Issue 3401

Spiderman Distracts Dr. Octopus With Delicious Hostess Fruit Pies

NEW YORK—A major jewel heist was lip-smackingly thwarted Monday, when noted criminal overlord Dr. Octopus was brought to justice thanks to Spiderman and the irresistible taste of Hostess Fruit Pies. According to reports, Octopus and two unidentified henchmen were in the process of burgling the fabulous Wentworth Jewels from the New York Museum when Spiderman happened upon the scene and distracted the would-be thieves with a shopping bag filled with an assortment of Hostess Fruit Pies, enabling the web-slinger to capture them. "How could I resist this flaky crust... this juicy filling?" said Octopus, happily munching a cherry pie as police hauled him away in a giant spiderweb. Spiderman warned that any criminal who consumed a Hostess pie would receive a big delight in every bite.

Child So Stupid She Sees Letters Backwards

SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA—According to tests conducted by school psychologists and reading teachers, local third-grader Stephanie Franck is so mind-bogglingly stupid that she sees English text as though it were backwards. "When shown a flash card that reads 'milk,' this addle-pated dimwit responds with utterly senseless gobbledygook like 'klim,' 'kilm' and 'iklum,'" said Shore Road Elementary School psychologist Francine Grunwald. "How dumb can she be?" Grunwald has recommended that Franck be placed in one of the school's "retard-track" classes.

From The Diaries Of My Father

My father, Onion founder Herman Ulysses Zweibel, was a great man and a beloved figure throughout the Republic, until his reputation was eclipsed by time and my own greatness. That is why, for the benefit of those born in the 20th century, I have decided to publish my Pater's diaries in book form for the first time. My column to-day features several tantalizing excerpts from his days on the rugged frontier, as well as some from his waning years.

Horoscope for the week of August 5, 1998

After using you as a test subject in an excruciating set of experiments, scientists discover that the blood vessels in a human body stretch 60,000 miles when laid end to end.

'Please Don't Feed The Poor' Campaign Catching On

WASHINGTON, DC—Big-city mayors across the U.S. are hailing Congress' recently passed, $550 million "Please Don't Feed The Poor" public-awareness campaign as "a major step in the right direction." Said New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani: "When well-meaning but misguided souls give money or food to the poor, it takes them out of their natural dumpster-scavenging patterns and upsets their delicate ecosystem." L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan agreed, saying, "It's important for people to know that feeding the poor ultimately does them more harm than good."

Fright-Flick Fever

For years a dormant genre, horror movies are suddenly hot again. Why are people flocking to them?

New Product Available

Americans were finally given another outlet for their discretionary-income spending Tuesday, when it was announced that a new consumer-product item is available for retail purchase.

Vigilante Judge Takes Law Into Own Hands

CHEYENNE, WY—Circuit Court Judge Cedric Traynor, the notorious, media-dubbed "Vigilante Judge," took the law into his own hands once again Tuesday, sentencing convicted arsonist Dennis Rebach to 15 years in prison. "You will respect my judgment," Traynor said, "for I am the law." Traynor has singlehandedly judged the fate of more than 3,000 men over the past 20 years.

'Keep-Cool' Tips

Much of the U.S. remains in the grips of a record heat wave. Here are some handy tips to help you stay cool and safe in this dangerously hot summer weather:
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Sudanese 14-Year-Old Has Midlife Crisis

AD DUWAYM, SUDAN—Though it may often seem that way, Americans don't hold the patent on middle-age malaise. Just ask Sudan's Kutum Malakai.

Just like many people here in America, Malakai is going through a deep midlife crisis. A retired Sudanese Army captain and father of three, the 14-year-old Malakai says he is often left feeling listless and depressed by the thought that half his life is behind him.

"I've really accomplished most of my life goals, so what is there to look forward to?" Malakai says. "I've built my hut. I've built a family. Soon, my children will be conscripted into the army, and the house will be empty. Is that it? Is that all there is?"

Malakai remembers his own military career as a time of adventure, strongly contrasting the boredom and dissatisfaction he feels today.

"I spent two years in the Sudan People's Liberation Army. There, I attained the rank of captain, traveled to foreign deserts, and ate almost daily. It seems like only yesterday I retired with honors, though it was, in fact, almost three years ago. If only I could somehow return to that wonderful, exciting time."

"Where have the days gone?" Malakai asks. "Just a few years ago, my son Ngoba was born. Now, he is about to graduate from the first grade and head out into the world."

In an effort to recapture his lost youth and vitality, Malakai has entered what experts term a "second childhood" phase, extravagantly spending large amounts of money on vanity items.

"Last week, I bought a hoe with a metal tip," Malakai says. "The week before that, I traded in my dark blue shirt for a brighter green one. Next, I'm considering buying a brand-new sportscart for my ox."

According to Sudanese psychologist Jibal al-Muglad, Malakai's behavior is not unusual. "Many middle-aged Sudanese males, usually around the age of 14 or so, start reverting to the behavior of their youth," al-Muglad says. "Largely, this is done to counter oncoming signs of middle age, such as increased height or a cracking voice. Much of this behavior is harmless, but other manifestations can put a strain on a marriage, especially if the man becomes wistful for the sexual freedom of his youth."

Indeed, Malakai speaks of a malaise that has crept into his two-year marriage. "I see my wife growing old just like myself, and I feel depressed," he says. "I think the magic really started to go out of the relationship when she began menstruating."

Malakai confesses to flirting with some of the younger women in his village. "There is a 10-year-old who drinks from the same well as me, and we frequently giggle and make eyes at each other," he says. "I must admit, it is very tempting. I love my wife, but her hip bones are already starting to widen to facilitate childbirth. I find it increasingly difficult to resist the lure of an illicit February-March romance."

"Before long, I will be in my 20s, and the end will be imminent. What then? What will it have all been for?" says Malakai, sighing deeply. "Life is much too short."


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