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Band Will Play Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Gaza Strip, and Guantanamo
by Fictional Times Correspondents
Desmond Redondo
& Gilbert Hurricane
Peshwahr, Pakistan - (GIN)
- N'Martyr, the Taliban's most popular band, will play a series of fundraiser concerts to rasie money the defense of the Al Qaeda prisoners in Afghanistan and Cuba, it was announced yesterday.
     "We are really, truly psyched," exclaimed Osama Atta, considered by fans to be the leader of the band of five vocalists.
     "We will sing without musicians, and in the most unmusical way possible, since Taliban law does not allow the performing of music," Atta said.
     Palestinians and other supporters of Al Qaeda throughout many countries in that part of the world danced in the streets upon hearing the news.
     "I love them. They're the Militant Muslim Beatles," exclaimed one enthusiastic fan in northwestern Pakistan. "I would blow up anything to get tickets to see them, but women are not allowed to be terrorists," she said.
     N'Martyr manager and promoter Muhammed Al Shabiz, educated in Los Angeles, said he expected the group would raise most of the money needed for the defense fund in Saudi Arabia.
     "It's true that many Iraqis, Iranians, Palestinians and even Kuwaitis support Al Qaeda, but let's face it, they haven't got any money. Saudi Arabia, that's the money tit," he said.
     He said any money left over, after attorneys expenses, will be given to the Somalis, either in cash or food.
     N'Martyr formed three years ago in Islamabad and gained a reputation playing in the caves throughout eastern Afghanistan.
     Known by their nicknames, Crash, Bomb, Virgin-slayer, Beard, and Shoebomb, N'Martyr dominated the Afghanistan charts with hits like "Ten Virgins Is Enough For Me", "Allah Says Kill 'Em All", "Smells Like Martyr Suicide", "Rock The Pentagon", and their searing cover of "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head", laden with the sounds of bombs exploding.
     Shoebomb, the drummer, is the newest member of the group, joining just five weeks ago after the original drummer, Pete Bestabad, was killed during a bombing raid in Tora Bora.
     The tour will begin as soon as the band can find their equipment, which, according to Shabiz, might have been destroyed by some Northern Alliance soldiers "who took exception to the song 'Your Mother Wears Soviet Army Boots'."

Awards Will Be Telecast From Hollywood Soundstage Featuring Giant Oscars As The Twin Towers
Hollywood, FL - (GNS) - The Academy Awards (TM) announced yesterday that former NYC mayor and Time Magazine Man Of The Year Rudolph Giuliani will host the Oscars in March.
     "This will mark the first time since 1913 that the Oscars were hosted by a politician and not a member of the acting community," said former actor Charlton Heston, who was almost selected to host the Oscars in 1972.
     "Giuliani was the obvious choice," Academy Awards Vice President Of Obvious Choices Vanna White said. "He's so Rudolphy," she said.
     "I've seen some movies," Giuliani said, "but I'm not biased. Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, what's the difference? I'm just hoping they've got some writers who can help create one of those great 45-minute opening numbers like Billy Crystal does," he said.
     Writers Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, and Lionel Chetwynd were said to be working on "a stirring review called 'United We Watch', tying all the nominations together around the theme of 'Even Our Worst Movies Are Better Than Yours,'" according to Limbaugh's press secretary, George Will.
     Crystal, Steve Martin, Whoopi Goldberg and Johnny Carson had no comment on the selection. Bob Hope was reportedly thrilled, although it may have been gas.
     Giuliani's ex-wife, a New York actress, said she was worried this may turn the Oscars into a political event.
     Her concerns were reportedly disregarded by the Academy.
     Giuliani said he plans to keep the event strictly apolitical. "There'll even be the usual comedy. We're working on a musical song and dance number called 'Check Your Shoes'. You know, about security," he said.
     Security is expected to be tight.
     "We may not let anyone in, and just do the whole audience digitally," said Digital Misrepresentation and Disinformation Expert Tom "Tiny" Dots.
     The Award ceremony will feature a tribute to New York City, with Liza Minelli and Eminem singing "New York, New York", Lorne Michaels and rapper-producer P. Diddy singing Billy Joel's "Piano Man", and dancers Goldie Hawn and Judy Carne recreating the famous Gene Kelly dance scenes from the movie he did about Navy men on leave in the city.
     Further departing from precedent, the ceremonies will be held in a huge soundstage with the stage itself bookended with two giant figures of Oscar, representing the twin towers of the former World Trade Center.
     "And we'll have dog and kraut vendors throughout the audience. Italian ices, too," said Giuliani.
     President Theordore Roosevelt hosted the Oscars in 1913, the first time it was televised coast to coast.


First Time The Beat Stones Cream Have Played Since 1969
New York, NY - (GNS) - Breaking their vow that they would never overcome personal ego trips and never play together again, the three founding and surviving members of the celebrated, legendary, seminal Brit-Pop-Proto-Punk-Sans-Anger-Cum-Angst Invasion band Beat Stones Cream reunited for the Concert For New York to the cheering huzzahs and screaming screeches of the absolutely thrilled crowd.
     Songwriter Paul McCartney, singer Mick Jagger, and lead guitarist Eric Clapton played five songs during their part of the show, including the mournful "Imagine There's No Taxi", written by the two band members who passed away years ago, John Lennon and Harry Chapin.
     McCartney thanked Bob Dylan, Bill Clinton and Mariah Carey for insisting the group reunite for this benefit.
     "Mariah called from her hospital and said if we played it would show that, in times of trouble, even three chaps who have said they hate each others guts can come together," McCartney said.
     "Bill just said, 'Come together, over me'," he said.
     McCartney said Dylan called and just demanded to know "what are you thinkin'?"
     "Every time I said I can't do it, he just said 'what are you thinkin'?" McCartney said. "Then he said 'He not busy bein' born is busy dying' and I thought, you know, I could turn down a former president, I could even turn down Mariah Carey, but Dylan?"
     Accompanied by fellow Brits Billy Joel, Buddy Guy, Benmont Tench, and Butch Trucks, the Beat Stones Cream delighted the crowd with jam-filled renditions of "Yesterday In The White Room", "Satisfaction Badge", "You Can't Always Get Mister Tax Man", and the title cut from their multi-platinum seller "Sunshine Of Your Wild Horses Day Tripping".
     Jagger, who recently teamed with St. Louis bluesman Keith Richards for a triumphant solo album, "How How How How", said after the show he would "work with those blokes any time."
     Clapton, whose latest album, "Snore Quaaludes On My Knees", did not do well, also said he was "up for another go."
     McCartney, who had spent the last fifteen years in a protracted pre-retirement retirement, was exuberant about the prospects of making the reunion permanent.
     "But then I'm always exuberant," he conceded, flashing his trademark smile.
Middle Earth, England - (GIN) - Following the dissolution of The Fellowship and Frodo's decision to continue his quest to toss the all-powerful ring into the volcano, Harry Potter contacted Frodo to offer assistance.
     "My people contacted his people to see if he wanted some help," Potter told Diane Sawyer in a less-than-exclusive interview. "His people said he was thinking it over."
     Frodo, in a skiff with his lifelong friend Buddy, reportedly thought help from Potter might be a good idea.
     "Frodo knows he's in a pickle," said his press secretary James Gandalfini. "I mean, he's screwed. He's in a skiff with almost no power. I mean, he puts on the ring and disappears, big fuckin' deal. Meanwhile, Potter's got some juice. With Gandalf dead, and Vig outta the picture, doin' God knows what with that dwarf, an' fuckin' Cate Blanchett givin' him a hard-on then leavin' him, jeez, what a tease, well, figure it out, the kid needs help."
     Offers of assistance have poured in from several countries as diverse as Cuba and Brazil, but none of the countries or parties offering aid was said to have magical powers.
     "I got my mojo workin'," read part of a telegram from Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters, but, according to Gandalfini, "Frodo doesn't know what the hell a mojo is, an' turnin' the story into a raw, blues-filled dirty water musical is just not the direction the producers want to go, even though Blues will beat evil every fuckin' time."
     Potter said he wasn't scheduled to fight bad guys and evil forces again for another six months.
     "I think me an' Frodo would make a good team. We could beat this evil, then maybe do a cop buddy movie together, sort of a '48 Hours' with an English boy and a Hobbit. I'd be the English boy," Potter said.

Uneven Beat, No Melody Cited
New York, NY - (GNS) - Teenagers polled by MTV gave low ratings to the latest music showbiz feud, the fight between Dick Clark and David Geffen.
     "The whole deal with Courtney Love and Nirvana's way better," said Tiffaney Blunk.
     "Who's Dick Clark?" asked Johnny 'Eminem' Floobait.
     "Most of these teens don't know these guys, and the ones who do are looking for something they can dance to," said MTV marketing executive Mickey Mudd.
     "'I give it a three 'cause there's no melody an' the beat is way too sucky', was the comment we heard the most," said Mudd.
     Clark and Geffen are negotiating an end to the feud.
     "There's no point continuing if it's not going to cause a fuss," said a spokesman close to both parties.

Los Angeles, CA - (GNS) - Members of the Bush Administration met with several Hollywood movie producers last week to ask their help in the America Unites Campaign by doing what John Ford and Frank Capra and others did in WWII: make gung ho movies.
     "We need movies about SEAL teams, movies about commandos, about young soldiers getting ready for an invasion, getting ready for combat. We need movies about the swabbies who sail the Navy ships and the men and women who drop the bombs," said Gung Ho Department Chairman Feisty Mascot. "Movies about buddies who won't let buddies die in vain, movies about sand and grit and glory and guts and more sand and courage and blood and sandstorms and all the yucch and muck and intestines and men who haven't had a hot meal in weeks and more sand."
     "We need movies showing the evil, bloodthirsty enemy and we need movies about the average Joe and Jane, going off to war," Mascot said.
     Several ideas were discussed, others are already under production.
     "We've already got alot in the works," said Jerry Bruckheimer. "Me and Spielburg and Ridley and the other guys, we're up for it."
      Among the movie ideas and movies greenlighted are: "Johnny Got His Gas Mask", "The Sands Of Maraz-I-Sharif", "Saving Sargent Rock", "Ollie North & His Howlin' Commandos", "The Even Longer Day", "They Died With Their Gas Masks On" ,"Sink The Taliban", "From Here To There", "The Thin Red Line In The Sand", "The Light At The End Of The Tunnel", "Bomb 'Em Back To The Stone Age, Boys", "Gays In Arms", "The Dirty Dozen Women", "Revelations Now!", "The Road To Kabul", "The Bridge At Kabul", "The Guns Of Kabul", and "They Wore Camouflage".

Laura Dern and Bill Macy in MGM's "Billy, Be A Hero".

Robert Redford as a rebellious prisoner in "Jihad Dawn".
Movie Review
by Dave Manning
     Hollywood's three greatest Toms and a pretty good Tom lead a cast of people without the name Tom in this thrilling, provocative, explosion-filled movie, Black Hawk Back Up, set to open nationwide next week.
     And apart from the credits at the end, written in Aramaic, there's not a disappointing moment in the three hour and eighty-seven minute film.
     Black Hawk Back Up tells the exciting story of the men who service these ferocious war machines, the pressures on them to "get it right so we don't lose a crew", and the women who scorn them for pilots and foreign correspondents.
     "It's a story that hasn't been told," said first-time Director A.D. Assistant. "The closest thing to it would be that John Wayne movie about the Seabees, but there was no sex in that."
     Sex, it seems, plays a big part in the lives of the men who repair military helicopters miles from the front lines.
     Cruise, of course, is the sexiest, and his love scenes with Halle Berry, Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, and Susan Sarandon are hot, yet tasteful.
     Jones plays the "pit boss", the man in charge of the ground crew. "This is ground zero," he tells the men over and over again, but they never listen.
     Sizemore plays the man with a dark past; in a clever, original twist, that past is never revealed.
     And Hanks is the man who failed to become a chopper pilot, so he labors in the ground crew, hoping to get a chance to fly.
     One day it comes.
     On a routine flight to test the cyclic in a Black Hawk they've named Oscar, they are fired upon by a ragtag army lead by a warlord in some un-named country between Yemen and Ethiopia. The flight crew is killed and Hanks must take over.
     From then on most of the action is non-stop, and the frenetic chopper-blade driven score by John Williams moderates the pulse of the movie until its sizzling, battle-scarred climax, a fight scene that rivals Gladiator, Planet of the Apes, Patton, The French Connection, and Who's Afraid Of Virginia Wolf.
     Also starring John Lithgow, Denzel Washington, Buddy Ebsen, Judi Densch, Robin Williams, Cate Blanchett, Jamie Foxx, and Bridget Fonda, with cameo appearances by Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, James Caan, Abe Vigoda, Michael Caine, and Gene Hackman as "The Colonel", 'Black Hawk Back Up' has Oscar written all over it.

Los Angeles, CA - (GNS) - Director Robert Altman was jailed briefly by the Homeland Security Police after making statements criticizing American-made action movies.
     He was released on his own recognizance on orders from Homeland Security General Tom Ridge, but ordered to never criticize American movies again.
     "In this time of unity, criticism is not wise," Ridge said.
     Altman had said action movies with an emphasis on violence and explosions had contributed to the climate that fosters terrorism and war.
     Ridge said no action will be taken against the director "as long as he makes an action film."
     Altman said he was thinking of making a re-make of "The Man Who Would Be King".

Santa Monica, CA - (GNS) - Deep in the bowels of the Rand Corp. building near the ocean, seventeen movie screenwriters met last week with CIA Counter-terrorism experts to brainstorm and spitball terrorism and counter-terrorism ideas.
     The content of the meeting was top secret, but CIA Agent Walter Matthau spoke briefly with the news media afterward.
     "It was a productive session. We learned a few things. I won't go into detail, but the name Joseph Campbell came up a few times. And the necessity of a good soundtrack featuring both popular and original music was discussed," Matthau said.
     Matthau said the most important thing learned that he could reveal was that agents who operate in two-person teams need to be opposites who cannot get along at first, "but during the course of the mission they discover their personal flaws and realize they each need the other to overcome their internal obstacles and to achieve their mission."
     "We never knew that," he said.

See The Guns Of Kabul, starring Kevin Spacey, Madonna, Wolf Blitzer and Ben Stiller, opening next week at a theatre near you!


  • Tora Bora Hand Gestures; a Multiple References/Implausible Films production, directed by Marcel Marceau, starring Rudolph Giuliani, George W. Bush, Brad Pitt, Nicole Kidman; with a special appearance and music by Mick Jagger; it tells the exciting story of the role of hand gestures in fighting terrorism.

  • The Magnificent Five, How The War For Afghanistan Was Won; written by Joe Eszterhas, directed by Ron Howard, starring Gregory Peck, Demi Moore, and Five Guys Named Muhammed; from the bestseller by Phillip Roth and Stephen Ambrose

  • All The President's Father's Men directed by John D. Rockefeller, written by Allen Dulles and Jack Philby, with music by Bob Roberts

  • Enduring Freedom; The Second Greatest Story Ever Told starring Angelina Jolie, Aaron Brown, and Barney; written by John Milius and Cameron Crowe

  • The Taking Of Altanta 1,2,3 starring Richard Harris, Nicole Kidman, Jack Black, John Ratzenberger, a Rhett Butler-Wm. Sherman Film directed by Nick Fury

  • Air Force One II, Return Of The President starring Gene Hackman, Charlton Heston, and Gwyneth Paltrow, with music by Pearl Jam and Neil Young

  • The Thin Red Line In The Sand starring Brad Pitt, Elizabeth Hurley and Barry Sadler, directed by T.E. Lawrence

  • Harry Potter And The Warring Factions Of Post-Taliban Afghanistan starring Daniel Radcliffe, Matt Damon, Jack La Lanne and Cher, with music by Orin Hatch, Vanna White, Kid Rock, and Harvey Keitel

  • Back To Normal starring John Travolta, Demi Moore and Ken Kesey, written by David Mamet and Lionel Chetwynd, from the paragraph by Tom Wolfe

  • Rotten Infrastructure starring Kirk Douglas, Douglas MacArthur, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Jeanie C. Riley, Gene Autry, Audrey Hepburn and either Gene Hackman or Michael Caine as the President

  • The Man Who Would Be King starring George W. Bush, John Ashcroft, Jesse Jackson and introducing J.K. Rowling as The Secret Military Tribunal

  • Robert Redford as a rebellious prisoner in Jihad Dawn.

    ALL PLAYING AT THEATERS NEAR YOU!! (If you live near a theater)

    Atlanta, GA - (GNS) - With a spellbinding display of timeliness and orginiality, Reality TV dominated the broadcast and cable industry within minutes after the attack.
         Without any promotion whatsoever, America Under Attack went on the air and virtually never left for six straight days.
         "It's unprecedented," said Bart Schlub, co-inventer of the new fall TV reality show, "Celebrity Suicide".
         "We're been advertising like crazy just to get people to tune in for an hour a week. This show, with no advertising, no promotion, no reviews, no hype whatsoever, takes over every time slot. Incredible," he said.
         "This opens the doors to an entirely new kind of programming," said Mary Diggler. "Uninterrupted reality where something is actually happening."
         "We thought we had reached the heights with Big Brother and with the incessant coverage of the Levy-Condit Thing, but America Under Attack just broke through to a whole brave new world!" she said.
         News programmers have also reawakened to the possibilities of covering real news instead of tabloid sleeze.
         "I don't want to get carried away, because it's still a question of ad revenues, but interest does seem to be high in covering real things," said Dan Rather, former CBS News Journalist now Anchorman.
         "Imagine if we spent this much time covering the U.S. bombing of Iraq, or the situation of education in America. Why, people might be better informed," he said.
         Network executives were quick to caution that covering U.S. pay-offs to unsavory characters and covering the huge U.S. arms industry exports to Third World countries might not be as intriguing to most Americans as rescue workers digging through rubble and people praying in church.
         "People don't really want to watch background information if they don't know there's a payoff. And showing people building schools and repairing roads and bridges, I don't know," said Terry Highlandorfer, of UBS.

    Fall TV Reality Show Will Feature World Leaders
    Washington, D.C. - (GNS) - Mexican President and latin heartthrob Vincente Fox will join President Bush to co-star with other world leaders in a new, still untitled reality TV show for the fall season.
         The show will debut on CNN, which has crossed the line in recent years from a strictly news format to a more general "we don't know what news is, but we know what entertainment is" format.
         CNN president Rupert Gates said he was delighted that Fox agreed to join the show.
         "Let's face it, Fox is the only good-looking one in the bunch," he said.
         Possible titles for the show include "We Are The World", "Who's In Charge?", "Who's War Is It, Anyway?", "Where Did Our Drugs Go?", "The Hell With That!", "Mistakes Were Made", "Just Do It", "Unilaterally Yours", "Who Do You Think You're Talkin' To?", "Let's Give 'Em Somethin' To Talk About", "I'm Right, You're Wrong", "Diplomacy? We Don' Need No Stinkin' Diplomacy", and "You're So Vain, You Probably Think This Show Is About You".
         Gates said Bush was one of the first to sign on.
         "We had some concerns because of his inability to be spontaneous and coherent at the same time, then we realized that the audience would just consider those moments as bloopers, humorous outtakes, and we'd be okay," Gates said.
         Gates said the only major world leaders who had yet to sign on were Ariel Sharon and Yassir Arafat-- "Sharon wants top billing and Arafat wants to strap explosives on the cameramen, and we haven't got whoever's in charge of Northern Ireland and those nuts in Pakistan who want to execute that doctor for saying the prophet Muhammed didn't practice Islamic law til he was forty."

    Ceremony At Rehab Center Attended Only By Photographer and Robert Downey, Jr.
    - Prima Donna Mariah Carey and Backstreet Boy A.J. McLean were secretly married in a ceremony held while the two were ostensibly recovering from the pressures of fame.
         The ceremony was held in a makeshift chapel at the Escape From The Pressures Of Fame Rehab Center in Phoenix, Arizona.
         Carey's publicist, Jon Lovitz, said the deception about her "breakdown" was necessary to preserve the star's privacy and the privacy of the wedding. He said Carey apologizes to all her fans but is sure they will understand that lying about this was important and if they don't understand, well, then they just don't know what it's like to be famous, with the pressures and all.
         McLean's family, who had appeared on a variety of talkshows speaking with alleged candor about their son's drug and alcohol problems, said they were sorry they lied, but it was necessary to preserve the deception.
         "Our son has no problems, but, what with the pressures of fame and all, we had to pretend he did."
         Robert Downey, Jr. was the only invited guest at the wedding. His lawyer, Ally McBeal, said Downey was probably thrilled to be invited and offered to star in the next rock video produced by either the Boys or Carey.
         The couple is reportedly honeymooning at the Secret Honeymoon Rehab Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
         Lovitz said Carey and the Backstreet Boys are discussing a tour and recording an album together. He said their first tentative date is a benefit concert at the Rehab Center For Those Not Famous And Less Fortunate in Dubuque, Iowa.
         The photographs of the wedding were destroyed after Carey collapsed, McLean went into convulsions, and Downey jumped on a chair shouting "You're out of order! This whole wedding is out of order!"
         Lovitz said the wedding will probably be re-enacted so photographs can be taken, and may be staged as a pay-per-view event, with Aerosmith, Lee Ann Rimes and Eminem joining the bill.

    New On DVD
    The Planet Of The Grapes Of Wrath Of Kahn
    Starring Charlton Heston, Henry Fonda, William Shatner, Mark Wahlberg, Haley Joel Osment, and Ricardo Montelban
         A young man, just released from prison teams up with a genetically altered superhuman to fight the apes who rule a planet where grapes can be grown for fine intergalactic wine.
         You remember the movie, and if you loved it as so many people did, then you don't want to miss the DVD.
         Director Alan Smithee has assembled most of the stars (Jane Fonda subs for her departed Dad), includes four hours and seventeen minutes of footage not seen in the original 87 minute production, and includes actual news footage and a re-enactment of critical scenes from the trial.
         Also not to be missed is the thirty-two minute animated sequence showing the growing of a grape from the grape's point of view.
         Noted at the time, it is important to recall the remarkable performance of Osment as the young Wahlberg, and Wahlberg as the young Heston. It is all the more remarkable to remember that Heston was young once.
         Of course Heston and Fonda stand out, but the extra footage contains a much more crafty performance from Shatner, most of which was cut when the film was initially released.
         Although some of the special effects may seem primitive today, like the use of animated lizards in place of real dinosaurs, and what is clearly, at one point, a man pretending to be Sasquatch, the power of the story and the clever repartee in the dialogue, especially between Montelban and the uncredited Ursula Andress and a very young Denis Leary, more than makes up for it.
         And the cameo of Michael Caine, reprising his role as Harry Palmer, is explained in the additional footage.
         But even without the additional four hours and seventeen minutes, the film still holds up as one of the classics, back when movies meant something.

    HDTV Spreads Without Use Of Condoms
    Washington, D.C. - (GNS) - Concerned about the spread of TV sex, Congress zeroed in on HDTV and other technologically transmitted diseases at hearings conducted by the House Censorship And Abstinance Committee.
         "Sex between TVs is obscene," said Rep. Dork Huh.
         "HDTV is infecting our youth," declared Rep. Mumford "Munch" Headinsand.
         Several witnesses said sex on TV had lead them to commit sex.
         "I was so bored with sexual innuendo, I turned off the TV and jumped my friend's bones," said one witness, who wished to remain anonymous.
         Huh and Headinsand said they are drafting legislation that would require TVs to use condoms.
         "Congressmen would be exempt from the legislation," Huh said.

    By Dave Manning
    Fictional Times Movie Critic

    Hollywood, CA - (GNS) - Steven Spielburg, fresh of the success of A-I, conceived by Stanley Kubrick, announced he will remake three Kubrick classics.
         "We're going to do Dr. Intelligence, then A Clockwork Intelligence, then Full Metal Intelligence," the famed director said.
         "And we may also do Artifical Lolita, but, one thing at a time," he said.
         Dr. Intelligence will explore what would have happened if robots ran the world during the Cold War. A Clockwork Intelligence will explore how clocks have ruled the world since their invention, and must be destroyed by roving bands of thugs-- "or must they?".
         And Full Metal Intelligence will explore what would have happened in Vietnam if the U.S. had signed a pact with Ho Chi Minh and fought against The Empire.
         "Pretty wild, huh?" Spielburg said.
         Meanwhile, Kubrick, who died last year, has announced plans to remake Schindler's List, "as a musical."
         "I see it as The Music Man," was all the decaying, tight-lipped director would say.

    Hollywood, CA - (UGP) - An animated green snot figure known as Shrek has jumped to the top of the box office and is the toast of Hollywood these days, according to outgoing Mayor Dick "Richard" Riordan's Toast Of The Town Director, Tiffany Shill.
         "It's so great," she said. "Everyone wants to be seen with him. He's truly bringing us all together."
         "It's unexpected that green snot would have such a cultural impact," said media curio Michael Medved. "It's so infantile, yet so compelling, and universal."
         Medved said Shrek is Yiddish for snot.
         "I think he's adorable," said former TV commentator Dr. Laura Schlesinger. "But, seriously, if this is what it takes to entetain people without violence or the 's' word, then I'm all for it."
         "I still prefer my pet rock," declared cultural grump David Horowitz, "and I'm not just saying that because I want to be different or because the Pet Rock industry has me on their payroll."
         Shrek will be getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame next week, will star in the next Star Wars movie, and is rumored to be making plans to challenge Gray Davis for governor in 2004.

    Hollywood, CA - (GNI) - Taking a cue from the recent air collision and 8,000-foot plunge endured by the survivors of the U.S. spy plane, CBS Network announced plans today for a new reality game show, tentatively titled "Plummet".
         Network executives said a team of people will be recruited to fly in an aircraft and challenged to answer questions.
         "The questions are asked more and more rapidly, and each time they fail to answer, something goes wrong with the plane that puts it closer and closer toward losing stability. Pretty exciting, huh?" said Bob "Chuck" Yaeger, Vice President of Perilous TV Reality Gameshows for the network.
         "In some cases, if they fail to answer enough questions correctly, the situation can become so dire they'll have to get the next question right or vote someone off the plane."
         The idea has been submitted to the FAA for review. It is expected, under the new administration, to be approved within a week.

    Cheney, Lieberman, Bennett Call For Nationalizing Entertainment Industry
    Sacremento, CA - (IGN) - California Governor Gray "Gray" Davis ordered the state National Guard to L.A. today to restore order and, if necessary, break the writer's strike.
         A division of guardsmen moved immediately into position outside the Writer's Guild at Doheny and Wilshire.
         Other units of the Guard were dispatched to Burbank and Culver City to confront strikers in front of the studios. Elite airborne Guardsmen parachuted onto the Paramount lot and faced off with strikers there.
         "People need their TV programming, they need their movies," Davis declared. "The strike must be broken. Without diversion, people will pay attention to politics, democracy, the energy crisis-- we can't let that happen," he said.
         Meanwhile, in Washington D.C., Vice President Dick "Richard" Cheney, Joe "Jehovah" Lieberman, and William "Sphincter" Bennett issued a statement calling on President Bush to nationalize the entertainment industry.
         "When in the course of human events it is self-evident," the statement read, in part.
         "Nationalizing the entertainment industry will not only break the strike, it will allow us to dictate content. This is not censorship. We're elected. This is democracy," Bennett said.
         Cheney said the President can nationalize any industry in the interests of national defense.
         "We're under attack from rogue nations and all we get from Hollywood is gender confusion programming. If it's not in our national interest to straighten up and fly right, then I don't know what is," Cheney said.
         "My job is to be more right-wing than they are," Lieberman said, "so I say any writer who doesn't get back to work should be stoned."
         "Uh, that didn't come out right," he added, explaining his writer was on strike.
         Network executives, seeking to appease the government during the strike, have been showing Dr. Laura twenty-four hours a day.
         Many writers say the threat of the Guard will not deter them, but if threatened with a blacklist, many say they will cave and name names, "in the spirit of Elia Kazan."
    Reality, Fiction, Special Effects All In The Stew
    - The new fall TV season, delayed a week for Attack On America, will offer an outstanding variety of entertainment and mindless diversion for Americans of most ages and shapes.
         For the topical, reality-minded, there's "Find Chandra", which will feature two reporters, two police investigators and two dogs named Wally, searching old buildings and woods for the missing intern.
         Sit-com fans who used to love The Brady Bunch will probably enjoy "Those Condit Kids", a cute comedy about two kids who appear on talk show after talk show, trying to convince everyone that their dad is like Ozzie Nelson.
         CBS launches a new, hard-hitting, controversy-laden drama, "Where'd The Negroes Go?" Each week two television viewers search TV shows for Negroes in meaningful roles.
         "Little League Cheaters" on Fox is a charming series about a traveling team of young baseball players who go from town to town, insisting they're younger than they really are so they can beat younger kids in organized ball.
         NBC's lead drama is "Football ER" about emergency room doctors who take time off each week from their soap-opera lives to treat heatstroke victims who collapsed while playing football.
         "Stem Cell Races" on ABC is a spin-off of Frasier, featuring two research scientists, brothers, who each have a TV talk show and a laboratory, and who are each racing to cure spinal chord injuries.
         CBS also launches a new, hard-hitting, contrversy-laden drama, "Rogue Nations". They won't preview this so we don't know what it's about.
         Comedy Central merges with C-SPAN to offer "Whose Lie Is It, Anyway?", CNN enters overt entertainment programming with "Airport Gridlock", ESPN offers its first sit-com "Leave It To Cleavage", PBS launches the game show "Who Wants To Be Employed?", and VH-1 counters with a game show, "The Freakiest Link".
         Probably the most controversial show in the fall line-up is the new reality show on E!, "Celebrity Suicide", where each week a celebrity who was thinking of commiting suicide due to "the pressures of fame" will be coaxed into doing it on the show, live.

    Pauline Kael Dies
    Vegetable founder and renown movie critic Pauline Kael died yesterday. Autopsy reports indicate her death was caused by the heartbreak of having to watch movies in the 1990s, 2000, and 2001. She is survived by her favorable reviews of Bonnie & Clyde, Nashville, Dumb & Dumber and Woody Allen movies, except Stardust Memories, his screed against critics, which for some reason she hated.

    Miami Rightwing Cubans Threaten To Go Berserk, As Usual
    - Rightwing Cubans who threatened violence at the Latin Grammy Awards ceremony if it was held in Miami succeeded in driving the lucrative event to Southern California, where right-wingers concentrate on owning power companies, theme parks and politicians and not on overtly violent activities.
         The former Cubans were reportedly mad because, well, that's what they do.
         The City of Miami will lose almost $40 million in income with the loss of the event, said Director Of Predicting City Income Losses Miguel Jesus Guantanamero.
         "It is a shame for the city that we have residents who go berserk at the thought of, well, I don't know, but that's what they do," Guantanamero said.
         L.A. officials said they were excited about the move.
         "It's a helluvalot better than the Democrats or the WTO coming to town," said former Mayor and Gubernatorial candidate Richard "Loco" Riordan.
         "I'm just happy they overlooked the fact that Villarigosa lost to a white boy in the recent mayoral election. It's time for all of us to come together, and what better way than with a music awards ceremony that features only one distinct segment of the music industry with limited diversity," he said.
         Michael Greene, director of the Grammys, said the switch meant that J Lo will probably be able to appear.
         "She wasn't able to participate in Miami, because, uh, planes don't land there?" he said.
         Reaction from the rightwing Cuban community was mixed.
         "Caramba! Es muy fucked," said Frank Sturgis Batista. "We already made signs."
         "Que sera sera," said Frank Sturgis Trujillio. "Someday we will return to Cuba, kill all the communists, and live happily ever after."

    American Pie II: The Day The Music Twitched And Groaned And Emitted Something That Looked Like Baked Apples
    Movie Review
    by Dave Manning
         Writer-Director Don MacLean has returned this summer with a vengence, issuing a laugh-filled, tear-stained and special effects driven epic on the state of the music industry today, as seen through the eyes of horny college kids.
         Disguised, albeit thinly, as a typical Porky's-meets-Portnoy-meets-The Paper Chase-meets-Carnal Knowledge-meets Julia Child (the pie-cooking sequence), APII is really a stirring, volatile, profound, giddy, cosmic, insightful, Reichian exploration of the question: what, besides a beat and cool lyrics, makes good music?
         Jason Biggs returns from API as the kid they call Dylan, only now he is in college, where he's expected to form coherent sentences without loud music playing through headphones.
         Assigned to write an essay on Buddy Holly and the ante-bellum south where cotton was king and rock n roll didn't exist, Biggs turns to his friends, Ken Burns and Michael Jackson, for help.
         But Burns and Jackson are more interested in lesbian sex, heroin, dancing on top of beat-up Chevys, and rhythms with a jazz counterpoint thing going on-- lots of bended notes, so Biggs must get laid alot before he can understand what rock n roll is really about.
         Enter Tiffaney Tami Britney SanDeE, a young long-haired brunette who digs everything from Martha and the Vandellas, Courtney Love, old Anita Bryant records (when she recorded with The Brothers Four) and Elizabeth Dole to reading secret, smuggled hospital reports about Mariah Carey.
         Biggs and Tiffaney (played by Sandee B.T. Tiff-annie) go to a rave, do ecstasy, fantasize about testifying on the dangers of celibacy before a Senate Committee chaired by Joe Lieberman and about having their own MTV-Reality Show called "We Screw Each Others' Brains Out, Naked".
         The sequence where Tiffaney becomes a Czechoslovakain refugee, complete with special effects depicting the Russian invasion in '68, with the tanks dancing to an 'N Sync medley is extraordinary, rivaling the first twenty minutes of Saving Private Ryan, and should qualify this film for an Academy Award TM.
         Meanwhile, Eugene Levy returns from API to play Biggs' father, a busted out pie cook who was fired from his gig at the Cheesecake Factory for trying to carve eighth notes into the pie crust.
         You see? It's brilliant!
         When Biggs discovers the three men he admired the most (I don't want to give away that punchline) have left for the coast, his despondency and the intimate scene with his dad (pictured above) recall the poignancy of famous father-son relationships dramatized in Death Of A Salesman, Star Wars; and Krakatoa, East of Java.
         Add a chase seen on the levy, Biggs' friend Jack jumping over a candlestick, and what may or may not be a plane crash in the middle of an outdoor rock show where guys who work security for Jerry Springer are beating up some dude with cobalt-encased Nintendo games, and the surprise ending, and you'll have to agree that MacLean is in top form, fully recovered from the disastorous Starry Starry Nights In White Satin bomb that came mighty close to wrecking his career.
         The inspired soundtrack has everything from Alvin & The Chipmonks singing Queen's Greatest Hits to Mike Douglas (the talk-show host, not the actor); to Chris Rock, Chris Tucker and the late Chris Farley singing Kris Kristofferson's Me An' Bobby McGee, to the entire Dylan catalog except The Mighty Quinn to a duet with Bruce Springsteen and Eminem, to Shania Twain riffing on The A Train intercut with John Fogarty's post-Creedence version of The Midnight Special and P. Diddy's homage to Tupac Shakur and Bob Newhart.
         Keep your eyes open for cameos from Gene Hackman, Michael Caine, and a bloated Ben Affleck as Alfred Hitchcock (stepping onto a city bus).
         And let's hope there's an American Pie III!

    Movie Review
    by Dave Manning

         I took the family to see AI last weekend. From the previews it appeared to be "...the best family movie since ET." that, however was not the case.
         While the film was "...a feast of special effects..." the story was not appropriate for younger viewers. Nor was it particularly appropriate for older viewers who were at all sensitive to the feelings of children.
         Although the movie worked well on the level of science fiction it was certainly not "...a fairy tale for our generation."
         Haley Joel Osment is certainly precocious and cute enough as a child actor, but he never really approached his "...Academy Award quality performance..." from The Sixth Sense.
         And casting William Hurt as a creator of robotic children is ironic as I have always found his performances robotic anyway.
         I always expect more from Steven Spielberg, especially following on the heels of Saving Private Ryan, which I thought was "...Spielberg's best movie since ET."
         I only wish the advertising for the film had been more forthcoming. If it had I would have taken to my family to see something that could have provided "...a night of rousing family fun."

    By Dave Manning
    Fictional Times Movie Critic

         He tells the English Ambassador "Your backside's in the way" then reveals to the press the details of a top secret trip; he nicknames the British Prime Minister "Landslide", then tells Russian Premier Putin "I ran against peace, prosperity and incumbency". He calls Africa a nation.
         It's the new Time-Warner-GOP-Turner-Sony-Oilco release Bush's European Vacation, and the laughs are fast and furious. George W. Bush proves himself to be as skilled and likeable an actor as Ronald Reagan, and twice as funny.
         The premise is as simple as the premises of all great comedy movies: a new president who can barely string together four coherent sentences but who has a zany sense of humor goes to Europe on a mission. He wants to convince European leaders he's serious about ending the threat of nuclear war and terrorism and global warming.
         And as with all great comedies, there's the twist: He confuses ABM with NATO and mistakenly insists the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty is "a relic of the past" even though it has worked, and urges everyone, including Russia, to believe the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is important for the future of world security.
         Leave it to first-time comedy writers Condoleeza Rice and Dick "Richard" Cheney to come up with a screwball notion like that.
         Especially funny are the scenes with Putin, played by Pee Wee Herman. Bush tries and tries to tell Putin Russians are not the enemy while all the while building up NATO and excluding Russia from NATO.
         The capper is the musical number Bush sings, "Putin On The Ritz". Mel Brooks, look out.
         For the kids, there's the constant slapstick and one-liners, topped by the Joint Chiefs of Staff poking each other in the eye a la the Three Stooges after Bush ends the U.S. bombing of Puerto Rico and pronounces Vieques correctly; for the adults there's the homage to Animal Farm, where Bush continually says one thing while doing another. He's against global warming, which is why he's against the Kyoto Accords which are against global warming.
         And credit the writers and producers with the clever sense to not go for the easy laughs in Poland. No cheap Polish jokes here. Instead there's the smart parody of Kennedy, with Bush standing before the Polish people, praising their dedication to democracy, and declaring "Ich bin ein Pole".
         Co-starring Freddie Prinze Jr. as the President of Spain, Gary Oldman in a rare comedy role as the President of Poland, Shannon Doherty as Jenna Bush, and Britney Spears as Sweden, and directed by Karl Rove, Bush's European Vacation spells laffter and threatens the career of Chevy Chase. Maybe Chase will have to run for president.

    New York, NY - (GNS) - Comedian and late night talk show host David Letterman's joke about Miss Colombia provoked the anger of the Colombian Drug Cartel (CDC) yesterday.
         CDC CEO Juan "Cokeman" Guiterrez fired off an angry letter to NBC president Milton Peacock, protesting the joke and demanding an apology.
         "The people of Colombia are very proud of our booming economy and are proud of Miss Colombia and her talent. The fact that Miss Colombia can swallow fifty packets of coke to smuggle into your country, with the help of the CIA and DEA, is an asset, a true talent, and should not be made fun of," the letter read in part.
         CIA Director In Charge of Drug Smuggling Elliot Abrams denied the Cokeman's charges.
         "I dare you to find those missing files," he said.
         General "Buck" Westmoreland, in charge of Making War To Cover Drug Smuggling Activity, also denied the Cokeman's allegations.
         "Our covert, undeclared war in Colombia is legitimate," he said.
         Peacock, worried certain television stars might lose their supply of the illegal but highly sought-after drug, demanded Letterman apologize.
         Letterman said he would apologize only if his spy plane was returned.
         Nobody could tell any longer if Letterman was joking or not.
         Letterman's ratings rose during this episode.
         But reports that he is in line for the U.N. Ambassadorship when the Senate rejects Negroponte "are exaggerated," said Letterman for President spokesperson Drew Barrymore.

    New York, NY - (IGN) - People who sing so high up there you suspect their balls have been cut off sued the TV show The Sopranos in Federal Court yesterday for defamation.
         "It's a total misrepresentation," declared Al "High Note" Pussy. "They got us whackin' people. We don't whack people, we sing."
         "They're defamin' us," Tony "Screechy" Pavgotti said. "We live peaceful lives, we don' bother nobody, an' when we congregate, it's not at a strip club. When we congregate, it's a rehearsal or concert or somethin'."
         "Fuggetaboutit," added Pussy.
         The suit claims the show glorifies gangsters and mobsters at the expense of singers, especially opera singers.
         "I go for an audition, people're terrified. They think my violinist is gonna pull a gun outta his case," said Pavgotti.
         "My pa was a soprano, his pa before him, an' his, all the back to the old country. It's a family business. They got no right," Pussy said.
         The suit seeks an injunction against series, calling for it to be taken off the air until the name is changed.
         "They should change it to 'The Tenors'. That'd be accurate," Pavgotti said.
         "Tenors're wild," Pussy agreed. "One time this tenor, he didn't get along with the Conductor. They hurled threats at each other. Two days later, the Conductor's gone. I heard he turned up in Jersey, without his baton."
         Producer David Chase replied to questions about the suit.
         "Fuggetaboutit," he said.
    CLEAR CHANNEL WANTS STATIONS TO PULL SONGS "Imagine", "Bridge Over Troubled Water", "On Broadway" On List: "Ahab The Arab" May Get Hourly Play
    - Clear Channel, corporate owner of over 1,100 radio stations, suggested its stations not play numerous songs because it thinks those songs will "cause pain" or "give aid and comfort to the enemy".
         Clear Channel executives also asked that the 1960s Ray Stevens song "Ahab The Arab" be played every hour.
         "What A Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong was one of many songs with "subversive, anti-American lyrics" said one Clear Channel executive.
         "The issue is 'subliminality', which the president warned us about during his campaign," said one Clear Channel executive. "The enemy is clever and devious, and they've, you know, planted things, suggestions, into songs, things that come out at times like this and despoil our nation."
         He said songs by "Blacks and Brits" were "dangerous" at "perilous times like these."
         Clear Channel defended its decision to ask that "Ahab The Arab" be played hourly.
         "It's a song that paints a clear and lasting picture of our enemy. Armed with camels, chanting in a foreign language, traveling helter skelter from oasis to oasis without passing thru security, naming their camels 'Clyde', this is what we're up against," said one Clear Channel executive.
         He said they were also trying to figure out the true meaning of Maria Muldaur's "Midnight At The Oasis".
         "At this point we're not sure if it should be banned, or played incessantly," he said, adding that it's so much easier to program when the lyrics are literal and not metaphorical.
         "We've asked the Attorney General to look into investigating the whole idea of metaphors. It may go to the House Committee On Un-American Activities With Similes," he said.
         Left off the list was Edwin Starr's famous 1970s anti-war song "War", leading critics of Clear Channel, including Jerry Falwell and Bill Bennett, to suggest that Clear Channel is actually a subversive corporation, secretly working "for somebody who doesn't like our values and morals."
         "While I appreciate Clear Channels' attempts to censor anti-American songs like 'I Go To Pieces' and 'A World Without Love', it's clear to me they didn't go far enough, and that's enough to make me suspicious," Bennett said.
         He added that when he gets suspicous, Attorney General John Ashcroft usually starts issuing warrants and subpoenas.
         Bennett, often referred to as a Culture Czar in the Culture War, said he would prefer it if all rock music was outlawed, but conceded that people might confuse him with a Taliban Cleric if he was actually to push for that.
         He said he is looking into the relationship between rock music and box cutters.
         ACLU activists have defended Clear Channels' right not to include Starr's song on the 'Don't Play' list.
         "If Clear Channel doesn't want to censor that song, that doesn't make them any less American," said one ACLU spokesman. "I think the fact that they took steps to censor numerous songs that in no way can be considered treasonous speaks for itself," he said.
         Clear Channel executives, who included Elton John's "Bennie And The Jets", Neil Diamond's "America" and the Beatles "Ticket To Ride", on their suggested 'Don't Play' list had no immediate explanation for the absence of Starr's anti-war song. Nor could they account for the absence of the CSN/Jefferson Airplane song "Wooden Ships", another anti-war anthem from the late 1960s.
         "Everybody knows 'Imagine' is a subversive song," said one Clear Channel executive, "and 'Bennie & The Jets' was written by a homosexual, and Jerry Falwell says homosexuals caused the bombing."
         Terrorist leaders in the past have said that even if the U.S. outlaws rock music, they would still carry out their attacks.
         "We have a saying," said one terrorist, "Kill them all and let Allah sort it out."

    ANNE HECHE'S ALIEN ALTER EGO MISSING AFTER ATTACK "Celestia" Was Nowhere Near The East Coast
    - Anne Heche, who two weeks ago was the talk of the talk shows with her stories about an alien alter ego named "Celestia" announced that Celestia was missing.
         "I found her wallet in our house, but there's no calls from a senator, and no plane hit the area. I just don't know," Heche said, dazed, confused, disoriented and braless.
         Heche said she discovered Celestia was missing just after the second plane hit the World Trade Center.
         "She was here this morning, and although she's an extra-terrestrial, I don't think she left for New York," Heche said.
         Police said they would look for Celestia after they found Amelia Earhart.

    American Outlaws
    Making Crime Fun & Heroic, A Primer For Understanding The Gang Warfare That Plagues Our Cities

    Movie Review
    by Dave Manning
         That wacky, fun-loving, good-looking, witty, lovable James Gang. Robbers, killers-- what's not to love?
         In a lifetime often pelted with thoughts of misery and periodic episodes of bleakness, nothing raises the spirits more than a movie about a moment in our history when our nation, its people, stood tall.
         Such a moment is celebrated in American Outlaws.
         In the dark days after the Civil War, when the Union victory meant the end of the South's peculiar institution, a group of young, good-looking, witty men who had served in a guerilla band that attacked soldiers and civilians alike in the name of all that's holy returns home only to discover that the side that won the war actually won the war.
         Furious at the unfairness of it all, they decide to steal money and kill people, although the movie wisely does not show them killing anyone, in accordance with an effort on the producers' part to refrain from gratuitous violence.
         The military and police try to enforce heavy-handed laws against armed robbery but fortunately fail. It's then that the target of the gang's heroic activities, the railroad tycoon, brings in hired thugs lead by an English secret service agent.
         Filled with plenty of well-crafted fight and chase scenes, all homages to better action and directing sequences in a myriad of historic westerns that had the luck and financing to precede this one, American Outlaws is a true-to-life, gritless tale of high adventure and romance spun around the tirelessly fascinating theme of good vs. evil, unhindered by shades of gray, other than the gray uniforms of the Confederacy.
         Ali Larter provides the romance but refrains from nudity in accordance with the producers' efforts to exclude gratuitous sex.
         Ponderous, self-righteous critics will argue that showing the killing engaged in by the real James Gang, and the sex engaged in by, well, everyone, is not gratuitous, but they are merely being ponderous and self-righteous.
         There is more orgiastic pleasure to be found in one of Larter's toothy smiles than in all the allegedly sensuous sequences of cleavage, stripping, bare breasts, humping buttocks and passion-filled animal behavior, especially if you are turned on by Larter's toothy smiles.
         And there are those who will dismiss this film as the light-weight, dimwitted entertainment it aspires to be, but if so, they will miss the clever layers of social commentary probably unintended by the film-makers and certainly unintended by the one-dimensional actors.
         The film serves as a primer for understanding the gang warfare we suffer in our cities. But it teaches us an important lesson: it's not the gang activities we suffer, it is our values and expectations. If we viewed these gangs as wholesome, fun-loving, adventurous, romantic efforts on the part of our youths, underpinned with the knowledge that surmountable forces perceived to be beyond their control often compel them into this activity, we could be entertained, instead of outraged and afraid.
         But it is not a perfect film. A movie about the James Gang should feature the guitar-work of Joe Walsh. Wouldn't it have been entertaining to number one of the trains robbed #49 and used Funk #49 as the music while the robbery took place?
         All criticism aside, American Outlaws blazes across the screen as few things blaze in our lives, and although few moments are riveting, the combination of those moments makes it a movie.

    Find Difficulty Coping With Grateful Dead's No-Date Touring Schedule And Fateful News
    Special Report On Our Culture
    by Fictional Times Correspondents
    Bob Fontneau & Uncle Funnel Push

    Gainesville, FL - On the anniversary of His death, the questions remain.
         "Where's Jerry?"
         "Jerry's not here, man."
         "So where is he, man?"
         "He's not here, man."
         This conversation has been repeated throughout thousands of parking lots, fields, meadows and stadiums stretching across America, from this quiet college town to New York, Chicago, Denver, and Atlanta, and to places like Paducah, Kentucky; Dodge City, Kansas; and even Salt Lake City, Utah. For almost six years, Grateful Dead fans have repeatedly indicated their steadfast belief that Jerry Garcia, absent from the Grateful Dead for six years, is not dead.
         And they are not grateful to come to terms with any news to the contrary.
         But that steadfast belief appeared to have eroded this summer when a worldwide shortage of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), commonly known as acid, reached crisis proportions and tens of thousands of followers of the Grateful Dead became aware of the fact that the band was no longer touring.
         The fans, called Deadheads, reacted with stunned disbelief to the news that the Dead toured no more.
         "Wow, really? Oh man!" was the typical response, followed by an impulse to ingest a single serving (0 calories) of LSD.
         "I wondered where they were, man. I've been in this parking lot for two years. I thought maybe it was just a real long jam goin' on inside," said one fan, known as "On-The-Bus".
         The news that the band's gifted and charismatic guitarist and singer, Garcia, was no longer alive, brought equally stunned and reflexive responses.
         "Man, total bummer about Jerry," said one Deadhead, who identified himself only as Rainbow. "It's so sudden," he moaned before reaching for some LSD.
         But there was no LSD. They had run out.
         "So many Deadheads worldwide learned the reality of the situation at the same time, they created a shortage of LSD. This made their return to reality exceedingly difficult," said Deadhead Watch Director Wavy Smith. "Reality without drugs, what a concept," he said.
         San Francisco experienced critical water shortages as thousands of fans attempted to bathe all at once. Employment agencies were jammed with job-seekers with little employment experience besides selling veggie burritos and making hemp jewelry. Local used car dealers were flooded with aging Volkswagen microbuses painted with psychadelic patterns and slogans advocating peace and love.
         "None of the painted slogans advocated a strong retirement portfolio," said one used car dealer, known as Smiling Sam. "We couldn't use them. No re-sale value," he said.
         Many of the Deadheads had been on the road with the band since the Sixties, bringing children and even sometimes grandchildren along.
         "This is us in '69 at the Hollywood Speedway at the Miami Rock Festival," said one couple, showing off their photo album. "And this is us with our son sJerry, only a year old, at a concert in Atlanta in '71."
         "And here's me with my folks at RFK stadium in '86," said Jerry, now thirty. "Hey, take one of us now, with my kids, Jerry Jr. and Jerri," he said.
         For some the return to straight society was a challenge they looked forward to facing.
         "I left NASA back in '67 to follow the Dead," said Jim "Wow" Watson, a former flight operations director at Houston's Johnson Space Center. "I hope they'll take me back. I'm pretty excited about it. I want to be there when we put the first man on the Moon."
         But not all the band's followers are rocket scientists.
         "Man, I'm thinking about going out with another band," said one Deadhead who said he used to be called Wharf Rat but now wasn't sure what his name was. "Have you heard anything about the Backstreet Boys? I heard they rock."
         The reintegration of Deadheads into modern music fandom poses problems, however, as illustrated by an incident in Cincinnati, Ohio when several Deadheads at at Britney Spears concert started shouting "Jam!" and "Play all night!"
         "Britney does not jam," said her spokesman.
         Others were busted for making bootleg tapes.
         Britney fans at the concert reportedly were "bothered and flustered" by the presence of Deadheads.
         "It was so yuck," said one.
         Reintegration centers have been set up in Cleveland, at the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, and in Peoria, Illinois; Lubbock, Texas, and "at all the places mentioned in 'Truckin''," according to Deadhead Reintegration Specialist Wally "Morning Dew" Moon, a part-time social worker from Gary, Indiana.
         The realization that Garcia was dead and the Dead was no more not only disrupted the lives of the Deadheads, it disrupted many economies.
         "What am I gonna do with all these tie-dyed t-shirts?" asked one parking lot vendor.
         Wall Street observers reported stocks in tie-dyes plummeted, along with stocks in t-shirts and paints.
         "Folding table companies were hit hard, too," said one analyst.
         One group camped in a parking lot in Passaic, New Jersey, was able to avoid total meltdown when a shipment of acid arrived. Tents were stowed, vans were packed, and many of the followers went back on the road again.
         "Whoa, man," said one newly bathed but still tie-dyed afficionado, "can you give me a ride to Philly. I heard Branford might sit in."

    New York, NY - (GPS) - Actor Benjamin Bratt's publicist confirmed today he and Academy Award-winning Actress (TM) Julia Roberts have split up.
         Public reaction was swift.
         "How could they?" several people said as they prepared to toss themselves off the Empire State Building.
         Secretary of Something Colin Powell convened an emergency meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Culture. The JCC includes Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, and senators Joe Lieberman (R.-CT) and Orin Hatch (R-UT.)
         "This kind of thing can shake up the market. It's very destabilizing," said Greenspan, who is married to someone who does TV but not movies.
         "Secretary Powell's proposal to send in monitors and to have the US government try to mediate whatever dispute lead to this tragic break-up is under consideration," Hatch said.
         "Public figures, especially actors and movie stars, have to realize the general public invests their hopes in them. When limelight couples break up, it's devastating to the average American. It's not just an issue of morality, it's an issue of morale," Lieberman said.
         "My hope is that we can bring them back together, for the sake of our country and our children," Powell said.
         President Bush is reportedly working on a speech on this and plans to address the nation "sooner rather than later," according to his press spokesman Ari Oxenfree.

    Action Follows Intervention Into Mid-East Quarrel
    Washington, D.C. - (GNS) - Vowing to make peace throughout the world, Colin Powell, Secretary of Doing Stuff Differently Than Kissinger, followed his intervention in the Mid-East Quarrel with phone calls to Tom Cruise's People and Nicole Kidman's People, urging them, for the sake of the nation, to stay together.
         "A house divided against itself cannot stand," Powell said, quoting a Republican president who could speak eloquently. "If Jews and Arabs can sit down at the same table together, then certainly Tom and Nicole can work this out."
         Attorney General John Ashcroft said local police have been able to handle the sporadic rioting so far, but he was glad Powell was stepping in.
         "This kind of thing can tear a nation apart. Just look at what happened when Lucy and Desi broke up," he said, referring to the riots that swept the nation and lead to the last Civil War.
         Administration officials downplayed reports that the CIA was taken by surprise by the split, and encouraged reporters at a press conference yesterday to "focus on the proactive steps we're taking."
         "This is a family. There's a kid. If they split up, what kind of message does that send?" Press Secretary Ali Oxenfree said.
         Powell would not comment on the conversations he had with the actor's and actress's People, other than to say "the phone lines are working, but there are many, many issues."
         Morality Czar William Bennett applauded the administration's proactive initiative. "You can't just hope and pray for morality. You can't just create tax structures that encourage marriage and discourage promiscuity. You can't just discriminate against single and divorced people. You've got to make morality happen. Keep families together," he said.
         Historians have pointed out the differences between American actors and Australian actresses have long, deep roots.
         "One always hopes ancient hatreds will fade away, but there is so little evidence of that," said Professor Martha Stewart. "Sometimes even a garden or a homemade basket doesn't help."
         Kidman appeared on Oprah last week to say she would not talk about the divorce. Informed sources say Cruise will begin making the talk show rounds to declare that he, too, won't talk about the divorce.
         "It's so easy for this to escalate," Powell said.
         Powell denied that he asked broadcast and cable networks to refrain from covering "the emotional carnage", but said he hoped news editors and talk show producers would "show some sense".
         In related news, Undersecretary of Assuaging Australia Quantas G'day sent a Kangaroo from the Los Angeles Zoo as a gift to the Australian people.
         "We hope this nightmare will soon pass and the people of America and the people of Australia will still be friends," G'Day said.



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