Wednesday's intriguing people
Wanda Jackson, 73, an ex-flame of Elvis Presley, has put out an album produced by Jack White of the White Stripes.
January 26th, 2011
09:59 AM ET

Wednesday's intriguing people

Wanda Jackson

She’s called the queen of rockabilly, has secured a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and at age 73 she’s teamed up with rocker Jack White to release a new album.

White, a founder of the White Stripes, produced and arranged Jackson’s new album, “The Party Ain’t Over,” a disc bringing Jackson’s growling country-style vocals to rock tunes.

I was scared at first because I didn’t know what this young rock star was going to expect of me or ask me to do,” Jackson says on her website of her collaboration with White.

But she says White’s work quickly won her over.

“I realized he wasn’t wanting to change my style of singing at all. He just wanted me to have new, fresher material. … He just wanted more of Wanda than I was used to putting out,” she says.

He pulled out the 18-year-old young, feisty girl that was down in there buried,” Jackson said of White during an appearance on Conan O’Brien on TBS Tuesday night.

Jackson belted out “Funnel of Love,” with White on guitar, and then Conan asked Jackson about what it was like to tour with the king of rock 'n' roll, Elvis Presley, 50 years ago.

“They did more than tour,” White interjected.

“He could sure kiss good” was all Jackson offered.


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Filed under: California • Canada • Crime • Hockey • Indiana • Most Intriguing People • Music • Showbiz • Sports • Tennessee • U.S.
Family of ill young fan to sell house, move to stay close to team
Zach Bennett is a small boy but a big fan of the Charlotte Checkers hockey team.
January 21st, 2011
10:07 AM ET

Family of ill young fan to sell house, move to stay close to team

Zach Bennett is 11 years old, and he's wild about ice hockey.

He and his family were season ticket holders for the minor-league Albany (New York) River Rats - until the team moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, last spring and changed their name to the Checkers.

Over the years, players and officials with the team had gotten to be friends with Zach, who has had numerous surgeries, including the amputation of both legs, to treat neurofibromatosis.

Neurofibromatosis is a genetic disorder that causes debilitating tumors to grow on nerve tissue, according to the National Institutes of Health. It is incurable.

The separation from the team has been hard on Zach, whom players call Bug, but things are about to change.

Zach's parents, Randy and Danielle Bennett, have decided to sell their house in Albany and move to Charlotte, CNN affiliate WCNC-TV reports, and the team is helping them do it.

"We were contemplating it back and forth, and when the team said they were sold and they were headed down to Charlotte, that was kind of a no-brainer for us," Randy Bennett told WCNC.

Last week the Checkers flew the family to Charlotte, where team mascot Chubby met them at the airport. Zach and his sister Jenna ceremonially dropped the puck to start the team's annual Race Night charity game and sweater auction, which raised $20,000 to cover the family's moving expenses, according to the Checkers' website.

The planned move isn't only for hockey, of course.

For one thing, the family expects to be closer to medical facilities. They now drive about two hours to Springfield, Massachusetts, for Zach's appointments, according to the Albany Times-Union newspaper.

The weather will be easier to take, too.

"We hate the winter," Randy Bennett told the Times-Union. "How did we become a hockey family?"

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Filed under: Health • Hockey • New York • North Carolina • Sports 32 most agonizing defeats
December 24th, 2010
01:41 PM ET 32 most agonizing defeats

Remember Chris Webber's infamous timeout? Or Steve Bartman's untimely snag?

When you think of the Boston Red Sox, do you think of recent World Series victories? Or do you think of painful losses and a wobbly grounder splitting Bill Buckner's legs at first base? And when you think of major collapses, do you get flashbacks to Greg Norman at Augusta or Jean Van de Velde rolling up his pants and wading in the Barry Burn at Carnoustie?

Our strongest sports memories aren't always our fondest, but the harsh reality is sports can often be as cruel as they are rewarding. For every winner, there is a loser. And for every priceless moment of utter bliss, there is usually a devastating feeling of emptiness right around the corner.


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Filed under: Basketball • Football • Golf • Hockey • Sports
Thursday's intriguing people
December 23rd, 2010
02:28 PM ET

Thursday's intriguing people

Rafael Benitez

The volatile coach of the Inter Milan soccer team was fired Thursday after demanding the team's owner voice support for him.

Benitez had previously criticized the team's board for its unwillingness to spend money to acquire better players.

Benitez, a 50-year-old Spaniard, had been the team's coach for just six months.

"F.C. Internazionale would like to thank Rafael Benitez for his work in charge of the team, which he guided to success in the Italian League Super Cup and in the FIFA Club World Cup," a statement from the team said.

The Rev. Henry Covington

The Detroit pastor ministered to the poor and homeless out of a run-down church with a huge hole in the roof.

Mitch Albom, a Detroit Free Press columnist and author of "Tuesdays With Morrie," featured Covington in his best-selling 2009 book, "Have a Little Faith."

Covington became a Christian after giving up a life of drug-dealing and violence in New York. He created I Am My Brother's Keeper Ministries in the dilapidated Pilgrim Church in a poor neighborhood in Detroit, where he became the subject of a column by Albom in 2008.

Readers' response to Albom's column resulted in a new book and charitable foundation for Albom, a new roof for the church, and a new level of celebrity for Covington.

Covington and Albom appeared Monday on NBC's "Today" show in New York, Covington's hometown. Covington stayed an extra day to visit with family. He died in his sleep Tuesday night. He was 53.

In an emotional obituary/column Thursday, Albom referred to the night Covington's life changed:

"You were saved that night, saved from the drug dealers out for revenge, and saved from the spiral of an empty, wasted life. Your soul began its comeback. You got clean. Stayed clean. And you kept your promise. You gave the Lord not only your devotion, but your days."

Covington is survived by his wife, Annette, and four children. His funeral will be Tuesday morning at Pilgrim Church.

Kayla Watkins

The 12-year-old from Toronto recently decided to quit her coed hockey team, the Ice Dogs - not because she was the only girl, but because the father of one of her teammates called for severe restrictions on her ice time.

The father, a lawyer, drafted an agenda that identified Kayla's skill level and abilities as a liability to the team.

"It is now 14 games into the season and I have noticed that Kayla's play has not improved," the agenda reads, according to the Toronto Star.

The agenda then proposes several options for limiting Kayla's playing time.

"If Kayla is NOT amenable to the above options, the coach should find Kayla a new team to play on commensurate to her skill level for the balance of the season," the agenda reads, according to the Star.

The coach, for his part, said he wanted Kayla to stay on the team. But to spare herself the humiliation and to quiet the controversy, Kayla has switched to playing with the all-girl North York Storm.

"I felt that if I went back all the parents would have been watching every move I made and always staring at me," she told the Star. "To play hockey you shouldn't have to go through what I went through. I was just looking to have friendship and play the game I love."

James Esber

The artist's exhibit at the Pierogi gallery in Brooklyn, New York, is drawing attention for one particular work: a collection of tracings representing Osama bin Laden.

Esber gave each of 100 friends and relatives a photocopy of a drawing he made of bin Laden, a piece of tracing paper, a pencil, and red and black ink. Each person was asked to trace the drawing and color it to taste.

The result is what The New York Times calls "a dizzying, slightly hallucinatory, one-rogue rogue's gallery."

The result, titled "You, Me and Everyone Else," may say more about the artists than it says about bin Laden.

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Filed under: Art • Canada • Hockey • Italy • Michigan • Most Intriguing People • New York • Soccer • Sports
November 30th, 2010
11:13 AM ET

Tuesday's intriguing people

  Mike Modano

The veteran Detroit Red Wings center suffered a career-threatening injury over the weekend when an opposing player's skate severed a tendon in his right wrist.

"Once the skate hit me, the pain was really sharp, and I knew something was wrong," Modano said in a telephone interview with the Detroit Free Press. "When I looked in the glove and saw the type of bleeding there was, I knew something was really wrong. I knew it wasn't going to be good news."

Modano, 40, underwent surgery to repair the tendon and nerve damage. His right arm is immobilized, but surgeons attached elastic bands to his fingertips to help him flex his fingers and prevent scar tissue from forming, he told the Free Press.

With 1,367 points, the Westland, Michigan, native is the highest-scoring American-born player in National Hockey League history, according to  He spent 20 years with the Stars franchise in Minnesota and Texas before the Red Wings signed him last summer.

"I'd be devastated if my career ends like this," he told the Free Press. "Hopefully I can come back and play. But this has been a real bummer."

Steven Posner

The real-estate billionaire and another man were killed Monday in a high-speed boat collision in Florida's Biscayne Bay, the Miami Herald reported.

Posner, 67, and a friend were drag racing in high-performance catamarans, capable of going more than 100 mph, when Posner's boat struck the other, according to the paper.

Both boats had three people aboard, officials told CNN affiliate WPLG. Posner's cousin, Stuart Posner, suffered critical injuries and was taken to a hospital by helicopter, WPLG reported. The other dead man's name was not released.

Posner was the son of corporate raider Victor Posner. Both men were involved in the Drexel Burnham Lambert securities fraud case in the 1980s headlined by Michael Milken.

The Posner family remained in the news for years during a drawn-out dispute over how to divide the family fortune.

Andrew Robathan

Britain's defense personnel minister has decided not to change the United Kingdom's policy of keeping female personnel off the front lines of combat, the BBC is reporting.

"Women are fundamental to the operational effectiveness of Britain's armed forces, bringing talent and skills across the board," the BBC quoted Robathan as saying. "Their capability is not in doubt; they win the highest decorations for valour and demonstrate independence and initiative."

Nevertheless, a military review concluded that their presence in infantry and tactical combat teams would have no tangible positive effect.

The same review determined that women on the front lines could make an unforeseen impact on team cohesion and could have "far-reaching and grave consequences," leading Robathan to maintain the status quo, according to the BBC.

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Filed under: Business • Finance • Florida • Hockey • Military • Most Intriguing People • Sports • United Kingdom
November 18th, 2010
11:09 AM ET Longoria-Parker divorce drama

NBA star Tony Parker and actress Eva Longoria are divorcing.

Tony Parker is making news, and not for his 21 points against the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night. The San Antonio Spurs point guard and his wife, actress Eva Longoria, have called it quits after seven years of marriage, citing irreconcilable differences, though Parker is rumored to have cheated.

Granted, it's not the most shocking development in athlete-celebrity relations. There are plenty of hookups, divorces and everything in between when these two worlds collide. But what does make this story a little more intriguing is the identity of the alleged "other woman."

Basketball drama aside, Thursday night football action is coming your way:

Chicago Bears vs. Miami Dolphins (8:20 p.m., ET) - Down to their third-string quarterback, the Dolphins face an uphill battle against the Bears at Sun Life Stadium. But don't underestimate Tyler Thigpen. With 20 touchdowns and 16 interceptions, Miami could have a lot worse to work with.

By The Numbers

17 - age of Juan Agudelo, the youngest member of the United States national soccer team to score a goal in the modern era. Just six days away from his 18th birthday, Agudelo scored his historic goal during a friendly against South Africa.

82 - number of games Greg Oden has played in since making his NBA debut four seasons ago. The Trail Blazers center will miss the rest of the season after undergoing microfracture surgery on his left knee Friday.'s Zach Lowe discusses Oden's future in Portland on his blog, The Point Forward.

11 - number of consecutive games the New York Islanders have lost. Their most recent disappointment came against the Tampa Bay Lightning on the night of new coach Jack Capuano's debut.

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Filed under: Basketball • Eva Longoria • Hockey • Pro football • Showbiz • Soccer • Sports
November 10th, 2010
06:40 PM ET

Captains to choose sides for NHL All-Star Game

A league that has long tinkered with its all-star event is at it again - this time in favor of something resembling a pick-up game.

Instead of pitting one conference against the other, the National Hockey League will let two captains choose sides from a pool of players for the 2011 All-Star Game in Raleigh, North Carolina, the NHL said on its website Wednesday.

The NHL says the captains' All-Star Fantasy Draft - to be held on January 28, two days before the game - will make the game more interesting.


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Filed under: Hockey • Sports
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