Monday, March 31, 2008

Any Roddick Engaged to Brooklyn Decker

Tennis ace Andy Roddick is engaged to his girlfriend Brooklyn Decker, according to sources for both. Despite her name, the 20-year-old Brooklyn Decker is actually from Ohio, and she and Roddick have been seen often strolling the streets of New York. Brooklyn Decker was discovered in a shopping mall in North Carolina as a teenager, it's been said, and has gone on to be a model for FHM, Teen Vogue, and other magazines, and has been in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition in 2006 and 2007.

Roddick and Decker have only been dating since last year. says that they got together when Roddick, 27, asked his agent to get Brooklyn Decker's phone number.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

2008 Kids' Choice Awards: Jack Black and Lots of Green Slime

You know that Nickelodeon's Kids' Choice Awards (KCA) is getting big when the New York Times does a story on it. The article says that six million kids and parents will watch the show, but the focus of the story is the large amount of green goo that will be go splat on various performers during the show.

Actor Jack Black will host the KCA, as he did last year, and a host of stars will be there. Miley Cyrus and the Naked Brothers Band will perform, and other Hollywood bigwigs from Cameron Diaz to Janet Jackson will be there.

But one of the highlights will be the green goo, or "slime" as the KCA folks call it. The Times article says the neon-green goo is as thick as pancake batter, and the company making it is mixing up two tanker cars worth of the stuff. In the past stars such as Steve Carrell, Nicole Kidman, Justin Timberlake, James Earl Jones, and Johnny Depp have been "slimed."

Why Is Google Black Today? It's Earth Hour 2008

Google has made its home page black today in honor of Earth Hour. What is Earth Hour? It's an annual event to highlight the need to save energy, and consists of people around the world turning their lights out for one hour at 8 p.m. local time.

Google says it is using the black background as a symbolic move to indicate turning lights out, and that a computer monitor uses the same amount of electricity no matter what is showing on the screen. But there is an organization that claims that having a black background uses less electricity than a white background, and it has put up a Google search page called Blackle ( Some environmentally minded folks encourage people to use Blackle for Web searches instead of Google to save electricity.

Does a black background save electricity? I honestly don't know. But until there's a definitive answer, one can always commemorate Earth Hour 2008 by turning out the lights at 8 p.m. You can learn more about Earth Hour and sign up to say that you'll participate at

Friday, March 28, 2008

Iceberg C19A and Other Icy News

These days we're hearing about weather-related news not just about our own local areas, but about the latest happenings on iceberg C19A and the Ross Ice Shelf and the Wilkins Ice Shelf, all down near Antarctica.

It seems climate change is putting icebergs and such in the news as if they were part of our daily lives. Here's a quick recap: the iceberg known as C19 split off from the Ross Ice Shelf in 2002, and later began moving. It split in two in 2003, becoming two icebergs: C19A and (you guessed it) C19B. C19A supposedly has a surface area of about 4,000 square kilometers, a pretty big ice cube any way you slice it.

After a period of time in which is was pretty much stationary, C19A in 2005 apparently started drifting to the north. Then, earlier this week, we heard that a large chunk of the Wilkins Ice Shelf disintegrated. When they say "large," they mean "seven times the size of Manhattan."

Personally, it's hard to imagine chunks of ice that big falling off and moving around. You can find out much more than I can possibly explain (or even understand) about these events at the Web site of the British Antarctic Survey.

Afghan Ammunition Fraud: AEY Inc. and 22-Year-Old Head Efraim E. Diveroli

The U.S. military has apparently been supplying its troops in Afghanistan with dud ammunition that's as much as 40 years old... and the company supplying the ammo, AEY Inc., is headed by a 22-year-old guy named Efraim E. Diveroli!

The good news is that the U.S. has suspended AEY Inc. as a supplier.

There are so many odd elements to this story I don't know where to begin. How does a guy so young become a major arms supplier, heading a company that provides the majority of the ammo U.S. troops are using in a significant war effort? You have to be 35 years old to be U.S. president, but apparently you can be barely drinking age to sell enough arms to overthrow a medium-size nation of global strategic importance.

AEY Inc. said it was selling the U.S. ammo made in Hungary, but in fact it was from China, and some of it was decades old. Some of it was shown to be improperly packaged and even corroding.

The father of Efraim E. Diveroli started AEY Inc., but it was originally a printing company. From printing to ammunition... not exactly a natural product transition, I would think.

The U.S. government is undertaking a criminal investigation of AEY Inc. to see if it knowingly misrepresented the products it would provide the Afghan security forces.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Peeps Show, Where Everyone's Favorite Marshmallow Treat is the Star

Peeps, those squishy marshmallow treats that come in bright colors, have their own Web site, I haven't eaten Peeps since I was a kid, so I was surprised when checking out the site to find out that Peeps come in all kinds of different colors and shapes now. (I knew them mostly as Easter-time treats that were shaped like chicks, and came in neon-bright pink and yellow.)

Apparently the Peeps folks recognized the sales limits of a product seen as just an Easter confection, and the Peeps Show site proclaims that they're not just for Easter anymore. There have been new products and colors, including tulip-shaped Peeps in the traditional bright yellow color (new for this year). The tulip Peeps look good, but other ideas are less appealing: like the brown, cocoa Peeps that look like they should be called Poops.

Peeps always get attention at Easter time, and the CBS Sunday Morning show obliged today with a story about Peeps and those who love them (including the guy who created the Peeps Show site).

I personally prefer chocolate or jelly beans for my Easter candy bingeing, but Peeps are definitely a pop culture phenomenon all their own.

The Easter Bunny Tracker

Lots of people are trying to find an Easter Bunny Tracker online to follow the furry fellow's progress on Easter Sunday.

This seems odd to me, because I don't recall the Easter bunny going around from house to house giving out Easter goodies. Yes, Easter is well known for baskets filled with candy and colored eggs... along with some of those eggs hidden for scavenger hunts. But he's not Santa Claus, going around to homes all over distributing the loot himself.

I'm guessing the whole "Easter Bunny Tracker" got started as a spin-off of the Santa Claus Tracker, wherein some organization set up a Web site where kids could supposedly follow Santa's progress as he gave out gifts all over the world.

But the Easter bunny? That's not how he rolls, as far as I know. Given the volume of searches on the Web for "Easter Bunny Tracker," I'm sure it's only a matter of time until somebody comes up with a Web site that claims to provide a tracker service for following the Easter bunny as he goes hopping around on Easter.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Thinking About Trisha Meili, the Central Park Jogger

Trisha Meili was a 28-year-old investment banker when she was brutally attacked by several young men while jogging in New York's Central Park in 1989. She was was left for dead by her attackers, and was in a coma for a number of days.

Because she was believed to have been sexually assaulted, her name was not released in the press, and was known only as "the Central Park Jogger." The woman eventually made a remarkable recovery, and in 2003 revealed her name to the public in connection with a book she had written: "I Am the Central Park Jogger." Trisha Meili's Web site details her story and the work she is doing on behalf of crime victims and people with disabilities.

Trisha Meili has been back in the news this weekend because a jogger was attacked at knifepoint in Central Park Thursday night very close to the area where Meili had been attacked nearly 19 years ago. The victim in this attack was a 23-year-old man who was jogging to prepare for the Army physical fitness test.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Watch All NCAA Tourney Games Free - March Madness On Demand

Want to keep up with all the NCAA Tournament games? You can now watch every game FREE on your computer with March Madness on Demand (MMOD). In past years the NCAA has offered MMOD, but not for every game. It's completely free to watch every game, and you don't even need to register.

March Madness on Demand streaming games include an exclusive halftime show. The downside: demand for some (many?) games is high, so you may have to wait until you can view the game. The MMOD Web site says that each game will be archived shortly after it's finished, so you'll be able to keep up with the action later if you want.

Check the official March Madness on Demand Web site above for FAQs, system requirements, etc.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Designer Cats are Here from Lifestyle Pets

Last year we heard that the company Lifestyle Pets was planning on selling hypoallergenic cats (cats that would not cause sneezing, wheezing, and other symptoms in people with cat allergy). And they are apparently offering other "exotic" type cats from different breeds.

One of the Lifestyle Pets is said to be called the Ashera cat, which sells for over $20,000. There's been some controversy over whether the Ashera (a Lifestyle Pets trademark) is really just a Savannah cat ... not your average cat by any means, but much less pricey than the Ashera. One recentarticle says that Savannahs got for about $5,000, and says that Dutch authorities have seized some cats from Lifestyle Pets, citing laws that forbid "the sale or trade of protected species and their offspring."

Lifestyle Pets also sells the Allerca GD and the Chakan GD cats ("GD" stands for "genetic divergences," I've read). The Allerca cat is the hypoallergenic cat, although it sounds like the other cats can be bred in hypoallergenic forms.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

2008 New York St. Patrick's Day Parade: Route, Map, Viewing Sites, More

Monday, March 17th is the 2008 New York St. Patrick's Day Parade, and here is some good info on where the parade runs, where to watch it, what streets will be closed and when, and much more.

The parade steps off at 11 a.m. If you can't be there in person, you can follow the action on WNBC Channel 4 in New York, as well as a Webcast at the official Web site of the 2008 New York St. Patrick's Day Parade.

As always, the Parade runs north on Fifth Avenue, starting at 44th Street. It passes many New York landmarks along the way, including Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick's Cathedral, the American Irish Historical Society, Central Park, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The parade ends at Fifth Avenue around 86th Street, and should finish between 4:30 and 5 p.m.

Where are the best viewing spots? The parade Web site suggests going north of 66th, which I think is good advice. The 40s and 50s are mobbed with people, including many tourists as well as people coming out from their workplaces for a look.
The Web site also suggests that the top steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (83rd Street) are good viewing spots.

There will be many street closings and frozen zones in Manhattan; check the NYC Department of Transportation's advisory for details.

Happy St. Patrick's Day, and Slainte!

NOTE: Public drinking on the street is not tolerated during the parade; drinks will be confiscated (best case scenario) or you will be ticketed (not so good) or arrested (worst case scenario).

Hinckley, Ohio Welcomes Annual Return of Buzzards

We've all heard of the annual return of swallows to Capistrano, California, but there's a town called Hinckley, Ohio that takes pride in its own bid homecoming... but the birds are buzzards.

CBS Sunday Morning did a piece today on Hinckley, Ohio, where buzzards return to every year on the same day... March 15th. (That day is known as the Ides of March... maybe Julius Cesar knew something about buzzards?)

Anyway, you can learn more about Hinckley, Ohio at's Cleveland site. And you can view the piece that aired on Sunday Morning here.

Spitzer Spoofed on SNL

I thought the whole Spitzer "moral failing" speech was enough of a joke, but Saturday Night Live's opening last night made it even funnier. It's a good thing I went to the bathroom before watching this, because some parts of it had me laughing hysterically.

Spitzer is shown as a seedy lawyer "specializing in lurid and embarrassing sex cases." His offer to defend clients involved in certain sexual acts made "denial of reach-around" one of the most searched-for terms on the Internet late last night.

Watch and enjoy.

(NOTE: The video seems to be missing sometimes when the page loads; if so, you can watch it at NBC's Web site, here.)

Friday, March 14, 2008

All Ashley, All the Time: Ashley Alexandra Dupré Photos, Songs, Offers

It didn't take long for Ashley Alexandra Dupré to get her wish to be well-known and in demand. There are racy photos of her in the newspapers, an offer to pose in the altogether, and even interest in her music. A few developments as of today:

* The New York Post put a topless Dupré photo on its cover (with hands tastefully placed to make the shot less risque). The headline screams "Bad Girl," while the main story proclaims, "OMG! I JUST DID THE GOVERNOR!: SPITZ HOOKER'S DC DISCOVERY"

* The New York Post also published a series of racy Dupré photos on its Web site, which it says are a "New York Post exclusive" and apparently were taken at a photo shoot last year

* Ashley Alexandra Dupré is also getting more attention to her music. Her MySpace page has received a total of over 7.2 million hits, and radio station Z100 in New York says one of Dupré's songs is its most-requested tune

* A few of Dupré's songs are also available for sale online. Her MySpace page links to a site that lets visitors hear and buy at least three tunes

* And last but certainly not least, Penthouse magazine has reportedly asked her to pose for a photo session

Ashley Alexandra Dupré is definitely getting her 15 minutes of fame. We'll see what she does with it.

St. Patrick's Day in New York - Pubs and Bars

It seems you can't walk more than a block or two in Manhattan without coming across an Irish bar, but not all are authentic, or good. So how can you find a good place to have a drink (or a few, or a dozen) for the St. Patrick's Day season?

The New York Times comes up with a few that it considers some of the best, but it's a pretty small list.

A much more comprehensive listing can be found at, a New York entertainment guide that's heavy on bar listings. As you'd expect from a site put together by a guy named Murphy, there is an almost overwhelming number of Irish bars, pubs, restaurants, taverns, and music spots included here. They call it their "Ultimate NYC St. Patrick's Month Listings" (why limit the fun to one day, or even one weekend?). And despite the name, this guide lists plenty of parades and parties throughout the metropolitan area, including Long Island.

It's Pi Day, 3/14/08

Today is Pi Day, an occasion to honor that mathematical ratio that begins with 3.14 and seems to have all kinds of magical applications in math and the world at large. You can find more about Pi Day at

The BBC has a good, thoughtful article on pi that asks, "why are we driven to find the answers behind it?" (Yes, today is 3/14, which makes it ideal for Pi Day, but the Beeb also notes that it is also Albert Einstein's birthday.)

A refresher from school days about what pi is: it's the number that results get when you divide the circumference of a circle (the distance around it) by the diameter (the distance across the circle at its widest part, dividing the circle into two even halves).

If you want to read more about pi and its significance, read the BBC article, which also has links to things like musical pi.

For me, too much math makes my head hurt. Just considering all the math and science implications revealed in the average episode of "Lost" give me brain freeze, so the potential cosmic ramifications of pi are way over my head. But I'm sure Daniel Faraday, "Dan McFly" from the "Lost" island, is celebrating with his dead rat Eloise.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

"Kristen," Gov. Spitzer's Call Girl, Now Has a Face and a Name

The New York Times has posted a story on its Web site that seems to be the first to name, and show photos of, the woman called "Kristen" who is the prostitute at the center of NY Governor Eliot Spitzer's downfall.

The Times identified the woman as 22-year-old Ashley Alexandra Dupré (born Ashley Youmans), and her identity became known because she made a court appearance as a witness against the four people arrested and charged with running the Emperors Club VIP prostitution ring.

Dupré gave several phone interviews Tuesday night, the Times says, and said that she had felt a lot of stress from the Spitzer case and hadn't slept much in the last week. And yes, she has a MySpace page.

The article says that Ashley Alexandra Dupré is originally from New Jersey and came to New York City as a teen and worked at nightclubs with hopes of being an R&B singer.

“I just don’t want to be thought of as a monster,” Dupré said, adding, "This has been a very difficult time. It is complicated.”

Dupré has not been charged in the Emperors Club VIP case, but her lawyer noted that she had been subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury.

Ashley Alexandra Dupré didn't say how many times she met with Spitzer, how many meetings she had been on through Emperors Club VIP, or when she started working for the outfit.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Hey, Gilligan! Mary Ann (Dawn Wells) Busted for Pot!

If you've ever wondered what farm-girl Mary Ann on the '60s TV show "Gilligan's Island" is up to these days, well, she's been busted for possession of marijuana.

She was stopped by police in Idaho for erratic driving on Feb. 29th, and is serving six months' probation. I hadn't heard of "Mary Ann" in decades, and one thing she's been up to is getting older. I was surprised to learn that Dawn Wells is now 69 years old.

Her supporters claim that the weed belonged to a friend of hers who was using the car, and the friend backed this story up. But Wells was found to be under the influence. Which explains that mellow-looking smile on her face in her booking photo (at the link above). The pot possession charges were dropped.

Dawn Wells has apparently stayed active in the entertainment business: she's the founder of the Idaho Film and Television Institute and is also involved in organizing "Spud Fest," an annual family movie festival in Idaho. You can find out about all her film and TV roles at her IMDB page.

Personally, I would have suspected Gilligan himself as the "Gilligan's Island" castaway most likely to become a pothead.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Walt Whitman and "Leaves of Grass" Appear on TV in "New Amsterdam"

TV viewers are used to seeing literary works on the small screen in "Lost" (usually being read by Sawyer), but tonight the famous poetic work "Leaves of Grass" made an appearance. Not only that, but the book's author, Walt Whitman, was shown talking about it in a flashback in Fox TV's new show, "New Amsterdam."

"New Amsterdam" concerns a young New York detective (named Amsterdam) who through some quirk has been alive for hundreds of years and can never die (as far as we know). As he works to find the murderer of a therapist who works with Vietnam Veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, he flashes back to a previous incarnation as a surgeon in the Civil War. At the end of the episode an older assistant who has been helping Amsterdam in his Civil War doctoring efforts hands the surgeon a book he says he has produced himself: "Leaves of Grass."

Of course this sent me off doing some research on Walt Whitman and "Leaves of Grass" to see if the time frames would have supported this scene. Sure enough, the first edition of "Leaves of Grass" was published in 1855 and revised several times after that, so the book was definitely in existence during the Civil War. Also, Walt Whitman served as a volunteer nurse during that War, so the writers of the episode indeed knew a bit of history.

This is the first time I've seen "New Amsterdam," so I'll be curious to see if the writers have Amsterdam crossing paths with actual historical figures in future episodes.

NY Governor - "Client 9" of Emperor Club VIP

The governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer, came out and apologized today for... um, something. What he didn't say is that he's been accused of being involved with Emperors Club VIP, a high-class prostitution ring. The New York Times first reported the story, and it's been confirmed by other sources, which note that he was caught on a Federal wiretap soliciting the services of a high-priced, um, "companion." He was identified as "Client 9" in the investigation.

As you can imagine, the Web site for Emperors Club VIP is not available, "Due to high volume of traffic," it says, Yeah, I bet! Maybe some of the governor's constituents will be relieved to know that Spitzer has been only frequenting high-class hookers, not the skanky street-corner variety that hang out by the Lincoln Tunnel.

Here's what the link to the Emperors Club VIP Web site says:
"::Emperors Club Vip::.welcome Models Elite Companions Concierge ... -
International model companions, London, New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Europe, Tokyo, Elite companions, VIP models. models_elite_companion_travel_luxury.html"

Always the political animal, Spitzer made only a one-minute statement in which he apologized for letting down his family and his constituents, or something using similar weasel words. But he didn't say for what he was apologizing (just some kind of personal failing), didn't mention the prostitution allegations, didn't resign, and didn't take questions.

Considering that Spitzer, a former prosecutor, ran for governor on an anti-corruption platform, his career seems to be toast, whether he chooses to resign today or later on.

So it seems time to familiarize ourselves with David Paterson, New York's lieutenant governor. Not only would he become the state's first black governor, but the state's first legally blind chief executive.

New York Governor Spitzer Linked to Prostitution Ring... WTF?!

Here's a bit of news from the "WTF?!" Political Files: the New York Times is reporting that New York Governor Eliot Spitzer has been linked to a prostitution ring. The Times says that Spitzer announced this to his senior advisors and will be making a speech a little after 2 p.m. Monday.

Last week federal officials arrested four people in connection with a high-class prostitution ring, but it's not clear whether this is the ring Spitzer is alleged to be involved with. If it is, it could be that the people arrested may have led officials to Spitzer.

Granted, we are in odd political times, when a conservative Republican Senator, Larry "Wide Stance" Craig, made headlines for playing footsie with an undercover cop in an airport men's room. So nothing is really surprising these days,

But considering Spitzer ran for office on a platform stressing good government and battling corruption, this is bad news indeed for Mr. Spitzer. Of course, we haven't heard his speech yet; he could come out and deny the whole thing. Or he could try a bizarre defense like the former NJ Governor McGreevey, taking the "I Am a Gay American" defense.

We'll have to see what Gov. Spitzer says. Prostitution and clean government don't go together, except maybe in the Boss Tweed days.

What is "Aught"? And What Ought We Do About It?

Ever since late 1999, the word "aught" has troubled many people around the world. While some people fretted about the computer millennium bug or the possibility of the end of the world at the change of the millennia, others worried about the aught problem.

So what does aught mean? It can mean "anything," or "all" or "everything" according to Merriam-Webster, as in "for aught we know, he's a feisty rodent." But as a noun, aught means zero. So aught came up in the late 1990s as the answer to the question, What do we call this new decade?

The 1990s are "the Nineties," the 1920s are "the Twenties," but what name do you give a decade whose first number is zero? Many people suggested using aught. So the current decade would be called "the Aughts," as in, "Yeah, I was into snowboarding in the Nineties, but in the Aughts I got old and fat and started playing Wii Golf."

Yes, the Aughts is a really awkward and odd-sounding name for a decade, but we're coming to the end of the Aughts and no one seems to have come up with a better or more acceptable name.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

"Los Suns" Beat "Los Spurs" on NBA's "Noche Latina"

In the latest achievement in language-mangling, "Los Suns" defeated "Los Spurs" 94-87 on the NBA's "Noche Latina," or Latin Night. Noche Latina makes sense, because it is a literal translation. But Los Suns and Los Spurs?

Putting the Spanish word for "the" on the front of the jersey before the team name, while keeping the team name in English, is pretty silly. If the NBA wanted to go with Spanish, why not use the Spanish word for Suns and Spurs? The WNBA once had a team in Miami called the Sol (Spanish for sun), a nod to the city's Latino population. Why couldn't the NBA do the equivalent?

Maybe the NBA was afraid that non-Spanish-speaking fans wouldn't be able to tell which team was which if they had Spanish names. (Hint: Phoenix is the team in orange, with Shaquille O'Neal.)

Would David Stern consider doing an NBA Pig-Latin Night in the future? If so, ix-nay on the hombre!

Entomological Dysplasia: Can I Really Turn Into a Bug?

An op-ed article called "A Bug’s Life. Really." in today's New York Times has got people questioning whether entomological dysplasia, an affliction in which a person can develop the anatomical features of an insect, has got people wondering if this is a real condition. The op-ed questions whether the main character in Kafka's “The Metamorphosis" is really fiction, since the article suggests that entomological dysplasia is a real condition.

Never fear, you won't turn into a cockroach. Entomological dysplasia is indeed a nonexistent disorder. The author of the op-ed, Mark Leyner, is simply riffing on the recent spate of cases in which memoirists have been found to have made up their stories.

The fact that Leyner refers to Kafka as still living is I guess his tip-off that the article is fictional (Kafka died in the 1920s). Another tip-off, for those who know of Mark Leyner, is that he is the author of this piece. The the bio at the end of the op-ed it simply said that Leyner is a novelist and screenwriter, or something like that. But many people would refer to Leyner as a "comic novelist" or "humorous novelist": his novels are usually offbeat humor with titles such as "My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist" and "Et tu, Babe?"

Leyner is also co-author of the (mostly) nonfiction books, "Why Do Men Have Nipples?" and "Why Do Men Fall Asleep After Sex?"

So if you're worried about entomological dysplasia can rest easy. You won't be sprouting antennae or a shell anytime soon. (Unless you live near a nuclear reactor in a town called Springfield populated by yellow-skinned people.)

Spring Ahead: Daylight Saving Time Change is Sun., March 9th

It's almost time for the annual "spring ahead" part of Daylight Saving Time. At 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 9th, it will magically become 3 a.m. So set your clock ahead one hour before you go to bed on Saturday night, March 8th, or you'll be running an hour late for everything on Sunday and won't known why.

Setting the clock ahead is considerably easier than getting my mind and body to adjust to the time change of Daylight Saving Time. The time change always messes with me for at least a week, usually more, as the changing daylight hours do a number on my circadian rhythms. You'd think after hundreds of thousands of years of human evolution we'd find it easier to adjust to a one-hour time change, but apparently not.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Lew Alcindor All-Time #1 College Basketball Player, ESPN Says

According to an article on AOL Sports' Fanhouse, ESPN is doing a feature on the 25 best college hoops players of all time, and it seems that Lew Alcindor has come out at number one. A good choice, and not all that surprising when you look at the college career of the man who would later join the NBA and become a household name worldwide as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Alcindor was born in Harlem in 1947 as Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor, Jr., and grew up there. The jaw-dropping numbers that he put up at New York City's Power Memorial High School were a sign of things to come. He led Power to three consecutive New York City Catholic championships, which included a 72-game winning streak and a 96–6 record. And Alcindor racked up more than 2,000 total points in his high school career.

Alcindor's college career was spent at UCLA, where he set many school records that still stand today... quite a feat considering the illustrious winning history of that school's basketball program. And the fact that in that era freshman weren't eligible for the varsity squad, so Alcindor's numbers aren't for the full four years.

Alcindor's UCLA Bruins won the NCAA title three times, in 1967, 1968, and 1969, and he was voted Most Outstanding Player in the tournament each of those years. Alcindor was also named Naismith College Player of the Year in 1969.

After UCLA Alcindor was drafted by the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks in 1969, and led the team to the NBA title in 1971. That same year he changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a name that reflected the Muslim faith he had adopted several years earlier.

Of course, most fans (including me) remember Kareem from his years with the Los Angeles Lakers, where he played from 1975 to the end of his pro career in 1989. Kareem was the big man in the middle, whose skyhook was a lethal weapon on a team that also had the "Showtime" razzle-dazzle of Magic Johnson, James Worthy, and Michael Cooper.

So congrats, Kareem, on another honor. I hope this recognition from ESPN will lead to a new generation of fans to discover the amazing talent and achievements of Lew Alcindor/Kareem Adbul-Jabbar, one of the greatest hoops players of all time.

You can find out more about Kareem's basketball career at his page at the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

"Magical Lizzy" - Practicing the World's Oldest Work-at-Home Profession?

Apparently a Maryland women was earning a living by combining the new work-at-home ethic with the world's oldest profession. Police in Maryland have arrested a woman and charged her with running a prostitution business at her apartment complex, according to a story from Fox News.

The story say that the 35-year-old Laurel woman, named Elizabeth Harrison, went by the name "Magical Lizzy" on a Web site. Anne Arundel County Police have charged Harrison with criminal counts including "receiving money from prostitutes with the intent of promoting and profiting from a crime," Fox says.

Residents of the apartment complex where "Magical Lizzy" lives had complained to police about men and women visiting her apartment at all hours. Police had determined that the women were advertising online, offering sexual services. The police conducted a raid and the arrest of "Magical Lizzy" after an undercover officer was solicited for sexual acts.

Many people have discovered the convenience of working at home, but I doubt that prostitution is a recommended job to start up from one's home.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Rilo Kiley's Blake Sennett - Engaged to Winona Ryder?

There are rumors circulating that Blake Sennett, guitarist for the indie rock band Rilo Kiley, is engaged to Winona Ryder. The L.A.-based Rilo Kiley has been on tour in recent months supporting their latest album, "Under the Blacklight," which was released last year. Rilo Kiley has been one of my favorite bands of the last few years and have a wide following in the indie rock world.

Like Rilo Kiley frontwoman Jenny Lewis, Blake Sennett was a child actor (and has had some roles as an adult as well). Sennett appeared in series including "Family Ties," "The Wonder Years," "Boy Meets World," and "Third Rock from the Sun," usually under the name Blake Swendson or Blake Soper.

Rilo Kiley took a break as a band while Lewis and Sennett each recording and touring to support their solo efforts. Jenny Lewis toured as Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins; Sennett had an alt-rock band called The Elected.

It remains to be seen if these Winona Ryder/Blake Sennett engagement rumors are true.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Pentagon Testing "Active Denial" Ray Gun System

If you watched "60 Minutes" tonight, you saw that interesting story on a new non-lethal weapon the Pentagon is testing. It's called the Active Denial System, and it looks like a satellite dish (only it's flat and square) mounted on the top of a truck.

What the Active Denial System does is to direct a 100,000-watt beam of very high frequency radio waves at the target, which makes a person feel intense heat on the skin that apparently gives the sensation that the skin is burning. And the sensation is felt even if the person is wearing heavy clothing.

According to the Department of Defense the Active Denial System doesn't cause any permanent damage to the people on the receiving end (provided they don't get too much exposure to it). And it seems the blast can work from quite a distance away.

At the link above you can read the "60 Minutes" story and see video of the poor correspondent who reported the story, and volunteered to be on the receiving end of the Active Denial System to see what it felt like!

Amazing 3D Sidewalk Art by Julian Beaver

The artist Julian Beaver creates some incredibly realistic sidewalk drawings in chalk that look just like they are in 3D when viewed from the proper angle. He takes flat drawings, then "morphs" them so that they look like they are real and in three dimensions. You can see photos of some Julian Beaver sidewalk drawings here.

Julian Beaver was the subject of a story on the CBS Sunday Morning show on March 2nd.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Cash Tomato Gets Squashed in New York Riot

A video-sharing company called Cash Tomato ( tried to give out money near New York's Union Square to drum up publicity, but got mashed when the impatient crowd got greedy and rushed the tomato-dressed representatives handing out tomatoes wrapped in money.

The idea was to give out the loot at 2:29 p.m. on 2/29, Leap Day, but a few minutes before the appointed time about 100 people bum-rushed several Cash Tomato workers dressed as tomatoes to grab the prizes, valued up to $29. The workers, feeling under siege, let the boxes and bags of loot go, and a scramble ensued for the left-behind goodies. One person reportedly ended up in the hospital after getting his leg stepped on.

A Cash Tomato VP says the company has done similar promotions in other cities and didn't have this kind of aggressive response.

USS New York Christened; Navy Ship Has Steel from World Trade Center

The christening of the newest Navy ship, the USS New York, was in many ways like the christening of any other new ship, but in a way it was also totally different. That's because the front part of the ship was made from seven and a half tons of steel salvaged from the World Trade Center, which was destroyed in the terrorist attacks of 9/11. And thousands of people gathered in New York City to watch the christening ceremony, including those who lost friends and relatives on 9/11.

The USS New York was trimmed in red, white and blue banners, has a seal on its bow that features two gray bars to symbolize the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.

The USS New York had been planned at the time the terrorist attacks happened, but the ship did not yet have a name. It was former New York Governor George Pataki that suggested the name.

The ship cost about one billion dollars to build and weighs 25,000 tons. It is 684 feet long and can carry about 360 sailors and 700 Marines. It is to be commissioned next year.

Roger Von Bergendorff Identified as Man in Vegas Hospital in Ricin Case

Sources have said that Roger Von Bergendorff is the name of the man who has been in critical condition in a Las Vegas hospital after being exposed to the deadly toxin ricin in a city motel. What's more, the hotel suite where the vials of ricin were found also contained guns and literature about anarchy, including information on ricin.

Von Bergendorff is said to be 57 years old. He reportedly called emergency services on Feb. 14th, saying he was suffering from respiratory distress. Despite finding ricin, the firearms, and the anarchic literature, Las Vegas police say that there is no terrorist threat or danger to the community from the ricin. Maybe someone is splitting hairs over the definition of terrorism, but obviously someone in that hotel room was up to no good. The man's symptoms are consistent with ricin exposure; other people tested as a precaution have show no signs of exposure to the toxin.

The Salt Lake City Deseret News reports that two men being investigated in connection to the vials of ricin have a connection to Riverton, Utah.

The FBI confirmed to the Deseret Morning News on Saturday that two people involved in the investigation are from Riverton.
Maybe someone should call the CSI folks and get Gil Grissom and his crew on the case. Yes, Grissom will make some odd, irrelevant comments and start talking about his fascination with bugs, but the team will get the job done.