I Strongly Disagree With Connellsville High School's Choice For The John Philip Sousa Award

Top Headlines


Grin Slowly Spreads Across Mom’s Face As Meal Revealed To Contain Healthy Ingredients

‘The Mashed Potatoes Are Actually Made With Cauliflower,’ She Announces

VERONA, WI—Having waited until everyone at the table had finished their dinner Monday, a knowing grin reportedly spread across local mother Angela Hopkins’ face as she announced to her family that the mashed potatoes had in fact been made using cauliflower as a healthier alternative.

Sudden Death Of Aunt Creates Rupture In Family Gossip Pipeline

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA—Grieving family members of local aunt Laurie Shelton confirmed Monday that the 48-year-old woman’s unexpected death had caused a major breach in their gossip pipeline, suddenly disrupting access to the latest dirt on all their relatives.

Man Really Letting No One Have It During Exit Interview

SPRINGFIELD, MA—Keeping his voice at a measured volume and holding everything back, departing employee David Hughes was really letting no one have it during his exit interview Monday, sources at local accounting firm Grier and Associates confirmed.

Conceptual Genius Goes As Self For Halloween

‘He Himself Is The Costume,’ Say Amazed Onlookers

SHERMAN OAKS, CA—Brilliantly subverting the very idea of a costume, conceptual genius Mark Richards, 27, reportedly stunned his fellow partygoers Friday when he announced that he had dressed as himself for Halloween.

No One In Gym Class Volleyball Game Willing To Set Ball

LITTLE ELM, TX—With neither team having completed more than two hits during a rally before sending the ball back over the net, sources confirmed Wednesday that no one in Jefferson High School’s third-period gym class was willing to set during a volleyball game.

Impressive New Hire Figures Out Bare Minimum Of Work Job Requires On First Day

MILWAUKEE—Marveling at his extraordinary ability to learn the ropes at the technology firm and quickly fit right in with the rest of his colleagues, sources at Starpoint Solutions confirmed Thursday that impressive new hire Eric Myers has already figured out the bare minimum of work his job requires on the very first day.

45-Minute Phone Call To Credit Card Company Goes Great

FORT WAYNE, IN—Grinning with contentment as he reminisced about the call he placed earlier in the day, 31-year-old accountant Greg Schulhoff told reporters Thursday that his 45-minute phone call with MasterCard regarding late payment fees went “really great.”

Mom Keeping Tabs On Coyote Situation

WAYZATA, MN—Regularly updating her husband and children on the frequency and location of sightings around the neighborhood, local mother Dana Salisbury continued to keep close tabs on the coyote situation this week, sources confirmed.

Teen Coming Out Of Shell Giving Bully Lots Of New Material To Work With

SCOTTSDALE, AZ—Claiming he “hit the jackpot” when his victim began displaying an increased level of confidence and expressing his personal interests, local bully David Macomber told reporters Tuesday that he has had loads of new material to work with since 14-year-old Andrew Reid started coming out of his shell several weeks ago.

Boss Able To Seamlessly Blend Constructive Criticism With Personal Attacks

SAN JOSE, CA—Marveling at the ease and deftness with which he communicates the two messages simultaneously, employees at local advertising firm Wavelength Solutions told reporters Tuesday that their supervisor Eric Crowell has a unique ability to seamlessly blend constructive criticism with cutting personal attacks.

Neighborhood Starting To Get Too Safe For Family To Afford

CHICAGO—Explaining that the sense of unease she felt walking to and from her home had declined markedly over the years, Humboldt Park resident Kirsten Healy expressed her disappointment to reporters Thursday that her neighborhood was becoming too safe for her family to afford.

Area Dad Informs Busboy He’s Ready To Order

NASHUA, NH—Raising his arm into the air while leaning outward from the table in a bid to command attention from the other side of the restaurant, area father Walter Bierko called over a busboy at DiCapri’s Italian Eatery to inform him that he was ready to order, sources reported Wednesday.

Winning Argument With Aging Parents Less Satisfying Than It Once Was

CINCINNATI—After firmly telling them that she was okay paying city prices and that she would not move back to her hometown just because it was cheaper, local woman Ellen Wallace, 40, confirmed Thursday that winning an argument with her parents has become much less satisfying as they have gotten older.

Rescuers Heroically Help Beached Garbage Back Into Ocean

ATLANTIC BEACH, NC—In what many described as an inspiring display of selflessness and teamwork, a group of rescuers heroically saved a beached mound of garbage by helping the stranded trash back into the ocean, eyewitnesses reported Thursday.

Man Races Against Time To Take Out Trash Bag With Widening Puncture

RIO RANCHO, NM—His pace steadily quickening as he rounded the corner out of his kitchen and made a beeline for the front door, local man Henry Parnasse reportedly found himself locked in a race against time Wednesday morning to take out a trash bag with a widening hole in its side.

Man Pushed Off Plate Of Chicken Wings By Larger Male

WARMINSTER, PA—Looking on as the intense display of aggressive behavior played out over several minutes, sources at Flannigan’s Bar & Grill confirmed Thursday that local man Pete Samuelson was pushed off a plate of buffalo wings by a much larger alpha male.

Grandma Guts It Out Through Lunch On Sunny Patio

MALVERN, PA—Making the audacious decision to dine outdoors with her family despite a noticeable lack of umbrellas or awnings, grandmother Diane McGilvery, 83, reportedly gutted it out through lunch Friday on the sunny patio of a local restaurant.

Parents Formally Announce Transfer Of Expectations To Second Child

GRAND JUNCTION, CO—Explaining that the adjustment made the most practical sense for all parties involved, local parents Beth and Ryan Morgan held a press conference Friday morning to announce the official transfer of expectations from their oldest child, Jeremy, to his younger sibling, Angie.

Motorcyclist Salvaged For Parts

SIOUX FALLS, SD—Following a multiple-vehicle accident on Interstate 90 that temporarily halted traffic in both directions, sources reported Friday that a motorcyclist involved in the crash was hauled off and salvaged for parts.

Detective Not Sure He Was Close Enough To Partner To Endlessly Pursue Killer

DETROIT—After his partner of three years was gunned down last week while the pair were on duty, Detective David Killian of the Detroit Police Department’s Major Case Squad told reporters Wednesday he was unsure whether he had been close enough to his murdered colleague to single-mindedly pursue the killer for as long as it takes.

Man Pretty Cocky Since Beating Cancer

FT. LAUDERDALE, FL—Whether he’s bragging about his newfound appreciation for life or arrogantly refusing to take anything for granted, local man Daniel Oretsky, 38, has been acting insufferably cocky since winning his two-year battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, sources confirmed Tuesday.
End Of Section
  • More News
Up Next
TV Listings
Just Like Everything Else!: Fox 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. ABC Pete's wife is still on him about building that darn shed, these kids are going to be the death of Sheila and Dave, and the hot next-door neighbor is up in EVERYBODY'S business! Sunday nights on ABC couldn't be any more familiar!

Special Coverage



I Strongly Disagree With Connellsville High School's Choice For The John Philip Sousa Award

It is with heavy heart that I, John Philip Sousa, composer and patriot, address you today for the purpose of setting right a great injustice. Every year, the entire music faculty of Connellsville High School comes together to present one outstanding student with the John Philip Sousa award—a glorious wood-mounted plaque that shines as brightly as does my own legacy in the marching arts. And every year, they have done well in upholding my name. That is, until they announced the recipient for the 2007-2008 academic year.

The winner? A gum-snapping ne'er-do-well by the name of Brittany Collier, who in no way exemplifies the spirit of John Philip Sousa.

Some 30 years ago this institution, in an act I am most grateful for and not in the least surprised by, established the John Philip Sousa Award for the student who exhibits the most talent and dedication toward the live performance of marches. Yet that selfsame school has made a mockery of the honor which bears my name by awarding it to someone undeserving at best and scandalous at worst.

Brittany Collier. A brutish young imp with all the quick-stepping and gay revelry of a rotted barrel of Bartlett pears.

When I survey the long list of recipients across this great land, from Lane Tech in Chicago to the Virgil I. Grissom High School in Huntsville, Alabama, I see nothing but excellence in marchistry. Collier's inclusion among their ranks is more than a mere blemish on this veritable hall of heroes. It is a boil, a scar, an open, festering wound.

She is no better than a discordant note in an otherwise triumphant melody and if she continues to gorge herself on sweet cakes, nay will the greatest of my early marches be the only thing called "The Thunderer."

Know you that my consternation does not stem from the fact that the winner is of the fairer sex. In 2001 it was a young woman named Tina Aberdeen who lived up to the spirit, flair, and oompah-pah that is synonymous with my name. She was granted the award, and to it she accorded due respect. But Brittany Collier, who sits in the first chair clarinet—just one more honor for which she is utterly undeserving—is callow, of an easily distracted temperament, and cannot march for a hill of beans. She has made the name John Philip Sousa ring loud, clamorous, and hollow.

She doesn't even use her spit valve.

Last year's winner, Danny Klein, was by all accounts a deserving chap. I'd be proud to serve alongside him in the Marine Corps Band. I wonder what he's up to now? No doubt he's busy inspiring our men in uniform with his tuba playing. Now that's the spirit of John Philip Sousa! Not listening to Shakira on headphones until it's time for lunch, then bolting out the door to smoke cigarettes with one's friends, Miss Collier.

The very thought makes me shudder.

When I wrote "The Liberty Bell," it was meant as an homage to the spirit of patriotism and parades that filled my heart, not as a cheap melody to be slandered with vulgar raspberries and half-hearted toots. I fear something altogether different fills Miss Collier's heart. What has taken a century to build this classless harlot undoes with a single flat Fin the second strain. Her timing is off, her triplets sloppy, and her dress better befits a strumpet than a member of the noble regiment.

The John Philip Sousa Award used to be a true measure of excellence. It was bestowed upon young men and women who possessed the gravitas required to step in rhythm while dressed in the reddest of outfits and the highest of hats. It was never meant to fall into the hands of a scatter-brained oaf whose true passion is for jazz band.

If I were the one to pick—and by rights I ought to be, by God—I would dictate that this year's award for Connellsville High School's most revered musician should undoubtedly go to Tim Jenkins. Now there is a boy of promise. While he may not be the best performer, young Jenkins has worked harder at his instrument than anyone else in his class. His gaze is steady, his aim true, and his constitution strong. When his cymbals come together, the hills themselves shake. Never has anyone played them with such gusto. Certainly not that brazen, cow-eyed ragamuffin Brittany Collier and her equally contemptuous boyfriend, Terrance Krane.

Mark my words, Connellsville High Scool Class of 2008: If we don't honor this nation's great marching traditions, it may readily fall.