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Off-Kilter

March 24, 1998|ROY RIVENBURG | Times Staff Writer

Lame Lyrics, Part III: It's time to fill that vacancy in our Stupid Lyrics to Great Songs Hall of Fame. As you recall, Aretha Franklin phoned a few weeks ago to explain that she wasn't singing, "Take out TCP," in her version of "Respect" (despite what was printed in the original sheet music). She said the line was, "Take care of TCB," as in "taking care of business." Yes, it's redundant, but not enough to qualify for fully stupid status.

Thus, we are forced to search for a new entry. Here are the latest gems from readers:

* Gary Moore of KLOS-FM radio (95.5) nominated America's "Horse With No Name" for the line, "The heat was hot." What else would the heat be? Tepid?

* Moore also suggested R.E.M. for the verse "What's the frequency, Kenneth, is your benzedrine." Truly bizarre. And we're fairly certain that other R.E.M. lyrics are equally goofy, but we can rarely decipher Michael Stipe's singing.

* A reader identified only as Vanille22 nominated LL Cool J's "I Need Love," which apparently contains this puzzler: "I love you more than a man that's 10 feet tall." This reminds us of the line in Steely Dan's "Reelin' in the Years" that says, "You've been telling me you were a genius since you were 17." Does that mean the person became a genius at 17 or just started saying so then? Cool J's tune raises a similar question: Is he telling his sweetheart that his love for her is stronger than the love that would come from an endocrine giant, or is he saying he loves two people, a 10-foot-tall guy and her, but he loves her more?

* Finally, reader Nathan Walpole urged an honorable mention for the Steve Miller Band's "Take the Money and Run" for rhyming the words "Texas," "facts is" and "taxes." Likewise, comedy writer Alex Kaseberg suggested honoring Bonnie Raitt for rhyming "Queen of Sheba" with "amoeba" in "Thing Called Love."

Oh, What a Tangled Gun Sight They Weave: They have no pension plan, can't take coffee breaks and are paid in crickets. No, we're not talking about Nike shoe workers in Indonesia. We're referring to the two black widow spiders on the payroll at Warren-Knight Instrument Co. in Philadelphia.

It's their job to make cross hairs for telescopes, optical instruments and sights on howitzers and tanks. Spider supervisor George Grotzinger says the unnamed arachnids spin about 4 feet of web a day when their stomachs are "tickled" with a long straw. A two-pronged fork is then used to collect the strands, which are considered more elastic than nylon fiber or human hairs and last many years. Grotzinger says spider webs have been used for cross hairs at least since the Revolutionary War.

'Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, Life Goes On' Bra: The Chicago Sun-Times reports that "British physicists are now using electron speckle pattern interfermometry to study load distributions and oscillation frequencies in hopes of improving the design of the modern bra."

It's about time.

Best Supermarket Tabloid Tall Tale: Want to know the real reason the Washington Monument is shut down for "refurbishing"? According to the Weekly World News, it's part of "Congress' Bizarre Plan to Raise Big Bucks" by putting ads on national landmarks. So don't be surprised if the obelisk reopens with a giant Nike swoosh on the side. Also possible: the Chevrolet Grand Canyon, the Pillsbury Sequoia National Forest and Clearasil Presents Mt. Rushmore.

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

Contributor: Wireless Flash

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