Times Staff Writer

Tombstone Patrol: On a grave in Ritzville, Wash., the Seattle Post-Intelligencer found this epitaph: “Return to Sender.”

Dr. Dolittle Meets Julia Child: Polly does not want a cracker. Polly wants a specially blended chili or apple pellet like the one you’ll get to eat on the San Diego Zoo’s new animal food tour.

For just $28 per human (which includes zoo admission), it’s now possible to dine on the same cuisines as those of lizards, bears, apes and kangaroos.

The “Incredible Edibles” tour takes visitors behind the scenes to sample such gastronomic delights as nasturtiums (a radish-flavored flower similar to the hibiscus petals consumed by iguanas and tree kangaroos), leaf-eater biscuits (a prefabricated beet-pulp pellet that is popular with pandas) and parrot chow (made from apples, corn, cheese and chili spices).


More mainstream taste treats include popcorn and sugar cane (two favorites among monkeys) and tapioca pudding. Actually, the pudding isn’t eaten by zoo residents, but it comes from the manioc root, a common animal food source.

The two-hour tours are conducted on weekend mornings. But the zoo’s maitre d’ informs us they’re booked solid until October.

Quote of the Day: “There really was no underwear product that spoke directly to the Latino customer"--Jerome Darby, owner of New York-based Papi underwear, explaining why his company targets Latino men).

Uh, listen carefully, Jerome: Underwear doesn’t talk to any customers. Not on this planet.


Art Theft Bureau: We just can’t understand why Congress would want to place restrictions on NEA funding of painters and other artists. For example, why should some boohoo senator from Georgia be able to question the artistic merit of, say, New York’s Lisa Levy, a conceptual artist whose latest exhibit is based entirely on items she shoplifted from department stores or stole from apartments?

Levy’s masterpieces include a teddy bear she swiped from a kid at a playground and a toupee smeared with glue. If this isn’t art, we don’t know what is. And we recommend that visitors to her gallery simply steal anything they like.

Calendar Update: In our recent list of bizarre July celebrations, we missed American Redneck Day (which includes a filthiest truck contest and previously included a biggest liar contest--until the title was permanently bestowed upon Bill Clinton). Coming up on Friday is National Zippo Lighter Day at the company’s Bradford, Pa., factory. Zippo zealots will be able to buy and trade old lighters, which can be worth as much as $10,000, and view a replica of the Zippomobile, a 1947 Chrysler with two giant lighters mounted on the sides.

Best Supermarket Tabloid Headline: “Baby Blackbirds Sing Just Like the Beatles!” (Weekly World News)


Apparently, the quartet of Brazilian birds is “the first nonhuman musical group in history to have three consecutive CDs on the national charts.” Also, their concerts sell out less than two hours after tickets go on sale, and an alleged noted rock critic says the fab feathered four’s similarity to the early Beatles is “uncanny.”

Watch for a U.S. tour in November.

* Roy Rivenburg’s e-mail address is

Contributors: Clyde Chamberlin, Wireless Flash News Service