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The Columbia Chive: Celebrating 21 years of The Onion

Monday, November 2, 2009 | 4:25 p.m. CST

Remember when Al Gore delivered that emergency presidential address to his bathroom mirror? Or when Fritolaysia cut off chiplomatic relations with Snakistan? And who could forget the day dolphins evolved opposable thumbs? Talk about humanity taking a blow.

Over the last few decades, The Onion, America's funniest news source, has given us bar after bar of satirical gold. And it so happens that this fine publication has reached its 21st birthday, so let’s celebrate.

In honor of its 21st anniversary, The Onion is, this week, releasing “Our Front Pages: 21 Years of Greatness, Virtue, And Moral Rectitude From America's Finest News Source." The book, to be sure, will be a celebration in and of itself, but The Onion still deserves a birthday present from all of us. Thus follows a little celebratory homage, inferior to the real thing, but an imagining of what a Columbia edition of The Onion — we’ll call it The Chive —would look like nonetheless.

Rogue Businessman Names Shop After Lions, Bears”: “Oh my!” was an exclamation often repeated after the unveiling of the new Lion and Bear Copy Center on East Broadway. And in a town that houses The Tiger Hotel, Tiger Village Apartments, Tiger Barber Shop, Tiger Spirit, Tiger Cleaners and Tiger Express Wash, just to name a few, it’s little wonder. “I wanted my business to stand out in this commercial jungle,” said owner Bob Pluntfarb, standing amidst the towering two-story buildings of downtown. “Plus, everyone knows a lion or bear could beat a tiger in a fight. That’s just science.”  

True/False Festival Expands to Include Third Option”: Directors of the renowned documentary festival True/False recently announced their addition of a third option: “Cannot be determined from the information provided.” The directors said the expansion was due to the rousing success of the festival over the past few years. If things keep going well, said a person familiar with the matter, they might even be looking into a "trick question" alternative.

Grocery Store Closes, Name Not Silly Enough”: John Smith, owner of the now defunct Food and Beverage Market, expressed regret about the name of his business and credited that title with his eventual bankruptcy. “If I had it to do over again, I would have called it Schmuck’s or maybe Goober’s,” he said. “Clearly my name was far too straightforward.” Smith says he has plans now to open a convenience store but is still deciding between calling it Zippity Do Da's or the Ooompa Loompa Outlet.

City Officials to be Decorated By Local Artists”: In an effort to celebrate the arts and prevent graffiti, City Council members and mayor Darwin Hindman will be offering up their bodies to local painters and other crafty folk. “We’re trying to encourage more people to recognize the thriving art community,” said one of the gallery owners who helped organize the project. A parade is planned to show off the living art, and Hindman is expected to be a highlight. “He’s been put under the brush of a surrealist,” the gallery owner explained. “He has every chance of showing up as a sexy turnip or a clock without hands; that sort of message is why art is so important."

Area Woman Waits Behind Sturtz At Walgreens”: Pauline Filtzbottom was more excited than usual for her weekly Tuesday bridge game with the ladies from the auxiliary club. She had a story to tell. “There I was,” she recalled, “buying Frank’s ulcer medicine when I saw the Paul Sturtz right in front of me. He was buying mouthwash. I could have touched it.” The ladies, as Flitzbottom had hoped, were impressed by the local celebrity sighting. All expressed jealousy and regret for so poorly timing their own visits to Walgreens.

Tribune Reporter Rolls Eyes at Missourian Reporter’s Question”: After the City Council meeting ended last Monday, reporters from the Columbia Daily Tribune and the Columbia Missourian both approached councilman Karl Skala. The Tribune reporter, who asked about an upcoming planning and zoning debate, overheard the Missourian’s reporter’s question regarding basic city council procedure and was soon caught in the midst of a sizable eye roll. “I get older,” the Tribune reporter said, “and they just stay the same age."

Bicyclists, Motorists to Duel at High Noon”: In an attempt to solve their differences once and for all, Columbia’s most outspoken bicyclists and motorists will face-off at noon on Sunday in The District by doing synchronized routines, a la "West Side Story," atop their respective vehicles. While both will have to dodge red-light cameras, cyclists hope their greater maneuverability will prove crucial in their performance of Queen's "Bicycle," while the drivers plan to use eye-catching sequined car bras to their advantage in a rendition of "Car Wash." The winner will be afforded the right to call the other party curs and run them out of town.

Residents Shocked to Find Weekend Festival-free”: As Friday rolled around, the citizens of Columbia readied themselves to stand in lines, buy super-saver platinum-access passes and eat food soldfrom carts, but it was not to be. For the first weekend in what some say is decades, there is no festival — no rides, no lights, no bands, no acclaimed films — to be found on the city streets or in the neighboring towns of Rocheport and Boonville. Many have been left confused, aimlessly walking with arms stretched out in search of some celebration. Others have suggested starting a festival celebrating the lack of festival as an emergency measure.

That's all she wrote, so here’s to you on your 21st, our dear Onion. Enjoy that legal boozing and gambling. (As if you weren’t already sneaking them anyway.)

Katy Steinmetz is a columnist for the Missourian and an editor for Vox Magazine. She moved to Columbia after spending two years teaching in Winchester, England, and one year in Edinburgh, Scotland. Her work has been published by a variety of outlets, including The Guardian and Businessweek.com. Katy plans to complete her MU master's degree in 2010.

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