Proclamation And Manifesto Of The ADLF

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First they came for Tinker Bell Hilton. Then they came for Bit Bit Spears. And that was just the Chihuahuas.

Next time it could be a teacup Yorkie, a Pomeranian, a Pekinese, or some other minus-sized AKC breed. And a mixed pedigree may offer no defense. Not even the maltipoo is safe.

On any day, anywhere the overprivileged move and shop and have their being, a puppy destined for smallness may be plucked from a diminutive but joyful existence to serve as a portable symbol of the owner’s putative humane impulses during photo opportunities and, more often, of that owner’s ability to move to the head of any line — even while carrying a dog — and be admitted to the inside of any boundary typically demarcated by a velvet rope.

These animals are sometimes referred to as “handbag dogs.” Handbags, however, receive better treatment. They are not left with relatives and forgotten for days on end. Nor are they clutched so hard as to incur structural damage, festooned with supernumerary and constricting ribbons and cozies, or draped across the body like a living stole.

Any creature thus abused, treated as a wardrobe accent rather than a hound in itself, is more properly called an Accessory Dog. While even one animal companion remains an Accessory Dog, no one is truly free.

Therefore we, the members of the Accessory Dog Liberation Front (ADLF), will not rest until every toy terrier and downsized dachshund can fulfill its destiny as a latter-day if seriously wee wolf. This means far more than chow and squeaky toys. No Accessory Dog’s inheritance will be sold for a mess of kibble.

Every Accessory Dog must be free to move under its own power, stand on its own four feet, and feel the ground — or at least the sidewalks of Park Avenue and Rodeo Drive — with all sixteen of its cute and tiny toes.

Heiress and matron, debutante and doyenne, old and new money, beware.

We shall fight in the first-class cabin. We shall fight in the valet parking area. We will fight in the VIP room if we can get on the list. We shall fight in the Plaza when it reopens, and in the Beverly Hills Hotel, though no one may notice. We shall fight up to the thresholds where your doormen glower and await tips for performing no discernible service.

We are everywhere and nowhere.

We are in your midst. We may be your groomer, your veterinarian, your nanny or chef. One of us may be your (art) dealer or your one-night stand.

We can show mercy, but we will neither retreat nor surrender. We have one non-negotiable demand.

Set the dog down.

Do not walk away, do not disregard local leash laws, and by all means pick up and properly dispose of excreta, but set the dog down.

Consider yourselves warned.

This is the New Woof Order.

Semper canis!

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To Boldly Go…To Pluto

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Captain’s Log, Stardate 2584.6: An encounter with a wormhole while approaching the Terran solar system has thrust the Enterprise back in time…

CAPTAIN KIRK: Status, Mr. Spock?

MR. SPOCK: Ship is in standard earth orbit, Captain. Judging from the condition of the ozone layer, the elevated global temperature, and the violent conflicts in the region known as the Middle East, I would say we had arrived in the middle part of the year 2007. However, there is something curious.

KIRK: Yes?

SPOCK: One of our planets appears to be missing.

KIRK: Missing!

SPOCK: Pluto, to be specific.

KIRK: You mean it’s just gone? An entire planet?

SPOCK: According to the primitive Earth broadcasts we are able to monitor, there are currently only eight planets in our solar system.

DR. McCOY: Dammit, Jim! I knew a good masseuse on Pluto.

KIRK: Easy, Bones. Spock, scan the quadrant and see what you can find.

SPOCK: Scanning…Correction: Sensors indicate that Pluto is still in its orbit.

McCOY: Thank God!

SPOCK: However, some powerful force has reduced it to a dwarf planet.

McCOY: A dwarf planet! What the hell is this, some kind of galactic sideshow?

KIRK: Spock, when you say “dwarf planet,” do you mean like Beta Hydra IV — the Planet of the Pygmies?

SPOCK: Negative, Captain. Dwarf planet is a classification for a specific type of body found within a solar system.

KIRK: What entity could wield enough power to reduce Pluto to a dwarf planet?

SPOCK: Sensors are now picking up a previously obscure body exhibiting power out of all proportion to its size.

KIRK: Can you identify it?

SPOCK: It appears to be…the International Astronomical Union.

McCOY: What in blazes is that?

SPOCK: A handful of astronomers meeting in Prague.

KIRK: Spock, I don’t understand. How could a few astronomers wreak havoc on a planetary scale?

SPOCK: Apparently they voted for it.

McCOY: The damn fools! Can’t they see what they’ve done? What the hell gives them the right to play God–?

KIRK: Calm yourself, Doctor. There’s something here that doesn’t jibe. In our own time, the 23rd century, the solar system has nine planets — including Pluto.

SPOCK: Correct, Captain. According to the ship’s archives, shortly after the IAU reclassified Pluto as a dwarf planet, the populace rebelled. A coalition of disappointed schoolchildren, angry science fiction writers, starry-eyed astrologers, and sentimental Baby Boomers rose up and forced the IAU to restore full planetary status to Pluto.

KIRK: Of course! The Plutonian Revolution. I remember reading about it at the Academy.

SPOCK: Astronomers became outcasts, hated and persecuted for years afterward. The word “astronomer” became a vile insult.

McCOY: You mean like: “Yo mama’s an astronomer.”

SPOCK: Precisely. Such comments could quickly lead to physical violence. It was decades before astronomers regained sufficient status to be welcomed back into society.

KIRK: How did they accomplish that?

SPOCK: With another vote, the outcome of which earned them the eternal gratitude of all who care about the solar system.

KIRK: And what did they vote to do?

SPOCK: Rename Uranus.

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Your Next Realtor Will Be A Chimpanzee

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A bonobo actually — the smartest of the chimpanzees. Here’s why:

1. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), home prices and sales will continue to fall during 2007. With equity at a ten-year low, who can afford 6 percent? Home sellers seeking an inexpensive alternative would do well to hire a bonobo. After all, a Realtor’s job is pretty simple: walk a client through the home, point to the blank spaces in the contract, smile really big. With a largish supply of bananas, and following basic Pavlovian principles, one could easily train a chimpanzee to do the same thing.

2. Furthermore, bonobos are widely considered to be mother nature’s premier negotiators. They never resort to violence, and instead use sex to settle most disagreements. When a bonobo tribe comes upon a new food source, for instance, they immediately and aggressively copulate to reduce tensions. Not that sex should ever factor into a real estate transaction. Bonobos, tailless, would all be required to wear pants.

3. And wouldn’t a bonobo look simply adorable dressed up like a sales professional? Its pelt slicked, wearing a tie, carrying a briefcase.

4. It could be taught basic phonetic sales phrases: “Buy this house.” “Accept this offer.” “I’m Pan-pan, the Sundance King!” “$400,000? And the fridge comes, too? Folks, if you don’t buy this home right now, I’m putting in an offer myself. Come on, I’ll fight you for the contract!” And of course you know the little guy couldn’t actually afford to buy the home, his voice all high-pitched and happy, but you admire his chutzpah.

5. Besides, can you — nay, dare you — resist the bonobo’s bashful gaze when he tells you that the $50,000 kitchen upgrade, when amortized over 30 years, amounts to only an extra $10 a day? “Why, that’s just a latte or two,” he says, his brown eyes limpid and sincere. “Surely you’d give up a latte to make your wife smile, wouldn’t you, Mr. Buyer?”

6. Okay, okay, you’re saying to yourself, but certainly a chimp can’t be trusted with the nitty-gritty of fiduciary duty, boundary disputes, mechanic’s liens, the non-abrogation at closing of certain seller-warranted items, etc.? True, but then neither can many Realtors. That’s why new agents are first licensed under their brokers. In the bonobo’s case, the broker would also need to get a pet license. This is a no-brainer; chimps are way cheaper than people. In fact, before you know it all the national real estate companies will have adopted and adapted the concept for their own purposes — your Coldwell Bankers, your C-21s, your RE/MAXes, your Realty Executives, ad infinitum. All manner of simians, some species more or less suited to sales than others, will rapidly become as common on the ’00s real estate scene as mustard-colored jackets were in the ’80s.

7. We still maintain, though, here at Bonobo Realty, Inc., that a bonobo — neither ape nor gorilla nor pygmy marmoset — a bonobo is the best and only choice for a Realtor. Why? Imagine yourself as a homeowner choosing among competing offers from buyers represented by all manner of shrieking, chest-pounding, ruff-flaring, teeth-baring, fecal-waste-throwing, off-in-the-corner-vigorously-pleasuring-themselves gorillas, apes, spider monkeys, capuchins, marmosets, & co. Imagine yourself in that living room and shudder. Pity the clients those primates represent. Now consider the bonobo in that fractious living room. Could he get your offer accepted over all the others? Think about it. Does a compassionate gaze calm the frightened heart? Does a wrinkled gray hand on her thigh catch a seller’s attention? Yes, it does. Though loudly the other primates may carry on and though tempted to join the bacchanalian fray for purposes of mediation the bonobo might be, yes, most sorely and with every instinct he possesses specifically tempted to impart special knowledge to the little hunched monkey in the corner with the fast hand, to make a special friend of a competitor, as it were, no, never, no, the bonobo won’t be swayed. He will remain on task. He will first get that contract signed no matter what. And then he will address the others, starting with you-know-who in the you-know-what. Thus a Bonobo Realtor guarantees a happy ending for all involved — albeit a discreet and consensual one.

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Fantasy College Camp

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Dear Graduate,

How long has it been since you graduated from Princemore University? Whether it’s been 10, 25 or 40 years, chances are you may not look back fondly on those days as a fun-filled, madcap time. After all, you were too busy pursuing a 4.0 GPA in hopes of getting into law, medical or business school.

But now we’re presenting you with the perfect opportunity to experience those fun college days you missed out on. Our new Fantasy College Camp lets you re-live your university years without the pressures of academic performance.

Your fantasy camp stay starts with dorm check-in and a welcoming cocktail party. You’ll be able to sample pizza, burgers and chicken wings and overindulge in the beverage of your choice, everything from beer to shooters to our special purple Jesus mixture of alcohol and cheap red wine.

The next morning will feature an orientation session at 9 A.M. But don’t worry; it’s not mandatory. If you’re hung over or just want to sleep in, no problem.

Then it’s off to class, but only if you feel like it. Remember, it’s your choice. You can attend any of a dozen different afternoon classes (no morning classes at Fantasy College Camp!) or you can just kick back, smoke up and watch back-to-back episodes of “Star Trek” in the dorm lounge.

Speaking of classes, no tough ones at fantasy camp. At Princemore’s summer session, our motto is “Every course a bird course.”

Remember how you sweated through “Differential Equations” and “Complex Variables”? Or maybe you spent every morning in a different science class, every afternoon in a lab and every night writing up assignments.

Well sweat no more! At Fantasy College Camp, there are no labs, no tests and no assignments. Heck, there aren’t even any textbooks. And best of all – no mandatory attendance.

One day you can check out Philosophy 101 and rap with the prof about the big questions of life. The next day you might want to drop in on English 103: Comparative Comic Books and discuss your favorite “”graphic novel.”” Or perhaps you’d like to get stoned and check out Film Studies 202: The Work of Adam Sandler.

And it’s not all academics at Princemore’s summer camp. Every evening is a chance to get to know your fellow campers in a relaxed, informal setting. Pizza, burgers or beer. The choice is yours. As for recreational drugs, you’re on your own — but we do have some current Princemore undergrads on staff to help you out.

Don’t forget our on-campus cafeteria. Every overnight camper living in one of our two-person dorm rooms is entitled to three meals a day plus whatever snacks they can sneak back to their rooms. Rediscover the cuisine of your youth with a wide range of beef and pasta-based entrees.

Be sure to take advantage of all the on-campus clubs and activities. Since you won’t be weighed down with a heavy course load, you’ll be free to participate in everything from the Archery Club to Zen Buddhism.

And our camp even gives you a chance to be politically active. For those who missed out on the exciting anti-war demonstrations of the Vietnam and Gulf War eras, there’ll be plenty of opportunities to march and demonstrate against the current war of your choice.

Saturday nights are special at Princemore’s Fantasy College Camp. It’s the weekend kegger on the quad with a live band and all the on-tap Pabst Blue Ribbon you can drink. Party under the stars and crawl back to your room when you’re done.

The fun never stops at Fantasy College Camp. From food fights to drinking contests, it’s not “in loco parentis,” it’s just downright “loco.”

So send in your application form today. We don’t care what you got on your SATs. If you’ve got $9,999 and can spell F-U-N, you’re in for the time of your life.

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Best Buy Frequently Asked Questions: Returning A Damaged Item

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1. What is Best Buy’s policy on returning damaged items?

While Best Buy’s official policy states that we do accept returns on damaged items, said items must be manufacturer defects (i.e.; must reflect structural damage or operational malfunction at or before the point of purchase). Our policy further states that once an item has been opened, its tag removed, or its packaging altered in any manner whatsoever, responsibility for the structural integrity of that item falls solely on its purchaser.

2. All of your products are packaged. How am I supposed to know if something was damaged before I opened it?

Best Buy does not sell damaged or defective products. That is not in our policy.

3. Why was my digital camera broken when I opened it, then?

Best Buy cannot speculate on an answer to this question, as it is not in our policy to do so. Besides…you would probably know better than we would.

4. But I didn’t damage it!

Yes, you did.

5. Okay, how did I do it, then?

Perhaps you accidentally dropped the box before you purchased it. Or, maybe your kid, pretending it was a football, threw the box out of your shopping cart.

6. Wait a sec…how the heck did you know that?

Best Buy is omniscient and pansophical.

7. You realize those mean the same thing, don’t you?

Oh? Whoops! Guess we should have consulted our extensive array of electronic dictionaries, PDA’s, and handhelds from our Office Products section, near the rear of the store! We offer everything from basic devices to the most up-to-the-minute technologies, all at unbeatable prices.

8. Really? Sounds kind of neat. I think I’ll go back and — hey, hold on just a minute! I’m still not satisfied with my experience here. Is there someone else I can talk to about making a customer complaint regarding my camera?

Absolutely. Please step over to our Customer Care center at the counter opposite this one and they will assist you in filing an official complaint.

9. Am I not in that line now?

No. You are in the Customer Service line. You will need to speak with a Customer Care representative to register a complaint. Official complaint forms may be picked up at the Forms and Warranties counter near the front exit.

10. But I just waited an hour and a half in this line. Now you want me to go stand in two more lines?! Where’s the store manager?

If you wish to file an official complaint and speak with a store manager, you will actually need to stand in four more lines: Customer Care, Forms and Warranties, Managerial Appointments, and Managerial Consultations. Unfortunately, our policy states that Best Buy management may not be consulted without an appointment. If you wish to avoid the wait, you may also schedule an appointment by phone between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m, Mountain Standard Time.

11. Okay, okay, hold on. Let’s be reasonable. What if I have a warranty? Here. Will that make a difference at all?

Again, we must redirect you to the Forms and Warranties counter. However, we should advise that, depending on the type of warranty you purchased, it may not be the right kind. In fact, yes, we are certain it is not the right kind.

12. But you didn’t even look at it!

Correct. The Customer Service Department is not permitted to address warranty issues. Such inquiries must be presented at the Forms and Warranties counter, or discussed with a store manager.

13. You’re kidding me, right?

That is not in our policy.

14. Shouldn’t you guys have explained all this when I bought the warranty in the first place?

We did. Best Buy cashiers are trained to make all aspects of your warranty clear at the point of purchase. Speaking of clear, have you checked out the resolution on Sony’s new line of High Definition TVs? We’re offering them at a special discount till the end of the month!

15. You don’t think I’m falling for that one again, do you?

We had to try.

16. Would you mind trying a little harder to replace my camera, then?

We feel we have offered an exhaustive list of options in light of your particular situation. Replacing your camera, however, is not one of them. Nor will it ever be. No matter what.

17. Fine! You just lost my patronage forever! How about that?

Actually, that isn’t really true. Remember the two hundred dollars in Best Buy gift cards you got for Christmas? You know, the ones that say, “Not redeemable for cash?” Feel free to throw them away, if you like. Either way, we’ve already got the money.

18. You know what I’m going to tell your manager? That he’s running a Godforsaken crap hole!

We would advise against registering such charged complaints. Best Buy firmly maintains an equal-opportunity stance with regard to employees and customers alike, in strict compliance with anti-discrimination labor practices. We therefore will not investigate or even acknowledge any complaints suggestive of religious, sexual, or racial prejudice.

19. It’s a colloquialism, for God’s sake!

We trust the previous answer was clear on this issue. Also, when you buy that electronic dictionary, we would like to borrow it for a second.

20. Aren’t you people the least bit ashamed of yourselves?!

Best Buy proudly offers great service and top-quality products at even better prices.

No, in other words.

21. Yeah? Okay! You can take this camera and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine, you bastards! Also, will you do me a favor and ring this DVD player up here?

Because your patronage is important to us, we will make an exception this time and ring you up here. You may not use your gift cards toward this purchase, however, as the Customer Service register only accepts cash, credit, or debit.

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