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Enough already with who succeeds Helen Gurley Brown at Cosmo! Of course it may be by this time Cathie Black has clarified everything. If not, let's cut directly to Helen: Who should be "that Cosmo girl" for the next millennium?

Spotted on the main floor of Tiffany's doing his Christmas shopping and looking elegant in a black eye patch, former Life Publisher Chuck Whittingham. Chuck didn't bother explaining the eye patch but it was all very "Baron George Wrangel."

Tony Hoyt says he's reducing rate bases by about 10% at his National Enquirer and Star magazines (to 2.7 million and 2.5 million, respectively) but will keep ad rates unchanged for '96. Will Mad Ave buy it? Stay tuned.

Love the Visa commercial of the American girl alone in Venice, pining for "Tom" until the Italian boy inquires, "Who is Tom?" The girl shrugs, "who knows."

Jeff Cunningham says Forbes' ad rates go up 4.8% for the new year. Rate base holds at 765,000.

Dr. Basil Venitis writes to me from Paleon Faliron, Greece, describing himself as "the hottest trader of our times....the father of Chaos Trading," and says his new book, "Making Big Money," from Carlton Press, is a must read.

Dick Weiner sends along an ad in The New York Times from Staples, "the office superstore," in which ad copy locates their store at "45th & 3rd Street," in Manhattan. Where are the copy editors? Where are the fact checkers? Flog somebody!

Director of Marketing J. Hughes Boisset of Veggie Life (love the title!) in Concord, Calif., says the publication has since its May 1993 startup gone from 25,000 circulation to 300,000. In 1994 they ran 54 ad pages. In '95, 127 pages. And '96 looks healthy. Good stuff.

Paige Pattillo joined Spin mag as marketing director.

Let's hear it for newly minted Self Editor Rochelle Udell, who not only edits the Conde Nast monthly but coaches a girls basketball team, the Eagles (10 and 11 years old) and travels extensively (even to Europe) with son Ben, who plays prep school hockey. As for the Eagles, they play with standard 10-foot rims (though a smaller ball) and Rochelle says, "We hope one of these days to score in double digits." As for son Ben, "He isn't big and isn't fast. But he plays defense, tough and competitive." Sound a tad like Rochelle?

Richard Rabinowitz, group publisher, sends along the January issue of American Photo with the late Jerry Garcia on the cover. They got six major photographers who'd shot Jerry at various times to autograph a thousand copies of the mag for the first thousand callers on the Internet. They went in two days, says Rabinowitz.

She knows where the money's buried! New VP-financial ops at Hachette Filipacchi Magazines is Margaret A. Carroll, who is one of the good ones.

What's this? I can't believe it. Harper's magazine says in a muckraker (by Pulitzer laureate Ross Gelbspan) that the fossil fuel industry funds and publicizes the research of some scientists skeptical of global warming.

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