Saturday, December 29, 2007

Hello, Evan Rachel Wood! Marilyn Manson, Dita Von Teese Divorce

It's goodbye Dita, hello Evan Rachel Wood: Shock rocker Marilyn Manson and his wife, burlesque performer Dita Von Teese, have officially divorced, according to papers filed in court on Thursday. (This link takes you to an article on TMZ.com, which also has copies of the official documents.)

Manson (real name: Brian Warner) and Von Teese (real name: Heather Sweet) became estranged when Manson started dating Evan Rachel Wood, an actress who is now 20 years old.

I've liked Evan Rachel Wood in everything I've seen her in, which admittedly isn't a lot. I was a fan of the ABC show "Once and Again," in which she played the younger daughter in one half of a blended family. Later on I started watching cable reruns of a show called "Profiler," kind of a combination crime drama-psychological thriller, pre-C.S.I., in which Evan Rachel Wood played the young daughter of the an F.B.I. criminal profiler. Wood was also good in the indie flick "Thirteen," in which she played a good girl who starts running with a fast crowd and spirals into a world of drugs, criminal mischief, and sex.

I won't pretend to understand Marilyn Manson's psyche, or Wood's for that matter, but they have said in the past that they are soulmates. It must be quite an interesting soul they have, or share, or whatever.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Lauren Upton Finishes Second in Memorable Quote of the Year Vote; "Don't Tase Me, Bro!" is First

Lauren Upton's convoluted answer in a beauty pageant didn't help her in that competition, but it landed her in second place in the voting for "memorable phrase of the year."

Upton was South Carolina's contestant in the Miss Teen America contest, and in answer to a question about why one-fifth of Americans are unable to locate the U.S. on a map, she said:

"I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because some people out there in our nation don't have maps and I believe that our education like such as in South Africa and Iraq and everywhere like such as and I believe that they should our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S. or should help South Africa and should help Iraq and the Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future for us."

Well, that's more of an essay than a quote. Fortunately the winner of the most memorable quote of the year was much shorter: "Don't Tase Me, Bro," a phrase uttered by University of Florida student Andrew Meyer back in September when he was apprehended by police for disrupting a speech by U.S. Senator John Kerry.

Man, if I was Andrew Meyer I would have immediately trademarked that phrase, so that anyone who wanted to print it or even say it would have to may a licensing fee... kind of like AT&T did years ago when people started using "Reach out and touch someone" for all kinds of nefarious purposes. Meyer could have made a fortune with "Don't Tase Me, Bro" t-shirts, coffee mugs, beer cozies, the possibilities are endless!

I was disappointed that another quote related to a Senator (this one actually said by a Senator) only weighed in at Number 8 on the 2007 most memorable quote of the year. That would be Idaho Senator Larry Craig who, when asked by his foot touched that of an undercover cop in a men's room, said. "(I have) a wide stance when going to the bathroom."

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Much-Maligned Fruitcake is Celebrated at California Festival

Here's an audio story that profiles the Independence Fruitcake Festival, which takes place tomorrow in Independence, California.

This is a fun holiday story to listen to if you love fruitcake... or if you hate fruitcake, for that matter.

When I was a kid my grandparents used to give fruitcakes to our family (and just about everyone else they knew, apparently). I hated those rock-hard cakes with the unnaturally colored Maraschino cherries, but I have to confess that I now like fruitcake. Maybe the quality of fruitcakes has gotten better over the years, or maybe my changing taste just reflects creeping middle age. Fortunately, I have yet to develop a liking for playing shuffleboard or wearing my pants hiked up to my rib cage.

So where do you stand... fruitcake lover, fruitcake hater, or somewhere in between?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

J.R. Rotem Latest Fling for Britney Spears - Is She Pregnant?

Is Britney Spears pregnant from a tryst with record producer J.R. Rotem? Britney Spears's life continues to be like a car wreck: we know we shouldn't watch, and yet we can't help ourselves. The gossip Web sites are reporting that Rotem has bragged about his sexual exploits with everyone's favorite self-destructing pop tart to Blender magazine, and is claiming she is pregnant with his child.

The The Hollywood Gossip says that In Touch claims that Britney Spears confided to her friends via e-mail that she is four weeks pregnant, and that she's sure J.R. Rotem is the father. She supposedly even attached an ultrasound image to the e-mails.

Granted, these reports are a very long daisy chain of rumors... so-and-so reports that a second source heard from a third source that person X received an e-mail from whomever. But, if this is all true, it's just another collision for the former pop princess-turned-train-wreck.

Latest news: Perez Hilton says the rumors of Britney Spears being pregnant are false. Hmmm... who's less reliable, In Touch or Perez Hilton?

Well, things could be worse... Spears could be impregnated by some alien life form from a distant galaxy, or by the devil himself, a la "Rosemary's Baby."

Pepperidge Farms "Connecting Through Cookies" Web Site... Huh?

Cookie maker Pepperidge Farms has gotten into the social networking business, according to reports in the NY Times and elsewhere. The idea is to foster friendships around the brand's cookies and other snacks, and the campaign's tagline is... "Connecting through Cookies." What are these people smoking?

Pepperidge Farms has created a Web site, artofthecookie.com, where their target audience (women) can connect... and stuff their faces with endless bags of Mint Milanos, no doubt.

The head of the baker's PR agency is happy about the approach it designed. “The Web offers us so much opportunity for blowing ideas out,” said James Allman, chief executive at DeVries Public Relations in New York. Blow, baby, blow!

Maybe Pepperidge Farms can then create another Web site to help all those newly obese cookie-connectors lose weight... they can call it "Chat to Lose the Fat," or something.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Prairie Tumbleweed Farm Sells Unusual Holiday Gift

Talk about turning lemons into lemonade! Prairie Tumbleweed Farm in Kansas has created a new gift idea by turning tumbleweeds, which are kind of like giant weedy hairballs of the prairie, into a popular holiday item. They are promoting tumbleweeds as a distinctive item that can be used as a decoration (plenty of space for lights, tinsel, etc.) or as a unique gift.

With the motto "If they don't tumble we don't sell them!," Prairie Tumbleweed Farm is promoting the product as a multi-purpose piece of decor. "Tumbleweeds! Decorative year 'round!" They note that these tumbleweeds are the same kind that have been used as props in movies, TV shows, etc. over the years.

It's an audacious idea, but it's good to see these folks have a healthy sense of humor about their product. "Our Prairie Tumbleweeds are 100% Y2K compliant," they note with tongue firmly in cheek.

Just make sure no one gets near the Christmas tumbleweed with a lit cigarette...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

'Tis the Season for Baby in the Oven Stories!

Along with turkey and cranberry sauce, those "baby in the oven" stories are another Thanksgiving tradition. You know... some mother (or uncle, or brother, or stranger) accidentally (or not) puts a child in the oven, either to shut it up or keep it warm, or maybe the child looks like a turkey. Every year such stories make the rounds on the Internet, and some of them are true.

Very few baby in the oven incidents actually happen. People searching for them on the Web will find some articles, but the most recent one I found was from January 2007, and a couple others were older than that. The baby in a microwave oven seems to be just a more modern variation on this oft-rumored tale.

So rest easy... there is no holiday epidemic of cooks putting their babies in the oven, whether intentionally or accidentally. But just like the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, those baby in the oven stories, a holiday tradition, are back.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Gene Simmons of KISS: Downloading Kids Should be "Sued Off the Face of the Earth"

If you ever run into Gene Simmons of KISS, don't tell him that you downloaded one of his albums from a peer-to-peer service... he'll probably rip you a new a-hole.

Simmons didn't mince words when he was asked about what he thinks about people who download music illegally: "Every little college kid, every freshly-scrubbed little kid's face should have been sued off the face of the earth," he said in a recent interview with Billboard magazine.

On an interesting side note, Simmons, who stars in the reality TV show "Gene Simmons Family Jewels," is now writing a book called, "Ladies of the Night," a "personal and historical overview" about the profession of prostitution. (Wonder how much is personal and how much is professional?) I guess Simmons has a higher opinion of prostitutes than kids who download music.

Maybe he can convince some prostitutes to buy his music legally...

Travis Barker is Alive, but the Flying Spaghetti Monster is Dead

Relief over the news that former Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker is indeed alive was tempered by sadness: it has been reported by the highly reputable news source MySpace that the popular cult god Flying Spaghetti Monster, or FSM, is dead.

The news was announced in a posting by the respected 13-year-old MySpacer GothChik1994. In the same posting, GothChik1994 also reported that she is really bummed out because she has a big zit on her chin and her favorite hardcore band, Born of Osiris, is not coming to her town.

The Flying Spaghetti Monster, affectionately known as "Spags" to his many loyal followers, was reportedly found dead in his garage on Nov. 13th after returning home from an awards ceremony. FSM was said to have been drinking sacramental holy wine at the dinner, but it is not known at this time if alcohol was a factor in the alleged death.

The church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster uses specialized wines as its sacraments, including Boone's Farm and Richard's Wild Irish Rose.

The Flying Spaghetti Monster leaves behind his devoted disciples Rotini, Manicotti, Spaghettini, and Linguine.

The Flying Spaghetti Monster had requested in his will that in the event of his passing, he be cooked in a pan of water with a pinch of salt until al dente, and then drained and covered with white clam sauce.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

South Korea's "Mr. Toilet" Builds His Toilet-Shaped Dream House


The South Korean president of the World Toilet Association, a man called "Mr. Toilet," has built his dream house, and it's shaped like ... well, a toilet.

Although the group is called the "World" toilet association, it's supported by the South Korean government, and supposedly aims to launch a "toilet revolution," and improve worldwide hygiene. Representatives from 60 countries will meet in Korea to discuss forming toilet associations of their own.

"The toilet revolution should start with talking about toilet issues freely," said Song Young-kwon, head of the organizing committee for the conference. Ummm,.. yeah.

Along with conference there will be a "toilet expo" for the public, including a "Hansel and Gretel" bathroom made from cookies and candy "that gives presents to children when they flush," and a cafe where people can sit on colorful toilets. ( Why hasn't Starbucks jumped on this trend?)

Supposedly this is the only "toilet house" in the world. Let's hope so.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Two Girls, One Cup The Sequel: Big Al's Next Venture?

If you haven't heard of the infamous "Two Girls, One Cup" video that's all over the Internet, you must have been living under a rock. Or maybe you've got poop covering your eyes and ears... though, I hope, not your mouth.

Speaking of which, that's what the "Two Girls, One Cup" video involves: Two attractive girls and a clear plastic cup. One girl supposedly defecates into the cup, the the two of them eat it.

As with all popular videos, a question comes up: What do you do for an encore, and who's going to produce it? Here's my idea: Al Gore, former vice president, should direct, produce, and star in a video production called "Two Girls, One Cup, and Al: The Sequel."

I can imagine Al Gore being excited about this idea. He's been VP, won an Academy Award, and won a Nobel Peace Prize, what can he possibly do for an encore that will be interesting and challenging? Creating a sequel to the "Two Girls, One Cup" video would be a strike of boldness, an undertaking even more momentous that him doing the macarena on stage at the Democratic National Convention.

I bet he'd appreciate the synergy between a "Two Girls, One Cup" sequel and his environmental dedication. "I'm deeply committed to the Earth and it natural wonders," I can picture him saying. "And nothing is more natural and down-to-earth than a fresh, steaming, stinking load of human excrement. In the biblical spirit of 'ashes to ashes, dust to dust,' it's a reminder of our mortality and the continuity of nature to see what we have eaten coming out of our bottoms, and going back into our mouths, and then coming out of our bottoms again. It's kind of like putting a mirror in front of a TV camera, and seeing those endless reflections..."

And Big Al wouldn't have to wear a suit, make a speech, or even create any PowerPoint presentations! (Unless he really wanted to, of course.)

Now I'm not sure if Al should do the pooping, or one of the girls should. I haven't seen the original "Two Girls, One Cup" video so I don't know if the girls are scantily clad. But having Al Gore scantily clad would not be a good thing, I would think.

So how about it, Al... umm, I mean Mr. Vice President? I've run the idea up the flagpole, let's see who salutes it! If you decide to take my idea and run with it, I promise I'll charge only a modest fee for the rights to the sequel to the "Two Girls, One Cup" video.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Pennsylvania Bigfoot Photos Mystery Solved!

So is that really a bigfoot or sasquatchthat's lurking in the fields of Pennsylvania, and recently captured on camera? Or is it a hoax?

The truth can now be told: It's Al Gore! Yes, the former VP has been looking for a new gig. After being a vice president, a presidential candidate, an Oscar-winning movie maker, and a Nobel Peace Prize winner--and inventing the Inernet, of course--Big Al was looking for a new challenge. Something stimulating, to be sure, but a challenge that didn't involve policy, or speechmaking, or PowerPoint presentations.

So what better way to stay occupied and re-connect the the natural world he loves so dearly, than to put on a hairy costume and wander the woods in Pennsylvania as a sasquatch?

That's my thinking, anyway. Stay tuned for my further thoughts on what Al Gore's next adventure might be.

Friday, October 26, 2007

How Many Indian Guitarists Does it Take to Play "Knockin' On Heaven's Door"?

That headline may sound like one of those ubiquitous "lightbulb" jokes ("How many __ does it take to screw in a lightbulb?"), but there's a real story behind it.

More than a thousand guitarists gathered in a remote town in India Friday to try to set a Guinness world record for the largest guitar ensemble.

Supposedly upwards of 1,700 guitarists played Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" in Shilong; they were seeking to top the current Guinness record. That occurred last year, when 1,721 guitarists met in Kansas City to perform Deep Purple's 1970s rock anthem, "Smoke on the Water." The Indians seemed to have more than 1,721 guitarists strumming. (Wonder if Slash of Guns 'n' Roses was there?)

A story about the Indian event says there were no Guinness judges at today's proceedings, but the organizers of the Dylan fest claim their feat will be recognized because they have witnesses as required by the Guinness Book of World Records.

Rock on, dudes...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Cracked.com Presents the 30 Most Unsettling German Halloween Costumes

When I saw the title of this article on Cracked.com, it sounded like something that would be featured on the old Saturday Night Live skit, "Sprockets" (with Mike Myers prancing around in all black as the odd host, Dieter. Sure, you remember... "Would you like to touch my monkey?").

But instead of being Germany's most disturbing home videos, this is "The 30 Most Unsettling German Halloween Costumes."

And unsettling they are, coming from the folks who are known for lederhosen, Dada, eroticism, and Sturm und Drung, but not necessarily humor.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The 20 Worst Rhymes In Pop Music History, from Cracked.com

Just last week Blender magazine put out its list of the worst lyricists in rock.

On a similar theme, Cracked.com has assembled what they consider the 20 worst rhymes in pop music history. We've all heard rhymes in music that make us cringe, the Cracked folks have reminded us of some of the most dreadful in one handy article.

Some of these rhymes I hadn't heard before, and they are truly atrocious. Others are old "favorites" (for lack of a better word).

There's a comments section too, so feel free to jump into the pool.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Colbert Runs for President; Larry Craig for VP?

Al Gore won't run, but mock talk-show host Stephen Colbert will. He's announced that he's going to run in his home state of South Carolina (I never would have pegged him as being from S.C., but that's besides the point).

Since Colbert will undoubtedly get plenty of press, I'd like to focus on a less talked-about issue: Who will Colbert choose as a running mate? Here's my suggestion: Since Colbert is a polished, urbane fellow, he should choose a more rural, down-to-earth guy for his veep.

My choice: None other than Larry "Wide Stance" Craig, the retiring-under-scandal U.S. Senator from Idaho. Despite his "I am not gay" protestations, I think everyone can read behind the lines and see the discomfort of Craig, a conservative from a conservative rural state, trying so hard to hold that closet door closed lest his inner Gay American burst out (or be dragged out).

It's been one of the funniest and most preposterous episodes in recent political memory, listening to Craig fumble and bumble in to the cameras while trying to explain that his playing footsy with a law enforcement officer in an airport men's room was not an attempt at a gay hookup.

Moving hit foot to the side to touch that of the undercover agent in the next stall? "I have a wide stance," Craig explained. I can't even remember how (or if) he tried to explain away rubbing his hand along the side wall of the stall, or putting his duffel bag in front of the stall door to obscure the view.

Listening to Craig's laughable explanations, I kept thinking of the bathroom scene in the first "Austin Powers" movie, in which Austin is in a stall next to the character played by Tom Arnold. While Austin grunts and groans as he fights with a henchman of Dr. Evil, demanding "Who does Number Two work for?," Arnold assumes his stallmate is struggling to unleash The Mother of All Dumps, telling Powers "You tell that turd who's boss!" and asking, "How about a courtesy flush?"

Since Larry Craig probably won't do it himself, I'm urging him to throw his hat into the ring... while keeping one foot in the stall and the other in the closet, of course.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

German Soccer Fans Can Be Buried in Cemetery Right Next to Stadium!

For some soccer fans, being a fan for life isn't enough. Now one German soccer team, Hamburg SV, is giving its fans a chance to be close to the club for all eternity.

The team is building a cemetery next to its stadium that will be able to hold 500 graves, which will be about 50 feet from the main entrance of the stadium. The cemetery is expected to be completed in September. It will also include a memorial to the club's old stadium, as well as monument honoring Hamburg SV stars from the past.

"For a large number of people, it's important to be close to the club after their lives are over," the club's deputy chairman told Reuters. "The cemetery will have the look of a small, open stadium."

Competition for the burial spaces is expected to be very lively among the club's 42,000-strong fan club. Would you expect anything less from devoted fans?

Friday, October 05, 2007

Spray-On Condoms: TV Show Sparks Growing Interest

Every product would like to get the, umm, exposure that that spray-on condom received a couple of weeks ago.

CSI: New York featured a German-developed spray-on condom in the plot line of its season-opening episode, which revolved around a murder and an act of vandalism inside the Statue of Liberty.

Late last year a company called Vinico World of Condoms announced the spray-on condom, to be applied right before sex, as a solution to the opening, fumbling, and bumbling in bed that occurs with traditional condoms. Vinico's Web site offers some details in English.

According to an article published last December, tests were them being conducted by the "Institute for Condom Consultancy" (wonder if this is a government agency or part of the company?), with the product expected to hit the market in 2008. One can was supposed to give 20 applications, and cost around $27.

Maybe the product is ready now? Or maybe the CSI: New York creators thought the spray-on condom would be a fun item to mix into their toolkit of forensic techniques and evidence.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

North Korean Leader Refuses to Smile at Summit

South Korean leader (L) looks happy; North Korean leader (R) looks constipated.

Heading one of the world's last communist dictatorships and running its economy into the ground is serious business. Just ask North Korean maximum leader Kim Jong-Il. He met with his counterpart, the South Korean leader, for historic meetings today and didn't crack a smile even once, judging from the photos and video that have emerged from the sessions. Mr. Kim and his team didn't seem too pleased of enthused; you'd think since North and South Korean leaders have only met once before in, oh, about 50 years, the dude could muster up a little enthusiasm.

Maybe the dictator was constipated? They seem to have shortages of all kinds of products and foods in North Korea, maybe even the dictator himself can't get a hold of any chocolate Ex-Lax.

And the South Korean president even came to the gray, barren North Korean capital for the occasion! Is that any way to play host? Well, if Kim Jong-Il didn't smile I hope he as least gave his southern counterpart Roh Moo-hyun a decent meal or two. Mr. Roh was certainly smiling and in good spirits during the summit... he was probably thinking, "Thank GOD I don't live in this part of the Korean peninsula!"

The multinational team trying to get North Korea to give up its nukes might try to scare up a few boxes of Ex-Lax before their next visit to Pyongyang. Bringing a decent hair stylist couldn't hurt either; Kim Jong-Il really needs to ditch that drowned-rooster hairstyle he's been sporting for the last few decades.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Alice Ghostley Dead; Nelson Mandela Still Very Much Alive

The actress Alice Ghostley, best known for playing the witch Esmeralda on TV's "Bewitched," died the other day at age 81. That we know for sure.

Former South African president Nelson Mandela, however, is very much alive, despite a public pronouncement to the contrary by U.S. president George Bush. Bush is famous for his word-mangling and verbal gaffes, but saying that a revered world figure is dead is at the top of the list of public relations no-no's.

"I heard somebody say, 'Where's Mandela?'," Bush said in a speech defending his Iraq policy. "Well, Mandela's dead because Saddam Hussein killed all the Mandelas." News outlets were flooded with calls about the health of Mandela, but Mandela himself issued an announcement reassuring folks that he is indeed still alive.

At a summit in Australia a couple of weeks ago, Bush mistakenly called the country Austria. Hmmm, maybe the president hasn't been getting his afternoon naps lately... or maybe Bush's mouth is truly Bewitched. He's been making these gaffes so long I don't know if Esmerelda could fix things.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Barry Bonds Hammers "Idiot" Who Bought No. 756

Here's a humorous piece that's too odd for me to have made up. Barry Bonds has called an "idiot" the man who bought the baseball Bonds hit for his record-breaking 756th home run.

Marc Ecko, a fashion designer who won the ball last week in an online auction by paying $752,467, has set up a Web site to let visitors vote on what should be done with the ball, and that's apparently what Bonds thinks is idiotic.

Ecko's three options? Donate the ball to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, brand it with an asterisk and then send it to Cooperstown, or blast it into space on a rocket. The asterisk, of course, is a reference to allegations that Bonds has used performance-enhancing drugs and that his home-run record is therefore tainted.

''All of those options don't weigh anything,'' Bonds told the San Francisco Chronicle on Tuesday night. ''In baseball, that number (756) stands.'' As for paying all that money to buy the ball and let the public decide its fate? ''He's stupid. He's an idiot,'' Bonds said of Ecko. ''He spent $750,000 on the ball and that's what he's doing with it? What he's doing is stupid.''

Ecko said in a statement he would make Bonds a custom T-shirt that says, ''Marc Ecko paid $752,467 for my ball, and all I got was this 'stupid' T-shirt.'''

The public can vote on the fate of the record-breaking ball online at www.vote756.com. Ecko says he'll announce what he'll do with the ball when voting ends Sept. 25.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Chinese Menus Look to Cut "Pee Soup" and "Crap in the Grass"

Chinese authorities are doing more than building cycling velodromes and sports arenas to prepare for next year's Olympic games. They're getting the grammar police to clean up some of the, um, interesting translations of Chinese foods into English on the menus of restaurants around the country. They've even set up a hotline people can call to translate a confusing menu item into English or, presumably, other languages, according to a report last month by the BBC.

The officials are hoping to avoid embarrassing gaffes by banning such menu items as "pee soup", "five sliced things", "dumpling stuffed with the ovary and digestive glands of a crab," and "crap in the grass."

The latter, a misspelling of carp, is always good for a laugh.

"Among this correspondent's favourites," says an earlier article in The Independent (mentioned on the Web site sawf.org), "is 'f*ck the certain price of goods' -- far more striking than 'sale now on.'"

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Bin Laden's Cozy Home and Heavy-Metal Speechwriter

Osama bin Laden continues to be a question wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a big ball of fuzzy black hair (but no more gray! thanks to Grecian Formula)...

The New York Daily News reports that OBL lives not in some squalid cave, but in a cushy compound in a remote region of Pakistan... one apparently equipped with cable TV and broadband Internet, judging by his knowledge of current happenings in the U.S.

Speaking of which, maybe OBL doesn't really know squat about taxes and mortgage problems in America; just like modern politicians, he has a speechwriter doing research and writing his stuff. Some intelligence experts have remarked that The Bearded One's remarks about American society and capitalism have the fingerprints of an American al Quaeda member all over them.

The U.K. Telegraph quotes an ex-intel official as saying that large sections of the speech were probably written by Adam Gadahn, the head of al-Qaeda's English language media operations, who used to be a California heavy metal fan before converted to Islam. (He's made his own anti-U.S. videos, but clearly Osama wants the screen time this go-'round.)

The Telegraph notes that the U.S.-bashing comments in OBL's speech had him "sounding like an anti-globalisation protester.... The al-Qaeda leader's first video message for three years featured a bizarre rant against America, with references to global warming, "insane taxes", the US mortgage market meltdown and rising interest rates."

Rants about Insane taxes, global warming, mortgage crunches, and big corporations? Trimming and dyeing his beard to look younger? Sounds like OBL is trying to appeal to a younger demographic, just like many TV advertisers... maybe bin Laden has hired a team of lobbyists and media consultants in hopes of buffing his image and reaching a broader audience.

What's next... bin Laden insights on American Idol candidates and commentary on whether Vaness Hudgens should be removed from High School Musical 3?

Friday, September 07, 2007

Bin Laden Gets Dye Job for New Video


Only his hairdresser knows for sure: the clothes could use a makeover, too.

Has Osama bin Laden gone Hollywood? The media-savvy terrorist has now appeared on video for the first time in several years, sparking new questions about his purpose in appearing on camera after a long absence. Personally, I have to wonder if the guy has been watching too much TV these days (assuming he gets cable in whatever cave he's living in).

In his new video bin Laden makes the usual rants about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the U.S. administration, as well as the evils of capitalism. This last bit has me puzzled, since OBL is sporting a new, younger look: his unkempt, graying beard and hair are gone, replaced by an evenly colored, trimmed, jet-black look.

Has he seen those TV commercials for Grecian Formula or Just For Men and wondered if a younger look might be better for getting his message across? Maybe he figures that just because he lives in caves surrounded by the smell of old camel pee doesn't mean he has to look like it. So he thought it was time for a litte "extreme makeover" of his own.

Maybe he got jealous hearing about the $400 haircut of presidential candidate John Edwards, and decided that an infamous worldwide terror leader should have a more dashing look. Even scruffy muckraking filmmaker Michael Moore has ditched his longtime overgrown beard and unruly hair for a more styled look (all the better for looking good at benefits and Sundance parties).

And with that new TV show "Cavemen" coming out in a few weeks, possible OBL was afraid he'd be confused with those hirsute (but very capitalistic) Cro-Magnon stars.

Perhaps OBL got inspired for his dye job by that Just For Men commercial in which retired jocks Walt Frazier and Keith Hernandez extoll the virtues of the product while an actor with gray hair gets shunned by his date, but then gets invited into her apartment another time after using Just For Men. Bin Laden already has had a number of wives, but maybe he's looking to be the big chick magnet of Outer Wazhiristan. Score!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Video of Wild Party at Caveman Bachelor Pad



Party with everyone's favorite cavemen. This photo is from a viral video that's either from Geico or from ABC to promote its new "Cavemen" sitcom, or it's something whipped up by a person with a real love of the caveman idea (and with a lot of money and free time, as well).

You can find more images and videos of the party prep, the event itself, and the sad scene the next morning, at www.cavemanscrib.com.

These hairy dudes really know how to party; in the video you see them get down (literally) as they do the limbo. It looks like a fun party, until that guy lights the bar on fire...

Karl Rove, "Bush's Brain," Leaving White House; Next Stop "The View"?

The man often described as "George Bush's brain" announced he is leaving the White House at the end of August... so what's his next gig?

My guess is that he'd really like to be a guest co-host on the estrogen-charged morning TV gabfest The View. The show has had male guest-hosts already, such as Ross the Intern, so why not Karl?

He's probably just dying to talk about the best soil for growing tulips, the decorating scheme for his den, how kids can play hardball to win grade-school class elections, his daily facial exfoliating regimen, and how a great homemade potpourri can cover up even the stinkiest Washington, D.C. cigar and flatulence odors.

With his wide-ranging policy expertise, maybe he can give the ladies of The View his ideas on weightier topics too, such as whether the new female sexual dysfunction drug Intrinsa should be approved for sale in the U.S.

And wouldn't we all love to see Karl's own personal entry in the "Funniest Bathroom Moment Contest"?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Fidel Castro Trying Out for "Cavemen"?



Top: Current cavemen. Bottom: New caveman?


Rumors are flying in Cuba and elsewhere that dictator Fidel Castro was on a secret mission in Hollywood to try out for a role on ABC's new Fall sitcom, "Cavemen." Castro was not seen at celebrations for Cubas's revolution day a couple of weeks ago, and observes have speculated about his whereabouts.

Cuban government officials and ABC-TV execs declined comment when asked about the matter, but sources said that the hirsute dictator was intrigued about the "Cavemen" series and thought he would be a natural for a supporting on-screen role.

"Fidel's got the hair and the beard, he really wouldn't need much time in the makeup trailer," one Hollywood source said. "And Fidel's friends have said that he was fascinated by the whole plotline of the series, the cavemen feeling discriminated against and having trouble fitting in."

Naturally, getting paid network wages would bring much-needed cash to the dictator, whose country has been under trade sanctions by the U.S. for decades. And a friend of Fidel's said that after more than half a century of wearing green military fatigues, Castro was practically drooling at the idea of running loose in a Hollywood wardrobe trailer.

Fidel's brother Raul was filling in for his brother at the revolution celebrations. Fidel hasn't been seen in public for a year.

Is Fidel going Hollywood? Look at the photos above and judge for yourself.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Guy Who Got Bonds' Home Run Ball Admits to Steroids

How did a guy in a Mets jersey manage to snag the Barry Bonds home run ball out of a mess of a rugby scrum in the bleachers at Cingular-is-Now-the-New-AT&T Park?

Steroids, of course! Yes, Matt Murphy told the Rupert Murdoch publication Steroids World that he was an enthusiastic proponent of performance-enhancing drugs, and that he used them to train for diving for home runs, foul balls, bouncing pucks, and other sports souvenirs.

"EPO is the base, the foundation for everything," the 22-year-old man from NY said. "To chase balls down quickly in empty bleacher areas, you need strong legs but also explosive quickness. So I used The Clear to give that mad-fast boost to the fast-twitch muscles in my quadriceps and hamstrings.

"And when one guy was moving in to try to get the Bonds home run ball from me, my leg had that explosive quickness to level a knee right into his crotch. He backed off real fast," Murphy noted.

"To grasp that ball or puck, you need strong but soft hands," he continued. "I used The Cream on my hands and fingers and did some basic weight lifting on each finger.

"Not only was I able to grab and hold the ball, but when some jackass got his ugly mug up in my grill, I was able to plunge one of my pumped-up thumbs right into his throat. He didn't seem so interested in the ball after that, in fact he started coughing and puking right as he was falling backward. It was awesome!

"They say steroids make you extremely aggressive, but that's just bull. Some folks said that I was belligerent, just because I was trying to bite and kick the security guards who came to take me out of the crowd. But hey, how could I know if they were real security guards or a bunch of jerks in blue uniforms trying to steal the ball away from me?

"And after they Tasered me the third time, I was cool about going with them anyway."

And there you have it. Will Bud Selig try to investigate Murphy? Maybe the commissioner should worry about his own "image," and go for some Botox treatments to soften up that sour puss of a face.

Rob Zombie Re-Imagines "Halloween"

After a number of sequels over the past two decades, the "Halloween" series of movies needed a kick in the pants, and it's getting it in the form of a brand new film from rocker-turned-movie-director Rob Zombie.

The former frontman for heavy metal band White Zombie has successfully branched off into filmmaking, with his previous movies gaining loyal fans, and even critics noting his distinctive style and flair. And now on August 31st he's releasing Halloween the movie, his own re-imagining of the 1978 horror classic that started it all.

My favorite horror classic? That might well be "The Shining," Stanley Kubrick's filming of the Stephen King novel. I was an adult when I saw it, but it still scared the crap out of me.

The visual effects and style added to the feel of menacing and impending doom. Rob Zombie has visual style in spades, and no doubt that's a lot of what he'll bring to the table in his "Halloween." He's the writer as well as the director, and he's even taken to writing his own comic book in recent years. So he's got a good sense of putting together a story as well.

As the writer and director, it's Zombie's vision of "Halloween" all the way through. With the style he's established in his earlier movies, it'll be very interesting to see what he can do with a new take on an old classic.

Check out the trailer below. It's scary for sure, but there isn't a lot of slashing and screaming. It seems to be creating a sense of dread, anticipation, and fear of what's around the corner, rather than just piling up a lot of gory killings. The mask is very creepy, too. Zombie seems to be working on putting fear into your mind. To me, that makes for a more satisfying horror film than just a lot of gory scenes over and over.



And with Rob Zombie at the helm, you know Halloween the movie is going to have a killer soundtrack (pardon the pun).

If there was any movie franchise that needed a new face and a fresh look, "Halloween" is it. And Zombie may just be the ideal guy to pull it off and breathe new life into a story everyone's familiar with.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Obama: I'd Send Barry Bonds to Pakistan

Clarifying his controversial remarks about rooting out Mideast terrorists, Barack Obama has said that if elected president he would send surly baseball slugger Barry Bonds to Pakistan as part of a military contingent. Bonds is rumored to have used steroids, as shown by his increased hitting power and very noticeable weight gain during the last decade.

"Al Quaeda's worst nightmare would be seeing a muscle-bound, ornery dude like Barry Bonds coming at them with a 22-ounce bat and a full-on fit of 'roid rage," Obama said at a recent campaign stop.

"Bonds has gained about 40 pounds since doing steroids, most of it on his head. When those terrorists see this huge dude with a noggin as big as a Macy's parade balloon coming at them with a golden cross pinned in his ear lobe, they'll crap in their pants and turn tail," the democratic candidate elaborated.

Obama said that he has not discussed this idea with Bonds, and admitted that the slugger may not be enthused about doing it. "But hell, if I'm President, I can command him to do it, right?," Obama said.

He noted that if Bonds were unavailable or in jail, baseball commissioner Bud Selig might also be an effective figure for scaring terrorists. "Have you seen the sourpuss face on that dude?," Obama asked. "He looks like he ate a huge chunk of limberger cheese coated with lemon juice and donkey pee."

Bonds, Selig, and Pakistan president Mushareff could not be reached for comment.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Kelly Clarkson: I'm Sorry (...That My CD and Tour Are Bombing)

Kelly Clarkson has posted a statement on her Web site apologizing to Clive Davis for comments she'd previously made about the legendary hitmaker and record producer. Clarkson seemed to be dismissive of Davis's talents recently... that is, until her new CD "My December" was met with lackluster sales. Her arena tour received an even more lackluster response, and low ticket sales caused Clarkson to cancel the entire tour.

Clarkson's statement said, in part, "Contrary to recent characterizations in the press, I'm well aware that Clive is one of the great record men of all time. He has been a key advisor and has been an important force in my success to date. He has also given me respect by releasing my new album when he was not obligated to do so."

This is quite a change from statements she made to USA Weekend recently, in which she said: "I'm going to be real honest with you: I'm not a fan. ... I do respect him, but I don't want to barbecue with him. We don't braid each other's hair."

I guess Clarkson was right that she isn't that close to Davis. If she'd been anywhere near him, she'd know he doesn't have enough hair left to braid.

Glad to hear that they've made up. Is that barbecue I smell?

Keep Up with All the Hot New NHL Prospects

Now is the time when hope springs eternal throughout the NHL: the entry draft has been held, and every team is looking to improve. As the wheeling and dealing heats up, hockey fans have a great source for keeping up on all the prospect news and player movement: HockeysFuture.com.

This is a comprehensive site with a huge array of information, stats, and links on the latest news surrounding the hockey draft. Go to the site's home page and you'll find prospect pages and draft reviews for each NHL team, a list of the top 50 prospects, rankings of each team organization with strengths and weaknesses, the ISS top ten, and more. Inside the site you'll find news, opinions, and answers to readers' questions, among other things.

There are plenty of details on players, teams, and prospects, and the site lets you get involved with chat rooms and boards for exchanging rumors on trades and free agents.

Until the first puck drops this Fall, you can get your NHL fix and get all the details on the hockey draft at HockeysFuture.com.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Beer, Donuts, Action: Simpsons Movie Premiere in Vermont

The eyes of the world will be on Springfield, Vermont tomorrow when it hosts the world premiere of The Simpsons movie. The premiere will host creator Matt Groenig, show developer Jim Brooks, and other celebs on a big yellow carpet.

The Vermont town with 9,300 residents beat out 13 other U.S. municipalities named Springfield, and it's hosting a festival to celebrate the movie's worldwide premiere. The Simpsons movie will start playing at 2 p.m., with the first screening being a VIP event reserved for the filmmakers, Fox execs, and members of the team that created Springfield, Vermont's winning video submission. The video made the case for why the town should be chosen to host The Simpsons premiere, and was cited as a big reason for the town's win.

Springfield, Vermont actually has some similarities to the Simpsons' hometown; it has a bowling alley and a local pub and even a nuclear power plant (Vermont Yankee) not too far away.

Legndary Vermont ice-cream entrepreneurs Ben & Jerry will be introducing a one-day-only special ice cream flavor called "Duff & D'Oh Nuts," honoringHomer Simpson's two great loves in life, beer and donuts. Supposedly the ice cream includes little glazed chocolate donuts and really does have some stout beer in it. Sounds like one day will be quite long enough for that flavor.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

One-Stop Shopping for Celebrity News

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know that one of my favorite pasttimes is skewering the celebrities we all love to hate (or is it hate to love?). But making fun of celebrity hijinks isn't as easy as it looks, with so many Beautiful People doing so many idiotic things in public.

So my ears perked up when I heard about CelebrityGossip.com, a new Web site that collects all the hot celeb news and photos from around the world and presents it all in one tidy package. Tabs on the front page let you go immediately to hot topics, the latest news, and celebrity pictures (in case you're not the reading type).

Better yet, each story is followed by links to related stories, so you can get different perspectives on the celebrity hijinks in question. And, you can vote on each story, so you can see which items your fellow celebrity-mongers find the most interesting.

Today, for example, you'll find news on Larry David's wife filing for divorce, Lindsay Lohan and her sobriety ankle bracelet (she hasn't gnawed that thing off yet?), and Paris Hilton's latest project--a cartoon! That last one is almost too bizarre to be true...

Nick Nolte's Bad Day at the Airport

All of us have bad experiences regarding air travel, but usually it's airlines or airports who are at fault. But in the case of Nick Nolte's recent visit to Hawaii's Kauai Airport, it was a totally self-inflicted wound.

Nolte was said to be dripping with sweat and drifting in and out of consciousness for two hours while lying on the airport floor. His flight was delayed for more than two hours Monday night, and I guess maybe he had a few drinks--we've all been there, right?--but it sounds like he was really out of it.

Nolte was reportedly to be quite friendly despite his incoherent condition; fellow passengers said he was chatting with fans and even letting people snap pictures of him.

Nolte has been of AARP age for more than a decade, and yet he seems to be trying to prove that in terms of repeated incidents of embarrassing public behavior, those young whippersnappers Britney Spears and Paris Hilton have nothing on him!

An Easy Way to Get Your Daily Veggies



Most people these days are too busy to eat right, and that means lots of us have expanding waistlines and aren't exactly getting the best nutrition. Everyone knows that eating vegetables is important not only for good health now but for the long-term, but few Americans eat anywhere near the recommended amounts of veggies.

Now a company has come out with a new product called My Daily Veggies, which lets people easily include vegetables in their everyday diet. The product is made from real vegetables that are dried and conveniently portioned into packets, with each packet containing two full servings of vegetables.

I can drink My Daily Veggies easily by mixing the contents of a packet with water, or by mixing them into all kinds of foods. It's easy to stir My Daily Veggies into dips, rice, drinks, chili, and much more. There are countless ways to use it (and if you run out of ideas, the company's Web site has plenty of suggestions).

Since My Daily Veggies is made of real vegetables, you get all the nutritional benefits. It contains all the nutrition of real fresh (or canned or frozen) vegetables--vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber. And it contains no added sodium, sugar, or preservatives.

You can use My Daily Veggies as a daily dietary supplement at home, keep it in your office or car for on the go food, use it for convenient camping food, and more.

I personally like eating vegetables, but don't always have time to prepare them. Putting My Daily Veggies in chili, salsa, soup, or rice is a great way to get all the veggies I need without spending a lot of time shopping, peeling, cutting, and cooking vegetables. Good nutrition doesn't get any easier.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Dick Cheney Handling Security for Final Harry Potter Book

Seeking to keep the secrets of the final Harry Potter book under wraps, its publisher has confirmed that it has hired vice president Dick Cheney to oversee security for the title.

Scholastic Inc. says that it hired the VP based on his history of keeping secrets, disappearing into undisclosed locations for weeks at a time, and his tough-as-nails, belligerent attitude toward anyone who dares to disagree with him.

"Vice president Cheney is the perfect person to keep the final adventures of Harry and his friends safe from hackers and thieves who would try to spoil the surprise of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," a Scholastic spokesman said at a press conference with Mr. Cheney.

"If anyone tries to steal the book or post it on the Internet, I'll shoot them in the face," Cheney bluntly admitted.

Confronted with accusations that PDF files of the seventh Harry Potter book had already been leaked onto the Internet, Cheney at first denied the possibility of such an occurrence, then later said that if it had happened, it must be the fault of "bleeding-heart liberals and tree-huggers in Congress."

Sources who prefer not to be named (or shot by Mr. Cheney) say that the leak occurred when Cheney handed over parts of the security operation to his old colleagues at Halliburton.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Track Star in Mop Duel in the Streets!

It's not just Paris Hilton and Britney Spears who are acting odd in public. This week a star runner at Utah's Brigham Young University got himself arrested for getting out of his car and striking a pedestrian with a mop.

Kyle Perry was driving down a street in Provo and it seems he got a tad too close to a man who was pushing a bucket of mops across a street on June 14, according to police. As often happens, words were exchanged (like, "Your mother uses a Swiffer!," I wonder?) and things went downhill from there.

Police say Perry got out of his car, grabbed a mop from the guy's bucket, and started hitting the man. Naturally, the mop-pushing man grabbed a mop himself, to defend himself. It's dueling mops in downtown Provo, Utah!

Mr. Mop Man lost the duel when he was shoved over a planter box and fell on his back. Did Cyrano de Bergerac ever get upstaged by planter box?!

Mr. Mop Man (no name mentioned by the cops) blocked Perry's car until the police came and nabbed the track star and charged him with aggravated assault.

Perry won the conference title in the 1,500 meters, and came in #12 in the NCAA track championship in that event. You think he might have been better off just running away from the mop fight?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Free Alan Johnston, BBC Reporter!

Posts on this blog often take a humorous view at the silly goings-on of celebrities in crisis, but this time there's a totally serious issue I want to address... literally, a matter of life and death.

Alan Johnston is a BBC reporter from Scotland. Nothing remarkable about that, except for his "beat" -- the Gaza strip, which is the Middle East, in Palestinian territory. Johnston is the only full-time reporter in Gaza, or rather he was, until he was kidnapped more than three months ago. A shadowy group has said it is holding him, demanding the release of a number of prisoners (including at least one held in Britain) as conditions for Johnston's safe return.

The Hamas authorities who recently took over Gaza had promised they will try to obtain the release of Johnston. It hasn't happened yet, but this is the most hopeful sign in this kidnapping episode since the kidnappers released a video of Johnston, which showed that he was still alive and apparently being treated well.

Regular readers of this blog (yes, I know there must be some!) may have noticed the button in the right column with Johnston's photo. This is a campaign the BBC is conducting to help raise awareness of the reporter's plight and put pressure on those holding him. Click on the button (or here) and you'll find out how to put it on your own blog or Web site, to help spread the word. There's also a petition calling for Johnston's release and a place where you can add your own message of support.

The last few years have been some of the deadliest of all time for reporters working in war zones and other conflict areas. In the case of Alan Johnston, the good news is that he is still alive and that pressure is being brought to bear to get him freed. I encourage everyone to add their efforts toward this goal. Thanks!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Name Britney's Next CD (If You're Willing to Pay, That Is)

With all the problems Britney Spears has had play out in the public eye recently, you'd think she'd want to keep a lower profile. You'd be wrong.

The pop tart, who seems to be having a contest with Lindsay Lohan to see who can cause themsleves the most public embarassment, has has posted a message on her Web site seeking input in another kind of competition: she's asking her "most die-hard fans" to help name her forthcoming album (read: only fans who have paid to join her fan club).

Speaking of Lohan, one of the possible titles mentioned is a joke about the red-headed time bomb: "Omg Is Like Lindsay Lohan Like Okay Like." Ironically, Spears and Lohan have the same spokeswoman, Leslie Sloane Zelnik, who, according to the Yahoo article, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. (If I was her I'd be drowning my sorrows in a bottle of bathtub gin.)

My suggestion for Britney's new CD: "I'm an Insane Panty-Less Addict with a Habit of Dropping My Kids." Yeah, I know, it doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, but at least it's truth in advertising.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Police are Back, On Tour and On a New CD



Unless you've been living under a rock for the last few months (and a soundproof one, at that), you're probably aware that groundbreaking rockers The Police are reuniting for a tour this year to mark their 30th anniversary.

Of course, if you're a regular reader of this blog you knew about this tour back in January, because I've written about it several times since then, before it was even announced. Yes, as you can guess, I'm pretty dang excited about The Police tour, which kicked off yesterday with a show in Vancouver.

This is one tour that people will be talking about for years. Besides playing a number of the standard concert venues, The Police are performing at some venues that don't normally host concerts, including Boston's Fenway Park, Chicago's Wrigley Field, and even Churchill Downs, the home of the Kentucky Derby!

So far I've been shut out of getting my hands on tickets for this Police tour, but I'm going to keep trying. Fortunately it's much easier to get one's hands on the new Police CD, which I’d also be thrilled to have. It's a two-disc set that features 28 of the band's best-known tracks, plus some lesser-known tunes that I was definitely glad to see included.

The record company was smart in making this a two-CD set, so more songs could be included. The Police just have too many great tunes to be crammed onto one of those single-disc anthologies.

If you’re going to see The Police tour, this set is the perfect thing to get you psyched for the concert. If you’re not going to see them live, this Police CD will give you a reminder of the great music they produced during their entire career.

Here’s what’s on the the set:

The Police
Track Listings
Disc: 1
1. Fallout
2. Can't Stand Losing You
3. Next to You
4. Roxanne
5. Truth Hits Everybody
6. Hole in My Life
7. So Lonely
8. Message in a Bottle
9. Reggatta de Blanc
10. Bring on the Night
11. Walking on the Moon
12. Don't Stand So Close to Me
13. Driven to Tears
14. Canary in a Coalmine

Disc: 2
1. Do Do Do de da da Da
2. Voices Inside My Head
3. Invisible Sun
4. Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
5. Spirits in the Material World
6. Demolition Man
7. Every Breath You Take
8. Synchronicity I
9. Wrapped Around Your Finger
10. Walking in Your Footsteps
11. Synchronicity II
12. King of Pain
13. Murder by Numbers
14. Tea in the Sahara

The Police are back on tour, and they're jazzed to be out playing for their fans. And us fans are thrilled, too. Get yourself a copy of the definitive new Police CD and get ready for one of the most exciting rock tours in recent memory.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Lindsay Lohan Arrested After Being Attacked by Curb

Looks like Lindsay Lohan may need some re-rehab after she was booked on suspicion of DUI following her latest run-in with the law. Actually it was her convertible that had a run-in, and it was with a curb. Eyewitnesses say that the incident was actually the curb's fault, and that the cantankerous strip of concrete just popped out of nowhere and hit Lindsay's car.

In any case, Lohan was driving her Mercedes at 5:30 a.m. when she the boo-boo on Sunset Boulevard occurred. A police spokesman said it appeared the car was speeding... perhaps because its occupants were trying to get somewhere fast to avoid being caught with cocaine in the car. Yes, the officers at the scene found a drug tentatively identified as cocaine in the vehicle. Police said that Lohan was not carrying the drug.

Lohan was driven in another car to a hospital to be treated for minor injuries. It appears that second car had no problems with unruly curbs.

The case will be presented to a DA, at which time Lohan could face other charges (including felonies). Her arraignment is set for August 24, and if she's smart she'll keep herself out of trouble until then. I'd advise staying away from curbs.

Lohan's father, a felon who recently was released from jail, has suggested that Lindsay needs to find God. Perhaps, but maybe an AA sponsor would be a good substitute in the short term.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Anne Heche & Hubby: Odd and Odder

Anne Heche's long, strange trip on Planet Earth seems to be getting stranger still. After the breakup of her relationship with Ellen DeGeneres years ago, she had a much publicized mental breakdown, which she wrote about in her book "Call Me Crazy." Her father apparently abused her and her siblings, and perhaps because of this Heche starting believing she was a daughter of God. At one point she was found wandering near a dirt road in Fresno waiting for a space ship to take her to heaven (even though everyone knows that spaceships didn't have regular service to Fresno until just recently).

Things seemed to be on the upswing when she got married and had a child, but now things are unraveling and getting, well, weird... and nasty. First off, her husband's name is Coley Laffoon (a celebrity should never marry someone who's name elicits laughs all by itself).

Second, he's a videographer who earned $6,000 last year (he's been staying home to be Mr. Mom to their son).

Third, their son's name is... Homer. (Another lesson: don't give your child the name of a laughably boorish cartoon TV character.)

Well, now Laffoon is criticizing Heche's skills as a mom, claiming that her "bizarre and delusional behavior" could be a problem is she wins custody of Homer (who is now five). He also claims she often swears in front of the child.

Heche has now hit back. When Homer stays in L.A. with Laffoon, "he sends the boy to preschool or leaves him with nannies and baby sitters while he “plays ping-pong, backgammon and poker and views pornography online,” Heche has stated.

“He holds a poker game at his home every Thursday night and allows Homer to participate,” Heche contended.

Laffoon is seeking joint custody and is asking for more than $30,000 a month in spousal support. Maybe he could earn a few bucks beating his five-year-old at poker?

Monday, May 21, 2007

They Live in Your Blood and Feed on Your Brain, in "Bug"


Forget those summer blockbuster movies about the green ogres and the pirates. For me, the ultimate summertime popcorn movie is a good creepy horror flick. And I've long been a fan of the science fiction/killer virus/psycho-killer bloodborne pathogen variety of scary movie, so I'm intrigued about that creepy new bug movie called, appropriately enough, "Bug."

The movie has quite a good pedigree in terms of the people behind it. It's directed by William Friedkin, who scared the bejesus out of many young-uns (and adults) with "The Exorcist," undoubtedly one of the most terrifying movies of all time. Star Ashley Judd has become kind of a specialist in thrillers and creepy flicks.

And screenwriter Tracy Letts, a member of Chicago's world-class Steppenwolf Theatre Company, wrote the script from his own play. It's not every day that you hear about a scary flick penned by someone who's got some real chops in writing drama.

Check out the trailer and see if it doesn't make your skin crawl. "They live in your blood, and they feed on your brain" ... now that's a tag line for the kind of summer movie I like to see. (It also sounds like some women I've dated, but that's another story.) In the trailer Ashley meets a guy in a bar and they end up in a cheap motel, and find bugs crawling around. Yes, that's not exactly uncommon for a low-rent, out-of-the-way motel, but these are not your ordinary bugs.

Are these bug movie bugs just a genetic accident, or have they been engineered as a terror weapon? The trailer doesn't tip its hand, but I like the fact that it doesn't tell you. Better to go see the movie and feel that chill coming up your spine (and no, it's not because of the air conditioning!)

The studio is apparently using two different posters to promote the movie. I like the one above one because it actually shows the bug. It's a pretty creepy looking one with lots of legs and tentacles and other pointy things -- the better to bite you with, no doubt. I saw this poster when I walked onto the platform of a New York City subway station this past Monday, and that's one place where a picture of a three-foot-high bug really gets your attention.

The other poster (below) shows Ashley Judd's face, and a partial side view of what seems to be a man's face. It vaguely hints at something creepy, but to me it doesn't really convey the horror of what the movie's about. If a movie is about murderous bugs, and it's called "Bug," I think you'd better show the bug right up front.

The trailer quotes the Chicago Tribune calling this "One of the most disturbing horror movies imaginable." Now that's the kind of recommendation that'll get me into the theater!


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Yo, Adrian! Don't Let 'Em Take My Steroids!, Says Sly Stallone

Maybe he didn't know the syringe was loaded? 60-year-old actor Sylvester Stallone was convicted Monday of importing restricted muscle-building hormones into Australia.

The "Rocky" movie star said the incident was a "misunderstanding," but Australian officials seemed to diagree. Sly's group was detained at the Sydney airport for a few hours on Feb 16 while their bags were searched.

Sly was ordered to pay over $10,000 in fines and court costs. The magistrate said that he failed to show that he had valid prescriptions for the dozens of vials of human growth hormone that were found in his luggage.

What in the world does a 60-year-old man need with human growth hormone and steroids? Sly explained that he needed it to stay buff for his upcoming Rambo movie, being shot in Burma. "As you get older, the pituitary gland slows and you feel older, your bones narrow. This stuff gives your body a boost and you feel and look good," court documents quoted him as saying. "Doing 'Rambo' is hard work ... Where do you think I am going to get this stuff in Burma?"

Wanting to look good, feel better, and avoid getting caught short in Burma... those all sound like good reasons. Maybe I should stock up on the stuff in case I ever take a flight and it gets re-routed to Burma?

But I don't want to hazard a guess at what's going on in Sly's pituitary gland, or the rest of his brain, for that matter.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Make Money Blogging at PayPerPost

Lot of people are hoping to make money blogging so they can quit their jobs and work at home in their pajamas. Well, earning money from your blog ain't that easy, especially if your blog doesn't get a lot of traffic.

That's why I dig PayPerPost, which pays bloggers to write reviews, commentaries, and other blog entries about companies and services. PPP has plenty of opportunities to write about, and while you can make more money if you have a very popular blog, even blogs that don't get a lot of traffic can choose from a number of paid posting opportunities.

The best thing I like about PPP is that I get to choose the opportunities I want to take. I'm never forced to write a sponsored post for a company I'm not interested in or feel is incompatible with or inappropriate for my blog. The money I earn goes right into my PayPal account, so I can either transfer it to my bank, or leave it in PayPal for when I want to make a purchase from there (like my random, at-a-whim purchases of cool things I see on eBay!)

As a freelancer who's always looking for new ways to earn money, I appreciate that PPP gives me cash for writing about things that I want to write about.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Tracy Morgan Drinkin' & Gropin' in the A.M. -- Life Imitating Art?

Late last week Tracy Morgan of "30 Rock" was accused of groping a radio host at a station in Florida, where he was to be a guest on the host's show. The host claimed that Morgan smelled of alchol and in her police complaint said that he "inappropriately groped" her (now can someone explain to me what "appropriate" groping would be?)

Is this a case of life imitating art? I mean, Morgan's "30 Rock" character is an out-of-control entertainer who seems saddled with substance abuse problems and a tendency for bizarre behavior and outbursts. And just as the TV character has a team of handlers/bodyguards to keep him from going too far over the edge, Morgan apparently had a couple of staff members with him at the radio station to do damage control.

With all the odd goings-on with female celebrities--Britney, Paris, Lindsay, etc.--it almost seems like a relief to see the guys taking a turn at public self-humiliation.

Plan Your Entire Trip Online and Save Money

The Internet has made a lot of things easier, including travel. You can research destinations, reserve airline tickets, book a hotel, plan a resort vacation, and more--unfortunately, you might have to go to a different site for each ot these steps.

I love travel, but not planning travel. I recently heard about a site that offers hotel reservations and a lot more. Like other travel sites, you can rank hotels by price, quality, best value, and more. You can get maps and information on the amenities each property offers. And the site’s prices are competitive with other online travel sites. (In fact, the site says you can get discounts of up to 70% by booking online, and even get special Internet rate reservations over the phone.)

Despite its name, HotelReservations.com goes beyond just hotels. On this one site you can look for flights, get a hotel or motel, book an entire vacation package, and even find a vacation rental. You’ll find bed and breakfasts and condo rentals, too.

Another thing that makes this site different is that it can help you plan your business trip or dream vacation not just in the U.S. and Canada but in the Caribbean, Europe, Central and South America, Asia, or Australia. Even better, travelers from outside North America can set up the site for their specific country and currency.

Not sure where you want to go? Check out the site’s city guides to get the lowdown on leading spots around the world. Or if you’ve got certain types of recreation in mind and want to learn where you can enjoy them, head straight for the site’s Destinations & Interests guide. There you’ll find details on beach vacations, quaint B&B getaways, family fun, trips to gambling destinations, golf vacations, classic road trips, and spa getaways. In each category you’ll find a list of HotelReservations.com picks.

When it comes to vacations, I like to take it easy--and that includes planning the trip as well as taking it. Handling all my travel needs on one Web site sounds like a great idea to me.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Curiosities from the Job Hunting File

When I entered the job market more than 25 years ago, looking for a job meant mostly perusing the classifieds in the Sunday paper and cold-calling companies whose numbers I'd looked up in the phone book.

Today, of course, there's Monster.com and other job boards, job listings on company Web sites, and my current favorite, Craigslist. Because the Craigslist job ads are cheap or free, the jobs there range from the high-end positions you'd find in the New York Times to the low-brow listings that appear in your local weekly rag.

I've cast a wide net in my job search, so regularly check the ads in the New Yrok City Craigslist "ETC" section, which are jobs that don't fit into any other category. Here are some of the oddities I've found in that section this last week, in no particular order:

  • Expert bra fitter/lingerie specialist
  • Adult phone operator
  • Sales for nonprofit cemetery
  • Drivers needed for escort service
  • Escorts needed--incall, outcall, travel-- very busy-- $1000+ a night
  • Tree pruning
  • Make $130/hr at fetish roleplay studios
  • Yoga instructor for summer day camp

There was also a listing for a "Eurobungy operator." At first I thought this was a mispelling, that it must be for Eurobuggy, which must be some kind of pedicab or something. But it turns out that "bungy" is the appropriate spelling, and that this is some kind of adventure/exercise equipment to demonstrate to potential customers. You really do learn something every day (whether that something is totally useless or not is another matter).

Friday, May 04, 2007

Angelina Jolie Adopts Entire Nation of Vietnam

Serial child adopter Angelina Jolie has decided to streamline her child acquisition efforts by adopting the entire nation of Vietnam. Jolie has had to undergo a lengthy process in adopting her children, with the massive paperwork involved for each adoption and the endless scrutiny of the paparazzi at every turn.

So Jolie realized that she would need a new strategy for adoption if she had any hopes of catching up to Mia Farrow. Farrow, the former companion of filmmaking legend Woody Allen, has adopted at least a dozen children from different countries.

Adoption experts and relief officials were puzzled and skeptical about Jolie's mass adoption. They questioned why Jolie would seek legal custody of an entire country's population, most of which are adults, and wondered what she knew about being a "parent" to adults.

When asked about this the dazzling, puffy-lipped superstar snapped, "Hey, I was married to Billy Bob Thornton for three years, and he was, like, 20 years older than me. I know plenty about adopting adults."

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

New CRM Software Simplifies Sales Management

Software for customer relationship management (CRM) can help businesses in managing leads and sales... but like many powerful software programs, it can be complicated and have a steep learning curve. A CRM program I recently heard about called AIMpromote seeks to change all by making the software quick and easy to implement.

The people who created AIMpromote know that many of the features of typical CRM software don't get used, so they've enabled you to use only the features of AIMpromote that you really want. AIMpromote takes the best elements of CRM software and presents them into one seamless application that lets your sales force concentrate on making sales, not on learning applications.

AIMpromote can help you streamline the sales process, as well as improve follow-up with sales force automation and sales management features.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Alec Baldwin Explains Phone Rant: "I Was Trying Out for Imus's Job!"



Yes, Alec Baldwin has caught a lot of flack for his phone tirade at his daugter, Ireland. He yelled at her a couple of weeks ago for not being available to talk with him at their pre-arranged time.

I've now come up with a reasonable explanation--Alec was just auditioning for Don Imus's old job! The I-Man has been ranting and raving on morning drive-time radio for decades, so Baldwin knew the bar was set pretty high for anyone seeking to fill Don's shoes (or his cowboy hat). So Alec channeled his angry, confrontational character from "Glengarry Glen Ross" (thankfully without the profanity).

Hmmm, let's picture this... "Ireland, put the Barbie doll DOWN! .... Barbie dolls are for closers only. You know what it takes to be my daughter?! It takes brass balls to be my daughter."

Hey, I'll always admire Baldwin for that great Glengarry role, and for his hilarious current turn on "30 Rock." I'd hate to see him denied visits with his kid just because of this one rant ... if this kind of blow-up is a recurring thing, well, that's another matter. He went on "The View" and said that he was considering giving up his role in "30 Rock" and even his acting career in general to spend more time concentrating on his family.

Shaving and losing some weight would do him some good. If nothing else, it would make him look less like a middle-aged crazy when he appears in court for a custody hearing.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Imus Apologizes for Scaring Small Children, Dogs


Already at the center of controversy over his derogatory comments about the Rutgers University women's basketball team, Don Imus has created another firestorm after the publication of pictures of his frightening new look at an appearance on Rev. Al Sharpton's radio show Monday.

Photos of Imus's long, scraggly white hair and overgrown eyebrows, combined with his trademark scrunched-up face, reportedly caused hundreds of cases of frightened children and agitated pets nationwide.

Like many people, I hadn't seen any photos of Imus that were more recent than the 1980s, when he had a head of curly hair. So seeing today's Imus was quite a shock -- and a scary one at that. He looks like what Captain Kangaroo, the children's TV show host from the 1960s, would look like if he had grown his hair long and lost 50 pounds from being held for years in a Turkish prison. (And if Captain Kangaroo had Andy Rooney's unruly, overgrown eyebrows transplanted onto his face.)

Don, get a haircut! You work in New York City, not in some cabin in the woods, sharing a bunk with the Unabomber!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Dream Season Ends for Rutgers Women's Hoops Team

Rutgers' dream season came to a crashing thud at the hands of the powerful Tennessee Volunteers Tuesday night at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. The team's improbable run this season had included a remarkable turnaround from a 2-4 start for the young team. And it was punctuated by key victories over archrival Connecticut in the championship game of the Big East tournament, and big wins in the NCAA tourney over powerhouses Duke and LSU. More remarkable still was that Rutgers had no seniors on its team.

But the Rutgers run came to an end at the hands of a bigger and more experienced Tennessee team, the most successful program in women's NCAA basketball. The Lady Vols captured their seventh title by beating Rutgers at its own game, with suffocating defense. UT's bigger lineup also enabled them to amass a huge edge in offensive rebounds, leading to Tennessee having many more shot opportunities that their rivals from New Jersey.

Spirits were high at a pre-game party for the Rutgers faithful, sponsored by the alumni association and held at a Jacobs Field dining room adjacent to the Arena. The Rutgers band and cheerleaders were there, as were the university president, the men's football and basketball coaches, and many fans and alums from the Rutgers community.

Although women's basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer has set a record by being the only basketball coach (men's or women's) to take three different teams to the NCAA Final Four (this was the second time with Rutgers), she was still looking to win her first NCAA title. Among those attending the Rutgers pre-game party were several women who had played for Stringer at the first team she took to the Final Four, Pennsylvania's Cheyney State, whom she took to the pinnacle of college basketball in 1982.

Despite such historical meanings a Rutgers title would have, Stringer was not to get her title this night in Cleveland. But the good news is that she has a young team of talented players who will all be back next year. Rutgers fans are hoping to have another pre-game party before the championship match next year in Tampa, where the 2008 women's Final Four will be taking place.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Coroner Confirms: Anna Nicole Smith is Still Dead

Although she was pumped up with enough drugs to keep the dinosaurs alive for another few thousand years, medical authorities have reported that Anna Nicole Smith is indeed still dead.

In an excruciatingly detailed autopsy issued Monday, medical authorities confirmed that the Playboy playmate/ actress/porn star has not risen from the dead, and is unlikely to do so at any time in the future, not even with Easter coming up soon.

"The good news is that Smith has enough drugs in her that her estate will not have to pay the expense of providing any embalming fluids. She will still be embalmed when that nuclear waste out in Nevada has stopped leaking radiation," remarked medical examiner Phineas T. Urinebags. "The bad news is that she is, in fact, still dead. Despite all the drugs in her system, no brain activity has been seen since she passed away."

Some medical authorities and other observers have commented that Smith showed little brain-wave activity when she was still alive.

Smith accidentally overdosed on at least nine prescription drugs, including a powerful sleep syrup that she sometimes swigged out of the bottle, after a spell during her last few days in which she endured stomach flu, a 105-degree fever, heavy sweating, and an infection on her buttocks from repeated injections.

Thankfully, the autopsy was a little light on the details of Smith's buttocks-injection activities. Though I'd guess there's a video of some of it somewhere on YouTube.

The autopsy noted that the former Playboy playmate refused to go to a hospital three days before her Feb. 8 death. Instead, she spent her illness in a hotel suite that was filled with pill bottles, soda cans, SlimFast, nicotine gum, and an open box of Tamiflu tablets. (What, no TrimSpa?!) In the days before her death she had been taking large amounts of chloral hydrate, a sedative that also contributed to the 1962 drug-overdose death of Marilyn Monroe, Smith's idol.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

March Mascot Madness



While writing about the NYU Violets, I got to thinking about some of the stranger mascots and team nicknames. The Violets are an OK nickname for a women's team, but a men's team called the Violets is less than intimidating. Perhaps sensing this, NYU sought to find a mascot about 25 years ago.

At about the same time the school's Bobst Library was developing an online cataloging system. The catalog became known around campus as BobCat, and since this was a name that related directly to the school (and to its brainy reputation), the Bobcat was chosen as NYU's mascot. And a Bobcat mascot prowls the sidelines during NYU basketball games (along with a student assistant wearing a t-shirt reading "Bobcat Security").

Of course, Violet isn't the most unusual nickname out there. NYU sometimes plays St. Peter's College, a nearby Division III school from Jersey City, NJ. Their nickname? The Peacocks. Yes, that's for the men's team (the women's team is called the Peahens). Not very intimidating...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

March Madness in Greenwich Village: NYU Women's Basketball Team Reaches Final Four


The New York University women's basketball teamsaved the best for last this season. It ran off an impressive string of wins in the latter part of the season and has now made it into the Division III Final Four this weekend in Springfield, Massachusetts.

The Violets, ranked #3 in the coaches' poll and #6 in the D3Hoops poll, won their Sectional Final with a 76-64 win over New Jersey's Kean University Saturday night at Greenwich Village's Coles Sports Center. The game was tied at 38 at the half and was close until the final five minutes. NYU trailed by 55-51 with about 13 minutes left in the game.

Sophomore standout Jessica McEntee scored 23 of her 28 points in the second half, putting in 10 straight points during one stretch. The University Athletic Association (UAA) Player of the Year also pulled down 16 rebounds in propelling NYU to the win.

NYU reached the Elite 8 the night before by defeating Simpson College 76-58. The Violets took charge early in that game and won behind a career-high 23 points by senior Karen Bachman, who also had six rebounds, five assists, three blocks, and three steals.

It was an exciting example of fast-paced basketball, and a perfect example of why I love Division III basketball. I was able to walk into the Coles Center less than 30 minutes before each game, plunk down $7, and watch a great game from the second row (on Friday night, I got to see a doubleheader for the same price).

It has been an eventful few years for the NYU team and especially its 20-year coach, Janice Quinn. In the course of the last four years Quinn lost her father and has to face both heart surgery and a cancer diagnosis.

Quinn has not only been a key factor in the Violets' status as perennial Sweet 16 participants; she has a long history with NYU. She played basketball at the school for four years as a student, and was the first Violets women's player to score 1,000 points. She then served as an assistant coach before ascending to the head coaching position in 1987. Quinn also serves as NYU's associate director for athletics.

NYU reached the Final Four for the third time in its history, the last time exactly 10 years ago, when it won the whole thing. That was the first time I'd seen NYU basketball, and it happened quite by accident. I read in the newspaper that NYU was hosting the Division III Final Four and figured I might as well check out the action. Little did I know that NYU would be in the Final Four. The Coles Center had a full house for the championship game that year. NYU trailed in the first half but seemed to wear down Wisconsin-Eau Claire in the second half. NYU won the game 72-70 on a last-second shot by Marsha Harris.

NYU will take on Washington University on Friday night at 6p.m. Whatever the outcome of the game, it's been a standout season for the college basketball team that plays its games in Greenwich Village.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

PayPerPost Offers Big Money for Successful Bloggers

The startup company PayPerPost added a new twist to blogging when it first began, and it's not resting on its laurels. PayPerPost offers creators of blogs of all sizes, on all topics, the chance to earn money by writing sponsored reviews of products and services. An easy way for bloggers to earn a little money, right?

Well, the new twist that PPP has recently introduced makes it possible for its bloggers (affectionately known in PPP parlance as "posties") to make a lot more than just "a little" money. How does as much as $1,000 for a single post sound? Some bloggers slave over a hot keyboard for years and don't make that much for their efforts!

The new PPP program basically means higher pay for posts on blogs that get higher levels of traffic. But this doesn't mean that bloggers with less traffic will be left out. In fact, they still have many opportunities to choose from. And any blogger can take steps to improve traffic to his or her site and thus qualify for the big-money opportunities.

I've been a postie since last year and it has really helped add to the financial cushion I need while blogging and pursuing a career as a full-time freelance writer. Hey, I need to have some money to buy a few tins of tuna fish while blogging about world-dominating chimps and love-crazed, diaper-clad astronauts!

No matter what your blog is about, no matter how many visitors it gets, PayPerPost makes blogging pay with sponsored posts. (You do need to disclose that the posts are sponsored, which is simple to do, and which offers transparency for blogger, advertiser, and reader alike.)

The growing corps of posties is expanding every day. To find out how to join them, check out PayPerPost.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Geico Cavemen to Get Their Closeup in Their Own TV Sitcom

Those wacky cavemen from the Geico TV commercials aren't so dense after all. A sitcom has been developed based on the caveman character that appears in the car insurance company's commercials.

The trade paper Variety says that the sitcom, in development for ABC, will deal with three cavemen living in modern-day Atlanta. As in the commercials, they'd deal with people's perceptions that cavemen are backwards. The Geico cavemen, though having the excessive hair and facial features of grunting, cave-dwelling folks we see portrayed in movies, are actually quite sophisticated and urbane. They order trendy dishes at nice restaurants, hang out at trendy caveman nightspots, and dress and talk in an urbane manner.

The writer of the Geico commercials may write the sitcom as well.

In one Geico commercial, a caveman heading to his flight in an airport is frustrated when he sees by a Geico poster with the slogan, "Geico.com-- So easy a caveman could do it!", featuring a caveman character dressed in animal skins and carrying a club.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

An Ad Challenger to Google and Yahoo?

Yesterday's New York Times ran an interesting story about a new online advertising firm that has been winning some customers from Google AdSense. The company, Quigo Technologies, runs contextual texts ads (those ubiquitous short "Ads by Google" that appear around articles and blog entries) but unlike Google, provides a much more transparent experience for advertisers.

The Times article notes that some big advertisers such as ESPN.com and FoxNews.com have moved to Quigo because the service gives them more control over where their ads run. Yahoo and Google's model, on the other hand, gives advertisers little say on what sites they would like their ads run on, and according to the article, doesn't even give advertisers a list of the sites where their ads do run.

"Quigo, by contrast, gives advertisers not only the list of specific sites where their ads have appeared but also the opportunity to buy only on specific Web sites or particular pages on those sites," says the Times. "It also allows media company sites like ESPN.com and FoxNews.com a chance to manage their own relationships with advertisers."

Google downplays the influence of Quigo, as you'd expect. But the article quotes a Google spokesperson as saying that in the coming months their advertiser reports will begin listing the sites where each ad runs.

Should be interesting to see how this all shakes out. I've seen a number of odd and inappropriate ad placements on Web sites, and I think the options Quigo brings to the table can only help advertisers, bloggers, and readers.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Dress-Up Games for the Instant-Messaging Age


Back in the early days of the Web, avatars consisted of simple smiley faces. Today, avatars have become sophisticated, animated images that can be customized to suit the user's personality.

With so many girls online these days, it was inevitable that their love of dolls and dress-up games would find its ultimate expression in designing stylish avatars and cartoon dolls (dollz). What I didn't know was that there was a whole community of girls devoted to dollz and avatars.

A Web site called The Doll Palace lets users choose from a huge number of dress up games, so girls can create their own personalized avatars to use in chat programs, forums, or even competitions. These games for girls go far beyond the old dress-up games of changing a doll's dress or hair style.

The Doll Palace offers a seemingly endless variety of dollmaker tools and options for playing fashion games. You can start with a certain style or look, including fantasy and fairy dolls, celebrity dolls, dolls with holiday themes, hippies, and dolls in Goth and Emo themes. With dolls in the "Guys" category, girls can play tomboy and dress up like a soldier, weightlifter, or even Superman.


Then users can choose from a mind-boggling variety of body styles, hair colors and styles, faces, tops, pants and skirts, and other clothing--and wings. And that's not even mentioning the shoes, bags, and other accessories to choose from. Add in backgrounds, furniture, and other items, and you've got a complete scene.

For Academy Awards season, for example, users can choose the right background for their dollz--at the podium for an acceptance speech, out on the red carpet (with or without cheering crowds in the background), standing next to the huge Oscar statue, etc.

The Doll Palace also has forums and chat rooms where users can discuss dolls and the challenges in creating them and ideas for crafting specific designs. All in all, this site offers an amazing variety of options for girls who want to play dress-up games.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Chimps With Spears? Just Don't Let Them Have PCs

Are chimps getting ready to take over the world? A report in the March 6 issue of Current Biology says that researchers in Senegal saw wild chimps biting the tips of sticks, then poking them into the holes of trees to jab small primates called "bush babies" and pull them out.

Chimps are pretty close to humans, genetically. They've already been taught a number of not-so-stupid human tricks, like recognizing colors and patterns, pointing to sequences of pictures to "talk," etc. Now they're figuring out spears on their own. What's next--knives? pistols? assault rifles? rocket-propelled grenades?

Here's a scarier scenario: Chimps using computers. There's always been that tired old saying from Philosophy 101 class, if you have an infinite number of monkeys sitting at an infinite number of typewriters (yeah, it's an old saying), eventually one of them will type up a Shakespeare play. Well, maybe the animal is really a chimp, you only need one of 'em, and the time is now.

Chimps are smarter than monkeys, and they know better than to write something with as little earning potential as a play; they've probably heard about how many unemployed playwrights there are. And no self-respecting 21st-century chimp would be caught dead using a typewriter.

No, what's scary is these hairy fellows finding PCs and the Internet. Before long they'll be mimicking human behavior and becoming bloggers, spammers, chat junkies, and online shoppers. In the digital age, the language problem is no big impediment to using the 'Net, because it's not like anyone online uses the King's English. How hard can it be for the average chimp to pound out stuff like LOL, BCNU, ROFLMAO, and I <3 Britney?

Like that famous New Yorker cartoon says, on the Internet, no one knows you're a dog. Or a chimp. Once our simian cousins start spamming and blogging and buying stuff online, the human race is going straight down the tubes. It won't be long before we're all dressed in loincloths and chains, and conversing with primates named Cornelius and Zira.