Correction to This Article
The Names & Faces column in the July 26 Style section contained an incorrect last name for a spokesman for the Military Order of the 8Purple Heart. He is Hershel Gober, not Hershel Gobel.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Here's "hot" news: Manhattan gossip blog announced the winners of its weeklong Gawker Hotties competition yesterday. So who were the contestants? Firefighters? Weightlifters? Naked Cowboy wannabes? Nope, the men of the New York Times.

"It's a scientific fact that all reporters are vain," Gawker editor Jessica Coen explained. "Everyone loves to be in the position to judge, and why not judge the Times?" Ouch.

The contest was divided into two categories: "Love Him for His Brain" and "Love Him for His Body." Nearly 12,000 participants voted via e-mail, and many added comments like this one about the executive editor: "If the charming, seersuckered Bill Keller doesn't get nominated, there's no justice in this world." Apparently these readers take their news very seriously.

It didn't end there. Coen said one reporter's mother had her entire knitting circle vote, and the friend of another started a nomination campaign. At the end of the contest, crossword editor Will Shortz snagged the "Brains" title and Styles reporter Warren St. John was tops in "Body."

Shortz, who described himself as "tickled," said: "I've never been called a hottie by anyone. It's a vote in favor of the crossword."

St. John was essentially speechless.

Next: the women of the Times.

Just Friends

Anybody want a love letter Jennifer Aniston wrote 21 years ago? A California lawyer who says he had a summer fling with the 36-year-old actress when they were teens is going to auction off memorabilia from their romance.

Among other items, Michael Baroni is selling a birthday card Aniston wrote for him on toilet paper, a photo of the two hugging when they first met in 1974 (she was 5) and a page from the lawyer's little black book with contact information for her.

Baroni, who says he's holding the auction for "financial reasons," will put the items on eBay Friday with a $100,000 reserve. Do the math: For the price of a small house, you can own used toilet tissue, an old photo and a piece of paper. Who's in?

Cheating Hearts

According to the summer blockbuster "Wedding Crashers," pretending to be a Purple Heart recipient is a great way to meet women -- and those who earned the real deal aren't pleased.

Hershel Gobel , a spokesman for the Military Order of the Purple Heart, got wind of the movie and, he says, "blew my stack." To add insult to injury, the movie's Web site features a "Crasher Kit," where you can print out a copy of the medal to wear. "Carrying a Purple Heart in your jacket guarantees you attention, admiration and plenty of free booze," the kit says. "To get one of these babies, some dudes have to prove their physical, mental and spiritual strength on the battlefield. All you need to do is press the button below."

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