Sept. 19, 2001

Short Headlines Good

By Roy Rivenburg
How Long Are the Sneak Previews?: The Short Attention Span Film and Video Festival, which showcases movies less than two minutes long, is currently touri--

OK, we’re bored with this topic already. Time to move on to something else.

Road to Recovery: Slowly but surely, the United States is getting back to normal -- and by ‘‘normal’’ we of course mean ‘‘weird.’’ For example:

-- A musical comedy about the Lindbergh baby kidnapping will debut in Philadelphia next month. No doubt it’ll be a smash. As every humorist knows, nothing makes an audience laugh like an infant homicide.
-- A North Carolina woman who designs fashions for dogs says the hip look in canine couture this fall will be fisherman-style vests with cargo pockets and shiny ‘‘urban-look’’ parkas. Also in vogue will be dog sweaters with fluffy chenille collars.
-- The National Inventors Hall of Fame in Akron, Ohio, has inducted Patsy O. Sherman and Samuel Smith for their patent on ‘‘block and graft copolymers containing water-solvatable polar groups and fluoroaliphatic groups.’’ To which we say, it’s about time.
-- Chicago will host an art exhibit of paintings and sculptures that express feelings of orthopedic pain.
-- Because of a breakthrough in candy-coating technology, green M&M’s will have a female face printed on them this month, in connection with the chocolate candy’s 60th anniversary.
-- A California company called is selling rubber ducks that resemble Dracula, Groucho Marx, the Blues Brothers, James Brown and the Lone Ranger.

Strange Revenge Bureau: How should the U.S. retaliate for Sept. 11’s terrorist attack? All sorts of schemes are floating around, but one of the most harebrained involves soda pop.

According to the National Soft Drink Association, some Americans are protesting the use of a beverage ingredient called gum arabic. Made from acacia plants, it’s a common additive in citrus-flavored sodas and beer because it stabilizes foaminess. In ancient Egypt, gum arabic was also used for mummification.

But protesters want to boycott the stuff. Some apparently don’t like the idea of anything ‘‘Arabic’’ in their beverages; others are perturbed because 70 percent of gum arabic comes from Sudan, which was home to Osama bin Laden until 1996. But soft-drink association spokesman Sean McBride hopes President Bush’s admonition not to discriminate against innocent Arab-Americans will carry over to gum arabic. Says McBride: ‘‘Drinking a Fresca doesn’t mean you’re supporting terrorism.’’

Off-Kilter Encyclopedia: To fasten down tools during weightlessness, the astronauts orbiting the moon aboard Apollo 8 used Silly Putty.

Quote of the Week: In response to the Rev. Jerry Falwell’s claim that God allowed the terrorist attack because America has become secularized by such groups as the ACLU, feminists and homosexuals, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Zay N. Smith commented: ‘‘For those wondering what a Christian Osama bin Laden might sound like.’’

Supermarket Tabloid Headline of the Week: ‘‘How to Tell if Your Guardian Angel is Gay!’’ (Weekly World News)

The telltale signs include: sleepwalking in the middle of the night and waking up to find yourself in a conga line at a gay bar; seeing ghostly apparitions of the Village People; inexplicably singing show tunes from Broadway musicals you’ve never even seen.

Unpaid Informants: Wireless Flash News Service,, PR Newswire, Trivia Time.

Copyright 2001 by Roy Rivenburg
Distributed by
Creators Syndicate