- The Washington Times - Monday, August 5, 2002

Hop the fence
Wonder what else your tax dollars are buying these days? Try U.S. government "freebies," which are actually costing Americans a pretty penny (read billions of dollars each year).
Enjoying a weekend outing on Washington's grassy National Mall, Demian Brady, a policy analyst for the National Taxpayers Union Foundation, came across an outdoor "public service recognition fair" for the federal government.
Among the more amusing or, as he puts it, "depressing" items that Mr. Brady picked up were a "Report Drug Smuggling" beer can cooler, a colorful "Look Ma! I'm a Bureaucrat!" brochure, a U.S. Customs Service frisbee and perhaps most ironically a yo-yo from the U.S. Border Patrol.
(Our guess is that when not stringing up illegal aliens, Border Patrol officers have been practicing for the American Yo-Yo Association's world yo-yo contest in Florida, which we kid you not features competition in the new 2002 trick: "One Hop the Fence").

Stripped of dignity
Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, who admits he has been accused of wearing a hairpiece, is surprised to learn that former Rep. James A. Traficant Jr., Ohio Democrat, has been wearing a toupee for all these years.
Prison authorities last week confiscated the purplish hairpiece from the former Democrat who says he will run for Congress again as an independent when he began serving an eight-year prison sentence for corruption.
"It never crossed my mind that that was an artificial piece, because I just know that if he had been able to pick and choose his hair it would look better than that," Mr. Lott says of the gravity-defying wig.
The Mississippi Republican adds that, were it up to him, Traficant would be allowed to wear his toupee behind bars.

Man's best friend
Regarding our most recent column item about chimpanzees settling down to watch television as part of U.S. government research and, more precisely, the proven scientific finding that female chimps are more likely to become television addicts than their mates Judy in Ohio writes: "Do you suppose they forgot to give the male chimps remotes?"

Kids honor teacher
Former teacher and wrestling-coach-turned-House-Speaker J. Dennis Hastert becomes only the second person in history to receive the Girls and Boys Town Service to America award when it's presented Wednesday in the Nebraska village made famous by Spencer Tracy's Academy Award-winning performance in the 1938 movie "Boys Town."
The award has been presented just once before, to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. After receiving the honor, Mr. Hastert will address the children and the Rev. Val J. Peter, the Girls and Boys Town executive director.
"We've come a long way since starting out with only five boys in 1917," spokesman Michael Klepper observes. "Today, we deal with 37,500-plus girls and boys at 18 sites in 13 states, plus the District of Columbia."

Milk drive
As was widely reported, Washington Redskins legend George Allen was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, and Sen. George Allen, Virginia Republican, was there to accept the honor on his late father's behalf.
"When my father was asked to interview for his first head coaching position, at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa, he couldn't afford a car to get him there from his home in Detroit," Mr. Allen revealed. "So, for his transportation, he found a milk truck that needed to be delivered to a nearby town. He made it to Sioux City, got the job and turned Morningside into winners.
"His ride in that milk truck also showed the tenacity and dedication to the goal at hand that made him one of the most successful coaches in NFL history," the senator added.
In fact, Mr. Allen said after he lost his first race for elected office in 1979, his father was instrumental in encouraging him to run again. That drive helped lead him to victories for the Virginia House of Delegates five times, and then to the U.S. House, the Virginia governor's mansion and now the U.S. Senate.

Hound Dog Days
Pennsylvania has its world-famous weather forecasting groundhog Punxsutawney Phil. During these dog days of August, it's Virginia's hound dog Lady Agatha that gets restless.
She awaits the summer's end for relief from the sun and humidity. And, she wonders, will we hold on to summer through September? So, during the early morning of Aug. 2, she crawls out from under her porch and takes notice.
Should she pass by her water dish, we can look forward to an early autumn. Should she lap the water from her dish, we can expect six more weeks of hot weather.
Lady Agatha lapped up a goodly amount of refreshing Caroline County artesian well water at approximately 6:28 a.m. Hot weather will thus continue for six more weeks.

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