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Q&A: Animals in Travelers commercials, ball-fetching at U.S. Open, death by stoning in Iran

Animal ads look so real

How do they make those Travelers commercials showing animals socializing that normally prey on or avoid each other? They look too real to be artists' animations.

The Travelers ads are put together by Fallon Worldwide, an advertising company based in Minneapolis.

Account manager Anne Flavin said the one with all the jungle animals around the watering hole (www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZ3s9Ah4WEM) was put together in post production after most of the animals were shot separately. The film was taken at a South African reserve.

The one with the rattlesnake and rabbit (www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9LzeDg8z-M&NR=1) was computer-generated, Flavin said.

Applying to be a ball-fetcher

How are the "ball people" chosen for a tennis tournament, and are they paid for their service?

The procedure changes according to the tournament, so we'll put it in the context of the U.S. Open, which concluded earlier this month.

The United States Tennis Association holds open tryouts for ball-fetchers in June. Anyone over the age of 14 is eligible (though anyone under 18 needs valid New York State working papers), and about 250 are hired each year.

Beginners are paid around the minimum wage ($7.25 an hour in New York), and returning ball-fetchers get a bump for experience.

The criteria for employment? According to the USTA website, applicants must be a talented athlete with a great throwing arm, with pinpoint throwing accuracy, fast and agile on your feet, quick catching and nimble hands, have a thorough understanding of tennis, be available for callback interviews and training, and be available to work every day of the tournament.

Both sexes may face stoning

I have been horrified by the sentence of death by stoning handed down to the Iranian woman found guilty of committing adultery (Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani's sentence was suspended recently after an international outcry). Is there a similar punishment for men found guilty of the same offense?

Iran's penal code, which is justified under Islamic law, stipulates death by stoning for men and women in cases of adultery, according to the Associated Press. A woman is buried up to her chest with her hands also buried; a man is usually buried up to his waist.

Amnesty International says women comprise "a disproportionate number" of death by stoning sentences because they are not treated equally before the law and were particularly vulnerable to unfair trials, the AP reported.

Ashtiani was first sentenced to 99 lashes with a whip after pleading guilty in 2006 to having "illicit relationships" with two men after her husband died. Later, she was convicted of complicity with one of the men in the death of her husband, and sentenced to death by stoning.

Q&A: Animals in Travelers commercials, ball-fetching at U.S. Open, death by stoning in Iran 09/28/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 28, 2010 1:07am]

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