By DENNIS DAILY, United Press International   |   Oct. 31, 2001 at 5:25 PM
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Gene Hackman was involved in a shoving match on a Los Angeles street after he accidentally rear-ended another car which had pulled in front of him -- ostensibly to make a right turn, but from the wrong lane. USA Today is reporting that the 71-year-old actor was exchanging insurance information with the other driver when a passenger in the second car began shoving him. Hackman's publicist says his client eventually decked the guy. By the time police arrived, the rough-housing was over. Both drivers were allowed to leave after the information was exchanged. Neither pressed charges. Hackman's publicist tells the publication that the actor really is a "very gentle person."


A special 21-track CD tribute to the late country star Webb Pierce is planned for early January. Myriad modern-day stars are preparing to contribute to the compilation. Among those tapped to record Pierce songs are Dwight Yoakam, Emmylou Harris, Pam Tillis, George Jones, Charley Pride and Willie Nelson. Additionally, the country group BR549 will contribute the song "There Stands the Glass." Mel McCoury's aggregation will record "Walking the Dog" for the album. The CD will be released on Audium Records in early January. During his lifetime, Pierce was considered a country superstar and certainly one of the gaudiest. He's remembered for his loud suits, custom cars and a guitar-shaped swimming pool at his home. He was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame this year. Pierce, a staple on the "Louisiana Hayride" and "The Grand Ole Opry" for decades, died in 1991.


For five decades the first thing incoming journalism students were told at Indiana University was that the leader of the school didn't have a period after his middle initial. Even today many refer to him as Herman B "No Period" Wells. During his long tenure as the school's chancellor and president, he became synonymous with the college. He was widely known as "Mr. Indiana University." Wells was an imposing, smiley-faced man who seemed to be omnipresent on campus. Throughout his years at I.U. many did not know that he was amassing one of the most amazing private art collections in the Midwest. Now, a year after his death at age 97, the university is mounting a major display of his collection. The Indianapolis Star says that among the works is a massive mural painted by Thomas Hart Benton for the 1933 World's Fair. Wells was criticized for resurrecting the painting because it showed the role of the Klan in the history of Indiana. The Wells collection also includes classic American furniture.


A Canadian medicine man is facing up to nine years in prison, even though he says he never knew it was illegal to give out feathers and eagle bones during his native dances. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer is reporting that a federal jury has convicted 47-year-old Terry Antoine of five counts of violating the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. He was accused of wandering the West several years ago, bartering and selling eagle parts. Police found 124 eagles and 90 pairs of talons in his home and illegal items in a storage locker. While in his early 20s, elders of his tribe singled him out to be an "eagle dancer" because of the royal lineage of his mother's family.


Thirty-four-year-old actor C. Thomas Howell, remembered for his portrayal of "Pony Boy" in "The Outsiders," has been charged in connection with an alleged hit and run incident last year. Court records show that Howell is charged with hitting a skateboarder, then returning to the scene -- armed with a hammer -- and threatening to kill the man if he went to the police. The skateboarder involved is in his early 20s. If convicted, Howell could be sentenced to more than four years in jail. The Los Angeles Times quotes Howell as saying that he is being singled out because of his "celebrity status," saying that were he a gardener, he would not be on trial. Howell's career has waned since a few lackluster films in the 1980s.


Look for two very different cover photos of pop king Michael Jackson on the upcoming issue of TV Guide. Columnist Liz Smith says that Jackson -- desperately trying to jump-start his all-but-dead career -- submitted to a rare interview with the magazine's Mary Murphy and Jennifer Graham. One of the photos is a modern-day shot, the other a classic Jackson pose from the 1970s. By the way, Jackson confirms that he still wants to make a movie with Liza Minnelli. He says it will be about two "struggling entertainers trying to make it." Meanwhile, he is hyping his Nov. 13 CBS special. Jackson's double "comeback concerts" -- staged in the Big Apple after months of publicity -- got lost in the shuffle because of their proximity to the events of Sept. 11.


Here is today's question: "What are your memories of going 'trick or treating' as a child, or as a parent?" Put TRICK in the subject line and send to via the Internet. By the way, since the phrase "trick or treat" is being asked by the "beggar," shouldn't it be "treat or trick" instead?


You would not think that a question about the innocuous topic of soda pop would creates such a flood of e-mail. Well, it happened. Just printing out a portion of the replies resulted in a stack of paper. So, here's a sampling of your thoughts on the wonderful world of soft drinks: First of all, my mention of Fresca (Coca-Cola's grapefruit-flavored drink) got a lot of mail. Ellen was among those who noted its sparkling, summer-time taste. Karen says as a kid she was trying to impress a cute boy on a bus trip and bought the same drink he was having ... Fresca. She thought it was so horrible she tried to secretly throw it out the window of the bus. It blew back onto both of them. She didn't mention if she ever saw the boy again. Now, down to the business of the new Diet Coke with lemon. I got a lot of mail asking what it is. Ali, a new frequent contributor, notes that I must be in an urban area or in a test region. That could be the case. Few others had ever tried it. Kate says she discovered Shasta drinks while hospitalized and wonders where to buy them. Kate, Shasta makes some great stuff. Their diet cola is the big spiff. I tried to find Shasta on the Internet and could not. I suggest you ask your grocer. Felicity notes that in Australia lemonized Diet Coke has not arrived. She says Dr. Pepper tried to make a go there but failed. Andrea, by the way, CAN find the lemon stuff at her store and has fallen in love with it. Well, I'm still a multi-pack Diet Pepsi guy myself, but I still like the lemon stuff and Fresca occasionally. Thanks for the flood of replies. By the way, just as of this week -- at least here in Las Vegas -- Diet Pepsi now has a lemon "Twist" version. How do these guys know who is doing what? Industrial spies? GBA.

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