Peter Tannen

Pete Tannen is a humor writer who has won multiple awards from the National Press Club (Washington, D.C.), the Press Club of Long Island and the Florida Press Association. His columns can also be heard on select Public Radio stations across the U.S. www.tannenweekly.com

Nano-News: All The News In 50 Characters Or Less


You knew it was coming.

After all, we’ve already made the leap from The New York Times (long, long articles) to USA Today (short, short articles) to Twitter (140 characters or less).

But why stop there? Why use 140 characters when just 50 will do?

So we did.

Just look at these concise, easy-to-read, “Nano-News” stories, coming your way soon from the Long Island Press:

Senator caught with hooker;
says still loves wife

LI man reaches 108th b’day;
credits old age to gin

Cubs win World Series;
three fans have coronaries

KKK gives up robes,
citing high cleaning costs

New exercise plan takes
only 20 seconds a day

Texas says daylight savings
time unconstitutional

Baby panda makes debut
at local zoo; looks cute

Scientists err; ‘killer’ asteroid
is 6-inches long

Tribe returns to jungle;
says modern world ‘nuts’

Honestly—what more do you need to know about those stories? (And why put up with those long, complicated Times words, many of which have several syllables?)
We’re doing this because Americans have lost their patience. Totally.

All of us are way too frantic these days—we’re so busy that nobody seems to have time for anything, not even reading the news. But I think “Nano-News” is just the start. Just watch what happens when our total lack of patience catches the attention of America’s “Job Creators” and they spring into action.

Music is one easy target. Any day now, I predict we’ll hear about a new music company called “Music-In-A-Hurry.com.”

“At last,” their ads will say, “you can enjoy the major themes from Beethoven’s famous ‘Ninth Symphony,’ with all the boring, repetitive parts left out.”

“You can sing along with the chorus for a full two minutes of Ludwig’s ‘Ode To Joy’ in the final movement! Or download only the best parts of Wagner’s ‘Ring of the Nibelung’—running time: under four minutes!”

“Into popular music? You can listen to the entire Beatles White Album in just three minutes on Music-In-A-Hurry.com. Or hum along with those great tunes from every one of Norah Jones’s platinum albums in a minute-and-a-half flat!”

Then there’s art.

How many of us can stand quietly in front of a Picasso, say, or a Van Gogh, and let our eyes slowly wander over every detail? We simply don’t have the time—and we have to be polite to the dozen people behind us who are impatiently waiting for the same fleeting glimpse.

So another new company—undoubtedly named “Important-Parts-Of-Important-Art.com”—will help us appreciate art.

A graphics file with a square inch or two of a major work of art will be emailed to you weekly—allowing you to savor a single water lily by Monet, a few square inches of a Jackson Pollock, or an area of pure black from an Ad Reinhardt canvas. Not to mention a square inch of a shark scale preserved in formaldehyde by Damien Hirst.

So there you have it: Today’s news, music and art updated and condensed for today’s impatient, always-in-a-hurry audience.

Personally, I can’t wait to see what else our entrepreneurs come up with.

You have to admit that this is either remarkable progress, or yet another sign of the ultimate decline of Western Civilization, depending on your point of view.


A Modest Plan to Save The NFL

Do you feel small and insignificant when Super Bowl Sunday rolls around? nfl

Well, you should.  Just take a quick look at some of the  players in Super Bowl XLVIII:

Orlando Franklin, 6’7”, 320 lbs.
Winston Justice, 6’6”, 317 lbs.
Vinston Painter, 6’6”, 309 lbs.
Chris Clark, 6’5”, 305 lbs.
Terrance Knighton, 6’3”, 335 lbs.
Even their quarterback,
Peyton Manning, is 6’5” tall and weighs 230 pounds.

Breno Giacomini, 6’7”, 318 lbs.
Tony McDaniel , 6’7”, 305 lbs.
Paul McQuistan, 6’6”, 315 lbs.
Russell Okung, 6’5”, 310 lbs.
Michael Bowie, 6’4”, 332 lbs.
Their quarterback, little
Russell Wilson, stands 5’11” tall, and weighs in at 206 pounds.

You have to admit that these are really, really large people. And any kid dreaming of playing in the NFL had better have some super-size genes in his family.

I think this is grossly unfair to us ordinary-sized people—hey, we’re still the vast majority in this country—and frankly, does not bode well for the future of football.
It is obviously one reason why soccer (which the rest of the world calls football) is making such enormous strides in America. Any kid, of any size, can dream of being a soccer star and playing in the World Cup.

Seriously: Soccer’s super-star, Leo Messi of Barcelona, is just 5’6” and weighs 148 pounds. And the “2013 World Player of the Year” is Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid, who is 6’1”, 165 pounds.

No wonder that the last World Cup was watched by more than 3.2 billion people in every single country and territory on Earth, including Antarctica and the Arctic Circle. Even in the USA, more than 24 million people tuned into the final game.

So here’s my idea to save the NFL:

I propose that each team in the NFL should be limited to 1.25 tons of players on the field at the same time.

That’s right—one-and-a-quarter tons of players on offense vs. one-and-a-quarter tons of players on defense, 2,500 pounds vs. 2,500 pounds. And not an ounce more on either team.

Sure, if a coach really wanted to, he could still put an offensive line of five 310-pound players on the field. But that would leave him with only 950 pounds for both tight ends and the whole backfield—an average of only 158 pounds per player!

Is this an opportunity for us ordinary-sized people or what?

The bottom line is that a whole bunch of very talented, regular-sized players would have a chance to play on NFL teams and maybe even get to the Super Bowl.

And I predict that TV ratings will go through the roof—because people like watching people just like themselves. (Which is probably why we watch shows like American Idol in the first place!)

A great feeling of pride will sweep America: “Hey, look at that 170-pound, 5’8” guy going down the field—I can do that!

Now I suppose some nitpicker will say that we shouldn’t call it the “Super” Bowl anymore—not with our 1.25 ton-per-team weight limit.

But I suspect that’s just a marketing problem.

We can always call it “Super Bowl Light.”

Or even better, “The First Super Bowl With No Saturated Fat.”

Washington, D.C. The Musical

The U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.
The U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

Take one look at Washington, D.C. these days and you wonder why the producers on Broadway, always looking for a sure thing, haven’t done a musical comedy about our capital.

I mean, the show almost writes itself: Two angry political parties, each backed by hundreds of millions of corporate dollars, refuse to compromise and then threaten to shut down the government.

High drama ensues, including hostile press briefings, torchlight political rallies, inflammatory TV ads, dueling talking heads, scandals involving hookers, scandals involving church officials, scandals involving Wall Street, scandals involving the media.

In the middle of it all, two people from opposite political parties fall in love. (It’s a proven plotline—see Romeo & Juliet, West Side Story, etc.)

Party bigwigs try to break up the romance, fearing the media will find the lovers in a, excuse the expression, “compromising” position.

In Act I, exciting musical numbers carry the plot along:

“Money, Money, Money”  (The K Street Lobbyists Choir)

“I Love You in Spite of Your Position on China” (Lover’s Duet)

“How Much Does it Cost to Join the Ways & Means Committee?” (Solo: Freshman Congressman)

“But He’s Black!” (The Anonymous Barber Shop Quartet)

“C’mon, Baby, Let’s Frack!” (The Oklahoma Oil & Gas Blues Band)

“A World Without The IRS” (Dream Sequence)

“F-i-l-i-b-u-s-t-e-r” (Entire Cast)

At this point, both sides threaten to close down the show if it doesn’t end the way they want. Time runs out on Act I without agreement on the rest of the plot. A long intermission begins.

Act II: The Music Continues:

“How Much Justice Can You Afford?” (Rhythm number, featuring The Supremes)

“Who Needs a Bigger Budget Than Our Forefathers in 1776?” (The Tea Party Singers)

“Two Directions At Once” (John Boehner, leader of several Republican Parties)

“Why Don’t They Love Me?” (Solo by Nancy Pelosi w/Harry Reid, guitar)

“Thank God We’ve Found a New Enemy!” (The Pentagon “A Cappella” Quartet)

And, of course, there’ll also be some show-stopping dance numbers:

“Move It, Move It, Move It…Offshore!” (The Cayman Islands Contemporary Dance Co.)

“Waltz of the 1 Percent” (The Wall Street Dance Ensemble)

“Occupy…Broadway” (A sit-down dance group, with little interest in choreography)

And finally, the show’s blockbuster song-and-dance number:

“We’re All in This Together…Except Me” (Donald Trump and the Fox News Dancers)

To be realistic, I doubt any producer will ever pick up this idea. Because it’s not just a comedy, it’s a tragi-comedy, which might not play too well on Broadway.

And there might also be lots of protesters, who could scare away affluent ticket buyers.

The solution is to have two road companies tour the country—with slightly different scripts and endings.

Let’s call them a Red Company and a Blue Company (like the Barnum & Bailey Circus does).

The Red Company, as you might guess, will perform basically in the Old Confederacy. The Blue Company will tour both coasts, and a couple of large cities in the middle.

You could even look at this as a “negotiated compromise”—rarity in D.C., but designed to make everyone moderately happy.

And, oh yes—the lovers.

Well, in the Red Company, they break up, since one of them is obstinate and clearly wrong.

In the Blue Company, they get married. But only in a state that allows gay marriage.

Any investors out there?

The Ignorance of The Common Man. Like Me.

see no evilI used to worry about whether our kids were learning anything in school. But these days, I think it’s time to worry about the rest of us.

It seems to me that, after years of education, most of us are actually quite ignorant—particularly about the world around us and how it works.

Take basic science, for instance. It’s clear that almost everything I learned in school is wrong.

Were you taught, as I was, that the inside of an atom was like a tiny solar system? That the nucleus in the center of the atom was like our sun? And the electrons whirling around the nucleus were like the planets in orbit around the sun (including Pluto, which we all learned was a planet back then)?

Sorry, but none of that is true any more. It seems that electrons don’t move around in orbits; they’re actually part of concentric shells that surround the nucleus. And electrons are always jumping back and forth, from one shell to the next shell.

That would be like the Earth and Mars deciding to bounce around and switch places all of a sudden. And you might find yourself looking up one day to see an extra moon in the sky. Or a big red planet between us and the sun.

We were also taught that nothing—absolutely nothing—travels faster than the speed of light. It’s one of the basic, immutable laws of the universe.

Well, not exactly. Now it seems that some atomic particles can suddenly disappear from one place and instantaneously re-appear someplace else, even thousands of miles away. The particle just blinks out of existence in one place and blinks into existence in another. We’ve gone way beyond the speed of light here.

Then there’s my brain. I was taught that the one inviolable rule about the brain was that you were stuck with the brain you had when you reached, say, 21. You could never, ever grow more brain cells or create more neurons.

Wrong. Brains, it turns out, are smarter than we thought—they are completely capable of growing new neurons as long as we live.

And you heavy drinkers out there who were told that drinking destroys your brain cells—well, yes, it does. But new studies have shown that, after you stop drinking, the neurons grow right back—and so do lots of new brain cells!

Feeling ignorant yet? And we haven’t even started talking about teaching ordinary people some basic survival skills: like operating the remote that came with your new TV, trying to understand the IRS tax code, figuring out which cell-phone company has the best deal, or translating that letter from Medicare to find out what your ear examination actually cost.

And have you even attempted to understand our cutting-edge technology—like 3D computer printers? Well, if you haven’t kept up with the news, they can now print replacement bones and tissue if you’ve had an accident. This is obviously black magic and voodoo to most of us.

Not to mention those millions of our fellow Americans whose primary science textbook seems to be the Bible. Enough said.

One thing more: I recently came across a report that says physicists at the University of Rochester have coaxed light into moving backwards—and, weirdly enough, to do so faster than light itself.

As far as I’m concerned, that’s the last straw.

I think we should demand that Congress develop a new education plan for confused people over the age of 21, like me.

Let’s call it: “Leave No Adult Behind.”

Let’s Help America Find A New Enemy!

telemarketing girlWith all our attention focused on the national debt and our fear of people having health insurance, there’s one serious problem we’ve all been ignoring: America is now facing a shortage of meaningful enemies.

Think about it: The war in Iraq is essentially over, the conflict in Afghanistan is winding down, and Syria is now being inspected for chemical and biological weapons.
Not only that, but Russia doesn’t want to bury us anymore; they just want to sell us their oil and gas. And even Cuba has stopped hating us and is now taking baby steps toward private enterprise.

But without a menacing, new enemy, there’s just no way the Pentagon can justify spending nearly $700 billion each year—20 percent of every tax dollar we send to Washington. (By comparison, the entire budget for the Environmental Protection Agency is $10.5 billion.)

Note: This means our military budget is now six times more than China’s, 11 times more than Russia’s and 27 times more than Iran’s.

It’s clear that America needs somebody to be afraid of—a reliable new boogeyman to help our threatened military economy.

And we need to act fast—before bands of know-nothing congressmen slash military spending down to the size where they can “drown it in the bathtub,” as some people have threatened.

To help us get started in the arduous search for a new enemy, here are some thoughts and directions that immediately come to mind:

1. “Satan” does not qualify, despite enormous numbers of leaflets from fundamentalist churches left on my doorstep. Unfortunately, he (or she) cannot be engaged in combat by anything our Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex is able to produce.

2. Sorry, the “United Nations” doesn’t work as an enemy, either. Let’s get real—they can’t even make their own diplomats pay the $17,000,000 they owe New York City for parking tickets. The idea that the 192 member states of the UN will actually agree to invade somebody is far-fetched, to say the least.

3. “Muslims.” The bad news is that more and more Muslims have been exposed by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security as ordinary people who just want to be left alone to worship as they choose. The wacko little groups of jihadists are in decline, and it is clear that Muslims pose no more danger to America than Boston Red Sox fans.

4. “Nation States.” Two come to mind: North Korea and China. North Korea is a truly bizarre country that, in the 65 years of its existence, has never even figured out how to feed its own people. Occasionally, they pound their chests and fire a short-range missile into the Sea of Japan. China, of course, could become a problem but we owe them so much money, and buy so many of their products, that both our economies would self-destruct if it became our enemy.

5. “Environmentalists” are considered by some Military/Industrial folks to be the enemy, but so few Americans seem to really pay attention to what’s going on in our environment (look up “Fracking” and “Does Sonar Cause Deafness In Dolphins and Whales?” on Google) that they do not seem to pose a serious threat.

5. “Telemarketers.” They are ranked No. 1 on everyone’s list, and are universally despised. The problem is, we don’t know what they look like or where to find them. Before they become our official enemy, the Pentagon will have to do a nationwide survey which will almost certainly include annoying telemarketing calls at dinnertime to find out your opinion.

As you can see, picking a new enemy isn’t easy.

So…if you have any thoughts about who America’s next enemy should be, send us an email*. We’ll pass all your ideas along to the proper authorities in Washington.

It’s the patriotic thing to do.

A Beginner’s Guide to Global Warming

Polar BearCHAPTER I:

Here are some things everyone should know about global warming (all reports guaranteed true):

In Europe, the bears are confused. It’s too warm to hibernate at their normal time, and all the berries are gone. Where the bears will find food, and what they’ll do with their spare time if warm weather persists, is anybody’s guess.

Butterflies are moving north, from Italy all the way to Finland. If you happen to live in Helsinki and have just spent a fortune on down vests and large quantities of alcoholic beverages for a long, dark winter, butterflies can be quite disconcerting.

The flowers are also bewildered—many blooming during Europe’s increasingly warm winters (which seem like early spring to them). Forsythia is blooming several months early in alpine valleys in Austria.

In the Rockies, ski resorts are making contingency plans to move to higher elevations, where there’s actually some dependable snow. Some resorts have already lobbied the U.S. government for new leases on federal land at higher altitudes.

On a positive note, global warming is nothing but good news for cockroaches! They thrive in warmer weather, so we can expect them to reproduce more frequently during the year, and more of them will survive the new, shorter winters. (Same goes for fleas and ticks, by the way.)


Is global warming coming to your neighborhood? Look for possible clues:

A. While walking your dog in January you start to sneeze and your eyes begin to itch. Is that really a field of ragweed your dog is peeing in?

B. Your local NFL team has shed its hot helmets and pads and is now wearing shorts and T-shirts and playing in the brand new NTFL: the National Touch Football League. Their stadium has been completely air-conditioned.

C. Canadian travel ads appear in your local newspaper, offering “Yukon Ice-Skating Vacations”—a tour of the last three naturally frozen ponds in North America.


Here’s what you can do about global warming:


Write a letter expressing your concerns to President Obama, your senator and your congressman. This will make you feel better, but will accomplish absolutely nothing.

Ironically, some say our only hope may be Texas, an epicenter of global warming. If Texas has six months of 110-degree heat and its low-lying cities (i.e. Galveston and Corpus Christi) vanish into the Gulf of Mexico, that may get some attention from Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Then again, maybe not.


1. Build a large wooden boat. Collect a male and a female of your favorite species.

2. Buy retirement property in the “New Sun Belt” while prices are still low. (This includes North Dakota, Montana, parts of Idaho, Alaska and northern Maine.)

3. Check out emerging investment opportunities: Roach Motel is clearly one product poised to set new sales records. And Wall Street is excited about earnings from companies that make SPF 400 sunscreen products, as well as the rumor that Warren Buffett has bought the two remaining companies in America that still make large hats.

4. Start a branch of the GWDC (Global Warming Defense Corps) on your block. You’ll learn basic survival skills, like “Xtreme grilling”—including recipes for simple meals to cook on the hood of your car or on concrete sidewalks.

Note: Experts will also teach you which strategies and weapons are effective against hordes of hungry, confused European bears.

Global warming is here. It’s time for all of us to adapt and evolve.

Let’s Re-Enact The Spanish Inquisition!

Peter TannenOur country is in a re-enactment rut, and I think it’s time for a change.

I mean, how many times can you re-enact the Civil War?

Doesn’t it get boring being shot once again, pretending to be one of the 750,000 soldiers who died (more than in any war in American history)?

Isn’t it exasperating to play dead for hours, sprawled out in the hot sun in full uniform, until the battle is officially declared over?

And then there’s the appalling choice of fashion colors available. (“Would you like blue or gray, sir?”)

But what, you may ask, is left to re-enact?

Washington crossing the Delaware in winter?

Fuggedaboudit. The Bay of Pigs? No way. The invasion of Granada? You must be joking.

We obviously need an exciting, new event—something with more colorful costumes, more interesting roles to play, and certainly better food and wine.

So here’s an idea with something for everyone: Let’s re-enact the Spanish Inquisition!

The Inquisition, you may remember, was started in 1478 to make sure that people who had converted to Catholicism stayed converted. Especially the Jews and Muslims.

The result was more than 300 years of intrigue, murder, torture and mass revolt. Some citizens were even accused of being (Gasp!) Protestants.

What great material to work with!

Our re-enactment offers hundreds of fascinating Inquisition roles to pick from, each with spectacular costuming opportunities and great-looking weapons.

Not to mention the chance to enjoy the beautiful Spanish countryside, wonderful Rioja wines, and a wide variety of tapas offered by comely Andalusian señoritas.

You can take part in dozens of thrilling events, including secretly spying on your neighbors, hunting for witches, and going door-to-door to ferret out citizens who have relapsed into heresy.

Imagine the thrill of accusing your friends of blasphemy, sodomy or (even worse in those days) bigamy!

Join angry crowds as heretics are burned at the stake! (Note: Simulation only.)

Think of wielding absolute power and banishing thousands of people from your country with a dismissive wave of your hand!

And in the evening, there’s nothing like retiring to your luxurious hacienda to enjoy a troupe of Flamenco dancers, have a sip of Amontillado sherry and then doze off comfortably under a down quilt.

Not only that, but the first 100 re-enactors to sign up will enjoy a private tour of the largest dungeon in Spain and see true-to-life demonstrations of The Rack, The Head Crusher and The Knee Splitter.

We’ll need thousands of people to play the roles of victims and jailors, of course. But remember: There are plenty of openings for Princes, Dukes and Caballeros.

And you might be one of two lucky re-enactors chosen by lottery to play the roles of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. (No experience necessary.)

If you’re interested in becoming part of this ground-breaking re-enactment, just fill out the short questionnaire below.

1. I’d like to play the role of
(please give a 1st and a 2nd
a. Roman Catholic
b. Untrustworthy Jew
c. Untrustworthy Muslim
d. Untrustworthy Protestant
e. Untrustworthy Other

2. I’ve been a victim all my life.
I’d prefer to be:
a. King
b. Queen
c. Pope
d. Executioner
e. Friar Tomás de Torquemada

This is an Equal-Opportunity Inquisition. Applicants will be considered for their roles without regard to age, color, race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, family history, genetic information or veteran status.

Peter Tannen is a humor writer who has won multiple awards from the National Press Club (Washington, D.C.), the Press Club of Long Island and the Florida Press Association. His columns can also be heard on select Public Radio stations across the U.S. He also has a website: www.tannenweekly.com

First Consumer Drones Go On Sale August 15th!


The Drone Company of America (New York Stock Exchange Symbol: DRONECO) recently announced that its first generation of consumer drones will be released in major U.S. markets this month.

Harrison Cobley, DroneCo spokesperson, said there would be five categories of drones for sale: mini-drones for children and teens (8-15 years), drones for hobbyists, corporate drones for business, divorce drones for marital attorneys and detectives, and illegal drones for shadowy paramilitary organizations.

“Little Snoop” — Mini-Drone for Kids ‘n Teens

This drone has a half-mile range and comes equipped with a remote-controlled video camera that sends a wireless signal to any iOS or Android smartphone (the app is just $2.99). It uses a rechargeable battery and four small helicopter-style, safety-enclosed rotors. Maximum forward speed: 5 knots. Climb rate: 3 feet per second. Maximum altitude: 65 feet. Flight duration: 45 minutes. Major use: general teen snooping. It can hover and take a video through the window of any apartment up to the sixth floor, focus inside parked cars to see what’s going on, follow good-looking classmates, irritate teachers and parents. Available in a wide variety of colors and designs, including: psychedelic, abstract flower garden, night sky, pink lace and death tattoos.

“The One-Up” — Drone for Hobbyists

Why waste time with an old-fashioned model airplane when you can enjoy the maneuverability and sheer fun of a helicopter-style drone? And what do model planes actually do, anyhow, except chase around after each other? Optional extras include faux armament and radar, faux rockets and faux 50mm-machine gun. Uses rechargeable lithium-ion batteries (not included) and six safety-enclosed rotors. Maximum forward speed: 25 knots. Climb rate: 15 feet per second. Maximum altitude: 300 feet. Flight duration: two hours.

“Drones-R-Us” — The First Corporate Drone

Perfect for Fortune 500 companies who completely distrust their competition—and who wouldn’t? This all-black, stealth-engineered, ultra-silent drone can drift noiselessly above the gates of your competitors, gather confidential information and stream HD video right back to your headquarters. It can also be used to track members of your staff who you suspect are disloyal. Maximum forward speed: N/A. Climb rate: N/A. Maximum altitude: N/A. Flight duration: N/A.

“The Silent Snitch” — Drone for Detectives and Divorce Attorneys

A new kind of drone with the potential to revolutionize one of America’s major domestic industries! Small, lightweight, using dual electric propellers that are barely audible, the “Silent Snitch” includes low-light and infra-red sensors, as well as the latest facial recognition software. Ultra-sensitive camera and microphone can record and transmit video and audio to your control center up to 10 miles away! Optional breathalyzer with 500-yard range. Maximum forward speed: 25 knots. Climb rate: 15 feet per second. Maximum altitude: 250 feet. Can hover motionless up to eight hours.

“Let’s Pretend We’re In The Army”— Drone for Patriots

Okay, so you’re not really in the U.S. military, but with this new camouflaged drone, you can sure pretend to be. This top-of-the-line drone has two small turbo-fan jet engines, each with 250 pounds of thrust. Armament platforms are provided, but we are not licensed to sell the actual weapons themselves. (Note: Our affiliate company, DRONECO GUNS AND AMMO, has a booth at leading weekend gun shows from Texas to Florida to Virginia.) Maximum forward speed: 300 knots. Climb rate: 250 feet per second. Maximum altitude: 5,000 feet. Flight duration: six hours.

Due to recent filibusters in the Senate, as well as legal challenges from the American Civil Liberties Union, the freedom to own a private drone remains in limbo. A statement from the DroneCo Senior Vice President of Legal Affairs addresses this issue head-on, however: “Given the current makeup of the Supreme Court,” he says, “we expect all public and private drones to receive the full protection of the Second Amendment, the way our Founders intended.” 

Peter Tannen is a humor writer who has won multiple awards from the National Press Club (Washington, D.C.), the Press Club of Long Island and the Florida Press Association. His columns can also be heard on select Public Radio stations across the U.S.  www.tannenweekly.com

Join The National Paranoia Association

National Paranoia Association

Take this simple quiz and find out if you are paranoid enough to qualify for membership in this exclusive, “by-invitation-only” club!

Answer Yes or No:

  1. Is the United Nations secretly plotting to invade our country and occupy our best golf courses, ruining the American Way of Life?
  2. Do you think the IRS is really run by lizard people, who can instantly shift their shapes to look like the rest of us?
  3. Do you agree that any government official who promotes the sale of energy-efficient light bulbs is bent on destroying our freedom and should be removed from office?
  4. Are those airplane contrails (white vapor trails in the sky) actually “chemtrails”—clouds of toxic chemicals or biological agents being sprayed by hundreds of secret government aircraft for clandestine purposes?
  5. Do you believe that America’s enemies can telepathically communicate with goats and other animals?
  6. Have you ever, accidentally of course, drunk water containing fluoride (which as everyone knows, saps America’s strength and makes us vulnerable to a foreign takeover)?
  7. Do you think the people who control Wall Street have the best interests of investors like you at heart?
  8. Is there a secret gay and lesbian plan to break up your marriage?
  9. Does the South still have a chance to win the Civil War?
  10. Have you, or a trustworthy friend, personally seen aliens abducting attractive, scantily-clad Earth women?

If you answered YES to all of the these questions, Congratulations!

First of all, you’re in good company: According to recent news reports, millions of Americans actually believe that everything written above is absolutely true.

Second, you are now a prime candidate for membership in the National Paranoia Association.

What do you do next?


We’ll be in touch. We know who you are. We know where you live. We know how you scored on this test.

As a member of the National Paranoia Association you’ll get paranoid e-mail updates like these:

  • This just in from Portland, Oregon, future site of the NPA’s new world headquarters: Voters there rejected a plan to put fluoride in their drinking water for the fourth time. Way to go, Portland!
  • Scientists have found more than 150 Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) on trajectories that might blast the Earth to smithereens. Is this sheer chance? Or is somebody secretly steering these killer asteroids toward our planet?
  • You knew it in your heart—the end of the world is coming. Again. Here are two recent predictions, so you can start putting your affairs in order:
  • 2014: World War III is near, based on an ancient Nostradamus prophecy of a fire in the North at the end of the age of the fifth sun. This will occur in “a northern region of a country.” North Korea has the edge now, with London bookmakers putting the odds at 3-2.
  • 2037: Evangelist preacher Hal Lindsey, King of Bible Prophecy, says the end is coming, again, and sooner than we think. Hal previously predicted Armageddon in the 1980s, then again in the 1990s. He could be “third time lucky,” as they say.

The Organic Chicken’s Story

chickenSummer is right around the corner.

Time for cold beer, burgers on the grill, SPF 30 on the beach, and weekend escapes with the convertible top down.

Farmers’ markets have bloomed everywhere, filled with organic foods by the bushel.

But have you noticed that organic foods seem a little different this year?

Suddenly, it’s no longer enough just to be labeled “organic.” Now everything organic has to come with a little story.

From leaf lettuce “carefully tended by dedicated gourmet vegetarian monks,” to beef cattle “pampered by sensitive cowboys on isolated ranches in Wyoming,” the stories get more and more creative.

Organic foods now compete with other organic foods for the best “back story,” to use Hollywood screenwriters’ favorite word.

And even writing a menu for an organic restaurant is now an officially sanctioned academic course at some schools.

Example: Do you only want a “Cobb Salad”?

Or would you rather have “Fourme d’Ambert, preservative-free Applewood Smoked Bacon, Buttermilk ‘Panna Cotta’ from specially-bred Guernsey Cows, organic-certified Romaine Lettuce, Free-Range Hard Boiled Egg and Scallion Salad” on your plate?

Same thing, my friends.

So here’s the story of an organic chicken. We’ll call her Melinda.

Melinda was hatched into a wonderful, loving family, as you might expect.

And she was raised properly on a farm in Utopia, Vermont. That is, she grew up pecking away at organic corn and nine other natural grains, and she greatly enjoyed listening to Mozart’s beautiful “Piano Concerto in G Major, K. 453,” which was piped into her coop.

The occasional yoga class kept her flexible, fit and helped her achieve a harmonious relationship with her barnyard world.

A good-natured, sociable chicken, Melinda learned the art of meditation from her mother, one of the first Buddhist chickens in the coop. She learned that if she led a good life, she might eventually attain chicken nirvana.

But also being a down-to-Earth bird, so to speak, Melinda knew that she would probably come back to Earth several times in various incarnations. In her next life, she hoped to return as a golden retriever, after enviously watching several on the farm who seemed to be eternally happy and filled with joy at the sight of something as simple as a small yellow ball.

Melinda was, of course, a free-range chicken, which gave her the comforting illusion that she could wander around without care for the rest of her natural life.

She loved the wholesome grain, the gentle breeze, the sun on her beak, the stars at night and the 15,000 other young chickens with whom she shared her cozy home.

All in all, Melinda was the ideal organic chicken—with the perfect credentials to wind up in our local farmers’ market the other day: free-range, grain-fed, hormone-free, antibiotic-free, relaxed, at peace with herself, and looking forward to a happy afterlife.

Melinda was priced at 10.50 a pound. (Hey, good “back stories” don’t come cheap. Also note that, following the advice of marketing gurus, I didn’t use the $ sign. Research tells us that would make Melinda look too expensive.)

It’s a big, organic world out there—more than $30 billion worth of organic food is now sold every year in our country.

So whether you buy chemically-free, or non-GMO, or naturally-sedated or whatever, as the Cockneys say in London, “you pays your money and you takes your choice.”

It all comes down to whose story you believe.