Three days of peace, love and arson

What in blazes happened?
By Emma Peele

When Rome, N.Y., started to burn, even supposedly objective TV reporters couldn't hide their disgust. The scenes of young thugs tossing stuff into the bonfires with a quick "burn, baby, burn" dance brought harsh words for the revelers at Woodstock '99 and a bone-headed ending to a pretty groovy event.

Who will remember the hard-driving sets by bands like Korn and Kid Rock next to the images of destruction the broadcast media played again and again that gave critics of rock 'n' roll more fodder for hysterical rants against American youth?

The organizers are blaming "200 to 500 knucklehads" for the wanton looting and arson, says Entertainment Weekly.

"It makes a dramatic story to show pictures of the bonfires, but that isn't what happened for the overwhelming majority of the weekend," promoter John Scher said.

Indeed, the festival had good vibes from performances by the likes of DMX, Alanis Morissette, Jewl, Elvis Costello and other musicians. But an ominous cloud began spreading at the former Air Force base around Saturday. EW says the overcrowding, the high cost of food, the long lines for water and the stink from the Porta-potties and garbage helped set up the conditions for arson and looting.

MTV's Kurt Loder told the mag that he felt something bad in the air when he took in the "semi-abandoned Air Force base baking in the sun between a mental facility and a prison." Another flashpoint was Limp Bizkit's performance, the mag says.

"There was a hateful, hostile [feeling] coming off the crowd in waves ... kids were throwing bottles at each other and at security guards and stagehands. It was just ugly and out of control, and [Bizkit lead singer] Fred Durst just exploited that and jacked it up" with cries like "Let's start some s--t!" Loder remembered.

Rapes and assaults were common and one 44-year-old guy keeled over with a heart attack, the mag says.

'Tis a shame.

Suzanne Somers
Suzanne Somers

There's one born every minute

Be honest. Weren't you one of the thousands of late-night couch potatoes who fell for Suzanne Somers' provocative sales pitch and snapped up either a ThighMaster or a ButtMaster? SUCKERS! Didn't you feel TOTALLY swindled when, after a couple of weeks of "squeezing" the ThighMaster between your legs, it became clear that the device was totally useless because it didn't have enough resistance to tone the muscles of a dead cat? SUCKERS!

How do we know this? Because, well, um, we bought a ThighMaster, too. And we feel duly ashamed.

Just as we're about to get over it -- with the help of our Victims of ThighMaster support group -- Somers is about to launch ANOTHER device in the "Master'' series, the -- gulp -- FaceMaster! This gizmo is powered by a 9-volt battery and is bound to be marketed as the closest you'll ever get to the fountain of youth. So polish up that credit card.

Says Somers, "This is the next great thing I'm bringing to America: the nonsurgical face-lift.'' Lordy, has this woman no shame?

Apparently not. She grumbles that the ButtMaster "got a raw deal" ... but not for the reasons you think.

"There were certain religious groups that picketed stores, objecting to the name," she tells the magazine. "We had to repackage it as the Lower Body Exerciser."

As we said: no shame!


Where there's a will ...

Even as the broadcast pundits went on and on ad nauseum about JFK Jr.'s tragic end, no one was gauche enough to publicly bring up the big question: How much was Junior worth? If he left a will, it's being kept real quiet. But the tallying of his assets is inevitable, so since we're gauche enough to raise the question, here it is:

Jr. got about $4 million from the sale of mom Jackie O's digs; about $7.8 mil from the sale of her stuff; a $4.2 mil trust fund and half-interest ... with sister Caroline ... in three Massachusetts properties, including 375 acres on Martha's Vineyard.

JFK Jr. had five cars, none topping $20,000. Newest, a '94 Saab convertible; oldest, an orange 1973 VW. Real estate sources also whisper that the downtown Manhattan loft Kennedy shared with wife Carolyn Bessette and which he bought for $700,000 in January 1994 could go for as much as $2.5 mil because of its "notoriety."

Sarah Ferguson

Royal Shenanigans

For Queen Elizabeth II, the fit has hit the shan where the Duchess of York is concerned. So fed up is the queen about Sarah Ferguson's pursuit of filthy lucre that QEII is considering paying off Fergie to denounce her duchessness, according to MSNBC.

The price: about $1.6 million. Apparently Fergie is dragging down the monarchy by peddling her royal image to sell diet products, talking on TV about her sex life, and so forth, and the queen wants her to give up the right to call herself a royal.

Although Prince Andrew is the father of Fergie's two daughters, Beatrice and Eugenie, the girls may lose their "princess" prefixes when they turn 18.

Meanwhile, Prince William has been terrifying the help by tooling around in the $24,000 VW Golf Turbo he got from pop for his 17th birthday. Wills' driving instructor is rated among UK's top 7 percent of trainers and is showing the prince anti-hijacking techniques and evasive driving maneuvers.

Odds and ends

Rap impresario Puff Daddy gets a slap on the wrist and "tut, tut" for his bad behavior from GQ magazine. His brooding visage graces the cover, and inside he's described as, using his own phrase, "ghetto-fabulous." Oy. He "rolls around town in a silver Bentley, wears Versace furs, romances the awesomely steatopygic beauty Jennifer Lopez and imbibes copious amounts of Cristal champagne." Like that's a SIN.

What do you give the guy who has everything (money AND Nicole Kidman for a wife)? Tom Cruise, who turned 36 this month, was gifted with a $26,000 Ducati 996 fuel-injected Hypersport motorcycle wrapped in a largish red ribbon from the missus.

And that's what's passing for pop culture these days!