Lugging husbands

John McCaslin
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Posted: Nov 20, 2003 12:00 AM

Is that the smiling mug of President Bush on first lady Laura Bush's purse?

"Proudly made in Texas," say makers of "President C-Box Purses" - classic shiny wooden cigar boxes, handles hand-crafted with vintage-style beads, corners accented with brass, the inside lined in plush black velvet.

C-Box purses sell at upscale boutiques for at least $200, said to be popular to carry to political events. Besides Mrs. Bush, C-Box carriers include National Federation of Republican Women President Heidi Smith; jewelry magnate Joan Castle Joseff of Joseff Jewelry of Hollywood fame (she reportedly has three); Susan Allen, wife of Virginia Sen. George Allen (the senator adorns Mrs. Allen's C-Box); and former first lady Nancy Reagan, whose purse features former President Ronald Reagan.

A first in a line-for-men C-Box was presented recently to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, complete with a cigar tucked inside. The "governator" is known to enjoy a good cigar now and then.

MINT GIPPER

We're told legislation will be introduced before the House adjourns for Thanksgiving to place the image of former President Ronald Reagan on the dime in place of the current image of Franklin Roosevelt.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.), says Hollywood is going to "great lengths" even now to distort Reagan's legacy and rewrite history. The dime bearing his image, the congressman says, would help ensure that "the Reagan legacy of expanding freedom could not be distorted by his enemies."

TREASON'S COUSIN

Because news outlets like to remind President Bush how many American servicemen have died since he declared an "end" to major combat in Iraq, a new military and intelligence-themed Internet site spells out reasons for the current U.S. deployment.

"America is at war," reminds IntelMemo.com. "We are at war against the network of international terrorists who committed the mass murders of September 11th. We are at war against the survivors of Saddam Hussein's regime and against the remnants of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Americans have died and continue to die in this struggle."

As for the other "war" declared by the Democratic leadership against President Bush, the site contains a quote from Sen. Zell Miller (D-Ga.), who has grown disenchanted with his party's Bush-bashing: "If what has happened here is not treason, it is its first cousin."

ALL BUT AMERICAN

In introducing the Memorial to Noncitizen Patriots Act - honoring U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq who aren't citizens of the United States - Congress recalls the words of George Washington: "The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation."

Joining fellow California Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham in introducing the act, Rep. Jane Harman says that although the country might be divided over Iraq, it is united in its support for the U.S. military. Of those, she counts 36,177 noncitizen members of the U.S. military, 17 of whom have lost their lives in Iraq.

The act would authorize construction of a memorial at Arlington National Cemetery honoring the sacrifice of all foreign-born U.S. military members, from this and past wars, killed in the line of duty.

HUMEUR AMERICAINE

Many Americans were enraged earlier this year by French opposition to U.S. efforts to oust Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's regime. Wartime sentiment led to a slew of anti-French gestures, with "Freedom Fries" being substituted on many patriotic menus.

Now, many say it's time to let bygones be bygones. Some members of Congress have even formed a pro-French caucus to try to mend fences with our longtime allies.

But some Internet pranksters still hold a grudge. Try this:

Go to the Google search engine at www.google.com.

Type in the search terms "french military victories" (in that order, and watch your spelling).

Select the "I'm feeling lucky" search option.

The results? "Did you mean French military defeats"? Google asks.

Tres drole, as they say in Paris.

SOME WOMEN

One group of ladies feeling left out wants the National Organization for Women (NOW) to change its name to the National Organization for Some Women (NOSW).

"While NOW claims to speak for women, it received a black eye with mainstream women for its support of President Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, despite NOW's long-held view of women as victims," says the Independent Women's Forum, which currently is upset because NOW refuses to support three women President Bush nominated for the federal bench.

FRIEND CAVIAR

The Russian Cultural Centre in Washington, an agency of the Russian government, opened its doors in December 1999 pursuant to a bilateral agreement signed by the United States and Russia providing for cultural centers in both countries.

One can read the charter, policy and mission of the RCC, which is stated in gold leaf on the mahogany walls of the center's Russian-American Room and on the bronze plaque at the building's entrance: "That Our Two Nations Never Again Polarize."

Given Russia is the caviar capital of the world, the RCC is educating of late on the history of the country's rebounding caviar industry. It's worth noting that until about 225 years ago, Russians considered eating roe somewhat vulgar. But that changed after Catherine the Great served it at a state dinner in 1778.

True Russian caviar comes from the sturgeon, a prehistoric fish with many relatives. The best Russian caviar, labeled "Malossol" (little salt), isn't salty; rather, its taste is described as a breath of clean ocean air.

The mythological lore of caviar, says the RCC, includes a self-important Washington politico who took his much younger office assistant to the old Mayflower Presidential Dining Room. To impress her, he asked the waiter:

"What is the most expensive item on the menu?"

"Caviar, sir."

"What is that?"

"Fish eggs, sir."

"Good, the lady and I will each have one, fried sunny side up."