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Off-Kilter

March 23, 1998|ROY RIVENBURG | Times Staff Writer

Countdown to Hell: We seem to vaguely recall something from college about public service journalism, which is why we bring you this important Barney Alert. It seems the dreaded purple dinosaur is coming out with a line of Barney diapers to coincide with the April 3 release of his new movie, "Barney vs. Godzilla." (OK, that's not really the title, but we wish it were because Godzilla would definitely put an end to this singing purple plague.)

But wait, there's more. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the film has sparked all sorts of promotional tie-ins. Coppertone, for example, plans to sell a purple sun-block lotion that turns clear when applied to skin. And other companies blipping on our Emergency Barney Warning System include Southwest Airlines, Kodak and Chef Boyardee.

Finally, Planet Hollywood restaurants should be considered off-limits for Barney-phobes from now through mid-April. Insiders say the establishments are running Barney movie trailers "continually."

Zero to Dark Brown in 60 Seconds: Porsche is marketing a $175 toaster, according to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times. At last, says columnist Zay N. Smith: relief for midlife-crisis males on a budget.

The Ten Suggestions: It was bound to happen. The latest pop psychology book is none other than . . . the Bible. Well, sort of. Leonard Felder, a West Los Angeles psychologist, has revamped the Ten Commandments into a kinder, gentler "Ten Challenges" (Harmony Books, 1997). For instance, "Thou shall not kill" has been revised to "Don't crush someone's spirit." And "Honor the Lord your God" is now "Discover the still small voice within." (Hey, isn't that what got Son of Sam into trouble?)

Other reduced-guilt prescriptions, which Felder says are closer to the original Hebrew, include "Feel good about what you have" (a replacement for that troublesome business about not coveting your neighbor's possessions), "Elevate your sexuality to greater sacredness" (formerly a ban on adultery) and "Control your anger and self-righteousness" (a stand-in for not taking the Lord's name in vain).

Fans of the Bible Lite approach include former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, who calls the book "an extraordinary description of what it really takes to make us feel fulfilled, justified and content."

Poopsicle Product: A London stockbroker has invented an aerosol spray that makes it easier to scoop up dog do. While walking his canary fighting dogs one icy night, Kevin Sax flashed on the idea that cleaning up behind them is simpler in winter than summer because frigid air keeps the droppings firm. After five years of experimenting, according to U.S. News & World Report, he developed a spray that freezes stuff down to 24 degrees below zero. Hmmm. Imagine if Kathleen Willey had been carrying a can.

Best Supermarket Tabloid Headline: "Frustrated Secretary Sues Boss for $80G . . . Because He Didn't Sexually Harass Her!" (Weekly World News)

Her explanation: "All the girls he flirts with get raises--I want that same opportunity."

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

Contributors: New York magazine, Olympia Daily World

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