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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

global eye

Open Season

One thousand five hundred nekkid people descended on the Live Oak Resort in Washington, Texas, this week for the 66th annual convention of the American Association for Nude Recreation. Hats, and flippers were the order of the day, with nothing but miles of smiles in between, the Associated Press reported.

While there were the usual nagging difficulties about where to stow one's car keys and that pesky loose change, the happy campers overcame all to enjoy their day in the sun. Of course, there was more to the meeting than just beach balls and bingo in the buff; the nudeniks also sat down (on towels) in paneled conference rooms to discuss annual dues, PR campaigns and lobbying efforts. Rosyln Scheer, executive director of the 50,000-member group, which is based in Kissimmee, Florida, said she had just returned from the National Convention of State Legislators, where her nude booth proved "among the most popular" with the junketing pols. (Look for new legislation granting special tax breaks for splinter removal costs next year.)

And do the unadorned prelapsarians worry about overexposure to the blistering Texas sun? "You just use common sense," says Live Oak owner Larry Hilderbrand. "We're nudists, not idiots."

If you say so.

Ghost in the Machine

Is someone calling you up in the middle of the night, night after night, and just sitting there, not saying a word, not even breathing heavily? Relax; it's not the neighborhood nut case getting his jollies from your distress; it's probably just a public toilet phoning home.

Computerized calls from mute machines are fast replacing panting pervos as the leading telephone pestilence, British Telecom told the Daily Telegraph this week. Although caller-ID services have made your classic gutter-gab far more risky and rare, BT says it's now handling up to 8,000 cases a month of misdirected automatic calls from drink dispensers, candy machines, traffic lights, boilers and street loos seeking repairs or replenishment.

It's all part of the brave new world of "smart" technology that makes modern life such an unmitigated joy. The machines are pre-programmed to dial headquarters automatically if they are damaged, distressed, or run out of Twix bars. But if perchance the programmer puts in a single errant digit, the result can be a most unpleasant interface indeed.

BT's Anne-Marie Kennedy tells of "an elderly lady who was rung up through the night by a public toilet in Leicester Park" demanding more cleaning fluids, and a Maryland woman who got a call every 90 minutes, day and night, for six months from an oil tank that had gone dry. And unlike the eerie, strangulated wail of a fax, the new machine modems emit no sound at all when they ring up, leaving the listener without a clue as to who or what is on the line. "It's very irritating," said Kennedy.

You'd think they could at least teach them to grunt, or say "Hey, baby, I'm hot to trot," or something. Must all our old traditions give way to progress?

Political Sideshow

You can't throw a rock at

a movie screen these days

(a constant temptation, of course) without hitting an American president, or some reasonable facsimile thereof. Gene Hackman, Jack Lemmon, Michael Douglas, James Garner, Dan Akroyd, Bill Pullman, Jack Nicholson -- not to mention a certain William J. Clinton -- have all trod the boards in the past two years as Oval Office avatars. And of course, this summer Harrison Ford has pushed the trend to its absurd apotheosis, raking in gorilla box office as a he-man Prez single-handedly whupping up on a bunch of revanchist Commie terrorists in "Air Force One."

But whom, you might ask (if you were serving a long stretch in stir and had nothing better to think about), would the president himself cast in the grueling role of, er, himself? That question was put to Clinton -- whose recent appearance in "Contact" was digitally engineered without his permission -- in a CBS interview last week, said AP.

Now, you and I know verisimilitude would require someone like puppyish man-mountain Chris Farley -- or that Southern-fried cartoon rooster, Foghorn Leghorn -- to do justice to the part. But the affable Clinton, whose interest in justice has always been a tad shy of tepid, told the interviewer (who'd obviously just been sprung from a long stretch in stir) he would like to see Tom Hanks in the role.

"I mean, we don't look alike, and we're not the same size or shape or anything," Clinton, world-renowned master of the obvious, said of the lean, lanky star. "But I would want someone with a lot of range and a lot of human feeling."

And whom for the first lady? (Ya know, those prison walls, they start to close in on ya after awhile, and ya begin thinking about all kindsa crazy things.) "Meryl Streep," Clinton said. And why, pray tell? "She's extraordinary." Oh.

Actually, a couple of those really smart pre-programmed Coke machines might work just as well.

Fire in the Belly

Former teen screen heartthrob turned underemployed post-adolescent, Christian Slater, was busted at a boozy brawl by L.A. police this week and now faces charges of assault with a deadly weapon: his teeth.

Slater, 27, best known for the dead-on impersonation he did of Jack Nicholson in the '80s cult film "Heathers" (and kept on doing in every single movie he made afterward), was charged with punching his girlfriend, biting the belly of a neighbor who tried to protect her, and trying to grab a policeman's gun in a braying midnight melee at a posh Wilshire condo, said AP.

After waking from the choke-hold the cops had to use to subdue him, Slater admitted he'd been shooting heroin, snorting cocaine and drinking steadily "for a couple of days." Reportedly miffed at missing out on the lead in the upcoming Jim Carrey-Demi Moore epic, "Come Hell or White Water: The Bill and Hilly Story," Slater was released on $50,000 bond -- and allowed to take his weapon with him.