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They'd Give Their False Teeth (and More) to Help Out the Church

July 16, 1999|ROY RIVENBURG

Cheerful Giving Bureau: Some theologians believe that God repays acts of charity tenfold. Others say a hundredfold. Either way, we're curious to see the return on investment for several English churchgoers.

In a survey published by Ship-of-Fools.com, British clergy were asked to name the weirdest object they'd ever found in a church collection plate.

Their answers: a pair of false teeth, a woman's shoe, a cigarette lighter, a condom, a hearing aid . . . and money.

Lawsuit of the Week: A Denver woman who claims she lost her memory on a roller coaster known as the Mind Eraser is suing the amusement park.

Pet Peeves II: Our recent report on a list of the "most influential pets of the millennium" drew howls of protest from readers. For instance, Estrelda Thomas was upset that we left out Spot, the dog from the Dick and Jane reader series.

"See Spot. See Spot drive. See Spot go 90 mph. Go, Spot, go! See the cliff. See Spot try to steer away from the cliff without opposable thumbs. See Spot panic. See Dick and Jane panic. Dick and Jane were in the back seat, making out. See Dick and Jane go over the cliff with Spot. See everything go dark. Now see Dick and Jane put more quarters into the video game coin slot. See the car start up again. Drive, Spot, drive!"

Other pets that should've made the honor roll, according to readers, included Morris the cat (nominated by Forrest Wood), Black Beauty (Fran Ulrich), and Don Quixote's steed, Rosinante (Lillian Birrell).

But most of the nominees were of the canine persuasion. Curtis and Clifford Zastoupil suggested the RCA dog. David P. Hendershot voted for Pavlov's dog. And Samantha Schott endorsed Toto from "The Wizard of Oz" (we prefer the flying monkeys).

Reader Kate Reeves cast a ballot for FDR's pooch Fala, who was reportedly left in the Aleutian Islands during a presidential trip and retrieved by a destroyer. And several readers nominated Petey from "The Little Rascals."

Returning to the non-dog category, Werner Haas suggested the dead parrot from Monty Python's popular comedy sketch, and Carlos Sifuentes endorsed another pet named Spot, the dinosaur who lived under the stairs on "The Munsters."

Finally, Steve Thompson chastised us for blaming the Great Chicago fire on Mrs. O'Leary's pyromaniac cow. "That is a widely held belief, but it's wrong," Thompson snarled. "You owe that cow an apology." Indeed we do. The Chicago City Council officially exonerated the cow in 1997 after reviewing evidence from Richard Bales, a lawyer and amateur historian.

Actually, we already knew that, but we wrote the column just after riding the Mind Eraser.

Dead Celeb Breakfast Bureau: Roberto Clemente, the legendary Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder who died in a 1972 plane crash, is finally receiving proper historical recognition--in the form of Roberto Clemente's Commemorative Slugger Cereal, a "hearty 20 ounces of delicious frosted flakes."

Best Supermarket Tabloid Headline: "Deathball 2000! New Pinball Machine Electrocutes Players Who Lose . . . and Teens Are Dying to Play!" (Weekly World News)

Unpaid Informants: Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, PR Newswire. Off-Kilter's e-mail address is roy.rivenburg@latimes.com. Off-Kilter runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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