A Good Year For Bad News

December 29, 1991|By ROGER SIMON t

GOOD ROGER SAT AT HIS WRITING TABLE early in the morning of New Year's Eve. He was dressed in white silk pajamas and a plum smoking jacket.

"Let me guess," Bad Roger said to him. "You're entering a Hugh Hefner look-alike contest."

Good Roger didn't say a thing. Good Roger believes that if you can't say something nice about a person, you shouldn't say anything at all.

That is only one reason Good Roger is such a pill.

"I suppose," Good Roger said, turning from the writing table and looking at Bad Roger, "that your garb is supposed to reflect your keen sense of savoir-faire?"

"To tell you the truth," Bad Roger said, "if I had any more savoir, it just wouldn't be fair." Then Bad Roger fell laughing into his Barcalounger. He cracks himself up. Really.

Bad Roger was dressed in his usual knock-around-the-house attire: a white Naugahyde jumpsuit. On the back, spelled out in rhinestones, were the words: "Elvis Is Dead. But At Least He vTC Ain't Gaining Any More Weight." On his feet, Bad Roger wore white mink bootees.

"Fur is dead," Good Roger said.

"I certainly hope so," said Bad Roger. "I wouldn't want them little critters gnawing on my toesie-woesies."

Good Roger turned back to his writing.

"If you're entering the National Clearinghouse Sweepstakes, you can forget it," Bad Roger said. "I got a letter from Ed McMahon just the other day saying I may have already won."

"I do not waste my time on such nonsense," Good Roger said. "I have more productive things to do."

"Like what?" Bad Roger said. "How, for instance, do you intend to spend this wild and crazy evening? Drinking Ovaltine and listening to 'Kurt Schmoke's Greatest Speeches' on the Victrola?"

"I will be doing what I usually do," Good Roger said. "I will donate a pint of blood at the Red Cross and then, after my complimentary cup of Hawaiian Punch, I will go out and build some low-cost housing for the poor. What do you intend to do?"

"Go to Hammerjacks, drink until I'm senseless, throw up, and then have them put me in a cab," Bad Roger said.

"And how, pray tell, is that different than the other 364 days of the year?" Good Roger asked.

"Usually, I have them put me on a bus," Bad Roger said. "But New Year's Eve is for splurging."

"I do not deign to make reply," Good Roger said, turning back to his work.

"What are you writing?" Bad Roger asked. "We're supposed to be on vacation."

"I am preparing my list of the Top Stories of 1991," Good Roger said. "Real journalists do things like that. Want to hear the list so far?"

"Like I really have a choice," Bad Roger said.

Good Roger began reading his list. "The Gulf War," he began. "The Collapse of Communism. The Sagging U.S. Economy . . . "

"Z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z," said Bad Roger. "Bore me with a spoon."

"I suppose you could do better?" Good Roger asked.

"I certainly can," Bad Roger said. "As it happens, I have already collected my list of the Top Stories of 1991. These are actual stories that I have stolen from other journalists. Each one, I feel, truly reflects what Americans really care about. Here goes:

*NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- A woman shot her son after he threw her Thanksgiving ham to the floor, stomped on it and threw the pan at her, police said.

Octavia Overton, 73, will not be charged by police because of her age and the relatively minor injuries suffered by her son, George, 35, police spokesman Steve Canady said. (11-29-91)

*ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) -- A judge has overturned the convictions of 10 women found guilty of exposing their breasts in public, ruling that women's breasts should not be legally distinguished from men's.

Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Clifford said her office plans to appeal the ruling. She said state law clearly defines women's breasts as private body parts, based on traditional community beliefs, public moral and common decency. (11-13-91)

*WASHINGTON (AP) -- Amtrak told Congress Friday it will comply with the law and end the century-old practice of dumping human waste along tracks -- if Capitol Hill provides $85 million.

The rail passenger line is under a deadline of Nov. 15, 1996, to have its nationwide fleet equipped with waste-holding facilities. The line is seeking the $85 million to modify 544 cars built after 1971 and to build facilities at the end of routes to hold and treat the sewage. (11-22-91)

*BALTIMORE (AP) -- A Maryland congresswoman is calling for the assassination of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

"I would prefer somebody could go in and bump him off real fast," said Rep. Helen Delich Bentley, R-Md. (3-18-91)

*COLLBAN, Colo. (AP) -- A horse being ridden by a hunting guide was shot by a man who thought it was an elk, officials said.

Scott Rodberg, 31, of Joice, Iowa, was charged with careless hunting, hunting before hours and reckless endangerment. Rodberg, who was freed on $600 bond, will not lose his hunting license. (10-16-91)

*LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- A choir member threw liquid drain cleaner at a fellow singer during a church service for singing off-key at rehearsal, police said.

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