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Odds That You'll Laugh at This -- 200 to 1

Column by Matthew H. Hersch
Executive Editor

With all the brouhaha in the international scene lately it's nearly impossible to choose one single topic on which to prophesize. And fact is, with Boris Yeltsin whacking communists, Khmer Rouge whacking Cambodians, Serbians whacking Bosnians, Somalis whacking Somalis, Hindus whacking Muslims, Muslims whacking world financial institutions, and North Koreans whacking everybody else, business has never been better for political scientists.

So instead of writing the usual column, I've brought you something a little different -- my official list of political probabilities, painstakingly guessed from unreliable news broadcasts and shoddy print journalism, and typeset using the most professional-looking fonts I could find. Remember, this data is presented for academic purposes only; I can neither endorse illicit wagering nor partake in such business activities without violating the conditions of my parole agreement.

* Odds of a Bosnian getting hit in the head by fried chicken dropped from a C-130 Hercules at 10,000 feet: 1:12

* Odds that he'll eat it: 8:1

* Odds that a Cambodian gunman will expend his weight in ammunition within any given two-week period: 1.5:1

* Odds that if he does he'll win a free oven mitt from the Khmer Rouge: 20:1

* Odds that North Korea has not, is not, and never will attempt to produce weapons-grade plutonium: 1:80,000

* Odds that North Korea already has enough weapons-grade plutonium to build three nuclear weapons and a life-size statue of Kim Il-Sung: 2:1

* Odds that Mohammed A. Salameh blew up the World Trade Center building: 5:1

* Odds that he acted alone: 1:80

* Odds that Lee Harvey Oswald helped him: 1:65,000

* Odds that the Syrians helped him: 3:1

* Odds of getting blown up while attempting to synthesize nitroglycerine: 1:1

* Odds of a Somali eating his foot to stay alive: 2:1

* Odds of a Somali warlord eating his neighbor's foot to stay alive: 2:1

* Odds that a member of the Hamas terrorist organization will be expelled from the Gaza strip: 1:3

* Odds that he deserved it: 80:1

* Odds of Boris Yeltsin retaining power for another six months: 4:1

* Odds of Boris Yeltsin assuming an honorary faculty position at Stanford University: 1:7

* Odds of Richard Nixon running for President in 1996: 1:10

* Odds of me voting for him: 10:1