So this woman walks into a room. it's Ana Gasteyer, six-year veteran of "Saturday Night Live"; the room is Studio 8H in Rockefeller Center, with its familiar set whose chain-link fence makes it look like a ghettoized "Sesame Street." This is Friday-afternoon rehearsal and Gasteyer takes her seat next to Rachel Dratch to run through their recurring spoof of National Public Radio.
The first thing you notice about Elizabeth Wurtzel's third book, "More, Now, Again," is the surprisingly plain black cover--she is not buck naked as she was on her book of essays, "Bitch," or come-hithering as she was on her first memoir, "Prozac Nation." The next thing you notice, you've already finished the book: like an office-party hookup, it's at once repellent and arresting.
Joyce Carol Oates has been nominated for a National Book Award, been a finalist for the Pulitzer, reached No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list, been chosen for Oprah's book club, had a title reissued by the prestigious Modern Library, written a mystery under a pseudonym, taught writing at Princeton, published a short-story collection and dozens of stories and essays in magazines and anthologies and watched the TV-movie version of her novel "Blonde" --not a bad year's work, and it's only...
THE POPE A Cardinal Get-Together in Rome Why has Pope John Paul II summoned all 183 cardinals to Rome next week? His stated reason: to help him launch the new church initiatives he outlined in his Jan. 6 letter, "Novo Millennio Ineunte." But institutional innovation hasn't been a hallmark of his 22-year reign, and Vatican watchers note that in what many consider his waning months, the increasingly frail pontiff, who's soon to be 81, is not entertaining new ideas.
The Navy has had plenty of disasters lately. But for sheer seafaring drama, nothing quite matches the loss of the USS Benjamin Stoddert, a guided-missile destroyer that recently sank in the Pacific Ocean en route to a scrap yard in Brownsville, Texas.Navy officials made no announcement of the Stoddert's Feb. 3 demise and declined to discuss details.
The budget that President George W. Bush sends to Congress this week mirrors his campaign proposals: faster growth in spending for education and defense, but slow growth or cuts for just about everything else, including agriculture, the environment, health-care access and work-force training.
The Agriculture Department's SWAT team of meat-sniffing beagles has gotten lots of media attention. But behind the scenes, government officials worry that the USDA's effort to protect American livestock from the foot-and-mouth-disease outbreak that has threatened European herds could be too little--and too late.
PARDONS Scuffling in the Shadows of the Clinton Years It was a belated bid to wipe the slate clean. Last week Bill and Hillary Clinton offered to pay for nearly half the $190,000 in gifts they took with them and agreed to pick up a large part of the rent for Bill's high-priced Manhattan office.
RELIGIONNew Red Hats--And the Next Pope?Italian Giovanni Battista Re, 66, head of the Congregation of Bishops and former deputy secretary of State. A papal loyalist, Re works so hard he often answers his office phone on Sundays and reads the pope's mind so well he has written the pontiff's Sunday speeches.
George W. Bush could face new questions following surprise testimony in a politically charged Texas lawsuit. Last year, the state's former chief funeral regulator, Eliza May, charged that she'd been fired for launching an investigation of a funeral conglomerate headed by Robert Waltrip, a major Bush contributor and family friend.