April 11, 2001

Liberty Bell Survives
Near-Death Experience

By Roy Rivenburg

Lunatic Fringe Bureau: In the aftermath of last week’s hammer attack against the Liberty Bell, a Philadelphia shopping mall has created a giant get-well card so people can ‘‘express words of encouragement to the ailing monument.’’ The bell-shaped card is located at the Franklin Mills shopping center, beneath a 25-foot-tall talking Benjamin Franklin.

The Log Supper: In case the previous item didn’t convince you the nation has gone completely bonkers, we now take you to San Francisco, where a conceptual artist named Nicolino is about to unveil a 1,000-pound ‘‘bra ball’’ sculpture made from brassieres donated by supermodel Naomi Campbell and 20,000 other women. Nicolino, who previously wanted to fly a 40,000-bra tapestry over the White House using 10 breast-shaped helium balloons, says the new masterpiece will conclude his involvement in bra-based art.

Fortunately, Nicolino isn’t the only artistic visionary in our midst. A Michigan organization called Dog Scouts of America is teaching canines to paint. And a Catholic school in Northern California is selling a chainsaw carving of The Last Supper hewn from an ancient redwood. The 1-ton artwork is being auctioned on eBay. The piece is described as ‘‘impossible to duplicate -- it took one man, one log and divine inspiration to create.’’

In other art news, the TV Land cable network, which recently erected a statue of bus driver Ralph Kramden (a.k.a. Jackie Gleason) at New York’s Port Authority Bus Terminal, just commissioned a Minneapolis statue of Mary Tyler Moore tossing her hat in the air.

So why travel to the Louvre or Prado when there’s so much great art in the United States? This reminds us of a recent incident at Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts. As recounted by writer George Will, a construction crew was working in the sculpture garden and placed a velvet rope in front of a bronze bas-relief and covered the art with burlap for protection. When a gust of wind later loosened the burlap and exposed part of the artwork, workers overheard museum visitors discussing ‘‘the deep symbolism and implication of the artist having covered his work in burlap and why he allowed the public only partial access to what was there.’’ Visitors also pontificated on ‘‘the appropriateness of the texture of the burlap in relation to the medium used. And what the use of the velvet rope meant in juxtaposition to the base materials.’’

Bad Influences Bureau: The chief medical executive at a British insurance company claims that Teletubbies give children the message that it’s OK to be fat.

On the other hand, maybe that will balance out messages from Barbie dolls that women should have 18-inch waists.

Weird Polls: 65 percent of people who file their tax returns early also roll their socks into a ball when folding laundry, according to a survey by Ikea.

This is Your Brain on Drugs: A New Mexico psychiatry professor studying the effects of DMT, a psychedelic drug, reports that half his subjects hallucinated visits from space aliens, talking crocodiles, bees or midget clowns.

Furby II Alert: The company responsible for 1998’s annoying Furby toy craze is about to unleash a sequel called Shelby, a fuzzy talking clam with a 275-word vocabulary.

Supermarket Tabloid Headline of the Week: ‘‘Dead Mom-In-Law’s Teeth Still Nagging After 12 Years! Fed-up Couple Call in an Exorcist to Shut the Dentures Up!’’ (Weekly World News)

This gives us an idea for a new Furby toy called Zomby, a fuzzy pair of dentures with a 275-word vocabulary.

Unpaid Informants: PR Newswire, Wireless Flash News Service, www.internetwire.com, Studio Briefing, Terry Mattingly.

Copyright 2001 by Roy Rivenburg
Distributed by
Creators Syndicate