Man to run for cemetery funds
BALTIMORE, Dec. 28 (UPI) -- A Baltimore man was preparing Monday to set out on a cross-country fund-raising run for the cemetery that holds his mother's remains.
Science teacher Warren Wiggins, 49, hopes to raise enough funds to renovate Mount Auburn, believed to be the oldest African-American cemetery in Baltimore, the Baltimore Sun reported.
Wiggins plans to run from Los Angeles to New York in 254 days, averaging about 14 or 15 miles a day. His plan is to begin the run Jan. 1 and end at the World Trade Center site on Sept. 11. Wiggins will run through both bitter cold and scorching heat.
Wiggins will be followed by a motor home -- renovated with his own mechanic skills -- driven by former truck driver Patricia FitzHugh, whose son is buried at Mount Auburn. FitzHugh will act as a public relations consultant, contacting churches, schools and the media in areas Wiggins will run through.
Friends and supporters have donated an estimated $7,500 for trip expenses.
Wiggins' trek can be followed at his Web site, www.runforrest.org.
Rod Stewart reveals transvestite encounter
LONDON, Dec. 28 (UPI) -- British singer Rod Stewart has revealed he once unwittingly brought a transvestite back to his hotel room, Sky News reported Monday.
"We were all in a bar and there was this gorgeous bird," Rod told Q magazine. "I thought, 'Why aren't any of the guys near her?' They'd set me up.
"So I took her back to my hotel, put my hand down there and there's the old (male genitals).
"I thought I was very good. I said, 'Look, I'm going to go to sleep -- you get that side and be gone in the morning.'"
Stewart also said he "felt fooled" when wife Rachel Hunter left him after a nine-year marriage, because he thought they'd be together forever.
"I was a silly bugger and I should have known. I was 45 and she was 21. I felt like I'd been fooled, but at the same time there was a sneaky feeling that the old man up there's got you back."
He said women shouldn't marry before 30 because they can be "very volatile."
Illinois picks state reptile and amphibian
CHICAGO, Dec. 28 (UPI) -- Despite criticism from a state lawmaker, Illinois residents have until Friday to cast online votes for an official state reptile and state amphibian.
Like most U.S. states the Land of Lincoln has an official state bird, the Cardinal; state flower, the violet; state tree, the white oak; state fish, the bluegill; state animal, the white-tailed deer; state insect, the monarch butterfly; state dance, the square dance, and state snack, popcorn.
State Sen. Rickey Hendon tells the Chicago Tribune a state reptile and state amphibian is a bit much but says he will go along with the will of the people.
The 700-member Chicago Herpetological Society narrowed the 102 reptiles and amphibians native to Illinois down to three candidates in each category.
More than 25,000 people have voted since August.
Early returns show the painted turtle leads the common garter snake and eastern box turtle in the reptile vote and the eastern tiger salamander is ahead of the grey tree frog and the American toad in the amphibian vote.
'Idol' tops 2004 Yahoo! searches
SUNNYVALE, Calif., Dec. 28 (UPI) -- "American Idol" was the most popular item for search engine Yahoo! in 2004, Billboard reported Monday.
The Fox network's talent competition also topped the Internet giant's list of top TV reality show searches. Another Fox reality star, Paris Hilton, held second-place honors. Coming in third was Jessica Simpson, with previous list-topper Britney Spears taking fourth.
Rounding out the top 10 were fictional wizard Harry Potter, wrestling franchise WWE, recording artist Usher, NASCAR, the NBA and the NFL.
Spears was the only year-end list maker to top a monthly list following her September wedding to Kevin Federline. Janet Jackson pictures topped the February list after her Super Bowl "wardrobe malfunction."
"The 2004 results illustrate that while people follow scandals and heartbreaks, they also have other interests," says Yahoo!'s Nancy Evars. "Controversy rocked several of this year's top search queries, but sports searches also made the list thanks to the increase in popularity of fantasy sports and the surging demand for pro-sports statistics."