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Also: Listen to "Celebrity Watch" from CNN Radio's Ken Pauli
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Web posted on: Tuesday, May 25, 1999 4:12:30 PM EDT

Today's buzz stories:


Julian Lennon: Stepfather knew best

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Saying his father, John Lennon, taught him only "how not to be a father," Julian Lennon has dedicated his first album in seven years to his late stepfather, Roberto Bassanini.

"He (Bassanini) was the one who took me to school every day. He was the guy," Lennon says in the forthcoming edition of USA Weekend magazine.

Lennon was only 5 years old when his mother, Cynthia, and his Beatle father were divorced. Now 36, Lennon says he saw his biological father only about a dozen times after John left him and his mother.

"He walked out the bloody door and was never around," Julian Lennon says. "I'd admire him on TV -- listen to his words and opinions. But for someone who was praised for peace and love and wasn't able to keep that at home, that's hypocrisy."

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Jim Bakker: Warning Solid Rock about space boulder

VENTURA, California (CNN) -- Former televangelist Jim Bakker says the much-discussed threat of the Y2K computer bug will be a "Sunday picnic" compared to the asteroid he envisions crashing into the Earth and blocking out the sun and moon.

"All I say is don't fall in love with this world," Bakker told a capacity crowd Sunday at the Solid Rock Christian Center.

Bakker's "PTL Club" television ministry collapsed in the 1980s when it was learned that he'd had an affair with secretary Jessica Hahn and paid her with church money to conceal it.

Now 59, Bakker spent close to five years in prison for swindling $158 million out of his followers. He says the loss of his ministry, homes, and wealth made him think "God was gone," but that prison taught him that faith pulls people through hard times.

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Julie Andrews and Alan Greenspan: Degrees of honor

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut (CNN) -- Yale University has awarded honorary doctorate degrees to stage and screen star Julie Andrews and to United States Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.

Andrews, 63, is best known for her roles in such films as "The Sound of Music" (1965), "Torn Curtain" (1966), "Victor/Victoria" (1982) and "Mary Poppins" (1964) -- she won a 1965 best-actress Academy Award for her work in the title role of "Mary Poppins." Yale on Monday presented Andrews with an honorary doctorate of fine arts.

"The sound of her music has shaped our lives," Yale President Richard C. Levin said. "But you have done more than delight us. You have mastered every medium -- stage, film, television and concert hall -- and every theatrical genre: comedy, drama and musical."

Recently, Andrews has been fighting to regain her singing voice. She says surgery for vocal-cord nodules left scar tissue that prevents her from singing.

Greenspan, 73, was given a doctorate of human letters. Levin said the award is in recognition of Greenspan's "vision for this country and your steadfast stewardship of its material well-being."

Greenspan is one of the most respected economic figures in the country and has presided over an unprecedented period of peacetime U.S. economic growth.

Neither Greenspan nor Andrews made remarks, but Andrews took a bow as more than 1,300 undergraduates and 1,600 graduate students gave her a standing ovation.

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Bill Gates: Host with the most

DURHAM, North Carolina (CNN) -- Another university, another celeb: How much would you pay to eat with Microsoft's Bill Gates and wife Melinda? Give $1 million to Duke University and you might have a chance at the big snack.

The Gates and other friends of the school are to host dinners for major donors to the school. The Gates' dinner is scheduled for late June at the couple's 66,000-square-foot estate in suburban Seattle.

The couple has given Duke one of the largest gifts in the school's history -- $20 million to fund scholarships. Melinda Gates is a Duke alumna. She joined the board of the school in 1996.

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Tim Allen: Dad's Day tools for charity

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- A TV father's finale: The man behind the character Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor, comedian Tim Allen, says a cordless drill from his signature tool collection will make a perfect Father's Day gift.

The star of ABC's "Home Improvement" -- which airs its swansong episode Tuesday night -- founded his line of tools three years ago. All profits from the Tim Allen Signature Tools collection go to benefit children's charities.

"I have always enjoyed do-it-yourself projects," Allen says. "Being in a position to actually help design and bring tools to market is an incredible opportunity. Being able to fund charities as a result is phenomenal."

Father's Day is Sunday, June 20.

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