- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 15, 2002

Washington is trying to come to terms with the litany of Code Red warnings being issued.
Code Red is the frightening meteorological jargon of the Washington summer, which means: Do not breathe the air.
Meteorologist Doug Hill, among others, has determined that breathing poses long-term health risks, and worse.
Those area residents with respiratory problems are being advised to curl up in the fetal position and hope for the best. They basically do not have a chance in this weather. Zilch. Zero. Zip.
One alternative is to hold your breath for as long as possible, until which time you pass out. Another is to wear a surgical mask, as favored by Wacko Jacko, who clearly regrets that he has but one face to give to the plastic surgeons of America.
Washington has become the color-coded capital of America, whether the official warning concerns the weather or the terror threat posed by a lactating woman at Boston's Logan International Airport.
The latter, as determined by Stormin' Norman Mineta, a pinhead if ever there was one, is Code Psychedelic. That means "bad trip" in the language of transportation bureaucrats.
Fortunately, the bureaucrats made sure that a lactating woman could not blow up a plane with a bottle of breast milk by making her drink it.
Official Washington mopped its brow and drank, perhaps breast milk, to its latest victory in the war on terror.
No, it is not the heat or humidity. It is the ozone at ground level. You might as well stick your mouth over a tailpipe and take a few hits on the stuff coming out of it.
You can't beat the ozone with a roll of toilet paper, either. That is Washington's common reaction to the first flake of winter.
It is not a dry ozone. It is an insufferable ozone.
Most Washington lawns have died and gone to wherever lawns go, possibly in the vicinity of the 72 virgins awaiting the lactating woman. Who knows?
Here's what you know: That ozone is a female dog.
Is it ozonic enough for you?
You spend five minutes outside and you end up looking like one of those book-cooking CEOs being carted off to be photographed and fingerprinted.
By midafternoon yesterday, the temperature hit 98 degrees at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
Meanwhile, as usual, it snowed in Cumberland, Md.
Two things: What is it with snow in Cumberland, and why do the forecasts on local television inevitably detail the goings-on in Cumberland? Who died and made Washington a suburb of Cumberland? You can bet Cumberland runs out of bags of salt and snow shovels just as quickly as Washington does.
In a related matter, it is important to drink plenty of fluids, possibly even breast milk, if only breast milk is available. These tips are not intended to be an insult to your intelligence. This is official Washington's way of protecting its backside.
One of these days, no doubt, a personal-injury lawyer is going to file a lawsuit against local government on behalf of a heat stroke victim who did not know that drinking water is an effective measure against thirst.
Also, not to forget another summer hazard, do not stick your hands and feet underneath a lawn mower while it is in operation. In fact, don't bother with the lawn at all. You just will be contributing to the ozone.
It is tough out there. If the ozone does not kill you, instant melanoma will.
It is getting so you no longer can have any fun.
You can't stick your hand underneath a lawn mower while it is running, you can't mainline Big Macs and Ledo's pizza, you can't trust lactating women and you can't breathe the Washington air.
We are under a Code Red, the ultimate far worse than a Code Aqua or Code Pastel.
It is another August in Washington. Do you know where everyone is?
They either have skipped town or they are testing the resolve of the power companies by blasting the air conditioner.

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