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Off-Kilter

June 22, 1998|ROY RIVENBURG | Times Staff Writer

Bizarre Bookmarks Bureau: If you were in our bedroom right now--well, we'd probably call the police, but you'd also notice a big pile of books on the night stand. At any given time, we're reading about eight books, none of which we ever finish, partly because we never have enough bookmarks to keep track of our place. So we weren't surprised at an American Library Assn. survey on weird things found inside returned books.

One library patron used a strip of bacon to mark his place. Others have left behind used Q-Tips, vacation photos, money, pieces of chocolate, and a pair of bikini underwear with a phone number on a Post-it note. The underwear turned out to be a fraternity hazing prank. In another case, librarians found a live kitten inside a book drop-off box. Again, we're not surprised. Cat tails make fine bookmarks.

Weird Holidays Department: In case you weren't aware of it, this is National Carpenter Ant Awareness Week. And there are several ways to celebrate. The first involves a fork. According to entomologist Ronald Taylor, ants are the third-most popular edible insect on the planet and can be served in various appetizing ways. For example, because they contain an acid similar to vinegar, you can squeeze a handful of them over a salad instead of using dressing. Or you can whip up an ant burrito with tortillas, salsa and ants.

A better idea comes from Chicago columnist Zay N. Smith, who notes that June is also National Accordion Awareness Month, and, since accordions are made largely of wood, maybe everyone should just hold off on calling in the exterminators to kill the wood-chomping carpenter ants.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, Great Britain just celebrated National Awareness Campaign Awareness Week.

Lunatic Fringe Department: Poor Daryl Hannah. First, Jackson Browne dumped her. Now, space aliens are planning to kidnap her and turn her into the poster child for a new alien-human breeding program. According to UFO researcher Terry Johnston of Long Beach, who describes himself as part of an anti-alien rebel group known as the Rainbow Peacewalkers, the alien PR campaign will attempt to persuade Earth women to relinquish their eggs to extraterrestrial studs. We hear the biggest push will occur during Intergalactic Alien Abduction Awareness Week.

The Off-Kilter Shopping Network: Still searching for a belated Father's Day gift? Don't worry, we've got you covered. For the dad who has everything (including 49 bottles of Old Spice from previous Father's Days), how about a 3-inch-wide clump of Abraham Lincoln's hair, removed after the assassination and wrapped in a telegram? This item is not available in stores but can be bought at auction from Butterfield & Butterfield of San Francisco.

Or, if that sounds a little macabre, a Santa Cruz entrepreneur is selling $20 paperweights made from a steel railing removed from the Golden Gate Bridge. Also available are $35 chunk-of-bridge candleholders, $50 commemorative wall clocks and $1,200 metal-frame tables, so now your pop can say he jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge and lived. For information, call (888) 625-3558 or visit the company's Web site, http://www.goldensteel.com.

Best Supermarket Tabloid Headline: "Porcupine Falls Head Over Heels In Love--With a Broom!" (Weekly World News)

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

Contributors: Wireless Flash News Service, Chicago Sun-Times, Ann Harrison

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