MONDAY, NOVEMBER 5 According to a report issued by the Labor Department today, the number of laid-off workers on unemployment has reached an 18-year high, jumping from an average 46,000 jobless claims to a whopping 450,000. That sucks! To find out more about how people are dealing with this unemployment trauma, see this week's feature on page 8. In the meantime, at least one man has figured out a creative way of making some moo-lah-lah: Selling ass-kickings on Ebay. Today, the online auction site features a man who will gladly provide a good ass-kicking, no matter where you live, to the highest bidder. And just in case you're interested in getting your ass kicked (listen up, John Ashcroft!), here is the man's description. "I am 6'0" and weigh over 230 lbs. If you win this auction, I will personally come to your house and kick your ass. I guarantee I will not break any bones or kill you, nor will I use any weapons, but I will give you a good beating. Buyer provides round-trip plane ticket to the nearest airport, as well as cab fare to your house and back. Do not pick me up, as I will be attacking you randomly. Buyer must also provide clear directions to their house, as well as any expenses if I need to stay in a hotel or buy food. Most likely though, I will just fly in, kick your ass, and leave. Upon arrival, I will select a random time to kick your ass. It may be when you are sleeping, showering, or any other time when you are most vulnerable. During this beating I may damage one or more of your household items, if I knock over furniture when you attempt to run from me. This should be expected by you, and covered in my expenses. Bidding starts at one cent ($0.01). I will accept check, money order, or Paypal. Or you could just let me use your valid credit card for a few days and we'll call it even."

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 6 From the "frankly, we really don't care" file, self-proclaimed "King of Pop" Michael Jackson announced today that he thinks he has anthrax. In an interview for the London paper, News of the World, Jackson told his pal, famous spoon-bending psychic Uri Geller, the following: "I don't know if I should say this--but I'm very sick. They're going to test me and the children for anthrax. We're all very sick right now My chest burns very, very much. It's hard to breathe. And when I swallow, it stings." The absolutely sane Jackson then went on to describe how he and Princess Diana had discussed marriage (Koo-Koo! Koo-Koo!), and how he was often beaten up by his father Joe Jackson, as a child: "Whenever I'm in the presence of my father--even now--I feel dizzy like I am going to faint." However, according to Jacko's publicist, Howard Rubenstein (aka, the man with the worst job in the world), Jackson does NOT have anthrax. "That must have been a rumor, spread by a terrorist," he replied. A rumor? Spread by a terrorist? Wake up and smell the coffee, Rubenstein! Your client is CRAZY!!! (Unless, of course, you believe Princess Di's death was a suicide.)

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 7 Facing a decline of support in the polls, as well as from foreign leaders, President Bush pulled out all the stops today to convince the world that incessant bombing is the key to capturing Osama bin Laden--even if this means speaking in hiphop language. Bush accused bin Laden of seeking chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons (you know, those things America already has) to pursue "mad global ambitions." And while the Prez gave mad props to our allies, he didn't want their weakening resolve to co-opt his steez, yo. "We will not wait for more innocent deaths," Bush said. "We must now act now because we must lift this dark threat from our age." Oblivious to his own racial slur, Bush went on to further embarrass countless Americans with the following rant on how evil those Middle-Easterners are: "They kill, then rejoice over the murders; steal food from their own people; destroy religious monuments; forbid children to fly kites, sing songs, or build snowmen." While we can't imagine the Taliban having many opportunities to build snowmen, we can totally understand their aversion to kite flying. After all, why buy a perfectly good kite, when America will just bomb the shit out of it?

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 8 Though President Bush has been employing overblown verbiage to convince Americans of the righteousness of his cause, he might find it easier to swing people over to his way of thinking by implementing the results published in a scientific study released by the Massachusetts Hospital today. According to researchers there, the reward centers in the brains of men between the ages of 21 and 28 respond equally to money, cocaine, and beautiful women. The young male subjects were shown 80 pictures of women whose looks ranged from "average" to "beautiful" and were allowed to choose which ones they would rather look at by pressing a keypad. Unsurprisingly, according to psychiatrist Hans Breiter, these horny dudes "were key-pressing 6,000 times over 40 minutes. That's as much as a rat bar-presses for cocaine." He then added, "These pictures had as much reward value as cocaine, as food, as money, and that was remarkable." Now, it seems to us President Bush could use this information to rally support in his bid to kill more Afghans. The speech could go something like this: "They kill; steal food; destroy religious monuments; forbid children to fly kites, sing songs or build snowmen. And perhaps worst of all? They rejoice in destroying copies of Maxim!"

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 9 According to a report in The New York Times, a new poll by the Harvard School of Public Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has found that Americans do not think it very likely that they will become victims of bioterrorism in the next year. In fact, respondents said it was more likely that they would get the herpes (73 percent), be injured in a freak piano accident (50 percent), grow a hump (41 percent), or blow Dick Cheney (87 percent), than be infected with anthrax. Unfortunately, the poll did not account for sarcasm.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10 Today the Taliban finally confirmed reports that the Northern Alliance has captured the actor Omar Sharif. A dashing, soulful, Egyptian-born romantic lead, Sharif is best known for his roles as the romantic Dr. Zhivago (1965) and as Nicky Arnstein, Fanny Brice's con-man husband in Funny Girl (1968). With Omar Sharif in opposition hands, the U.S.¯led coalition can open a land bridge to Uzbekistan, 45 miles to the north, to rush in humanitarian goods and military supplies to anti-Taliban forces. Apparently, the Northern Alliance wanted Omar Sharif because he has some sort of airport. Anyway, our sources say that he's really glad to be rescued from the Taliban and will be returning to Hollywood shortly.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 11 CNN reported today that a media recount of the disputed Florida ballots has found that Bush would have won the presidency had the Supreme Court allowed the state to proceed with Gore's strategy of a selected recount. Bush's lead would have ranged from 225 to 493 votes out of more than 6 million cast in the state. (That's about the same number of write-in votes received by "Barney" and "I hate them both.") The media recount found that the only way Gore had a hope of winning was if the state had actually counted ALL THE VOTES. He might also have won if they had counted every 26 votes and multiplied the total by the number of disadvantaged African American voters in Dade County. Or grown the beard sooner.