Nasty Hobbits

We wants it, must have the precious: Cameras have started rolling on Peter Jackson’s production of “The Hobbit,” a two-part prequel to Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” movies. Back for the J.R.R. Tolkien fantasy are Elijah Wood and Ian McKellen, joining British actor Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins.

But in a controversial move intended to save money, Jackson has switched from computer animation to portray the goblinlike Gollum, giving the role to Charlie Sheen, who will need little makeup.

A repelling bouquet: An Everett man has developed a device that humanely chases away birds from where they’re not wanted, such as food courts and outdoor markets. The device emits a grape-scented vapor that birds avoid.

The drawback is that the vapor often attracts hordes of wine snobs looking for free wine tastings.

One ringy-dingy: AT&T announced Sunday that it plans to buy T-Mobile for $39 billion, a merger that would make it the largest cellphone company in the U.S. and reduce the number of nationwide wireless carriers to three from four.

Worried that a lack of competition among wireless carriers will lead to even higher prices and poorer service? AT&T spokeswoman Ernestine quickly laid those concerns to rest: “We don’t care. We don’t have to. We’re the Phone Company.”

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