Saturday, June 26, 2004

Yahoo! News - Clapton's Guitar Sells for Almost $1MNEW YORK - One of Eric Clapton (news)'s prize guitars sold for a record $959,500 at an auction that raised more than $7.4 million for a drug treatment center, auction house officials said.

"Blackie," the black-and-white Fender Stratocaster that served as Clapton's sole stage and studio guitar from 1970 to 1985, was the most expensive ever sold at auction, Christie's said in a statement. In 2002, a guitar belonging to Jerry Garcia sold for $957,500.

The buyer of Clapton's guitar — one of 56 he offered Thursday — was not disclosed.

Proceeds will go to the Crossroads Centre in Antigua, an addiction treatment center Clapton established in 1998. Clapton overcame a heroin addiction years ago.

"I am thrilled at the result, which is going to be of enormous help to us in achieving our long-term aims at the Centre," Clapton said in a statement.

Bidding was fierce for several other guitars, too. Clapton's 1964 cherry-red Gibson ES-335, along with its case, sold for $847,500, which Christie's said was a world auction record for a Gibson.

"Lenny," the guitar Stevie Ray Vaughan played from the 1970s until his death in 1990, sold for $623,500, Christie's said. The guitar was donated by Vaughan's estate.

Friday, June 25, 2004

BearReport.com: Go inside Bear-Packer rivalryGo inside Bear-Packer rivalry
By Beth Gorr
Date: Jun 25, 2004

Ever wish that you had the opportunity to "replay" some of the old Bears-Green Bay games with the players who were there? If so, pack your bags and plan to head north on September 19 for the first ever Bears-Packers pre-game breakfast event, which will be held at Brett Favre’s Steakhouse in Green Bay.

Hosted by Gale Sayers and Willie Davis and presented by the Vince Lombardi Titletown Legends, this once in a lifetime opportunity will bring together legendary players such as Mike Ditka, Mike Pyle, Stan Jones, Kevin Butler, Gary Fencik and others soon to be announced from the Bears. On the Packers side Paul Hornung, Jerry Kramer, Zeke Bratkowski, Jim Grabowski and Leroy Butler are scheduled to partake.
"All of us are really looking forward to this," Pyle said. "It’s a great chance to get together with old football friends and rivals and a fine opportunity to meet the fans. And the best part is that the proceeds will be going to various charities dedicated to area youth, education and public service."

A VIP Breakfast Package, limited to only 75 guests, will feature a reception with Bear and Packer Legends, professionally taken photo and autograph opportunities with all the Legends, preferred seating at a player’s table for the breakfast event and show, and a full breakfast including coffee, juice and Bloody Marys.

The Rivalry Breakfast Package will include a full breakfast and 2 autograph tickets chosen by the participants from several ticket combinations offered that day.

All in attendance will see the special "Inside the Bears-Packers Rivalry Show" hosted by Sayers and Davis and will be able to participate in a question and answer period with the Legends. There will also be souvenir programs, a keepsake coffee mug, and a Lombardi "Run to Win" keepsake pin included in both packages. A limited number of additional autograph passes will be offered for purchase at the event.

Full table packages with Mike Ditka, Paul Hornung, Gale Sayers, Willie Davis, and Leroy Butler are also available.

"The Packers may have beaten us on this one, but we usually beat them on the field so I guess it all comes out even in the end," Pyle said. "Seriously though, it is an honor to have the opportunity to participate in something like this. The Bears-Packers Rivalry is the one of the oldest in the National Football League. There is a wonderful history that will be interesting to explore."

Pyle mentioned that although he does keep in touch with number of former Bears and Packers, this will be the first time that so many NFL veterans will have been reunited since their playing days.

"It’s such a great chance for the fans to find out what these players are doing now, and how they view these games from the past. The focus this time will be on the earlier days of the rivalry. There will be Hall of Fame players in attendance from both teams. I think that everyone there will have a lot of questions for these Legends. It’s rare that so many will be together in one room."

Former players in the Chicago area have recently established the 5th Quarter Players Foundation that will be hosting similar events in the future.

"This is composed of NFL players who were with teams all across the country, but who now reside in Chicago and its suburbs," Pyle said. "We met recently to discuss how we can help less fortunate children and young people who live in Chicagoland. It’s our way of showing appreciation to the fans who supported us during our playing years by giving something back to the community at large in the form of scholarships or other support. We hope to have an event in Chicago similar to the breakfast scheduled in Green Bay by the fall of 2005."

Some of the former players who are currently volunteering their time to the 5th Quarter Players Foundation are: Mike Pyle, Mike Ditka, Ronnie Bull, Robin Earl, Bob Avellini, Chuck Logan and Tim Hendricks.

Space for the September 19 Green Bay "Inside the Bears-Packers Rivalry" breakfast is extremely limited with a maximum of 225 guests. For further information, visit the Vince Lombardi Titletown Legends website at www.lombardilegends.com, email at legendsgb@aol.com, or call 920-499-7238.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

New York City - Manhattan news'Fahrenheit' fans get Moore than expected

Staff Writer

June 24, 2004, 9:57 PM EDT

Moviegoers waiting to see "Fahrenheit 911" in Manhattan Thursday did a double-take when the man they expected to see on the screen inside approached them on the sidewalk.

Soon after someone in the 40-deep line to buy tickets for Thursday night's late shows at the Lincoln Plaza Cinemas recognized director Michael Moore, he was surrounded by an autograph-seeking mob and praise for his latest controversial film.

"Who knows what's going to happen?" Moore said when asked about his expectations for "Fahrenheit 911," which lampoons the Bush administration before and after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks through obscure, often ironic, media footage. "I hope to get people to get out and vote."

Whether the film will sway the November election is hard to tell, but there's no debate that the movie is making waves at the box office.

Moore's political juggernaut, which opens in 686 theaters nationwide today, raked in more than $30,000 Thursday at Lincoln Plaza, which plays mostly foreign and independent films. That take topped the $24,013 Lincoln Plaza single-day record set by "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" in 2000, according to distributors.

"Fahrenheit" grossed $52,000 at Loews Village 7 Thursday on Third Avenue and 11th Street, beating the venue's single-day record of $43,435 held by 1997's "Men in Black," according to Loews.

"It's a very strong start — that's the obvious," said Ewnetu Admassu, general manager at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas. "We anticipate that it will stay that way."

Among those waving a thumbs-up after the movie at Lincoln Plaza was Melvin Gins, an 84-year-old Army veteran.

"It's very disturbing and very impressive," said Gins, who lives on the Upper West Side. "I'm very emotional about this. It's good that the story is getting to the public."

Mike Spencer, of Hoboken, a public relations specialist whose brother will be sent to Iraq next month, said the movie was well-done, albeit one-sided.

"I wanted to smack somebody when they cheered for Iraq to win," said Spencer, 28, referring to a scene in which a crowd of villagers chant against the United States.

Distributors hope the film, which cost $6 million to make, will bring in at least three times that much; Moore's Oscar-winning "Bowling for Columbine," about American gun violence, set the box office record for a documentary with $22 million total in ticket sales.

From the start, the film has been steeped in controversy. In May, Disney barred its Miramax division, which created the film with Moore, from distributing it nationally.

Lions Gate quickly agreed to carry the film, but Moore faced another obstacle when the Motion Picture Association of American refused to grant "Fahrenheit" a PG-13 rating because of bloody war footage, including beheadings. It is now rated R.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Snitch: Why chase after an autograph from a hand that spilled blood?
I don’t get it. Somebody needs to explain to me why so many people seem to worship celebrities, even if they’re the worst dregs of our society.

Take O.J. Simpson. Please. This killer (convicted of wrongful death by a civil jury) shows up at the Kentucky Derby and people actually ask for his autograph and treat him as if he’s a hero.

Did it even cross their minds that the very hand that was signing those autographs is probably the same one that brutally and fatally slashed his ex-wife, Nicole, and her friend, Ron Goldman?

Why would anybody with any sense of decency want anything from O.J. Simpson? He deserves to be shunned anytime he shows his face in public. At least (chuckle, chuckle) until he succeeds in his relentless quest to find “the real killer.”

And did you get his latest attempt at humor? He asks, “Who’s the only Jewish man to have a Heisman Trophy?” The answer: “Fred Goldman (the victim’s father), because he’s got mine.”

How disgusting. How tasteless. How O.J. The man has no redeeming social value. Instead of rushing to get his autograph, people should recoil in horror and disgust when they’re in his presence. Instead, he’s a magnet for the rubes who somehow seem to think that television has the power to wash him clean of his his sins.

The same goes for Mike Tyson, the convicted rapist, well-known cannibal and washed-up boxer. Yet apparently he will fight soon in Louisville, which “beat out” St. Louis and another Midwest city for the right to host this non-event.

No self-respecting city or state would want Tyson anywhere near it.

He’s a thug, a lowlife, a Neanderthal. His presence in Louisville is an insult to a hometown boxing champion by the name of Muhammad Ali.

Yet because Tyson is a “celebrity” who’s instantly recognizable anywhere on the planet, there are dimwits who think that a city that plays host to one of his fights has achieved some kind of civic and public-relations “coup.”

Instead, it’s just another example of small-minded, small-town thinking. Only in the boondocks, where the thirst for “celebrities” is as pathetic as it is pathological, is a social misfit like Tyson welcome. Even Las Vegas, hardly an arbiter of taste, doesn’t want him.

There’s something terribly screwed up here. Largely because of television, the line between heroes and villains, once as stark as a prison wall, has been blurred to the point where it’s almost unrecognizable, practically non-existent.

Instead of good guys or bad guys, there’s now a special category for celebrities that somehow transcends both. No matter what they’ve done, celebrities get to play by a different set of rules than the rest of us.

They get the benefit of the doubt in almost direct proportion to how big a star they are and how much TV time they’ve logged.

Celebritism, to coin a term, skews the judicial process. How can it be that O.J. walks and Martha Stewart has to do some time? Did former NBA star Jayson Williams, like Simpson, get away with murder? At the end of his trial for inadvertently shooting a man to death during a party at his home, the jury found Williams guilty, sort of, but didn’t penalize him as harshly as it could have.

Kobe Bryant’s trial will be next. Is it possible to find a jury that will judge the case strictly on its merits and not be influenced by Bryant’s status as a Los Angeles Lakers’ star and as a black man in what’s essentially a lily-white state?

Already the jock-sniffers in the sports media have tacitly sympathized with Bryant, mewling about how Bryant has dealt with his “adversity” or been distracted by his “legal problems.” Whatever Bryant deserves, it’s not sympathy even before the facts have been publicly disclosed.

Sadly, the sports columnists don’t seem to have much sympathy for Bryant’s accuser or even consider that he might, in fact, be guilty. They just want the mess to be over and done with so everybody can go back to the fantasy world of sports.

We all should have no time, sympathy or room in our autograph books for anybody who abuses women or children. We should turn these individuals into pariahs, regardless of how famous they are.

The only autograph I would ever want to see from O. J. Simpson would be the signature on a confession. No person who values simple decency could think otherwise.

Motorsports Image Presents BGNRacing.comNASCAR Driver Autograph Session & Fish Fry Friday To Benefit March of Dimes
(West Allis, WI) June 22, 2004 - NASCAR drivers will be signing autographs this Friday from 3:00pm to 5:30pm at The Milwaukee Mile, with proceeds benefiting the March of Dimes.

An admission charge of $25 includes a delicious fish fry from Mader’s Restaurant, one of Milwaukee’s finest restaurants, and a Friday Pit & Paddock pass, which allows you to tour the paddock and cold pit lane on Friday during NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series practice, qualifying and during the “Black Cat® Fireworks 200” race, which takes the green flag at 8:00pm Friday night.

If a person already has obtained a Pit & Paddock Pass, a nominal charge of $8.95 for the fish fry will allow access to this event, which will be held outside of the race track at the Rupena’s building on the grounds, due west of Gate 10 of The Milwaukee Mile grandstands.

Drivers scheduled to appear include Janesville, Wisconsin native and defending NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Champion Travis Kvapil, Wausau, WI truck driver Chris Wimmer, South Bend, IN-native and 2003 Busch Series Rookie of The Year David Stremme, Travis Geisler and Shane Hmiel, who’s pulling doing double-duty this weekend, racing his familiar #15 Truck and driving the Great Clips Dodge Busch Series car. More drivers are expected to participate in this interactive autograph session.

Next to the #38 Great Clips show car on display will be an area where Great Clips hairstylists will offer haircuts from 12:00pm until 6:00pm, with proceeds to benefit The March of Dimes. Among the other attractions will be 2002 NASCAR Truck Series Milwaukee race winner Terry Cook’s full-size racing simulator.

This 5th Annual event benefits The March of Dimes. More than 460,000 babies are born prematurely in the U.S. each year, some so small they must fight for their lives. In nearly half these cases, no one knows why. Your participation will help support March of

Dimes research to find the causes of premature birth.

For more information, including how to purchase tickets in advance to the Friday afternoon NASCAR autograph session and fish fry, please contact the March of Dimes office at (414) 778-3500.

For race tickets to attend the “Black Cat® Fireworks 200” NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race on Friday night, June 25, or the “Alan Kulwicki 250 presented by Forest County Potawatomi Racing” NASCAR Busch Series race, contact The Milwaukee Mile ticket office at (414) 453-8277, or via the speedway’s website at www.milwaukeemile.com.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

ABCNEWS.com : Fans Line Up to Buy Clinton's Book

NEW YORK June 22, 2004 — Bill Clinton was greeted like a rock star Tuesday as he arrived at a midtown Manhattan store for his first book-signing appearance. Amid cheers, applause and screams of "Bill, we love you!" the former president entered a Barnes & Noble book store in Rockefeller Center about a half-hour late and began signing his memoir, "My Life."
"I'm glad it's finally happening. I've been living with this for two years," Clinton told the crowd inside the store of his writing experience.

Fans had started lining up outside the Fifth Avenue store the night before to meet Clinton and get his autograph.

"Bill Clinton is a rock star," said Lynne Roberts, 37, who set up camp on the sidewalk Monday night. "He is our cultural icon and we miss him now more than ever, given everything that's going on in the world."

Although fans were told there would be no time to talk to Clinton, Dana Scinto of Stamford, Conn., said she would try to convey a message anyway.

"I want to thank him for eight fun years where he didn't insult my intelligence or rule by fear, like our current president," said Scinto, 39.

By midmorning, police had estimated at least 1,000 people were in the line, which snaked from Fifth to Sixth avenues and 48th to 49th streets. A sea of umbrellas popped open as rain began falling.

Evette Clarke, who got in line at 7:30 a.m., was effusive about the former president.

"I love the man. He was a great president," said Clarke. "He had a problem with his reputation, but who doesn't? Nobody's perfect."

Bookstores in New York, Washington and Little Rock, Ark., stayed open late Monday night for buyers who wanted to buy copies right at midnight.

"It's a historic moment for me," said Margaret Woods, who was at a store near Lincoln Center that began selling the book at midnight. "When he was in office, the country was prosperous, people had jobs, the budget was balanced and we weren't at war. He gave a lot of people hope."

The Books-A-Million store in North Little Rock, Ark., staged a party with trivia contests that drew about 80 people.

Although initial reviews have called the book self-serving and dull, Garry Caldwell, 54, of Sherwood, Ark., said he wanted to read "My Life" to better understand Clinton's legacy.

"I believe in listening to both sides of the argument and making up my own mind," he said. "I think he was a good president I think he could have been one of the best presidents except for the scandals."

Alfred A. Knopf gave the memoirs a first printing of 1.5 million. Mary Ellen Keating, a spokeswoman for Barnes & Noble, said she expected the book to be the best-selling presidential memoir in the company's history.

To promote the book, Clinton has served as keynote speaker at BookExpo America, the publishing industry's annual national convention, and been interviewed by "60 Minutes," Time magazine and the British Broadcasting Corp., among others. He will visit more book stores over the next month.

Abroad, the book also went on sale Tuesday in Britain and Ireland; translated copies were being readied in France for a Wednesday launch.

In other countries where translations remained months away, "My Life" arrived in the form of newspaper serializations that focused largely either on Clinton's relationship with his wife, Hillary, or with Monica Lewinsky.

In Ireland, which the ex-president visits yearly for golf and lucrative speaking engagements, Dubliners lauded Clinton as a driving force behind both the country's 1990s economic boom and the peace process in neighboring Northern Ireland.

"Clinton was a charmer, whereas Bush is just scary," said Pat Huxtable, a psychotherapist thumbing through a copy of "My Life" in a Dublin bookstore.

Critics and Clinton's political opponents have not been kind to the book. Rush Limbaugh has said the book should be called "My Lie." The New York Times, in a front-page review Sunday, called it "sloppy, self-indulgent and often eye-crossingly dull."

On NBC's "Today," Bay Buchanan, chairwoman of the conservative American Cause organization, called its marketing "masterful" and Clinton "a brilliant man." But she said the book was "boring and too long."

With advance orders already topping 2 million, Clinton's book appears guaranteed to justify his reported $10 million advance and outsell the memoirs of his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who received $8 million. According to her publisher, Simon & Schuster, the senator's "Living History" has about 2.3 million hardcover and paperback copies in print.

At a book party in his honor Monday at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Clinton joked about his advance: "I hope my publisher makes back its money."

Pre-orders for "My Life" have tripled over the last week at Barnes & Noble and also increased by double digits for Borders, even though the Borders discount for the $35 book dropped from 40 percent to 30 percent for orders made after June 14.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Alice Cooper: Welcome to my paradiseAlice Cooper: Welcome to my paradise

Alice Cooper
Jun. 20, 2004 12:00 AM

Well, first of all I've lived in Phoenix for 50 years, and let me say that Philadelphia has been very good to this rock 'n' roller. It was a visit to Philadelphia, in fact, that inspired me to write Welcome to My Nightmare. Ca-ching!

And if you ever want to leave the big city for a weekend getaway in a smallish little community - Philadelphia isn't a terrible choice.

But for me, and 1.5 million like me, Phoenix is home. It's a different lifestyle. A different time. A different place. We're a very young city. We dance to our very own beat, obviously, and that's a good thing. I mean, I started wearing mascara in the '70s - and it was accepted everywhere in the world. Well, not in Mesa.

Wanna know what a guy named Alice likes about Phoenix? For starters, 168 golf courses. And depending on your level of handling the heat, 365 days a year, every year, to try them all. Everybody has a place in Phoenix: rockers, jocks, rocket scientists, doctors, lawyers and Indian chiefs.

No matter who you are or where you come from, you fit right in the minute you land at Sky Harbor International Airport - the fifth-busiest airport in the world.

Forget about what you heard in late-night monologues in 1987 - Phoenix is diverse and proud of it. We were one of the first 12 cities in the country to recognize Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday as a holiday. And one of the first anywhere to celebrate Cesar Chavez's birthday.

Yes, we have quirky politicians. But we also had John J. Rhodes, John McCain, Bruce Babbitt and two of the current nine members of the Supreme Court of the United States. A young woman named Rose began working for the state as a secretary in the 1930s. Fifty years later she retired - as governor. Now that's the land of opportunity. Ernest McFarland remains the only American to ever reach the top of three branches of government: chief justice of the Arizona Supreme Court, governor of Arizona, majority leader of the United States Senate. Not bad, but in 1953, we replaced him - with a young man named Barry Goldwater.

Random thought: I challenge you to find a speck of graffiti in Phoenix.

It was, and is, great to be a kid here. Phoenix is a big city with museums and art galleries - but it's a small town when it comes to being outside, playing army, "ghost in the graveyard" and "capture the flag." On safe streets. And the median temperature here is a balmy 74 degrees. We can play outside all year long. I did as a kid. Still do. Like me, Steven Spielberg grew up here. He and I both drew more than a little inspiration from the longest-running local program in America - Wallace and Ladmo.

For the definitive comparison, here's a list I've compiled:

• Philadelphia has cheesesteaks.

• Phoenix has "The Big Unit" hotdog at my restaurant, Alice Coopers'town.

• Philly is our treasured past.

• Phoenix is the future.

• Phoenix . . . rocks.

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