SALINAS, Calif., Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Libraries in the California home town of Nobel Prize-winning author John Steinbeck will be closed next year because of a funding shortage.
The city of Salinas is unable to come up with $3 million in annual operating costs, and announced its three public libraries will go into "hibernation" in June, The Telegraph reported.
Once the news broke, someone adorned the 6-foot statue of Steinbeck with a black armband, and residents have even petitioned talk show host Oprah Winfrey for help.
Lauren Cercone, who failed in her efforts to have the libraries funded with municipal taxes, said there was a bitter irony in the very system Steinbeck relied upon.
"Steinbeck once commented in a letter that he couldn't have continued without the city and county libraries, as he relied not only on the collections but also on the research abilities of the librarians," Cercone said.
Salinas served as a backdrop for many of Steinbeck's novels, including "The Grapes of Wrath."
Fan of Nirvana bids for plane trip
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- A fan of the U.S. band Nirvana has bid $7,300 on eBay for a private plane ride and lunch with former bass player Krist Novoselic.
The winner will be picked up at an undisclosed U.S. airport and flown to a restaurant to have lunch with Novoselic, reported NME.com Monday.
The money form the winning bid went to the People For The American Way, which describes itself as "a non-profit, non-partisan organization committed to promoting political awareness, civic participation and providing legislators with the support they need to counter the agenda of the extreme right and protect against encroachments upon our freedoms and civil rights."
While Novoselic is more occupied with being president of the Joint Artists and Music Promotions Political Action Committee, which he founded to lobby against censoring music, he remains a keen pilot of his Cessna 182 Skylane Jet.
"I am happy to share the wonders of aviation and remind the winners to be careful during the most dangerous phase of flight -- the drive to and from the airport," Novoselic said.
Streisand defends Hollywood values
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Barbra Streisand resents Hollywood being challenged over moral values, the new issue of Time magazine says.
Streisand and other members of the cast of the upcoming comedy "Meet the Fockers" spoke with Time about a range of subjects, when the conversation turned to the current debate over moral values in the entertainment industry.
"You know I resent this thing about Hollywood and moral values," she said. "What movies are out now that have questionable moral values?"
On the other hand, Streisand questioned the moral values on TV advertising for pharmaceutical products to treat erectile dysfunction.
"You know what I think has questionable moral values?" she said. "The Cialis commercials."
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