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October 22, 1998

Local news in brief

Earth, Wind and Fire ants cut smokin’ groove in local man’s backyard

BOXBOROUGH — A Boxborough man found a nest of Earth, Wind and Fire ants in his backyard yesterday. The man, 36-year-old Tyrone Nate, was forced to contact both the state Agricultural Department and A&R reps from Capitol Records.ewf.jpg (25485 bytes)

"I was taking my afternoon constitutional when I became aware of the sound of some serious funkadelic riffs coming out of my backyard," said Nate. "At first, I thought it was some damned neighbor kids and their music. So I went outside to see where that old school groove was coming from. It was those damned Earth, Wind and Fire ants!"

"I’ll tell ya, I was gonna nuke the little bastards," continued Nate, "but the horns on ‘Boogie Wonderland’ are infectious. Before I knew it, I was bustin’ a move."

"By the time we got there, it was the last half of their first set," said state agricultural representative Bev Snyder. "While I was getting down with my bad self, I accidentally disturbed their nest — in a split second, the Earth, Wind and Fire ants were swarming all over me, biting me with their poisonous sting! It wasn’t until the medley of ‘After the Love is Gone’ and ‘Let Your Feelings Show’ that I was once again able to dig their righteous groove."

The state Agricultural Department has documented cases of Karen Carpenter ants, as well as Steve Winwood-boring termites, but never Earth, Wind and Fire ants. Said Snyder: "We’re very excited about this funky new type of deadly ant."

MIT mathematician proves "six of one, half dozen of the other" are indeed equal

CAMBRIDGE — After nearly 17 years of research and more than $10 million in government grant money, MIT mathematician Noel Jones has finally proven that "six of one, half dozen of the other" are indeed equal.

"It took years of back-breaking work and an old growth forest’s worth of pencils and paper — not to mention literally tons of grant money — but I was finally able to prove it," Jones said.

The road to the discovery was a difficult one. "For a while there in the mid ‘80s I was very dejected. For almost four years I got mired down in ‘three of one and …’ Well, you see the problem. Then, in 1989, a colleague of mine who works with theoretical fractions stumbled across one-fourth while working with the extremely unstable and volatile two-eighths. That was the breakthrough I needed — nine short years later, I have been able to produce my own stunning conclusion."

At this point Jones wept like a baby. "I’m sorry. It’s just such a relief to have years of scorn, ridicule and skepticism lifted off me. I started my career as a humble practical mathematician, and I’m still that same person," he sobbed. "Except now, I’m also a millionaire."

Semicolon quits in disgust

DASHLAND — The semicolon shocked the punctuation community yesterday by abruptly resigning, in what he called "complete and utter disgust."

"I’m beat to death with centuries of abuse, misuse and misunderstanding. I’ve suffered endless taunts from the other punctuation. ‘Weak period.’ ‘Half-breed.’ ‘Colon and comma’s love child.’" (Both the comma and colon refused comment on the semicolon’s lineage.)

"This on top of what can only be termed as complete and unparalleled humiliation at the hands of gastroenterology humorists everywhere," continued the semicolon. "I don’t need this grief. You people are so damned smart, find your own way to separate independent clauses and phrases when followed by a conjunctive adverb without using a conjunction. Go ahead!"

When asked for a comment, the exclamation point shouted, "It’s jealousy! Plain and simple! Semicolon totally blew the email punctuation audition! When the @ (the punctuation mark formerly known as "Each") won, it was tough on semicolon! Not only did he think he did better than @, but he thought he sounded better when read aloud! He was just really jealous at losing to @! I think it may have pushed him over the edge!"

When asked what his plans for the future were, semicolon stated, "I plan to pause, but not stop completely."

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