Brady's Bunch

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With all due respect to "60 Minutes" and the Sunday Magazine of The New York Times, I'm not buying Darryl Strawberry as "an American tragedy." Long before cancer, Straw was beating up women, evading taxes, doing coke, fighting teammates and indulging his appetites, while pounding bibles and "finding Jesus" whenever he got caught. A bum and a phony.

Nifty line from New York Post sportswriter Joel Sherman: "A Calista Flockhart pitch, nowhere near the plate."

Lunched with Lynn Heiler, publisher of Bon Appetit, at this hot Mario Batali place Esca, West 43rd and 9th Ave. in Manhattan. Great fish. But God forbid you ask for a glass of wine. Mini-carafes only, sniffs the headwaiter. Lynn was off to Cannes, where her magazine is a sponsor of the American Pavilion at the film fete.

Carl Portale of Elle worries that the economic slump will cut March of Dimes contributions for birth-defects research. This year on WalkAmerica Day (April 29), the annual fund-raising event, Publisher Carl ran 10 miles instead of walking 15, earning more bucks.

Space Cadets: please explain to WCBS radio sports guy Kevin Connors, the third game of a four-game Yanks-Red Sox series is NOT "the rubber match."

A phony bomb threat cleared out the Fairchild Publications (Women's Wear Daily et al) offices one day last month. During the mini-midi skirt length controversy of the late '60s that used to happen regularly. John Fairchild and I handled these crises with aplomb; we went to the movies.

Only person I've heard who didn't like "The Producers," Warner Wolf on "Imus in the Morning." Warner doesn't think Hitler's funny. He's got a point.

Business Week, one of the true powerhouses, launches its own weekly TV show this fall. Litton Syndications and BizNet TV are partners in the deal. Half-hour series will focus on personal finance.

The Weather Channel hired Sarah J. Davis as VP-strategy and development. She had been in management consulting.

Hachette Filipacchi Publications' Cycle World launched a spinoff, Motorcycle Travel & Adventure. It'll be published every spring and the premiere issue is on newsstands now.

"Goon Show" radio fans, wherever you are. I regret to report the death of Sir Harry Secombe. He was "Neddie" in their best skits, always being bilked by foreigners and losing his billfold.

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