May 14, 2002

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Tuesday, May 14 , 2002        Edition: #2296
For a moment there I thought my ‘Spidey Sense’ was tingling — but it’s just the hot coffee I spilled in my lap.

TODAY is the release of the long-awaited new Rush album “Vapor Trails” (long awaited, that is, by guys with grey ponytails who still call you ‘man’) . . . Moby’s new album “18″ will be streamed online, hosted by MTV Websites around-the-world . . . Oprah Winfrey is naming her $51-million Montecito CA estate ‘Tara II’ after ‘Scarlet O’Hara’s’ plantation in “Gone With the Wind” (well fiddle-dee-dee, Stedman) . . . A little piece of Scottish real estate, Amhuinnsuidhe Castle on the Isle of Harris, has attracted some celeb interest, with Madonna, Paul McCartney, Sting and Harrods department store owner Mohammed al-Fayed all with their eye on the estimated $7-million shack that comes with a 50,000-acre backyard . . . “Spider-Man star Tobey Maguire reportedly made $4 million for filming the #1 blockbuster and is guaranteed a further $23 million for the 2 scheduled sequels, so forking over $3.7 million on his first Hollywood home, complete with gym, swimming pool and spa was pocket change . . . Movie analysts predict the new “Star Wars” film will do $75-80 million in its opening weekend, well short of “Spider-Man’s” $114-million record, mostly because it’s only debuting on 6000 screens, 1500 fewer than ‘Spidey’ . . . Former OJ Simpson freeloader Kato Kaelin is pitching a new TV series called “House Guest”, in which he travels across the country, knocking on doors and inviting himself in to spend a weekend with the family (who’d wanna watch this? — we have relatives who do it in real life!) . . . Two presidents are stumping for candidates in Florida’s hotly contested gubernatorial race —  President George W Bush for the incumbent, his brother Jeb, and Martin Sheen, “The West Wing’s” ‘President Jed Bartlet’, for Democratic candidate Janet Reno (which would you rather have on your side?).

Nicole Kidman plays a mother who lives in a darkened old house with her 2 photosensitive children who becomes convinced the place is haunted in the horror thriller “The Others” . . . Johnny Depp & Heather Graham star in the period mystery “From Hell”, about a clairvoyant police detective who investigates the ‘Jack The Ripper’ murders in Victorian London . . . Cuba Gooding Jr stars in the Disney comedy “Snow Dogs” as a Miami dentist who inherits a team of sled dogs . . . And the entire 5th season of “The X-Files” is out in a compilation as well as the Stephen King scary TV mini-series “Rose Red”.

Thanks to “Esquire” magazine we learn that most of us have big toes that are shorter than our second toes. Recent studies show that the few who are gifted with a longer big toe (know as the ‘hallux’) seem to be better equipped for skiing, sprinting and other speed sports. (OK, everybody remove shoes and socks to check it out!)

A Boca Raton, Florida family has become the first to be implanted with computer chips that are embedded with their complete medical information in case of future emergencies. The tiny VeriChips, the size of a grain of rice, were implanted in their arms and are similar to chips implanted in pets to identify them if they’re lost. (What’s next? A bank card chip that puts cash in your fingertips? A memory chip that records everything you do?)

A scientist at Salford University in Britain is teaching robots to respond to human emotions. A wireless modem is used to connect a mobile robot to a human operator. The person’s emotions are detected through changes in skin humidity, heart rate and other bodily effects, then transmitted to the robot, which alters its behavior accordingly. The practical use is to develop robot care-givers for the elderly and disabled. (Thereby freeing up family members to pursue their own selfish interests.)

Vibrating car seats are being developed to wake up drivers who start to doze off. The system uses at least a dozen different monitors to detect if a driver starts to fall asleep behind the wheel. As soon they detect that the motorist is nodding off, the system releases a burst of fresh air in the driver’s face and triggers a hazard alarm. Finally, the seat vibrates with a vigor guaranteed to wake the driver. (A similar system has been available for years – the spousal elbow to the ribs.)

• Police in Camden, Arkansas say they’re getting complaints about a man who offers to clean septic tanks — in exchange for sex. (Wow, now there’s a tempting proposition! Before or after?)
• A gambler who won a fortune at the casino in the alpine village of Saint Vincent, Italy has generously tipped the staff — with 4,000 cans of tomatoes. Seems he owns a tomato canning factory in Naples. (If this cheapskate ever shows up again he’ll likely get his tomatoes back – airborne!)
• A man and woman near Graz, Austria made a narrow escape when their car rolled into the River Enns – while they were ‘doing the nasty’ inside. Fortunately, they both escaped as it sank, and swam unharmed to the river bank. The car was swept downstream and took hours to find. (This is a case where ‘safe sex’ means using the parking brake.)

According to financial expert Andrew Feinberg, author of the book “Downsize Your Debt”, at least 75% of loans to friends are NEVER repaid, and 50% of loans to family members aren’t either! (As mom always said, “Never a borrower nor a lender be.” Or as dad said, “Get lost!”))


1944 [58] George Lucas, Modesto CA, really rich filmmaker (“Star Wars” series, “Indiana Jones” series)  NEXT FILM: “Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones” opening THURSDAY

1952 [50] David Byrne, Dunbartin SCOT, classic rock singer (Talking Heads-“Burning Down the House”)/composer (Oscar-“The Last Emperor”)

1969 [33] Cate Blanchett. Melbourne AUS, movie actress (‘Galadriel‘-“Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “The Shipping News”, “Bandits”)

TODAY is “International Online Romance Day”, a day to fall in love in a chat room. (With who knows what.)

TODAY is “National Dance Like A Chicken Day”. Everybody now – “Dadda dadda dadda dah, dadda dadda dadda dah, dah dah dah dah . . .”

1874 [128] 1st ‘admission charge’ and 1st ‘goal posts’ used in a football game (Harvard University beats Montréal’s McGill University 3-0)

1904 [98] 1st time Canada competes in Olympics and Montréal policeman Etienne Desmarteau wins the hammer throw for Canada’s 1st medal (St Louis MO)

1973 [29] 1st ‘space station’ launched (‘Skylab’)

1993 [09] 1st pro sports team to wear ‘designer uniforms’ (NBA’s Charlotte Hornets [soon to reside in New Orleans] don a stylish ensemble of a sleeveless pinstriped teal shirt and breezy pleated shorts by Alexander Julian)

1991 [11] World’s largest burrito weighs in at 1,126 lbs (later causes a belch that measures 6.3 on the Richter scale)

[Wed] Cannes Film Festival opens
[Wed] Hug Your Cat Day
[Fri] 29th Daytime Emmy Awards
[Fri] National Bike to Work Day
[Sun] “The X-Files” series finale
[Sun] “Survivor: Marquesas” finale
National Etiquette Week
National Gamblers Week
National Asparagus Month


1. People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.
2. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.
3. If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
4. The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
5. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.
6. The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. Think big anyway.
7. People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
8. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
9. People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway.
10. Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.
[Source: Recently published in a new book, but written in 1968 by a then-19-year-old Kent Keith.]

• “Sitting on the Crapper for Dummies”
• “Showering for Dummies” (the pages are all plastic)
• “Evil Overlording for Dummies”
• “Learning to Live Life on Your Own, Without the Help of Insulting Guidebooks, for Dummies”

Here’s some real oddball names culled from recent birth records according to “Weekly World News” —
• Toyota, Ramada, Brooklyn — Naming children after the place where their parents got frisky is very in. (Motel 6?)
• Tequila, Ecstasy — Children are being named in honor of whatever led to their conception. (That’s why our daughter is named ‘Horniness’.)
• Frodo – Thanks to the hit movie “Lord of the Rings”, Hobbit names are very big. (Your kid will always appreciate you tagging him ‘Gandalf’.)
• Mongolia — Naming your girl after an exotic foreign country shows sophistication. (Yeah, but who the hell can spell ‘Uzbekistan’?)
• Beaver — Nostalgia buffs who yearn to raise their child in a traditional, ’50s-type environment are choosing this one in droves. (Um, works best for boys.)
• Theseus – Names from Greek mythology, like this Minotaur-busting hero, are back. (Please, call me ‘Gluteus Maximus’.)
• Xena – Many moms want their daughters to grow up strong like the TV Amazon. (So they’ll find another nice girl and settle down.)
• Sally — This old favorite is getting a new lease on life — as a BOY’S name. (Well, maybe in mob families.)
• Baron — Choose a royal title and your child will always be addressed with respect. (Unless his name is ‘Prince’.)
• Hamlet — Lovers of literature borrow this one from Shakespeare’s greatest play. (And sentence their offspring to the nickname ‘Ham’.)
• Osama — Amazingly, a lot of parents say they just like the way it sounds. (Right. ‘Adolf’ always had a nice ring to it, too.)

Q: Australia’s ‘Gold Coast Cougars’ play which sport?
a) Australian Rules Football
b) Cricket
c) Baseball
A: It’s a baseball team in the Australian Baseball League.

Q: Canada’s ‘Guelph Gargoyles’ play which sport?
a) Hockey
b) Cricket
c) Australian Rules Football
A: Australian Rules Football as part of the Canadian Australian Football Association.

Q: The USA’s St Columba’s Club plays which sport?
a) Baseball
b) Hockey
c) Cricket
A: It’s a Rhode Island-based cricket club in the United States of America Cricket Association.

Q: This now common device was originally invented as a primitive steam engine by the Greek engineer Hero.
a) Lawn mower.
b) Lawn sprinkler.
c) Weed Whacker.
A: The rotating lawn sprinkler.

Q: What do you call the woman carved on the bow of a ship?
a) Figurehead.
b) Maidenhead.
c) Any port in a storm.
A: The figurehead, which served no purpose other than providing luck.

• “Which public figure is the most phony?” (This became a much more difficult question after Kathie Lee Gifford retired.)
• “What’s the one question you WISH you had asked your spouse before you got married?”

Today’s Question: 26% of you say you’d do anything for more of this in your life.
Answer to Give Out Tomorrow: Sleep.

He’s so ugly his father carried around the picture of the kid who came with the wallet.


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