Let's start with a wonderful reminder from former President Bill Clinton. While commenting on turning 60 years old he said, "Now that I have more days behind me than in front of me, I make sure to wake up each day filled with gratitude." As we see how easily life can be taken away by a random accident or a diabolical terrorist attack, it is good to remember all of the things we have to be grateful for.
On to news of the day:
Airport security — WHAT airport security? A very close friend of mine flew to London this week. I was curious about the beefed up screening and asked him to let me know what his experience was. First, although putting shoes through the X-ray machine is supposedly mandatory, he was not asked to remove them. Next, the good news: The machine spotted a bottle of clear liquid in his carry-on bag and he was told he couldn't take it on the plane and would have to check it or mail it. Now, the bad news: He went back outside security, put the bottle in his pants pocket, and went through a different security checkpoint. Because the bottle was in his pants pocket it wasn't detected in the X-ray screening and he proceeded to the gate. At the gate several people who might have aroused suspicion based on their gender, age and attire boarded but my friend was stopped for secondary screening. Again, no one checked his pants pocket. Security took a large leather, zipped container out of his carry-on bag, but never opened it. (It contained electronics.) They did a cursory thumbing through the top of the bag and then cleared him to board. He travels worldwide about 20 days a month and says, for the first time, he is afraid of flying.
UPDATE: My friend just went through British security to come back to the States. He again put the bottle of clear liquid in his pants pocket and was patted down immediately after going through the metal detector and the bottle was discovered. They brought armed security guards with handcuffs over. He told them he had forgotten the bottle. After checking his passport and questioning him further, they allowed him to continue to his flight.
I don't understand Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney's latest complaint. She was speaking at the Revival for Social Justice in the Black Church conference. One of her main complaints was that she thinks rigged or faulty electronic voting machines are to blame for her loss in the primary run-off and that these machines are keeping blacks in a captive state. She said, "We are being technologically disenfranchised. They don't use the rope anymore." The odd part is that the person who beat her to win the Democratic nomination is also African American. So, if a black candidate won, how are blacks being — in her opinion — symbolically lynched? By the way, the winner was Hank Johnson with 59 percent of the vote to her 41 percent. It would take an awful lot of rigged votes to produce that wide a victory.
I've been confused a lot lately. I was reading the commentary by George Soros in the Wall Street Journal and it made little sense to me. He claimed the "vigilance of British Intelligence" prevented the alleged airliner terror attack. He neglected to mention that the British say American and Pakistani Intelligence also worked on the case. And, meanwhile, Soros opposes the U.S. using the same surveillance tools the British claim were critical to uncovering the plot. He goes on to complain that President Bush doesn't differentiate between armed Islamist groups and deal with them accordingly. He lists Al Qaeda (who we are fighting), Hamas (who we work with through their elected representatives), Hezbollah (who we let the United Nations deal with) and the Mahdi army (who we are currently having direct discussions with in Sadr City this week). It is obvious the U.S. policy toward these groups does differentiate between them. Finally, he says, "the war on terror drives a wedge between 'us' and 'them'… and we fail to notice we become perpetrators." So we are the terrorists now? Exactly which airplanes have we sent people on to bomb? Which commercial buildings have we had suicide bombers fly planes into? Which discos have we bombed? Which wedding receptions have we sent suicide bombers to? Sorry, I just don't understand the Soros "logic."
Have a wonderful day and be grateful for what you have.
Now, let's find out the other news on the celebrity front from across the Pond with our dashing and debonair Neil Sean:
— Madonna is mouthing off again: Two years on from complaining about U.K. builders, she told the crowd at her sell-out show in London this week they had been working so early she was unable to sleep with all the noise outside. Does this woman not have double glazing? The thing is, the crowd was less than impressed and some felt she is becoming something of a moaner really. Cheer up, Madge!
— Simon Cowell told me of his vainness and blames you good folks in the U.S. He reveals, "I was blasted because I said the one luxury I would take on a desert island would be a mirror. What is so shocking about that? Lets face it, I am something of a sex symbol — so what is the shock?"
— Beyonce — what a gal! I met up with her this week while she popped into town to promote her latest single/album. She told me she flew in on private jet, which is nice, and how she lost all her weight – let's face it she is hardly a hefty girl. She also revealed why she is so loved-up with rap star Jay-Z: "He treats me like a lady. We do normal things like play games and hang out." Nothing too serious. And she let slip they often watch movies together at home: "We love 'Notting Hill,' it's truly great." Hardly a rap man image though, is it?
— Prince Harry was caught once again behaving like the teen that he is. OK, so he is 21 years old. He was pictured feeling the breast of a model on a night out. Now, having met Prince Harry on many occasions at showbiz parties, he is fun, young and far better looking, girls, in the flesh than you would first think. Not only that, but the young lady in question was desperate for fame, so let's just say that she has now achieved her 15 minutes. Harry, be more careful next time! By the way have you seen the pictures of Fergie's daughter Bea for her coming of age at 18? I met both last week — what a hoot — and she is lovely too. And despite being told off for claiming she wanted to be like her mum, Sarah, she is getting a real following. Happy birthday, Bea!
— Spent the night with Puff Daddy at the SoHo Hotel where he whirled into town to promote his new album, "Press Play." The hunk told me he hates to sleep in the dark and wants to get married again… not only that, he was truly fun at his album playback taking away from all the hard-man hype that we see in the press. He also let slip that his dream role would be that of a Bond baddie and that bosses have "talked in the past about this, but it's just timing."
— Andrew Lloyd Webber is a smash hit on his own reality TV show with him as a judge. The musical composer has just decided to put all his work available on download — yet another great idea and raking in masses of money for the man that gave us "Phantom of the Opera." Get downloading now!
— Madonna has spurned clapped-out reality TV judge and flop chat show host Sharon Osbourne. Having met both stars, I have to say: Well done, Madonna. Sharon was desperate to land Madonna on her opening show… she has a new chat show coming up this week. Madonna said no. Her reason? Hard-faced surgery queen Sharon blasted Madonna in the press a year ago and let's just say Madonna is not one to forget. Bravo, dear. Well done.
— George Clooney calls on the pink telephone to tell me of the last going on's on the set of "Oceans 13": "It's going great guns." And fatherhood has chilled out the lovely Brad Pitt, Clooney assures me: "The story is great this time and I have a few plans to make sure we can take the whole series right up to 21 films. That is my plan anyway." Girls, he also let slip that he is still single and his ideal woman is… well, this week: "Penny Cruz. She is totally lovely, but can I commit?" Laughing he says, "Now Neil, that would be telling." Oh, George.
— Keep this a secret, but my spies on the set of "Oceans 13" tell me that hunky Matt Damon may be a multi-toothed hunk with lovely skin – but it comes at a price. The make-up honcho told me: "He uses every trick in the book to look young and is mad about skin care and looking and keeping his skin buff." Fancy.
— Mick Jagger is looking hot — right girls? — at 60-plus. Now back on tour, he told me: "The secret is there is no secret. I look after myself. I eat organic and make sure that I sleep well." He added, "I don't have an opinion on surgery. It's not down to me at all, but each to their own." Musically: "I am loving the likes of Scissor Sisters as they are bringing fun back to the charts and that is what is missing right now." Catch them if you can. Mick gives a great show as do all the boys and they still give great, "Satisfaction!"
— Jennifer Lopez – seeks help to help her quit the evil weed. My spies tell me that the ex-"Dallas" queen has recruited a U.K.-based specialist in a bid to finally cure her cigarette habit. She professed that she never smoked when I met her a few times before — she lies. Trust me, the room and her clothes stunk of smoke. But the diva is talented and she told me of late how she wants to go on a world tour. She is she planning a new release — not a baby, but a greatest hits I hear.
— Hey, J.K. Rowling earns over £77.00 per minute from the success of her Harry Potter books. Her star, Daniel Radcliff, told me: "Harry does die or that is what I am thinking at least. I can't bear to think of the end of the movies. To be honest they are really part of me and I love J.K.'s work." Still, raking in that kind of cash is truly magical.
— Fancy getting closer to Orlando Bloom? The screen hunk and star of "Pirates of the Caribbean" is looking at a selection of houses – near Madonna of all people. I caught him on the phone at the plush Sanderson Hotel in London. He offered 4 million up front cash as well! Not only that, but the star is taking up a new hobby — golf! "I am having lessons and love the game to be honest but it's just finding the time to play and hopefully play well."
— Newlywed Pam Anderson recently stripped off in the clothing store of Stella McCartney to help raise awareness of PETA. Thing is, Pam forget to mention to all and sundry when she was doing her in-store strip-off that she left her shoes in the store. Now it looks like they will end up on the Net and no, I don't have them. Pam's marriage to Kid Rock is not strange, as she told me: "I am a women who needs to be married. When a girl is looking at 40, you don't want to just cuddle up with a career or scrap books do you?" No, but then Pam you don't want Kid Rock either, do you girls?
— Shout out to "American Idol" hunk and radio host, Ryan Seacrest. You have a massive fan base here in the U.K. You want a slice of that action? Get in touch! But honestly, Ryan, you could sell thousands of merchandise. Your show is shown here on a Sunday morning and is a massive ratings success. If you come to the U.K., you'll be mobbed.
— Go see the funny movie "John Tucker" starring "Desperate Housewives" fave, Jesse Metcalf. He premiered the movie on the worst day ever here in the U.K. — last Thursday, which was the day of the Heathrow shutdown. He told me, "I don't much like partying to be honest, but I hope my movie will cheer folks up." He is in a thong and the crowd went wild when that scene came on. It's a fun script too.
— Justin Timberlake's comeback single is not so hot here in the U.K.
— Coming up next week: Owen Wilson, Kate Hudson and a whole lot more. Enjoy your week and see you on Friday with the sexiest babe on the box: E.D. Hill on "FOX & Friends."
Neil Sean in London
P.S. from E.D.: I too, love the Scissor Sisters! They're a great group and sound terrific, but have not been discovered yet in America.
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