Tuesday, May 4, 2004        Edition: #2781
A Bull in Hand Is A Sheetload of Fun!

TONIGHT the “American Idol” theme is Big Band music (unfortunately a week too late for John Stevens) . . . Test audiences are said to be so unenthusiastic about the soon-to-be-released remake of “The Stepford Wives” starring Nicole Kidman that several scenes have been re-shot . . . Audience tests of an American version of the Golden Globe-winning British TV comedy “The Office” haven’t fared much better – reaction to the pilot episode has been silence (never a good sign for a comedy) . . . Police have seized 2 pairs of Michael Jackson’s underwear for DNA testing and also several documents from memorabilia collector Henry Vaccaro’s NJ warehouse that relate to the ‘Rubberhead Club’ which Jackson created for kids he entertained at Neverland Ranch . . . Johnny Depp reportedly wants Rolling Stone Keith Richards to appear in the “Pirates Of The Caribbean” sequel – as his father . . . 33-year-old Brit actress Minnie Driver (“Good Will Hunting”) has recorded an ‘alternative country’ album and is negotiating with Rounder Records to release it . . . Word is “Van Helsing” actress Kate Beckinsale will wed director-boyfriend Len Wiseman in Las Vegas once she’s finished publicity tours for the movie (opening FRIDAY) . . . Cameron Diaz has reportedly told boyfriend Justin Timberlake to chill his relationship with “Girl Next Door” actress Elisha Cuthbert – even though they’re supposedly just friends . . . And the actors who voice “The Simpsons” are celebrating their long-awaited pay settlement and rightly so, a raise from $125,000 per episode to over $360,000 or $8 million for the season – each!

• Madonna – TODAY a lawsuit against her & husband Guy Ritchie is scheduled to go to court. They’re being sued by a man who claims they cut him out of credit and compensation for their box-office flop “Swept Away”.
• Lee Ann Womack – TONIGHT “The Wrong Girl” singer does “Tonight Show With Jay Leno”.
• Sheryl Crow – TODAY she performs aboard a cross-country United Airlines flight to mark the launch of United’s partnership with Sony’s new ‘Connect Online Music Service’.
• Oasis – The brothers just can’t seem to get along so frontman Liam Gallagher is forming his own group, featuring former Stone Roses guitarist John Squire & late Beatle George Harrison’s son Dhani.
• George Canyon – The 33-year-old “Nashville Star” runner-up from Pictou County NS has admitted his lawyer told him he’d be in a better position coming in 2nd because it would give him more room to negotiate a contract. The winner (Brad Cotter) has to take the contract that’s offered as grand prize. By the way, Canyon’s real name is Fred Lays.
• Britney Spears – She’s had a series of Hebrew symbols tattooed on the back of her neck in an act of devotion to Kabbalah, the mystical form of Judaism she was introduced to by Madonna. Unfortunately, according to experts who’ve seen them, the symbols are total gibberish.
• Alicia Keys – TODAY she’s on TV gabfest “On Air With Ryan Seacrest”.

• “The Last Samurai” (Action/Adventure – DVD): Tom Cruise plays an 1870s American military advisor who embraces the Samurai culture he was hired by the Japanese Emperor to destroy after he is captured in battle. Cruise narrowly escaped injury when a sword was swung within an inch of his neck during filming.
• “The Triplets of Belleville” (Animated Comedy – DVD): In this French production ‘Madame Souza’ attempts to rescue her grandson with the help of her beloved pooch ‘Bruno’ and an aged song & dance team called the ‘Belleville Sisters’. Oscar-nominated for ‘Best Animated Feature’ and ‘Best Original Song’. The film is virtually dialogue-free (though there are some spoken words, they are incidental).
• “Chasing Liberty” (Romantic Comedy – DVD): Mandy Moore plays the 18-year-old daughter of a US President who longs to experience normal life, so she escapes from her Secret Service protection while traveling in Europe, then falls in love with a handsome British stranger (Matthew Goode) … who just happens to be working undercover for her father.
• “Girl With a Pearl Earring” (Drama – DVD): Scarlett Johansson (“Lost in Translation”) plays a 17th-century peasant girl who is forced to work as a maid in the home of the painter Johannes Vermeer (Colin Firth). She also serves as the model for what becomes one of his most famous works. The film was originally slated to star Kate Hudson & Ralph Fiennes.
• “Calendar Girls” (Comedy – DVD/VHS): British comedy inspired by the true story of a group of ‘mature’ Women’s Institute members who initiate a hospital fund-raiser by posing for a calendar … completely nude. They quickly become a media sensation. Actress Helen Mirren received a Golden Globe nomination for her performance.
• “Peter Pan” (Family Adventure – DVD): Live action version of the classic JM Barrie story about the ‘Darling’ family children who receive a visit from ‘Peter Pan’, who takes them to ‘Never Never Land’ where an ongoing war with an evil pirate is taking place. Following tradition in both theater & film, the actor portraying ‘Captain Hook’ is the same actor portraying ‘Mr Darling’, in this case, Jason Isaacs.

• University of Guelph biologist Paul Hebert is developing a handheld gadget that will read DNA like a bar code. He and his associates are assembling a database that will eventually contain all the codes of Earth’s estimated 10 million species. The hope is that eventually the gadget will be able to scan and identify the source of a fragment of DNA from any living thing. (Cool, ‘Grissom’ is gonna love this on “CSI”.)
– “Canadian Geographic”
• University of Nebraska computer professor Shane Farritor has come up with robotic cones to replace those ubiquitous orange pylons you always see around road construction. Why bother? His robotic cones can be moved remotely, ending any hazard to workers trying to place them on busy highways. (Unfortunately, the poor slob holding the ‘Stop/Proceed Slowly’ sign still can’t get life insurance.)
– “New Scientist”
• UK company Astucia has perfected a tiny radar camera which can be concealed in road studs as small as those little highway reflectors known as ‘Botts Dots’. The camera is currently undergoing trials and has proven accurate for speeds up to 150 mph. It’s also sophisticated enough to scan your tires to see if they have enough tread. (Coming soon – self-adhesive mirrors for car bottoms.)
– “Independent”

A collection of unusual doggy photos that took Japan by storm 4 years ago has begun to creep into mainstream Western culture. Known as ‘Artlist Collection: The Dog’, the series features more than 70 breeds shot with a wide-angle lens, making their heads appear huge and their bodies tiny. Get ready to see them on everything from T-shirts to  birthday party plates, to Happy Meals, even plush animal versions in toy stores.
– “The Tennessean”


A team at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center has found that breast milk contains a protein that could reduce the risk of obesity. The protein, adiponectin, is secreted by fat cells and affects how the body processes sugars and fatty substances in the blood. Low levels of this protein have been linked to obesity. (Geez, I’m feeling bloated this morning ….)

According to new Wake Forest University research, SEPTEMBER is the worst month in which to have laser eye surgery. About 50% of patients who do so need a follow-up procedure later on. Why? It seems the extra moisture in the air during hot & humid months reduces the laser energy absorbed by the cornea, the part of the eye reshaped during laser procedures. So researchers say the best bet if you’re going to have laser surgery is – wait until the drier winter months. (Dammit, just when you got your nerve up to get zapped!)
– “Journal of Cataract & Refractive Surgery”

1. “Sweet Child O’ Mine” – Guns N’ Roses
2. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” – Nirvana
3. “Whole Lotta Love” – Led Zeppelin
4. “Smoke On The Water” –  Deep Purple
– New poll by “Total Guitar” magazine.

• To qualify for a no-limit ‘American Express Black Card’, you have to charge at least $150,000 a year. Among the celebs to whom Amex has awarded the honor: Sean Combs, Russell Simmons, Denzel Washington, and Lil’ Kim – who wears a diamond-encrusted one around her neck. (That should be a real conversation piece in jail.)
– “NY Daily News”
• There are approximately 50,000 radio stations worldwide. There are more than 14,000 in the USA, 5,000 in Brazil, and about 3,000 in Europe. (Ain’t it nice to know there’s always work elsewhere?)
– “Focus” magazine

“I need my nipples squeezed before every show. It gets me pumped to go on stage. My assistant Jackie has it down to a fine art.” – Pink telling the Aussie press what gets her motivated, while promoting her current tour Down Under.


1959 [45] Randy Travis (Traywick), Marshville NC, country singer (“Forever & Ever Amen”)

1972 [32] Mike Dirnt, Berkeley CA, rock musician (Green Day-“Time of Your Life”)

1979 [25] Lance Bass, Laurel MS, pop singer (‘N Sync-“Bye Bye Bye”)

TODAY is “Weather Observers’ Day”, recognizing both pros and amateurs who follow the elements. (Hmm, which would [local TV weather reporter] qualify as?)

TODAY is “International Relationship Renewal Day”, saluting relationships that have made it through another year. Couples are encouraged to celebrate and congratulate one another and each other.

TODAY is “National Teacher Day”, a time for honoring teachers and recognizing the lasting contributions they make to our lives. (These days teachers receive a lot of gifts. What’s the most outlandish you’ve heard of?)

TODAY is the day many Irish wear their coats inside out to confuse the “Maytime Fairies”.

THIS WEEK is “National Pet Week”, celebrating the difference pets make in people’s lives. For instance, here’s some …
• Don’t go out without your ID.
• If you stare at someone long enough, eventually you’ll get what you want.
• Be aware of when to hold your tongue … and when to use it.
• Always leave room in your schedule for a good nap.
• When you do something wrong, always take responsibility … as soon as you’re dragged out from under the bed.
• If it’s not wet and sloppy, it’s not a real kiss.

1927 [77] ‘Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ is founded (the Oscar people)

1959 [45] 1st ‘Grammy Awards’ presented (winners include Henry Mancini, the Kingston Trio)

1994 [10] Bill Wyman announces his retirement from the Rolling Stones

1715 [289] 1st ‘folding umbrella’ pops open in Paris

1968 [36] 1st McDonald’s ‘Big Mac’ is served

[Wed] No Diet Day
[Thurs] “Friends” series finalé
[Fri] International Tuba Day
[Sat] Single Mother’s Day
[Sat] Native American Day
[Sun] Lost Sock Memorial Day
This Week Is . . . Safe Kids Week / PTA Teacher Appreciation Week
This Month Is . . . Young Achiever’s Month / Clean Air Month

Just in time for Mom’s Day, here’s a …
• What’s the proper name for a mother sheep? [A female sheep is a ‘ewe’, a mommy sheep is a ‘dam’.]
• What do you call the main circuit board in a computer? [The ‘motherboard’.]
• Where does ‘Mother-of-Pearl’ come from? [Abalone shellfish.]
• According to the old proverb,  what is the ‘Mother of Invention’? [Necessity]
• What was the collection of children’s stories published in 1697 by French poet Charles Perrault called? [“Tales of Mother Goose”]
• What’s the maternal name for a loose, unbelted dress? [‘Mother Hubbard’]
• What country is affectionately called ‘Mother’ by its citizens? [Russia]

• “What’s the best sitcom of all-time?” [Many are saying it’s “Friends”, but could that just be because it’s about to end?]
• “Where would be your ideal location to ‘make a baby’?” [In a survey of 1,000 adults, the top scenario for both men and women was “a quiet candlelit evening at home”. Second choice for women was “a tropical paradise”, and for men “a log cabin warmed by a cozy fire”.]
• “Which are you more afraid of – looking old or being fat?” [In a “Redbook” magazine poll, 80% say they’re more afraid of being fat than getting wrinkles.]

Today’s Question: In a poll of expectant moms THIS food ranked as the most craved.
Answer to Give Out Next Show: Nachos.

There’s no fool like an old fool … ’cause he’s experienced.


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