Illinois: The Promised Land

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Vol 32 Issue 03

Microsft Bids $2.1 Billion For Milton Berle Joke File

REDMOND, WA—Continuing its massive content-acquisition drive, Microsoft paid $2.1 billion Monday for Milton Berle's Joke File, the world's most vaunted collection of insults, gags and one-liners. "We aim to build the greatest archive in human history," Microsoft spokesperson Samantha Franks said, "and, as such, we needed to acquire the world's greatest jokes." Culled from the legendary comedian's six decades in show business—spanning Vaudeville, radio and television—the Milton Berle Joke File is believed to be the largest collection of zingers in existence, covering subjects ranging from mothers-in-law to schwartzes. Microsoft is also rumored to be interested in acquiring Rich Hall's extensive "Sniglets" lexicon.

New Toothbrush Slightly Different From Already Existing, Perfectly Good Toothbrushes

BELMONT, CA—At a press conference Monday, Oral-B Laboratories unveiled its much-anticipated new DentuTek 6.0 toothbrush, touted by its designers as slightly different from the hundreds of perfectly good toothbrushes currently on the market. "This toothbrush design is perfect for those who are not satisfied with the 846 existing toothbrush designs currently on the market," Oral-B director of product development Julianne Wuerfel said. "Finally, the American consumer has an 847th choice." According to Wuerfel, the DentuTek 6.0 features a patented ErgoDynamic(TM) handle, tapered to a curve vector almost .002 inches from its nearest competitor, the Colgate 34-XB, as well as a revolutionary new Tri-Level Bristle-Control System(TM). "We're very excited," Oral-B CEO Palmer Esch said. "Our team of toothbrush designers and engineers labored intensely to develop a toothbrush that fit within the infinitesimally small window of as-yet-undesigned toothbrush styles. And they did it."

AARP Calls For 'Comfier Booths' At Denny's

WASHINGTON, DC—Taking a bold stand against discomfort, the American Association of Retired Persons called for "comfier booths" at America's approximately 500 Denny's restaurants Monday. "How long can Denny's management stand idly by while our nation's elderly eat their senior breakfast specials at booths that are merely adequate?" AARP president Marge Littlefield, 77, said. Among its principal demands, the AARP called for increased cushiness, more leg room and an adjustable back-rest feature for those seniors suffering from lower-back discomfort and/or osteoporosis. Additional demands included waitstaff-dispensed shawls, Epsom-salt foot baths at select tables, and specially designated nap areas.

Baseball Hall Of Fame Elected To Hall Of Fame Hall Of Fame

MAPLEWOOD, NJ—In a gala ceremony Monday, the Baseball Hall of Fame was inducted into the Hall of Fame Hall of Fame. Said Hall of Fame Hall of Fame president Darrell Quinlan: "There have been many extraordinary Halls of Fame through the years, but few quite so extraordinary as the Baseball Hall of Fame, with its long, proud tradition of inducting only the most extraordinary baseball players into its ranks." The Baseball Hall of Fame joins such legendary Halls of Fame as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Aviation Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame in the Hall of Fame Hall of Fame.

My Short Fiction Will Restore America's Romantic Spirit

Sadly, when I look around America today, I see a lack of romantic spirit. Men and women are no longer filled with wonder for the ethereal forces that drive them together. They're not looking up, starry-eyed, at the shimmering night sky. They're not dreaming of the dawn. They're not talking about love! But once my short fiction starts getting published, that should all change.

The UPS Strike

The weeks-old UPS strike is badly hurting America's small businesses—employers of 50 percent of the nation's workers—prompting many to call for President Clinton to step in and resolve the dispute. What do you think?
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Originality

Illinois: The Promised Land

Hola mis amigos! What's goin' down in your part of town? I know, it's been a long time since I've rapped at ya. It's been a long time, been a long time, been a long, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time.

Actually, I've been kind of down in the dumps lately, seeing as I've got a cracked differential. Now, ordinarily, my friend, that alone would be major cause for concern. But in this case, it also meant that I had to quit my dream job at the Quad-County Dragaway, because without my wheels, I wouldn't have been able to make the trip unless my mom drove me, and that would not befit a man of my stature. So no more truck pulls for this cruiser.

Making matters worse, I had to work at the local Dog 'N' Suds in order to get the cash for the parts and shit. I was the fuckin' fastest cook they had there. You want a chili dog? Wham! There was the tastiest chili dog you ever laid eyes on. Just like that.

Only problem was, the boss, old man Fruit, couldn't take the competition on the grill so he canned my ass. Man! Now I know what those guys in 'Nam felt like. Like me, they were fighting as hard as they could for a country that didn't believe in them. Only in my case, I was flipping burgers instead of fighting, and it was old man Fruit that let me down, not the government.

But hey, I'll tell you what makes it all worthwhile. You see, I've got a dream, my friends. And that dream is of a place where magic happens. I can only be talking, of course, about Illinois: The Promised Land. I've got a dream of pulling into Decatur with my Jimmobile and peeling rubber all over that place! I'll be a streak across the Illinois state highways! As soon as my car is fixed, and I have some money for gas, that's where you'll find me.

Yeah, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Sounds like old Jim's cracked his own differential." Well, it just goes to show you that you ain't been paying attention to me all these years! Now listen up, and I'll explain to you why Illinois kicks royal ass.

First off, as everyone knows, the best cruising is done on long stretches of straight road. And where might one find such stretches, my friend? Illinois! Shit, it may just be their number-one export! And the thing is, since it's so flat there, and there's so much corn, there aren't any trees for cops to hide behind! No speeding tickets! Man, you can cruise as much as you want, as fast as you want, whenever you want. Ain't nobody going to tell you that you can't.

Second thing about Illinois, let me just say this: "Land of Lincoln"? More like, "Land of Drinkin"! I swear, everybody drinks in that state, dude. You can get beer for next to nothing, provided you can find someone with the proper age credentials to hook you up.

Third, in order to cruise properly, you've got to have music. And where do you think the best music comes from? Illinois! After all, it's the home of the Holy Trinity of Rock: REO Speedwagon, Styx and Cheap Trick.

I can see it now: I'm driving along on a long, straight stretch of no-pig Illinois highway and start running low on gas. I pull into this rinky-dink gas station, and what should I see but three big-ass tour buses. I get out of my car to check 'em out, and I can hear the strains of "Ridin' The Storm Out" coming from one of the buses.

So I'm singing along and who should pop his head out of the bus? None other than Speedwagon lead singer Kevin Cronin. He looks over at me and says, "You rock, man." And all cool-like, I reply, "Thanks, man." Then he says to me, "You wanna rock with us?" And I reply, "Sure." It turns out that Styx and REO and Cheap Trick are all touring together, and they want to bring me along. I'm rocking the free world for the rest of my life! Pretty sweet fantasy, eh?

I gotta go now, but remember, hombres: Life in the fast lane is the only lane to live life in. And you can quote me on that. As long as you provide proper attribution, of course.

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