With his wubbable chubby cheeks, 19-year-old Qian Zhijun may be China's most famous Internet face.
Web fans have Photoshopped the portly teen's visage onto movie posters, naked vixens and even Buddha, making him "the face that launched 1,000 clicks," the Times of London reports.
But fame has its price, and for the soft-spoken student and gas-station attendant, it's his nickname: Xiao Pang or "Little Fatty" in Chinese.
It all started four years ago, when someone photographed Qian at a traffic-safety event in Shanghai. It didn't take long for those cheeks and cutting eyes to travel at warp speed through cyberspace.
Qian didn't discover he'd made waves until a man approached him at an Internet cafe and asked if he was the real Little Fatty.
"It was as if I had been struck by a thunderbolt," Qian told the paper. "I felt really humiliated."
But over time, he's learned to embrace his cyber celebrity.
"I have tried to turn sorrow into strength," he said. "At least this makes people smile and I have had quite a positive response from many surfers."
He's a registered member of a tribute site, www.xiaopang.cn, dedicated to all things Little Fatty, and he's contemplating a future career as a television chef.
"I love to cook and I would like to teach people how to cook well and how to eat better."
Might we suggest a new moniker? Iron Chef Little Fatty.
And the iPod Played 'I Don't Want to Wait'
Pini Nou is one lucky mushroom picker.
The 25-year-old Vancouver, Wash., resident got lost near Dawson Creek in Benton County, Ore., Thursday afternoon while foraging for fungi with his mother, according to the Corvallis Gazette-Times.
The pair became separated and Nou's mother searched for several hours for her "city boy" before alerting authorities to his disappearance, the paper said.
As night fell in the forest, the young man turned to the only light source he had — his iPod Nano — to signal searchers, who found him around 1 a.m. Friday.
“People tend to wait to call us — by the time they call it in, it’s dark and you’re really under the gun, and it can be dangerous for search teams to be out there at night as well,” said Peggy Peirson, coordinator for Benton County Emergency Management. “We don’t in the least mind getting in our cars and going like mad just to turn around and go home [because a lost person has been found]. That’s a good outcome for us.”
Speak Now or Face the Wrath of Grave Digger
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (AP) — Throbbing throttles, pumping pistons and traction action ground to a halt as a longtime lover of monster trucks married her sweetheart in a dirt arena, amid rowdy spectators and crushed cars.
Ashley Barbour — wearing a red dress and a white veil — rode a motorcycle into the ceremony Saturday at Monster Jam in the Kern County Fairgrounds.
Barbour, 24, and husband Michael Box, 31, had the honor of saying "I do" in front of the monster of all trucks, Grave Digger, as winners of Meathead's Monster Truck Marriage, a contest sponsored by Bakersfield radio station KRAB-FM.
The ceremony was officiated by Jarad "Meathead" Mann, an on-air personality and ordained minister, who wore a pink minister's frock.
"Before today, [Barbour and Box] were two highways going in the same direction. Tonight they will be merged as one," Mann told the crowd of family, friends, monster truck enthusiasts.
"I feel like this is going to be the great extravaganza of my life," said Barbour, who entered the contest without telling her boyfriend. "I'm so excited and overwhelmed and I feel like my dreams have come true."
He's No Don Ho, But ...
HONOLULU (AP) — Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann has scored a gig on a Christmas album.
The mayor, who is known to occasionally take the mike at events, sings two songs on the Royal Hawaiian Band's first Christmas recording in its 170-year history as a municipal band.
Hannemann joins local entertainers Iva Kinimaka and Nephi Hannemann, the mayor's brother, in an original composition called "Christmas Time Again, Aloha."
In addition, Hannemann sings along with the group Pali in "Do You Hear What I Hear."
The album, "Christmas with the Royal Hawaiian Band and Friends," goes on sale Tuesday.
Proceeds from the 16-track recording will go to the Royal Hawaiian Band Music Society, a nonprofit organization that supports the municipal band.
Louisville, Home of the Slugger, and Now the Port-a-Pottie Convention
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville will be flush with trade show business in the coming years.
The city will host the Pumper & Cleaner Environmental Expo International — a trade show for the portable toilets, septic and sewage industry — in 2008 and 2009. Officials with the Kentucky State Fair Board hope to keep the show at the fairgrounds even longer than that.
The show is expected to draw about 15,000 visitors and roll roughly $8.4 million into the economy, despite not being of much interest to the general public, the Greater Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau said.
Louisville lured the show from Opryland in Nashville, where it had been since 1987.
The trade show has been at Opryland in Nashville every year since 1987 but is growing and needs more space.
The more than 500 expected exhibitors will represent "anything and everything to do with sanitation business," said Linda Edwards, the fair board's vice president of sales and marketing who helped sign the event.
Compiled by Sara Bonisteel.
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