Wednesday, March 30, 2011 apologizes for running front page story about cricket, claims website was hacked

Bristol, CT--The calls came pouring into the ESPN studios early this morning in record numbers. (No, there was no Brett Favre story.) So many, in fact, that the network's high-tech phone system was overwhelmed and had to be shut down for nearly three hours. They were calling regarding a front page story about cricket.

"Most people were calling in and asking, 'What is that guy holding on the ESPN website? It's certainly not a baseball bat.' Or, 'What is he looking at? Is he looking at a football in the air? If I click on it, will take me to my NCAA bracket?'" said Tamila Bauer, an ESPN call center representative. "They wanted to know if was sold to another planet or something. And they also wanted to know if this cricket was affiliated in any way with the cell phone company."

ESPN, the self-proclaimed Worldwide Leader in Sports, reported their popular website was hacked into just after 4 am eastern standard time.

"We apologize to all of our viewers and readers for the image and story that appeared on's front page early this morning," said Gary Arnet, head of the network's online content. "We take every precaution imaginable in an effort to prevent our computer systems from being compromised. Seriously, we have, like, all the firewall stuff. We are still unsure ourselves of what the image was, but it is unacceptable to our loyal followers. It is possible that the image was of an ice hockey player holding some sort of new stick."

Friday, March 25, 2011

False alarm: Elizabeth's tailor passes away, actress doing 'just fine'

Hollywood, CA--Hans Rutherford, 79, was Elizabeth Taylor's tailor for nearly 45 years. Yesterday, the "tailor of the stars" finally lost his battle with whatever it was that he was battling. Rutherford became synonymous with Taylor and eventually became know as Elizabeth's Tailor. Where Taylor went, so too did Elizabeth's Tailor: New York, Milan, Paris, Burbank or Palm Springs. Dresses, costumes, hats and alterations, he did it all and was at her beck and call. There was much confusion, however, with the announcement of the death of Elizabeth's Tailor. The Taylor family apologizes for any misunderstanding with the health of Elizabeth Taylor. "Taylor and Tailor sound exactly alike," said Ben Taylor, Elizabeth's son. "There's no audible difference. That was my mistake. He was like a father to me, that was really good with scissors and cloth."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Study: Fraggle Rock responsible for '80s children love affair with fracking

Above: A scene from the children's television program Fraggle Rock, which ran on HBO from 1983 to 1987. The Muppet-like puppet characters, who lived in caves, would often explain the process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, during episodes using a model well positioned on the set.

One episode had a puppet break the process down for the young audience: "And then boys and girls, hundreds of perfectly safe toxic chemicals are injected into the ground to help energy escape to the surface. Energy that will help make your toys and popsicles and A-Team big wheels. And, no matter what you hear boys and girls, the water is safe to drink. But don't play with the flames that come out of the faucet, don't ever play with those flames. Fraggle Rock will be right back after a message from our Fraggly friends at Halliburton."

"As it turns out, Jim Henson, the show's creator, was reportedly on the payroll of Halliburton, a leader in fracking," said Josh Fox, star and creator of the Oscar-nominated documentary Gasland. "Fraggle Rock was just a way to promote fracking to children. When I was little the puppets came to my school and put a show on called Fracking Rock. I wish I knew all this before the movie came out."

Cooper-Sinclair, and independent research firm, recently released a study showing that adults 33 to 38 absolutely "love" hydraulic fracturing, a process that releases natural gas from rock formations such as marcellus shale.

"I don't know what it is," said Gail Bauer, 36, of Wellsboro, PA. "I know fracking is bad for humans and the environment, but I love it. I absolutely love fracking. There, I said it, I love fracking ... and Fraggle Rock."

Cooper-Sinclair also reported that natural gas company executives pushing the controversial process nationwide fall within this age group and have Fraggle puppets in their offices.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Ray Romano excited about third season playing Stevie Janowski in HBO's Eastbound and Down

Above: Ray Romano stars as Stevie Janowski in Eastbound and Down during the first season of the hit HBO show produced by Will Ferrel. "It's tough doing Men of a Certain Age and Eastbound at the same time, but it's what I love to do," said the former star of Everybody Loves Raymond. "I've really loved my first two years as Stevie on the show and I can't wait 'til the third."

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Pre-playoff Stanley Cup world tour continues: Papua New Guinea villagers, like many Americans, unsure about hockey

Mutam, Papua New Guinea--The NHL's regular season stretch drive is upon us and in preparation for the playoffs the league decided to give a passport, some spending money and an around-the-world airline ticket to the most treasured and symbolic trophy in North American professional sports in an effort to improve--if possible--upon last year's strong post-season television ratings.

"Last year, the ratings were fantastic, but we wanted to build on that," said Vince Bollard, NHL director of television relations. "The Finals featured one great hockey town, Philadelphia, but two great sports cities with Chicago. It was nice to have the big market teams battling for the Cup, but we want to expand our market globally and we think we're headed in the right direction with this tour."

Mike Bolt (pictured holding the Cup above), one of the keepers of the storied trophy, went along for the global trek to keep a close eye and act as an ambassador for the game. The schedule has the Cup returning to the North America by mid-April in time for the playoffs, but not before stopovers in the Galopogos Islands, Fiji, the Maldives, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Timor and Brunei, to name a few.
"The trip has been great," said Bolt, grinning through the oppressive humidity and perspiration dripping from his forehead, saturating his freshly pressed suit and trademark white gloves as he waited to depart New Guinea's Jacksons International Airport. "Papua New Guinea has been an interesting adventure and I think we may have some new fans tuning into the game next month. I think the Cup struck a chord with these villagers."

Bolt and the Cup arrived in Mutam, a village of forty-three that faces frequent power supply interruptions and where the average worker takes home $2 per day, on Tuesday to a crowd of three. Just three. Not three hundred or, even, thirty. Just three.

"We took Stanley into a traditional New Guinea living quarters," said an excited Bolt. "They were not really sure what to make of the silver guy. At first, they were frightened. I told them to not be scared and told them they could win the Cup one day."

The visit to this rural community was arranged by the NHL several months ago as part of a carefully planned out travel itinerary that would yield the "highest volume of new fans and have potential as a possible future talent pool." But the contact person, the community's mayor equivalent, had traveled to Port Moresby, the country's capital, on official business. Essentially, the league arrived in this village on the other side of the world with no connections.
"The residents really had no warning that we were coming because apparently the mayor was waiting until our actual arrival to break the news," said Bollard, rolling his eyes and hinting that the community's leader may be sporting new sneakers when he returns.

The four men and two women representing the league, despite losing their "in" with the village, attempted to organize a pickup street hockey game with the villagers using sticks shipped two weeks earlier, where only ten of fifty could be accounted for, and a whiffle ball.

As the residents, one by one, began to lose interest in the game they turned their attention to gathering supplies for a weekly fishing expidtion along the shallow inland marsh waters on the southern coast of this nation of nearly seven million. The ambassadors were determined to go along for the trip and, when the locals refused, citing dangerous conditions on narrow, hollowed-out boats, the NHL strongly suggested they go along for the ride.

"The canoes were very unstable, but they told me that I could not sit down and that by doing so would jeopardize the entire hunt," said Bolt. "But I got used to standing really fast. I mean, real fast. There was a snake right in front of me."

The league feels that, despite the low interest in hockey in New Guinea, thus far the trip has been a success. The NFL held a fairly successful tryout last year in Port Moresby signing two players and the NHL plans to do the same in fifteen years after the game "catches on a bit."

"Would I schedule a visit to Mutam again?" asked Bollard. "Absolutely, but I would pay the mayor half the guide fee in the beginning and half at the end, instead of paying all of it before we even arrived."

Monday, March 14, 2011

New interpretive signs along Schuylkill Banks tell of the river's rich history

Above: One of seven interpretive signs recently installed along the river in Schuylkill Banks. It reads:


An exhausted Theodore Susquehanna sailed up the Schuylkill River in 1679.
He was looking for any river that was unnamed in the Colonies. "You there,
child," he called to a young boy alnog the banks. "Does this river have a name?"
The boy replied, "Yes, sir. Yes, it does."

"Dammit!" shouted Susquehanna. "Pull up the anchors, we're headed south.
I'm tired of this crappe. We're going to Baltimore to visit Stevie Chesapeake,
he'll know what to do. And by god where is that crumpet I asked for!"

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Is the U.S. prepared for latest European craze: Treadmill Rollerblading?

Galvinshire, England--Those of us that drive small cars can thank Europe. Those of us that tight rolled our jeans can thank Europe (specifically, Estonia). We can thank Europe for soccer (well ... maybe not thank), cricket, french fries, Belgrade waffles and Adidas tracksuits. From across the pond these fads, foods and free time fillers have made themselves comfortable in America.

Well, we're about to welcome, or turn away, another. Fitness centers all over the country and Canada are preparing for one more invasion: treadmill rollerblading. Yep, treadmill rollerblading.

"It's exactly how it sounds," said Gunther Bjourn, the owner of Get Stocky, Holmes, a fitness center in Stockholm, Sweden. "Throw on some skates and jump onto a treadmill and just sort of kick back and enjoy the ride. It's an unbelievable workout. I like to set the treadmill on the fastest speed. I wouldn't do that if I was doing regular old running, no way."

Grabbing a pair of inline skates and heading to the gym is so popular throughout Europe right now that space designated for free weights, Nautilus, yoga, hurling warm up, curling warm up and aerobics have been converted to enormous treadmill zones. It is such a phenomenon that warmer cities like Seville, Malaga, Cadiz, Naples, Palma and Palermo, have set up treadmills in local parks so that enthusiasts can enjoy the outdoors while rollerblading on the normally indoor exercise equipment.

"Treadmill rollerblading is the hottest thing in Europe right now," said Danielle Stevens, editor of European Style Magazine and resident of Paris. "Like most of these crazes it started in a small town outside of Nice, France and has spread across the continent and into northern Africa."

Parkour, the ultra-popular urban running, balancing and jumping "sport," also got its start in France, but never quite caught on in the U.S. Can parkour forecast treadmill rollerblading's success or failure?

"I don't know," responded Gale Marks, 43, of Providence, RI, when asked if she would ride a treadmill wearing rollerblades. "It sounds a bit dangerous to be honest. But if everyone was doing it ... especially, Europe ... well, then..."

"You just blew my mind, dude. Looks freakin' rad," said Connor Swill, 22, of Long Beach, CA, a professional skateboarder, after shown a picture of professional treadmill rollerblader Jaque La Gerrier. "You sure it didn't start in SoCal? Usually all these things kick off in California."

U.S. Senators and Representatives have been praising the new activity's potential with obese children in this country. Some elected officials are calling for the federal government to subsidize treadmills and inline skates to assist in ending sedentary lifestyles in our nation's young people.

"Treadmill rollerblading, I firmly believe, will get children in this country active again," said Senator Max Burton of Idaho. "Get out from behind those tv's and video games, grab a pair of rollerblades, purchase a federally subsidized treadmill and start roller-treading. I just made that term up now. Yeah, roller-treading."

"It makes me want to be real active again," said Toby Harrison, 10, of Los Angeles, CA. "I like to put [the treadmill] on the steepest incline and just go ... for hours. You really have to pay attention. I can still watch tv and the cup holder is perfect for Twinkies and m&m's, but not the peanut kind. You'll never catch me eating peanut m&m's."

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

NFL Combine requires players to leap over miniature NFL combine

Above: Steve Schilling from the University of Michigan attempts to leap over a miniature NFL combine at the NFL Combine this past weekend in Indianapolis. The Combine, an annual showcase of incoming talent for scouts and coaches, concluded on Monday and league officials are calling it a huge success. "We wanted to have some fun with players this year and get them to relax a bit," said Steve Hilliard, the organizer of the combine. "We thought bringing in little combines to the Combine would achieve this. The tryouts can be a stressful time for these young athletes and we think we accomplished what we set out to accomplish." Below: Gabe Carimi of Wisconsin is unable to clear the small NFL combine, but says that overall he did well at the Combine. "When I first saw the mini NFL combines I chuckled because it reminded me of my family farm back home in northern Wisconsin," said Carimi, applying a medical wrap to the cut sustained from landing on the combine. "I used to spend hours and hours in a combine harvesting the farm's wheat. I guess my combine experience didn't help my combine experience. Thanks a lot, dad."

Corbett names himself head of DRPA, says he 'would like to see more drawbridges and stuff'

Harrisburg, PA--On Monday, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett named himself head of the controversial Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA), the bi-state agency that operates port activity, the PATCO highspeed line and several bridges that span the river. Corbett said the agency's first order of business under his authority will be to create more drawbridges. "I look at the Delaware River and I see a lot of suspension bridges and, don't get me wrong, I think suspension bridges are neat. But drawbridges are so darn cool. You know? I mean, Governor Christie and I should really sit down and work to build more drawbridges. Yeah, I like that idea. It makes so much sense, the way they open and close. Right? I'm not an engineer, but c'mon."