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July 27, 1998|ROY RIVENBURG | Times Staff Writer

Helter-Skelter Spice: The latest issue of the Realist reports that Charles Manson has offered to take a lethal injection if he can meet the Spice Girls.

This definitely proves he's wacko. A sane person would want the lethal injection before meeting the Spice Girls.

Alarming Trends Department: A team of university scientists is teaching a robot to dance the Macarena, according to the Internet news service

Loser of the Week: We were just about to board a plane to the Brazilian rain forest--final stop on our weekly global search for the planet's biggest loser--when a news bulletin arrived from Baltimore. There, a self-described born-again Christian named Rob Shiflett was claiming that God inspired him to open a store called the Christian Soldier gun shop, complete with semiautomatic rifles, glass cases full of handguns and two boxes of religious tracts by the door.

Not surprisingly, the store has stirred some controversy. When one woman dropped in to argue that Jesus wouldn't have approved of firearms, Shiflett recounted the Gospel story of the Lord clearing the money-changers from the temple and said, "If Jesus had a pistol at his side, he probably would have shot a few rounds in the air."

Yes, things would've been very different if Christ had been more like Clint Eastwood. For example, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus might have said, "Peter, put away your sword. Use my Smith & Wesson instead."

Or maybe the Sermon on the Mount would've sounded like this: "Blessed are the Peacemakers, which are awesome .45-caliber revolvers that will be manufactured 1,800 years from now by a company called Colt to help settle the Old West."

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.

Signs of the Apocalypse: Notes from the book and film industry:

* The screenwriters for "The People vs. Larry Flynt" are now working on a movie version of "H.R. Pufnstuf."

* George Hamilton has just finished a lifestyle advice book designed to compete with Martha Stewart. Among the tips: "To really enjoy housecleaning, wash your windows using a spray bottle containing a solution of vodka and water. Sip regularly from the bottle."

Best Supermarket Tabloid Story: In a sequel to a February article on kids' letters to Satan, the Weekly World News has now excerpted children's mail to the loyal opposition. Some examples:

* Dear God: People say you are real, but sometimes I'm not so sure. You can prove you're real by giving me a sign. A new skateboard would be a good sign.

* Dear God: My new baby brother doesn't have any teeth. My mom says he will get some, and I hope he does so he can eat. Please come and finish the baby.

* Dear God: Do you make children go to school in heaven? Do you make them do homework? What happens if somebody cuts up in class? Do you make them stay after school?

* Dear God: My brother Jimmie died and went to heaven, and I never got to say goodbye. Tell him I'm sorry I pulled his hair.

* Roy Rivenburg's e-mail address is

Unindicted Co-conspirators: Baltimore Sun, Wireless Flash News Service

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