Val Kilmer to be among Mardi Gras royalty at Bacchus parade

Actor Val Kilmer will reign as celebrity king when the Krewe of Bacchus parade rolls through New Orleans on Feb. 22, two days before Mardi Gras.


Kilmer will be decked out in royal apparel as he rides through the city on a float in the annual parade.

"He's very excited," said Bacchus captain Owen "Pip" Brennan, who has been in contact with Kilmer about the event.


Kilmer will visit Children's Hospital, a tradition every reigning Bacchus has participated in for the past three decades, Brennan said.

Bacchus organizers unveiled yesterday the doubloon that will bear Kilmer's likeness. The souvenir coins will be thrown to spectators during the parade.

Coming in for a landing

You can be the virtual Hero of the Hudson.

An online video game inspired by US Airways Flight 1549 offers players the chance to try landing a plane in the Hudson River.

The instructions for the game tell you to use the left and right arrow keys on your keyboard to keep the plane level with the water as it plunges from an altitude of 1,500 feet. It begins with the warning, "The fate of passengers is in your hands!"

If you get it wrong, the jet crashes and sinks into the river with an ominous gurgling sound.

Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, the pilot, was forced to ditch the plane in the river after a collision with a flock of birds knocked out both engines. All 155 aboard survived the Jan. 15 splash-landing.


Winging it

It's not a Super Bowl ring, but the eating efforts of John Squibb of Berlin, N.J., have earned him a $7,500 diamond ring.

The 23-year-old won Philadelphia's Wing Bowl by downing 203 chicken wings in about 20 minutes.

He also gets a car and a crown of miniature chickens.

Thousands attend the early-morning gorge-fest held every year on the Friday before the Super Bowl. Sports-talk station WIP-AM sponsors the contest.

An ear to the future


A performance series featuring musicians Alanis Morissette, Raphael Saadiq, KT Tunstall and others will debut on many public TV stations next month.

The gimmick for Live From the Artist's Den is placing musicians in unusual venues: Ani DiFranco is captured at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the Hold Steady perform at a former bank in New York.

Two New York public television stations, WNET and WLIW, are producing the shows and view them as a way to attract younger audiences.

Besides those stations, public television stations in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston, Houston, Miami and elsewhere have committed to airing it. So check local listings.

Toby Keith, clothier

Country singer Toby Keith, 46, will launch his TK Steelman clothing line of casual duds for average dudes next month.


The line, which will be marketed to Target, Wal-Mart, Kohl's and Macy's, will feature long-sleeve shirts, T-shirts, polos, sweat shirts, jeans, cowboy hats, baseball caps and more for men ages 25 to 54.

There will also be sleeveless shirts, the singer's signature style. The brand will feature oilfield imagery on the logo and font selections, a nod to Keith's early days working in the oilfields of Oklahoma.

Indian artifacts online

The Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian is putting its 800,000-object collection online.

The museum plans to launch the first phase of the project Monday, beginning with 5,500 items and photographs. The project is part of the museum's regular Web site.

Officials say the digital showcase will allow people living far away from the museum's three locations in Washington and New York to view its archives, particularly, says museum director Kevin Gover, American Indians who may not be able to afford to travel to the museum but have access to the Internet and satellite technology.


The museum can barely display 1 percent of its collection at its locations.

From Sun news services

today's birthdays

Actress Carol Channing, 88.

Composer Philip Glass, 72.

Actor Anthony LaPaglia, 50.


Actress Minnie Driver, 39.

Actress Kerry Washington, 32.

Singer Justin Timberlake, 28.