|For May 9, 2001 "The 'Hamster looks at one." - Vol. II No. I published every other Wednesday|
City Hall() The financially beleaguered Birmingham City School system gained a new ally today with the announcement that famed television personality, and actress, Sally Struthers has been recruited to appear in a public service billboard as part of a fundraising effort for the school system. Birmingham City Schools Superintendent Dr. Johnny Brown remarked, "Our first choice was Barbara Streisand. Unfortunately, Barbara was unable to appear due to a prior commitment she had with the dark lord Lucifer." Apparently, the reclusive Mrs. Struthers was enticed to the project because of the great number of impoverished children living in Birmingham, as well as the city's reputation for having excellent barbecue. The billboard will feature Mrs. Struthers and an as yet unnamed child actress who will portray local fifth grade student LaShonda Turner. Underneath the picture a banner will proclaim, "For little more than the price of a cup of coffee a day, you can help send poor LaShonda to school." The city is sparing no expense in its effort to raise funds. Polish cinematographer Andrzej Bartkowiak has been hired to direct the photo shoot. Bartkowiak, whose other projects include the two Barbara Streisand masterpieces "Nuts" and "The Mirror Has Two Faces," happily signed on when the lovely Mrs. Streisand was still committed to the project. However, upon hearing of her replacement he promptly raised his day-rate from $20,000 to $30,000. "I thought my ugliest subject I have ever photographed would always be z'ee creature from Species," he was heard to remark. "But this Sally Struthers woman absolutely takes z'ee cake." Birmingham City Council President, William Bell, has joined the team as a paid consultant on how best to obfuscate the effects of poverty. High production costs, coupled with Bell's consultation fees, have cost the city an estimated $3,000,000 to date. But school officials remain optimistic. Dr. Brown stated, "We may be going even further into debt, but at least this is money that we can keep away from those wealthy, over funded state schools like Alabama A&M and the University of West Alabama." But not everyone is as positive as Dr. Brown. Since the billboard is to be constructed at the intersection of Highway 31 and 280 it means that many Mountain Brook residents will be forced to stare at it on their daily work commute. Enraged Mountain Brook realtor and soccer mom, Bunny Finklestein, has proposed the construction of a 100 foot high privacy fence along the border of Mountain Brook and Highway 280 to protect Mountain Brook residents from what she considers to be an inappropriate image. "I didn't move into an exclusive, lily white community so that I could be bombarded by images of inner city poverty. My children were unable to sleep last night thinking that a representation of an African American might be moving into their neighborhood. Won't somebody please think of my children!"
Oak Mountain() Mortified by the recent state sponsored slaughter of deer in the Liberty Park community, PETA leaders have volunteered to instruct area populations on the concepts of safe sex and family planning. PETA acknowledges that conflict often arises when man takes over lands formerly belonging to deer. However, the organization has been unable to stop people from breeding. That is why the effort was launched to target the deer population instead. "We know that man is just going to keep developing land," said spokesperson Belinda Carlisle. "The deer are just going to have to control their own population, or be faced with more and more hunting." In fact the problem has gotten so out of control that the state has allowed special permits for owners to clean deer from their lands. Insurance companies have even dropped automatic deer impact coverage from the Mercedes M-Class and Chevrolet Suburban, because of the number of claims filed in the Greystone area alone. PETA officials have developed an interactive course for the deer that includes live demonstrations and participation based assignments. Although nothing like this has ever been done before, PETA officials remain optimistic. The goal is to eliminate hunting altogether, once area deer develop the discipline needed to maintain their own numbers. "We hope that we can impart to the deer that sex does not always have to mean babies," said Carlisle. "I have sex all the time, but don't always get pregnant."
UAB() Looking for a quick influx of cash to compensate for prorated state funds, UAB has decided to auction off its employees in a format similar to rotisserie baseball. UAB president Ann Reynolds says she got the idea while watching the recent NFL draft on ESPN2. "I thought about that silly fantasy football that my husband gets involved in every year and wondered if we couldn't use something like that to raise money for the school. I immediately realized that the NFL draft format would not work because of the flat rate structure. But then I thought about rotisserie baseball, where owners actually bid on players. The price for each of our employees could go sky high if we don't use a salary cap." Reynolds stressed that winning bidders will not actually own the UAB employees, but rather will get points based on their performance during the school year. Any surplus generated by the auction will be divided up among the top three team owners after all budget expenses have been paid. In order to be eligible, an owner must purchase at least nine UAB employees. Each week the individual team rosters must consist of three UAB doctors, three researchers, and three full professors. Point categories for doctors will be patients seen, prescriptions written, and nurse complaints. Researchers will be rated on proposals written, grants received, and grant money spent. Finally, professors will generate points based on student attendance, student GPA, and actual pieces of chalk used. "It sounds complicated," said Reynolds, "But it is really extremely simple. We have over 16,000 employees. So with nine players each, that makes a potential 1700 or so team owners. With that many people bidding on our employees, we should be able to overcome our budget shortfall, and have a good bit left over for the winners." Reynolds also expects more than monetary benefits from the employee auction. "These team owners won't be willing to sit back and watch an under performing employee. Say a doctor isn't seeing enough patients, her owner will probably encourage a better work ethic." When asked if this might not present a conflict of interest if doctors were to write unneeded prescriptions, or professors were to give inflated grades, Reynolds dismissed the notion with a wave of her hand. "The conflict of interest occurred when the 'education governor' failed to secure enough education funding to avoid proration in the first place."