Oprah Viewers Patiently Awaiting Instructions

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Issue 3406

Saltless Pretzel Hangs Alone In Bulb-Heated Rack

ODESSA, TX–A saltless "Superpretzel" is still hanging alone in a bulb-heated rack at Horizon Lanes, officials for the Odessa-area bowling alley reported Tuesday. "Looks like there's just one left," said Mack Klausner, snack-bar manager for the 12-lane alley. "Guess nobody wants the one without salt." The oversized soft pretzel, priced at 99 cents, has been rotating in the glass-enclosed case since Sept. 2, when it was sprayed with water and dipped in salt along with 17 other pretzels. "All the salt fell off," Klausner said. "Maybe we should put some more on.

Subsidiary Publication Recommends You See Parent Corporation's Movie

NEW YORK–In its latest issue, People magazine, a Time Warner subsidiary publication, strongly urged readers to see Deadlock, a new Warner Bros. legal thriller starring Denzel Washington, Gene Hackman and Elisabeth Shue. "Our parent corporation has cooked up an edge-of-your-seat courtroom nail-biter that manages to out-Grisham Grisham," People's review read. "We are proud to be under the same umbrella conglomerate as this gripping roller-coaster ride of a movie." The issue, which features Washington on its cover, also contains reviews of six new albums from Time Warner subsidiary-label artists, including Better Than Ezra (Elektra) and Hootie & The Blowfish (Atlantic), as well as a profile of Katie Holmes, star of WB's Dawson's Creek.

Area Boyfriend Much Nicer Before Sex

SHREVEPORT, LA–Jordan Farmer, 22, boyfriend of Mindy Hodges, 20, is significantly nicer before sex, Hodges reported Monday. "Before we have sex, he's always really sweet to me, and he, like, tells me my hair looks nice and stuff. And if I'm upset about something, he listens and tells me that he loves me and that everything's going to be all right," Hodges said. "But then, afterwards, he stops listening to me, and he screams at me and says he's going to break up with me if I don't stop being so clingy and annoying." Hodges has vowed to make an effort to be less clingy and annoying.

Obese Man Impaled In Wicker-Chair Disaster

STAUNTON, VA–Coroners are listing "massive wicker trauma" as the official cause in Monday's death of 420-pound Staunton resident Tony Grushecky. "Forensic evidence indicates that the base of the chair in which Mr. Grushecky sat gave out at 5 p.m. Monday, with the collapse driving razor-sharp wicker spears upwards of two feet into his morbidly obese body," Augusta County Coroner Edward Reynoso told reporters. "In my 22 years as coroner here, I've never seen such a brutal wicker-chair impaling." Grushecky's enormous rolls of body fat were insufficient to protect him from the deadly spears, Reynoso said, and numerous vital organs were irreparably wickered.

Beanie Broker Urges Storkholders To Sell

NEW YORK–Anxious over wildly fluctuating conditions in the worldwide Beanie market, Manhattan-based Beanie broker Michelle Pivarnik is strongly urging U.S. storkholders to sell off holdings of "Storky The Stork" as soon as possible, it was reported Tuesday. "It is my opinion that Storky, which rose 40 cents on the Beanie Board Monday to close at $85 with the tags, has reached its peak value, and that a stork-market crash is all but imminent," Pivarnik said. "Beanie investors with a stork portfolio of five or more Storkys may want to consider keeping one in case of its unexpected retirement, but, by and large, Storky should be regarded as a high-risk Beanie to be avoided in future tradings." Pivarnik advised storkholders to redirect their assets into blue-chip Beanies like Tabasco The Red Bull, Baldy The Eagle and Inky The Octopus.

We're Sick And Tired Of Raising Your Young

Listen, humans, I am really starting to get tired of this crap. Get your shit together and learn to keep better track of your young, because we wolves are seriously sick of raising them.

Princess Di One Year Later

Last week marked the first anniversary of the Paris car crash that claimed the life of Princess Diana. How do you feel one year after her tragic death?
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Oprah Viewers Patiently Awaiting Instructions

CHICAGO, IL–With nearly three weeks having passed since talk-show host Oprah Winfrey last issued an official command, approximately 60 million Oprah Winfrey Show viewers are on standby, stationed in front of their television sets and patiently awaiting further instructions from their leader.

Hagerstown, MD, <I>Oprah Winfrey Show </I>viewer and mother of four Liz Kuharski, 34, awaits word from her leader about what to buy, cook and read.

"We must be patient with Oprah," said Winfrey fan Melanie Leupke, 44, of Stillwater, OK. "Ours is not to question why she is taking so long. When the time is right and we are needed again, Oprah will tell us what to do."

Across the U.S., Oprah viewers' anticipation for new Winfrey directives is reaching a fever pitch. In Winfrey's home base of Chicago, throngs of fans gather outside her Harpo Studios headquarters around the clock, maintaining their silent, faithful vigil. Though the city's streets are quiet, a palpable sense of expectation fills the air.

"What book should I read? What low-fat lemon-bread recipes should I use? What made-for-TV movies should I watch to give me a sense of empowerment?" asked Pamela Kolb, a Mundelein, IL, homemaker and one of the approximately 13,000 Oprah viewers huddled outside her studio. "In these complex times, it can be frightening to have to go three weeks without any guidance from a television personality. But we must remain true to Oprah's vision. Our duty is to stay focused and on full alert until new orders are issued."

"Oprah will not let us down. I know this much is true," said fan Jamiqua Hudson, clutching a copy of the Wally Lamb best-seller I Know This Much Is True, the latest Oprah's Book Club selection and the last item Oprah fans were commanded to buy before the three-week directive drought began. "She will not leave us to make decisions for ourselves. I have faith in her."

Winfrey, 44, ranks among the most successful individuals in entertainment history, with best-selling cookbooks, high-profile movie roles, close friendships with many of Hollywood's biggest power players, and a top-rated daytime talk show. Time magazine recently named her one of the Most Influential People Of The Century. Her greatest influence, however, is that which she holds over her army of nearly 60 million couch-bound women, who unfailingly obey her nationally televised directives on everything from home-decorating to weight-loss.

"I follow Oprah's advice to the letter," said viewer Cassandra Fryer of Visalia, CA. "When she told us to help out at our kids' schools by repainting any worn-out jungle-gym equipment, I was there right away with my paint can at the ready. In fact, so many women showed up to paint the jungle gym that the resultant multi-layered sludge, made up of thousands of coats of paint, took over seven months to dry."

"I used to wear a lot of teal, but after seeing a recent episode called 'Oprah's Wardrobe Makeovers,' the only colors I wear are muted autumn hues, such as forest green and burgundy," said Liz Kuharski, a Hagerstown, MD, homemaker and mother of four. "I just wish she would issue some more commands for us to obey. If I have to wait much longer, I might find myself inadvertently following the orders of some other talk-show host."

During the past few years, Winfrey's power seems to have grown exponentially. All 18 Oprah's Book Club selections have been New York Times best-sellers. When, through the auspices of her charity organization, Oprah's Angel Network, she ordered her followers to contribute pocket change to the World's Largest Piggy Bank for scholarships for needy children, they did so in record numbers. Her May 1998 command to her followers to stop eating ham sandwiches singlehandedly bankrupted the U.S. pork industry.

Spokespersons for Harpo Productions said Winfrey well understands the responsibility that comes with such extraordinary power.

"Oprah takes her role as a world leader very seriously," Harpo Productions director of public relations Amy Hirsch said in a press release issued from deep within the company's massive network of underground bunkers. "Her commitment to the betterment of her subjects is supreme, and she will allow nothing and no one to stand in the way of such efforts."

"Sometimes, I don't know what to do," said Jane Clement, a Cedar Rapids, IA, manicurist. "But, then, Oprah comes on the TV and explains to me what I should be doing, and I feel better."

Clement's sentiments are typical of millions of Oprah viewers, who have total faith in their leader. But despite such faith, some experts fear that if the wait for a new edict goes on much longer, serious trouble may arise.

"The U.S. daytime-TV audience is a powderkeg waiting to go off," said Prof. Katherine Anne Beatts, director of Harvard University's prestigious Institute For Media Studies. "If this mob continues to be left without direction, it is in danger of fragmenting into thousands of uncontrollable splinter groups, acting without cohesion and creating a state of virtual anarchy. Oprah must avert this crisis scenario by acting now, before it is too late."

Added Beatts: "The paucity of leadership in this country should be deeply appalling to any civilized person."

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