The Fix

Dixie Chicks' wings clipped -- literally. Paul McCartney in a tussle, and Dave Matthews no "American Idol" fan. Plus: A hip-hop star trades props with Howard Dean.

By Amy Reiter

Published September 19, 2003 2:18PM (EDT)

Life just isn't getting any easier for the Dixie Chicks. The wing of the Dornier 328 twin-engined jet they just flew from Dublin to Glasgow clipped an airport building just after landing at the Glasgow Airport. (Sometimes wide open spaces just aren't wide open enough.) The good news: Though emergency vehicles rushed to the scene and the plane and building suffered damage, none of the 15 people aboard the aircraft were hurt. "The girls are all absolutely fine," the band's publicist, Barbara Charone, told the press. Nevertheless, she said, "I'm sure it wasn't pleasant." (Sky News)

Also not having a good day across the pond: Paul McCartney. The ex-Beatle is reported to have been involved in a scuffle with a photographer for the London Evening Standard who tried to take a picture of him early this morning as he wandered over to check out diapered daredevil David Blaine starving in his Plexiglas box. The photographer, Kevin Wheal, claims the buddies with whom McCartney was walking along the River Thames "grabbed hold of me and pushed my camera towards the ground. One of them said. 'There's no way you're going to take a picture, mate.'" (There's a "little help from my friends" joke in there somewhere.) McCartney himself, Wheal told police, pushed him in the chest, swore at him and said, "It's a private visit." But the musician's spokesman told the press, "Reports that this was a fracas ... are highly exaggerated." (Reuters)

And on a totally unrelated topic, Dave Matthews has this to say about "American Idol" and eating shit (nice) in the upcoming issue of Blender magazine: "We used to say to my mom, 'Mom, would you eat dog shit for a hundred dollars?' No. 'Would you eat dog shit for a thousand, million dollars?' She said, 'I won't do anything stupid for money.' That would be my response as to whether or not to be on 'American Idol.' I wouldn't eat shit for any amount of money. I might like to be on 'Fear Factor,' though, because I think I could eat anything."

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I'm guessing it won't come as much of a surprise to you that this year's Forbes 400 shows that the aggregate net worth of the 400 richest Americans jumped 10 percent in the last year -- to $995 billion -- while the rest of us were just struggling to keep our heads above water in a stinky economy. It probably also won't come as much of a surprise that Bill Gates is at the tippy-top of the list, with a cool $46 billion net worth, outpacing No. 2 richie Warren Buffett by a whopping $10 billion and his Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen (No. 3) by $24 billion.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump, with $2.5 billion in assets, is a humble No. 71 on the list, which is a sight better than his ranking last year (No. 92), but still modest enough to prompt him to comment that the magazine's computation of his wealth is "low, but you guys like it that way." Poor The Donald. Though come to think of it, he's doing better than Oprah Winfrey, who with a mere 1.1 billion, is ranked No. 224. (You can check out the rest of the list, which can be sorted and searched any number of ways, here.)

Here's the top 10, according to Forbes:
1. Bill Gates (46.0 billion)
2. Warren Buffett (36.0 billion)
3. Paul Allen (22.0 billion)
4. Helen Walton (20.5 billion)
5. S. Robson Walton (20.5 billion)
6. John Walton (20.5 billion)
7. Jim Walton (20.5 billion)
8. Alice Walton (20.5 billion)
9. Larry Ellison (18.0 billion)
10. Michael Dell (13.0 billion)

Money Quote
An audience member at Joe Pesci's jazz show (he sings under the stage name Joe Doggs) at the Blue Note in New York this week: "If you closed your eyes, you wouldn't know it was Joe Pesci." (N.Y. Daily News)

Best of the Rest
Page Six: Michael Wolff disses Barry Diller, Michael Eisner, Harvey Weinstein and Martha Stewart in new book; Jennifer Lopez said to have called Puffy for comfort after Ben Affleck called off the wedding; Sofia Coppola said to have based the "annoying, cloying, ditzy-blonde actress" character in "Lost in Translation" on Cameron Diaz; Vatican says nice things about Mel Gibson's film, Anti-Defamation League steps up campaign against it; Rev. Al Sharpton on self-made shoe eater Tucker Carlson: "I don't think I've ever agreed with Tucker on any of his positions. But he certainly believes in everything he says."

Rush and Molloy: Mark Wahlberg said to have proposed to his girlfriend Rhea Durham after watching her endure 10 hours of labor to birth their baby daughter. Source tells the Star that Wahlberg "was so overcome with emotion during the delivery, he couldn't hold back and asked her to marry him the next day"; Nicolas Cage and Lisa Marie Presley said to be seeing each other again on the sly; Paris Hilton "massaging" Jamie Kennedy's "left buttock"; Al Pacino gets visiting rights to see his 2-year-old twins, Anton and Olivia; Wyclef Jean on his fan, presidential candidate Howard Dean, who named Jean's "Jaspora" as his favorite song: "Yo, yo, I'm gonna vote for Howard Dean!"

Boldface Names: Sophia Loren stars in son's tepidly received film, "Between Strangers," in role he based on her, denies suggestion that other stars like Gerard Depardieu, Malcolm McDowell and Mira Sorvino agreed to appear in the film for a measly $75,000 apiece because she was set to star; says of those who suggest such nepotistic influence, "There are always bad people around."

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Amy Reiter

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