After hearing his songs on Napster, Usher ushers himself back into the recording studio
In November R&B singer Usher, 22, got some news from his brother James, 16: His music could be downloaded on Napster. No surprise—except that four of the songs were from a yet-to-be-released album. "Next thing I know," says Usher, "I hear people humming my songs, and they're congratulating me. It's like, 'Wait a minute, it's not even out yet!' " Furious, he tried in vain to find out who leaked the material, then delayed the album's release so he could replace the songs with six new ones—including the single, "I Don't Know," which features a rap from Sean "Puffy" Combs (who has said he will soon change his nickname to "P. Diddy"). "I' m happy with how it turned out," says Usher, who has titled the album 8701 for its planned August release date. As for those online pirates, he vows, "These [songs] will not be leaked."
Is it all right to cuss in e-mail? Or could you get penalized for it somehow?
It's your bleeping First Amendment right. Sorta. You could get in trouble with your Internet service if you send e-mail that a recipient finds abusive or if you get potty-mouthed in public (say, in a chat room). And we don't have to tell you to stay G-rated at work. As for private e-mail with pals who share your affinity for salty talk, you're probably in the clear. But remember that e-mail can easily be misunderstood (or forwarded)—and that some phrases that trip off your tongue when you get cut off in traffic look pretty silly in print.
Must I be polite to strangers who send me instant messages late at night just because they want to chat? I hate getting instant messages when I'm busy.
There's an easy solution. You can set up most instant-message programs, including AOL Instant Messenger and MSN Messenger Service, so that only people you designate can contact you. (Each service works differently; poke around your setup and preferences menus.) If you're in no mood to talk to anyone at all, most programs let you switch to a do-not-disturb mode.
My favorite sites
When not running in slow motion (and hardly any clothes) in the likes of Baywatch or Scary Movie, the actress is an admitted shopaholic. "I like to shop online for clothes, jeans, jewelry," says Electra, 28. "It's convenient, easy and fun. "Among her favorite stops: travel-and-shop-ping site tripology.com "Sometimes you forget that you ordered something, so it's like sending yourself a present. It's so exciting: 'Something is here for me!' "
Silly Love Songs (and Shatner's, Too)
From Elvis to Madonna, singers have successfully segued into acting. But when thespians get a yen to yodel, the results are not always harmonious, as evidenced by the new Hall of Shame channel at music site sonicnet.com featuring 20 examples of actors turned warblers. "It's all in fun," says Sonicnet VP Jason Hirschhorn, 29. "Most of this stuff was successful at the time, so there's no shame in that."
Aside from the few big hits (Patrick Swayze's "She's Like the Wind," Eddie Murphy's "Party All the Time"), the channel features:
•Clint Eastwood's hoarse "Gold Fever" from the horse opera Paint Your Wagon. "I never did fancy myself a vocal singer," says Eastwood.
•Joe Pesci's screeching "Got to Get You into My Life."
•Jennifer Love Hewitt's Pat Benatarwannabe "How Do I Deal."
•Leonard Nimoy's Vulcanized rendition of "Proud Mary."
•William Shatner's wildly emotive "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds."
"It should be called the Hall of Blame," says Shatner, "because it's not my fault." Then whose fault are those Priceline commercials?
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