Auctioning a Nude Pic of France's First Lady

News worth an honorable mention, including the latest hot lot from Christie's.

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RACHEL MARTIN, host:

Hey, welcome back to the Bryant Park Project from NPR News. We're online all the time at npr.org/bryantpark. I'm Rachel Martin.

ALISON STEWART, host:

And I'm Alison Stewart. Yes, we are equal opportunity newshounds here at the BPP. We like the stuff on the front page. We like the stuff on the back page. We even read the horoscopes from time to time. And everything that's in between, much of it ends up in the Ramble. All right, a scary moment for famed Cajun chef, Paul Prudhomme.

Hey, friend of the BPP, he's been on the BPP at Mardi Gras. Great guy, doing what he does best, setting up a cooking tent. He happened to be at a golf tournament in New Orleans and then he felt a sting on his right arm, you know, looked down, thought, oh, gosh, is this a bee sting? Turns out, Paul Prudhomme was grazed by a bullet.

MARTIN: Oh, my gosh.

STEWART: Yeah, and they weren't having a shootout over the ninth hole. Police actually believe the bullet came down from the sky. It was probably shot from about a mile and a half away. We are pleased to say that Chef Prudhomme shook off the sting, didn't need any medical attention. In fact, back cooking in five minutes. And this is his serious commitment to food. Even a bullet cannot get between Paul Prudhomme and an oyster (unintelligible).

MARTIN: I mean, what are the odds of that happening? They have to be pretty slim.

STEWART: Just odd.

MARTIN: Frankly, very odd. OK, so I've got an interesting story from the front page of today's New York Times. You may remember about a year and a half ago, there was this medical study. It got a whole lot of attention. It said that 80 percent of lung cancer deaths could be prevented with CAT scans, just by revealing the tumor. Well, it turns out that the study was partly funded by a tobacco company.

The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, which did not reveal, at the time, that some funding came from a group called the Foundation for Lung Cancer, Early Detection, Prevention and Treatment. Now, the New York Times did a little investigating and found out that that outfit is almost entirely funded by a company called the Vector Group, and that is the parent company of something called the Leggett Group, which makes several brands of cigarettes.

So, as you can imagine, it set off quite a controversy. The doctor who led the study says she disclosed everything, but others are pretty upset about it. One doctor from the American Cancer Society, which also helped fund that study, said, quote, "If you're using blood money, you need to tell people you're using blood money." So, very controversial.

STEWART: Yes, I believe the New England Journal of Medicine is actually to put some sort of retraction. They even said, we didn't know about that. That's actually on the front page of the papers. A front page story amidst the Ramble. At the New York Times, you can check that out. A website targeted at girls. OK, I'm just going to tell you what the name of the website is and then you can decide why people might be concerned. It's called missbimbo.com.

MARTIN: Yeah.

STEWART: Launched in the UK last month, bills itself as a virtual fashion game for girls. Now, Miss Bimbo encourages girls as young as seven to get the virtual creations online. If they need breast implants, go ahead and do it.

MARTIN: No!

STEWART: They put them on crash diets. Girls sign up, they start out with a nude virtual character and they compete against other girls to earn so-called "bimbo dollars" so they can buy these virtually sexy outfits and go out clubbing. OK. So I looked up the guy who started it, 23-years-old. Tried to make sure he was real.

MARTIN: Yeah.

STEWART: I said, there's something - is this an art project? Is there something to this? He appears to be a real person, but I was trying to get on missbimbo.com this morning and I couldn't.

MARTIN: Why? It just said error?

STEWART: It just wouldn't log on. Now, the story is everywhere, so I don't know if that means everybody's trying to get on to see it. I don't know if it means that this is some sort of stunt, but I'm going to be on missbimbo.com-watch.

MARTIN: I think you should. I think you should.

STEWART: I'm staying on this story to find out if it's actually true.

MARTIN: That's a little wrong.

STEWART: If it's true, it makes me want to vomit. But if it's not, if it's some sort of story that's a, you know, commentary on women's roles, which it could be. It could be an art project. Who knows?

MARTIN: Could be. We don't want to damn you before we find out, but we will find out.

STEWART: And then we'll damn you.

MARTIN: And then we'll damn you. OK, speaking of nudity, I guess. I don't know. A nude photo of France's new first lady is up for sale. It's going to be auctioned at Christie's, very high brow, apparently. Carla Bruni Sarkozy, she was a big time model before she became France's first lady, French President Nicolas Sarkozy's main squeeze. This particular photo was taken in 1993. It's a black and white image in which she strikes a pigeon-toed pose with her hands covering her girl parts. And the photo is expected to fetch 3 to 4,000 dollars.

STEWART: This is the current first lady of France.

MARTIN: The current first lady of France. That's all we're going to say. We have no comment on that.

STEWART: Oh, la, la. That's my comment.

MARTIN: Hey, folks. That's the Ramble.

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