Jewish World Review May 5, 2004 / 14 Iyar, 5764

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Consumer Reports


Burger brouhaha over meat movie; the Age of Adu; what a difference an indictment makes; more


http://www.jewishworldreview.com | NEW YORK — I came into the office Tuesday morning and found a box of meat on my desk.


Not just on my desk, but on half a dozen other desks around the newsroom.


And not just meat, but buns and American cheese, too: Six "microwaveable" cheeseburgers, frozen to the consistency of hockey pucks and packaged in 5 pounds of dry ice.


And not just at the New York Daily News, but also at hundreds of media outlets nationwide — more than 6,000 cheeseburgers were rushed across the country like donor organs bound for operating rooms.


All to promote New Line Cinema's 2,500-theater July 30 release, "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle," a movie in which John Cho and Kal Penn play "two likeable underdogs," according to the accompanying press materials, "who set out on a Friday night quest to satisfy their craving for White Castle hamburgers and end up on an epic journey of deep thoughts, deeper inhaling and a wild road trip as 'un-PC' as it gets."


A little too un-PC for the folks at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.


"They can't say that no animals were harmed to make this movie," PETA President Ingrid Newkirk told me Tuesday. "It sounds like it could be disconcerting and rather sad and bloody. This is the new PG-13: Pathetic, Gross and 13 kinds of gut bacteria."


Newkirk — who believes that a cow is at least as worthy of consideration as an actor — said the addition of cheese is particularly distasteful: "Mixing the baby with the milk of the mother is unkosher and unkind."


Reps for New Line, which ginned up the novel meat-for-movie campaign, and White Castle, which paid to ship the burgers, reacted to PETA's broadsides Tuesday with shock and awe.


"Well, let them decide their feelings," White Castle marketing director Jamie Richardson told me. "Our feeling is that this is just a fun way to promote the movie."


New Line veep Clare Anne Conlon said: "PETA has every right to express themselves. But most Americans are hamburger-loving Americans."

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THE AGE OF ADU


Is D.C. United professional soccer star Freddy Adu really and truly just a lad of 14?


"He seems a lot more mature than his age, doesn't he?" Ted Allen of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" mused to this column's Hudson Morgan.


They were at the Hammerstein Ballroom Monday night as the Ghanaian-born phenom (his birth date is a matter of speculation) was being honored as an "Innovator" — along with rocker David Bowie, actor William H. Macy and author Azar Nafisi — by the folks from Conde Nast and Audi.


Adu's mother, Emilia, monitored warily — like a hawk-eyed stage mom — as this column interviewed her sports prodigy.


Q: "What do you think of Posh and Becks? Are you going to date a Spice Girl?"

Freddy: "Hell naw! Hillary Duff's next for me."

Q: "Who do you like better, Hillary Duff or Lindsay Lohan?"

Freddy: "Both. I don't know a lot of girls my age."

Q: "Which presidential candidate would you vote for, if you could vote?" Freddy (cagily): "I don't know. I don't follow that stuff."

Q: "Are you going to play for Manchester United?"

Freddy (more cagily): "Maybe."

Q: "Where do you hang out in New York?"

Freddy (even more cagily): "MTV."

Young Master Adu is either very well media-trained, or, um, a very old soul.


Also at the party — the highlight of which was Bowie's half-hour set featuring hits such as "Rebel Rebel," "Ashes to Ashes" and "Ziggy Stardust" — were Brad Pitt, Bowie's wife Iman, Edie Falco, Moby, Larisa Bond, Jason Patric and, of course, Ted Allen — who was caught apparently stiffing the men's room attendant.

"You know what, I can totally understand how that would look," Allen said Tuesday when asked why he didn't tip the guy who was passing out towels. "I was in the bathroom with my boyfriend (Columbia College journalism professor Barry Rice). Barry went ahead of me, and he did the tipping. Barry tipped him handsomely. We tipped him even though he knocked my cocktail into the sink! I'd never want to stiff someone who's doing a job like that."

THE BRIEFING

WHAT A DIFFERENCE AN INDICTMENT MAKES: Us Weekly reports that Six Flags Magic Mountain has snubbed accused child molester Michael Jackson, refusing to grant his request for VIP treatment when visiting the Valencia, Calif., location with his three children. Things were initially all set for Jackson & Co. to have a three-hour visit before the park opened to the public. But management pulled the plug at the last minute, even denying the beleaguered pop star's plea for VIP access during regular hours. "They've done special things for him before," a source told the mag. "But now the stakes are too high."

EASY LISTENIN': That was Ray Liotta — on his day off from the Broadway comedy "Match" — stocking up on CDs Monday afternoon at J&R Computer World in downtown Manhattan. Spies told me that he bought Puddle of Mudd's "Life on Display," Prince's "Musicology," Barry White's "Greatest Hits" and Seal's "IV," not to mention four titles by Sade.

VARSITY MENDACITY?: With all the controversy about John Kerry's Vietnam medals and ribbons, who'd have thought that loyal George W. Bush aide Karen Hughes would be the one to catch the president fibbing about a supposed varsity letter? In her new book, "Ten Minutes from Normal," Hughes recounts a conversation with Bush after Russian President Vladimir Putin grilled him on his Yale days. "President Putin knew you had played rugby, but he didn't have the context. I mean, you just played for one semester in college, right?" Hughes said. Bush corrected: "I played for a year, and it was the varsity." On Tuesday, a Yale spokeswoman confirmed that there's no such thing as varsity rugby at Yale — not when Bush was an undergrad in the 1960s and not today.



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