Student’s parody page soars to the top on Google

Lately, Google bombs have taken a political turn, reported The New York Times Jan. 22, referring to pranks that subvert the Internet search engine’s searches. As coalition forces were poised to invade Iraq in March, Steve Lerner, a 22-year-old blogger and fourth-year communications student at York University, created a parody page of a Google search for “French military victories,” which stated that no documents were found and suggested as an alternative search, “Did you mean: French military defeats?” Lerner did not set out to game Google, said the Times. His exploit turned out to be a kind of accidental bombing. Lerner simply posted the parody page on his blog (, where other bloggers began linking to it. Before long, the expanding lattice of links propelled the page to No. 1 with a bullet. The parody page still enjoys the top Google slot for that phrase. “I was just one small factor in the whole thing,” Lerner said. “I put some links to the page and then some other people put links to it, and it just spread.”

Jazzman’s journey still swinging

The numerous and various roots of modern music have found their way into 36-year-old jazz pianist Paul Neufeld‘s compositions in many ways, reported Newmarket’s Era Banner Jan. 20. It is because the musician, who graduated from York University with a bachelor of fine arts in music in 1992, moves in so many directions musically that he works with numerous bands, the best known of which is Neufeld-Occhipinti Jazz Orchestra (NOJO), wrote columnist Jeff Mitchel. NOJO, which has been compared favourably to jazz icons such as Charles Mingus’ Big Band, has carved a niche for itself since Neufeld and guitarist Michael Occhipinti, also a 1992 York music grad, teamed up at the University in the early ’90s.

Student of theatre torn between acting, producing

He’s only 21 years old, but Mitchell Marcus, a fourth-year fine arts cultural studies student in York’s Faculty of Fine Arts, already has a “huge internal conflict” over the path his career will take, reported York Region Metroland newspapers Jan. 20. One thing of which he is certain, his career will be in the theatre. His conflict is whether to pursue that career as an administrator or actor. “I love performing because I’ve had a lot of success,” Marcus said. “But on the administrative side, I have an edge and opportunities could open up.” The edge comes from his current project. The Thornhill resident is working both sides of the coin as producer and star of Salt-Water Moon, by Canadian playwright David French. The play, which premiered in Toronto 20 years ago, opens tomorrow at The Theatre Centre in the city’s west end and runs to Feb. 1.

Volleyball player spikes the ball

A photo in the North York Mirror Jan. 16 showed York University’s Cara Patterson, a third-year earth and atmospheric science student, spiking the ball past Waterloo’s Hilary Lemieux during Ontario University Athletics volleyball action at York’s Tait-McKenzie Centre. The hometown Lions went on to win the match three sets to two.