Every Monday, mental_floss ventures into the archives of The New York Times to find first mentions worth mentioning. If you have a suggestion for next week's installment, leave us a comment.
Popular Films Are Feeding The Series Maw This season's spinoffs...are likely to have a certain familiarity about them, especially after the producers and the networks get through tinkering with the movie premises. In ABC's Baby Talk, for example, the father substitute, a cab driver played in the film by John Travolta, becomes a handyman, played by George Clooney. This gives him a reason to hang around the house "“ and pursue a romance "“ with the single mother, played by Kirstie Alley in the movie and Connie Sellecca in the series. Ms. Sellecca's character also gets a time-honored foil, another single mom who lives next door.
A Rising Star At PaceBill Maher, a student at Cornell University who has been described as an "observation comic" will entertain at 9 P.M. Friday in the Campus Center of Pace University in Pleasantville. Mr. Maher, who has performed at Catch-a-Rising-Star, a Manhattan nightclub that showcases new comedians, will be joined by two other emerging comedians, Adrienne Tolsch and J. J. Wall. The evening is one of two yearly showcases at Pace initiated by Dr. Nicholas Catalano, director of performing arts, who is a part-time nightclub producer in New York...."Bill Maher is one of the best talents I've seen in years. He will be a major comedy star one day," he predicted. Admission is $3, no reservations are required and beer and soft drinks are provided free.
Keep reading for the Golden Gate Bridge, Toyota Prius, Pervez Musharraf, The Tube Bar Tapes, Andrew Sullivan and Slashdot.
Golden Gate Bridge
Plan Golden Gate Bridge, To Be World's Largest SpanJ.B. Strauss, one of Chicago's best known civil engineers, made public today his plans for the erection of a bridge across the Golden Gate at San Francisco....Hitherto the bridge, the central span of which will be no less than 4,000 feet in length, has been looked upon as a wild flight of imagination, but recent advances in engineering and bridge design have been so great that the proposed construction is now a practical proposition.
Tokyo Auto Show Explores New Frontiers Nissan has come up with the AA-X, a concept car that can change from a two-person sporty convertible into a four-person wagon. The two-part roof and the interior seating can be arranged in five combinations. There is also new technology under the hood. Several manufacturers are pushing direct-injection gasoline engines, which promise to save fuel without sacrificing power. Toyota is showing a sedan of the future called Prius that should be able to get 70 miles per gallon. It has an energy management system that cuts fuel use by, among other techniques, regenerating braking energy and turning off the engine when the car is stopped.
Pakistani Premier Prevails In Clash With GeneralIn the welter of events unfolding here, one remarkable episode stands out: after the chief of the powerful Pakistani Army got in hot water for publicly criticizing the Prime Minister and proposing a stronger military role in making policy, it was the general who lost his job, not the Prime Minister. There was no coup, although generals have ruled Pakistan for almost half of its 51-year history, and prime ministers have been dismissed in earlier clashes with the army. Instead, Gen. Jehangir Karamat quietly resigned on Oct. 7, and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif immediately replaced him with another army commander, Pervez Musharraf. Last week, in a smooth transition, the new Chief of the Army Staff installed his own team of top officers.
Angry Internet Jousting Over Simulated Warfare Computer programmers were busy spewing vitriol last week on Slashdot, an Internet site (www.slashdot.org) that proclaims itself as specializing in "news for nerds," over another Internet patent. The patent, assigned to Rtime, of Seattle, covers certain aspects of playing three-dimensional games on the Internet. One aspect is a type of real-time data filtering that insures that only relevant data is distributed to participants. Another is a global time base that keeps different users synchronized within milliseconds. * * * * * Some of those weighing in on Slashdot wondered whether Rtime would try to extract a licensing fee each time someone tried to play private sessions of Doom or Quake or other three-dimensional games over the Internet.
Weinberger Drops Debate At Oxford Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger has withdrawn from a debate on foreign policy at Oxford University after a warning from his British counterpart that his participation "might not be advisable" because of the approach of a general election. Andrew Sullivan, president of the Oxford Union, which had hoped to stage the debate on May 27, said Mr. Weinberger telephoned last Friday to say he could not take part. The American had agreed some time ago to oppose E.P. Thompson, the leader of the British nuclear disarmament movement, on the motion: ''There is no moral difference between the world policies of the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.'' * * * * * Mr. Sullivan, the union president, is a 19-year-old student of history and French who describes himself as a supporter of the Government. He reported that Mr. Weinberger said on Friday that he thought a debate might be an "inappropriate" forum for a person in his position and that he did not want to seem to intervene in the British domestic political process with an election in the offing. Update: Mr. Sullivan responds.
The Tube Bar Tapes
Giving Jerseyana A VoiceMr. Sceurman and Mr. Moran also scattered excerpts from "The Tube Bar Tapes" throughout the CD [Weird New Jersey's "The Sounds of Weirdness"]. These legendary prank-call recordings -- containing classics like "Can I speak to Al Coholic?" and "Is this the party to whom I am speaking?" (borrowed from Lily Tomlin) -- have circulated on bootleg tapes for years. The location of the Tube Bar and the identities of the callers has been a mystery for two decades, but Weird New Jersey broke the story last May in its 10th issue. The calls were made in 1975 and 1976 to the Tube Bar in Jersey City, which was near the Journal Square train PATH station; the callers, Jim Davidson and John Elmo, now live in Florida, driven out of state not by irate tavern owners, but by high taxes.
"¢ Volume I: Barack Obama, Jon Stewart, iPod
"¢ Volume II: Hillary Clinton, Starbucks, McDonald's
"¢ Volume III: JFK, Microwave Oven, the Internet
"¢ Volume IV: Larry David, Drudge Report, Digital Camera
"¢ Volume V: Walkman, Osama bin Laden, Iowa Caucuses
"¢ Volume VI: Times Square, Marijuana, Googling
"¢ Volume VII: Lance Armstrong, Aerosmith, Gatorade
"¢ Volume VIII: Bob Dylan, New York Jets, War on Terror
"¢ Volume IX: Hedge Fund, White Collar Crime, John Updike
"¢ Volume X: E-mail, Bruce Springsteen, George Steinbrenner
"¢ Volume XI: RFK, the Olsen Twins, Digg
"¢ Volume XII: Jerry Seinfeld, Lee Harvey Oswald, Don Mattingly
"¢ Volume XIII: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Taxicab, Hippies
"¢ Volume XIV: Digital Watch, Prozac, David Hasselhoff
"¢ November 3, 2007: Appearance on NPR Weekend Edition Saturday
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