Saturday, June 14, 2003

All things "Harry"
Be sure to check today's Family Circus strip. June 21 cannot get here fast enough for some of us.

A wonderful page with the origins of some of the characters names and spells in the Harry Potter series is available at MuggleNet. Knowing the origins of the names gives Rowling's world even more depth and background.

Boromir lives!
"Admirers of manly actor Sean Bean will rejoice, if somewhat briefly, when the three-hour, 43-minute extended cut of last year's No. 2 box-office hit The Lord of the Rings:The Two Towers reaches shelves in a four-DVD collection on Nov. 18. .... Bean's ring-craving Boromir, slain at the end of 2001's The Fellowship of the Ring, is resurrected in a lengthy DVD flashback after brother Faramir (David Wenham) finds a boat bearing his body."

This is from USA Today! There are more scenes. If you want to know what else has been added, check the link. Can't wait!

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Icky people on the internet - watch out! Three 8th-graders will be helping the FBI ensnare pedophiles on the Internet. The 14-year-olds have been a part of the FBI's Operation Innocent Image, which aims to track down paedophiles and child porn peddlers who prey on teenagers on the internet.
    During the past year, the three girls have been teaching agents across the country how to communicate just like teenage girls, complete with written quizzes on celebrity gossip and clothing trends and assigned reading in Teen People and YM magazines. The first time the girls gave a quiz, all the agents failed.
    "They, like, don't know anything," said Mary, 14, giggling.
    "They're, like, do you like Michael Jackson?" said Karen, 14, rolling her eyes.
    Karen, Mary and Kristin -- honor roll students, PacSun shoppers and aficionados of pink toenail polish -- have kept the FBI a step ahead, said Gary Bald, special agent in charge of the Baltimore office.
    The girls were recruited after one of their fathers, an agent involved in the pedophile investigations, watched her instant messaging a friend and couldn't understand what she was typing. He realized that FBI training wasn't enough.
    "We can teach agents how to be careful and make sure they're following the law and how to arrest people," Bald said. "But how to convince people they're a 13-year-old is something we need help on."
--via Phuong Ly at the Washington Post

It's not cool new gadgetry but... Mel Gibson has pulled the plug on "Michael Moore's unflattering Bush biopic," Fahrenheit 911. Mel's Icon Productions will no longer be financing the film, so Miramax has decided to pony up the money. It "will outsource with France-based (it had to be you...) The Wild Bunch to sell distribution".
    Even before it can get off the ground, Michael Moore's next scathing documentary, "Fahrenheit 911," is already causing folks indigestion. Even tough guy Mel Gibson is queasy and uneasy about it. Mel's Icon Productions, which was eager to take on the project before Moore's famous "shame on you, Mr. Bush" Oscar speech, now has cold feet -- and according to Variety, has dropped the financing deal altogether. What timing ...
    So who's coming to the rescue? It sure ain't the cavalry. Despite the fact that just about everyone in Hollywood is afraid to touch a film that traces the historical (and profitable) ties between the Bush and bin Laden families, Miramax will provide something they call "bridge financing." According to the Hollywood industry paper, Miramax will outsource with France-based The Wild Bunch to sell distribution.
    So why did Gibson bail? Icon wouldn't say. But you can bet that the conservative actor is avoiding it like the plague due to politics. Moore's unflattering Bush biopic will capitalize on timing when it's released to coincide with Bush's re-election campaign in 2004.
--via BeatBoxBetty
at MSN Entertainment and my friend Jerry at NothingButTheTruth.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Amazon has begun pre-ordering for the Indiana Jones Trilogy! Place your order here.

Sunday, June 08, 2003

Wow! You are in for a treat! Go to BookPals and click on Season 2 and look for the book A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon. This is a very popular book with my students and when you hear and see Sean Astin read it you will know why. This guy is so very cool and he is a GREAT "aloud" reader! I read an interview with him where he talked about how he reads to his daughter every night, via phone if he has to when he is away. Sean Astin continues to impress me.

Is that ever growing pile of laundry too daunting to think about? This washing machine makes the job a little more interesting, not to mention interactive.
    A German company has built the world's first washing machine that talks and recognises spoken commands.
    The machine introduces itself to users as "Hermine".
    Speech recognition software allows it to understand even complex commands like: "Pre-wash, then a hot wash at 95 degrees, spin at 1400 rotations, and start in half an hour."
    Speaking in a friendly woman's voice, Hermine also gives advice on which washing agent to use or how to get chewing gum or wax stains out.
    To those who have never done their own laundry before, she explains how to sort clothes and how to load the machine.

Those Martha Stewert-types who want a perfect coordinated and kept home without the back-breaking work can use this cool gadget to get the job done.
    The world's first robotic vacuum cleaner has gone on sale in the UK with a price tag of around £1,000.
    Makers Electrolux say the Trilobite navigates its own way around rooms and has no problem getting to those hard-to-reach spots underneath tables and beds.
    It uses sound waves - similar to the navigation signals bats rely on - to detect obstacles in its path, such as the dog's water bowl or the legs of a chair, then calculates a new route.
    When activated, the battery-powered cleaner heads to the nearest wall and vacuums along the perimeter of the room - creating a picture in its memory which it uses to do the rest.