National Roundup

Minnesota
Museum’s cat video fest makes purr-fect viewing

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis tested the boundaries of legitimate art with a film festival devoted to the online cat videos that pervade YouTube and social networks.

It’s not unheard of for some cat videos to rack up as many as 50 million YouTube views. Most are simple: a cat tries and fails to jump into a cardboard box, or makes a ridiculously cute noise while eating a spoonful of sour cream. Some are more cinematic, with tricky angles, animated graphics, mood music and other tricks of the filmmaking trade.

Organizers of last week’s festival said they wanted to find out whether the private experience of viewing the videos online would translate to a shared and social experience when shown on an outdoor screen on the museum’s grounds.

The festival made room for various kinds of cat videos, with categories for comedy, drama, foreign, animated, musical, art-house and documentary. Participants voted on a “People’s Choice” award, and several “lifetime achievements” were handed out to a few of the all-time popular videos.

Organizers say what started as a lark quickly took on bigger dimensions when they got thousands of submissions for the festival.

California
LeAnn Rimes  sues over phone call recording

LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeAnn Rimes sued two women she claims illegally recorded a phone conversation with her and posted snippets online, one day after she sought professional help for anxiety and stress.

The country singer sued Kimberly Smiley and her adult daughter Lexi on Thursday, seeking more than $25,000 in damages for recording a March phone conversation that ended up online on websites bashing the country singer.

Kimberly Smiley denied she posted the recording, saying she shared it with online acquaintances, one of whom played it for the ex-wife of Rimes’ husband, Eddie Cibrian. “The whole thing is just ridiculous,” she said. “It’s just a celebrity who’s too full of herself.”

The invasion of privacy lawsuit came one day after Rimes, 30, entered an in-patient treatment facility in what her publicist Marcel Pariseau describes an attempt to “learn and develop coping mechanisms.”

Pariseau says Rimes isn’t seeking treatment for an eating disorder or substance abuse, adding that “while privacy isn’t expected, it’s certainly appreciated.”

The recorded phone call occurred because a friend of Rimes connected the singer and Smiley to try to stop some negative online postings, according to the lawsuit and an interview with Smiley.

It is illegal in California for a party to record a phone call without the other person’s knowledge.

Colorado
Wildfire ash in river could befoul brewery’s beer

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) — A Colorado brewery said last week that it’s monitoring the water it gets from the city of Fort Collins to make sure residue from a deadly wildfire that blackened a northern Colorado river doesn’t befoul the taste of its beer.

New Belgium Brewing, the maker of Fat Tire beer, says so far there haven’t been any problems. Brewery chemists, however, will be keeping watch after identifying six compounds in Poudre River water that could cause problems.

The river runs through an area where a June wildfire killed one person, destroyed more than 250 homes and scorched 136 square miles.

Fort Collins hasn’t taken any of its drinking water from the Poudre since rainfall put ash from the High Park Fire into the river, turning it black, said Lisa Voytko, of the Fort Collins utility department.

The utility hopes to start drawing a small percentage of its water from the river next month, The Fort Collins Coloradoan reported, and the city is aware of the brewery’s concerns, Voytko said.

None of the water the brewery is using has been affected, New Belgium spokesman Bryan Simpson told The Associated Press.

Wisconsin
Another chance for decades-old cheddar blocks

MILWAUKEE (AP) — A recently discovered block of eastern Wisconsin cheddar cheese that dates back to the Nixon presidency will be sold for $10 per ounce.
Edward Zahn, 73, was in Z’s Cheese Shoppe’s walk-in cooler last month, preparing to shut down his Oconto store. He pushed aside stacks of cheese to reveal several wooden boxes that had been overlooked for years.

Inside were blocks of unintentionally aged cheddar — 28, 34 and 40 years old — that, some experts say, might comprise the oldest collection of cheese ever assembled and sold to the public.

Ken McNulty, who owns the Wisconsin Cheese Mart in Milwaukee, bought about 20 pounds of the 40-year-old cheddar and 120 pounds of 34-year cheddar. He declined to reveal the price he paid.

Cheese is often sold by the pound, but McNulty plans to sell the oldest cheese by the ounce so more people can get a taste.

He said an ounce would be just enough for two people to nibble on. He suggests sampling the vintage cheese by itself, not with a cracker or other food that would compete with the flavor.

He said he found out about the cheese when Zahn’s son called, told him his father was closing up shop and offered to sell some inventory. McNulty, long a fan of Zahn’s cheesemaking expertise, said he wanted everything.

McNulty sampled the 40-year-old and 28-year-old blocks, pleasantly surprised that the milk in the cheese hadn’t soured. He still hasn’t tried the 34-year-old cheese, and acknowledges that he can’t assume it will be edible. He plans to cut it open on Oct. 6 as part of a cheese-tasting event at his store.

Pennsylvania
Jerry Sandusky brick removed from walkway

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Officials in State College have removed a brick engraved with Jerry Sandusky’s name from an off-campus walkway because of vandalism concerns.

The brick Centennial Walkway brick was replaced last week, a few days after a student-run blog posted a picture of it.

Borough Manager Tom Fountaine tells The Centre Daily Times his office decided to take the brick out after residents complained.

The brick bore the former Penn State assistant coach’s name, the name of his charity, The Second Mile, and the year it was founded, 1977.

Sandusky is awaiting sentencing following his conviction earlier this year on charges related to the sexual abuse of 10 boys. His face was removed from a downtown mural shortly after his November arrest.

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