Archive for Sunday, October 20, 2002

People

October 20, 2002

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Oprah takes show on road

Natchitoches, La. Oprah Winfrey took a fan up on her offer and made a surprise visit to Louisiana's oldest town.

Peggy Plunkett was in the audience at a taping of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" two weeks ago when she stood up and said: "Oprah, everybody in Natchitoches loves you. You should come and visit," according to Winfrey.

Winfrey arrived unannounced Friday afternoon. She had lunch at a local restaurant, joined Northwestern State University's Homecoming parade and spoke at a pep rally for the school's sports program.

"I said I can't believe there's a town where everybody loves me," Winfrey said. "It's not often you come to visit a friend and get a parade. Only in Natchitoches."

Bartender: a Yeltsin, please

Yerevan, Armenia Former Russian President Boris Yeltsin was given the royal treatment at a brandy distillery, sampling from a barrel aged 100 years and having a vat of this year's vintage named after him.

He sipped and sniffed a glass poured from a barrel of 1902 Nairi brandy said to have been opened only twice before once in 1979 and once this year to honor an anniversary of the Yerevan Brandy Factory's purchase by France's Pernod Ricard.

At a news conference later in the day, the 71-year-old pronounced himself in good shape, but no longer interested in public office.

"I do not intend to return to big politics. I have done my share," he said.

Yeltsin unexpectedly stepped down as president on Dec. 31, 1999.

A 420-liter (109-gallon) vat of brandy from this year's harvest bears a tablet saying "Boris Yeltsin" and has been pronounced his personal property.

Background posters raise ruckus

Bangkok, Thailand One of pop singer Christina Aguilera's latest music videos has Thais decrying not its explicit dancing and revealing costumes, but a Thai-language billboard in the backdrop that alludes to the country's sex industry.

Saharat Wannachomphu, marketing director for BMG Thailand Co., the local distributors of Aguilera's new album, said the company had decided not to air the video for the song "Dirrty" on local television, the Nation newspaper reported this week.

In the video, the scantily clad 21-year-old dances in a boxing ring next to a wall with posters in Thai that read "Thailand's sex tourism" and "Young underage girls."

Thai officials have expressed their dismay with the video, which was aired repeatedly by the Nation's cable television station on its news programs reporting the controversy.

Fright night for actor

Whitehall, Mont. Bill Pullman wasn't the attraction it was the butcher's room, witch's kitchen, electric chair and corpses.

The 48-year-old actor, who starred in 1996's "Independence Day," was among those invited Wednesday night to a sneak preview of a Halloween-season haunted house at an old hotel.

"I tell you, someone grabbed the calf of my leg when I was in there and I wasn't expecting that," said Pullman, who has a ranch nearby. "It was even better than last year."

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