April 12, 2000

Casting a High-Tech Spell

By Roy Rivenburg

Electronic Witchcraft Bureau: Witches are finally entering the 21st century, thanks to a revolutionary new computer software program that helps sorcerers cast spells.

Created by a Canadian inventor, the $19.99 SpellCaster program features 80 pre-packaged incantations, a custom spell-writing function and, of course, Pagan Daybook II, the latest way to keep track of all those Wiccan festivals. Presumably, the software also has "spell check" to verify incantation grammar and ingredients.

Meanwhile, Off-Kilter predicts other advances in witchcraft technology, including:

  • Nonstick cauldrons.
  • Sport-utility broomsticks, which have enough cargo space for both Darrins (Dick York and Dick Sargent).
  • Retractable pointed hats that convert to stylish berets for formal occasions.
  • A handy kitchen gadget from Williams-Sonoma that removes the eyes from newts without all the mess.
  • A new book: "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Training Your Flying Monkey."

Alternative Fuels Bureau: If you think gasoline prices are outrageous, try filling your tank with brain-surgery glue, which costs $540,000 per gallon, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

And there's no telling what the stuff would cost at a full-serve pump.

You'll Laugh, You'll Cry, You'll Hurl: Deciding which movie to rent can be a bewildering task. And it doesn't help that most film critics base their recommendations on such useless criteria as plot, acting and cinematography.

Fortunately, E Online has developed a movie-ranking system for those with more discriminating tastes. It picks films according to "best puke scenes."

Leading the list of all-time top barf scenes is Linda Blair's infamous projectile vomit episode in "The Exorcist," followed by the "thin after-dinner mint" eruption in "Monty Python's The Meaning of Life."

Other big box-office barf scenes on the list include Jeff Goldblum's upchucking sequence in "The Fly," and the pie-eating contest that set off a peristaltic chain reaction in "Stand By Me."

The entire list will appear April 15 at www.eonline.com.

Quote of the Week: From Chicago columnist Zay N. Smith, commenting on a statement by U.S. Census officials that 44 percent of Americans had returned their census forms by the end of March: "How do they know 44 percent of us have returned the forms when they haven't finished counting us yet?"

Alarming Trends Bureau: More reasons to write off civilization:

  • Kellogg's has introduced 3 Point Pops, an orange breakfast cereal shaped like tiny basketballs. (Still no luge or javelin cereals.)
  • National Karaoke Awareness Week will be "celebrated" later this month.
  • Nintendo has licensed a line of chewable Pokemon vitamins.
  • Billy Bob Thornton claims he was Ben Franklin in a past life. (On the plus side, maybe he'll start flying kites during electrical storms.)

Best Supermarket Tabloid Headline: "One in Five UFOs is a Lemon!" (Weekly World News) Apparently, even space aliens need extended warranty programs.

Unpaid Informants: Wireless Flash News Service, Susanna Timmons, Ann Harrison, PR Newswire, Chicago Sun-Times, Men's Journal.

Copyright © 2000 by Roy Rivenburg
Distributed by Creators Syndicate