Sinead Ad Nauseam

Poor Sinead O'Connor wants to stay out of the news -- so much so that she put herself into the news pleading to stay out of the news. She took out a 2,000-word, full-page ad in a national Irish newspaper to say please leave me alone. Oddly enough, it didn't work.

"I've been the whipping post of Ireland's media for 20 years," wrote the pop singer. "And what have I done to deserve these lashings?"

Well, Sinead, let's refresh your memory: You shave your head, you announce you're a lesbian, then you marry a man -- not to mention you famously rip apart a picture of Pope John Paul II on "Saturday Night Live," you become a priest in a breakaway Catholic sect but can't handle the whole celibacy thing, and you crusade to rid Ireland of head lice. But, no matter.

"Please, I want to be a little old lady now," wrote O'Connor, 36, "and not be all controversial and not be bashed and called crazy and laughed at when I open my mouth to sing or speak."

At one point in her missive, she inquired: "If ye think I am so ridiculous why do ye give me any attention?" Ahh, Sinead: Nothing compares "2 U."

Seeing Stars

Stars About Town: Keep your eyes peeled this week for famous types wandering aimlessly around the nation's capital. Rugged Viggo Mortensen is proving his softer side by making an appearance at Addison/Ripley Gallery in Georgetown tonight, while John Travolta and Joaquin Phoenix will be in D.C. before a Baltimore benefit screening of their firefighting flick, "Ladder 49." And we can't forget Willem Dafoe, Ice Cube and Peter Strauss. Those three are making the film "XXX: State of the Union," which, we're told, is filming Tuesday and Wednesday near the Lincoln Memorial and Ronald Reagan Building.

Noted . . .

Chief Justice William Rehnquist was grinning from ear to ear after walking into the Monocle -- one of his fave joints -- for lunch yesterday and discovering that 30 of his former clerks and such were throwing him a surprise birthday bash. Though he doesn't turn the big 8-0 until Oct. 1, Rehnquist got all the birthday fixins': serenading, cake and candles. Luckily nothing went ablaze . . . "Sex and the City" star Cynthia Nixon was splashed all over the covers of New York tabloids yesterday for her latest dating relationship with . . . a woman. The mother of two wouldn't comment other than to say: "My private life is private. But at the same time, I have nothing to hide. So what I will say is that I am very happy" . . . And bad boy Colin Farrell gets the odd-analogy award. Speaking about the hairpiece he was forced to wear while filming "A Home at the End of the World," Farrell said: "It's like going to church when I was 10. It was horrible."

. . . and Quoted

"My character is a good girl."

-- actress Katie Holmes, at the premiere of her movie "First Daughter," explaining to the New York Daily News why she based her character on Chelsea Clinton and not Jenna and Barbara Bush.

-- Compiled by Anne Schroeder

from staff and wire reports

Sinead O'Connor, playing look-at-me!-what-are-you-staring-at? with the Irish press.Hot time in the old town: John Travolta and Joaquin Phoenix at "Ladder 49's" premiere.