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One Way to Avoid Walking the Dog

April 05, 1999|ROY RIVENBURG | TIMES STAFF WRITER

When You Gotta Go: Life can be tough for a dog with a full bladder. Unless there's a doggy door, the pooch has to bark, whine or repeatedly hurl itself into a wall to draw attention to its plight.

But that's changing. Now there's Patio Park, a new canine portable potty that consists of a 2-by-4-foot piece of artificial grass with a small fire hydrant, set in a plastic pan.

It's just one of many products going on display later this month at America's Family Pet Expo at the L.A. County Fairgrounds. Another item is Paw Prints, which lets your pet immortalize its footprints in clay, a la the sidewalk in front of Mann's Chinese theater.

Free With Any Mouthwash Fill-Up: Oral-B claims its new $5 manual toothbrush is worth the extra cash because it creates "movement inside [the brusher's] mouth similar to the multiple cleaning actions of an automatic car wash."

Maybe so, but we're holding out for the deluxe version with carnauba wax and a miniature pine-tree breath freshener that hangs from the uvula.

Death Discount: Nothing whets the appetite like a good funeral, which might explain why five New Jersey restaurants are now advertising "bereavement brunches" in the obituary section of their local newspaper.

The eateries are located near a large cemetery and are hoping to attract business from the nonstop procession of graveyard visitors. One offers a $10.95 funeral buffet of pasta, seafood, cold cuts, salad, drinks and dessert.

Literary Foreplay: At a convention of the American Psychological Assn., the Pfizer Pharmaceutical booth handed out free Viagra book lights, according to the Realist newsletter. The reason? Since Viagra takes one hour to start working, users might want to read during the wait.

Taste-Bud Astrology?: Does your favorite salad dressing reveal your personality? According to a new "dressingology" study cooked up by Kraft Foods, people are indeed what they eat. For example, "Vivacious Vinaigrettes" are extroverted and athletic, "Civilized Caesars" tend to be refined and elegant, "Colorful Catalinas" are inquisitive and gregarious, and "Infallible Thousand Islands" are reliable.

"Innovative Italians" are individualistic and outgoing. However, Kraft says they shouldn't date "Relaxed Ranches," who are calm and easygoing.

Brilliant Deduction Bureau: This one was spotted by the Annals of Improbable Research in a scholarly tome titled "Cannibalism," from Oxford University Press. On Page 361, it concludes: "Cannibalism is a particularly antisocial form of behavior."

On the other hand, at least cannibals don't discriminate according to salad-dressing personality type.

Great Moments in History: On this date in 1877 (well, actually, the date was April 2, but we're late), the first human was shot from a circus cannon.

Best Supermarket Tabloid Headline: "Dads Bowl for Custody of 4-Year-Old Daughter! Little Girl's Fate Decided by Spare in 10th Frame!" (Weekly World News)

Off-Kilter's e-mail address is roy.rivenburg@latimes.com. Unpaid Informants: Wireless Flash, Arizona Republic. Off-Kilter runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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