Online bookies offer Oscar odds—some legit, some odd
The Oscars are not just big business in Hollywood. In London, bookies are picking Gladiator to body-slam Erin Brockovich and Hanks to beat, not eat, Crowe. Americans can't legally join in the overseas action, but Brit betting parlor Ladbrokes has Gladiator as the Best Picture favorite (1-2 at www.ladbrokes.com) and Brockovich's Julia Roberts a shoo-in for Best Actress (1-3). Though all odds are subject to change, Best Actor is a horse race between Cast Away favorite Tom Hanks (5-6) and Gladiator's Russell Crowe (11-8).
Then there's Irish bookmaker paddy Power (www.paddypower.com), which tracks such long-shot predictions as:
•The Best Actress winner will pop out of her dress: 33-1
•Crowe will show up dressed as a Roman gladiator: 100-1
•Cast Away's Wilson the volley-ball will win a special Oscar: 500-1
•No Oscar winner will thank his or her parents: 16-1
Who comes up with the oddball odds? Says Paddy Power managing director Stewart Kenny: "We have a committee of lunatics."
My Favorite site
Getting lost is no laughing matter. So the comic cruises mapblast. com on the road. "The directions are far too detailed," he notes, "but it works." Also handy: "The Weather Channel [weather.com] has a 10-day forecast." And when he's homesick, the native New Yorker finds solace in nypost.com's sports section. "I'm a die-hard fan of all New York teams."
I got hit by the Anna Kournikova e-mail virus, which sent itself to everyone in my address book. Should I warn recipients?
Yes—better your pals endure a volley of "Don't open the attachment in my last message!" notes than get aced by a virus. But disinfect with antivirus software first, lest your warning harbor another bug.
"E-mail address" is such a mouthful that I ask people for their "eddress," pronounced "ee-dress," instead. What do you think?
Without pronunciation tips, "eddress" looks like what a cockney would call Cher's Oscar headgear. Since "e me" is short for "e-mail me," how about a push for "What's your e?"
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When Two Tribes Go to War
They're neck and neck Thursdays, but at eBay.com, Friends handily outsells Survivor II. Among the sitcom's roughly 464 items at auction: a T-shirt worn by Lisa Kudrow (recent bid: $195) and tickets to a taping (sold for $6,400). Survivor has some 63 items up for bid, from TV Guides with the Outback cast on the cover (garnering bids in the $10 range) to, of course, photos of Richard Hatch, nabbing a recent bid of $20. At eBay also, the tribe has spoken.
Ebsen Pulls an Ibsen
"Kelly watched them doing it on the bed." Thus, with exquisite subtlety, begins the latest tome by...Buddy Ebsen? Yes, at 92, the former star of The Beverly Hillbillies and Barnaby Jones is hoping to be the next Sidney Sheldon. His first novel, Kelly's Quest, the tale of an L.A. stagehand's search for romance, is available on the Web from custom publisher 1st Books Library (1stBooks.com) and at buddyebsen.com. Hard copies are also at bookstores—good news for Ebsen, who doesn't own a computer. "I'm an old-fashioned guy who writes with a pen and writing tablet," he says. As for the more risqué parts of his book, "you have to do something to get people's attention," he says with a laugh. Ebsen, who plans more novels, thinks it's working. "The talk is getting around," he crows. "This hillbilly can write!"