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Original Issue

The Beat

Men and women just aren't wired the same way, and vive la différence! When Kris Benson was traded from the Mets to the Orioles, he said he was excited because he'd get to work with Baltimore pitching coach Leo Mazzone. His wife, Anna, said she was excited because it would allow the couple to have sex at yet another major league ballpark. Anna (below), who showed up at the Mets' holiday party in a low-cut Santa suit, also expressed disappointment at speculation that her behavior (she reportedly had talks with Playboy about appearing in the magazine) had something to do with the trade, which came two days before she and Kris were to take part in the Mets' preseason p.r. caravan. "I think if he was traded because of any potential talks with Playboy or anything like this, then that's a dirty, nasty, rotten trick," Anna said. She also expressed a desire to "christen the parking lot" at Camden Yards, a reference to the couple's plan to make love at every stadium Kris plays in.

■ Last year the IndyCar series got a new face, photogenic rookie Danica Patrick. Now it has a new tongue. Kiss bassist Gene Simmons cowrote a song called I Am Indy, which he has recorded with the band Bag, to promote the series. (The song can be heard on "I'm singing about a United Nations of Indy," says Simmons. "There are racers from different races, even racers of the female persuasion--and Danica Patrick is a perfect example of that persuasion. It's the great American story, and we want to spread that story." Simmons feels a kinship with the drivers, who, he says, "are rock stars in their own way. They're good-looking, cool guys--rock stars in rocket ships." But would the man who breathes fire take a turn behind the wheel? No way. "I'm just not made of that stuff," he says.

■ I do, dude. Skateboard legend Tony Hawk married Lhotse Merriam on Jan. 12 in typically laid-back fashion. The groom, 37, wore an untucked white shirt and simple black pants (the 33-year-old bride wore a Vera Wang gown) as 80 guests, including Jackass's Bam Margera, watched the couple (left) exchange vows on the Fijian isle of Tavarua.

■ Ozzie Guillen got quite a 42nd-birthday present last Friday: the American flag that flew over Cellular Field for Games 1 and 2 of the World Series, which was presented to the White Sox manager after he, his wife, Ibis, and their son, Oney, 19, became U.S. citizens earlier in the day. Guillen, who was born in Venezuela, joked that one of the questions on his citizenship test was, "Who's the mayor of Chicago?" and that he responded, "Me." Guillen actually nailed all six questions he was asked. (A candidate must answer six questions correctly while missing no more than four.) After the Guillen family was sworn in, a team spokesman presented the manager with the flag. "I think [team chairman Jerry Reinsdorf] is going to charge me for that," Guillen said.


Collectors thinking of investing in a Van Gogh should know this: What goes up must come down. With a leonine-themed aircraft floating in the distance, a balloon in the likeness of the Dutch painter was earmarked for launch at the International Festival of Balloons, an annual gathering of enthusiasts in Chàteau-d'Oex, Switzerland. And yes, its owners got it airborne before the clear alpine day gave way to a Starry Night.


A Denver doctor offered a free vasectomy in exchange for tickets to the AFC Championship Game.

They Said It


Houston basketball coach, on being given a technical for collapsing onto the court during a game against UAB due to a heart condition:

"[That] is extremely poor judgment on the officials' part."