The Parody and the Fury
A parody that likens President Bush to the "idiot" in William Faulkner's novel "The Sound and the Fury" has won the University of Mississippi's annual Faux Faulkner writing contest -- and touched off a spat with Hemispheres, the United Airlines magazine that sponsors the contest.
Sam Apple, a writer for Nerve magazine, wrote a piece portraying Bush in the role of Benjy, the mentally challenged son in the 1929 novel about a Southern family. The story is told from Bush's point of view as Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld ready him for a news conference.
Faux Faulkner organizers have accused Hemispheres, sponsor of the contest for six years, of political bias by not including "The Administration and the Fury" in the mag's print edition, only on its Web site.
"We felt that that shouldn't be censored," said Larry Wells, who runs the contest with his wife, Dean Faulkner Wells, Faulkner's niece.
Hemispheres Editor Randy Johnson denied that politics played a role in his decision, saying he intended to draw more attention to the Web site. "We are making it available to millions of people," he said.
Apple planned to be in Oxford, Miss., this weekend to read his winning parody aloud at the 32nd annual Faulkner & Yoknapatawpha Conference.
Longoria: No Emmy, No Biggie
Actress Eva Longoria apparently is not desperate to win an Emmy. On Friday, she shrugged off being overlooked by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in this year's nominations.
"I'm new," she said. "I just arrived. I didn't expect at all to be in the minds of the academy."
Three of her "Desperate Housewives" co-stars, Teri Hatcher, Marcia Cross and Felicity Huffman, were nominated for best comedy series actress (Nicollette Sheridan was also passed over). Meanwhile, Longoria has a new project on her hands: learning French to better converse with new beau Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs, a French native. "It's a beautiful language," she said. "His whole family speaks French and all his friends. I am going to have to get with it."
Ashanti Sings the Blues
R&B star Ashanti last week was ordered to pay $630,000 in back royalties to her former producer, who began working with her when she was 16. Genard Parker sued Ashanti, 24, for money he said was owed when the singer didn't live up to a deal that would have allowed him to produce two songs on her first album. The singer said Parker didn't hold up his end of the deal either; the recording space in his home required her to sing in a bathroom.
Ashanti's attorney, Harry Stokes, said they will appeal. "We think the jury got confused somewhat," Stokes said. Parker said he wished Ashanti well, despite the fact that she "had plenty of negative things to say about me."
Sizemore Stays in Rehab
Actor Tom Sizemore was ordered to remain in a live-in drug rehabilitation program until his September sentencing for violating his probation on drug charges. After showing up more than two hours late for a hearing Friday at Los Angeles Superior Court, Sizemore admitted to Judge Paula Adele Mabrey that he used a prosthetic device to cheat on urine drug tests. He also failed to submit to testing on eight occasions. Mabrey ordered the "Saving Private Ryan" co-star to remain in the Pasadena, Calif., rehab center until a Sept. 15 progress hearing. Sizemore's doctor, Joseph Haraszti, told reporters outside the courtroom that the actor was "emotionally fragile" but "highly motivated" to get better.
"The depression is the root cause of everything else," Haraszti told Reuters. "He has been wrestling with these demons for 15 years."
Sizemore was first ordered into treatment in October after pleading guilty to possession of methamphetamine. He still faces 21 months in prison on a 2003 conviction for attacking former girlfriend Heidi Fleiss.
* Robert De Niro has visited the Dominican Republic to prepare for an upcoming film about the history of the Central Intelligence Agency. De Niro will direct "The Good Shepherd" and also star as one of the CIA's founding officers.
On Thursday, he toured Santo Domingo and met with President Lionel Fernandez at the National Palace. De Niro plans to use the country's landscapes to depict Cuba and Central America. "I feel satisfied with what I've seen up to now," he said. The film, which will also star Angelina Jolie and Matt Damon, is scheduled to begin filming in December.
* Residents of Boonton, N.J., are concerned about "The Sopranos" coming to town. The hit HBO series has requested permission to film there, but some of the town's denizens are still sore about a past episode's reference to a character getting killed there. "They didn't want us to kill anybody in the town," said executive producer Ilene S. Landress, "But we did." The town's governing board is expected to vote on the request at its next meeting, Aug. 1.
-- Compiled by Michael Cotterman
from staff and wire reports