Never has a Beltway Beat column item generated as much reader response as the one last week on Hollywood actors of yesteryear who threw aside their scripts to fight for their country - something our current crop of celebrities has avoided like the plague.
In fact, we challenged readers to name one modern American celebrity (apart from the late football star Pat Tillman) who has served or fought for his or her country in the past 15 years. Not a single person succeeded.
"I can think of several current actors who served: (Sylvester) Stallone was a Vietnam veteran. Charlie Sheen single-handedly saved the Gulf. Tom Hanks served in World War II. (Demi) Moore trained to be a (Navy) Seal. Oh wait - I'm confusing fiction with reality," writes Jerry Stephens of Lothian, Md.
"Even Hollywood . . . sent its best to wars prior to Vietnam," we quoted University of Dayton professor Larry Schweikart as saying in his new book, "America's Victories." He pointed out that professional actors were as "thoroughly represented" in the military during World War II as any other group.
In fact, Schweikart was among those who wrote to The Beltway Beat after our item appeared.
"One thing I found interesting was that the sons and daughters of senators (and) congressmen served at a higher rate than their percentage in the U.S. population," the author told us. "So much for Creedence Clearwater Revival's, 'It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no fortunate one.'"
Many readers complained that we did not include Audie Murphy among an abbreviated list of actors who fought in World War II. One of the U.S. Army's most decorated soldiers, Murphy became an actor after his wartime service.
DINNER'S ON ME
"Whenever I'm at a restaurant and spot somebody in a military uniform, I pick up their check to show them my appreciation for what they're doing for my country." - Former Los Angeles Dodgers Manager Tommy Lasorda, in a conversation about the war in Iraq with this columnist on Sunday.
FISH TALES AND TARTS
"You cannot possibly imagine how thoroughly crushed I was this morning when I read (about) the fish caught by Chef David Guas," angler Charlie Loveless of Baltimore writes to The Beltway Beat about the popular DC Coast chef.
"Prior to his (50-pound) catch, I believe that I was the current record holder this year with the rockfish I caught May 19 out of Chesapeake Beach. My fish weighed in at 48.5 pounds and was 49 3/4 (inches) long.
"I don't mind so much that my fish didn't hold up for this year's record, but to lose to a pastry chef out of Washington, D.C. . . . was just too much for me to handle this morning. I'm not sure I'll be able to recover this year. By the way, he doesn't play golf, too, does he?"
The villagers are referred to by a leading scientist in Washington as the "first refugees of global warming."
Igor Krupnik, an anthropologist with the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, has conducted more than 30 years of field work in Arctic communities on the human and cultural aspects of climate change.
In the latest issue of Smithsonian magazine, he calls attention to "refugees" from the Alaskan village of Shismaref, until the mid-1970s encased and well-protected by 20 to 30 miles of land ice that in the height of winter now only reaches 6 to 7 miles.
"We tend to describe climate change in terms that are abstract - a one-degree rise in temperatures, an increase in greenhouse gasses - but when waves wash away a village, that's concrete and very emotional," Krupnik says.
TABARD, FOR TWO
What's the No. 1 hotel in Washington?
According to the "Guide to the Capital's Wild Side" contained in the latest issue of Men's Journal, "There's more than just power lunches inside the Beltway. Little known by most locals, the 40-room Tabard Inn in Dupont Circle is hands down the best hotel in D.C."
THIS JUST IN
The Paradigm Clock, set into motion by the Paradigm Research Group (PRG) to track the proximity to a formal announcement by the U.S. government confirming an extraterrestrial presence engaging the human race, has been reset to 11:59:45 - 15 seconds to midnight.
Such an announcement is formally referred to as "disclosure" and supposedly would mark the end of a 59-year truth embargo imposed by federal authorities. Midnight on the Paradigm Clock is disclosure.
According to PRG Executive Director Stephen Bassett, "Due to extraordinary circumstances primarily pertaining but not limited to the United States, a window of opportunity has opened for a disclosure event to take place. This window should last through the November election and may remain open or possibly close depending upon the outcome of the election."
Bassett didn't mention what the "extraordinary circumstances" were; however, if you're as suspicious of your neighbor as this columnist, you might keep your distance until such time as Uncle Sam comes clean.
The previous setting for the Paradigm Clock was 11:58:45, on March 8, 2004.
"Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a Republican" - or so state T-shirts (white and "urban black" in all sizes), buttons and mousepads being peddled by the National Black Republican Association, headquartered along Pennsylvania Avenue.
Yet another House Republican critical of his own party leaders is Rep. Jeff Flake of Arizona, upset that the House Republican leadership continues to encourage GOP members "to boast" about the new Medicare prescription-drug entitlement.
Because of the new entitlement, "30 million people are more dependent on the federal government than they were a year ago, and future generations will have to foot the bill," he says. "That is something that no party professing to believe in limited government should be proud of."
John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on Townhall.com and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .
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