Earlier this week the Harlem Globetrotters announced an ambitious schedule of play with major college teams around the country. Obviously, they will have to fly to many of the venues. Is the team concerned about airline safety? No. And, in order to show fans that it's OK to fly, the team is staging a photo-op this weekend at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX). The team's publicist tells United Press International that members of the Globetrotters will be meeting fans and the press -- and likely doing some clowning around -- at one of the airport's baggage claim carousels. By the way, the event will be held late in the evening so it doesn't interfere with luggage unloading by passengers who couldn't care less about it.
ALDA BACK ON BROADWAY
Likable actor Alan Alda -- former star of "M*A*S*H" and the possessor of first and last names that often show up on crossword puzzles -- is about to make a return to Broadway. Producers of "QED" say that the play will offer previews in the next few days. "QED" is by Peter Parnell and is about Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman. Alda plays the leading role of the scientist who played a major part in the development of the atomic bomb. Alda tells columnist Cindy Adams that it's been tough going on The Great White Way since the events of 9/11, but he feels that producers are doing the right thing to go forward, following President Bush's call for a return to business as usual. "QED" was first performed this past spring in Los Angeles. It's a two-actor venture, with another actor playing a student of the great physicist.
COUNTRY FREEDOM CONCERT ADDS MORE STARS
It seems that nearly every day more and more country stars have been signing up to perform this coming Sunday night in Nashville in a huge pro-America concert. The latest to add his name to the roster is Country Music Hall of Fame member Earl Scruggs. Also Diamond Rio and Montgomery Gentry will appear. The CMT cable network says that with the addition of stars to the lineup, the concert has been extended to three hours. It will kick off at 8 p.m. EDT. Proceeds are earmarked for the relief funds of the Red Cross and Salvation Army. In addition to the TV cablecast, Westwood One will relay the sound of the concert to its stations around the country. Stations in Scotland, Greece and England have also signed on to carry the broadcast.
BASEBALL'S DIERKER RESIGNS IN HOUSTON
It wasn't a bad run for manager Larry Dierker at the helm of the Houston Astros MLB team -- four division titles in his first five years. But the team failed in the playoffs and being a manager of any pro team puts a person in that awful "what have you done for me lately" kind of world. So, Dierker says he's out, stepping down to let some new blood into the manager's office. The Houston Chronicle says that it wasn't the worst of seasons for Dierker's team this year. The Astros did rebound from a 33-33 start to finish with the biggest turnaround in the history of the franchise. The handwriting may have been first seen on the wall for the 55-year-old skipper when he displayed unusually abrasive behavior during a recent post-game news conference. He would have made about $900,000 during the final year of his contract ... had he stayed on.
ANOTHER PATIENT GETS NEW MINI-HEART
Doctors in Los Angeles say that a fourth patient is doing well after the implantation of one of the new mini-heart pumps. Published reports indicate that the patient -- described as being in his 70s -- received the self-contained pump in an 11-hour operation. Prior to the operation the man was given less than a month to live and was listed as being critically ill. The first three patients to receive the Massachusetts-made pump are all doing well. The first two implantations took place in Louisville. The third was done late last month at a hospital in Houston. By the way, the owner of the first new heart is doing so well that he has been taking walks in a park and can even change his heart's battery -- which is the only external part of the unit. The original artificial hearts required a power unit the size of a refrigerator, and associated wires and hoses.
PAUL EXPLAINS ANGST AGAINST ONO, JACKSON
During an interview with radio's Howard Stern, Paul McCartney was unusually candid about his long-standing feud with Yoko Ono and Michael Jackson. The New York Post says that McCartney noted that the three had played "hardball" in many business deals and that Ono and Jackson were famous for "never giving an inch" or compromising in business discussions. The publication says that most of McCartney's wrath was directed at Ono. He noted that it was he who was the object of Ono's desires before she switched her attentions to her late husband, John Lennon. The relationship between Paul and Yoko apparently soured further when McCartney asked for permission to change writing credits on the song "Yesterday" from "Lennon/McCartney" to "McCartney/Lennon." Ono refused. McCartney has long contended that he conceived the song -- originally called "Scrambled Eggs," until it finally evolved into the classic we know today -- and had performed it before Lennon became involved.
UPI DAILY SURVEY QUESTION NO. 185
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A PERSONAL NOTE: Due to a computer problem, the results of last Friday's survey question, "TWO-WAY," will appear next week. As a friend in radio used to say when a glitch arose: "I guess it's the thermal relays in Camden, N.J., sticking again." GBA.