Wednesday, November 22, 2006

This Just In

By Steve

“Palance Virus” Seen as Possible Biological Weapons Breakthrough

ATLANTA, GA – Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control are attempting to isolate the virus that recently claimed the life of veteran film tough guy Jack Palance, who passed away earlier this month at age 87. Unnamed sources confirm that the effort has been initiated by the CIA for possible use in a secret biomedical weapons program.

(Left) Movie tough guy Jack Palance: Is it possible he's even tougher in death than he was in life?

“Anything that could bring Palance down has got to be one nasty bug,” said the source. “I mean this guy defined craggy. Not only did he play probably the meanest sonofabitch in movie history, he was also out there doing one-arm pushups at the Oscars on national TV in his 70s. He was like a like a walking piece of beef jerky.”

If the so-called “Palance Virus” can be isolated, military analysts are speculating about its possible use in combat situations.

“This is no little scratchy throat, low-grade fever, stuffy head, 24-hour infection,” said retired General Remington S. Gatling, former director of the Army’s secret Biological Weapons Division. “We’re talking weapons-grade. It has to be.”

Once identified, the virus will be subjected to rigorous testing to determine its viability as a biological weapons agent. General Gatling described the process the virus would likely undergo. “First, benchmark standards will be created, by which the relative strength of the virus can be measured. Our scientists will then construct computer models based on DNA samples of certain well-known individuals and, by introducing the virus, simulate the effect it would have on these individuals, telling us about its potency as a biological weapon."

Referring to a copy of an intricate, brightly-colored PowerPoint bar chart, Gatling elaborated. “For example, at the lowest end of the scale we have C-list comedian Andy Dick. This would be the absolute minimum strength required for the virus to be effective – at this level you might as well be talking about the common cold.” Moving further up the scale, Gatling noted that the standards become more demanding. “Arnold Schwarzenegger, who's aging but still pretty buff. Then there's legendary fitness guru Jack LaLanne - you could simulate the effect of it being introduced into one of his juice drink concoctions. If he went down, that would be a good sign. Right after him, Art Linkletter, who first appeared on television three years before it was invented. Some suggested Tony Bennett would be a great test case, but others recommended former President Gerald Ford. They'll probably run it through all those models and sit back and see what happens. You’d need a pretty damn potent bug to bring down any one of them.”

The top of the scale represented the Army’s biggest obstacle, Gatling conceded. “Without a doubt, our biggest challenge is Keith Richards.” The famed Rolling Stone rocker “has probably pumped more chemicals into his body than any human can imagine, to no discernible effect. We’re not sure, but it’s possible he may have built up immunity to any conceivable biological attack. If the Palance Virus could bring him down, we'd know we really had something.

Meanwhile, funeral services are pending for Palance awaiting complete confirmation of his death.

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