Clark fires first: While everyone is still deconstructing the Howard Dean post-caucus speech, the duel of the military records has begun between Clark and Kerry, with the general saying, "It's one thing to be a hero as a junior officer. He's done that, I respect that, but I've got the military experience at the top as well as at the bottom." (Yahoo)
Martha's stylish perp walk: Looking chic in brown and gray, The Martha made her way through the slush to the courtroom today to plead "not guilty" while a fan stood outside dressed in a chef's hat and matching apron. (AP)
Paris Hilton Boulevard? Yep. And it intersects with Nicole Richie Avenue in Altus, Ark. (pop. 800).
The end of the punk world as we know it: It's bad enough that Paris Hilton has a street named after her, but what about John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) starring in a reality show called "I'm a Celebritiy ... Get Me Out of Here!" on British TV. A journalist who knows the punk star said, "I'm gobsmacked." Aren't we all? (BBC)
Counter programming at its best: NBC will air three episodes of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" on Feb. 1 opposite CBS's broadcast of the Super Bowl. (UPI)
CBS CEO Les Moonves was talking about a planned reality show about Amish teens who are allowed to socialize without adult supervision before deciding whether to commit to the church. When asked about the rural lobbying effort to stop his 2001 reality show based on "The Beverly Hillbillies," he said: "The Amish don't have quite as good a lobbying effort." (San Diego Union)
-- Karen Croft
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That national car wreck none of us can look away from -- Michael Jackson -- continues to dominate much of the media. And so has his rather unfortunate sobriquet: Wacko Jacko. But who deserves credit for coming up with the nickname that finally stuck?
Through our exhaustive research efforts, we believe we traced the first reference to "Jacko" back to Australia. On Aug. 7, 1986, the (Brisbane, Australia) Courier-Mail ran 1,040 words by one Tim Ward about the so-called King of Pop's world-conquering plans post-"Thriller" under the headline "IS JACKO WACKO?": "The Howard Hughes of pop ... the rock recluse ... wacko Jacko ..." Ward mused. "But how much of it, if any, is part of his image?"
The phrase soon spread to the mother country, and on Sept. 12, 1987, shortly after the release of Jackson's album "Bad," Robert Hilburn wrote -- from London -- in the Los Angeles Times that Jackson's "much-publicized eccentricities have caused writers here to dub him 'Wacko Jacko.'"
Wherever its origins, the "Wacko Jacko" label -- and its rarer offshoots such as "Whacko Jacko," "Jacko-in-the-Box" and "Cracko Jacko" -- was in such wide use by October 1987 that Jackson, according to Australia's Herald newspaper, issued an "impassioned plea to critics" asking them to "lay off the 'Wacko Jacko'" stuff. "Jackson says he cries 'very, very often' because of the attacks," reported the Herald.
Alas, Jackson's pleas have gone unheard, his tears undried. Here are just a few of the headlines about Jackson that have run in the New York Post -- owned since 1993 by Aussie tabloidman Rupert Murdoch, of course -- in the last few years:
LAWYERS WANT JACKO WRAPO
WE DIDN'T SMACKO JACKO, SAY CALIF. COPS
CANCELED JACKO BACK ON TRACKO
LISA MARIE: JACKO A SACKO WACKO
JACKO BACKO FROM HOSPITAL
AFRO JACKO GOES RETRO
SMACKO FOR JACKO: MUST PAY $5M TO PROMOTER
ALARMING TALE OF JACKO IN THE SACKO
SICKO JACKO EXPOS -- '93 PAPERS BARE KID'S 'SEX TRYST' NIGHTMARE
I'VE BEEN HI-JACKO-ED: MICHAEL: 'UNFAIR' SHOW BETRAYED ME
WACKO JACKO'S MOJO RISING
JACKO KOS NOSE WOES: FACE IN PLACE AFTER BIZARRE COURT SCENE
PROMOTER: JACKO IS A JERK-O
JACKO GOT OFF-TRACKO, REV. AL SAYS
REV. AL TAKES A WHACKO AT JACKO
JACKO ON ATTACKO -- GLOVED ONE GETS ANGRY ON BIZARRE BUS TOUR
KING OF FLOP: JACKO FALLS AND BREAKS ANKLE AT HOME
PROF. JACKO LECTURES ON KIDS TOMORROW AT OXFORD
BRO, NO! TOUR MIGHT BE THE JACKO-LESS 5
JACKO WANTS STOLEN HOME VIDEOS BACKO
SPLITSO FOR JACKO
BONDS COULD RAISE $100M T0 BACKO JACKO
Not as it was? Pope John Paul II backs away from Gibson film "The Passion," denies expressing approval. (Catholic News Service via N.Y. Times)
Assault with a deadly clicker Aaron and Nick Carter's mother arrested for allegedly beating her husband's girlfriend with a remote control. (UPI)
What does Graydon Carter want for Christmas? Someone has compiled a list -- with links -- of celebrities' Amazon "wish lists." True? Who knows? But they make for good clicking. (Gawker)
-- Amy Reiter
With reporting by Christopher Farah