BONFIRES OF THE VONNEGUT: Kurt Vonnegut's 1969 novel, Slaughterhouse-Five, has long been a favorite target of conservative book-banners and-burners because of its profanity, violence and explicit sex scenes. "I've received letters of sympathy from the Soviet Union because they've heard my books have been burned," Vonnegut said during a speech at Florida International University. "I reply it's mostly in rural communities, and I tell them when I was a boy, those same communities were burning human beings, so I think we're getting somewhere." Commenting on the joys of his profession, Kurt quipped, "When you're extremely popular, like myself, rich and without a boss, who wouldn't like my job?"
CAVETT EMPTOR: Talk show monarch Larry King can, at times, be an ungracious host. In his new book, Tell It to the King, he says of fellow talk master Dick Cavett, "He interviews himself. When I watch his show, I learn nothing about the guest. He'll have a dancer on, and he'll say, 'I saw the ballet last night, and you were terrific. My companion enjoyed it, my children loved it, and I especially liked the part where you...' That's called 'Who gives a damn?' " Cavett, who is childless and hasn't read the book, was told about the comments, and replied: "King said that? As soon as I find out who wrote it for him, I'll tell you what I think." Then Cavett, who as an author has used a co-writer himself and who is currently talk show-less, said, "He's probably right. That's the trouble."
THAT'S QUAKE THINKING: Eva Gabor, who's as famous for her five marriages as for her memorable role on TV's Green Acres, had a moving experience last fall. "When the big quake hit Los Angeles and started shaking my house," she told the San Francisco Examiner, "I was in bed, sleeping alone and wearing a very short T-shirt. It woke me up and the first thing I said was, 'Please Lord, wait a minute.' I got out of bed, ran to the closet and put on a full-length chiffon nightgown and got back in bed. Now, I thought, I will die elegantly." What, no furry slippers?
READY WIMP: Moonstruck's Danny Aiello is discovering the spine is a terrible thing to waste. "He's a wimp," Aiello says of his Johnny Cammareri character, Cher's sad-sack suitor in the film. "I go to a restaurant and women send drinks over. But they say, 'We feel sorry for you.' They all want to take care of Johnny, but they don't want to go to bed with him." To beef up his image, Aiello currently is playing a cop in January Man, another script by Moonstruck's Oscar-winning screenwriter, John Patrick Shanley. "This guy's more ballsy," Danny says. "Maybe somebody you'd want to take to bed. He's virile and violent." But Danny, does he get the girl?
BOMBS AWAY: In Hollywood, you're only as good as your last movie, and for director Bernardo Bertolucci, that's a blessing. Before his The Last Emperor copped nine Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, he made a couple of box office bombs, including Luna. "Thank God the public's got Alzheimer's disease," says Bernardo. "They don't remember they didn't like Luna." And still wondering what he meant when, at the Oscars, he called Hollywood the Big Nipple? "I was thinking that nine nominations, in a sense, was a big suck for me."