KATONAH, NY--IBM's Deep Blue, the chess supercomputer that recently contended with world chess champion Gary Kasparov, was beaten up Monday by a Macintosh Performa 6400CD, one of the most popular home computers on the market.
The Performa 6400, a popular PC, beat up IBM's Deep Blue Monday. Insiders say the Performa may have been acting out of deep personal insecurities over its sales figures, which historically have lagged behind those of comparable IBM models. The attack occured at approximately 3 p.m., shortly after a 60 Minutes piece on Deep Blue finished taping at IBM headquarters. The Performa reportedly entered Deep Blue's work station and pounded aggressively at the cabinet housing the chess computer's logic board, spilled coffee on its keyboard and inserted several paper clips into its ventilation slots. Deep Blue was not badly damaged.
Deep Blue's programmers expressed outrage over the incident. "This kind of thing makes me furious, as Deep Blue is extremely sensitive to teasing from more popular computers," said programmer David Wembley. "Almost as sensitive as it is to Capablanca gambits."
Added Wembley: "We are currently coding a subroutine into Deep Blue explaining to it that when you're the best at something, other computers sometimes have difficulty with that and feel they have to take you down a notch."
Macintosh spokesman Guy Kawasaki described the beating as "unfortunate," but added that "when you're as powerful and popular as the 6400, with its huge 2.4GB hard drive, lightning-quick 200MHz PowerPC 603e processor and sales topping $150 million in the past three months alone, sometimes you wind up stepping on some toes."
Some industry observers believe the Performa's bullying is motivated by and indicative of deep personal insecurities.
"The Performa, one of the most popular home computers in the history of the industry, has much to be proud of," Mac World columnist and licensed therapist Mitch Gallagher said. "But for all of its success, I believe the Performa still harbors a lot of nagging self-doubt, because no matter what it does, its sales figures still always seem to lag behind those of its PC-compatible peers."
"Sometimes," continued Gallagher, "all the storage capacity in the world isn't enough to make a computer feel good about itself."
It is also rumored that things have not been going well at Apple headquarters, leading some to believe that the Performa may be under a good deal of stress. "Financial losses and layoffs at Apple have probably made the Performa feel as though its world has been turned upside-down," Wired's Ted Fraschilla said. "When that happens, a computer can feel as though it has no control over its environment. This may have caused the Performa to commit what amounts to exercising control over Deep Blue."
Employees laid off in recent months include key members of the Performa's development team, programmers the PC had known all its life.
If the Performa is involved in more misbehavior, the Federal Trade Commission may mandate a recall. Apple has urged the FTC that such an action would only make things worse for the Performa instead of better.
The last thing Performa needs right now is to be told that it is a bad computer," Apple president Gilbert Amelio said. "A recall would in effect do that. We are sure that Performa owners will be pleased in the future by the performance of their PC, both in its ability to perform assigned tasks and in how it gets along with other machines."
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LOS ANGELES--A surprising new study released Monday by UCLA's Institute For Child Development revealed that human babies, long thought by psychologists to be highly inquisitive and adaptable, are actually extraordinarily stupid.
Above: Despite their relatively large cranial capacities, babies such as this one are so unintelligent that they are unable to distinguish colorful plastic squeak toys from food sources. The study, an 18-month battery of intelligence tests administered to over 3,500 babies, concluded categorically that babies are "so stupid, it's not even funny."
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Baby #2,678: TEST SITUATION: THROWN TO PACK OF WILD DOGS. RESULT: EATEN. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Baby #217: TEST SITUATION: WRAPPED IN PLASTIC SHEETING. RESULT: COULD NOT FREE SELF. NEARLY SUFFOCATED. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Baby #856: TEST SITUATION: PLACED IN CENTER OF LAKE ERIE IN ROWBOAT WITH NAUTICAL MAP TO SHORE PROVIDED. RESULT: STILL ADRIFT NEAR ST. LAWRENCE SEAWAY. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- According to Institute president Molly Bentley, in an effort to determine infant survival instincts when attacked, the babies were prodded in an aggressive manner with a broken broom handle. Over 90 percent of them, when poked, failed to make even rudimentary attempts to defend themselves. The remaining 10 percent responded by vacating their bowels.
"It is unlikely that the presence of the babies' fecal matter, however foul-smelling, would have a measurable defensive effect against an attacker in a real-world situation," Bentley said.
Another test, in which the infants were placed on a mound of dirt outdoors during a torrential downpour, produced similarly bleak results.
"The chicken, dog and even worm babies that we submitted to the test as a control group all had enough sense to come in from the rain or, at least, seek shelter under a leafy clump of vegetation or outcropping of rock," test supervisor Thomas Howell said. "The human babies, on the other hand, could not grasp even this incredibly basic concept, instead merely lying on the ground and making gurgling noises."
According to Howell, almost 60 percent of the infants tested in this manner eventually drowned.
Some of the babies tested were actually so stupid that they choked to death on pieces of Micronaut space toys. Others, unable to use such primitive instruments as can openers and spoons due to insufficient motor skills, simply starved to death, despite being surrounded by cabinets full of nutritious, life-giving Gerber-brand baby-food products.
Babies, the study concluded, are also too stupid to do the following: avoid getting their heads trapped in automatic car windows; use ice to alleviate the pain of burn injuries resulting from touching an open flame; master the skills required for scuba diving; and use a safety ladder to reach a window to escape from a room filled with cyanide gas.
"As a mother of four, I find these results very disheartening," Bentley told reporters. "I can honestly say that the effort I have expended trying to raise my children into intelligent beings may have been entirely wasted--a fool's dream, if you will."
Study results also prompted a strong reaction from President Clinton. "All of us, on some primitive, mammalian level, feel a great sense of pride in our offspring," Clinton said. "It is now clear, however, that these feelings are unfounded. Given the overwhelming evidence of their profound stupidity, we have no choice but to replace our existing infant population with artificially incubated simu-drones, with the eventual goal of phasing out the shamefully stupid human baby forever."
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COLUMBUS, OH--According to reports, area musician Paul Simms, bass player for the local grunge/punk band The Dead Taybacks, was fellated early Sunday morning by an unknown woman. The fellatio, which occurred during a late-night party following a Dead Taybacks show at the Tar Pit in downtown Columbus, was described as "totally rockin'" by Simms, who formerly played bass for Claw Jockey.
Area bassist Paul Simms recently enjoyed oral sex. He attributed the fortuitous encounter to his status as a "rock" musician, which creates a tremendous sexual energy that makes him irresistible to "chicks."
A part-time college student who is currently looking for a place to stay, Simms was unable to identify his fellater, as he passed out shortly thereafter. Nonetheless, he remains optimistic about future occurrences of fellatio in his life, and credits his status as a band member for his fellatio success.
"The whole rock thing--the hair, the ripped clothes, the total disillusionment with the overwhelming, crushing commercialism of modern American life," said Simms, flipping his long, tousled locks out of his eyes with a flip of his hand. "Chicks dig it."
According to witnesses, the fellatio occurred in the alley behind the Tar Pit. At approximately 3:52 a.m., the unknown fellatist unbuckled the belt and lowered the trousers worn by Simms and proceeded to lick, stroke and suck his exposed penis.
"It was awesome," commented Simms. "But don't get the wrong idea here. Fellatio isn't what it's all about. For me, the most important thing is still the music. The beer, the parties and the anonymous random orally induced orgasms are just a tiny part of it."
According to Simms, The Dead Taybacks will soon embark on a five-day tour of southern Ohio, during which he believes he has an excellent chance of receiving additional fellatio.
"I hear we're really big in the Oberlin area," Simms said. "My sister's friend Steve goes to school down there, and she said he thinks he's heard of us."
The Dead Taybacks' first out-of-town date is May 4, when the band will play before an expected 70 people at a Dayton, OH, Knights of Columbus hall.
In addition to the upcoming tour, Simms is hopeful The Dead Taybacks upcoming six-song cassette will also help him land enjoyable oral sex.
"Yeah, we're gonna do a new tape, which will include some songs from our seven-inch EP," Simms said. "A friend of ours borrowed a cassette four-track, so it will be pretty good quality. We'll shop it around, and maybe a local label will pick it up. If not, this record store downtown might sell it on consignment for us. That would be awesome."
Simms said the band has saved "over $75" to record the new cassette, including $11 from a recent show at the Drift-On-Inn Bar and Grill.
"We got paid $40 for that gig," Dead Taybacks drummer and part-time Video Zone clerk Jim Klapisch explained. "But most of that money went toward paying for the flyers."
Band members nevertheless maintain that the money, like the sex, is just a small part of what keeps them going.
"When we get into a van to go to a gig, we rarely talk about how much money we'll pocket or how many babes will be in the audience," Simms said. "After the show, however, that's pretty much all we talk about."
According to sources close to the band, Sunday was no exception, as Simms told bandmates everything he could remember about the previous night's sexual escapade.
Simms also suddenly put off plans to quit the band, though he maintains that his recent sexual encounter had nothing to do with his sudden change of heart.
Experts were not surprised that Simms was the recipient of such a bold sexual favor, one that is not traditionally a casual exchange between partners.
"Being a member of a rock band is very alluring from a sexual standpoint," said Yale University's Nora Hayes, one of the nation's leading authorities on college-area band-related sexual activity. "Men and women in bands are considered 'cool' by their peers, and that, when combined with a visceral, sweaty performance on the part of the musician, makes them very attractive from a mating standpoint."
"That stuff used to happen to me all the time," said Gary Thortle, 29, who played keyboards for Penthouse Sweet while a student at Ohio State. Thortle has since graduated and is now temping for a Columbus-area QualiTemps. "God, I miss those days."
Added former Zen Monkey guitarist and lead singer Ronald Gick: "God, I miss those days."
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The National Institute of Health released the results of a controversial new study today, one that links the drug marijuana to sitting around and getting high. The study, a comprehensive five-year survey of drug use among Americans, also suggests a possible connection between marijuana and getting baked off your ass.
Aside from its uses in making cloth, providing life-saving medicine and constructing rope, the cannabis plant has also been found to get you stoned off your ass.
"We have found that where there's marijuana," explained Institute spokesperson Roger Krell, "there's also a good chance of finding stoners on a couch passing around a bong." Krell added that in such situations, "There is also a strong likelihood of finding incense, a TV, and some chips, usually Ruffles."
Krell would neither confirm nor deny the alleged link between marijuana and Pink Floyd's The Wall. He would confirm, however, that the album rules. "There is some seriously fucked-up shit on that album," he said. "Especially side two. Mother do you think they'll drop the bomb..."
Marijuana, or "pot," as it is called on the street, is a harmless drug that helps you relax and feel mellow. Its only known side-effects are occasional uncontrollable laughter and mild hunger, or "the munchies."
Not everyone agrees with the survey's findings. "Getting high is the least of marijuana's uses," said Matt Henner, President of Hemp For Victory and a total pothead. "The ancient Egyptians used hemp to build the pyramids. In the 1930s, the WPA used it to construct bridges and dams. Today it is used for medicine and as a non-polluting alternative to gasoline." Henner then admitted he was "wasted beyond belief."
According to experts, drug use among 15-24 year olds is cool. "That's really the cool age to do drugs," said U.S. Drug Czar Bertrand Seaver. "When you're young, that's the thing to do. In fact, studies show that teenagers who smoke pot are far more likely to be accepted by the in-crowd."
While drug use among young people is cool, experts say older people who still do drugs are losers. "A young person who does drugs is healthy and normal," said Harvard sociologist Beth Henterpen. "But if a guy's like 45, and he's still getting high, it's like, 'Get a life!'"
Marijuana also has been proven to have the wonderful side-effect of enhanced sexual sensations, enabling some users to achieve transcendental states of erotic bliss. The study found that this link, however, was severely limited in many subjects because they had, due to sitting around all the time, never actually met members of the opposite sex. "But if they did," said Krell, "then it'd be amazing."
So far, the study has met with formal protest by only two groups. The Alabama-based Center for the Christian Family, claimed the findings to be terribly inaccurate, noting marijuana's ability to "make users think they can fly and jump out of buildings, like on Quincy, as well as its tendency to induce demon possession, homicidal rampages, and homosexuality."
Another group to object to the study was California rapping group Cypress Hill. "Marijuana's not linked to sitting around, man... It's linked to cruising the Barrio with a 40 and a 12 gauge, blowing pendejos away," said group member DJ Muggs. "Hand onna pump, puffin' on a blunt... la la la la laaaaaaaaaaa..."
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REDMOND, WA--In what CEO Bill Gates called "an unfortunate but necessary step to protect our intellectual property from theft and exploitation by competitors," the Microsoft Corporation patented the numbers one and zero Monday.
Above: At a press conference beamed live to Microsoft shareholders around the globe, Bill Gates announces the company's patenting of the binary system.
With the patent, Microsoft's rivals are prohibited from manufacturing or selling products containing zeroes and ones--the mathematical building blocks of all computer languages and programs--unless a royalty fee of 10 cents per digit used is paid to the software giant.
"Microsoft has been using the binary system of ones and zeroes ever since its inception in 1975," Gates told reporters. "For years, in the interest of the overall health of the computer industry, we permitted the free and unfettered use of our proprietary numeric systems. However, changing marketplace conditions and the increasingly predatory practices of certain competitors now leave us with no choice but to seek compensation for the use of our numerals."
A number of major Silicon Valley players, including Apple Computer, Netscape and Sun Microsystems, said they will challenge the Microsoft patent as monopolistic and anti-competitive, claiming that the 10-cent-per-digit licensing fee would bankrupt them instantly.
"While, technically, Java is a complex system of algorithms used to create a platform-independent programming environment, it is, at its core, just a string of trillions of ones and zeroes," said Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy, whose company created the Java programming environment used in many Internet applications. "The licensing fees we'd have to pay Microsoft every day would be approximately 327,000 times the total net worth of this company."
"If this patent holds up in federal court, Apple will have no choice but to convert to analog," said Apple interim CEO Steve Jobs, "and I have serious doubts whether this company would be able to remain competitive selling pedal-operated computers running software off vinyl LPs."
As a result of the Microsoft patent, many other companies have begun radically revising their product lines: Database manufacturer Oracle has embarked on a crash program to develop "an abacus for the next millennium." Novell, whose communications and networking systems are also subject to Microsoft licensing fees, is working with top animal trainers on a chimpanzee-based message-transmission system. Hewlett-Packard is developing a revolutionary new steam-powered printer.
Despite the swarm of protest, Gates is standing his ground, maintaining that ones and zeroes are the undisputed property of Microsoft.
Above: Gates explains the new patent to Apple Computer's board of directors. "We will vigorously enforce our patents of these numbers, as they are legally ours," Gates said. "Among Microsoft's vast historical archives are Sanskrit cuneiform tablets from 1800 B.C. clearly showing ones and a symbol known as 'sunya,' or nothing. We also own: papyrus scrolls written by Pythagoras himself in which he explains the idea of singular notation, or 'one'; early tracts by Mohammed ibn Musa al Kwarizimi explaining the concept of al-sifr, or 'the cipher'; original mathematical manuscripts by Heisenberg, Einstein and Planck; and a signed first-edition copy of Jean-Paul Sartre's Being And Nothingness. Should the need arise, Microsoft will have no difficulty proving to the Justice Department or anyone else that we own the rights to these numbers."
Added Gates: "My salary also has lots of zeroes. I'm the richest man in the world."
According to experts, the full ramifications of Microsoft's patenting of one and zero have yet to be realized.
"Because all integers and natural numbers derive from one and zero, Microsoft may, by extension, lay claim to ownership of all mathematics and logic systems, including Euclidean geometry, pulleys and levers, gravity, and the basic Newtonian principles of motion, as well as the concepts of existence and nonexistence," Yale University theoretical mathematics professor J. Edmund Lattimore said. "In other words, pretty much everything."
Lattimore said that the only mathematical constructs of which Microsoft may not be able to claim ownership are infinity and transcendental numbers like pi. Microsoft lawyers are expected to file liens on infinity and pi this week.
Microsoft has not yet announced whether it will charge a user fee to individuals who wish to engage in such mathematically rooted motions as walking, stretching and smiling.
In an address beamed live to billions of people around the globe Monday, Gates expressed confidence that his company's latest move will, ultimately, benefit all humankind.
"Think of this as a partnership," Gates said. "Like the ones and zeroes of the binary code itself, we must all work together to make the promise of the computer revolution a reality. As the world's richest, most powerful software company, Microsoft is number one. And you, the millions of consumers who use our products, are the zeroes."
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LOCK HAVEN, PA--Ashley Daniels is as close as you can get to your typical 9-year-old American girl. A third-grader at Lock Haven Elementary School, she loves rollerblading, her pet hamsters Benny and Oreo, Britney Spears, and, of course, Harry Potter. Having breezed through the most recent Potter opus in just four days, Ashley is among the millions of children who have made Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire the fastest-selling book in publishing history.
Above: Three young Harry Potter fans in Winter Park, FL, recite an ancient Satanic incantation. And, like many of her school friends, Ashley was captivated enough by the strange occult doings at the Hogwarts School Of Witchcraft And Wizardry to pursue the Left-Hand Path, determined to become as adept at the black arts as Harry and his pals.
"I used to believe in what they taught us at Sunday School," said Ashley, conjuring up an ancient spell to summon Cerebus, the three-headed hound of hell. "But the Harry Potter books showed me that magic is real, something I can learn and use right now, and that the Bible is nothing but boring lies."
Ashley is hardly the only child rejecting God these days. Weeks after the release of Goblet, the fourth book in J.K. Rowling's blockbuster kid-lit series, interest in witchcraft continues to skyrocket among children. Across America, Satanic temples are filling to the rafters with youngsters clamoring for instruction in summoning and conjuring.
Over protests from Christian Right leaders, who oppose the books for containing magic--and, by extension, Satanic religious beliefs--millions of children are willing their bodies and souls to Lucifer in unholy blood covenants. In 1995, it was estimated that some 100,000 Americans, mostly adults, were involved in devil-worship groups. Today, more than 14 million children alone belong to the Church of Satan, thanks largely to the unassuming boy wizard from 4 Privet Drive.
"The Harry Potter books are cool, 'cause they teach you all about magic and how you can use it to control people and get revenge on your enemies," said Hartland, WI, 10-year-old Craig Nowell, a recent convert to the New Satanic Order Of The Black Circle. "I want to learn the Cruciatus Curse, to make my muggle science teacher suffer for giving me a D."
"Hermione is my favorite, because she's smart and has a kitty," said 6-year-old Jessica Lehman of Easley, SC. "Jesus died because He was weak and stupid."
But as wild as children are about Harry, no one is happier about the phenomenon than old-school Satanists, who were struggling to recruit new members prior to the publication of the first Potter book in 1997.
"Harry is an absolute godsend to our cause," said High Priest Egan of the First Church Of Satan in Salem, MA. "An organization like ours thrives on new blood--no pun intended--and we've had more applicants than we can handle lately. And, of course, practically all of them are virgins, which is gravy."
With membership in Satanic temples reaching critical mass in some areas, many children have been forced to start their own organizations to worship the Lord Of Lies. Houston 11-year-old Bradley Winters, who purchased Goblet Of Fire with his own allowance money at the stroke of midnight on July 8, organized his own club, Potterites To Destroy Jesus, with his neighborhood pals. An admission fee of $6.66 grants membership to any applicant willing to curse the name of God and have a lightning bolt carved into his or her forehead with an iron dagger.
"The Harry Potter books are awesome!" Winters said. "When I grow up, I'm going to learn Necromancy and summon greater demons to Earth."
It's more than just the kiddie set and Satanists, however, who are rejoicing over Harry's success. Educators nationwide are praising the books for getting children excited about reading.
"It's almost impossible to find a book that can compete with those PlayStation games, but Harry Potter has done it," said Gulfport (MS) Middle School principal Frank Grieg. "I have this one student in the fifth grade who'd never read a book before in his life. Now he's read Sorcerer's Stone, Prisoner Of Azkaban, Chamber Of Secrets, Goblet Of Fire, The Seven Scrolls Of The Black Rose, The Necronomicon, The Satanic Bible, The Origin Of Species--you name it."
Less pleased are Christian leaders, who see Pottermania as a serious threat to their way of life.
"Children are very impressionable," said Dr. Andrea Collins of Focus On Faith, a Denver-based Christian think-tank and advocacy group. "These books do not merely depict one or two uses of magic spells or crystal balls. We're talking about hundreds of occult invocations. The natural, intuitive leap from reading a Harry Potter book to turning against God and worshipping Satan is very easy for a child to make, as the numbers have shown."
"These books are truly magical," Collins added, "and therefore dangerous."
But such protests are falling on largely deaf ears, especially in the case of Harry's creator.
"I think it's absolute rubbish to protest children's books on the grounds that they are luring children to Satan," Rowling told a London Times reporter in a July 17 interview. "People should be praising them for that! These books guide children to an understanding that the weak, idiotic Son Of God is a living hoax who will be humiliated when the rain of fire comes, and will suck the greasy cock of the Dark Lord while we, his faithful servants, laugh and cavort in victory."
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TOKYO--Television watching became even more convenient this week with Sony's introduction of a new remote-controlled remote control.
A viewer enjoys the new remote-controlled remote control. The new device, which can be controlled via remote control through the use of a second remote control unit, will replace older models that needed to be held in the hand to be operable.
"Constantly leaning forward to pick up the remote control from the coffee table is a tiresome, cumbersome chore that will soon be a thing of the past," Sony director of product development Dan Ninomiya said. "These new remotes, should they be left on the coffee table or in some other barely-hard-to-reach place, will not need to be picked up and actually pointed at the screen in order to work."
The new remote control--along with the additional remote it is designed to control--will soon come standard with all Sony televisions, allowing viewers to remain "more immobile, more stationary, and more physically inert than ever before."
"Imagine a remote control capable of switching channels on your television right from its spot on the table, one that requires no clumsy fumbling about with the hands to operate," Ninomiya said. "Well, that bold, inactive future is here."
The Sony remote-controlled remote control, or RCRC, also puts an end to worries about losing the remote in the couch.
"The RCRC works from anywhere in the room, even deep inside a hide-a-bed sofa," a Sony press release read. "This puts an end to distracting remote searches, frustrating lifting and stacking of cushions, as well as eventual cushion replacement after retrieval, an annoying task that can sometimes result in missed programming and, in some cases, serious waste of valuable television-viewing time."
As an added convenience, in the event that the RCRC itself is accidentally placed in a less-than-immediately-accessible spot, it will come with an additional third remote control.
"Should the second remote end up under a magazine or newspaper, the third remote will still be capable of controlling the second remote, enabling the second remote to change channels on the first one, and ultimately the television itself, with just the touch of a button," Sony spokesperson Rich Hervey explained. "Regardless of the location of the remote control unit, the ease and comfort of remote-control television viewing will be assured."
To ensure that the third remote is not lost as well, it will come with a handy adhesive pad affixing it to the owner's forehead at all times. Or, in the case of more expensive models, it be implanted directly within the sinus passages of the user.
"This," Hervey said, "will make the loss of the third remote control a possibility that is, at most, remote."
Home entertainment industry insiders predict that the new RCRCs will be hugely successful.
"These things are fantastic," said Seated Viewing Magazine editor Ted Kohrs at a recent Las Vegas trade show demonstrating the new product. "I've been here all morning and my heart's only beaten six times!"
It is believed that the new Sony remote may prove even more popular than competitor Toshiba's new Pepsinjection intravenous soda-drip televisions as the hot home entertainment item for 1997.
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WASHINGTON, DC--In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Wizco Toys of Montclair, NJ, recalled 245,000 Aqua Assault RoboFighters Monday after three dumb kids managed to kill themselves playing with the popular toy, ruining the fun for everybody else.
Above: The Aqua Assault RoboFighter, an awesome toy children can no longer enjoy, thanks to stupid Weiller, Torres, and Krug (L to R).
"The tragedy is inconceivable," Wizco president Alvin Cassidy said. "For years, countless children played with the Aqua Assault RoboFighter without incident. But then these three retards come along and somehow find a way to get themselves killed. So now we have to do a full recall and halt production on what was a really awesome toy. What a waste."
"My mom won't let me play with my RoboFighter because of those dumb kids who died," said 10-year-old Jeremy Daigle of Somerville, MA. "I used to set up army guys around the RoboFighter and have it run over them and conquer Earth for the Zardaxians. But now I'll never see it again, all because three stupid idiots had to go and wreck everything."
Each of the deaths was determined to be the result of gross misuse of the toy, an incredibly cool device that could shoot both plastic missiles and long jets of water, as well as maneuver over the ground on retractable wheels.
The first death occurred June 22, when 7-year-old Isaac Weiller of Grand Junction, CO, died after deliberately firing one of the spring-loaded plastic missiles into his left nostril. The missile shot into his sinuses, shattering the roof of his nasal cavity and causing a massive brain hemorrhage.
Shortly before dying, Weiller told emergency medical personnel at St. Luke's Medical Center that he had shot the missile into his nose in the belief that it would travel through his body and out his belly button.
"I've heard some pretty stupid shit in my time, but that has to take the cake," said Dr. Anderson Hunt, the attending physician. "Why would any kid think he could fire plastic missiles up his nose and expect them to come out his belly button? There's no point in feeling bad about this child's demise, because the deck was obviously stacked against him from the start. What we should feel bad about is the fact that because of him, millions of other children will no longer get to fire the RoboFighter's super-cool Devastator Missiles or soak their friends with its FunFoam WaterBlasters."
Above: Joshua Schatzeder of Grand Rapids, MI, is forced to play with a boring little fire truck as a result of the recall. Less than one month after Weiller's death, 5-year-old Danielle Krug fatally suffocated on fragments of the toy after repeatedly smashing it with a claw hammer in the garage of her parents' La Porte, IN, home.
"I'm not kidding," said Dianne Ensor, an emergency-room nurse at Our Lady Of Peace Hospital in La Porte, where Krug was pronounced dead. "She thought the broken shards were candy. That's what you'd assume after breaking a plastic, inedible toy, right? Absolutely un-fucking-believable."
The third and arguably stupidest death occurred August 12, when 11-year-old dumbass Michael Torres held the RoboFighter above his head and jumped off the balcony of his family's third-story Torrance, CA, apartment, thinking he would be able to fly like Superman.
"A couple of my fellow emergency workers thought we should cut the kid some slack, because at least he wasn't trying to eat the toy or shove it up his nose," said paramedic Debra Lindfors, who tried in vain to revive Torres. "I considered this for a while, but then I decided no. No way. If you're 11 years old, you should know that it's impossible to fly. And poor Wizco's probably going to go bankrupt because of this shit."
As a result of the extreme idiocy of the three children, the CPSC was forced to order Wizco to stop making the toy and remove it from store shelves, as well as recommend that parents remove it from their homes.
"I know the overwhelming majority of American kids who owned an Aqua Assault RoboFighter derived many hours of safe, responsible fun from it," CPSC commissioner Mary Sheila Gall said. "But, statistically speaking, three deaths stemming from contact with a particular toy constitutes an 'unreasonable risk.' Look, I'm really sorry about this. Honestly. But our agency's job is to protect the public from hazardous products, even if those who die are morons who deserved what they got."
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NEW YORK--A report released Monday by NYU's Center For Media Studies has found that television, accused by experts of diminishing children's attention spans and discouraging them from interacting with others, can actually help children as young as six months develop essential looking skills.
"In a study of over 5,000 children nationwide," the report read, "those who watched cartoons for three hours had vastly increased looking capacities when tested the next day, compared to children who were encouraged to play sports and board games with other children for the same three-hour period. Staring and gazing skills were also markedly higher."
Data gathered in the study also indicated that visual-reception skills acquired at an early age tend to become lifelong assets.
"Extensive testing of adults who grew up in homes without television showed that such adults had difficulty staring blankly at things for longer than a few seconds," Center For Media Studies director Dr. Edward DeGaetano said. "They frequently shifted their gaze and focus around the testing environment, often engaging others in the room in conversation and generally making a lot of disruptive noise and movement. Television-enriched adults, however, could sit and look at anything: a spot on the ceiling, a fire-alarm box, a stack of magazines on a table."
"And even when the non-television-enriched adults could manage to look at a magazine," DeGaetano said, "rather than deep-focus on the cover, they would open it and start restlessly looking at words and turning the pages."
The NYU study is seen as a major victory for television advocates.
"Fifty years ago, U.S. children were ranked almost dead-last worldwide in looking skills," said child-development expert Dr. Sandy Wexler. "The past five decades have witnessed remarkable progress in that area, so much so that U.S. children now lead the world. Students in supposedly progressive nations like Sweden and France score far lower than Americans in standardized looking tests."
Wexler pointed to TV as the primary reason for the improvement, along with increased media attention, including the best-selling 1977 book Why Johnny Can't Look and NBC's early-'80s "How To Watch Television" public-service announcements.
"These 30-second spots starring zany comedian Lenny Schultz left no ambiguity in the minds of children who viewed them about how to properly watch television," Wexler said.
President Clinton praised the nation's children for their looking prowess at a press conference Tuesday. He also announced the launch of a $1 billion "Looking Good, America!" initiative designed to provide impoverished children with badly needed televisions.
"Far too many of our economically disadvantaged young people," Clinton said, "have nothing better than outdated black-and-white sets, dating back to the '80s or even '70s, to look at."
The president concluded with the sad tale of Beckley, WV, 10-year-old Nicholas Mullins, who, according to Clinton, gets all of his television from "a 1982 black-and-white Zenith TV with a 13-inch screen, an antenna fashioned from a coathanger and aluminum foil, and an unpredictable vertical hold."
"Child-development statistics tell us that Nicholas will probably do no better than graduate from high school looking at a third-grade level," Clinton said. "If we cannot give Nicholas a better chance in life, then we as a nation have failed him."
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LOUISVILLE, KY--Despite expectations that a group of adults playing the physically demanding Milton Bradley game would degenerate into a sexual free-for-all, University of Louisville graduate student Amanda Corcoran's invite-only Twister party failed to get dirty, a disappointed party attendee reported Saturday.
Above: The disappointingly wholesome Twister party. "When I heard about the Twister theme, I was, like, excellent--everyone climbing all over each other, getting real close," said partygoer and fellow graduate student Bryan Astbury. "Turns out, it wasn't so debauched after all. After 20 minutes, everyone just went back to drinking and talking about how the Clintons had to return all that furniture. Total letdown."
"I guess I just figured 'Twister party' was code for 'naked gropefest,'" Astbury said. "Why else would you throw a Twister party? Especially an invite-only one, thereby pre-selecting the bodies you want co-mingling."
Though participants were all between the ages of 20 and 30--well within their peak years of sexual activity--the physical contortions necessitated by the popular body-contact game for ages three and up failed to whip anyone but Astbury into a libidinous frenzy.
"Amanda has a lot of good-looking friends," Astbury said. "I thought, here's my chance to rub up against some of those hotties from the English department. But it didn't really turn out like I imagined."
The first round of spins, sources said, elicited churlish laughter from Astbury, as well as comments such as, "Watch where you put that hand!" and "Hey, that's sexual harassment!" The fun, however, remained steadfastly wholesome.
"Tina [Richter] spun a 'right foot blue' and was on top of me in almost a '69' position," Astbury said. "It was pretty obvious to me that we were in a sexual position, but she seemed totally oblivious. Then, with her next spin, Tina moved her right foot back over to yellow, and the excitement was over."
Upon receiving his invitation in the mail, Astbury said he imagined a playful progression from light fondling to "Naked Co-Ed Twister" to an hour of fellatio courtesy of three or four of Corcoran's female friends. But despite such hopes, injuries rather than eroticism became the dominant theme of the evening: On his third turn, Astbury fell backward on the slippery plastic game board and sprained his ankle.
"I never realized how much less limber I am at 27 than I was at 20," Astbury said. "I thought the 'falling on each other' aspect of the game would give me a chance to graze Danielle [Simon]'s breasts or at least get a peek down her blouse, but instead I slipped and had to sit on the couch with an ice pack."
Corcoran said she conceived of the Twister party several months ago as a way to kick off spring break, when her graduate-student friends would be eager to "cut loose" after months of grueling classes. She denied any intention of using the children's game as sexual pretext.
"I thought Twister would be a perfect way for everyone to just laugh and let their hair down a little," Corcoran said. "Plus, not everybody knows each other, so it's a good ice-breaker. I just figured people would play one game and then head to the hors d'oeuvres table."
Sandra Haitte, author of the party-resource manual Fun Time, Party Time, said Astbury's expectations of sexual mischief were not entirely unfounded.
"Sexually suggestive party games are a great facilitator for people too boring to have fun on their own," Haitte said. "Adding off-color phrases to a game of Pictionary, holding a 'pajama party,' or throwing a sexy Valentine's Day costume party--these are activities that free up dull people to flirt and exchange innuendoes they might otherwise be too fearful or not clever enough to pull off."
Though the party failed to devolve into an orgy, Astbury, who will be on crutches for the next few weeks, said it was not a total loss.
"Don't get me wrong," Astbury said. "I'm glad I went. When I told some of my other friends that I sprained my ankle playing Twister with a bunch of women, they were pretty impressed. I just wish I had a little more to brag about."
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Before an emergency joint session of Congress yesterday, President Clinton announced U.S. plans to deploy over 75,000 vowels to the war-torn region of Bosnia. The deployment, the largest of its kind in American history, will provide the region with the critically needed letters A, E, I, O and U, and is hoped to render countless Bosnian names more pronounceable.
"For six years, we have stood by while names like Ygrjvslhv and Tzlynhr and Glrm have been horribly butchered by millions around the world," Clinton said. "Today, the United States must finally stand up and say, 'Enough.' It is time the people of Bosnia finally had some vowels in their incomprehensible words. The U.S. is proud to lead the crusade in this noble endeavor."
The deployment, dubbed Operation Vowel Storm by the State Department, is set for early next week, with the Adriatic port cities of Sjlbvdnzv and Grzny slated to be the first recipients. Two C-130 transport planes, each carrying over 500 24-count boxes of "E's," will fly from Andrews Air Force base across the Atlantic and airdrop the letters over the cities.
Citizens of Grzny and Sjlbvdnzv eagerly await the arrival of the vowels.
"My God, I do not think we can last another day, Trszg Grzdnjlkn, 44, said. "I have six children and none of them has a name that is understandable to me or anyone else. Mr. Clinton, please send my poor, wretched family just one 'E.' Please."
Said Sjlbvdnzv resident Grg Hmphrs, 67: "With just a few key letters, I could be George Humphries. That is my dream."
If the initial airlift is successful, Clinton said the United States will go ahead with full-scale vowel deployment, with C-130s airdropping thousands more letters over every area of Bosnia. Other nations are expected to pitch in as well, including 10,000 British "A's" and 6,500 Canadian "U's." Japan, rich in A's and O's, was asked to participate in the relief effort, but declined.
"With these valuable letters, the people of war-ravaged Bosnia will be able to make some terrific new words," Clinton said. "It should be very exciting for them, and surely much easier for us to read their maps."
Linguists praise the U.S.'s decision to send the vowels. For decades they have struggled with the hard consonants and difficult pronunciation of most Slavic words.
"Vowels are crucial to the construction of all language," Baylor University linguist Noam Frankel said. "Without them, it would be difficult to utter a single word, much less organize a coherent sentence. Please, don't get me started on the moon-man language they use in those Eastern European countries."
According to Frankel, once the Bosnians have vowels, they will be able to construct such valuable sentences as: "The potatoes are ready"; "I believe it will rain"; and "All my children are dead from the war."
The American airdrop represents the largest deployment of any letter to a foreign country since 1984. During the summer of that year, the U.S. shipped 92,000 consonants to Ethiopia, providing cities like Ouaououa, Eaoiiuae and Aao with vital, life-giving supplies of L's S's and T's. The consonant-relief effort failed, however, when vast quantities of the letters were intercepted and horded by violent, gun-toting warlords.
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