Jack Lichtenstein, director of public affairs at the National Endowment for the Arts, who has had his hands full with appropriation battles on Capitol Hill this year, is off to a bigger fight. He is a colonel in the Army reserves and is being shipped to Saudi Arabia this week as a member of the 352nd Civil Air Command, based in Riverdale. NEA Chairman John Frohnmayer, himself a decorated naval officer during the Vietnam War, hosted a farewell party at the endowment's offices yesterday. A number of staff members showed up wearing camouflage bought from nearby Sunny's Surplus, but all had added non-regulation yellow ribbons to their sleeves. Michener, Writing Yet Another Chapter
Tomorrow is novelist James Michener's 84th birthday, and he hasn't let up a bit. Michener is busy passing on his wisdom to students at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla., as part of the school's program for senior professionals. He teaches a small class of creative-writing students five days a week. "I don't feel like an elder statesman," said the dauntingly prolific author. "I am working very diligently. The only change in my life is that I take a nap in the afternoon." Madonna Accused of Immoral Message
Boston University President John Silber, recently defeated in his bid to become governor of Massachusetts, Wednesday compared pop star Madonna to Saddam Hussein and Adolf Hitler in her worthiness to be a young person's mentor. Known for frequently controversial remarks, Silber quoted a high school student as saying that Madonna was his role model because "she has the prerogative to do whatever she pleases." Speaking at a fund-raiser for the university's operation of the town of Chelsea's public schools, Silber said: "The right to do whatever you please includes murder, includes all kinds of violence. Madonna has no more right to set this example ... than Adolf Hitler did or than Saddam Hussein does." Madonna's spokeswoman Liz Rosenberg called the remarks "ludicrous" and "grammatically confusing," saying "Madonna advocates freedom of expression ... not murder or violence." Spielberg Freeloader Pleads Guilty
David Bojorquez pleaded guilty Thursday to charging more than $5,000 in champagne, elegant dinners and limousine rides to filmmaker Steven Spielberg. Bojorquez, 29, spent several nights last month painting Los Angeles red, telling restaurant employees and limousine companies that he worked for Amblin Entertainment, Spielberg's production company, and that the company would pay the bills. He was arrested after Amblin received the bills and followed the paper trail. According to Deputy District Attorney Sharon Garabedian, Bojorquez pleaded guilty to four counts of grand theft as part of a plea bargain that included the dropping of four other grand-theft charges. Garabedian will recommend a three-year jail term for the man who she says "really lived it up."
Dr. Ruth's Wartime Tips
Ruth Westheimer has weighed in with a bit of advice for war-torn citizens in the Middle East. Westheimer, who arrived in Israel earlier this week to study the effects of extreme stress on sexual behavior, advises against sex while hiding in basements and sealed rooms during air raids and possible gas attacks. At a news conference in Jerusalem, the 62-year-old sex therapist cited its possible effects on family members who might be present. "Wait until you come outside," she recommended. "Afterwards, please do whatever you can do to engage in that comfort." Ups and Downs of the Dirksen Building
In a letter sent this week to George White, architect of the Capitol, Sen. Paul Simon expressed outrage over the state of the elevators in the aging Dirksen Senate Office Building. Simon passed along a suggestion made by Sen. Sam Nunn, after sharing a particularly bumpy ride with his colleague: "Request of the Defense Department that they save at least one Cruise missile from the Middle Eastern War and aim that Cruise missile at the elevators in the Dirksen building. It would be a great public service performed by the Defense Department."