John McCaslin

Tommy "The Matchmaker" Curtis is best known as skipper of the Yacht Club of Bethesda, heralded by Washington newspapers and magazines alike for his astounding ability to match couples and send them happily down the matrimonial aisle.

This single columnist will also have you know that Curtis and Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry were not only in the same Yale University class of 1966, they went head-to-head in the prestigious senior class public-speaking contest.  Kerry, not surprisingly, was well-known in those days for his skill at debating. Curtis' claim to fame, on the other hand, was getting elected Yale's social chairman and prom committee representative.

"All my work centered around finding women to come to Yale's mixers," he says. "Yale at that time was all men, so mixers were an important part of the school's - and my - social life."

Back to the speaking contest, the institution's austere faculty, clad in their black suits and ties, assumed their appointed places around Woolsey Hall as the competition commenced.

"John was the odds-on favorite," recalls Curtis. "He was the star debater, president of Yale's political union. I was like a walk-on - a 100-to-1 shot. I walked out there completely unprepared."

How bad did Kerry defeat you?

"I defeated John hands down," Curtis says. "I was first runner-up, finishing second place. John finished somewhere down the line."


Should a vacancy occur soon on the bench of the U.S. Supreme Court, this columnist would like to nominate Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Michael Eakin.

If for no other reason than to bring a smile to the faces of newspaper readers when unpopular rulings are handed down.

Take last week, when Pennsylvania's highest court decided that the state's drunken driving law was unconstitutionally vague and therefore could not be enforced against those on horseback.

To make a long night short, a man riding a horse along a dark road was rear-ended by a man driving a pickup. However, both men failed sobriety tests. In the end, the court ruled that only the driver of the truck could be charged with driving drunk.

As for Justice Eakin, he issued the lone dissent by observing that the rules of the road "apply to the driver of the mustang and Mustang alike."

And as he is so fond of doing, writes Associated Press scribe Joe Mandak, the justice issued his opinion in rhyme, summing up his dissent with two stanzas mimicking the theme song of television's "Mister Ed" - a '60s sitcom about a talking horse:

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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