70 Percent Of World's Population Could Use All-Star Benefit Concert

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Vol 37 Issue 40

Flood Of Cheap Afghan Heroin To Arrive Just In Time For Recession

NEW YORK—The nation's smack addicts received welcome news Monday, when The Wall Street Journal reported that the war in Afghanistan has opened the floodgates for cheap Afghan heroin, just in time for the coming recession. "Even if their stock portfolios are dwindling, America's junkies can take heart in the fact that the Taliban is embarking on a massive heroin sell-off, slashing prices dramatically," Wall Street Journal reporter Tom Petzinger said. "So even if GE drops to $20 a share, keep in mind that heroin has dropped to $50 a gram." Ed Evans, a recently laid-off Detroit auto worker and longtime heroin addict, called the report "real great, uh, that's unnnnhhf..."

Actor's Parents Proud He's Playing A Doctor

SOUTHFIELD, MI—Gail and Milt Greenblatt, parents of soap-opera star Brett Green, are beaming with pride that their son is a doctor on ABC's All My Children. "Dr. Cord Montgomery graduated from Harvard Medical School at the top of his class," Gail told a neighbor Monday. "What's more, he's the youngest surgeon at Pine Valley's top hospital." Milt expressed relief that his son has left behind the "rough crowd" he ran with last fall as a bully on Gilmore Girls.

JCPenney Abandons 45-Second Sale

PLANO, TX—JCPenney announced Monday that it is discontinuing its "45-Second Sale," in which all store items are 60 percent off from 1:00:00 p.m. to 1:00:45 p.m. "The 45-second sale drew very strong customer response," JCPenney CEO Allen Questrom said Monday. "Regrettably, only a handful of shoppers actually got to capitalize on our fantastic bargains due to the horrific injuries they sustained during the cashier stampede." In the future, Questrom said, JCPenney sales would be two minutes long at an absolute minimum.

Weird Coworker Apparently Likes Walking Two Miles To Work Every Day

SACRAMENTO, CA—Despite owning a car and receiving frequent offers of rides from coworkers, State Farm Insurance claims adjuster Jonathan Kiel inexplicably prefers to make the daily two-mile trek to work on foot. "I know he's got a car, and he certainly earns enough for a monthly bus pass," coworker Colin Damrush said, "but for some freaky, mind-boggling reason, he insists on walking a distance of almost two miles every day—to and from work." Damrush said he and others in the office suspect Kiel is part of "some weird Luddite cult."

If I Don't Get My Medium-Rare Shell Steak With Roasted Vegetables In The Next 10 Minutes, The Terrorists Have Already Won

Waitress, I realize you're very busy and, no doubt, you have a lot on your mind. God knows, everyone does these days. But what this country needs right now is a return to normalcy. We need to work, laugh, and eat the way we did before Sept. 11. That's why it's absolutely vital that I get my medium-rare shell steak with roasted vegetables in the next 10 minutes. Because if I don't, well, then the terrorists have already won.

I'm No Tali-fan!

Item! Terrorism has hit these shores, and I for one am ready to put my foot down and say enough! I don't care if I become a target for terror as a result of my stance. I think this is the time for action, not silence. So I've put an American flag on my car, one on my mailbox, and one on my dog. Take that, Osama Ben Laden!

Ashcroft's Vague Warnings

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft has issued several vague warnings of "credible threats" of terrorism, urging Americans to stay on alert. What do you think?

Oprah Makes A Correction

Oprah Winfrey recently withdrew her selection of Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections for her book club. What did Franzen do to get dropped?
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  • Night Out Consecrated With Opening Exchange Of High-Fives

    CHARLOTTE, NC—Kicking off the evening with their customary expression of excitement and camaraderie, a group of friends reportedly consecrated their night out on the town Friday with a ceremonial opening exchange of high-fives.

70 Percent Of World's Population Could Use All-Star Benefit Concert

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND—According to a study released Monday by the United Nations Economic and Social Council, 4.2 billion people—a full 70 percent of the planet's inhabitants—could use an all-star benefit concert.

Michael Jackson during the finale of last month's "United We Stand" benefit concert.

"Whether ravaged by war, disease, natural disaster, or just plain grinding poverty, there are a whole heck of a lot of people out there in desperate need of a star-studded fundraiser at Madison Square Garden," ECOSOC president Martin Belinga-Eboutou said. "Or, if not that, a Quincy Jones-produced remake of 'What's Going On' featuring everyone from P. Diddy to 'N Sync to U2's Bono."

Belinga-Eboutou pointed to the recent success of Concert For New York City, a five-and-a-half-hour extravaganza featuring such superstars as Elton John, Mick Jagger, Backstreet Boys, Paul McCartney, and Destiny's Child, among others. Earnings from the benefit, which aired on VH1 and will soon be released as a double-disc CD, are expected to surpass the $150 million raised in last month's all-star America: A Tribute To Heroes telethon.

"If we could get something like that going in the 315,583 places on the globe the U.N. has identified as 'in crisis,' we'd really have something," Belinga-Eboutou said.

Belinga-Eboutou cited Gujarat, the Indian state where a January earthquake killed an estimated 100,000 people and left nearly one million homeless, as an example of a region that could use a night of star-studded "compassiontainment."

"If Jerry Seinfeld could see it in his heart to toss off a few of his trademark observational one-liners for the needy people of Gujarat, it would greatly alleviate the suffering they have endured," Belinga-Eboutou said. "And the rock stylings of a reunited Who would be much appreciated, as well."

Last week, the U.N. established an exploratory committee to begin the arduous task of assigning stars to the world's trouble spots. However, with the ratio of needy locales to bankable stars standing at 4,390 to 1, an estimated 800 two-hour concerts per celebrity would be required over the next year to set things right in the world. These figures are also contingent upon no further natural or man-made catastrophes occurring during that time period.

Though only in its initial stages, the deployment of stars has already begun. Last week, R&B sensation Pink was dispatched to Indonesia to raise money for the families of the 350 asylum-seeking refugees who drowned in an overcrowded boat last month, while Arista recording artist Dido is slated to perform Nov. 27 in war-torn Macedonia. In addition, the '80s new-wave band Soft Cell has agreed to reunite for three December shows in AIDS-ravaged South Africa.

New York concert promoter Ron Delsener, who is in talks to organize more than 22,000 relief concerts on behalf of the U.N., said the logistical problems such a humanitarian effort would present are considerable.

A group of benefit-concert-needing Bosnian refugees.

"There just aren't any adequate venues for, say, an Ozzy Osbourne show in Sierra Leone," Delsener said. "No stadiums, no arenas, not even a large auditorium. And have you ever tried tracking down a pyrotechnics expert with a union card in sub-Saharan Africa? It's practically impossible."

Delsener also noted that the cost of providing adequate security at such a concert would be greater than the gross national product of the nation in need.

Despite such challenges, Third World leaders are urging musicians to do whatever they can.

"It is up to each and every star to pitch in," said Nicaraguan president José Arnoldo Alemán Lacayo, whose drought-ravaged country will soon receive help in the form of Eagle-Eye Cherry. "From heavy hitters such as Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen to young upstarts like Macy Gray, the world needs all the singers it can get."

The world's impoverished received more good news Monday, when George Harrison, whose 1971 Concert For Bangladesh was the first all-star fundraiser, said plans are underway for a follow-up show.

"I've already talked to Ringo [Starr] and Eric Clapton, and Tom Petty appears to be interested, too," Harrison said. "The Concert For Bangladesh was such a big success, there's no reason to think that this upcoming Concert For Albania, Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malawi, Mali, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, The Philippines, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Zaire, Zambia, and Zimbabwe won't be just as great."

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