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The New York Times called "Forrest Gump" one of the year's worst flicks.

How ill-informed are Americans? Charlie Osgood reports over CBS radio that in outgoing Speaker Tom Foley's electoral district in the state of Washington, 40% of the voters believed whoever they elected would automatically become the next Speaker of the House. Newt Gingrich must have come as a terrible shock to them.

We know the North Koreans are paranoid SOBs and we mourn the Army aviator killed by the North Koreans when his chopper strayed north of the DMZ. But all the whoop-dee-do and yellow ribbons for his fellow pilot during captivity beggared the imagination. Pilots who screw up like this used to face courts-martial.

The England national cricket team, playing this winter in Australia, has been losing. One possible reason? They've abandoned whites for a sort of powder blue uniform.

Reviewing a new bio of "The Brontes," Val Hennessy reveals in the Daily Mail that Charlotte packed up her only copy of "Jane Eyre" in brown paper and twine and sent it off in the post on spec to a London publisher.

In its usual yearender on momentous events in `94, the morning anchor for WCBS radio, the all-news! station, went on and on about what happened on "the first Tuesday in November." Election Day was Nov. 8, the second Tuesday. Get the guy a calendar.

Busy, busy. Top soccer sportscaster Mario Machado is now on morning drive over KPFK radio doing live call-ins in Los Angeles and Saturday evenings is on KABC talk radio as L.A.'s "voice of multiculturalism."

The Marty's discount shoe store radio commercial with the damned parrot has got to go!

Dick Barthelmes of Travel & Leisure is preening. And it's not that Christmas necktie. He says they'll have their best ad page first quarter in five years.

Offbeat promo idea from Spin magazine. Dave Rheins says they drop off a monthly batch of postcards with reproduced Spin covers in what he calls "hip bars and restaurants around NYC and L.A."

John W. Hartman, former CEO of Bill Communications and now living and writing in Key Largo (when it's cold) or in Lyme, Conn., sends along a revised edition of his book about business and business people and lots more, "Second Thoughts." It's published by J. Avenick & Sons in Glendora, N.J. Hartman was nominated for a Pulitzer for his reporting on the homeowner buyout at the Ocean Reef Club at Key Largo.

Donald A. Macaulay, publisher of Sail magazine, a Cahners book out of Newton, Mass., notes it is 25 years ago this year that they launched Sail, going up against category powerhouse Yachting. "Oh, what a place it was to be. And still is!" enthuses Macaulay.

Susannah M.L. Pask of Bridal Guide says the January-February (1995) issue is up 28% in ad pages over the issue a year ago and that March/April will be 20% ahead and the biggest issue in the Guide's history.

Illyria, the Bronx-based Albanian-American newspaper published twice a week (in English), named Joseph Finora its new managing director. He joined the 10,000 circulation publication in '91 and served as its UN correspondent.

Janice Grossman of Seventeen says the monthly increased its market share during 1994 to over 43%. 'Teen, she says, comes second with 23%, with YM and Sassy trailing.

Departures (an American Express book) also had a good year. Publisher Jack Laschever says the yearending November/December number was a record breaker for ad pages and overall they closed 1994 up 39% in ad pages over 1993.

Jack Purcell Jr. says his Hilton Head-based LINKS magazine (for golfers, natch!) is up 20% over the January/February issue of last year in ad pages (75 this time). LINKS' frequency for '95 is seven issues and Purcell estimates their typical reader is 50 years old and plays 55 rounds a year. Fore!

Ray Serafin reports from Ad Age, Detroit, running into Dawn Riley at a Chevrolet press event. And who is Dawn Riley? Well, she might just be one of the stars of the America's Cup on America3, based on her background as skipper of Heineken's all-female world race team. And does she have advertising genes? Dad Chuck Riley was a senior exec at Y&R and brother Todd is an account exec on the Cadillac account for DMB&B.

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