Praiser still rockin’ and rollin’

SUSAN BLOND celebrated 20 years of nudging, promoting and raising her eyebrows to say, “It’s not true.” Or, “I promise you, this is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen.” The PR empress took over Michael’s recently to celebrate her rock’n’roll music promo career. Susan, in a vintage Chanel suit, was impulsively draped with a sash reading “Miss Universe, Zuleyka Rivera” by the beauty queen herself. Susan wore it all night. Charles Koppelman, John Riggins, Joan Jett and Ronnie Spector were all on hand. … There is excellent buzz for Disney/Pixar’s animated feature, “Ratatouille,” which the powers that be showed around the other day in New York. Story concerns an ambitious rat who dreams of being a chef in a gourmet restaurant kitchen. Brad Bird of “The Incredibles” directed. … Billy Crystal currently in Australia with “700 Sundays,” is looking for theater space in London.

HARRY S TRUMAN’S grandson, Clifton Truman Daniel, and presidential historian Barry Landau went to see the Broadway play “Journey’s End” recently and went in to visit the play’s star Hugh Dancy, along with Claire Danes The R.C. Sheriff play, circa 1928, is about a group of soldiers in a bunker during World War I. The Oxford-educated Dancy was eager to hear what Harry Truman had been like. So the grandson told them a story he said he’d never told before. He said Harry Truman’s eyesight was an unacceptable 20/50 in one eye, 20/40 in the other. To enlist for the war, Truman had to memorize the entire eye chart. Lt. Truman became a battery commander in France and ingeniously devised a strong set of pince-nez glasses in order to see. (“He was blind as a bat,” Clifton offered.) … It was difficult for Truman to improvise with the pince-nez; he had to wear a gas mask that wouldn’t fit over ordinary glasses. When preparing for battle, Lt. Truman could not find the pince-nez and headed out with Battery B into battle “fairly blind.” After the battle; the glasses were discovered on the back of a donkey used to carry heavy artillery. … Clifton and Landau will collaborate to turn the latter’s book, “The President’s Table” into a TV series.

WE ADMIT it: we followed the coverage of Anna Nicole Smith’s death. And we don’t apologize,” says the American Conservative magazine. It was fabulous how, at least three distinguished “think tank” type publications explained and defended their interest in this tsunami of tabloid frenzy. The New Yorker opined that death is so important that “we die forever,” quoting Sophocles. The New Republic said people with “good taste” were “lying hypocrites…Are we interested in a case involving a zaftig, dead fashion model, millions of dollars, child custody, etc? Of course we are and why shouldn’t we be?” The American Conservative made fun of “serious commentators” saying “Anna Nicole provided a diversion … We didn’t watch because it meant something. Just the opposite. Entertainment offers a refuge because it is so very trivial.” So, it’s perfectly OK, people, to have obsessed over Anna Nicole and the fall-out from her death. It’s the tabloid story that had/has everything. And it’s not over yet.

(E-mail Liz Smith at

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