Ben, J. Lo not taking it slow

New York �The ink has barely dried on Jennifer Lopez's divorce papers, and already sources close to her say the ex-Mrs. Cris Judd is seriously considering a third walk down the aisle � with her newly beloved, Ben Affleck, reports The New York Post.

"She and Ben have been getting very close and marriage talks have come up," said one source. "There was some talk of December for a wedding but that has now changed and it's pushed back a bit."

So just how smitten are the new lovebirds? Ask Kevin Smith, writer and director of the duo's latest film, "Jersey Girl."

"If you're ever shooting a movie about two people falling in love, I can't urge you strongly enough to cast a pair of people who are actually falling in love," he writes in his weekly diary on

"The chemistry between Ben and Jen is so palpable, you could almost bottle it and sell it as an aphrodisiac."

Clarke criticizes space progress

Houston � "We're lucky to get to Mars in 2020," Arthur C. Clarke said, lamenting the progress the world has made in space exploration.

The science fiction writer, who spoke by telephone from his home in Sri Lanka, was among the participants in an event Monday commemorating the 40th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's speech at Rice University, where he set forth his goal of landing on the moon.

A panel discussion took place at Rice Stadium, where Kennedy spoke on Sept. 12, 1962. Clarke spoke about how Kennedy's words, which once inspired the race to space, now have fallen on deaf ears.

"The end of the Cold War removed one of the main motivations for the space race," he said.

Cosby named parade marshal

Pasadena, Calif.� Fred Rogers, Bill Cosby and Art Linkletter will lead the 114th Tournament of Roses parade on New Year's Day.

"These three personalities have spent a lifetime entertaining children of all ages, offering insight into their imaginations, and in turn, serving as advocates for child welfare and development," tournament President Gary Thomas said Monday.

Former parade grand marshals include Regis Philbin, Carol Burnett, Jimmy Stewart, Walt Disney, Shirley Temple, Hank Aaron, Bob Hope, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Gregory Peck, John Glenn, Erma Bombeck and Kermit the Frog.

Prince Charles welcome to go

London � At least one lawmaker welcomes Prince Charles' reported threat to leave Britain if it bans fox hunting.

"I think it's wonderful," Dennis Skinner of the governing Labor Party said Monday. "I was keen to vote to get rid of fox hunting. I'm doubly keen now � what a bonus."

Several newspapers reported Sunday that Charles wrote a strident letter to Prime Minister Tony Blair accusing the government of destroying the countryside.


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