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What Will Those Ruthless Police Officers in Toronto Think of Next?

March 27, 2000|ROY RIVENBURG

Police Brutality Bureau: In keeping with our policy of being all irrelevant all the time, we usually steer clear of political causes. For example, we were silent after New York City cops shot an unarmed street vendor 41 times. And we've said nothing about the LAPD's unfolding police brutality scandal.

But now we can stay silent no longer. At the University of Toronto last week, police played Backstreet Boys music to "torture" students into ending a sit-in. Will the savagery never stop?

Paging God Bureau: Plenty of unusual books cross our desk here at Off-Kilter World Headquarters, including "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Near-Death Experiences," "Chicken Soup for the Person Who Hates Chicken Soup Books' Soul," "The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Kennedys" and a vampire sex manual called "The Joy of Necks" (OK, we made up two of those titles, but the Idiot's Guide books are real).

Among the latest arrivals is "Praying for the World's 365 Most Influential People" (Harvest House, 1999). Expanding on a New Testament verse about praying for kings and authorities, the book urges readers to pray each day for a selected celebrity in hopes the supplications will change that person's life and perhaps the world.

The roster of prayees is eclectic: Islamic terrorist Osama bin Laden, lifestyle terrorist Martha Stewart, porn publisher Larry Flynt, porn President Bill Clinton, emissary of heaven Billy Graham, emissary of Hades Jerry Springer, nap-inducer Mr. Rogers and permanent-nap-inducer Jack Kevorkian, etc.

It's an intriguing book, and the authors say most of the subjects cooperated, although Saddam Hussein "didn't return calls."

At first, we were shocked that Off-Kilter was left out (apparently, we tied for 366th place with Joey Buttafuoco and Mr. Ed). But then we decided that being on the list might be a jinx. For example, the entry for John F. Kennedy Jr. suggests readers "pray for the safety of Kennedy and his wife."

Oops.

And the entry for Ted Turner falls on Jan. 4, the very day he announced a separation from his wife, Jane Fonda, reportedly because she has converted to Christianity (seriously).

Several other movers and shakers have lost their jobs after being listed: Mattel chief exec Jill Barad, TV host Kathie Lee Gifford and Russian President Boris Yeltsin.

Hmmm. Maybe we should pray the authors expand their list to include, say, John Tesh, 'N Sync and screechy comic Gilbert Gottfried.

When Beauty Isn't in Beholder's Eyes: A blind man has been asked to help judge a Canadian beauty pageant, according to news reports. What's next--deaf people judging the Grammys? No wait, that must have already happened, as evidenced by the latest crop of winners.

Quote of the Day: From Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown, after refusing to wear a lei during festivities honoring Aloha Airlines' new service between Oakland and Honolulu: "This is Oakland. We should be wearing oak trees."

Interesting theory, and too bad it didn't involve flights between Honolulu and Toad Suck, Ark.

Best Supermarket Tabloid Headline: "Californians Must Shed 300 Million Pounds of Flab Because Their Excess Weight Causes Earthquakes, Warns Expert!" (Weekly World News)

Unpaid Informants: Reuters, Mike Faneuff, Christianity Today, http://www.pray365.com, San Francisco Chronicle, Baird Jones, Atlanta Journal-Constitution. E-mail Off-Kilter at roy.rivenburg@latimes.com.

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