December 6, 2000

Pool Safety Lesson:
Don't Eat the Furniture

By Roy Rivenburg

Inflatable Food Bureau: When will the U.S. surgeon general stop picking on tobacco and wake up to the growing problem of people eating inflatable pool toys and portable furniture? Although exact statistics aren't available on the scope of this menace, some manufacturers are being good corporate citizens and posting warnings on their products. According to Consumer Reports magazine, the Sevylor Swim Ring now comes with a label that advises, "This item is not to be eaten.'' Likewise, the WearEver aluminum backpack chair warns: "This product may also cause harm if eaten.''

Quote of the Week: "The holidays are fun, but they can be rough on a dog's bladder'' -- Barbara Denzer of Cardinal Laboratories, commenting on a new pet stain and odor remover.

Alaska Humor Bureau: Barbara Lonsdale, who bills herself as the world's only Eskimo comedian, has been regaling Los Angeles audiences with jokes about whale-hunting, igloo construction and the perils of having a one-night stand in a state where the sun doesn't shine for six months out of the year.

Christmas Gift Ideas: Electric football is a classic toy. Line up the teams, flick the switch and then watch the plastic players glide around the vibrating field. But until now, one element was always missing: a Goodyear blimp hovering over the tiny stadium. No more! Introducing the Hammacher Schlemmer remote-controlled indoor triple-turbo blimp. Fill the $90 craft with helium, find a Dennis Miller doll and you're all set for an electronic version of Monday Night Football.

Just one word of caution: This item is not to be eaten.

Off-Kilter Encyclopedia: The blood of a lobster is blue.

Mark Your Calendars: Dec. 14 is National Bouillabaisse Day, followed on Dec. 17 by National Maple Syrup Day.

Lunatic Fringe Bureau: A 50-year-old Englishman has legally changed his name to Wembley Stadium.

No word on whether he's also buying a Hammacher Schlemmer remote-controlled triple-turbo blimp to permanently hover over his body.

Weird Polls Bureau: On average, women spend 15 more minutes looking for a gift for their pet than on finding a gift for their husband, according to a survey by findwhat.com.

Boredom Meter: Regis Philbin, Rosie O'Donnell and Britney Spears have been named "the most boring celebrities of the year'' by the New Jersey-based Boring Institute.

Supermarket Tabloid Headline of the Week: What would happen if Bigfoot were interviewed by Barbara Walters? Would she make him cry? Would he open up about his childhood? Would he reveal his preternatural love for Hugh Downs? Alas, we may never know, but we do have the next best thing: a Weekly World News report titled "Inside the Mind of Bigfoot!''

Using the latest scientific methods, such as hiring animal psychics to intercept Sasquatch's thoughts, experts have prepared a psychological profile of the elusive creature. Here are some of Bigfoot's innermost secrets: "I love junk food, particularly potato chips left behind by campers,'' "I am somewhat of a loner,'' "Fire terrifies me ... I'm also not fond of bugs that get in my fur,'' "My mother was my main role model [because] my father was often absent from the home,'' "I strongly believe in God and an afterlife and I pray daily.'' In related news, Off-Kilter has discovered that Bigfoot's Florida cousin, the skunk ape, was confused by the butterfly ballot in Palm Beach County and accidentally voted for Al Gore. According to thoughts picked up by animal psychics, the skunk ape said: "I meant to vote for Pat Buchanan, because we have a lot in common.''

Unpaid Informants: www.sfgate.com, Wireless Flash News Service, www.bizarrenews.com, Trivia Time, Ann Harrison.

Copyright © 2000 by Roy Rivenburg
Distributed by Creators Syndicate