Yahoo shorts: … Brothers and sisters! I don’t know what this Net is coming to!

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Growth of home Internet users soared 33 percent in the last year, spurred on by different ethnic groups, according to leading Internet audience measurement service Nielsen//NetRatings. African-Americans led the online growth, jumping 44 percent in the past year to 8.1 million in December 2000 as compared to the same time in 1999. Caucasians surfing the Web rose 32 percent to more than 87.5 million people, representing the largest group online.

Hispanics grew 19 percent to more than 4.7 million people, while Asian Americans grew 18 percent to 2.1 million.

“Several factors contributed to the healthy growth for the various ethnic groups,” said Allen Weiner, vice president of analytical services, NetRatings. “Less costly personal computers and low or no cost ISPs helped bring Web access to more Americans in the past year.”

… This “Quiet American” thing doesn’t sound so hot to me, Michael. (And probably not other folks, either.) The headline talks about the opium substitute you want to smoke, but never mentions this …

Caine, winner of a best supporting actor Oscar for “The Cider House Rules” said he saw Fowler as a man escaping from failure and divorce in England. He finds another world and another love in Phuong, a 19-year-old Mandarin’s daughter, played by Vietnamese newcomer Hai Yen. (He) has gone off and got a life beyond even his wildest dreams and in actual fact it’s a fantasy, it’s a fantasy life for a man his age to have someone as young and beautiful as Phuong in love with him.

Plus it’s the Orient, which has always been a fantasy for Europeans, plus it’s post-war England, which I know personally was very, very depressing — I always thought England was like a black and white movie in the 60s, even when it was shot in color!”

Caine said he thought Fowler would have “been completely confused as to whether he was in love or in lust” with Phuong.

“There is quite a lot of a paternal thing in it,” he said.

I’ve often wondered about those men who come to the Orient and have these relationships with these very child-like figures, you know — it’s a very definite different turn-on than from American women, I think, for these guys.

“I mean, I can tell it from the fact that the scenes I play actually with Yen, who plays Phuong. You know, as a man myself, it’s quite extraordinary.”

… and Anil got to tell me about this Jill Scott Grammy moment, overshadowed by a pianist’s envy of his latest blond fantasia.

There she was, arguably R&B’s brightest new star, trapped in a performance of Moby’s “Natural Blues,” an industrial-dance-dyed melange of eclectic instrumentalism and Southern gospel singing. And oh yeah, a bunch of blue guys. The song, performed at the 43rd Annual Grammy Awards, seemed to be Grammy’s idea of a three-fer — a cacophonous circus act that crammed together Scott, understated club music favorite Moby and members of the performance art troupe Blue Man Group. The entire set — from the Blue group’s cobalt-colored faces to their Dr. Seuss-like faux instruments — clashed with Scott’s smooth, urban poetess style.

And yet, Scott, proud member of Philadelphia’s prolific Soulquarian soul collective, co-songwriter of “You Got Me” (which won a Grammy for the Roots last year) and star of a million-selling album, (“Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1”) shone through the crowded stage’s aural traffic jam.

“Once you got past the stuff by the Blue Man Group it was a stirring performance by her,” said music critic and writer Mark Anthony Neal. “One gauge of that is that Grammy crowds rarely give standing ovations. But they were all on their feet.

“It was an explosive moment,” said Neal, author of “What the Music Said,” a study of the political and social impact of African-American pop music. “It made the Elton John/Eminem performance anticlimactic.”

True, Scott’s full-bodied sound, heard on her hit tunes of sweet-and-sour relationships (“Long Walk,” “Gettin’ in the Way”) rose above the scene’s visual spectacle. She even smiled as she belted out lyrics that seemed to speak to the moment: “Oh Lordy/Trouble so hard/Don’t nobody know my troubles but God.”

…and oh, uh, Puffy and Shyne? Tim and Kenny. Tim and Kenny? Puffy and Shyne.

Country crooner Tim McGraw is tentatively scheduled to stand trial in mid-May on a variety of charges stemming from a run-in he had with police last June at a music festival near Buffalo, N.Y. Orchard Park Town Judge Edmund Brown Jr. Wednesday set a date of May 14 for the start of jury selection, according to the court clerk’s office.

The incident occurred backstage at the festival when Erie County sheriff’s deputies tried to pull country star Kenny Chesney off a patrolman’s horse he allegedly swiped from backstage. McGraw, husband of country-pop diva Faith Hill, allegedly grabbed one of the officers from behind by the neck.

McGraw is charged with four misdemeanor counts each punishable by up to one year in jail, while Chesney faces harassment charges for allegedly refusing to dismount the horse.

In late August, McGraw threatened to sue Orchard Park police over his arrest, which he claims harmed his reputation as well as his psychological state.

… and speaking of the Grammys, by the way: I lovedlovedloved this album. Donald and Walter know how to bring the real sleaze.

Strange then, that Two Against Nature’s “Cousin Dupree,” which won Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal, didn’t spark near the controversy that rapper Eminem’s lyrics did. The song details a man’s lustful longings for an underage cousin. Other songs on the album have lyrics about three-way sex and drug use, but none of it is as gleefully explicit as Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP.

“We don’t actually have any lyrics about pedophilia, per se, in our songs and most of our lyrics,” Becker explained. “Most of our songs are about relationships. As far as Eminem � I haven’t really heard Eminem very much, so I don’t know what to say.”

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