If Elected, I Will Be Extremely Surprised

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Vol 40 Issue 14

Frank Zappa Fan Thinks You Just Haven't Heard The Right Album

NEDERLAND, CO—In spite of your insistence that you are not into Frank Zappa, avid fan Roger Von Lee believes that you would change your mind if you heard the right album. "You're prejudiced, because the only Zappa you know is 'Valley Girl' and 'Don't Eat The Yellow Snow,'" Von Lee told you Tuesday. "Seriously, you need to check out Hot Rats or Absolutely Free. Zappa and the Mothers were at their peak, and Zappa's jazz-rock fusion experiments predate Bitches Brew. That'll totally convince you that Zappa's the shit." Von Lee added that if those two don't get under your skin, he can recommend another 15 to 20 albums that will for sure.

Boxer Hopes He Can Make Money Punching Things In Retirement

CHICAGO—Shortly after announcing his retirement, heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis, 38, said Monday that he hopes to continue to make money punching things. "I have a few other skills, but I'm probably best at punching," Lewis said. "Cows, computers, sheets of glass—if the price is right, I'll punch it good. I may be retired, but I'm still a powerful good puncher." Lewis added that he would also be willing to hire himself out by the hour for displays of fancy footwork.

Almost No Effort Made To Stop Kid From Eating Cigarette Butt

HALLOWELL, ME—While waiting for a bus Tuesday, Stan Geraldson watched 2-year-old Jason Kemper pick up a spent cigarette butt and place it in his mouth, but made only a minor attempt to stop him. "Hey, ah, you shouldn't..." Geraldson told Kemper, whose mother was engaged in a conversation a few feet away. "Don't... eat that." Geraldson said he would have done more to stop Kemper if the item had been fiberglass or something.

Dollar Losing Value Against The Quarter

NEW YORK—After falling 6 percent in the past three weeks, the U.S. dollar hit a 208-year low against the U.S. quarter, which had been valued at exactly 0.25 dollars since its introduction in 1796. "The dollar continues to slide against most major currencies," Morgan Stanley analyst Richard Jemison said. "At the end of the day Tuesday, the quarter was trading at .267 yen, .203 euros, and US$0.28. But what we're really seeing here is not just a dollar weakened by a sluggish economy, but an exceptionally resilient quarter-dollar." Jemison was quick to point out that the dollar remains very strong against the nickel.

Visiting Liberian Dignitary In No Hurry To Leave

WASHINGTON, DC—Liberian interim government chairman Gyude Bryant is strongly considering extending his first diplomatic visit to the U.S., the West African leader announced Monday. "It feels like I just got here," said Bryant, whose nation has just begun the work of rebuilding its infrastructure after 14 years of civil war. "Why rush back to Liberia? I'm barely settled into my hotel suite. I haven't even used the whirlpool." Bryant, head of the Liberian government since former president Charles Taylor was forced into exile, said he may as well stay at least until the violence in the city of Buchanan dies down, which would allow him to check out the Smithsonian.

U.S. Kids Sleep-Deprived

The National Sleep Foundation recently announced that American children are not getting enough sleep. What do you think?

The Hunt For Bin Laden

The commission probing the Sept. 11 attacks presented in detail the mistakes made in the search for Osama Bin Laden. What were some of the near-misses?
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If Elected, I Will Be Extremely Surprised

Distinguished residents of the Pine View Senior Center,

On Tuesday, Nov. 2, our district will hold an election for its seat in the state senate, and you, as citizens of this great nation, will be called upon to take part in our democratic process and exercise that most vaunted right: the vote. I ask you, Pine View residents, when you enter that booth Tuesday, to vote for me, B. Paul Knefler. Because I have no hands-on experience in government, I stand before you with this promise: If I am elected, I will be truly surprised.

Some of you may recognize me as the guy who runs for office a lot. In the past, I've sought seats on the school board and in the city council. Last year, I even ran for mayor. Today, I cast my hat in the ring once more. The state-senate run marks my most ambitious, and most absurd, campaign to date. Please flabbergast me with your support.

As the independent candidate, I'll be facing off against Democratic incumbent Martin LaSoeur and Republican challenger Elizabeth Cowles. But unlike Mr. LaSoeur and Ms. Cowles, if I'm chosen to represent you in our state government, I will be amazed. For, as with my previous campaigns, this one will be characterized by poor organization, ill-defined purpose, and confusing rhetoric. From my opposition to "ideology" in the public-education system to my bizarre municipal-bond-burning stunt in front of City Hall, I will do nothing to convince you, the voters, that I am qualified to hold office.

Several elements of my personality doom my candidacy. Key among my flaws: I don't understand the issues. Many of you are upset about what you call "property taxes." I must say, I don't care about that issue. I've lived with my elderly mother in the same house since the day I was born. My mother holds the title to the home and is therefore responsible for the tax payment, which her pension and Social Security cover. Another common constituent concern is "urban sprawl." This issue, I don't understand. The papers this morning indicate that "a vociferous minority, angered by the town of Eden Grove's unauthorized annexation of nearby Munkado, is calling for the reform of state annexation laws and a reassertion of property rights for individuals." Very complicated.

Another factor contributing to my guaranteed failure is my fixation on a few narrow issues. Citizens, if you choose to let me represent you in our senate, I will eliminate public sewers. I associate sewers with the degradation of the individual citizen's autonomy. (The aforementioned municipal-bond-burning was related to this issue.) Also, I pledge to introduce the ovenbird to our district's ecosystem. The ovenbird is a magnificent bird.

My fellow citizens, a politician must serve his constituents tirelessly and understand their needs. I am not this man. During my travels across this district, I have met dozens of voters. I have seen them squirm under my glassy-eyed gaze. I have clasped their hands in my sweaty palms for much longer than is socially acceptable. I lack character and basic social skills. Why I must involve you, the people of this great state, in my vain grab for office is something that I will explain in a moment. For now, I promise each and every one of you that I will continue to campaign awkwardly until election day in November.

Right now, I am lagging in the polls, but I will mask my fear by adopting a blustery mien and peppering my conversation with grandiose, and usually misapplied, political terms. Few will be fooled, if the public's response to me at a recent debate on city cable channel 17 is a reliable indicator. When I wasn't making long-winded, irrelevant, disconnected remarks or staring into space, I burst into loud and inappropriate laughter. This performance earned me the ridicule of the local alternative weekly newspaper, which referred to me as a "drool case."

Yet, in the face of the obvious and inevitable, I will continue to stump for votes. Is it because I want the flacks at the state capitol to know that it's no longer politics-as-usual in the 31st district? Not really. Is it because I wish to sow the seeds of reform in the minds of voters? Eh, no. Such causes might motivate underdog candidates in their quest for public office, but they don't concern me. So why do I run? Because, good people, if you find it in your hearts to send me to the State Capitol next January, not only will you be springing me from my mother's home, but you will also rescue me from the drudgery of the 15 or 20 hours of work I put in at my uncle's grocery store each week.

Before I go, let me remind you that, unlike the other candidates who hide behind lies and half-truths, I offer only the facts. The first of these facts: I don't stand a chance. The second: If, by some freak occurrence, I am voted into office, I will suck as your senator. Seriously, if elected, I will absolutely blow balls. In return for your support, you will receive nothing.

Thank you, and God bless this state.

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