2002: In Pace Requiescat [Part 1]

December 13, 2002

Every year before taking a break from Freethinkers Anonymous I like to look back over the year that was and bring up news stories you know, news stories you may not know, and things that aren’t really news at all but I’m throwing them in because time for holiday shopping is really short. Here are a few reasons why when we look back on 2002 we’ll be glad it’s behind us:

January 2002 – The year started off weird with the town of Lauderhill, Florida, USA, unveiling a plaque that read, "Thank you James Earl Ray for keeping the dream alive." James Earl Ray assassinated Martin Luther King in 1968. According to the plaque manufacturer, it was an "honest mistake". The plaque was supposed to honor actor James Earl Jones.

February 2002 – The world lost a great genius with the death of animator Chuck Jones who helped create some of the funniest characters ever to grace the silver screen, including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Elmer Fudd. He also gave the world such classic cartoons as "What’s Opera, Doc?" and "One Froggy Evening". I can only hope that Jones’s cartoons will continue to run on Saturday mornings. If they ever stop, the world will have lost more than our sense of humor; we will have lost our essential faith in the faultiness of products produced by Acme.

March 2002 – India, probably the last place in the world where government news and business is carried by pigeons (regular pigeons like the kind that place their own special brand of patina on public monuments and not carrier pigeons which became extinct during World War I) is scrapping its pigeon service and replacing it with e-mail. Although the p-mail has been defended as a dying art, it’s become to expensive and local governments are tired of swallowing the costs. Whether they’re planning to start swallowing the pigeons is not yet known.

April 2002 – In April 2002 I heard five different people use the verb "bonafy". This isn’t really news–it’s something I’ve got to get off my chest. If you haven’t already guessed, these people have somehow decided that the expression "bona fide", which is Latin for "in good faith" is actually spelled "bonafied". As "verbing", if the practice of making nouns and adverbs into verbs, hadn’t weirded the English language enough already.

May 2002 – A businessman and owner of Hafton Castle named Gerrit Wals announced plans for a multimillion dollar theme park near the Scottish town of Bonnybridge. The theme? Aliens and UFOs, of course, since Bonnybridge is known as Britain’s UFO capital for its number of sightings over the years. A spokesperson for Humans Against Alien Attacks said, "We can only oppose this. A themepark makes true believers look like lunatics." The spokesperson then re- wrapped his head with aluminum foil to prevent government thought- control machines from reaching him. The only potential drawback to the theme park is that, being located in a remote area of Scotland, it may be more difficult to find than Area 51.

June 2002 – After Johns Hopkins University astronomers claimed that the "background shade" of the universe was turquoise in January, which would have been big news in the fashion world if people hadn’t stopped paying attention to the space program in 1973, the astronomers announced they’d made a mistake. The background color of the universe is actually beige, and the color was named "cosmic latte". This would have been big news in the coffee industry but the words "latte" and "cosmic" are already used with equal frequency in coffee shops around the world. However, most coffee shops report that you can purchase something that will make you feel "cosmic" from one of their employees–the one who doesn’t bathe much and always gets your change wrong–behind the dumpster.

Next week: Rhyme rage, more weirdness, and what online bookseller Amazon.com revealed about people who read Pat Robertson’s books.

Enjoy this week’s offerings.


AN ARKANSAS CHRISTMAS

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the shack,
not a darn thing was a movin’, from the front to the back.
The kids were in bed, We had nine at the time,
The wife in her curlers, was lookin’ real fine.
A cold wind was blowin’, up the holler it moaned,
All ten dogs on the porch howled and groaned.
The boys were all dreamin’ of weapons and guns,
for killin’ God’s creatures, ……there’s no better fun!
The girls in their feminine dreams were attuned,
to getting those gallons of Wal-Mart perfume.
The wife wanted jewelry, like rings with big rocks,
I just wanted my Chevy down off the blocks.
Then out in the yard, such a noise did commence,
like something was caught in our new bob-war fence.
I ran to the window, and saw pretty quick,
the man makin’ that racket, was Good Ol’ St. Nick. 
You may think of Santa in your own mind’s eye,
dressed in a red and white suit, But I’ve got a surprise.
That old boy’s an Arkie, from up near Mt. Gaylor;
He married his cousin, and they live in a trailer.
On Christmas, of course, a sleigh for his rig,
He hooks the thing up to a Razorback pig!
He climbed on the roof, with his bag full of goodies,
He backed down the fireplace, all dirty and sooty.
Fat legs in his britches, chubby hands in his mittens,
I must admit from the back, he looked lots like Bill Clinton.
He turned toward the tree, His eyes all aglow,
He was an Arkansas boy from his head to his toe.
His neck was a red one, His shirt said "Lite Beer",
he had no red hat on, but his cap read "John Deere".
He left all the presents, with an air of delight,
Then it was back to the chimney, and into the night.
He ran into the yard, threw his bag in the sleigh,
Then he yelled at the dogs, "Get the hell out th’ way!"
I ran out to ask him Why he brought such good cheer;
But instead he just asked me "You get you a deer?"
Then I heard him exclaim, as those pigs took to flight,
"Merry Christmas to all….. I need a Bud Lite!"

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