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[INSIDE]


Sample items from my daily column for Inside.com

 

 

MOBY: I'M A LOSER, BABY -- NOT LIKE RICKY MARTIN

 

Inflated pop stylist Moby says he knows the key to artistic cred: being an outcast. The top-selling composer is quoted in the New York Daily News dissing the over-commercialized pretty boys that rule our airwaves: "Basically, someone like Ricky Martin was probably popular in high school. And then you have folks like me and Beck, who were losers . . . [But] when we couldn't get a date, we just spent our time learning how to write and play music." In fairness to Martin, Moby may have been too busy honing his craft to notice how hard it was for his male classmates who danced and sung show tunes to make it with the "in" crowd.

 

TALIBAN: JUST SAY 'NO' TO LEONARDO COIF 

 

Leonardo DiCaprio's sensational hairdo is straining the social fabric of Afghanistan. According to People.com, the Titanic star's raggedy bangs and shortly cropped back are "all the rage" in capital city Kabul, and religious police have "detained" dozens of barbers for cutting hair in the style. The nation's fundamentalist Taliban government enforces Islam-based codes for men's appearance, including a ban on shaving. People reports, "In addition to Leonardo's hairstyle, merchants in Kabul attach the Titanic name to just about anything they think will sell: cosmetics, clothes, footwear, wedding cakes, and vehicles."

 

 

TRUMP TO OFFER MILLIONS, CALLING IT BILLIONS 

 

While TV game show contestants usually try to make a bundle, guests on Donald Trump's upcoming skein will try to spend it. The tycoon has agreed to host a program in which participants are given 30 minutes to spend $1 million. Oddly, the show is called Billionaire. Producer David Anson Russo boasts, "The show has a premise as irresistible as [the movie] Indecent Proposal, giving people 30 minutes to realize the American dream." No word on whether contestants will have to broker their spouses into prostitution, as occurred in the film. 

 

 

LOCKHART: DEPENDS ON WHAT THE MEANING OF ĎWHATí IS

 

White House spokesman Joe Lockhart shows what heís learned under the tutelage of President Clinton, deflecting questions about Hillary's political supporters receiving overnight privileges in the executive home. In a transcript posted on the Drudge Report, an unnamed reporter asks Lockhart, "Can you say that there were no such overnights?" 

Lockhart: "What? Define the question." 

Reporter: "Have any contributors to Mrs. Clinton's campaign stayed overnight at the White House or Camp David?" 

Lockhart: "Sure . . . within that group, there certainly have been people who . . . have supported them financially." 

Reporter: "So youíre saying this is not necessarily a big deal?" 

Lockhart: "Iím answering your question." 

Reporter: "Then youíre saying itís true?" 

Lockhart: "Saying what is true?" 

 

 

BUSY AFTERLIFE FOR FRIDA KAHLO

 

Fans of the late Frida Kahlo can now mourn the Mexican painter's afterlife, as her nobly tortured legacy befalls the interest of Hollywood historians. Variety reports that "visually gifted'' Broadway director Julie Taymor (The Lion King) is in talks to direct Latina beauty Salma Hayek in a biopic that's also slated to feature eye-friendly stars Antonio Banderas and Ashley Judd. The announcement comes a week after reports of other parties mulling rival Kahlo projects, including Miramax, and United Artists, which has signed on sizzling Jennifer Lopez for its version of the artist's life to be produced by Francis Ford Coppola.

 

 

SIR PAUL'S SQUIRREL IS PRETTY IN PINK

 

The Sun reports that more than 200 British celebs including Sir Paul McCartney are helping save the endangered red squirrel by donating their artwork of the critters to charity. Sir Paulís painting, "Pink Squirrel," is of course the most lovingly rendered of those presented, as opposed to Sir Michael Caineís, which is apologetically scribbled and accompanied by a photo of the actor in mid-scowl. Caine signs his trifle unintelligibly: "This is lte doct J can do, goojot Iím m fa jalll." (The Sun translates: "This is the best I can do, good [thing] Iím an actor.")

 

 

ALL OVER GEORGE W.íS BODDY

 

The Washington Post nearly trips over its own tongue introducing Lee Boddy, a young female staffer behind the scenes on the George W. Bush campaign. According to Postís source, the masculine spelling of the 23-year-old's first name may be deceptive, but her last name tells it like it is: ''I can reliably report ... that she is emphatically not a man.'' The Post offers us ''the skinny on Boddy,'' outlining her current duties on the Bush trail, which include responding to ''Gore's latest thrusts.'' Mercifully, the paper stops short of offering his sweaty-palmed readers a date with the former intern, noting that she was married four months ago.

 

 

AND THIS:

 

Madonna is trying to wrangle "madonna.com" from the hands of a cybersquatter who is now offering the coveted domain name to the Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Nebraska. Madonna's publicist--apparently unaware that her bossís namesake is the widely celebrated mother of Jesus Christ--says the pop star deserves the URL because "she happens to be the most famous Madonna in the world"

 

Ellen DeGeneresís writerís block may have spared us another tediously self-referential sitcom. The comedian has reportedly given up on her latest pitch, a pilot for a show in which she plays the host of a show that shows sketch comedy.

 

George Lucas, blasted for re-populating the Star Wars universe with empty, computer-generated characters, is now guaranteeing fans that R2-D2, a robot, will remain human--sort of. Lucas says the diminutive Kenny Baker will continue to play the droid as he has since the beginning of the sci-fi series: standing inside a hot metal can with no dialogue to speak . . . 

 

Mike Ruffino of Unband recalls his close encounter with legendary novelist Kurt Vonnegut, whom he spotted while waiting at a stoplight: "I was bashing away at the steering wheel and swearing, lesbians everywhere, and Vonnegut walks into the crosswalk right in front of the car . . . it was as if a swan were there instead. A swan who knew way too much about drinking and time travel."