The Fix

What does Jackson mean when he says "rubbers"? Mr. Big turns chicken. Plus: Actor playing gay goodfella on "The Sopranos": "I'm a little worried."

By Salon Staff

Published May 3, 2004 9:50AM (EDT)

Turn On:
"The Opposite Sex: Rene's Story" (9 p.m. ET; Showtime), a documentary by Josh Aronson ("Sound and Fury"), follows the story of a female-to-male gender reassignment candidate who has secretely lived as a man since age 8, is married to a heterosexual woman, and -- after being outed by members of his church -- decides to have an experimental surgery to finally become biologically male. Watch contestants vie for $50,000 at the whim of a madman: "Surviving Nugent 2: The Ted Commandments" (10 p.m. ET; VH1).

-- Scott Lamb

Morning Briefing:
Wacko items confiscated: Investigators working on the Michael Jackson child-molestation suit have seized six items from a New Jersey construction executive's memorabilia collection to use as evidence in the case. The items include two pairs of the singer's worn white Calvin Klein briefs, which may contain bodily fluids to be used for DNA sampling; a note allegedly written by Jackson referring to children visiting Neverland as "rubbers"; a note from Jackson to his sister-in-law warning about the dangers of child molestation; and something labeled the "Rubberhead Club Portfolio," which included a list of rules for "rubbers" that included the demand that members "know the Peter Pan story by heart." In the man's collection but not confiscated: drawings of noses, big and small ... and tubes of skin-bleaching cream. (N.Y. Post)

The photos you almost didn't see: Making the rounds on the Sunday talk shows this weekend, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Richard B. Myers acknowledged that he'd asked "60 Minutes II" to refrain from showing the now-infamous photographs of U.S. soldiers apparently abusing Iraqi inmates at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. "I thought it would be particularly inflammatory at that time," Gen. Myers said on ABC's "This Week." (N.Y. Times) If the photos aren't enough, some of the alleged abuses are spelled out in this New Yorker article. And allegations of abuse by British soldiers have now surfaced as well.

Mr. Big chicken? What's a player like Ron Galotti, the inspiration for "Sex and the City's" Mr. Big, doing selling his Central Park West apartment and moving to a farm in Vermont? Turns out the "Bronx-born" former publisher has always had a little country boy in him. "Most of his childhood was spent in Peekskill in northern Westchester, where his father owned a liquor store," Jay McInerney writes in a profile of Galotti in New York magazine. There, Galotti "raised chickens, earned a five-year 4-H pin from the Yorktown Grange, and learned the law of the jungle in the barnyard. 'One chicken was born with a bent beak,' he recalls. 'In two minutes, the other chickens had pecked it to death. I learned right then, you don't want your beak to be bent.'" Words to live by. (New York magazine)

Dim wattage: The White House Correspondents' Dinner in D.C. this weekend was reportedly less star-studded than usual. Among the biggest names there: Matt Drudge, Wayne Newton, Al Franken, Ben Affleck, Howard Dean, Pvt. Jessica Lynch, Drew Barrymore, Morgan Fairchild, Serena Williams, Meg Ryan, Clay Aiken and various "Apprentice" contestants. Geraldo Rivera wore "burgundy-tinted granny-glasses." (Ad Age)

Money Quotes:
Joseph Gannascoli, the Brooklyn actor who plays gay goodfella Vito Spatafore on "The Sopranos," on the real ramifications of last night's plot twist: "I'm going to have to deal with a lot of grief in the neighborhood. I'm a little worried about how my family is going to react." (N.Y. Daily News)

-- Amy Reiter

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