Sunday, April 30, 2006

This week's column:
Fit to be tied

Ah, spring -- the birds are singing, the grass is growing, and sections of my body that I haven’t thought about in months are jiggling like deviled ham in a paint mixer. Yes, I finally took off my down parka and extra-large sweatshirt last week to find out that somehow, in the time since summer ended, my body had acquired an entire bowling ball.

But luckily I have Blue Cross Blue Shield, which recently sent me its "10 Stay Fit Tips" for spring. Surprisingly, none of them incorporated my No. 1 spring fitness method, which is to stop attacking old Easter candy like a whale sucking in plankton. (I’m also concerned that the term "Stay Fit" might assume an initial level of fitness that my body hasn’t seen since the great Health Rider bender of 1994.)

For the rest of this week's AT LARGE by Peter Chianca, click here.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Mick Jagger was also hospitalized
after laughing his skinny ass off

If Keith Richards had to be injured, it seems somehow appropriate he'd do so falling out of a palm tree. The only thing more appropriate would be if he fell out of a palm tree and landed on Steven Tyler.

Apparently he suffered a minor concussion, and when interviewed after the accident said, "Wha? I'm not so sure wha ... I think I went ... Blimey! You shoulda seen the [unintelligible] ... Gotta smoke, mate?" Oh, wait, that was actually before the accident. My mistake.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Honey, can you pass the bacteria?
I've got a big meeting today.

Yes, I know what you're thinking. Why is it they can put a man on the moon, but they can't invent a decent flatulence-free bean? Well, good news. It turns out you can invent your own flatulence-free bean, simply by dousing your food with bacteria before you eat it.

Or you can just continue to clear the room after every meal. Your choice.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

This week's column:
A chimp for all seasons

With so many live-fast, die-young stars having made headlines in Hollywood over the years, it's refreshing to hear about one celebrity who managed to navigate a wild, debauched youth and emerge relatively unscathed. Yes, I'm talking about Carol Channing.

Wait, no, I read my notes wrong. I'm actually talking about Cheeta the chimp, who co-starred in a dozen "Tarzan" movies in the '30s and '40s and, according to the Associated Press, celebrated his 74th birthday at a California primate sanctuary last week. This puts Cheeta in an exclusive group of aging child stars from Hollywood's golden age, which consists primarily of him and Mickey Rooney, for whom he is often mistaken.

Anyway, the usually reclusive chimp sat down to an interview with me over dung beetles and banana daiquiris in his sunroom recently, looking a fraction of his age in a silk bathrobe and large-framed glasses, sort of like Elliot Gould in "Oceans 11." Here's what he had to say.

For the rest of this week's AT LARGE by Peter Chianca, click here.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

'Honey, did you forget to
change the litter box again?'

Sure, the downstairs bathroom could use a new paint job. That living room couch has seen better days. The paneling in the basement looks like it was shipped in directly from the set of "Happy Days." But look at the bright side: At least your house hasn't been blasted with 3,000 gallons of raw sewage.

Have a nice day.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

They should have gone with
their original plan to do
'Mystic Pizza: The Musical'

OK, so Julia Roberts didn't exactly set Broadway on fire Wednesday night with her debut in "Three Days of Rain." But the reviews weren't all bad. For instance, I combed through several dozen of them and was able to glean the following very positive comments:
  • "Not once did Ms. Roberts fall or bump into furniture."
  • "It was reminiscent of her scintillating performance in 'Pretty Woman,' except without the charisma or the hooker outfits."
  • "The intermission was dazzling."
  • "The way she mumbled so you couldn't hear what she was saying really stimulated the imagination. For instance, I spent much of the second act imagining what might happen if I choked on my Jujubes."
  • "It was the best performance I'd seen on Broadway all night, except for her co-stars."

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Reportedly with fava
beans and a nice chianti

I don't know about you, but I find it highly disturbing that the mainstream U.S. press has yet to jump on reports that Tom Cruise is planning to eat his newborn baby's placenta. It's a placenta coverup, people! Thank God we have the wacky international press to report these things, as well as the latest updates on who's wearing hotpants.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

This week's column:
Not everybody must get Stoned

OK, I'll admit it: I feel bad for Sharon Stone. Not bad enough to go see her movie, which judging from the reviews is so awful it might cause my eyeballs to burn out of my head. But maybe bad enough to send a fruit basket.

I'm referring of course to "Basic Instinct 2," which recorded an opening-weekend gross of $3.2 million. To put that number in perspective, a blank screen could probably gross $3.2 million if it had the right marketing campaign. ("It's the blank screen like you've never seen it before!" etc.)

For the rest of this week's AT LARGE by Peter Chianca, click here.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

To which Donald Rumsfeld
replied, 'Don't let our missiles
hit you on the way out'

More good news from the Middle East: Iran has gone nuclear! But just to show that they're being more than reasonable about the whole thing, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has released the following actual statment: "Our answer to those who are angry about Iran obtaining the full nuclear cycle is one phrase, we say: Be angry and die of this anger." Which would presumably save them the trouble of having to blow them up.

Of course, it could be worse: He could have used that popular Iranian rejoinder, "May your anger eat at your innards like a thousand hungry maggots." Although that one they usually reserve for wedding and funerals.

Monday, April 10, 2006

It was probably those
roaming charges that got him

A man in Malaysia has received a $218 trillion phone bill. In a related story, Democrats in Congress have accused George Bush of running up the national debt by using his government-issued cell phone to call the psychic hotline.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

This week's column:
All we need is bugs

As my regular readers may recall, I’m fairly convinced that the end result of all scientific experimentation will be the development of an unstoppable robot army that will eventually enslave us to do its bidding. I figure our only hope is to unintentionally wipe ourselves out with a genetically engineered super-virus before that happens, leaving the robots to spend their days playing chess and vacuuming.

But since the technology for that is apparently not quite ready, the BBC is now reporting that Pentagon scientists are instead developing an "army of cyber-insects." This is a spectacular idea; the only thing I can think of that would be better might be to mount little machine guns on their backs -- that way they could strafe us when we come after them with the Bug-B-Gone.

Apparently the cyber-bugs would be used to check out explosives and send transmissions, if scientists can get them to work; according to the BBC, a similar project with wasps failed "when they flew off to feed and mate." Interestingly, the same problem has also kept scientists from developing an effective college student.

For the rest of this week's AT LARGE by Peter Chianca, click here.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Please, for God's sake,
take Ann Curry with you

Katie Couric has announced that she'll be instituting the following changes on the CBS Evening News, effective immediately:

  1. Nightly segments on pilates;
  2. Thalia Assuras to start cooking with celebrity chefs;
  3. Outdoor Concert Series (summers only);
  4. Fat weatherman;
  5. Swingin' knee-high boots for Russ Mitchell.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

This week's column:
Film smokers set fine example

As you probably know, our legislators here in Massachusetts face a lot of challenges. For instance, they’ve recently been debating a bill that would prohibit drivers from holding a cell phone in their hands or "with any other part of the body." Just imagining which other body parts those could be would be enough to rattle even the most seasoned representatives for almost an entire Caribbean junket.

But it’s not just those high-profile laws that legislators must contend with. For instance, they recently considered an obscure proposal that would "tax" the entertainment industry $10,000 each time any of the leading actors in a production are seen smoking cigarettes. It’s a different approach; most observers expected the next state funding initiative would be making elementary school students sell cartons of Marlboros to people coming out of the Keno parlors.

Of course, legislators didn’t exactly fall all over each other to support this measure, which was proposed by a constituent from Andover; in fact, they ran from it like tobacco executives running from Mike Wallace. That could be because it’s probably kind of, you know, unconstitutional, and also not a good way to get on the good side of the film industry, the tobacco lobby or Keith Richards.

For the rest of this year's AT LARGE by Peter Chianca, click here.