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Here, in the barren outback of the magazine, I keep my lonely vigil, the sole occupant of this windswept outpost of humor. Misunderstood, battered from all sides and banished from the front of the fold, I sit alone, waiting for the reader's final, fateful turn of the page. You're getting close to the end now, close to that moment where you either nod off to sleep with your glasses on, or slam the issue down on the coffee table. It has been a long journey through these pages but, lo, you have come to a welcome oasis in the vast Desert of Seriousness (see pages 1-48).

Come then, weary traveler. Rest yourself. Quench your thirst with a glass of soothing pointlessness ...

And Now The News ...

The United Nations declared 1993 as the "Year of Indigenous People," which is admirable and worthy of support and all that. But we're especially happy to announce that, after decades of neglect, a very special group of people is being honored in 1994, the just-announced "Year of the White Male." These deserving folks have long been overlooked by the U.N. committee that annually selects a worthy group, and then sends out lots of press releases that nobody reads (and a nice poster).

Among the many international events planned for next year's theme are:

· a Super Bowl halftime extravaganza titled "White Men Can't Jump, But They Make Great Accountants,"

· a tour of Al's World of Buicks in downtown Trenton, New Jersey,

· a "Golfing for Global Understanding" charity tournament,

· mercy flights of remote-controlled televisions to developing nations, and

· performances of the specially commissioned theme song: "Momma, Don't Let Your Boys Grow Up to Be Middle Managers."

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