It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's a Floating Naked Guy!

Hey, check out the floating naked guy!

The installation of a 70-foot floating sculpture of a naked man, a balloon self-portrait by Polish artist Pawel Althamer, has been hovering outside the Renaissance Palazzina Appiani in Milan's Parco Sempione since Monday, drawing second takes, amused looks and some reprobation about exposing children to nudity, according to the Associated Press.

"To be honest with you, it's nothing new," said Rosaria Mirabelli, mother of 3-year-old Tommaso who stared at the sculpture from the back of his mother's bicycle.

"He sees his father naked. In this park we see so many worse things than a naked man," she said, referring to the park's reputation as a haven for drug users.

On weekday afternoons, the park is given over to mothers, nannies and grandparents with preschool age children in tow, along with a few joggers, cyclists and dog owners.

"This wouldn't fly in the U.S.," observed 31-year-old American Adriana Spatafora, an English language teacher passing by.

The work was conceived by Warsaw-based Althamer in 1999 and the Milan installation is accompanied by the artist's show "One of Many," which presents video and sculpture self-portraits.

Flavio Del Monte, spokesman of the Nicola Trussardi Foundation, the show's sponsor, credited the balloon with the high turnout to the event. It has attracted more than 3,000 visitors in its first three days.

Most people have been amused by the sculpture, he said, noting that Italians, surrounded as they are by Renaissance masterpieces, are used to nudity in public places.

Drug Bust Has Interesting 'Cast' of Characters

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) — Dutch customs police turned a fake break into a real bust Friday when they stopped a woman trying to smuggle 3.3 pounds of cocaine into the country in a plaster cast on her leg.

Police spokesman Rob Stenacker said the woman, whose name was not released, acted nervously while her passport was being checked and agents became suspicious about the thickness of the cast.

"She had two different letters from a doctor about her leg, and both of them appeared fake," he said. A sniffer dog quickly indicated that the cast contained more than plaster.

The woman was taken to hospital, where an X-ray revealed the drugs but no fractures.

Stenacker said the woman, from the Latin American country of Suriname, was arrested and will face smuggling charges.

Guns and Masks Are So 2006

INWOOD, W.Va. (AP) — A thief covered his face with a pair of blue women's underwear and used a pistol-shaped cigarette lighter in a botched robbery of a convenience store, police said.

"I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried," State Police Sgt. T.C. Kearns told The Journal in Martinsburg.

The cashier at first thought it was a joke and refused to give the man any money, so he ran to a Jeep Cherokee and drove away at about 4 a.m. Wednesday, Kearns said.

A few minutes later, police stopped a vehicle matching that description and took two men into custody.

Police later charged Steven Clay Stephenson, 34, of Ranson in the convenience story robbery.

Kearns said police found a pistol-shaped lighter while searching Stephenson. The underwear was recovered nearby.

Stephenson is charged with nighttime burglary, attempted robbery, first-offense driving under the influence, petit larceny and improper registration.

He was being held Thursday at the Eastern Regional Jail. The Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney's Office had no record of a defense attorney being assigned yet to represent Stephenson.

Argument for the New High-Waisted Jeans

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. (AP) — Two female college students who bared their bellies at a lacrosse game couldn't stomach a front-page newspaper photo of their stunt and now are in trouble for swiping copies, campus officials said.

They apparently felt the photo made them look fat, the paper's faculty adviser said.

The photo in the April 27 edition of The Gatepost at Framingham State College shows seven fans at a women's lacrosse game with "I (heart) N-O-O-N-A-N," the name of a friend on the team, spelled out on their stomachs. They are wearing hip-hugger shorts and abbreviated tank tops.

Campus police won't pursue criminal charges, but two students face possible disciplinary action, college spokesman Peter Chisholm said.

English professor Desmond McCarthy, the faculty adviser, said he was told by other students the women who took the papers thought they looked fat.

"This is the most stupid reason the paper has been stolen," said McCarthy, adding that editions of The Gatepost have been stolen four times in the past 15 years.

Megan Turner, The Gatepost's editor in chief, said about half of the 2,000-paper press run disappeared, though Chisholm said the number was far lower, perhaps 150.

"I just kind of got caught up in the moment and grabbed a whole bunch of copies," 18-year-old Jennifer Carsillo, a freshman from Salem, Conn., told The Boston Globe. She says she took around 130 copies, but then gave them to campus police and apologized a few days later.

Chisholm declined to identify the second woman.

Freshman Courtney Wall, who was in the photo, told The Associated Press the other women in the photo thought the paper swipe was "dumb," and that she's upset to be associated with the theft through the picture.

"If I went out dressed like that, I don't care if it's in the paper, obviously," she said. "I don't see a problem with the picture. I see a problem with me getting in trouble for something I didn't do.

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