Issue 3732

Congressman Admits To Sexual Relationship

WASHINGTON, DC—After months of fevered speculation and allegations in the media regarding his private life, U.S. Rep. Gordon Graham (D-IL) finally admitted Monday to having a sexual relationship with Arlington, VA, interior designer Joyce Debolt.

Sci-Fi Fans Argue The Better Of Two As-Yet-Unreleased Films

TULSA, OK— Science-fiction fans Pete Carver and Matthew Wynne disagreed sharply Monday on the relative merits of Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone and The Fellowship Of The Ring, neither of which hits theaters for months. "The storyboards for the Quidditch tournament I saw on this one web site look terrible," said the pro-Tolkien Carver. "There's no way that scene can be better than I've heard the Balrog one is." Wynne countered that the set design for the Great Hall of Hogwarts set "will completely blow away" that of the Mines of Moria.

True A.R. Bruthas Don't Take No Layba Day Off

Ay yo, wassup, Gs? If y'all aksed me what paradise wuz to tha H-Dog, I'd say it be three things: customas payin' they accountz on time without me having to go all Walkin' Tall on they ass, a endless supply o' Nutrageous barz in tha break-room vendin' machine, an' last but not least, a seven-day work week wit' no muthafukkin' dayz off to fuck wit' mah flow.

Manager Fails To Keep It Short Or Sweet

ADA, OH— Despite his promise, Sbarro manager Bruce Hart failed to keep his talk regarding proper straw-receptacle-refill protocol short or sweet. "He could've just said, 'Don't overstuff the straw dispenser, because it's hard to get them out when you do that,'" cashier Evan Rees said. "Instead, he spent 15 minutes going off about how much straws cost, and how customers don't like it when they have to claw at the dispenser, and how it can be unhygienic if the wrappers get torn." Rees said that Hart occasionally keeps it short or sweet, but never both at the same time.

Signs Of The Slump

With layoffs up, and stocks and consumer confidence down, the U.S. economy is in its worst shape in years. What are some other signs of the downturn?
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Expanding Universe Could Allow For More Than 750 Quadrillion Blockbuster Locations

DALLAS—The expansion of the known universe, currently growing at an estimated 80 kilometers per second per megaparsec, should eventually enable Blockbuster to open more than 750 quadrillion locations, spokespersons for the video-rental giant reported Monday.

"With more than 7,700 stores worldwide, Blockbuster is proud to be the world leader in rentable home entertainment," said chief marketing officer Joe Notarnicola, standing in front of an image of the Milky Way galaxy. "In fact, growing as we have since our IPO in August 1999, Blockbuster's market saturation on Earth will be reached in the next few years. However, our customers and stockholders will be pleased to learn of the tremendous growth opportunities made possible by the expansion of the known universe."

The 750 quadrillion stores will give customers unprecedented access to movie rentals, PlayStation games, the latest music releases, and much more during their diaspora into deep space.

"We have already approached NASA about the feasibility of launching Blockbuster-store payloads to the solar system's outer planets," Blockbuster CEO John F. Antioco said. "Our two-tiered franchising strategy is to have several hundred stores on the moon, Mars, the main belt asteroid Ceres, Jovian moons Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto, the A and C rings of Saturn, and the Kuiper Belt asteroid KX 76 by late 2075. From there, we should be able to open a Blockbuster on every corner of this spiral arm of the Milky Way by 2500."

Blockbuster's expansion plan is being praised throughout the known business universe.

"With its aggressive approach, Blockbuster Entertainment will soon be growing at a rate approaching Hubble's Limit," said Forbes editor Paul Maidment, alluding to the cosmological principle which proposes that the cosmos is growing at a rate which may approach the speed of light. "Once that happens, there's no stopping this company."

A computer rendering of the post-Blockbuster-expansion universe.

"Certainly, they face challenges," Maidment continued. "If accelerations imposed by the expanding universe on the outer celestial bodies affects the structure of space-time itself, rental times and late fees will need to be adjusted accordingly. And getting the latest Hollywood hits to these stores by the release date may be problematic given the distances involved. But such logistical hurdles are hardly insurmountable when you've got the corporate might of [parent company] Viacom behind you."

Though Blockbuster officials acknowledge that their expansion plans are ambitious, they say the company is more than up to the task of saturating the entirety of physical reality.

"We're already exploring megastructures which will move our stores into the universe at the bow wave of human colonization," said Anthony Andersen, Blockbuster's newly appointed Executive Vice-President of Pan-Universal Franchising. "The first step will be establishing enormous 'generation ship' outlets—huge cylinders rotated along the long axis to simulate gravity and powered by interstellar hydrogen captured by their enormous Bussard ramjets. We'll send these to all the nearest star systems to ensure that every space traveler has access to Guaranteed-To-Be-There new releases."

Andersen also outlined plans to build artificial Blockbuster planets in space and orbit several of them around a stable G-type star, manipulating the star's magnetic field to produce jets of stellar material to serve as motive power, creating a Blockbuster solar system capable of interstellar travel.

"Currently, we're on schedule to do this around the year 25000," Andersen said. "Of course, that could happen sooner if customer interest in our new DVD section continues to climb."

Blockbuster has already begun recruiting managers for stores in the outlying reaches of the galaxy, subjecting applicants to rigorous G-force and gravity-sickness tests. Some in the scientific community, however, suspect that the hiring campaign may be premature.

"Blockbuster could conceivably hit its target if its growth and the expansion of the universe continue at their present rates," said Dr. Marina Shmakova of the California Institute For Physics and Astrophysics. "But the question they face is, Will the universe continue its expansion? Or will it one day contract into an infinitely dense, white-hot pre-cosmic protomass? These two scenarios lead to two drastically different outcomes: a creation-spanning, ever-growing, omnipotent Blockbuster hive-mind or a single, infinitely dense central location. In either case, where will consumers find the after-hours drop box?"

Despite this unanswered question and many others, Blockbuster remains optimistic.

"We won't know the outcome of this business plan for many millennia," Notarnicola said. "But whatever happens, there will be a need for a reliable provider to meet your home-entertainment needs. Blockbuster will be there to fill that massive void."

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Signs Of The Slump

With layoffs up, and stocks and consumer confidence down, the U.S. economy is in its worst shape in years. What are some other signs of the downturn?

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