December 15, 1998


  1. . . . Of all the news that's happened this year. Here they come/there they go-type pieces that traditionally air at Christmas and New Year's. You better believe all those news producers are gathering all the video now, and they'll be editing right up until air time.
  2. NEW PEOPLE TO FEEL SORRY FOR: Kids who have a parent in jail over the holidays.
  3. Can somebody calm down those Today show shouters outside on the plaza. You know they're coaxed. Desperate, ridiculous, need-a-lifers, that's what they are.
  4. ANOTHER SEX COVER ... To sell Harper's Bazaar. This one features Meg Ryan with an open black leather jacket on with one hand clutching her bosom inside, almost like she's pinching herself. These "stars" will do anything a magazine editor wants.
  5. On Cyndi Lauper's Christmas album, the Santa Claus she's sitting next to on the front and back covers looks like Matt Lauer with a beard. Is it?
  6. This week is the last one for Good Morning America's weatherman Spencer Christian. He's been a fixture on the show a very long time, but he's off for San Francisco. Now none of the original cast will be on it.
  7. Cher looks awful on the cover of her book, The First Time. Over made-up and a bit hideous.
  8. Ann Curry wants Tom Brokaw's job-not Katie Couric's, or at least that's what she was quoted as having said in USA TODAY. Didn't Geraldo Rivera want it? And isn't Brian Williams supposed to get it? Is Tom leaving NBC Nightly News?
  9. SICK OF ... Arts & crafts at Christmas. No, I'm not interested in making bows out of electrical wire to save money.
  10. On those "I Love It. I Got It At Ross" commercials, the sleeves on the robe that last guy tries on are too short and he still says "I love it." Looks skimpy.
  11. Actor Anthony Hopkins has had it with acting. He's quitting. Thinks it's stupid. Good for him. He calls a spade a spade.
  12. . . . And No, we don't need to suffer through another Robin Williams sappy, sad, sentimental movie role like the one that's about to come out-Patch Adams. He plays a doctor who makes sick kids and grownups laugh. Enough of the display.
  13. THE CONDOM BROKE ... "But my life stayed in tact." That's what Preven, an emergency contraceptive kit, says in its magazine ad campaign. They say it can prevent pregnancy if used within 72 hours after, I guess, doing the nasty.
  14. HOT-SELLING BOXED SET: Burt Bacharach's Look of Love collection on Rhino. Features his music by various artists-not just Dionne Warwick. Interestingly chosen and some selections are a bit quirky. Not just a greatest hits package. But for fans, very enjoyable.
  15. . . . One disappointment though: The title track, by Dusty Springfield, is not the single version that everybody knows. It's the version that was done for the movie the song's from, Casino Royale. The sensuality's not there.
  16. Aren't we tired of hearing about Nicole Kidman and The Blue Room? The press is responsible for all the hoopla about it, because they're headlining the nakedness thing. They say you only see her behind and that's dimly lit. The guy, Iain Glen, however, shows more and even does a cartwheel in the buff. I guess everything hangs out.
  17. The woman in one of those United Way Homeless Are Not Faceless poster ads they put in the subways looks like Susan Sarandon.
  18. George Stephanopoulos is combing his hair different. Down instead of back.
  19. Now they've got video boxed sets. They're boxing up everything.
  20. . . . And Washington public TV station WETA has its own store in Pentagon City. There's nothing that can't be wrapped up and sold, I guess.
  21. NEXT NEW STAR: Charlize Theron. (Is she French?) She's in two current movies: Woody Allen's Celebrity and Disney's Mighty Joe Young, plus she's on the cover of Vanity Fair. (She looks a bit zaftig on the mag cover. Like she's got some meat on her, unlike most of those skinny-as-a-stick types you see in magazines.)
  22. FUNNY AD: The one where the wife says she's going Christmas shopping at Staples and the husband goes and gets on the store's paging phone telling her what to buy him until the authorities come and throw him out.
  23. Think Gordon Lightfoot would roll over in his grave if he heard the disco version of his song, If You Could Read My Mind? They did it for the movie 54 and it's been a hit on the dance floors and charts. Who would've ever thought they'd re-do that song that way?
  24. . . . Oh, by the way, he ain't dead yet. In fact, he's got a recent new album out (A Painter Passing Through) that's pretty good. Still has that familiar voice.
  25. WEIRD MOVIE: Affliction, starring Nick Nolte. He plays a local cop who's suffered child abuse that gets flashed back to and he's becoming like his father. Odd, but interesting, and they're talking about possible Oscar consideration.
  26. Are poinsettias poisonous? Will my cat die if he chews on a leaf?
  27. Would somebody tell Goldie Hawn to get a 90s hairdo?
  28. WONDER: How you do upside down punctuation on a computer? Sometimes you need to do it with Spanish things.
  29. It was a bit late this year, and people were waiting for it. And it finally appeared. Tom Shales' annual review of Kathie Lee Gifford's Christmas special. A headline for it said, "Cloy to the World."
  30. . . . And ABC is using a quote from Tom Shales for a primetime promo that's running, saying something about ABC being the only network worth saving/watching. They quote him when he says something good and they don't when he says something bad.
  31. GETTING TIRED OF ... Howard Kurtz, the Washington Post's media critic. He's everywhere now and recently did a really suck-up, behind-the-scenes article on CBS' Face the Nation.
  32. Is ER's Anthony Edwards considered a hunk? Some think so and he keeps getting the roles. Latest is a new movie he's in called Playing By Heart. It's one of those ensemble cast things.
  33. . . . ENSEMBLE CAST: Gimme a Break!
  34. The announce copy for the Fox Files magazine show says it's "From the crossroads of America." Yeah, they go there a lot.
  35. Diana Ross is in an upcoming ABC movie with singer Brandy called Double Platinum.
  36. Kevin Costner's in a new movie called Message in a Bottle. He plays a boatsman who leaves a romantic letter in a bottle, tosses it, and I think actress Kelly Preston (Travolta's wife) finds it. And things go on from there. Sounds like an old concept.
  37. . . . Costner better get a hit. He's been striking out.
  38. All Pat O'Brien (Access Hollywood anchor) does is read fast.
  39. STAGGERING FACT: A 30 second commercial in the Super Bowl this/next year will cost $1.6 million.
  40. MAYA ANGELOU. Who taught her how to direct? (She does Down In The Delta.)
  41. GOING NATURAL. James Brolin is, in his new AAMCO commercials. His hair's no longer died brown. They let him sport the natural gray. Looks good. And the ads seem warmer, more up-close. He's not hanging out a railroad crossings anymore in a stalled car. His career seems to have picked up since he married Barbra Streisand.
  42. Uh ... Mrs. Brown You've Got A Lovely Daughter by Herman's Hermits on MGM, from 1965.