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Oh Great, Another Woman Who Only Loves Me For My Complete Collection Of ‘Rurouni Kenshin’ Manga

Well isn’t that great—just great. Here I am, thinking I’ve finally met someone who’s perfect for me—she’s caring, smart, beautiful, and most of all, it seemed like she really got me. But I should have known better. Turns out she’s just like the rest of them, just another in a long line of women who only love me for my complete collection of the classic wandering samurai manga Rurouni Kenshin.

Disappointing Buffalo Wild Wings Not Living Up To Ridicule

LOS ANGELES—Describing the experience as a significant letdown, local diner Eric Tidwell told reporters that the disappointing Buffalo Wild Wings franchise he visited Thursday night failed to live up to the scorn he had long heard about the restaurant.

Louvre Curators Hurry To Display Ugly Van Gogh Donor Gave Them Before Surprise Visit

PARIS—After retrieving the eyesore from amid a clutter of unused display cases and movable stanchions in the back of the facility’s basement where it had been stowed ever since the museum received it, curators at the Louvre hurried to display an ugly Vincent van Gogh painting before the artwork’s donor made a surprise visit to the museum Friday.

Area Dad Needs More Time With Museum Plaque

NEW YORK—Leaning in close to the paragraph of text as his family continued on to the museum’s other exhibits, area dad and Frick Collection visitor Phillip Schermeier, 58, reportedly needed more time with the plaque beside Rembrandt’s 1626 painting Palamedes In Front Of Agamemnon Thursday.

Lost Jack London Manuscript, ‘The Doggy,’ Found

RYE, NY—Workers inventorying the estate of a recently deceased Westchester County art dealer earlier this month reportedly stumbled upon a draft of a previously unknown Jack London novel titled The Doggy, and the work is already being hailed by many within the literary world as a masterpiece.

‘Our Town’ Cast Party Going Off The Rails

PEEKSKILL, NY—Describing a wild scene in which performers and stagehands were loudly conversing, laughing, and occasionally breaking back into their characters from the play, sources confirmed Sunday night that the cast party for the local production of Our Town is currently going off the rails.

Thieves Make Off With Museum’s Most Valuable Docents

CHICAGO—In what is being described as a sophisticated and well-executed heist, thieves stole nine of the Art Institute of Chicago’s most valuable docents in broad daylight this morning, according to museum and law enforcement officials.
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Congress Accidentally Approves Arts Funding

WASHINGTON, DC—A red-faced Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) admitted Monday that, as part of last week's $397 billion spending bill, Congress accidentally allocated $121 million to the National Endowment for the Arts.

Above: Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) react to the inadvertent $121 million arts endowment.

"We approved what?" said Frist upon learning of the inadvertent arts funding. "I don't recall putting my name on anything like that. Any funding of the arts was purely accidental. I repeat, any financial support of artists, musicians, or writers on my part was done unwittingly and unknowingly."

"That bill was more than 3,000 pages, single-spaced," Frist added. "It's pretty easy to miss something."

The 2003-04 budget bill, which passed 338-83 in the House and 76-20 in the Senate, boosted defense spending by $98 billion and pledged $27 billion in tax breaks to oil companies and other energy concerns. It also unintentionally allocated more than $120 million to "award financial assistance for projects, productions, workshops, or programs that will encourage public knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of the arts."

"That wording was confusing," Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) said. "I did not fully understand what that meant. I assumed it had something to do with scientific or military research, so I voted for it. I'm sure I wasn't the only one to misinterpret that."

On Capitol Hill, countless legislators expressed embarrassment over voting for the bill, admitting that the arts funding simply slipped by them.

"I don't know how this could have happened," Rep. Gil Gutknecht (R-MN) said. "I thought I read the thing pretty carefully, but toward the bottom of page 117, those four words are right there in black and white: American Jazz Masters Fellowship."

Making the blow even more severe is the fact that the NEA will have the power to determine how the funds are distributed.

"As I understand it, not only will the government provide money for paintings and poems, it will have little say over how that money is used," Gutknecht said. "This means some limp-wristed NEA member will decide what qualifies as art rather than Congress or the president. Remind me never to skim a bill again, no matter how long it is."

Above: The new home of the Boogabong Players, an avant-garde Stowe, VT, puppet-theater troupe.

Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) spoke out in defense of his embarrassed colleagues.

"In those final, frantic days of House-Senate bargaining, money was flying everywhere," Bayh said. "$3.1 billion to subsidize cattle ranchers here, $1.5 billion to help states revamp their electoral systems there. I can see how, in all that chaos, $185,000 for the Dance Theater of Harlem could get overlooked."

Many citizens do not excuse the lawmakers' negligence.

"These congressmen must be held accountable," said Ronald Drake, a Lincoln, NE, hardware-store owner. "My hard-earned tax dollars will be supporting repertory theaters and art galleries—places no decent, hard-working American would ever set foot in. And then there's the museums I always hear about on the news, with the dirty photos and whatnot."

Some senators tried to defuse criticism by playing up the "many wonderful parts" of the bill.

"We need to keep this in perspective," Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) said. "Let's try to focus on the $390 million that will go toward mineral drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, rather than the $15,000 that may wind up going to some guy who wants to put on a Shakespeare play."

Added Hagel: "I can't be everywhere at once. It was [bipartisan Budget Committee member and Republican Colorado Rep. Tom] Tancredo's job to look out for things like this."

While Rep. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) introduced the line item that grants the NEA chairperson the power to award literature fellowships, she said she never expected it to be approved.

"I always throw some doomed things in there so we have something to take out," Stabenow said. "This time, I put the arts funding in to distract everyone from the section allocating money for school-breakfast programs in low-income districts. Live and learn."

Dana Gioia, the internationally acclaimed poet, critic, and educator who was recently named NEA chairman, was "as shocked as anyone" by the financial windfall.

"I can't wait to start making calls," Gioia said. "There's a Latina artist in Los Angeles who makes these amazing multimedia collages that combine the religious iconography of her strict Catholic upbringing with photographs of horse vaginas."

More from this section

Louvre Curators Hurry To Display Ugly Van Gogh Donor Gave Them Before Surprise Visit

PARIS—After retrieving the eyesore from amid a clutter of unused display cases and movable stanchions in the back of the facility’s basement where it had been stowed ever since the museum received it, curators at the Louvre hurried to display an ugly Vincent van Gogh painting before the artwork’s donor made a surprise visit to the museum Friday.

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