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Much like Navy SEALs, the brains behind the NMA World Edition are not afraid to go almost anywhere.

Case in point, the group's latest computer animated newscast featuring the special forces hit on Osama bin Laden. Public Enemy No. 1 has barely sunk to the bottom of his watery grave, and we already have explainer video, sort of, showing how the operation went down.

Amazingly like a video game, as it turns out. One where the good guys urinate on the bad guy's corpse and he is sent to Hell to be raped by pigs. You know. The usual.

All the news that's fit to treat like an Onion article gone bad.

The language for this video is straight outta New York. Fugghedabout playing it loud at work.

Chicago is a town that appreciates clean streets after a snowstorm. In fact, mayoral careers have risen and fallen on the ability of the Department of Streets and Sanitation to pull a Mr. Plow and get the white stuff packed away.

The good folks of the Big Apple have been whipping themselves into a blizzard frenzy as New York struggles to get anything done following their big snow over the weekend. "Where are the plows?!?" they cry. "When will the snow be cleared?!?" they demand as the situation becomes critical and, in some cases, apparently deadly.

And along comes a city worker to answer their question with a resounding "be careful what you ask for."

Investigations and lamentations ensue after a front-loader, apparently stuck in the snow, is dragged out by a tow truck repeatedly into a parked SUV - with the angry screams of the apparent owner in the background and a semi-gleeful videographer capturing the whole mess.

Indeed, a supervisor may not be enough to fix this as it seems like shoveling teens may not be the only ones hitting the rum out there.

Paging Michael Bilandic: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has some questions for you ...


The donkey is not the real ass in this story.

In what is being called an advertising campaign - the worst "Shrek" capmaign ever? - children ended up in tears as a shrieking donkey was forced to parasail over the beach at a Russian resort town. The stunt ended with the frightened animal eventually being dragged across the water before being pulled to safety, according to BBC reports.

"The donkey screamed and children cried," regional police spokeswoman Larisa Tuchkova said. "No-one had the brains to call police."

Witnesses near the beach on the Sea of Azov in the Krasnodar region said the donkey had been "screaming" in fear as it was pulled through the air in front of horrified spectators.

"It was put up so high into the sky that the children on the beach cried and asked their parents: 'Why did they tie a doggy to a parachute?'" one witness told a local paper.

Police are investigating and the businessmen responsible, unnamed in reports, may face criminal charges for animal cruelty.


Oh Reuters, thanks for the thorough coverage of the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League race between Walter Dix and Tyson Gay. Not since the Nashville Predators' Pekka (Rinne) came up huge in the NHL playoffs have we had such rich material for awkward headline writing.

To make it an even richer read, Dix gave the following gem of a quote, to be filed in the "not making this up" category:

"I was a little sloppy out of the blocks, but I was able to hold on. But I'm a little beat up, too."

Perfect fodder on a WTF Friday.

Thanks, BoingBoing.


Sun-Times graphic by Greg Good - click for full size. Or download the PDF: SEWAGE14.pdf

Chicago is, famously, the City that Works. We know how to get things done. Keep the mail moving.

Chicago knows how to take care of business. But what happens when the business is done in a major metropolitan area? That's right, sewer reclamation!

OK, it may not be the sexiest subject. In fact, it's at least borderline disgusting for lots of people. But without an efficient waste removal and treatment system, well, we're in the Middle Ages.

Dysentery, anyone? No? Exactly

So, perhaps the cornerstone of modern society comes down to doing away cleanly with what we flush down our sewers and let flow down our drains. And despite what you might infer its usual color, that muck is not just dumped straight into the Chicago River. The Chicago Water Reclamation District takes 1.4 million gallons of raw sewage and wastewater each day from the entire metro area and in just 8 hours pulls off what Mother Nature takes a few weeks to do - filter impurities out of the water that flows through our lives.

The above graphic offers an explanation of how we get from nasty to natural. Something the ponder the next time you're taking a few moments of quiet time for yourself.


Pyramid_Lake_at_Night_2004.jpgThe beautiful, but not obtrusive photo that serves as the backdrop for Apple's iPad is a bit like all the images Apple uses as stock elements on its devices. It's a standout moment that doesn't take too much attention away from the device itself. And, it's anonymously produced - when's the last time you saw a photo credit on an image Apple plucks from relative obscurity?

Well, almost anonymous. Until the good folks at tracked down Richard Misrach, a Bay Area photographer responsible for "Pyramid Lake (at Night)," a 2004 photo from a series he has worked on over the years.

"It's a long night exposure where the moon is lighting up the mountains in the distance," he told ArtInfo. "I shot it on an 8x10 camera, so the quality is really beautiful and you can see star trails going through the sky."

Ironic that the original image produced in large format is actually larger than the iPad, which clocks in at just 9.56 by 7.47 inches, it was destined to decorate.

It also seems the secretive Cupertino-based tech company is no less secretive with its content sources. To hear Misrach tell it, he found out they were using his photo when the rest of the world did, even if most of the rest of the world would have no idea of Misrach's identity:

"I was in bed watching Inglorious Bastards when I got a call from Jeffrey FraenkeL, my dealer in San Francisco, and he said, 'Do you know what's going on live here?'" Misrach told ArtInfo, speaking of the iPad unveiling by Steve Jobs in January. "I was totally shocked. Naturally my other galleries started calling and my family was all atwitter, because it's a whole different world."

Misrach, who calls himself an Apple fan, says he had submitted 10 photos to the company for consideration as screensavers and whatnot over the years, but had never had any success. Until now.

'What's funny is that for years I actually used the photo as my own screensaver," Misrach says. "So I guess they know what they're doing."

Richard Misrach at the High Museum from Atlanta Celebrates Photography on Vimeo.

Video from Atlanta Celebrates Photography
for ACP Now!

Richard Misrach gives a tour of his "On the Beach" exhibition, on view at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA through Aug. 23rd, 2009.

Ahh the heyday of media in the 1980s, when experts like Roger Ebert could magically beam Star Trek-style into your cocktail party for your personal edification.

A kind soul was good enough to post these gems to YouTube, complete with bad suits and big hair. And advertising budgets. Those were the days.

Thanks to Brad Flora's Windy Citizen for highlighting the find. Go vote it up, people!


barnes.jpgPeople do stupid things for love. They also do a lot of stupid things while driving. It must be a natural progression of the human race that the two truths would one day coexist.

And Megan Mariah Barnes is the culmination of that latest leap on the evolution chart. Sure, lots of folks shave in the car. Few, however, do so in the genital area. While driving.

Megan Mariah Barnes is clearly not like most people.

She was pulled over by Florida cops following a two-car wreck, in which they say she was shaving her "bikini area," according to reports in the Keys News. Her ex-husband, in the passenger's seat, was steering while she groomed the uderbrush when the couple smashed into another car in the Florida Keys, according to Florida State Patrol:

"She said she was meeting her boyfriend in Key West and wanted to be ready for the visit," Trooper Gary Dunick said. "If I wasn't there, I wouldn't have believed it. About 10 years ago I stopped a guy in the exact same spot ... who had three or four syringes sticking out of his arm. It was just surreal and I thought, 'Nothing will ever beat this.' Well, this takes it."

Of course, it gets better. She probably had no business driving, razor or not, when you consider her record.

Just one day earlier, Barnes had been convicted, reports, of DUI with a prior and driving with a suspended license and was ordered to impound her car, and her driver's license was revoked for five years. After the five years, she must have a Breathalyzer ignition interlock device on any vehicle she drives - including the 1995 Thunderbird driven in the wreck. Barnes also was sentenced to nine months' probation.

Good luck with that. She was charged with driving with a revoked license, reckless driving, leaving the scene of a wreck with injuries and driving with no insurance. And she faces a year for her efforts on the probation violation alone.

If that ain't a kick in the freshly shorn crotch.

Watch out, Mouse, here come the bricks. Legoland is opening a theme park in Florida.

The Ledger in Winter Haven reports the park, which will only be the fifth in the world, is gonna take residence in the state after plans were leaked in an e-mail:

1. LEGOLAND Florida will be the fifth LEGOLAND attraction worldwide (CA, Denmark, England, and Germany).

2. Merlin is the second largest attraction company in the world, second only behind Disney.

3. Merlin's massive research in the area already indicated that; the LEGOLAND brand already has high recognition and a 90% intention to visit by families in their target market.

4. LEGOLAND, CA, is the fastest growing theme park in the U.S., realizing an astounding 6% growth in 2009. The park was also recognized by Amusement Today as the country's best theme park for children for the sixth consecutive year.

5. Check out Merlin's website for a broad overview of their operations.

Whatever the case, exciting news for roller coaster fans and Lego nerds.

You might still be a little confused about this whole late night TV debacle going on over at NBC. Sure, we all know that Leno's ratings suck and Conan's being booted after seven months and NBC is apparently incapable of making good decisions. But what really happened?

Thankfully, a media outlet has taken on the task of breaking down the meltdown in true journalistic form - without malice, prejudice or bias. The same newshawks that brought us rendered reenactments of the Tiger Woods-Elin Nordegren back nine beatdown have thrown in the resources to explain the crumbling world of "The Tonight Show" in imagery we can all understand - super heroes (though ironically not NBC super "Heroes").

When you take a moment to Watch Conan become the Incredible Hulk, an NBC executive - seemingly Jeff Zucker - morph into Captain America and Jay Leno transform into, umm, L-Man(?), well, it just all becomes clear.

Thank the Maker for Chinese (technically Taiwan) news reenactments.

OK, if you really must have this in English, here's the translated version. But it does seem to lose something:

Eddie Vedder does a solid, covering the 20-year-old "Hard Sun" for Sean Penn's "Into the Wild" and he resurrects interest in a little-heard song by Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Peterson.

"I hope he liked [my version]," Vedder told Canada's Metro paper this year.

Apparently not. Peterson is suing the Pearl Jam frontman and Chicago native for copyright infringement. Not for stealing the song - Vedder and Penn clearly have credited Peterso for covering his obscure song. No, Peterson is apparently pissed that Vedder changed a few words and ruined the artistic intent of what has become the obscure musician's only hit from his only album.

So much for Canadian's being friendly. Or grateful, for that matter.

The New York Post reports that in the suit, filed in a Manhattan federal-court, Peterson alleges that "Vedder altered certain key lyrics of 'Hard Sun' . . . eroding the integrity of the composition." He also skewers Universal Music for licensing his tune without his approval for the 2007 movie. He doesn't specify damages, but demands all profits from the "acts of infringement."

Vedder's lawyer, Gregory Clarick, said: "We don't see any basis for a copyright infringement claim."

Here's the original, so you can judge the deed for yourself:


In the first round of the staredown, Rupert Murdoch seems to have made Google flinch.

The omnipotent, omnipresent search engine giant announced in a blog post Tuesday.

"Previously, each click from a user would be treated as free," Google senior business product manager Josh Cohen said in the post. "Now, we've updated the program so that publishers can limit users to no more than five pages per day without registering or subscribing."

Under the new plan, newspaper publishers will be able to set a limit on the number of free news articles people can read through Google, the company has announced. And users will be routed to payment or registration pages if publishers join the First Click Free plan.

Participating publishers allow the crawler to index their subscription content, then allow users who find one of those articles through Google News or Google Search to see the full page without requiring them to register or subscribe. The user's first click to the content is free, but when a user clicks on additional links on the site, the publisher can show a payment or registration request.

Google also plans to allow for crawling and indexing of summary content - basically a headline and short index item - of pay content.

We will crawl, index and treat as "free" any preview pages. This means that our crawlers see the exact same content that will be shown for free to a user. Because the preview page is identical for both users and the crawlers, it's not cloaking. We will then label such stories as "subscription" in Google News. The ranking of these articles will be subject to the same criteria as all sites in Google, whether paid or free.

The concession from Google comes as the clarion call of content publisher builds to a crescendo as the news industry searches for an answer to a business model failing to attract or hold advertising revenue. Users who click on more than five articles in a day may be routed to payment or registration pages.

Media tycoon Murdoch had earlier accused firms such as Google of profiting from journalism by generating advertising revenue by linking readers to newspaper articles. Some readers have discovered they can avoid paying subscription fees to newspaper websites by calling up their pages via Google and Murdoch has moved to take content from The Wall Street Journal, among other of his multitudinous media properties, of the Google search index.

Sex And Politics.jpg

Eliot Spitzer is set to lecture at Harvard. On ethics.

Let that soak in, Hahvahd smaht kids.

Spitzer Call Girl.jpgThe disgraced former governor and Attorney General of New York, sometimes known by his closest acquaintances, such as his former "date," Ashley Dupre, as "Client 9," has been invited to lecture at the prestigious school, which does not sit well with Kristin Davis, a former Manhattan madam who used to supply the professor with call girls.

Davis, apparently, has sent a letter to professor Lawrence Lessig, of Harvard's Safra Foundation Center for Ethics, decrying the choice as, umm, tainted.

"This sounds fascinating and I would love to attend," Davis wrote of Spitzer's speech today, "but the restrictions of my probation won't allow me to travel outside New York City.

"For nearly 5 years, I supplied Mr. Spitzer with high-priced escorts while he was both Attorney General and Governor. For this crime, I served four months on Rikers Island, had all of my assets confiscated and am now considered a sex offender on 5 years probation. Mr. Spitzer broke both state and federal laws and walked away free.

"I am greatly intrigued as to what Mr. Spitzer could contribute to an ethical discussion when as Chief Executive Law Enforcement Officer of NY he broke numerous laws for which he has yet to be punished. As Attorney General he went around arresting and making examples out of the same escort agencies he was frequenting."

Spitzer resigned as governor on March 17, 2008, taking his good name and Hilary Clinton Superdelegate status with him.

Update with Spitzer's talk, 9 p.m.

By hook or by crook, Spitzer's speech went off without incident - or talk of prostitution Thursday. According to Bloomberg News reports, his talk on ethics skirted any mention of his own, personal research into ethical quagmires:

Only government regulators can force transparency in the financial markets, Spitzer said today during his talk entitled, "From Ayn Rand to Ken Feinberg - How quickly the Paradigm Shifts. What Should Be the Rationale for Government Participation in the Market?"

Spitzer, 50, resigned as governor on March 12, 2008, after he was identified on a federal wiretap arranging to meet at a Washington hotel with a woman who worked for Emperors Club VIP. As New York State attorney general from 1999 to 2006, he was known as "the sheriff of Wall Street" and collected billions in settlements from financial companies such as Merrill Lynch and American International Group, Inc.

Spitzer's speech didn't touch on the actions that led to his resignation.

So, he got in, shifted his paradigm and got out. Disappointing, but not unexpected.

Noted in-your-face interviewer Larry King got Carrie Prejean's goat with his hard-hitting quest to find answers about the tarnished beauty queen's mediation and settlement with the Miss California USA pageant.

Oh, yeah. Except that this is Larry King, the soft-balling questioner tarnished celebrities book to feel like they're in a safe place. But even King's kid gloves were too much for Prejean, who's doing the gab circuit to flog her new book, causing her to toss her mic and clam up while a clearly befuddled King went to break.

The problem seemed to stem from King's repeated questions about the framework of Prejean's settlement. The ex-queen continued to brush aside questions as "inappropriate" and cited a confidentiality agreement. Oh, and of course there's that non-sextape sex tape floating around that TMZ has said was shot when Prejean was 17.

The video the lawyer showed Carrie is extremely graphic and has never been released publicly. We know that, because TMZ obtained the video months ago but decided not to post it because it was so racy. Let's just say, Carrie has a promising solo career.

We're told it took about 15 seconds for Carrie to jettison her demand and essentially walk away with nothing. As we first reported, the Pageant is paying around $100,000 to her lawyers and publicist - a fraction of her bills. She pockets nothing in the settlement.

So, clearly, there's a level of expertise in "inappropriate" behavior at work here.

The CNN dalliance Wednesday night continued down weird lane as Anderson Cooper picked up the topic later.

Cooper's reaction is kinda priceless, actually. Especially when he hears Prejean's describes King as "inappropriate."

Bizarre, indeed. Increasingly so.

11-10-09 Hein flags 1.JPG

Beckham Robbins,4, runs through the Healing Field of Honor that features 2009 American flags on display at Rotary Hill in Naperville - for $35 you can dedicate a flag and come pick it up after the display ends. (Rich Hein~Sun-Times) More Veterans Day photos here.

Over at CouponSherpa, they put together a nice list of free goodies being offered, mostly today, from restaurants and companies looking to show appreciation for veterans. From free meals to discounts on merchandise and services, it's a nice gesture. Among the highlights:

Applebee's Restaurant - Free dinners to veterans throughout the day.

Outback Steakhouse - Free Blooming Onion and beverage.

UNO Chicago Grill- Free entree or individual pizza with an entree or pizza purchase of equal or greater value. - Free "Veterans Day Honor" MP3 album download. The album includes 12 songs by The Bands and Ensembles of the U.S. Armed Forces.

National parks, forests and monuments - Admission is free to everyone on Veterans Day.

Much like Mother's Day, these are people who sacrifice too much in service of others to be thought of only once a year. The tragedy of the Fort Hood massacre is a grim reminder that our veterans and active duty military are a selfless group that puts service to country above personal safety.

It's odd, then, to think that this special day for vets, which began a long journey to national holiday status in the European trenches of World War I, has only been around since 1954. Before that Nov. 11 was set aside as Armistice Day, originally intended to mark the end of WWI. In fact, in the 1970s, the day itself moved around the calendar to keep it on a Monday according to federal law until Nov. 11 was permanently set aside for remembrance.

So if you know a vet or service member, don't forget to let them know from time to time how much you value what they've done. It's so little to ask for people who have given so much.

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