Saturday, April 17, 2004

San Mateo Daily Journal

Hung bangs into town
By Yunmi Choi, Daily Journal Staff

American Idol reject-turned-star William Hung “banged” into San Mateo yesterday to the delight of hundreds of local fans.

A line of fans started forming outside the Tower Records on Hillsdale Boulevard hours before the reality TV sensation was set to appear to hock his new album. Earlier this year, Hung made headlines when his tryout for the Fox television show American Idol was aired. Hung sang a wildly off-key version of Ricky Martin’s “She bangs” that he accompanied with an awkward, stilted dance number that is now being imitated by fans nationwide.

Just why Hung’s performance inspires such a response isn’t a mystery to the man himself.

“I’m unique,” Hung said. “People are inspired by my passion.”

Although he’s never had any professional music training, Hung said he’s been singing karaoke with his mom and dad since he was 9. Hung’s got three more semesters to go before graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, but Hung’s not sure if he’s going to stick out his college career or become a full-time star.

“It depends on how the future goes,” he said.

For now, it doesn’t look like Hung’s 15 minutes are up. Since its release Tuesday, the album has been flying off the shelves, said Tower employee Dan Schoenrock, who also bought a copy. The album is made up mostly of covers of Hung’s favorite songs like “I Believe I Can Fly.” As of yesterday, the album was No. 34 on the billboard charts. When Hung hit San Diego for an album signing, about 3,000 people turned out, said Kahli Najar, a spokesman with Hung’s record label Koch Entertainment.

When asked why she was such a big fan of Hung, 45-year-old Sandra Kriletich of Redwood City said for the same reason everyone else is — because he’s “so honest and so sweet.”

San Mateo resident Susan Cone agreed. Hung’s fans aren’t laughing at him, she said; they embrace him for his sincerity.

Seven-year-old fan Brittany Posadas said she likes Hung because he’s funny. Christine Louie, 18, said she thinks Hung is cool because he wasn’t ashamed to give American Idol a shot despite his clear lack of talent. Some may just be laughing at Hung, but Louie said that’s not why she or her friend turned out to see him.

“I don’t laugh at him — I think he’s cute,” said Aejny Rodriguez of Daly City.

“You gotta give him props for getting to where he is without any talent,” said Jessyca Stephenson, a Sacramento resident who was the first in line to get Hung’s autograph.

Despite her love for Hung, Stephenson said his 15 minutes of fame are probably just about to run out. A second album is nevertheless already in the works, but Hung declined to say whether it will be filled with more cover songs or if he’ll perform his own works.

If Hung’s popularity continues to soar, Foster City resident Roland Wang said a lot of dentists could find themselves out of work — referring to Hung’s crooked teeth.

In the meantime, Hung’s mother said she doesn’t mind that girls are throwing themselves at her son. She said Hung has had plenty of offers, but is waiting to decide who he will pick to be his girlfriend.

EDP24 News

McCartney autograph auction

by Mark Nicholls

It was May 1963, The Beatles were at number one in the hit parade and had just gone down a storm at one of Norwich's top venues.

But young bass player Paul McCartney still showed a little uncertainty over his new-found fame.

When signing his autograph, he felt the need to put 'Beatles' in brackets after his name.

Even then, no-one really had to be told who he was, or who the other three musicians were who scribbled their names on the back of the business card of the support band on that night in Norwich 41 years ago.

Yet "Macca" still had to shake off the modesty that surrounded the early hits, including From Me To You, which topped the charts when they played The Grosvenor on Prince of Wales Road on May 17 that year.

Along with John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, he had signed what was the business card of local band, Ricky Lee and the Hucklebucks.

Now, one of those business cards from that night is about to go up for auction at Christie's in London and could raise as much as £3,000.

Where it came from is a closely-guarded secret.

But according to Richard Harwood, once Ricky Lee of the Hucklebucks, there's not many in existence.

"I've got one of the band's business cards signed by all of the Beatles," he said, "and most of the boys in the band will have had the same card, which they also got autographed.

"Apart from that the manager and a couple of girlfriends got the autographs and that was it.

"There can only be seven or eight maximum in existence."

As Lot 139, the signed card goes under the hammer on May 5 and is expected to create a good deal of interest amid several other items of Beatles memorabilia.

But Ricky, who still lives in Norwich, isn't going to be tempted to sell his.

"I was offered £1,250 for mine a few years ago but I wasn't interested. I don't think many of the other boys would be either, it was a special night and I have fond memories of it."

Ricky doesn't keep in regular contact with many of the other members of the band, though a few still live locally, while one emigrated to Australia.

However, it does frustrate the singer that after all these years, his band – which toured regularly and worked hard performing at US bases and clubs across the East and the Midlands – are forever tagged "the group that supported the Beatles."

But there is demand for memorabilia from that night at The Grosvenor. A signed ticket from that Beatles gig in Norwich sold a year ago in Australia for around £4,300. Another was sold to a Japanese buyer for £3,000.

Christie's say the signed business card could appeal to a wide range of collectors but in the greater scheme of Beatles memorabilia is not among the rarer items on the market.

Pop specialist Sarah Hodgson said: "There are a lot of autographs on sale and the prices tend to go higher depending on how interesting the object that has been signed is.

"Most treasured would be an album like Sgt Pepper that the four Beatles had signed because it was at a time that they would not be together that often. It would fetch £40,000.

"Signed photos, particularly on the front, are popular. This business card is not that rare an item but it may appeal to collectors who aim to buy autographs from particular years such as 1963.

"What makes this a little more interesting is that Paul McCartney still felt the need to put the word Beatles in brackets."

Friday, April 16, 2004

The Advertiser: Chasing stars in Tinsel Town [17apr04]

MY wife, Pat, and I were on Hollywood Boulevard minding our own business, reading the names in the concrete outside Graumann's Chinese Theatre.

Luckily we looked up as we were about to be knocked over by a tiny woman surrounded by a large contingent of hangers on. I wouldn't know Jennifer Love Hewitt if I fell over her, but everyone else around knew her as she almost fell over us.

Then, next day while strolling along Sunset Strip, a big black limo blocked our path. Like a scene from a gangster movie, the window slowly rolled down. I did a double take. There was a face I hadn't seen in the flesh since the late 1950s when, at Centennial Hall, he stood on a piano in his underpants twirling his coat around his head before heaving it into the audience. Behind the pencil-thin moustache and thick makeup, the face was unmistakable – rock'n'roll singer Little Richard.

He handed us a religious book – Finding Peace Within – a book for people in need. After a dumbfounded moment I asked if I could take a picture. Bad move. The window went up to cover his face. "I have included a nice picture of myself for you," he says. "Tell everyone Little Richard says 'hello'," he concluded as the limo drove off. A little later, on Rodeo Drive, the shopping mecca of the rich and famous, once again we were accosted as Gregg Donovan welcomed us and told of his film exploits. "Gregg Who?" you might say. He is the official Ambassador for Beverly Hills, passionate about his work and plays himself in a cameo role in Harrison Ford's latest movie, Hollywood Homicide.

He asked where we were from. "Ah, Adelaide, the home of the pie floater," was the reaction as he referred to the city's dubious claim to fame. "You are now standing in the most expensive shopping centre in the world," he added as if by comparison.

Walking the streets, it took us all our time to avoid the cables of a number of movies in production. We only had 24 hours to see as much as possible of life in the world movie capital before joining the cruise ship Sun Princess for a Mexican Riviera cruise.

With limited time, if a city bus tour is not practical, taxis are the best way to cover the sightseeing and star-gazing areas. There is little to see in downtown Los Angeles, which is the business district. Public transport does exist but is not promoted for tourists and even the locals seem to have trouble understanding the workings of the system. Anaheim and Disneyland are about 70km from West Hollywood and best reached by shuttle bus. Sunset Strip, the popular escape during the Prohibition years with its speakeasies, gambling, drinking and partying, is still where the stars come out to play. On the Strip we saw punters queued up at the Troubadour Club where big-name acts such as Bob Dylan and Elton John got their start. And Dan Aykroyd's House of Blues, a trendy conglomeration of galvanised iron extracted from a 100-year-old cotton mill in Mississippi, where the likes of Macy Gray, George Thorogood, Keb Mo and Motorhead alternate to play one-night stands, a top-class show every night of the year, with gospel brunch on Sundays.

But the biggest queue, day or night, is always at Pink's Hot Dogs, a West Hollywood institution for 63 years. Queues late at night have been known to reach such proportions that police have had to control the traffic.

The News Item

Autograph on baseball belongs to Willie Mays, outfit confirms

By Eric Scicchitano , Staff Writer 04/16/2004

RANSHAW — It’s official, and it’s authentic.
That’s the word Dan Worhach received from PSA-DNA Authentication Services of Orwigsburg about the Willie Mays Jr. autographed baseball he found last year.
The baseball, dated July 2, 1950, was given to Worhach by his uncle, the late Anthony Bartosic, who attended an Interstate League Class B baseball game in Sunbury where a young Willie Mays autographed a foul ball — long before the “Say Hey Kid” hit 660 home runs and won two National League MVP awards.
Jim Spence, lead authenticator at PSA-DNA, verified the autograph was authentic in just under two hours last month by comparing it to other Mays’ signatures stored in an exemplar file. He said the file stores many autographs of an individual and details a signature’s evolution since it may change over time.
Worhach said the autograph was compared to another taken from a letter Mays sent to a girlfriend in 1951. Upon authentication, Worhach received a certificate of authentication and explained invisible ink was placed on the baseball to ensure its validation.
Though the actual Mays signature itself is not rare, Spence said the time at which it was signed makes it one of the earliest examples known.
“It’s a wonderful item, it’s certainly a period piece,” Spence said. “If he intends on auctioning or selling it, he should do pretty well.”
With more than 15 years in the authentication business, Spence said the firm deals with autographs from all arenas, including sports, politics, entertainment and historical artifacts. He said 90 percent of his firm’s work is related to authenticating sports memorabilia.
A division of publicly held Collectors Universe of Newport Beach, Calif., PSA-DNA authenticated Mark McGwire’s 70th home run baseball in 1998, Shoeless Joe Jackson’s Black Betsy bat and a 1927 autographed Babe Ruth-Lou Gehrig wire photo.
An avid sports memorabilia collector himself, Spence stopped short of estimating the worth of the Mays autograph so as not to stunt the growth of its value.
“If there are two people in an auction, they’ll beat each other up over the price,” he explained. “If there is one figure, it may only fetch that.”
The money may be good, but Worhach said recently that he will hold onto the baseball for some time. He said he plans to enter a notarized contract with the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., to allow the baseball to be displayed for a year. After that, he’s not sure what he will do with it.
Worhach said he has been in contact with Mays’ personal office through e-mail and recently received word that, despite the baseball great’s interest in the baseball, his lawyers advised him to not reply personally to Worhach.
Worhach isn’t giving up hope in his quest to speak with Mays.
“I just want to talk about the game with him and see if he remembers it,” Worhach said.
He would also like to somehow have Mays autograph the ball next year on the 55th anniversary of the original autograph.
Mays may be hard to reach, but Worhach may soon be in contact with another baseball legend, Mays’ godson Barry Bonds.
Worhach contacted Bonds’ Web site through e-mail and received word the same day that the San Francisco Giant would soon read it. He said the e-mail explained Bonds’ schedule is hectic between the regular season and his record 661st home run, one better than his godfather, which he hit on Tuesday.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Journal Inquirer

UConn football seeks crowded house

By: Mark Mancini, Journal Inquirer April 15, 2004

STORRS - Randy Edsall is thinking of a number.
If you guessed 14,999 or lower, you're wrong.
"I'm hoping we get 15,000," the University of Connecticut head football coach said Wednesday as he speculated on the attendance for Saturday's Blue-White Scrimmage at Rentschler Field in East Hartford.

"I'd be disappointed if we don't get 15,000," Edsall said. "It would send a great message for us when we're out recruiting: 'We got 15,000 for our spring game.' "
That would represent quite a leap of faith for a fandom that has avoided the annual intrasquad game the way Jessica Simpson avoids history books.
In years past, the Huskies would draw 1 percent of 15,000 to Memorial Stadium for the spring finale.
But several factors are working in their favor this year:
* It's a chance for everyone to get reacquainted with a team coming off a 9-3 season and with high hopes for 2004.
* The gates open at 10 a.m., giving fans two hours to bone up on their tailgating skills.
* Parking and admission are free.
* Other activities, including a postgame autograph session, are planned.
* The weather is supposed to be nice.
* The basketball parade isn't until Sunday.
Since the first practice on March 20, Edsall has worked at elevating his players' game. Now he wants the fans to follow suit.
Form a line
Edsall said the defensive line has shown signs of meshing as the spring has progressed.
Only one starter, defensive end Tyler King, returns to the front four. But defensive tackle Rhema Fuller has had an outstanding spring, and fellow tackle Deon McPhee has made strides as well. Shawn Mayne packs potential galore at the other defensive end.
Depth, however, is a concern.
"We're closer to getting a four-man rotation at defensive tackle," Edsall said. "We're at about 2½ right now."
Edsall said incoming freshman Afa Anoai has the strength and size to make an immediate impact. Two other defensive linemen, Shaun Allen and Brandon Dillon, are still waiting to qualify academically and sign a letter of intent.
Captains courageous
Later this week, the players will elect the 2004 season captains. Look for quarterback Dan Orlovsky, middle linebacker Alfred Fincher, and tackle Ryan Krug to earn the honors. Other strong candidates are wide receiver Keron Henry and linebacker Maurice Lloyd.
The Huskies had three captains in 2003: Uyi Osunde, Sean Mulcahy, and Shaun Feldeisen.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

sacbee.com -- Lifestyle -- Walter's creator speaks April 22

Children's book author Glenn Murray surprised the publishing world with the runaway success of his first picture book, "Walter the Farting Dog." It spent 38 weeks on the New York Times best-seller lists, sometimes in the No. 1 position.
Not bad for a story about a mutt with a stinky habit - especially one with a title that makes children laugh and adults cringe. Now, Murray is back with another tale about the heroic mutt who breaks wind to catch bad guys.

The author's new picture book, "Walter the Farting Dog: Trouble at the Yard Sale," is the April selection for The Bee Book Club. Murray will talk about "Walter" at 6 p.m. April 22 in the Tsakopoulos Galleria of the Sacramento Public Library in downtown Sacramento. The event is free.

Bee Book Club details
Glenn Murray, author of "Walter the Farting Dog: Trouble at the Yard Sale" (Dutton, 32 pages, $15.99), will speak to The Bee Book Club at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 22, at Tsakopoulos Galleria at the Sacramento Public Library, 828 I St., offered in conjunction with the Library Foundation.
The event is free and open to the public. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m.; seating is on a first-come basis. Murray will autograph his book after his presentation and a question-and-answer session.

Representatives from the Avid Reader bookstore in Sacramento will be present, selling pre-autographed copies of "Walter the Farting Dog: Trouble at the Yard Sale" for 30 percent off the list price.

Times Record News: Al BaseballAsk Babe: More questions for the Babe
April 14, 2004

Dear Babe: I have an autographed Indianapolis Colts NFL jersey (No. 28) from Marshall Faulk, who I understand autographs virtually nothing. It is absolutely authentic. It was bought through a friend whose son-in-law was a former Indianapolis coach. Faulk was persuaded to offer it up for a worthy charity event in Southern California. The signature is on the back of the jersey on the number 28. Since Faulk is generally regarded as one of the best all-purpose backs of all time, I am guessing that this jersey will have some long-term value if not an immediate one. I am also presuming that since it was autographed when he was playing for his original contract team, it will be unique and have increased value. Finally, I also understand that much of memorabilia is about perceived value so I would appreciate your comments. I am considering selling it to an interested collector.

- Michael Gorgol, Londondery, N.H.

We can agree on a few of your points and then we'll have to agree to disagree on some others. You're right on the money about Faulk being a tough signature to obtain. Mike Breeden, a Sports Collectors Digest columnist and autograph expert, said Faulk rarely signs at shows or privately. For a while he was actually refusing to sign items that pictured him as a Colt, but Breeden is not sure if that's still the case. "The value depends largely on whether or not the jersey is an official licensed one," Breeden said. "These days there are bootleg jerseys floating all over the place. I see way more bootleg ones than licensed ones at shows. A licensed one would go for about $200-$250."

A game-used jersey would sell for at least five times that amount. More than likely the jersey is authentic, but unless you were there to see him sign it, there's always the chance someone else wrote his name on it - no matter who procured it. While there are certainly far fewer Colts jerseys with Faulk autographs, they are, in my humble opinion, much less desirable than a Rams jersey. He made his name and won a Super Bowl with the Rams.

There's no way to predict future value. If there were, I'd be on a Pacific isle sipping lunch through a straw instead of showing up to work every day.

Dear Babe: My dad has a complete set of 1992 Donruss baseball cards and it is still sealed. He says it is worth about $300, but I say it is worth more. What do you think?

- Jessica D., Mt. Shasta, Calif.

Are you sure we're talking about Donruss baseball cards? The 788-card set lists for $4-$10. You could probably buy one for a few bucks at a show. There isn't even one rookie card of note in it. The only set from 1992 that is worth anything is the Bowman set, which Beckett and Tuff Stuff list for $150-$200 thanks to rookie cards for Mike Piazza, Carlos Delgado, Manny Ramirez, Chipper Jones, Mariano Rivera and Pedro Martinez.

Dear Babe: Quite a few years ago, I came across these two cards of Honus Wagner (images attached). One has a number on the back, the other doesn't.

- Charlie Adams, Georgetown, Mass.

I don't think it makes a difference if the cards have a number or not. These are just reprints of Wagner's famous T206 card. A quality reprint might be worth a dollar or two, but finding a buyer won't be that easy. I would guess that at some point someone produced the reprints and numbered the sets hoping to convince folks that they were more valuable than they actually were. It always sounds so nice to say, "limited to just 2,000 sets."

(Babe Waxpak is written by Bill Wagner and is a feature of the Record Searchlight in Redding, CA. If you have a question for Babe Waxpak, include your full name and hometown, the card number, year and manufacturer or send a photocopy. Please do not send cards. The address is: Babe Waxpak, Box 492397, Redding, CA 96049-2397 or e-mail babewaxpak(at)redding.com.)

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

S.F. Examiner: Bonds ties Mays: "Bonds ties Mays
Slugger crushes No. 660 into McCovey Cove.
Bonds ties Mays

All that remains for Barry Bonds, other than baseball immortality, are Babe Ruth and Henry Aaron.

A place among the legends is as much a certainty for Bonds as the ultimate destination of the ball that leapt from his bat in the fifth inning, career home run No. 660, a soaring line drive that tied the Giants' superstar with his godfather, Willie Mays, for third place on the all-time list.

Bonds' second homer of the season splashed down in McCovey Cove, propelling the Giants to a 7-5 win over the Milwaukee Brewers and delighting a crowd of 42,548 in Monday's home opener at SBC Park.

It also set him on a direct course for the game's greatest sluggers. Surpassing Ruth's 714 homers and Aaron's 755, while not an absolute certainty, seems to be only a matter of time.

"This is probably the icing on the cake," Bonds said. "I really wish my dad could have been here to be a part of this, but it's a great honor to be able to do this today at home, in front of our hometown fans, to be able to have Willie here.

"I just really can't believe it, being 4 years-old at the time my dad came up into the major leagues and having an idol like Willie Mays take me under his wing, and now sitting up in front of all of you people answering questions (about) what it's like to tie the man you respected and honored your entire life."

Despite going five games without a homer after reaching No. 659 Monday night in Houston, Bonds pounced on a 3-1 pitch from Milwaukee starter Matt Kinney (0-1) in the fifth, the second hit in a 3-for-3 day that included an RBI single in the third inning and a double and run scored in the seventh. His three-run shot traveled an estimated 442 feet and transformed a 4-2 deficit into a 5-4 lead.

After turning on Kinney's inside fastball, Bonds threw his arms in the air then clapped once.

"I knew I hit it," Bonds said.

As he approached home, he was met by several teammates, stepped purposefully on the plate and lifted both arms skyward.

Mays, who attended the season's first seven games, stepped forward carrying the Olympic torch he'd carried for the 2002 Winter Games.

He presented it to Bonds, who put his arm around Mays as the pair stood before a standing ovation.

After briefly disappearing into the dugout amid a sea of high-fives, Bonds returned and waved to the crowd as the chant, "Barry! Barry!" washed over the park.

For a moment, the steroid controversy and federal trial that's targeting his personal trainer seemed to fade into the background. Whether he'd used performance-enhancing substances or not was a question that would be addressed another day.

"The fans appreciate a good baseball player," manager Felipe Alou said. "... Barry Bonds is a great athlete, not only in baseball, but a tremendous athlete. I believe the fans, especially here, that have seen the best of Barry as a baseball player, appreciate the entire package of athlete that he is, still. And they come to see baseball. I know some guys were booing in some of the cities, but they love the guy."

Bonds endeared himself to the locals with his defense too. In the top of the 8th , with the Giants (4-3) nursing a two-run lead, he ranged into left center to rob Lyle Overbay of extra bases with a running backhand catch.

Bonds' heroics made a winner out of starter Jerome Williams (1-1), who allowed four runs and eight hits in six innings. The Brewers (4-4) touched him up early, scoring once in the first, adding two in the third and another run in the fifth.

The second-year right-hander's shaky outing was but an afterthought, however, as San Francisco opened a 10-game homestand with a dramatic victory, one that was accompanied with a sense of relief.

"It was like a weight was just lifted off my shoulders," Bonds said. "I felt a sense of accomplishment in the game of baseball, a relief now to be able to stand next to my godfather and finally feel like I've accomplished something in the game of baseball. I felt like it was a big way of getting his approval that I've finally done something."

Leave it to the 73-year-old Mays, who hit his 660th as a member of the New York Mets in August 1973, to keep the pressure on.

"I think it's appropriate that he'd do it in a Giants uniform and that's really what I wanted him to do," Mays said. "I felt that it's history and history has to keep going. Now the next is Ruth -- can he get that?

"To me I think it's important to not look at who he's going after, just keep doing his thing. I think it's important that he stays healthy, keep doing what he has to do, and keep moving."

All-time home run leaders

1. Hank Aaron -- 755

2. Babe Ruth -- 714

T3. Barry Bonds -- 660

T3. Willie Mays -- 660

5. Frank Robinson -- 586

6. Mark McGwire -- 583

7. Harmon Killebrew -- 573

8. Reggie Jackson -- 563

9. Mike Schmidt -- 548

10. Mickey Mantle -- 536


MyrtleBeachOnline.com: Posted on Tue, Apr. 13, 2004


Fans flock for stars not golf

Spectators seek chance to meet celebrities at NMB's Barefoot Resort

By Erin Reed

The Sun News

Not even a tornado watch could keep determined celebrity-watchers from their quest at the Hootie & the Blowfish Monday after the Masters Pro-Am golf tournament on Monday at Barefoot Resort in North Myrtle Beach.

Even when the watch forced the end of play halfway through the tournament, spectators continued to mill about, hoping for a last-minute autograph or at least a glimpse of a star.

Even though it's a golf game, golf isn't the big attraction.

"We'll stand out in the middle of a tornado to get an autograph," said Don Cathcart of Spartanburg, who was at the tournament with three friends on a mission to collect celebrity autographs. Cathcart estimated he had about 20 by the time the tournament was canceled.

The most famous on the course, including actor Samuel L. Jackson and golf legend John Daly, were the toughest to conquer.

Cathcart said Daly wouldn't sign a golf ball he brought.

"The bigger the name, the harder it is," he said.

The team of Jackson, Daly and Darius Rucker of Hootie & the Blowfish drew the biggest crowds, and although fans thronged their golf carts, fans said the celebrities weren't as friendly as hoped.

Jackie Davis of Myrtle Beach was there for the celebrities, and Jackson was at the top of her list.

But she never got to talk to him.

"You could get close, but he wouldn't stop," she said.

Davis was at the tournament with her husband, local golf pro Randy Davis, who was one of the rare spectators interested in the actual golf game.

"My husband's into the golf part, and I like the celebrities," Jackie Davis said.

However, she did say Kevin Sorbo, better known as television's Hercules, was very friendly and talked to fans about his new baby.

J.R. Roberts, who lives at Ocean Lakes Campground near Surfside Beach, was at the tournament with his son, Curt Roberts, who traveled from the Virginia Beach area. The two were starstruck as they watched carts carrying the famous pass by.

"The celebrities bring us out," Curt Roberts said. His highlight for the day was an autograph from former Major League baseball player Johnny Bench, his childhood idol.


Monday, April 12, 2004

Scotland on Sunday - Sport - Other Sport - Old Master Mike is written into the annals

Paul Forsyth

GIVEN that the city of Augusta is famous for only one thing, it would be a dereliction of duty were the people here not to exploit it. On Masters week in this otherwise dead-end place, every gift shop is dominated by golf, every restaurant determined to welcome ‘patrons’, and every book store keen to promote a range of literature devoted to the sport.

Among the publications on display in Books-A-Million, a shop set back from the neon-lit strip that passes by the gates of the National, a sepia-tinted hardback cover catches the eye. "Augusta and Aiken in golf’s golden age," is a work of non-fiction by Stan Byrdy that recognises the sport’s long-standing contribution to this proud community.

The Scotsman’s veteran golf correspondent, Mike Aitken, insists that the weighty tome is in recognition of his service to the tournament, a decade that stretches back to the year when Tiger Woods first strode out on to its hallowed turf. And here was me thinking it was a factual account of this modest Georgia town and its neighbour 19 miles away in South Carolina.

Never mind Arnold Palmer’s 50th Masters, or indeed Raymond Floyd’s 40th, this is Mike’s 10th time tapping out words of wisdom and relaying them down the line to captivated readers. A bit like Palmer, there have been regal waves to the galleries, and one or two claims that he has had enough, but still he keeps coming back. You just can’t keep a good man down.

Alas, such professionalism is no longer evident at The Herald, whose feted scribe has become sportswriting’s David Duval, the golfer who once had the world at his feet, but is now kept a safe distance from these glamorous jamborees. Still, at least the Glasgow broadsheet was represented at Parkhead last week for the world’s biggest sporting event.

THE green jackets of Augusta National will be glad that Johnny Miller is nowhere near the microphone when the tournament reaches its climax this afternoon. Players are still mumping and moaning at the NBC commentator for saying in a live broadcast of last month’s Ford Championship at Doral that Craig Parry’s swing was "enough to make Ben Hogan puke".

The Masters, after all, is the tournament from which Gary McCord was banned for saying that they didn’t mow the greens in these parts, they treated them with bikini wax. In his place for CBS Sports is former US PGA champion Lanny Wadkins, who knows it is in his best interests to toe the party line. "You’re not looking to criticise," he admits. "You don’t need to berate somebody and make his wife and kids cringe."

Miller is often congratulated for telling it like it is, but his forthright opinions haven’t always hit the mark. After the second day’s play of the 1999 Ryder Cup at Brookline, he was so dismayed by the form of Justin Leonard that he said the 1997 Open champion might as well pack his bags and go home. Less than 24 hours later, Leonard had holed the decisive putt.

IT was more than a little disturbing to flick through the pages of the Augusta Chronicle last Wednesday and find that Scotland’s top representative in the Masters has been making an exhibition of himself again. As if it wasn’t enough to create a song and dance about his first-round bogey on the 18th, a trademark strop that had the tiny Scottish press corps apoplectic, it seems he has been no less animated away from the golf course.

Goodness knows what Eimar was thinking when she allowed him to perform at some sordid shindig called The Last Call Par 3 Party in a parking lot across the road from America’s revered golfing institution. "Reggae artist Monty Montgomery opens the show, followed by the Swingin’ Medallions, a South Carolina band that performs shaggin’ tunes and rhythm and blues," read the advertisement. Really, Colin, this will not do.

IT would be remiss of any self-respecting diarist to make it through the week without mention of John Daly, that big-hitting, chain-smoking icon of the working class who is to the Masters what Ricky Tomlinson is to the Royal family. What a pleasure it was the other night to pull into a nearby Hooters, purely for the purposes of professional research you understand, and find the 1995 Open champion holding court in the parking lot.

On the same night that the game’s elite were tucking into a feast at the champions dinner, here was Daly selling merchandise over the counter of his ramshackle trailer. Hats, towels, polo shirts: you name it, he was signing it, while also endeavouring to flick away the fag ash he was depositing on the goods.

When a couple of teenagers sidled up and asked him to autograph their citations for under-age drinking, he regarded it as an honour to oblige. "Hey kids, I like your style," he drawled, peering through the fug of smoke, and the dim light of his dated jalopy. If he had a care in the world, he wasn’t showing it.

Fuzzy Zoeller was asked last week what Daly’s mindset would be like for the Masters, given that his wife had pleaded guilty to charges in a federal court. "Does he have a mind?" asked the former champion. If golf is a sport in which thinking too much can be counter-productive, it is a wonder the Wild Thing isn’t its undisputed No.1.

SUNS: Amar� Stoudemire Basketball Camp to Begin on July 12
Amaré Stoudemire Basketball Camp to Begin on July 12

Posted: April 8, 2004
Phoenix Suns forward Amaré Stoudemire will host his inaugural youth basketball camp from Monday, July 12 through Thursday, July 15 at Desert Ridge High School, located at 10045 E. Madero in Mesa. The reigning got milk? NBA Rookie of the Year will be joined by some elite NBA players and others.

Camp enrollment is open to boys and girls from eight to 18 years of age and costs $350 per person. Each participant will receive daily basketball instruction, a NIKE Amaré "The Future" Stoudemire camp T-shirt, an official NIKE basketball, educational literature from Life Skills Seminars, lunch, medical care, individual and team awards, photo and autograph opportunities, and a chance to win great prizes.

Interested participants should log on to www.amare32camp.com, the camp's official web site, for complete camp details and to register online.

With a 7:1 camper-to-coach ratio, participants will receive personalized instruction and learn the fundamental skills of basketball ranging from ball handling and rebounding to post moves and team offense. Additionally, the camp consists of lectures, basketball drill stations, games, and individual evaluation for campers looking to take their game to the next level.

All of these activities take place at the campus of Desert Ridge H.S., which is equipped with seven regulation-size, air-conditioned basketball courts and a full-size cafeteria.

Amaré Stoudemire Basketball Camp seeks to help campers fully realize their potential on and off the court in an enriching, fun and safe environment that encourages teamwork, self-confidence, respect and dedication to the game of basketball.

Martina McBride to Perform at the Coliseum During CMA Music Festival/Fan Fair(R)

Press Release Source: Country Music Association

Martina McBride to Perform at the Coliseum During CMA Music Festival/Fan Fair(R)
Thursday April 8, 11:14 am ET
Shannon Lawson, Charlie Louvin, Memarie, Restless Heart, Pam Tillis and Josh Turner Join Greased Lightning(R) Riverfront Park Stages Performance Lineup

NASHVILLE, April 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Artists continue to join the lineup for the 2004 CMA Music Festival/Fan Fair®. The four-day music festival takes over Downtown Nashville Thursday through Sunday, June 10-13, with non-stop musical performances, celebrity autograph signings, family fun, sports activities and much more. "Country Music's Biggest Party(TM)" will also make its major network debut with a two-hour television special airing later this summer on the CBS Television Network.
RCA recording artist Martina McBride, the reigning CMA Female Vocalist of the Year, has been added to the lineup of artists performing at the Nightly Concerts at The Coliseum (home of the NFL's Tennessee Titans). McBride, who also received this Award in 1999 and 2002, joins Loretta Lynn, Reba McEntire and Tammy Wynette as the only artists to be named Female Vocalist of the Year three or more times in the history of the CMA Awards.

Previously announced performers for the Nightly Concerts at The Coliseum include: Trace Adkins; Dierks Bentley; Clint Black; Brooks & Dunn; Chris Cagle; Glen Campbell; Terri Clark; Billy Ray Cyrus; Charlie Daniels; Diamond Rio; Sara Evans; Vince Gill; Buddy Jewell; Lonestar; Jo Dee Messina; Joe Nichols; Brad Paisley; LeAnn Rimes; Keith Urban; Clay Walker; Darryl Worley and Wynonna with more artist announcements in the weeks leading up to the event.

The Daily Concerts at the Greased Lightning® Riverfront Park Stages have always featured the full breadth of Country Music, from classic to contemporary, and the latest additions to these performances are no exception including Equity recording artist Shannon Lawson, Country Music Hall of Fame and Grand Ole Opry member Charlie Louvin, Cupit recording artist Memarie, reunited multi-Platinum Koch Nashville recording group Restless Heart, former CMA Female Vocalist of the Year Pam Tillis and MCA Nashville recording artist Josh Turner, who is currently making a name for himself with his Gold-selling debut album Long Black Train.

With more than 30 concert hours throughout four days, Greased Lightning® Riverfront Park Stages offers a blend of musical styles that covers the full spectrum of Country Music. Single-day tickets are available at the gate during the event for $12, children 6 and younger are admitted free -- making the Daily Concerts economical family fun.

Previously announced performers for the Daily Concerts at Greased Lightning® Riverfront Park Stages include Jessi Alexander; Lynn Anderson; Jessica Andrews; Sherrie Austin; Steve Azar; David Ball; Jeff Bates; Eddie Bayers & The Players; Bellamy Brothers; John Berry; BlackHawk; Blue County; Suzy Bogguss; BR549; Lane Brody; Jim Ed Brown; T. Graham Brown; Tammy Cochran; Cooder Graw; Helen Cornelius; Cowboy Crush; Billy Currington; Joe Diffie; Jolie Edwards; Scotty Emerick; Lee Greenwood; Andy Griggs; Jennifer Hanson; J. Michael Harter; Ty Herndon; Hilljack; Jan Howard; Jedd Hughes; Stonewall Jackson; The Jenkins; Royal Wade Kimes; Miranda Lambert; Johnny Lee; Aaron Lines; Little Big Town; Little Texas; Daniel Lee Martin; John Arthur Martinez; Lila McCann; Brian McComas; Neal McCoy; Mel McDaniel; Craig Morgan; Mountain Heart; David Lee Murphy; Oak Ridge Boys; Jamie O'Neal; James Otto; The Pajama Party (featuring Deborah Allen, The Kinleys and Michelle Wright); Lee Roy Parnell; Pinmonkey; Colt Prather; Rachel Proctor; Julie Roberts; Dan and Jim Seals; Jeannie Seely; Jeffrey Steele; Doug Stone; Sugarland; Mel Tillis; Tanya Tucker; Lane Turner; Rhonda Vincent; Jimmy Wayne; The Wilkinsons; Trent Willmon; Mac Wiseman and Gretchen Wilson

Comedian T. Bubba Bechtol, Sara Evans, Jamey Garner, Vern Gosdin, Con Hunley, Miranda Lambert and Lila McCann have been added to the list of artists who will be appearing in their fan club booths, ready to meet their fans and pose for pictures in the Wrangler® Fan Fair (Exhibit Hall) located in the Nashville Convention Center. Artists already announced as appearing in the Wrangler® Fan Fair include: Trace Adkins; Alabama; Bill Anderson; John Berry; Blue County; Tracy Byrd; Billy "Crash" Craddock; Charlie Daniels; Kassie DePaiva; Diamond Rio; Ty England; Bill Engvall; 4Runner; Donna Fargo; Andy Griggs; Eric Heatherly; Steve Holy; Buddy Jewell; Royal Wade Kimes; Larry The Cable Guy; Lonestar; Daniel Lee Martin; Jo Dee Messina; John Michael Montgomery; Jamie O'Neal; LeAnn Rimes; Rushlow; Sawyer Brown; Blake Shelton; Marty Stuart; Trick Pony; Trini Triggs; Josh Turner; Phil Vassar; Bryan White; Mark Wills; Brad Wolf; Darryl Worley and the stars of NBC Daytime dramas "Days of our Lives" and "Passions."

Four-day ticket packages (priced $145 and $125 for adults; and $100 and $86 for children 14 and younger) are on sale now. Children 3 and younger are admitted free.

Ticket packages are divided into four categories, based on the level of reserved seating at The Coliseum (the Gold Circle ticket package is already sold out). Ticket packages include the Nightly Concerts at The Coliseum; Daily Concerts at Greased Lightning® Riverfront Park Stages; the Wrangler® Fan Fair (Exhibit Hall); Sports Zone; Bush's® Baked Beans Family Zone; CMA Music Festival After Hours(TM); free in-town shuttles to major event sites; the official CMA Music Festival Program Book; CMA Music Festival pin; and special discounts to area attractions, restaurants, shops and more.

To purchase ticket packages, order over the phone by calling toll-free 1-800-CMA-FEST (262-3378) or through Ticketmaster at (615) 255-9600; or download an order form at www.CMAfest.com ; or visit www.Ticketmaster.com to buy online. Prices do not include applicable handling fees. Children ages 3 and younger are admitted free. Ticket prices, schedule and artists appearing are subject to change without notice. Order early for the best available reserved seat at The Coliseum. All sales are final and non-refundable.

Shuttle service from outlying areas of Nashville to CMA Music Festival events will be available from several park-and-ride locations with unlimited access on the Gray Line Satellite Shuttle. To purchase a separate pass and to make advance Gray Line Satellite Shuttle reservations, call 1-800-251-1864 or (615) 883-5555.

For up-to-the-minute information about tickets, travel information, schedules, artist appearances and more, visit www.CMAfest.com and sign up for e-news. 2004 CMA Music Festival/Fan Fair is organized and produced by the Country Music Association. Country Weekly is an official media partner. MJI Programming, a division of Premiere Radio Networks, is the official radio broadcaster. Promotional partners include American Airlines, B.A.S.S.®, Bush's® Baked Beans, Camping World, Carl Black Chevrolet, Coca-Cola, Greased Lightning®, NBC Daytime and Wrangler®. Fan Fair is a registered trademark of CMA.

Welcome to AJC!After Alleged Scam, Hall of Famer Aided

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP)--An 80-year-old football Hall of Famer with Alzheimer's disease is getting badly needed help with medical bills after sympathetic donors learned of allegations that an autograph dealer had scammed him.

Shawn Michael Stevens, 26, of Gloversville, N.Y., was indicted last week on federal charges of interstate transportation of stolen property and issuing counterfeit checks. He is accused of fleecing Pete Pihos out of his football mementos, including Pro Bowl jerseys, in exchange for $30,000 in phony checks.

Pihos was an All-NFL receiver and defensive end with the Philadelphia Eagles from 1947 to 1955. He entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1970.

Mike Smrtic, Stevens' attorney, said allegations that Stevens was targeting former professional athletes in declining mental health were unsubstantiated. He also noted that his client had dealt not with the former athlete, but with his ex-wife, Donna Pihos-Howell, who has taken care of Pihos for the last four years.

Since Sports Illustrated did a story on the allegations in early March, Pihos-Howell, 63, said she has received donations to help with Pihos' medical and dental bills. ``There are just so many good people out there,'' she said.

It was unclear how much money Pihos received or how much was needed to pay off his medical bills, but Ron Mix, a lawyer who runs the Hall of Fame Players Association, said he will forward to Pihos about $8,500 in donations from people wanting to help.

Two autograph dealers who led authorities to Stevens, Jeff Whitmore and Mike Hauser, will split a $5,000 reward from the Hall of Famers' association. Whitmore said he'll donate his share to Pihos, and Hauser said he wants to use his share for an upcoming autograph show to honor Pihos and other aging former athletes in need.

Pihos-Howell said Stevens first called her in early December and called himself Dr. James Hart, a pediatrician looking to start a sports museum. She said she decided to sell the mementos, including leather pads and a football signed by 25 fellow Hall of Famers, to help pay mounting health care bills.

The items have since been returned to Pihos.

``He recognized the things,'' Pihos-Howell said, ``and he was grinning about having them out.''

Anchorage Daily News | Film crew, stars fill Skagway to raftersPLEASED: Residents love Hollywood cash infusion, humble actors.

The Associated Press

A Canadian movie production company has invaded Skagway.

Filmmakers working on the production of "The Big White" have rented all 100 Skagway rooms available in winter, said Buckwheat Donohue, Skagway's tourism director, and the town is acting as a staging area.

The movie stars Robin Williams, Holly Hunter, James Woods, Giovanni Ribisi and other actors have been causing a stir when they drop into restaurants and bars.

"The town's kind of an exciting place right now," Donohue said Friday.

He is hazy on the plot of the movie, but the dark comedy involves an Alaska travel agent who needs money to help his wife. The travel agent uses a frozen body found in a trash bin in an attempt to dupe an insurance company and cash in a policy on a long-lost brother.

Filming is taking place just across the border in Canada, 14 miles away. The production company conducted a casting call for extras in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory.

Due to union rules, Skagway residents are limited to assisting by providing services. That should be substantial.

Visitors to the community of 845, about 90 miles north of Juneau, usually arrive during the summer cruise ship season. Donohue expects an estimated $350,000 economic shot in the arm from the movie company.

The town is so full that some extras hired from Whitehorse are camping at the filming site.

Williams and Hunter are staying in homes.

"Even in a town like this, the stars are being hounded," Donohue said.

The two actors are inaccessible but have dropped in to Skagway businesses.

"Her first night here she walked into the only two bars that are open and apparently had a good time," Donohue said of Hunter.

Williams has been charming.

"It's just like he was on the David Letterman show," Donohue said. "He finds out who your favorite star is and he mimics them."

Williams walked into the Sweet Tooth Cafe for breakfast and spotted a photo of owner Colette Hisman with Kirk Douglas, who stopped off on a cruise ship trip a couple of summers ago. Williams launched into a Douglas impersonation.

"It had the whole place roaring," Donohue said.

Reached by phone Friday, Hisman said one of her waitresses, Joanne Worley, had spotted Williams a few days earlier in a video store and asked him to return to autograph her copy of "Flubber." They thought he'd forget, but he didn't.

"He came in to sign," Hisman said. "He's a really, really super nice person," she said.

"You'd think the guy would be sick to death of it," Donohue said. "Maybe he is. But he's not letting on."

Hunter, he said, was equally down to earth. The Academy Award-winning actress is daintier than he expected, he said.

"She's such a nice lady, kind, sweet, respectful," he said.

"They're even nicer than the Martha Stewart group, and I thought they were the nicest on the planet," Donohue said of the production company.

The crew, if not the stars, plans to stay through April 19.

Skagway has drawn other media. Mercedes-Benz and BMW film SUV commercials there. "Never Cry Wolf" was filmed in 1980, as was a TV movie and History Channel shows.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Travolta confused Oprah and Streisand with autograph hunters!
Washington | April 08, 2004 5:30:21 PM IST

Hollywood actor John Travolta confused Oprah Winfrey and Barbara Streisand with autograph hunters when he spotted them at his surprise 50th birthday party in Mexico.
The 'Grease' actor was furious with his wife Kelly Preston when they arrived at Cabos San Lucas for the free trip she had organized, and he saw what he thought were eager fans hoping for his autograph.

"I was like, 'Why is my wife soliciting this when we don't need it?' Everyone was being quiet waiting for me to register who they were, but I don't register anybody's face. I said to Kelly, 'See, there are no free rides. All these people are employees and they want autographs and photographs and this is what we're going to get for a free room. We're going to have to work the whole weekend for it," imdb quoted Travolta as saying.

"Then I look again and see Barbra Streisand and Oprah and I think, 'What are they doing here?' Then they come toward me and I think, 'Oh this is a surprise party, but I was missing the surprise.' It was amazing. I thought I had died and this was the afterlife," added an astonished Travolta. (ANI)

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