So help me, Metro Scene isn't making this up. After full deliberation and passage by the City Council, the United States Congress has permitted "the District of Columbia Residence Doorknob Notice Act of 1985" to go onto the local lawbooks.

The Doorknob Notice Act? That sure catches the eye and excites the imagination. That's especially so because, as officially stated, the measure as enacted by the council "was deemed approved without the signature of the mayor," who is not required by law to explain why he refuses to sign bills that he has decided not to veto.

According to the City Council's legal office, the oddly named measure makes it easier for city functionaries to notify householders of efforts to provide public services or carry out municipal duties, such as trimming trees, clearing trash or making housing inspections.

Until recently, city employes unable to contact such householders ultimately had to send notices by registered mail.

The new law makes it legal to slip a notice under the door or, to adopt some language of the new law's title, to hang a notice on the doorknob, much as telegram messengers and parcel delivery agents do.

The Duchess' Kinfolk

From the Rev. William A. Palmer Jr., pastor of Good Shepherd Christian Church in the southern Prince George's County community of Cheltenham:

"My wife, the former Carolyn Warfield of Baltimore County, is seventh cousin once removed to the late Duchess of Windsor," the former Wallis Warfield Simpson, whose Maryland roots were discussed in this column last Saturday.

"As you have already discovered, this is not a unique relationship, since virtually every person in the Baltimore-Washington area with the last name of Warfield is a cousin of the duchess . . . . I think the correct date for the landing of [forebear] Richard Warfield in the Annapolis area was about 1662, not as this column reported 1632," which would have been "before the arrival of the Ark and the Dove" that brought the original Maryland settlers.

We reported that Gen. Edwin Warfield III of Baltimore once danced with the duchess at a Baltimore ball. "Another cousin who danced with Wallis is the Rev. Gaither P. Warfield of Rockville . . . a retired United Methodist missionary," Palmer wrote. That first name, Gaither, suggests that he also may be descended from the family that gave Gaithersburg its name.

And a Rousing Toast to . . .

The top man of the company that produces Old Forester and Early Times bourbons has been elected president of the University of Virginia Alumni Association. W.L. Lyons Brown Jr., president and chief executive officer of Brown-Forman Corp. of Louisville will assume the post on July 1, succeeding Henry B. Frazier III, chairman of the Federal Labor Relations Authority.

Brown is a 1958 graduate of the U-Va. college of arts and sciences and is vice president of the alumni group. Frazier, a 1956 graduate, will stay on the alumni board of managers for another year.

Among four new alumni directors are two Virginians, James K. Candler of Lynchburg and Joseph M. Wood II of Charlottesville.