Aug. 29, 2001

The Gary & Connie Show

By Roy Rivenburg
When The Levy Breaks: The most annoying thing about the media feeding frenzy over Gary Condit is that it distracts attention from more important, vital news. For example:

-- A Vermont folk artist has built a $200,000 chapel for dogs, complete with stained-glass windows depicting black labradors sporting halos.
-- Packets of cocaine seized in Brazil now carry bar codes.
-- The upcoming edition of Random House Webster’s College Dictionary deletes the entries for ‘‘macarena’’ and ‘‘porta-potty.’’ However, it still doesn’t explain the difference between ‘‘a pollster’’ and ‘‘upholstery.’’
-- A Texas man has created an Internet radio station that broadcasts nothing but soundtracks from X-rated movies.
-- A line of talking beer bottle openers is being marketed by a Seattle company. One features a sultry female voice that asks, ‘‘Cerveza, senor?’’ Another says, ‘‘I haven’t been a perfect man; I’ve made mistakes’’ whenever Connie Chung tries to pry something open with it. OK, maybe we fibbed about the second bottle opener. This is not a perfect column. We make mistakes.

Crime and Punishment: Under the headline ‘‘Gay activist tied up in Hong Kong sadomasochism protest,’’ Reuters news service recently described a protest in which the organizer was led away in handcuffs. Hey, there’s a brilliant strategy -- handcuffing a sadomasochist. That’ll teach him.

Edible Oxymoron Bureau: Ready Pac Produce now sells a prepackaged salad labeled ‘‘European Style All American.’’

Weird Polls: Which would you rather read -- the latest statistics on how many Americans favor stem cell research (especially if it involves surgically removing the brain of Sen. Strom Thurmond), or a survey on who is considered the world’s most eligible bachelor? We thought so. Here are the latest findings from pollsters:

-- 24 percent of women say they gab on the phone while sitting on the toilet, according to a survey by Kimberly-Clark. Eleven percent of men use the phone on the john.
-- The most-admired bachelor, according to a survey of singles by is Jesus, who was picked by 41 percent of respondents.
-- Dog owners say their pets add more joy to their lives than sex, religion, friends and careers, according to a survey.

Alarming Trends Watch: A London playwright is composing an opera based on Jerry Springer’s show.

Correction of the Week: From PR Newswire: ‘‘In the news release issued yesterday over PR Newswire, we are advised that the second paragraph, first sentence, should read ‘Mexican President Vicente Fox,’ rather than ‘Vaccinate Fox.’’’

Like A Kidney Stone: Second thoughts on science's latest effort to extend human longevity, excerpted from Roy Rivenburg's Aug. 29 story in the Los Angeles Times:

Like modern-day Ponce de Leons, scientists in Boston are closing in on finding a gene that could add 20 years to the human life span. Obviously, they didn’t think through the ramifications. But we did. Here’s what lies ahead:

-- October 2002: Jesse Helms cancels his retirement from the U.S. Senate, saying he’s ‘‘good for at least another three or four terms. Yee-haw!’’
-- January 2014: As the senior population swells, Leisure World purchases Arizona for its next ‘‘village.’’
-- August 2025: Larry King remarries for the 18th time.
-- February 2028: A Harvard study reveals that the average age for a midlife crisis has risen to 61 for men. Typical behaviors include buying a turbo-charged, cherry-red wheelchair and shacking up with some hot, young 49-year-old.
-- July 2029: In a desperate bid to keep the Social Security system solvent, President Dick ‘‘Methuselah’’ Cheney raises the minimum retirement age to 212.
-- January 2030: The youngest Backstreet Boy celebrates his 50th birthday, but the group is still considered a ‘‘boy band.’’
-- September 2030: NBC’s hit comedy ‘‘Friends’’ kicks off its 36th season with the gang hanging out in the coffeehouse, discussing Ross’ enlarged prostate.
-- June 2035: The PGA revises the rules for its Senior Golf Tour. In order to compete, players must now be at least 85 years old.
-- April 2037: Flexing newfound political muscle, the Hair Club for Men stages a Million Toupee March in Washington, D.C.
-- November 2038: Hugh Hefner dumps his ‘‘over the hill’’ 28-year-old girlfriend and begins dating the 21-year-old daughter of Britney Spears.
-- March 2180: The best-selling books in the U.S. are ‘‘Metamucil for Dummies’’ and ‘‘Harry Potter and the Shuffleboard of Doom.’’
-- September 2207: Demographic changes force ABC to replace its faltering ‘‘Monday Night Football’’ program with a new sports show, ‘‘Extreme Bingo.’’
-- June 2215: The Rolling Stones announce they are giving up touring to concentrate on studio work.

Off-Kilter Encyclopedia: The tradition of wearing wedding bands on the finger next to the pinkie dates back to the 3rd century B.C. in Greece, when doctors believed that the digit contained a ‘‘vein of love’’ that went straight to the heart, according to Trivia Time.

Lunatic Fringe Bureau: A Texas psychic claims she is in contact with the ghost of Miss Hathaway from ‘‘The Beverly Hillbillies.’’ No word on whether the ghost is still in love with Jethro.

Random Statistics Bureau: More Americans are born in August than any other month. August also marks the 105th birthday of chop suey.

Supermarket Tabloid Headline of the Week: ‘‘The Most Amazing Near-Death Drama Ever! Jelly-Belly Opera Singer Gets Stuck in Tunnel of Light! Jesus Had to Pull Her Into Heaven!’’ (Weekly World News)

It’s heroics like this that make the Messiah America’s most admired bachelor.

Unpaid Informants: Wireless Flash News Service, Alex Wainer, Chicago Sun-Times, Mike Faneuff, New York Post.

Copyright 2001 by Roy Rivenburg
Distributed by
Creators Syndicate