Doctor Crane Is In
On their interactive Web site (www.kelsey- live.com), Kelsey and Camille Grammer tell inquiring fans: "There are of course a few subjects that will remain strictly private and our business alone." It's hard to imagine what those might be. Yesterday, the "Frasier" star and his third wife launched a public relations juggernaut on irritable bowel syndrome--or IBS--from which the 44-year-old Grammer's lissome spouse, a former dancer, has been suffering for most of her 31 years.
"When you have a disease that is so debilitating, it affects the family--and so our message basically is to try and bring some awareness and encourage people to seek help," Grammer told us from New York, where they started their day on the "Today" show, appearing for the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders to spotlight this condition affecting one in five Americans. "There's chronic stomach pain, and the symptoms alternate between sometimes having terrible diarrhea and terrible constipation. Sometimes there's an awful sense of urgency, sometimes bloating. It eventually makes so many things difficult, you become fearful of making plans, going out, or eating anything at all."
Grammer has faced troubles of his own with cocaine and alcohol addiction--"I'm in my fourth year of sobriety," he said--and didn't become an IBS activist until he found himself discussing his wife's problems last year on Howard Stern's radio show. "Howard is very interested in that, uh, chakra," Grammer told us. Afterward, thousands of visitors to the Grammers' Web site thanked him by e-mail for sharing. But it's no picnic living with a victim of IBS. "You just have to be supportive. You have to always remain patient and remember there really is something wrong. It's easy to get confused and think, 'Oh, this is an annoyance--isn't this an imposition on our lives.' Sometimes your loved one can even feel guilty."
"This is preservation month. I appreciate preservation. It's what you do when you run for president. You've got to preserve."
--Presidential contender George W. Bush yesterday, lauding students for their "theme of the month" at Fairgrounds Elementary School in Nashua, N.H. Unfortunately, according to the Associated Press, the theme was perseverance.
THIS JUST IN . . .
* Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, the Cabinet member designated to stay away from last night's State of the Union address--just in case the Capitol blew up and we needed somebody to run the country--spent his evening in the tiny town of Sherwood on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Richardson and wife Barbara ate crab cakes at the weekend home of pals Rogelio and Nancy Novey, then watched President Clinton's televised speech while lots of security types swarmed outside. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright hosted a pre-speech "Chicks in Charge" dinner at La Colline for fellow female leaders, including Janet Reno, Donna Shalala, Carol Browner, Alexis Herman and Charlene Barshefsky.
* The Post's late editorial page editor, Seattle native Meg Greenfield, has left about $2.9 million to the University of Washington. The Smith College graduate's bequest includes $1.7 million to endow a scholarship named for her late brother Jim Greenfield, a UW alum, and her $650,000 summer house on Bainbridge Island for use by the university's classics department.
* Technology guru Michael Saylor is primed for his Super Bowl party for 5,600 bigwigs at FedEx Field this Sunday. It will celebrate, among other things, the six television commercials his Vienna company, MicroStrategy, has paid $4.8 million to air during the game between the Tennessee Titans and the St. Louis Rams. "It's really much more than a party. It'll be sort of like the MicroStrategy amusement park for the day," Saylor told us. "We've had a great year." Yesterday, MicroStrategy's soaring stock split 2 for 1, placing Saylor's net worth at somewhere near $7 billion.
* Speaking of the filthy rich, National Journal ran some numbers comparing Bill Gates (net worth: $85 billion) and the average American family (worth $282,500)--and calculated that Gates's recent $30.8 million purchase of a Leonardo da Vinci sketchbook is the average-family equivalent of spending $102 on an Elvis-on-velvet painting.
* Now that Republican presidential candidate Alan Keyes has hurled himself into the mosh pit, what's next for the conservative moralist firebrand? Might we suggest body-piercing?