The strange news about the strange Michael Jackson just keeps coming. Now we hear that Jacko's lawyer, the ubiquitous Mark Geragos, has been working on the child molestation case since March, when Michael first got wind there might be trouble brewing in Neverland. A source told Fox News that the mother of the child in question acted like "a scorned woman" when Jackson tried to break off the relationship both personally and financially. And, in the quote of the day, the same source said of the mother, "She's very screwed up." No, it's normal to send your child to visit a 45-year-old who has obliterated his face with plastic surgery and has slumber parties with kids! (Fox News)
In nice news about musicians: George Harrison, Prince, Jackson Browne, Bob Seger, Traffic, ZZ Top and The Dells were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Thursday. Especially nice for Harrison, who got the nod posthumously for his solo work after being invited in before as a member of that cute boy band known as the Beatles. (AP via ABC News)
Monica Lewinsky told GQ magazine that she has a hard time finding guys who want to date her. She says, "If I were a guy and I'd heard all those things about a girl, I don't know that I'd want to take her out. I want to shake them and say, 'C'mon, just like me! Do what I say!'" That could work. (Ananova)
Stephen King won an honorary National Book Award last night and the world is still revolving. But even though King was weak from a bout with pneumonia and a leg injury, the literary lions didn't all lie down calmly with the bestselling boy. Shirley Hazzard, who won the fiction prize this year, said she hadn't gotten around to reading a King novel and noted that Shakespeare and Conrad were priorities. Ouch. (CNN)
Adding insult to inquiry: District Attorney Thomas W. Sneddon Jr. responding to the suggestion that the investigation of child-molestation charges against Michael Jackson was in some way related to the release of Jackson's latest album: "Like the sheriff and I are really into that kind of music." (Associated Press)
Silver lining: Paris Hilton on how the humiliating release of her amateur sex video has made her rethink being a streetwalker .. or a person who walks the streets ... or whatever: "I can't walk the streets. It's too embarrassing. I don't want to go out anymore. I don't want to party. This has really made me think about changes I want to make." It's also reportedly moving her to cancel her scheduled appearance on Letterman next week to promote her new reality show, "The Simple Life." Guess it's not such a simple life after all. (Us Weekly via N.Y. Daily News)
A poster ... for him to poop on: Triumph the Insult Comic Dog on how he wasn't in favor of the caption "Get Neutered -- It Didn't Hurt Clay Aiken" on a PETA poster bearing his image: "I really wanted 'Chop 'Em Off -- They Didn't Taste That Great Anyway.' But PETA was jonesing for the Clay joke." (triumphtheinsultcomicdog.com)
Someone's starting to sound a wee bit paranoid: Rush Limbaugh on allegations that he took part in a money-laundering scheme: "I know where this is coming from. I know who's behind it, and I know what the purpose of the story is." (Rush's radio show via N.Y. Daily News)
Best of the Rest
Page Six: Barbara Walters and ex-husband Merv Adelson are nice to each other at opening-night performance of Carole Bayer Sager in N.Y.; Jay-Z looking into buying New Jersey Nets; Billy Crudup said to have left Mary Louise Parker, who is seven months pregnant with his child, for Claire Danes, but Danes' rep insists her client is just "friends" with Crudup; George Stephanopoulos proposes Jesus and Mohammed as Time People of the Year; Natalie Portman rumored to be up for role of Lois Lane in new "Superman" flick.
Lloyd Grove's Lowdown: CNBC's Maria Bartiromo up for role in Francis Ford Coppola film "Megalopolis"; Dick Cheney up for Time Person of the Year honors. George Stephanopoulos says he's "more powerful than [Al] Gore"; Phil Donahue says having his show canceled by MSNBC "helped me to understand what it must have been like to be blacklisted"; President Bush makes David Blaine joke in London ... without mentioning David Blaine.
Rush and Molloy: Topless photos of Jessica Lynch may yet see light of day ... the British tabs; Johnny Depp named People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive; "Fast and the Furious" star Michelle Rodriguez headed to court to defend herself from eight misdemeanor charges -- including hit-and-run and DUI -- stemming from two L.A. car accidents in last few months; John Travolta helps students escape from stuck elevator; former G.E. honcho Jack Welch and girlfriend Suzy Wetlaufer rumored to be fixing to wed, drafting prenup.