All the news that's fit to abuse, satirize, humorize, fictionalize, desecrate, adulterate, skew, twist, embellish, warp ... and print.

The trouble with
Valentine's Day

By John Breneman

Sometimes, Jay mused to himself as he scanned the sports page on a blustery mid-February morning, life just isn't fair.

Here it was, almost Valentine's Day, and he was feeling more than a bit lonely and depressed that all his relationships had basically failed, even the ones he'd truly hoped would last.

Sure, plenty of people have worse problems. But he wondered why he couldn't seem to find someone who is gorgeous and brilliant, funny and athletic, wholesome and sensual?

Someone who likes to curl up with the Sunday paper and coffee. Someone to share life's trials, tribulations, and triumphs. Someone who would rather make passionate love than read about it in Cosmo. Someone without a criminal record, or an ill-tempered German shepherd named Cupid.

Just last night, he'd met a nice woman at "Loserz," the nightclub he often visited for Rolling Rock and rejection. He offered up one of his best lines -- "Hi, live around here often?" -- and asked her to dance. But, of course, she shot him down.

Later, while the surgeon was removing a .38-caliber slug from his right shoulder, Jay couldn't help feeling a little bummed. Still, he was proud that he only missed half a day of work, despite a persistent tingling sensation in his middle finger.

Sitting at his boring desk in the boring insurance company he'd slaved for since dropping out of college, Jay tugged at his tie, which always seemed a bit too tight, and drifted off into a depressing daydream about the women he'd dated, and what went wrong...

There was Svetlana, whose parents named her after an obscure Russian gymnast. But Sweaty, as he affectionately called her, defected to the Commonwealth of Independent States to free herself from parental oppression.

There was Desiree. She was perfect, and she seemed to love him. Unfortunately, she was much too beautiful for Jay, who spent much of his time worrying about losing her to someone more handsome, athletic, and masculine. Then one Thursday she announced she was leaving him for a chain-smoking lung cancer research technician named Gladys.

Oh and Penelope, the free-spirited astrology buff (a Gemini) who believed in Santa Claus (swore he was a Leo) and wore a garlic pendant to ward off disease, misery, pestilence and her evil twin sister Chakra. Penny died tragically one morning, crushed by a wayward bungee jumper after forgetting to read her horoscope.

Sandy loved nature, long walks on the beach, picnics and entomology, but she ended up joining the Peace Corps to work on an ant farm somewhere near Botswana.

Something jolted Jay back to reality just as he was spilling some hot coffee onto his lap.

"Celtics lose again," said the sports page. Yeah, but at least they have wives and girlfriends, he grumbled, and they make big money just for playing basketball. Jay began to think he should start reading Cosmo instead of the sports page.

He looked up and was startled to see Melissa, the attractive new account executive, standing in front of his desk. She smiled.

After spilling some more coffee onto his lap, Jay popped two Certs into his mouth and let the invigorating retsin take over. Melissa agreed to join him for dinner that evening.

Later, as they sat at a quiet table stirring their drinks, things really seemed to be going well. Melissa was articulate and sensitive, and came from a nice functional family.

"Hey," she whispered, leaning across the table with a strange gleam in her eye, "did I ever tell you about my ex-boyfriend Ludwig, the psychotic rock-opera composer and Vietnam vet who did time for napalming a guy that asked me out to dinner?"

Note: Adult situations, nudity and language unsuitable for a family Web site have been painstakingly edited from this story.

Abe and George drive hard bargain

By John Breneman

We Americans sure do know how to honor our greatest presidents. We use 'em to sell cars.

A couple years ago on President's Day, I read in the newspaper that Abraham Lincoln was rated by a panel of scholars as the nation's greatest president ever. Said so right on Page 3.

Then I turned to the automotive section to find a sad-eyed Abe in wearing a conical birthday hat and tooting a party horn to trumpet the "Historic Deals" at some Volkswagen dealership.

Further down the page George Washington (ranked #3 in the greatest-ever poll) is sporting the same red-and-white striped chapeau with the tassel on top as Lincoln. But his party horn is cut off by a '98 Jetta pricetag, making it look like he's smoking something or sucking his thumb.

It's official. President's Day is now commemorated by a gaudy electoral collage of car advertisements -- a crass display of patriotic good intentions gone garishly awry.

For some reason, I feel it is my (Honda) civic duty to (Ford) focus on the (Acura) legends who have served in the White House over the past (Buick) centuries. Each of these (Dodge) intrepid men had his own (Mercury) mystique and wisdom that will help our next president chart a prosperous (Eagle) vision for the new (Mazda) millennia.

Is it any wonder that President's Day has devolved into a vehicle for eight-cylinder consumerism?

After all, when you think of it, being a politician is a lot like being a used car salesman. You have to be a convincing smooth talker who inspires confidence in the prospective car buyer/voter. (We want Lincolns and Fords that can pass inspection and win election.)

One dealership featured a "President's Day Blowout!" with a postcard view of Mount Rushmore sandwiched between a Toyota Camry and a Tacoma 4x4. Peering off the mountain is Teddy Roosevelt, a rough rider and native (Chrysler) New Yorker who is probably spinning out in his grave.

In another ad, full-body cartoons of Washington and Lincoln are shown scampering toward each other while bookending the message "We Will Not Be Undersold."

Word balloons put "quotes" in the mouths of our greatest leaders. Lincoln exclaims, "All options at dealer cost!" And Washington chimes in "Instant financing too!" This is in an ad for Subaru Legacy sedans and wagons.


Don't these car peddlers realize that they are exploiting the proud legacies of our greatest presidents by turning them into Subaru shills and pickup truck hucksters?

One ad touted "unpresidented" savings. The word is dead on because in many of these ads Crazy George and Honest Abe are literally "unpresidented" -- stripped of presidential dignity as they are morphed into cartoon characters endorsing mechanized contraptions that did not exist in their lifetimes.

So I guess I just find it a little confusing when George Washington says, "3.9% APR financing available."

Now the trend toward phony presidential pitchmen is oozing over into other types of commerce.
There was a President's Day sale at Circuit City, where you could pick up a (Herbert?) Hoover Turbo Power Upright vacuum cleaner for $299.

But the real action was at Kitchen Etc., which featured President's Day specials on fine china and other household items. Warren G. Harding's portrait shows him to favor a 16-piece china set depicting red New England barns, while Ronald Reagan endorses dishes with an American flag motif.

I don't even think I could make up the following images from the Kitchen Etc. flier: Thomas Jefferson offering a Pedrini enameled corkscrew at the guaranteed low price of $9.99; Abe Lincoln recommending a 103-piece set of Pfatzgraff Cantebury flatware; Andrew Jackson a Wearever nonstick chicken skillet; and Herbert Hoover a Joyce Chen wok and accessories.
What next? Franklin D. Roosevelt coming out with a new line of wheelchairs? Coolidge and Hoover lending presidential credibility to the latest anti-Depression drug?

Maybe it's just a sign of these strange times that we've got ex-presidents offering us factory air and power windows.

Perhaps we are at a crossroads in our nation's autopolitical history. If so, you will surely want a roomy, smooth-handling automobile for that bumpy ride down the campaign trail.

My advice: I hear you can get a good deal on a red, white and blue Ford Windstar with a power moonroof and 159-year warranty from our eighth president, Martin "Mini" Van Buren.

Humor Gazette editor John Breneman always keeps a spare satire in the trunk of his car.



Trodson calls Gazette @#$&*%$#

Lars Trodson calls Humor Gazette "an epic fusion of gibberish and comic lucidity."

The Humor Gazette is honored to have received its first celebrity endorsement. The plug comes from none other than Lars Trodson, the noted journalist, artiste, raconteur, man-about-town, able swordsman, wordsmythe, butcher, playwright, macadamia nut enthusiast, gadfly, shingles survivor, Shakespearean ne'er-do-well, candlestick maker, linguistic ragamuffin and gentleman ant farmer.

Unfortunately, the Trodson testimonial consists almost entirely of profanity and has been deemed unsuitable for a family web newspaper, one in which the word "ass" is acceptable -- even "shit" or "fuck" or "bush" if used in context and not gratuitously or for shock value -- but certainly not the type of genitalia-infested gutter talk that apparently is the stock in trade of men like Mr. Trodson. Nevertheless, his support is genuinely appreciated.


Coming soon: celebrity testimonials galore

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