John McCaslin

Shelves of local hardware stores, rapidly depleted of duct tape during a recent shopping spree by terrified soccer moms who tried to tape would-be terrorists out of their McMansions, are once again brimming with rolls of the sticky stuff.

So what's a family that's overstocked with duct tape to do?

"Jim and Tim, the Duct Tape Guys" (, publishers of "Duct Tape Books" long before Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge sent duct tape stock prices soaring, bring us other useful duct tape hints.

"Because duct tape is gender neutral, may we suggest that gals can end that age-old argument by duct taping the toilet seat down," say the two. "Don't worry guys, you can go right in and duct tape it up."

In addition, always ensure you have a roll of duct tape when you travel, as "a roll of duct tape taped to the dashboard of your car makes a great pop can holder."

One guy "used duct to secure a board five feet outside of his third-story apartment so he could barbecue outdoors."

Finally, there are duct tape suggestions for "practical jokers" (Note: Duct tape in the wrong hands can be a dangerous weapon). One is the old "Roof Top Soda" trick: "Secure a 32-ounce soda cup to the top of your car with duct tape on the bottom of the cup. As if you had left it there by mistake, drive merrily along with the radio loud so you can't hear the people yelling to get your drink off the car.

"When they point and wave, act like they are waving at you, smile and wave back. You would not believe the reactions to this in traffic. People will get out of their vehicle and tap on the window to tell you about the cup!"


Lax controls over government purchase cards issued through the Federal Aviation Administration led to more than $6 million in improper or questionable expenditures - including purchases of Waterford crystal and personal Internet subscriptions - during fiscal year 2001.

The General Accounting Office, performing an audit at the request of House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Rep. Don Young (R-Alas.) reviewed purchase-card and convenience-check use among employees at the FAA's headquarters, the two FAA centers and the eight regional FAA offices.

"I don't consider gift cards at Wal-Mart and Waterford crystal to be in the realm of legitimate government spending," says Young. "We in government are entrusted with the taxpayers' money, and those who irresponsibly use that money must be held accountable."

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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