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Off-Kilter

March 30, 1998|ROY RIVENBURG | Times Staff Writer

Talking Toilets: Just when we were getting used to the idea of talking refrigerators and talking cars, along comes . . . the talking urinal. "You are numerically favored," says one. No, that's not a comment on the user's anatomy. This is a fortunetelling toilet, trying to persuade visitors to gamble away their life savings at the Las Vegas Hilton's futuristic SpaceQuest casino.

The so-called "24th century urinals" are equipped with blinking lights, TV monitors that flash messages and an ethereal voice that says, "May the luck be with you." Originally, the monitors were supposed to display fake chemical analyses of each customer's urine, but casino officials were afraid some drunk would get into a car wreck, then sue the Hilton for not saying his urine was over the legal limit.

In the women's restroom, the toilets are mute, but TV monitors behind the washbasin mirrors show phony advertisements for 24th century fashions, wedding ceremonies, food and makeup.

Strange Publicity Stunts Department: Last week, a congressman tried to slice through the U.S. tax code with a chain saw, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. But the 5,000-page document withstood the assault.

Monkey Burglars: Some readers scoffed when we first warned of an impending animal revolt, but the omens keep piling up. The latest incidents happened in Europe and Asia, according to the Internet news service http://www.tabloid.net. The first involved a group of stone-throwing birds pelting cars in the Netherlands. The second . . . well, we won't even try to outwrite tabloid.net on this report: "Japan's mad monkeys have struck again. Two months ago, a horde of weird, butt-biting apes earned international infamy as 'Marv Albert monkeys' by waging a campaign of human harassment in the city of Ito, where they repeatedly snuck up on women and chomped on the poor gals' backsides. Now, a pack of macaques in the state of Aomori has been breaking into homes, stealing food and leaving behind an unmistakable calling card--their own feces."

The report goes on to describe no fewer than 21 monkey burglaries. Unfortunately, the Japanese criminal code has no law against animal breaking and entering.

Thinly Veiled Disguises Inc.: A self-described sports widow from New Mexico is selling baseball caps that feature a black mesh widow's veil that hangs from the bill. Kathy Allen's $28 Widowwear hats are also inscribed with wisecracks that correspond to whatever sports addiction the wearer's husband or boyfriend suffers. For example, the basketball widow cap says, "Halftime isn't enough time." The baseball one says, "Reserve the 10th inning for me." Allen also sells "Internet widow" hats. For orders, call (505) 471-5080.

Emergency Barney Warning System: Only four days are left until the West Coast premiere of the new movie starring Barnosaurus satanicus, better known as Barney, the purple dinosaur. That means it's still not too late for the Air Force to launch preemptive strikes against the offending theaters.

Best Supermarket Tabloid Headline: "Man's Body Rusting Like a '47 Buick!" (Weekly World News)

Diagnosis: Too many iron pills have turned this 22-year-old plumber into a human Tin Man.

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

Contributors: Michael Quintanilla, Wireless Flash

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