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No Thanks for the Memories

The nation's mood does not improve when the Department of Making Everybody in the Homeland Nervous raises the Official National Terror Index Level to "Stark," based on having received credible information indicating that al Qaeda terrorist cells are "probably up to something" and "could be in your attic right now."

John Kerry, looking to improve his image with red state voters, shoots a duck.


(Illustration by Richard Thompson)

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On the health front, medical researchers announce that if you feed one aspirin per day to laboratory rats, eventually you are going to get bitten.

In sports, popular spunky horse Smarty Jones wins the Kentucky Derby, confounding exit pollsters who had unanimously picked Seabiscuit. Congress vows to call its bookie.

The big entertainment news in May is the much-anticipated final episode of "Friends," in which Joey, Chandler, Ross, Rachel, Monica and Phoebe suddenly realize that they are, like, 53 years old.

Speaking of final episodes, in . . .

JUNE

. . . former president Ronald Reagan dies and embarks on a weeklong national tour. Also hitting the road for the last time is Ray Charles.

Another former president, Bill Clinton, travels around the nation bringing comfort to large crowds of Americans who injured themselves attempting to lift Clinton's 1,000-page memoir, titled Some Day I Might Read This Myself.

The news from Iraq continues to worsen as the interim governing council, in a move that alarms the Bush administration, chooses, by unanimous vote, its new acting president: Al Gore. He immediately demands a recount.

In a related development, CIA Director George Tenet -- the man who told President Bush that the case for proving there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was a "slam dunk" -- resigns to accept a job advising the New York Yankees.

President Bush meets with the pope and, in impromptu remarks afterward, describes him as "a great American." John Kerry, campaigning in Michigan, strangles a deer.

On the economic front, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that the U.S. economy has generated 250,000 new jobs. The bad news is that 80 percent of these openings are for legal experts needed by cable television to speculate pointlessly 24/7 about Kobe Bryant and Scott Peterson. Speaking of job seekers, in . . .

JULY

. . . John Kerry is formally nominated at the Democratic convention in Boston and in his acceptance speech tells the wildly cheering delegates that, if he is elected president, his highest priority will be "to develop facial expressions."

Also well-received at the convention is Kerry's wife, Teresa Heinz-Ketchup Kerry, who gives a moving account of being an immigrant in America with little more than hopes, dreams, a personal staff, a large fortune and a Gulfstream jet. Vice presidential nominee John Edwards also makes a well-received speech, after which he is never heard from again.

In Washington, President Bush, reacting to news of a projected sharp increase in the federal budget deficit, vows to find out if this is a good thing or a bad thing, or what.

On the terrorism front, the federal commission charged with investigating the September 11 attacks, having spent more than a year questioning hundreds of witnesses and reviewing thousands of pages of classified documents, concludes that the attacks were "very bad" and "better not happen again." Congress vows to hold hearings.

Meanwhile, in another blow to the U.S.-led effort in Iraq, Uruguay announces that it intends to pull its troops out of the coalition. Informed that it has no troops in the coalition, Uruguay asks if it can borrow some.

In Baghdad, former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein appears in a courtroom to hear the charges against him, which include torture, murder, genocide and more than 175,000 zoning violations. Hussein declares that he is innocent and offers to take a urine test. The judge rules that further proceedings will be postponed "until the Scott Peterson trial is over."

The big movie hit of the summer is "Fahrenheit 9/11," a shocking documentary that shows how Bush administration policies were directly responsible for making director Michael Moore more than $100,000,000.

In sports, Lance Armstrong wins his sixth consecutive Tour de France, overcoming the hardship of having to pedal hundreds of kilometers with hostile French people clinging to his legs.

Speaking of sporting triumphs, in . . .


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