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i·dle   (dl) adj.
Lacking substance, value, or basis.
See Synonyms: baseless and vain.

IDLE, not IDOL! Its a parody and social commentary, all rolled into one.  (Copyrights are �© FOX and MSN.)

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Saturday, February 16, 2002
Sunny Sundays send me in search of scintillating City sensations. Right. Well at least this sunny Sunday did. I did that thing I do sometimes, where I am so preoccupied with getting somewhere on time that I end up getting there a half hour early (or, in this case, an entire hour early!). I knew I had done it again when I was across the street from the church and noticed people leaving the 10am mass. So I decided to spend a little time in Washington Square Park, like I have so many times before.

I had noticed some people performing something in the fountain, including this one really hot girl, so I decided to check it out. I was pleasantly surprised to find some quality acting by performers who I later found out are part of a comedy group called Lips n Assholes, performing this month at the Red Room. Here's the info:

Lips -n- Assholes
by Julie Shavers
Directed by Alisha Silver
Scenic Design by Alex Martinez
Dan Baca, Aran Cravey, Max Engelhardt,
Daniel O'Brien, Sayra Player, John Seroff, Julie Shavers

8:00 Tuesday -n- Wednesday
February 19, 20, 26, 27
At The Red Room
85 E. 4th St.
(between 2nd -n- 3rd Avenue)
For reservations (212) 615-6485

If you get a chance, check them out. I know I will. In addition to the blond attractive girl, who happened to be a talented actress, one of the other performers was this goofy-looking guy, who I shooed away at first, but who later (when I returned to watch the group after mass) turned out to be just as funny as the other performers. The aspect of their mini-performances I found most intriguing the bizarre nature of the stories they were relating in such a convincing matter.

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Making Cents on the Internet. Internet payments: "The first successful flotation in more than a year of a Silicon Valley dotcom on Wall Street shows that, despite the dotcom bust, there is still some interest among investors in a good Internet idea. PayPal is one of a group of firms trying to pioneer systems for making small payments on the web. If they succeed, they will transform e-commerce."

Come on everyone, sing along with me: "Micro-payments make the world go 'round... up and down Internet town..." Dum dah dah dah dee down!

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Sensational City Saturday. What a day! I was finally able to convince Evan (my roommate) to walk somewhere further than the Farmer's Market in Union Square, so we took a little walk over to 6th Avenue and up to 24th and 26th streets to check out the Antique/Flea Market. While I didn't find any good deals, Evan picked up an unknown Nintendo 64 game called "Space Station Silicon Valley" for a mere $8.

In the 24th Street lot, we saw none other then Benjamin Bratt from "Law & Order" with his girlfriend checking out some lovely wooden dining room furniture and asking whether the seller would ship to Italy or something. I think Bratt's girlfriend is a celebrity, too, but neither of us could figure out what her name is. Evan saw them first, but I'm sure I would have noticed them eventually. We played it cool and looked, but didn't approach them (as real New Yorkers should).

Afterwards, I decided to check out the Battery Park neighborhood of Manhattan, which came up in my "Culture of the City" class. Despite living in Manhattan, Battery Park was one of the undiscovered (at least by me) parts of the City I always wanted to explore. Plus, its supposedly built on landfill, so its got that going for it. Anyway, I walked all the way down to the southern tip of Manhattan, stopping to look at Ground Zero (my third visit since September 11th), which now resembled a large (yet sacred) construction site, not resembling the WTC in any way, like it had my last visit in December.

After negotiating around Ground Zero, I made it down to Battery Park in the darkness, where I enjoyed a spectacular view of the Statue of Liberty. I also saw New Jersey and the Staten Island ferry. It was strangely silent there as far as Manhattan goes, with the only sound besides the boats being the lapping sounds of the water. It was so beautiful. I wish I could show you a picture, but unfortunately, I still have not purchased a digital camera. After enjoying the view for a while, I managed to locate a subway line on Broadway and was back at the dorm in about 15 minutes. The day was topped off with some yummy Chinese food from Yummy House with Evan.

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Friday, February 15, 2002
RoboStock. Why do I find stories like this one so amusing? Because a Japanese robot ringing the opening bell is amusing, that's why! Honda's Robot Opens NYSE on Valentines Day: "He's not quite a love machine, but on Valentine's Day (news - web sites) the first non-human to ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange (news - web sites) put as much heart into it as he could.

The four-foot high humanoid named Asimo -- a creature from the Honda Motor Co. (news - web sites) Ltd -- stepped up two steps, clapped, then pressed a white hand onto a button, ringing the NYSE's famed opening bell. The mechanical creature made its debut on a day Americans celebrate love and romance and often exchange flowers and sweets."

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A must-read for Journalists. The Economist.com's Style Guide is based on the style book which is given to all journalists at The Economist and is a writing tips-filled reminder that Journalists should write in a way that readers can understand.

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Thursday, February 14, 2002
Rats.com! LabRATory dealings: "MEDICAL scientists struggling to track down rare kinds of rat for their research will soon be able to shop for a wide range of them as easily as if they were buying a book over the Internet. The Rat Resource and Research Centre (RRRC), a clearing-house for laboratory rats based at the University of Missouri, Columbia, will enable them to acquire the perfect animals for their experiments, using the World Wide Web. For those in a beneficent mood, the centre is also accepting donations."

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CompuFight. The future of computing: According to the Economist, the battle has already begun for the leader of web services.

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America's love-hate relationship with the corporate world. The businessman as victim: "ONLY the other day Kenneth Lay was heralded as a business genius. Now he is dismissed as a villain. This week, Enron's former boss further burnished his reputation for villainy, first by refusing to appear before two congressional committees and then, when faced with a couple of subpoenas, turning up andlike any Hollywood villain in such circumstancesexercising his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.

Does Mr Lay's fall from grace presage a wider change in attitudes to business? Many think so. Ralph Nader, a veteran anti-corporate crusader, points out that the Enron affair has all the right ingredients for galvanising opinion: identifiable villains such as the shifty Mr Lay and the unbearably arrogant Jeffrey Skilling; poor working stiffs who have been bilked of their pensions; and plenty of collusion and corruption in high places"

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Teddy Bear Bomb? | Courtesy CNN.com Teddy Bear Bombs? For our first NYU Newscast, Xaviera wrote some witty commentary about this very subject. Alert issued for potential teddy bear bombs: "The FBI has issued an alert to 350 law enforcement agencies in the southwest and Salt Lake City for potential Valentine teddy bear bombs after a suspicious transaction at a Wal-Mart last month.

Law enforcement sources said authorities also were on the alert at airports in case the suspected bear-bombs might be carried onto airplanes on Valentine's Day.

The FBI said a clean-shaven male, possibly of Middle Eastern descent, purchased nine Valentine teddy bears, 20 inches tall, and 14 canisters of propane, 9 inches tall, small enough to fit inside the teddy bears. The man also bought 12 packets of BBs -- small, round projectiles usually fired from air guns."

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Al Queda: Missing the point of Valentine's Day. Is it a coincidence that this guy ended up killing himself the day before Valentine's Day? Al Qaeda Suspect Blows Himself Up: "A suspected Al Qaeda member blew himself up today after being cornered by Yemeni security forces, according to a police statement.

The statement said that Sameer al-Hada, 25, was being chased by Yemeni security forces and had been stopped for questioning when he threatened police with a hand grenade.

The grenade exploded in his hand, killing him instantly. No police were injured."

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Tuesday, February 12, 2002
Americans Get the Gold ...and the Silver ...and the Bronze! Somehow, I can't help but feel us Americans were somehow destined to win in snowboarding... Halfpipe Dreams: A U.S. Sweep: "Today, with a bag of tricks as innovative as the moves he introduced at Stratton more than a decade ago, Powers led a strong American team to a clinching of the gold, silver and bronze medals in the men's halfpipe, the first American sweep in the Winter Olympics since three male figure skaters pulled off the feat in 1956 in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy.

Powers was clearly the dominant rider this afternoon, hanging about 18 feet above the pipe like an astronaut in a zero-G capsule and sticking multiple-rotation inverted spins. The silver medalist, Danny Kass, 19, and the bronze medalist, J.J. Thomas, 20, barely edged out the other riders in the top seven."

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Other buildings in trouble. Rescuing the Buildings Beyond Ground Zero: Five months after the World Trade Center attack, the focus of the recovery effort is moving outward from ground zero to another trauma zone: a ring of battered skyscrapers and other buildings that once held 10 million square feet of floor space, slightly more than the twin towers.

The Sept. 11 avalanche of flaming steel, shattered concrete and other debris from the towers tore through roofs, sliced giant gashes in facades, ignited fires and set loose underground floods.

These wounded buildings, which somehow remained standing, are no ordinary structures: two are landmarks, one is a key communication center and another held classrooms that served thousands of college students each day.

Their future is essential to downtown's revival, to the city tax base and to the historic and architectural fabric of Lower Manhattan. But it is by no means certain; owners and city planners are wrestling with choices that could take years to execute and hundreds of millions of dollars to finance. Owners of two of the biggest buildings are committed to returning, but dire uncertainty cloaks the future of at least two of the others.

The damage to these buildings, nearly lost in the shadow of the World Trade Center, was as hellish as it has been unrecognized."

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Ridiculous lawsuit # 315: 'We invented the hyperlink!" I can't believe that a British technology company is trying to use an old loosely-worded patent to prove that they created website links! They want to charge American companies for using 'their technology.' Ridiculous.

This link is still free: Why BT claims it owns the right to 'click here': "In what is likely to be one of the most watched patent disputes in history, BT is taking pioneering American internet service provider, Prodigy, to court for royalties it claims it is owed as the inventor of the hyperlink."

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Monday, February 11, 2002
Today is February 11th. Its been five months. I didn't even realize until Jen pointed to the date I had just written on the right side of my paper. Have we made the world a better place to live in yet?

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Sunday, February 10, 2002
What's in my chicken? Poultry Industry Quietly Cuts Back on Antibiotic Use: "The poultry industry has quietly begun to bow to the demands of public health and consumer groups by greatly reducing the antibiotics that are fed to healthy chickens.

Long a mainstay of poultry farming, antibiotics have been justified as a means of preventing infection in chickens as well as enhancing growth. Opponents have bitterly criticized the industry for a strategy that they say contributes to a much larger public health problem: the growing resistance to antibiotics of disease-causing bacteria in humans.

Now it appears that with little fanfare, the industry has begun to acquiesce. Three companies Tyson Foods, Perdue Farms and Foster Farms, which produce a third of the chicken consumed by Americans each year say they have voluntarily taken most or all of the antibiotics out of what they feed healthy chickens. In addition, the industry is turning away from an antibiotic used to treat sick birds because it is related to Cipro, the drug used to treat anthrax in humans. Some corporate consumers, including McDonald's, Wendy's and Popeye's, are now refusing to buy chicken that has been treated with it."

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Civilian Deaths in Afghanistan: Collateral Damage? Uncertain Toll in the Fog of War: Civilian Deaths in Afghanistan: 'In an age of eavesdropping warplanes and satellite-guided bombs, the Pentagon finds itself accused of sometimes relying on faulty intelligence in Afghanistan, leading to an unnecessary toll of civilian deaths.

Scrutiny has grown since a pre dawn raid on Jan. 24, when U.S. com mandos killed at least 15 men pre sumed to be Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters. Officials in the interim Af ghan government have since joined grieving survivors in calling the at tack a tragic mistake, with some surmising the Americans were duped with false information by a scheming local warlord.

A full-fledged investigation by the Pentagon's Central Command is under way, which is unusual. Despite scores of credible reports about possibly misdirected airstrikes and sizable civilian losses accounts from the United Nations, aid agencies and journalists the military has made detailed inquiries into but a few cases, like the bombing of Red Cross warehouses in Kabul twice within 10 days in October.
Most often, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and military spokesmen have dismissed accusations of mistakes as enemy propaganda. They express confidence in their targeting and regret any "collateral damage."'

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Party at Jen's! I just got back from a wonderful evening of food and amusement compliments of Jennifer. Although we had carefully planned to wake up early to fax our student IDs over for student rush tickets to attend (or in Jen's case, re-attend) the spectacular known as the Rebecca Luker concert at the NJ Performing Arts Center in Newark, those plans fell through for a variety of reasons. Instead, we decided to go get dinner and then see a movie or do something otherwise equally as fun. That sort of fell therough too, or was at least modified slightly because Jen's friend Maya's birthday was coming up.

So the final plans became going out for Chinese food with Jen, Maya, and her boyfriend Blake. We originally planned on going to Chinatown (the restaurant), but upon arriving at the hole-in-the-wall store, I helped convince the group to go to Evan and my all-time favorite, Yummy House. The food, as always, was great and I really enjoyed the whole dinner experience, especially since Maya and Blake were such cool people. After dinner, we all decided to rent a movie to watch back at Rubin, so we stopped at Blockbuster. To Jen and Blake's utter dismay, we discovered that "Multiplicity" was not in stock at the store, so we just went back to Rubin movieless. I wasn't too disappointed since I had a feeling I didn't see Multiplicity for a reason.

Very quickly after I got signed in (which is different than sneaking in) and saw Jen's Broadway memorabilia-filled room, the real party started. It was pretty funny how so many people assembled in the room without any prior planning. I'd list all the people's names, but I can't -- there were so many! They all seemed pretty cool and we watched the NBA All-Star festivities on TV. Besides a champagne experiment involving already-chewed gum and shaking and a few minor and one major spill, things went smoothly. Jen's roommate Lisa had a date with this guy sh brought up for us to meet, who seemed pretty cool. Lisa said they went to California Pizza Kitchen and then went on a carriage ride in Central Park 20 minutes @ $40. She even got a rose he had been concealing the entire date. I admitted that for a first date, that was a spectacular time that will be difficult to top next date and Jen delved into her hopeless romantic rants. :) That major spill I mentioned before happened right in front of Lisa on her side of the room when she had just got back from her date. Isn't it ironic, don't you think?

Then all of a sudden it was 2:30am and since Lisa was ready to go to sleep, Jen escorted me to be signed out. I signed my "fake" signature as Jen had to do all the hard work -- writing her room and the time -- and then we talked for a few minutes and said goodbye with a hug and a pleasant surprise right before I Ieft. Needless to say, that surprise was very pleasant.

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