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Off-Kilter

October 08, 1998|ROY RIVENBURG | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Best Movie Plot Summary: From Richard Polito's TV listings column in the Marin Independent Journal: " 'Old Yeller' (1961). A boy and his dog experience a series of frontier adventures, forming a bond that is both uplifting and enduring. Then he kills it."

Millennium Fashions Department: To test his bear-proof suit, Troy Hurtubise has been shot with armor-piercing arrows, clubbed by three bikers wielding baseball bats and rammed 18 times by a pickup traveling 30 mph.

Each time, he has emerged unscathed from the $150,000 outfit, which makes him look like a cross between RoboCop and the Michelin tire man. Built with titanium armor, chain mail, flameproof rubber and interior air bags, the high-tech tux is perfect for anyone who wants to waltz with a grizzly.

It's equipped with an emergency canister of bear repellent and a "bite bar," a pressure-sensitive strip on the right arm to measure the animal's biting power.

But so far, no Yogis have tangled with it. On a test run near Hurtubise's home in North Bay, Canada, he tried to goad some black bears into attacking him, but they astutely ran away, according to Outside magazine. On another occasion in the Rockies, he tumbled to the ground "like an overturned refrigerator" before he could meet any not-so-Gentle Bens.

A new documentary called "Project Grizzly" chronicles his exploits. Meanwhile, Hurtubise hopes his indestructible clothing will revolutionize professional hockey and/or police riot control.

Ghost Witness Department: A Maryland court has abandoned its attempts to subpoena a murder victim to testify at the trial of her accused killer. Theresa E. Ambrose, who was shot to death in February, was mailed three summonses before authorities corrected the error, according to the Baltimore Sun. The subpoenas each warned: "Failure to appear may cause . . . a warrant to be issued for your arrest."

Top 10 Halloween Costumes: The Home Sewing Assn. of America reports that 1998's most popular disguises will be based on "Titanic," the Spice Girls, "Mulan," "South Park," Beanie Babies, the Teletubbies, Zorro, soldiers, Cinderella and Mr. Potato Head.

Weird Polls Bureau: A survey by New York's Park Central Hotel asked people what they would do for $55 million. The results: 45% would give up one of their five senses (touch was the most popular one to sacrifice), 37% would stay celibate for life, and 21% would pose nude for a magazine. Other findings: 18% of Texans would wrestle a man-eating crocodile (even without one of Troy Hurtubise's suits), 34% of Republicans (vs. 11% of Democrats) would cheat on their spouse and accountants were the group most likely to say they'd fight Mike Tyson for three full rounds.

Film Thesaurus Bureau: Today's award for best alternative movie title goes to the Washington Post for suggesting that "Antz" be renamed "Thoracic Park."

Best Supermarket Tabloid Headline: "African Town Eliminates Sunday!" (Weekly World News)

Village officials believe that switching to a six-day week will bring greater prosperity because "the traditional day of rest gets in the way of productivity."

* Roy Rivenburg's e-mail address is roy.rivenburg@latimes.com.

Unpaid Informants: http://www.improb.com, http://www.nfb.ca/E/4/suit.html, Anchorage Daily News, Charles Downey, Wireless Flash News, Mike Kaeser

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