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Staunton, Va. (AP)-- With thunderous applause, Virginia Governor George Allen was greeted today by a large crowd of perhaps 8000 citizens in this the home of the Statler Brothers and birthplace of Herbert Hoover. Allen was on hand with other local dignitaries to preside over a ribbon cutting at the new Ortho Bugicide plant on this Earth Day.

"This safe, modern plant is part of my vision for the Commonwealth," said Allen to a standing ovation. "I feel this is a particularly apt way to celebrate Earth Day. For not only will this plant employ 2500 Virginians while improving the local air and water, the product of this factory will be used all over the country for the care and preservation of lawns, golf courses, forests, and other natural areas. Now that's actually doing something positive for the Earth while Virginia continues to grow."

The new Ortho plant was designed from the ground up by engineers in Virginia Polytechnic's new College of Clean Industry. Its engineers expected the plant to produce cleaner effluent than the water it buys from the city. And its cutting-edge scrubbers are actually designed to improve air quality in the Shendandoah Valley. Said engineer P. Ewing Phlachent, "What we're looking at is class one quality air under the Clean Air Act in Western Virginia after the plant becomes operational." The new plant will produce a wide variety of insecticides for use by farmers, groundskeepers and private individuals.

Donning a forest green hard hat, Allen toured the plant with his newly appointed Administrator of Industrial Growth Expedition and Environmental Policy, Helen Oakfeller. Allen was shown the massive 50 foot deep kettles where new space age insecticides will be brewed. Allen asked what was the purpose of a large red handle that protruded near the door. "That's the kettle ejector switch," said Phlachent, "If, at the high temperatures of brewing, the kettle should crack, this switch will cause the kettle to be launched through the retractable factory roof assemblage, protecting our employees from contact with hot insecticide concentrate. It's an important safety feature." To this Allen responded enthusiastically, "Now this is an example of the new vision of industry in Virginia; concern for the employees, the man just trying to earn an honest living. I'd like to see such vision in all future industrial installations in this Commonwealth." Oakfeller was impressed by the color scheme used throughout the hallways and offices of the plant. "The pinks and greens really accent the vitality and cleanliness of this workplace," she said.

Ortho Vice-President Peter Inyirash presented Allen with a statue of a deer carved out of wood from a Beech tree that had to be removed for the factory's construction. Said Allen of the statue, "This is so beautiful and so alive; it's good to see Virginia's resources so wisely put to use."

Allen mingled with the crowd and shook hands briefly after touring the factory.


Philadelphia (AP)-- While Bill Clinton may find his standing in the polls shaky at best, he should thank his lucky stars he isn't a snake or a spider.

On Saturday, the Gallup Polling Organization released the results of its "creatures" poll. Gallup sampled the opinions of a broad spectrum of Americans concerning such creatures as weeds, snakes, and spiders, as well as bunnies, kittens, and songbirds. While bunnies faired quite well, a majority of Americans expressed a desire to eradicate snakes, weeds, bugs and spiders permanently from the face of the earth.

3,500 people were sampled randomly from all regions of the country and were asked whether each of these various creatures should "be allowed to increase their numbers," "be held at present numbers," "have their numbers decreased" or "be eliminated completely."

Most Americans agree that snakes, weeds, bugs and spiders should be completely eliminated. Spiders faired particularly poorly, with 93% of Americans feeling that they should be eliminated completely. Snakes didn't do much better, with 84% of Americans calling for their total extermination. Only 3% of Americans feel that snake and spider numbers should increase. Among southerners, snakes were hated more, whereas in the North, spiders were the principle villains. Men tend to favor more the elimination of snakes, whereas women wish for the extermination of spiders.

One woman hated spiders so much that she covered her ballot with more than a dozen of their crushed remains, along with the smeared remains of a number of bugs.

61% of Americans believe all weeds should be eliminated from the earth. Interestingly, among people who live in urban areas, weeds were actually as popular as songbirds, while among suburbanites, weeds were least popular, with 90% of them feeling weeds should be exterminated. Among residents of rural areas, 78% feel weeds should be eliminated completely.

Bunnies received much popular support; 91% of Americans feel that their numbers should increase. Songbirds and kittens received somewhat less support; with only about half of those polled responding that their numbers should increase. Interesting, 21% of Americans feel that songbirds should be eliminated completely, perhaps because of frequent trips to the carwash necessitated by bird droppings. Much of the support for bunnies and kittens in the south appeared to be among white men who make less than 15 thousand dollars a year and who believe the 2nd Amendment is the most important part of the Constitution.

The poll has a 3% margin of error.

Allen gets funky with the red handle.

From left: Ortho Vice-President Peter Inyirash, Engineer P. Ewing Phlachent, an unknown plant employee and Governor George Allen inspect a safety feature at the Ortho Bugicide Plant. A massive insecticide brewing kettle is visible in the background on the right (AP Laserphoto).






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