Monday, May 31, 2004

Why clowns are bad (and in Fayetteville no less!)

Child Porn Charges For Circus Clown

International probe nets Ringling Bros. performer "Spanky"

MAY 26--Meet Spanky the Clown. The 23-year-old Ringling Bros. performer, also known as Thomas Riccio, was just nabbed on kiddie porn charges.

Arrested last week when the circus pulled into Fayetteville, North Carolina, Riccio was charged with ten felony counts after a search of his computer turned up images of young children participating in lewd acts.

Investigators were led to Riccio as part of a large international child porn probe, dubbed Operation Falcon, that has already resulted in about 100 U.S. arrests. Riccio, denied rouge in the below left mug shot, is being held in the Cumberland County jail on $150,000 bond.

Do NOT wave at the beauty queens!

'Apprentice' fired again - from Miss Universe job

QUITO, Ecuador (AP) -- Less than two months after getting fired by Donald Trump on the U.S. television reality show "The Apprentice," runner-up Kwame Jackson got the boot again on Monday -- this time as a judge for Trump's Miss Universe pageant.

Jackson, the runner-up to the reality show's April 15 final prize -- a yearlong, US$250,000 job with the billionaire developer -- was disqualified by pageant organizers for waving at beauty queens he bumped into in their hotel lobby.

"Kwame is intelligent, charming and we were really looking forward to him judging on our panel," pageant president Paula Shugart said in a statement made available to The Associated Press. "But his interaction with the delegates, albeit unintentional, is strictly prohibited."

The pageant statement quoted Jackson saying he was "disappointed and disheartened" and "honestly had no idea that (the hotel) was off limits."

"I was meeting up with some friends who had flown in to support me, when I was recognized by some of the delegates," the 29-year-old New Yorker and Harvard University graduate said. "As a natural human response, I extended my hand to greet them."

Shugart said the pageant has offered Jackson a spot on next year's panel of judges.

His replacement for Tuesday night's Miss Universe final was not immediately named.

The Miss Universe competition, co-owned by Trump and U.S. television company NBC, draws women from more than 80 nations worldwide and has been around for 53 years. NBC also airs "The Apprentice."


George Clooney is in yet ANOTHER movie! Yea!

Movies - Variety Variety Damon, Clooney join forces for 'Syriana'
Sun May 23, 8:00 PM ET

Marc Graser, STAFF

Once "Ocean's Twelve" wraps, Matt Damon (news) will reteam with George Clooney (news) in the political thriller "Syriana," which Stephen Gaghan will write and direct for Warner Bros. and Section Eight.

 Damon will play Bryan Woodman, a money man who reps a Middle Eastern country's oil interests, in the project being described as a "Traffic"-like tapestry of intersecting storylines that involve the CIA (news - web sites), foreign policy, the oil industry and terrorism.

Pic, which begins lensing later this summer, is inspired by Robert Baer's book "See No Evil: The True Story of a Foot Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism."

Clooney will portray Baer, a former CIA agent.

Damon will next be seen in Universal's sequel "The Bourne Supremacy" and Dimension Films' "The Brothers Grimm." He is wrapping up Warner Bros.' "Ocean's Twelve," also with Clooney.

Section Eight's Steven Soderbergh (news) and Clooney will produce "Syriana" with Michael Nozik, while Jennifer Fox and Ben Cosgrove will executive produce, along with Georgia Kacandes.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Homeless Men Like to Chat with Me

Hi there.

I am in sunny West Palm Beach, checking my e-mail at the library. I do miss the cloudless clear blue skies of Florida. This library is amazing! I am looking out at the blue lake, with waving palm tress. This view beats a poke in the eye.

Am bonding with my "peeps" from The Palm Beach Post and Sun-Sentinel. Yes, sometimes I do miss reporting. And sometimes I don't. If I were reporting, I wouldn't have time - any time at all - to sit in a quiet library and look out the window.

So after lunch with my friend John P. I went into the Starbucks to get my decaf grande with room and to read the paper. A homeless man tried to chat me up. Well, he was a homeless man who could afford an iced latte and was taking a looooong time to drink it. So he tries to chat me up. "What is your name? How are you?"

"Man, I am just trying to read the paper," I say.

"Well, can I have the sports section then?" he asked.

I give it to him. He reads it. Then puts it down and talks to himself. A lot. The whole time I read the paper. So why did he need to talk to me when he was already having a conversation?

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Yea! Fantasia won "American Idol!" Yea!

Fantasia Barrino
High Point, NC


Yea! I am so happy for Fantasia! I really like her new single, which is good since I will be hearing it 5,000 times on the radio in the next few weeks. (Note to self: Hire gospel choir and have them follow me everywhere. A nice touch.)

But HEY! Who was the mean man who wouldn't let Fantasia's mom and little girl up on stage with her?? She needed to hug THEM waaaay more than she needed to hug Matt or Jasmine!

My friend Antigone says John Peter Lewis looks like a mental patient. I agree.

Funniest part of the evening: When a piece of confetti stuck to Ryan Seacrest's forehead and stayed there. Hee Hee!

Monday, May 24, 2004

An Important Question!

Q. If you had to spend the evening with either the Arby's Oven Mitt or the Pillsbury Dough Boy, who would you choose and why?

Most people I have asked have chosen the Pillsbury Dough Boy. But I think I would choose the Oven Mitt. He is refreshingly zany.

The new Harry Potter movie opens this weekend! Yea!

(AP Photo) Celebs Attend 'Potter' Premiere in N.Y. Celebrities Attend Premiere of 'Harry Potter' in N.Y.; Fans Show Support for Latest Installment
The Associated Press

NEW YORK May 24, 2004 — The boy wizard of "Harry Potter" is growing up and so are his fans, many of whom have replaced their old capes and wands with declarations of undying love.

Daniel Radcliffe appeared stunned by the enthusiastic reception he received Sunday from hundreds of shrieking fans who lined up outside the U.S. premiere of "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban."

"It's really amazing," the 14-year-old said, trembling a bit as he paused to wave at swooning teenage girls, some holding signs saying "Marry us, Dan!"

Even singer Rob Thomas of matchbox twenty himself no stranger to screaming women was taken aback.

"When Harry Potter got out I think you could actually see his hair blow back from the screams," Thomas said. "They're very excited."

It was a happy development for Rupert Grint, who plays Harry's friend Ron Weasley at the Hogwarts school and arrived at the premiere looking distinctively adolescent with a shaggy mop-top haircut.

"It's quite cool," the 14-year-old said with a grin.

Audiences can expect a more mature film this time, too. The third installment of the "Harry Potter" series takes a dark turn as the young sorcerer is sought by a murderous wizard who escapes from a prison for conjurers.

"It's more dark. A bit more edge of your seat," said 16-year-old Tom Felton, who plays Draco Malfoy in the film. "You might want to go with your mum."

Saturday, May 22, 2004

News about Carson and Jai from QE4SG

Updated: 10:26 AM EDT

'Queer Eye' Guys Land Acting Roles


 By Gary Susman, Entertainment Weekl

It's a Hilary Duff movie for Carson and back to 'Rent' for Jai.
· Talk About These 'Eye' Guys
· 'Rent' Details, Tickets and More

Those ''Queer Eye'' guys are finding new forums for their fabulousness. Two of the Fab Five, Carson Kressley and Jai Rodriguez, have just landed acting roles. Kressley will make his studio feature debut in Universal's ''The Perfect Man,'' Variety reports. This time, the fashion maven will stretch by dispensing advice to a straight girl. That would be Hilary Duff, who stars as a teen trying to end her single mom's (Heather Locklear) streak of dating losers by fixing her up with someone ideal. And who better to dispense romantic advice and find a perfect man than kindly uncle Carson?

Shooting begins this month in Toronto, with Kressley's scenes scheduled around his ''Queer Eye'' production duties in New York.

As for culture guy Rodriguez, USA Today reports that he's headed back to the Broadway production of ''Rent'' to play Angel, a role he last played in Feb. 2003, before ''Queer Eye for the Straight Guy'' made the Fab Five famous. He'll play the character from July 5 through 17, during a run that will see him sharing the stage with another reality TV vet, ''American Idol's Frenchie Davis, as well as Melanie Brown, the Artist Formerly Known as Scary Spice. Call it ''Queer Eye for the Spice Girl.''


Friday, May 21, 2004

Ah, the South

I am now in Orlando, after traveling in the VW from Philadelphia, to D.C. through Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

Several interesting tidbits:

1) Cracker Barrel is now featuring low-carb meals. Yes, the home of biscuits, dumplings and mashed potatoes now offers its eaters a bevy of low carb choices. Wise marketing or the sign of the coming Apocalypse?

2) Tried some low-carb Atkins potato chips. They tasted like petroleum. No lie.

3) At a convenience store in south Georgia, I observed the following items for sale: Pork rinds (of course - plus they are low carb!); shot glasses emblazoned with the Confederate flag; figurines of black people playing musical instruments (how horrifying is THAT?)

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Urban Legends webpage

Did you get that e-mail from the former minister in Nigeria who says he will give you $2 million if only you pay him $5,000 in fees to "help" him get the money?

How about the one about how Bill Gates will pay you money for forwarding certain e-mail?

Or the "secret" cookie recipe?

Guess what? They are all made up. False. Fake. Don't forward them.

Instead, check out this awesome website.

The goofiness of my former employer


A fun place to work, but also really, really goofy.

LaToya got the boot!

So much for me being torn between LaToya and Fantasia! Last night, viewers gave LaToya the boot on "American Idol." Once again, this causes me to wonder: "What is WRONG with America?"

Now we, the viewers, will be forced to suffer through at least another week of Jasmine's screeching. Aiiieee!

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

American Idol: I am torn between Fantasia and LaToya

From Television Without Pity:

By Shack

Most predictable recaplet title ever. Donna Summer is on hand to help guest judge a night of disco "divas." And they've changed things up by switching the order that the judges give their comments, making Randy's pointless rambling seem even less necessary. Jasmine crimps half her hair, which any woman will probably tell you is half too much. Her unsurprisingly predictable performances of "Everlasting Love" and "It's Raining Men" are surprisingly awful, even for her. And even for those songs. The judges make her cry. If only I still had the part of my soul that would have made me feel sorry for her. LaToya sings…sings…what did she sing? My notes say "Love You Inside and Out." Really? Wow. I don't remember that at all. She manages to pull out some more energy with "Don't Leave Me This Way." Of course, if you can't put some passion into that chorus, then you're considered legally dead. Fantasia sings a version of "Knock on Wood" that sounds like it was composed by Thor. On a Casio. When he was thirteen. Then she sings the disco classic…"Holding Out for a Hero"? What the hell? That makes Queen on big band night seem rational by comparison. And Rob Mariano better watch his back. Not only did his smart scheming ultimately do him in on Survivor, he may lose his title of Most Hated Reality Show Contestant Everybody Is Surprised to Have Fallen in Love With to Diana Degarmo, who draws the audience in with her renditions of "This Is It" and "No More Tears." She's a bit off vocally, but at least she's finally showing some soul.

And people wonder why I have anxiety attacks!

Now I have to worry about food exploding in my face from the microwave!!!

Superheating Dangers Hidden Dangers May Cause Injuries When Microwaving Food or Liquids

May 12, 2004 — A microwave is the ultimate culinary convenience — but most people don't realize that it can go from being helpful to harmful.  

In London recently, a 9-year-old girl attempting to re-heat a boiled egg in the microwave received a serious eye injury. The girl placed the egg in the microwave for 40 seconds at full power, then removed it and put it in a bowl. About 30 seconds later, the egg exploded, sending parts of the shell shooting into her right eye — causing serious damage to her eye, according to a letter of warning sent by British ophthalmologists to the British Medical Journal.

At first, the girl could only see hand movements with her right eye, but her vision was restored after a series of operations and the insertion of a plastic lens in her cornea.

Microwave manufacturers warn against heating eggs with a shell, and recommend multiple piercings before cooking or heating eggs in general. Advocates, including the British ophthalmologists, say such warnings should be displayed on the microwave itself.

But it's not just eggs. Several years ago, an Illinois woman scalded her face and her corneas after a bowl of water she heated in the microwave exploded in her face.

No Visible Bubbles

Professor Louis Bloomfield, a University of Virginia physicist, says there's a simple scientific explanation for how these explosions can happen.

"You're used to having water or liquid boil when you heat it above a certain temperature, but there are occasions, and they're more frequent than you'd expect, in a microwave oven when the water goes to or above boiling without any bubbles forming," Bloomfield said."And that's a phenomenon known as superheating."

Water that has gone beyond boiling is very dangerous, he said.

"Well, it's almost like a bomb once you've got it superheated adequately, because anything that triggers the boiling, once you've reached that temperature, will cause catastrophic, very sudden flash boiling," Bloomfield said.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Coke and Pepsi go low-carb

Is nothing sacred??????


Updated: 11:16 PM EDT Coke, Pepsi to Face Off in Carb Battle


CHICAGO (May 4) - Coke and Pepsi, trying to put more fizz into their soda sales, are about to launch new brands that taste like their flagship drinks but contain half the sugar, carbs and calories.

Pepsi Edge and Coke C2

Coke's C2 and Pepsi's Edge are to hit the market nationally this summer. In advance, the companies offered tastes to supermarket executives, restaurant owners and other potential retail distributors at the Food Marketing Institute's annual trade show in Chicago.

The new sodas are targeted at people who don't like the calories in regular colas but are dissatisfied with diet versions.

These midcalorie sodas may work, said Donna Albertson, who co-owns The Good House, a steak and seafood restaurant, with her husband, Buck, in Ragersville, Ohio. Sipping Pepsi Edge from a paper cup, she said the soda tasted as good as regular and did not have the aftertaste of diet.

It could be a hit with people concerned about their weight, especially women, she said: ''It's going to be a gal thing. Gals are always watching their weight.''

The sodas are designed to appeal to ''people who would like less calories but don't wantto compromise on taste,'' Coca-Cola spokesman Mart Martin said in a telephone interview from the company's headquarters in Atlanta.

Martin dismissed the notion that Coca-Cola C2 might become another New Coke, a new taste the company introduced in 1985 as a replacement for its regular soda, only to see it rejected by consumers. Coke returned to its traditional drink less than three months later, marketing it as Classic Coke.

''This is a completely different proposition, an addition to the portfolio, not a replacement,'' Martin said.

Pepsi estimates a potential buyers' pool of more than 60 million. It wants to keep them loyal to sodas so they don't drift into competing beverages such as teas and juices, said David DeCecco, a spokesman at Pepsi's headquarters in Purchase, N.Y.

The new drinks contain the standard high-fructose corn syrup that sweetens regular soda but in smaller amounts. The corn syrup is supplemented with Splenda, a no-calorie, no-carbohydrate sweetener made from sugar.

The result is a soda with fewer calories than regular but more than no-cal. For instance, Pepsi says a 12-ounce can of Edge has 20 grams each of sugar and carbohydrates, and 70 calories, compared with regular's 41 grams each of sugar and carbohydrates, and 150 calories.

AP-NY-05-04-04 2253EDT

Wednesday, May 5, 2004


  Nothing funny today or for awhile. I am too sad.

  Yesterday, my friend Pat McGettigan died after a four-year battle with cancer. He was 36 and leaves behind my dear friend, Annee, and three lovely little girls, Theresa, 9, Bridgid, 7 and Annemarie, 5.

  Pat tried and tried for so long to beat cancer and his body just gave out last night. His funeral is Monday night. He was a Philadelphia cop for 14 years so there will be a lot of ceremony and officers in attendance. A fitting tribute to a good guy who was very brave.

  Please keep his family in your prayers. Thanks.

(His death notice in The Philadelphia Inquirer)

Patrick J. McGettigan McGETTIGAN
PATRICK J., May 4, 2004, beloved husband of Anne E. (nee Haughton); devoted father of Theresa, Brigid and Annemarie; also survived by his parents, Jim and Una; his brother, Edward (Kathleen) and his sister, Mary (Pat) Kane; 5 godchildren, many nieces and nephews. Relatives, friends, members of Phila. Police Dept. of which he was an active member of the Highway Patrol are invited to his Viewing Mon., 4 P.M. until time of his Funeral Mass at 7 P.M., at St. Cecilia Church, 535 Rhawn St., Phila. Funeral procession will meet 10 A.M. at the above Church for Pat's Burial at Resurrection Cem. In lieu of flowers, please make contributions to The Children of Pat and Anne. (M. F. GALLO, 215-533-3569)
Published in the Philadelphia Inquirer/Philadelphia Daily News on 5/7/2004. Guest BookFlowers & gifts

Monday, May 3, 2004

Showbiz Moms and Dads

  This show is my latest TV obsession. Nutty parents force their kids into pageants, plays and sitcoms. My favorite guy on the show is a father named Duncan Nutter. Say it with me now: "Duncan Nutter." Doesn't it have a satisfying sound? Nutter is well, nuts, as well as CLEARLY gay despite the fact he has seven children.

About The Family   Who: Duncan (dad), Cynthia (mom), Duncan Jr. (son, age 17), Grace (daughter, age 16), Aaron (son, age 13), Ellie (daughter, age 12), Emma (daughter, age 10), Isaiah (son, age 9), Forrest (son, age 7) Where: New York, NY Talents: Acting, Modeling, Gymnastics The Nutters are a family on a mission. Dad Duncan brought his wife and seven kids from their five-bedroom home in Vermont to a two-bedroom apartment in Queens, New York, to pursue life as an acting family. His own credits include roles in more than a half-dozen commercials, as well as roles in regional, Off- and Off Off-Broadway theatre.

Among the rest of the family, second son Aaron has the most extensive credits, having appeared in the New York and national touring companies of The Full Monty as well as a number of national television commercials.

Episode Recaps

Episode 1

Duncan and Cynthia rehearse with Ellie, Emma, Isaiah and Forrest for a commercial audition. The casting director is not impressed – "I didn’t really feel like the kids were actors. It felt like they were performing lines." After the audition, mom tells the family that she doesn’t believe she’s an actress, though Duncan disagrees.

Later, Duncan takes a lunch meeting with TV producers interested in creating a "Meet The Nutters" TV series. He leaves the meeting with a sense of excitement, and a one-page contract to review with Cynthia.

Sunday, May 2, 2004

Backstage Diary of last week's "American Idol" from EW

From Entertainment Weekly:

The Music Factory A backstage diary of the fateful ''American Idol'' week when Barry Manilow wrote the songs -- and Jennifer Hudson got the boot
SOLID GOLD (From left) ''Idol'' hopefuls George, Jasmine, Fantasia, Diana, La Toya, and the recently axed John
SOLID GOLD (From left) ''Idol'' hopefuls George, Jasmine, Fantasia, Diana, La Toya, and the recently axed John

Friday, April 16, 10 a.m.: CBS Television City
Barry Manilow writes the songs...that no ''American Idol'' contestant has ever heard. In the studio, La Toya London tries to sing the guest judge's praises in an interview that will air Tuesday night. ''Yeah, I knew a couple of songs,'' she says, to which the director replies, ''Okay, La Toya. Here's what you say: 'I definitely knew some Barry Manilow songs.'''

Better start coaching George Huff: ''They asked me what singing Barry Manilow's song meant to me,'' he says. ''I didn't know what to say.'' To be helpful, I bust out a little ''Her name was Lola/She was a showgirl'' -- and George looks at me with genuine concern. ''I think I may have heard that once or twice.''

Last week, producers gave the finalists three CDs filled with Manilow songs. Yesterday they chose what to sing, and by tomorrow they will make a recording for practice. La Toya and Fantasia Barrino are decisive song choosers, but the others sometimes sing as many as five songs before making a decision. ''I would never nix a song and say, 'That's not for you,''' vocal coach Debra Byrd says. ''I might say, 'Okay, you don't sound so good right here. Let's rearrange it or change the key or leave out that part.''' This week, a high note at the end of ''Mandy'' was plaguing John Stevens, she adds, so ''I said let's get rid of that gorilla sitting at the end of the song waiting to kick your butt. You know you're gonna screw it up.''

11:15 a.m.: Rehearsals
''You must clap if you're in the room,'' Fantasia commands before bouncing and stomping her way through ''It's a Miracle.'' But Byrd wants -- and I didn't know this was humanly possible -- even more. ''You want me to really church it?'' Fantasia asks. (Definition for the soulless: Work your inner gospel singer.) After take 2, Byrd and associate music director Michael Orland are on their feet. ''I just lost three pounds,'' Michael says.