Reasons George Bush didn't mention New Orleans in his State of the Union message last night

* Mission Accomplished in 2005! Don't dwell on old achievements.

* People without electricity should learn to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, regardless of nationality.

* Sure, hurricane Katrina caused the "costliest natural and federal engineering disaster in American history" but it's doodley-squat compared to global warming.

* And global warming is a myth.

* They don't have TVs down there anymore; what they don't know won't hurt them.

* They're breathing the sweet air of freedom in New Orleans; they owe the American people a huge debt of gratitude.

Bob Newhart remembers Jack Benny

Bob Newhart tells the story:
The greatest comedian I've ever seen is Jack Benny. He wasn't afraid of the silences. Once Benny was following the Will Maston Trio with Sammy Davis Jr. They absolutely killed. The audience was still applauding for them when Benny walked onstage. He complimented them and then started his routine.

"In the afternoon, I like to have some tea. I go in the coffee shop, around four o'clock or four-fifteen." Pause. "More like four-thirty." (Terrifically unnecessary information, by the way.) Pause. "So I went into the coffee shop.... I did a movie with an English actor whose name I couldn't remember... he was in the coffee shop, but I couldn't remember his name..."

Here Benny stopped for what seemed like an eternity. "I'm sorry," he said, breaking the silence. "I promised Sammy Davis Jr. that he could do another number. Let's hear another number from him."

Everyone dutifully applauded, and Sammy reappeared onstage. He performed "Birth of the Blues," and destroyed the audience again. Benny returned to the stage, himself applauding, and watched Sammy and the band walk off. When the applause finally died down, Benny said, "Nevil. That was his name... Nevil."

Trust me, you don't do that unless you know it will play.
--From Newhart's memoir, I Shouldn't Even Be Doing This!

Moving forward

Karl: Good news, Mr. President!

George: Whatcha got for me, Karl?

Karl: We're going to repeal the 22nd Amendment!

George: Make drinking illegal again!?

Karl: No, sit back down, Mr. President! We're going to get you appointed President for life!

George: Uh, I didn't think we could do that, Karl.

Karl: We can! We already have verbal approval from Chief Justice Roberts. Mr. President, remember when we advised the voters in 2004 that they needed to re-elect you because there was a war on?

George: Yes. "It's unwise to change horses in midstream." I am the rememberer.

Karl: You certainly are, Mr. President! And because we will still be at war in 2008, it would be unwise to change commanders-in-chief at that crucial time. If a new president took office, things could turn chaotic in Iraq.

George: Yes, they could.

Karl: The country will still need your leadership after 2008. That's why the Republicans will insert a line into a huge spending bill; no one ever reads the whole thing. It'll give you the power to retain the White House as long as you decide we are at war. The Democrats will squeal when they find out, but Roberts has already agreed to uphold the law!

George: Uh, that's uh, great, Karl.

Karl: Now you'll be the man in charge when the evil-doers surrender in Iraq!

George: Yeah...

Karl: And you'll be the leader to win the war on terror! History will remember you so.

George: Yeah...

Karl: And I'll be right behind you, all the way!

George: Yeah. Karl, have you heard anything from Major League Baseball about that commissioner's job?

Karl: Nothing new there, Mr. President; just that Bud Selig is stepping down in 2009 and they don't know who'll take the office then. Why do you ask?

George: (Sighs.) Just curious, Karl. You know how I'm inquisitive about the world around me. Always gathering information, open to new ideas.

UFO forces cancellation of vacation plans

In today's Chicago Tribune, the Getting Around column by John Hilkevitch followed up on the UFO sighting reported at O'Hare airport. Many Tribune readers wrote in with their own UFO experiences, including this one:
I wish that people would believe what we know we saw. I'm afraid to go outside, and I can't sleep. I've purchased a large caliber pistol and have installed a top-of-the-line security system. Needless to say, I've also canceled my family's camping trip to Indiana Dunes.
--Scared in Indiana
Where to begin?

I have to assume that Scared is sincere, and also possesses great faith in the stopping power of a handgun. For a spacecraft to cross the galaxy and then be stopped at Scared's front door by a pistol requires either (a) that the aliens were plumb-tuckered out after all that travel, or (b) a weapon of extra-large caliber.

The home of Scared in Indiana has a new top-of-the-line security system, which the aliens know if they subscribe to the Tribune. If I was up against extraterrestrials and had to choose a security system, only a top-of-the-line one would do. This promises to be an attractive feature in the next commercial for ADT Home Security Systems: Gooey naked green creatures tiptoe up to a suburban home's window at night and carefully slide the window open, when BEEEP! goes the alarm and the invaders' tentacles pound the air once in frustration before they scuttle off to an easier target... one without ADT protection.

Finally, there's the Indiana Dunes, where the family of Scared in Indiana will NOT be camping this year, "needless to say." What is it about this park that would attract UFO pilots and thereby force Scared to cancel a camping trip? I've spent half an hour browsing the website for Indiana Dunes State Park, and frankly, I don't see what the appeal would be for interstellar travelers. Unless they're already in the state for the Dan Quayle Center and Museum. (Link)

Anyone watching from the shore?

"I didn't actually get up water-skiing. I was up for a second, then my arm ripped off and I fell."
-- Bryan Anderson, on life with prosthetic limbs. He served in Iraq, losing both legs and an arm. From the January 2007 issue of Esquire

That's what friends are for

"I wish I could chew gum." From a co-worker whose dental work interferes with his gum chewing

"It's easy!" From another co-worker just walking into the room

File under: German synth-pop, 1980s

"I think you'd really like him." Or so my ex-girlfriend said back in the eighties about her new boyfriend, and this was one of the few cliches she ever said. In fact, the new guy's one redeeming quality was his taste in music. She shared a mix tape he made, mostly of things I hadn't heard before, including "Duel" by Propaganda.

What brought all this back then? Sugartown! (Link) Go for the pictures, stay for the music.