Just hours after being denied a seat in the U.S. Senate, former Illinois attorney general Roland W. Burris said that he was no longer interested in that position and would instead seek to be crowned Emperor of the Universe.
In a meeting with reporters outside the Capitol building, Mr. Burris offered a rationale for his claim to the Universe's coveted throne.
"I have just received word that I have been legally and appropriately named Emperor of the Universe by Gov. Rod Blagoevich of the great state of Illinois," Mr. Burris said. "That's good enough for me."
Legal experts were divided as to whether it was possible for a governor who is facing possible indictment to appoint someone Emperor of the Universe, but Mr. Burris seemed confident on that point.
"If Gov. Blagoevitch wants me to rule over the Universe with my mighty scepter, then he has the right to do that," he said. "It's not like he's delusional or anything."
To demonstrate popular support for his position, Mr. Burris held a rally that he said was attended by over 10,000 of his imaginary friends.
But later in the afternoon, Gov. Blagoevich seemed to rain on Mr. Burris' parade as he told reporters that he had "never appointed" the former attorney general Emperor of the Universe.
"I haven't even spoken to Roland in days," said Gov. Blagoevich. "Wow, he sounds like some kind of kook."
Andy Borowitz is a comedian and writer whose work appears in The New Yorker and The New York Times, and at his award-winning humor site, BorowitzReport.com.