Save the Men!

Decaf coffee, sensitivity training, roadside assistance, hybrid cars: These indicators of rampant "metrosexuality" are enough to make real men fear for their very existence, say the macho editors at Maxim magazine. So they filed a petition this week with Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton and the Fish and Wildlife Service, demanding that man be declared an endangered species.

"This is no joke," a mag rep insists, and Interior officials told us yesterday that the petition was validly filed. The 12-page document argues that without a listing under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, "Man will surely succumb to the ravages of an effeminate, feng shui world-gone-mad." The feds promise to take the petition seriously because, this being Washington, there's legal precedent to follow.

The department sent us a 1987 memo from a case in which the Samish Indian Tribe sought protection as a "population" of the species Homo sapiens. Back then, a department lawyer posed this question: Could man be classified as "wildlife"? The memo noted that, traditionally, wild animals are "wild by nature" and "because of habit, mode of life, or natural instinct, are incapable of being completely domesticated, and require the exercise of art, force or skill to keep them in subjection."

Certainly sounds like some males we know -- perhaps some sex-addled readers of Maxim. But the lawyer, in recommending against the tribe, concluded: "It cannot be said that Homo sapiens as a whole are not 'domesticated.' "

The lawyer's name: Gale Norton. She served in the Reagan era as Interior's associate solicitor. So, sorry, guys. Though man is, as the petition points out, the only species capable of "converting simple grains into courage-boosting Tennessee whiskey" and "making cowboy boots out of other animals," you've already been tamed by a more powerful force. Just take a look on any Maxim cover.

Fritz Hollings, Getting a Last Word in Edgewise

* In his farewell speech to the Senate yesterday, Fritz Hollings, who has served there since 1966, noted two big changes over the decades: fewer boozers and more yakking women.

"We had five drunks or six drunks when I got here," the South Carolina Democrat told his colleagues. "There are no drunks in the United States Senate now. We don't have the time." He also noted that upon his arrival there was only one female senator, Margaret Chase Smith (R-Maine), and she didn't say much. "We got 16 or 17 now and you can't shut 'em up. . . . You get in a debate with Barbara Mikulski or Barbara Boxer and they'll take your head off."

The Usual Suspects

An occasional feature revealing the secret lives of oft-quoted experts

FRANK DONATELLI

Occupation: "Republican apparatchik." A lawyer-lobbyist, he served in both Reagan administrations.

Born: July 4, 1949, in Pittsburgh. Grew up on Barbour Drive.

Childhood pet: A dog named Pirate, after the hometown baseball team.

First celebrity crush: "Any of the early James Bond girls: Ursula Andress, Shirley Eaton, Honor Blackman."

Celebrity I most resemble: "Ted Leonsis. Sorry, I can't think of anyone else!"

View of Bush regime change: "It's normal for a second administration. Remember, Nixon fired everyone."

Most influential book: " 'The Conscience of a Conservative,' by Barry Goldwater. It was required reading in my Catholic high school. It began the first crisis in my political beliefs because I came from a Democratic family."

If I could sleep with anyone in history: "Mary Magdalene would be interesting, but I can't get a good sense of what she looks like. It was before the era of television. The Bible says she was a woman of questionable morals, and one assumes she was in demand for a reason. But it is a good, uplifting story at the end."

Nobody knows I: "Am looking for the right opportunity to do an encore performance as an Elvis impersonator. I came as the King to my wife Becki's 50th birthday party last year and sang with the band. I am hopeful that if Elvis is still among us, I could meet him someday. I'm always hopeful."

Typical quote: "Politics is best when the ultimate aim is good policy, not political power."

Is that happening now? "We'll find out, won't we?"

The first line of my obit should read: "Frank Donatelli, conservative activist and early foot soldier in the Reagan Revolution, spent his last day watching the Washington Redskins defeat the Dallas Cowboys."

Adult entertainment name (childhood street plus pet name): Barbour Pirate. "Let's make it Barbary Pirate -- a porn star."

SQUIBS

* Political mastermind Karl Rove emerged as a front-runner for Time's "Person of the Year" at a luncheon the magazine hosted for muckety-mucks yesterday in New York -- polling more favorably than his boss, George Bush, filmmakers Michael Moore and Mel Gibson, Jon Stewart, bloggers and even God. Panelists included NBC News's Brian Williams, the Rev. Al Sharpton, 2002 Person of the Year Coleen Rowley and writer Andrew Sullivan, who said, "Rove was able to work magic." He also pointed out: "Karl Rove on the cover will kill newsstand sales." In response, Time Managing Editor Jim Kelly joked, "Dammit, I'm doing it!" The suspense ends with Time's official announcement Dec. 19.

* Nicolas Cage joined forces with "National Treasure" producer Jerry Bruckheimer in Washington Monday evening, along with Cage's new 20-year-old bride, Alice Kim, and ex-"Wonder Woman" Lynda Carter, who was with her lawyer husband, Robert Altman, doing what celebs do best in this town: eating dinner at Cafe Milano. The action flick, partially shot in Washington, opens Friday. (Side note: The Black Eyed Peas were spotted hanging out at the Georgetown hot spot with some Dem staffers on Sunday night.)

* Meanwhile, Condi Rice was still celebrating her 50th birthday Monday night with a quiet, cozy dinner with an unidentified female friend at one of her favorite places downtown, the Oval Room. She had a bigger celebration with pals on her actual birthday Sunday.

* Famed classical pianist Leon Fleisher, 76, who regained musical use of his right hand through the efforts of doctors at the National Institutes of Health, will thank them with a private concert for staff and fellow patients at NIH today. The public can see his 4:30 p.m. recital -- which previews his performances at the Kennedy Center this week -- on the Internet at videocast.nih.gov/FutureEvents.asp.

With Anne Schroeder