Weird Ads Department: Now available at local 99 Cents Only Stores, according to a recent full-page newspaper advertisement: Viagara drinking water (a trio of 1-gallon jugs for 99 cents) and a "Father's Day Special" on the book "The Private Diary of Lyle Menendez."
Graffiti for the 21st Century: The age-old prank of writing "Wash me" on dirty cars has finally entered the digital age. Off-Kilter cadet Melissa Calvano of Costa Mesa recently spotted a filthy 18-wheeler on which someone had written "www.washme.com."
Election Fraud Department: We demand a recount! Although we hate to sound like Bob Dornan, the only possible explanation for our "defeat" in last week's gubernatorial primary is fraud. In fact, we have evidence that the election was thrown by illegal aliens. No, we're not talking about immigrants from Mexico. We mean space aliens. How else to explain the victory of embalmed candidates Gray Davis and Dan Lungren? But don't worry. We plan to get to the bottom of this. And we're going to continue our write-in campaign in the November general election.
Alarming Polls Department: A recent survey on religious knowledge found that 12% of Americans think the name of Noah's wife was Joan of Arc.
Help Wanted: Don't worry about the coming financial collapse prophesied by supermarket tabloids and Wall Street suits worried about Asia's economic woes. An Oklahoma-based temp agency called Express Personnel Services has plenty of jobs for those who suddenly find themselves out of work.
The offerings include:
* A cellular phone dealer looking for someone to dress up in a cell phone costume and wave at customers.
* A Canadian turkey farm seeking humans to collect turkey sperm for use in genetic breeding experiments.
* A Sun City, Ariz., golf course in need of workers who will stand knee deep in water for eight hours a day planting lily pads.
Statistic of the Day: Zay N. Smith, our favorite Chicago columnist since Mike Royko died, informs us that "livestock in the United States produce enough manure to fill a railroad boxcar every 4.7 seconds, edging out Congress while in session, according to the latest estimates."
PC Police: In response to our recent list of politically correct terms and phrases, Roland Vincent of Northridge and Nelson Fay of Encino objected to the idea of replacing the word "person," which contains the patriarchal suffix "son," with "perdaughter," which they said was also sexist. Both suggested the term "peroffspring." But another reader liked the word "perdaughter" and even suggested using it as a substitute for "man," because then criminals could be charged with "perdaughterslaughter."
Best Supermarket Tabloid Headline: "French Want to Ban the Phrase 'Gay Paree'! Nickname Makes Paris Sound Like It's a City of Sissies, Say French Bigwigs" (Weekly World News)
Roy Rivenburg can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.
Contributors: Wireless Flash News Service, Martin Miller, Chicago Sun-Times. As a rule, Off-Kilter tries not to get sappy--unless it's in really small print. That's why we're using this space to thank the 60-plus friends and family who helped make our 40th birthday the best in memory. Of course, our memory isn't what it used to be (or maybe it is, we don't remember), but it was a great start to a year already full of pleasant surprises.