All’s well that ends well
Shania Twain tied the knot on New Year’s Day in Rincon, Puerto Rico, with Frédéric Thiébaud, the ex-husband of her ex-best friend, who apparently was too friendly with her ex-husband, Mutt Lange. Twain was escorted down the aisle by her nine-year-old son, Eja. “I’m in love!” she wrote in her blog last month.
Drummers, they get no respect
It’s no surprise the birthplaces of the Beatles have a special place in their countrymen’s hearts. Oxford Street Maternity Hospital, where John Lennon was born, has been preserved and converted into apartments. Walton Hospital, Paul McCartney’s birthplace, has likewise been maintained and converted into luxury apartments. People still live in George Harrison’s birthplace, 12 Arnold Grove. Then there’s Ringo Starr, whose childhood home faces the wrecking ball. British Housing Minister Grant Shapps has urged Liverpool council to reconsider plans to raze the rundown row house at 9 Madryn Street, where the former Richard Starkey was born, as part of a redevelopment plan. Ringo has said the house should be “done up” rather than knocked down. The campaign is on behalf of fans, who contribute millions to the local economy, says the group Save Madrin Street. It’s not for Ringo, “who has enough homes of his own.”
Mom says the darnedest things
Acid-thumbed Canadian blogger Kelly Oxford has turned motherhood into a profitable enterprise. The ex-model’s caustic tweets on her three children and other hazards of sex have earned her a faithful following on Twitter. Now she’s sold a related sitcom pilot, Mother of All Something, to CBS, with actress Jessica Alba as executive producer. Here’s hoping CBS doesn’t tone down her tweets. For instance: “Had my son’s hearing tested because he’s always yelling. Turns out he’s just an a–hole.” Or: “Getting into Christmas spirit by remembering how cool Joseph was about an invisible guy impregnating his lady Mary.”
The simple but royal life
It’s no secret Queen Elizabeth II considers her days as a young bride to a dashing naval officer among her happiest periods, before duties of Crown and country took over. It seems Prince William and his ﬁancée, Kate Middleton, are striving for a similarly uncluttered life. The two do their own dressing, cooking and cleanup in the farm house they share in North Wales, not far from the Royal Air Force base where he’s stationed as a helicopter pilot. Nor are there plans to add servants after their April 29 wedding, says a Buckingham Palace source, though they already have a security detail underfoot.
Is Le Pen mightier than le Prés?
Marine Le Pen is set to take over the family business from her controversial father Jean-Marie Le Pen, leader of France’s far-right National Front party. Some commentators call her a threat to Nicolas Sarkozy if she challenges him for president in 2012. She’s as outspoken as dear old dad, warning France is threatened by creeping Islamization. She recently likened Muslims praying in the streets (because some mosques were full) to the Nazi occupation of France. “There are of course no tanks, there are no soldiers,” she added, “but it is nevertheless an occupation and it weighs heavily on local residents.”
Dude, playing fetch is so lame
By all accounts Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance Pet Foods float was one of the hits of Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day. Much credit goes to Porter, a Jack Russell terrier, with a knack for skimboarding. Porter already has a measure of fame on YouTube as the mascot for Kayotics, a Vancouver-based skimboard company. His natural balance (get it?) earned an invitation to audition for the parade. “And he totally murdered it,” but in a good way, says proud owner Justin Pang, an Internet ad designer. Porter was among five skimboarding and five dock-jumping dogs on the water-ﬁlled 35-tonne Havin’ a Splash float, which won the Tournament Special Award.
Two new thumbs up
Famed Chicago film critic Roger Ebert has named Russian-born Ignatiy Vishnevetsky a 24-year-old online film critic, as co-host of Ebert Presents at the Movies. Vishnevetsky is teamed with Associated Press film reviewer Christy Lemire on the public television show, which debuts Jan. 21. Ebert hopes the twosome recreate the magic, and sparks, generated when he duelled with the late Gene Siskel. Ebert, who lost his speaking voice after a series of surgeries, will contribute a segment with a computer-generated voice.
In a galaxy far, far away
Ten-year-old Kathryn Aurora Gray is an international, and perhaps intergalactic, star after becoming the youngest person to discover a supernova. Kathryn and her father, Paul Gray of Birdton, N.B., were looking at night images of the sky downloaded to their computer from a telescope in Halifax when the amateur astronomers spotted a white spot near (well, in relative terms) the galaxy UGC 3378. It was subsequently confirmed as a supernova. “It’s just a blowing up of stars, so eventually it will fade away,” Kathryn told the Daily Gleaner. “I was very excited to find one.”
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