Inside the Beltway

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PLAYBOYS, ET AL.

We're not sure about sailors and Marines, but as far as Army and Air Force are concerned . . . well, let's just say boys will be boys.

We've obtained records compiled by the commander of the Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) concerning the sales of men's and women's magazines at Army and Air Force exchanges throughout the world for the 18-month period from January 1994 through June 1995.

The nation's soldiers and pilots, you may be interested in knowing, purchased 278,299 copies of Penthouse during the period, 223,458 copies of Hustler, 206,402 copies of Playboy, 68,748 copies of Club, 44,402 copies of Cheri and 17,502 copies of Oui, to name several of the "men's" magazines.

As for the uniformed ladies (and perhaps even a few of the boys), 29,462 copies of Playgirl were also purchased.

WASHINGTON-LINCOLN

Abraham Lincoln was born on Feb. 12, George Washington on Feb. 22. To give both presidents the recognition they deserve, we celebrate both birthdays today as Presidents Day, also known as Washington-Lincoln Day.

This would have come as no surprise to Carl Schurz, who way back on Oct. 12, 1864, wrote in a letter to Theodor Petrasch: "I will make a prophecy that may now sound peculiar. In 50 years, perhaps much sooner, Lincoln's name will be inscribed close to Washington's on this Republic's roll of honor."

EARLY LANDSCAPE JOB

"I can't tell a lie, Pa; you know I can't tell a lie. I did cut it with my hatchet."

- Mason L. Weems in "The life of George Washington," circa 1800 (this was the first appearance of the cherry-tree story).

PATRIOTIC PROPOSAL

You would have thought that Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, New York Republican, could have easily attracted co-sponsors to his non-controversial H.R. 444, introduced three years ago, on Jan. 20, 1993.

After all, George Washington arguably is America's founding father and greatest patriot, whom all of us should remember today - Presidents Day - for having courageously led this country to victory in its battle against "a colony-hungry monarchy," as Mr. Boehlert describes the British royalty and their redcoats.

The lawmaker's bill, which unfortunately remains in congressional limbo, would establish a national essay contest for high school seniors, conducted annually and based on the question "How can Americans today best thank George Washington for the nation that he won for us? …