Jan. 23, 2002

Terminator II: Groundhog Day

By Roy Rivenburg
Save the Marmota Monax: Where will the terrorists strike next? Although some experts predict the Winter Olympics, others worry about Punxsutawney, Pa., home of Groundhog Day. If anything bad happens to Punxsutawney Phil, the town’s famous groundhog, it would not only demoralize the nation, but also deprive us of vital intelligence. America would lose its ability to forecast whether winters will last another six weeks.

Fortunately, a crack squad of National Guard troops, bomb-sniffing dogs and state police will patrol Punxsutawney on Feb. 2 to prevent any groundhog assassination attempts, according to Reuters news service. Seriously.

‘‘We just never know what may pop up in these times, so we are getting prepared,’’ a state police official told reporters. Indeed, some conspiracy theorists claim the hijacked jet that crashed in rural Pennsylvania on Sept. 11 was actually headed toward Punxsutawney, not the White House.

In other developments, Columbia Pictures plans to remake the movie ‘‘Groundhog Day,’’ with Arnold Schwarzenegger replacing Bill Murray.

Here at Off-Kilter, we applaud the show of force for Groundhog Day, but not if it means leaving other important holidays unprotected. For example, February is also National Canned Food Month, National Fiber Focus Month, National Humpback Whale Awareness Month and National Return Shopping Carts to the Supermarket Month, all of which could be prime terrorist targets.

Moron Assistance League: For reasons we’ll never understand, the media have once again gone hog wild over the Golden Globe Awards while virtually ignoring the Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Wacky Warning Labels contest, which recognizes outstanding achievement in the field of idiotic product warning labels.

This year’s runner-up was a Duraflame fireplace log that said: ‘‘Caution -- Risk of Fire.’’ First place went to a compact-disc player that warned: ‘‘Do not use the Ultrasonic 2000 as a projectile in a catapult.’’ Well, duh. Why would someone use the Ultrasonic in a catapult when everyone knows that the Sony CDP-CE575 is far superior as a projectile CD player?

Speaking of which ... Memo to Pennsylvania State Police: Be sure to frisk everyone at Groundhog Day for Sony CD players.

Off-Kilter Encyclopedia: 2.4 million Pop-Tarts were dropped on Afghanistan as part of the military’s food relief mission during the first month of bombing, according to Harper’s.

Alarming Trends Bureau: Personalized ‘‘groovy’’ checks depicting the Brady Bunch are now available from Designerchecks.com. Unfortunately, Mr. Brady has been surgically removed from the checks because his estate won’t allow his image on Brady products.

In other Brady news, Florence Henderson now works with Mr. Musty, a 7-foot-tall mascot for an anti-mildew product. And Susan Olsen, a.k.a. Cindy, speaks at migraine awareness events, according to Bradyworld.com.

Lunatic Fringe Bureau: A self-described ‘‘plant communicator,’’ who says invisible fairies can help farmers grow better crops, will speak at this month’s Ecological Farming Conference in Pacific Grove, Calif.

More Alarming Trends: Former TV evangelist (and mascara pioneer) Tammy Faye Bakker is starring in a one-woman play about herself, according to the Arizona Daily Star.

Supermarket Tabloid Headline of the Week: ‘‘Man Fires Himself To Work From a Cannon ... To Beat Rush Hour Traffic!’’ (Weekly World News)

He succeeded, but now the FAA wants all cannon commuters to pass through metal detectors and have their belongings searched before blastoff, a delay that could offset any time savings. Therefore, we recommend launching yourself to work via catapult. And if you’re a music lover, the Sony CDP-CE575 is the perfect catapult stereo system.

Unpaid Informants: Mark Kellner, Wireless Flash News Service, www.mlaw.org, the Oregonian, Washington Post.

Copyright 2002 by Roy Rivenburg
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