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Section Gee! | Off-Kilter

Enough to Send Them Sprawling

May 10, 1999|ROY RIVENBURG

Alarming Trends Bureau: The Y2K-minus-one problem hasn't been getting as much press as Y2K, but it's every bit as dangerous. According to psychologists, the year before a new millennium can inspire so much angst that the human race comes totally unglued.

We hate to say it, but that appears to be happening. A few of the signs:

* A Miami perfume company has unveiled the world's first pro wrestling cologne, WCW Nitro.

* An inventor in Switzerland has created vitamin-enriched vodka, apparently to make sure drinkers get 100% of their minimum daily requirements in every cocktail.

* A labor union recently sued the New York City Police Department for allegedly mistreating its giant, 30-foot-tall inflatable rat.

* So many Seattle police employees have fallen off their chairs lately that supervisors had to issue a memo on the proper method for using a seat: "Take hold of the arms and get control of the chair before sitting down." Also, don't attempt this maneuver if you've imbibed too many vitamins.

* A new Harvard medical study indicates that mayonnaise can reduce the risk of heart attack.

* The Weber Grill toll-free hotline is now receiving calls asking how to barbecue road-kill hamburgers. Answer: Cook the meat until it's pink in the center.

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Metaphysical Musings Bureau: After noticing an ATM inside Whittier's sprawling Rose Hills Cemetery, San Francisco Chronicle scribe Scott Ostler writes: "So, like, maybe you can take it with you?"

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Let Sleeping Dogs Arise: Maybe the reason dogs do nothing but sleep all day is that they don't have access to such human stimulants as Starbucks, Jolt Cola or Richard Simmons. But help is on the way. A California company has created Power Bark, a kosher energy bar for canines.

That's no misprint. Apparently, the reason why "dog" is "God" spelled backward is that most canines are Jewish. Which opens up a vast market for doggy yarmulkes, bark mitzvahs and canine translations of the Ten Commandments ("Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's bone") and 23rd Psalm ("The Lord is my Master, I shall not beg . . . Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of the cat, I shall fear no rolled up newspapers").

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Quote of the Day: From Hartford Courant columnist Jim Shea, commenting on plans to make ballroom dancing an official Olympic event, possibly in the 2004 Games: "The real problem [with this idea] is that it opens the floodgates. How long will it be before aficionados of other dance forms are demanding an opportunity to frug or fly or monkey for the gold? How long will it be before we see a teary-eyed winner standing atop the podium mouthing the words to the national anthem after having just achieved her lifelong dream in the funky chicken competition?"

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Best Supermarket Tabloid Story: We are beginning to think that "Touched by an Angel" should be renamed "Touched by a Smelly, Foul-Mouthed Freak." That's because the Weekly World News has discovered that "Real Angels Are as Ugly as Sin!"

After reviewing 3,500 human-angel encounters, WWN "blew the lid off the popular concept of cute little cherubs and pure-white, golden-haired beauties." It found that 87% of celestial beings dress shabbily, 48% cuss, 68% go unshaven and 13% have body odor.

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Unpaid Informants: Wireless Flash News Service, Reuters, Wall Street Journal, Ann Harrison.

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Off-Kilter's e-mail address is roy.rivenburg@latimes.com. Off-Kilter runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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