There will be many thoughtful columns, articles, and books written about the events of September 11, 2001, so the following won't count for much. If you'd prefer to skip it altogether, that's understandable. As I write, it's been less than 24 hours since the first reports.

Hooked

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"All right, children, settle down. I know it's been a long summer, but we need to get back to work now. Everyone turn down your voice-simulation devices and reconnect your seating modules. And Tommy 2X, stop eating that semiconductor paste.

Q: I sure like Al Gore's new look. In all the latest photos, he's wearing a beard. What's the inside story?

A: This bold move was suggested by the Democratic National Committee, which hopes voters won't recognize the former vice president, thus giving him a fresh start for 2004.

"Welcome to another edition of Larry King Live. Tonight our special guest is The Man Who Won't Go Away, Bubba the Baby Boomer, the Kahuna of Controversy, the Guy You Hate to Love and Love to Hate, that dashing former president of the United States, Bill Clinton.

"All right, let's get this over with. As you know, my name is Skip Kovacs, and I have a long history in successful tabloid journalism. That's why they just hired me to take over as editor of this newspaper. So, starting today, we're going to put some real pizzazz into print.

"Gimme another beer, willya Mike? And a coupla Slim Jims."

"Beer's gonna kill ya, Louie. You oughta drink healthy like I do. Lemme see that paper."

"Whaddaya mean, healthy?"

"Gatorade and vodka.

G-Men

"Welcome to another edition of Blowhard Roundtable - the fast-moving, hard-hitting, fist-banging program where Washington insiders shout at each other while you just sit there and listen."

"That's right, Fred.

McSatire

There's a stack of news clippings here labeled "McDonald's" that is getting so thick we finally had to move the Gary Condit file.

Ba-da-boom.

But seriously. I spent all week trying to write something funny about America's Most Successful Fast Food Chain, by way of introducing a just-leaked story that spotlights the company's latest misadventure.

Bottoms Up!

"All right, let's get started. This meeting of Underage Alcohol Marketers Anonymous will please come to order. And remember, no last names."

"Can I go first?"

"Fine."

"Hello, everybody.

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