June 20, 2001

Honky Tonk Seafood

By Roy Rivenburg

Get Off Of My Trout: What’s the best bait for fishing? Possibly Mick Jagger. According to Boating magazine, charter fishermen who broadcast the Rolling Stones or ZZ Top over a loudspeaker say it attracts fish like a magnet. However, undersea creatures flee Alanis Morissette, Paula Cole or Dionne Warwick, the magazine says.

Tangled Up in Blue Hair: Some readers thought we were joking last week when we said rock acts from the 1960s and ’70s have begun updating their lyrics for aging baby boomers (for example, Eric Clapton recently transformed ‘‘Cocaine’’ into ‘‘Rogaine’’). Now comes the next logical step: music coffins. Heavy metal band KISS just introduced caskets emblazoned with a photo mural of the group. Manufactured by a Texas company called WhiteLight, the $4,500 coffins are the ultimate gift for fans who want to rock and roll all eternity. According to Kissonline.com, the waterproof caskets also make excellent beer coolers.

You Are How You Shave: Men who use blade razors are four times more likely to put the toilet seat down after going to the bathroom than men who use electric razors, according to a survey by the Kaplan Thaler Group, which apparently has run out of issues to poll people about.

Off-Kilter Encyclopedia: When ancient Egyptians took an oath, they placed their right hand on an onion, according to Trivia Time. The round shape was believed to represent eternity.

As Ye Sow, So Shall Ye Rope: What do ‘‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’’ books have in common with the Bible? Both have been customized for nearly every specialty audience imaginable. Titles include ‘‘Chicken Soup for the Sumo Wrestler’s Soul,’’ ‘‘The Embezzler’s Study Bible’’ and ‘‘Soup Chicken the for Dyslexic’s Soul.’’

We swear on a stack of onions those titles are real. Well, maybe ‘‘real’’ isn’t the best word. But the point is, niche marketing is out of control. One of the latest examples comes from the International Bible Society, which also publishes scriptures for bikers, truckers and soldiers (the latter featuring desert camouflage or woodland camouflage covers). The new book is a cowboy Bible, small enough to fit in a saddlebag or boot, and filled with cowboy poems, prayers and photos.

To which we say: It’s about time. Or, as the Lord himself once remarked, ‘‘Verily, verily, I say unto you: Yeeeee-haw!’’

Public Relations Blunder Bureau: Captain D’s, a Tennessee-based restaurant chain, issued a press release headlined, ‘‘Captain D’s Delivers Water to Flood Victims.’’ Next up: ‘‘Captain D’s Delivers Matches to Arson Victims.’’

Mystery Cereal Bureau: As part of its ‘‘ongoing commitment to bring fun to breakfast,’’ Kellogg has created ‘‘Atlantis the Lost Empire’’ toasted oat cereal. When you add milk, a chocolate Atlantis alphabet appears.
Still to come: ‘‘Sugar-Frosted Jimmy Hoffa the Lost Teamster’’ cereal.

Quote of the Week: From an ad for Dog Sack, a zippered nylon bag that encloses everything but your pet’s head when transporting the animal by car. ‘‘Bag that wet, muddy, dirty, sandy, cold, snowball-encrusted, shedding, incontinent, skunky, skanky dog!’’

EuroBush: The inside dope on George W. Bush’s Europe trip, excerpted from a story by Roy Rivenburg and Martin Miller in the June 15 Los Angeles Times:

So much for predictions that President Bush’s trip to Europe (code-named ‘‘Europe on $2.5 Million a Day’’) would be disrupted by gaffes, protests and other disasters. In reality, the voyage went magnificently. Ha ha, just kidding, of course:

Day 1
--Arriving in Madrid, Bush wins over a skeptical Spanish crowd by mispronouncing Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar’s last name as ‘‘Anzar’’ and later, ‘‘Babar.’’ His hosts respond by graciously sending Bush on a private walking tour of Pamplona wearing a ‘‘special, honorary red cape.’’
--Elsewhere in Spain, angry mobs fill the streets, denouncing Bush’s pro-death penalty stance and his support for trade sanctions against Iraq. Some shout: ‘‘We miss Clinton, who approved the execution of a mentally incapacitated man in Arkansas and also endorsed Iraq sanctions. Er, wait, that didn’t come out right. But we still think Bush is a jerk.’’

Day 2
--In Belgium, Bush commends the nation for its ‘‘valuable contributions to waffle science.’’
--Moving to placate his NATO critics, Bush relies on his trademark method of bestowing humorous nicknames. He endears himself to the Europeans by calling Germany’s chancellor ‘‘Hitler Jr.’’ and French President Jacques Chirac ‘‘Jacques Cousteau.’’ Later, during a side trip to Paris, he ingratiates himself to the French by telling Chirac: ‘‘Hey, your Eiffel Tower looks just like the one in Vegas!’’
--After the NATO session, Bush fulfills a college fantasy by visiting Munich’s famed Hofbrau Haus, where he sits in with the oompah band and delivers a teary farewell that concludes: ‘‘Ich bin ein stein of Budweiser!’’ He also buys a souvenir T-shirt for daughter Jenna that says, ‘‘My dad went to Germany’s best beer hall and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.’’

Day 3
--In Stockholm, Bush praises Sweden for its ‘‘myriad contributions to world peace, including Abba, Swedish meatballs and stylish but cheaply made Ikea furniture.’’ He adds: ‘‘You Swedes also make excellent Swiss watches.’’
--Traveling through Austria, Bush tells local dignitaries: ‘‘I’m a huge fan of your Crocodile Dundee movies.’’
--Later, hoping to soften his image as a Texas yahoo, Bush demonstrates his love of nature by hiking the Austrian Alps. Luckily, he remembers his shotgun and bags a mountain goat, a wild boar and several members of the Von Trapp family.

Day 4
--Landing in Warsaw, the president warms up the crowd with his down-home sense of humor. ‘‘How many Poles does it take to screw in a thousand points of light?’’ he jokes.
--Meanwhile, in Holland, more anti-death penalty protests erupt. ‘‘We believe in the sanctity of all human life,’’ demonstrators yell. ‘‘Well, unless it involves our legalized euthanasia program.’’ Elsewhere, thousands of British demonstrators gather in London to lambaste Bush for being a ‘‘big, dumb American.’’ After the protest, the crowd tanks up on pints of dark ale and heads to a nearby soccer match where they beat the living daylights out of each other.

Day 5
--If it’s Tuesday, this must be Slovenia. While visiting the city of Ljubljana, Bush stuns audiences with his perfect pronunciation of Slovenian towns and name. He later explains that Slavic words are easier for him to pronounce because ‘‘they don’t got as many of them pesky vowels to deal with.’’
--Bush visits Berlin, a city teetering on bankruptcy largely because it inherited the problems of East Berlin and declares: ‘‘Mr. Putin, please put the wall back up!’’
--Russian President Vladimir Putin responds by inviting Bush to a special behind-the-scenes tour of a local zoo. Accompanied by Sharon Stone, the Russian president urges Bush to remove his white tennis shoes, roll around in bacon fat and carry a 5-pound porterhouse steak into the cage of a Russian brown bear.
--Lobbying for his missile defense shield plan, Bush tells European leaders the shield will also protect against global warming. ‘‘If greenhouse gases build up, we’ll use the missiles to blow a few holes in the ozone layer so the gases can escape to outer space.’’

Day 6
--In a fitting postscript to his European tour, Bush flies to Kyoto, Japan, where he attempts to renegotiate the global warming treaty. He argues that more research is needed to back scientific claims of the ‘‘Green Acres effect,’’ and makes an additional call for more studies to prove tobacco is a carcinogen, Elvis is dead and the world is round. He finishes the visit by throwing up on the Japanese prime minister. ‘‘That’s my boy,’’ says George Bush, the elder.

Supermarket Tabloid Headline of the Week: ‘‘Injured Logger Gets New Hand -- and It Strangles Him to Death!’’ (Weekly World News)

Police aren’t sure how to handle the case. ‘‘It wasn’t a suicide, because we know the victim put up a desperate fight for his life,’’ one officer said. ‘‘It was clearly murder -- but who do we charge?’’

Unpaid Informants: Wireless Flash News Service, U.S. Catholic, PR Newswire.

Copyright 2001 by Roy Rivenburg
Distributed by
Creators Syndicate