- The Washington Times - Monday, December 13, 1999

Wrong button

In this rapidly advancing computer age of ours, when an accidental touch of a button can trigger nuclear war, one has to be careful what one pushes.
Just ask the nice lady in the Capitol Hill office of Sen. Jeff Sessions, Alabama Republican, who accidentally e-mailed 300 or so constituents a love letter to her boyfriend.
Not until constituents began complaining did the senator’s office learn of the embarrassing mistake.
“We’re still looking into it,” Mr. Sessions’s spokesman, John Cox, tells Inside the Beltway.
As for the letter’s content?
“It was a personal e-mail that a member of our staff had sent to a friend,” he says, “characterized as a love letter, and I don’t suppose that is inaccurate, but it was a friendly message concerning their getting together later that night.”
Mr. Cox says all constituents who received the e-mail are being given an apology.

Espionage and evasion

When a reliable source from The Washington Post told us that the newspaper would be publishing a spread tomorrow about Haley Barbour’s and Tommy Boggs’ new $3 million, 240-seat restaurant in Washington, we set out to beat The Post to the punch and have some fun in the process.
We telephoned Mr. Barbour, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, several times on Thursday. We explained to two different secretaries why we were calling, yet each time Mr. Barbour was either “on the phone” or “in a meeting.” Which in this city means the person doesn’t care to chat.
To be certain, we left a cell-phone number. When that didn’t ring, one thing became clear: The Post would publish the story Friday instead of this week, or risk being scooped on its scoop.
Sure enough, there it was, complete with a picture of a beaming Republican Barbour and Democrat Boggs standing in front of their shiny restaurant sign.
When Mr. Barbour climbed out of bed Friday morning and saw the article, he knew it was safe to call. Even if it was only 7:08 a.m.
Mr. Barbour apologized to our answering machine, explained to it how busy he was, and said while he had to go out of town to call his secretary who will “track me down.”

Vulgar veal

It might not be such a bad thing after all when Washington Post restaurant critic Phyllis C. Richman dishes out an unflattering review.
As Miss Richman did last month, we ducked into the newly refurbished Hay-Adams Hotel across the park from the White House, where everybody else, at least, is excited about the Lafayette’s new “Meritage Cuisine” menu.
“What in the world is a shelf of roasted duck breast and shrimp? Its a vulgarity,” Miss Richman groused. “A hunk of rare meat looks as if it had been assaulted by a butterflied shrimp that remains stuck through the middle.”
She called it “an example of good ingredients being manipulated to perform unnatural acts.”
“That veal chop is equally alarming, with its mound of risotto tinted neon red and waving a sail of triangular cracker,” Miss Richman added. “It looks like nothing found in nature.”
Not what the Lafayette hoped to read. Then the unexpected happened.
Within days, we’re told, the restaurant got busier than usual. More surprisingly, patrons rushed to order the shelf of roasted duck breast being assaulted by a butterflied shrimp manipulated to perform unnatural acts and the red-tinted veal chop waving a sail of triangular cracker.
Paraphrasing one source at the Lafayette: “Quite a few wanted to order the dishes that she particularly savaged and, better yet, they liked them.”
The Hay-Adams is accepting reservations at 202/638-2570.

Laughing at the world

Controversial CIA officer John Alejandro King has published a collection of CIA-related haiku poems three-line unrhymed verses of Japanese origin to the apparent consternation of CIA officials.
The haiku poetry, which Mr. King calls “spaiku,” appears in a manuscript published on his Web site (www.covertcomic.com).
Within the site, Mr. King, a.k.a. “The Covert Comic,” pokes fun at the CIA, the FBI, and conspiracy theories while claiming to donate all profits to Amnesty International and food banks to help the poor.
Mr. King’s spaiku poems depict a conspiratorial world full of inept covert operations and widespread contempt for counterintelligence and security officers.
Perhaps the most controversial spaiku seems to suggest the CIA sold crack cocaine, as various conspiracy theorists have claimed but which the agency vehemently denies.
A few spaiku selections:
“Walk the dark hallway
“A-Wing, Headquarters ground floor
“Hey, is that Elvis?”
And this one, poking fun at the U.S. military’s accidental bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, blamed on an outdated CIA map of the Serbian capital:
“President wants coup
“In some place called Canada’
“Someone find a map

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