After months of restoration, the bus on which Rosa Parks gave birth to the civil rights movement is headed for a museum. The Detroit Free Press -- in the city that became Parks' adopted home -- reports the bus, used in the 1950s by the Montgomery, Ala., City Lines, was full of hornets' nests and mildew when it was found in a junkyard. Bus No. 2857 was made famous on Dec. 1, 1955, when Parks violated the most basic of the so-called Jim Crow "laws" by refusing to give her seat to a white man. Her dramatic action in 1955 is immortalized in full color ... the white, yellow and green of the restored bus. Many say they are amazed when they see the colorful bus, having only seen it previously in black-and-white photos. It will be put on display as part of the Henry Ford Museum. The vehicle is destined to become a shrine of sorts for it was on that simple bus that a humble Montgomery seamstress began to repair the basic fabric of American life.
SEND BRITNEY TO DALE CARNEGIE COURSE?
Reports from the Sundance Film Festival would indicate Britney Spears has no idea of the meaning of the word "decorum." Gossip columnist Liz Smith suggests Spears -- long famous for trying to convince her legion of barely pubescent fans the best way to act like an adult is to take off as much clothing as you can -- was less than a gracious guest at the Robert Redford-organized festival. The publication says Spears and her entourage not only paid little attention to the Holly Hunter movie they ostensibly came to see, they used their cell phones, talked loudly and then walked out before the movie was over. To make matters worse, the singer pulled the stunt on the night Hunter was to be honored for her achievements in Hollywood. By the way, Smith says "if looks could kill, Spears would be the deadest pop star in the world."
FERGIE HITS DENVER WITH PLAIN TALK
The Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson, is chiding a Denver restaurant for "insufficient silverware" at a recent Weight Watchers meeting. The Denver Post says Ferguson -- the "golden girl" of American media but sometimes considered an enigmatic renegade by the British -- was a little more than "troubled" to find the table settings at the meeting were less than perfect. The publication says Fergie got only half the requested place settings she wanted and wasn't pleased. In her defense, she had been up since 4:30 that morning, then flew in from Crested Butte. About weight loss, she would not discuss the actual number of pounds she's lost in recent years, while working with Weight Watchers, but she did tell media she went from a size 14 to a size 8. She said at one point in her life she "was at the bottom of the barrel." Fergie claims her weight-loss program and her new life in America have turned things around. Many of her meetings in a slew of cities recently have centered on the problem of obesity in children. She noted her 12-year-old daughter recently came to her with questions about getting into a fitness program.
'SOPRANOS' BLAMED IN GRISLY CRIME
Court officials in California say two brothers claim that "The Sopranos" TV show inspired them to mutilate their mother's body. The Orange County Register says the two boys -- one 20, the other 15 -- were arrested in conjunction with the slaying of their 41-year-old mother. Her dismembered body was found along a winding rural road southeast of downtown Los Angeles. The older had reported his mother was missing. Later a tip, based on a license plate number, led the police to make the arrest. Eventually the older brother reportedly told police he had severed his mother's hands and head after seeing the same thing done on the popular "Sopranos" television series.
SUPERGROUP ALABAMA ANNOUNCES 'FINAL' TOUR
The mega-popular country group Alabama says it's about to make its final, ultimate, last tour. (Of course, Barbra Streisand tried that several times.) Recently given the title "Country Group of the Century," the band kicked off its "final year in existence" with a huge New Year's Eve concert at the Aladdin Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Their last tour officially is titled the "American Farewell Tour." The group's possibly last CD is set for release next week. The double-record collection is called "In the Mood: The Love Songs." Over the years the band has won 21 American Music Awards. Two weeks ago Alabama received the AMA's Award of Merit. It was presented them to by Reba McEntire. Special tributes from George Strait, Richard Petty and former President George Bush also were aired.
CONFIDENCE MAN FROM 'SIX DEGREES' STILL BUSY
The con man who inspired the movie "Six Degrees of Separation" is in hot water with the police -- again. The New York Post says David Hampton, who bilked wealthy New Yorkers out of thousands in the 1980s, was arrested recently in Manhattan. The veteran scammer who convinced a lot of people he was the son of actor Sidney Poitier, was hauled into court, charged with disorderly conduct, trespassing and resisting arrest at a New York City delicatessen. The publication says Hampton was up to his old "mistaken identity" tricks by actually trying to convince police he was not the real David Hampton. There doesn't seem to be a question the con man deluxe from the '80s was the man arrested in the deli. Hampton served 21 months in jail, starting in 1983, on a variety of charges. Among them were criminal trespassing, credit card forgery, grand larceny, refusing to pay a taxi fare and presenting false documents.
UPI DAILY SURVEY QUESTION NO. 512
Today we ask: "Based solely on what's in your kitchen right now, if you knew someone important was coming for supper, what would you fix?" Put SUPPER in the subject line and send to firstname.lastname@example.org via the Internet.
RESULTS OF QUESTION NO. 507 (TV)
Last week we asked what cable TV channels you'd like to see added. From a random survey of the inbox, here are some of the responses: TAPF says she would like to see an "all judges" network with all the current "Judge Judy-type" shows and some new ones. Mr. ANishimoto has a great idea, an "all consumer reports channel." Our super-busy real estate broker friend Deb says she'd love an "all real estate, all the time" channel. She adds she's sick of the insidious laugh tracks on sitcoms. Terry wants a channel on parenting skills and says it should be a must-see for older students. BobW says there is so much footage of people crashing off skateboards on ESPN2 and other channels he'd like to see the The Injury Channel. Personally, I'd love to see an off-shoot of the Biography Channel to be called The Cable Obituary Network. It would offer bios of deceased people and would go to cities where famous people are not doing well for updates. Instead of scrolling stock prices at the bottom of the screen, the network would scroll the person's vital signs. The slogan would be: "Keeping the deathwatch 24 hours a day, this is the Cable Obituary Network." It's funny, presenting that idea 10 years ago would have seemed flippant, but today it's rather tame. TOMORROW: More of your thoughts. GBA