March 14, 2001

Fly the Friendly (Woof) Skies

By Roy Rivenburg

Flying Fur Bureau: El Al Airlines is launching the world’s first frequent flyer program for pets. So it’s only a matter of time before dogs, cats, goldfish and other animals earn enough points to sit in the main passenger cabin, where they’ll probably disrupt travel by howling at inflight movies, getting frisky with stewardesses and whining to be taken outside during the middle of the flight.

Spiritual Vacuum Bureau: It has been said that Internet searches are a window to the soul -- a sort of electronic barometer of what Americans really think and feel. If so, here’s a glimpse at the nation’s spiritual health: During a recent plunge in the Nasdaq, recorded 127 searches for the phrase ‘‘Alan Greenspan naked.’’ On the day that Jennifer Lopez’ latest CD debuted, searches for the word ‘‘buttock’’ soared. And when Tom Hanks received an Oscar nomination for ‘‘Cast Away,’’ searches for the words ‘‘volleyball’’ and ‘‘Wilson’’ climbed 31 percent.

Why Academics Shouldn't Read the Bible: Researchers from the University of California at San Diego have concluded that Samson, the Old Testament character known for ripping apart a lion with his bare hands, lying chronically, killing 1,000 men with a donkey’s jawbone and using foxtails as torches, suffered from antisocial personality disorder.

Also, needless to say, his animal-rights record wouldn’t make him a popular seatmate among pets with frequent flyer miles on El Al.

Fermented Grape Psychiatry: A Chicago wine expert says actor Russell Crowe’s personality is like a blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc -- ‘‘moody, turbulent and intense’’ -- whereas actor Juliette Binoche’s personality is comparable to a Viognier wine: ‘‘powerful, yet refined and voluptuous.’’

Lunatic Fringe Bureau: Wall Street could take on a radical new ambience if traders follow the advice of stockbroker Marcus Goodwin. In his book, ‘‘The Psychic Investor,’’ Goodwin claims people can increase the value of a stock by having sex with a fellow shareholder and chanting that they both want the price to rise.

Alarming Trends Bureau: Player pianos are going high-tech. Yamaha has manufactured a $333,000 model equipped with a Pentium III processor, voice activation and music video display screen.

Years of Therapy: Candice Bergen says her childhood bedroom was smaller than the room given to her father’s famous ventriloquist’s dummy, Charlie McCarthy.

Signs of the Times: Political correctness has spread into outer space. Quisp, the pink-fleshed space creature whose cereal vanished in the 1970s, has returned to Earth. But his image has been slightly altered. He no longer carries a ray gun and his ‘‘sugary cereal’’ is now labeled ‘‘crunchy corn cereal.’’

In other intergalactic news, a Tucson, Ariz., man who legally changed his name to Obi-Wan Kenobi in 1999 recently switched it back to James Wilkowski, partly because his bosses didn’t take him seriously when he applied for promotions. Fortunately, Tucson still has one other Obi-Wan Kenobi, the former James-Michael Maume Alameda.

Lame Joke of the Week: Adapted from the Oregonian: What do John The Baptist, Jack The Ripper and Kermit The Frog have in common? Answer: Same middle name.

Supermarket Tabloid Headline of the Week: ‘‘Top Sportswriters Agree the XFL is Doomed ... Because It Doesn’t Have Enough Criminals on Its Teams!’’ (Weekly World News)

‘‘If players aren’t stalking their neighbors, dealing drugs or putting hits out on their girlfriend, what are we going to write about?’’ fumed one scribe. ‘‘Their past scholastic achievements?’’

Unpaid Informants: Wireless Flash News Service,, Mary Stolzenbach, John Wilcock,, Arizona Daily Star.

Copyright 2001 by Roy Rivenburg
Distributed by
Creators Syndicate