Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A Note From Rex Larry Champion

My loyal readership has been asking about me.

I know, it's been a while, but I hope all of you nancy boys are sticking with the program.

I trusted Javier Marcos Fantastico to do a better job filling in for me, but as it turns out, he had a run-in with the law so he couldn't contribute.

Anyway, here's the update guys:

The nutrition conference went great.

I'm at the top of my game and things just keep on getting better.

I've been working feverishly on a project so big, it's going to change everything, forever.

Stay tuned for a big announcement.

You wont want to miss this one.

The Dream Is Soon

I'd say more, but that would kill the suspense.

RL Champion

Apes Communicating With Humans?

Researchers at The Great Ape Trust in Des Moines, Iowa are showing off a technology which they claim demonstrates that Apes can be taught to understand English. Researcher Bill Fields showed Abc World News one of his star pupils communicating with him using a special touch screen containing 350 symbols which depict objects or correspond to thoughts. Click here for the complete story.

So, apes communicating with humans.
What do you think?

"A talking Ape? Fancy that." - Sasquatch

"I smell operant conditioning. This ridiculous spectacle demonstrates that apes are capable of semantic understanding about as much as a tiger jumping through a ring of fire demonstrates that Siegfried and Roy are heterosexual. Exactly. " - Harry The Partidge

"This is an abomination. Humans and apes shouldn't talk to eachother. It's against God's plan. Talking with apes forms a slippery slope at the bottom of which lies bestiality. As long as liberals try to spread their poison and deny that the Bible is God's Word, we will continue to suffer God's wrath in the form of hurricanes, terror attacks, AIDS, and Rap music. Repent and accept Jesus Christ into your heart before it's too late. Eternal damnation is real and every liberal is going to burn for eternity. Liberals, Atheists, Fornicators, Drunkards, Queers, Jews, Adulterers, Scientists, Gamblers, Muslims, Masturbators, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Teletubbies, The United Nations, Pimps, Drug Users, Perverts, People for the American Way, The ACLU, Quakers, Bakers, Candle Stick Makers, Nick Knack Paddy Whack Give A Dog a Bone, Abortionists, Unitarians, Pornographers, Rappers, Child Molesters, People Who Talk To Apes, YOU ARE ALL GOING TO HELL " -Frank Erp, Street Corner Evangelist

"Finally, I can ask for a cancer stick when I need one." - Fred, Chimpanzee Participant In The Study

"This is truly a pioneering achievement in natural history. Now if only scientists could find a way to keep George Michael sober." - Tony Blair, British Prime Minister

"Big deal. I could talk since I was 3 years old. I'm not impressed." - Rex Larry Champion

"A few years ago this might have spelled trouble, but today most of the monkey meat we smuggle into Southern China is actually zebra meat. I don't see zebras talking any time soon, hahaha."- Babalu Baraka, Large Game Poacher

"Looks like someone is trying to steal my bit. I'll see those fuckers in court" Jane Goodall, Chimp Lady

"Kevin Randleman uses the same system to 'talk' to his trainers, they have a little computer screen and he points to the icon with the syringe." - Donny, troll

"We've long known that chimpanzees possess at least rudimentary language abilities. The greater apes still have a way to go, but we should not discriminate against them in higher education. We think there's a faster way to chimps writing Hamlet than all of those typewriters and all of those years, and that way is through education. The future looks very bright for gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, and orangutans at Yale. Please note however that we can not accommodate lesser apes at this time. We ask that lesser apes such as gibbons and siamangs consider applying to Harvard." - Ralph Cunningham, Yale Admissions Officer, Let In George W Bush

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

UFC 71 Preview

Over the past four years, only Fedor Emelianenko has been a more dominant fighter than Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell. Beginning with his KO victory over Tito Ortiz at UFC 47, Liddell has reeled off 7 straight victories, including 4 title defenses, at a time when the UFC's welterweight, middleweight, and heavyweight chamiponships have all changed hands at least once. He has avenged two of his three career losses (to Randy Couture and Jeremy Horn), with Quinton "Rampage" Jackson being the last of the three. On Saturday, the two will meet for the second time in a light heavyweight championship bout. Also on the card is welterweight contender Karo Parisyan, who will face Josh Burkman, the season 2 winner of the Ultimate Fighter. Analysis and predictions follow:

Main Card

Chris "The Crippler" Leben vs. Kalib Starnes

Leben is a hard puncher who made his bones feasting on B-level UFC talent on The Ultimate Fighter and six UFC Fight Night promotions. The only thing more unorthodox than his boxing stance is his ridiculous haircut, which most recently resembled the angst-ridden mohawk punks who hung out in front of Tower Records in the 80's. Leben's results against top-shelf competition have been decidedly mixed. He was savagely KO'd by Anderson Silva, who then proceeded to give then-middlweight champion Rich Franklin the same treatment. After knocking out Jorge Santiago on his sixth UFC Fight Night card, he was beautifully submitted by the uncreatively nicknamed Canadian jiu-jitsu fighter Jason "The Athlete" MacDonald. In Kalib Starnes, Leben will be facing another Canadian jiu-jitsu expert who won The Ultimate Fighter competition in season 3. Starnes defeated MacDonald in 2005, but is coming off a difficult loss to the tough Yushin Okami. Look for Leben to provoke Starnes into trading haymakers and attempt to take an early KO. If Starnes can take Leben to the mat, he will almost certainly try to work some submissions a la MacDonald. Barring a fortuitous punch, look for Starnes to take this via submission in the second round.

Keith "The Dean of Mean" Jardine vs. Houston Alexander

Jardine surprised everyone with his quick KO of the normally rock-chinned Forest Griffin. Griffin, visibly shaken by his defeat, was thought by many to be on the fast track to a title shot at Chuck Liddell. Jardine has a wealth of experience battling with the lower end of the top UFC light heavyweights, including Griffin, Stephan Bonnar, and Rashad Evans. Houston Alexander, by contrast, will be making his debut in the UFC. Though Houston may pose an unexpected threat to Jardine simply because he's a largely unknown quantity, the safe money is on a KO by Jardine, who will subsequently pushed into the glut of UFC light heavyweights scrambling for position beneath Chuck Liddell. Jardine by KO in the second round.

Terry Martin vs. Ivan Salaverry

Salaverry is an MMA veteran with experience in the UFC, K-1, and Shooto. Salaverry's losses have been to notables like Nathan Marquardt, Matt Lindland, and Akihiro Gono. Martin, however, is best known for having been spectacularly knocked out by a flying flying knee from James Irvin nine seconds into the second round. Martin is a striker and will almost certainly attempt to turn the match into a standing war of attrition. These two journeyman fighters are well-matched, but not particularly exciting. I predict a win for Salaverry by submission in the third round.

Karo "The Heat" Parisyan vs. Josh Burkman

Karo Parisyan is the answer to those who claim Hidehiko Yoshida as proof that judo skills do not translate well into MMA. An energetic, exciting fighter, Parisyan has often used his judo skills to great effect in securing takedowns and grappling on the mat. Parisyan has beaten tough fighters like Matt Serra, Chris Lytle, and Nick Diaz, while his only losses have been to top-shelf talent like Diego Sanchez, Sean Sherk, and Georges St. Pierre. Despite his frenetic style, Parisyan's fights often go the distance, and my expectation for this fight is the same. Though Burkman is substantially less battle-tested than Parisyan, Karo might not have the knockout power to finish this fight early. However, you can be assured that he will battle to the end, as the consecutive dethronings of Matt Hughes and St. Pierre have left the welterweight division wide open. Parisyan will need to win this fight if he wants to elevate himself to position himself for a serious run at the championship, as he is already at risk of being left behind by Sanchez and Josh Koshcheck, whose victory over Sanchez has reportedly earned him a shot at Georges St. Pierre for the number one contender status. Parisyan by unanimous decision.

Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell vs. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson

It has been over three years since 'Page thoroughly manhandled Chuck Liddell at PRIDE Final Conflict 2003. Rampage has described his style as a "whoop your ass" style, which is about as appropriate as any other term. Unlike Liddell, who uses his wrestling skills to defend against takedowns and extricate himself from the clinch, Rampage prefers dramatic takedowns of the sort that completely knocked out Ricardo Arona, who had locked in a triangle choke. As a striker, Rampage is a dogged brawler whose lack of formal technique is somewhat mitigated by his raw power. At times 'Page's aggressiveness has been a liability, such as when Wanderlei Silva goaded him into an exchange of vicious knees, one of which rendered Rampage unconscious before he hit the ground. However, this aggressiveness will be a key component of any winning strategy against Chuck. More recently, Rampage's record has been mixed and though he scored close (and some say controversial) decision victories over the likes of Matt Lindland and Murilo "Ninja" Rua, he has yet to regain the form he displayed earlier in his career. Fighting Chuck will be a considerable step up for him.

Jack Rossen of has aptly described Chuck Liddell's fighting stance as resembling a person stricken with rickets. His low stance, designed to facilitate his takedown defense, and his looping, circuitous punches punches are the antithesis of the crisp, direct boxing strikes with which most fighting fans are acquainted. Liddell's list of vicims, however, speaks for itself. Despite its unorthodox appearances, Liddell's game is highly technical and precise, relying on accurate jabs, well-placed flurries, and sharp counter-punching. Most traditional strikers rely on combinations to pick their opponents apart. Chuck's game relies far more on his knockout power. He will use the jab to goad his opponents into exchanges or corner them in the cage, where he can flurry. He seldom throws combinations unless he has already cornered his opponent. Because opponents fear his striking power, they are often forced into being overly conservative (as in Chuck's fights with Tito) or they will rush him and get floored by counterpunches (like Renato Sobral).

They key to 'Page's first victory was his willingness to stand and trade shots with Liddell. Even when he was hit solidly, Rampage always counterpunched and prevented Chuck from pressing the advantage. Though his counterblows were often haphazard and landed only occasionally, they hurt Chuck enough that he was unable to stalk 'Page and pick his shots at will. Jackson was also able to neutralize Liddel's counter punching by pressing forward with hard, straight shots that backed Chuck up and prevented him from setting his feet to counterpunch. Frequently he was able to close the distance and clinch, which neutralized Liddell's punching power and forced him to expend energy to escape or avoid the takedown. At first Liddell fended off the clinches and takedown attempts, but as the fight wore on Chuck's conditioning, which has always been suspect, broke down and allowed Rampage increasingly to muscle him around. After that, it was only a matter of time before the big takedown and inevitable ground and pound. If Rampage is able to replicate this strategy on Saturday, he will make the fight extremely difficult for Liddell. The prediction here is a third round TKO by Quinton "Rampage" Jackson.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

A Russian Folk Story

Simonov Seminovich awoke one morning to an unpleasant surprise: the wooden fence separating his goat pen from that of his dastardly neighbor, Vadim Zimavich, had been breached. From his bedroom window he saw splinters and posts scattered about like twigs in the wind, while the two flocks began to mingle like lacrosse players at a Goldman Sachs info session. By the time he had ventured outside to inspect the damage, Zimavich had emerged and begun to brand the animals with a smoldering piece of iron.

"Hey there!" cried Seminov. "We ought to settle conclusively which animal belongs where first!"

Zimavich grimaced coldly. "The animals are on my property. The right of salvage is universally recognized among civilized nations as extending to the limits of a man's private property. Unless you would like for me to report to the constable that my neighbor is a socialist, I'd suggest that you focus your attention on mending that fence."

"This isn't a civilized nation, this is Russia," replied Seminov. "And you know that we aren't rich enough to be socialists. If anyone's a socialist here, it's old Rabinovich. I hear his nephew is going to NYU. If you'd like to take this to the constable, I'm happy to oblige."

Three hours later Seminov and Zimavich found themselves sitting on a cold bench in the local police station. It was a busy day for the constabulary. A man had been arrested for attempting to sneak soap and shampoo into continental Europe, and the Italians were pushing for extradition. Then two local youths who were seen walloping a Jew with a street lamp post were fined for damaging the post. By the time Seminov and Zimavich approached the constable with their complaint, it was nearly four in the afternoon. As Seminov recounted his story, the constable yawned and checked his timepiece. "If you cannot determine what destroyed the fence or even prove that the animals in question belong to you, there really isn't much I can do," the constable sighed, his boredom palpable.

"It seems a bit unfair that my conniving neighbor ought to benefit from an act of negligence that was probably his fault to begin with!" Seminov objected.

The constable grew visibly annoyed. "Perhaps its unfair, but then what isn't these days? Think about people who were born with crippling diseases, inferior intelligence, or relatives from Houston. Is it our job to make all those people whole?" The constable then picked up a magazine and refused to look up.

As Seminov made his way home, he considered his options. He could attempt to make do with the remaining animals in his pen, but the prospects weren't good. By the time he got home, he realized that he had been left with two cows, each with the body type of a refugee, an asthmatic duck, and one of those tiny dogs that are often sold as fashion accessories for designer handbags. He knew an uncle in Kiev who might be able to get him a job in the civil service, but deep down he knew that he wasn't suited to a life of crime. What else was left?

Heartbroken, he retrieved a spade and a musket from the shed, intending to dig his own grave. Not wanting his remains to be dug up by the Pomeranian, he dug ceaselessly throughout the night, eschewing all comforts save for a glass of vodka. As the sun rose, Seminov thrust his shovel into the dirt for a final time, only to be thrown out of the ditch by a dark flume of crude oil. It turned out that his property was situated above a giant oil reserve. Now wealthy, Seminov started a multinational oil company and moved to Houston. His wife bought a Fendi for the Pomeranian. His two children dropped out of Columbia and moved to San Francisco, where they now work the counter at the Socialist Action Network Bookstore on 14th and Valencia.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Zombie Update: The Other Inconvenient Truth

The public is in grave danger. And we do mean grave.

The undead menace is spreading like mold on a cheese yet the public remains woefully uninformed.

Despite a 5000% increase in zombie attacks in the past 6 months, fewer than 12% of respondents in a recent Sasquatch/RLC poll believed zombies pose a moderate or severe threat.

More disturbing still, fewer than 5% of people polled could name specific zombies despite their ubiquity in the public arena.

Public ignorance about this issue, perhaps the most important issue of our time, is befuddling to zombie experts such as Dr. Michael Wentworth, chair of the Zombie Studies department at Oregon State University. We sat down with Dr. Wentworth and asked him to share his insights on this important issue.

Writing Rendezvous: What's your take on the seeming public ignorance regarding today's zombie threat?

Dr. Wentworth: I'm flabbergasted by the public's ignorance on this issue, flabbergasted. I've been tracking the undead for over two and a half decades, and what we are witnessing now is unparalleled. Not since Michael Jackson's Thriller have zombies been more visible, yet they are strangely invisible to the average spectator. What we see here is that people lack the expertise to effectively differentiate between the living and the undead. In essence, people are being fooled. It's a troubling development, deeply troubling. If the current trend continues, our research indicates that mankind may be completely obliterated by 2040.

WR: What do you foresee in the near future, say the next year or two?

DW: Zombies are becoming emboldened by their lack of detection. They are beginning to kill with abandon, even in the light of day, even before large crowds.

WR: Who is at greatest risk for a zombie attack?

DW: Nobody should consider themselves safe, with the possible exceptions of members of Project for a New American Century and The Heritage Foundation, but it should be noted that zombies disproportionately prey on children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. I was on hand when confirmed zombie Denis Kusinich viciously attacked this young man and attempted to devour his brains.

WR: What can the public do to spot zombies?

DW: Stay vigilant for the following markers:

•Zombies always bare their teeth moments before an attack

•Pathological lying. For example, zombies often make false statements such as:
'I was talking to a single hispanic mother in Iowa with 2 1/2 children who was having trouble getting Medicaid to pay for her life-saving prescription drugs, which reminds me of another women I spoke to in New Hampshire last week who was concerned about social security keeping up with the rising cost of living.'

•Zombies often have stiff, awkward manners, and may emit a foul stench.

•They are often spotted at fundraising galas and baseball games (the latter being a ploy to gain acceptance as live human beings).

WR: Is there anything else?

DW: I will provide Writing Rendezvous with several of the most clarifying pictures of zombies taken in the past five years or so in hopes that your readers may become more adept at identifying the undead.

WR: Thank you for your time professor.

We now urge our readers to please take a moment and study the photographic evidence. Please spread the word. The zombie threat facing us today is very real. If we don't act soon, drowning polar bears will seem the least of mankind's worries.

Zombie baring its teeth moments before devouring the brains of its unsuspecting victim

Zombie lunging for more sweet brains

Zombie before another vicious strike

Zombies baring teeth before attack

Zombie exhibiting peculiar behavior pattern

Zombies devouring hoagies (believed to contain sweet sweet brains)

Zombie looks for the kill

Zombie frustrated by lack of brains in the room during Senate Intelligence meeting

Zombie wearing disguise

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Ask Bill

Considered by some to be the greatest poet of the English language, William Wordsworth was a literary giant of the 18th and 19th centuries. Although his name remains synonymous with English romanticism, the wisdom of William Wordsworth is now available to loyal Writing Rendezvous readers through the miracle of the Internet.


Dear Bill,

I want to leave my husband. He every night he comes home late and intoxicated. Last week he lost his job at the warehouse when he tried to re-enact the "Dick in a Box" skit. I feel like we're drifting apart, but I don't know if I'm ready to be on my own and am leaning towards staying together for the kids. What can you recommend?

Fayetteville, Arkansas

Dear A.F.,

Your letter, harsh and discordant like a thousand clattering hammers beating against wet rubberized pavement while an Apache helicopter hovers overhead, strikes at the depths of my heart. Often have I meandered distractedly through luxurious fields of heather, exposing myself to harmful UV rays and increasing my risk of contracting Lyme disease tenfold, pondering the intractable riddle of how to rid oneself of a husband that makes Johnny Knoxville seem senatorial. The answer lies not with mortal men, but in the sage whispers of the wind, the gentle laughter of a woodland spring, and the incomprehensible dialog of The Red Green Show.



Dear Bill,

I can't make up my mind whether or not Pluto is a planet. I just don't understand the criteria. Is it mass? composition? shape? the fact that it's the planet most likely to be mistaken for a Gobstopper? I'd appreciate any clarity you could bring to this matter.

Duluth, Georgia

Dear R.G.,

It is not for man to know the inner workings of the heavens any more than it is for him to know why BART stops at San Francisco airport before going to the Millbrae CalTrain station. I mean seriously, isn't it worth to make the tourists wait a few extra minutes to benefit the real commuters? I know what it is to be Pluto: forlorn, ashen, a mere speck clinging to the edge of existence. I feel this way whenever my wife has guests over for dinner. Once in a state of crimson passion I ascended the lofty tower of Westminster Abbey, driven by omniscient, heavenly spirits of hazy, bygone ages. I wailed into the darkness, "Let Pluto be known as a planet! Restore it to the majesty it deserves as a desolate beacon of light staving off the frigid darkness of the unkown!" I then called the fire department and asked them to bring one of the trucks with a ladder mounted on the back. Nothing happened to Pluto, but my horse did place the next day at the racetrack.



Dear Bill,

With the Warriors eliminated from the playoffs, what are your thoughts on a possible match up between the Utah Jazz and the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals?

Yonkers, New York

Dear T.J.,

I would rather watch phlegm coagulate at the bottom of a urinal than subject myself to San Antonio Spurs basketball. Has there ever been a team whose soporific style of play is surpassed only by a roster with less personality than a hermit crab? Seriously. Given the choice between watching Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire, and Shawn Marion or Tim Duncan and the Eurotrash All-Stars, which would you pick? And I'm sick of hearing how about how ill Tony Parker's game is. That guy needs to understand that he's French and should stick to what he knows best: Cunnilingus and not bathing. And don't even get me started on the Jazz. Is there any further proof that mixing basketball and Republicans is about as appealing as Mitt Romney in a FUBU sweatshirt? Not only do they have Andrei Kirilenko, who is the Soviet Bloc's answer to Skeletor, but Mehmet Okur? In a rattail?? No NBA team should ever field a roster where 40 percent of the starting lineup can say the word "discothek"without flinching. No exaggeration: I would rather watch the Karate Kid fight Chuck Liddell with PRIDE rules than subject myself to a minute of Spurs vs. Jazz.


Monday, May 14, 2007

Bob Barker is Retiring After 60 Years on Air

What Do You Think?

Zan Guerry CEO, Chattem, Makers of Gold Bond Medicated Powder

"The retirement of Bob Barker is a fatal blow. We are in the process of filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy."

Pam, FSU Sophomore. Major: Undeclared

"Bob Barker gave me a spring break to remember- on Price is Right College Week that is! I'll never forget, some jerk from Texas A&M overbid by $90,000 so I totally won! I got a speed boat, a year's supply of Gold Bond Medicated Powder and a some-expenses-paid trip to Orlando Florida!"

Joseph Henderson of the CDC

"A recent study indicates that 70% of senior citizens in the United States watch The Price is Right on a daily basis. In assisted living centers, this number climbs to 98%. The study further finds that a staggering 87% of senior citizens who watch The Price is Right receive no other form of mental stimulation. The authors warn that if this outlet for passing the time in a semi-vegetative state were to suddenly disappear, as many as 20 million of our senior citizens would literally die of boredom within two weeks time. The remainder would likely experience a decrease in quality of life associated with increased crossword puzzle abuse along with a rise in backgammon related injuries. In light of these alarming findings and in response to thousands of letters from concerned family members and public health officials, the CDC wishes to reassure the public that it is doing everything in it's power to stave off the looming crisis. Today we are announcing that the CDC, working closely with the FCC, is commiting bold regulatory action to ensure that reruns of The Price is Right will continue until at least 2047. Thankfully, Bob Barker has left enough material in the vault so that a single cycle of reruns could continue until 2067 if need be. We ask that you remain calm as the transition from new episodes to reruns takes place. We have it on good information that Bob Barker has been wearing the same clothes since the early 1960s and the majority of seniors have too poor a grasp of the inflation of the past 40 years for them to notice that The Price is Right has gone into reruns. We therefore expect this transition to be mostly seamless and we would like to thank all of you for sharing your concerns with us and for your patience and cooperation in this matter."

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Psychologist Lies About Time To Get Rid of Client Who Keeps Referencing Dr. Phil

Dr. Stanley Melvinwitz charges his clients $230 for 50 minutes. Last friday however, he admits that he kicked a client out after only 40 minutes. "I couldn't take it anymore, so I lied, I just looked at my watch and said 'sorry, our time is up for today'. This wacko kept on bringing up nonsense he saw on Dr. Phil. Doctor Phil said this, Doctor Phil said that, what do you think about Doctor Phil's relationship advice? Do you think his weight loss book will work for me? I saw something on Doctor Phil that I want to discuss with you. Blah blah blah blah blah. I'll tell you, I wanted to vomit all over my plastic potted plant. That guy needs some help!"

Being a psychologist, Dr. Melvinwitz has heard it all and generally faces each client's words with the same detached clinical objectivity no matter how objectionable, incoherent or grandiose they may be. Apparently, his patience has a limit.

"I scrapped Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy a long time ago after realizing it was bad for the bottom line, but I'm thinking I might need to bring it back for this particular client. Calling him a shithead to his face, excuse me, challenging his irrational beliefs in a forceful but constructive way, will either succeed in helping him learn that watching Doctor Phil is a self-defeating behavior pattern that keeps him from attaining his goals, or (and I'm hoping for the second outcome) he'll get angry at me and stop coming to therapy!"

Monday, May 7, 2007

Letters from a College Freshman

Dear Mom and Dad,

I hope you are both well. Since you have loved and nurtured me since my early days as a zygote, I wanted to make you aware of a few developments that might concern you. (Note that I do not mean "concern" in the sense that the French Revolution "concerned" Edmund Burke, but rather analogous to how redox equations "concern" electrons.)

On Monday I was conducting tests on the new credit card you sent to me at when it occurred to me that purchasing this season's newest cable-knit sweater might constitute an example of what Professor Wealthman Goldrich recently called "deficit spending." Given my current state of employment, it could be argued that this expenditure would be an effective countercyclical measure. Perhaps you would offer in response the classical economic defense that parental spending would tend to crowd out private actions, such as getting a job or setting a manageable budget. The merits of these arguments notwithstanding, I bought the sweater on the understanding that, being the fruit of a racist, imperialistic, and sexually repressive capitalist system, nobody really "owns" the money anyway. For a fuller discussion, please see the PDF excerpts of my class textbooks that I have scanned and attached. Incidentally, I charged the textbook on the credit card as well.

I must also point out that your tendency to call me on Tuesday evenings severely limits my ability to "network." As I'm sure you realize, the benefits of a college education are as much about the social connections one cultivates as they are about intellectual development, particularly social connections involving drunken, morally depraved, but physically attractive members of the opposite sex. For your convenience, I have devised a telephonic signaling system that eliminates the need for all verbal communication between us. Two rings indicates that you should send more crates of Top Ramen. Three rings mean that you can expect a large parcel of dirty laundry to process within the hour. If the phone rings more than three times, you can pick up because it means that I need money. Further unsolicited phone calls will be either be forwarded directly to voicemail or, in the event of an emergency, may be granted a terse, hushed conversation after which I will pretend that you were one of the two girls who live in 304 inviting me to a sorority event.

It is possible that I will be returning to the provincial, uncultured setting of your home community over the Thanksgiving break. Should this occur, you must understand that even though my room still features the same hair-band rock posters dating back to my 8th grade graduation, my inviolable sovereignty as a college student will remain intact for the duration of my stay. I may call you next week to let you know when you should pick me up.


Thursday, May 3, 2007

We Believe

General Store Owner Discovers eBay

(Someville, Ohio) Gus Franklin, proud general store owner of 35 years, has entered cyberspace and he’s loving every minute of it.

For years Gus had the vague sense that computers were out there, but he just wasn’t interested. That all changed last August.

“I was watching the boob tube late one night and a professor came on” Gus explains “He called himself a video professor, and golly, I thought hell, why shouldn’t I learn to run the computer? Yes, I always thought those new gadgets like computers and cellular telephones were for city slickers, not for folks like me. I’m an old pro when it comes to throwing away those AOL cds that come in the mail, do you get those too? Once I even wrote them a nice letter telling them I wasn’t interested, but they kept on sending ‘em. It got so bad I finally had to tell Randy, Randy is our postman, I finally had to tell Randy to stop bringing them to my house because I had no use for ‘em. To make a long story short, I made up my mind and drove my Ford truck a few hours to the nearest Sears Roebuck and picked up an economy model computer. Thanks to Video Professor, I finally learned to run that sucker. It was none too hard neither.”

Encouraged by the ease with which Video Professor allowed him conquer his fear of computers, Gus sat up and took note when he received a Video Professor catalog in the mail. That’s when he learned there was a place he could set up shop in cyberspace, it was a little website called eBay. Gus ordered the Video Professor eBay tutorial and took to it like a fish to water.

An eBay store is born

Today Gus’s eBay store sells glass coke bottles, bugles, an assortment of Indian arrowheads, WWII era toys made out of tin, and American flags with 30 stars. “Once we got Wisconsin, our union was perfect” Gus explains, “California was the beginning of the nation’s downfall.”

“I’ve had requests from buyers all over the world, from Germany to Japan to Katmandu, but I refer them to my policy at the bottom of the page. It clearly states AMERICAN BUYERS ONLY, NO EXCEPTIONS.”

Gus includes a hand-written note and a ribbon with each order. “I try to give my customers the same friendly service they’d get at my general store.”

Gus confesses that there’s nothing in the world he prizes more than his perfect feedback, even the smallest smudge on his online reputation would keep him up at nights. There was one close-call that he’ll never forget. “One time a fellow actually gave me negative feedback. He said the flag he ordered never arrived. Didn’t give me a chance to make it right, just left the feedback. I tried to send him a message through eBay message service, but he didn’t reply. Well he only lived one state over, so I figured what the heck, and I drove all the way to West Virginia to sort it out. I had the man’s shipping address, so it wasn’t none too hard to track him down. He was a nice enough fellow, and as it turns out the flag was lost during transport. It’s a good thing I'd anticipated that possibility, because I had another flag waiting in the truck to hand deliver to him. He was very happy to have the flag and he thanked me and agreed to retract his negative feedback. I’m proud to say that I’m back to 100%. I always strive to give all my eBay customers the same friendly service they’d get at my general store.”

Asked about his future plans, Gus shrugs and reaches for a soda pop from under the counter.

Six Knock Knock Jokes by Harry The Partridge

Knock Knock

Who's there?

Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey who?

Mariah Carey herself to therapy four times a week but she still wakes up crying every morning.

Knock Knock

Who's there?

Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey Who?

Jim Carrey a dead hooker to the municipal dump last night.

Knock Knock

Who's there?

Charlie Sheen

Charlie Sheen who?

Charlie Sheen Jim Carrey with a dead hooker last night. He just wants to say, nice work.

Knock Knock

Who's there?

Hired Goons

Hired Goons who?

Hired Goonzales as Attorney General, no wonder shit is hitting the fan.

Knock Knock

Who's there?

Mo Rocca

Mo Rocca who?

Mo Rocca your world baby.

It's 3am and you're nude, get off my lawn, I'm never inviting you onto Larry King Live again!

Knock Knock

Who's there?

A six hundred pound hog

Oh Rosie, I didn't know you'd lost weight. Come on in, we've been expecting you.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

From the Files of U.S. Intelligence

One of the starkest expressions of executive power is the presidential veto. With a stroke of the pen (constitutional scholars disagree as to whether a No. 2 mechanical pencil is sufficient), the president can override duly enacted congressional legislation. Typically, this can only be overridden by a 2/3 vote of Congress or a particularly well-timed sex scandal. Recently, the subject of vetoes has risen to the forefront after President Bush II dramatically vetoed a military funding bill that includes milestones and a timeline for mandatory troop redeployments, describing the law as "setting a benchmark for failure." This is easily contrasted with chairmarks, which result from allowing preadolescent family members to move living room furniture. With so much controversy swirling around the veto, we have re-opened the Files of U.S. Intelligence to take a critical, retrospective look at the role of vetoes throughout history.

President Jackson Vetoes the Second National Bank (1833)

President Jackson was also known as "Old Hickory," though friends rarely called him that, as it could be mistaken for a brand of whiskey that could be bought at the drugstore. In vetoing the charter of the Second National Bank, Jackson was said to have vehemently opposed the bank's propensity to concentrate wealth in the nation's elite financial class, its firm policy against free checking, and the exorbitant transaction fees it charged for third party ATM machines. The word "tariff" was also bandied about, though no one at the time was sure what it meant or how it related to the issue at hand. While Jackson's financial policy remains lauded by those who remember when the MRSP for a Ferrari was $3, Jackson remains more commonly known for his ruthless policies towards the Cherokee Indians, as well as Indians working in Santa Clara on H1-B visas.

Grover Cleveland Vetoes 304 Bills (1884-1888, 1892-1896)

Though he spent most of his two terms living in the shadow of a blue muppet, many people are unaware that Grover Cleveland vetoed more bills during his tenure than any president other than Franklin Roosevelt. It is a well-known fact that whenever Cleveland's son asked his father to borrow the family sedan, the president would squeal "Veto!" before dissolving into hysterical fits of giggles. President Cleveland was known for his outspoken disapproval of "pork barrel" projects, a term that he used to refer to public works appropriations as well as William Howard Taft. Cleveland's administration was also characterized by constant disputes between those favoring the "gold standard" and those who supported the "silver standard." Soon, a third group emerged clamoring about "greenbacks" before a truce was declared in 1895, when each group realized they had no idea what they were talking about.

The Reagan Vetoes (1981-1988)

Ronald Reagan assumed the presidency pledging to curb government "waste." He used his vetoes, 39 in total, against bills to fund foreign aid to Africa, raise funds for public broadcasting, establish the National Institute of Health, and levy economic sanctions against apartheid South Africa. Any budget surplus that the vetoes created, however, was promptly erased when Regan pledged $500 billion to developing phasers and photon torpedoes by 1994, citing concerns that the USSR would have an operational cloaking device by the time Michael Jackson released "Thriller." Reagan's bold policies were opposed, largely without success, by a broad coalition of civil rights groups, unions, environmentalists, people who had engaged in sexual intercourse at one point in their lives, and those who believed that serving fried raccoon meat in school hot lunches was unlikley to promote long-term health.

As even the casual reader can deduce, the veto has played a pivotal role in the development of American history. Modern observers can only speculate about the broad implications of the president's latest veto, but one thing can be assured: They will continue to be recorded in the annals of the Files of U.S. Intelligence.