Congressional Panel To Investigate Old Parker Mansion

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Congolese Civil War Buff Fights In Civil War

BRAZZAVILLE, CONGO–Jean-Pierre Uyoya, a longtime Congolese Civil War enthusiast, was excited to enlist in the Congolese Liberation Movement army Monday. "I can't wait to participate in my first Civil War enactment," said Uyoya, polishing up his authentic 1999-era Uzi. "I've been a huge Congolese Civil War buff ever since it started in 1997." On Friday, Uyoya's army unit will march north for a historically accurate ambush of the Hutu-controlled village of Gemena.

Early-Morning Jogger Pities Everyone Still Sleeping

OCEANSIDE, CA–During her daily four-mile, 5 a.m. run, jogger Andrea Kallen expressed pity for all the people still in their soft, warm beds Tuesday. "I cannot understand how anyone would choose to be conked out during the most glorious time of the entire day," said Kallen, 25, straining up a hill as the sky turned from a dark cobalt blue to purple. "I feel so bad for all those poor people who are missing out on this just to get an extra four or five hours of sleep."

Eighth-Grader Drinks At Twelfth-Grade Level

CARLSBAD, NM–Joshua Halley, an eighth-grader at Millvale Middle School, consumes alcohol at a 12th-grade level, sources reported Monday. "This precocious youngster shows a drinking aptitude far beyond that of the average 13-year-old," Millvale principal Charles Meckler said. "Beer, wine, vodka, whiskey–Joshua can handle them all." Meckler said that upon high-school graduation, Halley can expect a full scholarship from his choice of the nation's top party schools.

Area Man Could Have Sworn Randy Newman Sang Welcome Back, Kotter Theme

SPRINGFIELD, MO–Television viewer Michael Grigg was stunned to learn Monday that Lovin' Spoonful frontman John Sebastian, not Randy Newman, composed and sang the Welcome Back, Kotter theme song. "Seriously? John Sebastian?" Grigg said upon being informed by friend Brian Richards while watching the popular '70s sitcom on Nick At Nite. "God, I would have bet money that it was Randy Newman. Especially with the piano and everything." Added an incredulous Grigg: "You have to admit, it sounds a lot more like 'Short People' than 'Do You Believe In Magic?'"

Fame Sexually Transmitted

LONDON–Guy Ritchie, Madonna's British boyfriend, has sexually contracted fame from the pop superstar, Ritchie's physician confirmed Monday. "It would appear that Mr. Ritchie, a previously obscure director with just two films to his credit, has become famous through sexual contact with Madonna," Dr. Ian Woolsey-Lodge said. "As a fame carrier himself, he now can be found on Entertainment Tonight and in People magazine, even when not with Madonna." Woolsey-Lodge said Ritchie forever runs the risk of any future offspring being born famous.

Bush Vows To Do 'That Thing Gore Just Said, Only Better'

BOSTON–Responding to debate opponent Al Gore's promise to pay off the national debt in 12 years by devoting $2 of projected surpluses toward debt reduction for every $1 used for tax cuts, George W. Bush vowed to do "that thing Gore just said, only better" during Tuesday's presidential debate. "Yeah, that debt thing," the Republican candidate said during his allotted 90-second rebuttal. "I'm going to do that, but, like, 10 times better." Bush added that, as president, he would "do all that stuff Gore said about education and the environment, but my version would work twice as good."

The Abortion Pill

Last week, the FDA approved the controversial French abortion pill RU-486, permitting non-surgical abortions in the U.S. for the first time and sparking protest from pro-life advocates. What do you think?
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Innovation

Congressional Panel To Investigate Old Parker Mansion

WASHINGTON, DC–Following up on a Sept. 20 report that there is "something really creepy about the place," Congress established an investigative panel Monday to find out just what's going on up at the old Parker mansion.

The creepy Parker mansion.

"Old Man Parker just disappeared one day, and ever since, all sorts of strange noises have been coming from up there," Sen. Robert Bennett (R-UT) said. "And I heard from one of the fellas in the General Accounting Office that there's a ton of old pirate doubloons up there. We've got to go up there and check it out."

After three hours of congressional debate, it was decided that the investigative panel would consist of Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS), because he's a real leader; Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), because he's small and good at sneaking into tight spots; and Rep. Steve Largent (R-OK), because, as a former NFL player, he's the most athletic member of Congress.

After complaining long and hard about not being chosen, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) was warned repeatedly not to follow the panel up Crooked Hill to the mansion, because it was too dangerous for a girl, and she would just slow them down.

"She'd better not follow us up there," Reed said. "That old mansion doesn't have any lights, and there are a lot of rotten floorboards."

"And they say," added Reed, becoming quieter, "you can still see strange lights up there some nights, like Old Man Parker is still up there. Or..."

"If the distinguished senator from Rhode Island is trying to scare me, it won't work," interrupted Lott, banging his speaker's gavel. "All that stuff about Old Man Parker's ghost is just a lot of baloney and you know it."

The exploratory committee plans to meet in the apple orchard on Friday, after Congress lets out. The group will then wait until nightfall before approaching the creepy, Victorian-style mansion.

"We have to be extra-careful not to be seen, because Mr. Clinton doesn't like us poking our noses into spooky, suspicious stuff," Largent said. "He says it's too dangerous for federal legislators to investigate, and that it's [FBI director Louis] Freeh's job, so we should leave well enough alone. But is Freeh gonna go investigate a haunted house?"

Lott reluctantly conducts a full-scale investigation of the White House basement last October.

"There's no such thing as ghosts, anyway," said Lott, checking the batteries in his flashlight. "It always turns out to be marsh gas or a crazy old hobo or Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE) in a sheet or something. Remember when we solved the Case Of The Phantom Of The Strategic Petroleum Reserves? Some phantom! It was just old [Energy Secretary] Bill Richardson's parrot mimicking an oil tanker's foghorn!"

Reed then reminded Lott that he "sure was scared" during a recent fact-finding mission to the eerie boathouse on the Potomac River. Just moments after Lott's oft-checked flashlight batteries failed, he lost his spectacles, leaving him alone in the dark with a "giant bat" later revealed to be a loose, windblown shutter.

"I think there really might be treasure up there," said Reed, whose home state of Rhode Island, the nation's smallest, is a place where a few Spanish pirate doubloons would go a long way. "The Widow Adams once told me that Old Man Parker went to sea a lot in his youth, and that late one night during a big storm, she saw him bring an old sea-chest into the house. I bet it's full of gold."

"The gold isn't the point," Largent said. "The point is to find out what's going on up there, and what's making those lights, and what happened to Old Man Parker. If we have to camp out all night in that place to find out, that's what we'll do."

The panel is urging Congress to increase federal funding for the expedition, which will require a length of rope, extra flashlight batteries, three bottles of grape soda, and a jackknife. As of Tuesday, the trio had collected from Congress $4.74 million and a slingshot.

"Gee," Lott said, "this slingshot sure will come in handy if we see Old Man Parker's ghost."

"Or if Dianne shows up," added Reed, needling Lott. The senate majority leader was embarrassed this spring when he fled in terror from Feinstein, whom he had mistaken for the Creature From The Congressional Library. Lott's embarrassment only grew when the California senator pulled the candlestick in the Lincoln Bedroom, revealing the secret passage that ultimately led to the solving of the case.

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