Jacko's ex doesn't want custody: Michael Jackson's ex, Debbie Rowe, filed papers in court yesterday -- but not for custody of her kids, Prince and Paris. Instead, she's looking for visitation rights, and just a little bit of respect. Apparently, Jackson hasn't been returning any of her calls and hasn't kept her updated at all about the proceedings of his court case. (FOX News)
Martin Luther King would've been proud: Justin Timberlake has backed out of co-hosting ABC's "Motown 45" special in the wake of calls for his replacement by several African-American groups. Timberlake claims the decision was made due to scheduling conflicts with a prior engagement, but he and ABC had been catching a lot of flak from African-Americans protesting that Timberlake shouldn't be allowed on a tribute show for blacks after he let Janet take all the heat for Boobgate. (TeenMusic.com)
Mariah Carey into Cabala? People have spotted the singer with a bracelet of red yarn around her wrist, which may be a symbol of Cabala, that form of Jewish mysticism now hot among celebs like Madonna and Britney Spears. The bracelet is supposedly meant to absorb negative energy, although Carey's spokesperson denies she's trying out a new religion. (Jeannette Walls)
-- Christopher Farah
Will "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" waltz away with this year's best picture Oscar? Should it? And who's your pick to prevail in the hotly contested best actor race?
Vote in Salon's Oscar poll and see how your choices compare with the Academy's. We'll publish the results, post-Oscars, on Monday.
Breast-beating continues: Janet Jackson has withdrawn from an ABC biopic about Lena Horne, in which she was to star, after Horne and her daughter objected to her participation in the wake of her Super Bowl flash. Though Jackson had expressed long-standing admiration for Horne, the elder singer refused to meet with her to resolve the matter and allow Jackson to play her as planned. (Variety)
Silence is a good thing? Martha Stewart's lawyer has announced that his client will not take the stand in her own defense before her trial for allegedly lying about a stock sale wraps up -- probably either this week or next. That means you won't get to hear what Martha has to stay about the $17,000 post-stock-sale luxury vacation she apparently claimed as a business expense, alas. (Associated Press)
He'll be back? Not this year: Arnold Schwarzenegger is said to have decided not to go to the Academy Awards and subsequent Oscar parties this year onaccounta he has too much going on with all that pesky governor work. PLUS: O'Reilly doesn't credit New York paper for scoop. (Lloyd Grove's Lowdown)
Botox and hillbilly heroin: David Gest is claiming that the savage beatings he says Liza Minnelli inflicted on him during their brief marriage have resulted in migraines so severe he's had to have at least 28 Botox injections to relieve them and pop at least 16 pills a day, including OxyContin, Vicodin and morphine sulphate. Says his neurologist, "The least amount of physical activity has caused almost unbearable pain to recur in this man ... This gentleman still cannot surf, and cannot swim alone." PLUS: Debbie Rowe really is taking legal action against Michael Jackson. (The Smoking Gun)
Good title: Janeane Garofalo is working to get her book "For Those About to Salute, We Will Rock You," which includes her thoughts on Bush, Iraq and "the state of the national consciousness," ready for publication in October. (Rush and Molloy)
"Karate Kid" star Ralph Macchio on "The Next Karate Kid" star Hilary Swank: "I have no doubt she can kick my butt. She has serious fighting skills and is surprisingly large. Hilary dresses in a way that hides how big she really is." (Page Six)
-- Amy Reiter