Etc...

No, I can't put her on

For a retiree, J.D. Turner gets a lot of phone calls - up to 25 a day. More than once they've come as early as 4:30 a.m. Alas, they're rarely for him. The folks on the other end of the line almost always ask to speak with rhythm & blues star Alicia Keys, whom Turner has never met. Why? Because of her hit love song, "Diary," in which she croons: "Ooo, baby, if there's anything that you fear/come forth and call 489-4608, and I'll be here." Now, the number was her own when she lived in New York. But it's also Turner's, and he's in faraway Statesboro, Ga. As a former clergyman, he could minister to those who just might be calling out of fear, but he'd prefer to be left alone. So why not change his number? "I don't want to," he says. "I've had [it] for 14 years."

Cute, huh? A brief history of Olympic Games mascots

Although not originally part of the modern Olympics, mascots have been a fixture of the Games for several decades. The concept was introduced in 1968, when "Schuss," a cartoon-like character on skis, was made the unofficial mascot of the Winter Games in Grenoble, France. Since then, most, but not all, mascots at the Summer Games have been animals. Among the notable exceptions was Izzy, a goofy make-believe creature invented for the 1996 centennial Games in Atlanta. Izzy was short for Whatizit or Whatis-hee. This year, Athens, which lifts the curtain on the 2004 Games Friday, has adopted a peculiar-looking brother-sister pair, based on ancient terra cotta dolls. The mascots of the Summer Games, by year, with the mascot names:

1972 Dachshund Waldi
1976 Beaver Amik
1980 Bear Misha
1984 Eagle Sam
1988 Tigers Hodori Hosuni
1992 Dog Cobi
1996 Fantasy creation Izzy
2000 Kookaburra Olly Platypus Syd Echidna Millie
2004 Doll-like children Athena and Phevos
- www.hickocksports.com

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