"Hello everyone. I'm Bob Costas, saying 'Welcome back to NBC, your Peacock Network for the 2000 Olympics and Third Rock from the Sun.' We're all very excited to be coming to you live right now from Sydney, Australia.

Fly With Us

7:45 a.m., cab. "Here's the airport, Mac. Which airline?" "Northeasterly Westernmost." "They're on strike." "Whaatt? Since when?" "Just heard it on the radio.
"Governor Bush, you in there?" "Sure as shootin', but I'll be right out. Hey, they got real Charmin here! Darn, I love these luxury hotels." "Governor, since this is Election Night, I thought you might want to turn on the TV.
"Wow, I can't believe I'm finally here! Me, Al Gore! At the Democratic convention! And I'm the guy! The main man! No more number two! No more sitting around, hoping Bill hits his head on the bathtub! It's finally my turn! Me! Al Gore! This is so-o-o-o cool!" "Al, it looks like we may have a little problem.
Dear Mr. News Junkie: Will you settle a bet? My wife says that Republican convention is the only thing on the news because there's nothing else happening anywhere in the whole world. I say that's impossible.
"Ladies and gentlemen, this is a very proud day. To see all of you recent immigrants who have come from all over the world to be tossed like ripe ingredients into America's melting pot. After passing the tests you have so diligently prepared for here, you will finally become naturalized U.S. residents. It is very moving indeed. In fact, this is the largest graduating class in the entire history of the Eddie Ackerman School of American Citizenship and Cosmetology."

"We are thanking you much, Mr. Eddie. Unworthy are we of this great honor which overflows our hearts like a million hummingbird wings."

"That's OK, Chang. And I'm particularly glad to see how well we've trained you in the first requirement for citizenship, which is the English language."

"I blush waterfalls at your praise, and pour lotus blossoms on the altar of your dragon's sister."

"You're welcome. Now, the second requirement of citizenship is good moral character."

"Excusing me please."

"Yes, Carmelita."

"Is that not why El Jefe Clinton has been thrown from power by his American people? Soon there will be firing of cannons in the capital and much rejoicing!"

"Um, not exactly. You see, every four years we replace the head of state, and– "

"Viva Zapata! We will fill the streets to pull down the statues of the evil dictators!"

"I'd hold on just a second with that. First, let's go over this election thing again. Now–"

"I am having a question, Mr. Ackerman."

"What is it, Wzcklzys?"

"The news broadcasters report a search for the vice president. Has he been lost? Perhaps he was detained by the secret police."

"There is no secret police in America. Maybe we just better start with our system of government."

"Mon capitan, I know this one!"

"All right, Henri-Jacques."

"It is that system in which a title is passed from generation to generation, no? Called in English a 'monarchy.'"

"No, no, no! Incorrect."

"But is not this George Double-You the son of the former king?"

"Yes. I mean, no. Not king. Former president. But, you see–"

"A thousand pardons, sahib. I, too, am confused. Does his son not succeed him now?"

"No. I mean, yes. I mean, not yet. You see, first they have this convention and–"

"Ah, to see who will be anointed! The suspense of waiting must be as heavy as the camel's buttock!"

"As a matter of fact, they already know who will be anointed. I mean, nominated."

"The people will not be watching their American television receivers with the baited breath?"

"No. They'll actuallly be watching that Survivor show. You see, the convention is more or less–"

"Mr. Acronym!"

"Yes, Mohammed."

"I have studied the American tradition of going to conventions and know that there are many late-night parties with alcohol and dancing and other things my religion does not allow me to imagine."

"Well, maybe at some conventions, but not at this–"

"Mr. A! What is meant by 'water balloons and noisemakers'? These are devices used by the secret police to interrogate people at the convention?"

"There is no secret police!"

"But who will deal with the 'floor demonstrations' I have heard about?"

"Wait. Those 'demonstrations' are like parades that go up and down the aisles when the delegates get... ."

"But the news broadcasts say there will be demonstrations outside the convention. Who will deal with them?"

"The secret police. I mean– listen, you all need to study our system of government harder. Except for Nguyen, who scored 100%. You will make a wonderful American citizen."

"Thank you, Mr. Eddie. But I have already received offers from two other countries." "I beg your pardon?"

"America is still on the short list, but we're also talking to Luxembourg and Canada."

Copyright 2000 by Garry Lee Wright. All rights reserved. GLW's on WGN (AM radio 720) Chicago. Listen, email, and check out News Junkie columns at wgnradio.com.

Moon Walk

"Morning, folks. Thanks for coming to the meeting. Help yourself to coffee ? decaf's on the right ? and you'd better grab one of those little croissant things before I eat them all myself, ha ha. Now, I want you all to say hello to Mr. Butch Baker from NASA, who's stopped by this morning to talk about a little project he'd like us to show on our network. Butch, you have the floor."

"Thank you, Mr. Smith. Ladies and gentlemen, we're about to witness the realization of humanity's most exciting dream. Landing on the moon! In fact, this may be the biggest moment in the entire history of?"

"Excuse me, um, Butch. I see in the outline you plan to stretch this moon thing out for, what, four days?"

"Well, yes. That's how long it? "

"You know, we may be in problem territory right there. Nobody's doing mini-series right now. Besides that, even the Super Bowl only takes a few hours."

"But? "

"Another thing, Butch. Once they get to the moon, then what?"

"They walk."

"They what?"


"That's it? Walk?"

"Right. Walk! On the moon! It might be the biggest moment in the entire history of? "

"Larry, if I could just break in. Instead of walking, couldn't these guys wrestle or something? We sure could use some 18-24 demos."

"Or how about bungee jumping? With that gravity thing up there, I bet we could get some real distance."

"What do you say, Butch? Could we tweak it a little?"

"Well, I, um, that is, ah... one of our astronauts was talking about, um, hitting a golf ball."

"A what?"

"A golf ball."

"Ooooh, wrong sport, Butch. Golf skews a little old for us. We like something that says, 'extreme!'"

"Is there a way we could work in some nudity?"

"Wait a minute! The moon's all powdery, right? So why not snowboarding? That way, Mountain Dew would look at it. You know,'Do the Dew ? It's Cooler than Oxygen!'"

"I like it."

"I hate it."

"Me, too."

"Excuse me, people, but the problem is, these guys are all unknowns. Armstrong, Aldrin, Collins ? who ever heard of them? Let's get some names."

"That's right. Do a '48 Hours' thing. Young guy, hot under the collar, needs a veteran to show him the ropes up there on the moon. I'm thinking Burt Reynolds and Keanu Reeves. And the third guy who stays with the mother ship, he keeps cracking jokes over the two-way. I'd go with Adam Sandler."

"Make it a girl. Janeane Garofalo?"

"Good. I know her agent."

"Not to reinvent the wheel here, everyone, but the whole concept of moon is going hold us back, sales-wise. I mean, if we were talking about a walk on mercury, for example, we could go to the Ford-Lincoln people. If we're walking on mars, you have some candy angles. For that matter, can't we think out of the box a little? Why not a walk on the sun? Then you've got Sunkist."

"And Sunsweet."

"And Sunoco."

"And Sunny Delight."

"And Suntori, which opens up the Japanese market."

"Gentlemen, IF you don't mind. What we really need here is a big, flashy production number. You know, 'Up With People' in pastel space suits. Next, bring on a couple of high school marching bands to spell out USA or NASA or ROCKET SHIP or something. Then, as a grand finale, everybody starts shooting it out with laser guns. Finally ? right in the middle ? up pops Cher."

"I like it."

"I hate it."

"Me, too."

"Larry, this budget's going to kill us. To start with, we're shooting at night. Imagine the overtime."

"And why can't we just build a set and slap in some digital junk? I mean, who's going to know?"

"Not only that, this script needs a major rewrite to tone down all the foot-oriented stuff. You've got 'moon walk,' 'small step,' 'giant leap.' What is this, a Dr. Scholl's commercial?"

"They're right, Butch. And to be honest, we already have so many things in development this season, I think we're going to have to take a pass. It's not a bad idea, just not for us."

"But? "

"No hard feelings, though. Say, have you thought about pitching this thing to the Golf Channel?"

Copyright 2000 by Garry Lee Wright. All rights reserved. GLW's on WGN (AM Radio 720) Chicago. E-mail, listen via Internet, and check out other News Junkie columns at wgnradio.com.