The Two Mr. Bacons

"For years I have lived in your shadow, and I am sorry that I won't be here to stand in it while you are filming at the Pentagon." So begins a note from Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon to actor Kevin Bacon (no relation). Kevin is in town shooting the new suspense thriller "The Hollow Man," including some scenes Sunday at Ken's home base.

Ken--who's currently on vacation--is best known for his bow-tied appearances on TV every day for 11 weeks during the war in Kosovo. But in his note, delivered to Kevin on the set, Ken points out the two have much in common: "What I experience nearly every day is one degree of association. I get mail addressed to Kevin Bacon and frequently, when I call people, they end the conversation with, 'Thanks, Kevin.' For years, when people asked me how to spell my name, I would say Bacon, like bacon and eggs, and get a weak laugh. Now I say, Bacon, like Kevin, and get ohs and ahs. So, thanks, Kevin."

Kevin was "very amused" by Ken's letter, said movie spokesman Steve Newman. "He's putting together a little package of items for his newfound relative." Alas, Newman wouldn't reveal any details, saying Kevin doesn't want to spoil the surprise.

The Latest Buzz

White House Chief of Staff John Podesta stunned his colleagues yesterday morning when he returned from a Cape Cod vacation looking like he was fresh from boot camp.

Podesta's salt-and-pepper hair, closely trimmed under normal circumstances, had been shorn into a razor-sharp crew cut, reports The Post's John F. Harris. President Clinton's senior aide said his scalping came after a family debate: He had announced during the getaway that he was going to either crop his hair or get a parrot tattoo. Confronted with that choice, said a deeply tanned Podesta, "everyone in my family voted for the buzz cut."

In other hair happenings at the White House, deputy press secretary Barry Toiv this weekend shaved off his mustache after more than 20 years. "I was curious what I'd look like after all these years," Toiv said. "My wife had never seen me without a mustache . . . my children are having trouble even looking at me."

Warren Report

Warren Beatty continues to tease about a possible presidential bid. "In the disparity of our prosperity, someone must rise to honor the historic mission of the Democratic Party. Why not Bradley? Why not Gore? Why not now? Stay tuned. We'll be back after this message," Beatty writes in an op-ed in Sunday's New York Times. In the piece, the movie star calls for full public financing of campaigns, as well as universal health care and an end to poverty.

End Notes

Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura now has a bedroom suite named in his honor at a Nevada brothel. Seems the former pro wrestler used to visit the brothel--the Moonlight Bunny Ranch--in the 1970s when he was a Navy SEAL. Owner Dennis Hof said the gov will receive a lifetime pass . . . Speaking of suites, former White House intern Monica Lewinsky has a motel in Mexico named after her. Motel Lewinsky opened for biz a few months ago in the town of Cardel, according to the New York Daily News. The motel promises that during their stay, guests will experience sus mejores momentos--their best moments . . . Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.) was back in the hospital yesterday, three days after collapsing at a reception in South Carolina. His office said the 96-year-old senator returned to the hospital Sunday night, complaining of fatigue. He's also scheduled to undergo surgery for an enlarged prostate.

Lloyd Grove is on vacation. The Reliable Source will resume when he returns.