June 7, 2000

A Bug's Life? Or Get a Life?

By Roy Rivenburg

Fido Substitute Bureau: Pet fads are constantly changing. During the 1970s, pet rocks were the rage--until people realized how expensive the veterinarian bills were. Just giving the rocks their shots cost a fortune in broken hypodermic needles.

Next came Chia Pets. Unfortunately, many were as vicious as pit bulls and their popularity faded after a rash of incidents in which unchained chias savagely mauled humans.

Another perennial favorite is Sea-Monkeys. Alas, animal rights activists now claim it's immoral to sell the tiny creatures to children.

The latest pet craze involves ants. According to Wireless Flash News Service, movies like "Antz" and "A Bug's Life" have sparked a boom in the construction of luxury ant penthouses.

Some insect buffs reportedly spend hundreds of dollars on soundproof rooms and humidifiers to keep their six-legged companions happy.

There's even a website devoted to the hobby, www.antcolony.org, which features "up-to-the-minute ant news" (sample headline: "Mutual Non-Aggression Pact May Aid Ant Spread"), nutrition tips (you can't go wrong with agar and ovomaltine) and ant facts (some ants are blue or green in color).

We have just one question: If the trend catches on, will cities require miniature leashes and pooper-scoopers when people take their ants for a walk?

Alarming Trends Alert: In a sure sign that the apocalypse is near, mimes and ventriloquist's dummies are now working to spread the word of God. In Pasadena, Calif., an organization called Mimeistry International offers correspondence courses and even college degrees in mime evangelism techniques.

And in Canada, a pastor is touting the use of ventriloquism to preach the gospel (although she won't throw her voice at funerals or weddings because she considers such ceremonies sacred).

Meanwhile, in secular ventriloquism news, Willie Tyler and his dummy, Lester, will be inducted into the International Ventriloquism Association's Hall of Fame on June 14.

Tyler says he hasn't decided whether he or Lester will deliver the acceptance speech.

(Bonus ventriloquism fact: At a toupee shop in North Hollywood, the celebrity photo wall features an autographed picture of Tyler and his wooden sidekick. When asked which one was the client, an employee replied: "Both.")

Why Academics Shouldn't See Movies: DreamWorks' new animated film, "The Road to El Dorado," has come under fire in certain quarters for being historically inaccurate.

This is what happens when people rely on cartoons for history information. Someone should also inform them that Bugs Bunny didn't really save the Earth from Martians.

Off-Kilter Encyclopedia: Houston is the mailman dog bite capital of the U.S. Last year, letter carriers there got chomped 58 times by canines. Los Angeles finished second with 38 bites, Chicago scored 31, and Cleveland and Miami tied for fourth with 27.

Celebrity Birthday Bureau: The Goodyear blimp turned 75 on June 3.

Best Supermarket Tabloid Headline: "Docs Order Cannibals to Give Up Eating Missionaries--to Cut Their Cholesterol!" (Weekly World News)

Unpaid Informants: Mike Faneuff, Reuters, Earth Island Journal, Baird Jones, San Francisco Chronicle, Linda Whitmore.

Copyright © 2000 by Roy Rivenburg
Distributed by Creators Syndicate