Is Ed Koch sampling Janet Jackson lyrics? The former New York mayor and current "People's Court" presider is putting out a book poking at his prickly successor, NYC Bully in Chief Rudy Giuliani. The title of the collection of Koch-penned newspaper columns: "Giuliani, Nasty Man."
Koch boasted to the New York Times that he picked the name himself. "Nasty means what it says," he told the paper. "You try to disembowel people. That's what he tries to do." Koch says he sees his book as "almost a Greek tragedy ... [Giuliani's] nastiness is causing his self-destruction."
Well, we can't help noticing that in rushing the book to press for a June release -- in hope of influencing the outcome of a potential Rudy run for Senate -- Koch himself is keeping company with a questionable lot. The publisher, Barricade Books, is responsible for such gems as "The Anarchist Cookbook" and that Timothy McVeigh favorite, "Turner Diaries." In other words, successful or not, the company's put out some real bombs ...
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The death of Di mania?
Looks like Princess Diana may be resting in peace at last. Tickets to visit her ancestral home and final resting place have been moving slower than the Queen Mother at a polo match. In fact, just three months before the snazzy gates of the Althorp estate and its Diana-centric museum are scheduled to swing open to the public for a two-month commemoration, nearly half the tickets remain unsold.
Last year, tickets for the open house -- which ran for the two months leading up to the first anniversary of her tragic death -- sold out in a royal flash; 150,000 came to pay their respects to the wildly popular princess, filling the coffers of the Diana, Princess of Wales, Memorial Fund with more than $492,000.
But though some 70,000 tickets (priced between $8 and $15.50) remain available to this year's opening, a spokesman for Diana's brother, Earl Spencer, says the slow sales make sense given that "the princess's death has not dominated the news this year."
Alas, it seems that -- just like biographer Andrew Morton -- the press and public have transferred their obsession to another sort of princess. Maybe Elton John will sing her a special thong ... er, song ... too.
Take them out of the ball game
Are we the only ones who think this celebrity baseball thing has gotten a little out of hand? First there was Michael Jordan's ill-conceived, ill-fated turn on the diamond during his first retirement from the NBA (it brought a whole new meaning to the term "Nike swoosh"). Then Garth Brooks took a swing at a batting career with the San Diego Padres (Friday's news that he was hanging up his cleats for the season was music to his fans' ears). And on Sunday Kevin Costner tried to show he'd learned a few moves from his baseball films "Bull Durham," "Field of Dreams" and the upcoming "For the Love of the Game" in an exhibition game. Playing for his alma mater, Cal State Fullerton, Costner committed an error at shortstop as the Titans lost to the Anaheim Angels, 2-1.
The only actor who seems in any way reluctant to leave the bench these days, as the baseball season kicks off, is Gene Hackman. When Mark McGwire, at the invitation of the New York Times, asked his favorite actor if he thought he could manage a baseball team as well as he coached a basketball team in the film "Hoosiers," a baffled Hackman replied, "I wouldn't want people to think I actually know how to coach a basketball team. I'm just an actor who plays a part."
Give that man a contract!
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Big screen bits
Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne are likely doing the bunny hop of joy after their cyber-action hit "The Matrix" smashed Easter weekend records (and set a new weekend record for the year) with its $27.2 million Friday-Sunday take at the box office. Reeves' first verifiable hit since 1994's runaway success "Speed," the movie may well put the stone-faced-yet-sinewy actor back in Hollywood's fast lane. Let's hope those brakes don't give out.
Attention: Woody Allen fans. (There must be at least a few of you left after that box-office bomb "Celebrity.") A casting detail about the famously neurotic comedian's next film has leaked out. The as-yet-untitled comedy will star Allen himself and Michael Rapaport, who plays Phoebe's cop boyfriend on "Friends" and starred opposite Mira Sorvino in Allen's "Mighty Aphrodite." No word yet about the plot of the film, but we're guessing it'll somehow involve a nebbishy older man having an affair with a beautiful young woman. (Go ahead, call us clairvoyant if you must.)
Yeah, baby! Some shagedelic news ... When that randy International Man of Mystery, Austin Powers, and his arch-nemesis, Dr. Evil, return to find out whose bag it really is this summer in "The Spy Who Shagged Me," Frau Farbissina will be standing by (and screaming). Comedian Mindy Sterling will rejoin Mike Myers and the militant wing of the Salvation Army to reprise her role as Dr. Evil's sidekick. Smashing, baby!