The Fix

Franken faces off with Scalia. Did horse milk throw Bush off the wagon? More TomKat shenanigans. Plus: Heath Ledger's controversial straight sex scene.

Published November 23, 2005 2:10PM (EST)

Morning Briefing:
Cruise visits Sonograms 'R' Us: In an interview already taped for her upcoming special, "Barbara Walters Presents: The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2005," Walters found out that Tom Cruise likes to play doctor at home. "I bought a sonogram machine," he told Walters -- and as People notes, the machines run from $15,000 to over $200,000. "I am gonna donate it to a hospital when we are done." When Walters asked, "Wait, you are going to do your own sonogram?" Cruise said, "Yes," and laughed. But he clearly hasn't quite figured out how to use it yet. When Walters later asked if he knew the baby's gender, Cruise was stumped:

Cruise: "No, I don't, Barbara, I would tell you. I would say, 'I know if it's a boy or a girl and I'm not telling you.'"

Walters: "So what do you see?"

Cruise: "A little baby."


Aguilera wedding pics: Despite the rigors of the prenup she made guests sign, various details of Christina Aguilera's weekend wedding are slowly slipping out. Aguilera sold the exclusive photo rights to OK magazine, which doesn't come out until next week, but scans are already popping up online. Also, someone blabbed to the New York Daily News about the rehearsal dinner and groom Jordan Bratman's toast, wherein he thanked his parents for "my good looks and large [bleep]." (A Socialite's Life, Perez Hilton, N.Y. Daily News)

Bush visits Mongolia, falls off wagon: Maybe there was something to that National Enquirer story about Bush drinking in the wake of Hurricane Katrina after all. Bush partook in local custom during his visit to Mongolia and sipped on some fermented horse milk -- 3 percent alcohol by volume, and as CNN puts it, "sometimes likened to a mix of warm beer and buttermilk." (Daily Kos via Wonkette)

Franken vs. Scalia, round one: Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was the guest at Conversations on the Circle -- an interview series run at the Time Warner Center in New York by soon-to-be-ex Time Inc. editor in chief Norman Pearlstine -- Monday night when he got into a bit of a verbal tussle with comic/Senate hopeful Al Franken (though apparently Scalia didn't know who Franken was). Franken, from the audience, raised a "hypothetical" question about "judicial demeanor" -- for instance, whether a judge should recuse himself if he'd been duck hunting or shared a jet with a party who then brings a case to the court, as was the case just before the disputed 2000 election. Scalia's first response: "Demeanor is the wrong word. You mean ethics." (Page Six, N.Y. Daily News)

We can all stop worrying about Nicole Ritchie's plummeting dress size, because her father, Lionel, is on it. "Dad is on the case," Lionel Ritchie said in an interview Monday. "She's like her father, you can either blow up or you can shrink away, and right now, she's just feeling a little bit of the pressures of her new business. So in this case ... she will be all right." (Associated Press)  Whatever People paid for the photos of Britney Spears' son, Sean Preston, it was worth it: Other gossip outlets are all atwitter, announcing the baby spread, which runs under the headline "Baby Love!" in this Friday's edition of the magazine. (Access Hollywood, Hollywood Rag) ... Angelina Jolie has been a Cambodian citizen for a while, but it must take a long time for all of that paperwork to clear: She only just got her passport. (Associated Press) ... And will Jolie's first stamp in the new passport be Pakistan? She and Brad Pitt are heading to visit the earthquake-damaged areas of the country for Thanksgiving. "We'll be on our way to Pakistan in a matter of days," she tells reporters. (Sky Showbiz) ... It looks like the nightmarishly good-looking ex-couple Natalie Portman and actor Gael Garcia Bernal may be together again after being spotted at a London party: "They were dancing very closely and canoodling like a couple -- everyone in the room thought they were an item," a source tells the London Mirror. "Gael was even overheard telling Natalie how stunning she looked." (3 a.m. Girls) ... Michael Jackson is being sued again, this time by former advisor Dieter Wiesner, who's seeking $64 million for breach of contract and fraud. Wiesner's claim is that Jackson sold him the rights to merchandise Jackson's name and likeness, but forgot to mention he'd already sold those rights to someone else. (Reuters)

Money Quotes:
Director Lasse Hallstrom, angry that one Heath Ledger sex scene earned his new movie, "Casanova," an R rating: "From my experience [with 'The Cider House Rules'], I had to cut out thrusts between Tobey Maguire and Charlize Theron; a half a thrust is okay for PG-13. It's crazy." (N.Y. Daily News)

Charlize Theron on her plan to eventually marry boyfriend Stuart Townsend: "We came up with a new idea that we said that we would get married the day that gays and lesbians can get married -- when that right is given to them. We've decided that we're gonna use that in a positive way, so the day that law gets passed then we'll get married." (Softpedia)

Turn On:
It's a country music special double-header. First it's "Kenny Chesney: Somewhere in the Sun" (ABC, 8 p.m. EDT), his first prime-time special, then "Faith Hill: Fireflies" (NBC, 9 p.m. EDT). "Charlie Rose" (PBS, check local listings) has a double bill, too, though it's an odd match: First he talks to Maureen Dowd, then to Pink Floyd founding member Roger Waters.

-- Scott Lamb

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