NORTHWEST AFTERNOON IN YOUR FACE! Reba (whose band, the Adding Machine, rocks) was shopping in Madison Park's swanky Yankee Peddler when she spotted Elisa Jaffe from KOMO-TV's Northwest Afternoon! Lovely Elisa, in black leather and tons of makeup, was waiting for a clerk to gift-wrap her gifts to someone named Beau. However, Reba gasps, "She checked out my boyfriend's butt when he bent over! Sure, he's got a cute ass, but I was standing right there!!" The NERVE!! 路路路 During the Battle in Seattle, I took a break to watch the awful NBC soap Passions. Imagine my shock when NW Afternoon's teensy soap yenta, Cindi Reinhart, burst through the doors of Harmony Hospital in a nurse's getup! Gravel-voiced Cindi had only two lines, but held her own among the incredibly talented cast.

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BETTER SHOP AROUND: Gnarly ol' actor Tom Skerritt's back in town -- Wed 12/8 Billy-boy spotted him at the 15th Ave QFC "staring down the beer selection with a steely-eyed gaze." 路路路 Fri 12/10 Shippy saw ex-Almost Live comic/producer Bill Stainton at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park. Bill was yakking with a pal and making "big wild gestures" with his hands. Ship remarks, "He seemed pretty uppity for a guy whose show got canned!" Hmmm -- perhaps "The Stain" has something up his sleeve?

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!@#$% TOURIST! Rex heard this juicy story on the q.t.: "When pop diva Bette Midler arrived in town late Sun 12/5, she was so interested in the protests that she asked her driver to take her to see the damage firsthand. The worldly Miss M was unimpressed, but insisted on seeing the protesters outside the King County Jail. As she drove past the rabble in her limo, sassy Bette rolled down her window and waved -- but nobody even recognized her!" Ha! Celebs sure are dumb, huh?

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HOTTIES DU JOUR: Spotted by Jane at 4th and Stewart, Fri 12/10: sultry No Doubt diva Gwen Stefani... with yummy Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale! Jane notes, "Gwen had the worst flaming-pink hairdo (Hello, roots were severely showing!!), and was sportin' some fine silver -- in her mouth. Nice braces!" Meanwhile, Gavin played soldier boy in a stylish Navy pea coat -- btw, I hear some lucky ducks grabbed Mr. Hottie's ass at the Deck the Hall Ball! Wow!!

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DANGEROUS OLD MAN: A "major media" rumor has it that another intern sex scandal is about to break -- this one involving Republican presidential hopeful John McCain. That can only mean that the GOP's right-wing tight-asses are running scared of Johnny and his "campaign reform" schtick -- therefore, I'm all for giving the old letch a second look!

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WORLD PREMIERE: All aboard for Doomed Planet, "America's first all-digital Armageddon comedy," Fri 12/17 on the historic ferry Kalakala, starring grunge god Tad and the guy from the Vern Fonk Insurance TV ads.

I'm dreaming of a wet Christmas.... shirley@thestranger.com