L. Neil Smith's
Number 302, January 16, 2005

"We now return you to your regularly scheduled agitation."

2004: The Year In Headlines
by Jonathan David Morris

Special to TLE

Much of what you're about to read is true—except for the parts I made up. These are the Top Ten Stories of 2004. Read 'em and weep. Happy New Year.

10. James "You Think He's Gay?" McGreevey goes gay.

Caught handing out a Homeland Security post in exchange for homosexual services, Jim McGreevey announces in August he will resign as governor of the State of New Jersey. "The bad news is I'm a gay adulterer with no business being in office," says McGreevey. "The good news is this was only a test of the Homeland Security Color-Coded Alert System. Turns out I'm the whole freakin' rainbow. Zing! Thank you. Thank you very much. Enjoy the veal, folks. I'll be here every night till November." Though the comedy is lost on his constituents, McGreevey declares his resignation, quote, "a fabulous success."

9. Howard Dean advances to Geography Bee quarterfinals.

After finishing third in the Iowa Caucuses in January, presidential candidate Howard Dean wows audiences by holding an envelope to his forehead and predicting 13 states in which he will also post losses: New Hampshire; South Carolina; Oklahoma; Arizona; North Dakota; New Mexico; California; Texas; New York; South Dakota; Oregon; Washington; and Michigan. He then goes to D.C. to "take back the White House," but is turned away when bouncers accuse him of having a fake ID.

8. After several requests, Martha Stewart goes to Hell.

Realizing its charges of insider trading are baseless, the government accuses domestic diva Martha Stewart of lying about not breaking the law. When Stewart wonders aloud how this is possible, the government responds: "Oh, so now we're the liars? Huh? Is that what you're saying? We're the liars now?" The judge then sends Stewart to prison for "being such a bitch." She begins her five-month sentence in October. Before long, she makes shivs out of hatred and toilet paper.

7. Boston enters a state of perpetual World Series victory.

Before spring training, Red Sox centerfielder Johnny Damon visits Mt. Sinai to speak with God. God informs him that, in 2005, the Red Sox will face the Cubs in the World Series; and then, when they're one out from winning the 7th game, God will pull the plug on all of existence, thus sealing Boston's fate forever and ever, amen. Johnny Damon returns and informs his teammates of God's plan, saying: "We must take matters into our own hands, and not next year but this year, if we want to win." His teammates stop shaving and combing their hair, then battle back from an 0-3 hole against God's Chosen Team, the Yankees, in the ALCS. Then they sweep the Cards in the Series and win their first championship since before the dawn of time. Afterwards, Johnny Damon admits he never really spoke with God: "I was visiting my Aunt Carol that weekend. I just said all that God stuff to motivate my team." He is later fined by Major League Baseball and taught a valuable lesson about telling lies.

6. Nine-Eleven Commission tells us something we don't know.

In April, Washington gets together and writes a book about September 11th. It is released a few months later and sold on the fiction aisle at Target. After slow initial sales, its name is changed from "The 9/11 Commission Report" to "Tuesdays With Morrie, Part 2: Wednesdays With Morrie." It hits the bestseller list. However, readers question its central assertion that terrorists had nothing to do with the terrorist attacks—that it was, indeed, the butler who did it. And while they appreciate learning why George Bush and Dick Cheney insisted on testifying together (turns out they were handcuffed and couldn't find the key), Americans start to wonder why, if they spent millions on a 9/11 panel, Morrie isn't mentioned anywhere in the book. It is concluded that if the country wants "real" leadership next time, it should appoint Patrick Ewing instead.

5. "The Passion" hits theaters; Jews still exist.

In a surprising twist on the old anti-Semitic yarn, Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" ignites Christian passions but fails to ignite mass murder of Jews. When asked by Access Hollywood's Pat O'Brien why things haven't unfolded in accordance with the media prophecy, Jesus Christ responds: "Look, if I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: Thou shalt not kill. All right? It's a peaceful religion. What do I have to do, walk on water just to get through to you people? Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't mean 'you people.' I... never mind. I have to go." Mel Gibson later admits it was not the real Jesus Christ, but rather Jim Caviezel in a Jesus Christ costume. The point, however, stays the same.

4. "Co-Ed Naked Freedom" all the rage in free Iraq.

In a move that sends shivers down the spines of America's enemies, soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison strip Iraqi detainees, put hoods on their heads, and force 'em to do naughty things with their groins and electric shock therapy, while a pregnant chick with a cigarette looks on. "Americans smoke cigarettes while pregnant!" read the headlines. America hangs its head in shame.

3. Patriots win the Super Bowl.

Justin Timberlake rips off a part of Janet Jackson's shirt during the Super Bowl halftime show to reveal the most disappointing celebrity breast in American history (adorned, no less, with a ninja star). A furious NFL announces the next day that, from now on, all Super Bowl halftime shows will be replaced with Roz-era reruns of "Night Court." FCC fines ensue.

2. It's morning again in America... again.

In June, former actor—oh, and president—Ronald Reagan passes away after a long, private battle with Alzheimer's. Americans reminisce about simpler times when girls were girls, men were men, and our enemies wore fuzzy black hats. Things take a turn for the worse, however, when '80s icon Steve Guttenberg shows up claiming he's next in the line of succession. When told, "No, sir, Reagan hasn't been president since 1989; and besides, you were never in the line of succession," Guttenberg puts on a pair of Z. Cavariccis and insists on a game of Jenga. He then checks his watch and crawls back into his cicada-like hole.

1. Democracy comes in peace.

In November, an alien life form named Georgebush Johnkerry descends upon Earth and splits into two distinct, sentient beings—each well versed in the Vietnam War. It then runs for president and wins. Sentient Being No. 1, who goes by the name "George Bush" to fool the locals, earns the right to occupy the White House, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Moon. Meanwhile, Sentient Being No. 2, or "John Kerry," finds himself out of work—save for a part-time Senate gig. He takes a job as a busboy at Olive Garden, where he rails against management and talks of regime change. Freedom subsequently rings.

Jonathan David Morris writes a weekly column for The Aquarian and other publications. His website is www.readjdm.com, and he can be reached at jdm@readjdm.com


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