Computer-Generated Talking Cat On TV Delights Iowa Woman

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Vol 35 Issue 46

Eyes Removed In Violent Yearbook Attack

EVANSVILLE, IN—An unidentified eraser-wielding vandal rubbed out the eyes of graduating senior Paulette Conreid in Erika Franklin's personal copy of "Transitions," the 1999 Evansville West High School yearbook, EWHS sources reported Monday. "I am so totally bumming," Franklin said. "Who would do something like that to Paulette? She's, like, the biggest sweetie I know." The primary suspect in the attack is Jenny Logan, who, as everyone in school knows, has a huge crush on Jeff Lowe, Conreid's boyfriend.

Broncos, Jaguars Helmets Sustain Severe Damage In Monday Night Football Helmet Collision

JACKSONVILLE, FL—A pair of NFL helmets were severely damaged Monday in an explosive head-on collision during a broadcast of ABC's Monday Night Football. "We are still reconstructing the incident, searching for any clue as to what could have gone wrong," Monday Night Football play-by-play announcer Al Michaels said of the catastrophe, which occurred minutes before kickoff and was seen live by an estimated 17 million television viewers. "The helmets were securely chained to their respective space-platforms by four safety tethers, and there was no reason to suspect they would be able to break free." Witnesses said the chained helmets, which directly faced each other on their platforms, seemed increasingly angry and agitated in the moments leading up to the disaster.

Buchanan Reveals Thousands Of Americans Made In China

TOPEKA, KS—During a speech Monday before members of the Topeka VFW Hall, a concerned Pat Buchanan said that "hundreds of thousands" of U.S. citizens were made in Communist China. "These shoddy, Asian-looking, 'knock-off' Americans are the mass-produced product of non-union, low-wage parents," the Reform Party presidential hopeful told VFW members. "Every day, these knock-offs are exported from China to our shores, where they are free to intermingle with real, made-in-the-U.S.A. Americans." Buchanan added that if he wins the presidency, he would impose stiff tariffs against U.S.-citizen-producing nations and return all bootleg Americans to their nation of origin.

The Mars Polar Lander

On Dec. 7, NASA mysteriously lost all contact with the $165 million Mars Polar Lander. Among the leading theories as to what went wrong:

I Think I'm Such Hot Shit

Boy, what is up with me? I strut around like I'm God's gift to the world or something. I think I'm so fascinating, I'm convinced everybody's just dying to listen to me ramble on about myself for hours on end. It's getting more obvious to me every day: I think I'm such hot shit!

Man Of The Millennium: Death

[image:29982]As humanity moves into the dawn of a new and uncertain future, we look back upon our collective past. In the annals of history, many have achieved greatness, yet one individual towers above all others as the most significant single force of the last thousand years. Whether in war or peace, feast or famine, prosperity or economic ruin, the Man Of The Millennium has touched all our lives. No one has had a greater, more permanent impact on our shared human condition.

Life Begins At Conception vs. Life Begins At 40!

Life begins at the moment of conception. To say otherwise is not only to deny the word of God, but to defy science. An abortion takes the life of a living person, whether the procedure occurs in the first week of pregnancy or the last.
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Good Times

Man Considers Nodding Approvingly After Friend’s Drink Purchase

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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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