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Off-Kilter

July 29, 1998|ROY RIVENBURG | Times Staff Writer

Lucy in the Sky With Stamps: Capturing the 1960s on a postage stamp has created a dilemma for the U.S. Postal Service. As part of its Celebrate the Century stamp series, the agency has been asking the public to vote on design ideas for each decade.

For the 1960s, which will be honored in a set of stamps issued next summer, the 15 winners are: astronauts walking on the moon, the first Super Bowl, the peace symbol, Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, the Green Bay Packers, the Beatles, the Ford Mustang, Vietnam, Barbie, Roger Maris' home run record, the computer chip, lasers, Woodstock, "Star Trek" and the Peace Corps.

But here's the snag: Postal officials aren't sure how to depict the Beatles (three of them, at least) without violating a rule against putting living people on stamps. Fortunately, Off-Kilter has the solution--a stamp that looks like the cover of the "White Album." The all-white stamp would also blend in well with white envelopes. And, for added '60s realism, it could be manufactured so that licking the back sends users on a "Magical Mystery Tour."

Creative Lawyering Department: A man who was charged with stealing $254 worth of goods from a pharmacy in Reno has successfully argued that one of the cologne bottles he swiped was on sale, thus making it a $248.16 theft, which is $1.84 below the cutoff for felonies, and so now he is charged with a misdemeanor, according to Chicago columnist Zay N. Smith.

Paint by Numbers: As Congress inexplicably continues to hack away at public funding of the arts, it's comforting to see celebrities coming to the rescue of quality painters and performers. For example, David Bowie and Yoko Ono are now sponsoring Hermann Nitsch, an Austrian conceptual artist whose previous work includes strapping naked women to crucifixes. Next month, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, Nitsch plans to slaughter three bulls and six pigs, then have 100 students paint with the animals' blood and entrails in front of a crowd of spectators paying $500 per ticket. Nitsch explained: "My art says yes to life."

Animal Haus: Those wacky Nazis! According to newly released British spy files quoted by the Internet news service http://www.tabloid.net, Hitler's underlings often "lightened up wartime life" by holding sex parties at which naked girls sang opera on horseback or were strapped onto roulette wheels.

Maybe Bowie and Ono would like to sponsor a reenactment?

Condiment Slip 'n' Slide: The world record for sliding on catsup will be tested this weekend in Seymour, Wis., where 50 humans are expected to compete in the 10th annual Hamburger Meet. The current distance record is 196 feet, 8 inches.

Self-Shearing Sheep?: An Australian company plans to sell a protein that causes sheep to shed their own wool, according to U.S. News & World Report. After being injected with the reverse Rogaine, the animals will wear nets for a week to catch the wool.

Best Supermarket Tabloid Headline: "10% of Dentists Make Patients Strip!" (Weekly World News)

So now we know in those surveys that say "four out of five dentists recommend sugarless gum" what some of the other dentists recommend.

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

Unpaid Informants: Washington Post, Allison Joyce (stamps), Wireless Flash (catsup)

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