PORK PROCESSORS and ham handlers are mad at celebrity cook and
, who's quite the ham herself.
After months spent tracking the drawling, cackling, butter-loving Food Network hostess at book signings and paid appearances across the country, the United Food and Commercial Workers union staged a rally Monday outside Deen's Savannah, Ga., restaurant, The Lady and Sons.
The union has targeted Deen because of her endorsement deal with Smithfield Foods, the Virginia-based owner of the world's largest pork-processing plant in Tar Heel, N.C. The union has fought with the company for more than a decade in attempts to unionize plant workers.
(There's nothing like angry workers processing your food.)
Union organizers want Deen to meet with workers and take their concerns about wages and poor working conditions to Smithfield executives. They also want her to stop endorsing Smithfield products if the company refuses to make changes.
"Paula, Paula, meet with the workers!" demonstrators chanted Monday night outside the entrance to Deen's restaurant, where few customers inside bothered to look up from plates of fried chicken and sweet potatoes.
Deen told the Associated Press she has no plans to intervene.
"I feel that I'm being dragged into something that I'm certainly no expert at," Deen said.
But she sure is an expert at cookin' those hams. Forbes estimates Deen makes about $4 million a year. Workers who inventory live hogs at the Smithfield plant make under $12 an hour.
Hair today, on sale tomorrow
In another example of people will buy anything, a lock of John Lennon's hair is going for bid tomorrow at Gorringes auction house in Worthing, England.
Lennon gave Beatles hair stylist Betty Glasow (those bangs didn't cut themselves, you know), the lock of hair in a copy of his book "A Spaniard in the Works." In the dedication he wrote, "To Betty, Lots of Love and Hair, John Lennon."
The book - with the hair still inside - could fetch as much as $6,200, said Nick Muston, director of Gorringes.
Glasow decided to sell the items because she wanted fans to have them, Muston said.
"She feels that rather than these things being stuck in a drawer with nobody enjoying them, real enthusiasts [could] get their hands on these things," Muston said.
Other items in the sale include signed photographs of the Beatles dedicated to Glasow, including one in which George Harrison signed the photo George "Dandruff" Harrison.
Another lot includes a program, ticket and screw from one of the seats at a 1965 Beatles Christmas concert at Hammersmith Apollo, in London, where fans ripped out seats so they could dance in the aisles.
A screw? Someone will buy a seat screw?
* Billboard.biz says Sir Paul Mc-
Cartney will perform at the 2008 Brit Awards on Feb. 20 and receive the coveted outstanding-contribution-to-music honor.
The award has been collected over the years by stars including U2, Paul Weller, Tom Jones, Sting, David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac, the Eurythmics, the Who, and the most recent recipient, Oasis.
Paul Weller? Before McCartney?
Oasis? Without Paul McCartney there is no Oasis.
The Beatles, by the way, won the award at the inaugural Brits in 1977.
* Gwen Stefani is contributing
$166,000 from her Oct. 30 San Diego concert to the San Diego Foundation's fire relief fund, to provide scholarships for students who lost their homes in the city's recent wildfires.
"When I heard about the devastation of the fires, at first I felt I should cancel my show out of respect. But then it occurred to me there might be a more useful solution," Gwen said in a recent statement.
Application deadline (at sdfoundation.org) for the Gwen Stefani After-the-Fire Scholarships is Jan. 28.
* Meanwhile a few hours of stop-and-go traffic farther north, Eddie Van Halen's front yard was flooded.
Eddie was with his band in Canada when he received a call early Monday from Los Angeles fire officials.
A broken water main in Studio City sent thousands of gallons of water flowing down Coldwater Canyon Avenue and into his yard.
Eddie's was the lone home affected by the water. Sandbags placed around the house prevented any water from seeping inside.
* Tattle wishes go out to longtime
"Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek, who was hospitalized yesterday after a minor heart attack.
Trebek, 67, was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center late Monday night and was expected to remain there about two days for tests and observation, said show spokesman Jeff Ritter.
A post on the official "Jeopardy!" Web site said Trebek was "resting comfortably" and "will be back in the studio for the next scheduled tapings in January." His heart attack was first reported by "Entertainment Tonight."
It is unclear whether doctors will need to perform a Daily Double bypass.
* Orson Welles' 156-page working
script for the 1941 classic "Citizen Kane" sold for $97,000 to an anonymous buyer at a Sotheby's auction yesterday.
With the writers on strike Hollywood execs are looking for "new" ideas everywhere.
* According to TMZ.com, Dr. Jan
Adams, the "surgeon" who operated on Kanye West's mother, Donda, the day before she died, has agreed to start making payments to former patient Lori Ufondu, who sued him, claiming he left a sponge inside her during a surgery in 1996.
At least it wasn't a loofah. *
Daily News wire services contributed to this report.