Thursday, September 28, 2006

I SPY........

ALBANY - In a devastating blow to her campaign, Republican attorney-general candidate Jeanine Pirro admitted yesterday she is under federal investigation for discussing with former city Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik how to secretly record her bad-boy husband to see if he was cheating.

Bombshell transcripts of conversations between Pirro and Kerik reveal that an angry Pirro even offered to plant the bug herself on her husband's boat, where she believed he was having sex with another woman.

"What am I supposed to do, Bernie? Watch him f- - - her every night?" Pirro is quoted as saying on the transcripts, obtained by WNBC-TV. "What am I supposed to do? . . . I can go on the boat, I'll put the f- - -ing thing on myself."

U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia confirmed his office is "investigating allegations recently brought to our attention by other law-enforcement agencies" and is working with the FBI and Pirro's old District Attorney's Office in Westchester County.

Garcia is looking into whether Pirro engaged in illegal wiretapping, which carries a five-year maximum prison sentence.

The conversations between Pirro and Kerik came to light as federal investigators tapped the former NYPD commissioner's phone during an unrelated investigation, according to sources.

Pirro, who has hired a lawyer, was Westchester County DA in the summer of 2005 and gearing up for a run against Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton when she became convinced that husband Al was being unfaithful and she wanted to catch him in the act.

In one conversation, Pirro complained to Kerik, who heads a private security firm, that one of his workers was reluctant to board Al Pirro's boat.

Kerik said: "But Jeanine, I'm having the same f- - -ing problem with everybody. Everybody is panic-stricken because it's you. I've gone out on a limb. I've had two other people looking at this. It's a problem."

Soon after, according to the transcript, Kerik asked a contact at Rudy Giuliani's consulting firm to find him a recording device, WNBC/Channel 4 reported. A Giuliani spokeswoman had no comment.
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September 28, 2006 -- WONDERING where the prestige films have been hiding all year? The industry's been storing them for this moment: the New York Film Festival at Lincoln Center. Last year, it was New York's first chance to see "Good Night, and Good Luck," "Capote" and "The Squid and the Whale," which hauled in a combined 12 Oscar nominations and one win.

After Helen Mirren and director Stephen Frears present tomorrow's opener, "The Queen," actors and filmmakers including Sofia Coppola, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Warren Beatty, Pedro Almodóvar and David Lynch will appear to introduce their films and take questions from the audience.

Tickets to most of the 28 films shown at this year's 17-day festival are sold out, but a few last-minute rush tickets will be available at the box offices of the Walter Reade Theater and Alice Tully Hall before each show. (Check for all showtimes.)

Two major Hollywood productions make their U.S. debuts at the otherwise indie-centered fest. "Little Children," with Winslet and Patrick Wilson as suburban parents who tumble into an adulterous affair, is a solemn, chiaroscuro take on Tom Perrotta's best-selling 2004 comic novel. Look for Winslet to score her fifth Oscar nomination.

Coppola brings in her third film, "Marie Antoinette." The irreverent MTV-styled follow-up to "Lost in Translation" was booed at the Cannes Film Festival for using '80s pop-punk songs like "I Want Candy" to illustrate an otherwise fairly accurate retelling of the story of the doomed queen of France.

The Oct. 7-8 Centerpiece film features one of Mirren's likely rivals for Best Actress, Penelope Cruz in "Volver," who will be on hand to discuss Almodóvar's supernatural murder tale about three generations of women.


THE Teflon had abandoned the tough old guy, and he died a painful death in a prison hospital.

But the man known as the Teflon Don died as he lived, a consummate wiseguy - and right or wrong, he was proud of it even to the last breath. "He was somebody. Me? I'm a nobody," John "Junior" Gotti was saying yesterday after the third straight mistrial in the feds' efforts to lock him up for most of his adult life.

Consider that a circular saw has been going through Junior's nerve endings since he finished a six-year stretch in Ray Brook federal prison and was immediately thrown into the hole in a federal lock-up in New York and indicted again in July 2004.

From that day, the sword of Damocles has been quivering over his head in the form of a 30-year sentence, which would have made him 72 if and when he breathed fresh air again.

What got him through three trials and the prospect of never seeing his daughters or sons get married? "For instance, my father handled these things . . . well with him, manhood got him through it," Junior said on the 15th floor of the federal court building in Manhattan. "With me, it was my children."

"Now when it came to 'the life,' if someone said to him, 'You have chosen the wrong way,' he'd say, 'What's the right way?'

"Me? Yeah, you can convert - my father, never. He was one of the old-timers, but very faithful to his code.

"Now it's over, my father is in tomb 451 at St. John's Cemetery, my brother Frankie is there - it's over. I'm looking forward to living a middle-class life as opposed to the extravagant life I led in the '90s.

"The jury saved my life."


September 26, 2006 -- PARIS Hilton's haunches or Jessica Biel's butt? City women are flocking to plastic surgeons in search of a booty befitting their favorite starlet.

At one new Upper East Side clinic, posterior patients can request a specific celebrity's backside. Popular requests include Eva Longoria, Lindsay Lohan, Jessica Simpson, Paris Hilton and Jessica Biel. Noticeably absent from the list is a certain Bronx-born booty bombshell, Jennifer Lopez.

The new rear to bear is smaller, tighter and "more refined," according to Dr. Brad Jacobs, who's unveiling his "Star Butts" clinic today in his office.


A ROD spotted his with his wfe talking a nice walk up Madison Ave after coming out of Barneys department store. He gave me a bad hand shake ( very weak)


September 28, 2006 -- THE Daughter of The Donald may be come the Face of the Fifth Avenue jewel - Tiffany. Talk is Ivanka Trump might do more than Breakfast at Tiffany. Might do lunches, teas, cocktail parties and walkabouts. Might travel around for them. Decorate their ads. Being discussed now is that Tiffany could give this brainy, beautiful young lady the title "Spokesperson."

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 NYC

SKELETAL Kate Bosworth declining to eat and only sipping iced coffee while her friends ate lunch at Les Halles . . . "SOPRANOS" star Michael Imperioli buying a "Godfather" Xbox game and the movie "Someone to Watch Over Me" in the DVD department at J&R Music and Computer World . . . HEIDI Klum eating Strip House's 24-layer chocolate cake, which she had delivered to the set while she taped the final episode of "Project Runway."


IMG is raiding the ranks at Elite Models. Social beauty Amanda Hearst just ankled Elite, her longtime agency, for the glamorous halls of IMG Models. Monique Pillard, who founded Elite's celebrity division, also left last week. We hear IMG head Ivan Bart is also making a strong play for another Elite client, Lauren Bush, who insiders say will soon be joining her pal Hearst at IMG. Hearst - and presumably Bush - are joining a roster of supermodels including Kate Moss, Gisele Bundchen and Daria Werbowy.


ELLEN Barkin was shattered when her ex, Ron Perelman, filed for divorce early this year, but she has already moved on. The sultry star, 52, who's selling all the "bad karma" jewels Perelman gave her at Christie's later this year, has for several months been dating former model Johnny Zander, 35, since she started filming "Ocean's Thirteen" in L.A. and Las Vegas. Zander is mostly known in L.A. as the onetime door Nazi at Teddy's. An insider said, "Ellen was never dating George [Clooney] - those rumors were ridiculous and leaked for p.r. purposes." Barkin's rep said, "She couldn't possibly have time for that. She hasn't finished dating the cast of 'Ocean's Thirteen' yet."

Mets: Pedro still the 1

ATLANTA - Mets officials expressed full confidence that Pedro Martinez would have a successful outing tonight, then start Game 1 of the division series next Tuesday or Wednesday at Shea. But they've started to make contingencies just in case.

Orlando Hernandez is on target to start the division series opener over Tom Glavine if Martinez can't make the Mets' first postseason pitch since 2000.

Martinez offered few words yesterday. But the ace, scheduled for his final regular-season start today, got right to the point.

Asked if he felt well enough to take the mound at Turner Field, Martinez replied: "Good enough."

Asked if his calf was at all an issue, he replied: "A little bit."

Asked his goal for the matchup with the Braves, he said: "Health," then getting philosophical added: "Health - it's a beautiful thing."

And with that, Martinez left his locker.

Despite suggestions on Monday that Martinez could be pushed back from Game 1 of the division series, all signs point to the ace opening the Mets' postseason on the Shea mound. That is, barring a health setback tonight.

"If he's healthy, I would say that he's going to get the ball," Willie Randolph said.

Tonight is expected to be Martinez's third and final regular-season start since returning from a right-calf injury that sidelined him for a month.

He was driven to tears in Pittsburgh in his first game back off the DL, when he lasted only three innings and allowed four runs and six hits while tossing 68 pitches against the Pirates.

Then, six days ago at Shea, Martinez breezed through four no-hit innings, but the Marlins scored four runs against him in the fifth. He tossed 87 pitches, but his fastball mostly settled in the 83-84 mph range because he was hesitant to go full throttle on the calf before the postseason, especially since it stiffened in his final inning.

"I'm not going to be looking for him to throw 90 mph (tonight) or looking for him to strike a certain amount of guys out - just that he gets through his work healthy and we'll see how he feels the next day or two after that into the week," Randolph said.

Both manager and pitcher said that Martinez could be pushed back if he was unhealthy, but Randolph insisted that was a hypothetical, since he expects his ace to be fine. "Anything's a possibility," Randolph said. "Does it really make sense to speculate on stuff like that? Then it gets out that I said that. Then it puts it in other people's minds that it's a possibility. Right now Pedro is going to pitch (tonight). I'm confident he's going to pitch in the playoffs for us. Let's wait and see."

Queens man faces year in jail for YouTube prank

He's not a cop, he just plays one on YouTube.

Now a 21-year-old Queens man busted for "Web thugging" - impersonating a police officer, scaring a teen and then posting the "stop" on YouTube - faces up to a year in jail.

Gazi Abura was one of three men who allegedly stopped a 16-year-old high school student as he was running on a darkened Queens street in July.

The frightened teen was hauled up against a car, questioned about a robbery and then had his identification flashed for all the world to see, prosecutors said.

"Why'd you try to run on us?" the wide-eyed student is asked as he is ordered to keep his hands on a car hood by three "cops" in the video posted on the popular Web site's "Crack Cops DVD" feature.

"You thought we were going to jump you?" mocks one of the alleged officers during the profanity-laced video as another laughs in the background.

Investigators heard about the video and found the victim, who said he believed the men who stopped him were real cops, sources said.

Detectives used the video to nab Abura, a part-time auto mechanic who insisted the video "was all set up and everybody was in on it," according to a statement he gave at his Astoria home, prosecutors said.

Cops still put Abura in a lineup, and he was identified by the victim, prosecutors said.

"His alleged actions not only damage the reputation of our police officers ... but potentially could have resulted in injury to the victim or even himself," Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Defense lawyer Damien Brown suggested the victim may be embarrassed and is lying about his involvement.

Abura, who's out on $15,000 bail on an alleged 2005 robbery, was charged with criminal impersonation, coercion and unlawful imprisonment.

He was ordered held last night on $3,500 bail.

Gotti jury stuck

John A. (Junior) Gotti was close yesterday to hitting a mobster's legal version of a trifecta as he appeared to be on the verge of his third mistrial.

The Manhattan jury deliberating his fate said it was hung on the racketeering indictment against the mob scion - giving Gotti some hope that the feds would fail again to put him back behind bars.

"We have been unable to reach a unanimous decision on all counts," the weary deliberators wrote in a note shortly after noon. "Thus, we feel we are deadlocked."

The only charge the panel said it could agree on was Gotti's role in the 1992 kidnapping of Curtis Sliwa, although jurors didn't say whether they found him guilty or not.

It was the panel's sixth day behind closed doors in Manhattan Federal Court, and Gotti's lawyers immediately pressed Judge Shira Scheindlin to declare a mistrial.

Defense attorney Charles Carnesi said it was clear jurors had made up their minds and it was futile to send them back for more deliberations.

"They came in and indicated they're deadlocked," Carnesi told Scheindlin. "They're not coming out here asking for readbacks [of testimony]."

But Scheindlin, who presided over two previous Gotti trials that ended with hung juries, ordered the haggard panel back to deliberate. She told them, "I know it's been long, but there's still no hurry."

The judge also reminded the seven women and five men that if they didn't come up with a verdict, prosecutors were likely to bring the case a fourth time and their job would be left to another panel.

New Look at ‘Mona Lisa’ Yields Some New Secrets

Photographs taken with invisible infrared light and a special infrared camera suggest that at least one of the details was hiding in plain sight, the scientists and conservators said.

The sitter in the Louvre Museum’s 16th-century masterpiece, believed to be Lisa Gherardini, the wife of a Florentine silk merchant, was originally painted wearing a large transparent overdress made from gauze, they said. Under normal light, part of the garment is visible on the right-hand side of the painting, but appears simply to be part of the background.

“You can see it when you know what you’re looking for,” said Bruno Mottin, a curator in the research department of the Center of Research and Restoration of the Museums of France, known as C2RMF. He spoke at a news conference with researchers from the National Research Council of Canada.

Mr. Mottin said such transparent robes were worn by expecting or nursing mothers in 16th-century Italy. The robe’s reappearance in the “Mona Lisa” would dovetail with scholarly research indicating that the painting might have been commissioned to commemorate the birth of Lisa Gherardini’s third child.

The imaging also shows, although less clearly, that some of the sitter’s hair was rolled into a small bun and tucked under a tiny bonnet with an attached veil. (The images are too cloudy to be reproduced on newsprint.)

“That is not surprising,” Mr. Mottin said. “The bonnet was usually worn by women in the 16th century.”

More generally, the researchers said they realized that centuries of grime had obscured some elements of the painting.

MS releases emergency IE fix

Microsoft has broken its normal release schedule to publish a security patch to address a critical vulnerability in Internet Explorer that has become the target of widespread hacking attacks.

A security bug in the Vector Markup Language (VML) component of IE has been used to infect users visiting specific pornographic, or other maliciously constructed, websites. Security firms report the increased prevalence of mass mailing lures that attempts to direct surfers to web sites hosting VML exploit code, using tricks including claims that users have received a Yahoo! Greeting Card.

Nokia Open Studio New York 2006

I posted some initial impressions of the Nokia N95 and wanted to post my report on the complete Open Studio event. I paid for my own ticket to get to the event held in an historic armory in downtown New York. I checked in as press and then had some breakfast snacks and chatted wit people like Howard Chui. Nokia had a huge stage setup and we then moved over into this area for the press briefings. We learned about the N95, N75, and much more that I'll chat about a bit below in each section. We were given a nice Nokia Bluetooth headset, the 800 model, and were loaned a Nokia N80 Internet Edition to try out during the event with the opportunity to purchase it at a reduced price. I used the device for a couple hours, but like my N91 better so I returned it before I left.

There is something about the American cell phone user that has most of us desiring to use a clamshell form factor device. This isn't the case in many other parts of the world where candy bar form factor devices are more popular. Nokia is now launching a competitor to devices like the Motorola RAZR with the Nokia N75. The Nokia N75 has a 2 megapixel camera, flip open clamshell form factor, flat keypad, and high resolution 2.4 inch display. It runs S60 3rd Edition so it has all the powerful Nseries functions we see in all the other devices. My wife would absolutely love this phone and I understand that it is supposed to be available initially in the US during the fourth quarter of 2006, which means I may have just found her Christmas gift.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


I’m a PC’ guy John Hodgman really an Apple Mac user

Monday, September 25, 2006 - 07:48 AM EDT

"John Hodgman is a very intelligent man," Mike Miliard reports for The Phoenix.

Miliard reports, "He is also a very strange man. His book, The Areas of My Expertise (which has just been released in paperback by Riverhead), is an omnibus compendium of probable falsehoods. According to the dust jacket, the arenas of his know-how are centered primarily on 'matters historical; matters literary; matters cryptozoological; hobo matters; food, drink, and cheese (a kind of food); squirrels and lobsters and eels; haircuts; utopia; what will happen in the future; and most other subjects.' Tom Perotta gets it just about right when he calls Hodgman 'witty, urbane, and completely out to lunch.'"

Miliard reports, "In addition to being the author of this mock almanack, chock-a-block with “strange facts and odd-ities of the bizarre,” and curator of his own semi-regular academic sermons, the Little Gray Book Lectures, Hodgman is also a contributor to the New York Times Magazine, McSweeney’s, This American Life, Paris Review, and The Daily Show. He is also a “former professional literary agent.” And, of course, he is a PC. (Not really, but he plays one on TV, opposite a Mac.) In advance of his reading at Brookline Booksmith on September 27, we managed to wangle 20 minutes of his time to talk about hoboes, mole men, eels, chupacabras, his hometown of Brookline, and his sudden widespread fame."

Symantec Report Sees More Safari Bugs

Symantec's latest Internet Security Threat Report, which has been coming out twice a year since 2002, shows a dozen bugs found for Apple's Safari Web browser during the first six months of 2006, up from six bugs uncovered in the second half of 2005. In contrast, Mozilla open source browser bugs jumped from 17 to 47, and Internet Explorer bugs increased from 25 to 38.

"There is no safe browser," Vincent Weafer, senior director with Symantec Security Response, told Macworld UK. He noted that 3Com and Verisign are among the companies paying for information about browser exploits, which is part of the reason for an increase in bugs overall. In addition, there is a "growing black market for exploits."

Marc Maiffret, chief technology officer with eEye Digital Security, added: "Everyone has realised that targeting the applications on the desktop is a better way to break into businesses and consumers and steal things than server flaws."

Symantec's report also found that Apple is taking longer to patch Safari bugs: five days, on average, in the first half of 2006, compared to zero days in the last six months of 2005. In the same comparison, Microsoft decreased its patch development time from 25 days to 10. Mozilla bugs were patched within a day of being disclosed from January through June of this year, while Opera took two days to patch its browser flaws.


Bernie Ebbers spent his last night of freedom doing what he loved best - making deals, in this case with titan George Soros, who bought one the biggest working farms in the U.S. from the disgraced corporate titan.

Ebbers, 65 and ailing from heart disease and other complications, reports to prison today, where he's slated to serve a 25-year sentence for engineering the largest fraud to hit corporate America, the $11 billion collapse of WorldCom.

Colleagues said Ebbers disappeared from the public eye in recent days, choosing to remain in solitude yesterday with his wife Christie behind the draped windows at their relatively modest, three-bedroom home in suburban Jackson, Miss.

"It's an evening of reflection for them," said Bill Brandt, a restructuring expert helping Ebbers sell off his assets ahead of prison.

At one point shortly before dusk, Ebbers, chomping a cigar and dressed in jeans and a blue golf shirt, opened his front door to chase an Associated Press reporter from his porch.

It's likely that Ebbers could serve his time at a federal prison nearby in Yazoo, Miss. - a minimum security facility with little or no fencing, where low-risk inmates sleep in bunk beds in cubicle rooms.


SUNNYVALE, Calif. - Yahoo! plans to close its U.S. offices during the final week of the year, a cost-cutting measure that will require most of the Internet icon's 10,500 workers to use their vacation time if they want to be paid for the time off.

It will mark the first time in Yahoo!'s 11-year history that its U.S. employees have been required to burn up vacation time during the week between Christmas and New Year's - a traditionally slow period for most businesses outside the retailing and hospitality industries.

"Taking a little time off during a work week when so many of our partners and advertisers are also closed is the prudent thing for Yahoo! to do," Libby Sartain, the company's senior vice president for human resources, wrote in a Sept. 21 e-mail posted on, an online site devoted to Silicon Valley gossip.

Contacted yesterday, Yahoo! spokeswoman Joanna Stevens confirmed the e-mail's authenticity as well as the company's closure plans. "This will make sure everyone has time to recharge their batteries," Stevens said.


As home prices across the nation dropped more than they have in a decade, the often-sizzling New York real estate market is bracing for a chill.

The median price for a home in the United States fell to $225,000 - down 1.7 percent from August of last year, according to figures released yesterday by the National Association of Realtors - the first time in 111/2 years the market has had a year-over-year decline.

In New York City, where the median price for a home at the end of June was $474,000, a steeper drop in home values is expected.

"Higher-priced markets are seeing larger declines," Lawrence Yun, an economist with the National Association of Realtors told The Post. "People just cannot afford them because they've risen so much in places like New York."

Already, local real estate brokers say, the glittering new condo developments springing up around the city are seeing a sales slowdown, and are considering shifting gears to become rental towers.

The nation's slumping housing prices reflect the pace of existing home sales that fell for the fifth-straight month in August, slipping 0.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.3 million units.

"Price drops are very unusual," said Yun. "Nevertheless we have been anticipating the softness in prices and for prices to actually turn negative given the significant run-up in inventory."

New York prices could go down about 5 percent from a year ago, Yun said, adding the slump will continue until the spring or summer.


MEL Gibson is doing his best to stay sober - but he's playing with fire by hanging out in bars. The star who last month was caught driving drunk in Malibu and making anti-Semitic slurs to the arresting officer was at an Austin, Texas, watering hole called the Side Bar Friday night. Gibson played pool until 2:30 a.m., but, our spy says, "was only drinking water" and not hitting on the local women as he did before his Malibu bust. Gibson's rep said, "Sounds like Mel."


THAT Elizabeth Hurley and Moet CEO Frederic Cumenal will celebrate the 120th anniversaries of the Statue of Liberty and Moet White Star Champagne on Liberty Island Thursday night. Moet has hired helicopters, private ferries and yachts to bring guests to and from the event . . . THAT dashing Post reporter Clemente Lisi and Daily News scribe Kathleen Lucadamo got married at City Hall last Friday, then walked over the Brooklyn Bridge with their families and friends to celebrate at Noodle Pudding in Brooklyn Heights.


- JESSICA Simpson's new movie could have a bad ending. The beleaguered singer was psyched to start work on "Blonde Ambition," produced by "Malcolm in the Middle" star Justin Berfield. But Berfield was heard over the weekend complaining about the excessive demands her father, Joe, is making - and that they might endanger Simpson's role in the flick. A rep for Simpson said, "Well, Joe is a producer in the movie, too, so that would be weird." A rep for Berfield said, "Yes, his company is producing the movie."

Monday, September 25, 2006

iTV” should overcome gap between PC and TV

London - Apple CEO Steve Jobs tends to only announce new products once they hit the market. Even high-level employees at Apple are often clued in only a few days - or hours - ahead of Jobs’ famous keynote addresses.

Jobs made a rare exception for the recently high-publicity “It’s Showtime” event in San Francisco: he introduced a device that will only appear in the first quarter of 2007, but which may fundamentally change the interaction between the computer and the television.

The talk is about a box developed under the code name “iTV.” It’s not much larger than three CD cases stacked on top of one other, but can transmit content wirelessly from the Mac or Windows PC to the television: videos, music, photos or podcasts.

Steve Jobs oozed confidence that “iTV” will be a success: “It completes the overall picture.”

For Gene Muster, analyst for the financial service provider Piper Jaffray, Jobs did more than just announce a new product: “The big message ... is that Apple wants to take over the living room.”

The “iTV” box offers an HDMI port that can be used to control modern HD televisions. The box can also pass on video and audio signals to older televisions in analog form. “Apple is forging a path to a digital living room,” is how Tom Krazit, correspondent for US- based technology service CNET, reads between the lines of the Apple CEO’s announcement.

In other areas, Steve Jobs is sticking to the proven tactic of announcing products that are either immediately available in stores or that will be there in a few days.

In that tradition, Jobs presented a completely reworked palette of the successful iPod players: for starters, Apple is picking up on the style of the old iPod minis and bringing it to the iPod nano, including a coloured aluminium casing that is less susceptible to scratches then the black and white casings of the first generation of Nanos. For 249 dollars, Apple customers can buy a playback device with eight-gigabyte flash storage, twice as much as the prior model for a comparable price.

The high-end iPod offer 80 gigabytes and cost 379 dollars. The new iPod shuffle and its one gigabyte of memory is no bigger than a matchbook and weights only 14 grams. It costs 79 dollars. All new iPods have improved battery lives. They also allow pieces of music that belong together to be played without a gap between individual tracks, which makes listening to live concerts easier.

Intel puts four on the floor

Intel's planning its own version of "Quadrophenia" for this week's Intel Developer Forum, except without The Who or any tough, young mods facing off against angry rockers.

Instead of a rock opera, Intel will shed more light on its plans for quad-core processors, company representatives and analysts said. It has already revealed the code names for the server and desktop versions of those chips: Clovertown and Kentsfield. Those models will be constructed by combining Intel's two newest dual-core processors in those categories in a multichip package.

Attendees are also expected to hear more details about Santa Rosa, an updated version of Intel's Centrino package of chips for notebook PCs, scheduled to arrive around March of next year. And the chipmaker's server division will also likely have a few things to talk about, including the Common System Interface architecture that Intel expects to debut in 2008, and possible plans to let future server processors link directly to third-party co-processors.

Intel holds its developer forums twice a year to educate the hardware developer community on its latest technologies and plans for the future. The chipmaker's CEO, Paul Otellini, is set to deliver the opening keynote address on Tuesday. Other executives, such as labs chief Justin Rattner and server guru Pat Gelsinger, are scheduled to address the crowd of developers, partners and media.

There's a bit of a cloud hanging over the San Francisco event this year, however. Despite all the accolades for Intel's newest generation of Core processors, the Santa Clara, Calif., company has had a tough year. Layoffs, budget cuts and executive shuffling have all taken a toll inside Intel as it adjusts to life with smaller market share. That's why some show veterans are expecting this year's affair to be a bit more subdued than in the past.

After all, Intel already trotted out most of its good stuff this summer, in an attempt to catch up to the performance lead enjoyed by Advanced Micro Devices in the server and desktop markets. It moved up the launch of all three new Core architecture products, such as the Xeon 5100 series server processors, and the Core 2 Duo chips for both desktops and notebooks. It has also revealed an accelerated schedule for presenting new chip architectures, in a bid to avoid getting caught going the wrong way by having more frequent updates to its blueprints.

Unofficial IE patch saves humanity

Security researchers have released a patch designed to protect users against an outstanding Internet Explorer vulnerability in the absence of available security updates from Microsoft.

A new ad-hoc group of security pros, called the Zeroday Emergency Response Team (ZERT), has released an unofficial fix designed to address the Vector Markup Language (VML) component vulnerability in IE, the most serious of two unpatched IE vulnerabilities. It plans to release other security bug fixes in future.

Hackers are taking advantage of this VML security flaw in IE to infect users visiting pornographic websites. Opening maliciously constructed emails in Outlook is also a potential risk, especially as attacks targeting the vulnerability are growing in prevalence since their first appearance last week.

The security bug is unrelated to a (still unpatched) flaw in Microsoft's Direct Animation Path (daxctle.ocx) ActiveX control discovered earlier this month.

ZERT said users should replace its fix with Microsoft's patch once this becomes available. "It is always a good idea to wait for a vendor-supplied patch and apply it as soon as possible, but there will be times when an ad-hoc group such as ours can release a working patch before a vendor can release their solution," it said.

Separately, security management firm PatchLink released a more limited workaround designed to help its customers (and only its customers) protect their networks from the VML exploit.

PatchLink estimates the number of vulnerabilities in various applications released this year will reach 6,700, some of which will become the subject of exploit before vendors get around to releasing patches.

Because of the growing issue of unpatched (so called zero-day) exploits, IT administrators can expect to see more third party patches such as the VML patch released by the ZERT group. PatchLink advises to check the provenance of patches and carry out testing before applying fixes in case they cause more problems than they solve in a user's environment. ®

Subway crime dips to lowest rate in 37 yrs.

Your subway ride is the safest it has been since 1969.

There have been an average of seven subway felonies a day so far this year - putting the city on pace for its most crime-free year underground since man touched down on the moon.

The current figures are light-years from 1990, when average felonies hit a record 49 daily - and are close to the 6.7 a day logged in 1969.

Subway crime is down 18.6% at this point compared with last year, thanks to a combination of surveillance cameras, undercover cops and sting operations at a time when ridership is at about 5 million a day, officials say.

"Our transit officers are doing an outstanding job," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said. "They've brought the fight to the criminals on several fronts."

Subway police are increasingly going to the videotape - using the growing number of anti-terror surveillance cameras.

So far, the Transit Authority alone has rigged up at least 40 stations and expects 40 more to be working by the end of the year.

Before the anti-terror surveillance program, dozens of stations already had cameras recording images, TA spokesman Paul Fleuranges said.

Last year, a brutal stabbing in an unstaffed passageway on the Franklin Ave. shuttle line was captured on tape. Detectives noticed that the two attackers, who stabbed a man after a brief exchange of words, were both wearing khaki pants and identical short-sleeved shirts.

It was the uniform of an area business, detectives learned as they worked the case, which ended in arrests.


DON'T believe rumors that they were on the rocks - Nicollette Sheridan and Michael Bolton can't keep their hands off each other. The engaged lovebirds, who have yet to set a wedding date, caught a N.Y.-L.A. American Airlines flight last week and, according to spies, put on quite a show. "Even before going through metal detectors, they were rubbing noses," said a fellow first-class passenger. "Nicollette - who was wearing a full-length shearling coat despite the 70-degree heat - then made out with Michael the entire flight."


-- DONALD Trump and his kids were so pumped at the launch of their new Trump Magazine at Trump Tower the other night that they didn't mind answering any and all questions. Asked what his porn name would be, Donald boasted: "Big!" Runner-up name: "The Trump Tower." As to whether she'd rather invite Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan to her next birthday party, Ivanka Trump shot back: "Neither!" And Eric Trump said he wouldn't mind being a cover boy for the mag,

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Fergie from The Black Eye Peas performs the song "London Bridge" in New York's Radio City Music Hall during the Fashion Rocks concert. (AP Photo/Jeff Christensen)

The 3rd Annual Live Concert - FASHION ROCKS! at Radio City Music Hall: Pussycat Dolls -PHOTO by: Dave Allocca/


BLOATED Brandon Davis was punched in the face Thursday night by Kevin Connolly, who stars on "Entourage." After an US Weekly party at L.A. hot spot Area, Paris Hilton held an after-hours bash at her Beverly Hills home. Pamela Anderson, Courtney Love, Dave Navarro - and past Hilton conquests Paris Latsis and Stavros Niarchos - arrived with Davis, Nicky Hilton and Nicky's boyfriend, Connolly. One partier told us: "Brandon and Nicky decided to run around and call everyone a 'loser' or 'whore' - like the way other people call each other 'sweety' or 'honey'. " Connolly didn't like either word and when the oil heir wouldn't stop, Connolly "smacked him." Davis, grandson of the late oil billionaire Marvin Davis, shrieked and cursed insults, prompting Connolly to "punch him in the face two times." After the beat-down, Connolly told blogger Perez Hilton: "He just can't talk to me the way he talks to other people." Another shock came later when Hilton nemesis Lindsay Lohan and several friends crashed the party. One observer, who was shocked Lohan had invaded her enemy's lair, said, "Paris has done so many mean things to Lindsay."


RATINGS-challenged NBC put the ax to "Access Hollywood" this week and abruptly fired 14 veteran staffers by heartlessly locking them out of the building as they returned from lunch.
"It was really awful. Their ID cards wouldn't open the gate, and then a security guard came over and told them they were no longer employed there," one insider told Page Six. "Of course, the bosses waited until they'd finished producing the day's show before canning them."

Among the casualties were: senior field producer John Davis and field producers Jennifer Lavin, David Garner and Jason Miller, our source said. Segment producer Lizza Morales, who was also booted, did manage to get inside and confronted executive producer Rob Silverstein. But he refused to talk and referred her to the show's lawyer, Claudia Eden.

The Thursday afternoon bloodbath in Los Angeles was the two-pronged result of NBC's ratings woes and the show being more than $1 million over budget, our spy went on. "And a few months ago, NBC found out there'd been excessive spending by some executives on partying, champagne and strip clubs. There were worries some people might be let go, but NBC said, 'No, no, don't worry!' And then this happened."

"Access Hollywood" spokesman Joe Schlosser laughed when we asked him about the bloodbath, then got serious and said: "It has never been easy to make adjustments to the staff." He added the firings were part of a "restructuring of the show," then asked us not to report he had chuckled. He said he was unaware that those fired had been locked out.

Some staffers who got tossed did get one consolation - they got calls and e-mails from host Nancy O'Dell, who said how sorry she was. Weekend co-anchor Shaun Robinson was seen crying after she learned what was going on.

The bloodbath is a further black eye for NBC chairman Bob Wright, whom Page Six reported is soon to be replaced. Other sources say the troubled Peacock Network will soon begin across-the-board layoffs.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Apple to open iPod Bars, Studio

Apple Computer Inc. is unveiling a new store design to add more show room for iPod music players and Macintosh computers and stations where shoppers can get technical help for their products.

The new stores will have an "iPod Bar" and Studio where artists and musicians will offer advice on creative projects, said Ron Johnson, who runs Apple's retail operations.

Apple stores already have "Genius Bars" for repairs and questions on Macintosh computers.

The new design puts twice as many Macs and iPods on display and should speed customer service, Johnson said. More than 10,000 people visit each store a week. Apple, which opened its first store in May 2001 to fuel sales of Macs, said in July that retail revenue rose by 29 percent in its fiscal third quarter to $715 million.

"We launched stores with the Genius Bar in 2001 with no real understanding" by people outside of Apple where the value was in offering that kind of service and support, Johnson said in an interview yesterday. "The service has become a hallmark of what the stores offer."

The new design is modeled after Apple's New York store on Fifth Avenue, which opened in May and has become the company's most visited outlet. It includes stainless steel walls, Italian stone floors, illuminated displays and larger tables for showcasing Mac and iPod models. The design also lets Apple display 50 percent more products from other companies that sell Mac software and iPod accessories.

Apple, which has a store in University Village, is starting with two new stores in Providence, R.I., and Columbia, Md., set to open this weekend, Johnson said. That brings the total to 164 outlets. Stores average about 4,000 square feet. Apple worked on the new design for about a year and built a prototype at a warehouse near its headquarters to test it, he said.

Apple has added iPod Bars and Studios in a few existing stores. They will now be a standard feature in every new store built.

$30G for Pete's ball haul

A Canadian company agreed yesterday to pay $30,000 - $1,000 each - for the 30 autographed baseballs consigned to a New Jersey auction house by the estate of Barry Halper, the legendary sports-memorabilia collector.

Yesterday, the disgraced hit king began selling balls signed "I'm sorry I bet on baseball" on his own Web site for $299 each, but the Canadian firm thinks the original balls are worth the extra money.

"These are the limited-edition balls," said Donna Montgomery, a spokeswoman for Entertainment Systems Inc., a British Columbia company that provides software and other products to online-gaming companies. "These are the originals."

Montgomery said the company will distribute the balls to loyal customers.

As the Daily News reported this week, Robert Edward Auctions of Watchung, N.J., obtained 30 of the inscribed balls from the estate of Halper, the New Jersey businessman and limited partner in the Yankees who died last year at 66.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Get Into the Paris Hilton

Great and Funny clip about Paris


HEAVY-DUTY actors Sean Penn, An thony Hopkins, Jude Law, Patricia Clarkson, Mark Ruffalo, James Gandolfini, Kate Winslet star in the remake of Robert Penn Warren's novel "All the King's Men." It opens tomorrow. Sony is making sure it generates excitement. Already touted as Oscar material is Sean Penn. Sean Penn is the movie. It revolves around his character Willy Stark, who is a depiction of Louisiana's long, back, sleazy, greasy Gov.Huey Long.


THAT Jay-Z will throw a party at his 40/40 Club tonight for Alfonso Soriano of the Washington Nationals to celebrate his entry into the 40/40 club: players who hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases in one season. LETS GO YANKS !!!!!...they should of kept him


JESSICA Namath, the sexy coed daughter of Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath (far left), is being credited for a sack. The 21-year-old University of Alabama sophomore has been named the "other woman" in the messy divorce between Palm Beach spa owner William "Blu" Stephanos, 28, and his wife, Carly, 26, the Palm Beach Post re ported yesterday. Carly claims he's spending her money on his new honey - lavishing her with Tiffany jewelry and luxury trips. Jessica could not be reached for comment.


RUDY Giuliani has made enemies among a group that should be solidly behind "America's mayor" - the Society of Former Special Agents - after canceling as their keynote speaker. The retired FBI men, at the New York Hilton for the society's 54th annual convention, booked Giuliani in May for this morning's breakfast speech. But Hizzoner canceled two weeks ago, leaving the group almost no time to line up a replacement. "We are deeply disappointed," said Joseph Valiquette, the retired spokesman for the FBI's New York office. "He is a national figure, We were looking forward to hearing his perspective on terrorism." A less diplomatic member said, "Don't forget, it was the FBI cases that Rudy rode to prominence so he could run for mayor in the first place. We did not forget him, but he forgot us." Among those who pressed Giuliani into relenting and giving the speech was Yankee owner George Steinbrenner. But Giuliani couldn't be swayed. A spokeswoman for Giuliani said, "He deeply regrets not being able to be there. There was a scheduling conflict." In the end, the speaker they ended up with ain't too shabby - FBI Deputy Director John Pistole.


IN an understatement of the ages, Paris Hilton told Los Angeles cops she's not the brightest bulb in Hollywood's chandelier.

The heir head told investigators probing the home-invasion robbery of "Girls Gone Wild" producer Joe Francis that she's not a reliable witness.

"Like I really . . . I don't remember. I'm not like that smart," Hilton said in police audio tapes set to air on "Dateline NBC" on Saturday night.

LAPD Detective Steve Koman and Deputy DA Hoon Chun were asking Hilton to remember what she told Francis at a party shortly after the "Girls" mastermind was victimized on Jan. 24, 2004.

Francis passed on Paris' information to cops, who eventually busted Darnell Riley. But when investigators pressed Hilton to recall her talk with Francis, she didn't remember much, The Post's David K. Li reports.

"I like forget stuff all the time," she said.

Koman, however, jumped to Paris' defense and encouraged her to think again.

"Don't cut yourself short," he said in the "Dateline" tapes.

Hilton also told cops "private tapes" were stolen from her home - and that a mysterious caller wanted money for the hot goods.

"They . . . wanted money. They were tryin' to sell it to like a newspaper or something," said Hilton, who balked at paying - and chalked it up to advice from dear old Dad.

"So if you pay somebody, then you're gonna be paying for the rest of your life," Hilton said. "My dad always taught me. They'll keep the tape anyway."

Riley pleaded guilty to residential burglary and attempted extortion in the Francis attack. He was sentenced to more than 10 years in prison

In a pretrial hearing, prosecutors showed video that Riley himself took of the home invasion. Francis was tied up, had his pants pulled down and was taunted with a phallic sex toy. "Dateline" captured this footage but has no plans to air it.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Google: The New Port Authority

A juggernaut gets ready to inject a big glob of silicon into New York City

Google plans to occupy in the heart of the city. It's a poorly kept secret that the company will soon open a huge new office and networking facility at 111 Eighth Avenue. Google's new base in the city will dump a sizable influx of Google employees into the social and professional environment of Chelsea and the West Village.

The art deco landmark is fast becoming one of the most important high-tech facilities in the world. Google's blockbuster invasion of New York and its impending takeover of nearly two floors of the massive building aim to make New York City a key component of its little-publicized global expansion—the details of which have become fodder for a mildly hysterical parlor game in the technology community and on Wall Street. The ultimate goal? Perhaps the planet's biggest ever computer network, bypassing all those pesky cable and telephone companies.

That's why what lies beneath 111 Eighth Avenue may be more important than the building itself. The old Port Authority headquarters sits atop one of the main fiber optic arteries in New York City—the Hudson Street–Ninth Avenue "fiber highway." The venerable behemoth is already one of the country's most important "carrier hotels"—loosely speaking, the physical connection points of the world's telecommunications networks and the World Wide Web. As a result, Google will "have access to as much bandwidth as possible and as much variety of bandwidth as possible," says Dana Spiegel, a technology consultant and executive director of NYC Wireless.

And now Google will be putting massive amounts of brainpower in the same building as the physical connections. But how does the new data center at 111 Eighth Avenue fit into Google's broader plans—and just exactly what are Google's broader plans, anyway?

"We have nothing to announce at this time," a typically mum Google spokesperson says when asked about the new offices. "But," she added, "Google is always looking for opportunities to expand." The spokesperson noted that Google already has over 500 employees at its current location at 1440 Broadway in Times Square—an office believed to occupy approximately 100,000 square feet over four floors.

Because the company refuses to share its plans with either the general public or Wall Street, speculation has bounced around the technology world without official refutation. Some tech watchers have suggested that Google is building a nationwide wireless distribution network to bypass Verizon, AT&T, and the rest of the telecom and cable incumbents. Others have speculated that Google is building its own "parallel Internet" so that it can exert maximum control over online information flow and distribution. Still others have suggested that Google is building something akin to Skynet, the malicious computer network that in The Terminator became "self-aware" and launched a war to destroy humanity.

Bill St. Arnaud, senior director for advanced networks at CANARIE (Canada's Advanced Internet Development Organization), chuckles at these suggestions. "I think what they are doing is a lot more modest," he says, adding, "Google loves the speculation because it rattles their competitors. All they have to do is sit back and say nothing."

Still, Google is up to something.

In 2005, the company spent some $838 million on facilities and hardware. Along with massive purchases of unused "dark fiber"—the underground fiber optic cable left dormant since the dotcom crash—the company has invested in a series of giant data and networking centers. These data centers are home to an estimated 450,000 individual servers, grouped in clusters, or "server farms." With its vast open floors and technological amenities, 111 Eighth Avenue appears to be an ideal location for a massive Google data center.

"It turns out that one of the biggest global peering facilities is in New York City at 111 Eighth Avenue," St. Arnaud says, referring to the physical spots where tech firms hook up with one another. By positioning server farms in key locations like 111 Eighth Avenue, industry experts believe, Google is quietly, but systematically, building the most advanced computer network in history. "This is why Google is locating big server farms around the world," St. Arnaud says.

Google not only gains a giant space for a new server farm that will most likely house thousands of Google machines, but also gets direct access to the building's network-neutral meet-me room—literally, an area where telecommunications companies can physically hook up and exchange data cheaply and efficiently. Google would be able to expand its offerings of new Internet products and services such as Internet telephone service, video, and Web-based enterprise software—competing for business against the likes of Microsoft, Skype, and YouTube—much more efficiently and competitively.

Last week, Google announced that it would offer a suite of Web-based software services aimed at business customers. It is worth noting that Citigroup, the world's largest bank, has a network presence inside 111 Eighth Avenue. In theory, Google will be able to provide Web services to Citigroup directly through the meet-me room, bypassing not only the "Tier 2" service providers who buy and sell Internet access, but the top-level Tier 1 providers, such as AT&T, Verizon, and Qwest.

For the time being, by installing itself above Chelsea's broadband "fiber highway" at 111 Eighth Avenue, St. Arnaud explained, Google can bypass many of the major telecommunications firms and interface directly with Tier 2 service providers such as Level 3 Communications or XO Communications, which also are located in the building. This will significantly cut down the costs associated with reaching business customers on Wall Street and in the media and fashion worlds, and generally throughout the Northeast power corridor from D.C. to Boston. The arrangement also suits the Tier 2 providers, which are "thrilled because they can get content directly from Google and bypass" the major telecom and cable Tier 1 providers, St. Arnaud says.

But the advantages of Google's new space at 111 Eighth Avenue are not merely technological. Google's office will be highly efficient, because the lease covers nearly 300,000 square feet on just two floors, rather than the 10 or more floors that much space would take up in a traditional New York City office building, like, say, the Empire State Building, which was completed one year before 111 Eighth Avenue, in 1931. That means fewer bathrooms, fewer elevators, more efficient wiring, and less energy consumption, not to mention those large communal meeting spaces that Googlers love so much. In a way, the vast horizontal spaces afforded by 111 Eighth Avenue echo the sprawling, horizontal nature of Silicon Valley itself, perhaps best exemplified by Google's vast campus in California.

Depending on how the company allocates its employees and hardware, the new office will represent a significant infusion of Google jobs into New York city—over time as many as 500 to 1,000 new hires, by one estimate. UBS Internet analyst Ben Schachter says that the company's expansion into 111 Eighth Avenue makes sense because the company is hiring at such a torrid rate to keep up with its rapid growth.

"Clearly, Google is rapidly expanding its head count around the globe," says Schachter, who published a report in May noting that Google had over 1,800 publicly posted job openings worldwide, including over 100 in New York City. "We think this is a company that is building a strong base of talent for the long term." It remains to be seen just what impact the influx of Google employees into Chelsea will have—after all, there are already plenty of technology workers in the building. Still, it will be interesting to see how Google's quirky, geeky-yet-laid-back culture will mesh with the trendy restaurants and exclusive clubs of Chelsea and the meatpacking district.

And if anyone can afford New York real estate, it's Google.

Based on conservative real estate industry estimates of the building's asking price—about $33 per square foot—Google will likely pay at least $10 million per year in rent, not to mention the additional capital and labor investment in the economy of downtown New York City. That's just a drop in the bucket for the Internet search leader. Over the last year, the company earned $3.6 billion profit on $8.5 billion in revenue, driven by the meteoric rise of its ubiquitous search engine. What's more, Google just raised over $4 billion cash in a secondary stock sale, bringing its total free-cash hoard to $10 billion.


FORMER "Charlie's Angel" Cheryl Ladd has a devil of an attitude toward gays, according to Frank DeCaro, who hosts a talk show on OutQ, the gay channel on Sirius Satellite Radio. Ladd was booked to promote her book "Token Chick: A Woman's Guide to Golfing with the Boys," when her publicist, Brad Ferris, abruptly canceled, saying: "Cheryl's camp is not that comfortable doing the OutQ show . . . it's not the target audience." He added that Ladd would do Martha Stewart's radio show. Ferris, of Ketchum Public Relations, said: "It's an absurd accusation . . . Cheryl was in town to talk about women in their 50s who are menopausal. We didn't think it was in their demographic."


ALTHOUGH Cindy Crawford is threatening to sue the French magazine Gala for publishing statements she never made about receiving Botox, we hear from fashion insiders that despite the false article, there has been speculation for some time the 40-year-old supermodel has in fact had a little nip and tuck. Cindy has retained her flawless looks with "Botox injections and an eyebrow lift," says a source. Her spokesman said: "Cindy Crawford has retained legal counsel to investigate the publication of a fictitious 'interview' in French Gala magazine. Ms. Crawford never participated in any such interview. The interview contained false and defamatory statements." After viewing photos of Crawford from 2004 versus 2006, renowned Manhattan plastic surgeon Dr. Howard Bellin (who has not treated the supermodel) told us, "She's either had a brow lift or found an incredible new way to tweeze her eyebrows." NYC

KATE Bosworth sipping Peroni beer at Zac Posen's party at the Soho Grand . . . ANNA Kournikova in a sexy little dress and high heels at the Shore Club's Skybar in Miami Beach, dancing wildly at the bar . . . HEATHER Graham at Tequila Don Julio's Mexican Independence Day party at Lincoln Center honoring "Y Tu Mamá También" filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron . . . MOBY tossing back water while his three lovely female guests downed Roberto Cavalli martinis in the Sapa Lounge Monday night.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


'I'M SURE President Bush is a very nice guy, but some people voted for him because they thought he was a person they could have a beer with. What is that about?! Do you want to have a beer with the doctor who's going to operate on you, or do you want him to be the top of his class . . . be a bit in awe of him?"

So says Barbra Streisand in the new issue of O, talking to Oprah herself. Streisand, schmoozing in anticipation of her next concert tour, says of her image, "I have found that the myth of the 'diva' is much bigger than me. If you look at the ad for my concert, the shadow is much bigger than the person."

Listen, shadow, schmado - in an era of people famous for absolutely nothing at all, we have a still-functioning and vital giant like Barbra Streisand. A woman famous because she has a unique talent, great ambition, an unstoppable work ethic. She ain't easy, but if she were, would we be talking about her 40-something years since she first made her mark?


JERRY Seinfeld played the loving husband Sunday night when he hosted a 35th-birthday party for his wife, Jessica, at Il Cantinori. Seinfeld took over the entire East 10th Street eatery for about 50 guests - including Anderson Cooper, Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick, Oscar winner Rachel Weisz and director Darren Aronofsky, architect Charles Gwathmey and wife Betty Ann, Tribeca Film Festival organizers Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff, New York magazine owner Bruce Wasserstein, HBO biggie Richard Plepler, and Gina Gershon, who seemed to be with Ronald Perelman. George Stephanopoulos and his wife, Alexandra Wentworth, ignored the "no gifts" advisory on the invite and gave Jessica a big fake diamond ring. Seinfeld gave a heartfelt toast to his wife, the mother of three, about how she brings joy into everyone's life.


" Sony BMG head Clive Davis is said to be planning to have Whitney Houston sing at the charity event - if Houston stays sober.

Couple of Co-Stars

Toronto Film Festival
It looks like Jennifer Lopez (with hubby Marc Anthony) has gone retro. Maybe it was to promote her new movie -- in which they costar -- called El Cantante. It's the life story of Hector Lavoe, who started the salsa movement in 1975 and brought it to the United States.

Madonna's New Bob

Tokyo, Japan
While promoting a photography and videography exhibit, Madonna stepped out with a bold new look. What do you think of her brassy new bob? Give your opinion below.

Brooke & her Babes

Pacific Palisades, California
It was girl power at the Promises Foundation Hosts the First Annual Family Fun Festival and Polo Match. Here's a shot of Brooke Shields and her two adorable daughters, Rowan (l.) and Grier. Their dad is Chris Henchy. Also on the scene? Katey Segal and Tom Arnold.

Gwen's Hey Baby Hey

New York City
We love us some Gwen Stefani and we appreciate how she's indulging us by letting photos take photos of her scrumptious little boy, Kingston. We're in love.

Monday, September 18, 2006


September 18, 2006 -- DON'T expect to see the brand-new "Today" show set remain the way it is for too much longer. Our network insider says the on-air talent at NBC's long-running morning gabfest is already on the warpath over the $3.5 million makeover that heralded the arrival of Katie Couric's replacement, Meredith Vieira, last week. "They're fuming that it's too big. It just swallows them up, and it looks something like a hospital wing," our insider continues. "Both Meredith and Matt Lauer have complained about it, so there are going to be changes. It's going to evolve again over the next couple of months, and it's going to cost them millions more to do it, even though they worked on the new set since April." We also hear that construction crews have already been notified about some of the proposed modifications. An NBC spokeswoman admitted there may be some "small tweaks" in store for the set but insisted, "We're thrilled with the feedback. If you ask Matt, Meredith, Al [Roker] or Ann [Curry], they'd all agree they love it.


September 18, 2006 -- ALEC Baldwin just can't keep his bitter anger about ex-wife Kim Basinger - or her pack of pit-bull lawyers - bottled up.
In a startling interview in the October GQ, the actor trashes the Oscar-winning blonde he divorced in 2002. Baldwin claims she told such horrible lies about him that he wanted to die. And he rips one of her attorneys as an obese blowhard.

"My ex-wife once said, 'He's Saddam Hussein.' She said that. And I thought, 'Do I hide myself in cramped underground quarters? Do I like to shoot firearms in a celebratory way? Did I execute whole villages of people and bulldoze their bodies into a pit? What are you saying? Explain this to me.' "

When Baldwin got hit with Basinger's legal missives, "it said all of these things, like I wasn't a good father [to 10-year-old daughter Ireland] . . . I remember lying in bed, thinking I wanted to die on the spot . . . I would say, 'Please don't let me wake up. I can't face another day.' "

He saves extra vitriol for Basinger's lawyers at Hersh, Mannis & Bogen, who he believes influence her. "[Judy] Bogen, she's this 300-pound homunculus whose face looks like a cross between a bulldog and a clenched fist. She's this hideously angry-looking woman. She'd snarl and hiss."

Bogen did not return our call. NYC

September 18, 2006 -- MIRA Sorvino breast-feeding under her poncho at the table at Blue Fin on Times Square . . . A VERY pregnant Sofia Coppola with boyfriend Thomas Mars at Serendipity 3.

Pete's signs of his sorry times

Baseball's disgraced all-time hit king may have hit an all-time low by signing balls with this shocking inscription: "I'm sorry I bet on baseball - Pete Rose."

Thanks to a New Jersey auction house, you, too, can share in Rose's sorrow. Robert Edward Auctions plans to sell 30 of the baseballs for an expected $1,000 a pop.

"This is where the baseball collectibles field has impact on the history of the game," said Rob Lifson, president of the Watchung-based Robert Edward Auctions. "The collectibles field is not just shadowing the game - it's affecting its history."

It also could dash any hope Rose, who was banned from the sport he loved in 1989 for betting on baseball, has of getting into the Hall of Fame.

The bizarre ball signing marked the latest chapter in the sad saga of a man who was once one of baseball's most revered - and successful - figures.

Rose formally applied for reinstatement in 1997.

Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig extended an olive branch by meeting with him in 2002 to discuss his possible return - a meeting based on Rose's denials that he never bet on the game.

But then Rose became embroiled in a series of incidents in which he was seen gambling at casinos and sports books, and was hit with a lien from the IRS claiming he owed almost $1 million in back taxes.

In 2004, after almost 15 years of denials, Rose did an about-face and admitted in his autobiography "My Prison without Bars" that he bet on the game as a player and manager for the Cincinnati Reds. He repeated his admissions in an interview on ABC's "Primetime."

And now there are these damning baseballs.

Rose's agent Warren Greene and attorney Roger Makley did not return calls from the Daily News. Greene, however, acknowledged to Sports Collectors Digest, a hobby publication, that Rose did sign the balls.

"Pete told me he signed a couple of dozen as a favor to the guys in Cooperstown," Greene is quoted as saying in a story set to appear in Sports Collectors Digest this week.

He was referring to Tom Catal and Andrew Vilacky, two upstate memorabilia dealers who are friendly with Rose and are affiliated with Pete Rose Collectibles and the Pete Rose Museum, a shrine on the third floor of Catal's collectibles store, in Cooperstown. Robert Edward Auctions obtained 30 of the inscribed balls from the estate of Barry Halper, the New Jersey businessman and limited partner in the Yankees who died last year at 66.

Fergie Rocks the Curler-Hawk

Fergie in curlersFergie made a appearance in public mid-glamourification to pump up her vocals during an early morning rehearsal.

The newly solo artist returned to her gig with the Black Eyed Peas for a performance on NBC's "Today" show at Rockefeller Center in New York on Friday morning.

Fergie Ferg's hair may be wacky, but we commend her always taking a risk-- whether it be her outrageous clothes or downright crazy dance moves. She just doesn't care what people think, and we love her for it.

Lindsay Rushed To ER With Broken Left Wrist

Lindsay Lohan was rushed to St. Vincent's Hospital in New York late Friday night after breaking her left wrist at a Fashion Week party. The actress was attending an event at the Milk Studios in New York when she fell and broke her wrist in two places, says her rep, Leslie Sloane Zelnik. According to Access, Lindsay's mother Dina Lohan drove in from her home on Long Island to meet her daughter in the hospital. (With regard to yesterday's report of Dina and Lindsay's spat at a restaurant, Sloane Zelnick tells TMZ that Lindsay "loves her mother very much" and wishes people "would leave her alone.") The accident is being investigated because Lindsay claims Milk Studios hadn't been careful enough in preventing people from slipping.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Apple computer aims to take over your living-room TV

SAN FRANCISCO -- Steve Jobs changed the way consumers listen to music. Now the Apple Computer Inc. chief executive wants to reinvent how they watch movies at home.

Tuesday, Apple announced a long anticipated thrust into living-room entertainment with a device that will display movies, television shows and other videos purchased over the Internet on television sets.

Apple unveiled the new device, which it is temporarily calling iTV, at an event here that also showcased a deal with Walt Disney Co. to offer movies for sale over the Internet, the first of a wave of licensing deals Apple hopes to strike with Hollywood studios for films. Apple also revamped its entire line of iPod portable gadgets -- trimming sizes and adding storage capacity -- in hopes of keeping sales of the device strong during the crucial holiday shopping season.

The iTV device, expected to sell for $299 when it goes on sale in the first quarter of next year, comes after years of efforts by high-tech companies to provide technology for moving content purchased on the Internet off computer screens and onto television screens that are at the center of home entertainment.

Such a device is regarded as key to enabling mass-market acceptance of the growing range of movies, television shows and other videos that media companies are making available online. While most such attempts to do so have met with middling results at best, entertainment companies believe Apple's track record in the music business with the iPod and iTunes Music Store could give iTV a better shot at success.

In an interview, Mr. Jobs said the transition from DVDs that currently make up most of the home video market to online distribution wouldn't "happen overnight." "It takes years of investment," he said. Mr. Jobs compared the growing acceptance of movie downloads to the gradual consumer embrace of music downloads after years of product enhancements by Apple. "There's no reason why movies will be that much different."

Drug overdose may have killed Anna Nicole's son

Anna Nicole Smith with son Daniel.
Investigators suspect a drug overdose may have killed ex-Playboy model Anna Nicole Smith's 20-year-old son after an autopsy showed he did not die from "natural causes" or a heart attack, the coroner said yesterday.
Daniel Smith died on Sunday in his 38-year-old mother's maternity ward hospital room in Nassau, Bahamas, just days after she gave birth to a baby girl.

"We have a cause of death, but I am reserving it pending complete toxicology reports. We have to be sure," Bahamian coroner Linda Virgil told the Daily News. Test results are expected tomorrow.

"It was not natural causes. Heart attack was ruled out," Virgil said.

She refused to confirm a report in yesterday's Nassau Guardian newspaper that "various medications, along with drugs, were found in his system."

The toxicology tests she is awaiting are used to determine levels of drugs, alcohol or poisons in the body.

Anna Nicole Smith had credited her son with helping her get clean when she became addicted to painkillers a few years ago.

But her half-sister Donna Hogan says the buxom model's party-girl ways may have corrupted her son.

"It was really hard to have her as a mother. ... She was known to be wild and he was around that his whole life," Hogan told the TV show "Inside Edition."

Girls on top

Newswomen rise from fluff stuff to network stars

Meredith Vieira
Has television journalism become women's work?
Katie Couric is in the top job at CBS. Diane Sawyer is the highest paid news personality at ABC. And the fortunes of "Today" are riding on the shoulders of Meredith Vieira, who this morning makes her debut on NBC News' top moneymaker.

"It's like the insect world, isn't it? There's a queen bee and there's the worker bees," says network news analyst Andrew Tyndall.

In the anthill of TV journalism, Couric is on top of the heap, earning a reported $15 million annually, while Sawyer is said to rake in at least $13 million, much more than her former "Good Morning America" co-host, Charles Gibson.

Vieira's defection from "The View" to "Today" comes with a hefty raise to $10 million a year, according to reports.

Vieira, long the breadwinner in the family (her husband, Richard Cohen, is an author and journalism professor at Columbia), has graduated to medallion member status.

But it wasn't always that way.

"I was a quota," says Vieira. "When I came into the business in 1975, it's because I was a woman and they wanted a woman, and in my case they also looked at me as a minority."

Vieira is of Portuguese descent, but the vowels in her surname often led people to assume she is Hispanic, she said.

"So that's how I got in the door. And I think that's how a lot of women were getting in the door."

Women have always been paired with men in television news, but in the past they were hired for their fluff appeal, there to soften the hard edges of the male co-anchor. Now they must be capable of doing the very serious interviews with intellectuals and heads of state while effortlessly segueing to cooking demonstrations and home decor tutorials. And that's one reason they can command the kind of money and power once lavished exclusively on men.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


September 12, 2006 -- 'I'M SURE happy about this award and the praise the movie has received, but I'm not now going to 'claw my way' back up to some position that people think I was at, or think I want to return to."
That's Ben Affleck, reflecting on his best actor win at the Venice Film Festival last week, for his performance as George Reeves, the tragic TV Superman in "Hollywoodland." Ben called from Los Angeles, fresh from Italy's ravishing city on the sea, and with sounds of his baby, Violet, and his wife, Jennifer Garner, in the background. Both were needing his attention for real things.

Much has been made of the irony of Affleck's role as the unhappy Reeves. Ben has had his share of trouble and media over-attention, but mostly - I think - he has struggled against Hollywood typecasting. He is more a "character" leading man than a spiffed-up action hero. So now he has played Reeves, who became a star for all the wrong reasons, or so he thought. Ben says, "If people want to read a lot into my choice, or call it a 'comeback,' that's OK with me. Now I try not to care so much about what 'they' think, or want to rail against assumptions, which are sometimes almost right, often very wrong. But it's easier for the press and the public to have one idea about a person. It's human nature to be interested in 'what the king is doing tonight.' The ancient Greeks gossiped! I get it.

"Aside from the script and the director, Allen Coulter, and the people I worked with, I was attracted to Reeves' story because it was, in a lot of ways, about being an actor, wanting to act, not having the opportunity. The terrible thing was that when he achieved the fame he'd dreamed of, he was not young anymore, and he found - surprise! - fame isn't enough. And he was ambitious back when people didn't conceal ambition. It was the American way, the Horatio Alger legend, fame was hard-earned. Today, nobody seems to want to admit to ambition, they just want to be famous.

"The movie itself is really about dissatisfaction with what one has. 'I know I'd be happier if I was this or that, had this or that.' So, everything about 'Hollywoodland' resonated with me in some way." (Adrien Brody plays the dissatisfied detective. Diane Lane appears as the dissatisfied wife of MGM's scandal-manager Eddie Mannix.)

Ben, whom I have never found less than charming, upfront, smart and cooperative, talked about how he has changed over the past couple years - a result of the films that didn't work, the relationship with Jennifer Lopez that the world presumptuously disapproved of, and now, marriage and parenting.

"I try to appreciate what a privileged life I have, and the great things about being in a business that doesn't encourage self-control, I'm more humble, less callous about certain things, but also not given to beating myself up so much. It took me a long time to grow up, find my center, evolve."

I stopped Ben, "How old are you?"


"Ben, do you honestly think you could have been really centered in your 20s, with an Oscar in one hand and the world at your feet? You've actually gotten it together sooner than most."

He laughed, "You know, you're right, I guess. See, I still beat myself up a lot!"

Affleck is now editing "Gone, Baby Gone," his first feature film directorial effort. "I loved it! It was wonderful and terrible. One day I was sure I was a complete failure, the next I was thinking, 'OK, maybe this is pretty good.' It was the perfect bipolar professional experience."

Many people thought Ben - who can speak passionately on world issues - might even give up showbiz and go into politics. "Oh, it's not that I haven't thought about it. Not now, for sure, but you never know. But if I do, be prepared, I'm going to ask you to be on my team!"

Ben, I cast my ballot the first time we met.

'BRIAN HAS a lot more film of my backside somewhere, but he's not giving it up!"

That was Josh Hartnett, commenting at last week's L.A. premiere of "The Black Dahlia." Apparently, the Brian De Palma film is fairly discreet when it comes to Josh's love scenes with his "Dahlia" co-stars Scarlett Johansson and Hilary Swank. Well, we can always wait for the DVD director's cut, which usually features more of everything.

Those who have seen the film, based on one of the most infamous, and still unsolved crimes ever, say the violence - including shots of the dismembered body of aspiring actress Elizabeth Short - is disturbing. (Some would have preferred more gratuitous sex.) Both Scarlett and Hilary are reported as knockouts in their 1940s period clothes and makeup - Scarlett is a gangster's moll, Swank a rich nymphomaniac. And, like "Hollywoodland," the décor and atmosphere are drenched in despair and mystery.

At the premiere, it was noted that Scarlett and Josh - linked off-screen - seemed to keep their distance from each other. Has romance cooled? Or did they simply choose to avoid the red-carpet crawl, peppered with probing questions and requests for "just one more, holding hands!"

"The Black Dahlia" has a special screening this week in N.Y.C., a swanky affair hosted by the Cinema Society and Guerlain, at the Tribeca Grand Screening Room. Hilary Swank will preside.


September 12, 2006 -- TOM Hanks is seen as one of Hollywood's nice guys - but the Oscar winner's first wife, the mother of his kids, strongly disagreed with that perception.
In newly unearthed court papers published in the upcoming bio "The Tom Hanks Enigma," by David Gardner, actress Susan Dillingham charges that Hanks harassed her and attempted to kill her career.

"My husband has repeatedly verbally abused and humiliated me during the past 90 days in my home. This caused me to suffer great emotional distress," Dillingham wrote an L.A. court in asking for a restraining order against Hanks.

Dillingham, whose stage name was Samantha Lewes, died from bone cancer in 2002. During their messy divorce, which began in 1985 and dragged on for three years, the actress said Hanks tried to force her into depositions as she took the lead roles in a series of plays. "[It's] designed to harass and upset me at a time when I should be focusing all of my energies on my job," she wrote in one legal missive.

Hanks shot back in his own legal filing, alleging that Dillingham was delaying a divorce trial "merely to harass me and try to squeeze an unfair settlement out of me."

The couple - college sweethearts who wed after their son, Colin, was born in 1977 - began to have problems when Hanks' career took off in hits like "Splash" and Dillingham's stalled. They also had a daughter, Elizabeth, in 1982.

"Tom was spending less and less time at home . . . [and] with two children to care for and a husband who was away for long stretches . . . it was difficult [for her] to get work," Gardner writes. A year after the divorce, Hanks wed actress Rita Wilson.

Gardner also reveals that Hanks' kid brother, Jim, played a Forrest Gump-type character in a little-known soft-core sex flick two years before Tom created the role that won him an Oscar. In "Buford's Beach Bunnies," Jim invented the "now-famous jerky run associated with Forrest Gump" and, like Gump, showed a shy politeness toward women by calling them "ma'am," the author says.

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