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SECTION GEE! | Off-Kilter

Alcoholic Beverages May Make This Column Seem Wise and Dignified

March 10, 2000|ROY RIVENBURG

Days of Wine and Neuroses: We hate to second-guess the surgeon general of the United States, but his alcohol research is seriously flawed. For example, the current warning labels on liquor bottles say things like: "Do not drink during pregnancy," "Consumption of alcoholic beverages may impair your ability to pilot the Exxon Valdez" and "Warning: May make members of the opposite sex appear more attractive than they really are."

But nowhere to be found is the most important caveat: "If you are a wine critic, do not attempt to write your review after consuming this beverage."

To prove the need for such a label, we cite the following description of an Australian red wine by a columnist at Myprimetime.com: "This blend from Australia's Barossa Valley tastes like the EKG of somebody having a heart attack--a rambunctious opening of spice and fruit jumping around, followed by a long, slow flatline of pleasantly dry aftertaste."

We also call your attention to a recent newspaper review that claimed a glass of champagne "exuded dignity, wisdom and a kind of autumnal sadness."

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Donkey See, Donkey Do: As you probably know from experience, training a pet mule can be a nightmare. Sure, the basic tricks are easy: teaching the donkey to roll over, play dead or use the little donkey door at the back of the house when he needs to relieve himself.

But after that, things get tough. At our home, Casa de Kilter, we've had a terrible time trying to teach our mule to fetch, shake hands and operate an electric power saw.

Fortunately, renowned jackass expert Meredith Hodges, who also happens to be the eldest daughter of the late cartoonist Charles M. Schulz, has developed a 13-part TV series titled "Training Mules and Donkeys," which will debut on the Outdoor Life channel in April and probably cream "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" in the ratings.

According to a press release, the TV series culminates Hodges' "25-year quest to promote mules and donkeys." The press kit also quotes her as saying that mules are "wonderful animals--strong, intelligent, affectionate and with a great sense of humor."

That quote can also be used to describe a glass of wine.

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For Whom the Poll Tolls: Speaking of training jackasses, political commentator Arianna Huffington recently told Craig Kilborn that polls exert too much influence on politicians, instead of the other way around. So she is urging people to hang up on pollsters. If enough Americans refuse to answer poll questions, poll results will become useless and government leaders will be forced to lead, she said.

Will it work? Maybe. According to the latest polls, 62% of Americans now agree that people should hang up on pollsters.

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Random Facts Bureau: In honor of National Pancake Week, please note that the world record for fastest pancake tosser is held by Ralf Laue of Germany, who flipped one flapjack 416 times in two minutes.

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Best Supermarket Tabloid Headline: "A Sex-Crazed Gator Tried to Mate With My $300 Alligator Boots!" (Weekly World News)

Good thing the person wasn't wearing elephant-skin boots.

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Unpaid Informants: San Francisco Chronicle, PR Newswire, Wireless Flash News. E-mail Off-Kilter at roy.rivenburg@latimes.com. Off-Kilter runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Warning: The surgeon general has determined that reading Off-Kilter may be hazardous to human mental health. However, mules find the column extremely amusing.

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