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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


Puppy Love

Hollywood legend Mickey Rourke - tough-guy star of such classics as "Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man," "Exit to Red," "Nine and 1/2 Weeks," "Another Nine and 1/2 Weeks," "Nine and 1/2 More Weeks, Give or Take a Week or Two," and "I Still Know What You Did for Nine and 1/2 Weeks" - was axed from his latest movie after encountering profound artistic differences with the film's producers.

They wouldn't let his pet Chihuahua appear in a shootout scene.

Rourke got the boot for insisting that his little buddy, Bo Jack, be part of the action in a hot-lead showdown with co-stars Dennis Hopper and Eric Roberts in the gangster film, "Luck of the Draw," The New York Post reports.

But "Draw" producers said Bo would just remind viewers of the comic capers cut by fast-food icon Taco Bell's famous pitchpuppy in a series of TV commercials last year, thus undermining the seriousness of the scene.

"If it had been a larger dog, maybe it would have worked," one production exec said. "But a Chihuahua would look silly." (Probably not much sillier than Mickey Rourke, Dennis Hopper and Eric Roberts wheezing through yet another gangster movie, but still.)

For his part, Rourke is no doubt untroubled about the outcome of his intense Chihuahuaphilia. In fact, he owns three of the yapping little bug-eyed monsters (to give them their proper scientific name). "I love little dogs," he told an interviewer, before the Bo imbroglio. "They look after each other - and they also lick off my tears."

Lucky dogs.

Shock Absorbers

Naked infants with oversized genitalia protruding from their bodies. A vision of the Virgin Mary encrusted with elephant dung. Dead animals covered with flies and maggots. A scooped-out head filled with five liters of blood.

What could it be? Dili in the aftermath? Belgrade hit with depleted uranium? Rwanda smoldering in the ruins of atrocity?

Why, no - it's an art exhibit, of course!

Yes, once again, those mad-cap avant-gardists are out to epater dat ole debbil, the bourgeoisie, with yet another installation of "shocking" art. (They've been slapping the bourgeoisie silly for more than a hundred years now, and they're still not tired of it. Meanwhile, the bourgeoisie is out there tattooing itself on the Jerry Springer Show and watching Quentin Tarantino movies.) This time around, it's the "Young British Artists," descending on that stodgy, hidebound old city - New York - with the "Sensation" exhibition, The New York Post reports.

The show - which is actually not all that avant, having opened in London in 1997, and starring the work of that not-exactly-young Young British Artist, multimillionaire Damien Hirst - has already drawn the usual publicity-provoking bursts of moral outrage from the usual suspects: "Aesthetically bankrupt," says the conservative arts mag, New Criterion; "a crime scene," says People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals; and, of course, "pure, unadulterated filth," says the always-reliable Catholic League for Decency.

Officials at the Brooklyn Museum of Art are not exactly trying to dampen the controversy: They're slapping faux Surgeon General warnings on their ads, cautioning that the show "may cause shock, vomiting, confusion, panic, euphoria and anxiety."

Despite their frantic efforts, however, most observers felt that Hirst's glass-boxed decomposing cow head with maggots, Chris Ofili's dung-pocked "Holy Virgin Mary," Marc Quinn's plaster head-cast - filled with his own blood! - or even the outsized infant rude bits of Dinos Chapman's "Zygotic Acceleration" mannequins would fail to shock the natives. "I think it will cause a stir but not as much as the museum would like," Newsweek art critic Peter Plagens said. "New York is a pretty tough neighborhood."

Yeah, but wait until they see the next installation the museum's reportedly planning: three Chihuahuas licking tears off Mickey Rourke's face.

Now that's sick.

Small Change

Georgie W. Bush has taken a lot of guff from those media types about the record-breaking $50 million war chest he's raised in just a few months of presidential campaigning. Some of your more cynical wags and muckrakers have even had the effrontery to insinuate that the honorable governor of Texas is being bought and sold like prize beef on the hoof by a bunch of tycoons and corporate bagmen who will damn sure want some quo for all that quid.

Not at all, says Georgie; his campaign is actually being financed by all the little people out there, sending in their nickels and pennies just 'cause they think he will make the swellest president ever. And do you know what? He's right! In fact, so many "little people" are giving that Georgie's having to give some of it back.

That was the case this week when the Bush campaign had to return thousands of dollars in contributions supposedly donated by the young children and grandchildren of a couple of prominent Utah tycoons, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

First, Salt Lake City land baron John Price had to take back $5,000 contributed in the names of his five minor grandchildren - two of which were 3 years old when they wrote their $1,000 checks to Bush. A few days later, Scott Marquardt, private prison honcho, was nabbed sending in campaign checks in the name of his children, who are 8, 10 and 13.

While the Bush campaign - which has made a great breast-beating show of banning all donations from contributors under the age of 13 - made an equally breast-beating show about returning the kiddie cash (once the papers got hold of the story, of course), Marquadt himself saw nothing amiss.

"Clearly, my children knew about it," Marquadt said, in a bold bid to get around campaign finance laws, which forbid making contributions for others, and also require that all donations be made "knowingly and voluntarily." What's more, he said, the kids were "excited to participate. They think Bush is cool." (But not way cool? Sounds like pretty lukewarm support.)

Marquadt said that the underhanded contributions gave the children "a good introduction to the political process."

No doubt about that; it took them to the very heart of the process, in fact.