Sideshow | From Wing Bowl to top dog

Posted: July 05, 2007

In a gut-busting showdown that combined drama, daring and indigestion, two-time Wing Bowl champ Joey Chestnut emerged yesterday as the world's hot dog-eating champion, knocking off Japanese eating machine Takeru Kobayashi in a rousing-yet-repulsive triumph.

Chestnut, 23, the great red-white-and-blue hope of the annual Fourth of July competition, broke his own world record by inhaling 66 hot dogs in 12 minutes - a staggering one every 10.9 seconds - before a screaming Coney Island crowd.

"If I needed to eat another one right now, I could," the Californian said after receiving the mustard-yellow belt denoting his supremacy.

Six-time winner Kobayashi recently had a wisdom tooth extracted and received chiropractic treatment due to a sore jaw. But the winner of every Nathan's hot dog-eating competition from 2001 to 2006 showed no ill effects, staying with Chestnut frank-for-frank until the very end of the 12-minute competition.

Kobayashi finished with 63, a personal best. His previous high in the annual competition was 531/2. The previous all-time record was Chestnut's 591/2, set just last month.

Inconvenient, indeed

Al Gore's son was arrested in California early yesterday on suspicion of possessing marijuana and prescription drugs after deputies pulled him over for speeding, authorities said. Al Gore 3d, 24, was driving a blue Toyota Prius - nice! green! - about 100 m.p.h. on the San Diego Freeway when he was pulled over about 2:15 a.m., Sheriff's Department spokesman Jim Amormino said.

The deputies said they smelled marijuana (also green) and searched the car, according to Amormino, finding slightly less than an ounce of marijuana along with Xanax, Valium, Vicodin and Adderall. "He does not have a prescription for any of those drugs," Amormino said.

Young Al was being held in the men's central jail in Santa Ana, Calif., on $20,000 bail. After being arrested for pot possession in 2003 while a student at Harvard University, he completed substance-abuse counseling and now works at GOOD, an L.A.-based magazine about philanthropy aimed at young people.

Getting closer ...

Michael Jackson has been scouting real estate on Maryland's Eastern Shore, searching for a vacation home, his publicist said. The self-proclaimed King of Pop visited Maryland's hunk of the Delmarva peninsula last week "for about 24 hours," Raymone Bain told the Washington Post.

Jackson, 48, is not limiting his search to the Chesapeake Bay region. He has since "gone up the coast" to look elsewhere for a vacation place, Bain said. Wildwood, perhaps?

"He's always admired the properties on the East Coast because they have a lot of land," Bain said in the article, published yesterday. "Neverland has 3,000 acres - he likes privacy. You can't find as many properties like that on the West Coast." Or downashore, for that matter.

The Post noted that the Easton Star Democrat, "citing 'inside sources,' reported Friday that Jackson had spent the previous night at the historic Inn at Perry Cabin in the picturesque waterfront community of St. Michaels, Md. . . . A wave of news coverage followed, although none managed to cite any definite sightings of Jackson.WBAL-TV captured video of sheets shrouding the path from the inn's exit to a waiting limousine . . . which certainly seems like vintage Jacko."

Bain said Jackson came east about 10 days ago for meetings because "the majority of his advisers and attorneys are on the East Coast." She would not elaborate on the purpose of the meetings, but said Jackson was dealing with "a laundry list" of issues. "He's head of a vast corporation," Bain said.

Sly resurfaces

Speaking to Vanity Fair in his first interview in 25 years, Sly Stone comes off as having remarkably little to say. The 64-year-old reclusive rock star, who made a surprise cameo at the 2006 Grammys sporting a blond Mohawk, says he's ready to make a new album and he's raring to tour.

Why return now?

" 'Cause it's kind of boring at home sometimes," he said.

"I got a lot of songs I want to record and put out, so I'm gonna try 'em out on the road. That's the way it's always worked the best: Let's try it out and see how the people feel."

Iran prez snubs Stone

Never shy of controversy, Oliver Stone, who raised quite a few politicos' ire by making a film about Fidel Castro, last year sent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a proposal to make a biopic about the provocative Iranian president.

But alas, it is not to be.

Ahmadinejad's rep tells the Fars news agency that the prez has rejected Stone's offer.

"It is right that this person is considered part of the opposition in the U.S.," Mehdi Kalhor said, referring to Stone's well-known antipathy to President Bush. But, he continued, Stone nevertheless is part of the American system and, thus, "opposition in the U.S. is a part of the Great Satan." Which means no dice.

"I wish the Iranian people well, and only hope their experience with an inept, rigid ideologue president goes better than ours," Stone said in a statement.

A Cage-d comic hero

Guess Virgin Comics picked him to develop a new comic book because Nicolas Cage is almost as bankable as Bruce Willis and as indie-friendly, quirky and oddball as they get.

But USA Today reports the Ghost Rider star, a self-described comic geek, declared himself ideationally bankrupt. So he consulted his 16-year-old son, Weston, for ideas.

"He has been drawing comics since he was 3. He was a natural to do it," Cage says.

Conceived by the Cages and executed by X-Men writer Mike Carey and artist Dean Ruben Hyrapiet, Voodoo Child is about a kid killed in the antebellum South with a voodoo curse on him that forces him to come back to the future to do battle (a la The Crow?) with the powers of ill in post-hurricane New Orleans.


Contact "SideShow" at sideshow@phillynews.com.

This column contains information

from Web sites and Inquirer wire services.

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