May 29, 2002

Food That Talks

By Roy Rivenburg
Loquacious Margarine Bureau: Remember those TV commercials where people argued with a talking tub of margarine over whether it contained butter or Parkay? Well, starting in July, the chatty tubs will return, but this time on supermarket shelves nationwide, where they will shout ‘‘Hey, Parkay’’ and tell shoppers about a ‘‘Find the Talking Tub’’ contest. A motion sensor inside the tubs will trigger the blabbing, which can be heard from 8 feet away.

Needless to say, this sets a dangerous precedent. Shoppers could soon face a gauntlet of talking food, including Budweiser cans that say ‘‘Whassup,’’ Charmin toilet paper rolls that beg ‘‘Please don’t squeeze us,’’ milk cartons that ask ‘‘Got me?’’ and Pillsbury Doughboys who pop out of crescent roll packages and hurl themselves in front of oncoming shopping carts.

Summer Romance Advice: If your love life is a disaster, it might be a problem with your ice chest. A Los Angeles expert in feng shui, the ancient Chinese art of arranging objects to attract positive energy, says beach-goers looking for romance should place an open beer cooler filled with ice on the southwest corner of their towel. Ah, if only we had known this tip in college, when we foolishly tried to attract women with a cooler on the NORTHwest corner of our towel.

The feng shui expert also suggests banning Coca-Cola from the cooler because red cans invite discord. Drinks in white cans are better for attracting love, he says. Or, if that doesn’t work, try dazzling potential mates with these arcane facts, courtesy of ‘‘Uncle John’s Absolutely Absorbing Bathroom Reader’’:

-- Finland has more saunas than cars.
-- President Grover Cleveland’s nickname was Uncle Jumbo.
-- The U.S. has never lost a war in which the military used mules.
-- Years ago, ketchup was sold as medicine.
-- The Eiffel Tower is 6 inches shorter during winter because metal shrinks in cold weather.

What Were They Thinking Bureau: It’s pretty tough to compete with ‘‘Spider-Man’’ and ‘‘Attack of the Clones,’’ but UCLA apparently found a winning formula last week when it bought an ad in the Los Angeles Times to promote a free public lecture on ‘‘Gaseous Bose-Einstein condensates -- a nanokelvin laboratory for quantum physics.’’ We were going to attend, but then we remembered: We have a life.

Weird Polls Bureau: When asked if they think polling statistics should always add up to 100 percent, 89 percent said no, 14 percent said yes and 8 percent said ketchup is a medicine. In other weird polling news:

-- 31 percent of women wish they could trade bodies with Tom Cruise for a day, according to a survey in Family Circle magazine.
-- 72 percent of men drop to one knee to propose. But 42 percent said they’d cancel the engagement if the woman insisted on a hyphenated last name, according to a survey by Men’s Health magazine.

Supermarket Tabloid Story of the Week: All the top psychics work for the Weekly World News. Here are their prognostications for this year and beyond:

-- As the new ‘‘pirate look’’ catches on, young people chop off their hands and feet to wear stylish hooks and peg legs.
-- Wireless, remote-controlled scissors enable barbers to control several haircuts at once.
-- A cloned foot goes haywire in the lab, kicking and stomping its creator after scientists jokingly cram it into a tight-fitting high-heel shoe.
-- NASA photos show the mysterious ‘‘face on Mars’’ winking and sticking its tongue out at orbiting satellites.

Unpaid Informants: Wireless Flash News Service.

Copyright 2002 by Roy Rivenburg
Off-Kilter is syndicated to newspapers in the U.S. and overseas by
Creators Syndicate