• Rating The Popsters

    The pop-music business is all about buzz: good buzz, bad buzz. It's fickle business, too. Consider that crooner Chris Isaak is hot today for an album he released two years ago. On the plus side, interest in New Kids records is cooling off. Here's a look at some performers whose recent efforts have drawn lots of attention, both good and bad: It's always chilling to hear the preface "THEY'RE REALLY BIG IN EUROPE." And while too much of "Doubt" is techno-noise, it's worth a listen.Say hello, once again to The Band That Wouldn't Leave. Art rock died in the late '70's. Band members should consider law school.Another British offering, but more traditional. Strong harmonies, lots of guitars. It's simple music-and simply refreshing.Their songs are sort of silly and their videos look like porn teasers. They have also succeeded in being a Hot New Band in two different decades.
  • 'Germany For The Germans'

    For decades, the "Bridge of Friendship" linking Germany and Poland across the Oder River seemed a mocking reminder that relations between the two have been anything but amicable. That was supposed to change last week as Germany lifted visa restrictions for Poles, removing one of the last barriers between East and West. But opening night didn't go well. As a small German welcoming committee crossed the bridge at Frankfurt an der Oder with flowers and champagne for their Polish neighbors, some 150 teenage neo-Nazis gathered on the German side, shouting "SIEG HEIL!" and "Germany for the Germans." A bus carrying a Polish orchestra on the way to a "friendship concert" was pelted with rocks. "Friendship? Hah!" scoffed an elderly Polish woman as she turned back at the bridge. "These people still have Hitler in their souls." ...
  • Condo-Lences To Ivana

    The Donald has played another trump card--or is this one a joker? The latest plan to save his empire from his creditors would convert the venerable Plaza hotel into condominiums. Ooooo! What would Eloise say? Even the smallest rooms--no kitchen, mind you --would go for $750,000. New York real-estate brokers call the idea "a fantasy." Donald and Ivana, the hotel's manager, appeared together at a Plaza fashion show last week. Reconciliation seems unlikely. Maybe he wanted to tell her she's out of a job.
  • Ireland

    Ireland's national telephone company, Irish Telecom, has left out the last 2,500 names in its Dublin phone book. The trouble started about halfway through the "W" section, meaning no one can look up Xaviers, Youngs or Zacharys. Telecom has mailed letters of apology, saying a supplement will be sent out next month.
  • Legal Sleaze In Palm Beach A Scandal's Gro

    Touch pitch and be defiled, the Bible warns; and so it proved last week in Palm Beach. The rape scandal at the Kennedy mansion was turning into a tar ball massive enough to stain the reputation of anyone involved in it, and it threatens to become one of the sleaziest legal fights in recent memory--if it ever comes to court. ...
  • Wretched Excess

    Kitty Kelley's poisonous pen trashes Nancy Reagan in a book that sets off an uncivil war ...
  • Flogging?

    New Hampshire now has a scarlet letter for the 1990's. Thomas Jache, a firefighter convicted of raping a 10-year old boy, was ordered by Rockingham County Superior Court Judge Kenneth McHugh to buy ads in two local newspapers apologizing for his crime. The judge has yet to rule on a prosecution recommendation that the ads include a picture of Jache as well as his warning to other sexual abusers to seek help. Jache was sentenced to five to twelve years in prison, but two years will be suspended if he completes a program for sexual offenders. Local civil-liberties lawyers have called the rather unusual sentence a "public flogging."
  • Regent's Park: Gorillas On The List

    Recent visitors to the London Zoo could tell that the venerable tourist attraction in Regent's Park had fallen on lean times: the traditional chimpanzees' tea party had been supplanted by a cow-milking demonstration. The chimps may be losing more than their afternoon tea. Officials announced earlier this month that the financially strapped zoo would probably close by September and that many of its 8,000 animals might have to be killed if they couldn't be placed in other facilities. The news triggered a stampede of anguished protest from British animal lovers. Children and pensioners volunteered to contribute their savings. A male stripper even offered to bare all if the zoo could find a sponsor. ...
  • The Great Tv Rerun Bazaar

    Distributors sell reruns of a hit program to local stations around the country. Following are the top 10 most lucrative shows, ranked according to how much the distributer receives for one episode. Figures were estimated by Paul Kagan Associates in Carmel, Calif. ...
  • Back From The Future, In Fast Forward

    Ron Koslow is a TV producer who builds strangely affecting series around decidedly weird guys. In "Beauty and the Beast," Koslow somehow made a romantic hero out of a deformed, six-foot fur ball whose Manhattan pad was literally the pits. Now in "My Life and Times," he's trying to win us over with someone almost as improbable: a garrulous octogenarian living in a retirement home in the year 2035. Koslow is also a compulsive moldbreaker, and this half-hour drama/comedy/thriller/love story neither looks nor sounds like anything else in prime time. ...
  • Summit Talk

    Despite serious problems over conventional- and strategic-arms negotiations, George Bush is determined to schedule a Moscow summit with Mikhail Gorbachev by the end of June, White House insiders say. Bush has reminded aides he was serious when he made a commitment to Gorbachev to have annual summits--even if there's nothing new to announce. Bush had earlier insisted a summit was contingent on progress on the strategic arms reduction talks, but has dropped that condition. Bush, who'd like Soviet help on Mideast peace efforts, wants to give Gorbachev a mediagenic lift from Soviet internal difficulties.
  • Finger Pointing

    After saying for weeks that Saddam Hussein will soon be ousted, White House aides are responding to the growing likelihood that he will remain in power in the time-honored Washington way--by finger pointing. Some Bush aides are privately criticizing colleagues who still say Saddam's departure, even if delayed, is inevitable. One top aide said this was nothing more than wishful thinking by his colleagues: "Asking.... when he'll be overthrown is like asking when the economy's coming back. Perhaps soon."
  • Burying The Babies

    The exodus to Turkey has no recent precedent: deprived of food, medicine and shelter, the Kurds face death because of the world's slow reaction. ...
  • How Do You Spell Relief?

    George Bush may be a hitter but he can't throw--he flubbed his ceremonial pitch at the Texas Rangers' opener last week. Even extraordinarily unpresidential body language couldn't keep the ball from bouncing into home plate. Bush allowed himself a grimace of disgust as he left the mound. But the fans didn't seem to mind--after all, we don't pay him what we pay Doc Gooden.
  • Mcxpensive

    Planning to travel abroad? Witness what it costs to eat, American style, at McDonald's. Moscow, with its weak ruble, is the only bargain: CITY COST New York $4.97 London $5.60 Tokyo $6.18 Rome $6.65 Moscow $.59
  • Battle For Hong Kong

    It was a mismatch from the start: Britain's equable Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd versus a Chinese government led by unyielding Li Peng, the spearhead of China's return to authoritarian rule. After six days of talks related to Hong Kong in Beijing, Hurd went home with no resolution last week. On the surface, they concerned no more than an airport construction project. But at bottom, the issue was Beijing's role in Hong Kong during the six years left before Britain formally turns the colony over to mainland control. "If China gets what it's demanding," says Hong Kong legislator Martin Lee, "it will effectively run Hong Kong before 1997." ...