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On The Light Side

July 1, 1989

WASHINGTON (AP) _ In the dog-eat-dog world of Washington politics, the publishers of ″The Washingtonian″ magazine have decided to eat a little crow for calling the presidential pet the ugliest canine in the capital.

″Before you go away for the July 4th weekend, we would like to apologize for picking Millie the ugliest dog in Washington,″ Editor John A. Limpert said in a letter delivered Friday to the White House.

He also sent a gift of dog biscuits to the offended beast.

″You’ll be pleased to know that our mail and phone calls are running about 99 to 1 in favor of Millie,″ he said. ″It’s clear that our words were unpopular as as well as impolite.″

President Bush jotted off a note in response: ″Not to worry 3/8 Millie, you see, likes publicity. ... Arf, arf for the dog biscuits.″

Millie, an English springer spaniel whose confinement and delivery of a litter of pups kept Barbara Bush and the part of the rest of the country in suspense earlier this year, was listed in a ″Best and Worst″ story in the magazine’s July issue.

The magazine called Millie the ″White House mutt.″

Mrs. Bush promised this week that Millie would get the last word in a book the first lady planned to ghostwrite for the pet. Bush called Millie beautiful and said, ″I know how Franklin Roosevelt felt with the attack on Fala,″ his dog.


DUBLIN, Calif. (AP) - Toads have invaded a street in this Alameda County town and no one seems to mind.

Thousands of thumbnail-size toads have taken over Spruce Lane and cover driveways, back yards, patios and the street. There are so many that residents have to take special care when walking and have given up mowing the lawns.

″They’re just babies and we are afraid we’ll run over them,″ said Jeanne Ferguson. ″When we go out, we just tippy-toe out of our house so we don’t step on them.″

Officials say the toads are nothing to worry about.

″They carry no diseases that we know of and they don’t particularly harm anything,″ said Hal Rice, a vector control supervisor.

Besides, toads enjoy dining on the same insects that can be pests to homeowners and gardeners, he said.

The toads probably came from a nearby drainage canal, he said. Toad invasions occur occasionally, Rice said, but the reasons for sudden surges in toad population are unclear.


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - Gerald Ford museum officials finally took a stand to retrieve a podium.

Members of then presidential candidate Bush’s advance team borrowed it in September because it’s bulletproof.

Since then, museum workers have been trying to get it back, said Diane VanAllsburg, the museum’s program director.

″I think it just got lost in the shuffle,″ said Frank Mackaman, director of the Gerald Ford Library and Museum.

On Friday, Mackaman went public, telling WOOD-AM in Grand Rapids about his podium plight.

Hours later, a member of the White House communications staff called to say it would be returned soon, although no date was given, VanAllsburg said.

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