|March 27, 2002
|By Roy Rivenburg
|Name That 30,000-Mile Tune-up: The
world is running out of decent names. For example,
automakers have pretty much exhausted all the cool car
monikers, such as Barracuda, Viper, Blazer, Thunderbird
and Cougar. Instead, they now rely on random letter-number
combos (Lexus Q45), wimpy sports (Volkswagen Golf, Toyota
Shuffleboard), psychological terms (Suzuki Esteem, Volvo
Panic Attack) and Spanish words for bat
(the upcoming Lamborghini Murcielago). The trend shows no
signs of abating. Next year, Ford is rolling out an SUV
named after a shoe: the CrossTrainer.
The name shortage has also spread to humans. For instance, we know one family in which all three daughters are named Maria. Seriously. Apparently, there just arent enough original baby names to go around anymore. And although name scientists are working feverishly to develop new names, some parents are getting desperate.
According to Global Name Registry, an Internet domain company, more and more people are naming their children after food. And we dont mean such traditional food-human names as Basil, Rosemary, Ginger and Steak Tartare. Were talking about people named Gouda, Almond, Veal, Corn, Cappuccino and Cheddar.
Rock Lobsters: Here at Off-Kilter, we are constantly on the lookout for new musical styles, even if they involve nothing but amplified dental drills, in the futile hope that something -- anything -- will catch on and replace rap music. Among our latest discoveries:
-- An oceanographer in Rhode Island has released a CD featuring the sounds of 153 fish from the western North Atlantic. Sure to be a smash hit, the disc includes snapping shrimp, an oyster toadfish that toots like a tugboat whistle, a bigeye scad that clicks like a Geiger counter and a sea catfish that sounds like a cross between a barking seal and James Brown being drowned. You can hear samples at www.gso.uri.edu/fishsounds.
-- A man who calls himself the worlds fastest finger snapper is working on a CD in which he snaps such tunes as Dueling Banjos, Wipeout and a song titled Lord of the Finger. To listen, log on to bobbybadfingers.com.
-- Hawaiian music legend Don Ho has recorded a multi-ukulele version of Peter Gabriels Shock the Monkey for a new CD called When Pigs Fly (Songs You Never Thought Youd Hear). Other tracks include Lesley Gores remake of AC/DCs Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, actor Jackie Chans duet with Ani DiFranco on Unforgettable and Hermans Hermits cover of Billy Idols White Wedding.
Weird Polls Bureau: South Dakota residents have the scariest dental hygiene, according to a survey by Mentadent toothpaste. Nearly 70 percent have gone as long as three days without brushing their teeth, the survey found. Utah was a close second.
Off-Kilter Encyclopedia: Crows enjoy the taste of soap. However, South Dakota crows have been known to go as long as three days without eating soap.
Quote of the Week: From columnist David Allen, commenting on news reports that singer Bob Dylan is considering his first major acting role in 15 years: Will Dylans speaking part have subtitles?
Supermarket Tabloid Headline of the Week: Superman is Gay! Real Men Do Not Prance Around in Tights (Weekly World News)
According to WWN, the man of steel colors his hair with blue highlights. And he never uses his X-ray vision to peer through womens clothing, the way any normal red-blooded American man would.
Unpaid Informants: Wireless Flash News Service, Chicago Sun-Times, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.
Copyright © 2002 by Roy Rivenburg
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