- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Row, row

We had to laugh at the official White House pool report describing yesterday’s tour of the Miami port facility by President Bush, “in shirt-sleeves and standing in the bow of the boat like a latter-day King of the World.”

Person Gerson

That’s PresidentBush’s longtime speechwriter and adviser, Michael J. Gerson, joining the Council on Foreign Relations.

His immediate plans: author a book on the future of conservatism, and give his own speeches on everything from foreign policy to democracy and religion.

Mr. Gerson’s speechwriting duties for Mr. Bush overlapped the president’s most pressing time in the White House — during the September 11 attacks and its immediate aftermath.

Council President Richard N. Haass says he counts Mr. Gerson among “this country’s most important thinkers — someone in a position to have significant impact on the debate about this country’s purpose in the world.”

Bunch of manure

Inside the Beltway received so much correspondence about U.S. presidents resorting to four-letter words to describe what ails the world that we would be remiss not to print just one letter, in this case from P. Brookshire:

“When you were telling about people wanting President Bush to learn how to speak [properly], I remembered a tale about the ladies around Washington wanting first lady Bess Truman to stop Harry S. Truman from saying ‘manure.’

“She said, ‘Do you know how long it took me to get him to say manure?’”

Whip duty

We wrote earlier that the term “whip” had spread to Capitol Hill in 1887 from the British House of Commons, which borrowed it from the once-proud British sport of fox hunting, where “whipper-ins” kept dogs running as a pack.

Comparable “whipper-ins” today are Majority Whip Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri and Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, who keep busy rounding up their respective congressmen in advance of crucial voting.

Outside of Congress there is Beth Addis Opitz, a third-generation fox hunter and “avid” Inside the Beltway reader, who writes: “I am a whipper-in to the Thornton Hill Hounds, which are located in Rappahannock County, Virginia (about 70 miles southwest of Washington).

“If you didn’t know, fox hunting is alive and well here in the United States, and there are many hunts within an hour’s drive of Washington that have been around for more than 100 years. George Washington had a pack of hounds (just another reason why he is my favorite hero). …

“Your description of what a whipper-in’s duties are was fairly accurate, except that we rarely actually physically hit the hounds (not referred to as dogs) with the whip,” she says. “Occasionally we crack the whip to make a loud sound similar to a pop gun if a stray hound needs to be sent back to the pack.”

Chefs on bikes

Ten popular Washington restaurateurs are climbing aboard motorcycles tomorrow to begin a 1,600-mile charity ride to South Dakota’s 66th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, the largest in the United States.

The “District Hogs,” as they call themselves, are riding for Restaurants for Relief 2, to raise money for the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast region. (Each participant will have sign-up pledge sheets at their individual restaurants.)

Among the bikers are RJ Cooper, chef de cuisine of Vidalia restaurant; David Guas, executive pastry chef of Acadiana, DC Coast, Ceiba and TenPenh; Robert McGowin, executive chef of Old Ebbitt Grill; Cliff Wharton, chef de cuisine of TenPenh; and Robert Wiedmaier, executive chef and owner of Marcel’s.


“We deny every adverse condition

That can lead to demise or perdition:

Although tourists may die,

We’re committed to lie,

‘Cause we work for the Tourist Commission.”

—F.R. Duplantier

(Column note: Both of Mr. Duplantier’s parents were journalists in New Orleans — his father, Crozet CroDuplantier, wrote for the States-Item; his mother, Peggy, was a writer and photographer for the Dixie Roto, the old color supplement to the Times-Picayune. The limerist received his B.A. cum laude with honors in English from Tulane University in New Orleans in 1975.)

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

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