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Painter calls award "the wildest thing'

President Bush awarded painter Andrew Wyeth the Congressional Gold Medal on Wednesday, marking the first time the honor has been given to an artist. "You know, when I'm out in the field painting, I have wild ideas that don't often come out in paintings, but today is the wildest thing that has ever happened to me," Wyeth said at a White House ceremony.

"His detail-loving paintings of his native Pennsylvania and of Maine magnificently evoke homes and landscapes and friends, somehow familiar and dear to us all," the president said as Wyeth and Barbara Bush stood at his side.

The medal, of solid gold and measuring about three inches in diameter, features a profile of the artist from a portrait by his son Jamie.

Et cetera . . .

Singers Michael Jackson and Elton Johnhave been named recipients of the first Ryan White Memorial Awards.

The award commemorates the stars' friendship and dedication to Ryan White, who died earlier this year at the age of 18 of complications from AIDS.

Who draws the biggest concert crowds in Nashville, the Music City? You might have expected it's Hank Williams Jr., but just barely. The runner-up is a bit more surprising: Eric Clapton.

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