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.