By DENNIS DAILY, United Press International  |  Feb. 7, 2002 at 4:51 PM
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Some of the members of The National Arts club say they want the group's president to step aside, pending the outcome of a legal case against him. The New York Post says that an insurgent group in the organization is trying to oust Aldon James. Recently they circulated a letter asking that James resign. Among those signaling agreement with the stance via a return letter was actor Dennis Hopper. Well, even though Hopper has played his share of malcontents, it seems that the actor doesn't like the fact his name is now being used in additional statements. Through his lawyer he claims that he simply signed a form letter that had been sent to all the group's members and sent it back. The publication says that many are now "mystified" about Hopper's action. By the way, James is facing a criminal investigation stemming from charges that he has embezzled catering funds.


Now that he's no longer spending quality time with Lisa Marie Presley, Nicholas Cage is apparently spending most of his energies doing what he loves best ... making movies. Columnist Neal Travis says that Cage -- the Oscar-winning actor with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame -- has set up a deal to produce half a dozen movies based on an action hero created by Brian Haig, the son of former U.S. Secretary of State Alexander Haig. The elder Haig, still active in politics and commentary, is best known by many as the man who, after the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, stepped up to White House microphones and said: "I am in charge here." The younger Haig's project would involve Cage footing half the bill for production of the films, in which he would star as a former war hero who returns home to become an avant-garde lawyer. Travis says that the deal could net Cage more than $100 million, which could give him the freedom to continue to take part in more of the small, quirky, less-lucrative film projects that he loves so well.


Entertainer Bill Cosby has decided not to perform in Cincinnati, as scheduled, next month. His publicist says that the mega-star is honoring a call for a boycott of the Queen City. The action was called by a group of disgruntled black leaders who claim that city officials have done little to correct the problems that precipitated a day of rioting in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati last year. In a statement released to the media, Cosby, 64, noted that he would feel "very uncomfortable playing the concerts at this time in this climate." One of the more than a dozen groups involved in the boycott had apparently asked the comedian to take a stand on the issue and not play Cincinnati this time around.


Members of the cast of the extremely popular TV sitcom "Friends" say they want not only to stay with "Friends" but want to stay true friends as well ... at least as far as putting up a solid front in negotiations for a new season and new salaries. At the current time Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox Arquette, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, Matthew Perry and Matt LeBlanc now get three quarters of a million dollars EACH for every episode in which they appear, regardless of how few lines they have. Now, according to variety, the six say if NBC wants them around for a ninth season, they are demanding a cool million EACH, per show. And it's "all for one and one for all" in the negotiations. It would be interesting if the show continued, but with a new cast. Meanwhile, the publication says there are reports that the cast members are ready to end the show's enormously popular run at the end of this season if they don't get their way.


The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's Hall of Fame is about to get a new member ... flamboyant singer-songwriter Little Richard. The hall says that Richard will join the ranks of honorees that now include Sidney Poitier, Smokey Robinson and blues legend (now Burger King huckster) B.B. King. The Hall of Fame was set up by the NAACP (the oldest and largest civil rights organization in the nation) to honor artists who have excelled in their careers and have become an "innovate force ... in their respective fields." By the way, there's a great picture of the energetic performer and interesting biographical information and a full discography at on the Internet. It's not his official site, but it might as well be.


Jeannie Schulz, whose late husband Charles delighted the world with half a century of "Peanuts" comic strips and everything that went with them, has cemented the final tile in a mural in tribute to the cartoonist. Published reports indicate that Mrs. Schulz placed the final tile in the huge work of art before members of the local media. The mural depicts the evolution of the "Peanuts" characters over the years. It will eventually grace one wall of the Schulz museum in Santa Rosa, Calif., and contains more than 3,500 tiles. The designer of the mural is Japanese artist Yoshiteru Otani, whom Schulz met a decade ago and was picked to do a tribute to Snoopy some years ago. By the way, the mural was first assembled, tile-by-tile, on the floor of a Toyko gymnasium before being shipped to the States. The Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center will open in the fall.


So: "What are your memories of the "Peanuts" comic strip and associated merchandising?" Put PEANUTS in the subject line and send to via the Internet.


Last week we asked about any practical jokes you had suffered through. Because of a computer error only a few replies got through the sorting system. But here they are: Chantal says that she is a practical joker herself. So, when she "got what she deserved" recently, it was about time. She says that she recently went to her car after work only to find that it was full of popcorn. Let me say that again, it was FULL of popcorn. She says she doesn't know how many trash bags of popcorn it must have taken, but it was filled to the gills. Some years ago someone removed the seats from her car. "I had to sit on cases of pop to drive home," she reports. Chantal, you used the word "pop." Are you also from the Midwest? One other question, Chantal, how severe are your jokes to deserve the treatment you got? Speaking of packing a car to the gills with popcorn. In the late 1800s a group of students at Miami University in Ohio decided to take advantage of an horrific snowfall by shoveling the main hallway of a classroom building floor-to-ceiling with snow. Later the students squared off against faculty members, each building snow forts and slinging snowballs at the other. It's now remembered as The Great Snowball Rebellion at the school. IMTU says that members of her office staff moved everything out of her cubicle and planted a "stranger" there who claimed that he was hired to replace her. Nasty. Personally, I remember an incident at station WAOV in Vincennes, Ind., in the 1970s. When the news director at the time requested that a new "cough switch" be put on his microphone, the engineer used his imagination. Now a cough switch is what an announcer pushes to momentarily turn off his microphone if he needs to cough, or sneeze, etc., and can't get the engineer's attention. The first time the news anchor pushed in on the revamped switch the sound of coughing came from his microphone ... essentially it was coughing in his face. Furious, following his show, he yelled at the engineer: "Why is my cough switch coughing at me!" GBA.

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