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"We were both bulimic, for a start, and we both had marriages that failed, and we were both extremely interested in AIDS."

Elton John on what he had in common with Princess Diana.

Gratefully yours

The heck with Dan Rather. Move over, Irv Weinstein. Joe Territo, who attended Cleve Hill High School and Fredonia State College and now lives in San Francisco, can claim the real journalistic inroad. He interviewed Jerry Garcia, and their talk has been immortalized on a CD called "A Talk With Jerry Garcia," recently released by Beserkeley Records of Berkeley, Calif. "As far as I'm concerned, we've continued basically along the same path. I mean, there hasn't been a break between the '60s and now," Garcia says. And: "I might regret everything I've ever done sometime in the future, but it hasn't happened yet." (A California paper hailed that last line as "prophetic.") Our favorite Garcia quote: "Part of what makes life enjoyable is ... that it has the capacity to surprise you. That's part of the reason for sticking around, to hear the whole show."

Boys N the Hood

It's like people who call biking, running and swimming "cross training." They take what's supposed to be fun and make it seem like work. That's what the University at Rochester is doing this weekend with the World's First Conference on Robin Hood. We're kidding, of course: The conference is really called "Playing With Transgression: Cultural Transformations of Robin Hood." (Hood himself wouldn't be able to understand that.) A press release harrumphs: "Stephen Knight, a British expert, will talk about the future of Robin Hood studies. R.B. Dobson, from Cambridge, England, will talk about the genesis of a popular hero." Speaking of popular heroes, UB should follow with the world's first Conference on Friar Tuck.

Dressed to kill

The Department of People Unafraid to Take Fashion Risks: We have seen some people, recently, sporting stuff you wouldn't believe. 1. In Allentown we saw a person carrying, in lieu of a handbag, a canning jar. It was about 3 inches in diameter, and she had kept her money in it. Maybe she thinks it'll last longer that way. 2. Mr. and Miss Scarlet: At the Luther Vandross concert, we saw a guy wearing a fire-engine-red suit, from a red hat down to red pants. His date wore a matching dress. Blinding! 3. At the Acropolis on Elmwood, there were two girls, about 10, wearing makeup -- blush, eyeshadow and -- yecch -- black lipstick. An adult was even with them! What was she thinking?

Strange love

At last, a contest heavily biased toward Western New York. Strange Universe, a TV show that chronicles the bizarre all over the world, wants to find the Strangest Person in America. Hmmm ... how about Muhammad Ali, the guy who runs for mayor on the platform of legalizing prostitution? Or that guy from the local supermarket who puts his picture on every ad? How about half the people who call John Otto in the middle of the night? Send a picture of your nominee, and 50 words explaining his or her strangeness, to Strange Universe, 4872 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Suite 416, Woodland Hills, Calif. 91362. Entries are due by Halloween. The person who sends the winning entry will win a trip for two to the strangest place in the world, the Appletree Business Park -- er, Los Angeles.

The buzz

We keep hearing the new "Candle in the Wind" on the radio. We wouldn't mind, really, except are we the only one out there missing the line "more than sek-sual, more than just our Marilyn Monroe" and "Marilyn was found in the nude"? ... "In the dark times, will there also be singing? Yes, there will also be singing about the dark times." -- Bertolt Brecht. Hallwalls uses that quote to introduce its dramatic trilogy "The Dark Times: The Boxed Set." Part 2 happens Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m, when Ron Ehmke gives his monologue "In the City of the Dead: A Meditation on Middles."

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