A 105-pound woman was crowned Fruitcake Champion after swallowing nearly five pounds of the treat in 10 minutes, beating her closest rival — a man almost four times her weight — by a single bite. "My jaw is very tired right now," Sonya Thomas said Tuesday after out-eating 405-pound Eric Booker of Long Island by one-eighth of an ounce.
A federal appeals court has upheld a Utah artist's right to make nude photos of Barbie dolls being menaced by kitchen appliances. Noting the image of Barbie dolls is "ripe for social comment," a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday rejected toymaker Mattel Inc.'s appeal of a lower court ruling in favor of lampooning the popular doll. Holding that social criticism was protected by the First Amendment, the court affirmed a 2001 federal court ruling in favor of Thomas Forsythe, who had produced photos of nude Barbies in danger of being attacked by vintage household appliances.
Mattel had argued the photos infringed on their copyrights and trademarks. Forsythe had used Barbie dolls in absurd and often sexualized positions for his "Food Chain Barbie" photos. The artist had argued that the photo series, which also included a photo of Barbie dolls wrapped in tortillas and covered in salsa in a casserole dish in a lit oven, was meant to critique the "objectification of women" and "beauty myth" associated with the popular doll.
The most important book to be published in the last several years is not on sex, drugs, or rock 'n' roll, but on taxes. That's right: taxes.
David Cay Johnston knows taxes: He's won one Pulitzer, and been nominated for several more, for writing about them for the New York Times. We all know, instinctively, that the system is screwing us, but Johnston tells us how exactly we're being screwed in clear, comprehensible, everyday language that anyone can understand.
And finally, Dave Barry examines the joke of a year that was 2k.3:
* Who's watching all these "reality" TV shows? Nobody admits to watching them; everybody agrees they're even stupider than those infomercials wherein Ron Popeil spends 30 minutes liquefying vegetables to the rapturous delight of a live, if half-witted, audience. And yet "reality" shows keep getting ratings. Who are the viewers? Have houseplants learned to operate remote controls?
* Can young people wear their pants any lower? Their waistbands are now at approximately knee level. Where will this trend end? The shins? The feet? Will young people eventually detach themselves from their pants altogether and just drag them along behind, connected to their ankles by a belt?
We don't know the answers to any of these questions. All we know is that 2003 is finally, we hope, over. But before we move on, let's put our heads between our knees and take one last look back at this remarkable year, which started, as is so often the case, with...