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Going Berserker!


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It was just a matter of time before word got out about our llama problem. No, not that problem. The one where Central Oregon llamas go crazy and attack humans. Aaaargh!

The intrepid reporters and editors over at the Bend, Oregon, Bulletin first brought us this chilling story back in September under the headline "Berserk Llama Bites Woman -8-year-old daughter watched in horror as animal terrorized Terrebonne woman."

Headlines like that, especially when written with a straight face, can't be kept under wraps forever ­ not even in a little burg like Bend, Ore. So it was with little surprise but much celebration that Upfront learned, and confirmed, that the Berserk Llama story had made it into the unofficial stupid journalism Hall of Fame on The Tonight Show's Headlines Section.

The headlines, which are submitted to the show by viewers, are a regular feature on the show that highlight headline writing blunders and just plain head scratchers.

Or as NBC's website puts it "These are real headlines sent in by real viewers that will make you wonder how they ever got in print."

The Bulletin's llama story, which can be seen affixed to a black cardboard backing on Leno's desk, ran between a riff on a woman who mistook a pork chop bone lodged in her her ass for cancer and a crotch-kicking joke. You can view the video by going to the NBC site, clicking on video and The Jay Leno show and following the episode link.

Or punch in this link and select Monday night's episode.

The llama piece appears somewhere around minute 17.

Go nuts.

Dragonfly ... or Robot Spy?

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To Vanessa Alacorn, the flying things looked kind of like dragonflies ... but not quite.

"I heard someone say, 'Oh my god, look at those,'" the New York college student told the Washington Post. "I look up and I'm like, 'What the hell is that?' They looked kind of like dragonflies or little helicopters. But I mean, those are not insects."

Alacorn is just one of a number of people who claim to have sighted mysterious flying objects hovering around at anti-war demonstrations this summer and fall. Speculation is rife that they're some new kind of top-secret, ultra-high-tech spy robot, perhaps deployed by the Department of Homeland Security.

The American military has been using robot aircraft for decades, of course, but making a working model as small as a dragonfly has presented almost insurmountable engineering challenges - at least until recently. The Post reported that in July a team from Harvard "got a truly fly-like robot airborne, its synthetic wings buzzing at 120 beats per second." However, "it can fly only while attached to a threadlike tether that supplies power, evidence that significant hurdles remain."

Meanwhile, a group called the Partnership for Civil Justice has filed Freedom of Information Act requests to try to uncover the truth about the flying ... uh, whatever they are. If they're being used to spy on demonstrators, a spokesperson said, "it would be a significant violation of people's civil rights."

The Defense Department, the FBI and the CIA - for what it's worth - deny they have any robot spy dragonflies. But Tom Ehrhard, a retired Air Force colonel and expert in unmanned aerial vehicles, isn't ruling out anything. "America can be pretty sneaky," he said.

Standing Tall (and Wide) in Idaho

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Life is full of strange twists and turns. Two months ago, Larry Craig was just an obscure senator from Idaho. Today a men's room in the Minneapolis airport has become a tourist attraction just because he visited it. And last Saturday he was inducted into the Idaho Hall of Fame.

We should point out right here that Wide-Stance Larry won a place in the hall of fame for his many years of public service to the state of Idaho, not for his semi-private activities in the men's room, where he reportedly solicited gay sex from an undercover cop. Other inductees included Boise State football coach Chris Petersen, Gov. Butch Otter and Lt. Gov. Jim Risch,.

Accompanied by his wife and mother, the 62-year-old senator waded through a crowd of newspaper and TV cameras to get into the Boise Convention Center,.

"As the cameras outside testify, this is a hot ticket," joked former Lt. Gov. David Leroy, the MC for the event. He then offered a quote that he said was originally from Brad Pitt: "Fame's a bitch, man."

"My fame of the last month, I would liken to the definition Brad Pitt gave it," Craig remarked.

Members of the hall of fame board of governors said there had been suggestions that Craig's induction should be called off, or at least postponed, but the board decided to go ahead with it. "We thought, 'It's kind of going back on your word,'" one said. "Once a person has been sent a letter and voted into the hall of fame, it would be kind of like breaking a promise."


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