A disastrous fire in a suburban Virginia warehouse complex has destroyed “a significant portion” of the United States Government’s archive of Paperwork Reduction Act notices, according to a spokesman from the Bureau of Paperwork Reduction Act Compliance. Nearly five acres of warehouses just east of Leesburg were completely destroyed in the blaze, which burned out of control for at least a day and a half, fueled by more than three decades’ worth of dried paper stored in the buildings. According to the spokesman, as many as 10% of the government’s archived Paperwork Reduction Act notices may have perished. Efforts to replace the lost notices are already under way, and the Bureau has asked Congress for emergency funding, citing the requirement that each reissued notice be accompanied by a separate Paperwork Reduction Act notice explaining why it is being reissued.
Sir: I recently received notice from my natural-gas supplier that the company has petitioned the Public Utilities Commission for permission to lower my rates for natural gas.
Frankly, I am appalled. Have we completely forgotten the capitalist values that made our country great? When a company finds a way to cut costs, is it proper to pass that savings on to the consumer? By no means! We are not living in North Korea. This is the United States of America, and the proper way to spend any money saved is on executive bonuses. If there is any left over, it may be spent on advertisements with some catchy slogan about passing the savings on to the consumer. But the money is certainly not to be handed over to all and sundry willy-nilly! The very idea strikes at the heart of our capitalist faith.
Fortunately, we the faithful are not left without recourse. A wise provision of Commonwealth law requires utility companies to notify us of our right to protest their dangerous and unpatriotic rate decreases. (I have enclosed an example of the notification sent by the gas company, which tried to conceal it by folding it in with the bill.)
I call on all right-thinking consumers to lodge vigorous protests with the public Utilities Commission. Let your voices be heard. Let it be known that the citizens of this Commonwealth will not stand for creeping socialism. Tell your Public Utilities Commission that you expect a salutary display of greed from utility-company executives, not some welfare handout. It is not too late to stop this terrible miscarriage of capitalism. Under Commonwealth law, your voice counts! Together, we can shame our gas company into rescinding this rate decrease before it is too late.
——Sincerely, Kim Jong-Un, Bethel Park.
Miss Diana Smoulder, the ravishing heartthrob of the hurdy-gurdy, has canceled her upcoming engagements for the next two weeks, after several members of the audience at her performance for the South Side Synesthesia Society came down with food poisoning. In a statement to the press, Miss Smoulder expressed her condolences to the audience members and her best wishes for a speedy recovery, but noted that her choice of musical numbers had met all county health-department guidelines. A spokesman for the SSSS said that this was the worst outbreak of food poisoning at the Society since the Glass Box Mimes troupe performance in 1996.
To all cardinals: Owing to the successful election, the trust-building exercise previously scheduled for tonight at 10:30 has been canceled. Please return all melodicas, blasting caps, raspberry pies, and climbing tackle to the Athletic Department at your earliest convenience.
To all cardinals: Please be patient. The cell phones are not being handed out yet. Once the announcement and ceremonies are over, please form a line in alphabetical order, and present your claim check to the Pontifical Curator of Electronics when it is your turn.
The American cardinals who have been gathering over by the chimney to smoke those foul cigars are requested to put them away until after the conclave. The fumes are likely to cause all manner of unfounded speculation in the media.
A silver cufflink with a Masonic symbol on it was found in the dining hall after lunch this afternoon. The owner may reclaim it at the confessional.
All votes for tomorrow’s breakfast menu are due by midnight tonight. The kitchen staff have been instructed not to serve breakfast at all if no agreement can be reached.
Just a reminder to all cardinals that all cell phones must be left with the Pontifical Curator of Electronics for the duration of the conclave. A special Angry Birds station has been set up next to the coffee maker for the use of all cardinals on a first-come, first-served basis.
Proper attire is required at all times. The mere fact that television cameras are not admitted is no excuse for slovenliness. If you are in doubt as to whether the slogan on your T-shirt may be considered offensive and thus unacceptable, please refer the matter to the proper committee.
This evening’s papal ballot is sponsored by Lady Carey’s Decorator Matches, the only decorator matches classy enough for lighting papal ballots. Use Lady Carey’s Decorator Matches for every ecclesiastical application and bring a little class back into your cathedral.
Thank you for listening to your daily conclave announcements. The Father Ted marathon here on VTV Channel Two will resume immediately after the closing prayer.
Riots broke out in the Vatican City as clerical protesters demanding reform loudly strummed acoustic guitars in spite of Cardinal Bertello’s repeated requests that they keep it down so he could hear himself think. An American witness who declined to give her name said that she had no idea before today that the flamberges carried by the Swiss Guard were anything more than ornamental. More than a dozen guitars were injured and taken to local luthiers for emergency repairs.
The chicken used to make Food Festival store-brand chicken soups for the past three years has been reported missing from the United Canning Co. plant in Sharpsburg. Police say that the chicken will probably be disoriented and surly, and is likely to smell rather ripe, not having had a bath in three days. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the chicken is requested to contact the United Canning Co. directly or through the customer-service counter at any Food Festival supermarket. A reward of 29¢, in the form of discount coupons for store-brand soup, is offered for information leading to the successful recapture of the chicken.
An English teacher at Blandville Area Senior High School was disciplined by the school board today after it was revealed that she had allowed her students to read a “novel” entitled Don Quixote by an obscure Spanish writer.
“Students need to understand that ‘novels’ are nothing but claptrap and lies,” said Superintendent of Schools J. Pillington Bleek. “The very word ‘fiction’ indicates that the writings so designated are not true. Non-fiction reading is the only kind of reading required or permitted by modern educational theory.”
The unnamed teacher has been placed on probation, but is permitted to keep her current pay grade under the condition that she assign as her next class reading the instructional manual for the classroom’s new 48-inch flat-screen television.