Blitzen Blitzkrieg Bureau: Playing off the success of computer games that simulate deer hunting, Simon & Schuster Interactive has released Deer Avenger, a CD-ROM in which a weapon-toting deer stalks human hunters.
According to Newsday, players take on the role of a buck armed with a slingshot, an M-16 and a bazooka. The buck also uses a dozen time-tested calls--including "Free beer here" and "Help, I'm naked and I have a pizza"--to lure the "elusive big-bellied deer hunter" into the sights of its binoculars and scope.
Alarming Gift Ideas Bureau: An autographed pair of Walter Matthau's underwear will be auctioned off Friday at http://www.TEN97.com/comedy.
Eating Abe Lincoln Can Be Hazardous to Your Health: Here at Off-Kilter, we are always concerned about our readers' well-being, which is why we wanted to pass along this urgent health bulletin from Duke University: "Do not swallow pennies made after 1982!"
According to Dr. Sara O'Hara, a pediatric radiologist at the school, coins minted after 1982 contain lots of zinc, which can react with stomach acid to cause ulcers, anemia and kidney damage.
Therefore, we're urging everyone to write to their congressmen in support of legislation that would require warning labels on all new pennies.
Roto-Rooter Dessert Department: An ice cream parlor in Tucson has begun selling a laxative ice cream called "Gentle Persuasion." The concoction contains oatmeal and coarsely chopped prunes.
Loser of the Week: We just don't understand why people think California public schools are a joke. For example, when we moved to the state in ninth grade, we often spent several hours a night studying for our rigorous "office assistant" class, in which we collected attendance rosters.
If our previous school hadn't been a year ahead in math and history, we never would have survived the ordeal.
But apparently we had it easy. A few weeks ago, the California Board of Education adopted tough new history requirements that delete lessons on Indira Gandhi, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg (mentioning them in textbooks was deemed anti-Semitic) and Idi Amin. They were replaced by John Wayne, Walt Disney and astronaut Sally Ride.
Lunatic Fringe Bureau: The writer of the original Superman comic book series claims a 7-foot-tall spiritual entity named Mr. Thongden recently appeared in his living room and taught him how to enter the souls of animals, insects and a bag lady in Ottawa, Canada.
Ad Glut Bureau: In its quest to leave no blank space unexploited, the advertising industry has announced plans to place ads on airport luggage carousels.
During one test run, some people even moved baggage that blocked the ads in order to read the messages.
Best Supermarket Tabloid Headline: "Boring People Live Longer!" (Weekly World News)
Roy Rivenburg's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Unpaid Informants: PR Newswire, Wireless Flash News Service. Off-Kilter enters the souls of animals, insects and readers on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.