- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Nothing new

Will someone inform John Updike that country rocker Steve Earle beat him to the punch?

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author’s next novel, “Terrorist,” deals with post-September 11 America and gives sympathetic treatment to a homegrown terrorist — an 18-year-old American-born son of an Irish mother and Egyptian father.

“It’s my attempt, in a way, to cope with today’s world,” Mr. Updike told Reuters news agency. He said he expects the novel to be published in June.

Mr. Earle’s similar refrain (about “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh) was called “John Walker’s Blues.”

Domestic bliss

All is well — or at least averagely dysfunctional — in the world of Britney Spears and Kevin Federline.

The on-maternity-leave diva sent word that a report in the magazine In Touch Weekly — in which Mr. Federline is quoted as saying, “She just wants me at her beck and call as a little house husband” — is bogus.

Miss Spears’ spokeswoman, Leslie Sloane, said, “The story is untrue and hurtful, and he didn’t give them an interview. He and Britney are as normal as other couples; they fight and they make up. They are fine and happy.”

Meanwhile, according to People magazine, fans of Miss Spears introduced a petition Web site urging her to dump her “wayward” husband.

Stairway to knighthood

Former Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page has been honored by Queen Elizabeth II — not for his legendary bone-crunching riffs, but rather for his work with poor Brazilian children.

The 61-year-old rocker yesterday was designated an Officer of the Order of the British Empire by her royal highness at Buckingham Palace, according to Associated Press.

Mr. Page recalled how he first became involved with Brazilian children in 1994 when fighting broke out among street gangs while he was in Rio de Janeiro promoting an album.

“At that time in Rio, the sun wasn’t shining. The army was going into the [shantytowns] and I heard about the plight of the street children,” he told reporters.

Mr. Page joined forces with the British charity Task Brazil and set up a safe house, which has supported more than 300 children with food, medicine and clothing.

“I think when you’re faced with a plight that’s inescapable and there’s something you can do about it, you hope you can make a difference,” Mr. Page said.

Clooney’s good luck

George Clooney is glowing, and not because he’s holding trophies. Yet.

All told, “Good Night, and Good Luck” (which already has won best picture from the National Board of Review) and “Syriana” picked up six Golden Globe nominations this week.

Mr. Clooney has an individual stake in four of them — as producer, director and co-writer of “Good Luck” and supporting actor in “Syriana.”

“If you had asked me last January, when I was finishing ‘Syriana’ and starting ‘Good Night, and Good Luck,’ that both films would be critical successes and making money, I would have laughed you out of the room,” Mr. Clooney told the Hollywood Reporter.

“The nice thing is, if these films make money, we can make more of these films.”

Compiled by Scott Galupo from Web and wire reports.

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