Boorstin's Doodling Sessions

Referring to President Clinton's penchant for endless policy gabfests, former treasury secretary Lloyd Bentsen once quipped that Clinton was the "meetingest" fellow he'd ever met. In his time as a White House aide, a State Department official and a senior adviser at Treasury, 40-year-old Bob Boorstin has attended many of those meetings.

And he has something to show for it: "a fine selection of doodles produced during six years of fascinating meetings," as an invitation to Boorstin's Treasury Department goodbye party cheekily describes his output. About two dozen of Boorstin's doodles--intense and meticulous creations, mostly pen-and-ink, some of them black and white, a few brightly colored--will be on display Tuesday in the Treasury building's Cash Room for the celebration of his escape to the private sector. Boorstin, who's been very public about his manic-depression, had wanted to auction his doodles to benefit the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, but government ethics cops vetoed the plan.

"I think I started doodling as an exercise in subpoena-avoidance," said Boorstin, who generally worked left-handed in ballpoint on 8-by-11 note pads. "It was clear after just a few months in the White House that anything you wrote down was subject to subpoena. . . . Some of these doodles took me two weeks to finish. Of course, occasionally I was required to pay attention to the meeting."

Tales of Brinkley, Day 3

* Our friend Douglas Brinkley has registered a heated objection to The Source's coverage of his television exploits after John F. Kennedy Jr.'s plane crash. Yesterday we reported that Brinkley shook hands on a $10,000 consulting deal with ABC News, but then switched to NBC when "Today" show executive producer Jeff Zucker matched the ABC offer.

Never happened, Brinkley told us through his lawyer. When we checked back with our original sources at both networks, they insisted we had it right. "At the time we gave you that statement, the information was accurate," said "Today" publicist Allison Gollust, referring to our Wednesday conversation with Zucker. According to our informants at NBC, Zucker learned yesterday--after our item appeared--that the presidential historian has decided to appear on camera pro bono.

We are at a loss to resolve these contradictions, so we'll give the last word to Brinkley's attorney: "Number one, Douglas Brinkley is not a paid NBC consultant," George Tobia told us. "Two, with respect to the purported NBC and ABC agreements, there were discussions at each network about an agreement, but no agreement was ever finalized at either network. And thirdly, Brinkley has not been paid by anyone for any of the television commentary he's given in connection with this recent tragedy."

An Ominous Sign?

* Spooky doings in Burkittsville, Md., a sleepy village (pop. 200) near Frederick and the setting of "The Blair Witch Project." The creepy low-budget movie, which opened July 16, is about three film students who venture into the Burkittsville woods to shoot a documentary about the legend of the Blair Witch. They're never heard from again, but their cameras and film are discovered later. Looming ominously in an early scene is a road sign that welcomes visitors "to the historic village of Burkittsville . . . 1824."

That sign has vanished without a trace. Village officials believe it was stolen in the wee hours last Friday--perhaps by fans of the pseudo-documentary. As a precaution the village has removed three similar signs at the Burkittsville borders. "We just thought they'd be taken in time, too," Mayor Joyce Brown told us. There have been other acts of petty crime apparently inspired by the movie. A candle was left burning in one of the town's cemeteries, where police on more than one occasion have chased teenagers away.

Burkittsville has been inundated with curiosity-seekers. Brown has recorded the following greeting on her town hall answering machine: "If this is in regards to 'The Blair Witch Project,' it is fiction. However, we welcome you to our community. You'll see that we have rich farmlands, mountains and a quaint village--so looking forward to meeting you." As for the welcome signs, Brown said: "We'll put them back up when things calm down."


* Two more friends of John F. Kennedy Jr. issued statements yesterday. "John was a great man," said Mike Tyson, whom Kennedy visited in the Montgomery County jail in March. "My wife and I will always appreciate all the kindness he offered freely over the past couple of years." Kennedy's former girlfriend, Daryl Hannah, said: "I find it so hard to believe that John is gone. But now we must face reality and embrace the memory of his spirit and his voracious lust for life, which will live on."

CAPTION: Hieroglyphics Boorstin drew during a health care session with Hillary Clinton, above, and a skyline produced in a Treasury meeting.


CAPTION: Brinkley: The saga continues.

CAPTION: The stolen sign, as seen in "The Blair Witch Project."