Toastmaster-Rejects Bureau: If you’re looking for a speaker to liven up that next shareholders meeting or school assembly, try the National Speakers Assn. According to the Wall Street Journal, the group’s 3,800 professional prattlers include Frank Aguirre, who “speaks, trains and consults in the septic industry,” Franklin T. McGee, a “funeral director humorist,” and Jackie Pflug, who “was shot in the head during a terrorist attack [and] helps people gain a new perspective.”
There’s also Mike Seikel, “a retired FBI agent, now a flight attendant,” and Sandra McFall Angelo, who can pontificate about “growing up blonde in Africa.” Also available are experts on “hormone-affirming music,” ulcers, algae and insect parts.
Lunatic Fringe Department: Those who don’t believe in reincarnation would probably change their minds if they studied the continued spiritual and intellectual advancement of the human race. A sampling:
* A group in Palm Springs called the Alien Resistance Movement is selling 3-inch metal discs that give off “vibrational energies” to keep you from being abducted by space creatures. Price: $225.
* Two authors in New York have published a book about using astrology to determine the personality of your cat. Sample horoscope: Aquarius felines are tomboys who are easily bored.
* Another highly evolved soul--who rummages through garbage cans in Beverly Hills in search of celebrity trash--is selling his collection of discards (which purportedly includes a principal’s note sent to Tori Spelling’s parents, empty prescription bottles from Milton Berle and a feminine hygiene product owned by Lucille Ball) for $50,000.
* A New Jersey man who calls himself “Danny the Wonder Pony” makes his living crawling around in black tights, glow-in-the-dark horseshoe-shaped kneepads and a lighted saddle while people ride him like a horse. He charges $150 per appearance at bachelorette parties and kiddie birthday bashes. He currently is writing his autobiography.
Hollywood IQ Test: Knowing how celebrities like to attach themselves to charities, Jane magazine invented a few groups and sought endorsements. Results: Naomi Campbell’s people were enthusiastic about the Foundation to Make Nelson Mandela More Fashionable, which aims to give the South African leader a clothing advisor and subscriptions to fashion magazines. And Woody Harrelson’s rep said the actor might agree to do an infomercial to promote Hemp Helper Colonics.
Two Thumbs Up Department: Off-Kilter attended a movie sneak preview Sunday night--not for the film, but so we could mock the pre-movie quizzes and trivia that flash across the screen. We weren’t disappointed. For example, Coca-Cola continues to annoy audiences with its “stupid surveys” ads, which say things like “Clap if you like meatloaf” and (we wish) “Clap if you want to give a hemp helper colonic to whoever thought up these ads.”
Best Supermarket Tabloid Headline: “Turn Your Nose Into an Instant Cash Machine!” (Weekly World News)
Yes, it’s true! By using acupressure techniques on your beak, you can attract wealth. For example, if you press the tip of your nose, you’ll get a big tax refund. If you apply “cash-u-pressure” to your right nostril, you’ll win the lottery. And so on and so forth. But beware. Pressing the wrong spot could send you up the chimney like Santa in “The Night Before Christmas.”
* Roy Rivenburg’s e-mail address is email@example.com.