Friday, August 31, 2007

Paso Robles Car show won’t cruise through Paso next year

http://www.barris.com/news/images/kargoyle_images/krgyl_side_paso.jpg

By Leah Etling

The West Coast Kustoms Cruisin’ Nationals car show, which has been an annual event in Paso Robles for nearly three decades, will not come back to the city in 2008, organizers said this week.

The decision to move the show to Santa Maria on Memorial Day weekend came after the city requested that the organizers pay $35,000 for policing of the show and cut the number of vehicles involved from 800 to 500.

Police Chief Lisa Solomon said the city asked for the funds to help control crowds, gang problems and violent crimes—all of which were issues during last year’s event.

“It was just a ridiculous weekend,” Solomon said. An estimated 27,000 people came to town for the three-day event.

Solomon said her department responded to 153 calls related to the show. Officers responded to five assaults with deadly weapons, including a gang-related shooting. Police also responded to fights, domestic violence, and numerous alcohol consumption violations. In 2006, there were 119 police calls.

Some local business owners, upset about the show’s departure, plan to attend Tuesday night’s City Council meeting to complain.

A replacement event to fill the void is a possibility, but no decision has been made. Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce president Mike Gibson said talk of a new magnet event for Memorial Day weekend is just rumor.

Security concerns

Paso Robles police had a tougher time dealing with calls during the three-day car show than during the 12-day California Mid-State Fair, Solomon said. With more than 360,000 people attending the fair this year, there were more people in town on any day of the fair than during the car show.

In response to last year’s car show problems, the city developed ways to better control event-related incidents, such as the $35,000 fee. They invited Kustoms Cruisin’ organizers to come up with ideas to reduce crime so the event could stay.

In a letter to her supporters, show founder Penny Pichette called the city’s concerns “realistic and valid” but said she could not afford to pay for additional policing.

“I don’t make $35,000, and then they want me to cut down to 500 cars,” she said.

Next year’s event will be held at the Santa Maria Fair-park, which can accommodate more cars. Space restraints in Paso Robles limited the show to 800 entrants.

Councilman Gary Nemeth said that the city spent about $47,000 to host the show. The fee paid by the car club was $1,500.

“It was their choice,” Nemeth said of the club’s decision to go elsewhere. “The city was willing to dialogue with them.”

Pichette said Santa Maria made no demands on her.

“I just feel so sad, but there’s no turning back,” she said.

Long history

The show was first held at Nacimiento Lake in 1982. Pichette and her late husband, Rich, were inspired by a drive along the route traveled by James Dean the day he died, during which they visited Paso Robles.

“When there was nothing in Paso, we were there. It was our town too. Even though we didn’t live there, we did business there, and had many friends there,” Pichette said. She is concerned about what impact the show’s move will have on local merchants.

During 26 annual events, the event grew from fewer than 100 cars to 800, with participants traveling from all over California and beyond.

“It has never been a huge show by today’s standards … but it has always drawn great cars and the hobby’s most significant personalities,” wrote Damon Lee in a Custom Rod-der magazine article about the show’s 25th anniversary.

The weekend-long event included activities such as a dance, bowling, church services and meals as well as street cruising and awards.

Within 24 hours of the news of the show’s move to Santa Maria being posted on the Web site www.jalopyjournal.com, hundreds of past participants weighed in on the move. Some were supportive, others indignant. A few speculated that the burgeoning wine industry in Paso Robles is motivating the city to focus on a different sort of clientele.

“I’m not surprised. Paso wants to be the next Napa Valley with all its wineries. I’m sure there (is) plenty of wine tourist money coming into the city,” wrote Bobby Green.

About 6,000 people bought tickets for the Paso Robles Wine Festival in May.

Chamber president Gibson wrote in an e-mail to the city that his organization supported keeping the show in town with changes, including fewer cars and payment for policing.

“Most of the businesses I talked with during the two days expressed better-than-average sales days with very few problems,” Gibson wrote.

Business owners upset

Local business owners who say the car show was one of their busiest weekends of the year are outraged that the event has been moved south.

Michael Garrotto, owner of Great American Antiques, said the change could cost him up to $12,000 in business that he typically does during the car show weekend.

Tim Thomason, who owns Timmy T’s Pizza, threatened to bill the city $14,000 for the revenue he estimates he’ll lose without hundreds of car enthusiasts and spectators in town that weekend.

“I think that a good portion of the businesses downtown don’t really have too many opportunities to sell their products to a large number of people. For me, that’s our largest weekend,” Thomason said.

Thomason said he never had any problem with unruly car show attendees.

The possibility that another organized event might come to the city that weekend was small solace to Thomason, who has owned the pizza shop for three years. He has personal relationships with many of the exhibitors, he said, who are loyal to the local businesses.

At some hotels, guests exceeded room capacity and damaged property during the event, but overall, Gibson said, most hoteliers are disappointed to see the event go.

Kate Davis, co-owner of Alliance Boardshop, said the event was popular with tourists as well as locals, including her own family.

Davis teared up while recounting memories shared with her father and her two sons at the car show. She added that the weekend is one of the year’s busiest for her business as well as a major fundraising opportunity for clubs and youth groups that sell food to the crowds.

“That’s our favorite family weekend. I don’t want to go to Santa Maria,” she said.


http://www.prcity.com/government/cit...il/members.asp

Mayor Frank Mecham
fmecham@prcity.com


Gary Nemeth, Mayor Pro Tem
gnemeth@prcity.com


John Hamon
jhamon@prcity.com


Duane Picanco
dpicanco@prcity.com


Fred Strong
fstrong@prcity.com

Following is the response I received from a member of the Paso Robles city council regarding an e-mail I had sent due to the show being run out of town:

The following was written in response to another letter in this regard:

First, let me say that the "facts" expressed in Sharon's letter are not consistent with those we have. Also, the assumptions as to the City's "reasoning" are somewhat flawed.

As a city we are charged with providing for the health, safety and general welfare of our citizens. Some endeavors, such as special events or promotions, may be related to general welfare but are difficult to justify if, and when, they jeopardize health and/or safety.

I have been an average "car buff" most of my life and have previously owned variousl classic cars. I was honored with an "Honorary Lifetime Membership" in the Golden State Classic Chevys organization in June of 1986. I am also a City Council Member in the City of El Paso de Robles.

Before I became a Council Member the Council adopted a "fiscal neutrality" policy. This means that each person or group who desires to use City resources, including parks, for their own special use must pay the actual costs so that taxpayers' dollars are not subsidizing a private venture. Our cost analysis of a few years ago showed that our fee structure was inadequate to comply with this policy. Fees have been raised in many areas of city facility and resource use on an incremental basis since that time.

However, the West Coast Kustoms Show, of which I have been a fan and supporter for many years, began to present very specific and unforeseen consequences over the past few years which have increased both direct and indirect city costs way beyond any justifiable benefit to our citizens. This was especially true in light of health and safety matters that exhibit themselves especially at the time of this one event.

Paso Robles has been incrementally applying equitable requirements on all of the events and special resource uses for which the City is responsible. Our information indicates that the money received by the promoters of this event are their primary annual family income. This is not exclusively a charitable event. Donations have been made in the past to numerous charitable or non-profit organizations. That is commendable. However, The costs to the City have also been substantial in a number of ways. In 2007 the direct cost was $43,856 with soft costs of an additional $3,523 for labor. The income we received from the sponsor was $1,534 for a net loss of $45,845.

With the closing of three blocks of our streets and our largest downtown parking lot near the City Park for the duration of the event we have had many complaints from citizens who were unable to use the City Library during this event and about the many vending booths that neglected to pay any sales tax attributable to the event so that the City could receive its fair portion.

However, the item of most concern has been the increased lawlessness that seems to have come to Paso Robles with the event. We have no way to attribute this to the vendors or the participants. However, we can look at the general figures for time periods when this and other events are in the City. The service call figures for our Police Department are higher for this event than any other within the City including both the Wine Festival and the California Mid-State Fair. The calls rose from 44 in 2004, to 103 in 2005, to 119 in 2006 and up to 153 in 2007 including three arrests for assaults with a deadly weapon.

Group rivalries were observed between motorcycle clubs known as Hell's Angels, Mongols and Vagos as well as ethnic groups exhibiting vociferous pride in their regions from King City, Salinas and some of our locals. When proximity occurred so did explosive conditions. We deem this to be a threat to our local health and safety that demands recognition, attention and solution.

The opportunity to correct these trends and observed situations was offered to the event's sponsor. That offer was declined.

We regret the loss of a tradition. However, no tradition is so sacred that it is to be indulged at the expense of the health and safety of our citizens and the frugal handling of their tax dollars.

We all do what we have to do to the best of our knowledge and ability. I wish the West Coast Kustom Show the very best of luck in the future. I'm sorry that the consequences locally were so expensive that no one was willing to come forward and remove that obstacle to continuity.

Best wishes,

Councilman Fred Strong
City of El Paso de Robles

The New York Times



September 1, 2007

Who Founded Facebook? A New Claim Emerges

PALO ALTO, Calif., Aug. 29 — Mark Zuckerberg is considered the founder of Facebook, the popular social networking Web site estimated to be worth upward of $1 billion.

Three Harvard classmates, the founders of ConnectU, have long claimed that Mr. Zuckerberg stole the idea from them, and they are suing him in Federal District Court in Boston.

Both parties seem to have forgotten Aaron Greenspan, yet another Harvard classmate. He says he was actually the one who created the original college social networking system, before either side in the legal dispute. And he has the e-mail messages to show it.

As a Harvard student in 2003 — six months before Facebook started and eight months before ConnectU went online — Mr. Greenspan established a simple Web service that he called houseSYSTEM. It was used by several thousand Harvard students for a variety of online college-related tasks. Mr. Zuckerberg was briefly an early participant.

An e-mail message, circulated widely by Mr. Greenspan to Harvard students on Sept. 19, 2003, describes the newest feature of houseSYSTEM, as “the Face Book,” an online system for quickly locating other students. The date was four months before Mr. Zuckerberg started his own site, originally “thefacebook.com.” (Mr. Greenspan retained his college e-mail messages and provided The New York Times with copies of his communications with Mr. Zuckerberg.)

Later the two students, who both graduated in 2004, exchanged e-mail about their separate projects. When Mr. Greenspan asked what Mr. Zuckerberg was planning and suggested the two integrate their systems, Mr. Zuckerberg responded, a month before starting his own service: “I actually did think about integrating it into houseSYSTEM before you even suggested it, but I decided that it’s probably best to keep them separated at least for now.”

Despite Mr. Greenspan’s entrepreneurial ambitions, Mr. Zuckerberg was the first to move to Silicon Valley, raising venture capital and eventually transforming Facebook from a social networking site for college students into one of the fastest growing Internet sites for both social and business contacts.

Indeed, Mr. Greenspan, who is now 24 and moved to Silicon Valley last year to start a company, appears to be a clear example of a truism in this high-technology region: establishing who is first with an idea is often a murky endeavor at best, and frequently it is not the inventor of an idea who is the ultimate winner.

Mr. Zuckerberg declined to be interviewed, saying through a spokeswoman that he was not sure how to respond. He did not dispute the chronology of events or the authenticity of Mr. Greenspan’s e-mail messages. Mr. Zuckerberg is seeking to dismiss the ConnectU suit.

Mr. Greenspan said that Mr. Zuckerberg’s lawyer contacted him this year in connection with the ConnectU lawsuit but that he had declined a request to serve as a witness, fearing that he would become embroiled in the legal battle.

In an interview at a cafe here this week, Mr. Greenspan said he had mostly made peace with the fact that Mr. Zuckerberg will be the first of the Harvard ’04 graduates to become a billionaire.

If Mr. Zuckerberg did borrow some of Mr. Greenspan’s concepts, he may have simply been working in a grand Harvard tradition. After all, it was a young Harvard dropout, William Gates, and his classmate, Paul G. Allen, who almost three decades earlier copied a version of the BASIC programming language, designed by two Dartmouth college professors, to jump-start the company that would grow into the world’s most powerful software firm.

“I’ve had a long time to think about this, and I’m not as bitter as I was a year ago,” Mr. Greenspan said. “Things like this aren’t surprising to me anymore.”

Still, he does not seem to be entirely at peace with the way things have turned out, and he wants to have the last word.

He has described the original creation of houseSYSTEM, ConnectU and Facebook in “Authoritas: One Student’s Harvard Admissions,” a 306-page unpublished autobiography about his adventures as a college student.

“This book is partly a search for justice,” he wrote in the introduction. “You don’t write an autobiography in your early 20s unless there’s something you need to get off your chest.”

In “Authoritas,” he described his collision with Harvard authorities when he first started his system. He also explained his frustration in getting the student paper, The Harvard Crimson, to write about houseSYSTEM, which was then being used by about 100 students.

Mr. Zuckerberg, by way of contrast, had no difficulty attracting the interest of the paper. It wrote about him first because he had developed MP3-playing software, called Synapse, as a high school student. The paper then published frequent follow-up articles.

College classmates describe Mr. Greenspan as extremely bright and an unusually productive software designer. Mr. Greenspan and Mr. Zuckerberg had much in common, said William Most, who was a classmate. “They were both computer guys and self-starters.”

Mr. Greenspan remains extraordinarily energetic and envisions ideas for new projects. Indeed, in an effort to find a publisher for his Harvard manuscript he developed an automated system that generated personalized query letters to more than 800 literary agents nationwide.

Although he has yet to find a publisher, he has deployed his system as a commercial Web service for other potential authors as part of CommonRoom, a social networking and business Web site that he established last year.

He attained brief notoriety on several Internet news sites last year when he published an open letter to Mr. Zuckerberg after reports surfaced that Yahoo had offered his college classmate $900 million for Facebook just two years after the founding of the company.

With barely hidden bitterness, he wrote: “Remember the Web site you signed up for at Harvard two days before we met in January, 2004, called houseSYSTEM — the one I made with the Universal Face Book that predated your site by four months?.... Well, I’ve relaunched it as CommonRoom, and just like its predecessor, it has all sorts of features that might seem familiar: birthday reminders, an event calendar, RSVPs, how you know someone, photo albums, courses posters... After all, when you saw all of those features in houseSYSTEM three years ago, you called them ‘too useful,’ but I stood by them as valuable. Fortunately, even though I shut down houseSYSTEM, I can still use those same features on Facebook — and I didn’t even have to write any more code!”

Although CommonRoom has just 1,500 users, compared with Facebook’s 35 million, Mr. Greenspan has not given up on the idea of social networking. He is starting his second company — he founded his first, Think Computing, when he was 15 — with a new partner. He said he has been promised venture capital backing for the new company, Qubescape.

“I’ve been doing consulting and software for business for several years now, and I’ve noticed the same problems again and again in business,” he said. “I think there’s a fairly good chance we’ll turn business software on its head.”

Mr. Greenspan says that he has learned some important lessons since leaving school, although he has no love for the thought of becoming one of the serial entrepreneurs common in Silicon Valley.

“I’ve written a lot about Harvard’s motto being ‘veritas,’ ” he wrote recently in an instant message, “and how uncomfortable I was when I discovered that Harvard actually didn’t abide by the ideals of truth at all times. But it’s a good motto. Possibly the best there is, because if you wait long enough, the truth will come out.”

Variety.com

RIAA faces serious piracy lawsuit

Music org's stern policy in jeopardy

A lawsuit recently filed against the Recording Industry Assn. of America could ultimately force the org to drop or dramatically change the way it uses its principal weapon in the fight against online piracy, according to experts and observers.

The case -- filed in Oregon and asserting claims under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act -- details the RIAA's alleged use of "illegal and flawed" methods when investigating people for downloading or swapping copyrighted songs without paying for them.

The plaintiff in the case, disabled single mother Tanya Andersen, claims the RIAA was aware of the faulty methods but has nonetheless filed lawsuits against innocent people in some cases.

Andersen claims she is not the only victim of such tactics and is therefore seeking class-action status for her suit. If the court grants that status, the RIAA could be facing a losing proposition because class-action suits can be extremely risky for defendants, in this case creating the potential for a big payout by the music labels.

"If class action is certified, it's more likely that the record companies would settle," said Ronnie London, an attorney versed in class-action law with the firm of Davis Wright Tremaine, which specializes in communications law.

Settlement could also lead to less aggressive legal tactics in pursuit of online pirates.

The recording industry's willingness to settle is far from guaranteed, however, given the nuanced variables of class-action suits and the RIAA's contention that the Oregon suit is meritless and thus should be dismissed -- an argument the org plans to make in a brief it will file with the court in the coming weeks.

According to Andersen's complaint filed with the U.S. District Court in Portland, "For years, the RIAA and its member companies have been using flawed and illegal private investigation information as part of their coordinated scheme and common enterprise to threaten, intimidate and coerce payment from private citizens across the United States. As such they have clogged and abused the federal courts for many years with factually baseless and fraudulent lawsuits."

In 2005, Oregon resident Andersen received notice that the recording industry was suing her, claiming it had proof she had illegally downloaded and shared almost 1,300 files of copyrighted music. The notice strongly suggested that she agree to a settlement of $4,000-$5,000 or face prohibitively expensive litigation.

Andersen said she had done no such thing and hired a lawyer to countersue. As the discovery phase proceeded, Andersen's lawyer eventually claimed:

  • MediaSentry, the investigative firm contracted by the RIAA to identify illegal downloaders, is not licensed for such investigations.
  • MediaSentry and the RIAA have known "for years" that the investigative methods are flawed and sometimes result in cases of mistaken identity.
  • An agent from the settlement company told Andersen that he doubted she was guilty, but the record labels "would not quit their attempts to force payment from her because to do so would encourage other people to defend themselves."
  • The RIAA repeatedly refused to accept Andersen's offer that their representatives come inspect her computer's hard drive until a court ordered the inspection -- which showed the computer had not been used for any infringement.
  • Persisting, the RIAA began to harass Andersen's 10-year-old daughter, demanding a deposition from her and even posing as a relative when calling her school to get access to her.
  • The RIAA finally dropped its case only after a court ordered it to produce evidence of infringement, which the org never did.

"Tanya Andersen is not alone," said Lory Lybeck, her attorney. "Her story is emblematic of the abuse this process has at its core." Lybeck added that, since filing for class-action status, he's been contacted "by a number of other people who are in a similar position" and is "confident" that status will be granted.

The significance of class-action status "would be huge," said Ray Beckerman, an attorney who has represented defendants in illegal downloading lawsuits filed by the RIAA. "The RIAA's whole gambit has been economic imbalance: four huge multinational corporations join forces in an even larger cartel and sue Mom and Pop. Class actions are economic equalizers, anathema to the RIAA. If there's a class action, the court could issue a preliminary injunction that would stop the RIAA's unlawful practices," Beckerman added. "If class action is certified, there would probably be at least a behavioral change on the part of the record companies. They'll be more circumspect about which defendants they actually pick and may be more amenable to settling for less money," London predicted.

Defendants can seek dismissal of the case even before the court rules on class action status, and the RIAA intends to do this. Failing that, defendants can also dispute the merits of the application for class action.

Once class-action status is granted, the key is usually whether the plaintiffs are likely to prove they have been harmed as a direct result of wrongful actions by the defendant, but Heidi Li Feldman, a professor at Georgetown U. Law Center, said that even then, a settlement offer isn't assured.

Gaining class-action certification is anything but easy. "The courts say classes must be certified narrowly," Feldman continued. "That means there must be serious overlap in both the facts of each case and the laws that are applicable to all members of the class."

A court decision on certification can take upward of a year.

"We are confident that (Andersen's) claims have no merit," an RIAA spokeswoman said. "We look forward to presenting our arguments in the next few weeks to the court about why this case should be dismissed. In all our cases, we seek to follow the facts and be fair and reasonable in resolving pending claims."

Since September 2003, the RIAA has filed more than 21,000 illegal downloading suits.

Marley Family Announces Lawsuit Against Universal Music Group

http://www.home.no/jamaicas-marley/theme/pics/bob-marley.jpg

August 31, 2007 – 2:18 pm

An interesting development has popped up just days after announcing that Verizon will be releasing Bob Marley ringtones and themes for a charge to their wireless customers. The family of the late reggae singer Bob Marley has announced that they will be sueing The Universal Music Group and Verizon Wireless for using the Bob Marley image and ringtones without their direct consent.

Universal Music group owns rights to the majority of Bob Marleys music as most of his hit songs were originally recorded though them. Universal states that they have yet to receive any suit from the Marley family and feels they are under no risk as all licensed content is in accordance with their long standing contract between the late Bob Marley and UMG.

Homeless man in Santa Ana is subject of major motion picture

Tommy Harrison, who is homeless and living in Santa Ana, talks about some of his memories of his life as a boxer.
The Orange County Register

Every neighborhood has its stories, those whispers that quickly telegraph from person to person.

The best stories become better with time, as shards of information combine with innuendo and truth becomes indiscernible from hyperbole. Those stories then become legends reminiscent of Hollywood tales. For a corner of downtown Santa Ana, the legend's name is Champ.

Passers-by on the western end of Santa Ana Boulevard will frequently notice an old cart, which carries the requisite empty bottles and wads of plastic bags. But its red broom with frayed bristles and dingy mop make it look like it belongs to a janitor.

In this neighborhood, a wide smile is always the first reaction when someone speaks the name “Champ.” Rita Gonzalez is one of those neighbors.

For years, she said, Champ has frequently spent the night on a small strip of grass in front of her home. But it doesn't bother her, she said, because Champ is a jovial old man who, though he may sleep near the gutter, has not let his mannerisms follow suit.

“He's a good guy. He never bothers anybody,” Gonzalez said in a slow Spanish that underlined her sincerity. “Sometimes I leave the gate open. He comes in and sweeps a little bit, and sometimes I give him a little bit of money.”

Champ often can be found performing similar chores in front of nearby markets, taquerias and churches. His sweeping pauses only when drivers or pedestrians call out, “Hey, Champ!”

That's when he'll respond with a quick wave, smile and often playful punches in the air. Others interrupt him because they want to hear the stories. The ones about his ring bouts.

“Everybody around here knows Champ was a prizefighter, but he never got his title shot,” said Frank Brown, who counts himself as a friend of Champ's. “He can take you back to all the old fights – dates and everything. A guy brought his son over a couple of days ago to get his autograph.”

Champ has always been a popular guy in his corner of town, but his profile rose tremendously last week along with the release of “Resurrecting the Champ.” The film, starring Samuel L. Jackson as the title character, is based on a decade-old Los Angeles Times story about a writer who finds a homeless man in Santa Ana who claims to be boxer “Battlin'” Bob Satterfield, though Satterfield reportedly had died in 1977.

That homeless man is Champ.

Recently, mental health outreach worker Brian Deliz spent the morning cruising downtown Santa Ana. He'd just come back from vacation and was eager to find Champ for a checkup. Deliz has long sought to get Champ into a senior home, but said the homeless man doesn't qualify for services for mentally ill patients.

Not that Champ would go; Deliz said Champ's daughter lives nearby, but the family doesn't have the best relationship with him. Champ has lived on the street for years and appears content to do so.

“He don't need nothin',” Deliz said. “He says he's doing fine just the way he is.”

Champ says he was born Nov. 8, 1929, in Kingston, Jamaica, though he grew up in Chicago.

Despite his age, he recalls minute details about his fights, such as the night in 1954 when he beat Earl Walls at the Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. He also knows intricate details about Bob Satterfield's life.

But he's not Bob Satterfield.

Champ's given name is Tommy Harrison. He fought in boxing's higher weight divisions in the 1950s. Like Satterfield, he never won a title, though he claims to have sparred with Rocky Marciano – breaking Marciano's nose – and later losing to Floyd Patterson on what he said were referee decisions that should have gone the other way.

“I'm still in pretty good shape for my age,” Champ said recently, sitting down to eat a burrito. “I put a few men to sleep with this left hook. Bam!”

It's not hard to believe a statement like that coming from a man whose hands are so big, they completely covered the Pepsi can he held. His gnarled knuckles and the uneven skin above read like a scorecard of those rounds in the ring.

Champ says he fought in 37 states and around the world. Many of those fights were under the name of Bob Satterfield. Champ said it was his manager's idea, a way to bring in bigger crowds at smaller venues across the country.

Asked why he used Satterfield's name, Champ responded: “Ask him why he used Tommy Harrison!”

He lived a good life for a few years, buying fine suits and a pink Cadillac before a string of losses in the late '50s ended his career.

“They said I had a glass jaw,” Champ said. “But if you're human and you get hit on the chin, you're going down.”

After his career crashed and he'd spent his winnings, Champ settled in Los Angeles. He worked for an auto dealership, lifting engines and transmissions out of cars. After some rough times with his family, he spent years on the street – more than the past decade in Santa Ana.

“If I could do it all over again, I would. But I would save more money this time,” Champ said. “Back then, I would party and spend $1,000 a night.”




About seven years ago, a film crew from Canada contacted Kurt Goss, a street maintenance supervisor for the city of Santa Ana. Goss had befriended Champ years earlier, and said he was happy to see the crew come to Santa Ana to ask Champ about boxing, and the Times' article. According to Goss, they said they were working on a film about retired boxers.

Then a few weeks ago, “We saw that this movie, ‘Resurrecting the Champ,' was coming out,” Goss said, adding no one from the studio let the people around Champ know it would be released.

Because he's the subject of a major motion picture, “we'd like to see Champ get something,” Goss said, though he conceded no promises of compensation were ever made to Champ. “He needs to be off the street and have his own place. That's not a lot to ask.”

Likewise, Santa Ana police officer Randy Beckx has asked the Public Law Center to look into Champ's case. Beckx has known Champ for more than 20 years and said the old fighter needs to be in a situation where “someone can make sure he's coming home at night.”

Champ's not worried about compensation from filmmakers. He's more concerned about the Social Security checks he said he hasn't received.

At some point, he said, he'd like to go see the movie, though he's disappointed he doesn't even make a cameo appearance.

But, he said with a smile, “Maybe all my friends will go see it.”
MSN Tracking Image
MSNBC.com

Jealous much? MySpace, Facebook can spark it
Couples' spying on social-networking sites can trigger paranoia

Image: Mystalker

By Jasmin Aline Persch
Staff writer
MSNBC
Updated: 4:17 a.m. MT Aug 31, 2007

When Jennifer signed up for Facebook, she never expected to stalk her college boyfriend, Chris.

Jennifer, a 23-year-old teacher, had just moved to Philadelphia for her first job. Chris, meanwhile, stayed behind in Los Angeles for his last year at Loyola Marymount University. They had agreed to cool things off so Chris could cut loose in his final year, but Jennifer says the two talked on the phone every day and still exchanged “I love yous.”

At first, Jennifer visited Chris’ Facebook page just to see his face. Then, other faces started to crop up … of girls. Though she says she’s not normally the jealous type, the photos — and distance — combined to make her paranoid. Soon, Jennifer was checking on her sort-of boyfriend every time she logged on.

“The potential to start stalking somebody on Facebook is very real,” she says.

(As you might imagine, some people interviewed for this story only wanted their first names used.)

You’ve heard about social-networking spying: Employers do it to job candidates, parents to kids — and couples to each other. Just how many couples use sites like MySpace and Facebook to keep each other in check is difficult to measure. But the fact that terms like “MyStalking” and “Facestalking” have entered the street lexicon speaks to their proliferation.

Couples might be tempted to spy on MySpace and Facebook because it’s legal, anonymous — and easy. But a few mouse clicks could turn a levelheaded person into a "lunatic," as one relationship expert puts it.

“The nature of the forum actually allows jealousy and suspiciousness,” says Jamie Turndorf, a psychologist and creator of drlove.com.

That doesn’t mean that everyone with a MySpace or Facebook profile will snoop on their boyfriends, girlfriends or spouses. Turndorf points out that social-networking sites will be more apt to spark jealously in people particularly prone to it.

“Then, the technology is like the kindling that will ignite your fire,” Turndorf says.

Those in shaky or young relationships are especially vulnerable to spying — and its effects. Tara and Jeff Mooney from Portland, Ore., MyStalked each other when they first met. Both were known to get rowdy at parties before they dated — and reminders of their wild pasts haunted their courtship.

"If anybody commented [on MySpace] from our pasts, we had a conversation," 24-year-old Tara says. "It brought up jealousy issues."

But Tara says the issues forced them to build trust early on — and today they’re not only still together, they’re happily married. What’s more, they’re both still on MySpace, but now, they just laugh off raunchy MySpace comments.

"[MySpace] could pose problems to people who aren’t secure in themselves or their relationships,” she says.

Jennifer had plenty of reasons to be insecure: Her first job was a strain and her comfort, Chris, was slipping away. As such, her spying got worse. What started on Facebook snowballed to an account on MySpace, which she set up just to watch Chris through his ex-girlfriend’s page. Jennifer used what she saw — or thought she saw — in arguments.

By winter break, Chris drew a definitive end to the blurry relationship — but Facebook broke the news to Jennifer. Most social-networking sites gather personal information from users, including their couple status. Theirs had stayed “In a Relationship” since college. But the day Chris decided to change his status, his now-ex-girlfriend got a formal e-mail from Facebook letting her know. Jennifer thinks her spying hastened the end.

"I was acting a little bit crazy," she says.

But for people with legitimate suspicions, social-networking sites can help catch a cheater.

MySpace did just that for Dustin from Issaquah, Wash. His gut told him something was up with his boyfriend, Austin, but he ignored it.

Dropping into his boyfriend’s profile occasionally revealed blatant comments from strangers, racy photos — and a relationship status that didn’t reflect the couple’s exclusivity. Dustin soon found out that Austin had been going out and meeting people behind his back.

In the end, Dustin didn’t need MySpace to nab his straying boyfriend, experts say. High-tech tools might make it easier to spy, but our guts are the best indicators of infidelity, says Turndorf.

“Your intuition is very rarely wrong,” she says. “You don’t need this technology to tell you if this person is dishonest or unfaithful. This is just confirming it.”

Jennifer is now single, back in Los Angeles — and friends with Chris. She would like to think she's learned from her spying experience.

"It's a bad tendency," she says. “But how can you not look at road kill?”

iTunes Store to Stop Selling NBC Television Shows
http://cache.gizmodo.com/assets/resources/2006/12/itunes_tied_up.jpgNBC has stated that it is going to pull its content from Apple’s iTunes
CUPERTINO, Calif., Aug 31, 2007

Apple today announced that it will not be selling NBC television shows for the upcoming television season on its online iTunes Store ( http://www.itunes.com).

The move follows NBC's decision to not renew its agreement with iTunes after Apple declined to pay more than double the wholesale price for each NBC TV episode, which would have resulted in the retail price to consumers increasing to $4.99 per episode from the current $1.99.

ABC, CBS, FOX and The CW, along with more than 50 cable networks, are signed up to sell TV shows from their upcoming season on iTunes at $1.99 per episode.

"We are disappointed to see NBC leave iTunes because we would not agree to their dramatic price increase," said Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of iTunes.

"We hope they will change their minds and offer their TV shows to the tens of millions of iTunes customers."

Apple's agreement with NBC ends in December. Since NBC would withdraw their shows in the middle of the television season, Apple has decided to not offer NBC TV shows for the upcoming television season beginning in September.

NBC supplied iTunes with three of its 10 best selling TV shows last season, accounting for 30 percent of iTunes TV show sales.

Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh.

Today, Apple continues to lead the industry in innovation with its award-winning computers, OS X operating system and iLife and professional applications. Apple is also spearheading the digital media revolution with its iPod portable music and video players and iTunes online store, and has entered the mobile phone market this year with its revolutionary iPhone.

SI.com

'Crush,' 'Edge' among those who received 'roids, HGH

Thursday August 30, 2007
Brian Adams, aka Crush, who retired in '01, was found dead of unknown causes on Aug. 13. SI has learned he received nandrolone, testosterone and Somatropin or HGH.
Brian Adams, aka Crush, who retired in '01, was found dead of unknown causes on Aug. 13. SI has learned he received nandrolone, testosterone and Somatropin or HGH.

Since last summer, Sports Illustrated reporters Luis Fernando Llosa and L. Jon Wertheim have been investigating an illegal steroid distribution network that has implicated pro athletes. On Feb. 27, the reporters accompanied federal and state drug enforcement agents on a coordinated raid of an Orlando compound pharmacy and a Jupiter, Fla., "anti-aging" clinic that investigators allege conspired to fraudulently prescribe steroids, human growth hormone and other performance enhancing drugs over the Internet.

With its rare confluence of hot button topics -- sports, kids, death, and drugs -- the double-murder, suicide case involving pro wrestler Chris Benoit and his family made for a cause celebre last summer. When the news cycle passed and the media turned its attention to a corrupt NBA referee and an NFL quarterback financing a dogfighting ring, investigators continued to explore the pipeline that enabled professional athletes to obtain steroids and human growth hormone through a chain of compound pharmacies, "anti-aging" clinics and venal doctors who often rubber-stamped prescriptions, sometimes without treating their "patients."

As the WWE is embattled by charges that its wrestlers die early and unexpectedly with alarming frequency, it must now counter evidence that the culture is awash in illicit drug use. That cause wasn't helped on Thursday, when, based on information provided to the WWE by the Albany District Attorney's office, the organization suspended 10 wrestlers for violating the company's drug policy.

While the WWE declined to release the names of the suspended athletes, SI has learned that a dozen professional wrestlers have received steroids and/or human growth hormone through the drug network. The WWE would not confirm which, if any, of the following wrestlers are among those suspended:

• Benoit, who died June 24, 2007, received nandrolone and anastrozole in February 2006. (Anastrozole is used by athletes to counter side effects of steroid use, such as water retention and breast enlargement.)

• Two weeks prior to Eddie Guerrero's death on Nov. 13, 2005, hewas sent nandrolone, testosterone, and anastrozole. Guerrero died in a Minneapolis hotel room due to what a coroner later ruled as heart disease, complicated by an enlarged heart resulting from a history of anabolic steroid use.

Chavo Guerrero, who found his uncle Eddie dead in the Minneapolis hotel room, received, among other drugs, somatropin (HGH), nandrolone and anastrozole between April 2005 and May 2006.

• Between November 2003 and February 2007, Shane Helms, a/k/a The Hurricane, received, among other drugs, testosterone, genotropin (HGH) and nandrolone. (As previously reported by SI, he allegedly received HGH from an Arizona doctor in 2005.)

• Starting in September 2004 through February 2007, Randy Orton received somatropin, nandrolone, stanozolol.

John Hennigan, a/k/a Johnny Nitro, a.k.a. Johnny Morrison, is the current WWE Extreme Championship Wrestling's heavyweight champion. Between June 2006 and February 2007 he was prescribed somatropin, anastrozole, testosterone, stanozolol and chorionic gonadotropin, a hormone produced naturally during pregnancy. (HCG is taken by anabolic steroid users to stimulate the production of testosterone, which is suppressed as a result of steroid use.)

Ken Anderson, a/k/a Mr. Kennedy, lost to Eddie Guerrero in Guerrero's final match on Nov. 11, 2005. Kennedy received shipments of anastrozole, somatropin and testosterone between October 2006 and February 2007.

Shoichi Funaki received somatropin in March 2006.

Brian Adams, a/k/a Crush, who retired from the pro circuit in 2001, was found dead of unknown causes on Aug. 13. He received nandrolone, testosterone and Somatropin or HGH in December 2006.

Charles Haas was prescribed anastrozole, somatropin, stanozolol, nandrolone and chorionic gonadotropin between August 2006 and January 2007.

Edward Fatu received somatropin between July and December 2006.

• Between November 2004 and November 2006, Darren Matthews received stanozolol, somatropin, genotropin, and anastrozole.

Adam Copeland, a/k/a Edge, received somatropin, genotropin (both HGH), and stanozolol between September 2004 and February 2007.

Sylvain Grenier received somatropin, nandrolone, genotropin and stanozolol, starting in February 2005 through July 2006.

Through WWE spokesman Gary Davis, the applicable WWE wrestlers listed above declined comment.

In the wake of Eddie Guerrero's steroid-related death, the WWE instituted a "Talent Wellness Program" in February 2006. The policy "prohibits the use of performance-enhancing drugs, as well as other prescription drugs which can be abused, if taken for other than a legitimate medical purpose pursuant to a valid prescription from a licensed and treating physician. For purposes of WWE's policy, prescriptions obtained over the Internet and/or from suppliers of prescription drugs from the Internet are not considered to have been given for a legitimate medical purpose."

Under the Talent Wellness Program, an initial positive test triggers to a 30-day suspension and a second positive leads to a 60-day suspension. A third positive yields a termination.

After Benoit's death, Representative Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) contacted the WWE requesting more information on the Talent Wellness Program. In addition to the rash of recent wrestler deaths, Congress has expressed concerned that the WWE counts more than more 500,000 kids among its weekly viewership.

Five Types of Strippers

by Neil Miller

Strip clubs can be a confusing place. Fortunately for you, they're no mystery to us. That's why we gave you the guide to strip club etiquette. Now, we bring a little refinement to the points of the ladies involved: the five types of strippers you should look out for.

The Perfect 10 a.k.a The Pretty Girl

Could be new; could be a career girl. However, always totally gorgeous and has a smoking body. However, she gets by completely on her looks and works better as eye candy than as a lap dancer. Avoid this one unless you're at an all-nude, no-touch club.

The New Kid on the Block

This girl's new to stripping. She's often very pretty and usually is working her way through college. Her inexperience makes her inconsistent. She can be good or bad, depending on the girl. She might be too nervous to give a good show, but she might be more adventurous and "go that extra mile." Take this gamble only if she'll actually drink what you buy her from the bar.

The Old Gray Mare a.k.a. The Lifer

This girl is way past her prime. She may have been hot 15 or 20 years ago, but too many kids, too much drinking and too much smoking has taken its toll. The other girls won't tip her even if they're using your money. Don't be surprised if she's related to the club owner.

The Bait-and-Switch

Watch out for these girls as they cover a variety of demographics. These strippers are out for fast cash and don't have any regular customers. They prey on the new guys. Their m.o. is to promise or imply extras, especially if they quote you a specific tip amount, but never deliver. Test for this one by getting the $20 couch dance before buying time in the back room.

The Career Girl

Unless you're looking for a specific body type, you're going to have your best time with this girl. She's usually a 6 to an 8 - hot enough to fulfill the stripper fantasy, but not perfect. Realistically, they often have a boyfriend or husband, they're a working mother and a little older (late 20s or early 30s). However, she's got a stock of regulars, and she's figured out the biz. She knows how to show a good time, she's a good provider and definitely worth the money.

New York Post

BRITNEY'S EX ISN'T WORTH A FED CENT

http://img2.timeinc.net/people/i/2006/news/060522/britney_spears_300x400.jpg
By LAURA ITALIANO
August 31, 2007
--

Pop-tard Britney Spears makes $737,868 a month - while K-Fed earns zilch, according to the latest documents in the fractured couple's kid custody battle.

Spears "is clearly the moneyed party in this case," Kevin Federline's lawyer writes in papers filed Monday in Los Angeles and obtained yesterday by The Post.

Federline is hoping to win 70/30 custody of their children - and commensurate child support - from Spears. For now, though, his lawyers merely want $150,000 toward legal bills.

He's broke, his lawyers admit in the filing - his income totaling zero after business expenses, despite the $20,000 a month in spousal support Spears is already forking over.

Those monthly payments stop on Nov. 15, the papers note.

Federline's papers also demand that Spears stop stalling and pick a date to be grilled by his lawyers. The deposition needs to happen quickly, the lawyers argue - in advance of their next hearing date of Sept. 17.

Spears skipped her previous deposition appointment, for Aug. 20, because her lawyer went on vacation, the papers say.

"I must insist that you contact me to immediately schedule the first available date for commencement of Britney's deposition," K-Fed's lawyer, Mark Kaplan, wrote Spears' legal team the day after she skipped her appearance.

Already on tap for deposition by Team K-Fed are Spears' assistant, "designated sober companion," former business manager, bodyguard, assistant and nanny.

The filing also accuses Spears of stonewalling Federline's demands for the names of her current nannies, assistants and bodyguards.

BBC News
McCanns to sue Portuguese paper
Madeleine McCann
Media speculation about Madeleine has been rife in Portugal
The parents of missing Madeleine McCann are to launch a libel action against a Portuguese newspaper which claimed they killed their daughter.

Last week, Tal & Qual reported that the "police believe" Kate and Gerry McCann killed her, with the paper suggesting Madeleine may have died in an accident.

The McCanns' lawyers will file for defamation, saying the "untrue" story had caused "suffering and humiliation".

Police have stressed that the McCanns, of Rothley, Leics, are not suspects.

Four-year-old Madeleine vanished from a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Algarve, on 3 May while her parents were eating at a nearby restaurant.

Earlier this month the police said there were indications that Madeleine might have died.

The newspaper's front-page story, headlined "The police believe the parents killed Maddie", claimed the couple had either caused a fatal accident or given drugs to their daughter.

Evidence analysed

The allegations were attributed to a "source close to the investigation".

However, the director of police has said publicly that the McCanns have never been viewed as suspects.

Lawyers for the couple will file a seven-page defamation complaint against the journalist who wrote the article and the newspaper's director. The legal case says the story was completely untrue.

Media speculation has been rife in Portugal since the police declared that Madeleine might have died.

The BBC's Steve Kingstone, who is in Praia da Luz, said the McCanns had previously held back from responding to the speculation, but now felt "a line had been crossed" and "enough was enough".

The newspaper's claim was based on the discovery of suspected traces of blood inside the family's apartment.

The UK's Forensic Science Service is continuing to analyse evidence recovered from the apartment.

Last week, Mr McCann asked the media to end the constant speculation about his daughter's whereabouts.

He said there had been "huge amounts written with no substance" and that it was not necessary to "bombard people on a daily basis" with Madeleine's image.

latimes.com

Dot-com names get dottier

From Abazab to Xoopit, start-ups try to be clever and unique to stand out from the hundreds of new firms online. Still, many are just gibberish.

Say what?Jonathan Katzman, left, and Bijan Marashi, co-founders of an e-mail service, had second thoughts about the San Francisco company’s name: Xoopit, which is pronounced ZOO-pit and loosely rhymes with “stupid.” But they have decided to embrace it. Their company’s marketing slogan is, “Don’t be stupid. Xoopit.”.

By Michelle Quinn
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

August 29, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco

Even if you could say Abazab or Eefoof without snickering, would you want to do business with them?

Would you feel OK owning Wakoopa shares in your 401(k)? Telling potential in-laws you met on Frengo? Relying on Ooma to call Grandma?

Silicon Valley is in the midst of a great corporate baby boom. Venture capitalists have pumped $2.5 billion into 400 young Internet companies since the beginning of 2006, compared with $1.3 billion into 236 companies during the previous two years, according to research firm Dow Jones VentureOne.

These entrepreneurial brain children have short life expectancies, destined to fight for revenue with the likes of Google, Yahoo and EBay. But still they are being born -- and they need names.

Naming a company is far more difficult than naming a child. The name needs to sound snappy, separate its young company from the pack and provide a unique Web address.

Having two Ethans and three Madisons in a kindergarten class can create confusion, even embarrassment, but giving your start-up a name that's already taken guarantees a legal fight you can't win.

The result? New Internet companies are being baptized daily with handles that sound like a cross between toddler-speak, scat singing and what the aliens will greet us with when they land.

You won't find a name among the horde that conjures up traditional companies such as Dress Barn, Best Buy and Burger King. Most Internet company names make little sense, and they roll around the mouth like a marble.

"Old-school ideas about sounding trustworthy or sounding big are not as important as they used to be," said Burt Alper, co-founder of Catchword Branding in Oakland, which has helped companies pick such names as Vudu (makes a device for watching videos) and Promptu (creates voice-recognition products). "Now, it's about sounding different and standing out from the crowd."

Like naming a new baby, the process involves late-night brainstorming, some expert help and a dose of frank feedback from friends.

And like the grandparents-to-be, a company's financial backers can kill a loved name with a raised eyebrow. Picking the wrong name can kill a multimillion-dollar investment.

Entrepreneurs today pick names they think will help their companies stand out, as do parents of little Zander and Arlo, Eliza and Matilda.

"Naming a company is like naming a celebrity," said serial entrepreneur Jared Kopf, who has helped christen companies including Adroll.com, his online advertising firm, and Slide, a Web photo service. "Made-up words don't come with psychological baggage."

One approach is whimsy: picking a name that seems inspired by Dr. Seuss. If the late author were to tell a story about Internet start-ups, he could pit Qumana and Qoosa (blog editing and Web browsing) against Tagtooga and Tendango (both social networking). Peace would be brokered by Ooma (Internet phone calling). BooRah (restaurant reviews) would hiss, then cheer. Lala (music sharing) would sing.

Call it the Google effect. Thanks to the successful Internet search company with the goofy name, entrepreneurs feel no shame telling people they work for ItzBig (career networking) or asking venture capitalists to invest millions of dollars in Picaboo (a website for ordering custom photo books). Who needs the gravitas of an International Business Machines or a General Electric?

Many names come with little context. Firms such as Xobni, Meebo and Squidoo give no hint of what they might do (e-mail management, instant messaging and online recommendations, respectively). Entrepreneurs say having to explain their mission provides a marketing opportunity.

But naming experts say the current crop of Internet companies is in danger of overwhelming customers. Not many will bother to commit it to memory that Imeem is a social network for sharing music and videos or that Imbee is a social network for kids.

"Now, it's almost like fashion styles, all these vowels and unpronounceable made-up names," said Steve Manning, managing director of Igor, a naming company in San Francisco. "You cannot possibly remember one from another."

Some corporate namers seek a feeling of familiarity by evoking the Internet's biggest success stories.

Elad Hemar, co-founder and chief executive of Yoomba, an e-mail service, said the name was chosen because it echoes the double O in Google and suggests that the service is about "you." It joins other double-O entries such as Oodle, Renkoo, Kaboodle and Wakoopa, to name only a few.

Naming your company after a mainstay such as Google provides "linguistic comfort," said Anthony Shore, global director of naming and writing at Landor Associates. But "when everyone apes a name, everyone loses."

Coder

Twitter, which lets users broadcast short bloglike pronouncements via text message, instant message or e-mail, sought inspiration in nature.

"Every time I listen to birds, I get a sense of that short burst of information," Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said.

With his second company, Ariel Maislos didn't want to repeat the problem he faced with his first, Passave Technologies. It was the Hebrew word for "broadband," which is what the chips the company made were designed to improve. But people complained they couldn't spell or say the name, pronounced Pa-SAH-vay.

So his new company, described so far as producing "a breakthrough technology that makes your phone conversations interesting," is as simple as a kid's lunchbox snack. It's called the Pudding.

"Everyone likes pudding," Maislos said.

Google too may have sounded silly in its early days, but the name developed a pedigree through good products, Twitter's Stone said. "If these things are around long enough, the name grows up," he said.

Internet entrepreneurs say the desperation to be unique is compounded by the need to simply own an Internet site.

Like Manhattan real estate, almost every conceivable, recognizable domain name has been scooped up in the hope that they'll be resold for big money. In two extreme examples, the rights to creditcheck.com recently sold for $3 million, and porn.com went for $9.5 million.

Internet companies have come up with tricks to capture Internet addresses, such as rejiggering the spelling of regular words: Drop a letter to make Flickr or insert odd punctuation, like Ma.gnolia and Del.icio.us.

And if the name doesn't catch on? This generation of Internet companies so embraces change -- "Internet time" is to regular time like dog years are to human years -- that it is not averse to changing identity if the name or business model don't work out. Riya became Like. Eefoof has been reborn as VuMe.

Name remorse is not uncommon. A few months ago, Bijan Marashi began to wonder if he had erred in giving his San Francisco start-up a name that loosely rhymed with "stupid."

Xoopit (pronounced ZOO-pit) was a riff on the word "soup," but it proved tricky to pronounce and for some, baffling to spell.

Then there was the typical parental fear: Would rival start-ups -- the bullies of the Internet playground -- call it "stupid" or make off-color jokes about a zoo pit?

Could Xoopit, which has yet to launch its service but promises to rethink how we organize e-mail, grow into a serious company with such a name?

Concerns were so great that a venture capitalist who considered investing in Marashi's business said he wouldn't do so unless the name was changed.

Marashi suggested Phr332 (pronounced like Freak), but that was quickly shot down. So was Flume.

So Marashi conducted market research. He approached 10 strangers in various San Francisco neighborhoods and asked them to read the name "Xoopit" aloud. Most could. He reported his findings to the start-up's eight employees and sought the advice of friends and family.

Marketing experts assured him that X was the new Z.

In July, Xoopit decided to stay Xoopit. The company plans to embrace it in a marketing slogan that, using Xoopit as a verb, suggests its users will become smarter: "Don't be stupid. Xoopit."

"Once you pick a name, you have to stand by it," Marashi said. "The baby is born and you have to sign the birth certificate."

Andy Rooney Parks Wherever, However He Pleases

rooneypresscard

Over the weekend, a correspondent came across a white BMW S.U.V.

It was parked just off West End, around the corner from Zabar's, about four feet from a fire hydrant.

Its user, 88-year-old Andy Rooney, was wearing a white short-sleeve shirt and tan pants with white sneakers. According to our spy, his belt was right under his armpits and his eyebrows needed trimming.

Also? His press card, taped to the windshield, the presence of which presumably made him feel he could hydrant-park, was long-expired. (Shouldn't he have his press vehicle card on the car—isn't this his working press card, and doesn't it say "Not for parking purposes" on the back?)

Good for you, grumpy old maybe-racist column man! In any event, you'll all be pleased to know his registration doesn't expire until 2009 and his emissions is good through '08. You may be alarmed to know he's on the road in a large car though.

Anthony Pellicano To Dominick Dunne: Don't Do It

dunnepellicanno.JPGThen Hollywood producer Dominick Dunne claims Anthony Pellicano talked him out of arranging a hit on the life of the man who murdered his daughter Dominique.

So the Vanity Fair special correspondent tells Kim Masters about those well-chronicled dark years after his daughter was strangled by her former boyfriend in 1982.

Dunne hired Pellicano to keep tabs on the killer.

But Dunne also reached out to the P.I. to help him put out a contract on the guy.

"I was nuts at that time with rage and hate that the guy who strangled my daughter for five minutes until she was dead got out in two and a half years," Dunne claims.

"I truly went through a period of wanting to hire somebody. I wanted harm to come to him."

Dunne didn't expect Pellicano to do the deed but to arrange it.

"He said something to the effect of, 'Dominick, you don't want to do this.'

I was willing to be talked out of it."

Years later, on the night before Pellicano went to prison for wiretapping and recketeering charges, Dunne, now a victims' rights advocate, got an unexpected goodbye call from the P.I..

Price to be Director Peter Bogdanovich's assistant = $100,000

Director Peter Bogdanovich

MARCH 16, 2007

A Canadian businessman claims that he paid Peter Bogdanovich $100,000 to secure a job for his son, but that the position never materialized and the movie director has pocketed the money.

Businessman Iaroslav Jivov alleges that Bogdanovich, 67, and his business manager, William Peiffer, agreed in 2005 to give Jivov's son Matt a job as Bogdanovich's assistant on the director's next film.

According to a lawsuit filed by the Jivovs, in exchange for the $100,000, Bogdanovich, who was to "serve as mentor to Matt and train him for the assistant position and for future movie-making."

The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in New York, alleges that the employment deal was struck during a January 2005 meeting with Peiffer and Bogdanovich, who has directed films like "The Last Picture Show" and "Paper Moon," and has appeared recently as a psychiatrist on "The Sopranos."

As first reported by The Hollywood Reporter, the lawsuit charges that "as soon as the sum of $100,000 was wired to an account identified by Peiffer, the mentoring program between Bogdanovich and Matt would commence."

However, the complaint contends, the assistant's job never materialized, with Peiffer claiming that script changes and financing problems were delaying production.