FRAIL POPE: YOUTH ARE HOPE OF WORLD
Pope John Paul II has ushered in the Christmas season, appearing on worldwide television and radio, calling on the youth of the world to be "the hope of the future." Looking increasingly frail, the pope noted that many children around the world are having a tough time living up to their potential because of the political and social turmoil around them. He mentioned the young people of Palestine and Israel and those in several famine-stricken areas of Africa in his address. Sadly, some of the pope's remarks were difficult to hear and somewhat unintelligible. He sat while speaking and needed help to rise to his feet during several parts of the service. John Paul is 81.
BUSH REMEMBERS 9/11 VICTIMS
As the pope was speaking to the world about the importance of nurturing the future of young people, President Bush used the holiday season for a message to the victims of the September attacks and the men and women serving this country at far-flung military bases around the world. The chief executive noted that all Americans were grieving with the families that lost loved ones because of the terror attacks in New York and Washington and on the battlefield. The president and his family were at Camp David on Tuesday. He was joined by his parents -- former President George H.W. Bush and wife Barbara -- and by the first lady's mother.
KINDLIER AND GENTLER COMEDIENNE
Funny woman Tina Fey of "Saturday Night Live" fame says she is going to tone down her act. Talking with Entertainment Weekly, Fey noted that in the wake of the 9/11 attacks she is going to cut back on "mean" jokes. But she says it might be hard to keep this New Year's resolution. She's quoted in the publication as saying that the idea of being nicer "like every New Year's resolution, I'll probably break ... on Jan. 3." By the way, Fey is the first woman to be made head writer of the long-running NBC broadcast. She co-anchors "Weekend Update" -- a popular segment on the show -- with comedian Jimmy Fallon. SNL has had a hard row to hoe recently. It began its current season of new shows just 18 days after the attacks of 9/11, originating from the Big Apple.
TOP NAMES TO JOIN FOR NEW YEAR'S SHOW
Severall international stars has been tapped to be a part of a New Year's Eve rock 'n' roll show on Fox. The network confirms that Britney Spears will join Destiny's Child, 'NSync, No Doubt and others in "Billboard's Rock 'n' Roll New Year's Eve." The broadcast will begin in the final hour of 2001, EST. A variety of music genres will be represented by other performers, including Tim McGraw, Pink, Alicia Keys and Stone and Eve. Singer Janet Jackson will be seen during the broadcast receiving the magazine's coveted Artist Achievement Award.
CHRISTMAS A YEAR LATE FOR CALIFORNIA MAN
When Martinez, Calif., native Tom Gilbert entered the hospital in early December 2000 he thought for sure he'd be home in time for Christmas. But it just didn't happen that way. The San Francisco Chronicle, in a "feel good" Christmastime story, says the 31-year-old science teacher suffered what some doctors termed "unsurvivable" complications after receiving a heart-lung transplant. His condition continued to worsen as 2000 became 2001. His dreams of getting home that Christmas were on the back burner. Staying alive was his main concern. The publication says that Gilbert spent an incredible seven months in intensive care, then additional time in an apartment adjacent to the hospital. Now Gilbert is home, celebrating two Christmases. Still hooked to a ventilator, he can only whisper when he tells friends he's glad just to be alive.
BIG BANDS STILL RIDING HIGH IN VEGAS
The Stardust Hotel and Casino on The Strip in Las Vegas has announced much of its lineup for the coming year. Figuring prominently are several of the best-known names from the era of the big bands. The facility says its classic ballroom will play host to the Russ Morgan Orchestra, the Billy May Orchestra and Ray Anthony and His Big Swing Band in the coming months. Meanwhile, the casino's Pavilion will host the Les Brown Band of Renown. Las Vegas staple Wayne Newton returns to the main room in 2002, along with Don Rickles, Andrew "Dice" Clay and the "Legendary Ladies of Rock 'n' Roll" -- Lesley Gore, Shirley Alston Reeves, Little Peggy March and the Chiffons.
UPI DAILY SURVEY QUESTION NO. 233
We're wondering: "What was the best advice you got during 2001?" Put ADVICE in the subject line and send to firstname.lastname@example.org via the Internet.
RESULTS OF QUESTION NO. 228 (SELF)
Last week we asked about what you were getting yourself for Christmas. Here are some of the replies: Peggy, who bombards a friend of mine with some of the funniest e-mail on the Web, says she bought herself a subscription to the Quilter's Newsletter. SJ spent a day at the health spa as a reward. Wonderful idea! MP in Chicago wanted a "decent car and a new computer" but says that likely won't happen. Lmandy got a "new desk, a curio cabinet and new slippers ... (and hopes) her son will come visit." Jan got a new scanner, ankle-length boots and ordered that Rod Stewart CD that's been advertised on late-night TV. Many Ann is still enjoying the upgrade to her computer she did before the holidays. Gloria bought a new maiden hair fern to replace the one that she got last year that didn't quite survive her non-green thumb talents. Anne did a smart thing and got a DSL connection for her computer. Mickey may have short-changed others on her list by spending much of her budget for a coat for herself. Donna splurged and got a Palm Pilot. VOXEN entertained 45 family members in celebrating her mom's 80th birthday. Denise bought a new watch. A good friend of mine bought a new Mac as his latest computer. Me? I bought a brand new, fresh-out-of-the-box Big Mac. GBA.