A MOVE TO MOVE LUCY'S ASHES?
The daughter of the Queen of Television, Lucille Ball, says she wants to move her mother's cremated remains from their current resting place -- Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood -- to a site near the comedienne's childhood home near Jamestown, in New York state. Lucie Arnaz, now 50, also wants her grandmother's remains moved to New York, as well as those of her mother. Lucy and her mom are buried in adjacent graves. People magazine says that the daughter of Lucy and Desi has apparently taken no official action to move the remains. Meanwhile, one of the writers of the "I Love Lucy" series, Madelyn Pugh Davis, has told reporters that she's against the idea and thinks that Ball would not want such a big deal made about her. By the way, both Lucie and brother Desi Jr. are trying to buy their mother's girlhood home in upstate New York. The property was recently put on eBay by a real estate broker.
HEROIC POLICEWOMAN'S REMAINS FOUND AT WTC
They have found a badge belonging to the only female police officer that died on Sept. 11 at the World Trade Center. New York City officials confirmed for the media that the badge and nametag of Officer Moira Smith were found during this week's continued digging at Ground Zero. Smith was 38. She was not ordered to the towers but was working at a nearby precinct station and went there instinctively. A photographer snapped her picture just minutes before she died; she was helping care for a bleeding man at the time. Her voice can be heard on police tapes, directing people to safety. By the way, earlier this week, among others remains identified, experts found those of a flight attendant who was on American Airlines Flight 11.
ACTION HERO CENTER OF LEGAL FLAP
Court officials confirm that actor Steven Seagal has been hit with a $60 million lawsuit in a case in which his business partner of 15 years claims that Seagal reneged on as many as four movie deals. One was for a proposed film about the life of Ghengis Kahn. Julius R. Nasso claims that he is asking the damages from Seagal, who says he left the movie business after being told he would "be reincarnated as a 'lesser being'" if he continued in Tinseltown. The breach-of-contract suit was filed on Tuesday, according to the New York Post, in a Staten Island court. The suit claims that Seagal took the action based on the advise of a Buddhist guru known as Mukara, who claimed that moviemaking produced "bad Karma."
'MISS DYNAMITE' NOW IN COUNTRY HALL
Inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame usually say that being honored it great, they love the notoriety, but best of all they love the company they keep. CMT says that this year's induction wasn't held in Nashville. The site for the awards was the famed Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in the Big Apple. Brenda Lee and Chet Atkins were added to the roster. Atkins, of course, posthumously. Lee -- who recently released her memoirs called "Little Miss Dynamite: The Life and Times of Brenda Lee" -- is the first female artist to be a member of both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame. She performed at the ceremonies, singing three songs, including her big hit, "I'm Sorry." Marty Stuart and Brian Setzer presided over Atkins' induction. The fabled guitarist died this past June at age 77.
PLAYER 'NUMB' AFTER GIRL-IN-STAND'S DEATH
The pro hockey player whose puck went afoul and killed a 13-year-old girl in the stands last weekend in Columbus, Ohio, is apparently having problems accepting the incident. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that Espen Knutsen, a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets, told reporters that he thinks about the death "all the time." Before Wednesday's game with the Minnesota Wild, players and fans observed a period of silence to honor the girl. Meanwhile, forensic experts now say the girl -- from the Dayton, Ohio, area -- died not from the blow to her temple by the errant puck, but from blood clots in an artery leading to the brain. The clots were formed when damage was done to an artery in the back of her neck when she jerked her head back after being struck by the puck. The death of the fan in the stands was the first such fatal incident in the 85-year history of the National Hockey League.
'DOWNTOWN MARY' REMEMBERED
Around Bakersfield, Calif., she was known as "Downtown Mary." Her real name was Mabel Elaine Neal. She was a celebrity of sort in the city, even though she was never in Who's Who, never held public office and, technically, had no fixed address. She was the quintessential "street person." Several times city firemen had to rescue her from burning flophouses. But, the same firemen were there to carry her casket. Neal died this week. Her funeral brought a cross-section of society. Police, firemen, city officials were there. Children at the church wept. One speaker sobbed while telling those in attendance that he had seen the woman on the street many times ... never realizing, until it was too late, that she was his sister. The mayor and city council sent flowers. The Los Angeles Times says that people knew her as a "kind and gentle soul." She lived on handouts. But she paid her dues. She picked up litter, watered city plants and always had a smile for those passing by. It's a safe bet that many people who visited Bakersfield over the years saw her on the street and thought of her as "just another street person," if the word "person" entered their mind. She was Downtown Mary. Somehow the streets of Bakersfield just won't be the same. She had piercing blue eyes and wore the same drab brown coat for years. She once refused a blanket in cold weather, telling the person offering it that "someone else needed it more than she." She even turned down an offer of money on Christmas, suggesting that the Good Samaritan give it to her kids. Mable Elaine Neal, gentlewoman, protector of plants, cleaner of streets, friend of children, humanitarian, citizen of the world, was 70.
UPI DAILY SURVEY QUESTION NO. 294
Earlier this week we asked about your favorite color and lucky number. Today's question is prompted by two people mentioning in a reply that their last birthday was horrible because it fell on Sept. 11. So, here's a variation inspired by those remarks: "What was the strangest day of your life ... so far?" Put STRANGE in the subject line and send to firstname.lastname@example.org via the Internet.
RESULTS OF QUESTION NO. 289 (POPCORN)
Last week we asked your feelings about popcorn and the kind you like to buy. Here is a sampling of the replies: A few of you mentioned that you eat popcorn every day ... as do I. Melba says that she thinks my love of popcorn is what keeps me so cute at my age. Hey, I didn't say that. She did. Anyway, Melba's seen my picture. Pam S is among the huge number who say they love the corn produced by Orville Redenbacher. She also remembers an incident from the '80s when she popped corn in a large microwave that also had a metal box of firecrackers in it. I don't need to print the rest of what she said. Angela loves "movie theater popcorn" so much she wishes she could just go in, buy a bag, and leave. Well, Angela, try it and let us know what happens. Among those suggesting that popcorn is great when other items are added is Peggy ... nutritional yeast, salt, butter, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and cooked on a wood-burning stove. Old Andy Jackson would be proud of you. Parmesan cheese as a topping was suggested by several, including Sharon from Ottawa. Mike reminds me that there are some commercially available corn popping kettles that have a crank that runs through the handle into a 90-degree gear that drives a stirrer in the pot. He says that making popcorn from scratch is superior to microwave because it's more natural and devoid of chemical additives. Personally, I miss the old Jiffy Pop aluminum one-use kettles whose lids ERUPTED like an atom bomb's mushroom cloud with a deafening roar of popping ... and always burned! Additionally, my grandmother's recipe was to put oil in a kettle and then add corn. Let it sit for a while, then stir until all the kernels are damp. Drain off the excess oil. Put on a lid and turn on the stove to the lowest-possible setting. Then go read a book. Minutes later when you hear popping you know that nearly all the kernels have been heated to the same temperature. Then turn the heat up all the way. And, as Bob and Ray would say: "Watch what happens!" Finally, Holly remembers being a housekeeper for an elderly woman who insisted on having popcorn every day, always delivering a lecture to her on how great it was for the digestion. She lived to be a hundred. There must be a lesson there. TOMORROW: Your thoughts on car tires and flats. GBA.