Kenny Chesney's Top 5 Annulment "Frauds"

Dave Says: You Might be a Redneck...

Butter Plant Fire a Blessing to Some

Al Franken's Secret Plan

Rather, Rivera, and the Quest for the Grail

Take Light Rail to the Ballgame

Minnesota Town Bans Garage Parking

Lawn Watering Breakthrough: The Hoseless Sprinkler

Friday, September 16, 2005

What Ya Got Under Yer Hat, Cowboy?
Actress Renee Zellweger, after just four months of marriage to country music star Kenny Chesney, has filed for an annulment, alleging unspecified "fraud."

Nonetheless, we at Downing World feel free to speculate on just what that fraud might be.

Top Five Reasons Renee Zellweger Wants an Annullment:

5) She found out the 37-year-old entertainer and sex symbol was not really a virgin.

4) When he finally took off that darned cowboy hat on their wedding night, he had a bald spot the size of the OK Corral.

3) She's seen his tractor, she doesn't think it's sexy, and it doesn't turn her on.

2) She's also not crazy 'bout his "farmer's tan."

1) Apropos his "tractor": She's unimpressed with his plowing technique; he always leaves a dead furrow.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Dave Gives Jeff Foxworthy the Night Off
If someone mentions "fine dining," and you immediately think of the might be a redneck.

If your favorite restaurant features "catch of the day," but it's a might be a redneck.

Thursday, December 2, 2004

Downingworld News Network

Butter Plant Fire a Blessing to Some
While the German-Americans in New Ulm may consider last night's butter plant fire a disaster, some Minnesotans are counting their blessings.

Proving once again that our strength is in our diversity, thousands of Scandinavian-Americans living in Minneapolis are looking forward to Saturday morning, when the butter-enriched flow of the Minnesota River is expected to reach the Twin Cities. Petersons, Johnsons, Olsons, Andersons and their Nordic brethren are expected to descend en masse to the river to try their luck at catching that seasonal Scandinavian delicacy, butter-dipped fish.

Told that the Minnesota River is heavily polluted, and any fish he catches might smell bad and be unfit for eating, Nels Swenson, who has lived in the Lyn-Lake neighborhood for 43 years with his wife Dorothy, quipped, "You's never tried lutefisk, has ya?"

Monday, November 8, 2004

Al Franken's Secret Plan
Downing News Network -- News Best Taken with a Block of Salt

The Downing News Network has learned that liberal talk radio host Al Franken will soon step down from his soapbox in order to launch a stand-up comedy tour. Following a well-received run of unpublicized appearances in the Northeast, Franken will soon announce an extensive six-month tour of the West Coast.

Franken is reportedly using all-new material, while still relying on his far-left political leanings. DNN sources who have seen Franken's new show passed on these samples of his new material:

"If you think the internal combustion engine is a GOOD might be in a red state.

"If you think a pocketknife is a tool, not a might be in a red state.

"If you think coffee comes from a can, not an espresso might be in a red state.

"If you go hunting wearing a dirty old coat and clean the game might live in a red state.

"If you think guns don't kill people, people kill might be in a red state.

"If you think you can spend your own money better than the government might be in a red state.

"If you think we should kill terrorists over there, before they come here and kill might be in a red state."

If the tour goes well in the Northeast, sources say Franken plans to add dates in Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota. There are no plans to extend the tour to the South or the Great Plains, a Franken spokesperson said, because those parts of the country lack the "intellectual sophistication" necessary to "appreciate" Franken's humor.

That means most of the country -- 31 states -- will be bypassed by the Franken tour.

And for that, they are grateful.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Rather, Rivera, and the Quest for the Grail
Dan Rather thought he finally had it. He had realized his quest for the Holy Grail of news. He had papers damning President Bush.

Alas, even CBS now has to admit that the papers are fakes. Poor Dan. But not so fast. Dan is down, but not out. He says it doesn't matter whether the papers are genuine, because they are based on fact.

Hmmm.... Holy Grail..... Forgeries..... I feel a daydream sequence coming on.....

(imagine harp music as we segue to my daydream)

"This is Geraldo Rivera, reporting live from an undisclosed location, where I, the greatest TV journalist in history, have made the greatest discovery in history. I have found the Holy Grail! Stay tuned, as I tell how I single-handedly found this sacred relic -- which once inspired crusades -- in Al Capone's vault!"

(A shadowy figure appears.)

"Not so fast, Geraldo."

Geraldo: "Who are you?"

Shadowy Figure: "I'm Dan Rather, defender of truth, bastion of journalistic integrity, and a totally impartial reporter. How do we know that Grail is authentic?"

Geraldo: "I have a preponderance of evidence. I'm fully satisfied as to its authenticity."

Dan: "Did you consult experts?"

Geraldo: "Yes, I called a few and described it to them. They said it sounded like a Grail."

Dan: "Let me see that Grail!"

Geraldo: "I can't show you the original, I only have a picture of it!"

Dan: "Liar. Either you have a Grail in your pocket, or...."

Geraldo: "Or maybe both, but let's not go there. OK, here it is. Here's the Grail. You'll see it's authentic."

Dan: "Wait a minute, what's this? Look at the bottom! It says 'Made in China'!"

Geraldo: "China's a very old country. They've been making things for a long time. Some people were trading with China even in Biblical times. It's quite possible that the Apostles could have gotten their Grail from China."

Dan: "Then how do you explain this? 'Manufactured for Sacramental Supply Company, Superior, Wisconsin'?"

Geraldo: "OK, you got me. This Grail is a forgery. But it doesn't matter."

Dan: "And why is that?"

Geraldo: "Because it's based on fact."

Dan: "Well, OK then."

by David W. Downing, copyright 2002

I wrote this in honor of THE TRAIN -- the new light rail line in Minneapolis. It was recorded by the Garage Logic radio program's resident Euphorian, Morghanne Q.E. Wolfe-Slattery.

Take light rail to the ballgame,
Take light rail with the crowd. (It's bustling!)
Buy me a latte, some tofu and sprouts.
I don't care if our team all make outs,
'Cause we root, root, root for both teams.
If someone wins it's a shame.
For it's one, two, three strikes -- keep trying!
At the new ball game!!!!"

I wrote this bit to be used on April Fools Day, 2002, on the Garage Logic radio program. Someone called in to say that this couldn't be right, because he delivers the mail to Greeley, and there's almost nothing there. He's right, of course. But if he knew that, then he was in on the joke. Why did he call to ruin it for everyone else? Some people!

by David W. Downing, copyright 2002

The town council of Greeley has passed what is believed to be the country's first Garage Safety Ordinance, which effectively bans the garage as we know it in that small east-central Minnesota city.

Greeley, a small town near Rush Lake in the southwestern corner of Pine County, for years was known as the Birthplace and hometown of major leaguer Rube Walberg, a star pitcher with the Philadelphia athletics in the 1920s, and for its small lake, which some say has no bottom.

But in recent years, low rents and the rural town's proximity to the Twin Cities have spurred the growth of an artists' colony of sorts, which has brought an infusion of progressive thinkers into a town formerly populated by the descendants of German and Scandinavian farmers. Many artists have purchased houses in the town, and some have transformed storefronts into studios. Even the town's long-shuttered buggy whip factory has been gutted and remodeled into an artists' co-op featuring a dozen lofts for artists of various genders who work in diverse mediums.

The ordinance doesn't call for residents to remove their garages, but by Jan. 1, 2003, all garages that are not removed (with all building materials properly recycled or made available for construction of affordable housing) must be modified so that no door is more than 42 inches wide. That will make the garages useless for storing automobiles, but will still permit storage of jogging strollers and adult tricycles.

Council chairperson Virginia Potter-Smith, a ceramic artist and self-described "newcomer" to the town, said that despite the timing, the ordinance was not a reaction to the recent tragedy in Fort Worth, where a hit-and-run victim was left to bleed to death on the hood of a car parked in a garage. "No, this was taking shape long before that," Potter-Smith said. "But you know," added her husband and fellow councilperson Clay, "If that car hadn't been hidden away in a garage, someone could have helped that poor homeless man before it was too late."

The ordinance was introduced by first-term councilperson Dakotah Starr-Lyte, a transgendered textile interpreter, who came to Greeley for the opportunity to apprentice under noted Chinese weaver Y.O. Ming.

"Not long after I moved here, I became enlightened to the ongoing massacre of beautiful butterflies ­ and sometimes even small birds ­ by smelly, gas-guzzling cars speeding down the roads," said Starr-Lyte. "But sometimes our winged friends aren't killed; they are merely stunned or injured and stuck to the front of the car," Starr-Lyte explained. "If a vehicle is parked inside a garage, no one can see that a flying friend needs help. And if the creature frees itself, it can't open the door to return to its family. So even if it doesn't starve to death inside the dark garage, it will probably die from stress. And with the ever-growing size of SUVs, it's only a matter of time before someone puts away their vehicle with a dazed and wounded deer stuck to the grille."

A last-minute amendment to allow people to continue parking in their garages if the overhead door was permanently removed and the car was backed in -- with the grille visible from the street -- was defeated. Long-time councilperson John J. "Johnny" Johnson, who offered the amendment, said,

"I thought the backing-in part would be good enough for them, but then someone asked: what if they've got one of them VW Bugs -- how would you tell? And I could see their point."

Proponents of the garage ordinance hope it will soon become a non-issue. That's because they are working on getting light rail transit extended to the Greeley community. That development might be seen as somewhat ironic, given that Greeley's failure to grow over the years was linked to the fact that, unlike most towns in the state, it has never been located on a railroad line. "Once light rail is here, no one will need private vehicles anyway," said performance artist Montana Skye. Skye is chairperson of the local pro-rail group Artists, Potters, Revolutionaries, Intellectuals, & Libertarians For Our Own Light-rail Service, or

A-P-R-I-L-F-O-O-L-S for short.

(Rube Walberg was from Greeley; the rest is mostly all made up. Greeley is the closest town to the farm where I grew up, but it's not really much of a town at all. It's unincorporated and mostly a ghost town now. But once upon a time there was a general store, gas station, school and creamery. My grandfather went to school there.)

Another bit for the Garage Logic radio program, written during an extended dry spell in 2001. It made it onto the "Everything Euphorian" best-of CD from the show.

Lawn Watering Breakthrough: the Euphorian Sprinkler
by David W. Downing, copyright 2001

(announcer) And now a word from Morghanne Q.E. Wolfe-Slattery, about this week's special at the Euphoria Co-op:

My fellow Euphorians, our Mother is very old, and sometimes she forgets things. So if Mother has forgotten to nourish your plantings with her life -giving rains, you may need to give her a helping hand. If your weeds...I mean, wildflowers... and native prairie grasses need water, the Euphorian Sprinkler, now available at the Euphoria Co-op, is just the thing.

The Euphorian Sprinkler is available in a variety of colors, all found in Mother herself. The Euphorian Sprinkler is not made with one of those nasty metal spikes, which would so violently violate our Mother's soil. Rather, it rests on a soft, padded base, made from all-natural, and sustainable, hemp, allowing the Euphorian Sprinkler to return Mother's warm embrace.

Best of all, the Euphorian Sprinkler features the latest in technology. We live in a world of wireless phones and cordless shavers (not that any right thinking Euphorian would shave), so we thought, why not a hose-less sprinkler? This unique feature allows you to use the Euphorian Sprinkler even if your Community Supported Sustainable Agricultural Plot is not located near a source of water.

And you don't need to worry about depleting Mother's stores of fresh, pure water. That's because the Euphorian Sprinkler comes with it's own lifetime supply of dehydrated water. That's right, an unlimited, lifetime supply. Now, you may ask yourself, how can they make such an offer? Well, in our eagerness to prepare for Y2K, the Euphoria Co-op overstocked on both electric-powered generators and dehydrated water. So now our loss is your gain. (Oh, I hope that doesn't sound too much like someone's a winner.)

page and website copyright 2004 David W. Downing