May 22, 2002

The White Picket Fence
Doubles as a Torture Device

By Roy Rivenburg
Home Sweet Home: Who says the American dream is out of reach? In San Francisco, for example, where real estate prices are so astronomical that people get into bidding wars over cardboard boxes abandoned by the homeless, good deals can still be found. The San Francisco Chronicle recently discovered a four-bedroom house in a tony neighborhood with stunning views of the bay. The price: a mere $261,000, far less than many smaller homes on the block.

The catch? Well, that’s the beauty of it. There is no ‘‘catch,’’ at least not by San Francisco standards. Instead of such boring add-ons as French doors, central air and skylights, this one comes with a built-in methamphetamine lab, porn video studio and sadomasochism dungeon, complete with trapeze, electronic enema device and the names of Satan’s helpers spray-painted on the walls. The home also features floor-to-ceiling mirrors, orange shag carpeting and a black-felt-covered chamber with a glow-in-the-dark crucifix platform bed. The estate has a colorful past too: The former owner’s lover was torched to death in the dungeon after the owner ‘‘got tired of him.’’

Maybe the Fox TV network can use it to compete with PBS’ ‘‘Frontier House.’’

Lunatic Fringe Bureau: A Texas author claims that a pair of soccer stadiums built in Korea and Japan for the World Cup are actually giant mind-control devices, and that snacks served there will contain tiny robots programmed to implant ‘‘knowledge modules’’ in the brain.

Hmm. We wanted to investigate further, but the stadiums ordered us not to.

Eau d’Spider-Girl: A new perfume called Black Widow boasts that it ‘‘helps young women feel empowered’’ by enabling them to ‘‘entice him into your web so you can devour your lover tonight.’’

Weird Polls Bureau: Which would you rather read -- a poll about the best punishment for Osama Bin Laden (32 percent favor life in prison, 68 percent want Janet Reno to soak in a vat of Black Widow perfume and lure him into a fatal tryst) or a survey about snoozing on the john? We thought so. Here are the latest poll findings:

-- One percent of Americans say they ‘‘rest and take naps’’ on the office toilet, according to a survey by Kimberly-Clark.
-- The celebrity chefs whom men most often pretend to be while barbecuing are Iron Chef Chen Kenichi, Julia Child, Naked Chef Jamie Oliver, Emeril Lagasse and Bobby Flay, according to a survey by the Integer Group. Also, men are four times more likely than women to wear aprons decorated with funny sayings.

A Rubber Glove for Poppa?: This isn’t a good year for dads, judging from some of the Father’s Day gift ideas being promoted in various press releases:

-- ‘‘Help Dad Clear the Air, Not the Room; GasBGon is Perfect Gift for Flatulent Fathers’’
-- ‘‘Let Dad Know You Really Love Him ... Take Him to the Doctor for a Prostate Cancer Screening’’
-- ‘‘Garden Railroading, Which Combines Gardening with Model Railroads, Gets Father’s Day Back on Track’’

Encyclopedia of Useless Information: International Pickle Week, which ends May 27, lasts 11 days.

Supermarket Tabloid Headline of the Week: ‘‘New Study Says 18% of People Named Rachael Are Psychotic!’’ (Weekly World News)

This prompts us to predict a future WWN headline: ‘‘Rachael Support Group Calls Weekly World News Story ‘Completely Unfounded,’ Threatens to Sever the Heads of Those Responsible and ‘Use Their Eyeballs as Martini Olives’!’’

Unpaid Informants: Wireless Flash News Service, PR Newswire.

Copyright 2002 by Roy Rivenburg
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