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It’s not that hard out there for a pap, as this inside account of an amateur paparazzo reveals. Emily Yoffe, author of Slate’s human guinea pig column, lackadaisically roamed the streets of Beverly Hills armed only with a digital camera and few choice tips furnished by her sister, an ex-casting director. She snapped, among others, Russell Crowe, Tim Daly, Brian Grazer, and, um, the older brother from The Wonder Years.

And get this: Before snapping Daly, Yoffe asked his permission — novel approach! Then her memory card failed. She drove off to purchase another one… and he waited for her. The old saying is true: You can catch more former Wings stars with honey than with vinegar. (Yoffe did not try the “honey” method on Crowe, choosing instead to snap him from a safe distance.)

I have learned two things: 1) There’s more than one way to steal a celebrity’s soul (the mean way and the nice way). 2) People are afraid of Russell Crowe even when he’s holding a baby. (For good reason: A baby, hurled at high speed, can be a devastating projectile, especially if it’s aerodynamic, as most celebrity babies tend to be.)

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