New Yorkers Are Furious That
'Rudy!' Is Being Filmed in Canada
In his commanding, id-roiling and thoroughly cantankerous way, former mayor Rudolph Giuliani is as pure a New Yorker as might be found in the five boroughs.
But USA Network is about to film the story of Hizzoner and the attack on the World Trade Center in -- Montreal.
Based on a friendly biography, "Rudy!" rolls into production in a week. James Woods plays the Brooklyn-born and Long Island-raised former mayor. The movie is being made without Giuliani's cooperation.
The location has enraged the Screen Actors Guild and local politicians. Canada has drawn more and more U.S. film companies north with a mix of financial incentives and the attraction of a very weak Canadian dollar. In 1998, Canada began offering tax credits to cover a percentage of labor costs incurred during production.
After growing strongly for several years, New York's film production has lagged in the past year.
"It borders on the ludicrous to suggest that a film on the life of the mayor of New York would be filmed anywhere but in the Big Apple," Brooklyn congressman Anthony D. Weiner wrote to USA Network CEO Barry Diller.
This, he complained, is "tantamount to shooting a movie about the battle of the Alamo in Vancouver."
-- Michael Powell
For 69 Days, Florida Woman
Was the Oldest American
Juan Ponce de Leon, the dreamer who searched for the fountain of youth, still gets a good ride in the state he discovered. Streets all around Florida are named after him, so thousands speak his name every day.
Though Ponce de Leon never managed to find eternal youth, generations have come to Florida on similar quests.
Mary L. Parr got closer than most.
Parr never made much of a fuss about her age, but others did. About a month ago, a researcher with the Gerontology Research Group in Los Angeles called Suncoast Manor, the retirement home near Tampa where Parr lived.
It turns out that a woman named Adelina Domingues, a retired California seamstress, had died at 114. Parr, 113, was now the oldest person in the United States.
Janice Lambe, the center's activities director, says Parr always attributed her longevity to the fact that she never married.
She placed the same order birthday after birthday, and eventually the staff stopped asking. They knew that Parr -- who got around just fine with a walker -- would want a nice, big T-bone steak, a baked potato and lots of margarine.
Recently, one of the nurses said Parr wasn't eating as much as usual. A few days later, on Oct. 29, Lambe came to work, and the nurses told her, "Miss Parr is gone."
She had been the United States's oldest person for 69 days.
Now, the search is on for the person who will replace Parr. One contender is John McMorran, a retired farmer and truck driver, who was four months younger than Parr when she died. He lives in Florida, of course.
-- Manuel Roig-Franzia
Marcher Says Confederate Flag
Honors Heritage of Blacks
An African American man marching along a Southern highway, wearing a gray Civil War uniform and waving a Confederate flag is bound to attract attention.
H.K. Edgerton, descendant of a North Carolina slave and a former NAACP branch president, is counting on that attention for what strikes some as a bizarre cause: the solidarity of blacks and the Confederacy. Hoping to raise awareness and cash, Edgerton, 55, is walking about 20 miles a day in a march begun Oct. 13 in his hometown of Asheville, N.C. He hopes to finish the 1,300-mile trek to Austin in January -- just in time for Robert E. Lee's birthday on the 19th.
Edgerton's march has prompted criticism and puzzlement from African Americans. As he passed through Atlanta last week, Michael Bond of the NAACP's Atlanta office skewered Edgerton's campaign.
"Nobody can argue with the fact we want racial harmony, but for anyone to think that the Confederate flag is a unifying symbol must be utterly mad," Bond told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Edgerton says historians and Ku Klux Klan members have distorted the meaning of the cross of St. Andrew, as he calls the rebel flag. Rather than an emblem of hatred and bigotry, he said, the flag is a symbol of the honor and dignity of some blacks -- including slaves serving their masters -- who sided with whites in the Civil War to preserve a shared Southern heritage.
Most historians say no blacks fought for the Confederacy, although some served in support roles, willingly or not.
Edgerton is undeterred.
And he says any cash he raises will go toward the establishment of a defense fund for the Southern Legal Resource Center and the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
-- Lee Hockstader
Bid to Allow Recreational Use
Of Marijuana Falters in Nevada
It looks as though the only campaign in the country to make recreational use of marijuana legal is going up in smoke.
Nevada's Question 9, a ballot measure that would allow adults 21 and older to possess and smoke as much as three ounces of marijuana with no threat of criminal penalty, may be headed for defeat Tuesday, according to a new poll.
A few months ago, the state's voters seemed evenly split on the groundbreaking proposal. About 100,000 Nevada residents also had signed petitions supporting a referendum on the idea, which its backers say would free police and courts from the burdens of petty drug busts.
But a survey just conducted by the Las Vegas Review-Journal suggests that now as much as 60 percent of the electorate opposes it.
The campaign for Question 9, which would still ban pot smoking in public or while driving, is an extension of an expanding national movement to revamp marijuana laws. Voters in nine states already have legalized marijuana for medicinal uses, and others are reducing penalties for possession.
John Walters, the director of the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy, has traveled to Nevada twice this fall to denounce the proposed measure, saying it would help drug dealers.
Supporters of Question 9 called the latest poll dubious, because it questioned likely voters only.
"It's going to be a tight one," said Christina R. Giunchigliani, a state lawmaker who backs the measure, "because we're asking voters to think outside the box."
-- Rene Sanchez