July 2009 Archives

The erroneous, NSFW video originally linked to in the Minnesota DFL press release.

Next time, Minnesota's Democratic Party says, it will closely check its Internet links before sending news releases after it had to recall a statement criticizing Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty because it mistakenly linked to a profane YouTube video of an elderly Chinese woman repeating obscenities.

Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

Sorry, had to get that out before discussing this, umm, physical fitness video, featured at everythingisterrible.com, with the Yogi Ogi Dogi on his kiddee yoga farm.

Yes, you read that right.

And before anybody squawks, yoga is great. Physical fitness is great. Kids shows are great. But combine the three and you get the polar opposite of great.You get creepy yoga man manipulating kids in cringe-inducing ways and positioning himself awkwardly in front of those poor, impressionable minds.

Whack-a-do kid's shows are nothing new, and there are always plenty of lists of the weirdest/creepiest ones as new waves of parents discover the TV is not always the nurturing baby-sitter they thought it might be.

You know, things like this mind-bruising 4 minutes of Wiggles puppetry weirdness and dance music, which was enough to skeeve out a Web Site called "Pretty Scary - For Women in Horror by Women on Horror. Umm ...:

But that's by no means the worst of kid's programming. There's the whole late '70s, '80s nightmare to plum for some truly frightening, coked-up interludes. Just check this cobbled-together nonsense out to see what our children have been submitted to over the years:

All pretty freaky. But to be honest, those puppets on Mr. Rogers still weird me out the most. And don't get me started on Bozo. And, of course, there's the Crown Prince of Creepyland: Pee Wee Herman, and that's without even taking his porn theater masturbation bust into account.

Good Lord, can we just get the Justice League back and call it a win?

Kelly is spoiling our 'Saved by the Bell' reunion

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After the funny bit with Mark-Paul Gosselaar earlier this year (see below), Jimmy Fallon has been trying to reunite the whole cast of "Saved by the Bell" on his new late-night talk show. It is the 20th anniversary of the beloved teen sitcom, after all. But it hasn't happened yet because of one hold-out: Kelly.

But she has some really good excuses, as she explains in the (comedy) video below. What with the NASA project and the live-action cat feature, she's just really busy ...


And here's the Fallon bit with Mark -- I mean, Zack -- if you missed it ...

For those of you dragging around two left feet on the best of days, you may not want to watch. This kid, a 7-year-old Milwaukee boy, spends nearly 5 minutes breaking out moves that some of us can only dream of.

Sure, it's easier for him - kids have no bones or fear and a battery that runs constantly, allowing for unnatural contortions and unlimited endurance. But let's not take away from this club kid - he can move.

See, we're not completely heartless around here. Baby animals make the work day go quicker, especially a lazy Wednesday. And with that in mind, here's this hungry lump of fur named Eve, an otter being nursed by bottle. The little critter keeps falling asleep on the bottle, then wakes up, freaks out, eats a bit, then falls back to sleep.

Quite like a human child, actually.

Eve is being cared for by a group called CERCOPAN, a British group working for conservation of Nigeria's rainforests and primates. Eve is neither on of those, but we'll give them a pass on this one.

Apparently, they're blogging on rehabbing the orphaned otter, a task not nearly as fun as it might seem. You watch enough Discovery Channel and you'll see footage of playful otters darting around the camera and eating shellfish. This, though, is a baby - with all the frustrations and concerns any baby might create, as the group's director, Claire Coulson, explains:

As anybody who works with animals will say, rehabilitating orphaned babies of any species comes with its risks. Trying to raise a baby who has been separated from its mother in an unnatural environment will inevitably be a difficult task, particularly when not much is known about the species. Two weeks in to our newest member's arrival here at CERCOPAN we were reminded first hand just how delicate a young orphan can be.

If you're interested in more on the fuzzy project, you can find the blog and photos here. They hope to raise her and release her back in the wild - she was orphaned after a fisherman shot her mother, apparently. Let's just hope it doesn't end up like this released dolphin story.

Sarah Palin left her office as governor of Alaska on Sunday, off to pursue the next adventure in her life - books, TV, radio, more politics ...

And, of course, she had a lot to say on the doorstep, wishing her state well and dishing politics, but did she do it well? Maybe, but certainly her rendition was nothing like William Shatner's poetic pass on Conan O'Brien's "Tonight Show."

Palin was famously lampooned by Tina Fey in the runup to the presidential election in a series of whip-smart, scathing bits of satire. But here is something completely different. Shatner doesn't play Palin. Shatner, as always, plays Shatner. But who does the speech better?

Compare it to the original (in 2 parts):

Of course, this isn't Shatner's first foray into dramatic, poetic interpretation of original content. He was, in fact, perhaps best known (until now) for this gem - Elton' John's "Rocket Man," about which there is nothing not awesome. Check out the beat poet, Shatner, at the 1978 Science Fiction Awards, cigarette poised and Kenny G-esque soft jazz flowing for full effect:

If you were out in Wicker Park Saturday night, you may have run into the undead. Hopefully you survived your brush with the grave.

You may, in fact, even have been one of them. If so, you're hopefully feeling much better in the new week.

In either case, you likely just ran into the Wicker Park Thriller Zombie Walk in honor of Michael Jackson. And judging from the video and the organizers' Facebook page, the graves must have been emptied with 1,000 Zombies wandering around Milwaukee Avenue between Ashland and Damen.

3758957888_1e67582b21.jpgIf you need more, Kirstiecat has some great photos on Flickr.

All well and good if that were the only zombies for you today. But wait, there's more!

It seems there is a Chicago Zombie Web site that celebrates all things undead - a great resource for everything from movies to lore and everything in between in Chicago. You can find them at their site or on Facebook.

Bloodthirsty? Reach for a bottle o' Tru Blood

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image.jpgIt's hot out, you're thirsty -- how 'bout a nice cold bottle of blood?

The fictional beverage chugged by vampires in the HBO series "True Blood" is now very real and will be on sale in September. Tru Blood is a blood orange-flavored, carbonated drink, in a bottle that's been crafted to replicate the appearance of the vampiric sustenance found on the series - blood type, logo and all.

The Tru Blood drink was officially announced by Alan Ball, creator and executive producer of "True Blood," at the San Diego Comic Con this weekend, where fans were able to sample the beverage and take a bottle home.

If you can't get enough of Anthony Bourdain and his Travel Channel cohorts, take a few minutes to step back in time to the tour films of yesteryear, specifically a look at Chicago, circa 1948, courtesy of the James A. Fitzpatrick TravelTalk series.

Many of the building remain, though with different names and owners. And the tallest building was the Prudential in the Gold Coast. But driving along the lake is still beautiful - though traffics looked just as bad - and the buildings have only gotten grander.

And then there's the nightlife, though much of it was in the Loop, not the Viagra Triangle. Love that cape dance!

drevil.jpgNormally at Shiny Objects, we try not to get too heavy with content. But sometimes a story is so momentous, we can't help but weigh in with some keen analysis to help keep the huddled masses informed.

In case you haven't been following the economic news lately, which impacts everything from the amount of Starbucks our celebrities can buy before being photographed by the paparazzi to the amount of cool new tech toys you can pocket, here's a concise summary:

We're screwed.

From bailouts to bank closings to layoffs, there's little that's gone right over the last year. Sure, if your listen to the glass-half-full crow, they'll tell you things are on the turnaround. OK, fair enough. But, we still have to pay the piper at some point. And that's where that clever little video comes in.

The folks at mint.com decided to show us with the latest buzz work in governmental economics, TRILLION, really looks like in spending power. There are quibbles over the actual amount the final cost of turning around the Titanic that is our economy will be, but one things for sure: $1 trillion is a lot, no matter how many trillions we're talking.

Completely depressed over our debt burden? Confused about who gets how much and who pays? Looking for an online game with an easy jazz background track to help you figure things out? Try the Bailout Game. And don't forget to ask Greenspan!

mca.jpgYesterday, the sad news that MCA, aka Adam Yauch, of the Beastie Boys is battling cancer. It's treatable, but will force the Beaties to curb their current tour, including the headlining stint at Chicago's Lollapalooza in August.

What's a multi-day megafest to do?

Signing the Yeah Yeah Yeahs as a sub ain't a bad move. The New York-based indie band, featuring lead singer Karen O, drummer Brian Chase, and guitarist Nick Zinner, is touring in support of its third studio album, "It's Blitz!"

So, to recap, MCA should be OK and we get the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Not terrible news, all things considered.

beastie boys: sabotage

kurt-cobain.jpgJust when you thought it was safe to come back to the Internet after the death of Rickrolling, it comes screaming back, smelling like teen spirit. Or, rather, Teen Spirit.

And you thought the Kurt Cobain story was tragic when he was just killing himself and fostering a Courtney Love festival of conspiracy theories.

Thanks to German spinner DJ Morgoth, we now have a mashup of Nirvana's ubiquitous "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and Rick Astley's hard to kill "Never Gonna Give You Up." You get Astley's singing and lyrics to the tune of Nirvana's "Spirit."

And, most shocking of all, it kinda works. Like, spookily so. Tune-for-lyric, it's almost like Kurt Cobain wrote "Spirit" with Astley in mind, despite the fact that Nirvana was the grungy punk monster that came along to kill top 40 radio pap like Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up."

Various message boards, like over at Mashable, are thinking Cobain is Rickrolling in his grave over this. But he was a pretty impish guy and would probably appreciate the novelty, if nothing else. Along with Dave Grohl, you'd probably even get a cover in their reunion tour, though Krist Novacelic, being largely humorous, would probably sit this one out.

But enough about the bizarre Astley-Cobain crossing of the streams. To get that demented video image out of your mind, and to keep Kurt Loder off our backs, here's the real "Smells Like Teen Spirt." You can find your own Rickroll, if you feel the need.

Black hole sun / won't you come ...

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Wednesday is a big day for the ultimate shiny object: it's the longest total solar eclipse that will happen this century. Yep, no other eclipse for the next 91 years will top it.

But you can't see it.


Animation from NASA

Unless, of course, you're on a flight tonight to Shanghai or Bangkok or a tiny island in the southwestern Pacific. And many amateur and professional stargazers are doing just that.

Complete details, maps and more are available from NASA here.

It being a solar eclipse, and we being starry-eyed dopes, plenty of scary predictions are collecting around the event. The AP reports:

"Astronomers hope the eclipse will unlock clues about the sun, while an astrologer in Myanmar predicts it could usher in chaos. Some in India are advising pregnant relatives to stay indoors to follow a centuries-old tradition of avoiding the sun's invisible rays. ...

Man has been recording solar eclipses for 4,000 years, and even today they inspire a combination of fear, fascination and wonder.

One astrologer in Myanmar, also known as Burma, predicted in a magazine that the eclipse would trigger wars, instability and natural disasters for the next several months."

But, hey, relax. The true horrors of the eclipse-predicted end o' the world are still three years off ...

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In this July 20, 1969 file photo from NASA, Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot, is photographed walking near the lunar module during the Apollo 11 extravehicular activity.

A look in photos back at the moment the whole world watched on July 20, 1969, when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin first made that giant leap for mankind. The Cold War and Vietnam were heating up and the country was tearing itself apart as the '60s reached a climax, but for one moment, as Walter Cronkite broke out in a gleeful sigh of relief, none of it mattered.

We, the human race, had tread upon another planet, you know, if it really happened. We were no longer bound by Earth's pull.

Many more lunar landing photos after the jump ...

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Picture 2.pngApple's iPhone store has rolled out it's share of hits and misses in the hundreds of thousands of apps stocked on the virtual shelves.

And this one definitely fits the "hits" category.

Cannabis - the app - is now ready to download to help you find cannabis, the smokin' weed. For just $2.99, the Cannabis app will help you track down marijuana near you! Though, the $2.99 does not cover the purchase of the sherm itself. Of course, this is for medicinal purposes only, according to the creators of the app, Ajnag, and not for when desperation sets in at midnight at the frat house.

Sorry, kids, but it looks like a prescription is the next thing you'd need to make this app useful, and Apple currently doesn't not offer that in download form.

But let Ajnag explain the goals themselves:

There's nothing worse than being a qualified patient with a physician's recommendation to consume cannabis-- commonly referred to as marijuana. You never know where to find cannabis resources near you. Sure, you could search the web but that's as tedious as flipping through the phone book or browsing through the advertisements in the latest cannabis publication.

That's why Cannabis is the latest "must-have" iPhone app. Not only does the program give you the nearest medical cannabis collectives, doctors, attorneys, organizations, and other patient services, it also gives you real-time, door-to-door directions sent right to your phone.

And just who is Ajnag? It's a grass-roots (sorry) organization that's a self-described "cannabis lifestyle network." Basically, a group looking to push the "legalize it" agenda, hemp cultivation, medical marijuana ideals, etc.:

AJNAG (Ahj-Nag) is an activism, resource, and lifestyle network cultivated by the people to help connect, educate, and empower individuals on the cultural, economic, and medicinal benefits of: decriminalization, production, regulation, distribution, and taxation of Cannabis sativa L. AJNAG is about raising the cannabis consciousness by using the power of the World Wide Web and Digital Media.

A quick search of North Side Chicago area codes prompted two listings of sympathetic organizations - Northwestern University NORML and Columbia NORML - but no cannabis for sale sites since, you know, it's not legal here. NORML, of course, is yet another pot-friendly national group looking to legalize.

Considering the staggering array of seemingly benign apps the iTunes store isn't offering, it's a puzzler how this got past the app Nazis at Apple. Makes you wonder what they've been smoking?

As for the app itself? A lot of folks complaining in the user reviews that it's sluggish and incomplete. Sounds like a weed app, alright.

Oh, and it also causes paranoia and they'd like to see listings for convenience stores with frozen burritos if possible.

Fans create a 'Harry Potter' musical

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By Misha Davenport

Call it "Harry Potter and the Chamber Musical"

"A Very Potter Musical," a fan-written and produced homage/parody musical about the "boy who lived," is quickly rising the ranks of most watched clips on YouTube.com

We'll admit it. It's no "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog," but we're enchanted.

The opening guitar strains are reminiscent of "Jesus Christ Superstar." The musical is also equal parts "Spring Awakening" and "Wicked," but is mostly from the Potter canon. In fact, just about all the books are jumbled into one parody.

Act One, Part 1


Act One, Part 2


Watch more after the jump ...

In 1984, Michael Jackson was the king of the entertainment world, on top of his game and setting up to own all he surveyed for decades to come.

Then came the Pepsi commercial. And the fire. And the pain.

It was the day that many believe let to Jackson's downfall as painkillers entered his life - and not long after, more and more surgeries and transformation and an ever-present quest to get it right.

Jackson and Pepsi eventually settled for $1.5 million - though Jackson donated the money for a children's burn center in his name - but by then the damage was far too severe and the money wasn't the problem. Rolling Stone takes a look at the day and the fallout from the flameout

Jackson required several surgeries and needed skin grafts to treat the injury.

In his autobiography, "Moonwalk," he described the cause of the accident as "stupidity, pure and simple."

As he described the accident, he wrote: "... bombs went off on either side of my head, and the sparks set my hair on fire. I was dancing down this ramp and turning around, spinning, not knowing I was on fire. Suddenly I felt my hands reflexively go to my head in an attempt to smother the flames."

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Normally the parenting advice we dispense around here consists of lessons learned after it's too late to keep your kids from going down the wrong path. But today we're here to lend a hand before you find yourself asking, "How did little Billy/Susie end up with a sniper rifle in the clock tower?"

We're talking sleep deprivation - yours and your kid's. You need them to nap for their health and your well-being. But what happens when the little tyke starts to nod out in the car on the way home? Well, American ingenuity jumps into the fray with answer, as the good folks over at motherproof.com point out.

Granted, they think this is some sort of a joke or something. But we know better. It's a not-proud parent idea waiting to happen.

NOW DON'T MAKE ME COME BACK THERE!!!

Those of you who read this blog with any regularity will know we're suckers for A) great photos and B) the GigaPan-style uber enlargement photos that are starting to pick up in popularity for some news coverage.

The most notable example is from President Obama's inauguration, a sweeping image that pulls in the entire scene around the Capitol steps, providing hours of searching for the newsworthy and the just plain freaky in the crowd - and for some bonus Obama, check out this shot from the MLB All-Star game. Well, for a Chicago perspective, here's a new GigaPan image that easily tops the Obama shot.

Behold The Ledge, the Sears (God, is it really the Willis Tower now?) Tower Skydeck ledge that allows you to step on air for an unparalleled view of the city - straight down and all around. Below is a look at what you see as the base image for this photo, that basically allows infinite zooming:

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OK, nice photo. But the beauty of the image is when you start digging in. Here's an image of the Chicago Sun-Times building, a little to the north of the Sears Tower, that was found within this image (in the bottom right corner area):

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And there's plenty more to see. You can even create snapshots of scenes you find - with a free account logon - and interact with a growing GigaPan community to discuss images and the secrets that used to be hidden in the corners.

And, with apologies to Billy Mays, if that were the only Chicago photographic goodness today, you might be thrilled. But wait, there's more! National Geographic's Intelligent Travel blog has some nice advice for how to get the best images of Chicago and its skyline. It's good advice for tourists and townies alike.

There are tips offered on where to go and how to get there to capture images like this:

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And just to add to photographer Bob Krist's advice, while the Ledge is awesome, you get a much better photographic vantage point for photography from the Hancock's Observatory.

In case you're wondering what Mel Gibson's been up to lately, and who hasn't, here's your answer: He wants his MTV!

(OK, that's slightly inaccurate. He wants music videos, which MTV forgot about a decade ago, but you get the idea.)

But Mel doesn't want just any music videos, he needs an epic. Something cinematic. Something with with burning, fiery passion that only true artistic genius can produce. Like, I don't know, his Russian homewrecking girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, for instance.

Seems that she has musical abilities beyond ringing Mel's bells - she's also a singer! With a piano!

But a girl without a music video hardly a pop star makes. So Mel, being the giver he is, jumped in to make the most overwrought, torchsong (literally) epic possible for Grigorieva's "Beautiful Heartache."

As a video the kids on TRL (wait, that's dead, too?) will clamour for, this is an Apocalepic effort. As proof of it's quality, comments have been turned off on YouTube.

So you'll just have to share your snark with your friends in person, it seems. And watch out you don't get burnt with all the flames.

Oh, and Oksana, Angelina Jolie called. She wants her look back.

In no way, shape or form is this not awesome.

Yes, it's an ad. So what? Ads this creative and innovative are a pleasure to look at, no matter what they're selling. It's well executed, clever, meticulous and a joy of stop-motion photography.

But wait just a second ... hasn't this already been done? And just a few weeks earlier right here on YouTube, to boot?

As it turns out, yes ...

So what on first glance was a tremendous effort at artistic advertising for the Olympus PEN camera - a largely European campaign - has quickly turned into a debate on the line between "homage" and pick-pocketing.

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No no no. We said a green lantern.

USA CINEMA.jpgWarner Bros. has decided on who gets to wear the super-powered ring in "Green Lantern," the studio's latest DC Comics movie: Ryan Reynolds.

The studio has spent the past five months searching for the actor to play Hal Jordan, the hot-shot Air Force pilot who is chosen by a dying alien to be his successor in an intergalactic police force known as the Green Lanterns.

This week, the race narrowed to Bradley Cooper, Reynolds and Justin Timberlake.

The studio ordered up two rounds of screen tests with Cooper, Reynolds and Timberlake. Other actors in the early mix included Michael Fassbender, Henry Cavill and Jared Leto.

Apparently, the producers, director Martin Campbell, and the studio each had a different favorite among the three finalists, making it difficult to come to a consensus. The studio has scheduled the movie for a December 2010 opening.

Reynolds recently starred in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," where he played the spinoff-friendly Deadpool. He's also in theaters with Disney's romantic comedy "The Proposal," which just hit the $100 million mark.

Quick! Deploy the Bat-polls for the Bat-campaign!

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By Misha Davenport

In other comic book news, DC's first (and possibly only) Jewish, lesbian crime fighter Batwoman (a k a Kate Kane) has apparently thrown her hat -- er, we mean cowl -- into the ring in the race to be the next mayor of Washington, D.C.

"Today, I, Batwoman, proudly announce my candidacy for mayor Washington, DC," reads a statement on the Web site www.batwomanfordc.com. "I do so because I believe that we are in a monumental period in the history of our nation's capital that requires a different kind of leadership. We need a real hero for real equality."

She indicates in a position statement on the site that she is opposed to California's Prop 8 (which banned gay marriage) but supports universal health care and the immigrant reform bill known as the Dream Act.

Batwoman is the latest DC character to announce a candidacy for the position; the Atom, Superman and Green Lantern are also running, as is rival publishing house Marvel's Spider-Man.

Visitors to the Web site are encouraged to follow the campaign on Twitter and Facebook. A vote is planned for July 10.

In addition to being a pretty decent publicity stunt for DC Comics, the project is part of the New Organizing Institute's political bootcamp, in which college graduates are charged with running their own fictional mayoral campaigns as part of their training.

Skating babies the latest viral video

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What's not to love about a bunch of diaper-clad babies skating to the tune of Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight?" This online advertisement for Evian water doesn't exactly make us thirst for pricey bottled water but it did give us a chuckle. Check out the video, it'll brighten your day:

presskit3.jpgFor those of you who hate to to fly - not from fear of crashing, but rather fear of lost or broken luggage - here's a story just for you. And it's even in music video format.

Dave Carroll, a Canadian musician traveling with his band, the Sons of Maxwell, in 2008 was making a connection at O'Hare on a flight from Halifax, Nova Scotia to a gig in Nebraska when he got rocked - no rolled - at the sight of his precious equipment being hurled around by United Airlines groundcrew. Not only were his axes smashed, but there would be the usual level of concern and assistance rendered for acts of baggagicide, which is to say none:

On March 31, 2008 Sons of Maxwell began our week-long-tour of Nebraska by flying United Airlines from Halifax to Omaha, by way of Chicago. On that first leg of the flight were seated at the rear of the aircraft and upon landing and waiting to deplane in order to make our connection a woman sitting behind me, not aware that we were musicians cried out: "My god they're throwing guitars out there". Our bass player Mike looked out the window in time to see his bass being heaved without regard by the United baggage handlers. My $3500 710 Taylor had been thrown before his.

I immediately tried to communicate this to the flight attendant who cut me off saying: "Don't talk to me. Talk to the lead agent outside". I found the person she pointed to and that lady was an "acting" lead agent but refused to talk to me and disappeared into the crowd saying "I'm not the lead agent". I spoke to a third employee at the gate and when I told her the baggage handlers were throwing expensive instruments outside she dismissed me saying "but hun, that's why we make you sign the waiver". I explained that I didn't sign a waiver and that no waiver would excuse what was happening outside. She said to take it up with the ground crew in Omaha.

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gallery_main-0707_emma_watson_pantyflash_00.JPGEmma Watson was on hand to check out the London premier of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" last night when a nasty incantation blew her frock to the side, exposing her dumble-drawers.

Oops! Where's the house elf when you need to him to keep these fancy dresses in place?

The 19-year-old - yes, sleazy Internet trolls, you can look without legal ramifications, but still feel shame - quickly got a handle on things, as usual, without raising her hand with the answer. With the wardrobe malfunction secured, she braved the London weather and thousands of screaming fans to take in the sixth movie in the series.

She even went on Letterman to talk about the incident, and her relative good fortune:

When Letterman pointed out the faux-pas on "The Late Show," a blushing Emma replied: "This was a small wardrobe malfunction that happens.

"At least I'm wearing underwear," the 19-year-old star added, before hanging her head in her hands to say she's "still learning" this stuff.

More on the premier after the jump ...

Get your Sunday DC comics on Wednesdays

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By Misha Davenport

Even though it's Wednesday, it sure feels like Sunday. We blame DC's new Wednesday Comics (DC, $3.99).

Beginning today and continuing for the next 11 weeks, DC is publishing a weekly 16-page, broadsheet newspaper featuring 15 stories. The project makes us long for the days when the Sunday funnies were that many pages instead of the more common four to six pages they are today.

Alongside the weekly exploits of famous characters like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern, lesser-known characters like Kamandi the Last Boy On Earth, Metamorpho and Adam Strange are getting their moments to shine.

A host of A-list artists and writers are working on each of the strips, including Chicago-based comic book author Brian Azzarello (who is co-writing the Batman strip with Eduardo Risso). Azzarello's debut strip is particularly grizzly and concerns the kidnapping and seemingly senseless murder of an investment banker.

Our favorite this week: Iris West (by Karl Kerschl and Brenden Fletcher), a "Mary Worth"-like look at the shortcomings of being married to a superhero. Despite being married to the Flash (the fastest man on earth), her hubby is frequently late to dinner or canceling plans altogether. In the debut strip, Iris has finally had enough.

The use of Benday-dot printing in that strip is particularly effective, recalling the art style of 1960s romance comic books.

Look for Wednesday Comics in your local comic book store starting today.

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OK, so are you Michael Jacksoned out yet? The suddenness. The tragedy. The history. The questions. The children. The family. The memorial. Etc. Etc.

All of it kind of takes away from the the performances and the quality of the performer - a song-and-dance man unlike any we've ever seen. But like with all great entertainment icons and their signature moves, there's a raft of talented people who came before that offered inspiration and innovation to be picked up, perfected and made new again.

And the video above does a great job showing some of the men with the moves that fed into Jackson's signature Moonwalk. Check out his pass when he debuted the dance to Billie Jean during Motown 25 in 1983:

A look inside Michael Jackson's toyland

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Michael Jackson wasn't just the King of Pop, he was also a bit of a video game junkie. His collection of arcade and home video games, even pinball machines, was part of an exhibit earlier this year in Beverly Hills. Also featured in the exhibit were his collectible movie props, including costumes from the "Spider-Man" and "Batman" films.

Pinesane has this online guided tour -- look at the collection, and zoom in on the "Star Wars" figures, the pinball machines, the video games and more -- that's sure to make you envious. (Then again, this stuff could be up for auction somewhere someday ...)

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squirellinshirt.jpgAnd now for a clip that Ron Burgandy would love.

A detective in Warren, Ohio was interviewing a tube-topped woman when an unexpected guest joined in on the fact-gathering. We say unexpected because it's not everyday that a woman's chest serves as a kiosk for a baby squirrel. At least not in public, anyway.

Now, it'd be human nature to question exactly what was going with this lady, but you have to give her props for remaining composed as the rodent fruitlessly tried to break free. Who would have predicted such adroit hands?

It's safe to assume that Wayne Mackey, the detective conducting the interview, left the room with far more questions about the world than answers.

Michael Jackson's last performance: June 23

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CNN has posted the following video of Michael Jackson rehearsing allegedly on June 23, two days before he died.

Jackson was rehearsing at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, prepping for his monthslong bill of comeback shows in London next month.

The ending of this clip is, well, apropos ...

Sarah Palin in Runner's World magazine

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Is there anything she can't do? Or should the question be, 'is there anything she won't do? Sarah Palin is featured in this month's issue of Runner's World magazine looking well-coifed for a light jog. In the interview, Palin says, ""It doesn't matter your background, your demographics, your race, your political affiliation, it's [running] such a uniting, healthy, fun, awesome activity."

Some more 'awesome' pics of Palin in her running gear after the jump.

Is it OK! to publish pics of Michael Jackson ... dead?

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You knew someone would do it sooner or later, probably sooner.

OK! Weekly magazine has caused a stir with its latest issue -- the front cover of which features a photo of Michael Jackson just moments before doctors declared him dead.

Media Week reports OK! paid $500,000 for the exclusive shots, taken as he was being rushed to the hospital on June 25.

While most outlets are publishing tributes showing Jackson in his glory days and a more positive light, the editors at OK! say they opted for this display to set themselves apart.

"It's a photo that captures the surprise and the upset and the moment of this breaking news story," says OK! editorial director Sarah Ivens. "I hope the cover will provoke readers. It celebrated the man, but it also does expose that he was an eccentric character who lived a very controversial life."

It's not an overtly gruesome photo, but it could clearly affect fans emotionally. You can see the magazine's cover below, after the jump, but don't say we didn't warn you.

If you're outraged, there's already an online petition demanding ... that ... something be done about it.

What do you think? Too much? Too soon?

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