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Off-Kilter

October 28, 1998|ROY RIVENBURG | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Fly-Thru Fast Food: Burger King has opened the world's first "fly-thru" restaurant at London's Gateway Airport. It's a helicopter landing pad that allows pilots to order food without leaving the cockpit.

Animal Lust Department: We are thinking about writing a new self-help book titled "Men Are From Mars, Emus Are From Alabama" to address the growing problem of ostrich-like birds falling in love with humans and stalking them for days at a time, which is what happened to Ed Stuardi of Alabama recently.

According to the Mobile Register, Stuardi was held hostage by a lovesick 150-pound emu that escaped from a nearby farm and fixated on him as a mate. At first, the relationship was strictly platonic. Stuardi noticed the stray bird hiding in some trees near his house and began feeding it dog food. Soon, the 6-foot creature was patrolling the property like a watchdog, nibbling berries and drinking from a bird bath.

Then things went sour. Mating season arrived and the emu began aggressively stalking Stuardi, who fended off its advances with a boat paddle on one occasion and a shotgun blast in the air on another. "He was having to carry a gun to take out the trash," says Dianne Roberts, president of Mobile's Animal Rescue Foundation. "He and his family were prisoners in their home."

The Stuardis begged the sheriff for help, but deputies said they didn't have the right equipment. Finally, Roberts was contacted and she found an expert emu catcher, who lured the animal into a horse trailer and took it to an emu farm. But capturing the beast wasn't easy, she said. At one point, someone suggested having Stuardi "go on the trailer first and pucker up."

Mystery Columnist Bureau: Off-Kilterite Michael V. Leonard Jr. asks, "Would you please run your photo in the column just once so readers can see what you look like?" Sorry, Michael, but the answer is no. For starters, The Times doesn't consider us a "real" columnist, which means we aren't eligible for such perks as having our picture in the paper, free limo rides to work and unlimited access to the company's stable of emu call girls. Also, once the paparazzi found out what we look like, they'd hound us endlessly.

However, to satisfy your curiosity, we fed our personal data into a computer and asked it to produce a composite picture of us. After almost crashing, the computer finally spit out the two images appearing above.

Calendar Update Department: In honor of National Get Organized Week, which was nearly a month ago, we wanted to mention some October festivities we missed in a previous column, including National Eyebrow Day, national lowercase day, National Pet Peeve Week (which really bugs us), World Pasta Day, National Shampoo Week and World Rain Forest Week (which ironically coincides with National Forest Products Week).

October also marks the 241st birthday of Alf, the fictional cat-eating space alien whose sitcom was canceled in 1990.

Best Supermarket Tabloid Headline: "Rollerblader Eaten by Sharks After He Skates Off Dock!" (Weekly World News)

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

Unpaid Informants: PR Newswire, Mike Faneuff, Ron Colquitt, Ann Harrison, Olympia Daily World, Buzz Report, Chicago Sun-Times, Wireless Flash News Service

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