Several suburban politicians are now looking for work, thanks to development projects they backed. But another suburban problem apparently can be traced to all that hammering and nailing too: kamizake squirrels.

M.G. Whitman, a longtime Levey reader in Falls Church, wrote the other day to ask why so many squirrels seem to be acting so wildly and dangerously in our burbs this fall.

"I've seen the roads suddenly full of dead squirrels, and I've experienced unnumbered occasions of having to brake for the little fellas dashing straight across traffic with none of their customary caution or indecision," M.G. writes.

"Meteorologists reluctantly agree now and then that woolly caterpillars and early winter coats on farm animals frequently 'coincide' with heavy winters. Do they make any such connection with these suicidal squirrels?"

Good guess, but no soap, M.G. Nothing that I've consulted -- not the Farmer's Almanac, not obscure religions, not veterinarians -- suggests any connection between squirrels who play chicken with cars and subsequent mounds of snow.

However, one expert believes that suburban development has caused the frenetic behavior by squirrels that M.G. Whitman reports. The expert is an official at the Fairfax County Animal Control Department who asked to remain anonymous.

The expert said that construction around the metropolitan area -- and especially around Fairfax County -- has dislodged squirrels, raccoons, opossums, foxes and deer from their normal habitats. Any animal that's turned out in this way can become disoriented, even to the point of running wildly in front of cars, the county official said.

Displaced squirrels may also become uninvited guests in suburban back yards and gardens. According to the Fairfax expert, a product called Repel should do the trick.

The product does what its name implies, and it doesn't cause any lasting harm to an animal's health, according to a spokesman for Hechinger, a local retailer that stocks Repel by the truckload.

In any case, let's be a little more cautious than usual as we drive. And let's hope all those kamikaze squirrels soon find new homes in old woods, where they'll feel less suicidal and more secure.

It sounded like a pretty good deal to Bob Shroy, of Arlington. In a recent ad, in this very journal, the K-B Cinema 7 at Baileys Crossroads advertised: "ALL SHOWS $4 UNTIL 6 P.M."

Then Bob let his eye fall on the show times. At one of the two K-B Cinema 7 screens, the curtain went up at 7 p.m. and 9:55 p.m. At the other, performances began at 7:30 p.m. and 9:50 p.m.

Kind of makes you want to redefine the word "bargain," doesn't it?

K-B general manager John Bailey said it's all a mistake, perpetrated either in his shop or ours. Either the $4 offer was inadvertently carried over from the previous week's ad (when K-B Cinema 7 did offer afternoon performances), or it was simply a typo. "An oversight," John concluded.

But an oversight with a lesson attached. It's always best to call the theater before you go. Errors are rare, but when they happen, they can sure frost up a trip to the movies in a big hurry.

Provocative message I happened to spot aboard a sweat shirt the other day:



Another eye-catching message spotted this summer by Leslie Wilder, of Arlington, aboard a T-shirt in Massachusetts:



Maybe we can stamp out this sort of thing before it multiplies . . . .

Laurie Blossom, of Arlington, stopped into a downtown bistro on a recent Friday night for a chocolate milk or two. Above the bar was a sign that announced the return of several popular libations.

"Their Back!" the sign read.

From Martin Buxbaum, of Bethesda:

The government is divided into two groups these days: Those who have been caught and those who haven't.

A wants-to-remain-anonymous correspondent walked into a bookstore recently and asked where he could find a copy of a popular guide to beating the stock market.

"Try the science fiction section," the clerk advised.