Mystery of the Ages

Is Human Uzi Ann Coulter 38 or 40 years old? And when she insists that she's the former, is she telling a fib?

The right-wing media scourge -- who has been getting plenty of ink for her best-selling book, "Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right" -- frequently scorches hapless reporters who dare write that she's no longer in her thirties. Newsday's Aileen Jacobson -- who was planning to rely on numerous published accounts, including People magazine's, that Coulter is 40 -- let her subject argue her into using the younger age in a recent profile. "Media accounts that she's 40 are wrong, she maintains," Jacobson wrote. But yesterday Jacobson told us: "I do believe that she is 40."

London Telegraph writer Toby Harnden, meanwhile, wrote in his July 19 piece: "An air of mystery surrounds Coulter's age. She says she is 38 but her publicist puts her at 40. After the interview, she sends me an e-mail: 'I think you should go with one of the incorrect younger ages.'"

Our own investigation revealed that:* Coulter's Connecticut driver's license lists her birth as December 1961.* Her D.C. driver's license, acquired many years later, says she was born in December 1963.* The birth date on file at the New Canaan, Conn., voter registration office is Dec. 8, 1961.

In an effort to clear up all this confusion, a member of The Post's crack research team phoned the New Canaan registrar of voters, who chuckled, checked his records and reported that Coulter registered to vote in 1980, when presumably she was the legal minimum voting age of 18. That would make her 40 today.

But when we reached Coulter, she predictably stuck to her guns. "It's like the difference in being thrown off the 13th floor or the roof," she e-mailed us. "So the upside is, I'm two years younger than at least some newspapers have said I am, but the downside is, I'm still 38. Yikes!"

Chalking It Up To Experience

* Graphic artist Sean McDonough, a 34-year-old Canadian citizen, doesn't seem like a security threat. He's polite, soft-spoken, clean-shaven, and owns a one-bedroom condo in an exclusive downtown Toronto neighborhood.

But on Wednesday night, when McDonough arrived by Greyhound bus at the Buffalo, N.Y., Peace Bridge border checkpoint -- on his way to participate in Sunday's Kennedy Center Open House Arts Festival -- he was denied entry and sent packing back to Toronto.

"Everybody got off the bus and went into the waiting area. I was pretty well held over while everybody else was allowed to go ahead," McDonough told us yesterday, a couple of hours before making his second attempt to cross the border in order to take part in Edwin Fontanez's Washington Chalk Festival, a Kennedy Center tradition. "I answered a lot of questions. I showed them my sketchbook. When I said I was going down for a chalk drawing festival, the lady got very suspicious. She said, 'Are you going to sell any of your art?' And I said no. She said, 'How do I know that?' And I said, 'I guess you'll have to take my word for it.' And so they rejected me."

We tried to obtain an explanation from the appropriate federal officials. McDonough said he noticed the blue uniforms and sidearms of U.S. Customs officers, but a Customs Service spokesman sent us to the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The INS told us Customs was responsible. "He's an artist: If he says they were wearing blue uniforms, that's good enough for me," an INS public affairs officer said. But then Customs insisted that INS did the deed. "This is not the first time that Customs has bounced something back to us," the INS flack responded. But later we were told, confidentially, that the INS had filed an incident report describing its role.

Department of Homeland Security, anyone?

THIS JUST IN ...

* Dolly Parton may be a star, but she ain't no diva. Our friends at National Public Radio, who have been working with Parton's people to arrange her Sept. 16 visit to Washington to be interviewed by Bob Edwards on "Morning Edition," tell us that when a Parton assistant asked for hotel suggestions, senior editor Susan Feeney came up with the posh Four Seasons in Georgetown. The assistant e-mailed back: "Regarding the hotel for Dolly, are there any low-key hotels close by? Days Inn, Best Western or something similar? She wants something low-key." Feeney told us, "When we heard that, a cheer went up in our office." But Four Seasons General Manager Christopher Hunsberger sounded less sanguine. "Frankly, I'm stunned," he said.* Naturalized American Toshiko Kohno, principal flutist of the National Symphony Orchestra, will perform solo during today's joint congressional memorial service at Ground Zero in Manhattan. "I am very honored," the 48-year-old Tokyo native told us yesterday. "But I think about these events not so much as an American but just as a human being."