WEDNESDAY, March 28, 2012

Pope Benedict XVI, visiting Cuba for the first time in 14 years, was met at the Santiago Airport by Cuban President Raul Castro.  He then visited Santiago de Cuba, and said a papal Mass in the Sanctuary of Cuba’s patron saint, the Virgin of Charity of El Cobre.  Relations warmed visibly between the pope and officials of the Marxist government when he replaced the usual incense with a Cuban cigar.

For only the second time in history, Titanic director James Cameron has piloted the prototype submarine Deepsea Challenger seven miles into the deepest gorge in the Pacific Ocean, the Mariana Trench.   Radioing back to his mother ship on the surface, Cameron reported sighting giant grouper, jellyfish, deep sea eels, flounder and Spongebob Squarepants.

For the first time in the history of the Olympics, a 100-year old British grandmother will be an official torch-bearer at the London Games.  Well, it won’t be a torch exactly.  In deference to her advanced age, officials have waived the traditional torch and will let her set fire to her IV pouch.

Spain's Iberia  Airlines, a British Airways spin-off,  has launched cut-rate, no frills, low cost service to cities including Madrid and the islands of Ibiza, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote.  They may be cutting it a little too close, though.  In-flight entertainment is limited to a stewardess holding up a photo of Julio Iglasias while humming songs from his latest album.   

Unable to compete with the ease of use and accessibility of the Internet, officials at the Encyclopedia Britannica have ceased hard-cover production and gone online themselves.  Born-again Christians all over the country wrote irate letters to the company’s headquarters demanding that they reconsider.  Without the encyclopedia, they’ll have to use their bibles to keep their doors from slamming shut.

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Compiled from Bob's newsletter "Funnyside Up" published in 2000. This is a yuck and chuckle-filled stroll down memory lane to a time before the Bush administration had inflicted its damage -- a time before the search for WMDs and Osama bin Laden. See what we were laughing at back then, who was in the news and who had yet to enter rehab -- which NFL stars had yet to do time in the Gray Bar Hotel.