Area Man's Only Friend Announces: 'You've Got Mail'

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Vol 32 Issue 03

Microsft Bids $2.1 Billion For Milton Berle Joke File

REDMOND, WA—Continuing its massive content-acquisition drive, Microsoft paid $2.1 billion Monday for Milton Berle's Joke File, the world's most vaunted collection of insults, gags and one-liners. "We aim to build the greatest archive in human history," Microsoft spokesperson Samantha Franks said, "and, as such, we needed to acquire the world's greatest jokes." Culled from the legendary comedian's six decades in show business—spanning Vaudeville, radio and television—the Milton Berle Joke File is believed to be the largest collection of zingers in existence, covering subjects ranging from mothers-in-law to schwartzes. Microsoft is also rumored to be interested in acquiring Rich Hall's extensive "Sniglets" lexicon.

New Toothbrush Slightly Different From Already Existing, Perfectly Good Toothbrushes

BELMONT, CA—At a press conference Monday, Oral-B Laboratories unveiled its much-anticipated new DentuTek 6.0 toothbrush, touted by its designers as slightly different from the hundreds of perfectly good toothbrushes currently on the market. "This toothbrush design is perfect for those who are not satisfied with the 846 existing toothbrush designs currently on the market," Oral-B director of product development Julianne Wuerfel said. "Finally, the American consumer has an 847th choice." According to Wuerfel, the DentuTek 6.0 features a patented ErgoDynamic(TM) handle, tapered to a curve vector almost .002 inches from its nearest competitor, the Colgate 34-XB, as well as a revolutionary new Tri-Level Bristle-Control System(TM). "We're very excited," Oral-B CEO Palmer Esch said. "Our team of toothbrush designers and engineers labored intensely to develop a toothbrush that fit within the infinitesimally small window of as-yet-undesigned toothbrush styles. And they did it."

AARP Calls For 'Comfier Booths' At Denny's

WASHINGTON, DC—Taking a bold stand against discomfort, the American Association of Retired Persons called for "comfier booths" at America's approximately 500 Denny's restaurants Monday. "How long can Denny's management stand idly by while our nation's elderly eat their senior breakfast specials at booths that are merely adequate?" AARP president Marge Littlefield, 77, said. Among its principal demands, the AARP called for increased cushiness, more leg room and an adjustable back-rest feature for those seniors suffering from lower-back discomfort and/or osteoporosis. Additional demands included waitstaff-dispensed shawls, Epsom-salt foot baths at select tables, and specially designated nap areas.

Baseball Hall Of Fame Elected To Hall Of Fame Hall Of Fame

MAPLEWOOD, NJ—In a gala ceremony Monday, the Baseball Hall of Fame was inducted into the Hall of Fame Hall of Fame. Said Hall of Fame Hall of Fame president Darrell Quinlan: "There have been many extraordinary Halls of Fame through the years, but few quite so extraordinary as the Baseball Hall of Fame, with its long, proud tradition of inducting only the most extraordinary baseball players into its ranks." The Baseball Hall of Fame joins such legendary Halls of Fame as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Aviation Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame in the Hall of Fame Hall of Fame.

My Short Fiction Will Restore America's Romantic Spirit

Sadly, when I look around America today, I see a lack of romantic spirit. Men and women are no longer filled with wonder for the ethereal forces that drive them together. They're not looking up, starry-eyed, at the shimmering night sky. They're not dreaming of the dawn. They're not talking about love! But once my short fiction starts getting published, that should all change.

The UPS Strike

The weeks-old UPS strike is badly hurting America's small businesses—employers of 50 percent of the nation's workers—prompting many to call for President Clinton to step in and resolve the dispute. What do you think?
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Innovation

Area Man's Only Friend Announces: 'You've Got Mail'

BERKELEY, CA—Area resident Kenneth Phelan received a message Monday from his only friend, who made a special trip to Phelan's computer terminal to inform him that he had been sent some mail.

Berkeley, CA, resident Kenneth Phelan, seen here downloading a new screensaver, was recently visited by his only friend, who dropped by to let him know that he had received mail.

"Welcome," the friend told Phelan, "you've got mail."

Phelan, a longtime "help-desk" employee at a computer lab on the University of California at Berkeley campus, received the greeting at approximately 3 a.m., shortly after logging off a Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan page.

Phelan said he was happy to hear from his sole friend, whose voice he describes as warm and enthusiastic. "He likes to let me know whenever I get a piece of mail," said Phelan, also known as "zootroy@aol.com," speaking from the one-room apartment he shares with his cat, Dalek. "He's my friend."

According to Phelan, after his friend told him about the mail arrival, the pair talked for hours.

"I like talking to him—he's a very good listener," Phelan said. "I told him all about how I was trying harder to be more comfortable and talkative around my co-workers at the computer lab, and how I was hoping to break through and do stuff with some of them outside of work someday. He just listened quietly for a long time, and then when I was done talking, he said, 'Goodbye.'"

"Even when I get really upset, he lets me talk it through," Phelan said. "That's what a real friend does."

Phelan said that the mail his friend dropped by to tell him about was from someone named 1898U50.26HL@ compuserve.com, who wanted to inform him of an opportunity to make $50,000 in two weeks with only a $5 investment. Though he did not know 1898U50.26HL@compuserve.com, Phelan said he "seemed nice," and expressed hope that they could one day become friends too.

"Maybe the three of us could get together someday and play Doom or something," Phelan said. "That would be a lot of fun."

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