Feb. 28, 2001

Darwin Meets
The Gambler

By Roy Rivenburg

Unnatural Selection Bureau: If the theory of evolution is true, God help us, because the entire human race is starting to resemble Kenny Rogers. Evidence of the trend can be seen at www.menwholooklikekennyrogers.com, a website that photographically documents the strange proliferation of silver-haired males sporting neatly trimmed beards.

The site also reveals Kenny’s recipe for corn muffins and gives tips on how you, too, can look like the famous country singer and roasted-chicken impresario (Step 1: Grow hair longer than is currently fashionable, add dye if necessary and wear your mane swept back, as though a stiff breeze were constantly in the air).

Although some scientists predict disaster if everyone on the planet becomes a clone of the Gambler, we think the species could benefit. Everybody would instinctively know when to hold ’em and know when to fold ’em.

Karaoke Car Alarms: Auto theft is about to become a thing of the past, thanks to a revolutionary car alarm that enables owners to record their own anti-theft warnings.

Instead of the usual chirping or honking sounds wailed by traditional alarms, the new device blurts out customized messages, such as: ‘‘Get the (bleep) away from my car, you (bleeping) little (bleep)!’’ Or, if you can’t think of your own message, the system comes with pre-recorded warnings in Japanese and English.

It’s a promising concept, but we think the alarm would be more effective if it blared, say, ‘‘Muskrat Love’’ by the Captain and Tennille, or dialogue from ‘‘Battlefield Earth’’ or a speech by Al Gore, which would anesthetize the thieves until police arrived.

No doubt you have some alarming ideas, as well. Send your nominations for most terrifying anti-theft message or sound to roy@offkilter.org. We’ll publish the best in a future column and mail some sort of prize to the funniest entry.

Jurassic Puke: Scientists in Spain have unearthed the world’s oldest specimen of dinosaur vomit, according to a paleontologist from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. The prehistoric puke was spewed about 120 million years ago, by a dinosaur that was partying like it’s 1,999 million B.C.

Roto-Rooter Meets MTV: Roto-Rooter’s famously annoying jingle is entering the video age. The company is sponsoring a contest to create the best music video that ‘‘incorporates a plumbing or drain-cleaning story or theme,’’ accompanied by the Roto-Rooter jingle.

We foresee a rap number, perhaps involving Eminem, Elton John and a clogged sewer line: ‘‘Yo, call Roto-Rooter, that’s the name, and away go troubles down the $%*@ing drain.’’
According to rotorooter.com, the original version of the jingle debuted in 1956 and was sung by Captain Stubby and the Buccaneers. If played at high volume, it would make an excellent car alarm.

Weird Polls Index: 32 percent of Americans believe they can ward off the flu by praying, according to a survey by Kleenex.

In other polling news, a survey by the Kaplan Thaler Group found that 52 percent of Americans recognized Richard Simmons’ face, but only 4 percent could identify a portrait of Thomas Jefferson.

Loser of the Week: Rush Limbaugh earns this week’s trophy, for sarcastically noting that Hillary Clinton uttered the phrase ‘‘I don’t know ... at least 25 times’’ during a press conference on the presidential pardons. But, as Chicago columnist Zay N. Smith pointed out, Limbaugh ‘‘never did get around to mocking Colin Powell for saying ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I can’t recall’ 65 times during the Iran-Contra hearings.’’

Supermarket Tabloid Headline of the Week: ‘‘My Clone is a Brat! Angry Mom is Suing Scientists Who Created Her Carbon Copy in a Test Tube!’’ (Weekly World News)

Unpaid Informants: Wireless Flash News Service, Ann Harrison.

Copyright 2001 by Roy Rivenburg
Distributed by
Creators Syndicate