Like any father of teenagers, President Obama tries to keep an eye on the video games his daughters play. But it turns out it was the president himself who brought into the White House a game known for its violence and mayhem. One rated “M” for Mature: “Generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content, and/or strong language.” The offending video game is “The Witcher,” which features a warrior who mutates and slays monsters. The president gets a pass this time, though. He wasn’t being a bad parent; he was just accepting a gift from another head of government, and he suggested on his trip to Poland this week that the game has never even been opened. “The Witcher” is based on a series of fantasy stories written by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, and it was given to Obama by Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk in 2011. On his return visit, the president acknowledged that the game has “won fans the world over” and called it “a great example of Poland’s place in the new global economy.” But he added, “I confess I’m not very good at video games.”
George E. Condon Jr.
Hold the Phone
There’s an old saw about Sen. Chuck Schumer that has circulated around the Hill: The most dangerous place in Washington is between New York’s senior senator and a TV camera. But the No. 3 Senate Democrat is not always so eager to talk to the media. He regularly speed-walks from the Senate subway to the floor for votes, flip phone glued to his ear, wry smile on his face — prompting many reporters to wonder whether there is actually a person at the other end of the phone or if it’s just a prop. That question recently led a reporter to call out to Schumer, “You’re not really on the phone!” Without breaking his stride, Schumer headed up the Capitol basement stairs and good-naturedly held his phone out for the reporter to see. He really was, he shot back.
That’s a Wrap Memo to President Obama’s handlers: Next time the boss decides to shoot hoops at Fort McNair, don’t forget to bring towels. The Army discontinued towel service for workout warriors this week at its fitness center at the historic post in Southwest Washington — the nearest Army installation to the White House — and at Fort Myer, its sister post across the Potomac. So Obama, who has played basketball at McNair several times with pals, is out of luck like every other gym jock. The Army’s reason for throwing in the towel(s)? A budget crunch arising from the 2013 sequester deal. The move, according to officials of the Installation Management Command, will save water, laundry detergent, and labor costs — and solve the ever-present pilferage problem. Although a regular patron disparaged the government-issue towels as “supersized postage stamps,” one military official said his gym had to buy more than 1,000 towels each year to replace the stolen stock. “They just fly away,” he said, “especially in the summer.” McNair and Myer were among the last holdouts, probably because of the heavy concentration of senior Army generals who live on the two posts but work at the Pentagon and other federal agencies. But not all is lost. “Antibacterial wipes to wipe down equipment after use will still be provided,” an Army notice reassured.
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