Nature's a bitch. And with the death toll of the Asian tsunami victims steadily rising, it's hard to find anything humorous about other people's misfortune--well, unless of course, they're celebrities. Even in this time of world mourning, there is still much to laugh about… especially if it involves Hugh Grant being stung on the ass by a jellyfish. According to World Entertainment News, retired actor Hugh Grant was on a romantic Christmas trip in Barbados when an autograph-seeking jellyfish stung the shit out of him. Unfortunately for Hugh, a mean-spirited British onlooker and his wife were on hand to relate the hilariously embarrassing details. "We were lying in the sun when we heard a posh guy shouting, "Aargh, aargh,'" said the extremely amused witness. "We couldn't believe it when we saw it was Hugh. He jumped up and was shouting, "I've been stung by a fucking jellyfish!' He rushed out of the water and disappeared up the beach. It was hilarious!" Hilarious as being caught getting a blowjob from a hooker? Maybe not--but this week we'll take what we can get. Meanwhile… A wise person once defined "tragedy" as something that happens to you, while "comedy" is when it happens to someone else. Bearing that in mind, actress Renee Zellweger got dumped last week by rocker Jack White, and spent Christmas ALONE. Ha. Ha. Ha.


The Bush Administration, who originally only donated a paltry $15 million toward Asian earthquake relief, suddenly decided today they would tack on an additional $20 million. It also didn't hurt that a United Nations official labeled America's original pittance of a contribution as "stingy." Well! We may be warmongers, liars, and borderline despots, but nobody calls us "stingy!" "The United States has given more aid in the last four years than any other nation or combination of nations in the world," said a steaming Colin Powell, who actually looks pretty adorable when angry. Unfortunately, Powell's assertion is, as usual, not exactly accurate. For decades, the United Nations has urged the richest nations to donate 0.7 percent of their gross national income for development aid. However, only a handful of Scandinavian nations have actually met that goal. But give us a break, Thailand! We had to give our nieces and nephews a lot of presents this year, and those iPods don't grow on trees, you know!


In a week of truly creepy stories, this could be the creepiest of them all: In an article from World Entertainment News, Joe Simpson, the father of Jessica Simpson, explains the benefits of having a virgin daughter. It seems that when Jessica was a wee child of 12, father Joe held a virginity "ceremony," making her promise to wait until she was married before allowing her cherry to be popped. [EWWWW!] He then gave her a "promise ring," [Huh? EWWWWW!] and vowed he would be the only man in her life until she was married [OMG… EWWWWWW!]. "I'm going to tell you how beautiful you are every day," the elder Simpson reportedly told her. "And I am going to be that person until the day you find a man to do that in my place." [EW!] And so the story goes that Jessica remained a virgin until marrying Nick Lachey in October 2002, at which point Papa Joe said, "What better gift to give her husband? Never touched by another man." Actually, a better gift might be not marrying into a family that was fucking nuts! And by the way, EWWWW!


As of today, the death toll for last weekend's earthquake/tsunami has reached record numbers, anywhere from 114,000 to 125,000, depending on your news source. Not helping matters was a false alarm that more tsunamis were on the way, sending India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand into a panic. Hours after the tsunami warning was issued, India's science minister Kapil Sibal went on TV to say the warning was "unscientific hogwash"-- but it was too late to stop thousands from fleeing to rooftops and mountains. While the 9.0 earthquake and the ensuing 500 mph tsunamis were bad enough, since the catastrophe hit, the afflicted areas have been plagued with extreme shortages in food, water, and shelter, as well as the stench of rotting bodies, and even the danger of crocodiles being washed up onshore. Yet despite an overwhelming body count, there are also scattered miracles: a two-year old missing child reunited with his parents in Phuket, a man rescued at sea clinging to his capsized fishing boat after three days, and an American couple who were trapped in a collapsing building, "pushed through two layers of concrete," then pulled underwater and swept 150 yards out to sea where they were eventually picked up by a boat. As this man, who miraculously survived with only a ripped ear and broken collarbone so aptly put it, "There are going to be a lot of changes in our life from now on. We're going to take a lot of the bullshit out."


Quick! We've got just enough time to cram in some last minute gossip before 2005! According to Entertainment Tonight, celebrity gold-digger/reality show star Anna Nicole Smith has been disinherited! In 2002, Anna was awarded over $88 million after her 89-year-old oil tycoon hubby, J. Howard Marshall, died--much to the chagrin of Marshall's family. Unfortunately for Anna, a court of appeals overturned the decision, which means she will only receive a fraction of the inheritance, and will probably once again have to start working for a living. The upside? Poverty tends to have a slimming effect on the figure. Meanwhile… More creepy Simpson family shenanigans! The mom of Jessica Simpson reportedly used to stretch Jessica's legs every night before she went to sleep--in order to cure her of "dwarf legs." Says Jess, "My mom was so worried that because of my long body and dwarf legs, I would grow up looking strange. So every night, before I went to bed, she would pull them and stretch them so they would be in proportion with the rest of my body." 2005, you've arrived not a moment too soon.


While Hollywood celebs were getting drunk and boning each other in hotel elevators, our fighting boys in Iraq rang in the New Year in a very un-military fashion--with seminal punk band The Vandals. Known for '90s pop punk songs such as "Anarchy Burger (Hold the Government)," and a speed metal version of "Summer Nights" from Grease, the group was an odd but moderately welcome choice for the Army's 1st Cavalry Division who, except for a small mosh pit, watched the show in bemusement. Said one of the moshing participants of his experience in the pit, "This is straight up one of the few times I get to go out and beat people up, but it's a friendly atmosphere, so we're not getting beat up too bad." For reasons unknown, this comes as a somewhat welcome relief.


With the death toll from the South Asian tsunami now rising to 150,000, President Bush finally decided to throw a few more chips into the pot, abruptly raising the U.S. contribution from $35 million to $350 million. But before you reach for a Kleenex to dab that tear of joy from your eye, here comes some patented "One Day at a Time" perspective. Just prior to November's elections, the government quickly handed over $13.6 billion in aid to states battered by hurricanes that arrived sans tsunamis and sans a bewildering death count. It was also revealed today that in 2003, Bush used our taxes to provide $1 billion dollars to "faith-based" organizations, fulfilling his promise to open up the government checkbook to religious groups that provide social services. So to those suffering disease and a lack of food and water in Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Sumatra, if you want the big bucks either move to Florida or hang a cross on your house/cardboard box.