A normal breakfast for John Matuszak of the Oakland Raiders is said to consist of 10 eggs, seven slices of bacon, a chunk of ham, eight slices of toast and a 14-ounce steak. With a grocery bill like that, no wonder pro football players need $200,000 a year to get by. . . John ought to meet Marion Leibert of Alexandria, who owns some interesting menus issued by the Government Printing Office cafeteria. One that Marion shared with me offers ham, split pea soup and saltines for 5 cents; short ribs of beef and vegetables, 20 cents; roast loin of pork, dressing, applesauce, two vegetables, bread and butter, 30 cents; broiled lamb chops, potatoes, hot bread and beverage, 25 cents. Apple pie: 5 cents for a normal cut, 8 cents for a king-sized slice. The date on that menu is Dec. 21, 1933, alas. The tip we leave today is more than the meal used to cost in 1933. Not even Ronald Reagan is going to bring back such prices. Wages, maybe; but not prices.
A reader who has "definitely been selected to receive one of the awards listed below" (by a firm that is promoting a vacation resort scheme) took the trouble to read the small print and discovered a disclosure required by law. It said his chance of winning was ".001 in 100," and he wondered what that means. It means one chance in 100,000. And if he does not take a trip to the Shenandoah Valley to listen to the sales pitch, his chance of winning is zilch. Zero. . . Lou Snyder of Rockville wonders why an administration that can lend money to a failing automaker and approve of wage rollbacks for its workers doesn't also believe in price controls for the finished product . . . I finally have an answer for District Liners who have asked me how to get in touch with Roy H. Copperud, author of the time-saving compendium, "American Usage, The Consensus." A Christmas card just in gives his address as 2782 McNally Avenue, Altadena, CA, 91001, and says, "I retired from full-time teaching last June but continue on a part-time basis (one day a week) as adviser to the student daily. Somehow I seem to be busier than ever." . . . Shirley Povich, one of the truly great sportswriters of my time, tells me the same thing, Roy. I a fellow doesn't intend to ease up a bit, what's the point of retiring? . . . Despite the many good things Jimmy Carter did during his tenure (do you think it was easy to get the Egyptians and Israelis to cooperate?), he may be remembered best as the candidate who promised that he would push for gun-control legislation, fundamental tax reform, a balanced budget, an end to inflation and "open government." He was 0 for 5.
Shed a tear for Frank Holeman, former Washington correspondent for the New York Daily News, who has in recent years been spokesman for the Tire Industry Safety Council. Having been a newspaper reporter since the Year 1, Frank painstakingly checked out the snow-tire requirements in D.C., Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, Montgomery and Prince George's and drew up a chart showing what each jurisdiction required, how each regarded radials, whether chains were accepted as an alternative, whether chains had to be on the tires at the moment the vehicle came to the attention of a policeman, whether studded tires were permitted and even the penalty for infractions (which ranges from $10 to $500 in Prince George's). Frank's chart was made obsolete when Maryland's motor vehicles administrator, William T. S. Bricker, ruled that all radial tires will henceforth be accepted as snow tires. . . Meanwhile John Custer of Falls Church, who describes himself as "a 55-year-old Applalachian-bread, cantankerous character who loves to drive in snow," and a "hard-headed, smug, snow driver who has every confidence of arriving at his destination in anything up to one foot of new snow," says wide-grooved snow tires are a must and that any contrary ruling is a "disservice" to all motorists. I guess a lot depends on whether one lives up in the mountains or down here where Marion Barry gets cussed out if the snow hasn't been shoveled clean by 8 o'clock in the morning.
This column's nomination for the biggest flop of the year goes to the campaign to persuade Americans to use $2 bills. The fellow who talked the government into printing up all those deuces should be awarded a roll of Susan B. Anthony dollars. . . Have a safe and happy New Year.