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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

House Panel Moves To Ban Voting While High

(HARRISBURG) - A panel of reform-minded lawmakers voted today to outlaw the smoking of marijuana during voting sessions of the state House of Representatives, a practice known as "dope voting."

The move is seen as a bold one for a chamber known for late-night sessions that are often characterized by voracious pot smoking and the devouring of scores of pizzas.

"I do my best work when I'm high," said Rep. Josh Shapiro of Montgomery County, who's also on the Speaker's Commission on Legislative Reform. "But when we took a look at some of the crazy stuff we passed during some of those pot binge, dude. It was pretty messed up."

"Half the time, the pages of the bills are bound in the wrong order because the clerks are stoned to bejesus, too," said Rep. Tom Tangretti of Westmoreland County. "But it doesn't make a difference, since they usually pass anyways. Hell, remember the pay raise?"

The discussion about marijuana use caused House Majority Leader Bill DeWeese of Greene County to reflect on the tenure of the chamber's previous leader. "That John Perzel might have been a blockhead, but man, could he roll a joint. Then there was that time he crafted a bong out of an Evian bottle, a voting switch and some duct tape."

Sunday, February 25, 2007

PA's Weather Threat Level Elevated; State Officials Ask People To Start Panicking

(HARRISBURG) - The Commonwealth's new Weather Threat Alert System, which grew out of the state's bungled response to the Valentine's Day snow and ice storm, has been activated and set at Level Orange -- or "Pretty Serious Shit."

That's because of the storm that threatens to wallop the midstate with an inch or so of snow, followed by a thin coating of ice.

"Obviously, this weather system has the ability to bring the entire state to its knees all over again," Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency Director James Joseph said. He used the occasion to remind the public about what the different levels of the new alert system mean:

GREEN: NO PROBLEMO, AMIGO: No wintry weather expected. No need to run to the grocery store. But should you spot any flurries, remain vigilant.
BLUE: HUMPH, THIS COULD SUCK: There's a chance of wintry weather later this week, so pick up a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk when you get a chance. Engage in talk with neighbors about how much you're all looking forward to spring.
YELLOW: OH JESUS: A winter weather advisory or winter storm watch has been issued, so pick up at least two loafs of bread, two dozen eggs and one gallon of milk, and learn how to make french toast.
ORANGE: PRETTY SERIOUS SHIT: A winter storm warning has been issued, so it's of the utmost importance that you stock up on at least two weeks' worth of essential provisions, including food, cleaning products and pornographic magazines. If your neighbor has a snowblower, steal it.
RED: THE STATE WILL PROBABLY DROP THE BALL AGAIN: Buy everything that you possibly can at the grocery store. Build a Cold War-era-style bomb shelter in your basement. If you plan to travel on Interstate 78, carry at least four days worth of food, a portable heater and a makeshift toilet.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

PennDOT Chief Says He Fathered Anna Nicole Smith's Baby

(HARRISBURG) - PennDOT Secretary Allen Biehler testified at a hearing at the state Capitol today, accepting "full and complete responsibility" for fathering Anna Nicole Smith's now-five-month-old daughter.

"Clearly, there were things I could have done differently," Biehler told a Senate panel. "But the baby is most definitely mine, and I'm confident that a paternity test will confirm as much."

The admission thrusts the state's top transportation official into the middle of a custody dispute that already includes Smith attorney Howard K. Stern, former boyfriend Larry Birkhead and the entire 2005 Miami Dolphins football team.

"What the hell were you thinking?" queried Sen. Pat Vance of Cumberland County.

"I'm really not sure," replied Biehler. "But I can definitively tell you that steps are being taken, as we speak, to ensure that it never happens again."

When Vance reminded Biehler that Smith is dead, the PennDOT chief replied, "Oh yeah. That'll help, too."

Monday, February 19, 2007

Reed To Create National Museum Of Ice And Snow

(HARRISBURG) - Mayor Stephen Reed announced today that Harrisburg will eventually become home to the National Museum of Ice and Snow.

"We will at once begin transforming the National Civil War Museum in Reservoir Park into this new museum, which will soon house a critical mass of ice, snow and other frozen matter," Reed said.

The mayor said the Civil War artifacts currently housed at the facility will be sold off, with the funds to be put toward the decommissioning of the city's entire fleet of snow plows which will become exhibits at the museum.

"It's not like we're actually using them to clear the streets," Reed said.

Reed said he thought of the idea for the new museum when last Wednesday's closure of the Civil War museum due to weather had no noticeable effect on attendance figures.

Rendell Admits I-78 Bungle An Attempt To Re-clinch Top Spot On Worst Highways List

(HARRISBURG) - Caving to pressure from reporters' questions, Governor Ed Rendell admitted today that the traffic logjam on an icy, snowy Interstate 78 last week was the result of attempts to re-claim the number-one ranking on a list of the nation's worst highways.

Rendell said he felt intense pressure after Pennsylvania was edged out by hurricane-ravaged Louisiana in last year's list published by Overdrive Magazine, a trucking industry trade journal.

"I'll be damned if I was going to let them beat us again," said the governor. "So, I told PennDOT and the State Police to let a situation develop that could give our peers in that hurricane-stricken state a run for their money. And holy shit, did they deliver."

Overdrive's executive editor, Max Heine, said the extra effort probably wasn't necessary.

"Pennsylvania's roads really, really suck," Heine said. "I think the state would have re-claimed the top spot without this stunt."

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Porn District Created In Perry County

(NEW BUFFALO) - Dignitaries gathered along Routes 11/15 to christen what they hope will become widely known as Perry County's "Porn District."

"Most folks know that we have a swinger's club up here plus plenty of places to buy whacking material," said Matthew Riddlebarker, president of the Perry County Economic Development Corporation. "This new designation will help to promote and grow our porn industry, which is second only to agriculture in this here neck of the woods."

State Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Yablonsky was on-hand for today's ribbon-cutting and presented a $15,000 check to local officials. A portion of the money will go toward renovations at Adult World, including the installation of five additional video viewing booths and a shower.

"The porn corridor here in Perry County has created dozens of solid, family-sustaining jobs," Yablonsky said, flanked by a pair of busty, scantily-clad models. "It is truly my pleasure to be here today to support an industry that provides the region with, well, so much pleasure."

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Reed To Sell Naming Rights To Susquehanna River

(HARRISBURG) - In the wake of this week's winter storm that nearly broke the budget of the city of Harrisburg, Mayor Stephen Reed today announced plans to sell naming rights to the Susquehanna River.

"I was really hoping it wouldn't come to this," Reed said. "But the cost of plowing away all of that ice and snow this week has sunk the city to new financial depths. Therefore, I have no choice but to put the name of our fair river up for bids."

Reed said he only has the power over the naming rights of the portion of the river that touches Harrisburg. "North and south of here, it will still be known as the Susquehanna. But here in the city, it will soon don a new name -- and hopefully bring in a crapload of money at the same time."

The mayor said some early bidders include Wachovia Bank ("The Wachovia River"), Comcast Corporation ("The Comcast River") and a local businesswoman ("The Knackstedt River").

When asked if renaming a portion of a long-established river is legal, Reed chuckled and said, "Yeah, as if that's stopped me before."

York's New Slogan Disses Reading

(YORK) - In an effort to spark revitalization in their city at the expense of another, officials in York have unveiled the city's new marketing slogan: "York: At Least We're Not Reading."

Mayor John Brenner was joined by members of YorkCounts in making the announcement. The group was paid $55,000 to come up with the moniker.

"I think this fresh slogan really drives home the fact that good things are happening here in York," Brenner said. "Okay, so maybe they're not. But at least we have fewer shootings per capita than Reading, and that's good news for the people of York."

Brenner also announced that he was forming a 24-member task force that will spend the next year trying to find ways to incorporate the slogan into a comprehensive marketing effort.

"Wow, maybe we have hit rock bottom," said Reading Mayor Tom McMahon upon hearing the news. "I mean, when you're being badmouthed by York, you're pretty deep in the shitter."

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Reed Names Self Mayoral Spokesman

(HARRISBURG) - After a search process he described as "rigorous," Harrisburg Mayor Stephen Reed has hired himself to replace Randy King, who recently stepped down as press secretary.

"The interview with myself lasted three and a-half hours," Reed said. "I was as tough on myself as the other four candidates. After all, I'm my own worst critic."

That comment drew immediate fire from Harrisburg City Councilwoman Linda Thompson. She said she has long claimed the title of being Reed's worst critic, and demanded that the mayor step down from both jobs immediately for suggesting otherwise.

When asked for his reaction to Thompson's remarks, Reed extended his middle finger and said Thompson could "criticize this."

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Former TV News Anchor Now Breeding Alpacas And Modeling Underwear

(FISHTAIL, MT) - After widespread speculation among the midstate's rabid TV news fans about his next move, former WHTM-TV news anchor Rick Wagner has started an alpaca breeding ranch in Montana. Separately, he's also begun modeling underwear for regional department stores.

"Alpacas are like llamas, but a hell of a lot cuter," Wagner said, in a phone interview from his new ranch. "As for the underwear thing, I'm hoping I can quit that as soon as I start making money off of these animals. That's just temporary, for easy money."

But in the meantime, he says, he's posing at least once a week for circulars for Big Daddy's Underwear Bonanza, which has five locations throughout Montana, and Briefs and Drugs, a chain of seven pharmacies that also carry undergarments.

"Most ads have me in boxers," Wagner said, "though the contract indicated there would also be a good deal of brief and thong action."

Wagner's move to Montana was as sudden as his departure from WHTM-TV, about which both he and station executives have stayed tight-lipped.

"Let's just say working at a fitness club and calling bingo on Monday nights got old pretty fast," Wagner said.

His former TV colleagues expressed little shock at word of the underwear modeling.

"The alpacas? Yeah, that's just weird," said WHTM-TV weather anchor Chuck Rhodes. "But Rick used to walk around the newsroom in his underwear all the time just to break things up, you know, when things were a little tense."

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Kansas-based Pseudo-church Wages Counter-Protest At Harley Plant

(YORK) - Wielding signs emblazoned with slogans such as "God hates hogs" and "Motorcycles are an abomination," members of the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church staged a counter-demonstration at the Harley-Davidson plant in York County today.

The church's members believe that frigid, cold weather is God's way of punishing Americans for their love of motorcycles.

The site caused confusion among some of the facility's unionized workers who are walking the picket lines.

"Who are these assholes?" said striking worker John Pinklederfer of West Manchester Township. "I mean, what's next? Picketing a high school play or something?"

Rendell's Budget Proposes Leasing Lt. Gov. Knoll

(HARRISBURG) - In a surprise move, Governor Rendell unveiled a budget today that proposes leasing or selling Lieutenant Governor Catherine Baker Knoll.

"Obviously, we're going to have to find some new and creative revenue sources in order to make up for a shortfall in federal funding," said Rendell. "It's nothing personal, I assure you."

The governor suggested that Knoll could be leased out to upper-end businesses for day-long periods to handle duties similar to those she deals with in Harrisburg, such as attending funerals (perhaps in place of corporate executives, he said) and presiding over otherwise boring meetings.

When asked to comment on the plan, Knoll said she hadn't really had time to think about it. "The budget address was the first I heard of it. That devil just snuck this into the budget without telling me. Come to think of it, he does a lot of things without telling me about them first."

Several state lawmakers were receptive to the plan, with many saying they would personally lease her for a few days to lend an extra hand with document shredding and other duties.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Dillsburg Woman Finishes Digging Out From Friday's "Blizzard"

(DILLSBURG) - After spending what she termed "countless hours of grueling work," 89-year-old Ella Hartranft today finished shoveling her sidewalks and sweeping off her car in the wake of Friday's snowstorm.

"It was a blizzard," she said. "This is by far the worst snowstorm we've seen this year. Shame on Chuck Rhodes for downplaying it."

According to the National Weather Service, most parts of the midstate received between a coating and a half-inch of snow from the storm.

Hartranft said she worked non-stop to clear the white stuff, taking breaks only to eat, sleep, use the bathroom and watch Wheel of Fortune.

"Watching Wheel really helped to recharge my batteries," Hartranft said. "That Pat Sajak is one sexy beast, and gave me the inspiration to get out there and keep going."

'Barbaro' Moves To Top Of Baby Name Popularity List

(UNDATED) - It's official: 'Barbaro' has assumed the top post when it comes to the most popular baby boy names in the midstate.

A Central PA Gazelle poll of recent birth names at the region's hospitals shows the name of the recently-euthanized racehorse overtaking 'Aidan.'

The exception was Perry County, where 'Barbaro' came in third behind 'Cletus' and 'Garth.'

Friday, February 2, 2007

Groundhog Gets Political, Predicts Six More Years Of War In Iraq

(PUNXSUTAWNEY) - Punxsutawney Phil's prediction today of an early spring was overshadowed when the script read by his handlers took a sudden political turn.

In this year's speech, read by Punxsutawney Groundhog Club Inner Circle member Dr. Paul "Rusty" Johnston, Phil predicted the war in Iraq would continue for at least another six years.

"Up here on Gobbler's Knob today, I predict the Iraq war is not going away," the groundhog prognosticated. "While an early spring I expect there to be, no end soon to this war do I see."

The prediction drew loud jeers and boos from many in the large crowd of normally jolly and sedate onlookers, some of whom tossed their Meister Brau beer cans on stage in protest.

"What a buzzkill, dude," said Schuyler Marmiller, a TKE fraternity member from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. "If I wanted to hear about politics, I would have stayed at school today and gone to class instead of coming here in the wee hours of the morning to get rip-roaring drunk and watch some rodent get on his soapbox."