?  Just add shawl.  Need something to hide mysterious packages, fresh scars, track lines or bruises?  Just add shawl.  How many times do I need to say it?  If you don't have a shawl this season, you really just can't be considered attractive.

Arts and Entertainment


Virtual Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame Established - New home to Spinal Tap, the Stains, the Rutles, and Wyld Stallyns - Jacksonville, Tennessee.  Last week, local officials attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the brand-new Virtual Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame.  On hand to cut ribbons were members of Spinal Tap, the Rutles, the Stains, and Wyld Stallyns, as well as director and actor Christopher Guest.  Spinal Tap were slated to play a short set to mark the occasion, but were eventually unable to due to their drummer's fatal drug overdose on the morning of the opening.  "We don't seem to have much luck with drummers, do we?" offered Tap lead singer Nigel Tuffnel.  The members of the bands got to see their groups enshrined in the museum with articles of touring costumes, musical instruments, and other memorabilia such as a chair that Corrine Burns of the Stains once threw into the audience at one of their shows.  "Yeah, it hit some guy in the head and split his head open," said Burns, "but he held onto the chair, took it home and bled on it.  He kept the chair, sat on it a lot, then decided to donate it to the museum.  Nice guy, I'm sorry I threw a chair at him now, but I guess there's still a happy ending to the story."  Other bands enshrined in the museum are the Metal Corpses and that punk band that the Stains once toured with.

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."

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.

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!"

Mariah Carey Faded and Wrinkled - A poster of Mariah Carey, which has been hanging in the same music store window for several years, is now tattered, dusty, wrinkled, and nearly faded beyond recognition.  The poster, which is an advertisement for Ms. Carey's 1985 debut CD "Ooh Baby, Baby, Baby, Baby... Baby," has been hanging in the window since early 1986.  "Our store-front gets a lot of sun," explains manager Daerak Reilly, "and I suppose we should clean the front windows a little more often.  A few years ago we talked about replacing that particular poster, but nowadays we think it has a certain amount of charm and a kind of character of its own, so we intend to leave it there and just change the other posters around it.  It's become a kind of joke around here, people come in saying 'hey, Mariah's a bit more faded, got more wrinkles than last time,' and I think that makes them happy."

Heavy Metal Fan Indignantly Refuses to Believe That His Favorite Bands Suck - A stalwart heavy metal fan for over twenty years, John Roberts is one of the musical genre's last great holdouts, still stubbornly insists that heavy metal rules and refusing to concede that any of his favorite heavy metal bands suck.  Roberts, who is 35 years old and still lives at his parents house in a small poster-covered room in the basement, claims to have had a near-religious experience when a friend asked him to come along with him to a Judas Priest tour.  "They were touring on the British Steel album," explains Roberts, "and my life changed forever.  I never looked back.  Priest, Maiden, even Motley Crue, they rule my world in their many incarnations; even through their flirtations with rap and funk I stood strong.  The German metal bands like Destruction and Heavy Pettin', they're good, I always get their new albums when they come out, these bands are all still going strong even after all these years, more proof that metal is here to stay.  Metal lives.  Heavy metal rules the world, it will never die.  Some of the weaker bands like Stryper or Quiet Riot get torn apart, but that's the short-sightedness of the record industry at work there.  Queensryche have a new album out, Ozzy Osborne has never been stronger, and Iron Maiden and Judas Priest have a virtual monopoly on the metal world with all of their spinoffs and bands by former members.  Another exciting area is Canadian metal, with acts like Anvil, Thor, Annihilator, the Killer Dwarves, all that wild stuff.  Mercyful Faith have just gotten back together again, it's like the third time I think.  I got my tickets for the concert, they just went on sale too.  You get yours?"


Holy Smokes, Folks. - gossip, by Goofy Pete.
Holy smokes, folks, didn't those guys in Hollywood learn that crap 70s and 80s TV shows just don't make good feature films when they made the Avengers and Inspector Gadget?  Do I even need to say the dread words the Dukes of Hazard?  How about the Six Million Dollar Man?  Or dare I say... the Fall Guy?  Our kids are going to make fun of us relentlessly when they see us standing in line and forking over 10 hard-earned bucks for Knight Rider 2 - the Movie starring some new guy who doesn't even look like the main star.  Sure that Michael Knight guy is a big TV star again (sans that K.I.T.T. car, of course, the real star of that series) with all those hot baybes, but who really wants to see him on the big screen?  Who besides the Germans, that is.  Nobody wants to watch trailers for his films when they see other films in the theater.  Nobody wants to see his face on posters all around their city, and nobody wants to answer embarrassing questions by their kids when they get a Knight Rider promotional Happy Meal (tm) at McDonald's.  What we really need to do now is figure out a way of punishing the studios that develop these films and manipulate us into seeing them by clever publicity.  How about storming out en masse and asking for refunds five minutes into the picture?  Or maybe all of us people who hate '70s TV series should just kill ourselves.  Then they'll be sorry.

Critics Undecided as to Whether "the Bone Collector" is Worse Than "Copycat" - As the film criticism season winds down, there is still some hot debate among a certain group of critics who can't agree whether the recent "Bone Collector" film is worse than "Copycat."  Both films deal with a serial killer, a housebound expert guiding a rookie assistant, bad acting, ridiculous plot twists, and a final confrontation in the housebound character's house.  "The Bone Collector" stars Academy award nominee Denzel Washington in one of his worst roles ever, and "Copycat" stars Academy award winner Holly Hunter also in one of her worst roles, but there are other factors that have set the film criticism world into a flurry of debate.  "On one hand, it is mysterious why any of the fine actors involved in these two movies took these roles," says Sun-Times critic John Davis, "except for the money, that is.  But besides that there are other issues, like why the production companies thought that the world needed another film like this, or why they decided that they really needed big name actors.  And the disappointing use of talented actors even in minor roles, like Queen Latifah and Michael Rooker strikes me as odd as well."  Davis contends that "the Bone Collector" is the inferior film of the two, as it lacks even a clear motive for the killer involved.  Rival critic at the Times-Picayune Brian Smith contends that "Copycat" is in fact the worse film of the two, pointing out that there is not a single moment of true suspense throughout the whole movie, except that created by the high-strung pacing of Ms. Hunter.  "Davis doesn't know what he's talking about," he also added.

Eyes Wide Shut - Director's cut - Universal Pictures this week has announced that for the DVD release of last year's hit movie "Eyes Wide Shut" they will be able to release a director's cut.  Mr. Kubrick has returned from the grave to supervise the construction of the DVD set, which will include 6 discs, and has given permission to include out-takes and a running scene-by-scene commentary.  Now for the first time, fans of Kubricks films will be able to see a whole series of takes for various scenes, such as Tom Cruise walking across the room (35 takes), Tom Cruise ogling a prostitute (50 takes), Japanese businessmen ogling a prostitute (60 takes), and Nicole Kidman looking on numb with fear (a record 125 takes).  The controversial orgy sequence that was filled with digital obstructions will be revised, and technicians will add more obstructions as per Mr. Kubrick’s requests.  A planned European version will have the digital obstructions removed, and new sex scenes have been filmed and added to it.  Harvey Keitel’s deleted scenes will also be included, as will Jack Nicholson's legendary "Here's Tommy" cameo, also deleted in the studio cut.

Joe Esterhas to Star in New Joe Esterhas Movie - With a public waiting in eager anticipation for a new film based on one of his scripts, Joe Esterhas has upped the stakes by announcing that he will not only write but also star in his next hit film.  The burly screenwriter, who some say looks like a cross between Rob Zombie and an actual zombie, will play the part of a burned out police detective trying to kill his wife while he escapes from a killer on his trail, all the while navigating a horror house of drugs, incest, necrophilia and narcolepsy.  "I always made films before for art," said Esterhas in an interview in Interview, "but this one is for the fans."

Post Attention Deficit Disorder: the Movie - Arnold Schwarzenegger has always made movies with a bang, now he has made one with a mission - to educate people on the suffering caused by Attention Deficit Disorder, or ADS.  As filming for his next hit movie Post Attention Deficit Disorder wrapped in Hollywood, Schwarzenegger himself gave a press conference to announce this important new film.  "ADS is a very serious new ailment and it's wreaking havoc in the most important part of our society - among the children.  If kids can't pay attention, how can they mature enough to take over from us when they inherit what we are building for them in society today?  When I was a kid myself nobody understood this condition and our teachers always told us 'pay attention!' or 'stop daydreaming' or they asked us if we were stupid.  Now we can help kids like that more, although there is still a lot about ADS that even doctors don't know, like what causes it.  Still, we do know something, and that is what my film tries to investigate.  It is an important film, I hope you all find the time to go watch it.  Thank you."  In the film, Schwarzenegger plays John McQuaid, a New York cop who discovers a conspiracy to spread ADS right in his own building.  It affects everyone in his family, and he has to fight off the effects himself.  What he soon discovers, to his horror is that it is all the work of his twin brother's clone's split personality!  Schwarzenegger has already signed up for a sequel, the Revenge of the Not-So-Common Cold, and has already begun to lose weight for his next film about male bulimia.

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.

Movie Review: "Big Daddy" - Lucky Half-Canadian Bastard Kid Gets to Grow Up in America - (Spoiler alert!) Big Daddy is a heart-warming comedy starring Adam Sandler in a typical role as a drawling, irresponsible underachiever who hangs out with a kid he thinks he has adopted.  The kid is a bastard Canadian boy with an American father.  Together they come up with a plan to help this boy grow up in America so that he won't have to be a part of the notorious Canadian school system.  And yes, folks, there is a happy ending!

Movie Review: "Casting Couch - the Movie" - Taking the 'Candid Camera' approach, some brilliant Hollywood producer has made himself an instant millionaire by making his first film about the first step most actors take in being cast in a Hollywood movie - hitting the casting couch.  The film includes unbilled performances by some of the industry's hottest stars, as well as some who will never be stars, and sees how they rate on the casting couch.  "The film has gotten a lot of praise for its cinema verite feel," says director/producer Thom Wellis, "well, that's because I didn't tell the actors that the cameras were on.  Some of these famous people thought that I was casting them for the new Tarantino film.  And some of these kids who would sell their souls to be in any film, I used the names of directors who had been dead for a long time - none of them caught on.  It was a lot of fun.  Best thing was the record-low budget - none of the stars want a cut, and all I really paid for was the cameraman, the film developing, all that overhead stuff.  Now if I had really cast them all..."

A Night at the Sub-Genre Awards - In a stunning star-studded ecstati-clectric awards ceremony in Hollywood last night, the winners of the Sub-Gendre Awards were announced.  The winner of the Best Film Where A Divorced Couple Gets Back Together is Twister, just beating out Outbreak.  The Best Cliffhanger Movie With No Sequel award went to Inner Space, still the champion in its field.  The many contenders for the Best Film By A Short Actor And A Tall Leading Lady stood on their toes as the envelope opened - the winner was "husband" and "wife" team Tom and Nicole for Eyes Wide Shut.  Finally, the consolation prize of Best Film That Wasn't Marketed Correctly (i.e. the downer award that nobody really wants to win) was given to Fight Club, which failed in its expectations to earn a billion dollars when too many scenes of Edward Norton's naked chest were shown and not enough of Brad Pitt's.  "Some people actually stayed away from this film because they thought it would be too violent," says Hollywood head of marketing John Wesley, shaking his head.  "Can you believe that something like that would happen in America in this day and age?  And then the people who went just to see the violence thought that there wasn't enough.  Maybe it should have just been called 'Brad Club.'  Now, I wonder how it would have turned out if we had gotten Kelsey Grammar instead of Edward Norton."  But there's still a happy ending to the loser award (which remains unclaimed) - Fight Club is a major hit on video, where sales are approaching the $500 million mark.

Only In The Movies: Only in the movies can a famous celebrity be treated like ordinary person.  Like look at Madonna's date trying to get a seat for the two of them in a restaurant in her new film "The Next Best Thing."  He has to resort to a corny trick like saying "would it change anything if I told you that Harrison Ford was in our party," when really all he has to do is say, "look who my date is - it's Madonna, dude!"  Now that I come to think of it, wouldn't it have been funny if he had used Kevin Costner instead of Harrison Ford, considering how Madonna made fun of "the Mariner" in her "Truth Or Dare"?  Or if they had set the film in "the Nazi State of" Toronto?  I wonder if Madonna and Harrison Ford hang out.  I wonder if Madonna has ever been to a baseball game with Kevin Costner in Toronto.  But I digress.  Only in the movies can Brad Pitt or Julia Roberts walk into a 7-11 and nobody says "hey guys, look, it's Brad Pitt," or "hey guys, look, it's Julia Roberts."  Only in the movies can some extra say to Charlie Sheen "hey, that's my girlfriend" before a fist fight breaks out, since anybody else would probably just say "hey, Charlie, you were really good in 'Being John Malkovich.'  Are you going to be in the sequel?  Is that really true about you and the... and the... and the... say, do you know Rick James?"

Only In The Movies: Two Styx Lovers Meet, Fall in Love - Aren't the movies great?  Only in movies like the recent Big Daddy film starring Adam Sandler can a kinder, gentler world be created where two Styx lovers can meet and fall in love without being ridiculed and shamed into silence and anti-social behavior.  And only in the movies can people admit that they like the group Styx, which became famous for mid-'80s soft rock hits such as "Babe" and "Mr. Roboto."  Especially shameful is the fact that they know the name of the group's lead singer, Tommy Shaw, a name almost completely wiped out by cultural amnesia.  Luckily for people in the real world, the influence of a major star like Adam Sandler, and his presence in a film where the long-forgotten band's name was resurrected, people can now buy a soundtrack album with Styx songs on it, and perhaps occasionally hear Styx again on the muzak system.  Aah, Tommy Shaw...

Melanie Griffith Wins Oscar In Virtual Fantasyland - As all of the big stars line up for their Academy awards, there seems to be one major star who has been overlooked and has never been recognized, despite her amazing contributions to film art.  Yes, this is Melanie Griffiths, whose incredible work in "Shining Through" was not recognized by the Academy, or nearly anybody else.  Luckily, there is justice, and in a virtual fantasyland the wrongs that Ms. Griffiths has suffered in the real world have all been righted.  In this virtual fantasyland, Ms. Griffiths has earned more acting awards than any actress in the real world has been able to collect, not to mention the fact that she has never had to undergo messy divorces or cope with drug addiction, plus she gets offered all of the great female roles that usually go to Julia Roberts.  Unfortunately, it is not yet possible to live permanently in this fantasy world, but scientists are still working on making this an eventual possibility.

Julia Roberts Updates "Mystic Pizza" Role, Wins Oscar - After years of trying to win an Oscar by taking roles as nervous legal students, zany prostitutes, runaway brides, and herself, Julia Roberts seems to have stumbled on the formula for success by going back to her roots and rehashing the character she played in her first feature film, the zany romantic comedy with heart "Mystic Pizza."  As luck would have it, the script which contained the character so very suitable to Ms. Roberts' personality told the true Oscar-potential story of an underdog beauty queen who had beaten the odds and brought justice to a community of low income victims of industrial poisoning.  Although Erin Brokovitch is a real person, Roberts was able to play her version of the famous legal aid so realistically by reaching back and recreating her first and most personally intimate role as the sassy Daisy Araujo who waitresses at the Mystic Pizza pizzeria in the town of Mystic, Connecticut and updating it by showing what Daisy might have been when she "grew up."  "Daisy and Erin have the same soul," says assistant screenwriter David Spade, "so it was just a matter for Julia to tap that energy, to bind the two roles that represent her psyche so totally, and the Oscar was hers.  Actually, it was that and those great bras that she wore.  How could people not help but notice?  That biker boyfriend of hers isn't the only guy with eyes in his head.  Why do you really think he was doing all that free babysitting, anyway, huh?"  The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is contemplating whether or not a retroactive Oscar award should be given to the cute little picture that didn't have a famous director or earn any other special awards.

Erin Brokovitch Nearly Nominated For Cameo Role in Erin Brokovitch - Sure Julia Roberts won the best actress Oscar for her portrayal of Erin Brokovitch in the film "Erin Brokovitch".  But what of the real Erin Brokovitch?  Head Cheese has heard that the real Erin Brokovitch was nearly nominated for the best actress in a supporting role for her cameo as a waitress in the film "Erin Brokovitch", named after her.  "The academy felt that Ms. Brokovitch was very deserving of some sort of recognition," said Academy spokesperson Michelle Phillippe, "not just for her brave attempt to portray a struggling waitress, but also for her real-life plight, for which she was rewarded with a bonus of several million dollars.  And the way that she delivered her single line 'and anything for you, ma'am,' showed that she had really immersed herself in her role and mastered all of the nuances needed for a convincing performance.  Unfortunately she wasn't onscreen long enough for her to qualify for the award, despite her amazing performance.  But I really think that she had a good chance of winning, don't you?"

Sequel Mania: "The Insider 2: Inside Hollywood" and "Gladiator 2: Beyond the Walls of Sleep" - Hot rumors circulating Hollywood report that hot actor Russel Crowe is now hard at work on the simultaneous filming of the sequels to his two most successful and critically acclaimed films of last year, the same ones which helped him palm the sweaty statuette at this year's Oscar awards ceremony.  "The Insider 2" will feature the fictional activities of a real-life tobacco industry whistle-blower as he goes undercover in the Hollywood film industry and exposes the truth behind all those rumors that have captured the imaginations of so many film fans, fans who have been deprived of the truth for years.  Among the truths rumored to be exposed are the notorious hamster incident, the case of the aging actress who removed a rib to maintain a youthful body, as well as the case of the celebrity stomach that was pumped because it was too full of sperm.  In "Gladiator 2" Rowe is rumored to be playing the role of Roman general Maximus, killed in the final scenes of "Gladiator", returning to action as he wakes up from a coma to discover that the world of ancient Rome that he had lived in was merely a virtual world designed for the amusement of a single young child by his visionary programmer father.  A playfully violent film that is a cross between Bergman's "the Seventh Seal" and Glaser's "the Running Man", the film also nods to such films as diverse as "Tron", "the Lawnmower Man", "eXistenZ", and of course "the Matrix".  Hollywood filmgoers are waiting in eager anticipation for both films, heatedly debating which they will line up for months in advance to see first on opening night - Hollywood sources reveal that both films are slated to open on the same day!!


Book Reviews: This book is just one long exercise in building similes and metaphors, like some sort of a long hallucinatory trip - "The Consumer" is the new book by former Swans lead singer M. Gira and it is a collection of short stories and scenes describing life in the undercurrent of society describing depraved characters and situations like some sort of collection of surreallistic classified ads.  The carefully etched skeches are lush and filled with feathery words that tickle the mind like some sort of soiled paintbrush or a martini that has been made with too much vodka.  The book is essentially a long exercise in building similes and metaphors, like some sort of long hallucinatory trip, it's a signpost on the way into the downward spiral of madness and depravity.  Now thanks to Mr. Gira, we don't need to take the trip ourselves and revel instead in the passage he describes like yuppies who pay to watch junkies have sex through one-way windows.

Book Review: Book Title, by Book Author - This book by this author is a whirlwind ride of suspense, thrills and chills.  From the first page you will not be able to put it down until you get to the last page, and then you will want to read it again.  You are in for an orgy of fear and murder.  The suspense will become almost unbearable.  You won't be able to turn the pages fast enough.  The climax will stun you with a nightmare ending of violence, thrills and surprises calculated to make your blood run cold.  For the author is the supreme master of plot.  So intricate, so sinister, so chilling, so utterly plausible you will scream inwardly.  The book will seduce you with a fast-paced, riveting plot, challenging you with adroitly conceived clues and leave you gasping at a totally unexpected ending.  The author consistently cleaves love's emotions like a diamond cutter, splitting off gem after gem of insight.  Once in a while, words unexpectedly crystallize and emerge before us with the radiance of a sparkling jewel.  The book is such a gem, one whose light is especially brilliant.  The author's style is the most arrestingly original since Naked Lunch.  Also, the author has a classic sense of the absurd, a foolproof ear and a great heart.  The author's place is in the front rank of this generation of novelists.  His work has the power, the intimacy with suffering and morality, the honesty and moral urgency of Dostoevsky's.  A tour de force, simply his best work to date.  This is the most purely literary novel the author has written, a virtuoso orchestration of language.  You are invited to the opening of an American masterpiece.  RSVP.  PDQ.  A master stylist with hideously interesting new-fangled manners and the heart of an old-fashioned moralist.  Funny and ingenious.  It's tempting to call the book an "auspicious" book, but that doesn't say enough; in fact, the author has already delivered the goods.  First rate fiction.  The author has created a world that is etched in a particular era - and yet one that transcends, as all fine fiction does, that time and place.  The novel is set to become a unique popular classic: a wonderfully engaging mystery story that also forms a completely accessible and lucid introduction to its subject.  Remarkable.  Monumentally gripping... a compulsive epic.  Another classic page-turner... will keep many a flask of midnight oil burning.  Secrets and their revelations are what his books are all about... a master of the cliff-hanger.  Probably the greatest story-teller of our age.  A compulsory page-turner.  Entertaining.  Absorbing... the pages fly by.  The author does it again with this novel, it has the best first 50 pages for pure storytelling impact that I have ever read.  Absorbing and filled with wonderfully eccentric characters and a protagonist who battles himself as he battles the dark side of his world.  Worth staying up till 2 A.M. to finish, the pages almost turn themselves.  A classic adventure.  Exciting and tinged with wonder.  Intriguing... ultimately quite moving with a subterranean pull as old and potent as myth.  And on top of all this it also has a great cover - a hole cut in the paper reveals a full color spread inside the cover with a remarkable, lush painted scene.  If you do not buy and read this book you are living an empty life.

Bloom County Now Completely Forgotten - A decade ago it was one of the most popular syndicated comic strips in the whole country, compiled in various books that rivaled even Peanuts in sales, eventually spawning a classic screen saver.  Often compared to Doonsbury, with its cutting political humor, Bloom County added more than a little surrealism to the mix.  But now a full ten years after creator Berkeley Breathed hung up his pen, almost nobody among the over-30 men and women polled remembers the once-loved cartoon strip.  "Bloom Country?  Isn't that the thing about the penguin?  A big nose penguin that can talk?  Kind of like Dumbo?  Yeah, I remember it.  What was that bird's name?  Dumbo or something?" was the comment of one woman polled.  Bloom County calendars have not been printed since 1995.

Magazine With "Collector's Edition" Printed on Cover Fails to Become Collector's Edition - Already desperate with dropping ad rates and a crippling paper-boys strike, the editorial staff at Life and Rhymes feel-good poetry journal took a stab in the dark - they printed the words "collector's edition" on the cover of their spring issue.  "We really thought it would breathe a little life into L and R," said head editor John Smith, "but nobody really seems to care that they have a chance of making their only copy of Life and Rhymes a real-life collector's edition.  Sales are still down."  At press time, it appeared doubtful that printing "collectors edition" on something will actually make it "a real-life collector's edition" like Mr. Smith claimed.

Special "Double" Issue Actually 1.5 Issue - A recent issue of Time magazine that contained a special report section on a recent trend had the words "double issue" printed in large letters on the cover.  A close inspection of the magazine, however, showed an issue of a magazine that was somewhat less than double.  With an average issue of Time running around forty pages, the sixty-page "double" issue was hardly double, even if the cover feature wasn't light as air, skimpy on insight, and contained virtually nothing new that hadn't been circulating free via word of mouth anyway.  "Nowadays the word 'double' in connection with the subject of a 'double issue' is not to be taken literally," explained manager of marketing Ron Griswald.  "The term 'double' is perhaps similar to the McDonalds hamburger known as the 'quarter pounder,' which actually weighs less than a quarter pound.  I'm sure this information is not new for anyone anyway.  I believe that people usually interpret the term 'double issue' as meaning 'bigger than usual.'  Besides, we have had a few ultra-light issues that were less than thirty pages, so in a sense it really is a 'double issue.'"  When asked whether it bothered them that the issue of Time that they were paying double for was actually less than double, most readers expressed indifference.  "I usually read it for free in the library anyway," says university student John Williams.  "It's a little light on information to pay the full price anyway, 'double issue' or not."

Cultural Icons of Today - How Will They Be Regarded By Our Children? - As time passes on and the generation that followed the Baby Boomers ages and has children of their own, speculation has begun to arise about which cultural icons the PBB (post baby boom) generation will chose to be thrust upon the PPBB (post post baby boom) generation before they have icons of their own.  Who will be the Humphrey Bogart, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Joe Dimaggio of their generation?  What will be their 2001: a Space Odyssey, their Woodstock?  What events that they never experienced will have their relevance explained to them over and over again?  After conducting a poll, Head Cheese has come up with an easy-to-understand table that translates PBB generation imposed icons to PPBB.
(answers follow bolded names and events in yellow type.  To check the answers, click and drag on your mouse to block/select the concealed words and they will become visible).
Cultural Icon Conversion Table
Humphrey Bogart - Robert DeNiro.
James Dean - River Phoenix.
Marilyn Monroe - Courtney Love.
Joe Dimaggio - Dennis Rodman.
"2001: a Space Odyssey" - "Eyes Wide Shut."
Woodstock - Woodstock 2000.                                                                           Answers written in yellow text - select text to reveal answers
"Seargent Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" - "Nevermind."
the death of Elvis/John Lennon - the death of Kurt Cobain/G.G. Allin.
the invention of the birth control pill - the introduction of ecstasy.
the assassination of JFK - the fall of Pee Wee Herman.
Abbie Hoffman - Zach de la Rocha .
the Vietnam War - the CNN war.
the Gulf of Tonkin Incident - NAFTA.


Birth Rate Among Gay Couples Dangerously Low - With an all-time low birth rate of 0.01% among homosexual couples, some sociologists doubt whether the species will be able survive after this generation dies off.  "Nobody knows how these people will be able to reproduce themselves," says National Gene Pool advisor Arthur Isaac, "but I suppose nature will find a way to keep the gene pool diverse."  No research is being conducted on the case of the potential extinction of this species, although many scientists are maintaining a healthy 'let's wait and see' attitude so rarely seen in the scientific community.  There is some hope that fag hag culture and recent Madonna movies and videos will help to bring the birth rate up, but it will be another 20 years before anyone really knows for sure.

Pig Latin on Endangered Languages List - There is a new language on UNESCO's list of endangered languages - pig Latin!  The language, once a secret domain cherished by children in several English-speaking countries, is now on the decline as younger and younger children find their primary means of secret communication focused on the internet.  A campaign by the Ationalnay Igpay Atinlay Ocietysay to promote internet Pig Latin sites has faltered, and a drive to introduce the language to emails and bulletin boards has failed to catch on.  "Pig Latin may one day go the way of it's ancestor, Latin," says Ocietysay founder Ohnjay Ayjay Reyfay.  "At the moment it finds itself in the company of Esperanto and the Basque and Okinawan languages, which I am sorry to say we can do nothing to save either.  What a damn shame.  The most we can do is make sure that a written record survives for future generations to revive."  The language's last hope may be in a crossover pop hit by someone like Ricky Martin or another superstar.  "We're keeping our fingers crossed," says Reyfay, "but unfortunately the names 'Ickyray Artinmay' or 'Elinecay Ionday' don't have a nice ring to them.  They should continue recording in their native English languages."

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."

"Cloning Hurt By Negative Image Portrayed in Films" Says Advocacy Group - With the portrayal of cloning as the work of criminal masterminds in films like "the Boys From Brazil" and "the 6th Day," as well as clones being the source of destructive mischief in films like "Blade Runner" and "Multiplicity," cloning advocates have been finding cause to worry about the image that the entertainment industry has chosen to associate with their cause.  "If people were making films like this showing any other racial group in such a light, they would be instantly be branded racist and shut down," says CloneAd advocacy group representative Sharon Selbe, "but cloning is such a new field that no precedent has been set.  Clones are people just like you and me.  They are people with ten fingers and ten toes, just like you and me, they have all of their organs, they have brains, hearts... and they have feelings too.  At our events and press conferences, we always make sure to try to put other people in their shoes in order to correct the popular mistrust towards clones.  After all, if I suddenly told you that I were a clone, would you feel any different about me?"


Electoral College Still Protecting Americans From the Tyranny of the Majority - Although the constitution was written over 200 years ago, it was written with intentions to be ageless.  That is why the laws outlined in the constitution are still as valid today as they were then.  The French writer Alexis de Toqueville came to America over a hundred years ago to survey this new democracy and he wrote his great treatise Democracy in America as a result, the most memorable quote of which was the one where he outlined his ideas on "the tyranny of the majority," which can happen in a democracy when the desires of the many are taken in favor of the desires of the few, no matter how valid the desires of the few might be.  What De Toqueville theorized is that the American system of checks and balances provides for the tyranny of the majority still, often helping the minority win the way.  The most common example of this is in the case of powerful lobby groups that build up influence in Washington and change the way laws are made.  Most recently our electoral college has continued to uphold its mission of freedom from the tyranny of the majority by electing George Bush Jr., the little guy, to be the 43rd President of the United States.  Despite Mr. Bush Jr.'s attempted concession speech, with the memorable line "aw, look, I may have got the electoral vote, but Al got the popular vote... he really won... I want him to have the presidency... go ahead Al... you can have it... you won it fair and square," the electoral council managed to convince Mr. Bush Jr. to stand behind the constitution and take his place in the White House for the next four years or so.  This is the way it has been for 224 years, by golly, and it shouldn't be any different!

Cars kill more people than cigarettes do! - Taking on big tobacco must have been the last decade's most nobly misguided cause.  While there's nothing wrong with punishing the makers and promoters of a dangerous product, the big guns have all been fired in the wrong direction: it seems to me that cars actually kill more people than cigarettes do.  Why have the car makers been allowed to get off scot-free and only the tobacco makers have been sued of all of their ill-gotten gains?  Probably because of modern society's love of the freedom of owning a car.  Humanity grew and prospered for a million of years without them, and will certainly survive on and on if every last one of them were to disappear.  And while cigarette-smokers tend to live 10 or 20 years less than they might if they hadn’t begun smoking, cars don't discriminate who they kill - age is no barrier, from the newborn infant riding shotgun to the geriatric pedestrian.  If the greedy do-gooder lobbyists want a new cause, go after the car-makers, they've got plenty of blood on their hands.  I'm looking forward to the day I see bumper stickers that say "They Can Have My Car Keys When They Pry Them Out Of My Cold Dead Beer-Stained Fingers."  Now that's class!!!

Canadian Suffrage - Give Them the Vote! - One of the most contentious issues raised by the last U.S. election was not actually loopholes in the voting process that allowed a candidate with a lower number of popular votes to win, but rather the prickly issue of the exclusion of Canadians from the U.S. presidential election process.  Canadians, who are in fact no different from Americans, have many aspects of their lives shaped by events that take place "south of the border" from them, yet have no voice in the choice of a new president, senator, or even congressman.  Remember "no taxation without representation?"  Well, it is a sad fact that import duties levied on Canadian goods are no more than a form of just that.  Canadians are even expected to be conversant on American political issues and are bombarded by American news, yet the Canadian "prime minister" has barely even been officially recognized by the U.S. news media and is often forgotten or ignored altogether.  The inclusion of Canada in the voter's demographic would also add a significant number of white people to the count, not to mention open up a whole new market for election coverage, the Superbowl - the list is endless.  Oh won't you begin to care a little more about our less fortunate neighbors?

Science and Technology

Cell-Phone That Doesn't Give User Brain Cancer Developed! - Scientists this week have finally unveiled an invention that will only help to increase growth in the rapidly-developing telecommunications sector - the no-cancer(tm) cell phone.  "A cell phone that doesn't give the user brain cancer is probably the last hurdle the telecommunications market needs to complete full market saturation.  Ever since we hit the ceiling of 89% and couldn't get past it, our marketers realized that there were a few health-conscious sticklers who refused to get cell phones," industry spokesman Scott Gilbraith told reporters at an industry press conference yesterday.  "Just to win them over, we have developed this new phone that is guaranteed by several noted doctors in the Falkland Islands to leave users' brains free of cancer and disgusting malignant growths, even several years down the road.  Naturally the long-term effects of these things aren't known, but if you are worried about brain cancer they are certainly a lot safer to use than the ones that people have been playing with for the last five years anyway - yeah, sure, by a long shot!  Whew, I sure wouldn't want one of those little isotopes next to my ear making me demented and power hungry..."

New "Spork-Knife" an Instant Hit - Sometimes science just needs to take its time to complete it's way of thinking, as is the case with the new "spork" knife: combining a spoon and a fork to make a "spork" was one good idea, but combining a "spork" with a knife is an even better one!  The 1992 invention of the "spork" was big news, but plastic cutlery industry leaders expect the "spork-knife" to be an even bigger hit.  "Why go for 2 in 1 when you can have 3 in 1," asks leading "spork" manufacturer Spork Industries press agent Jack O'Nancy.  "The Swiss learned that half a century ago.  Mind you, they have even achieved 100 in 1, but unfortunately there are still limits to what you can actually do with plastic cutlery."  The traditional "spork" puts short teeth on the front lip of a spoon, but the new "spork-knife" adds a sharp knife to the handle of the "spork" itself.  People using the "spork-knife" must be careful not to cut themselves on the knife/handle of the "spork-knife," but so far test groups have survived with very little blood shed.  "At first there seemed to be some confusion as to how to use the "spork-knife" to hold down food and cut it at the same time, but we have solved this by making the "spork" head detachable!"

Chopsticks Version 2.0 - Eating Utensils Design Improved For First Time In 5000 Years - The first person to use chopsticks to eat probably saw two sticks lying on the ground, picked them up, and showed off his finger dexterity by using them to pick up objects without touching his fingers - possibly objects the superstitious early peoples of Asia thought were infected with some form of "the cooties."  With the slow development of chopstick use as an art, it is believed that only people regarded as magicians had the finger dexterity to use the mysterious objects, and it was often considered a test of who was born with magical abilities.  The fall of the shamans began when more and more common people displayed chopstick-wielding abilities, thereby swelling the ranks of the shamen uncontrollably and filling the group with obvious phonies with no special abilities other than being able to use the sticks.  Oddly enough, though, since the common use of chopsticks began thousands of years ago, the design of the chopsticks themselves have gone through very few changes.  To remedy this, an ambitious Southern California group ChopDesign has undertaken a redesign of the simple eating tools by changing the look and feel of the eating utensils completely.  "We've reshaped the tools," says head designer Richard Dickson, "giving them more of a cup-like ridge to help people to eat oily fried rice, which doesn't stick together the way white rice does and is difficult to eat with chopsticks.  There are grips on the chop-sticks so that they don't move around.  We're also experimenting with a third chopstick.  This will be good for sales, as we could be able to charge more with a truly innovative design.  We have to really be careful about the designs we choose, since we want this to be the one that will stick around for the next 5000 years."

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?"

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."

My Time Machine Will Take Us To Year 2002 - Time travel is one of the last unexplored technological frontiers to be breached by human endeavor - indeed, it may be the last barrier to prevent the average human from evolving into a god-like being of its own.  And now a man in Florida believes that he has discovered the first of what we hope will be a long line of time machines, each generation more advanced than the next.  "I call my time machine 'the model tee,' after the automobile pioneered by Henry Ford," says time machine inventor William Ford.  "Since these are still the early days of development of this technology, our ambitions are small, which is why my time machine will only take its passengers one year into the future.  So anyone who wants to get to the year 2002, just hop inside."  The journey to the year 2002 is expected to take several months, during which time several in-flight meals will be served.  On-board entertainment will also be provided, possibly in the form of a Nintendo Game-boy.  One way tickets are available on an auction basis, bidding will start from $20,000.

New Study Reveals That Julius Caesar May Actually Have Committed Suicide - New studies by acclaimed historians at several Ivy-league schools have revealed new research that indicates that Roman emperor Julius Casear, who lived over 2000 years ago, may not have been betrayed and murdered by those closest to him, as has been commonly believed up until now, but may in fact have committed suicide instead.  The studies, published in History Journal, have not been without some controversy, although several noted historians have admitted that the studies do indeed hold up to critical scrutiny.  "There are not many out there who do not know the story of Julius Caesar, as popularized by William Shakespeare," says Bannbridge University head historian Robert Schmalpozwilla, "but this can only be considered a fiction in the broadest sense, a play merely based on the actual history of Julius Shakespeare.  What in fact happened is that Caesar had been grappling with depression.  He had it all, and all he could do is think about throwing it away.  Kind of a Great Gatsby type if you will.  When his friends in the high council heard about depression and possible suicidal tendencies - for indeed Caesar's father Maximus Octavian Caesar, had died a suicide - they gathered around him and tried to talk him out of this desperate act.  Caesar listened to what everyone had to say, finally turning to his best friend Brutus, and uttered the classic line 'et tu, Brutae?'  Brutus, too overcome with emotion, could not choke out the arguments that he had prepared to try to talk Caesar out of taking his life.  And the group of sad men had to face the fact that Caesar was committed to taking his own life.  You have to remember at that time... a Roman emperor was all-powerful, and even the power to take his own life... could not be denied one who carried the title caesar.  And so he stabbed himself in the back."


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.

Sports Editorial - Sure, He Beat Me By 0.001 Seconds - So What! - I'm a swimmer.  That's what I do, I swim.  I'll never be a bowler, I'll never play cricket, and I'll never do archery; I'm a professional swimmer, and that's it.  If I could get gills, I would.  I have accepted my lot in life, and usually I'm happier in the water than I am anywhere else, even when I'm literally swimming my guts out.  This is the way I like it and I'm more than content with my lot in life.  But what really gets me about professional sports is the incredible accuracy that is available to swimming organizers these days!  The last two times I've competed I've come second place.  The first time I was beaten by 0.005 seconds, the other time I was beaten by 0.001 seconds.  I'm not sure how long 0.001 seconds really is, but it seems to me that it's basically the heartbeat of a flea, a hairs breath, whatever.  Sure, maybe this is sour grapes or something, and anybody who wants to call me a sore loser can feel free, but what does 0.001 seconds mean to the average person?  This is really on a sub-atomic scale, isn't.  So who can begrudge me if I consider myself a joint winner of these competitions?  Did Charles Bukowksi miss getting the Pulitzer Prize by 0.001 seconds?  Did the Pope miss getting the Nobel Peace Prize by 0.001 seconds?  It's pretty ridiculous if you ask me.


Microsoft to sue two Japanese cities for copyright infringement - In a questionable and unprecedented move by a wise multinational corporation, Microsoft has announced its plans to sue two Japanese cities for copyright infringement.  Sanda-city, a suburb of major metropolis Osaka, and Mita-ku, a borough of Tokyo city, both have alternate writings that use the same two Kanji characters.  Coincedentally, the two characters in question, when combined, bear an uncanny resemblance to Microsoft corporation's "Flying Windows" trademark.  "Although we understand that these areas have used this name for several centuries," a Microsoft spokesman told a packed press conference yesterday in Seattle, "the fact is that the flying windows trademark has been registered and protected in most countries in the world, including Japan.  We can suggest that these areas write their names without the controversial kanji characters in question, or reverse them, or rename themselves entirely."  The spokesman further notes that failure by these towns to comply within 24 hours would result in their being sued in international court, after which the bankrupt towns would probably be bought up by Microsoft itself and incorporated into the company, along with 10% of the free world.  On a final note, the spokesman pointed out the precedent for this type of lawsuit had been set by Japanese corporations themselves in the 1980s in the United States of America, resulting in names changes for the town of Sunny, Massachussets, the Heetahchi tribe reservation, and the Tushy Bar chain of sports bars.

Publishing Industry Seeks Ban on Cut and Paste Function - Following the lead of the music industry's crackdown on MP3 file sharing, the publishing industry has taken a crack at dismantling its biggest bane - the cut-and-paste function that is standard in nearly all computers sold these days.  "We have to put our information on the internet for promotional purposes," says Association of Publishing Interests co-chairman John Macy, "but people come along and just cut and paste these words, that we have rights to, and save them on their hard drives, distribute them in emails, and what have you.  This freedom has got to stop."  An early solution was found and some publishers began putting their text information on their home pages in the form of scanned pages, which could not be lifted out as text but as one single .jpg file.  The slow speed of sites filled with such information discouraged visitors to such sites and the practice was abandoned, but not before it did irreparable damage to the experimental sites in question.  "Several companies have lost share value as a direct result, it has been proven," continues Macy.  "When I see the music industry getting into a tizzy about recordable tapes and MP3, I think about how our movement is being overlooked.  Nobody seems to care about the omnipresence of photocopiers and the whole cut-and-paste revolution.  It's not really fair, is it?  I think we should change our name to the Society to Bring Awareness to Industrial Double Standards."

Katzenberg Calls Eisner "Big Midget" - In what is being called a minor news event, last week Jeffrey Katzenberg admitted to once calling Michael Eisner a "big midget."  While it is true that tall men are very rarely the figures of fun, this didn't prevent Katzenberg from making the alleged insult.  Eisner seemed unshaken by the barb, responding merely by saying "I don't care what the little midget thinks about me."

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.

Chicken Farmer Counts Chickens Before They Hatch - Longstanding wisdom has always been to never count your chickens before they hatch.  Unfortunately, chicken farming is a profession that just does not allow the luxury of following conventional advice.  "We have to prepare a budget for every year," says chicken farmer Robert Hatch, "and this means preparing a forecast of how many chickens we expect will hatch so that we know how much feed to buy.  Orders have to be made well in advance.  If we don't calculate potential litters, it means we have to sit on our asses and wait, then deal with a potential scarcity of vital feed for the vulnerable little hatchlings.  And if that means having to count our chickens before they hatch, then I guess it'll just have to be our policy to do so."


Quotable Enough to Quote:

"What do you call a light-bulb that's not bulb shaped?"  Peter Hoflich, rhetorical questioner
"Japanese men's penises might not be so big in general, but they get incredibly hard.  Like diamonds."  Okabe Takuya, computer repairman
"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
"I don't hate fags, I just wouldn't marry one."  - Jessica Green, homophobe.
"You should never assunme - when you assunme, you make an 'ass' out of u 'n' me, heh heh."  - Charly Chortle, smarty pants.
"Can the essence of something so complex as the intermixture of two diametrically opposed entities be boiled down and neatly packaged into three pages of a free magazine?  There are some who believe this possible."  Kansai Scene, free magazine.
"In a scene straight out of Titanic, he met her 12 years ago aboard an ocean liner."  Kansai Scene
"Nova shit eru."  Nova school advertisement in Japan
"Just because I can't explain a hypothetical event satisfactorily doesn't mean it won't happen."  Jennifer Righitighti, Research Scientist
"If I have some money I buy Pokemon trading cards, and if I have any left over I buy food."  R. Asmus
"If I have some money I buy hair products, and if I have any left over I buy food."  John Slullee
"If I have some money I buy food, and if I have any left over I buy more food."  Rita Small
"He changed his attitude 360 degrees."  Rene Pascault, cultural philosopher
"the X-Men takes the ecitet out of excitement." - Time magazine writer, obviously unable to resist making a horrible pun.
"No matter how open-minded they might be, a 30-year-old will never ever understand the priorities of a 60-year-old.  Never, never in a hundred years, never in a thousand!  So they might as well give up trying."  John Will, crotchety geezer
"No matter how hard I try, I'll never be accepted as a woman... and that's so sexist."  - John Walters, leader of Women R Sexist 2.
"I never ever ever ever ever ever exaggerate."  John Williams, exaggerator
"After I drank that stuff, I literally puked my guts out."  John Williams, exaggerator
"'The king of poop'?  I don't get it, why would anybody let somebody call him 'the king of poop', much less start a marketing campaign calling himself 'the king of poop'.  I mean, that's like saying 'I'm the king of shit,' isn't it?"  John Strange, mechanic
"How can this guy be a TV announcer if he can't even pronounce 'shibboleth' correctly?"  John Jakes on FBS news anchor Brian Broadshaw.
"Between Jell-o and a soft place."  Silvia Jones, gelatin therapist
"What we hope to achieve is an era of kind compassion."  Some politician
"What's 'kind compassion'?"  Some punter
"Landmines don't kill people; people kill people."  Walter Chaleston, National Landmines Association
Our economy must not just be first in the world, but must be the first by a large margin; and if we have to sacrifice the environment to achieve those goals, then so be it.  After our administration, the deluge.  My children don't want to inherit the earth from us anyway.  the President (implicit message only)

He Said/He Said: Where we offer a forum for two white males with opposing opinions.

He Said/He Said: Only Love Can Break Your Heart vs. Only Love Can Make You Happy

He Said: Only Love Can Break Your Heart
Everybody knows that only love can break your heart.  Neil Young said it best, though, when he said "only love can break your heart, da da da da, da da, da da," I think he was talking about being together with some beautiful women, being in love with her, then she becomes kind of like a psycho and breaks up with you, or you break up with her because you think you have a chance with her best friend and that doesn't pan out, and you end up regretting everything you ever did with her, well all the stupid things anyway, and then you realize that you have a broken heart.  That's why I think that only love can break your heart.  What else can break your heart, really besides losing a bad bet, or getting stabbed in the back by your best friend.  Or maybe a slug from a .45.

He Said: Only Love Can Make You Happy
Love is so groovy.  There are lot of things that can make you happy - money, a great car, a house near the water, a fat cigar - but really the only thing that can truly make you happy is love.  Sure you tell your girlfriend some lie and go out with the boys and have a great time, and that's being happy and having a good time, but there's nothing like love to really make you happy.  And it's not like you weren't happy with your friends, but you're really happy with your girlfriend, I bet, right?  It's different, see?  Of course, if you come back a little too late, or if you drink a little too much, or if you have a bit of that strange perfume on some part of your body, then love might not make you so happy.  But I think in that case, it's not a case of the love itself making you unhappy - the root of that problem is probably just pride, not love.

Wieners and Loosers: An information table where we decide who is a wiener and who is a looser.
Newsweek: For putting out a better magazine than Time.
the Economist: For putting out the best news magazine around. 
Bill Gates: For being richer than anyone associated with Time magazine. 
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. 
SUV owners who own stock in petrochemical companies
SUV owners who actually take their vehicles out of the town limits
Pol Pot: mass murderer died before he could be convicted
Roo Pol: limp wrist corrected successfully in breakthrough operation
Van Halen: lose homepage vanhalen.com to fanboys, register van-halen.com
Time: For putting out a crappy, manipulative, uninformative news magazine. 
Time: For being a newsier version of Life, with less information than People. 
Time: For having the audacity to expect people to pay for their crappy rag. 
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. 
SUV owners who think the U stands for "urban"
Asian Time subscribers who read the condescending "Sex In Asia" cover story
Brian Broadshaw: FBS news anchor couldn't pronounce "shibboleth" correctly
OL Mari Obahara, who wore out her thumb writing emails on her cell phone.
OL Sara Watanbe, who still doesn't even have a cell phone

Hissy Fit of the Weak: Time Magazine vs. 600 pound sumo wrestler
Name: John Blython
Age: 54
Weight: 98 pounds soaking wet
Occupation: writer for Time magazine
Best Punch: "So he crashes his motorcycle - what a loser."
Name: Akebono
Age: 28
Weight: approximately 500 pounds soaking wet
Occupation: sumo champion
Best Punch: "Somebody called me a loser?  Just point him out to me." 
Winner: Akebono, who is not a smudge on the sidewalk... unlike the other guy.

Let's Make A Bad Joke - Question: What will you do when digital phones become illegal because they cause brain cancer?

I'll hit the black market, there will always be cell phones available there.
I'll send passenger pigeons to my friends with unimportant messages when I have to kill time.
I'll invest all my attention in a pocket calculator with advanced functions.
I'll buy a virtual cell phone.
I'll reluctantly go back to talking to people face-to-face.

Letters to the Editor -

Dear Head Cheese,
I've been reading Head Cheese for quite some time, and I've always wondered exactly what you meant by the header "the news as it aughtta be," what is that exactly?  The way I figure it, it must mean "this didn't really happen, but it's just been waiting to happen, so there's a good chance it probably happened somewhere unreported and it's our duty to imagine its likelihood and report it anyway in the guise of satire," or maybe it means "wouldn't it be great if the news really was like this," of "the news is like this, but nobody else bothers to report on things this absurd."  I too have been guilty of doing similar things, always backing myself up morally with the powerful axiom of Lord Byron's "truth is stranger than fiction."  Or maybe it is an indication of an even higher conspiracy that takes it all to another level, a whole massive nation-wide news cover-up that Head Cheese is our only portal into.  Wow.  Anyway, thanks Head Cheese for the great reporting, keep up the good work.
John Meyerlingk (by email)

Dear Head Cheese,
I am an English teacher, and I was outraged that you printed the article about a teacher who has given up distinguishing between "the" and "a" sounds.  This can only lead to the unraveling of the English language as we know it.  I mean, if I say "thesaurus" everybody knows what I'm talking about, but if we just say "asaurus" whenever we don't feel like saying "thesaurus," then there can only be chaos since nobody will know what we're talking about.  I'm not just talking about the cause of the thesauri, I'm talking about any word with "the" and "a" sounds, you nitwits!
John X. Malcolm (by email)

Dear Head Cheese,
A few issues ago, somebody brought up what I thought was a really important topic, the one about faked letters to the editor.  So I've been re-reading your letters to the editor and I must admit that they all sound like they have been written by the same person.  So come on, be honest - no readers ever send in letters to the editors, right?  You just make them all up, right?  Right?
Larry John (by email)

Dear Head Cheese,
Thank you for your article on the guy who spends all of his time deconstructing the Japanese psyche, this totally reminds me of another person I know, that was all he talked about.  First of all he was a big manga/anime/video game/character nerd.  He even liked Hello Kitty.  He used to rave about how subtle and interesting the Japanese were, how different they were from us.  He used to phone me and talk for hours, and then when he went to college he would write me these long emails - they naturally all went straight into the garbage bin.  He even showed me some homepage that describes exactly which star in the universe the first Japanese migrated from.  It seems kind of condescending to me.  Most of the Japanese I know don't eat sushi all the time, and prefer soccer and baseball over weird martial arts.  I think guys like "deconstructionist man" are full of crap.
John Hanks (by email)

Dear Head Cheese,
Thank you for writing such an informative article on my deconstructionist interests, I think that the case for full deconstruction is now only being understood on a wider basis, and with more education and a few years to develop the science further deconstruction has a good chance of becoming a full-time intellectual activity in our schools and colleges.  I only have one minor point to clarify in your article, however, that of a slight mistake in my name.  Although you got the spelling of my last name, Throaty, correctly, you failed to explain to readers that there is a silent "h" in my name, hence Throaty is pronounced "troaty," rhyming with "doaty."
John Throaty (by email)

Dear Head Cheese,
Your article "Causal Effects in the Films of Wilt Stillman" was fascinating, but I have to admit that I'm not entirely certain what a "causal effect" is.  Am I stupid?
Patrick Gore (by email)

Dear Head Cheese,
When did people agree to stop calling George W. Bush Jr. "George Jr." and start calling him "George W."  I like the Jr., I think it sounds dignified and presidential.  It would be even better if we just called him Junior, like that '80s TV character.  And I have to disagree with the people who think he looks like a chimpanzee - he doesn't look like a chimp at all, he looks more like a weasel.
Simba Jones (by email)

Dear Head Cheese,
Thanks for your explanation of the "righty tighty, lefty loosey" thing a couple issues back, I never understood it before, but now it makes total sense to me.  Ironically, I now hear people using it incorrectly all the time, but at least I know better than they do.  But there is another thing that keeps bugging me, like that "six of one, half a dozen of the other" thing.  I could never figure that out.  I think it's something like "I'll have six order of fries and half a dozen burgers."  Am I on the right track?
John Filly (by email)

Dear Head Cheese,
I noticed that, although you are quite good about printing letters, you never provide sassy answers to any of your letters - in fact, you never have any responses to reader comments in the editorials or any responses whatsoever.  You're like this big wall of silence.  You stand tall and stoic and you never let anything change or form your policy.  Why is this?  I'm expecting an answer from you, Head Cheese, and if I don't have a response by this Friday, I cannot be held responsible for my actions.
John Wacky (by email)

Dear Head Cheese,
Want to know something funny?  I read Head Cheese 1 to 5, without realizing that your name was actually Head Cheese, the whole time I always thought it was Head Cheats.  My friend, the Republican congressman for Louisiana, finally clued me into your real name, thanks John.
John Cleveland (by email)

Dear Head Cheese,
I wonder why most of your letters are from guys named John.  Don't any women read Head Cheese?  And also, why do all the letters arrive by email?  Doesn't anybody know your street address?  I believe that your letters to the editor are as fake as the articles you write for your stupid mag.  Like how about that guy who spends all of his time deconstructing the Japanese - what's his name, John Throaty?  Come on, he can't be a real person, nobody has a family name like "Throaty," the guy obviously doesn't exist.  You probably made that article up just like you make up all of your letters to the editor.  Normal people don't write like that, besides the fact that the articles are all obviously written in the same style.  Kind of like those interviews with people in celebrity magazines, they are all obviously faked by publicists.  Real people don't talk that way.  Regardless, I will be canceling my subscription as of this issue and will not buy another issue of Head Cheese until you print a full apology.
Joan Bolicks (by email)

Dear Head Cheese,
Thank you for your touching obituary for Robert Jillen in Head Cheese 5, your touching prose makes it clear that you understand as we all do what a saint of a man he was, no matter what his ex-wife says.  Police claim that he owned all these guns and was a known drug runner, but it is all lies, nobody can prove any of these malicious statements.  And why can they not prove them?  Because they are untrue.  It is far more difficult to prove the truth in some cases, than it is to prove rumors which don't need any proof for people to just believe them blindly.  It is a crying shame that this great man can be so slandered in death when he has no way to defend himself.  The scandalous objects found near his body were obviously planted there by other parties (I won't mention the cops or the ex-wife, whose current lover is a cop herself, except in these parentheses, but we all know what our theories are) could not have been owned by him - they are clearly objects that only a woman could have bought for herself, objects that Robert, being a man, would obviously have no use for.  Anyway, thank you for giving this wonderful man a few last words before time steamrolls on and forgets all about him and his miserable life and death.
John Stilt (by email)

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email: Peter Höflich
created May 30th, 2001
All writings copyright Peter Hoflich , 2001
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