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October 05, 1998|ROY RIVENBURG | Times Staff Writer

Skyscraper Pop-Tarts Department: The world's biggest Pop-Tart will be assembled Tuesday at New York's Madison Square Garden. In honor of the treat's 35th birthday in 1999, Kellogg's commissioned the 2,000-pound pastry, which will measure 25 feet by 35 feet and consist of 10,000 individual Pop-Tarts fused together with 800 pounds of white icing and decorated with 150 pounds of colored sprinkles.

The behemoth strawberry-flavored Pop-Tart will be available for eating immediately after construction--assuming someone can find a toaster big enough to cook it.

Cluttered Calendar Bureau: October is traditionally known as the time for Halloween, Columbus Day and famous stock-market crashes, but it also hosts National Toilet Tank Repair Month, National Liver Awareness Month (check your liver), National No Salt Week, National Popcorn Month (popcorn without salt?), National Pizza Month, National Healthy Lung Month, World Vegetarian Day (which happens to occur on the first day of National Pork Month), National Auto Battery Safety Month, National Lupus Awareness Month, National Apple Jack Month, National Dental Hygiene Week (which may be undone by National Cookie Month and National Dessert Day), National Dinosaur Month, National Sarcastics Awareness Month (like we care!), National Depression Education and Awareness Month (all these celebrations are bumming us out) and National Roller Skating Month.

October also includes a 150th birthday bash for Hammacher Schlemmer, the catalog company known for selling the first electric toothbrush, the first microwave oven, the first pocket TV and, of course, the first regulation-size home bowling alley ($4,300 for one lane) and the first two-person submarine, which was billed as a "product to solve everyday problems" (such as sinking that two-person enemy aircraft carrier in the neighbor's pool).

Deep-Sea Halloween Department: We've heard of underwater basket weaving, but now there's underwater pumpkin carving. On Oct. 18, the town of Queensland Beach in Nova Scotia, Canada, will hold a jack-o'-lantern contest in which scuba divers plunge into the ocean with pumpkins and diver's knives. Previous winners include a pumpkin carved to resemble a cat and another designed in the image of a scuba diver, complete with mask.

Receding Hairline Barbie?: Does Barbie need Rogaine? That's the question before a federal court in Maryland, where a Canadian doll collector has filed a $200,000 lawsuit over a prematurely balding Barbie.

According to the Baltimore Sun, the dispute began when Janice Amundson ordered a rare "Color Magic" Barbie doll--originally sold in the 1960s and featuring dyeable hair--from an Internet auction site.

Amundson says the $1,800 figurine arrived with brittle locks that fell out in clumps. The seller claims it's either an act of God or that Amundson tampered with the doll by trying to dye its hair. "There's residue around the hairline suggesting it happened," she said.

Best Supermarket Tabloid Headline: "California Women's Libber Forced to Clean Alien Spaceship!" (Weekly World News Online)

The UFO abductee is now undergoing therapy to recover from the trauma of being "forced to do housework."

* Roy Rivenburg's e-mail address is

Unpaid Informants: Wireless Flash, Chicago Sun-Times, Daily Scoop, Valerie Marz

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