The Fix

Whitney Houston hangs with Ariel Sharon, Ben Affleck uses cosmetics, and J.Lo says P. Diddy had a cheatin' heart. Plus: Susan Sarandon says sperm is more valuable than an Oscar!

Published May 27, 2003 2:53PM (EDT)

Welcome to the world of strange news items: There's a high school in San Diego that's putting on a musical based on last year's Winona Ryder shoplifting conviction. Yes, folks, the students at Point Loma High School worked for the past year and came up with "Sticky Fingers: A Tale of Saks, Lies and Videotape." Saks donated shopping bags to authenticate the set design and Winona was invited to the show but hadn't RSVP'd as of press time. (Fox News)

Someone at Universal Studios is a doofus and it's not Jim Carrey this time. In Jim's latest box office smash "Bruce Almighty" God tries to reach him and leaves a phone number on his pager several times. Instead of the usual prefix of 555, it is the real phone number of at least three people, including Dawn Jenkins who says she's getting 20 calls an hour from people asking for God. Guess there are a lot of unemployed people out there with nothing to do except make crank phone calls. (Sarasota Herald-Tribune)

Hey, if the politicians and their summits don't do the trick maybe Whitney Houston can do something about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She and hubby Bobby Brown got a meeting with Ariel Sharon today in Jerusalem before George Bush did. Maybe Dubya is smarter than we think and sent her in to warm up the audience. (Washington Post)

Ben Affleck may have been People magazine's sexiest man last year but now we know how he does it -- with cosmetics! The actor just signed a many-dollar deal with high-end L'Oreal to be the man whose face they think will get other men to buy grooming products. Guess they're banking on men being lured into believing that if they use L'Oreal aftershave they will land a woman with a butt as great at J.Lo's. It could happen. (Ananova)

Speaking of the ubiquitous J.Lo, she now explains one of the reasons she and P. Diddy (then known as Puff Daddy, of course) broke up a couple of years ago. Alert all media outlets: He was unfaithful! She says she never caught him, but that she kinda knew, since he would say he was going to a club for a few hours and not come home that night. At least now she knows that if Ben Affleck doesn't show, it's probably because he's with Matt Damon. (WENN)

Since it's not cool (or good for the career) these days to speak out against the current administration, Susan Sarandon chose to talk to the British press instead this week, saying that since 9/11 "Our president has turned it into one of the most divisive times since the Civil War." She also complained that the Academy Awards muckety-mucks try to control everything too much -- from what you can say to what you can sell. There's an agreement they ask Oscar recipients to sign, says Sarandon, that says you'll never sell the statuette to anyone, except back to them for $1. "I changed that to 'market value.' It's only an Oscar, not sperm," she said. (BBC)

-- Karen Croft

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Afraid of SARS? Not Keanu Reeves. The "Matrix Reloaded" star says the dread virus wasn't even on his mind when he traveled to Asia to promote the flick. "I had no fears at all," he said. Brave or stupid? You decide. (

Or maybe Stephen Glass should decide. The fabulist-turned-fiction writer (such a stretch) deems Reeves' character and others in "The Matrix Reloaded" to be "too heroic." But heck, Glass might apologize for his two-word dismissal of the flick. He's apparently in an apologizing mood. "I haven't gone as far as I can -- I'm in the early stages of my apologizing," he says over lunch with Craig Offman. "I have sent letters, offered to meet people face to face. I have tons of people to apologize to, and for many, no apology will ever be sufficient." Sorry to hear that, Steve. (Financial Times)

California's future may be in Maria Shriver's hands. Her husband, Arnold Schwarzenegger, says that he "might start thinking about" that run for California governor he's been toying with after the release of "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" this summer. But, the Republican actor tells TV Guide, his Kennedy-kin wife "has to give the green light and feel comfortable with it because she moved away from Washington to get away from all that kind of stuff." (The Associated Press )

Speaking of Republican family affairs, Sharon Bush, ex-wife of the president's brother Neil and mother of model Lauren, is out of the Bush league, having been ditched by her husband of 23 years. And while she has to clear her stuff out of the family manse in Kennebunkport, Maine, her former in-laws, George Sr. and Barbara, have agreed to plunk down the cash for a "more modest" dwelling for her and her teenage children, their grandkiddies. How much more modest? When Lauren comes home from college at Princeton, "we may have to share bedrooms," Sharon says. Oh, the indignity. (N.Y. Daily News)

Poor Liza Minnelli! First she took a tumble leaving her hotel room in Bologna, Italy, breaking her leg and landing in a hip-to-toe plaster cast Saturday, shortly before she was due to sing "New York, New York" at a benefit performance for Luciano Pavarotti's hometown tonight. (She swears it had nothing to do with her recent rehab stay and is planning to take the stage -- leg outstretched -- nonetheless.) And now she has to contend with her husband David Gest's litigious tendencies yet again. Gest gripes to Cindy Adams that there was no differentiation in the carpeting to indicate the step Liza missed while making her way down the hall at the Hotel Grand Baglioni. "And there was no proper lighting. The hotel is definitely to blame." On the bright side, she didn't hurt her face, having "instinctively put up her handbag to cushion the fall." (N.Y. Post)

Now that recently suspended New York Times scribe Rick Bragg has made Jayson Blair last week's Times-shame news, his fellow writers are trying to decide how hard a knuckle rap he deserves for using uncredited stringers and interns to do his reporting. "Bragg's transgressions deserve greater punishment than the meek editor's note," Slate's Jack Shafer opines. But not surprisingly, Bragg himself thinks the whole thing's overblown. "This insanity -- this bizarre atmosphere we're moving through as if in a dream -- we're being made to feel ashamed for what was routine," he tells the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz. "Reporters are being bad-mouthed daily. I hate it. It makes me sick."

-- Amy Reiter

By Salon Staff

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