The Fix

Russell Crowe plays gladiator indoors, Bill helps Hill work her party, and the Dems create "Bushenstein." Plus: Girls go wild over Playboy!

By Salon Staff
Published June 17, 2003 2:31PM (EDT)

Looks as though marriage hasn't put a crimp in Russell Crowe's style. He and some pals showed up at an Australian hotel restaurant recently. They had a few, then started an indoor game of football followed by a bit of rugby -- causing just a wee bit of damage. But hey, the gladiator paid for it all, took care of the $13,000 tab, and then tipped the staff $3,000. If you're going to be a brute, be a generous one, right mate? (MSNBC)

Martha Stewart's indictment is giving headaches to newspaper editors around the country, who are trying to decide whether to run her syndicated column, "Ask Martha," amid all the brouhaha. So far, most of the 200 papers that buy the column have stuck with it, but one -- the Palm Beach Post -- decided to spike it June 8. "When a columnist is indicted for lying, we suspend the column," Jan Tuckwood, associate editor for features, said in an interview. "This isn't personal to Martha." Have a lot of lyin' columnists down in Palm Beach, do you? (N.Y. Newsday)

What a team -- at last night's book-signing party for Hillary Clinton at New York's Four Seasons restaurant the crowd was so big that Hill's hands got tired. In stepped the white knight named Bill, whose autograph seemed just as valuable to the gathered VIPs munching on fois gras and oysters. Hillary thanked her hubby, saying, "I would not have lived the way I lived or become the person I've become without my husband." A true politician all the way. (N.Y. Daily News)

Speaking of Democrats, their latest project is an e-mail cartoon being sent to the flock (and posted on their Web site) that portrays President George W. Bush as "Bushenstein" in his basement creating scary Supreme Court nominees. V.P. Dick Cheney, who plays sidekick Igor, at one point asks where the heart will go. Bush replies "Heart? We don't need a heart." The monster is then pumped with oil and sent off to destroy the high court. (Fox News))

In a marketing coup worthy of some kind of award, the latest hot item for adolescent girls is clothing emblazoned with the Playboy bunny logo. Reports are that girls see the famous image as a way to attract boys, who can then get to know what great people they are. As for the creator of the rage, 77-year-old Hugh Hefner couldn't be more pleased at the latest trend. When asked if he thought there was an age below which it would be inappropriate to wear the bunny, the robed one said, "I don't care if a baby holds up a Playboy bunny rattle." When they made ol' Hef they broke the mold. (Washington Post)

-- Karen Croft

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J.K. Rowling may be rolling in it more than ever -- with both Barnes & Noble and Amazon expecting hundreds of thousands of preorders of her latest Harry Potter book, out Saturday -- but that isn't stopping Catherine Johnson, the British playwright behind the Abba musical "Mamma Mia," from offering her public pity. "I always feel really sorry for her," Johnson told Reuters last week. "It's ridiculous -- she's got all that money but you think she hasn't got any artistic freedom. She is stuck with bloody Harry Potter..."

Speaking of hotly anticipated tomes ... raise your hand if you're dying to read Julia Roberts' life story. Anybody? Didn't think so. But St. Martin's Press is betting that author James Spada's unauthorized bio of the ducky-looking actress is going to be big. Bigger than that toothy smile of hers. And -- sigh -- they're probably right. The book, due out in February and covering the full scope of Roberts' vast and tangled love life, will not be the "usual star bio cheesy schlock," reports Cindy Adams.

Also large of teeth (he calls his mouth a "piano farm"), Gary Busey would like to take this opportunity -- on the eve of the debut of his new reality TV show, "I'm With Busey," on Comedy Central -- to weigh in on the subject of gender. "All men are failed women at birth," Busey tells Esquire. "In the womb, men and women are the same shape -- then a man gets the external genitalia and it makes the course a little harder, a little more severe, and a little more disgusting." (N.Y. Post)

Who will succeed Howell Raines at the New York Times? New York magazine handicaps the likely candidates -- along with some highly unlikely ones. But what's this about Tina Brown being handicapped at 200-1 (she "gets [Pinch] Sulzberger's high-low instincts" but "might have budget issues") while Funny Cide has even odds? Notes the magazine, the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner "would bring a stable of writers." Excellent point.

The odds that Sting will run the New York Times? Slimmer than Tina's. But the queen of England did make him a commander of the British Empire last Saturday. The tantric singer says he's "surprised and flattered" by the honor, bestowed at the same time ex-Bond man Roger Moore was made a knight and Helen Mirren a dame. There's nothing like one. (E! Online)

It's probably only a matter of time before Angelina Jolie -- big into U.N. children's work and beloved in England onaccounta that Lara Croft thing -- is honored by the queen, but in the meantime gossips across the pond are whispering that she's dating the recently divorced Nicolas Cage. Then again, it might be just an excuse for an anonymous source in the U.K. Sun to quip: "Like the movie on which they first met, many have been led to believe that this relationship will be 'Gone In 60 Seconds.'" OK then. (Sky News)

-- Amy Reiter

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