If ever a year needed ending, this is it. I'll be toasting it 3 hours before many of you, so enjoy it.
If you were intrigued by the theory that Osama bin Laden is hiding in Iran, here's more confirmation of it:
And what would any holiday be without a little domestic terrorism?
Fruitcakes Face Machine-Gun Fire
RENO, Nev. (Reuters) - Drop it from a tall building? Hardly a scratch. Shoot it with a submachine gun? It survives.
But run it over with a sport utility vehicle or kick it like a football and it crumbles, according to a just published investigation into that evergreen Christmas question: How can you get rid of the fruitcake?
The Reno Gazette-Journal, in an effort to rid its readers' homes of the unloved seasonal treat, mounted a series of experiments to determine the best way to destroy a gift "nearly everyone receives and few actually want.''
"The SUV was what did them in most definitively,'' Camille Hayes, the Gazette-Journal reporter who organized the fruitcake survival test, said on Thursday.
Hayes marshaled several aides and, using store-bought fruitcakes, organized the punishment.
The first test involved dropping fruitcakes from the roof of a two-story house onto a concrete basketball court.
"In the moments before it was let fly, our team wondered if the fruitcake would shatter, bounce or remain intact. The answer was none of the above,'' Hayes recounted.
Instead, the cake survived the drop relatively unscathed, exhibiting only a few "fissures'' in its dense body.
The second test involved running over a fruitcake with a 3,000-pound sport utility vehicle. This proved to be more effective, leaving a "tire-marked, raisin-flecked smear on the asphalt,'' Hayes wrote.
A third test, submitting the fruitcake to the power of a football place kicker, was also gratifying, resulting in an explosion of candied fruit as the fruitcake disintegrated.
Strangely, a uniquely Nevada-style solution to the fruitcake problem -- shooting them with submachine guns -- proved disappointing, Hayes said. "Nevada is a state in which machine guns are legal to own and operate, so I thought it would be a treat to see what one did,'' Hayes said.
Not much, as it turned out. Pummeling a pair of target fruitcakes with two M-11 fully automatic submachine guns resulted in only minor damage, Hayes reported.
"The larger cake proved especially resilient. Rather than shattering it into the smithereens we had expected, the volley of bullets merely nibbled at its edges. And as for the dark center of the beast, it proved too dense to lose its shape.''
Hayes said her fruitcake demolition campaign had garnered largely favorable reviews from the readers of the Reno Gazette, and that she might try again next year with some more ambitious strategies -- like dropping fruitcakes from a helicopter.
But if you think they're serious in Nevada, try England...
Xmas Rage Mars Festive Season for Some
LONDON (Reuters) - While thousands of Britons flocked to the shops in a last-minute Christmas gift-buying frenzy on Monday, the pressure to be festive proved just a little too much for three harassed women.
Liz Mace, a mother of five, was so irritated that all her family wanted to do was slump in front of the television instead of helping to decorate the Christmas tree that she hurled the set out of the house.
And in a case of turkey rage, two women came to blows over the last frozen bird in a south Wales supermarket.
Mace, 40, was said to have wrenched the family television from its socket, carried to the front door, lifted it over her head and thrown it out of the house.
According to The Times newspaper, the sound of it smashing as it rolled down the front steps of her home in Southampton, southern England, had the desired affect and the family began hanging decorations on the tree.
"I felt much better afterwards,'' Mace was quoted as saying. ''Unfortunately we hadn't budgeted for a new one. We will have to make do with board games.''
In the turkey incident, two unidentified women were said to have tussled over the last turkey in a supermarket in the town of Barry, with, inevitably, only one emerging victorious. The pair met later in the car park and, according to The Guardian newspaper, the turkey-less woman snapped at her rival: ''I hope you burn it on Christmas Day.''
In a response said to have been recorded by the store's security cameras, the woman with the turkey hit her rival over the head with it.
A police spokesman was quoted as saying: "An alleged assault took place and the woman had some of her hair pulled out. Whatever happened to peace and goodwill at Christmas?''
And finally, the pinnacle of Christmas fear,
Man Exits Bunker When Beer Thirst Overtakes Xmas Dread
LONDON (Reuters) - A British man who went underground behind blast-proof doors and thick concrete to avoid a family Christmas has emerged early because he was "dying for a pint'' of beer.
Colin Wood, a 30-year-old financial services worker, entered the decommissioned nuclear bunker in Essex, east of London, on Thursday and planned to stay for another week.
"It was great but I was dying for a pint and the idea of a spending another week was too much,'' he told Reuters Monday.
Wood paid $430 at an Internet auction for a two-week stay in the bunker.
He said he took such extreme action because he abhorred Christmas and all its trimmings.
"It's OK in theory but the running around, the buying of presents for people you don't like, the family bickering, the endless turkey and terrible films on TV are just too much,'' he said.
See you all in 2002,
27 December 2001