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Section Gee! | Off-Kilter / ROY RIVENBURG

Expect the Fur to Fly at This Trial

April 16, 1999|ROY RIVENBURG

Overbite Update: The three beavers accused of chomping down cherry trees near the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C., have pleaded not guilty to charges of malicious mischief, vandalism and building a dam without a permit.

Defense attorney June Cleaver accompanied the furry felons to court, where she told the judge: "I think the National Park Service is being a little too hard on the beavers."

She said the animals were "merely trying to get ready for Y2K."

Meanwhile, in the quiet and formerly tree-lined neighborhood where the toothy rodents lived, residents expressed shock at the arrests.

"They seemed like such nice beavers," said one neighbor. "I mean, they didn't socialize much because they were busy, but they were always polite and eager. I can't believe they'd do something like this."

Rocket Science Review: We're so embarrassed. After writing assorted columns mocking the sorry state of U.S. history education, we recently made a goof of our own about a key chapter in America's past.

Namely, we said astronaut John Young was the first human to eat a corned-beef sandwich in space.

We can't even tell you how many historians called to correct this error. Oh, wait, we can tell you. It was zero.

Fortunately, reader Jon Montgomery sent us an excerpt from NASA's history of the Gemini rocket program, "On the Shoulders of Titans," which states that although Young smuggled the sandwich aboard, it was Gus Grissom who took the first bite.

Bird Versus Brawn II: In response to our report on Italian supermodel Fabio and his head-on collision with a goose while riding a Virginia roller coaster, Ann Harrison said the story should've been written in the style of a romance novel.

Sample passage: "His large, muscular thigh brushed against Monique's as they pulled down the safety bar. She smiled as she thought, 'Safety bar? What is safe about being locked in a roller coaster with this man whose mere scent is turning my insides upside down more than any ride could?' Soon, the coaster began its ascent. He turned toward her. 'I am . . . Fabio,' he breathed in her ear, his brawny arm reaching around the headrest to enclose her shivering frame. 'Eees how you say, cold, way up here, no? May I be offering you the warmth of Fabio this tomorrow day?'

"She shut her eyes, not sensing the nightmare that was about to shatter her reverie, never noticing the huge feathered figure sent by fate to foil and 'fowl' up her future.

"Suddenly, Fabio found himself gazing directly into the eyes of a large goose, its pinions flailing as if to back up from the oncoming form. Fabio whirled as the beast's two huge webbed feet slapped against his cheeks. Female screams tore through the air and merged with the agonized honking of the wounded animal. . . ."

The proposed title for Harrison's novel is "Flesh and Feathers."

Best Supermarket Tabloid Recipe: Next time you're at a restaurant and the waiter offers you a choice of eating a pig or a couch, we recommend going with the couch, based on the recent Weekly World News headline "Ka-Boom! Man's Stomach Explodes After He Gobbles Down 80-Pound Piglet," which sounds a lot worse than another WWN story, "Man Gets Severe Case of Indigestion After Eating His Living Room Furniture!"

Unpaid Informants: Allison Joyce, National Journal's Hotline, Washington Post. Off-Kilter's e-mail address is roy.rivenburg@latimes.com. The column runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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