The Biggest Little News Stories: Fat Cats and Big Ass Fans


It’s been a bad week so far, and it’s only Wednesday. We have conmen kidnapping their children, a moderate earthquake in Los Angeles, the MTA is in shambles (hope you didn’t try to buy a Metrocard with a credit or debit card yesterday–if you did, better check your statement. You may have been charged even if you didn’t get a card), and, for the right price, Gov. Paterson may have a bridge to sell you as he attempts a 7% spending cut across the board. So, instead of dealing with the doom-and-gloom, let’s look at some of the lighter (or–in one case–heavier) stories in our tabloids today.

When I first glanced at the Post this morning, the “Pussy galore!” headline made me instantly think “Ewww,” until I saw the chubster of a kitty cat who was the subject of the headline. Then the “ewww” turned to an “awww.” The 44-lb. Princess Chunk was found in Camden County, N.J. and will be up for adoption later this week if her owner doesn’t come forward. The corpulent cutie is the inspiration for a “ton” of bad puns and wacky wordplay in both the Post and the Daily News. The News photo of Princess Chunk on page 2 has the headline, “Weight a minute, any mice left over?” and the caption wonders if “this King Kong of kitties packed on the pounds by dining a la cat and mouse.” Is this at all particularly newsworthy? Well, the feline does weigh a little more 2 pounds less than the fattest cat ever recorded, an Australian kitty they weighed a hefty 46 pounds, 15 ounces. Still, people for some reason love fat cats when they’re not the political kind. It’s a “news of the weird” story to garner water cooler conversation.

Another “big” story appears in the Daily News. This exclusive examines why attendance at the Our Lady of Refuge Church in Flatbush, Brooklyn drops off in the summer months. The answer is pretty simple: it’s too darn hot! The church has no air conditioning, so the parishioners donated money to buy a Big Ass Fan from Kentucky. The name made church administrator Judy Agard a little flustered, but in this case, the name truly fits the product. The fan’s diameter is 24 feet. As Big Ass Fans director of sales Paul Lauritzen tells the paper:

“Our name came from people looking up and seeing the fan and saying, ‘That’s a big-ass fan,'” Lauritzen said.

“Even in a church, parishioners sit down and say not only, ‘Wow, look at that big-ass fan!’ but ‘I’m glad they bought that big-ass fan.'”

An interesting note: the headline in the print edition of the paper is “Forgive ’em, Lord!” and the subhead reads, “Brooklyn parish turns to Big Ass Fan Co. for deliverance from the hellish heat – ‘Oh my gosh!’ sez church aide,” while in the story index of the News website, the headline reads “Big Ass in Brooklyn church.” It’s interesting to note what’s cool to print online as opposed to in the paper. Websites definitely get a little more leeway. I know you know what I mean.