Google news alerts
One thing I forgot to mention that I like about the Google news alerts is how you can track the way a certain person is addressed in news stories that are not about him or her. For example, often when a writer does a story about Elvis they mention the Mojo Nixon song "Elvis is Everywhere." It usually goes like this: "Mojo Nixon once said that Elvis is everywhere and with the new touring exhibit of the King's collection of glass dildos he may not be everywhere but his sex toys will be all over the midwest this summer."
Another news alert I use is "Ty Cobb." It's interesting how Cobb's name has sprung up recently in columns concerning the recent steroids scandal in professional baseball. It seems that since Cobb is alleged to have sharpened the spikes on his shoes with a file that he was a cheater and using steroids is no worse than sharpening your spikes. Of course these writers don't delve deep enough into Cobb's life so that they can discover that Cobb rarely used those sharpened spikes on opponents (no more than the average ballplayer from the dead ball era) and that the real reason he sharpened his spikes before games in the dugout in full view of his opponents was to get a psychological edge. I guess you could draw a comparison if Mark McGwire used to sit in the dugout and overtly hold a needle out to the opposing players while growling at them before a game "I may have no balls when I'm 45 but I'm going to kick your ass today."