11/01/2013 09:42 am ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Rachel Maddow and More This n'That in Manhattan

"There is nothing like a good negative review to sell a book," wrote Hugh Barbour.

The funniest thing in politics where nothing is funny anymore was the MSNBC coverage of Tea Party Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky quoting twice -- as if they were his own words - speeches using word for word from Wikipedia. Hilarious! Thank you, Rachel Maddow.

Our readers are so smart. For instance, I said the other day that when the brief run of Harold Pinter's play "Betrayal" ends that maybe Mike Nichols would have his fabulous stars (Rachel Weisz, Daniel Craig, Rafe Spall) repeat it all for a movie.

Now reader Ronald Kaplan adds: "There has already been a film made of Pinter's play. In 1983 there was a movie version with Jeremy Irons, Patricia Hodge and Ben Kingsley."

Yes, but not a Mike Nichols version.

If you are one of those people who don't recognize most of the new movie stars, you could collect New York magazine for November 4 and instead of reading all about the new family that will be occupying Gracie Mansion in "Meet the DeBlasios" -- well, you could look at the Culture Pages inside.

They show, rate and describe "Hollywood's 100 Most Valuable Stars: Who's up and who's down in Vulture's second annual ranking?" And numero uno is Robert Downey, Jr. You remember him!

I ran into NYC's beleaguered police commissioner Ray Kelly and his wonderful wife Veronica at the Woodrow Wilson Awards dinner in the Pierre this week. Top cop Ray, one of my heroes, had just been booed by Brown University students and almost at the same time, been given the Paul Carey "Shining Spirit Award" in honor of the late NY Governor Hugh Carey. So it goes when one is in the public eye. (I am hoping Ray Kelly stays in place!)

I tried to pin Ray down as to his future under either of the incoming Mayoral candidates and he just shook his head. "Liz, I don't know exactly what I am going to do." Then he introduced me to General Petraeus who was one of the speakers that evening.

The retired General was wonderfully patriotic when talking about the men and women he has led and we were assured he can still do push-ups with the best of them.

Two of the greatest most philanthropic and brilliant lawyers in the U.S. (the Supreme Court knows them well!) were also being honored -- Mary and David Boies and they received the award for Public Service...Likewise, Marie-Josee and Henry Kravis took home the W.W. award for Corporate Citizenship. The upscale crowd for this night out was impressive and I had a great time talking with ABC's Bob Woodward.

I ran into the shy Weinstein brother of the movie-making NYC team , Harvey and Bob. I reminded Bob that when the brothers were made into "Living Landmarks" of the N.Y. Conservancy, neither had shown up to accept. "You were our only honorees ever not to come in person to accept," I said, pointing out that even Laurance and David Rockefeller arrived in person. Bob just laughed. He was eager to get away and back to his shy ways, so as soon as our table filled up with beautiful women, he moved off alone to another table with his cell phone.

At dinner, I was entertained by literary ace agent Mort Janklow who reminded me of our trip to Egypt in a group many years ago. We were given star treatment because we were with Barbara Walters. (How times have changed.) Mort has handed much of his book business over to his rising son, Luke.

Everybody says they are sick of awards dinners and speeches and so forth. But still they go on and for raising money for worthy causes, they can't be beat except by "entertainment" evenings. Anyway, I saw scores of distinguished people and enjoyed learning about the Woodrow Wilson organization which reminds us that we are all citizens of a great nation. California's former Senator Jane Harman, who now runs this center, was dynamic at the podium.