I Pray For The Comfort Of America's Business Travelers

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Vol 33 Issue 02

Microsoft Signs Justice Dept. Attorney To $350 Million Endorsement Deal

REDMOND, WA—Microsoft Corp. signed Justice Department assistant attorney general Joel Klein to a three-year, $350 million endorsement deal Monday. Klein, who will appear in Microsoft TV and print ads, joins a growing list of high-profile government personalities who have signed endorsement deals with the software giant, including solicitor general Seth Waxman, FTC chair Robert Pitofsky and federal judge Thomas Penfield Jackson. "We are thrilled to have a big-time celebrity like Joel Klein endorsing our products," Microsoft’s Bill Gates said. "This highly recognizable figure should help greatly increase public awareness of Microsoft." Said Klein: "I am very excited to lend my image and name to Microsoft, America’s Software People. The company has long impressed me with the high quality of its products and its fair, non-monopolistic business practices." Klein then issued a cease-and-desist order against Apple Computer for anti-competitive pricing tactics, deceptive advertising, and unlawful employment of underage slave labor.

Local Couple Needs To Talk

TAMPA, FL—According to a just-released report, Tampa resident Phillip Washburn and girlfriend Jennifer Healy badly need to talk. "Despite the seemingly solid nature of the couple’s relationship," the report read, "Washburn and Healy need to get some things straight and determine just where things stand right now. They also need to figure out exactly where they’re headed." If the couple fails to talk, they face possible breakup, redistribution of personal items, and an undetermined period of involuntary abstinence.

MTV Promotes, Airs, Condemns Controversial New Video

NEW YORK—MTV is reacting with stern condemnation and heavy rotation to the video for "Cut My Slut’s Cunt Up," the controversial new song by Miscogynator, a Keith Flint-fronted Prodigy side project. The video, which has outraged feminists with its graphic depictions of nude women being brutally beaten, is, according to MTV News' Kurt Loder, "an offensive, sick, degrading abomination that goes beyond all limits of decency, and will be aired unedited at least 15 times a day on MTV. Watch it often, and see for yourself just how wrong it is." Said MTV president David Zell: "Because of the disgusting, reprehensible nature of this video, MTV is only airing it between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. EST, when all teens are asleep, and between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. EST, when all teens are at school. This tough stance will ensure that no underage viewers will ever be exposed to this crass exercise in exploitation."

Congress To Ironhead: 'What's With This Thingy?'

WASHINGTON, DC—Under fire for a litany of alleged "inappropriately feminine" personal-hygiene practices, St. Louis Rams running back Craig "Ironhead" Heyward testified under federal subpoena Monday before the Senate Investigatory Subcommittee on Bath And Shower Gender-Role Standards And Norms.

Penthouse Reader Never Thought This Would Happen To Him

NEW YORK—In a startling, improbable turn of events, a reader of the popular men's entertainment magazine Penthouse recently became involved in a real-life sex-fantasy scenario, the likes of which he had previously believed impossible for "an ordinary guy like me," Forum sources reported Monday.

HUD Allocates $260 Million For Low-Outcome Housing

WASHINGTON, DC—Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that his department will allocate $260 million toward the construction of more than 50,000 low-outcome housing units in cities across the U.S.

I Wish To Go To Heaven

Booooo! It is I, the ghost of Herman Ulysses Zweibel, founder of The Onion, or, as it was known in my day, The Mercantile-Onion. Booooo!
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Holiday

I Pray For The Comfort Of America's Business Travelers

Lately, I've been unable to relax at home. I put on my robe and slippers, sit in my overstuffed chair, turn my TV to one of its 144 channels, and a feeling of guilt washes over me like a wave. For the sake of all of us, I hope the same is true for you, and I hope the reason for your guilt is the same as mine: namely, the fact that, while we're relaxing at home, countless business travelers are out on the road, miles from home, risking their very comfort so that America's corporations may profit and thrive.

Even as we speak, an Atlanta ad executive is checking into the San Francisco Hyatt Regency, not knowing if there will be a telephone jack in his room that will accommodate his laptop. Not knowing if there will be any fresh-baked blueberry muffins waiting for him in the executive hospitality lounge when he wakes up the next day. Not knowing if there will be a wait to use one of the hotel's six color fax machines.

At that very same moment, hundreds of miles away, a marketing director is boarding a Delta Airlines jet in Dallas, headed for a three-day sales conference in Chicago. Like his compatriot in San Francisco, he faces many unknowns: Will there be enough legroom on the flight? Will the food he receives in first-class be the same as that served to the dross back in steerage, and, if so, will it be served by the same bovine flight attendants who serve the cattle? Will he be required to deactivate his computer—the same powerful tool upon which he charts the future course of our nation!—during takeoffs and landings?

And once this brave business traveler lands safely at O'Hare Airport, still greater uncertainties lie ahead. Will there be a deluxe rental car waiting for him? If not, will there be a special airport VIP lounge where he may recline comfortably and receive complimentary beverages while he waits for the problem to be sorted out? And, if so, will that lounge have televisions in each corner tuned to CNN Airport News so he is not cruelly forced to miss the latest financial news and sports scores?

Business travelers are, without a doubt, the most important people in America. Yet, sadly, they are taken for granted. We glorify our doctors, scientists, athletes, entertainers. But make no mistake: None of them would exist if a businessman hadn't traveled to make it so. Most people lack a business background, but believe me—without business travelers, we'd all be speaking Russian and worshipping President Hitler.

This is a fact freely acknowledged by no less an authority than business travelers themselves. And yet, for all they do for us ordinary civilians, do they, in return, receive complimentary copies of Business Week wherever they go? Do they have 24-hour access to conference rooms with slide projectors, so that they may prepare for "The Big Presentation" whenever they like? Do they receive free golf shirts, attractively embroidered with corporate logos, from everyone they meet? No, they do not. But despite all this, they forge ahead anyway, fighting valiantly to keep America number one in commerce.

There are an infinite number of other areas of concern. What about a businessman's vital link to important business information, the cellular phone? Is his carrier available in all markets? Is the billing convenient? Does it stop when the business traveler stops talking, or continue until the end of that minute? Is paging provided?

USA Today, one of the nation's great journalistic institutions, has relentlessly fought for years to raise public awareness of the terrible inconveniences that plague the modern business traveler. Sadly, few others have followed their courageous lead. To most Americans, the problems of business travelers are unknown, a silent scream, an injustice unheard. This must change.

I thank you for your time.

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