The Fix

NBA player comes out. O.J. can't cash "If I Did It" check. Plus: Colbert's Big Nuts.

Published February 8, 2007 2:30PM (EST)

First Word

NBA player comes out: John Amaechi, a former NBA center who played for Cleveland, Orlando, Houston and Salt Lake City during his five-season career, is the first NBA player to publicly come out. In advance of his autobiography, "Man in the Middle," to be released next week, his publicist yesterday announced, "He is coming out of the closet as a gay man." While NBA commissioner David Stern struck a note of acceptance, saying "The question at the NBA is always 'Have you got game?' That's it, end of inquiry," some players expressed their, um, misgivings. "As long as you don't bring your gayness on me I'm fine," Philadelphia Sixers forward Shavlik Randolph said. "But I think it would create a little awkwardness in the locker room." The Salt Lake Tribune, meanwhile, took the news as an opportunity to note that during Amaechi's time with the Utah Jazz, he was "one of the worst players in franchise history." (Associated Press via Boston Herald, Salt Lake Tribune)

O.J. barred from spending book advance: O.J. Simpson recently said he was just happy he got paid for the never-published "If I Did It," but he won't be cashing the check any time soon. A judge in Los Angeles yesterday temporarily barred Simpson from spending any of the money he earned from the book while the court looks into the restraining order filed by Ron Goldman's father, Fred, over the reported $1 million advance. (Reuters)

Colbert flavors, continued: No word yet from Ben & Jerry's if any of your suggestions are being taken seriously, but keep sending them in! A few more to savor:

Low-Fact Frozen Yogurt
No nutritional information, but it feels like it's healthy. (Thanks, Brandon!)

Peanut-Butter Papa Bear
Peanut butter and honey swirled together with red, white and blue Teddy Grahams. It's Papa Bear O'Reilly's favorite! (Thanks, Ted!)

Sweet Truth, Sweet Tooth
Fudge eagles fly nobly through a blue vanilla ice cream with a swirl of marshmallow clouds. At the bottom is core of sweet gooey caramel with a chocolate WMD (weapon of mass deliciousness) hidden were you would have never thought to look. (Thanks, Charlie!)

... and, of course:

Stephen Colbert's Big Nuts (Thanks, Bill!)

White noise ... Last spotted in Las Vegas, Britney Spears popped up in Manhattan Tuesday night for Fashion Week, but instead of attending any runway shows she just went club-hopping; though her rep claims she wasn't drinking, a spy says, "She must have been drinking secretly in the bathroom, because she was falling all over the place." (Page Six) ... Are Drew Barrymore (right) and Zach Braff an item? They were reportedly looking close at the "Saturday Night Live" after-party last weekend, and a source tells Page Six the stars' friends are saying they're "definitely dating." (Page Six) ... TMZ has obtained a 40-second, mostly safe for work clip of the Kim Kardashian sex tape being put out by porn distributors Vivid, but claims that, despite the rumors about golden showers, the tape doesn't involve any water sports. (TMZ) ... Nicole Richie is apparently worried her recent DUI might send her to prison, and has been turning to Paris Hilton for support. At a recent dinner at Mr. Chow in Los Angeles, a source tells Life & and Style Weekly, "Paris kept telling Nicole not to worry, that everything was going to be fine." (The Scoop) ... Larry Birkhead, whose paternity dispute with Anna Nicole Smith is ongoing, now claims Smith was drinking during her recent pregnancy. (Starpulse)


iPod, public scourge? New York state Sen. Carl Krueger -- a Democrat representing Brooklyn -- wants to protect Empire State residents from the secret threat of iPods and other portable electronic devices. Citing a January incident in which an iPod-wearing Brooklyn man stepped in front of a moving bus, Krueger wants to ban the use of all manner of portable electronic gadgets while crossing the street. "You can't be fully aware of your surroundings if you're fiddling with a BlackBerry, dialing a phone number, playing Super Mario Brothers on a Game Boy, or listening to music on an iPod," the concerned senator said in a statement. "Tuning in and tuning out can be a fatal combination on the streets of New York." ("N.Y. Lawmaker Hopes to Ban iPod Use in Crosswalks," CNET

Not Fonda aerobics: The members of the pastel-spandexed army of the 1980s are reporting severe back and joint pain, and they're blaming it on excessive aerobic workouts that were all the rage back then. "It's not uncommon for us to see acute and overuse injuries from high-impact aerobics," Dr. Jordan Metzl, a sports medicine specialist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, tells the New York Times. "It's part of the reason that aerobics classes are on the wane." At its peak in the mid-'80s, the piece reports, an estimated 17 million to 20 million people were aerobicizing, but only 5 million did so in 2005. "We expect the 2006 numbers to be significantly lower," a sporting goods association spokesman says. "Aerobics are increasingly out of favor." ("Whatever Happened to Jane Fonda in Tights?," N.Y. Times)

Buzz Index

; )


Trashing Gopnik: James Wolcott delivers another scorched-earth essay for the New Republic, this time selecting Adam Gopnik, the New Yorker's "resident tone-poet of post-9/11 Manhattan," as his target, but not before shooting flaming asides at Francine Prose, Paul Auster, Walter Kirn and Malcolm Gladwell, all in the first paragraph. The piece is a fairly predictable, if witty, slam on Gopnik's "yuppie triumphalism" and preciosity (no one gets out of publishing a book about New York called "Through the Children's Gate" without taking a few knocks), but Wolcott also makes this provocative observation: "It is tiresome and a little puzzling how New Yorkers feel the need to keep asserting that 'We're Number One.'" In fact, in contrast to London (Wolcott's example) and Rome, the only other world city that seems as defensive about its supremacy is Paris, Gopnik's post for several years and the subject of his previous collection of essays, "Paris to the Moon." ("Smugged by Reality," Smugged by Reality)

Village Voice critics poll: After the departure of critic Robert Christgau, there was some question as to whether the Village Voice would again put together Pazz & Jop, its mammoth annual critics poll of the best albums of the year -- Christgau started it and headed the effort for 33 years. But the ballots were sent out in December, and now the Voice has published the results. This year's survey asks 494 of the nation's music critics (Christgau included) to rate their 10 favorite albums and singles. The 2006 winners: top album, Bob Dylan's "Modern Times"; top single, "Crazy," by Gnarls Barkley. Also of note, new music editor Rob Harvilla's lead essay takes a swipe at the poll's new rival, "courtesy of the Gawker entity Idolator, with a name (Jackin' Pop) very similar to ours but with stronger echoes of masturbation." The debut Jackin' Pop poll came out last year, with almost identical results: TV on the Radio's "Return to Cookie Mountain" was the top album (it's No. 2 in the Voice poll), and "Crazy" was also the top single. ("Pazz & Jop 2006," Village Voice)

"I really don't know whether we'll be printing the Times in five years, and you know what? I don't care either. The Internet is a wonderful place to be, and we're leading there."

-- N.Y. Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger, on the future of the paper. (Haaretz)


405,000: Number of copies Norah Jones' new record, "Not Too Late," sold to become this week's No.1 album.
1.2 million: Amount her second record, 2004's "Feels Like Home," sold in its No. 1 debut week.
47: The number of weeks it took her debut album, "Come Away With Me" (2002), to reach the No. 1 position in the charts.


Still more gems from the bowels of the U.S. trademark database:

Trademark: Short Dumb List
Owner: Viacom
Use: A television series, featuring live action, comedy and drama

Trademark: Borat
Owner: Twentieth Century Fox
Use (beyond the obvious): Nightgowns; nightshirts; slippers; robes; ties; socks; coats; jackets; swimwear; infant wear; loose-leaf binders; a series of fictional novels

Turn On

On Thursday, the genre-defining survival reality show returns for its 14th season with "Survivor: Fiji" (CBS, 8 p.m. EST), you can catch Terrence Howard's Oscar-nominated role as a pimp who dreams of becoming a rap star in "Hustle and Flow" (Showtime, 9 p.m. EST), it's the second episode of "The Sarah Silverman Program" (Comedy Central, 10:30 p.m. EST), and "Grey's Anatomy" (ABC, 9 p.m. EST) begins a three-episode-long, disaster-strikes arc.


The View (ABC, 11 a.m. EST) John Tartaglia, Hilary Duff, guest co-host Kristin Chenoweth
Ellen (Syndicated, check local listings) Rebecca Romijn, Steve Martin, Tony Trischka, Bob Harper
Oprah (Syndicated, check local listings) Creating the life you truly want
Charlie Rose (PBS, check local listings) Rob Portman, John Mellencamp
Larry King (CNN, 9 p.m. EST) Jennifer Hudson, Katharine McPhee
Jon Stewart (Comedy Central, 11 p.m. EST) John Mellencamp
Stephen Colbert (Comedy Central, 11:30 p.m. EST) Chris Hedges
David Letterman (CBS, 11:30 p.m. EST) Jack Hanna, Katherine Heigl, Patty Griffin
Jay Leno (NBC, 11:35 p.m. EST) Mark Wahlberg, Sarah Silverman, Mat Kearney
Jimmy Kimmel (ABC, 12:05 a.m. EST) Gwen Stefani, Justin Chambers, Fall Out Boy
Conan O'Brien (NBC, 12:35 a.m. EST) Bob Costas, Ashley Tisdale, Josh Groban
Craig Ferguson (CBS, 12:35 a.m. EST) Thandie Newton, the Game

Almost Famous

Morgan Spurlock or James Hetfield? Scary, either way (from gordasm's Flickr photostream).

Got a friend who looks like a tall Woody Allen? People always saying you look like a chubby Cillian Murphy? We want to see it! Just make sure you have permission -- then send your Almost Famous moment to the Fix.

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By Scott Lamb

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