Absolute Cute

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Vol 40 Issue 36

Bush Campaign More Thought Out Than Iraq War

WASHINGTON, DC—Military and political strategists agreed Monday that President Bush's re-election campaign has been executed with greater precision than the war in Iraq. "Judging from the initial misrepresentation of intelligence data and the ongoing crisis in Najaf, I assumed the president didn't know his ass from his elbow," said Col. Dale Henderson, a military advisor during the Reagan Administration. "But on the campaign trail, he's proven himself a master of long-term planning and unflinching determination. How else can you explain his strength in the polls given this economy?" Henderson said he regrets having characterized Bush's handling of the war as "incompetent," now that he knows the president's mind was simply otherwise occupied.

Local Child Amuses Café—But For How Long?

TIGARD, OR—Although 4-year-old Mia Benson is currently amusing everyone at The Sundial Café, employee Kelli Doon wondered Monday how much longer patrons might be tolerant of her childish antics. "Yes, it was very cute when [Benson] was running around making choo-choo-train sounds," Doon said, wiping the counter with a rag, her eyes trained on Benson. "And everyone laughed when she asked that stranger if she could have his cookie. But really, she's been demanding everyone's attention for, like, 15 minutes. Is it time to step in?" Doon said she plans to move closer to the milk carafes, to better ascertain whether she should intervene.

Assistant Manager Accused Of Sexual Indiscrimination

PLAINS, GA—Female employees at Peachtree Financial filed a joint complaint against assistant manager Dean Marchand Monday for repeated acts of sexual indiscrimination in the workplace. "Dean is willing to sleep with anyone who propositions him," human-resources manager Jan Harris said. "Whether it's Kelly, that pretty blonde from sales, or Marta, that grouchy skank in accounting, Dean doesn't seem to care." Harris added that Marchand is a smart, nice, well-dressed guy who should hold himself to higher standards.

Vacationing Man Misses Own Remote Control

NEW YORK—Dale Herring, on vacation from Wichita, KS, admitted Monday that he missed his TV remote control. "At first, I was taken with the hotel's remote, and the sheer number of buttons—not to mention the breathtaking view of the on-screen menu guide," Herring said. "But the truth is, I can't wait to get back to the simplicity and familiarity of my own clicker." Herring added that he'll definitely go see the Empire State Building the next time he visits New York.

Six-Hour Bus Ride Endured For Slots

I-95, NJ—Baltimore resident Gary Drake, 53, endured a six-hour bus ride from Baltimore to Atlantic City Tuesday, drawn by the prospect of feeding coins into a slot machine at a dimly lit casino.

Kobe Bryant Case Dismissed

Last week, prosecutors dropped the felony sexual-assault charge against basketball star Kobe Bryant. What do you think?

Budget Airline Perks

The American budget-airline business is booming. What perks do some of the low-cost carriers offer?
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Absolute Cute

I just had a major idea, and I want to write it down and get it out there before I begin to second-guess it. So here goes:

I, Jean Teasdale, am seriously thinking about going into the pom-pom-balls-with-googly-eyes business.

(No wait, Jean. Don't say "seriously thinking." Say, "I, Jean Teasdale, will go into the pom-pom-balls-with-googly-eyes business," because it's totally within your reach and it's going to happen.)

Do you know what I'm talking about, Jeanketeers? Those little fuzzy pom-pom balls with plastic googly eyes on them? And then they have little paper feet with stickum on the bottom? So you can mount them to something?

I suppose I should back up a bit and explain why I had this brainstorm. For months, I've had, in the back of my head, the idea of creating a home-based business. If I were self-employed, I could do something that I love and have control over, instead of punching in at some boring office or store and getting bossed around all the time. The tough question was, what should I do? Well, the answer came to me earlier today while I was at the outdoor charity-craft bazaar that the local mall sponsors twice a year. Now, I just love crafts, and I've been known to create a few myself. (Back in the early '80s, I taught myself how to crochet those cute worm-shaped bookmarks with the long tails that end in tassels. Remember those?)

I was mentally mapping out a place in my apartment to hang a Styrofoam ostrich marionette when a long, rainbow-colored, furry table at another booth caught my eye. Curious to see what it was all about, I walked closer. Well, it wasn't the table itself that was rainbow-colored and furry, but rows and rows of—you guessed it—pom-poms with googly eyes! I mean, there were hundreds of them. I was enchanted!

A woman was sitting behind the table, knitting quietly. I asked her if she'd made the pom-poms. She said she hadn't and explained that the adorable little fellas were the work of the residents of the Grapevine Group Home for Developmentally Disabled Adults.

I snapped up a bunch of pom-pom critters, several of each color. When I got home, I had quite a time trying to decide where to stick the first one. On the TV? On top of the fridge? Along the windowsill in my bedroom? On the mantelpiece above our artificial fireplace? Atop the medicine cabinet? On the stereo speakers? On the heat registers? On my jewelry box? On the wooden utility rack above the kitchen sink? In my curio cabinet? On my clock radio? On the plastic Kleenex box cover in the bathroom? On the phone receiver?

I finally decided on my computer monitor. But when I reached into my bag of pom-poms to pull one of the little guys out, I found something very disturbing. A googly eye had come off of one of the green pom-poms, and the feet were peeling off of both a red and a pink one. At least three others were starting to unravel. When I finally found a pom-pom with all its facial features intact, the feet would not stick to my monitor!

I have to say, I was more than a little disappointed with the pom-pom critters. They were not up to par. It came down to two words: shoddy craftsmanship. The eyes, as well as the feet, had been glued on with regular glue. Any idiot knows that affixing tiny plastic eyes onto an uneven polyester surface calls for the use of a hot-glue gun. Where was the quality control? (I'm all for giving developmentally disabled adults jobs, but they need supervision.)

I could think of a lot of ways these pom-pom critters could be improved. For starters, the eyes and feet need to be affixed properly. Next, mouths would lend the pom-poms a little more personality. Or maybe even eyebrows and mustaches. And different types of footwear. Or antennae, like little Martian men? Or tiny felt hats, or even eyeglasses? And, if they have little paper feet, why not paper hands, too? The hands could hold things, like signs with inspirational messages on them!

Then, in a flash of inspiration, it dawned on me that I could make the pom-poms. This could be the home-based business I've been dreaming about all my life! It would marry my creative yearnings with my desire to stay home! Also, due to my medical condition, it's advisable that I work in a calm, familiar environment. (I have Type-2 diabetes. Even though I'm not technically disabled and would resent anybody treating me differently, I need to be more careful about looking out for my health and well-being.)

There's an obvious market out there for well-crafted pom-pom balls with googly eyes. Otherwise, you wouldn't see them at bazaars and gift shops. And why wouldn't people want them? They're cheap, unconditionally friendly, and non-judgmental. (Heaven knows we could all use a friend right now, seeing as how the world hates America's guts so much.)

But there's one thing that's even more inspiring than the prospect of self-employment or giving people a little joy. You see, I recently realized that the driving force in my life, the thing that gets me off the ol' waterbed every morning, is my relentless pursuit of "absolute cute." I saw a show on the learning channel about how the lowest temperature possible is called "absolute zero." Well, why can't there be an "absolute cute"? That is, a form of cuteness that has reached ultimate perfection? I believe that, in their perfected form, pom-pom critters could achieve absolute cuteness.

In order to be cute, something must meet four standards. First, the item's exterior must be round, and its limbs, if any, must be stubby. Second, it should have eyes that are round, and very large in proportion to the figure's size. Third, it needs to be soft. Fourth, and most importantly, an item, if truly cute, will pass this test: If expanded to large proportions—say, the size of a Macy's parade balloon—it will still be cute. (Unlike Bullwinkle, for example.)

I realize that I'm getting a tad far afield here, Jeanketeers. But I'm really excited about my idea of making and selling my own pom-pom balls with googly eyes. I'll think about money, time, and production issues later. For now, I'm going to get out my trusty sketchpad, plunk myself down, and whip up some prototypes!

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