Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Section Gee! | Off-Kilter

The Winner Is . . . Cameron Diaz!

November 27, 1998|ROY RIVENBURG | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Diazed and Confused: Cameron Diaz is reportedly so tired of the media that she has ceased reading newspapers, according to Olympia Daily World, a radio tip sheet. That's a shame because today is The Times' once-a-century sweepstakes, in which we randomly select a citizen and award them $40 million if they see their name in the paper and call in. The big winner is Cameron Diaz. Too bad she won't see this. We were even going to throw in dinner with Off-Kilter (a $10 value).

*

Weird Polls Bureau: The average waist size of this year's department-store Santas is 44 inches, according to a survey by General Growth Properties, a mall management firm. The study also revealed that 91% of Santas have real beards.

*

Shameless Book Promos for People We Know: If we ever write a book someday, the following authors owe us free publicity for mentioning their works as possible stocking stuffers.

* Selection No. 1 in our non-Oprah book club is Eric Metaxas' "Don't You Believe It!" (St. Martin's Griffin, 1996), a witty parody of Ripley's Believe It or Not. Sample item: "During World War I, chefs under siege in a mountainous section of Switzerland buttered an entire mountainside--and slid to safety!"

* "Just Us" by Melissa Balmain (Faber and Faber), a friend and former columnist, follows the author through a series of strange adventures with her mother, including kayaking past killer whales, dog-sledding in Minnesota and craft-making in Anasazi ruins (which results in Balmain creating "the first Anasazi motel ashtray"). It's a "chick book," but full of fine and amusing writing.

* People who think Armageddon is imminent should read Richard Abanes' "End-Time Visions" (Four Walls Eight Windows). Following in the footsteps of Russell Chandler's "Doomsday" and Gary DeMar's "Last Days Madness," Abanes (an investigative reporter who kindly cites our 1992 Times story documenting plagiarism and fact-bending by Christian author Hal Lindsey) demolishes prophecies by everyone from Nostradamus and Heaven's Gate to Pat Robertson and Calvary Chapel founder Chuck Smith, who wrote in 1978 that he was "convinced the Lord is coming for His church before the end of 1981."

* Media buffs might enjoy "Scooped!" by David Krajicek (Columbia University Press), a friend from grad school. It suggests that journalism's obsession with "celebrity" criminals like Joey Buttafuoco and sleazy crimes has diverted attention from more important stories about the criminal justice system.

* "How to Write It, How to Sell It" by Linda Palmer (St. Martin's Griffin) is for aspiring screenwriters. We haven't actually read it, but we did once take a screenplay class with Palmer and she was wonderful.

* "Romantic Days and Nights in Washington, D.C." by two more ex-classmates, Cynthia Hacinli and William Connor (Globe Pequot). The guidebook doesn't mention the infamous windowless corridor of the Oval Office, but everything else seems to be covered.

*

Best Tabloid Headline: "It's OK to Hate Your Children Says Top Psychiatrist!" (Weekly World News)

According to the tabloid shrink, kids are "an emotional and financial drain."

Roy Rivenburg's e-mail address is roy.rivenburg@latimes.com. Unpaid Informant: Wireless Flash News. Off-Kilter runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|