Progress Reports: Fourth Quarter 2003

The Institute of Improbable Research has the means to make the impossible happen. From losing a loser’s viriginity to building the best coach in the world, JOHN WARNER has their year-end results.

From the Institute of Improbable Research
‘A nonpartisan group that makes the impossible unlikely’

Project Name: Ryan Byzewski’s Virginity

Project Status: Incomplete

Project Summary: The team feels that our greatest hope for success rests on making Ms. Carrie Sikes’s pledge to have sex with Mr. Byzewski when ‘monkeys shoot out of [his] ass and fly around the room’ a reality. On the plus side, we have figured out how to effectively (and mostly painlessly) pack monkeys into Mr. Byzewski’s ass. Unfortunately, upon exiting, rather than flying around the room, the monkeys just kind of thud to the ground and start coughing. (Others would describe the coughing as ‘retching.’)

Barriers/Next Steps: Genetically engineering monkeys that can both fly and fit inside of Mr. Byzewski’s ass. Alternatively: manufacturing tiny, collapsible ultra-light aircraft that the monkeys can learn to fly and that can also fit inside Mr. Byzewski’s ass.

Likelihood of Success: Low, unless Mr. Byzewski is willing to pay for it.

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Project Name: Dallas Cowboys’ Return to Prominence

Project Status: Successfully Completed

Project Summary: Two words: Bill Parcells, baby! That guy is a fucking genius. The institute didn’t have to do a thing. How does he do it? Before Coach Parcells, quarterback Quincy Carter played like he was wearing oven mitts; now he’s awesome.

Barriers/Next Steps: Get rid of Quincy Carter because he still kind of sucks. Bring Coach Parcells in for full probe, ask him to give Ryan Byzewski a pep talk.

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Project Name: Kucinich for President

Project Status: Incomplete

Project Summary: We considered the populace primed and hungry for a Kucinich presidency. Research and polling shows that 80 percent of Americans wholeheartedly endorse candidate Kucinich’s policy initiatives for universal health care, full Social Security benefits at age 65, improved primary education, and a cleaner environment. Unfortunately, among responses to, ‘Who is Dennis Kucinich?’ the answer ‘a Democratic candidate for president’ scored significantly behind ‘my butcher,’ ‘my bookie,’ and ‘some loon from Ohio who thinks he should be president.’

Barriers/Next Steps: We didn’t realize at the time we took this one on, but Mr. Kucinich is really, really short, which people don’t like. He also has unfortunate hair. We think these are his biggest problems. Also, Howard Dean has like a billion more dollars, which might be a problem as well.

Likelihood of Success: Extremely low, recommend abandonment. (Note to file: Parcells 2008?)

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Project Name: 9/11 = Iraq = Successful War on Terror

Project Status: Successfully Completed

Project Summary: We’re a little sheepish about this one, actually. We underestimated Vice President Cheney’s ability to talk out both sides of his mouth and the—let’s call it ‘uncritical’—nature of the press and general populace. In retrospect, we should have farmed this out to our sister organization, the Institute for Shooting Fish in a Barrel.

Barriers/Next Steps: Ongoing maintenance. Consciences of Cheney, Wolfowitz, and Rumsfeld should remain under armed guard in Institute vault.


TMN contributing writer John Warner’s first novel, The Funny Man was recently published by Soho Press. He teaches at the College of Charleston and is co-color commentator for The Morning News Tournament of Books. More by John Warner