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Fabio Survives Goose Encounter, but Take a Gander at His Honker

Section Gee! Advice, Humor, Comics, Horoscope, Kids
| Off-Kilter

April 09, 1999|ROY RIVENBURG

Duck, Duck Goose: The laws of physics are so mysterious. We always assumed that if we were traveling 73 mph and collided with, say, a small bowling ball, we'd be dead.

So how is it that Fabio--while riding a 73-mph roller coaster during a publicity stunt in Virginia--survived an assassination attempt by a low-flying goose? According to various press accounts, the hunky supermodel was coming down the first drop when a 10-pound bird flew into his face.

The goose was killed. But Fabio walked away with a cut across the bridge of his nose that took a mere three stitches.

One of his publicists boasted: "This is a testament of the man's strength. Only a strong man could have survived an onslaught like this."

So we decided to investigate. We phoned scientists at several universities, but apparently they had lives and didn't return our calls. Then we reached Roger McWilliams, a physics professor at UC Irvine. He attributed Fabio's survival to "momentum transfer.

"Since the goose is mushy, it could squash and diffuse the impact . . . like a crush zone in a car," he said. "However, if it had been a brick, Fabio would be the crush zone."

A physics grad student at Caltech agreed that Fabio is very lucky. "The Air Force has had geese run into jets, and all they find are a dead pilot and feathers against the back of the cockpit."

Another scientist, Ronald J. Stern of UC Irvine, wondered if Fabio's physique was a factor. "Does he have a thick skull?" Stern asked. "Judging from his profession, this might be the case."

Meanwhile, late-night talk show hosts have been having a field day with the story. Jay Leno quipped that bookstores are now carrying "The Audubon Field Guide to Birds Stuck in Fabio's Head."

But we think this is no laughing matter. If a national treasure like I Can't Believe It's Not Butter spokesman Fabio isn't safe, there's no telling who's next: Regis and Kathie Lee? Charles Nelson Reilly?

Leave It to George: As we all hurtle toward the next millennium, some of us at speeds of 73 mph, there's plenty to watch out for besides low-flying geese. For example, in our nation's capital, George Washington has apparently been reincarnated as a beaver.

We base this claim on a Washington Post article about a "rampaging beaver" that has toppled at least four cherry trees and five white cedars in a District of Columbia park.

The beaver, who is said to be "a male and working alone," has also created a dilemma for the National Park Service. On the one hand, Park Service officials spend a great deal of money protecting the area's internationally recognized cherry tree grove. On the other, they are also required to protect the animals in the park.

We see only one possible solution: Have Congress appoint a special prosecutor, get Linda Tripp to secretly tape incriminating statements from the beaver ("I cannot tell a lie, I did chew down the cherry trees") and then impeach the wily little mammal.

Quote of the Day: Sportscaster Bill Weir, after reporting on a dog show in which an animal defecated on the floor: "You almost never see this type of thing in the Miss America competition."

Best Supermarket Tabloid Headline: "The Devil's Triangle Is Missing!" (Weekly World News)

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Off-Kilter's e-mail address is roy.rivenburg@latimes.com. Unpaid Informants: Allison Joyce, Busch Gardens, Montreal Gazette, Martin Miller, the Realist. Off-Kilter runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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