John McCaslin

James Carville will be delighted to know that The Beltway Beat was inundated with reader response after our glowing review this week of his first-ever children's book, "Lu and the Swamp Ghost."

We'd written that Carville's book was inspired by an episode in the Louisiana childhood of his mother, Lucille (known as "Miz Nippy"). And to make sure children hear the story with the correct inflections, the book comes packaged with a CD read by Carville in his distinctive voice.

To tell a bit of the ghostly tale, we wrote that Miz Nippy grew up in southern Louisiana during the Great Depression. One day she was out checking her papa's turkey traps in the cypress woods and comes across someone - or something - covered head to toe in mud. She heard about the swamp ghost who gobbles up nosy little girls, but this was the first time she came face-to-face with one of the creatures.

That's as much of the tale as we told - which unbeknownst to us, would leave column readers crying for more. Like John Tutini of Argyle, Texas:

"Without giving away the ending, did at any time she say if the muddy creature was bald and spoke with a Cajun twang when cleaned up?"


Sen. John Kerry was hoping his Democratic National Convention opening sound bite "reporting for duty" would resonate with voters and become the theme of his presidential campaign going into November.

No such luck.

"'Swift Boats' swamp all other Kerry messages," according to the latest Global Language Monitor's ( PQ (Political-sensitivity Quotient) Tracking Index.

"In fact, (Swift Boat) is up over 850 percent in the last several weeks as tracked in the media and on the Internet, according to PQ Index," says Paul Payack, president of the Global Language Monitor.


"The food's terrible on Air Force One."

Or so Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, explained as he grabbed a "smokie" (smoked sausage) off the grill and lathered it in mustard and onions during a campaign stop with President Bush in Pennsylvania this week.


It took more than three decades, but Congress honors Jack Yanosov.


He began his career on the RCA assembly line. Years later, he rose to become lead engineer of the Apollo spacecraft communications project. And it was on a transmitter built by Mr. Yanosov - put into use 35 years ago this summer - that humans heard the first words ever spoken on a planetary body other than Earth.

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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