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Just when you think no one can top Homeland Security's suggestion to duct tape ourselves to safety, we get this new FBI alert.

Dec. 29, 2003 | WASHINGTON (AP) -- The FBI is warning police nationwide to be alert for people carrying almanacs, cautioning that the popular reference books covering everything from abbreviations to weather trends could be used for terrorist planning.

In a bulletin sent Christmas Eve to about 18,000 police organizations, the FBI said terrorists may use almanacs "to assist with target selection and pre-operational planning."

It urged officers to watch during searches, traffic stops and other investigations for anyone carrying almanacs, especially if the books are annotated in suspicious ways.

I can't possibly out-parody this. I can't mock this.
I can't get the picture out of my head of police pulling over encyclopedia salesmen (the three who still sell door-to-door), kids starting research, and people who want to know when whooly-worms are predicting snowfall.

Is this bulletin of any use to anyone? Was there a debate as to whether or not bombers would choose almanacs over encyclopedias or printouts from websites? Should the police be suspicious if the word BOOM appears in comic blam lettering, as opposed to the word SLAM written vertically in a comic about outhouses and cresent moons</a>.

Honestly, did Mad Magazine take over the FBI terrorism shop without anyone realizing it? Were there scribbles and sketches drawn on the margins of this bulletin? And if there were, would this classify as suspicious annotations?


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 30th, 2003 07:34 am (UTC)
What amuses me the most about this is that my former employer, a rather conservative political lobby, gave out free copies of the Farmer's Almanac to a lot of its more influential friends this year at Christmas. It would amuse me greatly to find out that this makes them terror suspects.
Dec. 30th, 2003 08:19 am (UTC)
I want to comment on this. I really do. However, the sheer magnitude of the stupidity leaves me speechless.
Dec. 30th, 2003 09:13 am (UTC)

You're right, Sterling: sometimes the truth is beyond parody. And damned if this isn't one of those times.

"Drop that almanac, or we shoot!!"
Dec. 30th, 2003 11:18 pm (UTC)
You must write for The Globe and Mail
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )