While many still wonder why the Bush Administration recently raised the national security alert from yellow to orange, we think we may have figured out the answer: Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez have canceled their wedding! That's correct: Hollywood's lovey-doviest couple are reported to be on the skids. Some say the trouble started when Affleck pal Matt Damon pulled his buddy aside, urging him to question the upcoming nuptials, and the ever-vengeful "Jenny from the Block" found out. Others say the cause stems from Affleck's need to hire only gorgeous female assistants--not only did J.LO give the heave-ho to former Affleck helper (now Damon's fiancée) Odessa Whitmire, but according to the New York Post his newest assistant Annelise Levy also got the can. Why? According to a Lopez pal, "well she's a woman." (An Affleck rep denied this probably true oversimplification.) However, the most reasonable explanation reported so far is that Affleck hit the roof when former J.LO beau Sean "H.R. Puff-n-Diddy" Combs sent over some wedding dress sketches--you have to admit there's something seriously wrong with having an ex-boyfriend design your bridal gown. Whatever the reason, Affleck released a public statement today confirming the two Hollywood lovebirds have postponed their engagement to "get to know each other better." Of course, anyone who has suffered through a nasty break-up has heard these words, which are usually followed by "maybe we should see other people," and finally, "Look, asshole--that's my Carole King Tapestry CD." Fearing a public outbreak of panic over the postponed nuptials, Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge asked Americans to go calmly about their daily business, while stocking up on essentials such as plastic sheeting and duct tape.


Well it seems like Osama bin Laden has been a regular "Chatty Cathy" lately. According to the Associated Press, Osama has been yapping his head off again on another videotape delivered to the al-Jazeera satellite station (which is kind of like the FOX News Network for the extremo-Islamic set). This time bin Laden is asking followers to perform something that has already been perfected by our mother-in-law: Martyrdom. "We stress the importance of martyrdom operations against the enemy," the voice government officials believe to be bin Laden said. "These attacks that have scared Americans and Israelis like never before." See, now that's what we've been trying to tell our hubby Kip for months. Even though Kip is a very successful dental hygienist, his mother continues to launch "martyrdom operations," telling him he should find an occupation that's "recession-proof." "MA!" we tell her, "A recession means you lose money, not teeth!" But she doesn't listen. She just goes off on that old song-and-dance about how she doesn't want to die knowing her son is a pauper. See, if Osama was smart, he'd forget about this terrorism stuff, and "guilt" the Americans to death.


Winning the "No Shit, Sherlock!" award for Wednesday, February 12 is West Virginia Democrat Sen. Robert Byrd, who took the Senate floor and declared, "The mood of the nation is grim." Damn right we're grim, and it doesn't help when CIA director George Tenet is looking at his watch and saying we can expect a terrorist attack, "ohhh right about now." In testimony given before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Tenet warned that al-Qaida was gearing up for something big--quite possibly this week--and unlike all those other false alarms, this time he really means it! "If given the choice, al-Qaida terrorists will choose attacks that achieve multiple objectives," Tenet said. "Striking prominent landmarks, inflicting mass casualties, causing economic destruction." In other words, things which can be easily remedied by having plenty of duct tape and plastic sheets on hand. Yep, with advice like that, why on earth should we be gloomy?


And if Americans didn't already get enough bad news this week; people buying duct tape and plastic sheeting stopped dead in their tracks today upon learning that Frenchie, one of the contestants on American Idol had been disqualified. The 23-year-old singer with the booming voice (real name: Frenchelle Davis) was thought to be a shoe-in for a spot in the final top ten. However her hopes were dashed by that perennial "bug-a-boo to the stars"--PORNOGRAPHY. No, she doesn't own any, but she was featured on a porn site, or so sayeth The Smoking Gun. A source says Frenchie posed topless (and appeared to be masturbating) for a site called "Daddy's Little Girls" where "the girls have all grown upand the boys have come to play." She claims to have taken the job so she could raise enough money to re-enroll in Howard University. Unfortunately for Frenchie, the American Idol producers don't give a shit for education, and kicked her off the show--presumably to maintain their image as the moral bastion of TV reality programming. Other rumors saying that Frenchie was disqualified because of her alliance with Germany against Bush's war with Iraq have been discounted.


Dolly died today. She was six. Which, if we were a cloned sheep, is exactly how old we would be. They put her down like a gimpy, blind dachshund. She was fat from all the treats reporters fed her when they came to take her picture. She had arthritis. She had recently developed lung trouble. (Too many Virginia Slims in her youth.) But she always stayed true to her noble, fuzzy freak-of-nature status. She awed scientists. And Raelians. She inspired us to give up lamb. The world will always remember her for her proud profile and quiet demeanor, if not the morality debate she touched off that revolutionized biology. RIP Dolly.


You know all that duct tape and plastic sheeting you stood in line for three hours to buy like a nincompoop? Well, today President Bush told us that the whole duct tape hysteria was perhaps a little silly. "Many of these dangers are unfamiliar and unsettling," Bush said in his weekly radio address after eight days under the high-risk tangerine level terrorism alert. And he doesn't want us to overreact just because the government told us that if we didn't buy duct tape and plastic sheeting immediately, our children would choke on poison gas and die. That PROBABLY won't happen. Bush said Americans should just sit back, relax, and let the professionals do the worrying about keeping their communities safe from attack. It's not like the leaders of the world are going to do something that might get someone else hurt. Certainly not over some tiny political matter or capitalist dispute. These people are PROFESSIONALS. Bush asked people only to be more alert to their surroundings and suggested a trip to the Department of Homeland Security's website for tips on being more vigilant. You'll learn all sorts of important information, such as what YOU NEED TO BUY to be safe, and how to earn FIVE MILLION BUCKS for ratting out your neighbors. In the meantime, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said officials have no conclusive evidence about where, when or how the terrorists could strike. Though, if they really want to cripple our spirits, they'll probably hit Home Depot.


Today, like so many American families, we gathered with our loved ones (and mother-in-law) to celebrate President's Day Eve over a traditional holiday dinner of fennel pie with lime sauce and mashed peas. Our nieces and nephews put on their usual President's Day Eve skit with some help from Kip, who played John Wilkes Booth. They used extra squibs this year, and the blood was quite a spectacle. Then we all made likenesses of presidential profiles with our leftover duct tape and plastic sheeting. We were in bed by ten, having left a cherry pie on the front porch to ward away the Angry Ghost of George Washington, who comes at midnight to carry off Children Who Lie. We also left a key under the pie, but the children were still there when we checked on them at midnight.