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George Rush grew up in a small Midwestern town, and then went on to Brown University, followed by Columbia University, where he received his master's degree in journalism. He wrote articles on weighty topics for national magazines, and a book, "Confessions of a Secret Service Agent." But after meeting Joanna Molloy, a fifth-generation New Yorker, Rush soon straightened out his life and began writing a gossip column with her. The couple, who have been married since 1992, have a little Rush.


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Bush breakup leaves Sharon broke

Sharon and Neil Bush recently reached a settlement, after President Bush's brother jettisoned his wife of 23 years for Maria Andrews, a former assistant to his mother, Barbara.

But even though Sharon's splitting from one of America's most famous families, she's hardly in the money.

Since Neil's software startup company has yet to show a return, "He says he has no assets," Sharon tells us. "So we have to sell the house where we've lived for 10 years. It's very sad."

They're asking $1.5 million for the place. Sharon says she'll get to keep half of whatever is left after the mortgage is paid off.

Where will she and her children live?

The elder George Bush and his wife, Barbara, have agreed to buy a more modest house for her and their grandchildren, Ashley, 13 and Pierce, 16.

Sharon's supermodel daughter, Lauren, 18, is away at Princeton most of the year. But when she visits, Sharon says, "We may have to share bedrooms."

She also says she must move out of the Poppy-financed house when Ashley turns 18. "I'm hoping that by then I will have a career that will allow me to buy another place," she says.

Last week, she had her final party in the old house - a benefit for the American Ireland Fund, which raised $100,000 to send 32 Texans to the Special Olympics in Dublin next month. Meanwhile, Sharon has to clear her stuff out of the house the family rented in Kennebunkport, Maine, where her in-laws have long spent their summers.

"It's a hard time," says Sharon, who is hoping to stay with friends in the Hamptons this summer. "But I'm very appreciative to my children's grandparents. And I'm trying to keep my chin up."

This dog made him bark

Ted Turner is betting the ranch on his chain of Montana Grill restaurants - specializing in buffalo meat.

But the idea isn't going down well with a buddy, AOL Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons.

"One day Ted Turner took me to the VIP lounge at an Atlanta Braves game and without telling me gave me a buffalo meat hot dog," Parsons told Webster Hall curator Baird Jones, at a launch party for "The Matrix Reloaded."

"I took one bite and with my mouth still full shouted out, 'What is this crap? It is just terrible!' I managed to swallow that one mouthful, and then discreetly downloaded the rest."

Parsons reckons bison will never make it into the bleachers. "He thinks he can sell buffalo meat hot dogs, but he will never produce a ballpark dog," says Parsons. "It was horrible."

Nice guys eat last

Here's a first: a report of a Hollywood type who didn't pull a power move when given the chance.

Brooke Shields had a craving - but the yen, for Chinese food, was after her baby girl, Rowan, was born last week.

The new father - Shields' husband, Chris Henchy - called Mr. Chow to place an order, and was told the restaurant would not deliver. Henchy went to the chic chinois restaurant on E. 57 St., presumably to beg, but it was still no to-go. The screenwriter, whose new ABC sitcom, "I'm With Her," is about an ordinary guy married to a celebrity, simply hunted around the hood and landed at Le Colonial. The cuisine is Vietnamese - close enough for cravings - so Henchy brought Brooke spare ribs and spring rolls, Victoria Gotti, who talked to the new mom for the Star, told us.

Mr. Chow hostess Agnes Borowiak told us Henchy never let on who the vittles were for. "When we are busy, we can't do take-out, but we are very sorry about what happened."

Marketing assault

"Shock and awe" may soon be a brand name seen on everything from women's underwear to bath toys.

Companies filed trademark applications to use the military's theme for its Iraqi war strategy on more than 40 products, Harper's magazine reports. The products include teddy bears, rum, dollhouse furnishings, lotions, cars, hang gliders, ski boots and, inexplicably, eyeglass cords.

The Sony Corp. trademarked the phrase for use in video games within one day of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Three weeks later, Sony gave up that trademark, citing "regrettable bad judgment."

The phrase was coined by Harlan Ullman, James Wade and L.A. Edney, authors of the National Defense University Institute book, "Shock and Awe: Achieving Rapid Dominance."


Nicole Kidman toasted the delivery of "Birth," her new suspense thriller, with castmates at the Gaslight in Chelsea ...

Boy George, in a blue sequins and a top hat, checked out Harvey Fierstein in "Hairspray" on Wednesday. He dashed backstage as soon as the curtain dropped...

Competing anchors came together the other night to support the New York Child Learning Institute. WB11's Jim Watkins, whose 5-year-old son, Liam, is autistic, pulled in NBC's Sue Simmons, Judy Gordon and Felicia Taylor, CBS' Ernie Anastos, Dana Tyler and Penny Crone, Fox 5's Rosanna Scotto and most of the WB11 news team.

Side dishes

Some people prefer made-up lawyers to the real thing. Court TV's Catherine Crier dedicated her book, "The Case Against Lawyers," to Harper Lee's fictional attorney, Atticus Finch. Jack Lemmon's widow, Felicia, asked Crier if she'd sign a copy for her pal Gregory Peck, who portrayed Finch in the film version of Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" ...

Now that Robert De Niro has made Tribeca a film capital, legendary documentary-maker D.A. Pennebaker has asked Miramax to move his new feature, "Only the Strong Survive" from midtown to the Screening Room, on Canal St. The critically hailed movie chronicles the lives R&B; legends such as Wilson Pickett, Sam Moore and Isaac Hayes. But Pennebaker says, "The title seems particularly applicable to what everyone around Ground Zero has gone through."

With Suzanne Rozdeba and Ben Widdicombe

Originally published on May 27, 2003

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