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Animal House 

PETA supporter strips the message to its bare essentials.

Last Wednesday, there was a naked woman at the corner of Trade and Tryon Streets. Longtime residents of this city know such things weren't out of question in the early-to-mid 1980s, when a short mini-dress worn uptown in the winter was considered work clothes, not the newest in clubwear.This naked woman, however, was objectifying herself for a reason, which, of course, makes it OK. Covered in orange-and-black tiger paint and little else, she caged herself for the animal-rights activist group PETA, who were protesting Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus' treatment of their show animals.

As protests go, media reaction was pretty good. I saw a few pack-dog television reporter types, salivating at the idea of getting to promo a naked woman on their 11 o'clock news broadcasts. (And then there was me, just salivating.) While I respect and commend anyone willing to sit outside naked in the middle of February to protest a perceived injustice, I had to wonder how much difference any of this was making.

Holding a "Wild Animals Don't Belong Behind Bars" sign in front of her gargantuan bosom, her message was almost too. . .small. It did work to attract attention, however, mostly from the kind of folks you'd expect: wild animals that probably belonged behind bars.

The next night, I decided to crash the Fark.com party being held at Sir Edmond Halley's. According to their website, Fark.com gets some 30,000,000+ hits a month to their site, which is pretty much a link exchange to interesting URLS featuring absurdity, political malfeasance, and, well, boobies.Entering the restaurant, I was welcomed by a sign reading "Welcome Farkers!" I normally hear similar sounding sentiments when entering bars, but it was still a little shocking. But I soon got into the spirit, using the phrase "fark" when another famous F-word would normally suffice. "I think I'll have a farking beer," I announced. "And an order of that chicken-farked chicken!"

The founder of Fark.com, Drew Curtis, was said to be in attendance, but my friend and I didn't quite know how to find him. At first, we had planned to send yours truly up to the bar. My friend would then yell, "Hey Drew!" and look around to see who stirred. However, as the bartenders know me at this place, this would have had disaster written all over it. Everyone turns when somebody yells, and I would have had to explain to the bartender why we were role-playing.

About an hour later, we finally spotted the guy -- he was wearing a nametag that said DROOOOOOOW -- and breathed easy. Of course, in the spirit of online communication, we didn't actually go talk to him or anything.

This was the big opening weekend for the new Discovery Place exhibit, A T. Rex Named Sue. (Hey, wait a second. . .what's that sound? Oh, must be the whirr of Johnny Cash spinning in his grave.) As you may know, Sue is a copy of the 90-percent complete Tyrannosaurus Rex found by one Sue Hendrickson in South Dakota back in 1990.Sue is one big motherfarker. Standing before the behemoth, the first thing I thought of was the late, great Bill Hicks' routine on the lack of dinosaurs in the Bible. If the world was really only thousands of years old, as some fundamentalists say, how did the Bible fail to mention this 30-foot-tall creature with the big-ass teeth that stands before me? (The second thing I thought was, being an animal control officer must have been a real bitch back in the day.)

This is an exhibit well worth taking in some weekend soon, especially if you have kids. Surrounding Sue is a series of "digs," where kids can see what it's like to be an archeologist. There's also interactive dinosaur games and trivia. However, "Sue" is still the star of the show, even if they don't know the gender of the thing (one can't flip a T. Rex over on its back, I guess).

Lucky for us this thing doesn't still walk the earth -- under "diet" on the fact chart, it listed one word, and one word only: "meat." People have argued for centuries about what killed these ferocious giants. Who'da thought it'd be the Atkins Diet?

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