May 10, 2000

What's the Frequency, Dennis?

By Roy Rivenburg

Here Comes the Sunspot: Sunspots often cause weird side effects. For example, in the movie "Frequency," a New York cop operating a ham radio during an aurora borealis in 1999 is mysteriously able to communicate with actor Dennis Quaid in 1969.

Normally, this would be dangerous, since tampering with the past can disrupt the present. But in the movie, everything ends happily. The cop saves Quaid's life, helps him find a serial killer and -- in a major breakthrough -- persuades him not to make "Jaws 3-D" in the early 1980s.

Along the way, there are thrilling plot twists. In one scene, the cop's ham radio inadvertently contacts RANDY Quaid, in his 1989 role as Cousin Eddie in "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation." Apparently, the metal plate in Cousin Eddie's head picks up radio messages, causing everyone to briefly think Chevy Chase is the murderer.

But the mix-up is eventually straightened out and the true killer is found.

Unfortunately, the damage caused by real-life sunspot activity is far more difficult to repair. In April, solar flares reached an 11-year peak, which may explain the following news events, all 100 percent true:

  • National Accordion Awareness Month has been scheduled for June.
  • A Phoenix psychic claims she has contacted Smokey Bear from beyond the grave and that he is planning to reincarnate as a female polar bear.
  • Britney Spears has confessed to romantic encounters with 'N Sync singer Justin Timberlake. (Note: A federal judge has ordered a halt to this relationship, on grounds that the very possibility of these two reproducing poses a threat to national security.)
  • Owners of mixed-breed dogs are calling for a Million Mutt March on Washington, D.C., later this month to protest discrimination against their canines by purebreds.
  • The American Furniture Manufacturers Association predicts "burnt orange" and other horrifying shades from the 1970s will stage a comeback on sofas and chairs this year.
  • Astronomers have discovered an asteroid as big as New Jersey that is shaped like a dog bone.
  • A bank in Palm Beach, Fla., has opened the world's first drive-thru teller window for golf carts.
  • Wink Martindale warns that the United States will soon face a devastating shortage of game-show hosts.
  • Off-Kilter Summer Reading Corner: The Inhalation Specialty Section of the Society of Toxicology recommends "Comparison of Pulmonary and Pleural Responses of Rats and Hamsters to Inhaled Refractory Ceramic Fibers." Or you can wait for the movie version.

    Sliming While Intoxicated: Heineken is now the beer of choice among slugs, according to a Michigan pest exterminator who uses liquor as bait. The second-most popular drink is a cheaper brand called Kingsbury Malt, which proves that gastropod mollusks aren't snooty about price.

    Meanwhile, if you're throwing a party for snails, try lager beers, because snails turn up their antennae at dark brews like Guinness stout, says the exterminator. Rats prefer Bud Light, even though the carbonation kills them, but refractory ceramic fibers are making inroads.

    Belated News Bureau: May 1 was National Call-in-Sick Day. We meant to tell you about it earlier, but we had the flu (honest, we even have a note from home).

    Best Supermarket Tabloid Headline:"Is Your Parrot a Tool of Satan?" (Weekly World News)

    Unpaid Informants: Ann Harrison, Wireless Flash News Service, Rolling Stone, www.getipm.com, Chicago Sun-Times. Copyright © 2000 by Roy Rivenburg
    Distributed by Creators Syndicate