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WHY, IT'S ... IT'S UNDIGNIFIED!

James Taylor was indignant. "This," he spluttered, "is an act of ridiculous and mindless vandalism." Strong words from the chief of Scotland's Northern Lighthouse Board; why was he so riled up? Well, because pranksters chose one of his beacons, Sgeir Bhuidhe, 100 miles north of Glasgow, for a little redecorating. When they finished, the lighthouse was a shocking pink with yellow polka dots and looked like a 23-foot-high circus clown. It still could be seen from vessels at sea, but workers were coating it again with whitewash.

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OFF YOU GO, BIG GUY

Speaking of the sea, if you'd caught a 778-pound grouper, would you feed it to your family or have it mounted as a trophy? If you were a certain Hong Kong fisherman, the answer is ... neither. Instead, he sold it to wholesaler Ng Pak-yan. So Ng must have sold it to a restaurant, right? Nope. The buyer, a wealthy woman whom he would not identify, paid $8,700 to release it back into the water.

'Battlefield' almost a given for awards as a movie dud

"Battlefield Earth," the science-fiction drama starring John Travolta, didn't register among the Oscar nominees. But it did receive another, albeit dubious, distinction: the most nominations for the Razzies, awarded to the worst in film. "Battlefield," says John Wilson of the irreverent Golden Raspberry Award Foundation, polled 93.5 percent of all nominating ballots. It's "pretty much a shoo-in," he says. His foundation has 503 voting members consisting of critics, others in the entertainment industry, and filmgoers. Winners in the nine categories - including worst picture, worst actor, and worst actress - will be announced March 24, the eve of the Academy Awards. The movies receiving the most nods:

Battlefield Earth 8

Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 5

Little Nicky 5

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The Next Best Thing 5

The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas 4

The 6th Day 3

- Associated Press

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society