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Elif Geris

I’m a Creative Writing major at the University of Illinois at Chicago, which does not have a journalism program. My (and your) response to that: WHUCK?! But it’s okay. Almost as much as I love to report world events to you, I love to write fiction stories that normally entail someone getting lost somewhere. And a lot of the time, I get my writing inspiration from music; Royksopp, Radiohead, Air, Regina Spektor. To me, music completes everything. On the side of writing, I play piano, sing and write music. And do impressions. My mockery inspirations range from Kristen Wiig’s "Penelope," to high school classmates, to Bill Hader’s eyebrows, to 1940s film actor voices. One of my favorite impressions is a kid in my high school senior year trigonometry class who didn’t seem to understand much of the concept. But he, nevertheless, would constantly utter the word, “Troo,” while the teacher was explaining an equation. A lot of the time, I just like to ridicule my own existence. I like to add a Southern twang while speaking Turkish or French; every Turk I’ve met has told me I have a very noticeable accent, and that my sister’s is...well...less blemished. And I enjoy acting like a Sim with her and fellow “ The Sims” players. Sool sool if you’re reading this! Speaking of Sims, my traumatic experiences with The Grim Reaper taught me how to really take care of myself. I recently do not like people who are too mysterious. The movie, Drive –which I give a 70% - taught me to stay away from attractive people, who stare at you for extensive periods of time with doughy eyes. I admire quirky people like Kristen Wiig – one of my greatest idols – who are unafraid to make themselves appear ugly or “Target Lady” to make other people laugh. I like to think that my insignificantly pathetic moments serve just that purpose. There’s a “pAAHsitive” spin!

Baby Beluga whale dies at 46

Kavna, a.k.a Baby Beluga, will be remembered with Cavoukian’s song

Vancouver Aquarium’s 46-year-old whale that inspired the Baby Beluga children’s song has died.

While Beluga whales normally only live to see 25 or 30, Kavna lived through what was probably a cancer that accompanies age, as assumed by an aquarium veterinarian, though further autopsy tests are scheduled.

The Baby Beluga whale welcomed a calf to the world just upon arrival to the aquarium that then died only weeks later.

Baby Beluga writer Raffi Cavoukian knew he had a song when he met Kavna in 1979 and played with her at the aquarium. According to ABC News, Kavna gave Cavoukian a soft kiss he would not forget about for weeks.

Baby Beluga is about a freely living whale in the sea.

Its lyrics are, “Baby beluga in the deep blue sea, swim so wild and you swim so free. Heaven above and the sea below, and a little white whale on the go.”

Kavna lived in the aquarium her entire life. Cavoukian said, “As I like to say, the song set the whale free.”

Cavoukian felt lucky to have the pleasure of meeting Kavna, whose fame rose among the aquarium when Baby Beluga was released.

“On a day like this, I’m mostly thinking about the joy of knowing Kavna and the profound impact of the close encounter that would not have been possible in any other way.”

Kavna’s other media credits include her 2006 cameo on the Canadian postage stamps for the aquarium’s 50th anniversary. Throughout her estimated 46 years of life, an estimated 30 million people have visited the Baby Beluga.

The Baby Beluga whale was not the only whale to have passed this week. Another beluga was found washed ashore, but still living, after a storm in Alaska’s Bristol Bay. After extensive care and attention to this baby beluga at the Alaska SeaLife Center, the whale has died.

Cavoukian tweeted of a 30-minute long segment on his experience with Kavna, which aired on CBC TV in 1981.

"Today Show" anchor Ann Curry fired for not dying gray hair

Ann Curry’s colorful taste in clothing had her dismissed from “The Today Show”

Boisterous colors are frowned upon at NBC. So is gray hair. Ann Curry was fired from The Today Show after 15 years of serving on its team of anchors. 

According to Mediaite.com, Ann Curry said that she was approached by a viewer on The Today Show, who asked her if she was trying to look like Toucan Sam. 

But Curry’s main goal is to brighten the moods of the Americans.

Ann Curry is known for her colorful spectrum of clothing, having appeared in a dress with large multi-colored flowers, as well as in a blue trench coat paired with traffic light green Hunter boots on the show.

And on another count, the 55-year-old Today anchor refused to dye her hair, which was graying, according to the network’s producers.

Curry took the rejection personally. Ann Curry was offended enough to reflect into – not just the professional – the personal lives of all women.

‘We constantly punish ourselves with degrading thoughts when we look at ourselves in the mirror,” Curry said, explaining the exterior influences on a woman’s self-esteem.

Curry added, “The one thing we deserve is a better relationship with ourselves. We waste too much time beating ourselves up. I think at my age of 55, it’s time to stop doing that.”

Ann Curry is more concerned with celebrating and respecting her family’s genes than to dye her gray hair. But that does not mean does not take care of her body or her image.

“Of course I want to look my best. I eat right, exercise and use skin cream.”

But Ann Curry’s image was not the only possible factor in losing her job. According to MailOnline, Curry was an annoyance to co-anchor Matt Lauer, and the two failed to establish an on-air chemistry.

Curry is set to return to foreign reporting, and mentioned an aspiration to teach. She wished to live her father’s dream, family legacy being a common theme in Ann Curry’s career.

Ann Curry’s dismissal had her doubting her own value to the country.

“I know NBC pays my salary but I have never doubted who I work for. I think about the people who watch,” Curry said, adding, “They’re the ones who matter to me. I want to feel I haven’t dropped the ball when it comes to them.”

Bristol Palin custody story: the show that provokes Levi Johnston

Levi Johnston wants full or half custody of Tripp after seeing his behavior on TV

The airing of Lifetime’s Bristol Palin: Life’s a Tripp provoked Palin’s ex-fiance, Levi Johnston, 22, to plan to demand full or half custody of their three-year-old son, Tripp.

Johnston was disturbed with 21-year-old Bristol Palin’s intention to publicize their son, in fear that Tripp’s life would get off to the wrong start.

According to ABC News, the show was not the only reason for the Bristol Palin custody story. Johnston wants full custody of his son also because he disapproves of Tripp’s methods of self-expression. 

“I’m doing a terrible job disciplining Tripp,” Bristol Palin admitted during an episode in which Tripp throws a tantrum and lets out a profanity.

Johnston welcomes Tripp with open arms, and a room ready for him in Johnston’s home.

According to TMZ, Johnston said, “I love my son more than anything … and I will do whatever it takes to make sure he is raised the right way,” adding, “I know he’s going to continue to push the boundaries and push the limits.”

The original fight for custody ended in Bristol Palin gaining primary rights to the three-year-old, and with Johnston having visitation rights.

Not only does Johnston disapprove of Palin’s parenting, but also of the title of the reality TV show. He said that it is a further representation of her bad parenting.

After beginning a rampage about the creation of a TV show, Johnston wrote on his Facebook page to  “Just be patient people, the truth about this will be out very soon and there will be no questioning for anyone if I try to be in Tripp’s life or not.”

This was in response to Palin’s assertion: “I don’t think he’s ready to be a parent. He’s not an adult, clearly, and he’s got a lot of growing up to do,” after Johnston appearing to ignore Palin’s calls with the replaying of his voicemail.

Robert Pattinson: Will he answer questions about Kristen Stewart?

Robert Pattinson will appear publicly for the first time in weeks on “Good Morning America”

Robert Pattinson is scheduled to for an interview on Good Morning America Wednesday, Aug. 15th, after secluding himself from the public eye and from Kristen Stewart. The interview will regard his new film, Cosmopolis.

Robert Pattinson discovered his beloved girlfriend of three years, Stewart, cheated on him with the director of Snow White and the Huntsman, when photos surfaced of the two kissing, and when she personally admitted it to the young actor.

Devastated, Robert Pattinson has been spending time alone in a seven million dollar mansion loaned to him by Water for Elephants co-star and friend, Reese Witherspoon.

Robert Pattinson comforted himself with alcoholic beverages, while relaxing with close friends for the past couple of weeks.

According to NYDailyNews.com, Robert Pattinson was seen enjoying his time at a bar with male friends.

According to Us Weekly magazine, “Friends of Robert have told us that this was the woman that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with and he was actually very close to proposing when he heard about the affair.”

Robert Pattinson is scheduled to take the stage at the MTV Movie Awards with Kristen Stewart in September, regardless of the tension between the two.

Prior to Stewart’s admission to cheating, Robert Pattinson spoke on the rumor of his potential proposal to Stewart: “No one ever knows what is true or what isn’t … It’s not. At least, not yet. But it is true that Kristen has always done something to me that others haven’t.”

McDonald's curly fries are only in the Philippines, limited edition

Limited edition McDonald’s curly fries will last three weeks

McDonald’s Curly fries are now being served in the Philippines, but will only last three weeks having started Aug 1st. This limited edition has people begging on Facebook for McDonald’s curly fries to be changed to a permanent menu item.

The McDonald’s curly fries are also known as twister fries and potato curls, and they are spiced and deep-fried.

McDonald’s in other countries are considering following the Filipino trendsetters with the limited time edition of McDonald’s fries.

WebProNews contributor Amanda Crum had this to say: “Sure, we all know and love McDonald’s golden sticks of awesome, but seriously, who doesn’t love curly fries?”

And Twitter users were busy spreading the word about the McDonald’s curly fries.

Jaleel White said, “The only fries that can compete with McDonald’s fries is Five Guys and curly fries.”

In the meantime, Rico Prugant disagreed with the common opinion of McDonald’s curly fries: “So McDonald’s Has Curly Fries, I Don’t Know How I Feel About That…”

According to Starmometer, the reason for the limited edition McDonald’s curly fries, a.k.a. twister fries, is that the company prefers to make it a hotter commodity. McDonald’s wants to up the value of its curly fries to its customers.

The company’s slogan for McDonald’s curly fries is “Prioritize the twister fries! Get ‘em while you can!”

The Chevron fire may cause gas prices to exceed four dollars

West coast gas prices rise after the Chevron fire

Gas prices are expected to rise on the West Coast after California oil plant, Chevron Corp. in Richmond set on fire Sunday.

Melissa Ritchie, a Richmond-based spokeswoman for Chevron said the Chevron fire may have been caused by a leaking diesel line.

All employees that were present, and evacuated during the Chevron fire, are okay and three have been treated for minor injuries.

While the fire was put out and brought down to a controlled level yesterday, several refining units have been shut down for a predicted few months.

Among those shut down was the No.4 crude unit, which produces 257,200 barrels per day. No one is certain when the crude unit is going to be reopened after the Chevron fire.

According to Bloomberg News, Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates LLC in Houston said, “I expect that if several units shut, gasoline prices will spike at least 10 cents today.”

According to The Associated Press, gas prices are expected to reach over four dollars a gallon in the West Coast area due to the Chevron fire.

But according to The Wall Street Journal, Tuesday welcomed an increase of 20 cents on regular unleaded gas prices. Thus far, prices have risen from $3.634 per gallon to $3.859 per gallon due to the Chevron fire.

The Chevron spokesman, Lloyd Avram, said a controlled burn was maintained in an effort not to let pollutants escape the building.

While it was reported on Aug. 1st that sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide were released by the plant due to a failure there, the Chevron plant planned to continue supplying its customers.

According to Bloomberg News, during the Chevron fire, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, hydrogen oxide, sulfuric acid and nitrogen dioxide were all released from the plant.


Fred Matua of the USC Trojans dies at 28

Fred Matua will be remembered

Fred Matua, 28, of the USC Trojans died after previous hospitalizations due to heart problems. Fred Matua earned his team a 34-win streak.

Matua was an offensive guard for the Trojans, and was celebrated for his many accomplishments for his teams.

As the California Banning High School football team’s lineman, Fred Matua brought his Pilots counterparts through to the 2000 Los Angeles City title. His success with the team landed him All-American honors as a two-way lineman.

According to ESPN LA, Fred Matua fit the role of a defensive lineman well, but USC coaches deemed him most appropriate for an offensive position.

“Fred doesn’t care which side of the ball they put him on, he’s just gonna kick the ass of the guy across from him,” said USC Hall of Fame writer Loel Schrader.

According to Los Angeles Times, in an interview from 2001, Fred Matua revealed that, “Those guys told me, ‘If you want to play, we’re going to hit you hard,’” referring to the lineman’s older relatives.

Immense sadness is among Fred Matua’s friends and family, as well as fans.

“Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.  The Trojan Family has lost a true warrior,” said USC coach Lane Kiffin.

Twitter was swarming with condolences and regrets for this loss.

Brandon Hancock shared that he is “Very saddened this morning. Former teammate Fred Matua passed away from hrt failure. U will be missed my SC Brother. Thoughts to ur fam RIP.”

NASA lands on Mars and discovers possible links to Martian life

NASA celebrates its landing of Curiosity on Mars

“We’re safe on Mars,” said Allen Chen, an engineer in the NASA control room, inciting a room of ear-splitting cheers, hugs and handshakes. 

A sharp, silver object sitting atop Planet Mars, sparked the successfully landed NASA Curiosity’s own curiosity. The object is a mountain named Mount Sharp.

Mike Watkins, manager of the NASA Curiosity mission, said, “We have ended one phase of the mission much to our enjoyment,” adding, “But another part has just begun.”

Mars’s Mount Sharp is approximately 3.4 miles taller than Mount Whitney in California, according to Fox News. The object appears to be related to Martian life.

Also according to Fox News, the NASA Curiosity project seeks hints of environmental history that the mountain could hold.

Photos were released showing the NASA Curiosity space vehicle during its land onto Mars, where the rover’s shadow is visible. The NASA rover landed in a parachute.

According to Fox News, precision in the landing’s photography was key, as was it difficult. Sarah Milkovich, HiRISE investigation scientist said, “If HiRISE took the image one second before or one second after, we probably would be looking at an empty Martian landscape.”

Due to this accomplished landing, the world’s questions of outer space have been turned towards NASA. According to The New York Times, the United States NASA now stands ahead of Russia, Europe and China, discarding its image of lagging.

Granted NASA Curiosity weighs one ton, mission crew did not want to risk using cushions or air bags for the landing. Rather, the mission entailed carefully placing the machine onto Mars from a separate rocket surface, lingering above.

This NASA mission consumed eight months, and Curiosity traveled 352 million miles before finally landing Sunday. 

Photographed was “a new Mars we have never seen before,” as stated by Watkins. Watkins added, “So every one of those pictures is the most beautiful picture I have ever seen.”

Though no one knows when the next Mars landing will take place, NASA hopes that a discovery by Curiosity will inspire Congress and citizens to invest in further Martian investigation.

Snoop Lion reveals his inspirational trip and plan to join "American Idol"

Snoop Lion sets his eyes on yet another profitable venture

Snoop Dogg, the newly self-proclaimed Snoop Lion, heard about the profits an American Idol judge can ring in, and wants to prowl the studio.

The new season of the talent search show begins in January, and Mariah Carey’s contract alone will earn her $18 million as a new judge.

Both Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler left two open spaces, and Snoop Lion is ready to take a seat.

The new pseudonym of Snoop Lion was inspired by the famed rapper’s trip to Jamaica, where, according to Associated Press, he picked up some Rastafarian roots.

During his trip, Snoop Lion connected with the Niyabinghi branch of the Rastafari movement. And in the meantime, he corresponded with Bob Marley’s son, Rohan who helped him in his path toward his new goal.

Snoop Lion has created a set featuring a documentary and album named Reincarnated. The set highlights his inspirations from abroad. On the album, Snoop Lion includes subtle features from Diplo and Major Lazer.

Aspiring to walk a more peaceful path than before, Snoop Lion has named two of his songs, No Guns Allowed and LaLaLa, as opposed to previous songs like Murder Was The Case.

Snoop Lion said, “I always wanted to make a song that could stand for something.”

Some of Snoop Lion’s inspirations for his name transformation and stories of rebirth include Bob Marley, The Wailers and Barres Hammond.

Snoop Lion revealed in a press conference that, “The spirit called me. Any time the spirit calls you, you gotta know it’s serious and real,” adding, “I wanna bury Snoop Dogg and become Snoop Lion.”

iPhone 5 set for release this fall, with more to offer

The iPhone 5 is something to wait for

People are pondering whether the iPhone 4 is worthy enough to buy now, as the iPhone 5 is predicted to be out shortly.

While not many of the earlier iPhones look any different from one another, the next iPhone, or iPhone 5, will have a longer, two-toned, grayish screen. The screen will be about four inches long, while the past few iPhone models have had three-inch screens, according to ABC News.

The iPhone 5 will also have a 19-pin USB connector as opposed to the usual 30-pin connectors the iPhone 5’s predecessors holds.

The iPhone dock will also be decreased in size. Also according to ABC News, the iPhone 5 will be faster.

And the back cover will be designed uniquely from the last few iPhones.

CNet viewed the previous iPhone updates to be rather minimal, as opposed to the substantial changes that are predicted for the iPhone 5.

Last quarter, Apple only sold 26 million phones, down from the 35 million they sold the quarter prior. But people predict the next phone, the iPhone 5, to increase sales with its more significant changes.  

The iPhone 5 will feature tap-to-share and tap-to-pay capabilities with the new NFC chip, according to the China Times. The NFC chip opens a passbook app where iPhone 5 holders can make payments on their phones.

The iPhone 5 is expected for release this fall.

According to The Business Insider, “The iPhone 5 also has more riding on it than pretty much any product in history.”