Sweat Shopping

No doubt about it: A little sweat goes a long way.

Take, for instance, former ambassador Alan Keyes's sweat. Just seconds after Keyes's perspiration-soaked speech announcing his intention to run against Democratic rising star Barack Obama for Illinois' U.S. Senate seat, his brow was dabbed with a napkin. Which would be considered completely normal if he were the one doing the wiping. But he wasn't. He was dabbed by self-described "overzealous" supporter Jerry McGlothlin, a 50-year-old publicist from Naperville, Ill., who just happened to be there.

If you missed this shining moment, the napkin can be yours for the taking, as it is being sold on eBay by the "napkinpreneur" himself. However, McGlothlin is getting a little worried. He says he's going to contribute the money to Keyes's campaign, but at the rate the bids are going, he's concerned they'll top the campaign contribution limit. The 5-by-5-inch sweat-stained napkin -- "it's like a bar napkin," we're told -- was up to $70 at midmorning yesterday, and by press time it had jumped to more than 200 smackeroos. (Not to mention: When we checked in with McGlothlin yesterday, the Chicago Sun-Times was in the middle of taking hundreds of pics of the napkin. Let's hope it doesn't become a diva in all its glory.)

"This is getting crazy," McGlothlin told us yesterday. Ya think?

Mellencamp's Nonpartisan Pop?

Same song, different tune.

He fights authority, and authority always wins, but this time John "No 'Cougar' in This Name" Mellencamp is hoping for a different outcome.

He has joined the parade of rockers banding together against President Bush, but please don't misunderstand -- Mellencamp doesn't necessarily hold anything against GOPers. "If there was a Democrat in the White House, and this was going on, we'd still be doing this," the rocker explained to the Herald-Times, his hometown paper in Bloomington, Ind. "This is a protest. It's a protest about the abuse of what we feel are American values. And in this case it just so happens that, yes, this is a Republican president, and yes, the proceeds will go to efforts to defeat that Republican president.

"I wasn't very politically active before this administration," added the Indiana native, who seems to be channeling The Boss. "I had political views, but I always used to say, 'I don't want to hang on anybody's cross or stand on anybody's soapbox. Whatever I need to say, I'll say in my songs' " -- one of which, titled "Texas Bandito," refers to Bush as "a cheap thug."

Noted . . .

Move over, "Mamma Mia!" -- it's the Beach Boys' turn. The Broadway smash hit featuring Abba tunes will soon have company, as songs such as "Surfin' Safari," "Help Me, Rhonda," "Surf City" and "California Girls" are being shaped into a musical, too. "Good Vibrations" -- we bet you didn't guess that title -- will be based on Richard Dresser's book about a group of teenagers who arrive in SoCal. Fun, fun, fun.

. . . and Quoted

"I think it's tough enough growing up with a normal name, let alone with a weird name."

-- CNN's Wolf Blitzer, telling mothers everywhere through an interview with the Boston Phoenix that his animalesque name isn't all it's cracked up to be, especially during one's adolescent years.

-- Compiled by Anne Schroeder

from staff and wire reports

The Reliable Source will return next Tuesday.

Jerry McGlothlin and the napkin

that mopped Alan Keyes's brow.