IF YOU'RE UPSET with the decline of manners in society, don't blame the National League of Junior Cotillions, a group that works with young people in etiquette and social training.
As it's done for 18 years, the NLJC has issued its "Ten Best-Mannered People," and what a delightfully polite bunch they are.
Taylor Swift, for consistently showing courtesy to her fans, has the best manners, even if it's questionable whether she eats with the correct fork.
Swift is followed by Florida QB Tim Tebow for displaying good sportsmanship, which, we guess, includes sobbing like a baby on the sidelines when your team loses to Alabama. Tim, there's no crying in football.
The Jonas Brothers are next, for maintaining their strong commitment to personal values. Uh, their scandal just hasn't hit yet.
No. 4 is Chesley "Sully' Sullenberger - it's always good manners to save the lives of all your passengers when you have to ditch in the Hudson River.
Taylor Lautner finishes fifth in the voting. The NLJC says it's for exhibiting humility and politeness, but we think some of Taylor Swift's manners just rubbed off on him.
Or would that disqualify them?
The remaining five? CNN's Robin Meade, Sandra Bullock, Beyonce, Brett Favre (huh?) and ABC's Robin Roberts. "The annual selections are based on the demonstration of dignity, honor, and respect," says Elizabeth Anne Winters, NLJC national director.
The NLJC has also chosen a "Most Ill-Mannered Person of 2009," "for lowering the standards of morality and his negative influence as a role model for young people."
The winner: Tiger Woods.
However, Tiger wound up first in another poll. See Page 69.
* Speaking of Tiger, the big swinger has another fan: Former NYC mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
Giuliani, you may recall, is also a hound. In 2000, his 16-year marriage to Donna Hanover ended with allegations that he was seeing both former aide Christyne Lategano and drug-company exec Judy Nathan, whom he later married. So Rudy supporting a philanderer shouldn't come as a surprise. That's the thing about wolves - they travel in packs.
"He's going through a tough period," the empathetic ex-prosecutor told Usmagazine.com.
"I know him and at an early stage in my son's career, he was very kind and nice to him. So I know what a nice man Tiger really is, particularly with children.
"He was extraordinarily generous to my son and my son played golf with him. He has a big heart for children," Rudy added. "He's a very, very fine man. And people should know the way he treats children."
Children. Children. Children. Blah. Blah. Blah. How about Tiger's own children? Aren't they in for a treat when they're old enough to read about their dad carousing when mom was home pregnant.
Do Rudy and previous Tiger supporter Donald Trump share the same broken moral compass? "He's a very, very fine man?"
Come on, Mr. Ex-mayor, he's a very, very fine golfer. He's nice to famous people and their kids. He does a ton of work for charity. But let's not go overboard. It's all this sucking up to Tiger that got him into trouble in the first place.
* Metallica front man James
Hetfield is donating 330 acres overlooking California's Lucas Valley for preservation as farmland. The Marin County Board of Supervisors unanimously accepted the donation Tuesday. It follows Hetfield's earlier gift to the county of more than 400 acres for open space. Both plots of land are around his house.
County officials also say they are close to a deal with Hetfield that would reroute a hiking trail that crosses his property.
He recently blocked the trail with a fence.
* Fitness legend Jack LaLanne, 95, is recovering at his California home from heart-valve surgery.
LaLanne's publicist, Ariel Hankin, said Tuesday that LaLanne underwent the procedure at an L.A. hospital on Dec. 8.
Hankin says that before the surgery, LaLanne told his family that dying would wreck his image.
* A lawyer for Jon Gosselin says
his client's divorce from the other half of the reality-TV couple is not likely to be finalized until early next year.
Are those two still married?
* Us Weekly reports that Reese
Witherspoon and Jake Gyllenhaal have officially ended their three-year relationship.
"It broke his heart," according to the requisite anonymous insider. A source close to Jake said that he and Reese "fought constantly in the past few months.
"No one cheated. There was no drama."
* Speaking of splits with minimal
drama, an unidentified source told Perez Hilton that Alex Rodriguez dumped Kate Hudson because Kate was too much of a spotlight seeker.
A-Rod said that? A-Rod?
"Kate wanted more camera time each and every game," said the source. "She would always want to be styled before games and she'd insist on front-row seats.
"It was a turn-off to have a girlfriend who always wanted to be on camera. Alex wanted someone who was more interested in building a long-term relationship than just building their profile."
So that's the A-Rod side. The Kate side is that he had a wandering eye. Which one passes the smell test?
* And in another story that's hard to
believe, Taylor Swift is the front-runner to star as Supergirl.
"She has all the right elements to be a positive role model to young girls," said an anonymous source at BANG Showbiz.
The one thing she doesn't have? Muscles. She's the size of a pencil.
But she does have manners.
Daily News wire services contributed to this report.