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'My Sharona,' Revealing A Knack for Current Affairs?

By Richard Leiby
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, April 17, 2005; Page D03

Does geopolitical significance lurk in the lyrics of "My Sharona"?

"That would really surprise me," says Doug Fieger, lead singer of the Knack, whose 1979 hit remains a classic in the annals of sexually suggestive rock songs -- and, it turns out, is among the tunes found on President Bush's iPod.

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The New York Times revealed the presidential penchant for "My Sharona" -- about an underage vixen -- in a story about Bush's iPod mix last week. Among its lyrics:

Keeping it a mystery gets to me

Running down the length of my thighs, Sharona

Never gonna stop, give it up, such a dirty mind.

Always get it up for the touch of the younger kind.

Since the story broke, "we have quintupled the number of hits on TheKnack.com," says Fieger, 52, who still tours with the band. The song's thumping bass line has accompanied several follow-up stories on TV and radio (admit it, the riff is in your head as you read this). It also raises questions for Fieger, which Post political reporter Mark Leibovich posed to the Knack's frontman in a phone interview:

Q: Has this changed your life in any way?

A: No.

Q: Have you ever been invited to the White House?

A: No, and now that people are saying the song is allegedly filthy, I don't know if they'll be calling.

Q: Is "My Sharona" filthy?

A: Sharona was 17. I was 25 when I wrote the song. But the song was written from the perspective of a 14-year-old boy. It's just an honest song about a 14-year-old boy.

Q: Sharona is a real person?

A: Yes. She sells real estate in L.A. She's my former fiancee.

Q: Former. So she's no longer your Sharona. Is she someone else's Sharona?

A: Yes. But we're great friends.

Q: Maybe President Bush thinks the song is about Ariel Sharon, the Israeli prime minister?

A: It's possible. Sharona is actually a Hebrew name. Sharona is a good Jewish girl. And the Knack is a good Jewish band.

Q: Did you vote for Bush?

A: No. But that doesn't mean I voted for John Kerry, either.

Q: Have any other presidents expressed an awareness of your music?

A: Yes, Lincoln and Roosevelt.

Baldwin Sinks His Teeth Into the Role of Vegetarian

• Liberals! Vegetarians! Hollywooders! They're mincemeat for conservatives, but last night was a triumph for tofu lovers at a celebrity-flecked gala celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, which promotes animal-friendly nutrition. Among those who graced the red carpet before a vegan dinner and concert by Emmylou Harris at the Organization of American States Building: actresses Daryl Hannah and Alicia Silverstone (voted PETA's sexiest female vegetarian last year), "Super Size Me" director Morgan Spurlock and the gala's host, Alec Baldwin.

A staunch supporter of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Baldwin told us beforehand that it was his first fundraising effort for the physicians' group, which has rankled the food and restaurant industry by bashing meat and milk as unhealthful. He has been a strict vegetarian since 1992.

"The lifestyle I'm living now seems to be the better way to go," said the 47-year-old actor. "But it's like hunting -- you can't outlaw it. And I wouldn't outlaw wearing fur or outlaw eating meat either. People have to be left with that choice themselves."

Spoken like a moderate, but just the other day Baldwin sounded pretty radical on Bill Maher's HBO show, declaring: "The leadership of the Republican Party are a bunch of sociopathic maniacs who have their lips super-glued to the [posterior] of the conservative right."

Really? "I'm not against Republicans; I'm just against these Republicans," he clarified. "There are a lot of committed, dedicated Republican political leaders who have contributed a lot to the nation. . . . But these are sociopathic maniacs."

So no eating his words -- but maybe the sesame grilled tofu, soy cheese quesadillas and garlic grits on last night's menu.

Michael Walton Goes for the Gold

• Sprinter Michael Walton, who grew up in Clinton, hasn't earned a spot in the Olympics yet, but he has found a measure of celebrity as a male model and motivational speaker who encourages kids to get into sports instead of trouble. Last week Washington Mayor Tony Williams proclaimed April 13 Michael Walton Foundation Day, and Walton and about 100 supporters celebrated with a gala at Cada Vez Restaurant & Lounge.

The foundation's inaugural fundraiser featured a silent auction offering a date with the 30-year-old bachelor, among other packages. Until the very end of the evening, the highest bid was $75, which Walton jokingly called "low-ball." A last-minute bid came in for $125, sparing him from being bested by sexy Tasha Ford (recently featured as a "top date" in the glossy FHM), whose night out fetched $100. Proceeds will go toward leadership and sports programs for youngsters in the District and Prince George's County.

A fashion show closed the event near midnight, after which comedian Queen Aishah invited everyone to an after-party at another club. But wait: Don't athletes go to bed early? "Usually I do," Walton told The Post's Pablo Izmirlian, "but tonight I gotta make the exception."

SQUIBS

• He won't have his very own TV network, as Al Gore does, but former Democratic presidential candidate Bill Bradley is getting a weekly show on Sirius Satellite Radio in May. The network described the show, "American Voices," as nonpartisan and said Bradley's guests would include athletes, entrepreneurs and community leaders.

• Axis of Beetles: Three new species of slime-mold beetles have been named after President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. In what they call a tribute to the trio's courage and commitment to freedom, entomologists Quentin Wheeler and Kelly B. Miller -- who recently had to come up with names for 65 newly discovered species of the beetle -- picked the monikers Agathidium bushi Miller and Wheeler; Agathidium cheneyi Miller and Wheeler; and Agathidium rumsfeldi Miller and Wheeler. Other slime-beetle namesakes include Pocahontas, Darth Vader and the scientists' spouses.

With Michael Cotterman


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