LUCKY THEY GET OUT WITH THEIR SCALPS: White House Chief of Staff and head hatchet man Don Regan is using a more wieldy and peculiar tool to get his point across. When department heads came to his office recently to appeal some proposed cuts, Regan pulled out an ulu, a knife used by Eskimos to skin and behead animals. Placing the knife on his conference table, Regan deadpanned, "Now what was it you came for?"
SHE'S GOT THE BUSINESS DOWN PAT: Out with a new LP, Seven the Hard Way, once and maybe future rock queen Pat Benatar has taken her drop from the top in stride. "When I was there, it was 'poor old Linda Ronstadt. Now it's 'poor old Pat Benatar,' " she told Billboard magazine. "Next year it will be 'poor old Madonna,' and some new little girl will be coming up." Preparing to launch her first tour since giving birth to her first child, Haley, last February, the rock mama went on to say, "This can be a ridiculous profession. Making music is one thing, but having to be a rock 'n' roll star is stupid."
NOW HE TELLS US: At a National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts dinner, Nobel Laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer was not in an optimistic frame of mind. Modern music, he said, is "so disgusting, it's vulgar. What modern man calls culture is the opposite of what culture should be. Literature is not the same as it was in the 19th century—it's many grades lower than it used to be." Singer's conclusion about our times: "The second half of the 20th century is a complete flop."
PUTTING UP HIS DUKE: Flashy funkster Rick James was so jazzed after seeing Ain't Misbehavin', the musical celebration of Fats Waller, that he's sponsoring a special performance for 650 inner-city high school students when the road show comes to his hometown, Buffalo, N.Y. "I feel that kids today should be more aware of the rich heritage left by black composers like Fats Waller," James says. "People such as Fats and Duke Ellington laid a groundwork for today's music. We should try to instill a sense of history into kids. A lot of them think that Duke Ellington has something to do with Princess Di."
A MOTHER'S HISSES: Princess Anne explained her role as president of the Save the Children Fund for the past 15 years. "I don't actually like children," admitted Queen Elizabeth's only daughter, the mother of Peter, 8, and Zara, 4. "But I have the sort of view about the future in which it seems to me only fair that children should have as good a start in life as is possible to give them. If you don't give them an opportunity, how can you expect them to be any good?"
HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU, CAMEL BREATH: Danny De Vito hails from Asbury Park, N.J., where the only camels he knew were rolled up in the T-shirt sleeves of local toughs. So when De Vito was introduced to the camel he rides in Jewel of the Nile, he found it hard to get over the hump. "The camel was miserable," the actor told a suburban Boston columnist. "The first thing he did was open his mouth and hiss. He had the worst breath I've ever smelled. And I'd never seen any mouth that wide in my life. It looked like an annex to the Holland Tunnel."