News You Probably Can't Use Department: Researchers in our Random Facts Laboratory have been toiling day and night to bring you the following items:
* For $8,000, you can order Sweethearts Brand Conversation Hearts imprinted with your own message. According to the Washington Post, religious groups have requested hearts stamped with "Jesus Saves," Mercedes-Benz has ordered hearts emblazoned with car models, and Republicans gave out "Bush '88" hearts when George Bush ran for president. The company's other famous candies, Necco wafers, have been used as communion wafers, poker chips, toll tokens in Illinois and rifle targets (the pink ones spark when shot in the dark).
* Alligators and snakes have apparently replaced pit bulls as the "guard dogs" of choice for drug dealers. According to a report on the Internet news service http://www.tabloid.net, police in New York and Massachusetts are the latest to encounter slithery reptiles watching over drug stashes.
* A hotel in the West Indies offers guests a "pillow menu" of nine different pillows for their bedrooms. Choices at the Cotton House in Mustique include pillows designed for pregnant women, people who like to read in bed and snorers.
* A trawler fleet in Vladivostok, Russia, has run out of cash and started paying its employees in vodka, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Not a good sign for the trawler workers, but it's better than being paid in Neccos.
Iceberg Obsession Department: San Diego is going overboard on this whole Titanic thing. Last week, a French restaurant in Ocean Beach hosted a sold-out re-creation of the doomed liner's last meal. And, next month, the San Diego Maritime Museum is transforming its steam ferryboat into a Titanic museum, complete with telegraph station, gowns worn in the film by actress Kate Winslet and visitor boarding passes stamped with the names of actual passengers.
Also, gourmands who missed the restaurant Titanic supper can make their own after enrolling in chef Arlyn Hackett's Titanic cooking class at the Great News Cooking School in Pacific Beach. The $41 lecture, demonstration and history lesson--scheduled for June 15--covers recipes from the ship's first-, second- and third-class kitchens. By the way, this won't be the first movie-based cooking class for Hackett, who hosts KKGO's "Food Bites" show. He also teaches a "Like Water for Chocolate" course in New York.
Going Postal: In reference to a recent column that said Off-Kilter has 78 readers, Gabrielle Lissauer e-mailed to ask, "How do you know you only have 78 readers?" It was just a joke, Gabrielle. The actual total is 85 readers. They include an Indiana hog farmer's wife, Janet Buescher, who finds us on the Internet, and a Miller Brewing Co. employee, Dave Williams, who says he enjoys the column, but we think maybe he's just inhaling too many vapors on the Miller assembly line.
Best Supermarket Tabloid Story: Our favorite check-stand rag, the Weekly World News, reports that the CIA has identified the Antichrist. "Although the individual's name is being kept top secret," WWN somehow obtained the CIA's list of prime suspects: Saddam Hussein, Microsoft honcho Bill Gates, Sun Myung Moon and Russian nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky.
* Roy Rivenburg can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contributor: Wireless Flash