If *NSYNC's Justin Timberlake has been boo-hooing over his breakup with Britney Spears, his pain has been lessened via licking whipped cream off the nubile bodies of his fans. The New York Post reported today that JT and fellow *NSYNCer Lance Bass (the gay-looking one) were accosted in NYC's Brother Jimmy's bar by a gaggle of gals who sprayed whipped cream on their own bodies and were demanding "to be cleaned." After a few rounds of vodka and Red Bull, the boys were only too happy to oblige. Meanwhile! Due to the popularity of MTV's breakout hit The Osbournes, President Bush has invited Ozzy Osbourne to the White House. The show, which features the heavy metal icon doing normal things like taking out the trash and trying to convince his kids not to do drugs (HAH!), is watched by over three million people in addition to Bush, who claims to be "a big fan." As for Osbourne, he is rightfully stunned. "I thought I'd be on a wanted poster on the wall, not invited to his place to tea," he noted. Don't worry, Ozz. We're mourning right alongside you.

You know it's going to be a really good day when Attorney General John Ashcroft has a really shitty day. First up, a federal judge ruled that the Justice Department will not be allowed to interfere with Oregon's assisted suicide law, in which terminally ill patients are allowed to use a lethal amount of drugs to kill themselves. Ashcroft challenged the law last November, saying dispensing the drugs doesn't "serve a legitimate medical purpose." However, U.S. District Judge Robert Jones crammed that statement right down Ashcroft's throat, saying Oregon voted for the law "not once, but twice" and "have chosen to resolve the moral, legal, and ethical debate on physician-assisted suicide for themselves." YEAH!!! Take THAT, Ashcroft! In fact, just to show you what an ass you are, we're going to kill ourselves--right now!! then again, maybe we won't. Meanwhile! Ashcroft got another smack across the ass today from the Supreme Court (no less!) when they struck down key provisions of a 1996 child pornography law. The law banned any material that contains what "appears to be a child in a sexually explicit situation or that is advertised to convey the impression that someone under 18 is involved." In other words, no more reruns of Dawson's Creek.

In what is listed as a "Top Story" today from the Associated Press, the respected news agency offered its readers the following breaking story: "Coke to Debut Vanilla Coke in May." The report begins with "ending months of speculation, Coca-Cola said Monday, it will launch a vanilla-flavored version of its flagship soft drink nationwide, May 15." It goes on to quote an unbiased expert on the subject, Coke's Senior Vice President of brands and marketing, Chris Lowe, who said, "Consumers came away [from the tasting] and said 'This tastes super.' Plus there seems to be a lot of consumer interest in the notion of vanilla right now." A lot of interest in the notion of VANILLA? Now while we're inclined to agree with much of what the AP tells us, we decided to put this particular "notion" to the test. We asked everyone in the Mercury office which notion is of the most interest to them: the flavor of vanilla or let's say oral sex. After tabulating the results, we were shocked to discover that the notion of "vanilla" beat out the notion of "oral sex" by 23 full percentage points. (You don't have to tell us how crazy that is. We know.) In fact, when engaged in a conversation that involved both "vanilla" and "oral sex," one Mercury employee actually jumped up and down at the thought of drinking vanilla Coke. Associated Press? We will never doubt you again.

Actor Robert Blake was arrested today, but that's boring. Therefore we will talk about something else. Tragedy struck the campus of M.I.T. today when the paw of school mascot "Tim the Beaver" was stolen by a rival student from Harvard. Amal Dorai, a member of the Class of 2004 Ring Committee, along with other students, brought the mascot suit to Harvard Square so they could take pictures of Tim simulating sexual acts with the statue of school founder John Harvard. However, while taking pictures (and singing the Engineer's Drinking Song) a Harvard student snatched one of Tim's paws and absconded with it. No one in the group got a clear look at the thief, because as M.I.T. participant Erin Rhody (class of '05) put it, "I was too busy holding up the beaver." However, the trouble didn't stop there. While Dorai and others set off in pursuit of the paw, Rhody and Teresa A. Fazio (class of '02) were left behind to protect the costume. Two Harvard males tried to steal the outfit but were stopped by Fazio who "seized the student's genitals." Since the paw was not recovered, M.I.T. administration has charged the Class of 2004 Ring Committee $650 to replace the appendage. But the story doesn't stop there. Rather than using Ring Committee funds, Dorai is asking for donations to help offset the cost of the paw. Rossana Ivanovia (class of '05) refused to donate to the cause, citing "For something that stupid? I'm sorry." Orlando Jaquez (class of '05) agreed, saying, "That's what they get for prancing around Harvard in a beaver costume." If you'd like to help replace Tim's paw, please contact any Ring Committee member or make your donation via Paypal.

The Oregonian
reported today the Mayor of Los Angeles is in a major snit about his city's secessionist campaign to divide the city into three separate cities: Hollywood, the Valley, and Los Angeles. This is nothing new. Pieces of California have been trying to break off and make a run for it since before Max Factor invented the perfect eyebrow pencil. This secessionist urge, to our knowledge, has never really been an issue in huggy, homogeneous Portland. But as the city grows, we shouldn't rule it out (Sellwood). There are some areas that might benefit from their legislative power and representation (Hawthorne). And the city might be emotionally better off without a few neighborhoods (The West Hills).

Speaking of the trials of city government, The Oregonian reported toda, that the Oregon Elections Division made a tiny itty-bitty typo on the new Voters' Pamphlet. (Yes, it's Voters' Pamphlet time again already!) In repeated references to The Oregon Center for Public Policy, a nonprofit research group urging a "no" vote on Measure 13, the Division repeatedly left out the "L." As in, The Oregon Center for PUBIC Policy. The pamphlets will be mailed anyway, to save the cost of reprinting them. "We're not going to pick a public bone with them," said the director of The Oregon Center for Public Policy about the Division. Or did he say, "pubic bone"? Eww.

In 1986, there were 18 mute swans in the Chesapeake Bay. Today there are 4000. We all LOVE mute swans. That's not up for discussion. But 4000 of them? According to The New York Times, state natural resource workers are systematically spraying the swans' eggs with oil to kill the embryos, in an effort to keep the mute swan population under control. One man has bigger ideas. His name is William J. Sladen, and he wears a pith helmet. Dr. Sladen has been pairing off same-sex, flightless, mute swans, on small ponds in the Virginia countryside where, he says, they thrive well without reproducing. Yep. He's creating a colony of mute, gay, flightless waterfowl, and they are very happy and self-actualized, thank you very much. In fact, if anyone out there is interested, they're trying to organize a time-share on Fire Island.