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Man Either Sick Or Just At End Of Workday

CINCINNATI—Overwhelmed by a wave of fatigue, local man Will Markowski told reporters Tuesday that he was uncertain whether he was getting sick or if it was just the end of a normal workday.

Nation Leery Of Very Odd Little Boy

WASHINGTON—Noting that there was something distinctly unnerving about his mannerisms, physical appearance, and overall demeanor, the nation confirmed Friday that it was leery of very odd 8-year-old Brendan Nault.

Cryptic New Laundry Room Rule Hints At Tale Of Bizarre Infraction

HOBOKEN, NJ—Pondering the mysterious circumstances that could have led to such a sign being posted, sources within a local apartment building said Thursday that an enigmatic new rule taped to the wall of their laundry room suggested a strange infraction had taken place.

Dad Gets Dolled Up For Trip To Lowe’s

DEMING, IN—Glancing in the mirror while clipping a measuring tape to his belt, area dad Roger Hobak reportedly got all gussied up Wednesday before making the 14-mile trip to his local Lowe’s Home Improvement store.

Unclear What Coworker With Banana On Desk All Day Waiting For

MINNEAPOLIS—Annoyed that the fruit was even now just sitting there next to his computer monitor, sources at data analytics firm Progressive Solutions told reporters Wednesday that it was unclear what coworker Kevin Tanner, who has had a banana on his desk all day, was waiting for.

Father Teaches Son How To Shave Him

ST. CLOUD, MN—Judging him old enough to learn the time-honored family tradition passed down from father to son, local man William Dalton, 47, taught his 12-year-old child, David, how to properly shave him, sources reported Friday.

Mom Just Wants To Watch Something Nice

NORRISTOWN, PA—Hoping to have a quiet, relaxing movie night at home with her family, local mother Allison Halstead told reporters Tuesday that she just wants to watch something nice.
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Computer-Generated Talking Cat On TV Delights Iowa Woman

OTTUMWA, IA—A computer-manipulated talking cat in a commercial for Fresh Step cat litter thoroughly delighted Ottumwa resident Sheila Dagenhardt Monday.

The animated TV cat instructs its owner to "talk to the paw."

"Honey, you've got to come in here and see this ad!" Dagenhardt called out to husband Dale, who was in the kitchen making a bowl of microwave popcorn at the time. "It's so adorable!"

Dale, who missed a majority of the 30-second spot, managed to race back to the living room in time to see the cat's owner hold out a bag of Fresh Step cat litter, to which the sass-talking feline responded, "Meow you're talking!"

The ad then ended with an announcer delivering a warning to viewers to "get your cat Fresh Step, before your cat gets fresh with you."

"That was just about the cutest commercial I've ever seen," Dagenhardt said. "When the lady tried to fill the cat's box with a brand of litter that wasn't Fresh Step, the cat got all mad and put out its arm and said, 'Talk to the paw!'"

Dagenhardt enjoyed the computer-generated cat so much, later that evening she phoned her sister in Des Moines to ask if she had seen the commercial.

Sheila Dagenhardt

"Yeah, I saw that one during Judging Amy! It really looks like the cat's talking!" sister Deborah Sayner said. "How do they make it do that?"

"Don't go there!" added Sayner, repeating the part of the commercial in which the sharp-tongued tabby warns its owner not to reach for a bargain-brand litter.

After a lengthy discussion, the sisters came to the conclusion that the Fresh Step commercial was the best talking-animal ad they had seen since the one in which a group of brown bears sing "P-E-P-S-I" to the tune of "YMCA." They did note, however, that even though the antics of the Fresh Step cat are funnier, the Snuggle bear is cuter.

According to Fresh Step spokeswoman Roberta Alt, the Dagenhardts are not alone in their positive response to the new ad. In extensive focus-group testing, it scored 45 percent higher than last year's Fresh Step campaign, in which a large cat, heartbroken over his owner's litter choice, wakes up the neighbors by mournfully singing "O Sole Meow."

"Last year's 'Luciano Paw-varotti' spot was popular, but this one is even bigger," Alt said. "People really seem to love Fresh Step's new 'frank feline.' The cat's got attitude. Or, as we like to say, 'cattitude.'"

Created by the San Francisco-based computer-animation firm Ocean 1, the ad's special effects cost $200,000. Total project expenditures for the funny-cat commercial were $245,000, but television air-time outlays are expected to bring the total cost of the campaign to $4.5 million, a sum Alt called "well worth it in gains to brand-name recognition."

"We're currently developing other cheeky ads that humorously illustrate what might happen if you don't provide your pet with a premium cat litter like Fresh Step," Alt said. "Imagine a cat who rebels against his owner's cheap litter by donning a leather jacket, sunglasses and mohawk!"

Though Fresh Step's in-house creative team is still working on the new computer- generated cat's dialogue, Alt did confirm that the feline will utter the catchphrase, "Are you talking to me-ow?"

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