- The Washington Times - Friday, October 18, 2002

Flower child

How does the ranking Republican member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. John W. Warner of Virginia, chill out in these trying times of terrorism?

He paints.

"Some folks may be surprised to find the senator is also a talented painter, but in these anxious times I take some comfort knowing there are decision makers with strong creative sides," says Fred Parker, owner of the Hard Times Cafe and chairman of a benefit auction to be held Oct. 25 at the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Old Town Alexandria.

In 1974, Mr. Warner was instrumental in converting the World War II munitions plant along the Alexandria waterfront into the internationally renowned art center it is today. A resident of Old Town, the senator is donating what is described as a "stunning floral still life" to go to the highest bidder.

The silent auction will feature more than 100 such works of art donated by the Torpedo Factory's resident artists.

Soul searching

While Sen. John W. Warner paints, Sen. Orrin G. Hatch writes his confession.

One of the better-known legislators in America, the Utah Republican has just penned "Square Peg: Confessions of a Citizen Senator" (Basic Books, $25), due in bookstores next month.

The senator describes his "personal" reflection as part essay on how politics should be practiced and part memoir of how he has tried to embody various principles during his tenure in the Senate, the only public office he has held.

He says the inspiration to write such a book came after a "harrowing" few moments at the Utah Republican Convention in 2000, when he had to face a hostile crowd, win them over in only a few minutes, then go on to secure the election.

"There was no way to explain what I had learned about being a senator, about campaigning, legislating and politics in just a few minutes," he says.

Mr. Hatch says he will provide a behind-the-scenes look at what really transpired during some of the more notorious congressional debates, including the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings and the Clinton impeachment. He'll also explain his position in the debate over human cloning and stem-cell research.

For the record, he recently flip-flopped on his position and is now in favor of stem-cell research.

Establishing statehood

No sooner do they get the place all fixed up and Mark Russell vows to bring down the house.

After a two-year absence, the political satirist and his piano will appear at the newly renovated Ford's Theatre come January. And what's on his plate?

"I am proud to live in a city whose mayor won a write-in vote by beating Helen of Troy, Smokey the Bear and Pinocchio," Mr. Russell says of Washington, D.C. In fact, after the recent primary election here, he took a position on the often-debated statehood argument: "With our recent election, D.C. is already a state Florida."

Mr. Russell spent much of the past year on the road, travel that he says weighed heavily on his feet: "According to a survey, the screeners at the airports have missed knives 70 percent of the time, guns 30 percent of the time and little tweezers none of the time."

Above man

As if climate change somehow could not be man's sinister work, we learn today of global warming on Pluto.

Robert Roy Britt of space.com reports that Pluto's atmospheric pressure has "tripled" over the past 14 years, indicating a stark temperature rise. However, scientists believe the change is a seasonal event, much as the shorter seasons on Earth change as the hemispheres alter their inclination to the sun during the planet's annual orbit.

In other words, readers in Pluto, like those on Earth, should keep their winter coats handy.

Calling lobbyists

Franco Nuschese, proprietor of the renowned celebrity hangout Cafe Milano in Georgetown, has a recipe to make the two-martini lunch of days past popular again.

He introduced the Milano Martini, the new specialty of the house, at the Cabaret Benefit on Wednesday evening for the National Museum for Women in the Arts.

"Good for bidding," he explained.

Mr. Nuschese's recipe: martini glass with blue stem and crystal-clear bowl; fill with ice; pour 13/4 ounces Grey Goose L'Orange vodka; one-half ounce Cointreau; 1 ounce freshly squeezed blood-orange juice; shake well, strain and pour; garnish with blood-orange wheel.

Oh, and charge it back to your company.

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