THE GEORGE AND VLADIMIR SHOW
President Bush and Russian President Putin traded one-liners, accolades for their wives, gentle spoofing and fielded questions Thursday from middle and high school students at what is doubtless the most historic assembly Crawford, Texas, High School ever had.
The session capped a three-day U.S.-Russian summit that didn't produce any major diplomatic agreements but helped the two leaders form a new relationship.
As a cap to the summit, the White House arranged for the people of Crawford to meet Putin and his wife at a part-town and part-school assembly. It began with the audience reciting the Pledge Allegiance and ended with the two presidents and their wives shaking hands with the audience.
In between, the youngsters of Crawford stole the show. Sean Laws, a senior at Crawford High, wondered if the two presidents had come to a conclusion about whether or not to deploy a national missile defense system. Bush jokingly asked Law, "Are you with the national press corps?"
Zalacia Stanford, another senior, wanted to know how Putin liked the mesquite barbecue he had for dinner at Bush's house Wednesday evening.
"I just had a hard time imagining how could a living person create such a masterpiece of cooking. A fantastic meal! And when I said so to the president, he said, indeed, this cannot be done except for in Texas."
Jana Heller, an eighth grader, wanted to know Putin's favorite thing about Texas.
"We in Russia have known for a long time that Texas is the most important state in the United States," Putin said to thunderous applause. "We in Russia somehow tend to know about Texas rather better than about the rest of the United States somehow. Except for Alaska, which we sold you."
THE WORLD STILL WELCOMES LOVERS
The American Film Institute has come up with another idea for a list to celebrate U.S. films -- the 100 best love stories, to go along with previous lists of the 100 best movies, comedies, thrillers and screen legends.
The annual exercise in identifying the cream of American cinema has usually been good for starting any number of conversations among movie fans.
"Citizen Kane" was named the greatest U.S. movie ever, "Some Like It Hot" was named the best comedy, and Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn were voted top screen legends in polls of 1,800 filmmakers, critics and journalists who cover Hollywood.
The AFI said contenders for the best love story of all time must feature a "romantic bond between two or more characters, whose actions and-or intentions provide the heart of the film's narrative."
"Love Story," of course, comes to mind -- along with "Camelot," "Gone With the Wind," "Casablanca," and more recent pictures such as "Shakespeare in Love," "Jerry Maguire," "Four Weddings and a Funeral," "When Harry Met Sally," "Sleepless in Seattle" and "Annie Hall."
Some darker stories could also get votes -- "Fatal Attraction" and "Basic Instinct, for example -- and comedies such as "Groundhog Day," "The Thin Man" and "It Happened One Night" could also get strong consideration.
The final list of 100 -- culled from a list of 400 candidates prepared by AFI officials -- will be featured in a CBS-TV special, "AFI's 100 Years ... 100 Passions," next June.
(Thanks to UPI Hollywood Reporter Pat Nason)
The U.S. Postal Service is reprinting a promotional poster to accommodate Muslim sensitivities.
The posters displayed in 11,000 post offices around the country advertised holiday stamps. However, according to the American Muslim Council, the original version only showed stamps celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah and the African-American festival of Kwanzaa.
"They left out the Eid stamp," said AMC communications director Raymond W. Busch. Eid is the festive holiday at the conclusion of the holy month of Ramadan, which begins Thursday or Friday.
The USPC acted swiftly, apologizing for the oversight and recalling the posters. New posters will be up in post offices by next week.
As an American icon, Thanksgiving in Plymouth this year has taken on a special significance in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"We've looked at it as the whole nation all of a sudden will be looking at Thanksgiving differently this year, perhaps more special and more significant an event than it's been in many of our lifetimes until now," Tom O'Rourke, president of the Plymouth (Mass.) Chamber of Commerce, told UPI.
O'Rourke said there was a big dip in hotel reservations immediately after Sept. 11, "but what is surprising is that they have come back, and most of the hotels are reporting very strong numbers for the Thanksgiving period."
Is Plymouth jittery about possibly being singled out by terrorists because of its special place in American history?
"I don't think we're jittery, but we are cautious," O'Rourke said. "We've done everything we can to secure the area, just like everyone else in the country. It's sort of go on with your life but keep your eyes open."
This Saturday, the entire community -- including Plimoth Plantation, a living-history museum of 17th-century Plymouth -- will host a series of programs and events to share the story of the Pilgrims surviving hardship by resolve, perseverance, hope, and a little help from their Indian friends. It'll culminate with a candlelight vigil, "One Small Candle, Giving Thanks," at Plymouth Rock in Pilgrim Memorial State Park.
(Web sites: visit-plymouth.com, plimoth.org, holidays.net/thanksgiving/pilgrims, massvacation.com)
(Thanks to UPI's Dave Haskell in Boston)
REASONS TO CELEBRATE THIS WEEKEND:
FRIDAY: Today through Nov. 22 is National Farm-City Week, by presidential proclamation.
Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, begins today. All Muslim adults of sound mind and body fast from dawn until sunset to achieve spiritual and physical purification and self-discipline.
Saint Eustatius in the Leeward Islands celebrates Statia and America Day today.
And the United Nations observes the International Day for Tolerance.
SATURDAY: This is Homemade Bread Day. Yum!
Today, Sunday and Monday is observed as the National Donor Sabbath, to increase awareness of the need for donor organs and tissues. (Web site: organdonor.gov)
And it's World Peace Day (Web site: peaceday.org)
SUNDAY: Today through Nov. 24 is National Adoption Week. (Web site: ncla-usa.org)
It's also National Bible Week, and National Game and Puzzle Week.
Germany observes Volkstrauertag, a Memorial Day and national day of morning for the victims of both world wars, today.
This is Army Day in Haiti.
Today is Independence Day in Latvia and also in Morocco.
And the Sultanate of Oman celebrates its national day today.
MONDAY: Today through Nov. 25 is National Family Week, and also National Family Caretaker Week -- both by presidential proclamation.
This is Have a Bad Day Day. (Web site: wellcat.com)
Belize celebrates Garifuna Day, marking the first arrivals of Black Caribs from St. Vincent and Rotan.
It's a national holiday in Monaco today.
And today is Discovery Day in Puerto Rico, which was discovered by Columbus in 1493 during his second voyage to the New World.
(Thanks to Chase's 2001 Calendar of Events)
BY THE WAY...
This "Cosby Show" kid went on to star in her own spin-off series. Can you name the actress and the show?
The actress was Lisa Bonet, born on this date in 1967, and the show was "A Different World."