If politics are on your mind -- and who could blame you if they were? -- you could watch either the kickoff of the Republican National Convention, at which both NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his predecessor Rudy Giuliani will speak (check local listings), or you could tune in to "The Daily Show's" "Indecision 2004: Midway to the Election Spectacular" (11 p.m. ET, Comedy Central), which looks back at the year's biggest political stories. Or you could just tune out altogether and watch the series premiere of "The Complex: Malibu" (8 p.m. ET, Fox), in which eight couples compete to make over luxury apartments and gain prime real-estate profits.
Bush's Baldwin, Baldwin's Bush: What's a guy with the last name Baldwin doing at the Republican National Convention? Why, supporting George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, natch. "I'm there to support the man I believe has the most faith. That's who I'm voting for," born-again Christian actor Stephen Baldwin, bro of die-hard Democrats Alec and Billy, told Page Six. "I believe the next president should be a guy who is being led by God. I believe there is one guy, and that's the guy I want to vote for." As for what his brothers might think of his jump onto the "eternal bandwagon," as he terms his religious transformation, and his move to the political right, Baldwin, whose acting credits include "Threesome," "Bio-Dome" and "The Sex-Monster," says, "I don't have a perception about that." (Page Six)
Once bitten ... You know those reports that Russell Crowe got into a fight with his bodyguard and took a nip at the guy's ear? Only partly correct. In a letter to the Australian paper the Sunday Herald Sun, Crowe has taken pains to set the record straight about his scuffle with Mark "Spud" Carroll. "Spud and I had a push around after work on a Friday night," Crowe wrote, explaining that the trouble started when Crowe struck up a conversation with a female extra on the set. "The misunderstanding arose when Spud came over to tell me what he thought other people in the room might have been thinking of my conversation ... I thought he was accusing me specifically of something and I took offence to it." In a separate letter, Spud denied reports that Crowe had bitten his ear, explaining, "He did take a nip at my chest -- I was trying to smother him at the time, so I can understand the move," he wrote. Crowe understood his move, too. "It doesn't surprise me that I'm overly sensitive to gossip and speculation and heartily sick of other people's 'perceptions,'" he wrote. (The Sunday Herald Sun via BBC News)
Also: The 2002 Chinese film "Hero," starring Jet Li, was the surprise winner at the box office this weekend, taking in $17.8 million (USA Today) ... James Doohan, 84, who played Scotty on "Star Trek," is making his final public appearances this week -- and will receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Tuesday -- after announcing that he was suffering from Alzheimer's disease as well as Parkinson's and diabetes (Indianapolis Star) ... Pop singer Laura Branigan, who back in the '80s had a big hit with the song "Gloria," died in her sleep of a brain aneurysm on Thursday night at her home in East Quogue, N.Y., at the age of 47 (Associated Press via N.Y. Times) ... And David and Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham, mere months after weathering rumors about trouble and infidelity in their marriage, have announced that they're expecting their third child in March. (The Scotsman)
Laura Bush on whether she thinks the Swift boat ads impugning John Kerry's military record are unfair: "Do I think they're unfair? Not really. There have been millions of terrible ads against my husband." (Time) What does she think is unfair? The suggestion that her husband ought to have stopped reading a book to children and taken some action after being told that a second plane had hit the World Trade Center on 9/11: "I think that's a ridiculous allegation by John Kerry -- it's absurd. And I think what my husband did was perfectly appropriate. I think it was the right thing to do in front of the children. I think it was the right thing to do in front of the press that were there. And while he was there for those seven short minutes, his staff was getting more information." (N.Y. Post)
Time Out New York editorial director Cyndi Stivers on her magazine's cover image this week, an elephant's rear and a pile o' dung, which has prompted Republican National Convention officials not to distribute the magazine to delegates as planned. "It was our way of pointing out that there is going to be a lot of cleanup after this. We were focused on helping local residents get through this by providing resources and doing it with a sense of humor, so we have no regrets." (N.Y. Times)
-- Amy Reiter