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Brittney Elkins

1940 census raises concern about identity theft, but offers much more interesting information

The 1940 census release caused an onslaught of visitors to the National Archives Web site.

The 1940 census is now online, and it reveals more than just America’s obsession with everything genealogical and “retro.”

Americans are flocking to the 1940 census site to check out the newly-available records. The Associated Press reported that the U.S. National Archives site registered more than 22 million hits in just a little more than four hours on Monday. At 5 p.m. the website had received 37 million hits since the information was made available at 9 a.m.

The census had not been made available because the government holds a 72 year confidentiality policy. Now that it has expired, the government has made the information available to the public.

But some claim that the release of the 1940 census is going to be a heyday for identity thieves and con artists. Senior citizens are often fall victim to identity theft and con artists, and many people are still alive whose names were in the 1940 census.

Many banks also use information such as your mother’s maiden name or the name of the street you grew up on as identifiers for your account. Some think that the 1940 census information may cause an influx of personal information being released into the wrong hands.

One way con artists use this information is to lull the victim into a false sense of security. If the person on the other end of the line knows this much personal information about me, they must be legit, right? Wrong.

Once they obtain a certain amount of information about you, identity thieves often try to con you into giving them more information.

Never give out personal information on the phone or via email.  If someone says they are from a bank, get their number and call them back. If they won’t give you their number, you shouldn’t give them any numbers either.

But the 1940 census is sharing much more interesting information than 72-year-old addresses.

For example, California led the United States in education. The Golden State’s entire population was 6.9 million in 1940, which is less than all of Los Angeles County today.

The 1940 census is also a treasure trove of information for those who wish to discover more about their ancestry. Americans have become enthralled with genealogy sites in past years, and this release will certainly help fill in some blanks about where we come from.

More than 120,000 fact-gatherers, known as “enumerators,” were sent out during the 1940 census to gather information.

Check out the National Archives to find out what questions were asked and more information about the 1940 census.

Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry's: Yes, Please!

Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shops are dishing out free scoops today.

Free Cone Day has ice cream lovers flocking to Ben and Jerry’s today. Make mine a Bonnaroo Buzz, please!

Tuesday, April 3 is Free Cone Day at participating Ben and Jerry’s Scoop Shops. The annual event takes place from noon to 8 p.m. local time to the participating shops. More than 1 million cones are expected to be distributed during the Free Cone Day event.

Before you run off to your nearest Ben and Jerry’s Scoop Shop, check out their Web site. Information regarding whether or not your local Scoop Shop is participating in Free Cone Day is listed there.

Free Cone Day is a way for Ben and Jerry’s to say “thanks” to loyal customers.

“As a way to thank our customers for their support and to celebrate 34 years of scooping the chunkiest, funkiest ice cream, frozen yogurt and sorbet, Ben & Jerry’s scoop shops are giving it away,” said a statement from the company.

Free Cone Day has been held every year since the company’s first anniversary in 1979.

Is there any better reason to enjoy ice cream for dinner? Sorry Mom, I’m definitely spoiling my appetite tonight.

Aziz Ansari will mow your lawn

Parks and Rec comedian takes his job seriously.

Aziz Ansari joined a real Parks and Recreation department Monday.

Aziz Ansari, of the show Parks and Recreation, teamed up with New York’s Parks Department and the Central Park Conservancy to help mow the lawns of Manhattan’s Central Park.

Aziz Ansari rode around the 15-acre Sheep Meadow early Monday morning on a riding lawnmower, but he apparently didn’t know what he had signed up for.

“When I initially agreed to do this, I thought it would be later in the day and that I would be getting a key to the city. Instead it’s really early and I’m getting a key to the city’s lawnmower, which I guess is kind of nice. I’ll put that along with the other city keys I have—the key to the city’s juicer, the key to the city’s vacuum cleaner, and of course the key to the city’s Showtime rotisserie grill,” Aziz Ansari told DNAinfo.com.

Aziz Ansari may have hit the lawns on Monday, but he’s gearing up to hit the road. Probably in something more like a tour bus rather than a lawnmower, but he seems pretty comfortable on both.

The 29-year-old comedian is heading across the country on a comedy tour to joke about his “fears of adulthood.”

“I see a lot of my friends are kind of entering serious stages of their lives,” Aziz Ansari told Fresh Air’s Terry Gross on NPR, “They’re getting married and having children, and I’m getting to the age where that stuff is getting expected of me. And it’s all very terrifying to me. It still feels like it’s so far away.”

The tour, entitled Buried Alive, kicks off in Orlando and will hit several cities across the U.S.

Nike NFL uniforms revealed today in a different kind of New York fashion show

Glitzy event in Brooklyn launches not-so-dramatic jersey changes.

Nike NFL uniforms are the hot topic of the day, but despite the glitzy launch event, no crazy changes were made.

Nike NFL uniforms are nothing like the uniforms Nike designed for college teams such as the Oregon Ducks. Nike took over uniform and gear design from the previous NFL partner Reebok, and the changes are more of an evolution of the old duds.

Subtle differences in the Nike NFL uniforms include lighter fabrics and more contoured fits that Nike claims will keep defenders from tugging and pulling at offensive players.

The Seattle Seahawks’ jerseys received the biggest makeover. A deeper blue, touches of neon, and a revamped helmet logo were the highlights of the Seahawks’ designs. The jersey now features 12 feathers on the side to represent the team’s “12th Man.”

Many had feared that the Nike NFL uniforms would be too drastically changed. In the end, the team owners still had the final say, and there are guidelines set by the league, so Nike wasn’t able to take too many liberties with the uniform designs.

The Denver Broncos also had a big change. They went from a navy jersey to an orange one. Nike expects more teams to revamp their uniforms in the coming years, but apparently were not aiming for a uniform revolution.

The Nike NFL uniforms were created as part of a five-year exclusive deal the company signed with the NFL. Nike reportedly paid $1.1 billion for the apparel rights.

Whether you were expecting a total overhaul of tradition with the Nike NFL uniforms release, or you were praying that your favorite team’s uniforms would stay the same, it seems that most people are happy with the outcome of today’s event.

Dumb and Dumber 2 on its way after 18 years of waiting

Whoa, Big Gulps, huh? Well, see ya later!

Dumb and Dumber 2 (not to be confused with that other poser of a prequel Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry met Lloyd) is finally on its way.

Peter Farrelly, Dumb and Dumber co-writer and co-director, confirmed that Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels have signed on to reprise their roles as the loveable idiots Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne. Dumb and Dumber 2 is set to begin filming a mere 18 years after the original movie premiered.

Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry met Floyd was a prequel to Dumb and Dumber, but did not include the original two stars. Farrelly, who is currently doing a series of junkets for his film Three Stooges, emphasized that his team did not do Dumb and Dumberer.

“That was a studio thing. So we’ve always wanted to do a sequel and finally Jim called up. Jeff always wanted to do it. We always wanted to do it. Jim was busy, but he called and said, ‘We’ve got to do this again.’ He had just watched Dumb and Dumber and he said, ‘This is the perfect sequel. Let’s do it,” Farrelly said.

Dumb and Dumber 2 is supposedly set to begin filming in September, at least according to Farrelly. Other reports admit that the film has not been green lit yet.

Both Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels have come a long way since the cross-country misadventures of Lloyd and Harry.

Carrey has definitely had some ‘dumb’ roles, but he has also showed his dramatic side in films like The Truman Show, Man on the Moon, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Daniels will star in the upcoming HBO series The Newsroom, and did a stint on Broadway in the non-musical God of Carnage.

So what kind of antics can we expect for a middle-aged Lloyd and Harry?

No rumors are circulating yet, but if the Farrellys have anything to do with it, Dumb and Dumber 2 will probably rank high on the list of most quoted movies. Throw in some mistaken identities and beautiful women who are inexplicably attracted to these two morons and you have a recipe for one of the best sequels of all time.

Perhaps Lloyd and Harry have developed a booming dog grooming business or thriving composting company that grew out of the worm farm. Will they still be roommates? Or will Dumb and Dumber 2 be the force that drives them back together to unknowingly solve an international crime?

For now we’ll just have to speculate and hope.

Good luck Farrelly brothers! Our high expectations rest in your hands.

The Fray march to the beat of their own drum and tambourine

The Fray gets slammed for their rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner Monday night, but was it really that bad?

The Fray performed the national anthem to the beat of their own drum… and tambourine, on Monday.

The Fray performed The Star-Spangled Banner at Monday night’s NCAA men’s basketball championship between the Kansas Jayhawks and the Kentucky Wildcats.

The Fray performed with two acoustic guitars, a drum, and a tambourine while lead singer Issac Slade did the vocals. The performance was not “dreadful” as the Houston Chronicle called it. It was decidedly not to the tune of The Star-Spangled Banner, and it was, as the Washington Post called it, “a little weird.”

When the guitar intro starts you’re not sure if you heard correctly. Didn’t they announce The Fray would play the national anthem? Oh, yes, I recognize those words, but what’s that tune?

The Fray is getting slammed by critics today. But that’s nothing new. Perform the national anthem traditionally, and it’s boring. Perform the national anthem with your own personal flare, and you’re taking liberties that are not yours to take.

Entertainment Weekly claimed the performance was an attempt by The Fray to mash-up “two things Americans love more than anything: patriotism and the Muppets,” and compared the performance to the Muppet’s The Rainbow Connection.

Ok, The Fray may have some of the nation’s number one dailies crying “hipster” and “emo,” but this seems to be just another attempt by a mainstream band to take on the daunting task of performing the national anthem, maintaining their individuality, and all the while trying to please every last red-blooded American. At least they got all the lyrics right.

Harper Lee: Hey Boo premiers on PBS

Back to back episodes of the American Masters series portray two great southern authoresses.

Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird, was featured Monday evening on the PBS American Masters series.

The 90-minute Harper Lee episode Harper Lee: Hey Boo ran back-to-back with Gone with the Wind author Margaret Mitchell: An American Rebel.

The back-to-back documentaries pointed out striking similarities between Harper lee and Margaret Mitchell. Both women authored Pulitzer Prize-winning bestsellers, and American classics. Both women’s books became iconic films. Both women were from the south. And both women only wrote one book.

Harper Lee never followed up ‘Mockingbird’ with a second novel. Harper Lee is now 85, and lives in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama.

Harper Lee has not granted an interview in 50 years. Is it because in an interview 52 years ago she told Winzola McLendon, columnist for the Washington Post, that a sequel was on the way?

On November 7, 1960, McLendon wrote:

“Now, she’s back in Monroeville writing another book. The subject of the new novel is a well guarded secret between the author and her publisher. But we’ll go out on a limb and predict that it will involve a thrilling murder and a suspense-filled trial.”


Harper Lee: Hey Boo was written and directed by Mary Murphy. Although Harper Lee is not part of the film, she is still alive, as are many other people who are close to her. Her older sister is still practicing law at age 100.

Harper Lee was encouraged to become a writer by her childhood friend Truman Capote. Rumors have circulated that Capote helped Harper Lee with ‘Mockingbird’. But friends of Harper Lee say that, at most, Capote may have made a few comments right before the manuscript went to press.

Harper Lee helped Capote in the initial reporting of his “nonfiction novel” In Cold Blood. Their friendship died after Harper Lee won the Pulitzer for ‘Mockingbird’ and many speculate that it is because Capote was jealous. But Murphy sets up the story as Harper Lee leaving the spotlight around the time Capote was skyrocketing to fame.

Doris Day turns 88

TCM recognizes her as Star of the Month for April

Doris Day is 88 today, and TCM is celebrating her birthday by making her the Star of the Month for April.

Doris Day gained fame as a singer in the late 1930s. In 1948 she made her first starring-role appearance in Romance on the High Seas and was a sensation. She became known for her virginal characters like Marjorie Winfield in On Moonlight Bay, a role which she reprised in By the Light of the Silvery Moon, and Cathy Timberlake in That Touch of Mink, in which she thwarts Cary Grant’s attempts at an affair in order to save her virginity for marriage.

Doris Day was not always playing the well-groomed good girl. In Calamity Jane, Doris Day portrays the Wild West heroine by the same name, although the movie is only loosely based on the real Calamity Jane’s life.

Doris Day took on more serious roles in the 1956 thriller Julie, and also in 1956 the Alfred Hitchcock drama The Man Who Knew Too Much. In The Man Who Knew Too Much, Doris Day performed her now famous Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera).

If you want to catch Doris Day in her classic roles and hear her songbird voice, TCM will air 26 films beginning Monday, April 2 and continuing through Friday, April 6.

Doris Day is a film legend, but has also been referenced in hit songs like Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start the Fire, Wham!’s Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Dig It by The Beatles, and Wrap Her Up by Elton John.

She even had a full verse of Sandra Dee from the hit musical Grease dedicated to her. The song refers to the virginal actresses of the 1950s.

“Hey I’m Doris Day/ I was not brought up that way/ won’t come across/ even Rock Hudson lost/ his heart to Doris Day.”

Doris Day famously turned down the role of Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate. “I was offered the part of Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate but I could not see myself rolling around in the sheets with a young man half my age whom I’d seduced. I realized it was an effective part but it offended my sense of values,” Doris Day wrote in her autobiography.

Anne Bancroft won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Mrs. Robinson.

Check out Doris Day as TCM’s Star of the Month throughout April.

Oaksterdam University under raid while Oikos University under fire

DEA, IRS, and U.S. Marshal Service raided ‘Princeton of Pot’ Monday, while One Goh opened fire on students across town

Oaksterdam University, the Oakland, California school also known as the “Princeton of Pot” and the “Harvard of Hemp,” was raided by federal agents Monday.

The very obviously-named Oaksterdam was founded by Richard Lee, California’s most prominent advocate for the legalization and regulation of marijuana, in order to train students in the marijuana industry.

The U.S. government is currently trying to put medical marijuana businesses on lock-down if it is believed they are operating for profit.

“This is clearly an attack on regulation,” Oaksterdam University Chancellor Dale Sky Jones said Monday. “They just went after a school that tries to teach people how to do things legally.”

Jones went on to say that without regulation, “what’s going to change is who is selling it, the good guys or the bad guys.”

The raids on Oaksterdam University were carried out under a federal search warrant sealed by Judge Jocelyn Barnes, special agent for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in San Francisco.

The DEA agents were joined by personnel from the IRS and U.S. Marshals Service. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the armed agents came with a battering ram, sledgehammer, power saws and a locksmith. They left Oaksterdam carrying file boxes, a safe, and black trash bags.

Although federal agents could not give a reason for their raid on Oaksterdam, other than that they were carrying out a search warrant, supporters of Lee said they believe he was targeted specifically because of his high profile in California’s marijuana industry.

In addition to Oaksterdam, authorities raided Lee’s home, a medical cannabis dispensary called Coffeeshop Blue Sky, and two other properties rented by Lee.

Around the same time that federal authorities were raiding the “Princeton of Pot,” a gunman opened fire across town at an East Oakland Christian college, Oikos University. One Goh, a 43-year-old former student of Oikos University, told police Monday that he was upset at Oikos for dismissing him.

Seven victims were killed execution-style, according to the Oakland PD.
Today Oakland residents are reacting to the unbalanced “justice” that occurred in their community Monday.

Chip Johnson, a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, wrote Tuesday, “It would be in the best interests of everyone if law enforcement efforts in Oakland focused on taking down the real bad guys—the ones shooting people,” and, “It is counterintuitive to use three federal law enfocement agencies to close a marijuana school and dispensary while ignoring illegal street drug operations in Oakland that continue to thrive, causing more violence.”

Two protestors are known to have been arrested during the Oaksterdam raid, and Lee and four of his employees were temporarily detained during.

Oaksterdam students and faculty are concerned that if the dispensaries and school are closed, marijuana sales will go back underground. 

Abandoned donkeys flood Texas

After a lingering drought, ranchers let their donkeys wander free.

Abandoned donkeys are a growing concern in Texas.

The withering drought affecting Texas and northwest Louisiana the past couple of years has led to hundreds of abandoned donkeys wandering aimlessly through the region.

One donkey rescue group reported that it has taken in 800 abandoned donkeys since March 2011. The drought is nearing its end, but the number of abandoned donkeys isn’t dropping off.

Mark Meyers, executive director of Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue, said that hay prices have not come down yet, and what little grass is growing, people will save for the animals that will make them money.

“Last week I spent two days on the road and got 20 donkeys each day,” Mark Meyers said Wednesday.

Auction houses won’t take the abandoned donkeys. One deputy from a Sheriff’s office near Austin said that they weren’t able to get a $5 bid for two donkeys.

“Texas has large, large, large ranches. As the wells dried up and grazing’s gone down, animals are coming up to the fence to eat. People are realizing they’ve sold all their cattle… but they’ve got 20 donkeys,” Mark Meyers said earlier this year.

The abandoned donkeys are still probably better off wandering free than some of their relatives. Many donkeys have reportedly been abused, and many are left to fend for themselves inside their fences.

Abandoned donkeys are left at the edges of highways, but some farmers take their donkeys in the dark of night and drive until they find a bad spot in someone else’s fence, leading to an increase in phone calls to police reporting strange donkeys on one’s property.

Donkeys can be extremely mean, and abandoned donkeys should be handled by professionals.