INSIDE INSIDE THE THE BELTWAY
the removal of double letters, which have always been a deterrent to akurate spelling.
“Also, al will agree that the horibl mes of the silent ‘e’ in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.
“By the 4th yer, people will be reseptiv to steps such as replacing ‘th’ with ‘z’ and ‘w’ with ‘v.’
“During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary ‘o’ kan be droid from vords kontaining ‘ou’ and after ziz fifz yer, Ve vil. have a real sensibl risen styl.
“Zer vil. be no mor. trull or difikultis and evrivun vil. find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze dream of a united urop vil. finali kum tru.
“Und eater ze fifz yer, Ve vil. al be speaking German like zey vaunted in ze forest plans.”
A capital ghost town
Washington is ground zero for things that go bump in the night.
As a reporter for the old Washington Star observed in 1891, “Washington is the greatest town for ghosts in this country.”
Across the Potomac River, Old Town Alexandria is abuzz of late about sightings of a child spirit thought to be that of Robert E. Lee, who grew up at 607 Oronoco St.
GhosthunterRoseEdmondssurmises that because of the bloodshed the Confederate general witnessed in the divisive Civil War, “Lee’s ghost has regressed back to his less-complicated childhood years.”
“A 4-year-old Lee has been seen playing in the yard of his childhood home in Alexandria,” she reports. “The boy is sometimes accompanied by a phantom black dog and two ghostly girls who may be his sisters.”
This columnist happens to be a longtime friend of Tom Horan, photo editor of the Associated Press inWashington.Mr.Horanusedtobe the overnight caretaker of Lee’s boyhood home, his bedroom di- rectly above the kitchen.
IphonedMr.Horantorelayword about recent sightings of the young spirit and his pet.
“The dog is Black Jack. It was Lee’s dog,” the photo editor said without hesitating. So you’ve seen it? “I can tell you one thing that is legitimate, which took place when city archaeologists digging in the [fenced] yard left two-foot-square quadrants that got covered by an overnight snowfall,” he said. “I will never forget going out one morning and seeing dog prints in the middle of the dig.” And that’s scary? “There were no dog tracks leading up to the site,” he said. “In other words, they just appeared right there in the middle of the dig, honest to God.” Did you ever see little Lee? “I never saw a little boy, but honestly, I woke up one night, and there was a house servant standing over me. I’m not making this up,” Mr. Horan said. “I was dripping in cold sweat.”
If President Bush felt a chill in the White House air last week, it probably was the ghost of Abraham Lincoln.
Every time there’s a national calamity, political or otherwise, Lincoln’s spirit nervously floats about the executive mansion. Surely, with all the partisan mudslinging leading up to the Nov. 7 midterm election, the Republican Lincoln was on edge.
HansHolzer,authorofmorethan 100booksontheparanormal,writes in “In Quest of Ghosts” that Mary Evan, servant to first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, didn’t believe in ghosts until she saw Lincoln’s disembodied spirit sitting on the edge of a bed pulling on his boots.
Other White House servants have seen the bearded Lincoln resting quietly in his bed, or gazing through the oval window above the main entrance to the White House. And once, the late Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, an overnight guest in the White House, heard someone knock at her door.
“She got up, opened it, and saw the ghost of President Lincoln standing there looking at her. She fainted, and by the time she had come to, he was gone,” Mr. Holzer writes.
President Ford’s daughter, Susan, was in the Lincoln Bedroom when she encountered Honest Abe; and President Reagan’s daughter, Maureen, swears she saw Lincoln’s translucent form standing next to the bedroom fireplace in 1987.
Given this columnist’s surname, I’ve long been a fan of Nobel PrizewinningnovelistWilliamFaulkner’s character Isaac McCaslin. In “The Old People,” which appeared in the 1942Faulknercollection“GoDown, Moses,” McCaslin concedes ghosts are among us:
“Besides, what would it [a ghost] want, itself, knocking around out there [in the planetary heavens], when it never had enough time about the earth as it was, when there is plenty of room about the earth, plenty of places still unchangedfromwhattheywerewhen the blood used and pleasured in them while it was still blood?”
Like McCaslin, one recent Fox News Channel poll shows that a majority of Americans believe in spirits in one form or another: 79 percent believe in angels, 34 percent in ghosts, 24 percent in witches, and 4 percent worried about vampires.
That was syndicated columnist Mark Steyn — “The man who likes to poke the world in the eye,” blared one recent headline — belting out a RodStewartclassicwhileagueston “Bill Bennett’s Morning in America” radio show recently.
Discussing his gloomy new book, “America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It,” Mr. Steyn was waxing on the hypocrisy of Islamism and recalled how U.S. military forces discovered vintage eight-track tapes of Mr. Stewart’s music in Taliban leader Mullah Omar’s compound after the liberation of Afghanistan in 2001.
Suddenly, Mr. Steyn broke into song, riffing on the Stewart hit, “ Da Ya Think I’m Sexy.”
Mr. Bennett’s producer, Seth Leibsohn, told the Beltway: “It was a unique moment for a talk show, butnotsouniqueforBennett’sshow, where the former education secretary often breaks into song given his love of ‘50s rock and roll.”
Audio of Mr. Steyn’s spontaneous performance can be heard at bennettmornings.com.
John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or email@example.com.
Many occupants of and visitors to the White House have felt the spirit of Abraham Lincoln — literally. His ghost is said to haunt the mansion.
Taliban leader Mullah Omar isn’t the only unlikely Rod Stewart fan. Columnist Mark Steyn randomly broke into “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy” on Bill Bennett’s radio show.