Will Sean Penn give up his day job and become a journalist? Reports are that the actor, who made a controversial trip to Iraq last December, wants to return and send back dispatches to his local paper, the San Francisco Chronicle. The paper's editor, Phil Bronstein, didn't return calls before deadline, but sources at the paper say they've seen Penn in the newsroom of late. (IMDB)
If Sean can be a reporter, Pamela Anderson can teach Sunday school! The bodacious one says that religion has helped her get through hard times and she's begun teaching at her son's Sunday school class, "reading the Bible, getting out jelly beans and setting the kids a good example." She added, "When you are blonde, people have low expectations of you," but that she sees no contradiction between her sexy image and a belief in God. After all, many -- if not all -- of her attributes are God-given. (Ananova)
Film idea of the day: Take British TV sensation Jamie Oliver, famous for his "Naked Chef" show on Food Network and his latest reality show wherein he grooms unemployed kids to become chefs. Then make it into a movie set in New Jersey but hire Scottish actor Ewan McGregor to play Jamie and base it not only on Oliver's life but weave in the concept of the 1980s film "Fame." What a stew. (BBC)
While we're on the subject of casting, how's this for surreal: a Hallmark Channel special called "A Carol Christmas" with former gubernatorial candidate Gary Coleman as the ghost of Christmas past and former "Beverly Hills 90210" starlet Tori Spelling as Scrooge. (Melbourne Herald Sun)
Making friend wherever they go, George W. Bush and entourage landed their helicopters on the grounds of Buckingham Palace last week and brought the queen's gardener to tears. The equipment and security people trampled trees, bushes and flowers and caused tens of thousands of pounds of damage. According to news reports, "The Queen's own flock of flamingoes, which security staff insisted should be moved in case they flew into the helicopter rotors, are thought to be so traumatised after being taken to a 'place of safety' that they might never return home." At least George knows now what he can get the queen for Christmas. There's nothing like the sight of pretty pink birds under the tree ... (The Mirror U.K.)
For those of you starting your week with alleged child molester Michael Jackson on the brain, here's the latest King o' Pop news:
Certain papers have seen fit to publish the photo and name of the 12-year-old boy presumed to be Jackson's accuser. What's more, one of those papers, Australia's Daily Telegraph, is reporting that police snagged a whole stash of letters allegedly written by Michael to his young friend in their search of Jackson's Neverland ranch last week. "They are very explicit and intimate and show a degree of familiarity. Basically, they appear to be love letters from Michael to the boy," a "source close to the investigation" tells the paper. They also may or may not corroborate the kid's allegation that Jackson's pet name for him was ... Rubba. "He said Jackson called him Rubba because one of the games they used to play was called rubba rubba," the source said. "The boy said, 'Michael told me he was my rubba rubba friend.'" I have no idea what that means either, but it doesn't sound good. (The Daily Telegraph)
Oh, and one of Michael Jackson's famous friends has finally stepped forward to defend him. "I believe Michael is absolutely innocent and that he will be vindicated," Elizabeth Taylor said in a statement released to the press on Sunday. She also took a poke at the media for their coverage of the case, saying, "Their whole reaction is that he is guilty. I thought the law was 'innocent until proven guilty.' I know he is innocent and I hope they all eat crow." (Reuters)
Jackson himself has taken to cyberspace to defend himself, launching a Web site to release official statements in reaction to developments in his case. In a letter posted on the site and addressed to his "fans, friends and family," Jackson says the "terribly serious" charges against him are "predicated on a big lie." He also insists that "any statement that does not appear on this website must be considered unauthorized," adding, "You are right to be skeptical of some of the individuals who are being identified in the mass media as my friends, spokespeople, and attorneys. With few exceptions, most of them are simply filling a desperate void in our culture that equates visibility with insight. We will not engage in speculation. We will not provide running commentary on every new development or allegation du jour. We intend to try our case in the courtroom, not in the public or the media." (MJNews.com)
Best of the Rest
Page Six: Georgette Mosbacher gets carry-on bag containing cash, jewelry, cellphone, laptop and personal I.D. lifted from check-in counter at Charles de Gaulle Airport, gets pissed at "the disdain and total lack of any assistance or concern on the part of Air France and the French police"; Us Weekly reporter Ian Drew accused of being "best buddies with Wacko Jacko for more than a decade"; rumors surface that Cameron Crowe suggested Ashton Kutcher might need acting lessons before booting him from next film, "Elizabethtown"; rumors also surface that the Bennifer nuptials got postponed because Lopez "somehow obtained [Affleck's] password and checked his e-mails, which included messages from flirting female fans"; pile-on: Arthur Miller alludes to Michael Jackson baby-dangling episode during NYC lecture; Renée Zellweger and White Stripes frontman Jack White said to have reunited; actresses compete to play Edie Sedgwick in off-Broadway musical about Andy Warhol; Pam Anderson says she saw Paris Hilton sex video "a long time ago," thanks to Rick Solomon. Adds that Solomon "was showing everybody."
Rush and Molloy: Richard Gere picks fight with Wesley Clark over death-penalty issue, which Clark says he is against "per se, but I do believe we should reserve the right to use it in extreme cases, like that of Osama Bin Laden"; judge orders Sharon Bush to allow daughter Ashley to go to France to spend Thanksgiving with her father, Neil Bush, and his girlfriend, Maria Andrews; Brad Pitt hurts Achilles tendon playing Achilles in "Troy"; Jackie Mason makes Polish joke, pisses off Poles.