Mary Hvizda was out delivering the La Crosse (Wis.) Tribune this past weekend when she opened the newspaper. An article about a mysterious "Grandma Drummer" videotaped at a local drum shop caught her eye.
"I thought, 'What the heck!'" she said. "This is me!"
It turned out a lot of people were looking for Hvizda after a video of her rocking out garnered more than 3.6 million views on YouTube.
That viral success didn't mean much to Hvizda, 63, of Onalaska, Wis. She doesn't own a computer or a "special phone," and when her nephew showed her the video Sunday, it marked her first visit to YouTube.
"I asked this guy at the drum store, 'Is that considered a lot of viewers?' " she said.
Hvizda, who isn't actually a grandmother, began drumming when she was 15 and played in a dozen bands over the next 25 years. Recently, the retiree had been spending some time at La Crosse's Coalition Drum Stop. During her third visit last week, a salesman said he was going to "capture her on camera" while she was banging away.
Hvizda has since been bombarded by interview requests, including invitations from David Letterman and Steve Harvey. She says she's going to pass (she's never flown before) and that her newfound fame has been overwhelming. But she's enjoying it. "I feel like I'm really somebody again," she said.
To watch the video: www.tinyurl.com/muo42ge
Simpson asks for leniency at hearing
O.J. Simpson went before a parole board Thursday and pleaded for leniency on his armed robbery and kidnapping sentence as he expressed regret for his actions and described being an upstanding inmate who earns pennies an hour keeping gym equipment sanitized and umpiring and coaching games in the prison yard. Simpson also said he has become a counselor of sorts to fellow inmates doing time for similar crimes and noted that he has made amends with his victims in a botched heist of memorabilia in a hotel room in Las Vegas in 2007. "I just wish I never went to that room," said Simpson, 66. Parole officials did not immediately rule on his request. But even if the Nevada Parole Board ruled in his favor, Simpson would then begin serving sentences attached to other charges and spend at least another four years in prison.
charges unlikely: Rapper Kanye West probably won't face any felony charges over his July 19 altercation with a photographer at Los Angeles International Airport and may even be able to resolve a misdemeanor battery charge by compensating the photographer, sources said. Detectives agreed with the rapper's lawyer that it doesn't amount to an attempted robbery, according to two sources familiar with the investigation.