- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Circling the Hill

Inside the Beltway yesterday bumped into political satirist and pianist Mark Russell and asked him to explain how the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal is changing Washington.

“It’s getting to this,” replied the popular comedian, without missing a beat. “The children in my neighborhood are playing lobbyists and Indians.”

Mr. Russell will no doubt expand on this and other sordid Washington affairs when he appears at Ford’s Theatre for three nights next month — Feb. 6, 13 and 20.

Wear a briefcase

Americans are forever fascinated that people in certain countries still walk around carrying baskets and other wares on their heads, even though it’s the healthiest way to transport such items.

Take first lady LauraBush’s visit to the African nation of Ghana, as described in yesterday’s White House pool report: “The motorcade then pulled up to a walled complex with scores of people out front, [which] included women balancing baskets on their heads.”

Actually, it would do Americans good to take the hint and start balancing baskets, backpacks and even briefcases on their heads.

“It is interesting to note that people that carry baskets on their head, such as in India and Africa, have impeccable posture as the body is forced to find its natural state of balance,” says world-renowned health expert Allan Borushek, author of the “Calorie King” Web site.

But before you stroll up Connecticut Avenue balancing your briefcase or other personal effects on your head, Mr. Borushek suggests a good way to check your posture first “is to try the old-fashioned exercise of balancing a book on your head.”

“This exercise really works. Practice it every day for 1-2 minutes, and you will notice your posture improve,” he says.

Hats off

As it has done every year since 1972, Washingtonian magazine yesterday saluted its 2005 “Washingtonians of the Year,” their myriad contributions to society lauded in the January 2006 issue.

Master of ceremonies Diane Rehm, talk-show host for National Public Radio, called the annual awards ceremony at the Willard Hotel her “favorite” event of the year because it honors “real people.”

Accepting the 2005 honors yesterday were Shelley Kramm, creator of customized playground equipment and parks for disabled children; JohnM. Derrick Jr., chief executive officer of Pepco, active community volunteer and resurrector of the United Way of America, who remembers Tenleytown when it was a “rural community” that purchased its “farm equipment and live chickens” from the basement of Sears on Wisconsin Avenue; C.D. “DanMoteJr., University of Maryland president and educator; Josie Bowen, founder of Youth Professional Development; J. Reilly Lewis, director of the Cathedral Choral Society and founder of the Washington Bach Consort, who turned to music as a career when instructed to kill a frog in his pre-med class; and Barbara Fox Mason, founder of Child and Family Network Centers.

The other recipients include Joe Youcha, director of youth boat-building at the Alexandria Seaport Foundation; Jayne Park, executive director of the Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center; Dr. Juan Romagoza, a Salvadoran surgeon whose hands were disfigured by torturers during his country’s civil war and who now treats thousands of Salvadoran nationals in Washington; Mark Tuohey, Washington’s point man for Major League Baseball who heads the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission, a volunteer job with no pay, and mostly enjoys fixing and building youth sports facilities; Kojo Nnamdi, Washington talk-show host and commentator; PamelaL. Michell, head of New Hope Housing; Dr. Roselyn Payne Epps, former president of Girls Inc. and the first black president of the American Medical Women’s Association; and Brendan and Sean Tuohey, founders of Playing for Peace, basketball programs stretching from Northern Ireland and South Africa to the West Bank, using the sport to break down cultural and religious barriers.

Cronkite

He can always be trusted for this:

When the words that he’s speaking are his,

Old Uncle Walter

Is likely to falter —

And that is the way that it is.

F.R. Duplantier

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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