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Off-Kilter

September 24, 1998|ROY RIVENBURG | Times Staff Writer

Weird Advertising Bureau: We are not sure what kind of drugs the Florida Department of Citrus is on, but they recently enlisted a "talking sandwich" to star in national TV ads promoting the benefits of Florida orange juice.

According to PR Newswire, the commercials feature an unsuspecting human who opens a refrigerator door and discovers a loquacious ham sandwich inside. Rather than flee in terror or call a shrink, the human listens while the sandwich recounts information it read from an orange juice label (proof that refrigerator lights do stay on after the door is closed).

Although the concept might sound absurd, head citrus dude Daniel L. Santangelo insists the message will be taken seriously: "Focus groups across the country gave high marks for the sandwich's believability and credibility."

Espionage in the '90s: The Cold War is heating up again. In North Korea, 15 cattle have died since June and Communist leaders blame the deaths on "cow sabotage." According to the Internet news service http://www.tabloid.net, North Korea suspects the cows were assassinated by secret agents from South Korea.

Alarming Trends Department: Joey Buttafuoco is negotiating for his own TV talk show.

Bizarre Beauty Tips Department: If Ponce de Leon were still with us, he might find the fountain of youth inside a laxative bottle. So says Essence magazine, which reports that the secret to supermodel Beverly Johnson's youthful appearance is a few teaspoons of Milk of Magnesia rubbed into her face each night. Johnson claims the liquid laxative makes her skin look like porcelain.

Mistake Monitor: Reader Jeff Porteous has charged us with journalistic perjury for a recent report that the Weekly World News counted John Glenn as one of six U.S. senators who were space aliens. In fact, WWN's 1994 headline said 12 senators were aliens. But we still say our original story is accurate. It all depends on how you define the word "six."

Loser of the Week: It's our great pleasure to bestow this week's award on media mogul Ted Turner, for urging a worldwide limit of one baby per family and telling reporters that if he could go back in time, he wouldn't have had five children. "If I was doing it over again, I wouldn't have [had that many], but I can't shoot them now that they're here," he said. Memo to Turner's kids: Do you wonder which one of you he'd keep?

Mr. Bill Gets Thwacked?: If Congress and President Clinton cut a deal to avoid impeachment, what punishment is suitable? The publisher of Slick Times magazine suggests a public caning. As precedent, he cites King Henry II, who let himself be flogged by monks in 1174 after admitting to "royal transgressions." However, if you think Clinton's fate will be decided any time soon, it's worth noting that Congress took a mere 100 years to agree upon the rose as America's official flower. The debate began when Grover Cleveland was president, and it lasted until Sept. 23, 1986.

Best Supermarket Tabloid Headline: "Little Boys Are Copying President's Womanizing Ways, Warns Child Psychiatrist! Crazy As It Sounds, It Is Not Unusual for a 6-Year-Old Kid to Be Juggling Two or Three Sweethearts at Once" (Weekly World News)

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

Informants: Wireless Flash News, Walt Harper, Sue Timmons, Reuters

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