Susannah Meadows

Eat Your Heart Out

And the winner for the most enjoyable awards ceremony? Last week's James Beard Awards, the food-industry Oscars. Would that all winners could be as modest as these folks.

Ladies Of The Night

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.

Would I Lie To You?

If you could program Richard Ford's new book of short stories, "A Multitude of Sins," as you can a CD player, you'd want to skip numbers one and two, and maybe nine and 10.

Sister, Can You Spare A Line?

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.

A Tragic Day Revisited

It's a distinctly human predicament that the less we believe our eyes, the more we're unable to stop using them. More than three blurry months after September 11, the attacks are no more comprehensible than they were that morning.

Books: The Producer

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 Water Of The Moment

Even though American water is some of the cleanest on tap, bottled water is the country's fastest-growing drink. At the current pace, the amount of bottled water guzzled is on track to outdo milk, beer and coffee.

A Working Knowledge

In "Nickel and Dimed," journalist Barbara Ehrenreich experiments with trying to live off "unskilled" job wages and fails, but at least her book--despite faltering at sanctimonious pitfalls--works.

Periscope

FUND-RAISING Raining on the GOP's Cash Parade Republican National Committee officials trumpeted last week's round of Washington fund-raisers--attended by hundreds of wealthy contributors--as a smashing success, saying the gala raked in $23.9 million, a party record.

Periscope

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.

Periscope

As veterans of the oil bidness, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney want to prove that solar-panel-brandishing greens haven't cornered the market on high-tech solutions to energy problems.

Periscope

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.

Periscope

Thousands of anti-globalization protesters are expected to show up this week in Quebec as heads of state from 34 nations arrive to discuss a hemispheric free-trade zone.

Periscope

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.

Periscope

The arrest last week of anti-abortion activist James Kopp, wanted for the 1998 murder of abortion doctor Barnett Slepian, was a political plus for Attorney General John Ashcroft.

Periscope

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.

Kinder, Gentler Clinics

You're making an appointment at the Continuum Center for Health and Healing at New York's Beth Israel Medical Center, and the receptionist asks if you have a qi stagnation.

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POWER Cheney: Tightening His Grip? As the Bush administration takes shape, Vice President Richard Cheney is seeking to tighten his grip on the making of national-security policy--at the expense of national-security adviser Condoleezza Rice.

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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.

PERISCOPE

ASHCROFTA Sharp Right Turn at JusticeBOOKSIt Takes a GoreDONATIONSReturn to Sender--Now!Falcone has denied any wrongdoing, and the Falcones' spokesman has insisted that the contributions came directly from the sale of weight-loss products.

PERISCOPE

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.

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EXCLUSIVEFacing a Dilemma at JusticeNEWSWEEK has learned that Bush aides are quietly talking with Reno's staff about naming a Clinton administration holdover as "acting" A.G.

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TERRORISM The Ambiguous Tale of the Taps As jury selection begins this week in the Manhattan trial of four men accused of the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, the U.S. intelligence community might also find itself on the defensive.

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TERRORISM Is the U.S. Closing In on bin Laden? Investigators are close to tying Osama bin Laden to the Oct. 12 attack on the USS Cole. The links are strong enough that briefing books laying out military retaliation options have been given to President Clinton's top advisers.

Periscope

MICROSOFT Hackers: Getting to the Source Last week's news that hackers got access to Microsoft's internal corporate network isn't just an embarrassment for the software giant.

Periscope

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.

The Temptations Of Tea

Tamara Fish is laughing at her tea. This could be because she was up all night working on her thesis. Or maybe it's that here at Tealuxe, a new tea bar off Columbia University's campus in Manhattan, her tea has arrived with an hourglass.

She Comes Out Fighting

Michelle Rodriguez had never hit anyone before she got the lead in "Girlfight." "Well, not unless you count grade-school brawls," says the actress, 21. "Ever close your eyes really hard while you're sneezing?

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