"THE MIND is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled." -- Plutarch, on the subject of mentoring the young

Well, the mind of Lindsay Lohan has, in recent years, seemed an all but empty vessel and/or a patch of land that is so unhappily damp it can't be fired up.

But now that Oprah has stepped into the picture, even Lindsay's mother, the much criticized Dina Lohan, says this is a "fantastic" turn of events. During a Hollywood luncheon she attended at the European Wax Center, Dina burbled that, "If anyone is going to help mentor you, it's going to be Oprah."

Oprah will not only "mentor" Lindsay, but Winfrey's OWN Network will air an eight-episode "reality series" about Lindsay's struggles to stay on the straight and narrow. (Even though Lindsay has insisted she never needed rehab and doesn't have any substance abuse issues.)

Dina herself, who has never met a camera she hid from, will probably appear on the show, too. ("It's about my family, after all," she told E!) Perhaps Oprah will ask Dina a few hardball questions about how she has raised her talented daughter?

People always say of Lindsay, "Oh, no more of her," but her troubles, alas, that's what the saga has been for years, continue to capture attention. She is still remembered as the enchanting child and early teen star of "The Parent Trap," "Mean Girls" and a couple of other films before her very public fall. If we can forgive grown men like Eliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner for their misdeeds, I think we can save a little room for a 27-year-old woman who attempted to navigate Hollywood's sludge without an oar or rudder.

If Oprah can help turn Lindsay around, she really is the deity her most rabid fans still insist she is.

I LOVED the first "Red" movie, starring Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich and others, including the wonderful late Ernest Borgnine. It was a tale of retired spies, assassins and black ops people getting together after many years for one more go around of shootings, explosions and betrayals. It was great fun. (Mary-Louise Parker played Bruce's younger, eventually-up-for-anything girlfriend.) And the movie was popular enough to spawn a sequel, "Red 2," which reunites most of the original cast, along with the addition of the genius Anthony Hopkins and the eternally luscious Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Advance reviews have been so-so, though nobody is saying it is really a disappointment. The Hollywood Reporter, referring to the actors and the action roles they play, advises wisely, "Never say retired."

I don't think I could ever not enjoy something that starred Bruce Willis, still one of the most charming, sexy men in the world, and Ms. Mirren, who remains alluring, energetic and ambitious enough to tackle almost any kind of role. Both stars will be working when they are 90.

I can't wait for "Red 2," which opens Friday.

Oleg Frish is probably one of the most "famous" Russians you've never heard of. This crazy "star" of the 5 million happy Russians who live in the United States is a versatile entertainer himself -- TV and radio host, a singer in multiple languages and a man who knows more about pop music than just about anyone.

Oleg is celebrating his birthday on July 25 and you can call the Metropolitan Room at 34 West 22nd Street, to reserve a ticket and join other music lovers in saluting this self-created phenomenon. The number is 212-206-0440.

I have been a guest for Oleg on both TV and radio and I can only describe it all as a kick in the old music box. The show I was on has been shown six times all over the world, or so Oleg tells me. Oleg will happily recite his plaudits as "the Merv Griffin of Russia." He has interviewed just about everybody who ever sang a song.

He claims his shows are visited by thousands of people all over the world. For all I know, this may be true. (The radio show is on WNYM Radio 970 a. m. every Saturday afternoon at five and he also hosts his Friday Night Talk Show on RTVI, the leading Russian language TV station.) Andy Williams called Oleg "a super talented person." With him on July 25 will be the Isaac Ben Ayala Jazz Quartet.

CONGRATULATIONS to star-crossed Halle Berry, who married her Oliver Martinez in France over the weekend. This will be her third marriage and hopefully the charm for the Oscar-winning screen beauty. She has claimed that all her other men done her wrong, one way or another. She is expecting a child with Martinez. Her second. Her first, Nahla has been the subject of a bitter custody battle between Berry and her ex Gabriel Aubry. (She and Aubry did not marry, but she says he did her wrong all the same.)

Berry indicates that she will probably live in France most of the time, primarily to escape the onerous attentions of Hollywood's paparazzi. Good luck on that. It was the French paparazzi who chased Princess Diana to her death back in 1997. Diana's driver didn't help, but, still...

(E-mail Liz Smith at MES3838@aol.com.)