Gordon Lightfoot, who would be remembered forever had he ONLY written "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," is in an Ontario hospital. Published reports indicate that the 63-year-old Lightfoot required emergency surgery just prior to a scheduled performance in his hometown of Orillia, Ontario. Few other details have been released. Lightfoot's song-writing career began big time when he penned "Ribbon of Darkness" for Marty Robbins in 1965. His own hits (in addition to "Fitzgerald") include "If You Could Read My Mind" -- the song that made him an international star -- as well as "Rainy Day People" and "Carefree Highway."
WILLIE NELSON ON THE MEND
In a previous report we wondered whether a chronic nosebleed would keep Willie Nelson from continuing the rest of his 2002 tour and his FarmAid concert. Now, according to CMT, comes word that Nelson has what is being described by his doctors as a "head and neck" problem. Although his condition is not thought to be serious, hospital personnel in Lincoln, Neb., had to use all their skill to finally get the bleeding under control. The condition forced the cancellation of a major weekend appearance at the Mid-America Music Park in Neosho, Mo., and put other events into limbo. Additional appearances in Minnesota and Kansas were also canceled.
A NIP AND TUCK FOR JUDGE JUDY
Why is "Judge Judy" Sheindlin looking so good these days? Could it be a long extension on her TV contract? Recently gossip columnist Cindy Adams wondered the same thing, but found out the reason that the gregarious judge is looking so pert is a slight cosmetic facelift. According to Adams, Sheindlin underwent facial plastic surgery at the hands of talented Dr. Daniel Baker. The judge told the journalist that every time she looks at herself in the mirror " ... I want to kiss his (Baker's) fingers." Sheindlin first made a name for herself as a tough-but-fair judge in New York's Family Court. Her Web site -- judgejudy.com -- says she retired from the bench in 1996 and moved to television to host the syndicated series. Her career in family court began in 1972, prosecuting juvenile delinquency cases for the state of New York. It's estimated that during her career, on the bench and on television, she has heard more than 20,000 cases.
HAPPY MULTIPLE BIRTHDAYS
Some very well known people have a common birthday. Christopher Reeve, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Barbara Walters and Ron Meyer were all born on Sept. 15 ... in different years, of course. Now, according to the New York Post, the quartet will hold a joint birthday party at New York's Marriott Marquis hotel. The event, to be called A Magical Birthday Bash, will benefit a paralysis foundation set up by Reeve. The host will be popular actress Kim Cattrall. A guest appearance by Robin Williams is set to be the highlight of the night. As an innovate part of the fundraiser, an unnamed philanthropist says that he or she will add $1 to the coffers of Reeve's fund for every birthday e-mail the paralyzed star receives through christopherreeve.org on the Internet.
TIM MCGRAW IS PACKIN' 'EM IN
At his latest concert appearance singer-songwriter Tim McGraw looked out at a sea of faces. The venue was a concert stage in his hometown of Start, La. More than 40,000 fans attended the "local boy makes good" concert to pay tribute to one of country's most popular stars. Another reason for the standing-room-only crowd could have been the presence of a four-letter word on the tickets ... FREE. The news provider country.com is reporting that McGraw also took time to perform to a smaller crowd at the C.W. Earle Cotton Gin during a dress rehearsal for the concert. The event was taped and will appear on NBC as a special later this month. Not only were the "locals" on hand, many of McGraw's fans made the trek to rural Louisiana from all points of the map, including as far away as Florida and New York. Additionally, when the taping was done, the singer stayed on and kept singing, going into overtime.
MORE HONORS FOR OUR HEROES
This is certainly shaping up to be a week of tributes. TV and radio are full of memories of this week one year ago. Members of the Bush administration are speaking at several sites to honor the heroes of Sept. 11. One of the latest announcements of special honors comes from the national headquarters of the American Legion. That veterans group tells me that the passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93 are being honored posthumously for their bravery in what is considered by many to be the first victory in the new war against terrorism. It is widely thought that the flight, commandeered by some of the hijackers, was likely headed for the Capitol Building or the White House when the passengers decided to sacrifice themselves for the common good. The Legion's Gold Medal of Heroism is being presented at a special dinner in Shanksville, Penn., this week.
UPI DAILY SURVEY QUESTION NO. 412
Today's question is: "If you were told that you could only keep one type or brand of soap with you for the rest of your life to do all your cleaning jobs, what product would that be?" Put SOAP in the subject line and send to firstname.lastname@example.org via the Internet.
RESULTS OF SURVEY QUESTION NO. 406 (CHILD)
Last week we asked if you set any guidelines for TV watching by children. Here is the gist of what you said as drawn randomly from the e-mailbox. More than 60 percent of those responding noted that it's nearly impossible today to keep kids from watching what they want. Arnie noted that in the days when families had a single TV set, it was much easier to monitor what was and was not being watched. He summed up the feelings of a lot of people in saying that now that "kids have their own Internet connections and cell phones you can't isolate them anymore. And because movies on tape and DVD are now being seen on television and kids can get their hands on nearly anything they want, the problem is an even larger one." Kyle R says that his family was tough on kids until they were "out of the nest" and does not regret the fact that some of them felt "out of the loop" while in school. Finally, GraceChap says that she is very careful when the grandkids come to visit. She particularly hates Saturday morning TV which she describes as "one long commercial for toys that the grandchildren subsequently demand I buy for them." TOMORROW: What were you doing on Sept. 11, one year ago? GBA.