Friday, January 2, 2009

Best of the Month, Three Years Ago: January 2006

Here are the best items from my personal newsletter postings for January 2006: * * * * * Late-Night Political News from "Have you watched any of these confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Sam Alito? Senators are given thirty minutes to question the guy: thirty minutes exactly. Senator Joe Biden’s question took 23 1/2 minutes. His question took 24 minutes. And Alito is smart. He’s brilliant. Do you know what he said? 'I’m sorry, could you repeat the question?'" --Jay Leno "This week, New Jersey voted to temporarily suspend the death penalty. Lawmakers say it sends a strong message to death row inmates: If we can't leave New Jersey, neither can you." --Conan O'Brien "France and Germany warned Iran this week not to pursue their nuclear research program. In fact, France and Germany warned Iran that if they didn't stop their program they would, you know, warn them again." --Jay Leno "Congressmen are actually now returning illegal gifts. I called the weather bureau, and sure enough, hell has frozen over." --David Letterman "You know how sometimes during war time, civil liberties can take a back seat to national security? Well, I got good news and bad news. The good news is this -- no Japanese people are being sent to any camps. The bad news is, that time you got hammered and drunk dialed your ex-girlfriend who's studying abroad and sang her that WHAM! song that was 'your song' -- uh, the government's got that on tape." --Jon Stewart "There's a rumor going around that we have killed Al Qaeda's number two man. And if true, it will be the 387th time we've killed their number two man." --Jay Leno "Prime Minister Tony Blair admitted during an interview this week that he has smacked his children, though only because he believed reports that they were carrying weapons of mass destruction." --Tina Fey "New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is being criticized for saying that God wants New Orleans to be a chocolate city and that the hurricanes were because God was mad at us. The good news, today he was nominated for the Pat Robertson Lifetime Achievement Award." --Jay Leno "NASA launched its first-ever mission to Pluto, did you see this? The rocket took off to Pluto. President Bush is very excited about this. I didn't even know Pluto had oil." --Jay Leno "And here's your government at work. This week -- this week, the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a recall for thousands of Christmas lights that they say may pose a risk of electric shock. They're recalling Christmas lights. Good timing. What is it, January now? You think this is maybe where the ex-head of FEMA wound up?" --Jay Leno "President Bush met with the Prime Minister of Belgium and things got tense when the Prime Minister demanded the U.S. close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. President Bush quickly replied, 'The prison is closed. That's how we keep them in there.'" --Conan O'Brien "According to a study at the University of Colorado, researchers say morning grogginess can give you a feeling of being legally drunk and unable to think straight. They say this condition can last anywhere from a few minutes in some people to as long as two entire terms in office." --Jay Leno * * * * * Borowitz Report Breaking News FORMER FEMA CHIEF VOWS TO MAKE NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS BY MARCH 1 Michael Brown Apologizes For Delay Former Federal Emergency Management Agency director Michael Brown said today that he had not yet made his New Year's resolutions for 2006 but vowed to have them done by March 1 "at the very latest." Mr. Brown apologized for the delay at a Washington press conference that was originally called for ten o'clock this morning but was not actually held until four in the afternoon. The former FEMA chief, visibly embarrassed by not having made his New Year's resolutions in a timely fashion, said that he had been "caught unawares" by the change in years. "I turned on the TV and saw that ball dropping, and I was like, holy cow, I better get on this," Mr. Brown said. * * * * * Clippings Common honey bees can be trained to recognize individual people. One of the newly discovered [types of bacteria in the human stomach] is a relative of Deinococcus radiodurans, one of the hardiest organisms alive. D. radiodurans is a so-called extremophile .... While a radiation dose of 10 grays (Gy) would kill a human, D. radiodurans can take up to 5,000 Gy with no visible effect. It can survive heat, cold, vacuum, and acid. Brown University's library boasts an anatomy book that combines form and function in macabre fashion. Its cover--tanned and polished to a smooth golden brown, like fine leather--is made of human skin. ... The practice of binding books in human skin was not uncommon in centuries past, even if it was not always discussed in polite society. Some 3.5 million of today's Ashkenazi Jews—about 40 percent of the total Ashkenazi population—are descended from just four women, a genetic study indicates. Those women apparently lived somewhere in Europe within the last 2,000 years, but not necessarily in the same place or even the same century. Some whale species sing in different dialects depending on where they're from, a new study shows. Blue whales off the Pacific Northwest sound different than blue whales in the western Pacific Ocean, and these sound different than those living off Antarctica. And they all sound different than the blue whales living near Chile. Scientists have recently discovered that dogs can distinguish, with almost unerring accuracy, between breath samples from people with lung cancer and from people without. Contrary to researchers' expectations, a poll of 439 college students found seniors and grad students were more likely than freshmen to believe in haunted houses, psychics, telepathy, channeling and a host of other questionable ideas. What if some of your memories aren’t really yours? ... In past research, the team found that people, especially twins but others as well, sometimes spar over who owns a memory—and both can’t be right. Thus, “some of the memories in which we play a leading role might in fact have been the experiences of others” .... Many twins have noticed the phenomenon for years. But the researchers, one of whom is a twin herself, say they’re the first to document it scientifically, along with its occurrence among non-twins. Doing novel things together triggers dopamine in the brain, stimulating feelings of attraction. So first encounters that involve a nerve-wracking activity, like riding a roller coaster, are more likely to lead people to pursue a relationship. ... Swiss researchers asked women to choose which T-shirts worn by a variety of men smelled the best. They found women preferred the scent of a shirt worn by a man whose genes were most different from their own .... Love and obsessive-compulsive disorder could have a similar chemical profile: low levels of the brain chemical serotonin. Thus, love and mental illness may be hard to tell apart. ... Oxytocin, a chemical thought to be plentiful in long-term couples with warm, comfortable relationships, is a hormone that promotes feelings of connection and bonding. It is released when we hug our children or our long-term spouses or when a mother nurses her infant. The world record-holder for sleeplessness, Randy Gardner, stayed awake for 11 days straight in 1964. He hallucinated after four days, but held a coherent press conference at the end of the ordeal. According to the first study to put people and their pets on a simultaneous diet and exercise program, experts found both lost weight and kept it off. Dogs did better than owners, but owners said they had fun, something people rarely say about their diets. ... Owners said their dogs had more pep and were anxious to go outside for walks and play. "One of my treatments is to tell them they should move from six hours to seven hours of sleep. When they're less sleepy, they're less hungry," he said. Hurricanes and other strong storms have been known to blow spiders and insects over the ocean. * * * * * When a woman wears leather clothing, a man's heart beats quicker, his throat gets dry, he goes weak in the knees, and he begins to think irrationally. Ever wonder why? Because she smells like a new truck. * * * * * About Selling Your House January 25, 2006: 12:25 PM EST NEW YORK ( - Home sales continued to slow in December, according to a reading of real estate market strength released Wednesday that came in well below Wall Street forecasts. ... The report is just the latest of many to suggest the white-hot real estate market is over. ... Some economists have been worried about the popping of a so-called "housing bubble" caused by the sharp run up in home prices in recent years. ... [M]ost housing economists are forecasting that there will be a slower housing market in 2006. The Realtors' own forecast sees existing home sales are expected to fall to 6.79 million in 2006. * * * * * Bad Analogies From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and "Jeopardy" comes on at 7 p.m. instead of 7:30. (Roy Ashley, Washington) Her eyes were like two brown circles with big black dots in the center. (Russell Beland, Springfield) Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever. (unknown) He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree. (Jack Bross, Chevy Chase) Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph. (Jennifer Hart, Arlington) The moon looked like a discarded toenail clipping submerged in a puddle of saliva on a black formica countertop. (Lindsay Robertson, Brooklyn, NY) John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met. (Russell Beland, Springfield) The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while. (unknown) The thunder was ominous-sounding, much like the sound of a thin sheet of metal being shaken backstage during the storm scene in a play. (Barbara Fetherolf, Alexandria) His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free (Chuck Smith, Woodbridge) He felt like he was being hunted down like a dog, in a place that hunts dogs, I suppose. (unknown) The red brick wall was the color of a brick-red Crayola crayon. (unknown) The lamp just sat there, like an inanimate object. (unknown) His fountain pen was so expensive it looked as if someone had grabbed the pope, turned him upside down and started writing with the tip of his big pointy hat. (Jeffrey Carl, Richmond) * * * * * A PRAYER.... Dear Lord, I pray for Wisdom to understand my man; Love to forgive him; And Patience for his moods. Because, Lord, if I pray for Strength, I'll beat him to death. AMEN * * * * * A Guy Walks into a Bar A guy walks into a bar and there is a horse behind the bar serving drinks. The guy is just staring at the horse, when the horse says, "What are you staring at? Haven't you ever seen a horse serving drinks before?" The guy says, "No, I never thought the parrot would sell the place." A man walks into a bar with a dog. The bartender says, "Hey buddy, can't you read that sign? It says no dogs allowed! Get that mutt out of here!" The man replies, "No, I can't read the sign - I'm blind, and this is my seeing eye dog." The bartender is embarrassed and gives the man a beer on the house. Later that day, the guy is telling his friend about it: "I told him I was blind and I got a free beer!" The friend then takes his dog into the bar and sits down, and the bartender says, "The sign says no dogs allowed! You'll have to leave!" The friend says, "Sorry, I can't see the sign because I'm blind, and this is my seeing eye dog." The bartender replies, "Since when do they give out Chihuahuas as seeing eye dogs?" The man says, "They gave me a Chihuahua?" A giraffe walks into a bar. The bartender says, "Why the long face?" (This joke never gets old) A man walked into a bar holding an alligator. He asked the bartender, "Do you serve lawyers here?" The bartender said, "Yes, we do!" "Good," replied the man. "Give me a beer, and I'll have a lawyer for my alligator." A polar bear, a giraffe and a penguin walk into a bar. The bartender says, "What is this -- some kind of joke?"