Bode Call Update: After a fifth-place finish in the men's downhill on Sunday, which earned the ire of sharp-tongued sports commentators, Bode Miller was disqualified Tuesday for straddling a gate in the first slalom run of the men's combined, the second of three events that determine the overall medal winner. He was surprised by the news, but did not dispute the decision. "I had no idea I had straddled. I was in the recovery room already, getting ready for the second run, when I heard it on the radio and I looked at the replay. To me it was clear, so there was no reason to protest it." Miller won the first event handily, and another skier, Austrian Benjamin Raich, missed a gate entirely in the second slalom (thus losing to American Ted Ligety, who won gold). Yet despite this meager cause for condemnation, the pundits took their usual pokes. The best one came from Mike Celizic at MSNBC:
"It wasn't the beer before the downhill or his hell-bent-for-leather style in the combined slalom that did in Bode Miller. It was all the beers in all the months leading up to the Olympics and all the years of living his life as recklessly as he skis his races you can't defend him straddling a gate like a barstool in his best event."
-- Joe DiMento
Tom and Katie headed for splitsville? Perhaps as a little Valentine's Day gift, Tuesday's issue of Life & Style Weekly brought the world of celebrity gossip to a standstill with its cover story: "Tom Cruise & Katie Holmes -- It's Over!" The story carries juicy quotes by a number of insiders saying things like, "Their relationship is basically over"; "They both agreed that the marriage wouldn't work and they wanted to end it before they learned to hate each other"; and "They'll share custody." Life & Style goes on to claim that the couple will "keep up the charade of a romance until after their baby's birth this spring." (But as Gawker points out, the mag has a record of making earth-shattering and totally off-base claims.) Of course, the Cruise P.R. machine has hit back, calling the story "100% false": "Despite the malicious fallacies, the couple is looking forward to a long and happy life together as a family," said their publicist in a statement. To which Life & Style responded: "We stand 100% behind our story." Whom to believe? Either way, the story took the blogging world by storm, as chronicled here by A Socialite's Life. (Life & Style Weekly, Gawker, BBC, A Socialite's Life)
My heroes have always been gay cowboys: With his release yesterday of "Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly (Fond of Each Other)," Willie Nelson may very well have become the first mainstream country singer to record a gay cowboy song (though it's certainly not the first song of its type: As Fix reader Steve McBrian points out, the Rev. Horton Heat released a song called "Cowboy Love" back in 1998). Nelson, who appeared on the "Brokeback Mountain" soundtrack with "He Was a Friend of Mine," released the song only through iTunes -- its radio debut was on Howard Stern's Tuesday show -- though he recorded it sometime last year. It was originally written in 1981 by singer-songwriter Ned Sublette, not long after "Urban Cowboy" came out. (Associated Press)
Shannen Doherty was involved in a minor car crash in Malibu, Calif., on Monday; she received cuts and bruises, while the driver of the other car was sent to the hospital. (E! Online via Yahoo! News) ... Pamela Anderson, on a two-day promotional junket in Australia, had to cut her work short, citing exhaustion. (Sydney Morning Herald) ... Count on Gwyneth Paltrow's next baby to have a name along the same lines as Apple, at least according to Paltrow's mom, Blythe Danner: "It's likely Gwyneth's new child will have an equally uncommon name. We love unusual names in this family." (The Scoop) ... Nicole Richie spent Valentine's Day handing out free Dr Pepper in Manhattan. (Gawker)
Bruce Willis takes James Frey's side in the scandal over "A Million Little Pieces": "Hey, Oprah, you had President Clinton on your show, and if this [bleep] didn't lie about a couple of things, I'm going to set myself on fire right now. James Frey is a writer, OK? He can write whatever he wants." (Page Six)
George Lucas on declaring that the Force is with the Democrats: "The emperor works behind Darth Vader, he doesn't actually stand in front. I say that in fear of getting hit with a lot of buckshot." (Rush & Molloy)
On "American Idol" (Fox, 8 p.m. EST), meet the 24 contestants who'll be going on to the show's semifinals. Wednesday's "Winter Games" (NBC, 8 p.m. EST) action: Women's alpine downhill-skiing final, men's freestyle moguls final, women's short track speed-skating final and men's 5,000-meter speed-skating relay semifinal.
-- Scott Lamb