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Wag the Dog: A Goodwill Ambassador Comes Home

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hey, Hollywood, got a pitch for you: One part "Beverly Hills Chihuahua," one part "Body of Lies." We'll call it " Skipper: The Anti-Terror Top Dog of Embassy Row."

Scene 1 -- The Early Years: In 1995, Skipper is born into the Guide Dog Foundation program. Emi Fujisaki, then 10 and daughter of a Japanese diplomat in Washington, persuades her parents to be the puppy's foster family for a year. Everyone loves Skipper; 10 months later, Emi and older sister Mari bid a tearful goodbye when he leaves for formal training.

Scene 2 -- School Days: Too distracted by the girl dogs, Skipper flunks guide training . . . and is shipped off to Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' K-9 training. His nose can detect any bomb! Skipper's so good that he's one of the first 10 dogs given by the State Department to Italy's anti-terrorist program. Emi, Mari and mom Yoriko proudly attend his graduation.

Scene 3 -- Worlds Apart: Skipper and Italian police partner Stefano Deon patrol Milan's mean streets; the Fujisaki family goes back to Japan, then is posted to Geneva in 2005.

Scene 4 -- Reunion: On a whim, Yoriko looks up Deon and arranges to drive down to Milan to see Skipper in action. After nine years, the dog still remembers them! (So Christian the Lion!) The Fujisakis ask to adopt their old friend when he finishes his service. No guarantees, but Deon says he'll try.

Scene 5-- Retirement: "Skipper is yours," Deon tells them in 2007. In June, Ichiro Fujisaki returns to Washington as Japan's ambassador, the 12-year-old Lab at his side. "He's an old gentleman, so he's rather quiet -- which he was not at all as a puppy," the envoy says. He grumbles that Skipper is the main reason his now-grown daughters come to visit.

Dog thumps tail, credits roll.

Just Who Is Bristol Marrying Anyway?

Levi speaks! The Associated Press scored an interview with the most famous teenage dad-to-be in America -- Bristol Palin 's fiance, Levi Johnston. The 18-year-old Wasillan answered pretty much every last one of your lingering questions:

· No shotguns at their summer wedding. "We were planning on getting married a long time ago with or without the kid. . . . We both love each other. We both want to marry each other. "

· It's a boy! Due Dec. 18. "I'm going to take him hunting and fishing. He'll be everywhere with me."

· He's dropped out of high school to work as an apprentice electrician on the North Slope oil fields.

· The "Bristol" tattoo on his left ring finger? He got it after losing his promise ring from Bristol on a caribou hunt.

· He has a BlackBerry.

· On attending the Republican convention with the Palins: "At first I was nervous. Then I was like, 'Whatever.' "

· He did not register in time to vote.

After Debate, Lehrer Earns a Sundae Afternoon

The staff at PBS's "NewsHour" in Arlington were surprised by a recent delivery of ice cream. The occasion? Jim Lehrer had just moderated the first presidential debate, inspiring the pun-happy folks at Ben and Jerry's to whip up a new flavor: "Chocolate Lehrer Cake." ( Layer cake, get it?) Turns out the company also created -- please hold your groans until the end -- a "Baracky Road" (chocolate, vanilla, nuts and cookies) and a "McCandy Cane" (peppermint ice cream and candy). "We wanted to have some fun when there's such incredible interest around the election," rep Sean Greenwood said. But don't go looking to taste them: They were served up only at a Vermont factory and store.

Why not go nationwide? Afraid of partisan blowback? Nope, he said. The long primary campaign left no time for R&D. "By the time we'd have a flavor made and produced, it takes three to four months." And sorry, no ice cream for Gwen Ifill (who moderated the veep debate), Tom Brokaw or tomorrow's moderator, Bob Schieffer. "I'm sure everyone's flavor-worthy, but we only had so much time."

LOVE, ETC.

· Expecting: British-Sri Lankan rapper M.I.A., 31, and her musician fiance, Ben Brewer. She confirmed (of course) to online indie bible http://PitchforkMedia.com, shortly before revealing an enormous baby bump in an N.Y.C. concert. "I got engaged first, then I got pregnant, kids," she said.

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