Sept. 12, 2001

Here's a Song You Won't Find on CD

By Roy Rivenburg
Note to Readers: Deadlines are never fun, but this one was a nightmare. We had to write today’s Off-Kilter on Sept. 11, just a few hours after a band of wackos hijacked some jets and crashed them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Not exactly ideal conditions for composing a humor column.

But then we remembered a passage from ‘‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’’ by Ken Kesey: ‘‘He knows you have to laugh at the things that hurt you just to keep yourself in balance, just to keep the world from running you plumb crazy. He knows there’s a painful side... but he won’t let the pain blot out the humor no more’n he’ll let the humor blot out the pain.’’

And so, while Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien wisely take a few days off, we foolishly proceed with this week’s roundup of the lighter side of life. (We also offer prayers for the victims and survivors of Tuesday’s terrorist attack.)

‘In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida’ Sequel: A musical composition titled ‘‘As Slow as Possible’’ is currently being performed in Germany, and it puts Iron Butterfly’s 17-minute hit, ‘‘In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,’’ to shame. Written by John Cage, the song begins with a silence lasting 16 months. Then an organ chord is played on Jan. 5, 2003. Then there’s another silence, then another chord on July 5, 2004, and finally the last chord is played in 639 years.

We hate it when this song gets stuck in our heads.

Weird Polls Bureau: Forty percent of Americans would rather do yard work than have sex, according to a survey by Home & Garden Television.

What’s next -- 1-900 phone lines where operators discuss forbidden fantasies of raking leaves and mowing lawns.

Product of the Month: The 99 Cent Store chain recently ran an advertisement in the Orange County (Calif.) Register offering 12-packs of ‘‘latex Condits.’’

Loser of the Month: The editor of the Orange County Register, for apologizing for publishing the aforementioned ad.

Alarming Trends Bureau: More reasons to pull the covers over your head and stay in bed...

-- Dick Clark will be seen taking a bubble bath on an episode of his new talk show, ‘‘The Other Half.’’
-- Los Angeles is now home to a monthly newsmagazine called Voice of Sushi and Tofu.
-- Ronald McDonald will don a milk mustache for a new ‘‘Got milk?’’ ad.
-- A world record for simultaneous public toothbrushing was set Sunday by 1,586 people in Denver. The previous record was 1,365 brushers in Phoenix. No word on whether there’s a group flossing or toenail clipping record waiting to be broken.
-- A Belgian man who is traveling around the world on a motorized rickshaw recently landed in Los Angeles to begin the North American leg of his journey.
-- Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura is planning to declare an official ‘‘Loni Anderson Day.’’
-- A 1929 Commander toaster recently sold for $3,000 at the Toaster Collectors Association convention. We’re not sure which is scarier, the price of the toaster or the fact that there’s a Toaster Collectors Association.
-- Finally, most alarming of all, Yoko Ono’s latest CD is scheduled to arrive in stores Oct. 9.

Trade Shows We Probably Won’t Attend: Kosherfest 2001, coming in November to Secaucus, N.J.

Supermarket Tabloid Headline of the Week: ‘‘Lonely Cat Runs Up $5,000 Phone Bill ... Calling 1-900 Sex Line!’’ (Weekly World News)

The frisky feline’s owner was baffled by the cat’s behavior. ‘‘We just had him neutered,’’ he told WWN. ‘‘You wouldn’t think a neutered cat would be interested in sex.’’

Unpaid Informants: Chicago Sun-Times, Wireless Flash News Service, Washington Post.

Copyright 2001 by Roy Rivenburg
Distributed by
Creators Syndicate