June 5, 2002


Mr. Potato Chip Head

By Roy Rivenburg
A Potato Chip Off the Old Block: What is the world coming to? India and Pakistan are flirting with nuclear war, the Catholic church is embroiled in a sex scandal, and now this: Mr. Pringles, the potato chip mascot, is getting a make-over. The new look features a spiffy red bow tie and light brown highlights added to his barbershop quartet-style hair and mustache. Also, his eyebrows have been removed. Fashion critic Leon Hall describes the remade Mr. P as hip, fresh and full of joie de vivre.

Father’s Day Gift Guide: What do you get for the man who has everything? How about a $20,000 Frisbee made of solid gold and crowned with a one-carat diamond in the center? Or a pair of $400 socks fashioned from the wool of a rare Mongolian goat? Those are just two of the Father’s Day gift ideas we gleaned from recent issues of Stuff magazine and the Robb Report, a publication for rich people. Another gift option is jeweler Sidney Mobell’s $12,000 mousetrap, an 18-karat gold contraption that lures rats with a wedge of diamonds. Or maybe dear old dad deserves the world’s first combination whirlpool tub and home theater system. Designed for two people, it has a stereo, 42-inch plasma TV and floating remote control.

By the way, those Mongolian goat socks come with their own ‘‘padded, key-locked carrying case’’ and they’re probably the perfect accessory to another product in the Robb Report: shoes made from ‘‘special Russian reindeer hide recovered from a 200-year-old sunken ship.’’

Alarming Trends Bureau: A trio of heavy-metal-related items:

-- A magazine called Gene Simmons Tongue debuted this month. Named for the bass player of KISS, it is geared toward ‘‘all mammals 21 to 45 years old.’’ Sounds intriguing, but we’re still hoping for a magazine called David Crosby’s Liver.
-- A New York toy company plans to release talking dolls based on ‘‘The Osbournes’’ TV show.
-- The band WASP says its new CD features ‘‘music to kill by.’’ Singer Blackie Lawless told Wireless Flash News Service the tunes are designed to inspire U.S. troops to exterminate Al Qaeda members.

It’s a Dog-Eat-Bubble World: The annual American Pet Products Manufacturers Association trade show descends upon Chicago from June 12-14. Among the wares going on display are bacon-scented bubble-blowing kits for pooches, edible greeting cards, canine electric toothbrushes (for use after your dog devours that edible greeting card) and ‘‘dog lips,’’ which are similar to the joke wax lips worn by humans years ago except these are made from rubber and designed to amuse pet owners. As the dog chews on the holder, a big rubber grin is superimposed over its face. We can only assume dog whoopee cushions are next.

Off-Kilter Encyclopedia: No wonder U.S. students fare so poorly. We couldn’t find any textbooks that teach these important facts:

-- Sixty percent of Lichtenstein’s gross national product comes from the sale of false teeth.
-- When James Hetherington invented the top hat and wore it in public in 1797, he was arrested for disturbing the peace.
-- All of Ohio’s lakes are manmade.

Fantasy Quote Bureau: What we wish Winona Ryder would have said after a TV camera reportedly broke her arm as she entered a courthouse: ‘‘Oh man! That’s my good shoplifting arm!’’

Supermarket Tabloid Headline of the Week: ‘‘1980s TV Shows Raise Your IQ! Good News for Couch Potatoes Who Watch ‘Alf,’ ‘Dynasty’ and ‘Love Boat’!’’ (Weekly World News)

Unpaid Informants: Wireless Flash News, Washington Post, Globe and Mail, ‘‘Uncle John’s Absolutely Absorbing Bathroom Reader.’’

Copyright 2002 by Roy Rivenburg
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