Has Sean Penn lost his marbles? He reportedly wants to star with ex-wife Madonna in a movie called "Madonna and Child," the story of a middle-aged star who dreams of recapturing success. No offense, Sean, but your last outing with the wife, "Shanghai Surprise," was a stinker and though the lady can perform, no one says she can act. Ah well, hope springs eternal. Sean seems to think that their chemistry onscreen will "sizzle." Only if you're frying bacon, babe. (WENN)
Fans of comics who push buttons, rejoice. The father of all comic catalysts may be pardoned for his "sins" -- posthumously. Lenny Bruce was convicted on obscenity charges in New York in 1964 for using more than 100 bad words in one show and now his family and supporters (including Robin Williams, the Smothers Brothers and Penn and Teller) are pushing for a pardon from Gov. George Pataki. In rare form, at the time of his conviction, Bruce quipped, "The cops did the act for the grand jury and it stunk, and I got busted." Let's hope Pataki shows as much class. (CNN)
Looks like British Prime Minister Tony Blair will beat U.S. President George Bush to the Iraq war zone. Blair is going tomorrow to show support for his troops and "thank them personally." He added that he is sure weapons of mass destruction will be found. Obviously, Tony and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld don't have each other's cellphone numbers, since ol' Don said today that the infamous WMD might have been destroyed before the war began. But Rummy doesn't pause to reflect. He just keeps talking. When asked whether he was worried about law-and-order problems in Iraq, he compared looters in Baghdad to English football fans: "We all know what happens at a soccer game in England," he said. Right. (Evening Standard)
The latest trend, according to The New York Observer, is powerful men leaving their wives for powerful women. With 58-year-old Rudy Giuliani's marriage last week to 48-year-old Judith Nathan as the prime example, the case is made that alpha males are now going for self-confident, financially secure, intelligent, fit and gorgeous dames who have been around and can talk about more than eyeliner. These guys (including Gerald Levin, Jack Welch, Peter Olson and Michael Bloomberg) are not successful for nothing -- they're not only starting the trend away from the bimbette syndrome, they are the ones who've figured out that women hit their sexual peak later in life than 19. Way, way later.
-- Karen Croft
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The confirmed bachelor? Bravo has announced its intention to launch "Boy Meets Boy," a "Bachelor"-like show, hosted by Dani Behr, in which a gay contestant chooses a mate from a passel of tantalizingly telegenic wannabe beaus. But like "Joe Millionaire," "Boy Meets Boy" has a mind-bending twist: Unbeknownst to the picker, some of the potential boyfriends are, in fact, straight. "Gays do not necessarily have to be protected from reality-dating show twists," says Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation spokesman Scott Seomin. "When you go on a dating show that's going to be broadcast on television, you have to expect a twist or two." (N.Y. Post)
They don't call her "the good girl" for nothin'. Jennifer Aniston says she was extremely embarrassed about filming her masturbatory scene in "Bruce Almighty." "I was terrified," she tells the London Mirror. "To have an orgasm all by yourself without actually doing anything -- and in front of a bunch of people -- was almost too much." So much that she banned the film's star, Jim Carrey, from the set. "I was like, 'This is already too embarrassing to do, without you there!'" Oh, come, come now, Jennifer. (N.Y. Daily News)
Today's news is rife with reports of further Jayson Blair/Rick Bragg aftershocks at the New York Times, including talk of the paper of record running a correction on its 14,000-word correction about Blair's work and rumors of an investigation of misused ellipses in a column by Maureen Dowd. (Misused ellipses? The shock, the horror!) So it may not come as that much of a surprise that a recent USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll has found that only 36 percent of the U.S. adults surveyed believe news organizations get the facts straight. "This is a cynical time," Columbia University journalism prof Todd Gitlin asserts.
If "American Idol" also-ran Clay Aiken had an act only a mother could love it was too bad for him. His mother, he says, couldn't break through clogged phone lines to vote for him during the show's call-in election. "My mom sat on the phone for three hours straight" without getting through, Aiken griped on the Fox News Channel's "Fox & Friends." (N.Y. Post)
Bob Hope is celebrating his 100th birthday this Thursday by dusting off a new joke. "I'm so old, they've canceled my blood type," Hope quipped. Didn't say it was a funny joke. (Reuters)
Much ado about a secret wedding: Kenneth Branagh and his art director girlfriend, Lindsay Brunnock, got hitched over the weekend in a private ceremony and are currently honeymooning in a secret locale. (BBC News)
Are you a geek? I'd say if you have the time and inclination to take this quiz, you really don't need to ask.
-- Amy Reiter