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October 20, 1998|ROY RIVENBURG | Times Staff Writer

Translating on Empty: If you think rock lyrics don't make much sense in English, try deciphering them in other languages. For example, Jackson Browne recently told a concert audience about Spain's version of his song "Take It Easy" (co-written with Glenn Frey).

Because a word-for-word translation didn't fit the melody, the verse about "Looking for a lover who won't blow my cover, she's so hard to find" became loosely rendered as: "I'm looking for a woman who isn't dangerous, yet is kind and who will eat me like a lobster in pink sauce."

By the way, we're pretty sure that Browne--who just turned 50 but looks 12--has stolen Dick Clark's eternal youth formula.

Doing Our Part for Voter Apathy: Off-Kilter's write-in campaign for governor is running a distant last in the polls, possibly because leading candidates Gray Davis and Dan Lungren (also known as Tweedledumb and Dumber) refuse to debate us. Apparently, they're afraid we'll make fun of their haircuts--or that we'll disrupt their dopey feud over which of them favors the death penalty more.

In their latest attempt to one-up each other, Davis promised to execute every inmate at least twice and personally dance on their graves, while Lungren vowed to strangle the prisoners with his bare hands after forcing them to listen to Kenny G records.

But we digress. The point is, most political observers give us no chance of being elected in November. So we decided to improve our odds by running for additional offices, including governor of Florida, Illinois and Libya. We're also launching a write-in campaign for U.S. Senate against human Sominex tablet Matt Fong and professional hypocrite Barbara Boxer. And in the event that President Clinton is driven from the White House, we've offered ourselves as a compromise stand-in.

In each case, our platform is the same. First and foremost, we promise to avoid entanglements in scandals like Iran-Contra or Whitewater. Instead, we will engage only in easily understood corruption, such as embezzlement, bribery or homicide.

We also pledge to pass laws that would:

* Rebuild the tailpipes of all diesel cars and trucks so the foul-smelling exhaust blows directly into their own driver's face instead of traffic.

* Order the media to ignore the self-serving names that corporations foist on well-known stadiums and bowl games. In other words, if most citizens refer to "Edison Field" as "Anaheim Stadium," so will the press.

* Impose life prison sentences on whoever puts those annoying little stickers on every single piece of fruit at the supermarket. Ditto for record companies that use those hell-to-remove silver reflective seals on CDs.

* Flog all political candidates and garage-sale sponsors who don't remove their signs after the event is over.

* Ban public playing of the "It's a Small World" song. In its place, we will use the Spanish version of "Take It Easy."

Note to Wired Readers: We try to answer all of our e-mail promptly (we're much slower on regular mail), but some of you--especially AOL users--have apparently blocked incoming messages. So if you think we're ignoring you, that's our excuse.

Best Supermarket Tabloid Headline: "Folks Beat the Heat by Wearing Chilled Watermelons on Their Heads!" (Weekly World News)

* Roy Rivenburg's e-mail address is

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