| Memorial Day |
Monday May 30, 2005 4:00AM PT
Americans pause today to honor their war dead and pay tribute to members of the U.S. Armed Forces serving in faraway lands. And in preparation, they turned to the Search box. Searches on "Memorial Day" and "Memorial Day weekend" have spiked, settling the holiday firmly among our top 400 searches.
Other perennial favorites reflect both schoolchildren's interest and the solemn nature of the day. Searches on Memorial Day poems, clip art, crafts, and sermons have all surged. "What is Memorial Day?" and "Memorial Day history" also spiked several days ago.
Queries come from every state, from sea to shining sea, but interest in all things relating to the holiday is highest in:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- Washington, D.C.
Memorial Day also marks the start of summer and for many, the first family barbeque or picnic of the season. Searches related to traditional down-home foods cooked up some yummy buzz. Deviled eggs, macaroni salad, potato salad, and "Memorial Day recipes" all rose in anticipation of the holiday.
Buzz on Track
Saturday May 28, 2005 9:00PM PT
Gentlemen and lady, start your engines! The racing gods have reason to smile this weekend -- two high-profile races have fans of burnt rubber and checkered flags speeding to the Search box. Interest is high for both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600, but armchair drivers seem far more enthusiastic about Indy, possibly thanks to Danica Patrick, the field's lone female. Searches on Ms. Patrick have been redlining all week, up 71%. Although interest in her competition lags far behind, expect searches on pole-winner Tony Kanaan to pick up the pace once the engines start. He may be driving on Sunday, but he's no Sunday driver. On the other side of the road, searches on NASCAR are up 21% and interest in the Coca-Cola 600 has posted a 30% gain. Searches on Jeff Gordon remain high as well, though we suspect that has more to do with his unfortunate butchering of "Take Me out to the Ballgame" at Wrigley Field a few days ago.
Here are the top five searches for the Indy 500:
- Indy 500 stats
- Indy 500 lineup
- Indy 500 odds
- Indy 500 drivers
- Indy 500 trivia
And, for the sake of equal billing, here are the Coca-Cola 600's top five. Drive safely, now.
- Lowes Motor Speedway
- Coca-Cola 600 lodging
- Speed Street Festival
- Coca-Cola 600 odds
- Coca-Cola 600 drivers
Fun With Finales
Friday May 27, 2005 6:00PM PT
Amid the off-key caterwauling that was the American Idol finale, several other high profile programs signed off for the season. While none could touch Carrie and Bo's karaoke contest for online interest, more than a few made some screeches of their own in Search. So RSVP for the network-sponsored weddings and place your bets on which primetime characters will be bumped off -- it's time for a season finale recap, Buzz style.
Seeing a shocking jump in the Buzz was longtime Search also-ran, NCIS. The Mark Harmon-helmed military drama jumped 170% following its finale. We won't reveal what happened in case you saved it on your TiVo, but we can say that 74% of searches came from viewers 35 and over. Surprising until you remember that it airs on CBS, home to Andy "whatever happened to airline food" Rooney.
Another show boasting big gains in Search was Lost. Interest in ABC's island mystery soared 160% after its somewhat cryptic finale. Fans were split on whether the show's heavily hyped payoff delivered on a season of unanswered questions, but with its popularity at an all-time high, producers can afford to be stingy with the clues.
Also throwing in the towel after a season of hard knocks was The Contender. Sylvester Stallone's boxing show remained relatively buzz-free throughout its early rounds, but came alive for the finale, jumping 87% and into our top 20 searches. Interest in the show's champ, Sergio Mora, jumped 922% over the week, and searches on "who won The Contender" and "Contender winner" were knockouts as well.
What a Catch!
Friday May 27, 2005 1:00PM PT
Did you hear the one about the guy who caught a fish thiiiiiiiis big? This isn't a joke, friends. Last Saturday night, one intrepid citizen of Illinois was fishing on the Mississippi River when he got lucky and hooked a fish. After it dragged him around a bit, it became clear that this was a really big fish. This fisherman spent half an hour trying to wrestle the beast into his boat, and once he did, he hauled up the world's biggest blue catfish. It weighed 124 pounds and ran 58 inches from nose to tail, and 44 inches around. As soon as word got out, anglers and fishy-types were swimming all over the Search box to find out more. "Catfish" dragged in a 391% gain, "blue catfish" leapt 280%, and "world record catfish" made an astonishing 875% splash.
Experts think that the monster fish patrolled the deeps of the Mississippi for over 30 years. The story has a sad end, though. The colossal catch (still alive!) was en route to a much-deserved retirement in a Kansas City sporting goods store when it gave up the ghost and died. The now-legendary fish will have to live on in our tales. RIP, big buddy.
While we're on the topic, we thought we'd trawl for our most popular angling searches. Beyond fish, fishing, and Carrie Fisher, here's what the fishermen and hobbyists are looking to hook:
And some of our top fish:
Idol Finale Recap -- Angels Brought Inside Carrie's Heaven
Friday May 27, 2005 4:00AM PT
For those who toughed it out through the two-night extravaganza, the sugary balladry of Carrie Underwood (+190%) enchanted searchers (and voters). Queries on lyrics for dreary original songs "Inside Your Heaven Lyrics" (+333%) and "Angels Brought Me Here Lyrics" (+220%) spiked after Carrie was crowned champ. As for which of the two tunes proved most popular -- searches on "Angels" nudged out "Heaven" in a battle only an Adult Contemporary fan could love.
If this week's fairly anti-climactic finale of American Idol taught us anything, it's that searchers are wising up to Fox's tricks. Sure, the finale drew over 30 million viewers, but yesterday's top three Buzz movers indicate that some folks aren't willing to sit through two hours of padding for 30 seconds of news...
Wednesday's trainwreck kicked off with an execrable Beach Boys medley that left viewers befuddled and searchers cold -- queries on the '60s surf rockers remained flat. We also noticed renewed interest in mouthy Mikalah Gordon (+201%), who managed to mangle a performance with Babyface (+76%). Jessica Sierra (+101%), in an unfortunate fashion choice, contributed to a messy version of "Walk This Way" with Kenny Wayne Shepard (+771%) and camera lovin' Constantine Maroulis (+44%).
In a departure from the mediocre performances clogging the night, Billy Preston (+1,220%) and Vonzell Solomon (+11%) teamed up for a soulful number while contentious contestant Scott Savol (+48%) paired with Nikko Smith (+19%) and George Benson (+110%) for a winning rendition of "On Broadway."
The show's scripted bits led to spikes in searches on a raven-haired and toothsome David Hasselhoff (+139%) and the always hilarious William Hung (+41%).
Searches on runner-up Bo Bice jumped 118%. It'll be interesting to see if the lanky rocker will be a second place success like Clay Aiken or just another Justin Guarini. Until January 2006... Buzz out.
Football Fanatics See Red
Thursday May 26, 2005 6:00PM PT
It's a footy festival on the Buzz with soccer kicking up searches from around the world. Most of the buzz emanates from the football hotbed of the United Kingdom, where footy outscores all others (even Britney Spears) in searches. Queries on Premier League (+34%) crown jewel Manchester United are up 27% over the last month as fans cry foul about the takeover of the team. It's not just that the team's being sold that has Brits waving a red card, but that the buyer is a reclusive American businessman -- a serious violation for one of the country's most storied teams. Related searches on "Manchester United FC" and "Manchester United Football Club" are also surging as United supporters search on the future of their favorite side. Malcolm Glazer, the man behind the buyout, has also spiked in searches.
Other UK teams are also charging in the Search box. Searches on Liverpool FC are up 207% after the team took Europe's most coveted club title, the UEFA Champions League trophy. Their amazing comeback in the final roused queries on a variety of related terms: "Liverpool Football," "Liverpool Soccer," and "Milan vs. Liverpool." Queries on AC Milan, the squad on the receiving end of Liverpool's stunning reversal, jumped 160%. A surge in interest in the UEFA Champions League (+302%) and the title game lifted UEFA into our top 10 sports searches. Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard also kicked up some buzz and spiked 105% after helping his squad overcome a 3-0 deficit.
Buzz -- Stay on Target!
Thursday May 26, 2005 1:00PM PT
You're probably sick of reading about Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith making enough money to feed all the clones on Kamino. Us, too. So rather than rehash the same old bantha fodder, we investigated the weirdest searches from a galaxy far, far away. We're not embarrassed to admit that some had us scratching our heads. What the heck is a Yoda, anyway? Just kidding. While not all Star Wars searches make perfect sense, we think you'll agree that the sheer number of aliens, planets, and nerf-herders in the Search box shows just how frighteningly popular the saga is.
Here are 10 searches from the Star Wars universe that the casual fan might find confusing...or perhaps a little scary. Read on -- many Bothans died to bring you this information.
- Star Wars Episode 7 Script -- as far as we know, it doesn't yet exist, so feel free to write it yourself -- nerd!
- Star Wars Gangsta Rap -- it's not the East or the West Side. It's the Dark Side.
- Star Wars Timeline -- at last, a way to keep track of the number of standard years that elapsed between the battles of Hoth and Endor.
- Authentic Star Wars Costumes -- don't wear your Princess Leia metal bikini to job interviews. Odds are they won't appreciate the stitching.
- Star Wars Anakin and Padme -- sure he hated sand, but he loved her.
- Keira Knightley Star Wars - believe it or not, she was in Episode I. Can you spot her amid the lameness?
- Star Wars R2D2 Costumes -- take one garbage can, a gallon of white paint, and some wheels from the lawnmower and voila!
- Star Wars Holiday Special -- it's the 2-hour monstrosity George Lucas doesn't want you to see. Happy Life Day, everyone!
- Star Wars Name Generator -- wishing your parents hadn't named you after Snuggles the hamster? Go get yourself a Lucas-approved moniker.
- Star Wars Tattoos -- there are those who like the movies. There are those who read the books. And then there are those who get tattoos. Do not attempt to feed them.
Al-Qaeda Search Alert
Thursday May 26, 2005 4:00AM PT
Yesterday brought spikes in a variety of searches relating to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian believed to be the chief insurgent in Iraq and a top al-Qaeda lieutenant. As talk spread that the terror mastermind had been wounded, searches on "Zarqawi" soared from a flat line into the thousands and "Zarqawi wounded" vaulted off the charts.
Soldiers in Iraq
Whenever Zarqawi's name comes up, searches on Osama bin Laden aren't far behind. As we expected, searches on the al-Qaeda chief rose 165% yesterday. Bin Laden also appeared in the news when a British official denied that the hunt for the world's most reviled man has gone cold. (By the way, we see a fair number of searches on "Where is Osama bin Laden" -- queries we hope aren't originating from CIA headquarters.)
Al-Qaeda itself rose 131% yesterday and not just because of interest in Zarqawi. A U.N. tribunal reports that the group is fomenting trouble in West Africa, while El Salvador and Nicaragua think al-Qaeda-linked suspects have fled to Central America, and Kuwait just began the trial of suspects believed linked to the terror organization.
Other news from the region also surfaced in the Buzz. One week ago, gunmen shot and killed Shaima Rezayee, a controversial host on Afghan television. Searches on her spiked 220% as news spread that her own brothers are suspects in her death. Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak leapt 128% yesterday as he called on his countrymen to vote in a contested referendum. And in related searches, First Lady Laura Bush, who spoke out on Mubarak's election plan during a trip through the Middle East, rose 153% over the past week.
That's the Ticket!
Wednesday May 25, 2005 6:00PM PT
Need two? Going out to see a show? Searches on tickets have been taking off, up 14% this week. Whether you're booking a flight or trying to catch a ballgame, ticket searches are a diverse and fascinating blend. Looking beyond popular but plain searches on "cheap tickets," "discount tickets," and "concert tickets," we wanted to see which places, people, or things were drawing the largest crowds in Buzz. The top 20 ticket searches were easy enough to track down and we didn't even have to pay a scalper. Here they are...
Fast Food Firestorms
Wednesday May 25, 2005 1:00PM PT
Break out the auxiliary fry makers! Man the Frosty machine! Strange as it sounds, fast food restaurants are under attack. No longer do Carl, Wendy, and his highness, the Burger King walk with impunity. Nay, they have enemies on all fronts -- be it fallout from a racy Paris Hilton commercial, blowback over a Star Wars promotion, or lawsuits from alleged finger-planting schemers.
Burger King Under Fire
The madness surrounding Carl's Jr. began the moment its commercial starring Paris Hilton hit the Web. The ad, which features a sudsy Paris, a squeaky clean car, and a barely touched burger, pushed searches on "Carl's Jr." up 150%. Interest in Paris, already comfortably in the Buzz penthouse, rose even further, and "Paris Hilton Carl's Jr." and "Paris Hilton commercial" also went on Buzz binges. Given Ms. Hilton's svelte silhouette, we wouldn't have thought her such a fan of high-caloric foods. But, hey, if she endorses it, she must be, right? The commercial inspired enough searches to crash the Carl's site, but ol' Happy Star may have bigger problems brewing. The Parents Television Council wants the ad pulled, calling it "inappropriate for television."
Also feeling the might of the outraged consumer is Burger King. Its promotional tie-in with the latest Star Wars film has prompted the Dove Foundation to question the judgment of the King's marketing department. Revenge of the Sith is rated PG-13, but the restaurant's Kids Meals and toys are geared toward younglings ages 4-9 -- see the disconnect? Search-wise, Sith is in our top 1000, while interest in Burger King is up 15%. If BK does decide to end the promotion, expect pony-tailed collectors to raid the Kingdom for booty. As Yoda might say, if pulled these items are, increase their value will. Hey Mr. Jar-Jar water-squirter -- you've got a date with eBay.
Also worth mentioning are the continuing searches on the increasingly bizarre Wendy's (+45%) case. Though the establishment has been all but cleared of serving finger-food to unsuspecting customers, interest remains high as details of how the caper went down begin to surface. Apparently, the severed finger was given to the husband of the woman charged with planting the digit to pay off a $50 debt. Wow -- $50 for a finger? Remind us to pay our phone bill.
Answering Search Questions -- We Pity the Fool
Wednesday May 25, 2005 4:00AM PT
Who: Mr. T -- as in "First name Mr, middle name period, last name T."
What: up 127%
Where: hanging out in Sherman Oaks, CA, being cool.
Why: an all-new comic book series featuring Mr. T launched this week, just as the gold-chain-sporting, mohawked star celebrated his birthday.
How: fans of the A-Team icon couldn't wait for the pulp series to arrive. Naturally he egged them on in his particular way: "Quit your jibber-jabbing and buy my comic! I pity the fool who don't read it!"
Who: Paula Creamer
What: up 241%
Where: on the LPGA Tour.
Why: the 18-year-old just days from her high school graduation became the second-youngest winner ever on the tour.
How: sure she upstaged fellow teen Michelle Wie, but how will she play against Annika? Regardless, golf pros say the win is huge.
Who: Chelsea Flower Show
What: up 121%
Where: blooming in a suddenly fragrant London.
Why: the world-famous gardening show opened its gates Tuesday.
How: with 160,000 visitors expected at the annual floral fest, we're sure to see a continued flourish of interest at the Search box.
Who: Harper Lee
What: up 215% over the past week.
Where: at the Los Angeles Public Library.
Why: urged on by Gregory Peck's widow Veronique Peck, the reclusive author of To Kill a Mockingbird made a rare appearance on Thursday to accept an award.
How: for literary types, this is like Bigfoot sauntering into a convention of Sasquatch believers. Now if only J.D. Salinger would stop sulking in his house…
Who: School bus fight video
What: off the charts.
Where: in Punta Gorda, Florida.
Why: a randomly-placed camera on a school bus caught a bruising brawl between two Punta Gorda Middle School students and their bus driver.
How: with a dispute over the charges in the incident and the video tearing across the Web, we're sure to hear more of this in the days to come.
Dreaming With You
Tuesday May 24, 2005 6:00PM PT
When you lay your head down on the pillow tonight and close your eyes, there's one sure thing. And it has nothing to do with snoring, although sleep apnea is a serious issue affecting millions. The sure thing about tonight's bedtime is that at some point, you will lapse into REM sleep and begin to dream. While we have no idea what you're dreaming about -- it could be unicorns and rainbows for all we know -- we do know what types of dream searches snooze their way onto the Buzz.
Searches on "dreams" are up 53% over the last month, and dream searches are most vivid for younger Web surfers. A whopping 75% of "dreams" queries come from the under-24 demographic, perhaps indicating that no one over 24 has time to analyze and search for answers to their dreams. Or perhaps the dreams of everyone over 24 are broken and lay in a pile of regret by the dirty clothes. We're hoping for the former!
Those searching on "Meaning of Dreams" were overwhelmingly women, with 80% coming from ladies trying to puzzle together why Tom Cruise was jumping around a plushy couch like a maniac while they slept. Oh wait, that really happened? Oops. Before we hit the snooze button on this topic, we'd like to share a few top dream searches from the past week. Sweet dreams indeed...
Pretty Ricky is Pretty Hot
Tuesday May 24, 2005 1:00PM PT
If you thought the Era of the Boy Band was over, done, and safely behind you -- think again. Girls, meet Pleasure, Slick 'Em, Baby Blue, and Spectacular -- real-life brothers and members of new hip-hop foursome Pretty Ricky. Whatever you have to say about their names, don't call them talent deficient. One of them croons, three of them rap, and they all appear to have the requisite dance moves under control.
The Miami-based quartet jumped 408% in searches over the past month -- an ascent to warm the cockles of a record exec's cold heart. But then, it's probably already palpitating with the thought of the cash about to roll in -- Pretty Ricky's single "Grind With Me" ranks as the most-requested song in the history of Miami's Power 96 radio, their debut album "Blue Stars" hits the stores today, and the young ladies love 'em. Females under 17 comprise the vast majority swooning at the Search box for Pretty Ricky lyrics and pictures. Showing that the South supports its own, Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana top the list of states seeking the boys from the Sunshine State.
The question remains, though -- Will this band of brothers hit it big (can anyone say, uh, Jackson 5?) or is Pretty Ricky a one-hit wonder destined for the remainder bins alongside other "boy band busts"? Stay tuned to Buzz to find out...
The Great Outdoors
Tuesday May 24, 2005 4:00AM PT
It looks like it's time to consider sleeping under the stars. Searches on "camping" jumped 41% yesterday and roused us out of our sleeping bag. We threw a log on the fire and decided to take a look at what's hot in the outdoors. To get started with your wilderness adventure, you need the right stuff -- searches on "camping equipment" and "camping gear" are both up 48%. We also noted spikes in queries on "camping supplies" and "camping tents" -- essentials for spending a nice time with nature.
Once you have your gear sorted, you need a place to pitch your tent (+30%). Searches on "campgrounds" are up 67% and "state parks" surged 31% as folks looked for the right spot to rest under the moonlight. Those looking for a place to park their RV or camper shell drove searches on KOA Campgrounds (+28%) and KOA (+44%) up through the Buzz.
As we raked over the red hot embers of camping searches, we noticed a few other interesting items worth mentioning...
Hooray, Another Movie List
Monday May 23, 2005 6:00PM PT
When it comes to movies, everybody's an expert -- except maybe the experts. Time magazine recently announced their 100 greatest films (in no particular order), and to call their choices puzzling would be like calling The Fly one of the greatest movies of all time. Which, ahem, according to Time, it is.
Searches on Time magazine jumped 97% yesterday as movie buffs debated the merits of The Manchurian Candidate over the what’s-so-funny feeling of Goodfellas. According to the list's authors, Richard Schickel and Richard Corliss, their top 100 was intended to cause discussion. Well, OK - perhaps that explains the inclusion of Stanley Kubrick's bloated Barry Lyndon over the beloved 2001: A Space Odyssey. But come on guys, whither The Graduate? Why no Wizard of Oz? Somewhere Auntie Em is crying -- and it's got nothing to do with Dorothy.
Here's a look at ten films from Time's list that spiked in search after making the list. Don't like 'em? Feel free to write a controversial review of your own at Yahoo! Movies.
Hyped For Hoops
Monday May 23, 2005 1:00PM PT
Now that the NBA has finally made it to its conference championships, we thought it'd be a slam dunk to see how the final four teams stack up in buzz. As you can see from the graph below, search interest in the top squads fluctuates more than the price of crude oil. Follow the fickle bouncing ball of buzz...
As for the league, searches on NBA are relatively flat over the last week but hoops is taking up residence in our top 200 searches and in our top 5 sports searches. We investigated metro search data and the top percentage of queries on the NBA come from the San Antonio metro. San Antonio NBA searches double those emanating from Detroit and the Motor City barely beats out query interest from Phoenix and Miami. And even though the Lakers flamed out in their attempt to get by without Shaq, interest in the league hasn't waned -- L.A. still cracks the top 5 metros for searches on the NBA.
When you search on the NBA -- what else would you be looking for? Top affinity searches among those searching on the NBA include a handful of players who've been eliminated from Finals contention... Stars still involved in the playoffs -- Steve Nash, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Amare Stoudemire, Ben Wallace, Shaquille O'Neal, and Dwyane Wade -- have all been bouncing up the search charts as the playoffs dribble on. After the final four teams narrow down to the terrific two, we're sure to see interest in the big names of basketball soar in searches.
The Vision Thing
Monday May 23, 2005 4:00AM PT
The annual Eurovision song contest doesn't register with music fans stateside, but buzz from the continent powers scads of searches. For Eurovision newbies, take a dash of American Idol's phone-in voting, add some nationalistic fervor, and mix in questionable costume choices -- voila! This year's competition in Kiev marked 50 glorious years of the song-tacular spectacle. Queries on Eurovision were up 169% over the weekend and the cheesy contest jumped into our top 200 searches. We also noted search spikes on "Eurovision Song Contest" (+127%) and Eurovision 2005 (+105%) following the crowning of this year's champ.
As for this year's winner, Greece was the word. Hailing from Hellenic lands (by way of Sweden), Helena Paparizou bested the competition and went from zero searches into the thousands as fans sought out information on the new goddess of Eurovision. Perhaps her intoxicating Grecian formula is the reason why 60% of Eurovision searches were from dudes. Whatever the case, searches on the winning tune "My Number One" didn't hit our number one spot but they did make a small ripple in Buzz following the show. Paparizou's win was cause for celebration in the streets of Greece, and searches on "Eurovision Greece" and "Eurovision 2005 Greece" surged.
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