Ha. Trick question. They're all true. Yes, just when you thought it was safe to pick up the newspaper again, here comes news from supermarket checkout aisles everywhere. You know, you can pick up quite a bit of information as you're loading your bread and milk onto the short conveyor belt. Quite a wide variety of human (and even avian) interest stories are just about eye level with the irresistible candy and gum racks strategically placed right in front of the cash register.
The four stories mentioned in paragraph one are quite tame compared to some, even though all of the above are true. Birds did actually fall from the sky in Beebe, Ark., on New Year's Eve. Reports said about 3,000 red-winged blackbirds started hitting the decks, the roofs, the streets, the light posts and everything else in town. Some residents said it looked like the birds did kamikaze nosedives straight to the ground. No word yet on what caused the mass downward migration, but if scientists find out, I hope they can make the same thing happen to mosquitoes in July.
In Washington, even prior to being sworn in officially, Republicans were already saying how their second order of business (after the reading of the Constitution), is to begin repealing Obamacare. That one's really not so far-fetched when you consider that last year's vote on the proposal didn't exactly have bipartisan support. Nancy Pelosi had to promise more than a few bridges, overpasses and military contracts to various and sundry congressional districts before securing enough votes to eke out a majority on that issue.
The uncollected trash story is totally New York. As you may recall, the Big Apple had a bit of a snowstorm inundate the city this month. Some 30 inches of global warming blanketed the boroughs. From all reports, sanitation workers decided to celebrate the event by taking their sweet time picking up holiday refuse off the streets. That resulted in huge piles of plastic bags lining sidewalks, serving mainly to tick off tourists and residents alike. The guy who purposely did a swan dive into one such pile can now claim to be a Christmas miracle as he was saved by bags of wadded up wrapping paper, those white peanuts that fill shipping boxes, and ugly sweaters from Aunt Edna that were immediately discarded upon opening.
As for Donald Duck, I'm just not sure how that one's going to play out. The story, it seems, is that "Donald" allegedly groped a woman at Disney's Epcot theme park a couple of years ago. She claims the encounter left her with "post-traumatic stress in the form of nightmares, digestive problems and other permanent injuries." Hmmm. I suppose if you're five years old it's possible for a giant duck not to be tolerated in one's dreams, but a grown woman? Now if it were Goofy, that would be another matter. Mickey has apparently been called as a character witness.
In other news, you'll be happy to hear that some degree of sanity has crept into the world of sensationalistic television. A proposed show depicting the autopsy of Michael Jackson has been shelved. Apparently they couldn't find an African-American actor willing to undergo 35 surgeries to end up looking mostly like a white guy. Oh, by the way, tabloid reports say Jackson faked his own death too.
Also seen in the checkout aisle: Ronald Reagan's son, Ron, makes mention in a new book about his father that the ex-president may have been showing signs of Alzheimer's a bit earlier than reported. (Did I just hear a chorus of naysayers scream, "Aha. I told you so.?") And in other things to ponder, it seems Michele Obama is pregnant, Sarah Palin is gay, Megan Fox is really a man, Miley Cyrus is going to pose for Playboy, Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez got married in the Caribbean over the holidays, and massage therapists really don't care for Brett Favre.
See what you miss when you use the drive-thru and skip the grocery?
Oh, one more item mentioned in the Fourth Estate folderol: You can now apparently sell your soul to the devil. But then, you knew all this talk would come back to politics in the end, didn't you?
Bill Lewis is a freelance writer living in Marietta.