Lunatic Fringe Department: Residents of Oregon and Washington apparently aren't the only ones who are sick of Californians. So is God. According to the Rev. Speaker Gerald Polley of Maine, thousands of dead Californians--including Frank Sinatra--have recently been banned from entering heaven. It isn't because they're driving up the price of afterlife real estate. Rather, anyone who dies in California is considered persona non grata because the state is filled with so many demons. Polley says Sinatra was so furious about being excluded that God sent Dean Martin to calm him down. Until the matter is settled, all dead Californians are being housed in a limbo location described as an ethereal Ramada Inn.
Slippery Slope Department: Michael Tooley, a philosophy professor at the University of Colorado, has joined a tiny but growing movement to legalize infanticide. According to U.S. News & World Report, Tooley says parents should have "some period of time such as a week after birth" during which killing a newborn is legal. We might go along with that, but only if University of Colorado students have "some period of time such as a week after final exams are graded" during which it's legal to shoot a philosophy professor.
Bizarre Facts: Our latest shipment of random facts has just been unearthed by a team of archeologists.
When Jell-O is hooked up to an EEG machine, it registers movement almost identical to the brain waves of a healthy adult. We're not sure which is weirder, that or the fact that someone hooked Jell-O up to an electroencephalograph in the first place.
According to a survey on driver behavior by Exxon, the celebrities whom Americans would most like to take on a road trip include: Robin Williams (22%), Garth Brooks and Helen Hunt (15% each), and John Travolta and the cast of "Seinfeld" (both 10%). Nobody picked Jell-O, although we're told it registers more brain activity than that of many celebrities.
The entries in an American Geophysical Union contest to have teenagers name a new satellite included: "Big Piece of Junk in the Sky," "Mother Teresa" and "Jim Jones."
Identity Crisis Department: We've been having a huge debate with ourselves about a letter form Steven Nguyen of West L.A., who wrote, "I am a dedicated fan of your column, but I have a serious beef with the fact that you always refer to yourself as 'we.' Perhaps this was useful at first, to make it sound like Off-Kilter was written by a dedicated panel of reporters, but now that you're established, it just sounds silly."
Needless to say, we're shocked that readers automatically assume we don't have access to futuristic cloning technology from UFOs. OK, we don't, but that's beside the point. For example, what if we switched to first person singular and then some big movie producer asked us to star in "The King and We," "We, Claudius" or "We Was a Teenage Werewolf"? We'd be out of luck, wouldn't we? More important, using the term "we" allows us to legally claim ourselves as a dependent on tax returns.
Best Supermarket Tabloid Headline: "The Ghost of Elvis Got Me Off Drugs! The King's Spirit Is Roaming America, Saving Thousands of Troubled Youngsters, Says Expert" (Weekly World News)
Roy Rivenburg's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Contributors: Wireless Flash News Service, Hartford Courant, A.J. Flick, Ann Harrison