NEW YORKThe price per barrel of dark sweet chocolate pudding jumped to over $60 Monday as global anxiety continued to drive demand for the delicious after-meal treat. "There is no pudding-production shortfall, either from U.S. producers or the SNACPAC member nations," dessert analyst Blythe Barton said. "Demand alone is driving prices upward, with American consumers demonstrating an ongoing willingness to pay record prices per barrel for smooth, creamy pudding." The White House released a statement late Monday indicating that it has no intention of breaking the skin on the government's Strategic Pudding Reserves, which are to be used only in wartime or as a reward for finishing an entire serving of beets.
WASHINGTON, DCPresident Bush officially responded to the latest round of London transit bombings Monday, challenging terrorists to "do their worst." Said Bush, in a televised statement from the Oval Office: "The proud and resilient people of London can take anything the forces of evil and cowardice can throw at them. They will never live in fear of you. Bring it on." Prime Minister Tony Blair thanked Bush for his comments, inviting him to visit London and ride the Underground in a show of solidarity.
DALLAS—Specialists at the National Exuberance Institute said Monday that nearly three quarters of national high-five slap exchanges are unnecessary. "Abuse and inappropriate implementation of the gesture is epidemic," said NEI president Avi Gupta. "Celebratory high-fives are marking such mundane accomplishments as the clearing of paper jams, the ordering of hot wings, the viewing of favorite TV commercials, and the simultaneous wearing of identical items of clothing." Gupta called for the use of restrained high-five alternatives, such as the "thumbs up" and the exchange of curt nods.
HAFR AL-BATIN, SAUDI ARABIA—Textile archaeologists have unearthed a section of coarsely woven Sumerian goat's wool bearing what could be the world's oldest, and perhaps its toughest, stain. "The stain, in scientific terms, is 'ground-in,' doubtless one of the active-lifestyle stains that plagued Sumerian families," said Leigh Perkins, the leader of the Tulane University team that uncovered the stain. "We hope to determine whether it's mud, blood, or some kind of blueberry proto-pie." Scientists say they can learn a lot from the discovery, such as how tough the Sumerians were on grime.
SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY—Diplomatic sources reported Monday that White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove has sought asylum in the conservative stronghold of Scarborough Country. "During his June 23 visit, Mr. Rove had indicated he might petition us for sanctuary from media persecution," said Joe Scarborough, the monarchical ruler of Scarborough Country. "And in my country, no passports are required and only common sense is allowed." While officials review Rove's asylum request, he is being held in the No-Spin Zone, a region of absolute neutrality governed by commentator Bill O'Reilly.
Oh, my. This is superb. Superb, indeed. My Greek grocer Kostas told me he had a surprise for me, and he certainly did: These are quite simply the finest kalamata olives I've ever tasted. Absolutely delightful. Certainly not your ordinary olive. It's a privilege, really, just to be choking on one, as I am right now.
REEDSBURG, WI—Working-class father of four and veteran alcoholic James Schultz, 53, expressed deep disappointment Monday in his 19-year-old son Travis, for "turning into a goddamn pothead" after moving away from home to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
OMAHA, NE—Responding to the negative press coverage Tom Cruise has received in recent weeks, University of Nebraska financial-aid clerk Ben Matherson, 28, announced Monday that things would be different if he were the megastar's publicist.
As I write this, I'm at Tacky's Tavern polishing off my third Long Island iced tea. (Nope, don't adjust your volume—you heard me right!) Now, normally, I believe the best highs come from life itself. But today, your old pal Jean requires a drinky-poo the size of an aqualung! (Actually, I prefer Brandy Alexanders to Long Islands, but Tacky's doesn't make them.)
WASHINGTON, DC—The eight remaining justices of the Supreme Court met in chambers Monday to feast on the living flesh of retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, enacting an ancient tradition that began when the first chief justice of the Supreme Court retired and was summarily consumed in 1795.
CLEVELAND—Every day, 38-year-old Susan Tarsley takes a brisk walk through her tree-lined neighborhood. At each turn, she is reminded of the changes brought on by the march of progress: a TV antenna dismantled to make way for underground cable, passersby chatting on cell phones, a rusty tricycle abandoned for a Razor scooter.