Sunday, March 18, 2007

New Venezuelan Currency Nicknamed The "Bárbara"

(CARACAS) In an effort to stanch the eroding value of Venezuelan currency, President Hugo Chávez has issued a new currency with a new name, the "Bárbara."

Chávez hopes to stem the steep tide of inflation by lopping off approximately two zeros and turning the 1000 bolivar coin into a coin valued at 12-1/2 "fuerte" or "strong" bolivars.

Chávez has nicknamed the new coin Bárbara because its copper color closely matches Barbara Walters's henna hair. In addition, Barbara's recent interview broadcast on ABC's Good Morning America has "restored my currency as the most important leader of the Western Hemisphere."

In her March 16th interview with Chávez, Walters called Chávez a "dignified man" and forgave him for calling President Bush a "devil" and a "donkey."

Barbara added that Chávez "is not the crazy man that we have heard," referring to Chávez's famous rant earlier this year at the UN when he compared Bush to Satan.

"[Chávez] cares very much about poverty," Barbara continued, explaining how he helped bring oil to the poor of the United States this winter. "This is a very intelligent man."

Chávez dismisses his critics' assessment that his takeover of oil, electric and phone companies, or his price fixing of commodities, or the exodus of foreign capital from Venezuela has anything to do with this year's 20% spike in inflation, the highest in Latin America. "What else would you expect capitalists to say?"

Instead, Chávez blames food hoarders and black marketeers, which he called "puercos sucios" or "dirty pigs," for jacking up prices on a broad range of commodities.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Maple Trees Upset by Warming Winters

(BRATTLEBORO, VT) Vermonters may have to shutter up their sugar shacks and shuffle off to Canada if they want to continue to live off the largesse of the maple tree.

Man-made or not, global warming seems to be shortening the sugaring season and causing our rough-skinned friends to skimp on the sweet sauce.

Eco-farmer, Matthias Jarling, who green farms 122 acres outside of Brattleboro, has seen his maple syrup output shrink by 38% since 1980. He insists that his trees are angry. "They've been furious since that [expletive deleted] B-actor from Hollywood got elected. With the exception of about three seasons in the mid-90's, they just won't produce."

Prominent scientists speculate that as conditions continue to deteriorate in the northeast, maples will increasingly creep across the border into Canada to find cooler and more favorable conditions.

"Of course they're going to go to Canada," Jarling said, before taking a long moment to reflect as he looked toward the Green Mountains. "Why wouldn't they go to Canada? Canada signed the Kyoto Treaty, didn't they? We didn't. Don't you think these mighty maples can sense who their friends are?"

Jarling was referring to the UN-sponsored Kyoto Protocol, a self-regulating treaty designed to reduce industry-produced greenhouse gases. Many scientists agree that greenhouse gases have drastically shrunk the polar icecaps.

The United States has refused to sign this agreement.