Friday, January 21, 2005
Paris Hilton allegedly
steals own sex video
Heiress reportedly was enraged
to see it for sale
Paris Hilton spotted her infamous sex video at a newsstand and allegedly walked off with a copy.
The Associated Press
Updated: 6:35 p.m. ET Jan. 21, 2005WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. - Paris Hilton is being investigated for suspicion of petty theft, authorities said.
“There was an incident, and she is alleged to have taken something,” sheriff’s Deputy Steve Suzuki said without disclosing further details.
Calls to Hilton’s publicist, Gina Hoffman, were not immediately returned.
On its Web site, the TV show “Celebrity Justice” posted a video of Hilton as she bought several magazines at a newsstand and was given change. It goes on to show her grabbing her infamous sex video and walking off with it.
Gerry Castro, an employee at Swing News in West Hollywood, told “Celebrity Justice” that Hilton became enraged after spotting the sex video “One Night in Paris” on sale at the newsstand.
“She threw her 80 cents change at me and took the video and said, ‘I’m taking this and I’m not buying it,”’ Castro told the show.
Castro declined to comment when contacted Friday by The Associated Press.
The sex tape surfaced in 2003 just before the start of Hilton’s TV series “The Simple Life.” She has said she was embarrassed and humiliated that the tape ever became public.
Deputies were expected to present the misdemeanor case next week to prosecutors, who will then decide whether to file any charges, said Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.
The Sheriff’s Department decided to announce details of the Dec. 15 incident after getting numerous phone calls from reporters, Suzuki said.
Thursday, January 20, 2005
Texas Baseball Fan Fest set for Saturday, Jan. 29
Alumni Day 2004
AUSTIN, Texas – For the third straight year, The University of Texas baseball program will combine Fan Appreciation Day with the annual Alumni Game to create UT Baseball Fan Fest, which this year will be held on Saturday, Jan. 29 at Disch-Falk Field. In this fashion, Fan Fest will not only provide Texas fans with a chance to see and visit with past and present Longhorns, but it will also allow the baseball program to thank all of its fans for their dedicated support.
The day begins at 9:30 a.m. Central when the grounds open for a variety of fan activities. An autograph session with members of the 2005 baseball team on the concourse level of Disch-Falk Field then starts at 10 a.m. when the gates open. The entire UT squad will be on hand until 12 p.m. for autographs and will either hand out individual baseball cards that they have signed or sign one item provided by each fan. Please note, that all fans wishing to receive autographs will have to complete a UT/NCAA compliance card prior to entering the lines and are limited to only one autographed item apiece. Fans are encouraged to arrive early for the autograph session as the players will have depart the concourse at 12 p.m. promptly in order to prepare for the Alumni Game.
During the autograph session, fans will also have the opportunity to show off their pitching skills by taking part in a radar baseball game; enter the Texas baseball raffle (which will announce its winners during the Alumni Game); have their faces painted in UT colors; and visit with UT's own Hook'Em. AM 1300 "The Zone" as well as 96.7 KISS FM will also be on hand to greet the fans. Admission to Texas Baseball Fan Fest is free.
Once the autograph session is completed at 12 p.m., both the Alumni and Varsity squads will warm up on the field before being introduced to the crowd prior to the first pitch of the Alumni Game at 1 p.m. Central ‹ a five-inning exhibition tilt.
"There is no doubt that we have the best fans in all of college baseball," Texas head coach Augie Garrido said. "They provide our team with tremendous support each and every year both at home and on the road. Fan Fest is a wonderful way for our team to kick off each season and thank our fans personally for all that they do."
The No. 1 Longhorns kick off their 2005 campaign on Friday, Feb. 4 at 8 p.m. Central in San Diego, Calif., against the Aztecs of San Diego State in the first contest of a three-game series. Meanwhile, Texas' home opener is set for 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 9 at Disch-Falk Field against UT-Pan American.
To purchase season tickets, please call 1-800-982-BEVO or 512-471-3333 or log on to www.TexasBoxOffice.com. Additionally, single-game tickets for the 2005 season will go on sale Jan. 26 at 9 a.m. Central and can be purchased through the above-mentioned outlets, all H-E-B stores, the Frank Erwin Center and the UT Ticket Office in Bellmont Hall.
TEXAS BASEBALL FAN FEST 2005
Schedule of Events - Sat. Jan. 29, 2005 at Disch-Falk Field
ADMISSION IS FREE
• Grounds open for fan activities from 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
• 2005 Team autograph session from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
• Alumni Game at 1 p.m.
Mick Foley talks about ROH, Samoa Joe feud, Wrestlemania and much more
Mick Foley on Between the Ropes Recap
by Richard Trionfo
This week on Between the Ropes, Fritz, Dickerman, and Vito DeNucci were joined by wrestling legend and number one best selling author, Mick Foley to discuss his recent work in the WWE and Ring of Honor, Wrestlemania, working in Iraq, Ric Flair, Wrestle Reunion, and many other issues.
The interview began with talk about Wrestle Reunion and how it is going to be a big show and the fans will not lose out with the people announced. Mick mentioned that there are a lot of people who are not remembered, but when the name is announced, they remember their careers. They talked about Jake Roberts being there. They also talked about how Lex Luger will be the guest of an exhibitor. Mick talked about the Charlotte show last year and how it was successful, and he hopes that this one does well because it will help future ones. Mick mentions that doing a few a year will provide a good financial cushion. Mick says that he hopes Wrestle Reunion will be jammed with wall to wall people. Mick says that he will be cheerful, answer questions, and sign autographs. Mick mentioned that he will be in a Q&A at Wrestle Reunion on the Saturday of the show with Terry Funk and other wrestlers.
Mick talked about a convention in Indianapolis where the promoter spent a lot of money to get a lot of 80s wrestlers to appear, but did not have a lot for promoting the show. Mick said the promoter said there were 1,500 tickets sold, but Mick said that there must have been 1,350 people dressed up as empty chairs. Mick said that he felt bad as he took his money for the show. Mick says that this guy learned a lesson.
Talk moved on to Ring of Honor. Mick says that it is not on television, so it is not like Ring of Honor is competition the same way people could consider TNA to be competition. Mick says the fans will always see him as a WWE guy. Mick talked to Vince about appearing at Ring of Honor, and Vince asked Mick to look at the talent while he is there. Mick says that he was blown away by some of the workers. Mick talks about how some of the guys are smaller, so that is a strike against them. Mick says that it is like a big party because people travel hundreds of miles for the show. Mick says that it is a lot of fun.
Talk moved on to Samoa Joe and CM Punk and whether they can fit in with the WWE style. Mick says that they could work if brought in the right way. They cannot be brought in on Velocity, and he wishes that if they come in, he would be involved. Mick was asked if we will see Foley vs. Joe in Ring of Honor. Mick said at the show that every time he wrestles for Vince, he gets a big fat six figure check. He asked Joe if he would wrestle him in Boston in the National Guard Armory. He said that he beat up Joe for a minute, but he could barely walk the next day. Mick says that he has some ideas for Joe, including the ‘mystery guy’ to beat him up.
Mick was asked about comparisons between ECW and ROH with the fans. Mick says that he did not think some of the fans appreciated the work, but they were rabid fans. The fans love the technical wrestling, the English style, and the hard hitting style. It is not the type of style to do week in and week out. Mick talked about Samoa Joe and how he told Joe to tone things down because it would not work in the WWE.
Mick was asked about Wrestlemania and whether he will be able to appear. He says that he is willing to listen to ideas, but there are rumors of Rock, Austin, and Hogan coming back. Mick would rather be on a show where he could contribute something big. Mick says that he really liked the long program with Randy Orton, and wants to do something like that, but he does not know if he would get twelve weeks for an angle again. Mick would not mind refereeing or being involved in some capacity. Mick was asked about Wrestlemania XX and how the series with Orton helped put him over the top, and whether he was disappointed with what happened to Randy after he turned. Mick says that he was in New York City, and a fan asked him about Orton and the fan told him that Evolution beat him up. Mick wondered why because it was shortly after he won the title. He wonders if Orton is thinking ‘why couldn’t it have been me’ when looking at Batista right now. Mick suggests a team of Foley and Orton could help set the fire for Orton. Mick was asked if Randy Orton has ‘it’ as a face since he has the heel persona so naturally. Mick says that it is hard to be a cocky face.
Mick was asked if people would be brought in from Ring of Honor to the WWE, and if they would be able to bring in a different style to the company. Mick says that style has changed to a more ground based style, and that is what helps with Ring of Honor. Samoa Joe booked right with training vignettes and the right guy (maybe Foley) could set him apart. Mick says that the first time he saw Joe on the packaging and wondered how he could be the champion, but when he saw him in the ring, he saw the package. Mick says that CM Punk is able to tell a story with a cool persona. It is not like a Christy Hemme on caffeine character. It is a laid back charisma that Punk has.
Talk moved on to Ric Flair. Mick was asked about the latest incident. Mick says that Flair snapped a little. He says that it appears that respect is a big deal with Flair. Mick feels that Flair thinks that people stepped on him and screwed with his career, and he does not want to be disrespected. Mick says that he was not going to shake his hand, but asked him to sign his book. Mick says that there was no good result because if he signed, Flair would look like a jerk. Mick says that he was shocked that Flair hit him. IF there was a camera, he could have been in the main event of the next three Wrestlemanias based on what Flair said. Flair says that he would not fight someone Flair’s age, and especially not someone who he idolized. Mick says that Flair was on the offensive. The only thing missing from what Flair said was the ‘Woooos’. Mick was asked if the punch hurt more from Flair or the Goldberg kid in the second book. Mick says that Flair did not get his best shot in. He talked to Vince after the incident. That it was like a giant hideous boil. Either you can ignore it, patch it up, or lance it. The confrontation got the ugliness on the surface and avoided some things from happening in the future. Mick was asked about a Flair versus Foley match at Wrestlemania 21, and if the money was right. He says that he would like to hear some of the ideas and whether it would help the buyrate or just energize the people who are going to already buy the pay per view. Mick says that he was hurting after dealing with Samoa Joe. Mick talks about how the Wrestlemania match was not a great match. He is not as opposed to it as he stated before. He does not think it will happen, but it is not an impossibility. It was suggested that with the mic skills of both men they could get the match over with the fans in a short time period. Mick suggested that it might work on a smaller show where 50,000 buys are important. Mick says that he is not in the best shape right now, and he has not done much training since Backlash.
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
The Half-Life of Celebrity
Let them eat stars: Pop-culture vultures circle the flesh of the semi-rich and famous on VH1
by Joy Press
January 18th, 2005 3:37 PM
One of the great hazards of supermarket shopping has always been the tabloids lining the checkout lane, assailing us with tawdry tales of celebrity misfortune. Infidelity, infertility, addiction—all are grist for our sadistic lust to see stars brought down to the same lowly level as us. As French intellectual Edgar Morin wrote in The Stars, his classic book about movie idolatry, "Every god is created to be eaten."
In Hollywood's heyday, stars were loved for their personas, not their personalities—they hid behind an impenetrable mystique, and the industry and media colluded by turning a blind eye to unsuitable behavior. Today, it's the duty of stars to reveal their quirks and defects. In fact, the appeal of shows like The Osbournes or Jessica Simpson's Newlyweds lies in the presentation of the mundane reality behind the image. (Look, they fart! They shop! They bicker!) Since both of those MTV series are produced by a family member-agent—Sharon Osbourne and Joe Simpson, respectively—it's obvious that this staged spontaneity reaches us artist-approved.
It didn't take long before reality TV producers began tapping into the ressentiment of us slobs out here in the audience. Punk'd ambushed stars, forcing them to be good sports about it. But it was The Surreal Life that took schadenfreude TV to the next level, with its menagerie of has-beens forced to perform odd stunts for our amusement (and sometimes for charity). VH1 has built a Sunday-night pop-cultural vulture fest called Celebreality around the latest season of The Surreal Life, adding on the tedious makeover show Celebrity Fit Club and Strange Love, a spin-off of last year's Surreal Life that feeds on the supposed romantic chemistry between publicity grubbers Brigitte Nielsen and Flavor Flav. For the participants, these shows hinge on a simple premise: Let us watch you at your lowest ebb and you will be redeemed, rehabilitated, and just maybe reborn as a celebrity.
The Surreal Life's current quandary is how to intensify the grotesquerie that is so crucial to its ratings. Answer: a horny dwarf who can't hold his liquor. Before entering the house, Verne Troyer—best known as Mini-Me in the Austin Powers films—sneers that he hates "reality crap like this," but soon he's playing his designated freak role with gusto. The cameras catch Troyer on his midget scooter in the middle of the night, stark naked and drunkenly taking a leak against the wall. Troyer's main competition on the weirdo front is ex-WWF wrestler Chyna Doll, making a bid to be this season's Brigitte Nielsen. The gravel-voiced Chyna has no problems offering up her fatal flaws for consumption. "I have no family. I have no friends. . . . I am an insecure woman," she tearfully confesses to the group as they sit around a campfire. To which Christopher Knight (Peter on The Brady Bunch) kindly responds, "I want you to know you don't have to be entertaining. There are times to be an entertainer and there are times to just be." Wise advice in the real world, but blasphemy on a show designed to extract enjoyment out of your indignity.
A stint on The Surreal Life didn't do much to halt the downward spiral of Vince Neil's career. So here he is again, looking pretty darn pathetic at the start of Remaking: Vince Neil, the first in a series of VH1 star makeover specials. A slobbering and incoherent Neil loses $16,000 gambling, then falls over in the casino. The voice-over notes that the Mötley-era "stadiums packed with screaming fans have given way to tiny shows in strip mall dive bars," while Vince's fiancée chips in to complain about his drinking and "not dealing with his problems." Altruistic VH1 steps in to offer Vince what life so rarely gives any of us: a second chance. This involves a plastic surgeon, stylist, trainer, and hit-making songwriter-producer. Remaking is both unsparingly graphic (if you ever dreamed of watching a rock star's scalp peeled away from his skull, this is the show for you) and squeamishly censored (we don't see his struggle to kick alcohol or his painful recovery from multiple surgeries). But just like The Swan and Extreme Makeover, the show does provide Neil with a happy ending, albeit twisted and temporary.
Like Remaking, Celebrity Fit Club stands at the busy intersection of two foul trends—celebrity humiliation and our national obsession with fat. Brought over from the U.K. like so many reality series, this new show treads the same terrain as The Biggest Loser, but instead of helping average people lose weight to look more like celebs, Fit Club harries D-list luminaries like Daniel Baldwin (the forgotten Baldwin brother) and Wendy, the lady from the Snapple commercials. If they lose the flab, does that mean they get bumped up to C-list?
For years, the saga of former A-lister Kirstie Alley's ballooning weight problems lined the covers of those supermarket tabloids. This is the grim half-life of celebrities, their indiscretions and physical deterioration remorselessly documented even as the memory of what made them famous fades. But Alley seems determined to scramble back up the Hollywood ladder by taking a leaf out of Larry David's book. The promising new series Fat Actress (premiering on Showtime this March) is an improvisational sitcom based on Alley's own life. In the pilot, her agent might as well be prodding her to do Celebrity Fit Club when he offers her a Jenny Craig commercial. But she wants more. Alley unleashes a mordant monologue about the double standard whereby women's careers are tethered to their waistlines while tubby guys like John Goodman rule the airwaves. "And how about James Gandolfino [sic]? He's . . . way way way fatter than I am!" The punchline is that in real life, Alley actually has signed a contract to promote Jenny Craig. She doesn't want to smash the double standard and heave her saggy love handles onto our screens. She wants to get real skinny, so she can jump on the celebrity treadmill once again.
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
Winter Caravan begins in the cold
Twins' annual tour underway amidst frigid temps
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
DULUTH, Minn. -- When it's January in Minnesota, it must be too cold to be talking baseball, right?
Not for Twins fans. It can never be too cold.
That's a good thing, because the northern leg of the 2005 Dodge Twins Winter Caravan got rolling on what was one of the coldest mornings of the season.
"Too freakin' cold," responded Kevin the bus driver when asked what the temperature was.
Translation: it was 11 below. Cold, but not quite comparable to the near-record low of 54 below registered the same morning up north in Embarrass, Minn.
No worries, though -- the bus is warm and there will be several hot stoves burning bright with baseball talk. It's the 45th year for Twins Caravan, which is one of the most extensive winter tours of its kind in baseball.
On the journey that will weave through several cities and towns are Twins players Lew Ford and Grant Balfour, WCCO radio analyst and former Twins star Dan Gladden and Fox Sports Net North's Clay Matvick. Among the stops in northern Minnesota are Duluth, Grand Rapids, Bemidji and Brainerd.
For Ford, Monday's frigid weather was like a harsh slap on the face. As the trip rolled around the western side of Mille Lacs Lake on the way to Aitkin, Minn., the Texas native marveled at seeing frozen lakes dotted with fishhouses and cars for the first time (from inside the bus).
"I think it's beautiful," the Twins outfielder said. "But you get uncomfortable standing outside after about two or three minutes. I'm just not used to it. I went across from the hotel last night to a restaurant and I felt like I was frozen solid."
Balfour hails from Australia -- where it's currently summer and he left temperatures in the 90-degree range. The right-handed reliever recently took a 28-hour flight from Sydney to New York and then flew to Minneapolis four days ago.
"To see snow -- it doesn't snow in Sydney. This is a novelty," Balfour said. "It's cool seeing the lake frozen. They have ice fishing and roads on the lake. I wouldn't mind going out there and trying it."
Overall, Winter Caravan will last two weeks with five legs covering 58 towns around the Upper Midwest. The tour is the Twins' way of saying thank you to their fans and to get everyone excited for TwinsFest 2005, which is slated for Jan. 28-30. It's also a chance to catch up with area businesses and the radio network affiliates and to market the new team slogan, "This is Twins territory."
"It's a perfect time," Ford said. "Football just ended, unfortunately for the Vikings. It's time to look forward to baseball. It's time to get excited for fans. We're excited already. It's not too early at all."
"As soon as I get to America, I know I'm closer to Spring Training," Balfour said. "I get a lot more excited. I'm looking forward to Spring Training."
Gladden, a star of the 1987 and 1991 World Series champion Twins teams, went on Caravan for the first time in 1988 and has taken several trips over the years.
"We're getting out and visiting fans," Gladden said. "They're the true baseball fans who support the Twins."
First day completed: After the bus departed the Metrodome at dawn, it was a short drive to the first stop in suburban Golden Valley. Home Run Hitters, an indoor batting cage, hosted about 100 kids that were welcomed to take free swings and get autographs from the players.
Ford took some cuts in the cage and clanked one or two balls off the pitching machine. Meanwhile, Twins fan John Froom was waiting to have Ford's No. 20 jersey signed.
"I bought it on eBay and wore to the playoffs games," said Froom, director of the Crystal, Minn., Little League. "When I heard Lew was going to be here, I decided to get it signed for our silent auction. We do a benefit every year. We have pictures of Lew. We'll have a whole Lew Ford package and a Gladden package here."
After Golden Valley, it was off to Aitkin for a visit at KKIN radio and a luncheon at the Forty Club. Then the journey rolled further north to Duluth for a stop at the local Dodge dealership and an autograph session
The evening stop at downtown Duluth's Grandma's Sports Garden brought an expanded program with video presentations, question and answer sessions and raffles for Twins prizes.
Twins general manager Terry Ryan also made a special visit, filling fans in on his plans for 2005 and fielding their questions.
"Duluth is one of our major markets," Ryan told MLB.com. "This is a stop that I've been on for the last six or seven years. You get a pretty good feel for what the general baseball fans are thinking about your club. It's a little bit of a gut check when you get out amongst the people and see what their thoughts are.
"I think Caravan is one of the best things the Twins do. Regardless of our record, we've been out here when we're good, we've been out here when we're horrible. It's something that's been consistent since 1961. It's a good thing for kids. You always remember seeing a Major League player."
Coming Tuesday: Stops in Mountain Iron, Ely and Grand Rapids, Minn.
Moon to Speak at College Football Hall of Fame :: UW QB Legend to Participate in Panel Discussion about Race and Football
Moon to Speak at College Football Hall of Fame
UW QB Legend to Participate in Panel Discussion about Race and Football
Jan. 18, 2005
Seattle - In recognition of Black History Month in February, the College Football Hall of Fame and KeyBank present The Field Generals, an African American NFL Quarterback Club featuring Doug Williams, Randall Cunningham, Warren Moon, Marlin Briscoe and James Harris.
The Field Generals will participate in a luncheon and panel discussion on Tuesday, February 22 at 11:30 a.m. in the Century Center. Topics for the panel discussion will center on race relations in football, specifically the lack of African-American head coaches in Division I-A football and the integration through the years of African-American quarterbacks in the NFL.
An autograph session will follow the luncheon and panel discussion. All five of the guest speakers will be accessible to the media following the autograph session. The Field Generals also will be available for call-in radio and print interviews prior to the event.
Individual tickets for this event are $35 per person or $270 for a table of eight. Tickets are available at the Hall of Fame ticket counter or by contacting the Hall of Fame at 574-235-5715.
For more information on The Field Generals, visit their website at http://www.fieldgenerals.com.
The Field Generals luncheon kicks off the College Football Hall of Fame's 2005 KeyBank Gridiron Legends Luncheon Series. The Legends Luncheon Series is in its ninth year and will bring legends of the game to the Hall of Fame from March through July. Guest appearances this year will include Radio, from the motion picture "Radio," and former Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard, among others.
Winter Warm-Up ends a success
Cardinals' annual event for charity comes to a close
By Matthew Leach / MLB.com
ST. LOUIS -- The ninth annual Cardinals Winter Warm-Up was such a success that even when it ended, it wasn't really over. As the scheduled event came to a close at 5 p.m. CT on Monday, St. Louis great Willie McGee still had a line of fans waiting for his autograph -- and of course the long-time Redbirds fan favorite obliged them.
Cardinals Care, the team's charitable arm benefiting children in the St. Louis area, enjoyed another rousing success with its main fundraiser. The Winter Warm-Up sold out on Saturday, its first day, with 12,000 passes issued for the weekend. Autograph tickets sold like mad, and the memorabilia auction brought in serious dollars as well.
The king of the event, unsurprisingly, was Albert Pujols. The Redbirds first baseman signed 400 autographs, of which more than 300 were sold at $95 a pop. Most of the remaining tickets for Pujols autographs were acquired by fans who bought $1 scratch-off tickets. Six chances were auctioned off. Pujols similarly dominated the auction -- a game-used Pujols road jersey from the 2004 season garnered $3,500.
"The kids of our community are the real winners of this Winter Warm-Up," said Tim Hanser, who heads up Cardinals Care. "We had a fantastic turnout of Cardinals fans who celebrated a great Cardinals year and a great Cardinals tradition -- and who are able to generously support an emerging great Cardinals tradition in the community."
Last year's event raised approximately $600,000, and Hanser believes that this year's will top it when the final receipts are tallied.
"Each year has steadily meant more fans and more dollars into the community," he said. "From our point of view, the whole focus is raising this money so we can build more ballfields, fund more children's agencies and support more youth baseball."
Not so fast: Right-hander Matt Morris didn't attend the Winter Warm-Up, remaining in Florida to continue his rehabilitation from offseason shoulder surgery. But head trainer Barry Weinberg said that Morris is progressing well, and is approximately one month behind schedule.
"He's not in his throwing program yet, he's just in the rehab process," Weinberg said. "He's really doing well. His strength is gaining. His range of motion is normal. His attitude and makeup are gonna help him -- and then prevent us from holding him back. The hardest part will be to try to hold him back."
It's unclear how much Morris will be able to do when the season starts. He is expected to be able to pitch, but on a limited pitch count.
Plate discipline: Pujols keeps two individual goals constant from year to year: increase his walk total and decrease his strikeouts. He's consistently done both, improving from 69 walks and 93 K's as a rookie to 84 and 52 in 2004. That's not Barry Bonds territory, but it wouldn't look too much out of place in the middle of Joe DiMaggio's career.
"Definitely, the strikeouts and the walks, those are things that I always want to make sure I do in my career," he said. "No matter if it's next year or 15 years from now, I always want to have that in my mind. I want to make sure that I put the ball in play and I want to make sure I get on base so I can score some runs for my guys.
"You don't have to hit home runs. You don't have to drive everybody in. If you can get on base and score, you're doing something to win the game. Those are things that I keep in my mind. I want to get on base. As long as my on-base percentage is over .400, I'm fine with it because I know I'm helping my team to win."
For the record, Pujols has been below .400 once in his career, a "paltry" .394 in 2002, and his career mark is .413.
Renee takes paparazzi advice to avoid the paparazzi
18/01/2005 - 14:10:49
Movie star Renee Zellweger has turned to the paparazzi who stalk her daily for advice on how to avoid them.
The canny actress has befriended a handful of snappers so she can get inside information to help her stay out of the tabloids.
She explains: "I've been told by paparazzi acquaintances... that I should stop signing autographs."
Zellweger has learned that autograph hunters often work hand-in-hand with the paparazzi - allowing them to plan shots and get good angles.
The actress has tried to avoid the signature hounds, but they make her feel terrible when they boo her for not stopping.
She adds: "When people who want to sell your autograph on Ebay - to people you'd gladly give it to if they asked - boo at you in the street because you've given them 10 minutes but they want 20, then it's the commodification (sic) of your person, or of this person they presume you are.
"I find it increasingly less substantial to be part of that chaos of celebrity. I find it, frankly, very cheap."
Monday, January 17, 2005
Memo to Vijay and company: Smile!
Story Tools: Print Email
Tim Dahlberg / Associated Press
Posted: 2 hours ago
Here's a few things you might have learned, had you been snowed in somewhere and needed a golf fix so badly that you watched the Sony Open.
One, television can't get enough of Michelle Wie, who is too young to even rent a golf cart at most courses. Two, Hawaii has some pretty nice scenery, with all the beaches and palm trees and stuff.
And three, without Tiger Woods, watching golf is a better cure for insomnia than popping a handful of sleeping pills.
Which is precisely why ESPN, in a desperate bid to inject some kind of spark in its telecast, showed tape of Wie just as the leaders were playing the final holes on Sunday. The tape was from the opening two rounds, when the cable channel showed nearly every shot she hit even as the teenager hacked it around for two days and missed the cut.
The alternative, of course, was showing the robotic Vijay Singh methodically making his way around the course and winning another tournament.
Officially, the Sony Open was the first full-field tournament of a season that will stretch over 10 months and end with the Tour Championship in October. If it was a preview of coming attractions, it's going to be a very long season indeed.
Yes, it's early in the year, a time when half the country is still buried under snow, and a time when it's hard to get focused on golf.
But there seems to be something wrong with the PGA Tour these days that even a Tiger on the loose can't readily fix.
I remember a time, not so long ago, when golf was fun. I couldn't wait to see the Golden Bear prowling the fairways, wanted to hear Fuzzy Zoeller crack jokes and agonized along with Greg Norman as he wildly thrashed his way from one disaster to another.
Players had creative nicknames, threw clubs in disgust and sometimes even went out of their way to make things interesting for the fans.
Imagine Davis Love III pulling a rubber snake out of his bag and tossing it at Retief Goosen the way Lee Trevino did to Jack Nicklaus did on the first tee of their playoff in the 1971 U.S. Open.
More to the point, imagine Love or Goosen even smiling once on the golf course.
Phil Mickelson smiles. It's kind of a goofy grin that sometimes makes his fellow pros wonder what he's smiling about. But at least Mickelson attracts fans, even though he seemed more interested in the opening weeks of the NFL season last year than trying to help the United States win a Ryder Cup.
Woods brought the magic back to golf when he arrived on tour and began winning major after major. But now Tigermania is over, and so is the golf boom that came along with it.
Fans are bored, and who can blame them? The players are boring.
That's bad news for the PGA Tour, which can expect to see TV ratings decline again this year even as purses continue to increase. Golf may be stagnant, but there's always another golf-infatuated CEO somewhere who will spend his company's money on a sponsorship so he can get a few awkward moments of air time at a tournament on Sunday.
Money is the root of some of the problem. Singh won nearly $11 million last year, and 77 players earned $1 million or more. They're rich, pampered and don't seem to understand that part of the deal in exchange for that is you should try to please the people watching.
A case in point is Paul Azinger, who should have been a sympathetic figure at the 2003 PGA Championship. It was the 10th anniversary of his only major win, and he had beaten cancer in between. But fans began yelling at him after he repeatedly walked past a line of kids seeking autographs, ignoring them every time.
Woods rarely signs autographs, too, and Singh is so wrapped up in his own little world that nothing penetrates his stoic exterior.
After winning Sunday - his seventh win in his last 11 Tour starts - Singh remarked how much of a relief it was to start the year off right so he "can start breathing again."
Funny you would say that, Vijay. Most of the time it looks as if you're not breathing at all.
Dave Renwick made over $1 million toting Singh's bag last year. Think he had something nice to say about his former boss?
"I never got a 'Good morning' from Vijay, or 'Good club' after a shot, or 'Have a nice night' at the end of the day. It was either nothing or a negative if he did speak to me," Renwick told The Scotsman newspaper recently. "Being courteous isn't much to ask. There's only so much of that stuff you can take, no matter how good the money is."
The money is very good, of course, and the players are better than ever. Golf fans want to root, and they ask only thing from the players in return:
Make it fun to watch once in a while.
Sunday, January 16, 2005
Fans get a thrill out of meeting their heroes
No tickets remain for rest of event
BY SCOTT WUERZ
ST. LOUIS - There may be snow on the field at Busch Stadium, but the first signs of spring can be seen just a block away.
The annual Cardinals Care Winter Warm-Up is the first chance of the new year for thousands of St. Louis baseball fans to get back in the swing of things after a long, cold winter.
"This is my third year of coming here," said Laura McCune of Edwardsville. "I think it's great that you can come see the players up close. Where else can you do that?"
McCune said that she planned to spend $500-$1,000 on autographs and baseball memorabilia during the three-day baseball lovefest that features autograph sessions and question-and-answer periods with current and former big leaguers.
"Some people may think that's crazy," McCune said, "but I think it is absolutely worth it."
Apparently a few thousand other people agreed. For the first time in the event's nine-year history, the Winter Warm-Up sold out.
The event opened at 9 a.m. Saturday and runs through Monday. But by 10:30 a.m. on the first day, all the tickets were gone.
"The Winter Warm-Up is sold out," said a sign just inside the front door of the Millennium Hotel where the festival is being held. "Unfortunately, no more admission passes will be available all weekend."
Cardinals officials said they thought they would have a big turnout after a banner 2004 season, but no one expected the tickets to go so fast.
"We expected to have a great year after the team went to the World Series last season, but to sell out the event is fantastic," said Cardinals vice president Tim Hanser.
Steve Tremain, who is stationed at Scott Air Force Base, said his 9-year-old son, Britton, talked him into coming to the warm-up.
"He wanted to get some autographs, so I brought him," Tremain said. "We stayed overnight at the hotel, and people were waiting in line at 11:30 Friday night for autograph tickets. Fortunately, we were able to get tickets for Andy Benes, Chris Carpenter, David Eckstein, Jason Isringhausen and Jeff Suppan."
If you already have a pass for the event, the Winter Warm-Up will be open from 9 a.m-5 p.m. today and Monday.