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Off-Kilter

July 21, 1998|ROY RIVENBURG | Times Staff Writer

Loser of the Week: In response to complaints that Off-Kilter is too cynical, we had planned to inaugurate a new, upbeat "Person of the Week" feature today. But then our lawyers reminded us that ABC News and Peter Jennings already cornered that market. So instead, we reluctantly return to our old ways and introduce . . . Off-Kilter's Loser of the Week.

Once a week (or maybe every other week if we procrastinate), we will conduct a worldwide search for the person, event, product or company that best exemplifies the term "moronic."

This week's Loser is Kraft Foods, for the cardinal sin of having no sense of humor. It seems that the town of Hastings, Neb., birthplace of Kool-Aid 71 years ago, wanted to host a Kool-Aid Days festival on Aug. 15 featuring a Kool-Aid dunk tank and Kool-Aid chugging contest.

But Kool-Aid's parent company, Kraft, vetoed those events because it doesn't approve of using the drink for any purpose besides calm sipping. In other words, if we understand the calm-sipping guideline correctly, Jonestown is OK, but a dunk tank isn't.

Nominations for the next Loser of the Week may be sent to us via fax, (213) 237-0732, e-mail (see end of column) or letter, Roy Rivenburg's Off-Kilter, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053.

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Irony Patrol: The Chicago Sun-Times recently spotted this sign in front of the Ethical Humanist Society office in Skokie, Ill.: "Colloquy on Hatred. Everyone Welcome."

Sorta reminds us of the stand-up comic who said he was thrown out of the Museum of Tolerance.

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Internet Hoax Department: According to the Realist, when President Clinton recently spoke at MIT, an alleged memo from the school's dean began circulating on the Internet that forbade students from attending the speech wearing "black berets and kneepads."

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Random Facts Department: Our latest shipment of strange facts has arrived via overnight UFO courier:

* Farmers who want plumper, juicier chickens should hug their birds regularly and greet them each day with a gentle, "Good morning, chickens, is there anything I can do for you today?" At least, that's the advice of a retired veterinary researcher from Virginia.

* Last week was Illinois Ostrich Awareness Week.

* A model tarantula that crawled all over Sean Connery in the James Bond flick "Dr. No" is expected to fetch $3,200 at a Christie's auction on Sept. 17.

* Michael Jordan is Chicago's very own Imelda Marcos, with more than 150 pairs of dress shoes in his closet.

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Alarming Trends Department: Songwriter-actor Paul Williams is reportedly making a comeback.

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Best Supermarket Tabloid Headline: "Charlie Manson's New Exercise Video! Sweating on Death Row!" (Weekly World News)

Apparently, Chuck regrets the whole mass murder thing in 1969, so "now he's saving lives by protecting people from heart attack and stroke."

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* Roy Rivenburg's e-mail address is roy.rivenburg@latimes.com.

Contributors: Martin Miller, Wireless Flash News Service, Zay N. Smith, Sports Illustrated for Kids

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