January 14, 2005

LinkNews Digest [01/14/2005]

"Charlie, Harry, Stop Bogarting The Dwarves!" Says Doctor Who

FILMING of the new Doctor Who series has been hit by a shortage of midget actors.

Bosses wanted them to play tiny blue aliens - but most have been snapped up for the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie and to play Gringotts Bank staff in the new Harry Potter film.

Dr Who executive producer Russell T Davies said: "It's very difficult to employ persons of restricted growth when, as our producer Phil Collinson says, `Bloody Gringotts and the Chocolate Factory are filming at the same time'."

Insiders on the BBC1 sci-fi drama admit it has proved a headache during shooting of the 13-part series, due to be wrapped up next month. One said: "The two big movies have snapped up the talent. It's been hard to find who we want."

Ali G Narrowly Escapes Lynching

LONDON (Reuters) - British comedian Sasha Baron Cohen escaped a near-riot at an American rodeo while filming his satirical "Da Ali G Show."

According to a report in the Roanoke (North Carolina) Times, a man who was introduced as Boraq Sagdiyev from Kazakhstan -- in reality a Cohen character named Borat -- appeared at the rodeo over the weekend after organizers agreed to have him sing the national anthem.

After telling the crowd he supported America's war on terrorism, he said, "I hope you kill every man, woman and child in Iraq (news - web sites), down to the lizards ... And may George W. Bush drink the blood of every man, woman and child in Iraq." He then sang a garbled version of "The Star-Spangled Banner."

The Roanoke Times reported that the crowd turned "downright nasty." One observer said "If he had been out there a minute longer, I think somebody would have shot him." Cohen and his film crew were escorted out of the Salem Civic Center and told to leave the premises. "Had we not gotten them out of there, there would have been a riot," rodeo producer Bobby Rowe told the paper. "They loaded up the van and they screeched out of there."

Korea Launches Surprise Attack on Long Hair

A campaign exhorting men to get a proper short-back-and-sides has been aired by state-run Pyongyang television. The series is entitled Let us trim our hair in accordance with Socialist lifestyle.

It stressed the "negative effects" of long hair on "human intelligence development", noting that long hair "consumes a great deal of nutrition" and could thus rob the brain of energy.
LINK [One reader found it ironic, since their leader sports a full-on Bouffant]

Fragging for Septagenarians

SimPC, an "idiot-proof" PC is set to debut in May of this year. It seems like a step towards a thin-client world, though it is aimed primarily at the elderly. For about $400 for the box and a $13-per-month subscription, users get a box with a propietary OS and software preinstalled for online banking, spam filtering, virus detection and online storage. What users don't get is the ability to install software, burn CDs or download large files. Initial release is only for the Netherlands and Belgium."

Hacker Watches Secret Service Watching Him

The Secret Service has been investigating various computer crimes lately, and one of the people they were going after was simultaneously tracking them back by accessing an agent's T-Mobile Sidekick account. The details are fairly complex, but basically, this hacker got his hands on the entire T-Mobile user database, including passwords and other private info, allowing him to access anyone's web-based Sidekick account. It just so happens that one of the Secret Service agents working on the case uses a Sidekick, and the hacker got various Secret Service documents by logging into that agent's account.
LINK (via TechDirt)

Welcome to Scenic Butthead Lake

LAKE STEVENS, Wash. - Someone in the Census Bureau (news - web sites) may be watching a little too much MTV. Bevis Lake, a 5.7-acre body of water in a forested area about 25 miles northeast of Seattle, is now appearing in Bureau records with a different name: Butthead Lake.

Those two names — Bevis and Butthead — are almost identical to the 1990s MTV cartoon show "Beavis and Butt-head," which featured a pair of slacker teenagers who watch music videos and make bad jokes.

Someone at the Census Bureau must have gotten bored and made a joke out of naming the lake, said Ken Brown, a land surveyor with the state Department of Natural Resources. "It's got to be," he said.

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