November 22, 2000

Throw Another Log,
er, CD On and Relax

By Roy Rivenburg

Burning Up the Charts: It's not getting much radio play yet, but "Fire Sounds'' has all the makings of a music blockbuster. Designed for gas fireplace owners who miss the sound of a traditional wood fire, the 72-minute CD features "the pops, crackles and hisses of a real woodburning fireplace -- in stereo.''

An MTV video and stadium concert tour are inevitable. We also predict a barrage of similar concept CDs, such as "Grandfather Clock,'' for digital clock owners who miss the ticks, tocks and chimes of a real timepiece, and "Newspaper Page Turning,'' for people who get their news online but want to hear the familiar crinkle of newsprint.

The fireplace soundtrack is available for $16 at www.firesoundscd.com. Or you can probably download it free on Napster.

Navel Academy: One of history's most vexing philosophical questions is whether Adam and Eve had belly buttons and, if they did, whether the navels were "innies'' or "outies''?

Because the first humans were created from scratch -- presumably without the use of umbilical cords -- some theologians insist they had no navels. In fact, Michelangelo and Raphael were both accused of heresy for depicting Adam with a belly button, according to www.britannica.com, which recently analyzed "the spiritual, physical and sensual origins and symbolism'' of the belly button in a treatise titled "The Semiotics of Britney Spears' Navel.''

On the pro-navel side, English naturalist Philip Henry Gosse argued in the 1800s that God would have created Adam and Eve to look the same as their offspring, navels included. Gosse also theorized that if someone had chopped down a tree in the Garden of Eden, it would have had tree rings despite being freshly made.

But the navel debate remains unsettled. In 1944, even Congress jumped into the fray, arguing over whether a military booklet showing Adam and Eve with belly buttons posed a danger to the minds of U.S. soldiers.Today, navels continue to stir controversy. In the latest skirmish, a missing belly button recently cost a giant blue whale its job at the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History. According to a Washingtonian magazine article forwarded by reader Baird Jones, the life-size model was sacked after 36 years of duty because curators now consider it "scientifically worthless.''

However, the creature's unblemished stomach wasn't an oversight. It's just that whale navels were deemed risque in the 1960s, when the leviathan was built. Even "I Dream of Jeannie'' star Barbara Eden had to wear hiked-up pants at the time because NBC censors banned her navel from TV, according to Britannica.com.

Politically Correct Parenting: Natural Health magazine says toy guns can be OK for kids, depending on how the child plays with fake weapons: "Do they bring in characters, develop a plot and bring in complexity, or do they just use it to stab and shoot? With proper guidance, a toy gun can help a child learn about issues of power and violence and negotiation.''

Alarming Trends Watch: Superheroes aren't what they used to be. Introducing Captain Bio, a cartoon character on the Internet whose mission is to give animated tours of the human liver and educate people about hepatitis B.

Supermarket Tabloid Headline of the Week: "Satan is Stealing Your Prayers!'' (Weekly World News)

According to WWN, the devil intercepts or jams one-third of all petitions to heaven, which might explain why many prayers seem to go unanswered. It might also answer a question posed in another WWN headline: "Why Can't God and Satan Just Make Up?''

Unpaid Informants: www.internetwire.com, PR Newswire, San Francisco Chronicle, Wireless Flash News Service.

Copyright © 2000 by Roy Rivenburg
Distributed by Creators Syndicate