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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


Wind Blown

Former pop star Michael Jackson got an Academy Award this week. Although his brilliant thespian skills have been evident for years in his long-running male impersonator routine, Jackson did not in fact earn an Oscar for, say, best actor or best song (or even best makeup).

He just bought one.

The Great Paleface paid handsomely too, forking over $1.5 million at Sotheby's to bag the 1939 Best Picture Oscar originally awarded to "Gone With the Wind," Reuters reports. Obviously identifying with the film's reckless hero, Rhett Butler (who can forget Clark Gable in that famous final scene, mumbling rakishly through his surgical mask, "Frnnlymdr, dntgvadm?"), Jackson boldly bid a mere $800,000 more than the statuette's asking price.

The Oscar - awarded for a glamorous glorification of the slave-owning South - will doubtless be a wonderful companion piece to the other bit of "Gone With the Wind" memorabilia Jackson purchased some years ago: Vivien Leigh's pert little upturned nose.

Dazed and Confused

Hey man, don't bogart that political spliff; pass it around and let us all share an electoral toke with the man who put the chunka-chunka in one of the 1970s' biggest joint-juking bands.

Yes, Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, the beret-topped guitarist whose fretwork propelled a series of hits (in several senses of the word) for The Doobie Brothers back in those crazy, hazy days of bell-bottom yore, is mulling a run for the U.S. Congress - as a hard-right Republican

While the weed-whacking Skunk will hold up the family-values, Gott-mit-uns, guns-and-ammo standards of the Republican right, those loose-living, adulterizing, sex-drugs-and-taxes Democrats will be represented by Brad Sherman - a balding accountant.

The race won't be Skunk's first foray into politics, Salon reports. Earlier this decade, he applied his years of experience as a party-hearty pop star to the closely related field of intercontinental ballistic missile defense. He headed up a "civilian advisory board" on the topic for his Republican mentors in Congress (after military experts Dan Fogelberg and Jackson Browne reportedly declined). But Skunk got into a bit of stink when it was revealed that his claims to have done similar consulting work for NASA and the Livermore Federal Research Laboratory were somewhat - that is to say, totally - false.

It's those flashbacks, man; you never know when they're gonna hit you.

Tongue Lashing

Speaking of those hard-shell Republicans (and how can we not? They're like a big, festering, oozing, protuberant open sore that you just can't stop picking at), it was red faces all around for one of the U.S. Senate's most anti-pink patriots this week.

Oklahoma's evangelical born-again fundamentalist foot-washing oil-biz bagman Senator James Inhofe has been leading the charge against President Bill Clinton's appointment of San Francisco philanthropist James Hormel as ambassador to Luxembourg. Hormel's chief sin in Inhofe's eyes - besides not being an evangelical born-again fundamentalist foot-washing oil-biz bagman - is the fact that he is a "practicing homosexual." (Well, if you want to get to Carnegie Hall ... ) Clinton appointed Hormel to the post while Congress was in recess, after manly man Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott had held up the nomination for two years.

Inhofe was the Republican point man in the decidedly ungay bashing of Hormel and his boss. The saintly senator heaped mounds of righteous invective on Clinton for sending a certified pansy to such a strategically vital spot, and in revenge vowed to block nominations of key Clinton officials, including those of Lawrence Summers for treasury secretary and Richard Holbrooke as UN ambassador, Reuters reports.

Hormel, scion of the famous meatpacking dynasty, is an "immoral gay activist" who "puts his agenda ahead of the agenda of America," said Inhofe, backed by several right-wing groups, who for good measure also attacked Hormel as a "purveyor of smut." But the senator's pious pip was squeaking a bit more tinnily this week when Roll Call magazine revealed that several of Inhofe's aides had been "disciplined" for downloading mounds of unrighteous porn off the Internet in his own inner sanctum.

Inhofe's spokesman (a well-practiced heterosexual, no doubt) confirmed that "inappropriate material" had been uncovered, but he refused to say what it was (the Starr Report, perhaps?), nor would he provide any juicy details on the precise form of "discipline" Inhofe meted out to his naughty, naughty boys.

Bottom Line

Reputed mob boss Vincent "Gigi Portalla" Marino had his day in court this week, boldly facing down his G-man accusers and forcing them to admit the truth:

They didn't put a bug in his butt.

Marino, facing trial on major racketeering charges and not at all trying to delay the proceedings with frivolous motions, won a hearing this week on his claim that federal agents had implanted a "tracking device" in his reputed mob rear whilst he was undergoing treatment for gunshot wounds back in 1996, The Associated Press reports.

U.S. Attorney Donald Stern stood before a judge in Worcester, Massachusetts, and solemnly declared: "We can confirm that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration did not implant a tracking device in defendant Vincent M. 'Gigi Portalla' Marino's buttocks." But, Stern added, less than sternly, "We cannot speak, however, for any extraterrestrial beings."

Marino had been buttshot in a nightclub during a murderous gang war to control the New England territory. He claimed that a DEA agent had asked him to sign a form so the government could reclaim the bug from his body. However, Judge Nathaniel Gorton ruled that not even the government was dumb enough to not only bug the bum of a suspected felon - but also ask his permission beforehand.

"Anything on the Marino surveillance tape today, Johnson?"

"No sir, just some strange rumblings, a considerable amount of scooting and settling, and a couple of scary explosions."

"Damn! You mean no one got close enough for us to pick up their voices?"

"Well, there was a Senator Innofay or something who had obviously moved his face into close proximity to the device, but all we heard was some smooching noises and the rustle of an envelope ..."