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Off-Kilter

March 16, 1998|ROY RIVENBURG | Times Staff Writer

Confucius Say, Support Come in Sizes S-Queen: If you love fortune cookies, but don't like MSG, there's now an alternative: fortune pantyhose. Evan-Picone Legwear of New York inserts inspirational sayings and lucky numbers in its hosiery packages. Sample message: "Insist on holding out for the things that matter most to you."

(Editor's note: Off-Kilter wishes to stress that we did not discover this while buying pantyhose ourselves; we heard about it from a reliable female source. Thank you.)

However, the gimmick is being discontinued. A company spokeswoman said some customers objected to spiritual messages in their hosiery and others confused the numerology numbers for pantyhose sizes.

Tax Dollars at Work Department: Lawmakers in Off-Kilter's home state of Arizona are locked in a life-or-death battle to choose an official state dinosaur. According to the Wall Street Journal, which last brought us news of Ohio's attempt to name an official state dirt, a Republican from the Grand Canyon state recently introduced a six-word bill to honor Dilophosaurus wetherilli, a 1-ton carnivore that inspired the poison-spitting dino in "Jurassic Park."

The so-called "Barney bill" seemed like a slam dunk at first, but then Democrats began pushing their own candidate for official extinct reptile, Sonorasaurus thompsoni, a plant-eating Tucson native that weighed 35 tons, roughly equal to a herd of elephants. (Maybe Sonorasaurus is also the reason that most of Arizona is desert. Ever try feeding a 35-ton vegetarian?)

To date, the dinosaur war remains undecided. But David Leibowitz, a political columnist at the Arizona Republic, thinks a compromise is possible: "If we're going to have a state dinosaur," he says, "it should probably be retired Sen. Barry Goldwater."

Cop Rock: Over the years, America has witnessed some disturbing examples of police brutality: the cop rampage at the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago, the Rodney King beating, the fire hoses turned on civil rights demonstrators and, more recently, the L.A. deputies who savagely chauffeured actor Robert Downey Jr. from his jail cell to a movie set and then joined him for lunch at the studio commissary.

Now, we must add Oakland police to the list. According to the Oakland Tribune, a man accused of stealing a ginger peach cookie has filed a complaint because he was handcuffed and--if you are squeamish, pleased be advised not to read any further--forced to listen to an officer sing "The Pina Colada Song."

Julian Aldarondo says the cop concert was the most degrading and humiliating experience of his life. And we think he has a case. After consulting with numerous constitutional experts and lawyers, we are convinced that "The Pina Colada Song" (originally recorded by spawn of Satan Rupert Holmes and officially titled "Escape") is "cruel and unusual punishment."

Sign Us Up: The Allergy Asthma Center in Providence, R.I., is offering an unusual incentive to people who volunteer for its study on sinus infections. According to an ad clipped from the Feb. 8 Providence Journal by reader Lawson Skala of Las Vegas, "Qualified participants will receive a free sinus."

Best Supermarket Tabloid Headline: "Galactic Pac Man Gobbling Up Stars, Say Worried Astronomers" (Weekly World News)

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* Roy Rivenburg can be reached by e-mail at roy.rivenburg@ latimes.com.

Contributors: Allison Joyce, Tanya Loh

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