Item! Obliquely named "rapper" (as it's known in some parts) Two Pack Shaker was shot in Las Vegas recently, and he slipped away into gangster heaven days later. Two Pack lived a life of "rapping" about drugs and crime and shooting, but let's not dwell on that which Allanis Morrisete (my new favorite!) would call ironic. Rather, we should mourn the loss of a wounded human being who was looking for love.

Perhaps this will serve as a wake-up call to other "rappers" who perform songs about being a gangster. Plus, everyone knows that the original gangster, Frank Sinatra, makes his livelihood in Las Vegas. This could very well be a turf war the likes of which were prevalent in Chicago, 1929.

Item! Captain William Shatner, made honorary captain for his work on Star Trek and Rescue 911, granted the dying wish of a young fan last week when he donned his uniform and "beamed down" into the child's hospital room. (Actually, the effect was produced by putting a pillowcase over the boy's head until Shatner was in place.) Shatner cheered him up, guaranteeing him a seat in the captain's chair when he recovered. Unfortunately, the boy is in the terminal phase of leukemia, so he'll never recover, but still, it's a nice gesture from the man affectionately known by all as Captain Kirk.

Item! Redhead teen heartthrob Anthony Michael Hall, star of The Breakfast Club, recently celebrated his sweet 16 with—what else?—a new car! According to my sources, it's a nice, sensible car, a blue, four-door sedan of an as-yet-unknown make and model. Don't worry, though—I'll be sure to let you know the moment we have any further information. It's good to know he didn't go for something flashy like a Jaguar or Porsche, the kinds of cars he could have easily afforded due to his celebrity status. A heart of gold and a class act to boot, that Anthony Michael Hall.

Famous female? Male? RuPaul is getting her own talk show. That just goes to prove something I stated in my column a few weeks back, and that is that everyone has their own talk show. I'll be getting one of my own soon. Just kidding! I really won't be. But if Hollywood calls...

I just wish that people would stop smoking. I mean, it's really not glamorous. Plus, there are other people who have to breathe your smelly smoke. Come on, people!

Also in the "where there's smoke, there's fire" department, everybody's smoking cigars! There are clubs where people go to smoke cigars. There are magazines about it. And I even recently saw a photograph of leggy superstar Julia Roberts smoking one. Well, if it's good enough for the Pretty Woman, then maybe cigar smoking is okay. But you cigarette smokers are still on my list!

That Samuel L. Jackson sure works hard for his money. Is there a movie this year he isn't in?

Item! He made you laugh in Stakeout. He made you cry in Mr. Holland's Opus. And now he's making us happy. I'm talking, of course, about the great Richard Dreyfuss, who finally got his own star on Hollywood Boulevard. A star for a star is only fitting.

Well, all eyes were on the vice-presidential debate last week, and I think that the winner, hands down, was Mr. Al Gore. He looked positively vice-presidential.

Item! The hot buzz around Hollywood is that Dr. Hunk himself, George Clooney, is going to be playing the part of Batman in an upcoming movie called Batman and Robin. Is the rugged surgeon nervous about taking over the role made famous by Burt Ward? Apparently not! George is cool as a cucumber, and this should be just another operation for him, only he'll be taking crime out of the streets instead of tumors out of people's livers.

Can anyone tell me how to do this mascarena everyone's talking about? I'm a fast learner! Really!