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Etc...

I'm ready for my close-up

The stunning New Zealand landscape of the "Lord of the Rings" series is making the country popular with other Hollywood filmmakers, too. But a problem cropped up as work began near Mount Taranaki on a Tom Cruise feature, "The Last Samurai." Indigenous Maori, who regard the mountain as an ancestor, want a gift for its appearance in the background - "not necessarily cash," says Maori spokesman Te Miringa Hohaia. An opposition lawmaker called the request "extortion." But the debate may be moot. Director Ed Zwick says since the film is set in Japan, the mountain will likely replaced by a computerized image ... of Mount Fuji.

Coupon-clipping king

A coupon-clipper looking to score a new car got the run-around when he presented a dealer with $41,400 worth of coupons. Stay-at-home dad Chris Shields of Eliot, Maine, said he was perusing newspaper ads recently when he noticed a $200-off coupon from Toyota of Portsmouth.

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Shields said nothing in the ad limited customers to one coupon, so he bought more than 200 Seacoast Newspapers carrying the ad and clipped away. On Jan. 4, Shields packed up his coupons in a black briefcase and made his way to the dealership in hopes of picking up a silver 2002 Sequoia Limited worth about $42,000. He said he was rebuffed with a suggestion that he get a lawyer.

Dealership owner Jim Boyle said Shields won't be getting the car with coupons.

"The ad ran as it was supposed to run, and there was nothing misleading or deceptive about it," he said. "No reasonable person could possibly expect to piggyback coupons like that and walk away with a new car."

Par and then some

By his own admission, Jack Gosch's front nine at the Sunrise Country Club earlier this week was nothing special.

That all changed quickly.

He aced the 10th hole. And then on the 11th - bingo! - another hole in one.

"I've never gotten more congratulations for anything in my life," Gosch said. "The word spreads fast in the golf community." And there was no disputing that it really happened, either. Playing in his foursome was Jerry Seeman, the senior director of officiating in the NFL for 101/2 years until his retirement in June 2001.

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Sunrise is an executive course, with 10 par 4s and eight par 3s - a 3,837-yard, par-64 layout.

Popularity rules at first of year's entertainment awards

Julia Roberts took her ninth "favorite film actress" title at the 29th Annual People's Choice Awards ceremony, held Sunday in Pasadena, Calif. The first of the year's entertainment honors cover 16 categories in film, television, and music. A list of the winners, which were determined by Gallup poll:

Movie: (tie) "Spider-Man" and "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring"
Movie, drama: "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring"
Movie, comedy: "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"
Movie actor: Mel Gibson
Movie actress: Julia Roberts
TV drama: "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," CBS
TV comedy: "Friends," NBC
TV actress: Jennifer Aniston, "Friends," NBC
TV actor: Ray Romano, "Everybody Loves Raymond," CBS
Reality show: "Survivor: Thailand," CBS
Daytime drama: "Days of Our Lives," NBC
New comedy series: "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter," ABC
New drama series: "CSI: Miami," CBS
Female musical performer: Faith Hill
Male musical performer: Eminem
Band: (tie) Dixie Chicks, Creed
- Associated Press