By John Breneman
As I imagined the next generation of computer-literate, college-bound
kindergarteners heading off to school this week, I began to
reflect on my own indelible experiences in education.
From my humble beginnings in a suburban Pittsburgh nursery
school, I rose through our oft-criticized public school system,
achieved a college degree that I recently finished paying
off, and embarked upon an odyssey of never-ending alternative
The following is a brief chronology -- in pithy yearbook
style -- of the estimated 20,000 hours I spent in school:
Kindergarten: Utilized Play-Doh to develop cognitive
skills and acute motor coordination. Scrawled Crayola pictures
a psychiatrist would likely have interpreted as warning signs
for juvenile dementia.
Grade 1: Miss Roseberry, chocolate milk for lunch
every day. Mind a blank slate. Explored the metaphysical question:
"Do gingerbread men really exist?"
Grade 2: Mrs. Goodwin. Expository essays on the adventures
of Dick, Jane and Spot provided first evidence of miserably
bad cursive handwriting. Consumed gallons of chocolate milk.
Grade 3: 1969. Speed Racer became first man on moon.
Another woman teacher, name unknown. Rejected chocolate milk
Grade 4: Mr. Mariner, a mean man who teased pot-bellied
classmate Michael Yuengling and made him cry each day.
Grade 5: Mrs. Seaton, a bow-legged science teacher,
for homeroom. Kid asked about my ethnic background. "American"
was all I knew, so naturally I responded "part Pennsylvanian
and part Antihistamine."
Grade 6: Moved from Pittsburgh to York, Maine, in
summer. School burned down in fall, one week vacation. Earned
my first Ds on report card. Annoying personality led to my
only two schoolyard fights, on consecutive days.
Grade 7: Placed 15th in classroom spelling bee by
correctly spelling "photosynthesis" and "antihistamine."
Grade 8: Served 1-5 (days) in minimum-security detention
room for delinquent behavior (skipping a school day and getting
caught). Brief stints in shop and home ec did little to instill
mechanical or culinary aptitude.
Grade 9: Learned to fly through the air with assistance
of "mini-tramp." Fell under influence of subliminal
messages in song "Mama Kin" by Aerosmith.
Grade 10: Influenced by track coach Mr. Clark, Decided
to become a half-assed high jumper instead of pro baseball
player. Started to derive pleasure from writing -- particularly
bizarre little stories.
Grade 11: Submitted report on Abraham Lincoln with
third grade-quality pencil sketch on cover and got a B. Actually
deserved higher grade, so my brother submitted same report
several years later (new cover) and got an A.
Grade 12: Prepared for real life by studying Calculus.
First story for school newspaper (subject: wombats) led to
paper being named "The Wombat Weekly." (Who could
forget "Tungsten Steele: Professional Daredevil"
or "Jupiter Gallstone Speaks Out for Camping"?)
Colby College: Studied Japanese and learned true meaning
of "wakarimasen" ("I don't understand").
Like George W. Bush, engaged in "young and irresponsible"
behavior. Unlike Bill Clinton, did inhale.
Postgraduate work: Rambled about U.S. with friend
in maroon Ford van. Started writing for The York Weekly and
took a couple journalism courses at UNH. Decided to play with
Humor Gazette editor John Breneman is capable of writing
at a second-grade level.
Political football: Donkeys defeat Elephants
The Donkeys beat the Elephants 51-49 on a last-second fumble
by GOP quarterback George W. Bush to open the 2004 Political
Football League season last night.
The Elephants appeared headed for victory, leading 49-44
and needing only a first down to run out the clock with just
32 seconds left.
"Four more yards!" Bush yelled to Dick Cheney,
the bruising fullback who had already scored two touchdowns
and spent half the game in Donkey quarterback John Kerry's
face, questioning his manhood and taunting him as "sensitive."
Through most of the contest, the Elephants kept Kerry off
balance with an array of unorthodox tactics -- from deception
and dirty play to actually spitting on his uniform -- that
made it tougher to run his familiar East Coast Liberal offense.
But the Donkeys managed it keep it close, thanks in part
to an erratic performance by Bush, who fumbled five times
and tossed three interceptions.
Sideline observers said Colin Powell and John McCain seemed
a little half-hearted for the GOP and former Donkey benchwarmer
Zell Miller, now a vocal member of the Elephants offensive
unit, drew several key penalties for ranting on the sidelines.
Legendary Donkey superstar Bill Clinton managed three scores,
two touchdowns and one cheerleader.
And the entire game came down to the final play.
GOP center Arnold Schwarzenegger snapped the ball and flung
Howard Dean into the bleachers. Then he flattened Democratic
linemen Gephardt and Kucinich, opening a giant hole for the
Bush's eyes widened as he saw a clear path to the end zone.
He began high-stepping, holding the football out to one side
and thinking about what kind of touchdown pose to strike.
But the president failed to see blitzing Donkey linebacker
Max Cleland flying in from his blind side.
Cleland smashed into Bush like a piledriver, snapping his
head back and knocking the grin clean off of his face. The
tenacious Democrat then pounced on the loose ball and shoveled
it to Teddy Kennedy, who waddled and staggered 84 yards for
the game-winning score with Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh
on his back.
Bush urged to kick $177M-a-day war habit
President Bush's colorful
past as a coke-snorting, beer-guzzling party
animal should not hurt his re-election bid, political
analysts say, because he already addressed the issue a few
years when he kicked the bottle and made God his new best
But now muckraking biographer Kitty Kelley writes in "The
Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty" that young
George W. put narcotics up his nose at Camp David while his
pop was president. The allegation is made by Sharon Bush,
ex-wife of his brother Neil, the one who got mixed up all
those Chinese hookers.
Kelley writes that Bush learned how to use cocaine at Yale
during a three-day Ecstasy and speedball bender. Once he graduated
and blew all the dough his dad's friends gave him to look
for oil, Bush allegedly turned to cocaine to pep him up some
and got so excited he had to be talked out of investing in
a "can't miss" deal down in Colombia.
In a related development, critics have intensified their
call for President Bush to kick his $177-million-a-day
Vice President Dick Cheney dismissed the controversial book
as "fucking garbage" and directed the White House
character assassination machine to hammer Kelley, whom he
referred to as a "skanky libel-spewing bitch."
Critics charge that Bush is guilty of first-degree hypocrisy,
pointing out that as governor of Texas, George W. Bush supported
and signed legislation increasing penalties for drug possession
in that state (The
Progress Report). In one instance, then-Gov. Bush
signed legislation mandating jail time for people caught with
less than a single gram of cocaine.
But judging by how easy it was for the Bush machine to napalm
Kerry's wartime heroism with its relentless purple heart attack,
despite the president's own pathetic military record, the
White House is not worried.
Gazette endorses Bush
Now more than ever, as we wage the war against terror in
Washington and Iraq, America needs a brash, uncompromising
president who is not afraid to take action in the face of
questionable intelligence -- a man capable of making profound,
far-reaching decisions undistracted by knowledge, logic and
Winning the White House's war in Iraq will require a
cocky, shoot-from-the-lip leader
who doesn't give a Texas damn what other nations think of
us -- an aggressive, unapologetic war president determined
to ignore and discredit nagging voices of dissent during these
Now more than ever America needs George W. Bush, shrewd son
of a rich Republican dynasty who understands it is more imperative
to talk about moral values than to actually embody them --
faux gun-slinger skilled in shrugging off seemingly
damaging developments with a soundbite and a smirk.
When the Good Lord informed President Bush that Saddam Hussein
must go, he did not waver or fret about international opposition.
He wisely heeded God's
instructions, smoked the WMD-packing madman into a
hole and took him out.
The world is surely a safer place now that the al Qaeda-loving
dictator is no longer in power. Who could deny that we become
more secure with each terrorist who is killed or stacked up
naked in a pile?
Indeed, we know we are safer because -- though the wrath
of Allah may rain down upon us at any moment -- President
Bush keeps repeating that he is making us safer.
Quibbling over past statements about weapons of mass destruction
and links between Iraq and al Qaeda does not do America any
good now. This anti-Bush rhetoric is the stuff of simpering
Saddam sympathizers who think they can have their uranium
yellow cake and eat it too.
Sometimes we are moved to ask: What part of "you're
with us or you're with the terrorists" don't these people
Also hurting the cause are those who would question why 1,000
young Americans must make the ultimate sacrifice to take over
a country where no weapons have yet been found. To this we
say, simply: Freedom-hating thug. Hated America. Madman. World
a safer place.
may seize upon some of the
president's words to paint him as a thick-headed,
born-again slacker who is intellectually and morally unfit
for his job as leader of the free world. Some
even mock his alternative pronunciation of the explosively
symbolic word "nuclear."
But when the president said recently, "Our enemies are
innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop
thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people,
and neither do we," he meant to trumpet his vigilance
against evildoers, not re-ignite charges that his administration's
actions have put us at greater risk. We must understand that
this is a man so composed in the face of an unspeakable tragedy
that he continued to read "My
Pet Goat" to schoolchildren upon learning of
the Sept. 11 attacks.
Yes, do not misunderestimate George W. Bush. Family jewels
and fancy schools do not guarantee a facility with fancy words
like "malfeasance" and "subliminible."
So what if he has five ways to say "Abu
Ghraib" or seems to have forgotten about bin
The important thing is he believes he has the ability to
communicate with the Lord, and thus will not be constrained
by the separation of church and state as he protects the God-given
right of each fetus to own a gun.
We must not let some decorated military "hero"
cut short the divine mission of a man who whose own stealthy
service during the Vietnam War helped keep the homefront safe
See, the president has told us in no uncertain terms that
his bleeding Purple Heart liberal opponent plans to raise
taxes by $8 trillion, decimate the U.S. military and stamp
out family values.
Yes, America should be wary of John Kerry. What kind of flip-flopper
fights bravely for his country then turns around and talks
about the horrors of war?
President Bush not only supported the war in Vietnam, he
completed his Air National Guard service so masterfully that
there are no eye-witness accounts of it to be found, and certainly
no embarrassing politically motivated Bronze Star incidents.
Now, as commander-in-chief, he battles enemies old and new
while protecting our way of life from threats posed by stem-cell
research, gun control and the ultimate menace to our society,
And so, as the most important election of our time draws
near, do not be fooled by partisan Democratic claims or valid
independent research that President Bush has harmed the economy
with his tax cuts for the rich, damaged our nation's stature
in the eyes of the world and needlessly sacrificed thousands
of American and Iraqi lives.
As the president might say, now is not the time to not stay
the course. Make no mistake, that would be a victory for the
terrorists as they keep trying to weaken our resolve.
So if you want a president who would never exercise sensitivity
in bludgeoning Iraq into democracy, a president who understands
that a rising death toll means lower unemployment, a president
whose men will do whatever it takes to get him back into the
White House, vote for George W. Bush on November 2.
Editor, Humor Gazette
Bush front group smears Humor Gazette
The Humor Gazette, preparing its blockbuster coverage of
the Republican National Convention, has already run into a
A group calling itself Lying
Sacks of Elephant Dung for Bush has apparently launched
a smear campaign against the Gazette, claiming the publication
did not deserve its three Purple Funnybone awards for wartime
The Bush attack dogs, a drooling pack of failed Republican
comics, even called into question a prestigious Bronze
Groucho awarded to Gazette editor John Breneman by
the New England Press Association in 2001.
Sen. Bob Dole called the Gazette's humor "superficial"
and suggested it be banned from covering the Republican Convention
unless it signed a loyalty oath to President Bush.
Gazette publisher Arturo DiMaunchie responded quickly, calling
President Bush "a major league jackass" and "perhaps
the slimiest president of all-time," while pledging that
the paper's "fair and balanced" convention coverage
would not be affected by the president's "moral
cowardice" nor his lame, possibly illegal, attempt
credit for the Iraqi soccer team's Olympic glory.
smears Humor Gazette:
March 31 report documents pattern of harrassment
No cease-fire in U.S. political war
By John Breneman
Hostilities between warring factions intensified today with
a harsh new attack by a group called Swift Boat Veterans Who
Want to Gouge Kerry's Eyes Out.
Sen. John Kerry, leader of the insurgent rebels seeking to
oust President Bush from office, responded by accusing presidential
henchmen of war crimes against his military record.
Sen. John McCain called for a cease-fire, but most TV pundits
agreed that it's probably too late for that and that any talk
of the economy or the war on terror must take a back seat
to sensational round-the-clock analysis of the distastefully
sexy political battle.
Meanwhile, polls show a slight increase in America's confusion
over how a guy with the president's shameful record of military
non-service could get away with attacking a guy who not only
volunteered to fight in Vietnam, but also took shrapnel and
saved a guy's life.
To combat accusations that he is a Communist-loving, America-hating
medal faker, the Kerry campaign is denying any connection
with a new ad depicting President Bush as a psychopathic moron
who will probably destroy the U.S. economy and accidentally
cause a nuclear war.
When questioned about a new intelligence report indicating
that Osama bin Laden is quite amused by the escalating elephant-donkey
war, President Bush responded, "Osama who?"
FCC fines NBC for Olympic coverage
The FCC has imposed a hefty fine on NBC for repeatedly broadcasting
the word "snatch" during coverage of Olympic weightlifting
competition. Federal censors added that many viewers might
also be offended by the imagery evoked by the words "clean
FCC Chairman Michael Powell explained that the term "snatch"
is also used as slang for the female genitalia and "jerk"
is a word occasionally used to describe auto-erotic activity,
or masturbation in layman's terms.
The weightlifting competition also features "more grunting
that you hear in most porn movies," said Powell, adding
of the Olympic Games in general, "What do you expect
from an event that used to be held in the nude."
Ukrainian weightlifter Vladimir Yankov admitted to moaning
and groaning throughout the competition, but said it is almost
impossible to compete at the Olympic level without emitting
the loud grunt that traditionally signals the successful climax
of the snatch.
crackdown may also target wrestling, which he said "appears
to be nothing more than two men rolling around on the floor,
grabbing each other to find out who'll be the dominant one
and who will submit."
The FCC chief warned male swimmers and divers to avoid wearing
tiny Speedo trunks and said women's beach volleyball is "one
wardrobe malfunction away from a big fine."
Powell, who may force NBC to blur the groin area of competitors
in the 100-meter race, said he cringes every time an announcer
speak of a gymnast "nailing her dismount" and is
still deciding whether commentators may say "pole vault"
on the air.
Man plans Iditarod run with team of Corgis
A tenacious Corgi trains for the Iditarod.
Alaska's famous annual sled dog race will have an unusual
competitor next year when Emile Robideau races his fleet of
100 Corgis. Robideau is considered an underdog in the event,
as Corgis have notoriously short legs and aren't good in the
"They are tenacious little dogs," Robideau said
in defense of his application to run the Corgis. "I have
no doubt that they have the willpower to prevail in this contest.
Anyone who has ever owned a Corgi will tell you that they
hate to lose."
this Chihuahua's dreams of
Robideau is no stranger to the Iditarod, having run it several
times with Malamutes. He dropped out of conventional racing
last year because according to Robideau, he "kept getting
beaten by a girl." As a response, he resorted to unconventional
race methodologies, hopeful that even in the event of a loss,
he would be considered in a different category, therefore
not really branded as having lost to a girl.
Last year, Robideau attempted to enter the Iditarod with
a fleet of 100 Mexican Hairless Chihuahuas, but had to back
out when 40 of them came down with frostbite. Robideau was
dismissive of the dogs' performance, and vowed to return with
a better breed of dog. "Those Chihuahuas just got cold
feet. The Corgis have much bigger hearts than the Chihuahuas,
and I know they're going to do just fine."
The N-U-C-L-E-A-R litmus test
The Democratic National Convention is behind us, and the
case has been stated for change. There have been niceties
and tributes, and there has been rancor and vitriol. Surely
though, the event's highlight was John Kerry's acceptance
speech. Kerry touched upon on all relevant points that will
determine the election's outcome, and he did so with all of
the grace that could have been expected. One particularly
high point for me was his pronunciation of the word "nuclear."
The "c" was pronounced immediately before the "l"
and there was no insertion between the two letters of an arbitrary
letter "y." To appropriate a well-worn phrase, John
Kerry hit the pronunciation of the word "nuclear"
out of the park.
It was awesome. For the first time since Al Gore's campaign
four years ago, I was observing a man in the pursuit of our
highest office who could pronounce a word that most of us
grew up with. MORE
Chris Elliott can be reached at CDElliott009@aol.com
Bush intelligence decision lacks
In nominating Rep. Porter J. Goss of Florida to head up the
C.I.A., President Bush wisely went for a loyal Republican
who has already attacked the intelligence record of the man
who is trying to take his new boss's job.
Intelligence experts say the intelligence post nomination
is generating a stream of intelligence (or "chatter")
suggesting that partisan attacks are likely. It also led to
the following exchange at the Tuesday morning Rose Garden
HUMOR GAZETTE: Mr. President why did you select a
man who, according to the New
York Times, denounced John Kerry's intelligence record
on the House floor in June and whose own work providing oversight
of the C.I.A. as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee
was deemed ineffective by the commission investigating the
PRESIDENT BUSH: "If I told you that, I'd have
to kill you. Heh, heh."
"Just kidding," said Bush, whose trademark smirk
then turned into a grimace when he was asked how his plan
for a national director of intelligence who would assume some
of the C.I.A. chief's traditional duties would affect Goss's
"Beats me," said the president.
This just in from the New York Times: "The office of
director of intelligence has got to be kept out of politics,"
said Stansfield Turner, director of central intelligence under
President Jimmy Carter. "It's already lost a lot of its
credibility with the American public over weapons of mass
destruction, and this is not going to help its credibility.
People will say, 'Is he really telling us the truth, is he
really telling the president the truth?' "
But at least Rep. Goss is tough. The Times also reports:
"Democrats who serve on Mr. Goss's committee charge that
he has ignored legislation they submitted four months ago
to reform the intelligence community along the lines that
the Sept. 11 commission recommended."
The Humor Gazette has learned that Mr. Goss's secret code
name might be "T-Bone," in order to confuse a terrorist
who might think he'd be named after a Porterhouse steak.
Other possible code names for Goss, himself a former spy:
"Gator," "Hoover," "Stovepipe"
and "Albatross," the last a satiric reference to
his potential to be a liability at a time of alleged politicization
of intelligence, from the threat of WMDs in Iraq to politically
convenient terror alerts.
Ridge terror alert smells fishy
to harsh criticism from the New
York Times that his Crayola-based terror alert system
is more useful to late-night comedians than the American public,
Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge today announced that
he is switching to a fish-based system.
Henceforth, instead of standing in front of a color-coded
chart while simultaneously warning Americans to be very afraid
and reassuring them about "the president's leadership
in the war against terror," Ridge will simply spread
his hands apart - close together if the terror threat is minimal,
and very far apart if an attack seems imminent.
On occasion, he may use an actual fish. Perhaps one swordfish
if the terrorists are coming by land, two North Atlantic salmon
if by sea. Three flying fish if the bastards are coming by
plane again. And a standard 12-inch parrotfish when bursting
onto the scene at politically convenient moments to hail the
captain's firm hand at the helm.
at risk of attack by giant pterodactyl