G.I. Trump?: To introduce a new Web site for toy collectors, Hasbro is auctioning off a G.I. Joe doll that will be custom-made to resemble the person who buys it. Bidding ends at midnight Tuesday at http://www.HasbroCollectors.com.
Better Mousetraps Bureau: Sadomasochists are so hard to shop for, which is why you'll be pleased to know about a new product called "The Complete Kit for Amateur Slave and Master."
It contains everything necessary to "experience the pleasure of surrender and authority," including a latex whip, leather handcuffs, a leash, collar, leather paddle and blindfold.
However, professional sadomasochists will probably want to skip such niceties and head straight for Lisbon, Ohio, where students at the Columbiana County Career Center recently constructed the world's largest mousetrap: 9 1/2 feet long by 4 1/2 feet wide, weighing 1,500 pounds and featuring a snap spring made from 48 feet of twisted steel bar.
Project supervisor David Leeson said the contraption is big enough to pin a cow. Or a sadomasochist. The device is also scheduled to go on a nationwide tour soon.
In a related story, Republicans frustrated by Bill Clinton's latest Houdini act are said to be interested in placing the trap just outside the Oval Office, baited with Big Macs, a saxophone and a G.I. Monica doll.
November-ama: The holiday season is upon us. No, not Thanksgiving. We're referring to far more important November celebrations, such as National Eye Disease Month, National Peanut Butter Lovers Month, National Impotency Week, National Split Pea Soup Week (during which the Dry Pea & Lentil Council will attempt to cook a record 500-gallon bowl of the stuff), National Plan Your Epitaph Day (in case you carelessly wander onto a giant mousetrap), National British Appreciation Day (Have you hugged an Englishman today?), National Housewife Day, National Fig Week (in ancient Greece, figs were used as medals during the Olympics), National Double Talk Week and National Fragrance Week.
November also introduces a 1990s version of Abraham Lincoln's 1863 proclamation of a national day of fasting, in which he urged Americans to "confess our national sins and pray for clemency and forgiveness."
Lincoln probably had in mind atoning for slavery. We aren't sure what the current organizers regard as national sins, but we have a few suggestions, including: Sam Donaldson's hair, Barney the dinosaur, flocked Christmas trees and the movie "Booty Call."
The 1998 fast begins Thursday in Houston. Registration is $49 (meals included?) or you can fast via satellite at various churches throughout the U.S.
Best Supermarket Tabloid Story: According to a scientific study in the always-reliable Weekly World News, married women who are feeling depressed can cure their problem by "slapping the daylights out of their unsuspecting husbands every morning." Psychiatrist Simon Drapock reports that "smacking your man silly" at least once a day releases pent-up emotions and reduces anxiety and depression.
Try it out on National Housewife Day.
Roy Rivenburg's e-mail address is email@example.com. Unpaid Informants: Wireless Flash News Service, Buzz Report, Olympia Daily World, Chicago Sun-Times, http://www.fastingprayer.com. Off-Kilter is published Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.