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November 19, 1998

National news in brief

Mortgage rates back the fuck up

NEW YORK — Interest rates will decline slightly over the coming week, Freddie Mac said Thursday.

"I am a big boy standing in my big boy stance — hurry up and give the mike before I bust in my pants," said Freddie Mac chief economist Robert Van Order. "Freddie Mac is the author of anguish, our language polluted, but our rates are heavyweight and still undisputed."

Indeed, for the week ending November 13, the rate on U.S. 30-year fixed mortgages declined to an average 6.93 percent from last week’s 6.89 percent. Fifteen-year loans also fell to an average 6.57 percent from 6.50 percent the week before.

"Mess with the miggity-Mac, and you get wiggity-wack," said U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin.

Grammar physicist announces discovery of rare ‘anti-noun’

IRVINE, Calif. — Samuel Vern, grammar physicist for U.C.-Irvine, announced Wednesday that his research team has discovered and isolated an extremely rare form of word whose existence previously had only been postulated in grammatical theory. This mysterious grammar element has been named the anti-noun.

The concept of the anti-noun was first introduced by Vern himself in the late 1960s. The U.S. Air Force had stumbled on the possibility during low-level sentence structure testing that was conducted two miles beneath the Nevada desert under the code name "Operation Person, Place or Thing." During that period, then-Commander Vern discovered that stringing conventional nouns together in a run-on sentence caused the subject of the sentence to vanish.

These tests were halted as the Cold War escalated and the military devoted more resources toward developing grammar of mass destruction. Vern was pressed into other research dealing with the quest for super-verbs and adjective-strings. But Vern never lost his personal desire to find and tag the mysterious anti-noun.

His search now over, Vern is said to be eyeing the long-held problem of "syntax tectonics."

U.S. economic boom largely due to freaky cooking tools advertised on late-night TV

NEW YORK — Despite politicians who would like to take credit, Treasury Secretary Greenspan attributes the recent economic gains to the explosive sales of weird cooking products that are sold on cable television between 1 and 3 a.m.

Greenspan announced Thursday that economic concern seemed to be melting away and consumer confidence was now literally "off the index scale." He pointed in particular to the $6.5 billion market for blooming onion machines market.

"More families own a blooming onion machine than have running water," Greenspan told the Senate’s Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday. "These products push the envelope of usefulness by performing ridiculous tricks that reduce edible food to objects of mere display."

NASA probe to probe probe

HOUSTON — NASA announced Tuesday that the probe called "Prober" is nearing its rendezvous in space with its intended target, another probe named "Probed."

Prober was launched 14 months ago on a fact-finding mission to probe the probe named Probed. NASA expects that the probe will soon discover the second probe and relay this and any other data back to Earth. Critics question the need for all of this probing, but NASA is unwavering in its commitment to the probe program.

Prober cost only $4 million and is the latest in NASA’s new "low cost" probing probes. The data it will retrieve is expected to be priceless.

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