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As he so often does, John Leo of U.S. News makes sense when he tut-tuts this ridiculous "don't burn the flag" amendment. Says John, stop "tinkering with the Constitution to chase a few cranks with flags and matches."

Another Brit? Los Angeles Magazine named British emigre David Thomson its film critic.

Leslie Stevens and James LaForce opened their own PR and marketing office in Manhattan at 41 Union Square W.

Good notion from Pocket Books, a new hardcover called "Explaining the Inexplicable," subtitled, "a rodent's guide to lawyers." The author, anonymous, but calling himself The Rodent, is a lawyer who also puts out a subversive newsletter on the species.

Christa Dowling is the editor in chief of a slick, outsized new monthly for the rich titled International. Peter Lazar is publisher and Proprietors Inc. of Sag Harbor, N.Y., put it out. The initial copy I saw, quite handsome, was delivered along the better East Hampton lanes by chauffeured car.

New York Post writer Gersh Kuntzman refers in the lead of a story on French actress and model Carole Bouquet to her "Gau-lic dignity."

Love the FedEx commercial where the office old-timer tells the young kid who didn't send the stuff via FedEx, "Well, then, you're dead."

Steve Jacobson in Newsday writing of George Steinbrenner's recent social work on behalf of Darryl Strawberry, refers to an episode in "The Sun Also Rises" where "Brett Ashley goes off to weekend in Switzerland with Robert Cohn." Which is news to me (as it must have been to Jake Barnes) since where they went off to was San Sebastian. Which is in Spain.

React, the Parade magazine spinoff for youngsters due to debut in September, got its editor, Lee Kravitz. He's been editorial director of Scholastic Inc.

Design expert, author and TV personality Chris Madden and husband Kevin Madden, former top Conde Nast publisher (of House & Garden, Self and Bon Appetit) have formed Chris Madden Inc. I've always believed incorporating one's wife is probably a pretty good idea. And if she's as talented as Chris, it can't miss. Her weekly TV show premiered in May over HGTV cable and her next book, "Bathrooms," comes out any day now from Clarkson Potter.

America's Talking, the Roger Ailes NBC cable channel devoted to talk talk talk, celebrated its first anniversary with a bash in the studios at 30 Rock.

What a curious use of 15 valuable pages of the July 10 New Yorker, this wonderfully written (by David Plante) but stunningly pointless portrait of an empty man named Sir Harold Acton, an expatriated Brit living in a falling-apart Florentine villa, chasing Italian boys, goosing his guests, writing unsuccessful books, dancing attendance on freeloading visitors like Princess Margaret, and systematically being ripped off by servants and looted by everyone. There are some lovely photos of the old ruin (both house and Sir Harold) but in the end you ask, why bother?

The TV Food Network chose Sunday, Nov. 19, for this year's annual telethon to raise dough to feed the hungry. Last time they brought in $400,000 for local and national relief agencies and are out to top that substantially this year. Interior designer Barbara Riley Levin repeats as the drive's chair.

Salmeri Publishing of New York is out with a timely item, "The Smokers Guide to Dining Out in New York," by Alan Yeck, a former foreign service officer, and smoker, who thinks both smokers and non-smokers need such a guide. Get it at tobacconists or through Salmeri at 163 Third Ave. for $9.95.

Received an advance of the August issue of Black Enterprise mag, celebrating its 25th anniversary and saluting "the rise of the black professional class." Speaking of which, a classy looking issue. And as CEO-Publisher Earl G. Graves remarks, "You only turn 25 once!"

Isn't it odd to read in an AP sports story, as I did during Wimbledon, a reference to Boris Becker as "the old warhorse"? Becker is 27.

Speaking of which, got to love the Nike commercial starring Agassi and Sampras rallying at the New York City intersection, bringing traffic to a standstill.

Men's Health continues to be a hot book with September ad pages up 32% to 84 pages. Year to date they're 38% ahead of the period a year ago.

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