Lowbrow Reader “Web Exclusive” Archives (2004–2008)

Since beginning publication in 2001, The Lowbrow Reader has always focused on our print products: initially our eight issues; now (June, 2012, despite the date of this post) our book, The Lowbrow Reader Reader. But starting in 2004, we have published a smattering of online-only material, as well. These pieces currently appear in the “Updates” section of our website; on our old site, they were called “Web Exclusives.” After the jump, behold an archive of our older web-only articles. Note our prediction, in 2004, of the Barack Obama presidency! And revel in topical jokes of the mid-00s that no longer make any sense! Really, just who was this George W. Bush idiot, and why did we keep making fun of him?


Old Questions for Dear Abby and Ask Beth
by Jay Ruttenberg

I was at my parents’ house recently and found myself rummaging through boxes of old junk. In the muddle of school transcripts, spiral notebooks, decrepit MAD magazines and baseball cards celebrating the achievements of the Ron Cey-era Chicago Cubs, I made an odd discovery: a cache of advice columns, clipped out of newspapers years ago, doling out awesomely bad and clueless advice. This was the forgotten stuff that I chortled over in high school and college. Two clippings, in particular, remained bizarre and funny.

The first is a “Dear Abby” column by the original (and, at the time, very old) Abby, Abigail Van Buren. It was cut out of The Chicago Tribune; judging from the hysteria of Abby’s reply, it most likely was printed during the media’s gang scare of the early 1990s:

Dear Abby: We have two sons. One is 14, and the other 11. They recently
asked us if they could get their heads shaved. They tell us that all their
friends are doing it, and it is the “in” thing right now. Both sets of grand-
parents say this is part of growing up. Should we allow our sons to shave
their heads?
-Concerned Parents

Dear Concerned: Shaving the head may be the “in” thing, but in some areas,
it is also the “gang” thing. If children adopt gang styles, even if they
are not involved in gang activities, they can put themselves at risk. Gangs
don’t take kindly to non-members who “copy” them, and rival gangs attack
members of other gangs. The principal of your children’s school, or your
local police department, can tell you if shaved heads are dangerous in your

Imagine, for a moment, that you are Concerned Parents, genuinely bemused by your sons’ request for crew cuts — so frazzled that you are moved to write the doyenne of newspaper advice, Dear Abby herself. You read her response and learn that in truth, your 11-year-old doesn’t have bad taste in hairstyle — he’s an aspiring gang-banger! And if you let him shave his head, his life may be at stake! “I’m sorry,” Concerned Parents were forced to tell their young sons, “but you cannot shave your heads. Because of gang violence and all.”

“What are you talking about?” the 14-year-old said.

“What’s a gang?” the 11-year-old asked.

“Abby has spoken, children,” Concerned Parents insisted. “Now go to your rooms and grow your hair.”

The second exchange comes from “Ask Beth,” a touchingly naive column that ran in The Boston Globe under the rubric “Sense About Sex”:

Dear Beth: On my last visit to our pediatrician I got an erection when the
nurse pulled off my underpants. I couldn’t make it go away. I closed my
eyes and tried to think about something else, but I was too embarrassed.
Then the doctor put her hand on me and told me to cough. I completely
lost control and had a “wet dream.” I turned bright red and apologized over
and over. She told me to forget about it. She told my mom what happened,
and that I should see a male doctor from now on. My mom went ballistic
and told me I must be really sick. I can’t talk to my dad because they are
divorced. She wants me to tell my priest and go to a psychiatrist for
-Still Embarrassed

[Dear Still Embarrassed]: What happened was completely normal. Teen-age
boys have high levels of testosterone, which causes them to have more
spontaneous erections than older men do. You can get erections from many
things, such as sexy thoughts, or exercise, or just the friction from your
underpants. Your mother needs to learn what is normal for adolescent
boys. You are not sick, nor are you oversexed! Her overreacting is a big
mistake because it makes you ashamed of your perfectly normal behavior
and at a time when you are already very sensitive about it.

Looking back a decade or so, I recall the publication of this letter — obviously a hoax — as being met with great annoyance in my college dormitory. For months, my friends and I had conspired to send the perfect “Ask Beth” prank letter; now, Still Embarrassed had beaten us to the punch. I had already been feeling like a slacker in my studies, but there’s nothing worse than realizing you have been too lazy to carry out a simple prank. In retrospect, I’m guessing that at least a quarter of the letters mailed to the Ask Beth column were, in fact, fraudulent. Boston, of all cities, has enough students to perpetuate an endless supply of hoax material. Indeed, the other letter in the column that week, about a 16-year-old worried about growing hair on his “butt,” concludes with the words, “This isn’t a joke!”


A Misunderstanding
by Henry Malbus

The Officer: So this is how my life has turned out. The fancy-pants undercover cop. How thrilling. Does the force send me to break up a drug-smuggling ring at the docks? Tangle with corrupt diplomats?Noooo. I get to sit in an airport toilet all day. Well, that’s office politics for you. And good lord, does it stink. It’s as if I left a slab of cheese to rot inside my running shoes, then lent them to a homeless man.

The Senator: Boy, was that a rotten flight. They’ve got to do something about this ban on liquids — can’t believe I had to throw out my yogurt. I should make a note of this. Maybe get a law passed saying that United States Senators are exempt from this kind of stuff? That stewardess sure was a dish, though. And I should know: I’m not a homosexual. Never have been. Never will be.

The Officer: You know the best part about this? The instruction to “look hot.” Here’s a thought, Captain Know-It-All: Why don’t youhang out in a men’s room for eight hours and look cute. It really burns me — whoa. Is that guy…oh, no. Just the janitor. My “colleague.” If you’re going to clean in here, can’t you use a little air freshener? This guy is the absolute worst. Now there’s a sting operation — lazy, incompetent airport cleaning guys who don’t deserve the paper their paycheck is printed on. I should go undercover as a custodian. At least that way I could keep things fresh around here. Though I guess “janitor” isn’t as fetching as “guy sitting on toilet.” Go figure.

The Senator: Note to self: Probably not the best idea to eat a breakfast burrito while en route. Good thing I have time to hit the John. I must say, it’s pretty clean in here — smells better than Brownback’s office, that’s for sure. Now what the hey? Is that good-lookin’ fella admiring my buttocks through the crack of his toilet stall? It can’t just be supposition. I mean, I’m not a homosexual. Never have been! Well, to each his own. Got business to attend to here.

The Officer: You know who I’d like to arrest? The idiot on the right who just urinated all over the floor. Or the angel who decided he didn’t have time to flush. Really, how hard is it? You can use your shoe, for chrissake. And if you don’t flush, nobody’s entering that stall, and it’s just gonna to sit there all day, and…is that old dude looking at me funny? Better keep an eye on this guy.

The Senator: I can’t believe I forgot to bring a newspaper in here. Bo-ring! Wonder what the gentleman next door is up to — didn’t look like he had anything to read, either. Maybe he’s up for some ro-sham-bo. Or maybe an old-fashioned game of footsie. That would be killer. Hello? You in there. Yo!

The Officer: Oh, it is go time! I am so out of here. Swarm! Swarm!


Books Currently Available to Children in Our Nation’s Libraries
by M. Sweeney Lawless

Daddy Kisses
by Anne Gutman

The Very Hungry Caterpillar
by Eric Carle

Goodnight Moon
by Margaret Wise Brown

Time for Bed
by Mem Fox

Your Personal Penguin
by Sandra Boynton

Tickle, Tickle
by Helen Oxenbury

Fuzzy Fuzzy Fuzzy!
by Sandra Boynton

Let’s Play
by Leo Lionni

So Big!
by Anna Jane Hays

You Are Mine
by Max Lucado

Because I Love You
by Max Lucado

Carl’s Afternoon in the Park
by Alexandra Day

It Looked like Spilt Milk
by Charles G. Shaw

Whistle for Willie
by Ezra Jack Keats

I Like It When…
by Mary Murphy

On Mother’s Lap
by Glo Coalson (Illustrator)

That’s Not My Dolly
by Fiona Watt

That’s Not My Kitten
by Fiona Watt

It’s Potty Time: For Girls
by Ron Berry

Curious George Rides
by H. A. Rey

My Grandpa and I!
by P. K. Hallinan

Who am I? In the Dark
by Anton Poitier

Curious George and the Rocket
by H. A. Rey (Illustrator)

Daddy Makes the Best Spaghetti
by Anna Grossnickle Hines

It’s Potty Time for Boys
by Ron Berry

Open the Barn Door, Find a Cow
by Christopher Santoro

What Is It?
by Amy Meyer Allen

Mr. Gumpy’s Outing
by John Burningham

What’s on My Head?
by Margaret Miller

Touch and Feel Animals Box Set
by Dorling Kindersley

Thomas the Tank Engine’s Hidden Surprises
by Rev. W. Awdry

A Crack in the Track
by Rev. W. Awdry

Thomas Gets Stuck
by Rev. W. Awdry

Way I Feel
by Janan Cain

Where Is Baby’s Pumpkin?: A Lift the Flap Book
by Karen Katz

Yummy Yucky
by Leslie Patricelli

Pat the Bunny (Touch and Feel Books)
by Edith Kunhardt Davies

Hop on Pop
by Dr. Seuss

Ask the Film Buff!
by Tyler Hillman

It’s no secret to longtime Lowbrow readers that we are big Adam Sandler fans. Now, we are proud to introduce a new feature, “Ask the Film Buff!,” in which we invite professional film critics to sing the comic actor’s praises. We couldn’t be happier to inaugurate the segment with commentary by Tyler Hillman, eminent cinema and culture columnist for the Charlottesville Courier-Tribune.

When I first received the call from Low Brow Journal offering $14 and a tuna fish sandwich to laud the canon of Adam Sandler, I was admittedly flattered by the publication’s interest and generosity. Then, I took it upon myself to screen Mr. Sandler’s work. It is a sophomoric and generally unpleasant body, devoid of the grace displayed by, say, Ed Wood. Or Alan Smithee. Though I hardly consider myself a humorless filmgoer — does life provide any greater joy than watching W.C. Fields spar with Mae West? — neither my love for populist cinema nor tuna fish can justify condoning such witless buffoonery. Also, I hate Jews.   –Tyler Hillman

Editor’s note: This will be the final installment of “Ask the Film Buff!”


Humorist Edmund Morrissey and the
Quote That Nearly Sank His Ship

by Mando Schwartz

“A boat sank off the coast of Maine late yesterday evening. All of the ship’s 57 passengers are presumed dead, including a six-year-old girl fresh from a successful liver transplant operation and three survivors of Nazi concentration camps.”
The New York Times, August 3


–The computer screen of humorist Edmund Morrissey, later that day


“….maybe something about the boat’s captain being drunk? letters exchanged between him and first mate? perhaps tied to views on new fatherhood (diaper changing story) and how it changes a man’s outlook? or what about Holocaust slant???”
–The notebook of humorist Edmund Morrissey, August 4


“Diary of Abe Kushnik, one of three Holocaust survivors aboard sunken Maine boat:

Monday: The borscht here is delish. Only wish they had better coffee.
Tuesday: Gosh, I sure do like the way that Chico Marx lad plays a piano. Shooting keys! What ever will they think of next?
Wednesday: Oy gevalt! I’m drowning! Mother!!!”

–The wastepaper basket of humorist Edmund Morrissey, August 5


“Humorist Unable To Mock New York Times Quote
Prolific humor writer Edmund Morrissey has run smack into a creative wall regarding a quote from last week’s newspaper. The quote at hand, culled from a news article about the drowned SS Annabel, just may prove too elusive a target for Mr. Morrissey’s pointed wit.
‘It’s tough,’ the writer acknowledged. ‘At first I thought I could work it from an ethnic angle, but there doesn’t seem to be too much there. I truly don’t know what I’m going to do with this quote.’”
The New York Times, August 9


“Annabel Survivor Found Off Canada Coast
In a miraculous story flush with intrepidity and good fortune, a sole survivor of SS Annabel was discovered this morning just off the coast of Nova Scotia. The unidentified man was admitted to a nearby hospital, where he remains in critical condition. … Apparently, the man clung to life by stealing breaths of air through a Gortex sock while he paddled to land.”
The New York Times, August 12


“Edmund Morrissey Back on Story
Sock Seen as Boon for Humorist
When the unidentified survivor of SS Annabel removed a Gortex sock from his left foot and used it as a makeshift snorkel in his now famous swim to Nova Scotia, he saved more than his own neck: his act of bravery also rescued humorist Edmund Morrissey from a severe case of writer’s block. ‘Let me make it clear to my readers that I’m back on the job,’ Mr. Morrissey declared yesterday. ‘I’m going to see this quote through.’
Reached by phone at the Intensive Care Unit of Nova Scotia’s St. Francis Hospital, the heroic, sock-wielding survivor had no comment.”
The New York Times, August 14


“Sock Shopping with Mr. and Mrs. Unidentified Survivor
by Edmund Morrissey
Man: Honey, I need a new pair of socks for next week’s boat ride.
Woman: Well, Zabar’s is the best place. As long as we’re here now, we might as well look around.
Man: Hey, these ones seem okay. And look — they’re only four dollars.
Woman: Don’t be stingy. You’re going to need warmer ones. What about this Gortex pair?
Man: Ah, what do you know about boats? The closest your feet have gotten to the water is when we visited your Aunt Doris in Salt Lake City!
Woman: I’m just saying that it’s going to get chilly on that ship. I don’t want you catching a fever. Buy the Gortex socks. For me.
Man: Why this is absurd!
Woman: Need I remind you that Gortex isn’t the only word that ends in ‘ex’? Now if you want any of that other ‘ex,’ you better wear these socks.
Man: Oh, fine. But you must promise to make Tex-Mex tonight!”
The New Yorker, September 4


“Nobel Prizes Announced
Pope, Queen, and Dramatist Edmund Morrissey Among Recipients
OSLO, NORWEGIA — The Nobel Committee announced its winners today. … The literature award was given to humor writer Edmund Morrissey, namely for his widely acclaimed one-act play, ‘Sock Shopping with Mr. and Mrs. Unidentified Survivor,’ which was based on a series of quotes from this newspaper.
‘I am shocked and relieved that the Committee recognized my efforts,’ said Mr. Morrissey, who was pouring skim milk onto bran cereal, listening to oldies radio, and thinking about the superiority of manila envelopes when he got the call. ‘Now I’ve got my eye on that Peace Prize. Watch your back, Queenie!’”      –The New York Times, December 11



MacArthur’s Regrets
by Eddy Blank

Every year, the MacArthur Foundation famously presents its “genius grants,” in which artists, scientists and other smarty-pants are given a bunch of money without even having to fill out a convoluted application. In recent years, MacArthur Fellowships have been bestowed upon the composer Osvaldo Golijov, the novelist Jonathan Lethem and Terry Belanger, a rare books preservationist. These are the people the foundation still likes; there are other fellows that it regrets handing out.

Dr. Hugo H.L. Cloud, Physicist
Upon receiving “the call,” immediately informed the organization’s representative that “it’s about f—— time.” Dr. Cloud went on to demand that his award be distributed in three cash installments, before slamming his telephone on its receiver with a curt “smell you later.”

Michael Jameson, Philanthropist
Used his $500,000 reward money to establish the McArthur Genius Awards, a rival charity that briefly competed with the MacArthurs in the late ’80s. It folded in scandal after Jameson was discovered to be sleeping with all of its grant recipients.

Tom Cruise, Actor
Received the award for his charity organization, Tom’s Trust, which sought to “rid the world of the plague that for years has wrecked havoc on our community.” The MacArthur Foundation was mortified to learn that he meant the paparazzi.

Enrico Jurado, Chef
A maverick Barcelona restaurateur celebrated by foodies for creating “challenging” desserts from atypical ingredients — unripe tomatoes, pickled pig’s feet, boots discarded by the homeless — Jurado disgraced the foundation when it discovered that his food was disgusting. The chef used the bulk of his $500,000 to open a Manhattan bar staffed by a fleet of St. Bernard dogs who served beer to customers from their patented neck barrels; it closed after three months, when the dogs unionized.

David Gartiér, Film Critic
“An improbably trite experience,” was how the venerable critic described his brush with the “cliché-riddled” foundation. “This publicity-hungry trust seeks the simple answers, sniffing out the alleged ‘genius’ among us and showering them with princely offerings,” Garté wrote. “Can such brilliance really be so easily tied up in a bow like some Christmas present from anonymous, God-like parents? I think not — thumbs down!”

O.J. Simpson, Sleuth
A year after a jury found him innocent of murder, a MacArthur grant was presented to the Juice for his dogged pursuit of Nicole Brown Simpson’s true killer. He used the entire purse to “go under cover” by joining several exclusive golf clubs, claiming he had a lead that the assassin was out on the green, especially on balmy days.

Donna Molina, Chiropractor
Worked on the problematic back of Mrs. Nettie MacArthur, who declared the chiropractor “an absolute genius.” Two weeks after the grant was issued, Mrs. MacArthur’s back pain returned, worse than ever.


Marshall Mathers’ Vows
by Sara Avett Cohen

“Five years after their ugly divorce, Eminem, whose real name is Marshall Mathers III, remarried Kimberly Mathers in a small, tightly guarded ceremony on Saturday at Meadow Brook Hall, Reuters reported.”
–The New York Times, January 2006

“Don’t you get it bitch, no one can hear you?
Now shut the [expletive] up and get what’s comin’ to you
You were supposed to love me!
[Sound of Kim choking]
Now bleed bitch, bleed!”

–Lyrics from Eminem’s “Kim,” May 2000

I, Marshall Mathers, take you Kimberly Mathers to be my wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. And if this death befalls Kim as she is caught in the arms of another, may her death be quick and painless, free of the excess bloodshed that has splattered across nightmare and dream alike. If Kim’s death comes prematurely — say right now, as she bats her eyelashes with such failed discretion at the honorable Reverend McDonald — may our unconditional love live on and inspire the everlasting love and devotion of generations to come. And if Kim is to awaken one evening to find herself locked in the trunk of a rented Chevrolet, gasping for air as she sinks to the sea, never again to wrongly refer to her lawfully wedded husband as a homosexual, may she remember the bliss that is felt on this joyous day.

In the presence of God, our friends and family, I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner in good times and bad. Except for the days when I am hassled via phone, fax or lawsuit by my mother, that filthy harlot, whose eventual death will taste so sweet coupled with the knowledge that she lived apart from Hailie Jade, her beautiful granddaughter. And may Hailie, who joins us today, know that her mother, Kim, stood here once before and promised to love me unconditionally, only to find warmth in the embrace of another man. And let it be said that I fantasized of placing my hand inside of this man’s chest and tearing his heart out while it still beat for Kim, at which point it was my intent to place the dark heart in a Cuisinart blender, add a modest amount of rat poison, and feed the fatal concoction to my beloved wife in the form of a fruity cocktail.

Kim, as we join together in holy matrimony, I will cherish our union and love you more each day than I did the day before, when darkness and rage threatened to divide our union, in all likelihood with a chainsaw. On this day, may you know that this anger came never in hate but only in love — a severe and somewhat trashy love that expresses itself best through tattoos and jail graffiti, true, but love nonetheless. I give you my hand, my heart, and my love, from this day forward for as long as we both shall live.


I’m From Connecticut
by Daniel Crawford James

Hi, my name’s Dan, and I’m from Connecticut. Now, I know it’s probably strange for you to look at me and think, ‘This guy is so much richer than I will ever be, we just can’t possibly have anything in common.’ But please bear with me. We’re all people here, okay? We’re all human beings, living on the same earth. My Daddy just happens to own a very large piece of it.

Now, I realize that this is a place a lot of people come to be funny, but if there’s one thing I’m not going to ‘clown around’ about, it’s Daddy’s bank account. I also realize that many of you may not believe me about being from Connecticut and all, but let me ask you this: If I wasn’t rich, why would I wear my sweater tied around my neck? Do you people even know how much it costs to tie a sweater in a knot like this one? Over a million dollars—and that’s in Connecticut currency. The money looks similar to U.S. dollars, but bills star various members of the Bush family. For example, our current president is on our one dollar bill, because he is a salty man of the people. And I’ve had sex with his mother; the old goat.

Anyhow, I’m from Bel Air, Connecticut, and it’s certainly odd to be away from Daddy’s estate. What cow town am I in right now, anyway? Alabama? Europe? Oh, Boston, Massachusetts. I think Daddy used to own a senator in Massachusetts. I know the turf. What do you have going in these parts? Exeter and Choate are around here, schools for the needy. Harvard’s here, for all those students too poor and dumb to get into the Sorbonne. And my childhood cello tutor, Yo Yo Ma lives here. Daddy always says: You haven’t heard Yo Yo play until he serenades you while you’re sitting on the crapper.

But enough about you. I’m sure you want to know about me. Childhood was difficult. In his effort to bequeath presents upon me, Daddy celebrated my birthday every fortnight, making me the only 85-year-old in the 2nd grade. I had both a pet llama and a bathrobe made of llama skin. It was very confusing, because Daddy’s so eager to please. Every Christmas he had to outdo all the other Daddys, and in Connecticut, that takes a lot of doing. One December, he actually hired Santa to be my personal man servant. You probably remember that winter as ‘The Year Christmas Got Cancelled.’ Well, that’s Daddy for you.


The Mayoral Race
by Jay Ruttenberg

In another blow to the Ferrer camp, Mayor Bloomberg picked up an official endorsement today from Family Members and Drinking Buddies of Ferrer for Bloomberg. The endorsement was expected. Ed Slarsky, a self-described liberal Democrat whose life was once saved by Ferrer, said he decided to cross party lines after the mayor hypnotized him with a large wad of money, and because of Bloomberg’s commitment to education.

Appearing at a rally for Fernando Ferrer, Senator Clinton endorsed the candidate, then burst into a fit of giggles. The senator later delivered a “wedgie” to Ferrer, whose underpants’ strap, embarrassingly, revealed an endorsement for Mayor Bloomberg. In more grim news for the Democratic hopeful, Ferrer’s bid to have the ballot changed from “Bloomberg the Inevitable Conqueror” to “Bloomberg the Probable Victor” was rejected by the mayor — who has graciously saved the city money by purchasing new voting machines with his vast personal fortune, the mere thought of which has been known to make grown men weep.

New York City has a new holiday! At a ribbon cutting ceremony for his newly remodeled living room, Mayor Bloomberg officially pronounced today “Ferrer Never Will Be Mayor Day.” Meanwhile, at a debate in Harlem which Bloomberg could not attend because of a dentist appointment he scheduled ages ago, Ferrer debated himself and lost.

At a campaign stop in Westchester — a county which does not vote in New York City elections but in which Ferrer has found a number of welcoming banquet halls — the Democratic mayoral candidate beseeched members of the paparazzi to start following him and invading his privacy. Just as the candidate began speaking, however, a fistfight broke out across the street between Jessica Alba and a pit-bull terrier, leaving the ballroom empty but for Mayor Bloomberg, who sat in the back of the room sporting what he called a “dumb Freddy moustache” and shouting profanities at the speaker.

The large leather gloves worn by Mayor Bloomberg were reported stolen today after the mayor briefly removed them from his wealthy, manicured hands to give the finger to Fernando Ferrer during a parade from Ferrer’s house to his neighborhood drug store. Whether the mayor can appeal to voters without the gloves remains to be tested. But Bloomberg is taking no chances, using his billions of dollars to clone himself so that he can personally visit every New Yorker and cook them a macaroni and cheese supper come November 7.


Dear Miss Hollywood
by Miss Hollywood

Dear Miss Hollywood,

About a year and a half ago, a dear friend embarked on a prolonged tour of concert halls and basketball stadiums to celebrate her impending retirement from show business. Before she set out on the farewell tour — which is still underway — my husband and I threw a lavish retirement party. Now, my friend has announced that she is returning to show business, and has rechristened the ongoing concert series her “Return to Bizness” tour. While I cannot fault my friend for her change of heart, she now expects my husband and I to host a second party welcoming her back to the stage! My husband insists that her request is inappropriate and ungrateful. Might he have a point? Or are we being stingy fuddy-duddies, reluctant to spring for a second caterer?

Yours truly,
All Partied Out


Three Poems
by Brian Beatty


Before he died, the stand-up comedian often joked about buying an
ant farm
then discovering “them fellas didn’t grow shit.”
I hate to contradict the dead, but I think the real problem was the soil.


Witness Protection Poem

Grow a beard fast
if stuff doesn’t go
according to plan.



If you’re a Christian Scientist,
it’s the only medicine you’ve got.
Best of luck battling cancer using
old issues of the Reader’s Digest.


Start the Campaign
by T.W. Greene

My fellow Americans — I proudly stand before you today to announce my candidacy for president in the 2006 election. Thank you. Enough! Thank you! Last year, both George Bush and Michael Moore ran reputable campaigns, and I offer my sincere congratulations to the President for winning both the election and his war with Iraq. But America: We can do better! Allow me to outline my positions on the campaign themes of our day:

Activist judges
Have you ever found yourself driving to church or your local Wal-Mart pharmacy when traffic is stalled by a gang of black-robed hooligans, banging on drums with wooden mallets and chanting “This is what Democracy sounds like!” and other catchy slogans? If you’re like me, you probably think to yourself, “Is this what we’re paying these aspiring Judge Judys taxes to do?” When I’m president, these activist bums will be spending less time chaining themselves to trees, and more time presiding over their courtrooms!

That woman with the feeding tube
When I was a little boy growing up between Washington D.C., Groton Prep School, and my humble hometown of Alabama, my grandpappy would put me on his knee and tell me how lucky we were to be living in this great country, where we feed and clothe our sick, unlike other godforsaken places like Africa or Greece. But in recent weeks, I’ve been turning on the television and seeing nothing but images of an ill woman being fed through a tube, while senators and other religious leaders debate about how smart she is. This is an outrage! When I’m president, this poor woman won’t be dining out of a tube — she’ll have the best hospital food her health insurance plan can provide, or at least some kind of porridge or gruel. America — remove that tube!

Gay marriage
The words alone seem barbaric. In this age of The L Word and Puff Daddy, who are we to force the gays into marital relations with members of the opposite sex? Have we not learned our lesson from that movie starring Randy or Dennis Quaid and his unhappy ’50s housewife? In my America, gays and lesbians will be free to stick together, unmarried and as free as their happy-go-lucky minds desire.

Read my lips, America. Lawyers: I don’t like ‘em.

Social Security for the old
Let me tell you about a young lady I met in Gainesville, Florida. A brave 13-year-old named Katie Pederson. When Katie was in the seventh grade, she was a member of her school’s cheerleading squad, rooting on the Washington Tigers basketball team. She was popular — sleepover parties, school dances, a cluster of friends. Then this year, Katie didn’t make the cut for cheerleading. And guess what happened? She lost many of her old friends from the squad. I’m happy to report that Katie rebounded and found a new group of pals — but can you imagine the loneliness that would have stricken Katie if this had happened to her not when she was 13, but when she was 73, or 83? In my America, the elderly will feel secure in their social clique. In my America, Grandma and Grandpa won’t worry about getting stabbed in the back by nursing home social climbers and Mahjong cheats!


From the Desk of Neil A. Scruggs
Kwik Kat Shoes International
by Matthew Kurland

Dear Brian,

You may not remember me, but I am the father of one of your classmates, Daniel Scruggs. A couple months ago, I drove you and some of the guys home from the Deerfield Junior High Spring Dance. (“Buckle up or eat the seat cushion” … ring a bell? I was most likely introduced to you as “Mr. S.”) I am writing now in regard to a potential business opportunity.

As Danny may or may not have told you, I work as a Senior Vice President in the marketing division of Kwik Kat Shoes. Among my duties here, I help oversee our regional and national marketing campaigns. You are surely familiar with some of our television advertisements: Our most popular commercial was an award winning-spot featuring NBA star Scottie Pippin losing a slam dunk competition to his Kwik Kat-wearing Grandmother, Pearl. More recently, Kwik Kat ads have tilted the spotlight on Pearl Pippin, as she goes head to head with a series of college athletes.

I’m not sure whether or not you read Adweek. If so, you’ve probably heard about “Grandma” Pearl’s defection to a rival sporting goods company. You may also be aware of the overall slump the industry is currently buried in: with belts tight and consumers weary, we’re being forced to search outside conventional means of advertisement to promote our products. This is where you come in.

It is no secret that you are among the most popular students in the 7th grade. Danny and the guys admire you to no end, as do (I’m told) a number of female classmates. The night of the Spring Dance, three of the four students in my car were wearing suspenders dangling limply at their wastes, a style, Daniel informs me, that you spearheaded at school months ago. You may have also noticed that, aside from my son, all the kids in the car were wearing Nikes similar to the ones you have been wearing at least since I saw you at the Science Fair last fall.

It is our goal to persuade you to switch to wearing Kwik Kats. You would be a guinea pig of sorts in our new advertising strategy, in which we will sponsor popular students at schools across the country. While it is most prudent to save financial details for further contractual discussions, I would like to briefly outline the basics of our proposal.

* As a regional student mouthpiece for the corporation, Kwik Kat’s popularity endorser will wear Kwik Kat sneakers to all engagements in which sneakers are traditionally worn. This includes all classes and appropriate activities inside the student’s junior high school as well as sports events (taking place at school, the recreation center and the drive-way), summer camp, and any activity which occurs at or near the mall.

* When a Kwik Kat endorser begins dating a female classmate, he will announce his infatuation by writing of his new love (or like) interest on his Kwik Kat sneakers. This graffiti will neither interfere with the Kwik Kat logo nor suggest that the endorser’s love for his girlfriend exceeds his fondness for Kwik Kat shoes.

* The Kwik Kat popularity endorser will speak highly of Kwik Kat sneakers and other apparel at lunch time, recess, and in the locker room. When appropriate, he will repeat Kwik Kat’s slogan: “No cat outruns a Kwik Kat. Kwikety split!”

* If for any reason the Kwik Kat popularity endorser would suddenly fall from social grace, Kwik Kat retains the right to renegotiate contract.

We know what you must be thinking: When all is said and done, Jimmy Johnson is the most popular Deerfield 7th grader, particularly since he began going out with Carrie Larkins. In the spirit of disclosure, I should confess that we approached your classmate last month, and he graciously declined our offer. However, I should add that many in the company — myself included — have long felt that your charisma surpasses Johnson’s. What’s more, your style will have a smoother transition to Deerfield High School — a considerably larger demographic with more disposable income and fast growing feet.

So think about the offer. Mull it over with your parents and financial advisors. Next time you have plans with my son — he has soccer every Tuesday and Thursday, but I’m sure Danny would be open to hanging out otherwise — let’s talk business.

Neil A. Scruggs


Ruth’s Record Now in Doubt
by Jay Jennings

In trying to trace the origins of baseball’s steroid scandal, researchers have unearthed this forgotten clipping from the Sporting News in 1928, which casts doubt on Babe Ruth’s achievement.

New York, NY — The 1927 season was one baseball fans will remember forever. Amazingly, it was the year the Boston Red Sox failed to win a World Series for the unbelievable ninth straight year. It was also the year the Sultan of Swat, the Bambino, Babe Ruth of New York’s storied Yankees, hit 60 round trippers, a record I think we can all agree will never be broken. But now the validity of that record has come into question after reports surfaced that he used an illegal substance.

The gentleman who alleges he supplied Mr. Ruth with the substance, a bartender named Mitch Houlihan, says that the Bambino came into his establishment every day and requested something he called “the clear,” a chemical compound more commonly known as “gin.” In 1918, a constitutional amendment outlawed the use of such ethanol produced by fermentation.

“He took it orally,” Mr. Houlihan said. “And within a very short time, he was ripped.”

“You can see the changes. I mean the guy was a pitcher for the Red Sox,” continued the voluble barkeep, “and then when he came to the Yankees, he was smacking four-baggers like crazy. His body’s totally different now. You don’t get a gut like that without drinking a lot of hard liquor. And the mincing steps around the bases? So he wouldn’t fall down.”

Mr. Houlihan displayed a calendar he claims he made for Mr. Ruth marked with secret codes, which he said documented the slugger’s strict regimen. Under the week beginning July 12, 1927, for instance, all days carry the entry: “4-6 PM. HHH.”

When asked what the notation meant, Mr. Houlihan replied, “It means happy hour at Houlihan’s. Two for one well drinks.”

Through his attorney, Mr. Ruth issued a statement saying he does not recall clearly anything that may have happened at Houlihan’s but that he may have taken the gin unknowingly. He said it was possibly given to him by a friend who happened to buy a “round” and told him it was “water.”

“We are going to get to the bottom of this abuse,” promised commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis. “If he’s violated Prohibition, there will be serious consequences. It besmirches the integrity of the game and deserves a severe slap on the wrist.” He added that, as further punishment, Mr. Ruth could be stripped of his title, reducing him from the Sultan of Swat to the Margrave of Bunt.


More Comings and Goings 
by Rita Jalopy

Beginning what looks like another week of comings-and-goings in the White House, Bush twins Jenna and Barbara abruptly resigned from the administration today. The move ended weeks of speculation about the twins’ role in their father’s second term. Assuming the post held by “rowdy” daughter Jenna will be buxom actress Lindsay Lohan who, at a morning press conference, promised to “whoop it up” in the ensuing four years. She then took a swig from a small metal canister and flew to Las Vegas, where she promptly wed an unidentified backup dancer. Reflecting Vice President Cheney’s increased influence on the administration, it was announced that Barbara Bush will be replaced by burly comedian Rosie O’Donnell.

In a move cited by many in the Capitol as all but inevitable, First Lady Laura Bush handed in her letter of resignation to the White House. It has been said that the president, who frequently joked on the campaign trail about his wife’s habit of disagreeing with him on key issues such as reading, is looking for a First Lady more loyal to the administration and in step with its policies. A replacement has yet to be named at this time, but administration insiders say that the leading candidates include a medium-size slab of dry wood and the president’s steely mother, former First Lady Barbara Bush.

Continuing President Bush’s purge, the White House revealed that it will be switching long distance providers from MCI to Sprint. The change comes as no surprise to those inside the Beltway, who note that Sprint had aggressively courted the president throughout his first term, calling his residence virtually every weekend morning with enticing promises and slogans. The company also gave $596,458,982,221 in soft money donations to the Republican National Committee, allowing the GOP to purchase the tacky hats and streamers necessary for January’s inaugural party, and has offered the White House special discount rates on panicky late-night calls to Iran.

At a White House press conference, it was announced today that Jesus Christ has tendered his resignation from the Bush administration. Citing his well-known concerns over the president’s handling of the war in Iraq and the American economy, Mr. Christ read from a prepared statement but, in keeping with President Bush’s preference for confidentiality, declined to take questions from reporters. “It has been my proud honor and satisfying privilege to proudly serve this administration,” Mr. Christ said in his statement, from which he deviated only to joke that he was “especially looking forward [to] sleeping late” — an apparent reference to the president’s predilection for early-morning meetings. Mr. Christ will be retiring to private life, though Democrats are said to be aggressively courting him to cross party lines for a possible Barack Obama ticket in ’08. His replacement has yet to be named, though candidates are said to include the more assertive Greek God Zeus and current White House Director of Political Affairs Karl Rove.