Former Attorney General Janet Reno was hospitalized overnight in Rochester, N.Y., after collapsing while delivering a speech. A local publication, the Democrat and Chronicle, reported that she was initially listed in stable condition. The 63-year-old Reno had apparently been speaking for three quarters of an hour before an audience at the University of Rochester. At one point she told the group she didn't feel well and would have to sit down. Seconds later she collapsed. Earlier in the evening, she had attended a fund-raiser for local candidates and held a press conference. She's seeking the Florida governor's chair. About six years ago she was diagnosed as having Parkinson's disease, which she says will not keep her from being a strong governor if elected. Video of the incident is available on several Web sites, including MSNBC.com on the Internet.
WHAT WILL THOSE COUNTRY STARS DO NEXT?
Earlier this week I reported that a bunch of country stars had gone to St. Jude Children's Hospital in Memphis to participate in an ongoing radio project to raise money for the facility. Then came word that as many as 30 local Nashville stars might donate portable defibrillators to the Nashville airport. The latest country music project involves, of all things, birdhouses. Country.com is reporting that Tim McGraw, George Jones and Jessica Andrews are the first three country stars to decorate birdhouses to be auctioned off for a local charity. The trio's works of art will benefit the W.O. Smith School of Music. The project, called "The Birdhouse Thing," will culminate in an auction on March 14 at a Nashville shopping mall. Montgomery Gentry, Wynonna Judd, Ashley Judd and Crystal Gayle have also promised to get out the paint brushes.
TEXAS REVELERS ADOPT BRITISH MOTIF
You would think if your city staged a Mardi Gras celebration that a "British" motif would be the last thing someone would suggest. Well, in Galveston, Texas, planners of a local Mardi Gras have adopted "The British Isles" as the official theme for this year's reveling. The Houston Chronicle says that the festivities start this weekend and will continue through Fat Tuesday, Feb. 12, the last day before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. Galvestonians are not expecting the total "blow out" that is seen each year in New Orleans, but promoters have managed to snag some top-name talent. Among those performing at various venues will be: BB King, Jonny Lang, Ian Moore, Cory Monroe, Delbert McClinton and Marcia Ball. Many point out that the British-inspired theme is a good choice considering the instant support given by London just minutes after the 9/11 attacks. One official theme of the Galveston event is: "Laissez les bons temps rouler." (Let the good times roll!)
SOME ARE CALLING IT A 'MIRACLE'
A woman loses control of her car. It crashes into a line of students waiting to be picked up after school. There are some serious injuries, but no one was killed. Luck? Don't tell that to parents at the Westminister Academy Christian Day School in Los Angeles. Some 15 children and three teachers were struck. Police tell the Los Angeles Times that the driver of the car inadvertently stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake as she approached the school. As many as five of the victims were trapped under the car when it came to a stop. Members of a basketball team visiting the school, seeing what happened, rushed to the accident and helped lift the auto off those trapped underneath. The most severely injured were helicoptered to nearby hospitals. The incident happened Wednesday afternoon just after classes were dismissed for the day.
BRAD PITT POPS INTO LONDON PUB
It didn't really look like Brad Pitt ... scruffy clothes, beard and all. But, according to published reports, the mega-star has gone "slumming" several times in London, this week, joining the locals for a brew or two. In one case he ambled into a pub called The King's Arms in the Soho district of the British capital and joined the crowd for more than 45 minutes. Even though the millionaire movie star may have seemed detached -- Jennifer Aniston was not with him -- he was certainly not alone. At least one publication notes that his "handlers" were close by, sitting at another table ... trying to fade into the woodwork.
UPI DAILY SURVEY QUESTION NO. 259
Here's today's question: "When was the last time someone played a practical joke on you?" Put SURPRISE in the subject line and send to firstname.lastname@example.org via the Internet.
RESULTS OF QUESTION NO. 254 (TENURE)
As part of our series of workplace-related questions last week, we asked about the longest stint you put in on a job. Here is a sampling of the replies: Several noted that they had been on the same job for nearly 40 years. Iris says her hubby has been with the Highway Patrol for nearly 37 years. (Wonder if he ever met Broderick Crawford?) Cards' dad opened a donut shop in 1964 and Cards has been there as long as memory serves. Louise wonders if giving piano lessons counts as a job. Sure does, Louise. That means you've been on the job, tickling the ivories for 31 years. She's also been an Avon Lady for 30. (Ding, dong!) Mike P really keeps track of the time; he's been on the job for 24 years and two months. But, he reports in order to stay with that job, on the railroad, he's had to move eight times. Rose is among those in the 20-year range, serving as a legal secretary for an L.A. law firm. She says that in spite of the hard work, she actually looks younger than she is. Finally, SJ (a daily contributor) says that she has been at work for 43 years ... as a wife/mom/grandmother. GBA.