yo -- y'all seein this? PortaBush and China? CRAZY! Check out what I saw on USA Today... Oh, and this new pet is the best yet!

foo

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Bush Virtual Pet Game Soars in China

By D. IAN HOPPER, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - In the aftermath of the downed U.S. spy plane, the Chinese apparently have found a new way to ridicule President Bush (news - web sites) - a virtual pet modeled after him.

While the U.S.-made PortaBush software for handheld computers wasn't released with much fanfare last week, it became a big hit in China very quickly.

The software's American designers noticed a huge traffic spike Thursday coming from China, at one point reaching about 2,000 downloads in an hour and threatening to overwhelm their servers.

``About 80 percent of the downloads were coming from China,'' Eruptor Entertainment President Brad Foxhoven said Friday. ``We just got too much traffic in such a short period of time that wasn't letting up.''

Foxhoven said he suspects an e-mail is traveling through China that includes a link for the program. About a quarter of the 20,000 PortaBush downloads to date have come from China, he said.

``It's just incredible that it's taken off like this,'' he said.

The White House had no immediate comment on the new Chinese interest.

Released a week ago by Marina Del Ray, Calif.-based Eruptor Entertainment, the software toy is similar to the faded Tamagotchi craze. Players feed their PortaBush, keep him happy and help him make vital national decisions like whether to bomb teen singer Britney Spears.

The company has created similar virtual pets based on a fish, a monkey, a kitten and former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson (news - web sites), who cooperated in making her program. About a half-million software pets have been downloaded from the company's Web site, Foxhoven said.