May 16, 2001

Snake-aholics Anonymous

By Roy Rivenburg

Hissing Away Again in Margaritaville: Mothers Against Drunk Driving is a well-meaning organization, but it’s high time the group revamped its priorities. Sure, alcohol and automobiles are a deadly combo, but what about alcohol and snakes?

According to Wireless Flash News Service, half of the 8,000 snakebite incidents that occur in the U.S. each year involve liquor. We’re unclear on whether it’s the snakes or the humans getting sloshed, but either way, the situation is grim, thanks to a shortage of snakebite venom.

It doesn’t help that singer Jimmy Buffett has announced plans to serve the world’s largest margarita in Florida this weekend. The 7,000-gallon cocktail -- which is big enough to fill 20 hot tubs (preferably with salt around the tiles) -- will be mixed at Buffett’s Margaritaville Cafe in Orlando. Needless to say, it’s a recipe for disaster, what with the state’s 45 species of snakes (46 if you count lawyers). And we don’t even want to think about what could happen if the serpents drink and try to drive.

D.C. Remodeling Bureau: Every president puts his personal stamp on the White House. For example, John F. Kennedy played up his Camelot aura by building a moat around the residence and ordering Secret Service agents to wear suits of armor. President Nixon installed tape recorders everywhere, including the bathrooms, which produced his most embarrassing Watergate tapes (this was before the invention of Beano).

And Abraham Lincoln was the first president to sleep on a coin-operated vibrating bed.

Now it’s George W. Bush’s turn. At a Cinco de Mayo celebration earlier this month, he told the nation: ‘‘Mi casa blanca es su casa blanca’’ (My White House is your White House). Since then, thousands of citizens have taken him at his word and dropped over unannounced to raid the White House fridge, watch TV and launch nuclear strikes against neighbors they don’t like. They’ve also disrupted cabinet meetings by plopping into chairs and asking, ‘‘Is this where Martin Sheen sits?’’

In a related move, while hosting a Little League game at the White House, Bush blasted the Clinton administration for selling timeshares to the Lincoln Bedroom. ‘‘I would never do anything to undermine the decorum and majesty of this residence,’’ he told reporters. ‘‘Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m late for a meeting on the South Lawn with the San Diego Chicken.’’

Consumer Hotline Question of the Month: Clairol’s emergency hair-care hotline recently fielded a call from a woman seeking advice on the best way to color her dog’s fur to match her hair.

Oxymoron of the Week: A CD titled ‘‘The Best of Ravi Shankar’’ was released May 15. Where’s a drunken snake when we need one?

Great Moments in History: Seventy-one years ago this month, the world’s first airline stewardess reported for duty aboard a United Airlines flight from Oakland, Calif., to Cheyenne, Wyo. According to Wireless Flash News, Ellen Church served passengers fried chicken, fruit salad and rolls during her inaugural flight. She also had to sweep out the plane, fill it with gas and help push it onto the runway before takeoff.

Also, because the first in-flight movie was a silent film, instead of charging passengers for earphones, the airline forced them to wear blindfolds unless they paid a fee.

Supermarket Tabloid Headline of the Week: ‘‘New Mr. Ed Cusses a Blue Streak in Remake of Beloved Show!’’ (Weekly World News)

Unpaid Informants: Ann Harrison, PR Newswire.

Copyright 2001 by Roy Rivenburg
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Creators Syndicate