Even before Lily Tomlin ever began her hilarious sketch on “Laugh-In,” Ester Strogen of Canton, OH had rented a rotary phone from the phone company for $29.10 a month. It was what people did back then. Afterall how else could you know if you had “reached the party to whom I am speaking?.”

Well 42 years later, Stongen’s grandchildren gave her a “gracious good afternoon” when they bought her a new phone and returned the rotary phone to AT&T. Stongen’s grandchildren estimate that she spent $14,000 on the outdated phone.

I’m sure Miss Tomlin of the telephone company was happy to have such as good customer. And Strongen of course doesn’t like her new phone and wants the rotary phone back. The thing is Stongen isn’t alone an estimated 750,000 people are still renting phones. I’m pretty sure I could see my grandmother (as much as I love her) doing the same thing. “And that’s the truth.” Click here for the full story.


So what do Charlie Gibson and Larry Bird, Brian Williams and Ben Affleck, and Katie Couric and Britney Spears have in common? Nothing If you ask most people. But if you ask MyHeritage.com about 70%. Well, at least when it comes to looks. MyHeritage Face Recognition allows you to upload your photo to see who you look like. Well after it telling me that I looked like Prince Harry, Matt LeBlanc and Andy Rodick I decided that maybe I’d try it with some “celebrities”. I put photos of Charlie Gibson, Brian Williams and Katie Couric into the Face Recognition program. Here is what I got back. (Note: Katie was the only celebrity in the database.)

ABC's Charlie Gibson
Charlie Gibson
Hal Sparks – 78%
High Grant – 74%
Larry Bird – 73%
Rutger Hauer – 70%
Roy Keane – 68%
Tome Cruise – 68%
Leslie Nielsen – 67%
Gary Lineker – 66%
Thomas Edison – 62%
Jens Stoltenberg – 62%

NBC's Brian Willaims
Brian Williams
Benny Goodman – 71%
Ben Affleck – 68%
Richard Harris – 67%
Gene Simmons – 66%
Charles Prince of Wales – 66%
Kevin Costner – 64%
James Garner – 62%
Robert Duvall – 61%
Michael Caine – 60%

CBS's Katie Couric
Katie Couric
Katie Couric – 100%
Heidi Klum – 83%
Andie MacDowell – 80%
Selma Blair – 78%
Alessandra Ambrosio – 78%
Shania Twain – 78%
Britney Spears – 78%
Bebe Neuwirth – 78%
Angie Harmon – 78%
Lisa Snowdon – 78%

Try it yourself at MyHeritage.com. (Free Reg. Required)

I’d be remiss in my duties as a blogger if I didn’t mention the recent gaff at CNN. While president Bush was speaking about the anniversary of Katrina, CNN’s Kyra Phillips went for a bathroom break. Somehow her mic got switched back on and you hear her talking over Bush about her husband and brother. “He’s married, three kids, and his wife is just a control freak,” she was heard saying. CNN has since issued an apology.

A blog “More Willie” has a great post about Crucial Mac software for students. My favorite application is iAlertU. It’s an alarm for your laptop. You arm the alarm with your IR remote and it beeps just like a car alarm. Using the built in motion sensor it can detect if someone moves or tries to use your computer. If they do an alarm sounds and the screen starts flashing. It also snaps a picture with the built in iSight camera. Click here for the Crucial Mac Software: College Edition.

Maybe I’m just one for the underdog, but today when I learned that Pluto is no longer a planet I was a little upset. Too often in our society we ostracize the little guy. I joked about starting a campaign to allow Pluto to regain its status. Well, I was beaten to the punch. There is now a “Honk if Pluto is still a planet” bumper sticker. But then there are those who like to rub salt in the wound (probably the same kids I remember from middle school). They created a T-shirt that says, “Will all planets please step forward? Not so fast Pluto.” And I wouldn’t be a real journalist if I didn’t ask, “How does this make you feel?” No, seriously that’s the ABCNews.com poll. Yes I did answer, “My world is shattered, I always thought there were nine planets in the solar system!” and so did 70% of those that have voted so far. Granted it’s “not a scientific survey.”

UPDATE: I wrote a guest column for the Maneater about this. A copy of the column is after the jump.


Over 50 years after Rosa Parks’ famous refusal to give up her seat to a white person…could the battle still not be over. The Shreveport Times is reporting that nine black students were told last to t move to the back of the bus because the front was reserved for white children. The parents complained so the driver was asked to create seating assignments. So the bus driver did so and placed the nine black students in the back of the bus. Another complaint and now a black bus driver is picking the students up. The NAACP is involved and the superintendent is investigating. Click here for more news stories on the topic.

Anyone who lives in a hurricane prone area probably knows the name Max Mayfield he is the Director of the National Hurricane Center (or maybe you just have to be a dork like me). Mayfield typically is in the news making predictions about the hurricane season or a specific hurricane.

Well today that was not the case he was making a prediction that the worst is yet to come. “People think we have seen the worst. We haven’t,” he said. So I am assuming that he is basing that on science. The story ran on the websites of many major news outlets across the country.

At first glance you may think he is suggesting that there will be a bigger hurricane than Katrina coming. No, what he is saying is that because we keep building on the coast and more people populate that some point within the next one hundred years when a hurricane hits there will be more damage and more lives lost than in Katrina or Andrew.

While he is absolutely correct why is it that this is making the front page of so many websites? I may be wrong but I’m pretty sure it’s because the headline on most of the stories is “Worst is yet to come, US hurricane chief says.” The reality is this story is done time and tie again it’s just that now they can attribute it to science even though it’s still common sense.

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