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50 years of Hope

Dayton, Ohio � Bob Hope has made military men and women laugh for more than 50 years.

Now the U.S. Air Force Museum is celebrating the 98-year-old comedian and five decades of his jokes, cracks and quips with his own exhibit.

More than 2,000 people gathered Saturday to honor Hope and dedicate the exhibit: "Bob Hope: 50 Years of Hope."

Hope did not attend the tribute, which featured comedian Phyllis Diller and the U.S. Air Force Band of Flight, though members of his family did.

Marsalis knocks rap

Columbus, Ohio � Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis says he's a rocker, but not a rapper.

Marsalis, in town for a performance at Ohio State University, told students at suburban Westerville South High School that rap music was a modern-day "minstrel show."

As for rock music, "I'm more or less a die-hard swinger. I believe in it," he said.

Between jokes, storytelling and questions, Marsalis prodded students to pull out their trumpets and had one to sit at the piano and play along. He goaded a teacher into a trumpet duel.

Marsalis has been trying for nearly a decade to make schools include jazz music education in their curriculums.

Title has sweet ring

Lexington, Ky. � Add an honorary doctorate to the accolades for the Coal Miner's Daughter.

Loretta Lynn, whose country music reflected her eastern Kentucky childhood, was awarded an honorary doctor of arts degree Saturday from the University of Kentucky.

Lynn, 66, didn't attend the ceremony because of an illness. Her brother accepted the award for her.

Lynn's career includes 53 top-10 country music singles and 16 No. 1 country albums. Her latest album is "Still Country."

Seeing it in black and white

Las Vegas � "Ali" actor Will Smith said his nomination for a best actor Oscar is not just a honor � it's also a breakthrough for black performers.

Smith cited his nomination for his portrayal of boxer Muhammad Ali, along with Oscar nominations for Denzel Washington and Halle Berry, as examples of a change in thinking at the 5,700-member Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

"If you go to a French film festival, French films are nominated and French actors are going to win," Smith told an audience at the annual ShoWest convention for theater operators.

"The majority of the Academy are white Americans, and white American actors are going to win," he said. "The breakthrough is an acknowledgment of what the level of work truly is."

The convention gave Smith its male star of the year award.

The Academy Awards will be presented March 24 in Los Angeles.

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