On January 10th, Andy Breckman and I paid tribute to the unfunniest humor column in the unfunniest newspaper on earth. We're speaking of course about the column Metropolitan Diary, in each Monday's New York Times. You can hear the entire show here (streaming Realaudio).
In the course of the show, Andy and I speculated as to the components of the ideal Metropolitan Diary entry. The key components, we realized, were pithy tales of the filthy rich which were A) overheard, B) overwritten and C) dealing with the stock market. Listener Amy called in to say that little kids with stock portfolios would be a sure winner (streaming realaudio), then Andy concocted the perfect overheard comment by an adorable five year old who was concerned that his stock broker daddy wanted to "sell his shorts," (streaming realaudio) and then Irwin put the icing on the cake by suggesting that the entry be overwritten by using the word "consternation" to describe the tyke's concerns (streaming realaudio).
So we had the kernel of a perfect Metropolitan Diary entry, but by then, Andy of course had lost the will to live and became more obsessed with talking to an actual Metropolitan Diary diarist than with writing the perfect letter.
Fortunately, listener Robin picked up the baton and wrote up the perfect entry. She submitted it to the comments section of the Seven Second Delay blog (link to comment), and blogmaster Andrea submitted the letter to the Times.
Lo and Behold, the perfect Metropolitan Diary entry is published in today's Paper of Record, on page B2 of the Metro Section, at the very end of the column. You can also see it online here until they yank it. Any guesses how long that will take?
UPDATE: It took about six hours from the publication of this article for The Times to remove the entry from the online edition of February 12th's Metropolitan Diary. If only they had corrected Judith Miller's errors as quickly...