Dec. 12, 2001

Menorah Mania

By Roy Rivenburg
Is Ramadan Next?: Why should Christmas and Easter be the only religious holidays whose true significance is overshadowed by commercialization? In a major breakthrough, now Jews can enjoy trivialized holidays too.

At, they can buy Hanukkah candelabras shaped like a robot, the New York City skyline (including the World Trade Center), an airplane or a box of crayons. Other menorahs feature Mickey Mouse, Curious George, chess pieces, Donald Duck, Winnie the Pooh or ‘‘Rugrats’’ characters.

No sign of Britney Spears menorahs, but give it time.

Philosophical Question of the Week: Who would win in a battle between Harry Potter and Gandalf, the wizard from ‘‘Lord of the Rings’’? According to a Chicago-based association of witches and wizards, the winner would be Gandalf, because he is part archangel.

Next week: Who would win in a duel between the genie from ‘‘Aladdin’’ and Barbara Eden from ‘‘I Dream of Jeannie’’? (Editor’s note: East Coast readers of Off-Kilter will see ‘‘Who would win in a battle between Olsen twins Mary-Kate and Ashley?’’)

WTC Revisionism Bureau: After Sept. 11, some Hollywood producers digitally erased the World Trade Center’s twin towers from upcoming movies and TV shows. Other producers left the towers in. Needless to say, this has confused the public. So we suggest a compromise: From now on, all movies, TV shows and advertisements featuring the New York City skyline will have just one of the WTC towers.

Press Releases We Were Afraid to Read: Publicists must be hitting the eggnog early this year. Here are three of their most recent attempts at media bait:

-- ‘‘The Anatomy of the Corkscrew’’
-- ‘‘280 Million Pieces of Underwear Expected to Sell During Holidays -- the Practical Gift in Uncertain Economic Times’’
-- ‘‘Seat Cushions that Control Flatulence Use New Technology’’

Clever Business Names Bureau: Spotted in Southern California -- a tow truck company called Tic Tac Tow, and a chair manufacturer called Sit On It. Any reader nominations?

Jed Clampett Update: Actor Buddy Ebsen, who shook the literary world earlier this year with the release of his first novel, ‘‘Kelly’s Quest,’’ which featured scintillating references to ‘‘Kelly’s well-formed, jeans-filling derriere,’’ now plans to issue a CD. The songs include a duet with Max Baer Jr. (aka Jethro) on the ‘‘Beverly Hillbillies’’ theme, as well as Ebsen originals.

Brain Drain: A former flight attendant is marketing a board game called ‘‘Senior Moments,’’ which is designed for ‘‘memory-impaired adults.’’ Sample questions include: ‘‘Name three things in the sky,’’ ‘‘Where does the pope live’’ and ‘‘Explain Einstein’s theory of relativity in 25 words or less.’’ Or maybe the third sample question was ‘‘Name a type of hot cereal.’’ We forget.

Slay Bells: The holiday spirit sure is contagious. In Colombia, a right-wing death squad sent Christmas cards to its fighters, wishing them peace and a happy New Year, according to Reuters news service.

Weird Polls Bureau: More Americans are scared of Michael Jackson (37 percent) than Dracula (24 percent), according to a survey by Paramount Parks.

In other polling, 6 percent of Americans said they’d like to see public restrooms equipped with an alarm that goes off if someone tries to leave without washing their hands, according to a survey by Kimberly-Clark.

Supermarket Tabloid Headline of the Week: ‘‘Did Mad Scientist Clone Richard Simmons?’’ (Weekly World News)
Bonus headline from WWN: ‘‘Killer Whale Sings the Blues Better Than B.B. King!’’

Unpaid Informants: Wireless Flash News Service, PR Newswire,, Chicago Sun-Times.

Copyright 2001 by Roy Rivenburg
Distributed by
Creators Syndicate