- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 16, 2005


We were the first to write that President Bush is being encouraged by Ingrid E. Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, not to wear the beaver-fur hat commissioned for this week’s inauguration.

Not only do beavers share in Mr. Bush’s vision for The United States — supporting strong family values, mating for life and forming bonds with their young — but also, she points out, beavers are industrious role models, master architects whose complex sturdy lodges last for years, and they constantly maintain their homes, taking obvious pride in their work.

“Beavers also share Mr. Bush’s vision for America by cutting trees and building dams on public lands,” writes Dick Spencer of Staunton, Va. “Can we expect PETA to come out in support of these activities?”

Exercise humility

Once President Bush is sworn in to his second term, members of the Republican-controlled 109th Congress can get down to business — and serious debate.

“While this past election saw a Republican sweep of the House, Senate and White House, it again showed that we legislate over a divided country,” Rep. Mark Souder, Indiana Republican, acknowledged during the 109th Congressional Bipartisan Prayer Service, reminding lawmakers “we need to exercise humility as we debate very contentious issues over the next two years.”

A Notre Dame graduate, Mr. Souder said: “One of my favorite movies is ‘Rudy,’ about the University of Notre Dame. A priest tells Rudy that he only knows for certain that two things in life are true: 1) that there is a God; and 2) that it is not him.”

Hot Mamas

President Bush will be delighted to know that the Red Hot Mamas, who are “dedicated to the exploitation of merriment and the enhancement of the ridiculous,” will be marching for a second time in his inaugural parade.

These gaudy, wildly dressed, apron-wearing Mamas — everyday homemakers, waitresses, even teachers from Idaho — took Mr. Bush’s first inauguration by storm while pushing their shopping carts along Pennsylvania Avenue’s parade route.

“Go Mamas!” shouted the highly impressed president, throwing the ladies kisses.

Not everybody can be a Mama.

First and foremost, one must possess a “genuine zest for life.” After that, it helps to be more than 30, preferably “a mama, grandmama, a great-grandmama, or just plain great.” (The Queen Mama is past her 80th birthday, but who’s asking?)

“The inspirational double-amputee drum major is everyone’s hero,” notes one Mama.

Besides their shopping carts, navigated with drill-team precision, Mamas clad in bright-colored housedresses are outfitted with mops, strollers and milk jugs, topped off with a “grocery hat” made of cereal, cracker and detergent boxes.

And, yes, these Mamas can perform: spoofs like “The Blues Mothers”and “Riverprance,” accompanied by musical selections, as well as “We are Family,” “YMCA” and “Wipeout” to name a few.

Besides Mr. Bush’s inaugurals, the Mamas say their crowning glory was performing in London’s New Year’s Day Parade.

Still whistling

Christopher Ullman began whistling incessantly while delivering newspapers as a teenager. He then whistled while he worked on Capitol Hill.

Since we last wrote about him, Mr. Ullman has serenaded President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney in the Oval Office, puckered with Katie Couric on “Today,” whistled with Jay Leno on “The Tonight Show,” performed with the National Symphony Orchestra, and brought the audience to its feet at B.B. King’s club in Memphis, Tenn.

After all, he’s been crowned the four-time national and international whistling champion. Today, he is the top-ranked pop whistler in the world.

His repertoire consists of classical, blues, jazz, rock and Broadway. Once, during the annual Labor Day Concert at the U.S. Capitol, he led the audience of 60,000 in mass whistling with orchestral accompaniment.

When he’s not directing global communications for the Carlyle Group, one of the world’s largest private equity firms headquartered on Pennsylvania Avenue, Mr. Ullman is whistling his way through myriad engagements, like early next month, when he’ll perform Hummell’s “Trumpet Concerto” with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra in Minnesota.

He also tells us he’s just released his first CD, “The Symphonic Whistler,” available at www.happywhistler.com, where you can listen to whistling sound bites like our favorite, “On the Mall.”

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or [email protected]

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