Pineapple Weirdness: We've never been to Hawaii, but that's going to change soon because Dole (the pineapple company, not Bob) is opening two amazing attractions in Oahu. One is a "Hawaii Five-O" museum that allows visitors to engage in shootouts with a robotic Jack Lord. All right, we made that up. The real attractions are the world's biggest maze--with walls of hibiscus and other plants--and a garden that grows mutant, appliance-sized vegetables.
The maze, set to open in mid-April at Dole's "Pineapple Experience" plantation, covers about two acres and includes 1.7 miles of paths. The labyrinth takes 30 minutes to two hours to traverse (unless you cheat and open your sealed emergency map). Actually, the biggest maze in history was three times larger than Dole's. It ran through a mainland cornfield, but was mowed down after a few months in 1996, according to the Honolulu Advertiser.
The other strange attraction is a vegetable patch operated by an Alaskan gardener who was hired specifically to grow the world's largest pineapple (the record, set in New Guinea in 1994, is 17 pounds, 12 ounces). He already claims three Guinness Book milestones--a 25-pound head of broccoli, a 45-pound red cabbage and a 71-pound Swiss chard. His garden at Dole grows massive pumpkins, watermelons and other plants.
Lunatic Fringe Department: The reincarnated souls of Jack the Ripper and the Boston Strangler might be responsible for the recent spate of schoolyard shootings, says a Laguna Beach homeopathic expert. In an interview with Wireless Flash News Service, Frederick Bell claims such tragedies are the work of long-dead serial killers who reincarnate before the spirit world can rehabilitate them.
Bell says the solution is to require all kindergartners to undergo a hypnotic past-life regression to see if they were homicidal maniacs in a previous life. He also suggests that kids occasionally wear pyramid hats to help "detoxify negative energies."
Hans and Franz Do a Fire Drill: Throw out your StairMasters, barbells and NordicTracks, folks. The latest fitness craze involves weighted mannequins, sledgehammers and fire hoses. At New York's Crunch gym, exercisers are learning "firefighter aerobics" from a fitness guru whose day job is with Ladder Company No. 34. The three-times-a-week drill includes climbing stairs with hose packs, busting open doors, hoisting equipment, racing up ladders and lugging dummies to safety, according to New York magazine.
E-Mail Bag: Will the real Reader No. 86 please stand up? In response to a recent column saying Off-Kilter has a total of 85 readers, three people--Al Smith, Jeff Porteous and R. Edward Dodge--wrote in claiming to be our 86th audience member. Obviously, we cannot allow this. So the three of you must undergo past-life regressions and whoever was the pineapple in a previous life can claim the title.
Best Supermarket Tabloid Headline: "Man Uses Trained Cobras to Burglarize Homes! Snakes Swallow Thousands of Dollars in Jewels for Their Master, Say Police" (Weekly World News)
* Roy Rivenburg can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contributors: Wireless Flash News Service and the reincarnated soul of Det. Steve "Book 'em, Danno" McGarrett