|Torching the Olympics: We thought
the Winter Olympics would be boring as all get-out until
we heard about several new events:
-- The Moulin Luge: A combination feet-first
sled race and visually dazzling musical in which athletes
descend into an icy Bohemian underworld of sex, drugs and
bad Toulouse-Lautrec impersonations.
-- Freestyle Shredding: Contestants try to
destroy incriminating Enron documents as quickly yet
creatively as possible.
-- Skating on Thin Ice: Iraq, North Korea and
Iran are the favorites in this race to incur the future
wrath of President Bush and the U.S. military.
-- The Mormon Tabernacle Choir Jump: Chained
together at the ankles, the entire robed singing group is
launched off a 394-foot-high ski jump at 60 mph.
Cupid 2002: If Shakespeare were alive
today, hed have to change the title of his famous
love story to Remote Control and Juliet
or Romeo and Cadillac. Thats
because more and more humans are falling in love with
their TV remotes and cars. According to a survey by
Duracell, 32 percent of Americans said they would rather
watch the Super Bowl with a remote control at their side
than their spouse or significant other. And a survey from
Progressive Auto Insurance found that 78 percent of
Americans are in love with their car, 15 percent plan to
buy it a Valentines Day gift and 43 percent
consider their vehicle a member of the family.
Quote of the Week: This
project is a great way for me to utilize my love of
pastry design to create a special product for our guests
-- Seattle hotel chef Sue McCown, commenting on the
edible G-string bikinis she makes from baked fruit
leather and red lace licorice as part of her hotels
Love Machine romantic weekend
package. The edible undies (and matching fruit leather
pasties for women) come in raspberry or mango flavors.
Press Releases We Ignored: Eating
Canned Tuna May Improve Your Love Life.
Perhaps tuna should be added to the recipe for edible G-strings
at a certain Seattle hotel.
Web Site of the Month: WhenWillOJkillAgain.com. From the
creator of WhenWillTysonBiteAgain.com. Bets are $1 and
the pool has reportedly climbed past $1,100.
Alarming Trends Bureau: As if New York
City hadnt endured enough trauma, a group of
bagpipers is organizing the worlds largest bagpipe
parade for April 6, National Tartan Day. About 7,000
pipers and drummers have been enlisted. On the bright
side, at least its not a parade of accordion
A Plot As Thick As Pea Soup: The
truth about the Enron debacle -- from Roy Rivenburg's
story in the Feb. 4 Los Angeles Times:
Although the White House refuses to cough up details on
Vice President Dick Cheney's meetings with Enron, we
surreptitiously snagged the information through other
In exchange for a year's supply of Milk-Bones, we had
President Bush's dogs slip their master a drugged pretzel,
then fetch us the documents when he passed out watching
From there, we pieced together this exclusive inside look
at the Enron scandal:
-- July 31, 2001: In the first
sign of trouble, Enron boss Ken Lay is warned about the
company's questionable financial dealings, including the
expenditure of $2 billion on those carnival games where
you try to knock over a stack of milk bottles with a
baseball. "We thought we could win a really cool
stuffed animal," a memo explains. "It seemed
like a great investment at the time."
-- Aug. 1, 2001: Lay promises to personally investigate
and fix the problem, but winds up losing another $750
million on the basketball toss and the pingpong-ball-into-the-goldfish-bowl
game. "They looked so easy," he tells a
colleague later. "Before I knew it, I'd gone through
the employee pension fund."
-- Sept. 18, 2001: Enron's board tries to have accountant
Arthur Andersen straighten out the mess, but a mix-up
causes Enron to accidentally hire Pea Soup Andersen, a
well-known restaurant in Buellton.
-- Oct. 2, 2001: Saddled with enough pea soup to fill
Lake Erie (plus $250 million in Saltine crackers), Enron
executives arrange a series of meetings with Dick Cheney.
For security reasons, the meetings take place at several
of the vice president's "undisclosed locations":
inside a phone booth in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; aboard the
International Space Station; and posing as a department
store Santa in Duluth, Minn. Cheney promises to consider
revising U.S. energy policy to list pea soup as a "promising
new alternative power source."
-- Nov. 18, 2001: Enron replaces Pea Soup Andersen with
actress Loni Anderson, who quickly funnels company money
into a byzantine network of dummy corporations, offshore
entities and a fictitious Cincinnati radio station.
-- Nov. 22, 2001: As the company's financial picture dims,
Lay urges employees to buy Enron stock. He also advises
them to diversify their portfolios with investments in
Kmart and Global Crossing.
-- Dec. 2, 2001: Enron files the biggest bankruptcy
petition in U.S. history. The Dow index soars, led by
companies that make paper shredders.
-- Jan. 29, 2002: Appearing on NBC's "Today"
show, Lay's wife, Linda, tearfully says her family is
near bankruptcy. "We might have to compete on 'Who
Wants to Be a Millionaire' just to get some pocket change,"
she wails. When asked if she understands the public's
anger toward her husband, she says yes, but cautions
critics: "Before you judge him, first walk a mile in
his custom-fitted, gold-leaf-embroidered Louis Vuitton
-- Jan. 30, 2002: Reacting to the plight of the Lay
family, the Red Cross delivers emergency rations of
caviar, Dom Perignon and steak tartare.
-- Jan. 31, 2002: "Today" show correspondent
Lisa Myers, stung by criticism that she wasn't tough
enough in her interview with Linda Lay, conducts a follow-up
segment in which she ambushes Lay with a barrage of hard-hitting
questions, including: "What's your favorite color?"
"Who does your hair?" and "Which herbs and
spices do you think the Colonel uses in his secret recipe?"
-- Feb. 2, 2002: In the first glimmer of hope for a
comeback, Enron officials announce that they have
received word from Ed McMahon that the company may
already have won the Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes.
Supermarket Tabloid Headline of the Week:
In observance of Presidents Day, which is just around the
corner, heres a roundup of White House-related
headlines from the Weekly World News:
-- Abraham Lincoln Was a Woman! Was John
Wilkes Booth Her Jilted Lover?
-- Clinton Hires Three-Breasted Intern!
-- Astrologist Picks Presidents and Hollywood
Starlets Who Would Make Perfect Mates: Thomas Jefferson
and Britney Spears; Richard Nixon and Whoopi Goldberg!
-- Oprah to Replace Lincoln on $5 Bill!
-- George Bush Needs a New Speechwriter: Neil
Actually, we thought Diamond already was writing Bushs
speeches. Who else could dream up the line, Not
over my dead body will they raise your taxes,
except the genius who sang, I am I said, to
no one there, and no one heard at all, not even the chair?
Unpaid Informants: U.S.
News & World Report, PR Newswire, Wireless Flash News
Service, Chicago Sun-Times.
Copyright © 2002 by Roy Rivenburg
Off-Kilter is syndicated to newspapers in the U.S. and
overseas by Creators Syndicate