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Almost everyone thought those new Spike Lee commercials sucked, the ones for the Tyson-Holyfield rematch. But how to tell Spike? Finally someone (I'm unable to pinpoint just who) got up the nerve to approach the great man. Professional that he is, Spike listened, said OK, and it was back to the drawing boards.

Is golden oldie National Geographic hot? It's apparently heading for the best first half in ad pages in its 108-year history. The May issue was up from 29 pages a year ago to 44 pages this time. Ad director is Scott Crystal.

Wonderful little U.S. News essay on FDR on the occasion of his memorial's dedication in Washington this past weekend.

Everyone but "Sammy the Bull" Gravano was at the Four Seasons for lunch the other day. There was bow-tied Chris Whittle with Congressman (and D'Amato challenger) Charles Schumer, Lally Weymouth with His Lit'ry Lordship George Weidenfeld, Pauline Trigere, Bill Blass, Carl Spielvogel with ICM's Marvin Josephson, and like that.

Susan Breslow Sardone, former New York marketing director now working on the Internet for Scott Kurnit's Mining Co. search directory, reminds me she started the honeymoon advertorials for New York in 1990. Wouldn't you know it? She and husband Vincent Sardone met online.

Cynthia Parsons McDaniel, Emmy-nominated NBC producer, left William Morris Agency to become VP-East Coast publicity for Gramercy Pictures, the folks who make all those terrific movies.

Let's hear it for civility! Pete Hamill and Ken Chandler, editors respectively of the rival Daily News and New York Post, are saying gracious things about each other, while butting heads professionally in the fiercest of competitive fashion. Nice grace note in a tough business.

Hachette Filipacchi's corporate sales guy in Detroit, H.E. (Bud) Allen, retires after 35 years to be succeeded as VP by Jim Main, ex- Marine, ex-Detroit cop.

Quick now, which ad agency tycoon has the worst dye job in Madison Avenue hair? Responses will be kept strictly confidential.

Buz Keenan of Tennis chides me (and rightly so) for misspelling Martina Hingis. Also says their ad pages year to date are running 35% ahead of last year's.

Let's hear it for Cecilia Wessner, first-ever woman editor of Popular Science, promoted from exec editor.

Influential Italians? NYItalia names Carl Portale of Elle one of the top 100.

Is there life after Madison Avenue? Longtime Ally & Gargano exec James Feeney says he's found happiness in Greensboro, N.C. Jim, president and CEO of Trone Advertising, a 100-person shop with billings nearing $100 million, was back in Manhattan seeing clients and making calls with VP-PR Kim Doran and new hire (and Ally vet) Creative Director George Euringer. Clients include WinStar, the phone company; The Moorings, it sets up cruising charters; and Smithfield Foods. Life's great in Greensboro, says Feeney, except he hasn't yet sold his house in

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