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THE SKINNY

can't let it slide

This bouncy'titanic' goes down badly

A bouncy castle version of the Titanic - complete with inflatable icebergs - has been branded "sick" by critics at a toy trade fair. The 40-foot high slide is a replica of the ill-fated luxury liner that sank on its maiden voyage to New York in 1912 drowning 1,517 passengers and crew. It shows the crippled liner sinking with its keel raised high in the air as if it is just about to disappear under the waves forever. Organizers in Ibach, Switzerland, say the exhibit has gone down well with visitors. But Switzerland's Titanic Club spokesman, Gunter Babler, said: "Is it ethical to let kids slide down the decks of a blow-up Titanic? Hundreds of people died sliding down those decks." Organizer Franziska Bhend countered: "The tragic Titanic accident happened years ago and those emotions have been dealt with long ago. Now people are having fun on the slide and enjoying themselves."

ozzy osbourne

Prince of Darknessto shed some light

He is famous for many things. For his eerie scream. For his "Satan worship." For biting the head off a dove. And a bat. But, mostly, Ozzy Osbourne has become famous for indulging in decades of near-legendary substance abuse - abuse that would vanquish most - and surviving. Now scientists could find out why. DNA extracted from a sample of Osbourne's blood will be sent to St. Louis-based Cofactor Genomics, where researchers will sequence the Godfather of Heavy Metal's genome - or map his genetic blueprint. "They're taking someone who's healthy, who should have disease, and looking at that," said Jon Armstrong, Cofactor's chief marketing officer. "What's in the DNA, and what does it have that others don't have?" In other words: Why is the self-dubbed Prince of Darkness, 61, still alive?

it's no movie

Snakes ... no, maggots on plane

US Airways says maggots falling from an overhead bin from a container of spoiled meat in a passenger's carry-on bag forced a plane to return to the gate in Atlanta. Passengers were asked to get off, and a crew boarded to clean up the mess, US Airways spokesman Todd Lehmacher said. The flight then continued on to Charlotte, where the plane was taken out of service and fumigated "out of an abundance of caution." Sorry, future passengers, no word on the flight number.

the law in vermont

Motto is freedom and unity - and nudity

What better way to beat the heat in Montpelier, Vt., than ... walk naked through the Capital City? That was one 18-year-old woman's solution Monday afternoon, and, despite complaints, police said there was little they could do. "As long as they're not exhibiting any kind of overt gestures or communicating any kind of lewd act, then they're within their rights - if we'll use that word - to do that," Sgt. Neil Martel said. Under the laws and ordinances, you can be nude outside but can't disrobe outside, Martel said.

Compiled from Times wireservices and news other sources.

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