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China's U.N. representatives checked into Manhattan last week just in time for the debut of a keen new gift idea that is bound to be a big hit among the striped-pants set. These Ping-Pong paddles bearing the likenesses of President Nixon and Chairman Mao were made by an outfit in Schleswig, Germany. Another version is being marketed by a New York firm called United Notions Inc. O.K., fellas. No more excuses about being up the East River without a paddle.

Vida Blue, who touts milk on the tube and talks about drinking two gallons of the stuff a day, made a personal appearance at the Sportsmen of Stanislaus Club in Modesto, Calif. recently and found two gallons of milk at his place. Udderly unperturbed, Vida consumed a full gallon during dinner. "Well," said Chairman Tom Mellis weakly, "it was meant to be a gag." Gurgle, gurgle.

Tough Mayor-elect Frank Rizzo of Philadelphia has just announced that he wants all city officials available on a 24-hour basis. And the beefy former police commissioner means 24 hours. "If they have boats, they had better have radios on them," he said. "They better have radios on their golf carts, too." Not to mention duck blinds, bowling bags and...look, why don't you guys just stay home weekends?

This week's Spiro Agnew Memorial Band-Aid goes to Australian Prime Minister William McMahon who, on his recent stopover in San Francisco, played squash with his foreign affairs adviser, Richard Woolcott, and got hit on the head with Woolcott's racquet. Then in New York he had a squash game with his economics adviser, Herbert C. Coombs. This time Coombs was the racquetee, so to speak, taking one of the P.M.'s wild swings right on the lip. "Nahsty smack," observed Les Barsdell of the Australian Consul General's office in New York. "His advisers don't seem to be coming off too well, what?"

Our vote for the most interesting letter of the week goes to the one received by sports publicist Mike Ryan at San Diego State College. "Please send me a brochure, as I can't get out to your football games anymore," it read. The return address: Florida State Penitentiary.

Guess who was driving a 1903 De Dietrich last week in England's annual veteran-car run from London to Brighton? Why, world champion Jackie Stewart, accompanied by harmonica player/composer Larry Adler, who wrote the music for Genevieve, an old movie about, of all things, the London-to-Brighton car run. Also tootling along was this 1900 Daimler owned by Queen Elizabeth. Both De Dietrich and Daimler made it across the finish line along with 233 other wheezers Said Stewart afterward: "I lost my hat but I never lost control."

By all accounts the dialogue between Joe Frazier and the inmates of the Ohio State Penitentiary, where the world boxing champ made a personal appearance televised for The Phil Donahue Show, was more like a sparring match than a discussion. When one convict suggested that Frazier is the "Great White Hope," the boxer responded, "White people never had a champ as good as the blacks." Another more than implied that Muhammad Ali will win in a rematch. "No, it will be an instant replay," said Joe, smiling. "Why do you still call him Cassius Clay?" Joe's smile widened. "Because it makes him mad."

In Tokyo the Soviet Union's ambassador to Japan was playing lawn tennis when a group of young Japanese demonstrators, sitting astride a fence, thought they recognized an imperialist. They shook their fists at him and shouted, "Yankee, go home!" Welcome to the club. Oleg Aleksandrovich Troyanovsky.

It is one thing to be on the horns of a dilemma, quite another to have a dilemma of the horns. Word comes that Rameses 23, Fordham University's 4-year-old ram mascot, has seen perhaps his last football season. Rameses' left horn has been growing against his eye, partially blinding him. At the Bronx ASPCA, veterinarians Paul Hess and Roupen Papazian tranquilized him, sawed off part of both Rameses' horns and hope to save his eye, after which the old mascot may be retired to a farm or a zoo. Where will Fordham find Rameses 24? Well, that's another ram-ification of the problem.

England is out with its own best-dressed list, published by London's Tailor and Cutter. It includes soccer players George Best and Bobby Moore, in fifth and ninth places, respectively, and this aside from Editor Lewis Orde: "Ten years ago soccer players used to favor death-row haircuts with center partings, blue serge suits and R.A.F. surplus shoes." Sport, it seems, has become oh, so trendy, except for some hard-core rugby players. They are, says Mr. Orde, "the worst-dressed sportsmen. All they seem to think about is blazers and beer."