Copyright 2000 Times Mirror Company  
Los Angeles Times

March 15, 2000, Wednesday, Home Edition

SECTION: Southern California Living; Part E; Page 5; View Desk

LENGTH: 598 words



      Yo Quiero Sombrero: When it comes to fashion trends, most people foolishly look to Paris or New York. We turn to Texas, where the latest hot designer is a musician from Austin who creates hats from road kill.

According to Wireless Flash News Service, John "Mambo" Treanor expresses his creativity by turning dead animals into Davy Crockett-style caps. His spring collection includes chapeaus made from smashed skunks, rolled-over raccoons and crushed cats. He says his dream is to fashion a coonskin hat from a dead Chihuahua.

Cyrano de Bergerac 2000: If only more celebrities would follow the example of singers Aimee Mann and Michael Penn, who recently performed at L.A.'s Largo nightclub. After the opening number, Mann confessed: "We're no good at between-songs banter, so we're going to have a stand-up comic do it for us."

A male figure promptly grabbed the microphone and said, "Hi, I'm Aimee Mann." He then claimed Penn was a non-English-speaking immigrant and offered to translate for him.

Penn blurted out some foreign-sounding phrases, which the comedian translated as: "Are you ready to rock?"

The crowd cheered, "Yeah," and then Penn uttered more gibberish.

Comic's translation: "I can't hear you."

Here at Off-Kilter, we'd like to see this concept spread. For example, during the presidential debates, Al Gore and George W. Bush could both admit they're as exciting as dirt and have professional comics take their place.

Moderator: Gov. Bush, please explain what you mean by "compassionate conservative."

Bush surrogate: Hey, what do you think of my new road-kill raccoon hat? But seriously, ladies and germs, on the compassionate conservative thing, a good example is the death penalty. I'm for it, which is conservative. Yet I'm also compassionate because I don't believe in running the inmates through a wood chipper. In Texas, we humanely grill them in a mesquite-flavored electric chair.

Moderator: Vice President Gore, critics say you're too robotic to be elected.

Gore surrogate: That's nonsense. I can be just as passionate and emotional as the next guy. Let me show you. (Begins flailing arms.) Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!

Moderator: What's your opinion of Chicago's attempt to slash air-conditioning bills and reduce smog by planting greenery atop some skyscrapers, such as the two oak trees and 21,000 shrubs placed on the roof of Chicago City Hall?

Gore: Research shows that plants can reduce heat in urban areas. But Chicago's program doesn't go far enough. I favor converting all city statues to Chia Pet material.

Moderator: What are your views on multiculturalism?

Gore: The Irish-American experience is unique. All the experiences are unique. The African-American experience is uniquely unique.

Actually, that Gore quote on multiculturalism is real, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Gore also once said, "A leopard cannot change its stripes," so maybe he and Bush (who thinks the person on U.S. quarters is his mother, Barbara) are both big enough goofballs that the debates will be entertaining after all.

However, we still think professional comics could be used as stand-ins to deliver sermons, college lectures, Oscar thank-you speeches, nightly newscasts and conversations on first dates.

Best Supermarket Tabloid Headline: "Stonehenge Was Really a Prehistoric Gay Bar, Says Professor!" (Weekly World News)


Unpaid Informants: Jonah Goldberg of the National Review, Mark Joseph, Mary Stolzenbach. E-mail Off-Kilter at Off-Kilter runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

GRAPHIC: PHOTO: Danger, Al Gore! Danger! VP insists that he is not lost in space. PHOTOGRAPHER: IRFAN KHAN / Los Angeles Times