Oct. 24, 2001

Coming Soon:
Broomsticks With Airbags

By Roy Rivenburg
Wiccan II: Slowly but surely, witches are adapting to modern times. Last year, we told you about SpellCaster, a $20 computer software program for writing incantations. In the latest development, witches have begun trading in their cauldrons for microwave ovens.

According to Wireless Flash News Service, the updates are part of a movement called ‘‘technomagick,’’ in which witches try to reinvent their craft for the 21st century.

Not all of the changes are successful. For instance, a federal study found that witches who talk on cell phones while flying broomsticks are three times more likely to crash. And fashion critics panned a recent attempt to replace invisibility cloaks with wrinkle-free ‘‘invisibility leisure suits.’’ Another controversy erupted over the use of genetically engineered eyes of newt in magic potions.

Nevertheless, a new poll reveals that most witches support modernization efforts, especially liability insurance for spell malpractice and President Bush’s plan to put sky marshals on all broom flights.

Jaws 2001: As if anthrax and terrorism weren’t enough of a threat, now we have to worry about land sharks, killer calculators and lethal pizza machines.

In landlocked San Jose, Calif., citizens are being terrorized by a vicious breed of fiberglass shark. According to the Mercury News, dozens of the 6-foot-long sculptures are lurking downtown, where they pose a danger to blind pedestrians using canes. Apparently, the sharks stick out so far from their pedestals that a blind person could bump into one before his cane taps the base. Therefore, the public art project might be in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act, according to city officials.

Meanwhile, in Britain, a study by the Department of Trade and Industry found that British office workers suffered 238 injuries from paper clips last year and 37 from calculators. Is it possible Osama bin Laden is booby-trapping offices?

Last but not least, in New Jersey, a teenager has been fatally swallowed by a pizza-dough mixing machine that he was trying to clean, according to Reuters news service.

Lunatic Fringe Bureau: In response to the Sept. 11 tragedy, actress Shirley MacLaine has urged Americans to send out positive vibrations to terrorists. ‘‘Melt their hearts, melt their weapons’’ with white light and love energy, she told visitors to her Website. MacLaine also created a one-hour ‘‘chakra balancing meditation to assist in connecting to the Higher Self and to begin healing.’’

In a similar vein, actor Richard Gere reportedly told ABC News Radio that transmitting love vibes is the best way to beat terrorism. Explaining that Americans should think of terrorists as sick relatives, Gere said, ‘‘We have to give them medicine and the medicine is love and compassion.’’

We totally agree. But we’re worried that the distance between America and Afghanistan is preventing these positive vibrations from getting through. So we’re urging President Bush to airdrop MacLaine and Gere into Afghanistan so they can beam their love energies to Osama bin Laden in person.

Quote of the Week: From Scott Ian of the heavy-metal band Anthrax, discussing the group’s now-unfortunate choice of name: ‘‘This isn’t the kind of exposure we want or need. It’s as though it’s 1937 and I’m a bandleader named Freddie Hitler. Maybe we should change [our] name now. A friend suggested ‘Basket Full of Puppies.’ ’’

Supermarket Tabloid Headline of the Week: ‘‘Baby Born With False Teeth!’’ (Weekly World News)

Bonus headline, from the National Examiner: ‘‘Wife Dumps Hubby Who Won’t Stop Imitating Roy Orbison!’’

Unpaid Informants: Chicago Sun-Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post.

Copyright 2001 by Roy Rivenburg
Distributed by
Creators Syndicate