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Tattle: Speculation about ailing Aretha Franklin abounds

WHILE HER FRIENDS Smokey Robinson and the Rev. Jesse Jackson have called Aretha Franklin's recent surgery a success, with the Queen of Soul recovering nicely, there has been no official explanation of either Aretha's condition or prognosis.

Aretha Franklin: Hospitalized, but no official explanation.
Aretha Franklin: Hospitalized, but no official explanation.Read more


Smokey Robinson

and the Rev.

Jesse Jackson

have called

Aretha Franklin

's recent surgery a success, with the Queen of Soul recovering nicely, there has been no official explanation of either Aretha's condition or prognosis.

And when there's nothing official, the unofficial starts.

An unnamed source told the Detroit News yesterday that Aretha is suffering from pancreatic cancer. The National Enquirer - which unfortunately makes diagnostic calls as accurately as Dr. House - broke a similar story first. That's rarely a good sign. Aretha's publicist, Tracey Jordan, did not have a comment.

It goes without saying that if the unnamed source is accurate, Aretha has a tough road ahead. Pancreatic cancer is the most lethal of cancers, with only 5 percent of people living for five years after diagnosis.

On the plus side, most people with pancreatic cancer get their diagnosis too late to undergo any type of surgery. That Aretha was able to go under the knife could be a positive sign.

Jackson said in an interview with the Associated Press that he's visited Aretha four or five times recently, including a few days ago, and that her "spirits are high, and her faith is strong."

"She's conscious, communicating and taking daily walks up and down the hall," he said.

Door to open

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist now has enough votes to get the state's Executive Clemency Board to pardon Doors singer Jim Morrison for a 1969 indecent-exposure conviction.

Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink said yesterday that she'll vote for the pardon, giving Crist the second of two other board members he needs for approval.

The board will vote on the pardon today.

Morrison was appealing the conviction when he was found dead in a Paris bathtub in 1971.

Crist leaves office Jan. 4 and says he has doubts about whether Morrison exposed his penis during a rowdy Miami concert on March 1, 1969. For a politican who's denied rumors of homosexuality for years, focusing on Jim Morrison's penis while preparing to leave office does seem a bit odd.


* To ring in 2011, shameless MTV says it plans to put "Jersey Shore" star Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi inside a ball that drops in Times Square. MTV says other personalities from its hit reality show will lead the crowd in a collective fist pump in hopes of breaking the Guinness world record during the "MTV New Year's Bash" special.

* Deniz A., a teenage German hacker, says he's sorry for stealing pop songs from Lady Gaga, Kelly Clarkson and other singers - some previously unreleased - and selling them online. Deniz told Bild newspaper yesterday that he and a friend hadn't set out to do anything wrong.

That's the problem, Deniz. It didn't even occur to you that stealing copyrighted material and re-selling it might be wrong.

* Aretha Wilson, who

pleaded no contest to slashing Leonardo DiCaprio's face with a glass at a house party five years ago, was sentenced to two years in California state prison Tuesday.

Wilson was sentenced by L.A. Superior Court Judge Patricia Schnegg after entering her plea last month to assault with a deadly weapon.

Her sentencing was delayed while authorities tried to figure out how much credit she would receive for time served.

Her attorney, Freddy Sayegh, said Wilson is likely to serve roughly six months after all her credits are factored in. She may be deported to Canada after her release, Sayegh said.

* The Toledo, Ohio, city council voted 6-5 against against a proposal to give its symphony $10,000 to help cover the cost of a trip to perform for the first time at Carnegie Hall.

Despite the setback, Kathy Carroll, the symphony's president, said they'll still make the trip and find the money from another source.

"Life goes on and we will still be at Carnegie Hall and we intend to make the city proud," she told the Toledo Blade. "We will continue to seek funds for the performance. You only get to debut once at Carnegie Hall."

Toledo Mayor Mike Bell said he was disappointed with the vote and suggested that the city find another way to help the symphony.

* At the recent fundraiser for

Chabad House, a Jewish community center in New Brunswick, N.J., Gov. Chris Christie was enthusiastically introduced as a "rock star" to one of the guests.

Paul McCartney.

When the rarely apologetic governor spoke, he made it clear that McCartney was the only rock star in the room.

* Hey now, Jeffrey Tambor will replace Kelsey Grammer in Broadway's latest revival of "La Cage aux Folles."

Tambor will star as Georges opposite Harvey Fierstein, who is himself replacing Douglas Hodge in the role of Albin.

Tambor and Fierstein will begin performances on Feb. 15 at the Longacre Theatre.

* reports that Lindsay Lohan is in not-so-secret negotiations to join "Dancing with the Stars."

Good for her. Not so good for her dancing partner.

* Donald Trump told "Extra" he's seriously considering running for president in 2012.

"Extra." It's the new "Meet the Press."

* Khloe Kardashian told George Lopez on "Lopez Tonight" that going through airport security was like getting raped in public.

What an idiot!

* According to, SeaWorld is claiming that rocker Tommy Lee's allegation that park personnel use cow vaginas to manually "masturbate" their killer whales for sperm collection is "beyond ludicrous."

Really? It seemed so sensible.

Tommy, an erect whale penis can be up to 8 feet in length. How big do you think a cow is?

Daily News staff writer Ellen Gray and wire services contributed to this report.