The Clinton Rules

Who knew book signings could be so complicated? We thought the concept was relatively simple: Buy a book, stand in line, meet the author, have the author scribble his name and voila, it's over. Not so for Bill Clinton's upcoming signing at Politics & Prose on July 6.

"This is the announcement we have all been waiting for," declared an e-mail from the bookstore to its subscribers on Thursday, detailing the rules of the event. The strict list, it says, was "established by the publisher and President Clinton's staff."

"1) One book per customer will be signed. No exceptions.

2) Each customer must be present to get a book signed. There will not be any 'holds for signing' like we customarily do.

3) Only copies of My Life will be signed. No other items, books, papers, or campaign memorabilia will be signed by President Clinton.

4) No photographs are allowed.

5) President Clinton will not be personalizing any books.

6) Because of the huge demand, we cannot promise that everyone's book will be signed."

Wow, that's a tall order. "Generally we don't have that many rules for book signings," says Politics & Prose's Deb Morris. It's going to be by the book, people. Or should that be buy the book, people?

Menu (Not Wedding) Plans

Speaking of the Clintons (they're everywhere this week), things are looking good -- literally -- for Chelsea Clinton.

She has a new 'do that everyone is raving about, she's living in New York with a great job at McKinsey & Co. and she's been inseparable from Ian Klaus, her California Rhodes Scholar beau whom she met at Oxford, for the past 21/2 years.

So it's only natural that people wonder whether the 24-year-old only child of Bill and Hill is planning on getting hitched anytime soon. Apparently, the thought may have crossed Chelsea's mind, too. When she went back to the White House earlier this week for the unveiling of her parents' official portraits, Chelsea had a favor to ask the White House pastry chef Roland Mesnier (who's hanging up his apron after 25 years on July 30): Would he bake her favorite cobbler for her wedding?

"She didn't give me a date," Mesnier said, "but there could be something in the air."

Chelsea's rep, Howard Rubenstein, told us yesterday: "I asked her and that was sort of a joke. She's not going to be engaged soon or married soon. So, it's not true."

Ed Norton's Dirty Deeds

Ed Norton dropped by AFI's Silver Theatre in Silver Spring yesterday afternoon -- much to the delight of the women at the theater who happily chatted about his good looks -- to introduce his new documentary that was screened at the Silverdocs: AFI/Discovery Channel Documentary Festival. The Columbia hometown boy executive-produced "Dirty Work" with co-directors David Sampliner (his college buddy) and Tim Nackashi. So why the name? Well, the doc showcases the lives of three men: a septic tank pumper, a mortician and a reproductive physiologist working with large animals. (Eek. And we thought politics was messy.)

Noted . . .

Turns out Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, dusted off an oldie for Game 5 of the NBA Finals. Her producer, Brian Pastoria, told the Detroit Free Press, "We recorded vocals for Aretha Franklin last year at her house, in her vestibule." Lo and behold, one of the songs they recorded happened to be the national anthem. "The one that was played at the Palace on Tuesday night," said Pastoria, much to the surprise of Detroit Pistons spokesman Matt Dobek, who had said Franklin sang live.

. . . and Quoted

"They must have been in someone else's garbage. I've never heard of Depends. I wouldn't know what a Depends looks like."

-- CNN talkmeister Larry King denying to the New York Post that the adult diapers photographed in his garbage can belonged to him.

-- Compiled by Anne Schroeder

from staff and wire reports

Chelsea Clinton and boyfriend Ian Klaus: Cooking up plans for marriage?