Beware monkeypox!

By John Breneman

The Department of Homeland Security today downgraded the nationwide monkeypox alert from banana yellow to gorilla brown.

The monkeypox scare reached its peak earlier this week when President Bush warned that simian terrorists with ties to al-Qaida may try to use the virus as a biological weapon.

Bush suggested Iraq may also be involved and Colin Powell presented a surveillance photo of Saddam Hussein shaking hands with a Muslim extremist baboon.

U.S. intelligence experts say the outbreak began at an Illinois pet shop where an infected Gambian rat allegedly seduced an unwitting American prairie dog.

The Centers for Disease Control acted immediately, banning over-the-counter sales of filthy, plague-infested rodents.

Focusing on the role of prairie dogs in the epidemic, President Bush vowed to "smoke the evil gophers out of their caves and get them running scared."

"We're not monkeying around with this thing," said Bush, noting that thousands of prairie dogs have been captured by U.S. forces and are now quarantined in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The president also deployed an Air Force jet to dump a load of "bunker buster" bombs on suspected prairie dog compounds throughout the Midwest.

To beat the monkeypox threat, Bush said, the Pentagon must "think like a prairie dog."

Meanwhile, the president urged the American people to go about their daily affairs with an appropriate level of media-fueled paranoia.
Though no deaths have been reported, several dozen people have been afflicted with monkeypox.

One sufferer reported that symptoms include itchy armpits, an insatiable craving for bananas and a heightened desire to fling dung at people.

The name "monkeypox" has sparked a furor in the primate community as apes of all stripes launched a public relations blitz to assure a nervous public that monkeys have absolutely nothing to do with the illnesses.

Reese S. Muncie, spokesprimate for the International Brotherhood of Knuckle-Draggers, angrily dispelled the myth that humans can contract monkeypox by sharing a toilet seat with an orangutan. He called the disease's inaccurate name "a transparent attempt by our human brothers to discredit the monkey race."

Curious George could not be reached for comment.
The role of so-called "exotic pets" in the outbreak is also being closely scrutinized. The CDC is investigating reports that a SARS-infected iguana was seen fraternizing with a prairie dog at a Wisconsin pet store. Also, a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig that recently returned from a West Nile vacation is now under quarantine.

Monkeypox tips

-- Contact authorities immediately if a strange prairie dog tries to lure you into its burrow.

-- Avoid contact with Gambian rats; also steer clear of Gambian iguanas, Gambian hamsters and Gambian kittens.

-- Exercise caution when handling any and all Bengal tigers.

-- Keep the following exotic pets away from children: Iraqi ferrets, Bosnian cobras, Palestinian snapping turtles.

-- Wear rubber gloves when using any household cleaning product labeled "30% more monkeypox scouring powder than the other leading brand."

Other poxes to beware
-- Gerbilpox
-- Small, medium and largepox
-- Boston Red Pox
-- Sea Monkeypox
-- Kentucky Fried Chickenpox



Bush cloned by Dr. Gene Meddler

Scientists at the University of South Berwick announced today they have successfully cloned a multi-cell organism that bears a striking resemblance to President George W. Bush. The president sharply criticized the scientific breakthrough as "morally wrong." But the Bush clone (dubbed W2) believes just as strongly that human cloning is "morally right." This according to its creator, Dr. Gene Meddler. See CLONES, next page


Insidious plague afflicts millions

Minute airborne particles attack human respiratory systems. Fever clogs victims' heads, causing spasms and blurred vision.

By John Breneman

I come to you with shocking revelations about ... HAY FEVER. I must speak quickly, though, because the pollen count is quite heavy and I don't have much time.

Millions of people suffer from the seasonal ravages of this miserable epidemic. It's medical name is "pollinosis," which I believe is Latin for "please jam a bushel of dried flaxseed pollen up my left nostril."

I know from experience that it is not unusual for a hay fever sufferer to wake up and begin the day by sneezing. Maybe once. Or maybe, like me this morning, 15-18 consecutive times.

The following is an exaggerated re-enactment of actual non-stop sneezing fit. (Editor's note: Do not try this at home without the supervision of a certified allergy professional.)

7:02 a.m. -- Jolted awake by that first sneeze of the day, I yawn and gulp down 250 million airborne particles that begin an involuntary chain reaction of misery. The invaders anesthetize my face and begin time-releasing phlegm for the next 1-12 hours.

7:02 a.m. -- The familiar second sneeze makes my eyes watery and impairs my vision. Hypersensitivity to any light source adds to the fun.

7:03 a.m. -- On my third sneeze, I temporarily lose the use of my lungs, heart and pancreas.

7:03 a.m. -- My fourth sneeze, a whopper, frightens the birds and squirrels outside my window.

7:03 a.m. -- With my fifth sneeze I lose the ability to reason and wipe out two-thirds of a box of industrial-strength Kleenex in the 4.5 seconds that elapse before ...

7:04 a.m. -- ... sneeze number six. This one makes me consider administering an emergency tracheotomy to maintain my rapidly diminishing ability to breathe.

7:04 a.m. -- My seventh consecutive sneeze makes me weep like a baby. Upon realizing that I cannot remember my name, Social Security number or species, I scrap all plans to operate heavy machinery.

7:05 a.m. -- My eighth sneeze blows out the retina in my right eyeball and fills my brain with strange thoughts about U.S. foreign policy and the pros and cons of deploying ragweed-tipped missiles against Saddam Hussein.

7:05 a.m. -- Sneeze number nine (I like to call it "El Nino") induces an out-of-body experience in which a crack team of surgical allergists sedates me with 5,000 milligrams of pseudophedrine hydrochloride and extract from my sinus cavity a wad of goldenrod the size of a Polish kielbasa.

7:06 a.m. -- My tenth straight sneeze brings on a sensation of vertigo, itchy lungs, sprained larynx and bronchial tube asphyxiation.

7:06 a.m. -- With cataclysmic sneeze number 11, my head slams face first onto my hardwood floor where it considers placing a call to noted allergy relief specialist Dr. Kevorkian.

About then, I am able to drag myself into the bathroom where my medicine cabinet houses a mind-boggling array of pills promising "prompt, effective relief."

Claritin, Clarinex, Chlortrimetron. I like Chlortrimetron because the box says it contains 47 percent more "oleic acid, potato starch and talc" than the other leading brand.

No luck. So I take some Tavist-D and wash it down with some Dimetapp. Or was it Drixoral? Dristan?

A blast of "pump mist" Affrin doesn't stop the sneezing, but makes me wonder whether there is such thing as a quadruple nasal bypass.

My roommate told me there's a laser treatment in which they cauterize the nasal membrane, rendering it impervious to most known allergens. Side effects: The ocean, lilacs and beautiful women all smell like burnt toast.

Then I remember my grandmother's secret remedy: Stick your head into a burlap sack filled with a mixture of baking soda, Triple Sec and Hamburger Helper. Then breathe deeply and count to 157.

If that doesn't work, I've heard that a Sudafed factory in the Sudan is working on a weapon of mass decongestion that combines 30 milligrams of benadryl with aged Russian caviar, neutralized anthrax and a cherry-flavored uranium isotope.


By John Breneman

Scientists at the University of Helsinki claim they have solved the mystery of global warming.

A team of forensic diabologists led by the Rev. Dr. Zoltan Fahrenheit found startling evidence that the gradual rise in temperatures around the globe is caused not by holes in the ozone layer or defoliation of the rain forests, but rather by increased activity in Hell.

Using cutting-edge thermodemonalysis,
Dr. Fahrenheit concluded that the incremental temperature climb that has alarmed scientists throughout the world is caused by heat-generating phenomena that can be traced directly to Hades. For example:

-- Snatching of souls is up 29 percent over the previous fiscal year.

-- Fire-based torture of the eternally damned is up 65 percent, due in part to triple-digit increases in sloth, gluttony and greed during the 1980s and 90s.

-- Underworld space constraints have caused a construction boom of blast furnace holding tanks to house new arrivals.

The Helsinki report also cited the Devil's incendiary work here on Earth, noting that the FBI is now examining what appears to be charred, cloven hoof prints lifted from shredded Enron documents.

The report also charges that Satan and his henchmen control gasoline prices using covert, subterranean destabilization of the oil-rich Middle East.

Underworld spokesman Scorchy Crisp roundly denounced the University of Helsinki findings as "all fire and brimstone, no smoking gun."

"This is just another example of the Devil being used as a scapegoat for man's innate tendency toward stupidity and self-destruction," Crisp said during a press conference held in a makeshift fiery pit in Helena, Montana.

Bernie Burnham, CEO of Lucifer Technologies, a subsidiary of Hades Unlimited, also debunked the report.
"The Devil, the Prince of Darkness, Old Scratch -- call him what you will -- has been around for thousands of years perpetrating evil in all its forms. Why global warming now, all of a sudden? It doesn't make sense."

The Devil himself was unavailable for comment, Crisp explained, because he was away on his monthly recruiting trip to Washington, D.C.



Just about everything may be hazardous
to your health

It's a dangerous world we live in. Every day doctors release startling new reports about stuff that can kill us.

Fortunately, we are also bombarded with news about medical breakthroughs guaranteed to help us avoid the discomfort and inconvenience of premature death.

For example, my crack team of medical specialists has just learned that people who consume 50 milligrams of cornpone each day are 32 percent less likely to suffer from rickets, gangrene or curvature of the liver.

I take an aspirin a day to prevent heart murmurs and a glass of red wine to ward off gallstones, cerebral hemorrhage and frostbite.

But the threat of disease is omnipresent. Mumps. Lupus. Vertigo. The painful itch and swelling of bipolar encephalitis.

Why, the poor Surgeon General is working overtime to warn us about the astonishing array of substances that may be "hazardous to your health."

Just today, he issued a report in the prestigious Imaginary Journal of Medicine expanding the list of things that may cause cancer to include:

-- Asbestos Wafers
-- raw chinchilla meat
-- Bubonic Margarine
-- malignant cancer cells
-- genetically engineered fiddleheads
-- Marlboro brand Cancer Sticks
-- and most tap water

See HAZARDOUS, next page