In an attempt to win the hearts and minds of young Arabs everywhere, the State Department is publishing and distributing a monthly Arabic-language magazine called Hi, which will be sold for about $2 in Lebanon, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza, Israel, Egypt, Algeria, Cyprus and several Gulf states. Saudi Arabia is not on the guest list. Articles in the first issue include features on singer Norah Jones, sandboarding, yoga and "making marriage work." Surely a cover story on Ben and J-Lo isn't far away. Maybe if the Arab world ODs on them too, it can be a bonding experience for our two cultures. (Independent)
In other publishing news, Bill Clinton is one busy man. Not only is he traveling around the world making speeches and just being Bill, he's also putting together a cookbook to raise money for the Clinton Presidential Foundation. Sounds like a winner: For $35 you'll get mouthwatering recipes from Clinton pals Sophia Loren, Muhammad Ali, Bono, Christie Brinkley, Whoopi Goldberg, Barbra Streisand and good little eater Elizabeth Taylor. Bill shares his chicken enchiladas with us (just like he did with Monica) and dessert is provided by Hillary Clinton, who graciously contributes her chocolate chip cookie recipe to the sumptuous smorgasbord. (International Herald Tribune)
Food-porn queen Nigella Lawson filed to the New York Times from Venice the other day and the accompanying photo of the kitchen goddess was taken by none other than her main squeeze, British ad supermogul and art collector Charles Saatchi. They were there for the Biennale and tongues wagged when the couple supposedly "engaged in excessive displays of public affection ..." Sorry, but Venice exists to inspire PDA. (NY Observer)
The French Cultural Ministry just announced a ban on the word "e-mail" in all government documents, publications and Web sites. Instead, they want the French to use the word "courriel," a fusion of "courrier" and "electronique." Some internet-savvy Frenchies are not convinced it's a good idea. Marie Christine Levet, president of ISP Club Internet, says "The word 'courriel' is not at all actively used ... protecting the language is normal, but e-mail's so assimilated now that no one thinks of it as American." Sure it's American -- it's as American as French fries! (CNN)
Quote of the day is from supermodel Heidi Klum who says she uses her eyes -- not her bodacious ta-tas -- to seduce men. "My breasts don't have any message to send," explained the German beauty. "They just have to fit into my bra and that's that." But that's a full-time job, Heidi darling. (Ananova)
-- Karen Croft
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Jennifer Lopez would like to make us all aware that she doesnt let Ben Affleck cook or do the dishes. "Im traditional in that way," Lopez, who in all likelihood has a staff to take care of such household chores, said in an interview last night on "Dateline." "Ben wears the pants. He definitely wears the pants." But how good he looks in them is another matter. The actress says that when she first met her future fiance "he wasn't even remotely appealing, really, to tell you the truth. He was so far from the sexiest man alive. I thought he was kinda homely!" (N.Y. Post)
Cameron Diaz, Alanis Morissette, Creative Artists Agency head Richard Lovett and Leonardo DiCaprio are being forced to fork over buckets of cash to settle lawsuits brought against them by jailed Hollywood swindler Dana Giacchettos defunct investment fund, Cassandra Group. The sums constitute about 50 cents for every dollar allegedly diverted to them from lesser investors through the fund. Diaz insisted the $100,000 she ponied up was in no way an admission of guilt and was merely a way to "avoid the expense of litigation." Still to settle: Tobey Maguire, Courteney Cox, Ben Stiller, Michael Ovitz, Jon Favreau and ABC News correspondent Chris Cuomo. (The Smoking Gun)
William Shatner and his ex-wife Marcy Lafferty Shatner have resolved a certain sticky divorce-settlement issue: how best to package horse semen. She apparently wanted her ex-hubs to provide her with the semen of one of his horses, the aptly named Great Days Came the Son, in "fresh cooled format" and was dismayed when he tried to give it to her on ice. "Mr. Shatner's offer to provide semen from the three stallions in question in frozen form is unacceptable to Ms. Lafferty," her lawsuit said. "Potential buyers of the breeding privileges do not want the semen in frozen format." (Associated Press)
Best of the Rest
Page Six: Rudy Giuliani says hes not planning to run for governor of New York in 2006, but lots of other people say he is; Katie Couric said to be mean to "Today" show support staff; Madonna said to be mulling motherhood again, rep offers half-hearted denial; Angelina Jolie says "riding a huge stallion side-saddle" was most challenging "Tomb Raider" stunt; Barbra Streisand donates to every Democratic presidential hopeful except Joe Lieberman, Carol Moseley Braun and Dennis Kucinich; Lara Flynn Boyle goes off about being "dispensed of" by "Practice" creator David E. Kelley "for whatever reason there is."
Rush and Molloy: Demi Moore buys a $3.5 million house "within jogging distance" of boyfriend Ashton Kutchers L.A. digs; Allison Janney says Mandy Moore "asks for what she wants, and gets it"; Hilary Duff denies boob job, feels bad for Britney Spears; Mel Gibson locks horns with Catholic and Jewish orgs; Justin Timberlake and Cameron Diaz canoodle in Miami; Andre Agassi peddles scent, says he has mixed feelings about Anna Kournikova.
The Reliable Source: Matt Drudge says someone in the White House tipped him off to an article in which ABC News correspondent Jeffrey Kofman is revealed as -- gasp! -- gay and Canadian in possible misguided effort to discredit Kofman after he filed a story about plummeting military morale in Iraq. White House spokesman says strange tippage "would be totally inappropriate if true"; nice guy ex-POTUS Jerry Ford toasted by press; Jean-Claude Van Damme endorses Arnold Schwarzenegger for California gov, calls him a "cool guy," "very smart and intelligent" and "responsible."
Liz Smith: Rupert Murdoch and his wife, Wendi, have spawned. Their baby daughter, Chloe, born this week, weighed in at eight pounds.