Mayor's Personal Touch

* The 1 millionth caller to the mayor's call center got the personal attention of District Mayor Anthony A. Williams yesterday.

The caller complained about graffiti in the alley behind her home. So the mayor went out and scrubbed and painted over the offending messages. He also blasted graffiti from the back of a nearby business with a power washer.

Parking in Space

* Cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev set a record yesterday for most days in space: 748. Looked at another way, in his 20-year career, the Russian explorer has spent a total of two years floating in space.

Krikalev will add to his record daily until he departs the international space station, possibly in October.

Long End of the Stick

* Most people throw away the stick when they finish an ice-cream bar or popsicle. Not Robert McDonald.

He collected 15 million of the little wooden sticks and glued them together to make a 50-foot-long replica of a Viking ship. It took him two years. (No, he didn't eat all that ice cream himself. Children around the world sent him sticks.)

McDonald launched the ship in the Netherlands yesterday. He hopes to sail it across the Atlantic Ocean next year.

Robert McDonald built his Viking ship with 15 million ice-cream sticks.