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THE SMOOTH ONE

Some names naturally come to mind this time of year: Nicholas . . . Rudolph . . . Pierino. Pierino Roland Como, better know as the cursive crooner Perry Como, is a rite of Christmas. His television specials -- from Hawaii, Rome, San Antonio -- are legendary. Why is it then, that he is oftentimes confused with . . .

When will you announce your candidacy for presidency?

Presidency? Cuomo's a great guy, but you're talking to the ex-barber.

You still cut your own hair, I suppose.

I could because I don't have a hell of a lot left.

Do you sing at home?

Not really. The type of singing that I do is not the type where you have to get up in the morning and yodel.

There you are listening to a CD. Don't you start singing along?

Oh, I listen to my friends -- Frank, Steve and Eydie. Actually, I'm a very poor listener of radio and television. There aren't any good shows on anymore.

You sure do love ballads.

Ballads. We're not talking about rock 'n' roll, are we? I'm a romantic. And you don't hear those type of songs anymore, but I think it will come back. A good song is a good song.

What was little Pierino like?

Just a normal kid. There were 15 of us. I didn't see a couple of them; I think they stayed in Italy. I was the first one born here.

You're the seventh son of the seventh son. Does that make you lucky?

I'm a lucky guy.

Do you buy lottery tickets?

No. I've got a few bucks; I don't need any more.

How do you like your pasta?

I eat a lot of pasta. I like it prima vera or I like red sauce. I'm not too much of an eater when I'm on the road. But I can make a great salad. When I get through, it's a picture but terrible to eat.

Do you like good wine?

Everything in moderation. That's a terrible word; I don't even know where it came from. I like the cheapest wine I can find.

Ripple?

Fred Sanford used to drink Ripple. I still listen to that show with Redd Fox, and the "Andy Griffith Show." I also watch "Perry Mason." I'm talking way back.

What do you want for Christmas?

My two front teeth. No, I'll tell you: I should have a couple of implants put in. I don't think there's anything I really want. I still plan to hang around for a while yet. I want to be like George Burns. He wants to play the Palladium on his 100th birthday. You know something? He's going to make it.

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