YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS STUFF UP
By Mary Starrett
May 14, 2003
O.K., well that explains it.
A cursory glance through the newspaper(any paper will do because they’re all alike) will yield a pile of stories pointing out how bizarre things have gotten. I don’t suggest you try this at home, otherwise it could lead to the sin of despair. Leave it to the professionals.
I have compiled a list of humdingers for you - and it only took a few flips through some newsprint over the course of a week.
Note that all these news items come under the category: “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up” or Y.C.M.T.S.U. for short.
In Portland, Oregon’s Department Of Human Services is looking for someone who speaks Klingon. Apparently, the language created for “Star Trek” is popular with the “clients” serviced by county mental health agencies. And, as you know, the feds now require any agency getting federal money to provide interpreters for whatever language is spoken by those being served. So now add Klingon to Dari and Tongan, Russian, Vietnamese and oh, did you want to hear that menu in English or Spanish?
From the land of fruit and nuts comes word of the Oreo lawsuit. A San Francisco lawyer has sued Kraft foods because the popular cookies contain “trans fats”. (And you thought those of us who predicted food was the next target after the tobacco lawsuits were alarmist?) But not to worry, our friends at the FDA say soon they’ll require warnings about the yucky fat on cookie packages. Instead of bothering with warnings on boxes of Prozac or Paxil (both of which have been shown to cause “aggression, suicide and violent behavior”) that august body will warn us about fat. Those guys… always thinking of others… not the consumers, mind you, but their drug company buddies at Eli Lilly and Glaxo Smith Kline Beecham.
This week the feds sent warnings to 48 natural health websites telling them to stop telling people they could reduce their risk of S.A.R.S. by boosting their immune system naturally. Wouldn’t want people to get the cockamamie idea they can stay healthy without drugs now,would we?
How about the San Jose couple awarded $16.7 million because their daughter died after choking on a piece of candy? Or the Oakland jury which awarded $50 million in an accidental shooting. Even though it was the babysitter who pulled the trigger turning a little boy into a paraplegic, the gun maker and its’ distributor were found liable.
Next, we have the Bush administration feeling obliged to apologize for not publicly celebrating the Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo. It’s a MEXICAN holiday for crying out loud! Speaking of which, did your blood pressure rise when you read the headline: “U.S. Sued Over Border Deaths”? Families of 14 illegal aliens( excuse me, undocumented migrants) who died from lack of water in the Arizona desert while attempting to break into our country want $42 mill.
Here’s a contender for the Y.C.M.T.S.U. category hall of fame: In the U.K. coroners and morticians have been taking brains from dead people, without the knowledge of their grieving relatives, and selling them to research labs. At last count there were 30,000 brains and lots of heartsick next-of-kin.
Speaking of gruesome… if you cringe each time you see multiple piercings and assorted face shrapnel on kids these days, get ready for a new craze. Seems the next generation of leaders is tiring of pierced eyebrows and nipples and belly buttons. Now in addition to the studs impaled through their tongues they’re adding the “forked tongue” effect. That’s right, split tongues are all the rage. Split- as in half.
The seniors among us will have the hardest time accepting this new trend, but what do they know? According to the E.P.A. they’re not worth very much anyway. This week the E.P.A. announced it would “stop the controversial practice of placing a lower dollar value on the lives of people over 70”. I guess the E.P.A. had been tagging old folk’s worth at 37% less than younger people, when factoring the costs of legislation in Congress. (I believe the Zero Population Growth crowd calls the over 70 bunch “useless eaters”).
The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled a fetus was a “body part, like hair and teeth, which are eventually “shed”.
In Texas, a federal grand jury indicted a man for stealing a toilet from the space shuttle Challenger wreckage.
In other news from the Lone Star State, Texas Troopers were sent to haul back 58 Democrats who’d gone into hiding. Seems the state legislators fled to Oklahoma to avoid the mandated 100 member quorum for a House vote. Those zany elected officials… what WILL they do next?
How ‘bout that Dick Cheney’s Halliburton scoring a $76 million contract for mopping up Iraq? No big news flash here- we saw it coming before they even said “bombs away”.
One sad entry for our Y.C.M.T.S.U. contest involves a little girl with a brain tumor in Michigan. The docs told the parents of Noshin Hogue the child had an 80 per cent chance of dying during surgery. When her parents opted for the homeopathic route instead, the kindly docs got Michigan prosecutors to take the parents to court for refusing to allow the surgery.
Couple more observations before I end, and end I must, for I’m beginning to feel despair coming on. One of the most telling signs we’ve gone completely ‘round the bend can be noticing what passes for entertainment these days. Long lines form for standing room only performances of the “Vagina Monologues” and a show called “Puppetry Of The Penis”. I give.
© 2003 Mary Starrett - All Rights Reserved
Mary Starrett was on television for 21 years as a news anchor, morning talk show host and medical reporter. For the last 5 years she hosted a radio program. Mary is a frequent guest on radio talk shows. E-Mail M123STAR@aol.com
"From the land of fruit and nuts comes word of the Oreo lawsuit. A San Francisco lawyer has sued Kraft foods because the popular cookies contain “trans fats”. (And you thought those of us who predicted food was the next target after the tobacco lawsuits were alarmist?) But not to worry, our friends at the FDA say soon they’ll require warnings about the yucky fat on cookie packages. Instead of bothering with warnings on boxes of Prozac or Paxil"