Backstreet joys

What was the coolest thing about the Backstreet Boys' Millennium Tour? Oh, please, it's just too hard to pick one thing! Here are my picks for the best and worst parts of the Boys' show in Chicago.

BEST SPECIAL EFFECT: The guys coming in the arena on lighted skateboards, floating through the air.

WORST COSTUME: Puffy body armor that made them look like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The best? The black leather outfits. Oooh-eee! Hot stuff.

BIGGEST SCREAM-GETTER: Nick, closely followed by Brian and A.J. Kevin was pretty popular, too, but the roadies checking equipment before the show got more screams than Howie D.

STRANGEST MOMENT: Each Boy brought one girl and her mom onstage for "The Perfect Fan." The girls were in total shock; they weren't even smiling! But I bet once their big moment sank in -- a few hours later -- they were like, "Aaaahiaiiiiahhahheeee!"

FUNNIEST MOMENT: Nick throwing stuffed animals at A.J. while both dangled on wires during "Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)."

BEST SONG: Of course, they had to save it for last -- "I Want It That Way," the anthem of 1999 ... and beyond!

-- Maureen Ryan

A poppin' good time

Looking to chew up a little bit of time? Dubble Bubble's site on bubble gum serves up a few sweet diversions that'll do just that.

Go to and start clicking through Pud's Clubhouse (right) to unearth the secrets of blowing big, big bubbles. (Hint: There's a secret ingredient!) Or avoid future sticky situations by learning how to get gum out of stuff -- your hair, your shoes, Mom's couch.

Problem is, you'll have to dodge a few annoying areas on the site (kind of like walking around gum on a sidewalk) to get to the good stuff. The site's bubble gum history is a big commercial for Dubble Bubble. And the cartoon gallery ... well, let's say it's better for its retro appeal than for laughs.

c 1997 Chicago Tribune. Distributed by Knight-Ridder/Tribune, Inc.

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