RUSTY KERSHAW, CAJUN GUITARIST, DIES
For years, Rusty Kershaw performed in the shadow of his better-known brother, Doug. The pair, traveling as Rusty and Doug, played thousands of gigs and made hundreds of appearances in Nashville and on TV and at state and county fairs. Along the way they put out numerous CDs, each with the unique down-home style that made the brothers famous. In the early 1960s, Rusty left the group and Doug went out on a solo career. Now comes word that Russell Lee "Rusty" Kershaw has died in New Orleans of a heart attack. The brothers' first single was released in the mid '50s with the help of country forefather Roy Acuff. Their most successful recording was "Louisiana Man." It came just a few years after the pair joined the Grand Ole Opry in the late 1950s. It went to No. 10 on the national country charts. Rusty Kershaw was 63.
AGASSI AND GRAF WED IN VEGAS
Popular tennis stars Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf are now Mr. and Mrs. Andre Agassi. The two married in Las Vegas this week. Agassi's publicist says that his client and Graf exchanged vows in a private ceremony in the gambling capital. They have dated, on and off, for two years and are apparently expecting a child before the end of December. As you remember, Agassi had been married to actress Brooke Shields. By the way, he's made major contributions to his hometown, Las Vegas. A boys and girls club, a library and other projects to help inner-city kids bear his name.
GEORGE JONES WOWS 'EM DESPITE VOICE STRAIN
When country icon George Jones took the stage at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, many of his fans were prepared for the worst. They had heard that in recent months -- particularly in the wake of his recent problems -- his voice had deteriorated. Well, strained it may have sounded, but Nashville-based music critic Edward Morris writes that: "While Jones' singing deficiencies were apparent, they did not seriously undermine what continues to be country music's most magnificent and emotionally stirring instrument." Jones, now 70 and a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, performed many of his best-known numbers. At one point in the show, after being buoyed by the reaction of the audience, he told of his fears of letting them down. It was apparent that his worst fears were not recognized.
WHO ORGANIZING NEW CD, SLOWLY
The drummer for the rock group the Who says that the band is slowly trying to put a new CD together. Zak Starkey -- son of Ringo Starr -- tells the Sun newspaper that the driving force behind the venerable aggregation, Pete Townshend, has tons of ideas, but evolving them into a full-fledged project will take some time. Starkey says he thinks that the Who is "still the best band in the world" and that playing with the group in a new and innovative project would be the thrill of a lifetime. Starkey says that he's played numerous gigs with the band but if and when the planned CD goes through it would be the first time he's done the drumming in a studio setting. It now looks as if it might be well into next year before any new recordings are made, though.
CLINT BLACK ENTERTAINS TROOPS
Though he will soon head back to the States for a concert appearance in Las Vegas Friday, country star Clint Black has been out of the country, entertaining service personnel. Black accepted an invitation from former Defense Secretary William Cohen's wife Janet to be part of a Citizens Patriot Tour. Black told country.com that he never felt as safe and secure as when he was surrounded by GIs. He noted that he left his family back in the States to go on the short tour, feeling that going overseas -- in the manner that Bob Hope and his "gypsies" did for years -- was "bringing a CARE package to the troops." Accompanying him was popular vocalist Taylor Dayne.
POSH CREWS FLY AGAIN: ENCORE FOR CONCORDE
British Airways and Air France crews are in the skies again in the cramped-though-posh supersonic Concorde planes. The sleek, drop-nose craft were grounded for more than a year after that horrible take-off accident in Paris where debris from the runway triggered a fatal chain of events. A total of 113 died in that accident in July of 2000. Although this might not be the best time to expect people to fly, British and French backers of the transatlantic service -- a money-loser but a prestige-maker -- have wanted to get it flying again. During the multi-month hiatus all the planes were redone. The mayor of New York, Rudolph Giuliani, has hailed the re-arrival of the plans at JFK as a sign that things are getting back to normal again.
UPI SURVEY QUESTION NO. 188
I hope this doesn't sound too parochial but, as a dyed-in-the-wool Diet Pepsi drinker I have recently fallen in love with Coke's new lemon-flavored Diet Coke. So, here is today's question: "Have you tried new lemon-flavored Diet Coke? If so, what do you think of it? Additionally, has your taste in soft drinks changed in recent years? And what about Fresca?" Put SODA in the subject line and send to email@example.com on the Internet.
RESULTS OF QUESTION NO. 183
Last week we asked your opinion about breeding and/or owning dogs some people think are dangerous. Here is a random sampling from the huge number of replies we received. HRD says if you own such a breed, you should put up warning signs. Cheryl goes further, saying cities should require $500,000 in insurance be purchased by owners of such pets before a license is issued. CRP is even more succinct: "Owning an attack animal as a pet is (like) ... owning an AK-47 for hunting ... overkill." On the other side of the coin, Monica B owns a rottweiler and says she is tired of the media trashing the breed. She adds, though, dogs do as they are trained. Merry says she raised her children around pit bulls. Peggy S says no one can be sure any dog is 100 percent safe. Cindy says it makes a big difference if you live in town or on a farm. Finally, Karen C describes herself as "an extreme anti-dog person." Her reason is, "Too much dog doo on her sidewalk." Me? I'm terrified of all dogs. An encounter with a German shepherd when I was five -- though I was not injured physically -- has me so spooked that the teeny bark of a Chihuahua will send me jumping onto my car hood. GBA.