- The Washington Times - Monday, August 22, 2005

Babe Ralls

Eyes will turn to the pitcher’s mound when Georgetown gallery owner and former beauty queen Marsha Ralls throws out the first pitch for tonight’s baseball game between the Washington Nationals and Cincinnati Reds at RFK Stadium.

Besides art, Miss Ralls explains, she is passionate about her involvement in the D.C. chapter of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization. She says she was invited to toss out the pitch after she organized a pre-game, behind-the-scenes gathering of EO members with Nationals team President Tony Tavares. (Hopefully, one of the entrepreneurs will buy the team so the Nats can afford some additional star players.)

“I pray I don’t choke and the ball reaches home plate,” Miss Ralls tells us. “More importantly, this opportunity to pitch is great for my two sons, Jake and Nathan, who think their mom totally rocks.”

Next month, it’s worth noting, the gallery owner is expanding her Ralls Collection to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, initially focusing on supplying artwork for the popular Middle Eastern destination’s many new hotels. Most recently, her creative vision was put on permanent display at the new luxury Mandarin Oriental in Washington.

Still in use

It was back in 1984 that Ross Perot purchased one of the few remaining originals of the 1297 Magna Carta, the foundation document of English common law.

Since then, this rare document, in which King Edward I confirmed King John’s grant of rights and liberties “to all freemen of our kingdom,” has been on indefinite loan to the National Archives.

Starting Sept. 16, the Magna Carta, which American patriots and law students like John Adams and Thomas Jefferson turned to for inspiration — for that matter, the U.S. Supreme Court has cited the document in numerous cases — will go on display at the Archives, the only Magna Carta permanently housed in the United States.

Mr. Perot’s purchase price more than 20 years ago: $1.5 million.

Outer limits

What better place than Hollywood to convene the 2005 National UFO Conference?

Master of ceremonies for this gathering of UFO believers is former CNN news anchor Cheryll Jones, who we assume is among the two-thirds of Americans who, according to one Roper poll, believe Uncle Sam is withholding information on UFOs and the beings flying them — whether they are top-secret military pilots or little green men.

“The government has insisted that UFOs do not constitute a national-security threat, while refusing to formally deny an extraterrestrial explanation and stubbornly keeping most UFO-related information hidden from the public,” conference organizers note. The conference, set for Sept. 2-4, will feature journalists, investigators, authors, even medical doctors who will present “case evidence, documentation and current status” of what the organizers call “the greatest mystery of our time.”

UFO specialist Grant Cameron says he will demonstrate to conference-goers how the U.S. government has hidden evidence of UFOs ever since President Franklin D. Roosevelt ruled the roost.

General’s admirers

Deborah Norville is coming to town to be master of ceremonies for the USO world headquarters annual fundraising gala, which this year will honor Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Richard B. Myers for his patriotism and leadership.

And talk about an all-star cast on hand to salute the general: hall of fame quarterback John Elway, basketball star Shaquille O’Neal, singer Wayne Newton, and Miss USA 2005 Chelsea Cooley, among others.

The banquet will be held at the Washington Hilton on Sept. 14.

Pickle and pecans

Congress is paying last respects to one of its long-serving members who had a most intriguing surname — J.J. Jake Pickle.

The 16-term Texas Democrat, who retired in 1995, passed away earlier this summer in Austin, Texas.

Fellow Democratic Rep. Charles B. Rangel of New York said he “got the privilege of sitting next to Jake” during his entire career in the House, and said he will remember his close friend, not just for his accomplishments, but his ability to make people laugh.

“What an experience it was,” recalled Mr. Rangel. “He squeaked green plastic pickles at me — from deep in his pocket — and taught me how to de-shell two pecans with one hand in a single squeeze and then eat them and throw the hulls under our desks with no one knowing.”

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

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