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Section Gee! | Off-Kilter

For That Special Feathered Friend

November 16, 1998|ROY RIVENBURG | TIMES STAFF WRITER

For the Birds Department: We don't want to say that humans are losing their minds as we approach the new millennium, but we also can't ignore the fact that someone has introduced a line of edible greeting cards for birds.

According to America's Family Pet Expo, the parsley-and-paper cards are but one of many unusual trends in the pet industry. There are also acupuncturists for dogs, mint-flavored canine breath sprays, pet travel agencies, doggy bagels, animal tuxedos and veterinarians who treat their four-legged patients with aromatherapy and colored lights. But this doesn't mean that people are losing their minds. Really.

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Bizarre Boat Names Bureau: Boating magazine has released its annual list of best boat names in the U.S. Sailing away with top honors was a Chicago-based ship dubbed Sir Osis of the River. Other winners included Aqua Seltzer, Out to Launch and a lawyer's boat named Watertight Alibi.

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Alarming Trends Department: Spice Girls beanbag dolls. Coming soon.

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News Leak of the Day: Actress Stefanie Powers has been named official spokeswoman for "overactive bladders" during National Bladder Awareness Week, which begins today.

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We Live to Help: Unlike Dear Abby, Miss Manners and other so-called advice columnists, we at Off-Kilter try not to publish tips unless we know that readers can use them in everyday life--which is why we had to tell you how to brush your teeth in zero gravity.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, which was asked by a reader if astronauts swallow their toothpaste, the official NASA procedure for dental hygiene during weightlessness is this: "Wash face with damp rag. Brush teeth. Put rag to mouth, covering it and forming a seal. Spit into rag, maintaining seal. Slide rag off mouth and fold it over on itself in one motion. Dispose of rag in sealed container."

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Quote of the Day: From a Club Med spokesman, after army troops and riot police marched past burning cars and rock-hurling maids to rescue hundreds of tourists being held hostage by striking employees at a Martinique Club Med resort: "Guests were not at risk, but they were not benefiting from the levels of comfort they are used to."

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Update: After our report on modern-day slavery in the Sudan, several readers asked where they could send donations to help liberate slaves. Answer: Christian Solidarity International, P.O. Box 50608, Casper, WY 82605. Or the American Anti-Slavery Group, P.O. Box 441612, Somerville, MA 02144.

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Best Supermarket Tabloid Item: Some of you are still bothered by the fact that we always refer to ourselves as "we" even though we are just one person, so we've decided to enter a Weekly World News contest to have ourselves cloned.

According to the tab, all we have to do is write the best 90-word essay on why we should be duplicated, and WWN will pay $1.5 million to extract a few of our cells and fly them to a Swiss cloning lab.

This should put an end to the "we" versus "I" debate.

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Roy Rivenburg's e-mail address is roy.rivenburg@latimes.com. Unpaid Informants: Wireless Flash News Service, Wall Street Journal, http://www.tabloid.net.

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