"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 7 May 2001. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Dear Tiny Little Penis

Week: April 29-May 5, 2001
Counterfactual: What if the United States had won the Vietnam War, and Cop Rock had been a huge hit?

Entertainment: Mitchell's the sole Survivor

The tribe has spoken: Gangling galoot Mitchell Olson, the unpopular but tenacious aspiring singer/songwriter from Union City, NJ, is the winner of Survivor II: The Cambodian Rain Forest. "The other contestants hated him, and he wasn't very good in the competitions, but he really has a way with a lyric," marveled Survivor producer Mark Burnett. "You know, these days, the only thing anybody cares about is the musical numbers, and Mitchell had them down cold." But luck also had a hand in Mitchell's victory, Survivor experts agree: In the final weeks of competition, the smart money was on Michael Skupin, the Michigan software executive whose quest for the million ended when he was blown to smithereens by an anti-personnel mine.

World: President Kerrey proposes new missile defense

With the Soviet Union growing more aggressive by the day, the Kerrey Administration is planning new upgrades to the Star Wars missile defense system, including starfighter squadrons and a moon-based death ray. The new anti-ballistic missile system, named for an obscure science fiction film from the 1970s, will shield the continental United States from all incoming attacks, says Secretary of State Calley. At a White House coffee last week, President Bob Kerrey announced plans to celebrate the deployment of the system by dropping nuclear weapons on Moscow.

Faith: Pope apologizes to Devil

Pope Nguyen Phuc III, in an emotional address to the United Nations, has asked forgiveness of Lucifer, the Prince of Darkness, for "centuries of persecution and misunderstanding." The carefully worded statement omitted direct reference to the exorcisms that have caused tension between the two camps. The apology was widely viewed as both a timely attempt to mend fences and a personal triumph for Nguyen Phuc III, who has long worked to bridge differences between Good and Evil. Satan called the statement "encouraging," and broke into throaty, maniacal laughter as the two world leaders embraced.

Business: Green Berets parody too close for comfort, court rules

An Atlanta court has ruled that The Black PJs Alice Randall's "retelling" of Robin Moore's classic novel The Green Berets "from the Vietnamese perspective," infringes on the copyright of Moore's original. But Randall's attorney has vowed to continue the fight to get the book published. Although the Federal District Court in Atlanta blocked the novel's publication , the United States Court of for the 11th Circuit is to hear an appeal from the book's publishers on May 25. The book is a variant telling of Moore's story, focusing on a fictional Viet Cong half-brother of the original story's "Colonel Mike Kirby." Randall maintains that the book is a parody of the original, not a sequel. "I hoped to create an antidote to the poisonous text of Moore's story," Randall says. The controversy may have as much to do with America's most cherished beliefs as it does with copyright issues. Even President Kerrey admits to having been "inspired" by the message of Moore's book and a subsequent John Wayne film during his victory over a North Vietnamese regiment at the battle of Thanh Phong. Last year's Broadway musical version of The Green Berets swept the Tony awards and set box office records.

Movies: Action! Hollywood songwriters narrowly avert strike

Tinseltown is singing a new song as movie and television moguls have reached a deal for a three-year contract worth $14 million in increases for lyricists and composers. The 3.5 percent increase heads off a threatened strike by the Movietainment Guild that was expected to shut down production — a threat that had sent shudders through the industry. "This is really satisfying," says guild chairman John Milius, who wrote the Oscar-winning book and lyrics for 1995's Saving Lieutenant Kerrey. "It shows that the producers understand you can't have a movie — any movie — without professional musical numbers." Milius scoffs at producers' arguments that poor box office returns and a faltering economy have made cuts in writer salaries inevitable. "Just wait and see how Jerry Bruckheimer's Tet opens," he says.

Music: Country Joe and the Fish still dominate charts

With his timeless Vietnam War-era anthems, Country Joe MacDonald continues to be the first and last word in popular music. The front man for Country Joe and the Fish celebrated nearly four decades at the top of the Billboard charts this week with a benefit concert in the Vietnamese capital of Nixontown. Having scored the top-selling album spot in seven out of the last ten years, MacDonald angered many fans last month by criticizing Administration plans to lower the draft age to 12. But fans and critics alike can never stay mad at Joe for long. "This is TV sweeps month," MacDonald notes. "This time of year everybody's after me to come up with bigger and better musical numbers."

Courtesy of The Sucksters

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