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| Off-Kilter / ROY RIVENBURG

There's Something a Little Fishy About All This Violence in Society

June 30, 1999|ROY RIVENBURG

Lethal Seafood Bureau: Something has to be done to stop the violence in this country. No, we don't mean gun control. We're talking about mandatory background checks on people who want to buy fish.

For example, in San Diego last week, a 37-year-old boat worker was arrested for allegedly beating a customer with a 20-pound tuna. The victim suffered broken vertebrae and a concussion.

It was the second assault-with-a-deadly-fish incident this month. According to Reuters news service, another San Diego man was arrested two weeks earlier for allegedly battering his girlfriend with a large tuna outside a supermarket.

Here at Off-Kilter, we deplore this rising tide of seafood violence. Sure, we've seen the bumper stickers--"When fish are outlawed, only outlaws will have fish"--but how many more innocent humans must suffer before Congress decides to act?

We're also troubled by Hollywood's obsession with aquatic life (in such films as "A Fish Called Wanda," "The Little Mermaid" and "Jaws") and its possible effect on impressionable young minds. Just the other day, three high school students were arrested for plotting to buy fish sticks in the school cafeteria and use them to attack classmates. Therefore, we're urging a 30-day waiting period for all seafood meals.

Because guns don't kill people, fish do.

Audio Atrocities Bureau: Barry Manilow has received a humanitarian award from the Friends of Sheba Medical Center, an organization that has obviously forgotten about the song "Copacabana."

Insurance for the New Millennium: We don't know about you, but it seems like every time we travel to a foreign country these days, we get kidnapped and killed because nobody will pay the ransom. Fortunately, Ohio-based Assurex Insurance Co. now sells kidnap policies that pay up to $10 million ransom whenever you or a member of your family is abducted and held hostage while abroad.

No word on whether UFO abductions are also covered.

Birthday Bureau: The first snowmobile was born 45 years ago this month. Iced tea--which can also be used to kill foot fungus and clean furniture--just turned 95. And Heinz, the ketchup company, is 130.

In honor of the latter, a few facts:

* The world's largest ketchup bottle is a 170-foot water tower in Collinsville, Ill.

* Salt Lake City has the highest per capita consumption of ketchup. Los Angeles ranks seventh.

* The speed at which Heinz Ketchup comes out of the bottle is 25 miles per year.

* The secret to pouring ketchup is to firmly tap the neck of the bottle.

* Last but not least, when aimed properly, ketchup bottles can be an effective deterrent to Barry Manilow concerts.

Thou Shalt Go to the Highest Bidder: The fake stone tablets that Moses carried in the 1956 movie "The Ten Commandments" sold at an Amazon.com auction on Saturday for $63,250--the same price as a black dress worn by Marilyn Monroe.

Best Supermarket Tabloid Headline: "Mom Killed by Paper Airplane!" (Weekly World News)

According to WWN, "It was just a little plane made out of paper, but it hit Sarah in the temple and she went down like she'd been shot."

Unpaid Informants: PR Newswire, Wireless Flash News Service, Luis Zaragoza (belated). Off-Kilter's e-mail address is roy.rivenburg@latimes.com. Off-Kilter runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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