I had lunch today at Ammos Estiatorio on Vanderbilt Avenue with my friend John Leo. John, who had a long and distinguished career as a columnist at US News & World Report, is a resident scholar at the Manhattan Institute, from whose parapets he wags a stern and scornful finger at the soggy ignorance of our culture. When we met in the early ’80s, he was working at Time, writing cover stories on ice cream and other urgent topics of another dark and stormy era, and I was working in the PR agency of his good friend, the much-missed John Scanlon. When I was thinking of becoming a writer, John was one of two writers whose advice I sought, the other being Nicholas Pileggi, then of New York magazine and more recently, of Wise Guys and Goodfellas and Casino. Both gave me identical advice: “Write as much as you for wherever you can, and go to a lot of parties.” It was good advice, and I pass it along to all the whippersnappers who come to me for guidance, always giving appropriate credit to those with whom it originated. Thanks, men.