The Lycos 50 Blog: News from the Pop Culture Fast Lane
Wednesday, 24 September 2008
David Blaines Blind Risk
Illusionist and daredevil David Blaine began a 60-hour stint on September 22 hanging upside down over New York's Central Park. Blaine, 35, was hoisted by his heels over the park's Wollmann ice rink, and will stay there, dangling from a wire, until late on September 24. Reports claim the magician looks at ease while dangling upside down, attached at the torso and at two steel clips linking his boots to the wire. The trick is inspired by Blaine's great hero Harry Houdini who amazed New York crowds by hanging upside down from skyscrapers and cranes. Blaine has set his goal at 60-hours, which professionals have expressed concerned about the effect of stress on Blaine’s internal organs and blood circulation. Hanging upside down for a long time increases blood pressure in the head, especially in the eyes, this could lead to blindness. He is not eating, but is taking liquid through a straw, and is able to urinate through a catheter. He regularly frees one leg, so that he is hanging only by the other, then uses that limb to help rebalance, briefly raising his head a little nearer to a horizontal position. “This is the most difficult for sure. The others, you could get into them soon after the start, but this one is tough from the get-go,” Blaine said after being lowered to head level for an interview.
Guinness Book of World Records ? Longest Legs and Shortest Man
The new Guinness Book of World Records 2009 hits stands September 17 and features participants such as the women with the longest legs and the smallest man in the world. Standing at just 2’5’’ high, He Pingping, from China, has officially been named the smallest man in the world. Meanwhile, Svetlana Pankratova, has a pair of the longest legs in the world, which stretch 4’3.9’’ long. Mr. Pingping barely reached Ms. Pankratova's knees at a bizarre photo shoot held to mark the release of the new Guinness Book of World Records 2009. The Guinness Book of world records began in 1955 and was known as Guinness Book of records before it changed its name in 2000 since the book has worldwide recognition.
Lance Armstrong has announced he will be returning to the Tour de France in 2009. After 3 years in retirement the 36-year-old cancer survivor states he will return to compete. In a formal video statement, Lance calls his comeback an attempt to raise global awareness for the fight against cancer. "This kind of obscure bike race, totally kick-started my engine," he told Vanity Fair, referring to the lung-searing 100-mile mountain bike race through the Colorado Rockies. “I'm going to try and win an eighth Tour de France.”
Armstrong dominated the Tour with a record seven titles from 1999-2005 while dodging allegations of steroid use. This year he's hired a video crew to chronicle his training for 2009, as well as ongoing drug tests for a possible documentary. “There's this perception in cycling that this generation is now the cleanest generation we've had in decades, if not forever,” said Armstrong, who's never tested positive. “And the generation that I raced with was the dirty generation. ... So there is a nice element here where I can come with really a completely comprehensive program and there will be no way to cheat.”
Armstrong was diagnosed in 1996 with testicular cancer that had spread to his lungs and brain; doctors gave Armstrong less than a 50% chance of survival. Surgery and brutal cycles of chemotherapy gave him chance, from there, it was determination and powerful self-discipline that led him back to the bike and his stunning 1999 Tour win.
Dave Freeman, the man who co-wrote the best selling adventure travel guide, 100 Things To Do Before You Die has passed away at the age of 47. Freeman tragically died after falling over and hitting his head at his home in Venice, California. The advertising agency executive wrote the book in 1999 with his friend, Neil Teplica, after collecting odd locations on a travel website they ran. The bold travel guide suggested the world’s craziest places to visit, including nude night surfing in Australia and taking part in the loudest yelling competition in North Carolina. The self proclaimed bachelor like to travel alone, believing he met more interesting people and ended up at stranger,better places that way. In the book he states, “This life is a short journey. How can you make sure you fill it with the most fun and that you visit all the coolest places on earth before you pack those bags for the very last time?”
Judge Rules Copyright Owners Must Consider 'Fair Use'
When a Pennsylvania woman posted a clip in 2007 of her toddler dancing to Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy,” on YouTube, Universal Music Corporation forced her to take it down due to copyright issues. Since then, a federal judged ruled music companies and other copyright holders must consider “fair use” of their materials before demanding YouTube and other video-sharing websites remove content. On August 20 the ruling by U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel was the first in the nation to require the owner of a creative work to consider whether the product is significant enough to have an affect on the market share before ordering the web host to remove it.
The world’s tallest woman, Sandy Allen passed away at the age of 53 on August 13. Allen’s death occurred in a nursing home in her hometown of Shelbyville, Indiana. The 7’7’’ woman’s height was caused by a tumor against her pituitary glad that produced extra growth hormones. In 1977, Allen had surgery to remove the tumor and prevent any further growth. A family friend, Rita Rose, said Allen was proud of her height; “she embraced it. She used it as a tool to educate people.” Allen used her height to inspire schoolchildren and others to accept those who are different.
Two Georgia residents, Matthew Whitton and Rick Dyer, who lead bigfoot-tracking expeditions, claim to have found the body of what appears to be a bigfoot in the woods of northern Georgia. The men claim they have a body, photos and DNA evidence of the 7-feet tall, 500 lb. mammal. On August 15th the men will reveal their findings at a news conference in Palo Alto, where they intend to present DNA evidence that will prove the carcass is that of a bigfoot. Other characteristics of the bigfoot released include physical similarities to humans, its footprint is 16 ¾ inches long and the length from the palm to the tip of the middle finger is 11 ½ inches long. Whitton, a police officer in Clayton County, Georgia and Dyer, a former correctional officer, are not stating where the body was found or where it is now. Tom Biscardi, a veteran Bigfoot tracker, went to Georgia to view the find states DNA tests are being conducted and a team of scientists will study the body, but declined to name any scientists involved.
Entertainment Weekly reports Seth Green and frequent collaborator, Breckin Meyer, are closing a deal to join the cast of Heroesfor a series of episodes. The pair, who write and star in the animated comedy show Robot Chicken, will appear in a series of episodes in the forthcoming third season. Meyer and Green are rumored to play two comic-book enthusiasts who cross paths with an un-disclosed hero. Green's screen credits include the Austin Powers series and The Italian Job. Meyer has featured in Garfield, Road Tripand Clueless.
Academy-award winning musician, Isaac Hayes, was found dead at his home in Memphis, Tennessee on August 10. The 65-year-old funk-soul legend was found unresponsive on the floor in his home next to a treadmill that was still running by family members around 1:00 p.m., states Shelby country sheriff spokesman Steve Shular. "We don't believe there was any foul play," Shular said. "Based on the statements by family members that Mr. Hayes had been treated of late for a number of medical issues, we believe that led to his death today. There are no plans for an autopsy." Hayes was a talented singer, songwriters and composer. Hayes won an Oscar in 1972 for best original song for the theme from Shaft. He was renowned for his characteristic baritone voice and mastery of several instruments, including the saxophone and the piano. His guest star appearances included TV shows "The Rockford Files" and "Miami Vice." He also appeared in feature films such as "Escape from New York" and "Hustle & Flow." In 1997 he began voicing the role of chef in the animated Comedy Central cable ' series "South Park," but quit in 2006, apparently because of a conflict with Scientology, a religion he followed since the mid 1990s.
According to the Official Airline Guide (OAG), customers can expect reduced flight availability and seats in the upcoming year. In response to high oil prices and the global credit crisis, airlines are set to cut 59.7 million tickets available in comparison to October-December of 2007. Reduced availability will likely force up ticket prices, routes will be scrapped at 275 airports around the world and 3,500 fewer plans will be needed. America will be hit the worst with a reduction of 20 million seats, while Europe will loose 5.5 million seats. Steve Casley, the chief executive of the OAG, states, “The data speaks for itself. It took a good three years for the industry to recover from the downturn in 2001 when it had 5% drop in capacity and a 7% drop in flights. From our statistics, it looks quite possible that we may be facing a far more severe global downturn than we have experienced before. The industry's resilience will be pushed to its limits in the coming months.”