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Thursday, December 29, 2005

Marzipan Babies

Marzipan, a sweet paste made of ground (blanched) almonds, sugar, and eggs, and used in cake fillings, icings, and other confectionaries, is often colored and molded into all sorts of visually appealing treats that resemble miniature versions of food (or other

Human babies, however, are not something we generally consider to be a visually appealing form for edibles (particularly when presented as realistically as shown in the images above), a fact that perhaps explains the appeal of these photographs — we're drawn to them as a fascinating example of culinary and artistic craftsmanship, but at the same time we're disquieted that the thought of eating them is almost a vicarious form of cannibalism.

Fortunately, we don't have to ponder the deeper meaning of the symbolism here, because the items pictured above are not made of marzipan, nor are they edible. They're 2- to 5-inch sculptures created by artist Camille Allen (including some entries from her Shell Baby line of miniatures), and they're made from Prosculpt polymer clay and mohair. Definitely not the kind of thing most of us would find palatable.


If you spent your year worrying about Angelina and Brad or Tom and Katie or Nick and Jessica, or, heaven forbid, even the important things like Delay, de war and de natural disasters, you probably missed the good stuff. Herewith is our compilation of the most disturbing, underreported stories of the year.

Everything You Know About Art Is Wrong
The genesis of those dogs-playing-poker paintings is the series of nine 1903 originals by Cassius Marcellus Coolidge, and in February, two of them were sold by the Doyle New York auction house for a total of $590,400.
St. Petersburg Times, March 4

The Laws of Irony Are Strictly Enforced

In a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, in response to the question whether President Bush is a "uniter" or a "divider," 49 percent of Americans said uniter, and 49 percent said divider.
CNN, Jan. 19

As a registered sex offender in California, James Andrew Crawford was required to notify authorities if he adopted a new "domicile" for more than five days. He was arrested in May for noncompliance after he had been camped for two weeks in a theater line waiting for "Star Wars: Episode III" to open.
North County Times (Escondido, Calif.), May 19

Virginia capital-murder inmate Daryl Atkins, who had previously registered an IQ lower than the minimum-70 needed for execution, scored a 76, and a jury then sent him to death row. Legal experts attributed the improvement in IQ to the intellectual stimulation Atkins received from discussing his case with lawyers.
ABC News-AP, Aug. 14

New World Order
The communist government of China presented its quinquennial Vanguard (or Model) Worker award (in the past, given to loyal factory workers, dedicated public-outhouse stewards and the like) to Yao Ming, the Houston Rockets' basketball player who earns about $15 million a year playing and endorsing products -- about 15,000 times what the average urban Chinese worker makes.
Washington Post, April 29

Bring the Pain
South African Sonette Ehlers invented a tampon-like sheath that she says will reduce the country's disturbing number of rapes, but local anti-violence leaders are skeptical -- and alarmed. The 1-Rand (about 15 cents) device folds around the penis with microscopic hooks and, once engaged, requires medical intervention to remove. Critics say it is nearly useless, since a woman must wear one constantly to be protected.
The Times (London), June 8

Tackling the Hard Issues
Oklahoma state Sen. Frank Shurden proposed legislation to revive the "sport" of cockfighting, which the state outlawed in 2002, but to make it more rooster-friendly, he suggested the birds wear tiny boxing gloves instead of razor cleats and wear fencing-type electronic vests to record hits.
Chicago Tribune-AP, Jan. 28

Don't Know Much About History
The Kansas City Star, reporting on a Missouri legislative debate on the Confederate flag, quoted Rep. Jim Avery that the 1803 Louisiana Purchase involved a battle with France, instead of a land sale: "Well, we fought over it. We fought over it, right? ... You don't think there were any lives lost in that? It was a friendly thing?" (And Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick told a middle-school class that the U.S. Congress is different from the Texas legislature, in that in Washington there are "454" members on the House side and "60" in the Senate.)
Kansas City Star, May 9
Austin American-Statesman, April 16

The Jeb Bush Administration Is Also Skeptical of the Geneva Conventions
Laura and Edmund Gerstein, keen to save their beloved grapefruit tree from Florida's citrus canker eradication program, claimed immunity for the tree under the 1949 Geneva Conventions (the paragraph on protecting crops needed for civilians' survival during wartime, in that, said Edmund, "As I understand it, (the U.S.) is in a state of war"). Responded a state Department of Agriculture spokesman, "That tree will be coming down."
South Florida Sun-Sentinel, April 5

Bringing New Meaning to Ticket-Scalping
Reba Schappell, of Reading, Pa., a professional country music singer who is also a conjoined-at-the-head twin with sister Lori, told a BBC radio audience, "When I am singing, Lori is like any other fan, except she's up on the stage with me (covered by a blanket to reduce the distraction)." Said Lori: "I do not ask for anything from Reba. I don't get in to her concerts free just because she's a conjoined twin. I have to pay, just like every other fan ...."
BBC News, Sept. 21

Reader Advisory: Not to Be Read by the Squeamish
Among the most frightening occasions celebrated in 2005: The world's first "international festival of mimes," in Shfaram, Israel; the convention of Clowns of America in Grand Rapids, Mich., with 300 in attendance; and two attempts, in Kimberly, British Columbia, and St. John's, Newfoundland, at shattering the world record for the number of people simultaneously playing accordions for a half-hour (644 in Kimberly, eclipsed by 989 in St. John's). (Yedioth Aharonoth, Tel Aviv), April 11
Grand Rapids Press, April 22
Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Aug. 11
Canadian Press, Aug. 6

The Cop Wanted Credit for Two Collars
Transsexual prostitute Monica Renee Champion, 37, was picked up by police in Richmond, Va., after arrest warrants for indecent exposure had been issued against her in the city's South Side, as a male, and in the North Side, as a female.
Richmond Times-Dispatch, Aug. 27

You've Heard of "He Died in the Saddle"?
Hard-core bestiality cases usually involve some hapless man abusing a poor critter, but the death of a 45-year-old man in Enumclaw, Wash., after man-horse sex, was extraordinary, in that the horse was the penetrator (and the man died of acute peritonitis from a perforated colon). According to videotapes seized by authorities, a local farm (apparently known in Internet bestiality chat rooms) was a covert haven for sex with livestock. Washington is one of 17 states with no specific anti-bestiality law; thus, had the man lived, he would not have been prosecuted because the state's animal-cruelty law requires a showing that the horse, not the human, suffered.
Seattle Times, July 15

Great Moments in Government
City council member Yvonne Lamanna, 58, filed a worker compensation claim against the city of Penn Hills, Pa., after she threw her back out while taking her seat at the Feb. 7 council meeting.
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, March 9

"To Whom It May Concern: Please Let Gregory Hang Out Today"
Gregory Withrow and an associate staged a protest at the California capitol in Sacramento, against the U.S.'s Iraq policy and in favor of white supremacy, among other issues. The associate's job was to nail Withrow's hands to a cross so he could stand as a martyr. Withrow had brought notes with him from a Butte County, Calif., health official (OK'ing Withrow's plan to hurt himself) and from the Sacramento Parks Department (acknowledging that no permit was needed for the crucifixion).
Contra Costa Times-AP, April 22

Adventures of the Too-Easily-Dissatisfied
Dallas artist James Sooy, weary of his eyeglasses slipping, had a bar inserted through the bridge of his nose and his spectacles affixed to it. Sooy seemed to believe there was money to be made with the idea, but an optometrist pointed out the difficulty in adjusting prescriptions "if you have a hole in your face."
Houston Chronicle, Feb. 23

The Oregon board that enforces teachers' standards and practices put Central Linn High School coach, teacher and dean of students Scott Reed on two years' probation after he admitted licking blood from the wounds of at least three students, though, after a hearing, the board was still unclear on his motive.
Associated Press, Aug. 4

Free Longevity Advice for Men
Dr. Thomas Perls, director of the New England Centenarian Study at Boston University Medical School, told a conference in Brisbane, Australia, that he donates blood regularly because a key to females' ability to outlive males is menstruation (in that, he says, iron loss inhibits the growth of free radicals that age cells). "I menstruate," he said, "but only every eight weeks."
News Limited (Australia), March 19

Least Competent Police
In an early-morning shootout on June 4 in the Homewood housing complex in Pittsburgh, two undercover officers and a suspect exchanged a total of at least 103 gunshots but never hit anyone.
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 5

Lawyers Unfamiliar With Their Own Client
In court papers filed in 1994 but which only this year drew public attention, lawyers zealously representing the Catholic Archdiocese of Portland, Ore., offered a countercharge to a child-support claim against Father Arturo Uribe: that the mother herself was culpable because she failed to use birth control.
Los Angeles Times, Aug. 3

Best Inventions of the Year
Yamaha Corp. introduced the MyRoom, a customizable, soundproof, shed-like structure with 27 square feet of floor space, to install inside notoriously crowded Japanese homes, for privacy (or to be exiled to). The company expects a sales surge in 2006, when Japan's first wave of baby-boom salarymen retire and begin annoying their spouses at home.
The Times (London), May 27

Spanish designer Pep Torres said he was nearing a launch date for his Your Turn washing machine, which he developed to encourage sharing of housework. Users, such as a husband and wife, initially register their fingerprints, and Your Turn will not subsequently operate by the same person's print twice in a row.
BBC News, May 1

You'd Think He'd Have Learned to Relax By, Say, the 40th
William Woodard, suspected by police in the Trenton, N.J., area of more than 50 burglaries, was arrested after authorities said they could match him to one of the "signatures" of the crime spree: random splotches of excrement at several crime scenes. (In the course of the arrest, a nervous Woodard failed to control his bowels.)
The Trentonian, March 11

Crooks With Money Management Problems
Thanh Nhat Le was arrested in Dorchester, Mass., when he tried to cash a check he wrote to himself for $7,550 on his account at a Sovereign Bank. He had opened the account two weeks earlier, with $171 in small bills, but then subsequently tried to add to it by mailing in three checks for deposit, of $250,000, $2 million and $4 billion.
Boston Herald, April 7

A judge gave Vickey Siles of New Haven, Ind., just a suspended sentence and probation, ostensibly out of pity at the lousy job she did altering a check from Globe Life and Accident Co. Siles had badly obliterated the "$1.00" amount of the check, written in "$4,000,000.00," and then tried to cash it at a neighborhood check-cashing store.
Fort Wayne News Sentinel, March 19

Police in Twin Falls, Idaho, confiscated almost $1 billion in counterfeit money (which a man tried to leave as collateral for a loan) in a scheme doomed from the start because all bills were of the nonexistent denomination of $1 million.
Fox News-Twin Falls News-Times, Oct. 17

Most Disturbing Culinary News
Mark Nuckols, a business student at Dartmouth, began selling the tofu-like Hufu, flavored to resemble what he believes is the taste of human flesh. His target audience is tofu eaters who want a challenge, plus any actual cannibals who might settle for artificiality in order to avoid legal problems and logistical hassles. Nuckols based his recipe on cannibals' reported descriptions of the flavor.
Stanford Daily, May 25

The Entrepreneurial Spirit
An Atlanta Journal-Constitution dispatch from El Alberto, Mexico (near Mexico City), profiled a theme park in which wannabe emigrants to the U.S. can test their survival skills in an obstacle course that touches on the rigors migrants must endure sneaking across the border.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Feb. 20

He Put This Life Behind Him
A Lake Jackson, Texas, woman was for a while under indictment for negligent homicide in the death of her husband, who suffered acute alcohol poisoning from having ingested three liters of sherry wine via enema, which authorities said she provided him. However, the woman freely discussed with reporters her husband's longstanding addiction to enemas, pointing out that he also did them with coffee, "Castile soap, Ivory soap. He had enema recipes. ... I'm sure that's the way he wanted to go out because he loved his enemas."
Houston Chronicle, Feb. 10

Soon to Be a Case Study in Business Schools
When a Japanese art collector had to choose between Sotheby's and Christie's auction houses for a big sale and quixotically asked the two to play Rock-Paper-Scissors for the privilege, Sotheby's chose Paper and lost out on the eventual $2.3 million commission. (A Christie's executive had taken the advice of one of his 11-year-old daughters, who said, "Everybody knows you always start with Scissors.")
New York Times, April 29

So Inexplicable That It Must Be the Product of Intelligent Design
According to a Phoenix New Times cover story, local man Willie Windsor, 54, has for several years lived 24 hours a day as an infant, not only wearing baby clothes and diapers, but sucking on pacifiers and eating only Gerber cuisine, in a home filled with oversized baby furniture. And the diaper is not just a prop. Windsor said he worked diligently to make himself incontinent, even chaining his commode shut to avoid "temptation," and the New Times reporter admitted feeling "disconcert(ed)" that Windsor might be relieving himself at the very moment he was describing his anti-toilet training. Windsor is a semi-retired singer-actor and said, not surprisingly, that he's been celibate for nine years.
Phoenix New Times, June 9

Leading Economic Indicator
A 1958 Pablo Picasso original, "Atelier de Cannes," went on sale on the Web site of the discount chain Costco, priced to move at $129,999.99. Costco began offering art on consignment from dealers last year, but "Atelier" (a crayon drawing authenticated by daughter Maya Picasso) is its most expensive piece.
New York Post, Aug. 12

Bling 1, Maternal Instinct 0
Firefighters in Stamford, Conn., had to break a car window, against the owner's wishes, to rescue her 23-month-old son, whom she had accidentally locked inside along with the key. The kid had been sweltering for more than 20 minutes on an 88-degree July day when Susan Guita Silverstein, 42 (who was later charged with reckless endangerment), begged firefighters to wait until she went home to get a spare key so they wouldn't have to damage her Audi A4.
Stamford Advocate, July 26

The Classic Middle Name
Once again this year, as a public service, we release this crucial homicide data, all-new in 2005.

Arrested in 2005, and charged with murder:

Darrell Wayne Maness, 19, Wilmington, N.C. (January)

Timothy Wayne Ebert, 40, Cleveland, Texas (February)

John Wayne Blair, 49, Sevier County, Tenn. (April)

Derek Wayne Jackson, 18, Norristown, Pa. (April)

Nathaniel Wayne Hart, 34, Austin, Texas (April)

Kenneth Wayne Keller, Denton, Texas (August)

Ronald Wayne Lail, Burke County, N.C. (September)

Timothy Wayne Condrey, Caroleen, N.C. (September)

Roy Wayne Russell, Vancouver, Wash. (December)

Jeremy Wayne Hopkins, 22, Denton, Texas (November)

Reginald Wayne Thomas, 23, Huntsville, Texas (November)

Matthew Wayne Almand, 18, Melbourne, Fla. (November)

Convicted of murder:

Donald Wayne Shipe, 37, Winchester, Va. (May)

Sentenced for murder:

Emmanuel Wayne Harris, 28, Bisbee, Ariz. (February)

Tyler Wayne Justice, Alice, Texas (September)

Douglas Wayne Pepper, 44, Greensboro, N.C. (November)

Executed for murder:

Dennis Wayne Bagwell, 41, Huntsville, Texas (February)

Lonnie Wayne Pursley, 43, Huntsville, Texas (May)

Melvin Wayne White, 55, Hunstsville, Texas (November)

Committed suicide while suspected of murder:

Eric Wayne Jacobs, 27, Castroville, Calif. (April)

Michael Wayne Baxter, Edgewater, Md. (October)

Died of a drug overdose while serving two life terms for murder:

Russell Wayne Wagner, Jessup, Md. (February) (but buried at Arlington National Cemetery based on Army service in Vietnam, prompting Congress to propose to ban capital criminals from having military burials at Arlington)

One final note: Police in New Scotland, N.Y., arrested Corianna Thompson for the murder of her mother. Thompson's birth name was Corey Wayne Balashek, and before his sex change, he had served nine years in prison for another killing. Authorities believe Thompson/Balashek is the first American, let alone the first middle-name-Wayne, to be arrested for homicide in both genders.


Maness: Asheville Citizen-Times, Jan. 20

Ebert: Houston Chronicle, Feb. 22

Blair: WBIR-TV (Knoxville), April 28

Jackson: Pottstown Mercury, April 21

Hart: Austin American-Statesman, April 12

Keller: Dallas Morning News, Aug. 13

Lail: Charlotte Observer, Sept. 22

Condrey: Daily Courier (Forest City, N.C.), Sept. 22

Russell: The Columbian (Vancouver, Wash.), Dec. 4

Hopkins: Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Nov. 22

Thomas: Houston Chronicle, Nov. 23

Almand: Orlando Sentinel, Nov. 30

Shipe: Winchester Star, May 4

Harris: Sierra Vista Herald, Feb. 18

Justice: Alice (Texas) Echo-News Journal, Sept. 15

Pepper: Austin American-Statesman-AP, Nov. 8

Bagwell: Austin American-Statesman, Feb. 18

Pursley: Houston Chronicle, May 3

White: Houston Chronicle-AP, Nov. 3

Jacobs: Houston Chronicle, April 14

Baxter: The Capital (Annapolis), Oct. 8

Wagner: Washington Post, Aug. 5

Thompson/Balasek: Times Union (Albany, N.Y.), April 12

5 guys every girl’s gotta date
By Maura Kelly

Wondering which fella to flirt with next? Make a point of getting to know these men—they can teach you wonderful things about life and love…

So you’re out on the town, looking for a cute guy you’ll click with…who’ll be the next lucky dude? Who’s your usual type? Before you answer, wait a second, and let us urge you not to date your usual type. You’ll benefit big-time by dating various types of guys. Here’s why: Each will stretch the boundaries of what you think makes a suitable mate and teach you a unique set of skills that will come in handy when you do meet The One.

Type #1: The Older Man
There comes a point in every guy’s life when he’s no longer interested in keg parties, Sony PlayStations, and phrases like “getting laid.” In short, a man becomes a man, and that’s exactly why you should see what an older guy is all about. No, it’s not because he could be a sugardaddy who’ll shower you with fancy meals and great gifts (although that could be nice).

The real perk of dating an older guy is his worldliness and wisdom, which is bound to rub off on you, says Steve Nakamoto, author of Men Are Like Fish: What Every Woman Needs to Know About Catching a Man. “Because he’s had more life experience and has been through more than younger guys, he can play something of a teacher role,” he explains, adding that he once dated a woman 14 years younger than him. “She still calls me today to thank me for the things I taught her,” he says. “She’s always been very appreciative of advice I gave her, even little things like buying a CD, after I explained that I meant certificate of deposit, and not a music album!”

Type #2: The Starving Artist
Okay, sure: These dudes are not going to take you to fancy restaurants or even pay for your half of the dinner bill. Money, nice meals, and material goods don’t mean squat to this guy—and that’s exactly why you’ll have an incredible time once he opens your eyes to life’s simpler pleasures. Erika Meitner of Charlottesville, VA, now sees the world differently after a summer spent with a struggling musician, Jesse. “We went on the best dates, because they all involved great conversation and the most unexpected adventures,” she says. “He knew all the best cheap beer bars, where the jukeboxes rocked, and colorful people always wanted to tell Jesse their stories.” Not only will the world seem infinitely fascinating, but you may feel more fascinating, too, as you become inspired by his creativity and perhaps play the role of his muse.

Type #3: The Metrosexual
OK, so he may be better dressed and more recently manicured than you. Get over it—because not only will you reap the obvious benefits of dating a guy like this (by being able to borrow his expensive shampoos), you’ll get a chance to live a happenin’ life! These guys will take you to all the hottest clubs and coolest clothing stores, and let’s not forget just how fabulous you’ll feel walking hand-in-hand with a man who looks like he just stepped out of an issue of GQ. The benefits don’t end there: His style may well rub off on you. “That’s significant,” says Nakamoto, “because it makes her feel better about herself, as well as making her a stronger player on the social and professional fields.”

Type #4: The Bad Boy
This rebel might have a motorcycle or not, but one thing’s for sure: He lives on his own terms and is not about to apologize for them. Hang with him for a while, and you’ll learn why being bad can feel so good—and how to stop worrying about what everyone else thinks. Talk about liberating! “In general, women tend to be pleasers, much more so than men,” Nakamoto says. “A bad boy can show them what it’s like to quit trying to make everyone else happy, and just do what you want.” New Yorker Diana Petroff has first-hand experience of these bad-boy benefits, having once dated one of these rebels. “He knew there was more to the world,” Petroff explains. “And from being with him, I learned to look deep inside myself for what's truly important—rather than just accepting what my parents or friends thought was the proper path for me.”

Type #5: The Nice Guy
He never makes you feel insecure or uncertain, never plays hard to get, never makes you doubt how he feels about you. It’s a shame that we need to explain this one, and yet we know how hard it can be to date a true sweetheart, at least at first. “A woman won’t be used to the frequency and consistency of affection nice guys give, since most other guys who are playing the dating game don’t do that,” Nakamoto explains. Even so, he advises that women get used to the nice guys, and quick. Why? Because once you’ve had the good stuff (a guy who calls when he says he will; a guy who wants to see you more often as he gets to know you), you won’t stand for anything less. At the same time, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should start sending out the wedding invites after a few months. “Just because he’s nice doesn’t necessarily mean he’s the right guy,” Nakamoto warns. “He might rate low in terms of romantic chemistry, because he lacks the edge that creates the kind of surprise, passion, and excitement that all people want in their lives.”

Of course, the key is finding the man who has everything you want—until then, however, go ahead and try everything and don’t worry so much about whether you’ve found Mr. Right. Trust us, he’s out there. In the meantime, have fun!

5 women every guy's gotta date
By Jonathan Small

Before settling down, these are the gals every man should date. Why? For the connection you two feel, of course, but also for the relationship lessons each one will teach you.

With so many amazing women out there, how do you know which one is right for you? The honest truth is, you don’t really—that is, unless you get out there and date. “Men should experience dating many different types of women before they settle down,” says Gilda Carle, Ph.D., a New York-based relationship expert. “The more relationship skills you learn and the more experiences you have, the more prepared you’ll be when true love finally comes.” So, allow us to present five women you really should date before you say, “I do.” Of course, no one is saying you should go through life with a little checklist titled “Women to Date,” but spending time getting to know and appreciate these women can be a wonderful thing. Here, a look at who they are and why you should go out with them.

Type #1: The Older Woman
If you haven’t tried dating up the age chain, you don’t know what you’ve been missing. Mature women have been places, seen things, and have a sophistication and wisdom that you, my young friend, can—and should—soak up like a sponge. “Older women know who they are and what they want,” explains Dr. Gilda. Spend time with one and you’ll gain a terrific perspective on life, and realize that being a desirable woman doesn’t mean being a woman younger than you are. Says Patrick Hayden of Seattle, WA, “I definitely recommend dating an older woman. I dated one when I was 19 and she was 30, and what she taught me carries over to this day.” While a knowledge of wine, travel and the human condition are usually par for the course, so is something else: a tutorial on how to please a woman in bed. “The older woman I dated was like a sex mentor to me. She taught me absolutely everything I know,” recalls Patrick.

Type #2: The Guy’s Girl
Every guy needs to experience that rare breed of gal who looks and talks like a woman, but loves sports, beer, and action flicks—in short, who acts like a guy. Evan Silver is dating this type right now and couldn’t be happier about it: “She’s a hot woman who plays rugby and encourages me to hang out with my guy friends,” he says. The guy’s girl is often so similar to you that you forget to censor yourself around her—a good thing, according to Dr. Gilda, because it causes you to be more comfortable around women in general. “You’ll let your guard down more, just as you would around your guy friends,” she says. “You’ll learn that women can offer you friendship that you don’t have to reserve for your own gender.” We’re not saying you’ll be staging belching contests with all your future loves, but you will realize that there’s no reason to walk on eggshells around the person you’re dating. You can just be yourself—which is all women want anyway.

Type #3: The Free Spirit
This girl always stops to smell the roses. Think Drew Barrymore, Goldie Hawn, Claire from Six Feet Under. She’s totally creative, spiritual, spontaneous—maybe a tad ditzy—and she relies more on instinct and inspiration than reason and good planning. Why is this good for you? Because let’s face it: Guys are goal-oriented. We like game plans and spreadsheets; road maps and instruction manuals. That’s why sometimes we need a free spirit to fly into our lives and shake us free of our rigid ways. “A woman like this can tap a man’s creativity in ways no one else has,” says Dr. Gilda. “She shows him that not everything has to be perfect or planned.” Michael Pagliughi of Ocean City, NJ, concurs. He considers himself a tad uptight—and says that his art-student girlfriend taught him to chill. “She took me to some underground art galleries, had me stay up to the wee hours even when I had to work the next day,” he recalls. The spontaneity she taught him has carried over into other relationships. “She really helped me discover a more romantic, creative side of myself,” he says. “Now I’m much more likely to meet a date somewhere unexpected or surprise her with flowers."

Type #4: The Brainy Chick
In the dating game, looks often trump intelligence—guys go for hotties rather than girls who can stand their ground in a heated debate. This is really a shame, since not only can the sharp ones keep your mind from turning to putty, they can help you appreciate all facets of a woman and even handle those times in your life when you don’t know it all. “Men are so often intimidated by smart women—they have vulnerable egos and never want to feel as if any woman is showing them up,” says Dr. Gilda. Sure, dating a woman who can beat you at chess or argue circles around you about Middle East politics might be a bit of a blow to your ego at first, but ultimately, you’ll grow from it. Michael of Austin, TX, recalls his brainy ex-girlfriend this way: “She taught me how to debate with the best of them. I had to bring something to the table or she’d get bored. She challenged me in a way I wasn’t used to and that felt great.”

Type #5: The Seductress
Every man fantasizes about dating a girl who has an, um, healthy libido and is extremely creative in bed. The good news: These girls actually exist—and if you date one, you’ll be a much better man for it. But it’s not for the reason you might think. Says Dr. Gilda, “Every guy needs to get this type of girl out of his system. Because he’ll quickly realize that sex alone cannot sustain a relationship.” Evan can relate; he dated a girl who lived and breathed sex. “It was cool at first,” he recalls. But soon he began to want something more. “There was nothing else there, no romance and not much conversation,” he says. “I realized the only connection we had was sexual.” Evan has since moved on from the seductress, but he learned a ton. Sure, hot sex still ranks high on his wish list, but now he also wants a girl he can also really relate to and bond with. And that’s a very valuable lesson.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Naked and the Dread
I pose nude for students. Will the art world ever be the same?

By Emily Yoffe

Listen to this story on NPR's Day to Day.

Download MP3 audio of the author reading this story here, or sign up for Slate's free daily podcast on iTunes.

An hour into my first class as a nude art model, the instructor told me to get into a pose I could hold for 20 minutes. I was on a platform in the middle of the room; about 10 students, two of them male, stood around me in a semicircle. I got down on my knees, put my forearms on the floor, and rested my head on my clasped hands. One of the men called out "Great pose!" with such enthusiasm that for the first time in that session I felt really, really naked.

I recently spent two classes as a model at Washington, D.C.'s, Corcoran College of Art and Design. This was an activity that perfectly fulfilled the Human Guinea Pig mandate: to humiliate myself doing things normal people are curious about but too normal to do themselves. After I left a message at the school indicating my availability, the model coordinator, S., called me for a preliminary interview. It turned out to be no problem that I'd never modeled before—as long as I was willing to be nude for my maiden voyage.

S. invited me for an in-person interview, where she quickly approved me then gave some crucial advice. She said I should bring a bathrobe to class to wear during breaks. "You don't want to be—" here she cupped her hands midchest, "hanging out."

I had met the two essential model requirements:

1) I owned a bathrobe.

2) I was willing to take it off.

She consulted her schedule. She penciled me in for one teacher then nixed it: "No. One of the models told me this instructor likes the models to walk around and interact with the students." Geez, was I supposed to sidle up to a young artist and say, "Is that a paintbrush in your pocket?" She considered another class, made up of freshmen, but said it was better to let experienced models deal with new students early in the semester.

I filled out the employment application, which asked for three references, although it didn't specify if these had to be people who had seen me naked. I was also given a list of guidelines, which included my right to ask that the heat be turned up and my obligation to "use proper hygiene at all times." S. settled on an evening class, consisting largely of adult-education students. I would be paid $15 an hour. I wondered why it was so hard to find and keep models. It sounded like the ideal job: earning almost three times the minimum wage just to sit on your rump.

On the appointed night I arrived early, after going through what I realized was the silly-under-the-circumstances ritual of wondering what to wear. I changed into my bathrobe in the restroom and waited in class while the students arrived. I was relieved to see they were almost all women between the ages of 20 and 60—although, disturbingly, one was a teenage boy. The instructor, M., told me to start with 10 one-minute poses. I asked if she had any particular poses in mind. She shook her head, "I never tell models what to do."

Here is the distinction between naked and nude. Naked is when you step out of the shower before you've put on your bathrobe. Nude is when you drop your bathrobe in front of a roomful of art students. As I undid the sash to my bathrobe, I had the fleeting thought that I could say, "I don't know what I was thinking," then grab my clothes and run. But I opened the sash, took off my robe, and stepped up on the platform.

I stood there, suppressing a strong desire to giggle (fortunately, the students suppressed their giggles, too) as I tried to think of appropriate poses—something neither sultry nor stiff. I began doing yogalike twists, but with my being undressed and all, I was afraid it had the feeling of yoga porn.

It was easier, I discovered, than parading around in my bathing suit and high heels for my adventure as Mrs. Washington, D.C. There I was trying to convince people that my corseted and padded body had allure. Here I was just a bunch of spheres (OK, deflated spheres) and angles in space. It felt like that dream in which find yourself in class naked—you know things aren't right, but there you are, so you try to act insouciant and give the impression you always meant to show up without any clothes. During a break I put on my robe and looked at the drawings. In some portraits I was lithe and limber; in others I had an enormous belly and haunches and looked rather like Bufo marinus, the giant toad.

M. had me move on to a series of longer poses, and I was starting to be relaxed about the whole thing when a middle-aged man wearing a baseball cap and carrying a 6-foot-long canvas arrived. He found a place at the edge of the circle with a view of my backside, propped up his canvas, and complimented my pose.

Time passed quickly as I listened to M. critique the students. One universal problem was that my breasts tended to wander around the sketch pad. M. frequently pointed out how people were misplacing them. "You've got her left breast here, but if you look at her it's really over there." I was also distracted by the middle-aged man. While the other students drew me in pencil or chalk, he attacked his canvas furiously with paint and numerous brushes, which sounded like he was sanding an old dresser.

At the break I again looked at the portraits. It was flattering to be the object of so much attention. One was a feet-first foreshortened view, another an examination of my shoulder, arm, and neck. Then I got to the man's canvas. There he had painted a luminous, opalescent, emerald-hued portrait of my ass. I wanted to buy it, but I said nothing. One of the rules was that I was not to comment on the students' work unless asked.

I agreed to model at another class about a month later—this one was during the day, so it would be comprised of undergraduates. By this point in the year they were inured to the sight of naked bodies, the way medical students get used to cadavers. Shortly before the class the model coordinator let me know there would be another model posing with me. I said that was fine but worried that we might be moving into Howard Stern territory.

Over Thanksgiving, when I discussed with my brother-in-law my upcoming adventure with the other model, he raised a horrifying possibility.

"Wiener?" he asked.

The question loomed on the appointed day. The teacher was tall with long white hair and a goatee—think of Donald Sutherland in Pride & Prejudice. As the students—eight young women and two young men—took their places around the platform, I hung around in my bathrobe waiting for the other model to arrive.

No wiener, I was relieved to see. C. was in her late 20s, gamine and slender. I was less relieved when we took off our robes. She slid out of her yellow silk Chinese wrap, revealing how young and gravity-defiant she was. As I pulled off my bulky pink terrycloth robe, I consoled myself that we'd make a nice contrast for the students.

This teacher was more directive, telling us how to pose. He asked me to sit on a cushion—it was stained and spattered and he suggested I throw my robe over it—and place my hands on my thighs. He placed C. behind me. I was positioned directly in front of one of the male students. He stared at me, then held up a pencil, moved it back and forth and squinted at me with one eye shut. It was just like a cartoon of an artist at work. I wanted to call out, "Where's your beret?"

C. and I posed for 20 minutes as the teacher went from student to student. "You see, there are two triangles," he said to one and pointed to my legs. He took a long ruler and placed it along my limbs, telling the students to be aware of my proportions. During the break, I looked at the drawings. Since the teacher put C. and me near to but facing away from each other, we looked like an alienated couple. The students captured this and our bodies. You could title all the joint portraits of us, Perky and Droopy Have a Fight.

While we waited for our next pose, C. popped a soda. I asked where I could get a drink and C. directed me to the student lounge downstairs. I was strangely troubled at the thought of wandering the building. It's one thing to be nude in an art class, it's another to walk around a school in your bathrobe.

Then the teacher put us in position for our next pose. I was starting to resent this: I felt robbed of my own artistic vision. He had C. stand on the floor and prop one leg on the platform while I stood on the platform and leaned against the wall with my arms crossed. I tried not to take offense that the second male student, instead of drawing us, did a portrait of a doorknob. Twenty minutes went by, then 30. My left knee was locked and throbbing and the blood was pooling in my feet. The repetitive European techno music the teacher put on only added to my anxiety about when I would be released.

I couldn't stand it anymore and asked for a break.

The drawings were wonderfully varied. The young man in front me did a light pencil sketch, while the young woman next to him created a chiaroscuro of my torso. C. and I talked during the break. She is an aspiring filmmaker who saw an ad for modeling on Craigslist. "It's so much better than working at Starbucks or an electronics store, and it pays better, too," she said.

But the role of artist's model has a troubled history. Modeling for Pablo Picasso (which also included being his lover) tended to lead to breakdown or suicide. When Pierre Bonnard dropped one model for another, the first one killed herself. He married the next one, but he painted her lying in the bathtub so often, she must have turned into a prune. As an old man, Henri Matisse started painting his wife's young nurse. His wife got jealous and tried to get rid of the nurse, who promptly shot herself (although not fatally). Madame Matisse ended up leaving and the young model staying. Edward Hopper's wife, Jo, was the model for every female in all his paintings. This was too intense. He often slapped her around, and she retaliated by biting him.

I decided to get out before any of these fates befell me. Although I wonder if I should have tried to buy that painting of my rear end in green. I would look perfect over the mantelpiece.

Is It Hard To Steal a Penguin?
The motives and methods of zoo theft.

By Daniel Engber

Download the MP3 audio version of this story here. The Explainer now has its own free daily podcast; click here to learn more.

An 18-inch baby penguin was stolen from the Amazon World zoo in southern England on Dec. 17. "Toga" was still missing as of Friday; the zoo's manager is offering a $13,000 reward for his safe return. How hard is it to steal an animal from the zoo?

It depends on the animal. A full-grown lion would be very difficult to swipe even if the zoo had no security, but a lion cub would be relatively easy. In 2000, a Jakarta crime ring used inside help to steal 16 lion cubs; corrupt den wardens told the zoo manager that the cubs had been eaten by their mothers. Last month, four masked thieves with Kalashnikovs raided a zoo in the Gaza Strip and grabbed a lion cub after tossing a blanket over its head. (They also made off with two parrots known for speaking Arabic.)

In general, small or baby animals are the most vulnerable, since they're easy to conceal and don't put up much of a fight. An adult penguin, for example, can give you a vicious peck. Birds do make for tempting targets, though, since they're not too big and can be worth a lot of money. (An exotic macaw could fetch more than $10,000.) Outdoor avian enclosures are also less likely to be rigged up with alarms or security cameras than indoor habitats. In 1989, the San Diego Zoo lost a milky eagle owl when thieves cut a 2-foot hole in its wire cage and an African eagle when thieves broke through the door at the back of its cage.

To protect its animals, a zoo may have security patrols, video cameras, and alarms. (Some zoos also provide beefed-up security for their most popular animals.) Security experts also suggest that keepers tag and photograph their animals or implant microchip identification. An implanted ID makes it harder to resell a stolen animal to a legitimate dealer or collector, who can scan the animal and suss out its identity.
Animal theft seems to be a bigger problem in Europe than in America. Last year, around 40 small monkeys were abducted in a series of well-planned break-ins at British zoos. Police think the animals were stolen to meet specific requests from private collectors. Crooks in France have also pilfered flamingoes by the dozen.

The last dramatic animal theft in the U.S. occurred on the day after Christmas in 2000, when teenagers climbed through a skylight and stole a pair of koalas from the San Francisco Zoo. One of the koala burglars planned to give the animals to his girlfriend as a present.

Motives vary from incident to incident. Police think some eagles stolen from American zoos may have been used for religious rituals. A stolen pronghorn named Janie appeared to have been beaten to death by sadists. And a red-tailed hawk named Mani was stolen on two separate occasions from a zoo in Illinois: The first thief tried to sell him; the second wanted to make him "free and happy in a non-caged world."

Do Giant Babies Grow Into Giant Adults?
Birth size and its consequences.

By Daniel Engber

Download the MP3 audio version of this story here. The Explainer now has its own free daily podcast; click here to learn more.

An Oklahoma woman gave birth to a 14-pound, 3-ounce baby girl on Dec. 16. Hospital workers say the newborn is already wearing diapers and clothing designed for 9-month-olds. Do giant babies like this one turn into giant adults?

Yes. There's no way to predict exactly how big this enormous infant will become, but studies have shown a linear correlation between birth weight and adult size (as measured by the body mass index). We also know that the length of a baby is associated with its eventual height and weight. In other words, heavy babies tend to grow up fat and long babies tend to grow up tall.

Studies have also shown that bigger parents have bigger babies, which in turn end up as bigger adults. (Parents who were born heavy themselves are also more likely to have large babies.) This should come as no surprise: Children inherit their parents' body types both via genetics and shared experience. But the data show a connection between birth weight and eventual BMI that can't be explained by the parents' size or lifestyle. Identical twins, for example, seem to end up at sizes that reflect the difference in their initial birth weights.

On the other hand, a baby that weighs less will likely grow into an adult with a lower BMI. (She'll also have less of a chance of getting breast cancer.) That doesn't mean you should hope for a small baby: Lower birth weight has been associated with stroke, coronary heart disease, and other problems. To make matters worse, when an especially little baby grows up, the fat she does have tends to accumulate in her trunk—another risk factor for cardiovascular illness. (There's some controversy over evidence that smaller babies end up with higher blood pressure.)

You can also find connections between birth weight and cognitive abilities. Larger babies tend to score higher on IQ tests when they grow up. A study from the University of Pennsylvania found that on average, each additional pound of baby fat yields four more months of schooling and a 7 percent increase in earnings.
Bonus Explainer: What makes a baby big? In some cases, diabetes. If an expectant mother can't metabolize sugar properly, her fetus may start producing extra insulin. The insulin functions as a growth hormone that makes the baby bigger and increases its chances of growing up overweight. Mothers who put on a lot of pounds during their pregnancies are also more likely to have larger babies.

Strange Celeb Happenings in 2005
The Associated Press

Thank goodness we remembered to TiVo 2005. If it wasn't stored in our mental hard drive, we wouldn't have believed what went on in La-La land this year.

To think we thought Brad and Jen were the ideal couple! That Tom Cruise was normal! That Nick and Jessica and were in it for love — not publicity! And that Michael Jackson might have been guilty!

This year opened our eyes all right — although we probably wished we had kept them shut:

BRAD THE CAD: Maybe he thought they were on a break. That's the only good explanation Brad Pitt could have for breaking poor Jennifer Aniston's heart by hooking up with his "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" vixen, Angelina Jolie. While Brad's perfect rep was blemished by the affair, it was hard to hate on Angelina — her adopting half the third world and all. Why didn't Elizabeth Taylor think of this tactic when she stole Eddie Fisher from Debbie Reynolds?

NOW ON DVD: Just when they were getting to be one of Hollywood's veteran couples with three years' tenure, Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey called it quits — appropriately enough, a few hours before Turkey day. But "Newlyweds" was so over anyway. "Nick and Jessica: Divorce Court" will be much more fun (especially when Jessica's lawyer needs to explain that annoying legal term: A-L-I-M-O-N-Y).

CRUISE WOOS KATIE: Even the "mid-life crisis" excuse can't explain Cruise's eye-popping behavior: his couch-jumping "Oprah" antics; the proclamation of love for cutie Katie Holmes and ensuing engagement after two minutes of dating; their suck-face appearances on red carpets; his tangling with Matt Lauer on the "Today" show ... next time, instead of jumping on a couch, Cruise should consider laying on one.

FEUD OF THE YEAR, PART I: Hell hath no fury like a postpartum mom questioned about her right to self-medicate. And Cruise (already on shaky ground after the whole couch thing) drew Brooke Shields' ire when he chastised her for taking pills to deal with debilitating depression following the birth of her first child. For the pregnant Holmes' sake, let's hope her delirium over Cruise is strong enough to last through shrieking cries, 2 a.m. feedings, diaper emergencies and the terrible twos.

FEUD OF THE YEAR, PART II: Though the rap world has plenty of felons, apparently G-Unit's clique is only big enough for one bullet-scarred gangsta rapper: 50 Cent knocked the Game from his crew after Game had the audacity to express an opinion other than 50's. Scuffles and gunshots followed before the two publicly made up. Unfortunately for Game, beef only boosts 50's career — not the guy's on the other end.

THEY LIKED MIKE: For those who doubt the magic of Michael Jackson: over the course of his child molestation trial he showed up to court in pajamas, got caught with a mountain of porn, his DEFENSE witnesses admitted to childhood sleepovers with an adult Jackson — and he was still acquitted. The outcome might have been drastically different had he had shown up to court in tighty-whiteys.

GROOVE OVER: Oh no you didn't! "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" author Terry McMillan almost snapped her neck while unleashing a head-shaking, eye-rolling fury after finding out the boy-toy husband that she met on a Jamaican vacation was secretly gay. She took him to court to make sure the pre-nup was enforced. Let's hope she remembers all this when she vacations on Fire Island next year.

YO, SON, PEEP THE JAIL REMIX: Lil' Kim, Beanie Sigel and Cassidy were among the high-profile rappers who were behind bars as their albums were released. Don't they know that you can't do Patron-and-Porsche videos from a cellblock?

PARTY CRASHER OF THE YEAR: Suge Knight wasn't on the invite list for Kanye West's pre-MTV Awards bash, and after what happened, we know why: Knight cleared the party when a gunshot pierced his leg (some say it was from his own weapon). Come to think of it, wasn't Suge Knight at last year's chair-throwing Vibe awards? And wasn't he in the same car when Tupac was killed? Are we sure he wasn't at the grassy knoll in Dallas?

CODEPENDENCY: Now we know why Nick and Jessica didn't last — they were sober. The reality show "Being Bobby Brown" gave us a distasteful yet riveting look at Brown's 13-year marriage to Whitney Houston. "Crack is Wack" Whitney looked more jittery than M.J. on trial, and acted so bizarre we actually had sympathy for Brown for putting up with her.

FALSEST RUMOR OF THE YEAR: Just when we were anxiously awaiting that tender mother-daughter reunion on "Oprah," Janet Jackson shot down a claim that she secretly had a daughter some 20 years ago.

TRUEST RUMOR OF THE YEAR: Given that most top models are basically required to have a gaunt frame and glazed eyes, maybe Kate Moss was just getting ready for work when she was caught snorting coke by a British tabloid.

THIS VIDEO IS NOT EVIDENCE: Since it seems he'll never go to trial on those pesky child porn charges, R. Kelly had plenty of time to craft the year's wackiest, best video: "Trapped in the Closet, Parts 1-5" (which soon became Parts 6-12, with another 10 apparently on the way). In the soap-opera of a song, we're treated to cheating spouses, down-low husbands, an ex-con named 'Twon and a well-endowed midget. Even "Laguna Beach" couldn't compete with all that action.

BOYS TO MEN: Britney Spears grew up this year with the birth of her son, Sean. Now if only her hubby would do the same — Kevin Federline is still smoking around poor Brit. As far as that fledgling rap career, given the frightful track leaked on the Internet, K-Fed shouldn't give up his day job. Wait — he doesn't have one.

* Video: Best/worst celeb moments '05

Saturday, December 24, 2005

‘Why aren’t you married yet?’
By Kimberly Dawn Neumann

Whether you’re single and loving it or desperately seeking Mr./Ms. Right, being hounded about your relationship status is annoying. And yet it seems to be a perfectly acceptable topic of conversation at festive family functions this time of year. In preparation for holiday party season, we asked everyone from social experts to comedians for the best answers to the “Why are you still single?” question.

Save your ego by boosting your questioner’s
“When children ask a disquieting question, adults answer the question with a question. This technique deflects the attention off of you and puts the spotlight on the questioner, and it may work for you, too. Say ‘What an interesting question. I am curious about how you made your decision to get married to fill in the name of your questioner’s partner.’ This indicates that you think getting married is a decision, showing that being single isn't about being a loser but about not having made that decision yet. And as a perk, it may provide the opportunity for an interesting conversation!”
-Joni Mantell, psychotherapist and relationship coach in New York, NY and Pennington, NJ

Make your point with an extreme example
"Tell them, ’I look at marriage as an old-fashioned, patrician, indentured-slave practice that imprisons people in a backbreaking, emotionally bereft sinkhole.’”
-Mike O’Malley, star of the CBS series Yes, Dear

Bait-and-switch your response
“One all-purpose answer for anything rude is to give a big smile and say, ‘Oh, you!’ They will be baffled by it, so use their confusion to change the subject by saying ‘Now, listen’ in an urgent tone and going off on something else. Just make it clear to yourself that you don't even have to acknowledge something stupid has been said, much less answer it.”
-Ronna Lichtenberg, author of Pitch Like A Girl: How a Woman Can Be Herself and Still Succeed

Make them wish they hadn’t asked
“Try, ‘Because the doctor tells me that I get enough nagging from my mom.’ ‘Because a couple of years ago I got a great deal on a 50 pound box of condoms, and I want to get my money’s worth.’ ‘One thing at a time. Let me get the sex change first.’ ‘Have you seen me naked?’”
-Brian McCann, writer for Late Night with Conan O’Brien

Inspire jealousy because you’re still single
“The trick is to persuade people that you're not bothered by their nosy question. Turn the undercover insult into an opportunity to impress them with responses that display your confidence, self-empowerment and sense of humor. Some ideas are ‘I’m single because I’m waiting for my perfect match, just like you did,’ ‘It takes time to separate the best from the rest,’ or ‘I’m taking my time to make sure I do it right the first time.’”
-Laurie Puhn, J.D., author of Instant Persuasion: How to Change Your Words to Change Your Life and founder of

Shrug it off with a snappy comeback
“My general feeling is that a rude question deserves a rude answer, but a few of my favorite ways to deflect the attention are:
‘It gives my mother something to live for.’
‘Johnny Depp is taken.’
‘Just lucky, I guess.’
‘I guess it just goes to prove that you can’t trust those voodoo-doll rituals.’”
-Linda Sunshine, author of Women Who Date Too Much…And Those Who Should Be So Lucky

Drop some science on the situation
“Defuse the comment by saying that studies have shown that marrying at a later age increases the odds of the marriage lasting. The younger you are, the more likely it is that you’ll grow in different directions. But when you’re older, you’ve got a better idea of who the person is and that they’re going to stay that way.”
-David Givens, Ph.D., anthropologist and author of Love Signals

Smile and move on with savvy
“Don’t flip out if someone hits you with the question. Remember that the holidays are a tense time and people might just be looking for conversation-starters. Try to go into these parties, if you have to go, with a good attitude and respond good-naturedly. ‘Thank you for recognizing how high my standards are,’ or ‘No one has been smart enough to ask me yet’ are good responses. Or just say, ‘That's a good question, I've never thought about it before!’ and walk away with a huge smile on your face.”
-Joyce Newman, media relations/communications expert and founder of The Newman Group

Mystery giver bestows $15,000 diamond ring
Motorist returns to unlocked car to find sparkler, note mourning lost love

WESTBOROUGH, Mass. - Imagine getting off the train after work and finding a $15,000 diamond ring in your car.

A Westborough, Mass., man says that’s what happened to him.

It seems the ring was left in his unlocked car by a total stranger, heartbroken over a lost love.

The ring came in a box topped with a white bow. A note with it read: “Merry Christmas. Thank you for leaving your car door unlocked. Instead of stealing your car I gave you a present. Hopefully this will land in the hands of someone you love, for my love is gone now.”

The finder told police about the ring after having it appraised.

Police say they have no idea where the ring came from or who left it. For now, it’s finders, keepers.

Step aside, Frosty, make way for 'Snowzilla'

16-foot-tall snowman attains celebrity status in Anchorage
"Snowzilla," a 16-foot-tall handpacked snow sculpture, dwarfs creator Billy Ray Powers, center, on a busy street in Anchorage, Alaska (Jim Lavrakas / ANCHORAGE DAILY NEWS)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - With the help of his kids and neighbors, Billy Ray Powers built more than just a snowman — they’ve dubbed his 16-plus-foot-tall creation "Snowzilla."

After using up all the snow in the family’s yard, they turned to neighbors' yards and carried buckets on sleds. They hand-packed the snowman like an ice-cream cone.

"It's solid ice," he said. "I put the arms in with my power drill."

It took a month to complete the project. It was too big to use buttons for its eyes, so Snowzilla gazes over the neighborhood from beer bottles.

Powers says the project took on a life of its own as it got bigger and bigger. Now Snowzilla is attracting plenty of sightseers.

"People stop by, and they’re just flabbergasted," said neighbor Darrell Estes. "They walk up and knock on it to make sure it’s real snow, not Styrofoam."

Woman swallows cell phone to end fight
Lovers’ spat ends with woman choking on disputed device

BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. - A lovers' dispute over a cell phone ended suddenly when the woman swallowed the phone whole, police said.

Police said they received a call at 4:52 a.m. Friday from a Blue Springs man who said his girlfriend was having trouble breathing. When they arrived at the house they found the 24-year-old woman had a cell phone lodged in her throat.

"He wanted the phone and she wouldn’t give it to him, so she attempted to swallow it," Detective Sgt. Steve Decker of the Blue Springs Police Department. "She just put the entire phone in her mouth so he couldn’t get it."

Police said an ambulance transported the woman to St. Mary's Medical Center in Blue Springs. A hospital spokeswoman said she couldn’t give details about the woman's health since police have not released her identity.