Here we go with another exciting posting on our ultra-fresh Washington Post midday edition, and it would be irresponsible were we to proceed any further without relaying a bulletin that moved this morning by the Associated Press: "Durable-goods orders rise 3.3 percent in July.`

Don't everyone start flipping out at once.

I'll bring you up to speed on the rest of the breaking news, although it must be noted that this is still August, and actual news is not scheduled to break until sometime after Labor Day. It's amazing how many people don't realize that news follows a rigid schedule. Right now we're only budgeted for natural disasters and speculation about Warren Beatty running for president.

A Minnesota advertising executive, Bill Hillsman, who helped get Jesse Ventura elected governor, said on The Today Show this morning that he's met with Warren Beatty and thinks Beatty is serious about running for president. Beatty, he said, could do well as a candidate because of "the kind of talent` that he could attract to his campaign.

In Miami, the wonderfully named Operation Ramp Rat this morning snared 58 American Airlines employees and contractors for allegedly smuggling cocaine and marijuana. These were employees who used their airport passes and flying privileges to carry drugs around the country, in some cases using passenger food trays. The next time you fly, definitely order the Special Meal.

In chemistry news always one of our hottest items in the daily roundup MIT engineers said this morning that they are figuring out how to make better nylon and other important polymers. Karen Gleason of the Department of Chemical Engineering says, "We want to understand on a molecular level what allows a polymer to stretch and deform.` We will, of course, track this story as it develops.

Three tropical storms with alarmingly bland names are roaming around the Atlantic, pondering whether to make a run for the United States. If Cindy, Dennis and Emily somehow converge - turning into one superstorm named Cinnisly - then we will know that we live at the End of Time. The ideal situation would be that one comes up to the Mid-Atlantic and fizzles in a particularly sloppy way. A few rains in recent days (with more coming today) have greened up the Washington area, but the watershed could use some tropical H2O. Great Falls from an airplane resembles a rock quarry. The boat lady at Fletcher's Boat House reports that she rowed not only up to Little Falls a few days ago, but over it.

And in yet another example of August-standards journalism, the Los Angeles Times has broken the story that President Clinton has never, as president, been to Nebraska.

If you have any thoughts, or even if you are a truly mindless creature, a veritable rutabaga, please drop an E-mail to achenbachj@washpost.com.