Bode Call! Update: After Bode Miller finished fifth in the men's downhill on Sunday, 0.11 seconds out of medal contention, columnists everywhere whipped up a fresh batch of indignation. (See the first installment of Bode Call for more.) Why the furor? Simply because he didn't win the first of his five events (and he may have had a few drinks the night before his race, according to various reports). Miller himself weighed in with this: "The variables that determine a ski race are too many to count." Think again, Bode -- there's no place for nuance and evenhandedness in the business of talking about international athletic competition.
"Bode Miller could have partied all night with the Swedish bikini team, come to the start house with a lampshade on his head, and if he had snagged a gold medal, it would have been just another chapter in the legend. Instead, he was seen having some beers with his buds around midnight, showed up just an hour before the race and bombed in the race that will define his career. In just a bit less than two minutes on a brilliantly sunny day in the mountains of northern Italy, Bode went from ski hero to ski bum."
-- Mike Celizic, MSNBC, Feb. 12
"All that for this? The outrageous statements? The controversies? The magazine covers? For fifth place in the men's Olympic downhill? Dude, if you talk the talk, you have to be able to ski the ski."
-- Rick Morrissey, Chicago Tribune, Feb. 13
"It would make perfect sense for a guy like Bode Miller to lay low and stay out of sight the night before his first big event since shooting his mouth off about drinking and skiing. But when has the 28-year-old American ever made sense? Instead, the renegade skier, who seems intent these days on blowing up his career and whatever image he was able to muster on the World Cup circuit last year, was spotted hanging out in a pub until midnight Saturday, the night before the men's downhill."
-- Ed Moran, Philadelphia Daily News, Feb. 12
"A subjective theory is that Miller may be just too full of it to win, full of himself, full of his nonconformity, full of late liquids, as he has confessed to the world. Miller was reported to have been drinking until midnight Saturday and getting to the downhill casually late. What matters is Miller was not fast enough, leaving the single greatest title of the Olympics on the hill for a French surprise named Antoine Deneriaz. What Deneriaz will do with the gold medal is of little interest from here on. What Miller will do without it is more compelling."
-- Bernie Lincicome, Rocky Mountain News, Feb. 13
-- Joe DiMento
Bidding on "Brokeback": Variety, the children's charity of Southern California, is raising funds online through eBay by listing movie paraphernalia. It has a James Bond Ski-Doo and Vin Diesel's pants (from "XXX"), but the biggest item up for bidding is the double shirt Jack's mother gives Ennis in "Brokeback Mountain" (which, without giving anything away for those who still haven't seen the film, makes it probably the single most resonant prop in the entire movie). And the bidders have spoken: As of Monday morning, the price was already at $17,000 (as opposed to $2,500 for the Ski-Doo and $56.55 for the pants). Also from "Brokeback" elsewhere on eBay: A shirt and a pair of boots alleged to have been worn by Heath Ledger during filming. The seller's listing includes a story about an unnamed children's charity that turned down the donation of the "Brokeback" props: "After our three items sold at auction here on eBay we contacted the non-profit organization where we had donated the bulk of the items to tell them how successful our auctions had done online. The executive director informed us that several of the organization's conservative board of directors had decided not to allow the 'Brokeback Mountain' items in their charity auction because they 'did not agree with the movie's homosexual views.'" (eBay via Defamer, the Scoop)
Tales from the P.R. trenches: Stephen Bender, a publicist who handles P.R. for fashion designer Kai Milla -- who's married to Stevie Wonder -- tells Page Six of a recent run-in with someone from Mandy Moore's army of reps: "I received a phone call from a frantic young lady screaming, 'How dare you use Mandy Moore's name for an event you are doing when she is not even in New York!?' I said, 'Excuse me, what are you talking about?' 'You have Mandy Moore's name on the press release for this Stevie Wonder concert. She won't be able to make it, but thanks for the invite.' And I replied, 'Do you mean Kai Milla, Stevie Wonder's wife's fashion show which took place [last] Tuesday?' She screamed back, 'I guess so. Why is she on your media alert? Don't ever use her name ever!' So I look at the press release, and tell her, 'I am holding the media alert that went out Sunday and it lists several names and then says many more, not Mandy Moore.' And click, she hung up. The funny part is Mandy Moore has so many different reps for music, acting, whatever, that we can't figure out which one it was." (Page Six)
Paris Hilton has been in contact with an Indian movie director who's looking to possibly cast her in a role as Mother Teresa. (Female First) ... Larry David, after being invited to contribute Op-Eds to the New York Times, recently sat in on an editorial board meeting. A source tells Rush & Molloy: "All he did was ask the board members what they thought of his scarf. They couldn't figure him out." (Rush & Molloy) ... Photos from when they were young: A dorky George Clooney, a brooding Benicio Del Toro, an '80s Vince Vaughn and many others. (Oh No They Didn't) ... Scott Stapp, the ex-Creed frontman who has been in the news recently for his odd behavior, got married Friday night in Miami. (People) ... The next day, Stapp was arrested at the Los Angeles airport for public drunkenness after an airline barred him from getting on a plane he because he was so drunk. (TMZ) ... After narrowly avoiding jail time for his various drug-related arrests, British rocker Pete Doherty went on Britain's Channel 4 and promised to pursue a drug-free life: "I'm not going to make light of the fact that I've been given a great chance, and take crack and heroin. If I was not famous then I would not have the extremes, the corruptness and fortune that led me there in the first place." (Monsters and Critics) ... Hours later, Doherty was kicked out of a soccer stadium for using heroin in a public bathroom. (Virgin.net) ... "Jaws" author Peter Benchley died over the weekend at his home in Princeton, N.J. He was 65. (L.A. Times)
Robert Redford on how Sundance has changed over the years: "It's too intense for me. To the outside world, it's a big fat market where you have people like Paris Hilton going to parties. Now, she doesn't have anything to do with anything. I think the festival is close to being out of control." (Newsweek)
Sir Ian McKellen on how difficult Hollywood makes it for actors to be openly gay: "It is very, very, very difficult for an American actor who wants a film career to be open about his sexuality. And even more difficult for a woman if she's lesbian. It's very distressing to me that that should be the case." (BBC)
It's the 130th annual "Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show" (USA, 8 p.m. EST). Tonight's "Winter Olympics" (NBC, 8 p.m. EST) events: Pairs figure skating free-skating final, women's snowboarding halfpipe final and men's speed-skating 500-meter final.
-- Scott Lamb