Tuesday, March 13, 2001                                                       Edition: #2010

Sometime between TODAY and Sunday space station ‘Mir’ is expected to be ‘de-orbited’ (nice term for crashed). Here’s the ‘Mir’ facts . . .
• Only designed to last 5 years, it actually spent 15 years in space after its 1986 launch.
• At 130-tons, it’s the largest object ever brought back to Earth.
• Target crash site is in a remote region of the Pacific, 900 to 1,200 miles east of Australia.
• Much of it is expected to burn up as it re-enters Earth’s atmosphere.
• Russian space controllers admit there’s a 2-3% chance they could lose control during descent and it would then land in a latitude bandwidth that includes Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, and Halifax.

TODAY the Beach Boys are celebrating the 40th anniversary of their recording career with a special ‘two-fer’ release, 2 classic albums on 1 CD (actually Beach Boys albums have been in the 50%-off rack for years) . . . Barbara Walters’s 20th annual pre-Oscar tear-jerking celeb interview show will include Faith Hill . . . Buzz is it was Julia Roberts who urged ex-boyfriend Matthew Perry to get help after she learned his “Friends” castmates had found drugs in his dressing room . . . The songs of legendary rock band Queen are being turned into a stage musical (what should it be called?).

The critics love “Almost Famous”, Cameron Crowe’s autobiographical story of a teen journalist who tours with a rock band (the movie that made Kate Hudson a star) . . . Michael Douglas plays a college professor who gets chancellor Frances McDormand pregnant in the acclaimed quirky drama “Wonder Boys” (feeling it didn’t get a fair shake, Douglas managed to get it released in theaters a 2nd time) . . . In the comedy “Bedazzled”, hopeless dweeb Brendan Fraser is granted 7 wishes by the Devil (Elizabeth Hurley) in order to snare the girl of his dreams, in exchange for his soul of course . . .  Jackie Chan kicks major butt in the martial arts action flick, “Legend of Drunken Master”, about a guy who’s fighting abilities increase 10-fold when he’s drunk (filmed on location at [local dive]) . . . And here’s a milestone – today’s disc release of “Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2″ features the DVD version of the movie on one side and the music soundtrack CD on the other — first time the 2 technologies have been combined.

Market research firm Webnoize says about 100 million songs a day are still being downloaded on Napster. And free music isn’t going to go away if a couple of Canadians can help it . . .
• Scarborough-based PulseNewMedia is giving away its new software called ‘NapCameBack Encoder’ that disguises music files by renaming them in a code similar to pig latin, making them undetectable by Napster copyright filters, ie: Barenaked Ladies becomes ‘arenakedB adiesL’.
NET: http://www.napcameback.com/
• Canadian university student Matt Goyer, who runs a ‘voluntary music payment’ Website, is raising capital to create a music download server on Sealand, a tiny island off the UK coast in international waters that’s a sovereign principality and therefore off-limits to copyright infringement laws.
NET: http://www.fairtunes.com/


1950    [51] William H Macy, Miami FL, movie actor (“A Civil Action”, “Fargo”) NEXT FILM: “Jurassic Park III”, opening JULY 18
1960    [41] Adam Clayton, Dublin IRE, rock bassist (U2-“Beautiful Day”, “Sweetest Thing”)
1972    [29] Trent Dilfer, Santa Cruz CA, NFL QB (Super Bowl champ Baltimore Ravens)
1976    [25] Danny Masterson, Albertson NY, TV actor (Steven Hyde-“That ’70s Show”)

TODAY is “National Open an Umbrella Indoors Day”, when we’re encouraged to challenge the old superstition to see if it causes bad or good luck.

1993    [08] Canadian rapper Snow tops charts with “Informer”, which stays #1 for 7 weeks

1781     [220] Sir William Herschel 1st sights ‘Uranus’
1877    [124] 1st ‘earmuffs’ patented (Chester Greenwood-Farmington ME)
1894     [107] 1st professional ‘striptease’ (Paris FRA)

1995    [06] “The Lion King” becomes all-time best-selling video (26 million copies, $450 million)

[Thurs] Ides of March (beware!)
[Sat] St Patrick’s Day
National Older Workers Employment Week (aka ‘Wal-Mart Greeters Week’)
Play-The-Recorder Month (it’s also ‘But Do It Outside in the Garage Month’)


• In 19th century Canada, what were ‘skedaddlers’ — shop lifters, rum runners, or draft dodgers? [Americans who crossed into Canada to avoid being drafted during the Civil War.]
• According to a new study in the science journal “Nature”, what do baboons look for when choosing a partner – clear eyes, a big butt, or a nice personality? [It’s the size and shape of the butt that counts.]
• What’s the most popular tub toy for kids — boats, rubber duckies, or the babysitter? [In a “Redbook” survey, toy boats come out on top.]
• People under stress show the LEAST amount of tension while in the company of — their pet dog,  strangers, or their spouses? [A State University of New York study says it’s the pooch. Stress levels were actually highest when with their spouses.]
• What’s the fastest-growing segment of the cosmetics business — lip glosses, fake eyelashes, or anti-wrinkle creams? [Anti-aging products, whose sales shot up 25% in one year.]
• According to Dr Peter Marsh’s new book on human interaction, pretending to do THIS is actually good etiquette – laugh at a lame joke, cry at a funeral, or achieve orgasm? [Cry at a funeral, because it at least shows you care.]
• Fashion experts say you should avoid THIS if you’re wearing a tummy-baring belly shirt — flab overlap, stretch marks, or navel lint? [Navel lint. One fashion mag warns, “Nothing ruins a cute little ensemble more quickly than an untidy navel.” And who can disagree?]

No matter what happens, somebody will find a way to take it much too seriously.


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