• U.S.

People: Mar. 4, 2002

4 minute read
Michele Orecklin


The off-season must have been grueling. This week a number of Dominican baseball players returned to spring training having aged considerably since the end of last season. Anaheim Angel Ramon Ortiz went from 26 to 29; Kansas City Royal Neifi Perez, from 26 to 28; Atlanta Brave Rafael Furcal, from 21 to 23; and Cleveland Indian BARTOLO COLON, from 26 to 27–all without celebrating a birthday. There is no warp in the time-space continuum; rather, new measures imposed since Sept. 11 require anyone applying for a work visa to show a birth certificate. In the past, many players have lied about their age to improve their chances of getting signed by the major leagues. A younger player has more potential to develop a longer career and is less likely to get hurt. Once you pass 25, the old arm just doesn’t throw the way it used to.


Fortunately, residents of the Barbie town house do not have to fill out census forms. If they did, KAYLA, the newest member of the extended family, would have a tough time identifying her background. The doll, who had her coming out at the recent New York City Toy Fair, is described as multiethnic, though the exact ethnicities that contribute to her olive complexion and straight, waist-length hair are not specified. “It’s whatever a girl wants to see in it,” said a Barbie spokesperson, who explained the doll’s introduction as the company’s attempt to offer dolls that reflect the racial mixture girls now see at school or the park. Barbie also has African-American, Asian-American and Latina friends. The name Kayla was chosen from a list of the country’s most popular girls’ names. Though Kayla, who should be on toy shelves this month, would not seem to share any DNA with the blond-haired, blue-eyed Caucasian Barbie, both boast the exact same height and measurements, which suggests that either their gene pools mingled sometime in the past or they share the same personal trainer.


If their preferences in wardrobe, career and husbands do not adequately differentiate the two, perhaps their approach to aging will. Distinguishing herself from the founder of Ms. magazine, CHER, 55, asserted, “I’m just not gonna Gloria Steinem out and say, ‘Oh, no, I’m thrilled.'” In an interview to air this week on ABC’s Primetime Thursday, the singer turned actress turned disco diva rejects the blather about the glory of gathering wisdom and laugh lines: “I would love to lie, but I don’t think there’s anything good about it.” Lest one snicker over her attempts to fight aging with nips and tucks, Cher sets the record straight: “I’ve had the same cheeks my entire life. No butt lifts. No ribs removed.” Steinem has said she has only had her eyes done; so does this mean they’re not so different after all?


Though it briefly seemed that the days of Sputnik had returned, Americans can stop worrying that Russia is winning the race to put boy bands in space. Early last week ‘N Sync’s LANCE BASS reported that he was negotiating to visit the International Space Station aboard a Russian rocket, an idea hatched by the Amsterdam-based MirCorp. When MirCorp approached Bass, he enthusiastically embraced the proposal, issuing a statement saying he was “looking forward to completing this lifelong dream.” But by week’s end the Russian space agency said it was not MirCorp’s prerogative to book passengers aboard its rockets. Undeterred, MirCorp vice chairman Walt Anderson said he remains “confident” that Bass will nab a seat. Perhaps until we know for certain, NASA should consider recruiting a Backstreet Boy for its next shuttle mission.

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