Brady's Bunch

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New York Times Chairman Emeritus Arthur Ochs "Punch" Sulzberger, a Marine captain who served in both WWII and the Korean War, hosted an intimate reception atop the newspaper tower the other evening for the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, which raises college scholarship money for children of Marines, especially those who've died in combat. Dr. Kissinger was among the guests and Punch had columnist Bill Safire as speaker. Safire got off one great line and offered one scoop. The scoop? That the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs will be a Marine, either General Jim Jones, the NATO supreme commander, or Peter Pace, now the vice-chair. Then Bill talked about attending this spring's Gridiron Club dinner in D.C. with Mr. Bush and the other biggies, and where the Marine Corps band plays the various military anthems, at which old Marines or old soldiers and sailors rise and are applauded. This year amid a roomful of men who, artfully, never served, there seemed fewer veterans in the white-tie audience and the current Times publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., whispered to Safire, "the only tune they could play to get everyone in this room on his feet would be 'Where have all the flowers gone?'"

Lil' Kim found guilty! Mark McGwire had a better week.

Is Larry King's voice changing? Those Welch's Grape Juice radio ads seemingly feature a "new" Larry, not that familiar growl.

I'm also puzzled by that long New York Times piece by Lia Miller to effect Fairchild's WWD is spinning off a new high-end quarterly called WWDScoop. But they've had a gloriously "high end" mag called W since the early '70s. No mention of that.

I first met and listened to Bobby Short, who died last month, at a Hollywood joint called the Celebrity Club in the summer of 1954. The big song that season was "Hey There" from "The Pyjama Game," and no one, not even John Raitt, ever sang it better. I've since interviewed Bobby for Parade and on WCBS-TV and gone up many times to the Hotel Carlyle to catch that familiar, throaty singer/pianist at his incomparable best. Ave atque vale!

The Atlantic, which just grabbed another handful of National Magazine Award nominations, scores again. In a deft literary stunt editor Cullen Murphy will run a series by French writer and thinker Bernard-Henri Levy who criss-crossed America recently "in the footsteps of Alexis de Tocqueville."

When the time comes to pull my plug, please keep Tom DeLay out of the sickroom.

Is Rex Reed in love? Master of the truly eviscerating film review, he drools over Kevin Costner's latest in the New York Observer.

Jim Brady's latest book was published last week by St. Martin's Press. "The Scariest Place in the World: A Marine Returns to North Korea" earns a cover blurb from Tim Russert, a "superb" from Liz Smith, and Kirkus Reviews calls it a "graceful, even elegant, and always eloquent tribute to men at arms in a war, that in a way, never ended."

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