September 2009 Archives

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An artist's rendering of a T-rex suffering from a trichomonosis-like disease, a parasitic infection caused by a protozoan, a single-celled organism that infects the mouth and throat and may have caused the animal to starve to death, according to a study conducted by an international team of researchers. The renderings show the infection and how it relates to the lesions found on the mandible of 'Peck's Rex' (Museum of the Rockies). Renderings by Chris Glen, University of Queensland

When you look at the massive skeleton of Tyrannosaurus Sue, the famed T-Rex at the Field Museum, it's hard to figure out what could kill this massive beast - the top of the Cretaceous food chain roughly 100 million years ago.

Could it have been after mortal combat with another T-rex? Sue is the largest complete skeleton of her kind, but hardly the largest T-rex, a species thought to have been mighty feisty and even carnivorous. Could it have been a natural disaster - we're not talking an asteroid, but simply an earthquake, lighting, a flood or the like? What about starvation? It takes a lot of critter kibble to keep a 7-ton meat-eater marauding the plains of Earth.

Or did Sue simply need a good ear, nose and throat doctor - one who specializes in birds?

That's the theory put out in a new study spearheaded out of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and published in the online journal Public Library of Science One. The team, headed by Ewan D.S. Wolff of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Steven W. Salisbury of the University of Queensland, Australia, believes the massive beast was felled by a mini parasite common today in birds.

wolff.jpegWolff, right, a vertebrate paleontologist and a third-year student at the UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine, theorizes in the report that the 42-foot-long Sue may have suffered from trichomonosis, a nasty parasite that attacks the jaws of birds - particularly raptors - and can become serious enough that is causes starvation due to deterioration of the back of the jaw and throat.

"What drew my attention to trichomonosis as a potential candidate for these mysterious lesions on the jaws of tyrannosaurs is the manifestation of the effects of the disease in [bird] raptors," explains Wolff. "When we started looking at trichomonosis in greater depth, there was a story that matched some lines of evidence for transmission of the disease in tyrannosaurs."

According to the report, the parasite can be carried in food sources, like pigeons, that predator birds, like hawks, eat. While the prey remains unaffected, the predators can suffer and pass along ill affects:

In birds, trichomonosis is caused by a protozoan parasite called Trichomonas gallinae. It can be transmitted from birds such as pigeons, which commonly carry the parasite but often suffer few ill effects, to raptors such as falcons and hawks, where it causes serious lesions in the mandibles.

Wolff and his research team conclude that Sue - and a group of nine other Tyrannosaur skulls studied - exhibits lesions and degeneration consistent with the parasitical infection. But still, would it be enough to eventually kill an beast the size and power of an adult Tyrannosaur?

"The lesions we observe on Sue suggest a very advanced stage of the disease and may even have been the cause of her demise," says Wolff. "It is a distinct possibility as it would have made feeding incredibly difficult. You have to have a viable pharynx. Without that, you won't make it for very long, no matter how powerful you are."

Sometimes, it seems, it's not the bigger fish to be feared, but the unseen that can be an undoing.

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Sue, the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton ever found, is shown at the Field Museum of Natural History May 17, 2000, in Chicago. (AP)

When actors attack! Wolverine vs. cell phone

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Please silence your cell phones now. Or you're gonna make Wolverine slip his claws out. And James Bond might shoot you right between the eyes.

In the never-ending annals of jerks and their cell phones, Wednesday night's performance of "A Steady Rain" on Broadway was interrupted not once but twice by a rude audience member's ringing phone. The stars of the acclaimed play, Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig, broke character and asked the patron to please, for the love of all that's holy, silence the damn thing.

In this video, Jackman paces the stage -- seemingly half in character, half out -- waiting for the madness to end ...


Of course, ahem, you're not supposed to be videotaping during a performance, either.

Good thing Patti LuPone wasn't on stage. Earlier this year, during her revival of "Gypsy" on Broadway, she stopped the show during "Rose's Turn" to scream at an audience member who was taking photos -- with a flash.

Here's the audio (you'll have to crank your volume) of her laying into the guy and offering an extemporaneous homily on public manners ...

Vimeo member Eric Spiegelman put together this slightly eerie montage of President Obama doing the grip-and-grin line from a recent meeting at the United Nations with foreign dignitaries. Spiegelman grabbed the images from the State Department's Flickr site and 20 seconds later you have this impressive proof that Obama has a very consistent smile.

On Wednesday, the Obamas hosted a reception at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, during which they stood for 130 photographs with visiting foreign dignitaries in town for the UN meeting. The President has exactly the same smile in every single shot.

So there you go. Who needs a cutout when the real thing works this well?

Hat tip to Chicagoist for digging this up on a quiet Friday.

A little lesson on appreciation on Guinness' special day:

And a clever ad on the evolution of the wait for the settle:

And, of course, some fun facts for hanging with your friends down the pub.

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A three-day-old baby boy, weighing 19.2-pounds, lays next to a standard size newborn baby at a hospital in Kisaran, North Sumatra, Indonesia on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2009. (Andi Anshari~AP; EPA below)

baby_1487956c.jpgIt's officially baby day here at Shiny Objects. The question is, does this whopper of a newborn beat out the mom who got pregnant two separate times over a few weeks?

The answer is yes. Hell, yes. He'll outweigh them both.

At 19 pounds - and 24-inches long - this hulking mound of baby clocks in at the top in terms of baby sizes born in Indonesia.

Thankfully, the as-yet unnamed tyke was born by Cesarean, but good grief, the poor mom probably had to be carted around in a wheelbarrow for the final trimester. And how do you haul the epic bundle of joy now? Somehow a Baby Bjorn just doesn't measure up.

"This heavy baby made the surgery really tough, especially the process of taking him out of his mum's womb," Dr. Binsar Sitanggang said in an interview. "His legs were so big."

And don't even start on the feeding needs of an eating/sleeping/pooping machine that weighs more than three average newborns lumped together.

"He's got a strong appetite, it's almost nonstop feeding," Sitanggangsaid.

Now let's see this little? monster get his groove on to Beyonce. Then again, maybe not - Jakarta ia already earthquake-prone.

Sometimes you just need a video of a baby dancing to Beyonce to get you through the week.

You know, unless you're Kanye West and you become enraged at the sight of a toddler upstaging Beyonce's "Single Ladies," the greatest video ever made. It's probably just lucky he didn't snatch the little guy's binky mid-wiggle.

Now, where does this kid fall in the pantheon of people to copy Beyonce's wildly popular work? You be the judge.

The mega-schlock moments cascaded from the stage Wednesday night as ABC's mega-hit "Dancing with the Stars" tapped out a few numbers to celebrate the life of Patrick Swayze.

OK. Fine. In a world filled with disingenuous moments of constructed emotion, why not benefit with some extra ratings on top of the poor guy's final year of suffering. But please, a little originality isn't such a terrible thing.

Yeah, they hit "Dirty Dancing" and "Ghost" moments, complete with open shirts and short skirts. But that's taking the easy way out. Why no dances celebrating his other side? There was a musical/dancish interlude with Helen Hunt in "Next of Kin." What about the incredibly sensual seduction scene in "Road House" when Sam Elliot's Wade Garret tries to lure Kelly Lynch away from Swayze's Dalton in the all-night diner? Or how 'bout the choreography from "To Wong Foo Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar?"

Or the touching final moments as he carries the nearly lifeless body of brother Charlie Sheen in "Red Dawn."

Any of these would have added something to the moment. Try again, "DWTS," you can do better. You get a "5" for this effort - not enough content.

 

Imagine going in for an ultrasound for the one child you're expecting, only to find another mystery fetus has appeared since you originally got pregnant.

It's a shocker few people in medical history have experienced, but Todd and Julia Grovenurg are the odds-busting expectant parents looking forward to two bundles of joy where there should be only one, reports KFSM in Fort Smith:

"We went back June 4th to do our ultrasound and that was a shocking, absolutely shocking experience," Julia Grovenburg said. "I turned around and I looked at him [husband Todd], and I said well at least we know we're not having twins!"

But not so fast, mom-to-be ...

"About 2 or 3 minutes later she said and baby number two has got a healthy little heartbeat, and I just started gagging," Julia said. "I mean, I was getting sick." "Both in shock," Todd agreed.

To make things a little weirder, the two babies have due dates in two different years - December 2009 and January 2010.

It's a condition know as superfetation, which loosely means kid number two was conceived after kid number one was already in the oven. And it's apparently extremely rare - or at least rarely documented - according to Dr. Karen Boyle in an ABC "Good Morning America" interview:

"When the woman had her ultrasound initially, they saw one sack, one baby developing, and that baby had a certain gestational age; then they noticed a second heartbeat in a child that was much, much younger developmentally.

"It does really sound like this is a true case of different conception times for these children," Boyle continued, adding that she could only find "about 10 reported cases" of superfetation."

The good news in this medical marvel story is that both babies are apparently healthy and developing normally, though little brother is about two-and-a-half weeks behind big sister. There is usually a risk in the few cases like this that the younger sibling's development will be hampered by the older one's growth, but for now they mini Grovenburg's are playing together nicely.

Not even a bout of "stop touching me-itis" to report so far.

Don't Delay: Republican pol struts on 'DWTS9'

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Former House Republican Whip Tom DeLay surprised the crowd on last night's season premiere of "Dancing With the Stars." The 62-year-old politician performed a cha-cha to the 1960s hit "Wild Thing."

"Parts were magic, parts were tragic," head judge Len Goodman said.

DeLay even wowed his professional partner, Cheryl Burke. "I just busted out laughing because I was, like, I can't believe this old man is here on his one knee playing the guitar and doing exactly what I told him to do, no questions asked," she said after the show.

(Fill in your own lobbyist joke here.)

Watch him do his thing here ...

Genuine laughs all around when, in the rehearsal footage, Delay's instructor kept telling him to go left, left, left! -- and the conservative pol explained that "going left for me is absolutely outrageous." Ba dum bum!

DeLay finished with 20 points. "I have to say I nailed it," said DeLay, wearing orthopedic shoes to help alleviate the bruising and near stress-fractures on his feet after weeks of rehearsals. "I felt good. My hips were working. Cheryl held me up and I really, I did it. I nailed it."

Aaron Carter came out on top, earning 32 points out of 40 for his two dances.

Another surprise from the night: Watching competitor Donny Osmond perform was his sister Marie, sitting in the crowd alongside another famous sibling, Jermaine Jackson.

Staff/AP

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Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2009. A day that will live in infamy in Chicago?

According to 922warning.com, yes. Seems we're scheduled for nuclear armageddon today. Reason to worry or is this just a crackpot bit of end-of-world b.s. on the Web (does that happen?). Let's look at the facts as broken down by the site:

Firstly, keep in mind that a "second 9/11" or "9/11 sequel" could occur on 9/12/YYYY or 9/22/YYYY, rather than on 9/11/YYYY. Furthermore, eight years passed between the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and 9/11, and now eight years have passed since 9/11.

• 9/22/2009 is a Tuesday, as was 9/11/2001.

• 9/22/2009 is the first day of fall ("fall" being the operative word here).

• Chicago is known as "The Second City."

• President Obama is from Chicago.

• Chicago is a candidate city for the 2016 Summer Olympics. The host city will be selected in October.

• Illinois Lottery drawings are held at 9:22 p.m.

• 9/11 occurred during President Bush's first year in office; President Obama is currently in his first year in office.

• September 22nd is the 265th day of the year and is followed by the final 100 days of the year.

Seems like a slam dunk call for you to grab some cans of Spam and get to the fallout shelter, right? I mean, the Lottery is involved, people!

Panic! In! The! Streets!

Wonder what this will do to the city's chances of getting the 2016 Olympic bid?

Now, frankly, we're just a little skeptical of this bit of intel. First of all, the Doomsday Clock is still at 5-til-midnight, so we have a ways to go there. And da Mayor has yet to tell the City Council to let this happen. Nevermind the fact that the Cook County Board has no immediate plans for a fallout tax.

Besides, the Cubs aren't a threat to win the World Series this year, which is the true test of credibility when it comes to an end-of-days scenario.

Chicagoist has more on the latest action item in our government's war on ... umm ... us, apparently. They'd just better not piss of the cops or some heads are getting cracked over this one.

Pretty Lucky from hvaliatti on Vimeo.

If you pay attention to the Darwin Awards, the annual recounting of some of the stupidest people in the world killing themselves in stupid ways, you may have wondered: "What about the runners up?" Surely there must be some really dumb deaths that didn't quite make the cut.

Well, this video doesn't quite answer that question, but it does give a glimpse into how a Darwin death might take place. Apparently being in Europe and near open-road auto racing is a good start on you way to all-to-mortal immortality. Can be there? A skateboard will do nicely in a pinch.

Michael Jackson rehearsing 'Human Nature'

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To stoke the fires for next month's big-screen release of "This Is It" -- the feature film compilation of footage from Michael Jackson's final tour rehearsals -- Sony has slipped out a snippet of footage.

It's not quite a minute of Michael, running through the blocking for the song "Human Nature" from his hit "Thriller" album.

Check it out -- he was still in fine voice ...

"This Is It" is a rushed-together documentary of the preparations for Jackson's comeback shows, originally scheduled for July in London. Jackson died in June. The movie, culled from rehearsal footage (we posted some of that earlier), will stand as the final document of Jackson's massive musical career.

Then again, there might be more shows to come, since he's allegedly still alive.

Sean Kenney has the best job in the world - he plays with LEGOs. All day. For money.

Kenney is one of a handful of certified LEGO artists in the world who works to create designs using the literally millions of plastic bricks he stocks in his New York apartment.

greatwall11.jpgSome of the work is commissioned, but there's plenty he does just for the hell of it like his Great Wall of China. And yes, for just $4,000 you can take home the original 3-foot wide sculpture, glued together for safety.

Sure, you probably want to know how you get this gig, or at least how Kenney got it. Easy. You just quit, as he told TimeOut New York:

In 2002, Kenney was designing website user interfaces for Lehman Brothers during the day. At night, he would build with the LEGO collection he had rescued from his parents' house upon graduating from Rutgers University four years earlier. In the middle of an argument with a colleague, he stood up, took off his ID tag and pager, and quit. "I had just left this six-figure gig, and all I could think about was getting home to play with my toys."

But what type of work can you commission a LEGO sculptor to create? Oh, I don't know, how 'bout a 250-pound Nintendo DSi display at the Nintendo Store in Rockefeller Center, New York City this past April, with more than 51,000 LEGO bricks used?

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Steven Seagal is not above the law ... he IS the law. Thank you, A&E, for finally putting something good on the air.

Seagal, the action movie icon, accomplished blues musician, aikido expert and international man of mystery - he's apparently even a tulku, the reincarnation of a Buddhist Lama - is on tap to star in his own reality series this December: "Steven Seagal | Lawman." But he's not looking for love or cooking - though Chief Ryback could whip up a mean bouillabaisse, or creating fashion. Nope, he's a cop in Jefferson Parish, La.

"I've been working as an officer in Jefferson Parish for two decades under most people's radar," said Seagal, "I've decided to work with A&E on this series now because I believe it's important to show the nation all the positive work being accomplished here in Louisiana - to see the passion and commitment that comes from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office in this post-Katrina environment."

As if Deputy Seagal wasn't enough to make you tune in, there's after-hours footage of the man just hangin', like he does:

Until now, Seagal has never sought publicity for his work with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office. However, over a span of almost two decades, he has regularly gone out on patrol and worked major cases. The series will allow fans to ride shotgun with Seagal as he and his hand-selected elite team of deputies respond to crimes-in-progress. Then, when Seagal goes off-duty, the cameras will continue following him as he pursues his many ventures - including musical performances and philanthropic efforts - in Jefferson Parish and New Orleans.

To be clear, without ever having seen a second of footage outside this commercial, this is the greatest show ever made. TiVo, consider yourself set on Season Pass, my friend. And I better not find any "Dancing With The Stars" overriding!

Can't wait to watch? Seagal is on Twitter and promises to be chatting about his show - and his music, lifestyle and general awesomeness - so give him a follow. And be patient - December will be here soon enough.

anchor.jpgWhat's it take for a news anchor to become a household name in the Internet age? An F'd chicken - and we're not talking fried, either.

Ernie Anastos, who anchors the New York Fox stations WNYW nightly news cast was engaging in that witty banter with the weather guy that we all love so dearly. Not sure what led to the quip, but he paraphrases the old Frank Perdue chicken commercial, saying, "It takes a tough ma to make a tender forecast."

White teeth are flashed in chuckles and perfect hair remains in place ... and then it's into the fryer:

OK. Big deal. So what. Anchors are human, too, right. Mistakes get made.

True, but this is the age of snark and instant video uploads. So not only has Anastos' inadvertent f-bomb blanketed the internet, but he seems to have created a fowl, err, foul new catch phrase: "keep f-ing that chicken." All the kids are using it.

Fox isn't laughing, though. The vice president and general manager of WNYW, Lew Leone, said he's "disappointed" in Anastos' comment. and Anastos apologized during Thursday's newscast.

"I misspoke during last night's newscast," he said. "I apologize for my remarks to anyone who may have been offended."

Not that anyone thinks Anastos, an Emmy-winning anchor, who has been a mainstay on New York's evening news for more than three decades, did it on purpose.

"Everybody likes Ernie, and knows he would never say that on the air," one staffer said in the New York Daily News. "Nobody has a bad word to say about Ernie. He's revered at the station."

He may be revered, but that's not evident in the tremendously horrified expression on co-anchor Dari Alexander's face.

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Michelle Childers suffered a drive-by tree limb attack on the Montana/Idaho border. (AP)

An Idaho woman who was skewered in the neck by a tree limb while driving with her husband along the Lochsa River is recovering at home.

KHQ-TV reports 20-year-old Michelle Childers and her husband, Daniel, were taking a recreational drive on a rural road Sept. 5 when a spruce tree crashed through the passenger side window of the vehicle.

Childers says she then felt a "strange" pressure on her neck and shoulder. Her husband told her that the tree limb had impaled her.

"There was this explosion ... just this explosion." she said. "I said 'Where is it, and he was freaking out and said, "it's in your neck!" '"

Childers says the 13-inch tree limb was removed from her neck during a six-hour surgery, but only after a tense drive out of the

"Some days I'll look at the pictures and say, 'Aww, man, that's Awesome!' and sometimes I'll just cry."

Childers is still out on a limb over the accident, though, without health insurance to cover the medical expenses.

Thanks to our friends at Chicagoist for turning us onto the latest candidate to announce he's running to push the hugely unpopular Cook County Board President Todd Stroger out of office. The name? IcePhoenix23.

Rolls off the tongue and right onto a campaign placard, doesn't it?

Speaking of rolling, what does this guy bring to party aside from a concern for the community and outrage at the incumbent? Roller boogie skills. Mad roller boogie skills.

He could take a hit in the polls over the shorts, but this being Cook County, let's not count him out until all the ballots are marked twice, hidden, lost, counted, thrown out and rearranged in the next election.

Democracy in James Brown-inspired roller disco action!

'Newlywed Game' welcomes first gay couple

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George Takei (right) and Brad Altman arrive for the Academy Awards last February in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. (AP file)


George Takei, who played Mr. Sulu on "Star Trek," and his partner, Brad Altman, will attempt to bring "The Newlywed Game" into the 21st century. The will be the long-running game show's first gay couple.

Of course, even though they're technically "newlyweds" -- they were married in Los Angeles a year ago this week -- they've actually been together for more than two decades. They'll probably be able to answer goofy questions about each other without giggling.

Here's a video in which George and Brad discuss the majesty of their love on their first anniversary ...

In other news: Yes, "The Newlywed Game" is still on the freaking air. A new edition of the classic game show began airing on GSN a year ago and has been a ratings success. Instead of Bob Eubanks as host, you now get singer Carnie Wilson.

The new season of the game show begins Oct. 12.

Other celebrity couples scheduled to appear on upcoming episodes of the show include:
• Davy Jones of The Monkees and his brand-new wife, Telemundo actress Jessica Pacheco
• Dance pros Edyta Sliwinska and Alec Mazo ("Dancing with the Stars")
• Former Denver Broncos linebacker Glenn Cadrez and his wife, Playmate Brande Roderick
• Christopher Knight ("The Brady Bunch") and Adrianne Curry ("America's Next Top Model")
• Jonny Fairplay ("Survivor") and Michelle Deighton ("America's Next Top Model")

For a sample of the intellectual caliber of the original show, look no further ...

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Clair Perry's picture of space flushing - that's the flash at the top of the photo.

Over at Spaceweather.com, there's photographic proof that astronauts are human like the rest of us - they even have to make No. 1 way up in space.

No, it's not pictures of galactic urinal cakes. Better. How 'bout a urine shower in the stars, courtesy of the crew of the Shuttle Discovery as they prepared to land in California on Friday?

Hey, it's gotta go somewhere, right?

In Madison, Wisconsin, photographer Abe Megahed witnessed a similar display: "The shuttle was sporting a massive curved plume. What could it be? Something venting? Reaction Control System thrusters? A massive, record-breaking urine dump?"

So the lesson here is to keep your eyes to the skies, but keep your mouth shut.

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The first night of Jay Leno's prime-time comedy show featured an emotional apology from Chicago's own Kanye West, who has been the object of much scrutiny after he interrupted country star Taylor Swift on stage at the MTV Video Music Awards Sunday night.

Leno asked West, who has a penchant for flying off the handle at the wrong place and time, what his mother would have said about all of this behavior.

As you can see, the question drew quite a response from West.

West went on to perform with Jay-Z and Beyonce as scheduled, raising his "Days Without an Incident" tally to 1.

Sad news tonight that Patrick Swayze, by all accounts, one of the better people in Hollywood, has passed away after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

For most people, he'll be remembered as the sultry teacher for Jennifer Grey in "Dirty Dancing." Or maybe as the leading man in the afterlife in the chick flick uberhit "Ghost." Or maybe from his latest and last roll in "The Beast," the gritty crime drama set in Chicago. Or as the adrenaline junkie bank robber, Bohdi, in "Point Break." Dare to dream, he might even be remembered after a long career as Dalton ("Be nice ... until it's time not to be nice) in the classic "Road House."

But for me, as a child of the '80s in rural America where God, guns and guts were all we had to keep the Commies at bay, I'll always think of his role as Jed, the leader of a scrappy band of teen freedom fighters in "Red Dawn." So here's the whole movie, in chapters, to honor Swayze.

Wolverines! ...

Rest of the movie after the jump ...

What kind of 'Idol' judge will Ellen be?

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Once again, Obama delivers an impassioned speech about whether or not we can all see a doctor when we want to, and the next morning there's an enormous diversion. Because, OMG, Ellen DeGeneres is replacing Paula Abdul as the fourth permanent judge on "American Idol"!!!

Fans are divided on the pick, but this won't be DeGeneres' first time in a reality TV judge's seat -- or on "Idol." She served as a guest judge earlier this summer on "So You Think You Can Dance," critiquing the dancing competition's top eight finalists. In 2007, she was the co-host of "Idol Gives Back," the singing contest's charity event. She returned the next year in a pre-taped segment.

What kind of judge will she be? Here's an edit of just Ellen's clips from "So You Think You Can Dance":

Kara DioGuardi was a guest early this year on "Ellen":

Will they get along? Will there be catfights? Will they be a female voting bloc against the men, Simon and Randy?

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If possible, let's put politics aside for a moment and accept this video for what it is: an impressive bit of artistic memory rendered on paper.

Minnesota's junior Sen. Al Franken, while doing the baby-kissing tour at the Minnesota State Fair, broke out a Sharpie and draws the United States map from memory. That's a par;or trick he's been breaking out for a number of years, but to see it done is still pretty impressive, particularly when you consider the number of people who couldn't even find the entire country on a map in this survey.

OK. Enough of that. Back to your partisan political squabbling. Moment of Zen over.

Ask Kevin Smith some questions -- all day long

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So on Monday, Labor Day, when you're not grilling or whatever is expected of Americans on a three-day weekend -- first, check to see if anyone's showing any Kevin Smith movies.

Then, dial up Twitter and follow Smith himself, @ThatKevinSmith, and ask him a question. Smith will be online for 24 hours on Monday, hosting his own marathon Q&A on Twitter.

Whatever you think of his movies, he's pretty funny in interviews (warning: strong language) ...

So think up some questions. We'll start with:

Really? That's the best you could write for Green Arrow?

Really? "Clerks II"?

Rumor control: Drummer wanted for Rolling Stones?

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An Australian Web site is reporting today that Charlie Watts, the genteel drummer for the Rolling Stones, has quit the band:

A source within the Stones inner-circle says, "Charlie Watts has quit the band. He will never record or tour with the band again."

The news does not come as a surprise. It was common knowledge that Keith Richards had to talk Charlie into contributing to the A Bigger Bang tour but this time it seems there is no calling Charlie back to active duty.

"The Stones are looking to Keith's Expensive Winos drummer Charlie Drayton to fill the void in all future Stones' callings," our source says.

The band's spokesperson, however, denies the report, telling Entertainment Weekly: "Contrary to a fabricated story that ran this morning. Charlie Watts has not left The Rolling Stones.''

Watts, 68, has been behind the kit for Mick and Keef since January 1963. He was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2004, which has since gone into remission.

Watts has been reluctant to take part in the band's activities for a while. He had to be dragged back -- after a long conversation with Keith Richards, apparently -- for the A Bigger Bang tour that roamed the globe as the top-grossing concert from 2005 to 2007.

If it were true, who should replace him as the band lumbers toward its (gulp) 50th anniversary?

This is graphic, so, you know, don't watch if you can't deal.

Texting and driving is getting to be big news as states, like Illinois, and even the federal government, in the form of a threat to withhold funding without state legislation being passed, move to ban an activity that, frankly, you would assume most people would realize is dangerous.

Stand on any busy street for 10 minutes and watch people try to walk and text as they ram into passersby, walls and bus stops and you get the idea - if talking on the phone is distracting, reading and writing is not only a safety hazard to yourself, but a potentially deadly impairment on par with driving under the influence to anyone unlucky enough to be on the road at the time. In fact, a Virginia Tech study in July found that those who text and drive increased their crash risk by 23 times.

That's where this video, making the rounds on talk radio and cable news, comes in. Produced in Wales, it shows in fairly graphic context what happens when you concentrate on thumb typing instead of driving. The results are LOL. There's a debate on various sites - check out the comments here at carcentric motherproof.com - as to the realistic depiction of the chain of events and the severity of the situation presented in the PSA, but it does a good job pointing out that the person texting is not the only one affected. Whether it gets people to stop? Well, do these things ever stop people? Time - and aggressive laws - will tell.


Car Accidents & Crashes: Shocking Driver's Ed Fear Video - Funny bloopers R us

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    This page is an archive of entries from September 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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