Bleak Prognosis for August Wilson

Award-winning playwright August Wilson has liver cancer and may have only months to live, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported yesterday. "It's not like poker; you can't throw your hand in," the 60-year-old told the paper from his home in Seattle. "I've lived a blessed life. I'm ready." The playwright said his physicians gave him a life expectancy of three to five months.

Wilson, whose plays focus on the lives of African Americans, won a Tony and Pulitzer for "Fences" (1987) and another Pulitzer for "The Piano Lesson" (1990). He has spent the last few months working on a rewrite of "Radio Golf," the last play in his so-called Pittsburgh Cycle. A production of it is planned for Baltimore's Center Stage from March 24 to April 30, 2006. The cycle chronicles the dramatic lives of African Americans in 10 plays, each set in a different decade of the 20th century.

"I'm glad I finished the cycle," he said.

The playwright, who was diagnosed with the illness in June, is working on a number of projects, according to the Post-Gazette.

Par for the Course

Looks like John G. Roberts is an avid swinger. The Supreme Court nominee dined with three suit-clad pals at McCormick & Schmick's in Bethesda Thursday night and apparently couldn't wait to go clubbing.

"All they talked about was golf," said a rep for the restaurant. "And Judge Roberts had a magazine or brochure with him that had a golf course on it."

Amid the monothematic chatter, the judge and his friends appeared to be in good spirits and had a simple feast of halibut (Roberts) and cheeseburgers, with Miller Lite and Bass beer. The crew stuck around to split a dessert of Boston cream pie (a nod to Roberts's Harvard days?) and Key lime pie.

Now, who wants another round?

Kids These Days . . .

As Bob Dylan once sang, "The times they are a-changing" -- and Wisconsin's Beloit College likes to document that.

The liberal arts school's public affairs director, Ron Nief, co-founded the Beloit College Mindset List with professor Tom McBride seven years ago to remind faculty to keep a current frame of reference for students. This year's list for the class of 2009 includes: "They missed the oat bran craze." "Pay-per-view television has always been an option." "For daily caffeine emergencies, Starbucks has always been around the corner."

Nief cited his favorite on this year's list: "With little need to practice, most of them do not know how to tie a tie." He even tested it: "Out of a group of 18 at a first-year seminar this year, three knew how to tie a tie -- and one was a woman." (Tie? What's a tie?)

End Notes

* She's ready for her close-up: A Silver Spring woman could be hitting the red carpet at this year's Emmy Awards in Los Angeles on Sept. 18. Danielle Schriffen, 25, is one of five finalists in a contest to become a TV correspondent at the event. The contest is sponsored by Caress skin products and "Entertainment Tonight." The winner, who will be chosen based on the vivaciousness and sassiness she shows in an entry video, will stay at a Beverly Hills hotel for two weeks, have a limo at her beck and call and shadow an "ET" correspondent on the red carpet. Schriffen is a former University of Virginia fashion student; her video can be seen on the show's Web site.

* Tennis star Serena Williams will be the next "guest creator" for Estee Lauder's Flirt! cosmetics. "I've always been a beauty junkie," the 23-year-old said. Williams's product line will include lip glosses that are attached to necklaces. The two-time U.S. Open champ also has a fashion company named Aneres. (Get it? It's her name spelled backward.)

* After being criticized by Tennessee's attorney general for glamorizing tobacco use, country music's Gretchen Wilson promised to keep her can of Skoal in her back pocket during shows from now on.

-- Compiled by Korin Miller

from staff and wire reports

August Wilson, who is dying of liver cancer, says, "I've lived a blessed life. I'm ready."Danielle Schriffen

Serena Williams