Tuesday, January 30, 2007

What's Up at General Hospital? Page Soaps.com, STAT!

NBC's E.R. has been on TV for more than a decade, but it's just a wet-behind-the-ears intern compared to ABC's General Hospital. I know, I know, daytime soap operas tend to run for more seasons than prime-time shows. But General Hospital is the Big Doc on the Block any way you slice it (sorry!): this medical soap will be celebrating 44 years on the air in April 2007!

GH's devoted fans have voracious appetites for their favorite show, and want to know the latest news, the rumors and scandals, all the dirt. And they can get it at Soap.com's site for General Hospital.

It has daily updates, comings and goings on the show, spoilers, polls, photos, messages boards, cast info, and more. Basically, everything to make you feel like you're right at GH, except for that suspicious green Jell-O and those flimsy, open-back hospital gowns. (Hey, is there a draft in here?)

The Police Grammy Gig Confirmed

I know it seems like this blog has been turning into the official The Police News Web site, but bear with me. The Police have been rumored to be reuniting for the Grammys and for a tour, and the first part of this has been officially confirmed today by the official Web site Grammy.com:

"In an historic GRAMMY moment, the Police (Sting, Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers) will reunite and perform together for the first time on the GRAMMYs when they open the 49th Annual GRAMMY Awards telecast on Feb. 11, it was announced today by The Recording Academy. The winners of five GRAMMY Awards, the Police create a purely original sound by infusing reggae with pop and rock, growing into one of the most popular and innovative acts of the '80s."

So now we know that they will be playing. What song(s) would you like to see them perform? I'm guessing that they'll do one song, two tops.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

IncParadise: Big Benefits for Small Businesses

We've all heard about how blogging allows anyone to put their personal thoughts out in cyberspace, but the phenomenon can also be a big boon for small business.

IncParadise.com, for example, lets small businesses put their triumphs, setbacks, insights, and questions online instantly for all to learn from, share, and comment on. It offers a range of real-world business advice that business owners can use.

Brief, to-the-point articles cover topics ranging from handling entertainment expenses to avoiding common branding mistakes to properly sending out 1099 forms.

How can you terminate an employee in a manner that is not only less stressful for all involved, but reduces your exposure to litigation? What services does AT&T's new small-business Web portal offer, and is it right for you? How can your business hold on to its valuable employees?

The challenges of running a small business are daunting, but with IncParadise.com entrepreneurs can exchange advice and information to succeed and grow.

Reunion of The Police Getting Closer: Grammys, Tour Planned

It looks like that rumored reunion of iconic rock band The Police is getting closer to reality. Billboard magazine's Web site and the Sting/Police fan site stingus.net are reporting that the band will play one song to open the 2007 Grammy Awards show on February 11, though the Grammy Web site still has no mention of the performance.

Stingus.net reports that The Police have been rehearsing in Canada for the Grammys gig, and will later begin rehearsing for a full-fledged tour, their first since breaking up in 1986. The site reports that about 80 live dates are being planned, many of them in May, June, and July. The Police are reported to be planning a number of festival gigs in the UK, the site mentioned last week.

Stingus.net also says that a new album by The Police is NOT going to happen, although it mentions that a new box set by the band will feature some new songs.

If you're a fan of The Police, you might want to keep your plans for this Summer flexible...

Friday, January 26, 2007

With Winter Blasting the Northeast, Cave Creek Looks Hot

I swear I'll never complain again about not getting snow here in December. Winter arrived with a vengeance this week, with wind chills down to -10 degrees today.

So when I saw an ad for a new resort development in Arizona, I started feeling warmer already. At Cave Creek Resort Casitas you buy a luxury condo on a 20-acre property in Arizona's beautiful Sonora Desert, and rent it out as a hotel when you're not using it. So you can really make the most of your investment.

Though the property is situated in a gorgeous desert setting, you can take a trip south to Phoenix and Scottsdale if you're looking for a taste of city life and shopping. Sounds like a great place to be--unless, of course, you actually like sub-zero temperatures in the Winter.

How to View Paris Hilton's Private Items on the Web

In case there are some people who still can't get enough of Paris Hilton, a new Web site offers a treasure trove of the hotel heiress's personal belongings.

The site, featuring the titillating title ParisExposed.com, went live on Tuesday, January 23rd and features a breathless array of thousands of items that were left at a storage facility in the Los Angeles area. The items were allegedly bought at auction by an unidentified purchaser after payments weren't made on the storage space. Hilton's spokesman Eliot Mintz has told the Associated Press that "all of our legal options" are being explored regarding the matter of the ParisExposed Web site.

You'd think someone of Hilton's notoriety would want to make sure that her personal items were stored in a secure place, which would be paid up so the items don't fall into the hands of the great unwashed masses. But hey, we're talking about Paris here.

So what was Paris keeping in that 6,000-square-foot storage facility? No dead bodies or anything, but ParisExposed.com claims to have just about everything else, from sex videos and love letters to diary entries, photos of young Paris, receipts and bank statements, and recorded phone conversations. Plus thousands of phone numbers of celebrity friends (who we hope are a bit more careful than Ms. Hilton about securing their personal property).

ParisExposed.com promises never-before-seen sex videos as well as hundreds of other videos, including a "sexy bubble bath" video, and "drug use that makes Tony Montana look like a missionary."

But wait, you'd probably say, there must be a catch! Well, you'd be right: you'll have to pay a monthly fee of $39.97 to join the "Paris Exposed VIP Club" and view the items on the site. This supposedly gives you searchable access to all the Paris items, updates as more materials are scanned in, and apparently a chat room to share your delight and fascination with new online Paris-holics you'll meet at the site.

For those who just have to be up on All Things Paris, this site should whet their appetite until Paris drops her next scandalous publicity bomb.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Game On--and Online--for NHL Hockey Fans

Like many hockey fans, I was holding my breath when the NHL returned from its lockout. Would the level of play suffer? Would the fans come back? Would there be a TV contract so I could actually watch games that aren't featuring my hometown teams?

The good news is that the league came back with a lot of excitement, partly due to new rules that helped open up the offense. The bad news is that the NHL is getting less mainstream media coverage than ever. I couldn't watch the All-Star game last night because my cable system doesn't carry the VS. network.

Fortunately there are NHL forums where hockey fans can get together and exchange information with other people who love the game. The site has been around for five years and is one of the biggest online hockey forums. You'll find discussions on NHL teams and players, trade rumors and free-agent talk, prospect insights, the business of hockey, and more.

Whether you're a fan of the Original 6 or of one of the newer teams in the South or West, you can show your passion for the game anytime on NHL forums.

George W., You're the New American Idol!

Is the nastyness of American Idol turning people off, or is President Bush on a charm offensive? Whatever the case, the president's State of the Union address bested American Idol in the ratings.

The Prez got an estimated 45.5 million people watching him, while Simon Cowell and company could muster up a measly 32.6 million. Of course, American Idol was only showing on one station, while the president's address was broadcast on just about every network except for Home & Garden and Home Shopping Network.

What's more, Bush did better in his audition for the public and the new Democratic Congress than most American Idol contestants this season. Well, at least the contestants we've seen on TV so far. Who knows how many good performances were left on the cutting room floor to make room for the bad performances, which give viewers at home the chance to cheer or jeer Cowell's caustic cut-downs.

Cowell had no critique to make of the president's performance, as far as we know; we guess he's leaving that to incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Payday Loans: Faster and Easier Than You Might Think

Most people know that they can get payday loans, but they may associate these loans with lots of paperwork, standing in line, faxing info somewhere, or all of the above. Fortunately Payday Cash Advance Loans has brought the process into the Internet age, with point-and-click convenience.

At their Web site you'll see how easy it can be to get a payday loan online, an online cash advance, or a no fax payday loan. You'll also find helpful articles on common questions about payday loans, an overview of the cash advance process, and even tips on how to repair bad credit.

More Rock Reunions: Rage Against the Machine, Crowded House

Reunion fever is really in the air for defunct rock bands in this new year. Just a few weeks after rumors of a reunion of popular '80s band The Police came closer to reality, news of two more reunions has emerged, and these are confirmed.

Left-wing rockers Rage Against the Machine are set to reform to play the Coachella music festical in Indio, California in the Spring. It's unclear whether this is part of a larger tour or just a one-off for this increasingly popular and high-profile festival.

And Aussie/New Zealand pop favorites Crowded House, featuring Tim and Neil Finn, will be reforming as well. The band's hit tunes, which have been covered by many other artists, include "Fall At Your Feet," "Weather with You," and "Don't Dream It's Over." It's said that the reunion will be for a 12-month tour which will include, you guessed it, the Coachella festival.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Is Bulgaria the Next Undervalued European Gem?

The Champagne corks were surely popping with extra oomph in Bulgaria this new year's day. That's because the country joined the European Union on January 1, 2007, and it may well be poised to be the next undervalued gem in the new Europe.

A little over a decade ago Prague and the Czech Republic attracted visitors, investors, and moviemakers with its Old-World charm and very affordable prices. Bulgaria and its capital, Sofia, could be headed for similar success due to the EU membership.

With mountains, seacoast, ski slopes, and 1,600 mineral springs, it's no wonder the country came in as the number 4 tourist destination worldwide in a survey by The Washington Post. Despite these attractions, Bulgaria property can be bought at some of the lowest prices in Europe.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Are The Police the Next Band to Reunite? Potential Tour Dates Listed

The much-loved '80s rock group The Police is rumored to be on the verge of reuniting for a tour this summer to coincide with their 30th anniversary. If it happens, this will be the first time the band has performed live shows since they disbanded in 1986. They did briefly reunite to play at their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Last month the band's record label, A&M Records, said, "It is our intention to mark the anniversary by doing something special with the band's catalog of songs. Needless to say, everyone is hopeful the band will support our plans and while early discussions have taken place, nothing has been decided."

Several weeks after Billboard reported this story, Sting is on record as mentioning the band's anniversary, saying, "We started 30 years ago so it would be nice to do something to celebrate. We don't quite know what, but we're talking about it."

In addition to the possible Police tour, there has been talk of more Police merch being issued, including DVD releases and another multiple-disc CD collection. This will probably complement the box set of studio recordings and rarities that was issued more than a decade ago.

Last week the Sting/Police fan site Stingus.net reported that several festival tour dates have appeared on a tour Web site:

"According to Virtualfestivals.com, The Police are scheduled to appear at the following events:
- Hyde Park Calling 2007 30 Jun - 01 Jul 2007
- Glastonbury Festival 2007 22-24 Jun 2007
- Isle Of Wight Festival 2007 08-10 Jun 2007
No offical confirmation on this so far."

Sunday, January 21, 2007

With Mortgage Rates, Small Changes Mean a Lot

We're always hearing about interest rates going up a bit here or down a bit there, which may not seem like significant amount. But when buying a home--the biggest expense most people will make in their lives--a small move in mortgage rates can make a huge difference in how much you pay per month, and over the length of the loan.

Fortunately the Web makes it easy to find out how much you can save. Just check out one of the many mortgage calculators online and you can run what-if scenarios to compare one mortgage rate to another. If you own a home or are looking to buy one, take a few minutes to run the numbers through a mortgage calculator.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Crooks Steal GPS Devices... Which the Police Use to Catch Them

The old adage "Crime doesn't pay" is especially true for criminals who are--how should we phrase it?--intellectually challenged. Three men on Long Island, New York found this out the hard when they allegedly made off with 14 global positioning system devices... which led the authorities to the men, who were storing the devices in the home of one of the men.

Of course they wouldn't have made that error if they hadn't first violated what I would suggest is Cardinal Rule #1 of theft: make sure you know what you're stealing. In this case, the men thought that the GPS devices were actually cell phones, which they were planning to sell.

Suffolk County police said the GPS devices were stolen Monday night from a Town of Babylon public works garage in Lindenhurst, NY. The town, taking full advantage of the fact that they knew what was stolen, tapped into its GPS system, which showed that one of the devices was inside a home. Police reported that when they arrived at the home, one of the suspects was holding the device in his hands. Well, that would seem to be Rule #2 of theft: Don't stand around holding hot goods in your hands.

The man was arrested and charged with criminal possession of stolen property, and his son--who is 13 years old--was arrested and charged with grand larceny. May I suggest a Rule #3? Don't involve your own children in your criminal acts, especially if they're minors (though their criminal records will presumably be expunged when they turn 18. Still, not a good example for a child, wouldn't you say?)

According to town officials the 13 year old carried out the burglary with a 20-year-old man, who was charged with grand larceny.

The Town of Babylon has several hundred GPS devices installed in vehicles including snow plows and dump trucks.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Cell Phone Chatter: The Top-Selling Phones of 2006

I like tech products, but have to admit that the whole world of shopping for cell phones is totally baffling to me. So many products, plans, providers, etc.--it's no wonder some people go into a store and buy pretty much the first plan that fits their budget, to avoid hearing the confusing details on a zillion different options.

For me, the process of choosing the right wireless plan starts with the phone. That's the product that I'm going to be carrying with me; using it to enter numbers, store contacts, call people, etc., so it's got to be convenient, easy to use, and something I can be comfortable using every day.

Just choosing the right phone can be a mind-boggling task in itself, but fortunately you can draw on the experiences of other people as a guide. A company called Wirefly, which helps people compare and shop for wireless phones and plans, just released its guide to the most popular cell phones of 2006. Better yet, it doesn't just list model names, such as the Motorola RAZR; it tells you which phone and provider combination was most popular. This is extremely helpful, since the same phone can be used with several different networks, and having a top-rated phone on a network that isn't right for your usage patterns or geographical area won't be a good match.

With phone-number portability, folks are no longer stuck with bad phones or carriers for years simply because they want to keep the same phone number. People are changing phones and plans more than ever, so the phones that show up at the top of this list are ones that the most folks have chosen to plunk down their hard-earned money for.

So if you've got your eye on the Motorola v220, for example, and want to find out how it compares to other cell phones that work on the Cingular network, this site will tell you.

Cell phone buyers have more choices than ever before, and this site gives you the information you need to narrow down the options and pick the best phone and plans for your specific needs.

Bush to Ship Trump, O'Donnell, Walters to Guantanamo Bay

BREAKING NEWS: Though unable to solve the conflict in Iraq, U.S. Pres. George W. Bush has sought to improve his popularity with the average American by seeking to defuse the nasty feud between Donald Trump, Rosie O'Donnell, and Barbara Walters.

Bush declared from the White House that the three have been named "enemy combatants" and will be immediately sent to the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The ongoing public feud between the windbag real-estate mogul and the hyper-chatty actress/TV show host had been at the top of surveys of issues that are troubling Americans. The concern over this issue has been shown to cut across all social, ethnic, and income groups.

In announcing the move, Bush stressed the importance of the detention of the three chatty-Kathy celebrities in the ongoing GWOT (global war on terror). "The American people yearn for security, prosperity, and above all, peace," Bush said in his Oval Office address. "This new step will help bring peace to our society and to our airwaves," he added.

The new policy immediately raised red flags in the human rights community. Both Amnesty International and the International Committee for the Red Cross expressed concern that the move was the latest U.S. attempt to violate the Geneva Standards and punish other detainees at Guantanamo Bay. "If the Guantanamo commanders were to take action against uncooperative prisoners by placing them in a fenced-in cell next to The Donald, Ms. Walters, or Ms. O'Donnell, most reasonable people would agree that that is tantamount to torture," noted ICRC spokeswoman Bronwyn Higginbottom.

The White House had no comment on this accusation. But an unnamed source in the Bush administration confirmed that Gitmo commanders had had success in "softening up" uncooperative detainees by forcing them to watch an endless loop videotape showing reruns of Walters and O'Donnell's daytime TV talk show, "The View."

In fact, an ICRC survey of detainees found that 65% of prisoners would rather be forced to participate in a naked human pyramid with other prisoners than to watch the morning TV talk show. "No BaBa WaWa! No BaBa WaWa!" one Gitmo prisoner was heard to shout while covering his ears in front of a TV set, referring to one of O'Donnell's co-hosts, veteran newswoman Barbara Walters.

The Trump/Rosie feud had been going on for a few weeks, with insults being lobbed back and forth. Recently Walters stepped into the debate by calling Trump a "poor, pathetic man." She added, "What's sad is that that scum-sucking casino-pimp has a ridiculous comb-over on his head that looks like a dodo bird in heat is making love to his balding cranium!," Walters spit out. "That comb-over looks like a cheap cast-off from a yard sale at Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum!"

O'Donnell subsequently crowed on the air about the poor ratings for the latest edition of Trump's reality TV show, "The Apprentice." "The man is obsessed with me, and I'm happy to say his show tanked," Rosie said on the show, before placing a photo of Trump on a studio wall and spraying it with multiple rounds from an AK-47. The Russian-made rifle was a gift to Ms. O'Donnell from Russian President Vladimir Putin as a thank-you gift for canceling a trip the celeb had planned to make to Moscow last year. "The Russian people love Rosie from a long distance away," Putin remarked when presenting her with the assault rifle. "And the further the distance, the more we love her."

It was said that ABC TV originally fought to defend O'Donnell against being shipped to Gitmo, but recently changed its tune and is now in negotiations with the Department of Defense to obtain exclusive rights to filming the transfer of Trump, O'Donnell, and Walters to Gitmo. "This is going to be bigger than Martha Stewart going to Camp Cupcake!" an ABC spokesperson said, referring to the media attention generated with domestic diva reported to a minimum-security prison in West Virginia to serve time for lying about an insider stock trade.

Monday, January 15, 2007

How Small Businesses Can Get Affordable Bookkeeping

Starting one's own business is the American dream. Of course, people start a business because they want to practice a particular trade--running a flower shop perhaps, or a house-painting service, or a Web design business. Nobody becomes an entrepreneur to dive headlong into details like accounting and taxes, but these are essential tasks that any small business owner must grapple with.

You can hire a bookkeeper, but that can be a huge financial drain for a small business. And if you hire someone inexpensive, and you may get a substandard job that leaves your books in worse shape than ever. That's the problem one entrepreneur encountered when running his business and, seeing a need begging to be filled, started his own firm to offer bookkeeping services for small business.

With Bookkeeping Quickbooks companies can get quality financial services designed to be affordable for the small business. They supply a range of offerings to suit different needs, from getting a discount on purchasing QuickBooks Online to full-service bookkeeping services to a complete payroll system. So small organizations can spend less time worrying about financial details and more time running their businesses.

Would You Like an Animal with Your Wine, Sir?

Do you like animals with your wine? Apparently many of us do.

A recent study showed that wines that had animals on their labels increased their sales much more than wines without animals on their labels. One of the most popular wines in the U.S. is the Aussie import, Yellow Tail, with a wallaby on the label. (Yes, I know, it looks like a kangaroo, and that's what many people call it. But the corporate folks at Yellow Tail corporate headquarters have informed the press that it is indeed a wallaby. Use that as a trivia question at your next cocktail party!)

In my local wine store yesterday I saw a bunch of others, including 'Smoking Loon' (no, he didn't have a cigarette handing out of his bill), Laughing Bull, and a bunch of others. Not only were the names kind of cutesy, but the labels had very distinctive and colorful designs. I guess with one cabernet looking pretty much like another when it's in the glass, marketers are trying to attract people's attention with a cute looking label. No word on if any of the animals featured on the product actually drink that product, so I don't think we'll be seeing any celebrity endorsements from the critters themselves anytime soon.

Are you attracted to wines with animals on the label or in the name? What's the strangest animal wine name you've heard of?

Friday, January 12, 2007

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Find Hot New Unsigned Bands

When I recently answered an online poll--"Which would you rather give up, TV or your stereo?"--the decision was a no-brainer. Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a music junkie, always listening to the radio, podcasts, and jukeboxes, always on the lookout for new music and artists.

So I was glad to find out about a new Web site that's offering music from unsigned bands: the unknown, unheralded, independent artists that I love discovering. Bands sign up to be on the site and offer their music, listeners join the site and get tunes straight from the source.

The site has just launched recently, but is getting more artists and more listeners on board every day.

In an ideal world, I'd be going out to clubs every night, checking out new bands myself. But in the not-so-ideal reality in which I live, finding unsigned bands from places like unsigned.com is the next best thing.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Apple Introduces iPhone; I'm Drooling

The iPhone is finally here. Apple Computer chairman Steve Jobs announced the device, which combines the functions of a cell phone, widescreen music and video player, and Internet connection tool, in his keynote speech at the Macworld Expo on Tuesday morning, January 9th.

According to a live feed from Mac Observer at the Expo in San Francisco, Jobs hailed the iPhone as a "breakthrough Internet communications device" and then launched into its various features. The iPhone Jobs demonstrated is said to features a 3.5" touch screen that takes up most of the front of the device; Jobs said the screen has a resolution of 160 pixels per inch, which Macobserver.com said is the highest resolution screen yet shipped by Apple. Users will be able to dock the iPhone with their computers, like an iPod, but the new device will also sync with the user's contacts list, calendar, and other data.

Macobserver.com notes that the iPhone runs Apple's Mac OS X operating system, supports any IMAP or POP3 e-mail server, and will work with Microsoft Exchange and Yahoo! Mail. For Web browsing, the iPhone uses Apple's Safari Web browser, includes Google Maps, and has WiFi networking. At one point Jobs brought on stage Eric Schmidt, one of Google's co-founders, and Jerry Yang, co-founder of Yahoo!, and discussed how Apple worked closely with those companies to integrate their features into the iPhone.

The iPhone will cost $499 for a 4 GB model and $599 for an 8GB model. But, you'll have to shell out your money for it: the iPhone will not be available for purchase until June 2007. Apple has an exclusive multiyear agreement with Cingular to provide service for the iPhone.

A little matter that still needs to be ironed out: the trademark for "iPhone" is actually held by Cisco Systems, which uses it for its Linksys brand VOIP-based wireless phone, which was just introduced in mid-December. Apple is said to be in final talks to acquire the iPhone name.

Maybe Steve Jobs will just give Cisco CEO John Chambers a certificate good for a zillion song downloads in iTunes?

During his keynote Jobs also announced AppleTV, the company's device to stream TV and video content wirelessly. Formerly known as iTV, the product features a 40GB hard drive and will be able to play video and photos from computers throughout the home. AppleTV is set to go on sale in February for $299.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Unsung Heroes Keep NYC Neat and Tidy

We often hear about the heroics of the police and fire departments in the City, but I'd like to give a shout-out to the people who keep this city of 7 million residents clean and organized.

Let's face it, NYC would be as messy as a teenager's bedroom without the city sanitation workers, office cleaners, private maintenance firms, and others who clean up after the city's millions of residents, commuters, and visitors. (Remember that lovely sanitation strike of a few decades ago that left tons of waste piled up on the city streets... in THE SUMMER?! Ah, I can still smell it...)

Besides the City's sanitation department, there are also maintenance and cleaning staffs that are employees of private companies, as well as private companies that provide New York City cleaning service that offer home, office, post-construction, and street cleaning for NYC residents and businesses.

So let's give a tip of the hat to the City sanitation workers, maintenance workers, and cleaning companies like Maid for You New York, who handle everything from everyday trash to construction dust and debris. NYC would definitely be a grimier and less appealing place without them.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Can Somebody Please Ban Those Friggin' Tribute Albums?!

Tribute albums were a good idea when they started, but they've gone on way too long, and there are too many entries into this genre. My biggest tribute-album pet peeve is those CDs that mix genres--like a bluegrass tribute to AC/DC, a reggae version of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon," and a smooth-jazz tribute to Bob Marley.

Now don't get me wrong, I don't mean to come off as some kind of musical Scrooge. Some of these tributes--such as a bluegrass tribute to the Eagles--can actually be a good mix of styles, and entertaining pop music to boot. But some of the genres that are being combined in these CDs (like the ones mentioned above) are just too bizarre. They sound like parody CDs that you'd give as a gag gift at your company's Secret Santa party. To me, they're nothing but a pop music train wreck.

Here's a selection of just a few of the genre-bending tribute CDs I've found online:
(Please note I not heard most of these; some may actually contain decent music. I have chosen them because the artists and the genres seem like such a mismatch.)

* Chocolate On The Inside - The Lounge Tribute To Eminem
* The Death Angel Remains: The String Quartet Tribute To Slayer
* The Dub Tribute To U2
* Is It Rolling Bob? A Reggae Tribute To Bob Dylan
* Kiss My Grass - A Hillbilly Tribute To Kiss
* The String Quartet Tribute To Nine Inch Nails' Pretty Hate Machine
* On A Dark Desert Highway: A Bluegrass Tribute To The Eagles
* The Piano Tribute To Coldplay
* The Piano Tribute To Pink Floyd
* Pickin' On Rod Stewart & The Faces - A Bluegrass Tribute
* Pickin' On Springsteen - The Bluegrass Tribute
* The String Quartet Tribute To Nirvana's Nevermind
* The String Quartet Tribute To The Doors
* String Quartet Tribute To The Dave Matthews Band
* Shook Up - A Reggae Tribute To The King

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Find a World of Tech News at The Tech Planet

Even for the most dedicated tech geeks, it can be hard to keep up with the latest news in all facets of computing, technology, and cool gadgets. I've recently come across a blog called The Tech Planet that strikes a nice balance of geeky and the consumer-oriented topics. What's more, it also tackles a wide range of topics--cell phones, music players, Windows, gaming, Linux, and Apple (great for me, since I'm a longtime Mac user).

As a Mac fan I headed over to that section first. There I found brief articles on how to save Quicktime movie trailers from Apple--something I'd never thought about doing before, but will check out now that I know how to do it. The piece about Apple's rumored new thin and light MacBook Pro model really got my attention, since I've been long hoping for a more portable Apple laptop.

Most of the articles are quite brief, but maybe the site is relatively new and will publish more detailed articles as it grows. If it can keep its current breadth while adding more depth, this might become one of my favorite sites for tech news.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Fasting Women Cause Slowdowns on NYC Subway

Sometimes when you read a news story you immediately do a double-take. That's how I felt when I saw this story yesterday in the daily newspaper AM New York. The story notes that the third leading cause of delays on New York City's massive subway system is "sick customer," the transit agency's euphemism for a delay caused by passenger illness.

And one of the largest causes of these delays? Female passengers fainting on trains during the morning rush hour, specifically because they had been fasting to lose weight to squeeze into tight, revealing outfits for the warm weather or vacations to tropical climes. The study, conducted by the Metropolitan Transit Authority (the agency that oversees the running of NYC subways and buses) covers the period from October 2000 to October 2005.

In the article Asim Nelson, an emergency medical technician working at Grand Central Station, says that he has treated a number of passengers who admitted that skipping meals had led to their fainting spells. Six major NYC subway stations are equipped with medical teams.

Nelson said that last month he treated five passengers in one morning who had fainted while on the subway. Nelson mentioned that while illnesses seen on the subways range from flu symptoms to anxiety attacks to heat exhaustion, they don't compare in number to the fainting spells seen in patients who skip meals.

Perhaps passengers on crash diets should wear warning stickers on their clothing cautioning passengers that they might keel over in the middle of their journey. At least then fellow travelers could be alert to the possibility of imminent collapse so that they can help prop passenger up--or maybe out of the way.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Hurricanes, Boise Emerge as Winners in MPC Bowl Game

The MPC Computers Bowl this week drew national attention to Boise, Idaho. In the game, the University of Miami Hurricanes eked out a 21-20 win over the University of Nevada in the contest's final minute, but observers around the country remarked that the real winners of the game may have been the city of Boise and the state of Idaho. Many businesses and individuals around the U.S. had already turned their sights to the Idaho capitol even before the game, as it has emerged as a cosmopolitan yet uncrowded city surrounded by an abundance of natural beauty.

A sports columnist for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel newspaper discovered the benefits of Idaho the hard way when some disparaging comments he made about the city and state were met with a torrent of critical e-mails from proud Idahoans. He quickly responded by setting the record straight, mentioning that Boise has been been experiencing a tech-drive population boom in the last decade, and that Californians frustrated by crowding and traffic have been relocating to the city.

That's far from the only good news about Boise. A major Portland, Oregon public relations firm opened an office in Boise on January 1, 2007, and the city has been the recipient of awards and attention over the last few years from national publications and organizations. Fortune rated the city number 1 on its 2005 list of "Best Places for Business And Careers," while The Wall Street Journal mentioned it in a 2004 article on places that were an "Oasis for Retirees." Boise also came in number 13 on the National Policy Research Council's 2004 Gold Guide for "Best Overall City," and sporting magazines have even remarked on its many opportunities for biking and other recreation.

Housing options in the city range from older homes to new construction to planned communities, and a guide to Boise MLS provides a one-stop source for exploring all the options.