State Of Minnesota Too Polite To Ask For Federal Funding

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Vol 41 Issue 08

Woman Dozing At Coffee Shop Has That Dave Eggers Sex Dream Again

IOWA CITY, IA—Freshly jolted awake from a peach-tea-induced nap, Sumatra Café patron Laurie Dubar said she had that same sex dream about bestselling author Dave Eggers. "I'm lying on the couch naked, and Dave is next to me, also naked, reading Salon on his laptop," said Dubar, a 34-year-old Iowa Writers' Workshop instructor. "Suddenly, he turns to me and says, 'Could you help me edit a collection of short fiction?' and I can't control myself any longer." Dubar said she always wakes up just as Sarah Vowell walks in wearing a kimono.

Local Man Gets Cocky With Ladder

GUNNISON, UT—Three days into painting his house, Donald Simonds has gotten arrogant with his 12-foot aluminum ladder. "When he started his project, he'd step up the rungs real gingerly, bracing himself with his hands all the way," neighbor Earl Pickett said. "Now, three days later, he's climbing up the wrong end, carrying three paint cans at once, standing on the top step of the thing. I even saw him steady himself by putting one foot on a windowsill." Pickett said he just hopes Simonds' smug way with his ladder doesn't get him hurt.

Lure Of Free Meal Each Shift Too Great For Disgruntled Arby's Employee

WEST WENDOVER, NV—Although he hates working at Arby's "more than anything," prep cook Taylor Ochtrup, 17, told reporters Monday that he would quit if it weren't for the $6 meal allowance that he earns for every shift of four hours or more. "The hours suck, I always work weekends, and the manager is a dick, but hey, free Super Roast Beef," Ochtrup said. "And, if I work until closing, I get to take home any extra Curly Fries." Although he has no health insurance, Ochtrup said his kitchen drawers are "chock-full of Horsey Sauce."

Sharper Image Vows 'We Will Be Undersold'

SAN FRANCISCO—In a battle cry to consumers of trendy specialty gadgets, Sharper Image CEO Richard Thalheimer said Monday that the high-end retailer "will be undersold" by the competition. "Show us a foot massager that retails for $40 at Target and we'll sell it to you for $90—because that's how we do business," Thalheimer said. "Heck, regular stores don't even carry our virtually useless $299 ionic air purifier." In response, Hammacher Schlemmer issued a challenge to "exceed Sharper Image's price or double the item's cost."

Bush Determined To Find Warehouse Where Ark Of Covenant Is Stored

WASHINGTON, DC—In a surprise press conference Monday, President Bush said he will not rest until the warehouse where the Ark of the Covenant, the vessel holding the original Ten Commandments, is located. "Nazis stole the Ark in 1936, but it was recovered by a single patriot, who braved gunfire, rolling boulders, and venomous snakes," Bush said, addressing the White House press corps. "Sadly, due to bureaucratic rigmarole, this powerful, historic relic was misplaced in a warehouse. Mark my words: We will find that warehouse." Bush added that, after they are strengthened by the power of the Ark, U.S. forces will seek out and destroy the sinister Temple of Doom.

Oscar Host Chris Rock

Chris Rock will host this year's Academy Awards. What suggestions did event organizers have for the comedian?
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State Of Minnesota Too Polite To Ask For Federal Funding

ST. PAUL, MN—Although many of its highways and bridges are in severe disrepair, the traditionally undemanding state of Minnesota isn't comfortable asking for more interstate funding, sources reported Monday.

"Oh, we wouldn't want to bother the U.S. government—they've got more than enough on their plate as it is," Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said. "Most of the potholes on I-90 are less than four feet wide. We get by just fine. I wouldn't want anyone all the way over there in Washington to be worrying about little ol' us."

According to U.S. Department of Transportation records, Minnesota has not requested an increase in highway funds for 10 years, in spite of the fact that the majority of their roads are plagued by rutted or uneven surfaces, cracked pavement, potholes, and other deterioration.

"If it were a life or death situation, you can bet your bippy we'd ask for it, but since it isn't..." Pawlenty said. "Well, we can make do with the transportation-department budget they decided to give us back in 1995. That was more than generous."

But U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta said Minnesota's highway system is "dangerously underfunded."

"Nearly 20 percent of Minnesota's highway lights are not working, and Highway 280 seems to be held together with equal parts concrete and prayer," Mineta said. "We tried to slip them a few dollars along with the National Bridge Inspection Standards Act, but they told us to put the money right back into our wallets, or give it to someone who could really use it, like Arizona."

Mineta said that, even after he explained that he couldn't simply give the money to another state, Minnesota reaffirmed that it was determined to stretch what federal dollars it had.

"They kept saying, 'Oh, you guys keep that budget allocation,'" Mineta said. "But everyone likes Minnesota and would love to help them out. They never ask for anything, unlike New York, which seems to be in some kind of crisis every other week."

Joshua Bolten, U.S. Director of the Office of Management and Budget, said the national government "guilted" Minnesota into accepting some money to fund a child-safety-seat program three years ago, by repeatedly urging them to "think of the children."

"After all it took to get them to take the money, they wouldn't stop thanking us," Bolten said. "The following day, Minnesota congressmen kept dropping by with cakes and cookies. I mean, the hand-stitched quilt Rep. Mark Kennedy (R-MN) made was beautiful, but a gift was really, really unnecessary."

Most Minnesota residents support their governor's decision to do without increased federal funding. In fact, citizens have been holding rummage sales and donating their time so that they won't have to inconvenience the rest of the country.

"We don't want to be a bother," said Brian Calhoun, a restaurant owner who spent last weekend fixing highway safety rails in his hometown of St. Cloud. "There are a lot of folks around here who know the value of a little bit of elbow grease. Duluth said it has some scrap metal we might be able to melt down to make some lamp poles."

Although the majority of Minnesota residents agree that they can "make do," a few have disagreed.

"This is stupid," said Tom Suttcliffe, a recent transplant to Minneapolis. "We need more snow plows—everybody knows it. I'm sorry, but I don't think having people agree to shovel the street in front of their houses is the answer. Shit, if everyone else is too embarrassed to ask for the money, I'll do it. Who do I call?"

Later that day, Minnesota officials gave Suttcliffe a "stern talking to," and the Boston native said he would not speak out of turn again.

In spite of the state's congenial nature, federal officials say they are "exasperated" by Minnesota's selflessness.

"Minnesota should just take the spending money, already," Department of Education Undersecretary Edward McPherson said. "It's not like it's a special handout—all schools were allocated extra money under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. But they refuse to accept their extra federal funding on the grounds that their schools 'don't need to be fancy.'"

"Frankly, they're just being stubborn and I'm not going to stand for it any longer," McPherson said. "They're gonna get some more funding by the end of the year if the federal government has to airdrop in school lunches and forcibly place new teachers in the classrooms with the help of the National Guard."

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