April, 2009 – Just for Laughs, Read the News



by Wendell Abern


Just for Laughs, Read the News


Dear Fellow Newsaholics,

Yes, yes, I know all about the terrible news everywhere these days. However, I submit that – in addition to all the gloom and doom – ridiculous items also pepper the newspaper daily. And sometimes, many of us skip over articles of the absurd, the outrageous, and even the most innocuous. But they’re there. Every day. And viewed the right way, they’re humorous. A few modest examples:

– No swimming pedicurists down here.
The Florida Board of Cosmetology has ruled against the use of tiny flesh-sucking fish to nibble dead skin and thick calluses from toes and heels of consumers seeking pedicures. In the skin-eating process, popular in Asia and some U.S. cities, tiny toothless fish, commonly called, “Doctor fish,” wolf down decaying skin with apparent gusto. I concur with the board’s decision. There’s something off-putting about a pedicurist telling a customer, “Just stick your feet in the tub and give the fish a little nosh.”

– Can’t tell the future without a psychic.
According to Jill Dahne, Hollywood psychic, people reach out to seers such as herself in critical times like these, anxious to find out what the future holds in store. While Ms. Dahne does predict the future, she does not indulge in speculation over outcomes of ball games or horse races. Meanwhile, Rosemary McArthur, founder of the American Association of Psychics & Mediums, warns that “not all psychics can be trusted. There are a lot of desperate people right now, and they’re reaching out to psychics; a lot of these people are being taken for a ride.” Wonder if this warning includes Jill Dahne, who charges $200 for a psychic reading … and last year predicted Hillary Clinton would win the presidency and name her husband as VP.

– Budget tricks.
In his first speech to Congress, our new president promised that his first budget will include money for the Iraq War, the buildup in Afghanistan and other expenditures. The previous administration omitted such costs in its budgets, later asking for extra revenue in special appeals. Uh oh. Hope my wife missed that part of the speech. Whenever I draw up a household budget for the two of us, I deliberately use Bush’s strategy, leaving out salami, cheddar cheese and hot fudge.

– Let’s hear it for the vaunted World of Academe.
A Tampa newspaper reports that Abdul Rao, a University of South Florida dean who helped steal a $100 bike, is expected to resign. Rumor has it that Rao was Dean of the School of Ethics.

– Now let’s not rush to judgment.
The Rev. Francis Guinan, accused of stealing almost $500,000 from a Delray Beach church, recently said he “felt as though he had discretion to spend church money how he wanted, but was sorry for some of his spending.” The priest, according to a recent article, used the money for “girlfriends, trips, and supporting a gambling habit.” One would love to hear how the Vatican felt about the priest’s belief he had discretion to spend money on a girlfriend. And did he wear his priestly attire while messing around? Perhaps the girlfriend was turned on by his holy look.

– To escape arrest, steal big.
FBI agents tracked down financier R. Allen Stanford last month, serving him with legal papers for perpetrating a fraud which can cost investors eight billion dollars. Mr. Stanford has not been charged with any crime, is not under arrest and is not in custody. Apparently, the feds are using the Bernie Madoff yardstick for crimes, and will wait until Mr. Stanford’s swindling efforts reach 50 billion dollars before arresting him.

– Teens speechless after arrest.
Five Palm Bay teens “were arrested on burglary-related charges after police followed a trail of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups packages from the crime scene back to the house of one of the teens.” Word has it they were unable to give a statement to police because their tongues were stuck to the roof of their mouths.

– Languishing Languages.
Christopher Moseley, an Australian linguist who edited a recently published atlas that documents 2,500 dead or dying languages, reports that “Language endangerment is a universal phenomenon.” If he ever hears how professional athletes and teens conjugate verbs, he’ll no doubt place the English language on the Endangered Species list.

– “Humans evolved feet first.”
At least that’s how some anthropologists see it. The journal, Science, recently reported that human feet – as we know them today – appeared much earlier than previously thought. Recently discovered fossilized footprints, 1.5 millions years old, indicate that as far back as 1.5 million years ago, hominids had a pronounced arch and a big toe parallel to other toes. Where’s the big news in that? I can name at least a half-dozen professional athletes whose brain size is still trying to catch up to their foot size.

– Ozzie does it again.
I thought I’d heard the end of Ozzie Guillen’s silly rants last time I left Chicago. But this outspoken manager of the Chicago White Sox was recently quoted as saying, “I hope I die on the field. I hope when I walk to change the pitcher, I drop dead and that’s it. I know my family would be so happy it happened on the field.” Oh, shut up.

– Hey, I’m convinced.
Aasiya Hassan launched his Bridges TV network in Buffalo, New York, in 2004, hoping the network would “balance negative portrayals of Muslims following the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.” Earlier this year, Hassan’s wife asked for a divorce, so Hassan beheaded her at his TV station. Yessir, nothing like a good old decapitation to change your mind about someone.
Well, it’s time to get today’s newspaper and look for some good laughs. Oh look, here’s one! I just picked up the sports page and spotted an article about Dwayne Wade. Not about his playing ability, but about his fashion-plate Band-Aids.

Cantankerously Yours,
Wendell Abern