Watergate figure and syndicated radio talk-show host G. Gordon Liddy owns four motorcycles, all nice ones. But he told Inside the Beltway yesterday that two of his most prized choppers have to be sold.
"On the 9th of November, I will have been married for 50 years to Mrs. Liddy," he replied.
"Word has come down from on high," Mr. Liddy continued. "I have four motorcycles [two are Harley-Davidsons, a Springer and a Fat Boy], and Mrs. Liddy says that is two too many. She who must be obeyed said two have to go."
Last year, at age 75, Mr. Liddy competed on the TV show "Celebrity Fear Factor" and he won the right to commission two choppers, built to his design and specifications by Metropolitan Choppers of Frederick, Md.
On a whim, Mr. Liddy, who is a licensed pilot, decided each of the 110-horse-power bikes would replicate World War II fighter planes, choosing aircraft he remembers as a 10-year-old boy when they dueled in the skies over England: the Bf 109E Messerschmitt of Germany's feared Luftwaffe, and the Supermarine Spitfire of Britain's Royal Air Force.
Apart from the detailed camouflage paint schemes, headlights of the choppers replicate propeller spinners, wheel spokes imitate propellers, and the windscreens are replicated to scale. Neither chopper has ever been ridden on asphalt, he says, and are housed where they were assembled in Frederick. Starting selling price: $30,000 per bike (inquire at Liddyspeaks @aol.com, or 410/598-4284).
Oh, and as for the Spitfire, Mr. Liddy pointed out that the traditional British squadron markings have been replaced with his initials.
"I don't want anybody to think that I favor the Axis powers," he explained. "I have enough bad publicity as it is."
Only in Washington
A cab driver parked curbside during lunchtime in downtown Washington yesterday was poring over "War and Peace," the epic novel by Leo Tolstoy.
To honor the multitude of lawyers in Washington, New York City neckwear designer Nick Hotchkiss is releasing a school of sharks in the nation's capital.
"I trust the lawyers will accept this design in the spirit in which it is intended," says Mr. Hotchkiss. The necktie design consists of great white sharks swarming colorful ocean waters for dollar signs. It's available in apple green and sandy brown ground colors, with additional red and blue versions coming out in autumn.
On his Web site, Mr. Hotchkiss explains that the word "shark" comes from the German "schurke," meaning greedy parasite, and he adds "while no brave soul has gotten close enough to determine where lawyers come from, logic and common sense dictate a similar derivation."
Lawyers can't function without judges, of course, so the designer has a line of neckties that feature gavels, too.
Our friend (and neighbor) Alicia Mundy of the Seattle Times' Washington bureau has penned a favorable profile of Rep. Adam Smith, Washington Democrat, even if the congressman is called an "old sourpuss."
Mr. Smith was "born with a poker face," Miss Mundy writes. "There's a permanent worry mark near his receding hairline. He seems older than his 41 years, which has led to a few Democrats' references to him as 'old sourpuss.'"
"I know, I always look serious," the congressman acknowledges, insisting he's most serious about bringing a divided Congress and country "together" again. Which is one reason he leaped onto the Barack Obama-for-president bandwagon in April, preferring discussion to rhetoric.
"The media looks for flamboyant members. They want to cover the battles, but not consensus-building," says Mr. Smith, who is so atypical that he sleeps on a pull-out bed in a closet of his office. "That is not how I operate. I love the art of the deal. I'm a pragmatist."
Miss Mundy recalls the cold February night when Mr. Smith was helping manage a House vote on President Bush's planned troop escalation in Iraq. A senior Republican had argued that opposing the "surge" was tantamount to retreat -- something that George Washington never did.
"Well, as it happens, I just read a biography of Mr. Washington," Mr. Smith countered, "and not to go puncturing holes in ... our great nation, but he retreated a fair amount, actually.
"I don't know where we got this idea that the great leaders of our time only went forward," the congressman continued. "It does sort of portray the thinking of the president that the only way is forward, regardless of the details. A little more thought, I think, might help us."