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Section Gee! ADVICE, HUMOR, COMICS, HOROSCOPE, KIDS
| Off-Kilter

Where the Grass Really Is Greener

April 02, 1999|ROY RIVENBURG | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Cut and Pride: What a relief award season is finally over. It was tough to get worked up about the Oscars, Grammys and Golden Globes when the ultimate honor was lurking nearby.

We're referring, of course, to the annual Briggs & Stratton Top 10 Lawns list, which recognizes the best and brightest of America's 30 million acres of mowable yards.

This year's winners are: the Brookfield, Ill., zoo (wearing a stunning fescue and ryegrass ensemble), the Rose Bowl, New York's Central Park (noted for its five varieties of Kentucky bluegrass and 2,200 varieties of mugger), Elvis' Graceland (a hunka hunka Bermuda and zoysia cut twice a week), Florida's Cypress Gardens, Iowa's "Field of Dreams" baseball diamond ("If you build it, they will mow"), the Margaret Mitchell House and Museum in Atlanta, Daytona International Speedway, South Carolina's Middleton Place (featuring centipede grass and all-organic pesticides) and Houston's Bayou Bend gardens.

Unfortunately, Billy Crystal wasn't available to host the award ceremony, which was marred by controversy over a lifetime achievement award given to Elia Kazan's lawn.

Random Facts Bureau: The bottle that was home to Barbara Eden's genie character on "I Dream of Jeannie" was actually a 1964 Christmas-edition decanter of Jim Beam whiskey.

Donald Dupe Department: So far, our favorite April Fool's hoax of 1999 is Tucson Weekly's almost-believable cover story about a top-secret Walt Disney Co. plan to build a theme park in the Arizona desert. Code-named Azcot, a Southwestern version of Epcot, it would feature a simulated Colorado River ride that sends rafters through a massive fiberglass Grand Canyon, and an Old West town called Duckville, complete with a covered-wagon monorail.

To offset environmental damage, Disney would construct a 300-acre resort complex for endangered species in the area.

Book Typo of the Week: In "Promises to Keep," a collection of inspirational readings for Christian men, one of the contributors is a pastor named Dick Brian Klaver--but in the index, where he should be listed as "Klaver, Dick Brian," the vowels in "Brian" have been switched.

Nothing to Sneeze At: A former brand manager for Clorox toilet bowl cleaners thinks he knows the next big retail trend. He's opening a San Francisco store dedicated to sniffles, sneezes and allergies.

It's called Gazoontite (because surveys found that consumers couldn't pronounce gesundheit) and the goal is to cash in on the $6 billion a year that Americans spend on sinus medications, air purifiers, hypoallergenic pillows and related products.

OK, but no gallstone stores, please.

Your Tax Dollars at Work: California spent $62 million last year on a program to help poor people fix their cars to pass smog tests. The number of motorists assisted: 25. That's about $2.5 million per car.

Best Supermarket Tabloid Headline: "It's Official: Shopping Kills Men!" (Weekly World News)

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Off-Kilter's e-mail address is roy.rivenburg@latimes.com. Unpaid Informants: Wireless Flash News, San Francisco Chronicle, PR Newswire. Off-Kilter runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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