Ryder Gets a, Um, Lift

Winona Ryder is a felon no more. On Friday, a Beverly Hills judge granted Ryder's bid to have her shoplifting convictions reduced to misdemeanors. Ryder attorney Sheldon Kopp explained, "We made a request to the judge that he reduce the charges because she has fully complied with everything he required her to do, and the judge agreed."

Those requirements fulfilled by the two-time Oscar nominee included attending counseling, paying more than $7,000 in fines and completing 480 hours of community service at a hospital. In addition, the judge ruled that Ryder, who was convicted in 2002 of felony grand theft and vandalism after stealing thousands of dollars worth of designer clothing, would serve out the remaining three years of her probation informally. Ryder's attorney added that they would ultimately attempt to have the convictions expunged from her record.

But the very best part of ditching the "felon" status? Ryder will regain her right to vote. According to Kopp, "She's very glad. She's a woman of strong political beliefs and would like to be able to vote in the upcoming election."

From Canterbury to Springfield?

Having seemingly run out of celebrities to feature in guest spots, the producers of the long-running animated Fox series "The Simpsons" are extending an invitation to a rather unlikely candidate, the archbishop of Canterbury. According to Britain's Sunday Times, Rowan Williams, the 54-year-old spiritual leader of the world's 70 million Anglicans, is already an ardent fan of the program. In an interview to be aired on Britain's ITV network next Sunday, the archbishop says the show is "generally on the side of the angels and on the side of sense. It punctures lots of pompous fictions about how the world works."

Having heard of the archbishop's fondness, producer Al Jean told the Times, "We'd love to have him on the show. . . . It's a great thrill that the archbishop is such a fan." Jean went on to add, "In the beginning, some religious groups in the United States disliked the show, so to have such a prominent religious leader defend it is great."

A spokesman for the archbishop said that although no formal invitation had been received, a guest spot "would be a very intriguing prospect."

End Quote

"It's the sort of vague calm you get after vomiting where the vomit itself is rather unpleasant, but when it's over it does bring you a strange kind of peace."

-- Recovering alcoholic and Oscar-winning screenwriter Ben Affleck to BBC's Radio 1, about the calm after the "Bennifer" media storm.

-- Compiled by Matt Kane

from wire reports

Winona Ryder's felony theft convictions have been reduced to misdemeanors.