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Keep the word, poll finds

In a poll conducted by Jane Henderson at stltoday.com/bookblog, 98 percent of the 618 responses said the n-word should not be removed from new editions of Mark Twain's "Huck Finn" and "Tom Sawyer."

Body of work • Gunther von Hagens, 65, the creator of the Body Worlds exhibitions of body parts infused with synthetic resin, said he is dying of Parkinson's disease and that his wife "will plastinate my body," and "my plastinated corpse will then stand in a welcoming pose at the entrance of my exhibition." Body Worlds was presented at the St. Louis Science Center three years ago and sold a record 100,000 tickets in its first month.

Money shots • Singer Toni Braxton tweeted that she is considering an offer to pose for Playboy magazine: "Of course it will be tastefully done … Just a lil T and A." She filed for bankruptcy protection in October.

TV TALK

Gail Pennington is in Los Angeles covering the Television Critics Association winter gathering. Make sure to "like" facebook.com/tubetalkpd to get her updates, among them:

• Nat Geo celebrates its 10th birthday with champagne and Rice Krispie treats. Leading into a panel on cannibalism.

• Nat Geo Wild, a new channel, has a show about "Working Class Dogs." And yet, we get a panel on snakes?

• Doctor is here with teen who at age 10 got a transplanted bladder built of cells that told his body to regenerate one for him. Wow.

• You know you're in LA when the elderly gentleman who nods to you in the hotel hallway is Ed Asner — looking frail, unfortunately.

• Gail will hold her weekly chat today at 1 p.m. at stltoday.com/chat. You can join it live, or post questions ahead of time.

Concert announcements

Reported by Kevin C. Johnson at stltoday.com/blender:

• Mike Watt and the Missingmen will perform at Blueberry Hill's Duck Room on April 14.

• Marshall Crenshaw and the Bottle Rockets will play Off Broadway together on Jan. 19. Also coming to Off Broadway: Jan. 21, Jumbling Towers; Jan. 23, Dale Watson; Jan. 28, Pepperland; Feb. 2, Ted Leo; Jan. 29, Langhorne Slim.

• Family Arena will present Winterjam on April 1 with the Newsboys, David Crowder Band, Kutless, Francesca Battistelli, RED, KJ-52 and guest speaker Tony Nolan.

Going out • Singer John Mellencamp, 59, is keeping company with actress Meg Ryan, 49. Mellencamp announced last week that he and wife Elaine had separated after 18 years of marriage but said they actually separated months before he started seeing Ryan.

Posh change • Victoria Beckham, 36, told Vogue magazine that she had her breast implants removed. Over the years, she had her 34A increased to DD, then decreased to D, then B.

Date fright • After photos were published of Selena Gomez, 18, kissing fellow teen singer Justin Bieber, 16, she received death threats.

Helping • Actor David Arquette, 39, entered rehab for alcohol dependency and depression. Wife Courteney Cox, 46, who left him in October, said she had "a lot of respect for him" for taking the action. So did her new boyfriend, Brian Van Holt, 41.

Done • Singer Taylor Swift, 21, and Jake Gyllenhaal, 30, are no longer dating, People magazine reported.

Celebrity birthdays

Country singer Earl Scruggs is 87. Accordionist Joey, the CowPolka King, is 62. Director John Singleton is 43.

 

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