- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Move over, Howard

Howard Stern is getting a new neighbor in his extraterrestrial neighborhood.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is getting his own midday Sunday talk show on Sirius Satellite Radio starting this summer, Associated Press reports. The Dallas billionaire’s program will air on Sirius Stars Channel 102, right next to Mr. Stern’s two Sirius channels.

Mr. Cuban’s “Radio Maverick” will feature conversation on “sports, business and everyday life.” He also will take calls from listeners and interview prominent guests.

Mr. Cuban, 47, made his fortune as co-founder with partner Todd Wagner of the pioneering online audio streamer Audionet. The service, later named Broadcast.com, was sold by Mr. Cuban and Mr. Wagner to Yahoo in 1999.

An ‘unconscious act’

Kaavya Viswanathan, the Harvard sophomore accused of plagiarism in her debut novel, acknowledged yesterday that she used portions of another writer’s book but insisted the act was unconscious and unintentional. She also apologized and said future printings will be revised to eliminate the similarities, AP reports.

Miss Viswanathan, 19, who had received a two-book contract worth $500,000, was accused of closely paralleling, and in some cases copying almost verbatim, sentences from “Sloppy Firsts,” a young-adult novel published in 2001.

“When I was in high school I read and loved two wonderful novels by Megan McCafferty, ‘Sloppy Firsts’ and ‘Second Helpings,’ which spoke to me in a way few other books did,” Miss Viswanathan said. “Recently, I was very surprised and upset to learn that there are similarities between some passages in my novel, ‘How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life,’ and passages in these books.”

Though the plot of her book differs from Mrs. McCafferty’s, Miss Viswanathan said, “I wasn’t aware of how much I may have internalized Ms. McCafferty’s words.”

Cindy says yes

Cindy Margolis, known as the “Most Downloaded Woman” on the Internet, is following up her win on NBC’s “Celebrity Cooking Showdown” with a career first — posing nude for Playboy.

The mother of three told AP that she finally agreed to pose for the magazine when representatives called on her 40th birthday after repeatedly turning down past requests.

Suri buzz builds

Barely one week old, tiny Suri Cruise, like her famous parents, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, already is generating buzz, largely over the meaning of her name.

An item yesterday in Taking Names in The Washington Times about the various interpretations of Suri in Hebrew, Sanskrit and the African nation of Nubia prompted one Virginia reader to explain its meaning in Estonia.

“It means died,” the woman said in a voice-mail message to the newspaper.

An official at the Embassy of the Republic of Estonia, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, confirmed as much. “Perhaps Tom Cruise doesn’t speak Estonian,” the official said.

The naked truth

Two decades ago, artist Andrew Wyeth stunned the art world when he revealed a secret cache of works he had done of neighbor Helga Testorf. He’s still answering questions about the works, which include many nudes.

Now 88, Mr. Wyeth, says he never had an affair with Mrs. Testorf and that he still paints her occasionally. He recently told the Philadelphia Inquirer the story of how he informed Mrs. Testorf’s husband of his wife’s modeling.

“Her husband, he’s German you know,” said the artist, whose paintings are the subject of a career retrospective — “Andrew Wyeth: Memory and Magic” — on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art through July 16.

“When her husband came to me, I said, ‘John, you don’t mind me painting your wife.’ And he said, ‘No, that’s fine, just don’t paint her nude.’ Well, I had already painted three nudes by then,” Mr. Wyeth said.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from staff, Web and wire reports.

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