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Section Gee! | Off-Kilter

Gotta Hand It to Barbie This Time

April 12, 1999|ROY RIVENBURG

Fickle Barbie of Fate: Giving new meaning to the term "plastic surgery," a Duke University prosthetics specialist has begun using Barbie doll legs to create artificial fingers for amputees.

Jane Bahor says the legs are placed inside a flesh-colored silicone sleeve, trimmed to size and then attached to the patient. The method works well, she says, because the flexible joints in Barbie's legs allow the fake fingers to bend.

It also opens the door to bizarre new slang expressions, such as "giving someone the Barbie," "Let your Barbies do the walking" and "Pull my Barbie."

Jobs Inc.: It looks like the 1993 Federal Work Force Reduction Act is finally paying off. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, two of the newest government job titles are:

* Deputy to the deputy undersecretary.

* Associate principal deputy assistant secretary.

Loser of the Week: Anti-California sentiment still runs high in Oregon, where Republican state Sen. John Lim has just introduced legislation to place signs along the state's borders saying: "You are welcome to visit Oregon, but please don't stay."

Lim is an immigrant from Korea.

Chisel-Tooth Update: The beaver who was allegedly gnawing down cherry trees in Washington, D.C., was taken into custody Friday. However, authorities believe he may have an accomplice.

According to the Washington Post, seven witnesses now claim they saw a second beaver on a grassy knoll. OK, we lied. The witnesses actually spotted a pair of the animals in the water, thus fueling the so-called "second beaver theory."

Some analysts even speculate that the tree killings were a Mafia hit, or perhaps ordered by Fidel Castro in retaliation for the Baltimore Orioles' recent defeat of a Cuban baseball team.

However, we still subscribe to the Warren Report (led by former Secretary of State Warren Christopher, businessman Warren Buffett and actor Warren Beatty), which points the Barbie at a solo beaver.

Dances With Sweat: Stumped on a gift for Mother's Day? No problem. How about a $2,000 long-sleeve shirt with authentic sweat stains from Kevin Costner, who wore it while filming "Dances With Wolves"?

We also recommend the gold lame jumpsuit worn by Arnold Schwarzenegger in "The Running Man," available for a minimum $500 bid. Both items are being auctioned off on the Internet by Universal Studios.

Extraterrestrial Embassy?: In a move that could spell doom for the Earth, the Israeli government has turned down a Nevada group's request to build a space alien embassy in Jerusalem.

The aliens are not pleased, said the group's spokesman.

Grit and Bear It: Those of you still on spring break might want to head for St. George, S.C., on Friday for the World Grits Festival. The daylong event is capped by a contest in which people dive into a pool of instant grits to see who can get the most grits to stick to their body. The record was set last year by a man who emerged with 53 pounds of the stuff glued to him.

Best Supermarket Tabloid Headline: "Squirrel Holds 50 Secretaries Hostage!" (Weekly World News)

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Off-Kilter's e-mail address is roy.rivenburg@latimes.com. Unpaid Deputy Assistant Associate Informants: Wireless Flash News Service, Oregonian, Associated Press. Off-Kilter runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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