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Obit: Al Hirt
"The King of the Trumpet" is gone.


Ask Camille American poison: The Littleton massacre is horrifying proof of our society's spiritual emptiness.
By Camille Paglia [04/28/99]

Nothing Personal Massive Monica meltdown: Terry Gross skewers the portly pepper pot; Seattle runners go bananas; Michael Jordan family feud.
By Amy Reiter [04/28/99]

Brilliant Careers
Mad humanist: In Kurt Vonnegut's world, free will is an open question, life is poignant and pointless and kindness is appreciated above all else.

By Frank Houston[04/27/99]

Nothing Personal
Cops crack down on naked models, giant spiders; and baby makes three: Did Woody and Soon-Yi spawn?

By Amy Reiter[04/27/99]

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Y2K x 2 = Jacko!
Michael brings in the millennium; Reese Witherspoon cries the blues; Madonna's new look.

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April 29, 1999 | Are you shattered over the Rolling Stones' decision not to ring in the millennium onstage at Madison Square Garden or anywhere else? Let mouthy Mick and craggy Keith spend New Year's Eve with their loved ones, because no matter which side of the globe you're on, you can spend it with the Gloved One.

Last week, Michael Jackson announced that he will welcome in Y2K onstage in both Sydney, Australia, and Honolulu, Hawaii. No, Michael's surgeon hasn't fashioned a doppelgänger of his most famously loyal client. Time is apparently on the primarily plastic pop king's side -- Sydney and Honolulu are 20 hours apart. Thus the man (?) who claims that neither Billie Jean nor little boys are his love will be able to get paid twice to perform on the big night.

"Michael felt he should perform in Hawaii at the millennium because it's the last chance and place in the United States where an American can enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience," German promoter and producer Marcel Avram, who will reportedly pay the leather-clad popster more money than any other artist performing in the U.S. that night, told Variety.


Amy Reiter

Amy Reiter's column appears daily on the People site, Monday through Friday.

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Going to such lengths for the big bucks is not surprising behavior from the man who once outbid the remaining Beatles for the rights to their own music (the arch-villainy boggles the mind). But who will keep poor Debbie and the babies currently known as Prince and Paris company in Neverland?

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Monica-gate's only big winner

"It was certainly a delightful thing for me to be a part of this national scandal."

-- Author Nicholson Baker, whose novel "Vox" quintupled in sales after word got out that Monica Lewinsky gave it to her presidential phone-sex partner.

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Vogue-ing to the Max Factor

From sacrilegious to sexy to spiritual to sophisticated, Madonna has had more incarnations than Shirley MacLaine. And now, at the age of 40, she's set to become the new face of Max Factor Gold, a makeup line aimed at older women in Europe and Asia.

On Monday, British newspapers gave readers an advance peek at the more mature Material Girl as she will appear in commercials set to air in Britain on April 30 and elsewhere thereafter. The dramatic images of Madonna glimpsed through a gold net butterfly mask and peering out from beneath a jet-bead-spewing black tiara hark back to the company's Hollywood origins.

"We wanted to take the brand forward while going back to what we are all about -- supreme glamour," gushed Ann Francke, Max Factor's marketing director, in London's Sunday Times. "There was only one woman able to carry that message into the 21st century." But unfortunately Janet Reno was booked.

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Someone needs a hug

"I had a particular girl in junior high that I didn't like. She just drove me nuts. She was always pretty and had lots of dates, and was always putting other people down, surreptitiously, and really just rubbed me the wrong way. And now she's like wildly successful ... It's depressing. And here I go, playing pretend for a living."

-- Actress Reese Witherspoon explaining why you should feel sorry for her even though she's rich, famous, attractive and loved by Ryan Phillippe.

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No animals have been harmed in the making of this double play ...

Here's hoping the San Francisco Giants' bark is worse than its bite. According to USA Today, the team is considering a plan to train dogs to fetch homers that land in San Francisco Bay, which abuts a new stadium the team will move into next year. The Giants insist they're taking the proposal seriously -- "It's just quirky enough to work in San Francisco," Pat Gallagher, senior VP of business operations, barked.

"America's pastime meets man's best friend," rhapsodized Don Novello (aka "Saturday Night Live" ancient Father Guido Sarducci) in America's paper. The San Francisco-based comedian wrote team owner Peter Magowan offering to train the paddling pooches, suggesting also that the pups might sport advertising on their wet suits. "One highlight," Novello predicted, "will be the seventh-inning fetch." Arf.

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Pundettes on parade

I knew I loved Jamie Malanowski for good reason. The Time magazine writer who was one of Spy's founding editors is writing a piece for Playboy that, according to Roll Call, has conservative female pundits up in arms -- not to mention shapely hose-clad legs.

Malanowski's position -- dubious, perhaps, but sure to be hilariously rendered -- is that these Republican gals (Kellyanne Fitzpatrick, Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, to name just three) are hypocrites for espousing conservative values while exploiting their own sex appeal to further their careers.

"I'd like one shred of evidence of how we use sex to sell," Fitzpatrick, who declined to speak with Malanowski, sniped seductively to Roll Call. She railed against people who think "we mail-ordered our law degrees from Victoria's Secret ... It's like we got the latest red thong and a law degree."

Right, so would she consider posing nude for Playboy? Never, she said, adding that they'd need "not an airbrush but a full-blown paint roller" to get her up to Playmate speed. "I'm 10 years past that." We'll just see what Jamie has to say about that ... | April 29, 1999

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About the writer
Amy Reiter is a staff writer for Salon People.

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