- The Washington Times - Monday, May 1, 2006

It ain’t me

Never has an Inside the Beltway column item generated as much reader response as the one last week on Hollywood actors of yesteryear who threw aside their scripts to fight for their country — something our current crop of celebrities has avoided like the plague.

In fact, we challenged readers to name one modern American celebrity (apart from the late football star Pat Tillman) who has served or fought for his or her country in the past 15 years. Not a single person succeeded.

“I can think of several current actors who served: [Sylvester]Stallone was a Vietnam veteran.

Charlie Sheen single-handedly saved the Gulf. Tom Hanks served in World War II. [Demi]Moore trained to be a [Navy] Seal.

“Oh wait — I’m confusing fiction with reality,” writes Jerry Stephens of Lothian, Md.

“Even Hollywood … sent its best to wars prior to Vietnam,” we quoted University of Dayton professor Larry Schweikart as saying in his new book, “America’s Victories.” He pointed out that professional actors were as “thoroughly represented” in the military during World War II as any other group.

In fact, Mr. Schweikart was among those who wrote to Inside the Beltway after our item appeared.

“One thing I found interesting was that the sons and daughters of senators [and] congressmen served at a higher rate than their percentage in the U.S. population,” the author told us. “So much for Credence Clearwater Revival’s, ‘It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no fortunate one.’ ”

Many readers complained that we did not include Audie Murphy among an abbreviated list of actors who fought in World War II. Said to be one of the U.S. Army’s most decorated soldiers, Murphy became an actor after his wartime service.

Circuitous city

“Washington really is a great city. Where else can an Orthodox Jew like Jack Abramoff rip off American Indians to underwrite golf trips to Scotland for evangelical Christians?”

Conservative columnist and pundit Cal Thomas, participating at the Funniest Celebrity in Washington benefit for Bread for the City at the comedy restaurant DC Improv.

Hold your fire

Former Republican senator and Clinton Defense Secretary William S. Cohen is weighing in on the Iraq war, as well as the nuclear stalemate with North Korea — albeit not in words one might expect.

Consider this encrypted message he typed into a Palm Pilot: “White House is mistaken about North Korea intentions to attack South. Threat of war imminent. Contact me ASAP!”

Before either side rushes to battle stations, the aforementioned is merely a passage from an advance copy of Mr. Cohen’s fictional thriller “Dragon Fire,” which takes readers into a make-believe White House, Pentagon, CIA and beyond.

Fish tale

That was David Guas, executive pastry chef of DC Coast and TenPenh, who is becoming quite the regular on NBC’s “Today” show, landing a whopper while joining other Washington-area chefs for a chartered fishing trip on the Chesapeake Bay.

In fact, the fish he caught was so big that a local photographer for an Eastern Shore newspaper was waiting at the dock to snap a picture of Mr. Guas and his 50-pound catch — said to be the largest rockfish pulled from the Bay this year from a charter fishing boat.

Chefs Roberta Donna (Galileo), Robert Wiedmaier (Marcel’s), Jeff Tunks (DC Coast, TenPenh, Ceiba and Acadiana), Kazuhiro Okochi (Kaz Bistro), and Mr. Guas were visiting Maryland’s Eastern Shore at the invitation of Andrew Evans, chef and owner of the Inn at Easton.

Over the next six months, Mr. Andrews is bringing these Washington chefs and others to his restaurant so his patrons can sample some big-city cuisine without having to cross “the bridge,” as he puts it.

Birds and squirrels

Talked to your kids about politics lately?

Instead of sheltering your children from your political viewpoints, the authors of two popular children’s books say parents should take a more active role.

“Parents who believe in traditional values should absolutely try to instill those values in their kids,” says Katharine DeBrecht, author of the best-selling picture book, “Help! Mom! There Are Liberals Under My Bed.”

She contends that “liberals have been using books in our schools and libraries for years to hoist their left-wing agenda on children.”

Jeremy Zilber, author of “Why Mommy is a Democrat,” agrees that politics shouldn’t be an out-of-bounds topic for children.

“One of the most important and challenging tasks facing parents is instilling a set of values in their children,” says Mr. Zilber, whose book uses a family of squirrels to illustrate Democratic values.

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

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