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SECTION GEE! | Off-Kilter

Just Call Us the Colonel of Truth


Finger-Licking Good Department: Please address us as "colonel" from now on. In a moving ceremony held Friday, we were officially commissioned as a Kentucky colonel.

According to a certificate signed by the governor of Kentucky, we received the honor for "service and accomplishments on behalf of your fellow man." Obviously, the governor of Kentucky is unfamiliar with our work, but that's beside the point.

Off-Kilter now joins dead singer Bing Crosby, dead President Lyndon B. Johnson, dead Prime Minister Winston Churchill, dead comedian Red Skelton and almost-dead astronaut John Glenn as a member of "the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels." (In our case, the "honorable" is probably poetic license.)

More importantly, we now have access to top-secret fried chicken recipes--and we're able to court-martial unruly citizens at will.

Actually, we have no idea what privileges come with our new title. During the 1800s, Kentucky colonels wore uniforms and acted as bodyguards for the governor of that state, but in 1932 the group became a fraternal organization. Members must be nominated by other colonels.

Reader Fred Catiller lobbied on our behalf and hosted the induction ceremony. We were thinking it might make up for losing our write-in campaign for governor of California, but then we got to the fine print on our certificate that said Kentucky colonels receive no salary.

Money to Burn Bureau: A rose by any other name doesn't cost $75,000. But a flower named after you does. That's the amount charged by the Jackson & Perkins company in Oregon to slap your name on one of several unnamed varieties of rose. The $75,000 tab also includes a trip to the company's research facility near Camarillo.

Quote of the Day: From Chicago columnist Zay N. Smith: "Voltaire, who said, 'I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,' was born 304 years ago Saturday, which is also World Hello Day, in which everyone in the world is urged to go up to 10 strangers and say a happy hello, and this might be where Voltaire would have drawn the line."

Alarming Trends: As if that barking-dogs version of "Jingle Bells" wasn't bad enough, now someone is peddling an entire album of holiday songs done by animals. "A Barnyard Country Christmas" features carols mooed, clucked and squealed by animals with such names as Honk Williams Jr. and the Oink Ridge Boys. It's available through 4-H Clubs or at (800) 487-8659.

Correction Bureau: In our recent list of addresses for groups buying freedom for slaves in the Sudan, we accidentally confused Christian Solidarity International with another, similarly named organization and gave you the wrong location. The correct address for CSI is 3334 E. Coast Highway, Suite 295, Corona del Mar, CA 92625. If you sent a check to the other organization, it will be forwarded to CSI.

Best Supermarket Tabloid Headline: "Siamese Twin Policemen Give New Meaning to 'Good Cop-Bad Cop'!" (Weekly World News)

Col. Rivenburg's e-mail address is Unpaid Informant: Wireless Flash News. Off-Kilter runs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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