The Reliable Source Live

Oct 23, 2013

Washington Post columnists Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts were online Wednesday, October 23, at noon ET to discuss your favorite gossip, celebrity sightings and their recent columns.

Past Reliable Source chats

Hello everyone! And welcome back to the Reliable Source web chat. Now, this is interesting: Roxanne Roberts is "off on assignment," wink wink nudge nudge say no more -- so instead you have me, your Reliable Source emerita (or is it ex-officio?) as your cruise director, despite the fact that I wasn't involved in the last eight days worth of columns (beyond the frequent "Hey, here's what you should write about!", which I know they find so endearing.)


Anyway! Here's what's been on the Reliable Source radar recently:


Mark Sanford's girlfriend speaks! It all started with an exchange of Christmas cards, apparently.


Reagan and Tip O'Neill worked across the aisle together because they were both old and in their "final act," says Chris Matthews: "They couldn’t put it off with speeches and talk and positioning and crap."


How everyone's favorite fleshy hothead -- yes, Alec Baldwin! -- ended up chair of the yoga gala


We usually avoid writing about our bosses -- but Don Graham isn't our boss anymore, so here goes.


Way too much news about the changing occupants of Kim Kardashian's ring finger.


The Washington social scene rebounds, post-shutdown, like nothing ever happened.


Also: Anthony Weiner is just hilarious. . . Michael Bay attacked on set with an AC unit, of all things. . . Why Anderson Cooper didn't stick with the CIA. . . HRH George and his seven godparents. . .


Oh, and here's a story I did last week that's a little Reliable Source-ish:

Tortilla Coast: Congress’s power restaurant, with extra cheese


Look forward to your questions!

I'm glad the cracks in the dome can be repaired. Now if we could just do something about the crackpots inside the place.

You were just racing to be the first to make that joke, weren't you?


Tattered Capitol dome above a fractured Congress to get $59 million facelift

Is Amy coming back after baby?

Yes, coming back to the Post, but not to Reliable Source. It's been lovely, but eight years is plenty. Do you know, of all the previous RS columnists, none had done it for more than four years? Until recently, it was believed that the human body could not endure in this job for longer than that.

So, does a child lose his illegitimacy if the parents eventually marry? Or is it once-and-illegitimate, always illegitimate as far as that goes?

Aw, now, I think concepts like that are a little passe now, aren't they? And didn't Diana Ross have a nicer word for it anyway?


(I'll give you a few minutes to watch the video. God, they're amazing.)

So the place to have secret meetings is at Tortilla Coast. The Hawk and Dove is so passe.

Tortilla Coast is the one with the ideal meeting space. Not that there's anything "secret" about a meeting at Tortilla Coast, the closest restaurant to the House side of the Capitol.

Would love to hear your details about this Kennedy Center event. I was fortunate to have been invited and am still walking on air!

None of us (i.e, me or my imaginary friends) were there. Our colleague Katherine Boyle covered the event, though, and has all the details here: Carol Burnett awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center

She also sets the record straight -- Burnett wasn't previously overlooked for the award; she was offered it but couldn't make it work in her schedule sooner.


But you were there, so why don't you tell us about it?

I feel upset I wasnt invited to the Royal Christening.

That's been bothering me too.


By the way, can't get over how much George looks like his father as a baby.

Prince George gets some God today:  He doesn't seem to look like William. Must take after his mother's side? (He looks like a sweet chubster.)

Oh, are you kidding? He looks a lot like William as a baby.

loved the story about Don Graham. Think his mom's memoir, Personal History, should be required reading for anyone interested in Wapo history.

Glad you enjoyed. It was a very nice ceremony for a very nice guy. "Personal History" is actually a great book for lots of other purposes -- it's about Washington in the 1930s, about how rich people got rich, about the Georgetown social scene of the 1950s and 1960s, it's a portrait of mental illness (her husband's), it's about women in the workplace in mid-century. . . I didn't get around to reading it until I heard it highly recommended by people who weren't inherently interested in journalism history.

Gosh, I hadn't thought of that in a long time. Another word that's passe (so I've been told) is unisex, now gender neutral is the term of choics.

"Unisex" -- you're right, I haven't heard that in a while.

Amy, I believe you asked two weeks ago if any celebrity has a child named Ocean. I don't know if you consider her a celebrity, but Food Network star (and season 5 Next Food Network Star winner) Melissa D'Arabian's daughter is named Ocean with an accent aigu over the e, so it's pronounced Oh-see-on.

Well, there you go. Thanks.

... the fawning over of Mark Sanford and his girlfriend. He publicly humiliated his wife and she's a home-wrecker. Ick.

Are they being fawned over? I don't know. Maybe if you're of the mindset that any news coverage is good news coverage. I find them fascinating.

I'm submitting this question a bit early. I don't follow the kardashians that closely but I do recall seeing the two youngest girls photo's as they were leaving a 21years and older club recently. I guess those two are not yet 21. Now all of a sudden Kim is releasing half naked pix of herself and announcing an engagement. Do you all think they are doing that to take some of the attention off the underage girls breaking the law? Seems to have worked.

I had missed this whole thing, but no, I don't think the Kardashians have ever been terribly concerned about what the rest of the world might consider "bad PR."

You seriously think that whole PR Stunt Relationship has ANYTHING to do with Love?

Not to be argumentative here -- and this is not too terribly thought-through of a theory, as distracted as I am by trying to analyze Diana Ross's eye makeup -- but I don't know that either Kim or Kanye needed a publicity stunt at this point in their attention-getting lives. Perhaps it's a strategic merger/acquisition. . . . but still, I had a long conversation with a scholar last year on the topic of their (possible) fauxmance, and what exactly it means.

Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, and the business of fauxmance

OK, I'm the one who was there, and since you asked ... It was a two-hour program, and I don't think I stopped smiling until the end, when Carol Burnett launched into "I'm So Glad We Had This Time Together." The dinner that followed had a '70s theme: Day-Glo flowers, disco music and old-style TVs at either end of the room that played clips from many of Carol's TV appearances. Walking into the hall, there were dressing-room doors mocked up with the stars' names and a spot where guest could put on costumes and goof off for the camera.

That sounds delightful, actually -- thanks for sharing! Those post-show dinners can be amazing, but they're often too late to make the next-day story.

Plan on going to a Halloween Party dressed as Carlos Danger.

Tell us how you're going to do that.

Back when being bastard was more of legal and social hindrance, yes you could go to the Church after your parents got married and be legitimized (that is that father is acknowledge as your father although inheritance might still be issue). Probably the most famous example of this was Alois Schicklgruber. He was born to an unwed mother and no acknowledge father so it used his mother's name. Later his mother married and when he was middle age and his mother's husband was dead, he went to the Church be legitimized as that man's son (oddly which has led to some interesting theories). Alois Schicklgruber toke the surname of his "father" which was Hitler and so did his eventual son, Adolf.

Thank you for today's history lesson. Wikipedia's version of that story holds that the name of Alois's mother's husband was actually "Hiedler," but it somehow got recorded as "Hitler" during the name change.

A couple of months ago, I mentioned in this chat that I saw Christopher Plummer (or his look-a-like) at the Dubliner. Besides "crushing" on him you said you were unaware of him being in town. Well during the shutdown, I caught HBO's Muhammed Ali's Greatest Fight, where Plummer has the lead role of Justice John Harlan. I am now thinking he was in town for something related to that !!

No idea whether he was involved in them, but the movie did include some exterior filming in Washington.

When it comes to the Kardashians, there is no such thing.


So Amy served two terms and doesnt want to run for a third term at RS.

If drafted, I will not run; if nominated, I will not accept; if elected, I will not serve.

Isn't little George adorable? There was a picture of future National Cutter Dykstra with his fiancee Jamie-Lynn Sigler and their cute little Beau in US Weekly. They're an attractive family, but Cutter would look better clean-shaven!

That is a very cute photo -- though I wonder how long before they all had to change out of their matching sparkling-white shirts.

In other US Weekly news, this just now breaking: Chris Evans and Minka Kelly -- what went wrong? I will read this with great interest, considering I had no idea they were dating.

I'm going as Miley Cyrus Wrecking Ball.

Oh, there's going to be a lot of competition in that field this year, I predict.

I think even she realized she looked like an idiot over the Chris Humphries thing and needed to brush up her image.

Come on. Why would a Kardashian need to brush up their image?

The only bad PR that the Kardshaians think is bad is: No PR.


I've watched Scandal from the beginning, and I've also watched Betrayal. Although I know what Fitz & Olivia are doing is wrong, I can't help but like them. I don't find myself rooting for Jack and Sarah on Betrayal, however. I find them totally reprehensible (I love Henry Thomas as T.J. and James Cromwell as the father, however).

Is "Betrayal" different from "Revenge"? It is, isn't it? I'm out of my depth here.

He reminds me of Citizen Kane - "I think it would be fun to run a newspaper." Maybe he will publish his own Declaration of Principles.

Here's the clip, if you're looking for it. Hey, I'm all for billionaires buying newspapers.

Prince George or the Panda Cam?

Oh, something to make me stop watching Supremes videos! Alas, it's nap time right now.

So does this mean she returns to the top of the batting order to go out with Derek Jeter?

Alas, Jeter is now dating Hannah Davis, a Rhodes Scholar and human-rights activist with her own MSNBC show. No wait. He's now dating Hannah Davis, a swimsuit model. I apologize for the error.

I have literally no idea who either of these people are.

That's fine. Why don't you invent your own story for them and share it with us?

Am I the only one that was a little creeped out by this book? I mean - its just - kind of too soon and also, what kind of people would read it? It seems the only way it can sell is if there is a lot of TMI.

Jaycee Dugard came out with her book two years after her rescue; it was pretty well regarded and sold well, I believe. Elizabeth Smart has just come out with her book, 11 years after her abduction. I don't know. I'm not going to judge. There is always a lot of interest in harrowing survivor stories of all sorts, not just those involving kidnapping/rape. I don't blame any victim for wanting to tell their own story -- otherwise someone else would write it-- and commanding the narrative and the profits.

Are they two of the stars of Meerkat Manor?

Perhaps! Minka would be a good name for a meerkat, anyway. Any other guesses?

Kelly Bensimon from Housewives of New York, she has a daughter named Sea.

Ah, so she does. A daughter named Sea Louise and a daughter named Thadeus Ann.

Minka and Chris were on the one season of The Biggest Loser Couples Edition.

Who went on to Dancing with the Stars, maybe? . . . I was thinking maybe one is Ann Romney's equestrian trainer and the other is a guy who you think you maybe went to college with but you're not sure.

Chris Evans is the only person to finish as first runner-up on both American Idol and Dancing with the Stars. Minka Kelly is a fashion designer whose new collection of fur-lined ensembles took Milan by storm this year.

Yes, he was the country singer, right? And "Minka" is an amazing name the more I think about it. Might have to put that one on the list.

Roger Scandal. I wonder what that costume would entail -- something to do with President Clinton's half-brother? (Where is RC now, anyway?)

Is this for real, btw? That Law & Order SVU is doing a take on the Anthony Weiner story tonight, but instead of "Carlos Danger," his Internet name is "Enrique Trouble." God, they must have died laughing in the writers' room. I might actually watch that.

I think she was a "correspondent" with Carlos Danger.

Aw, no, not our Minka -- America's favorite inline skating champion, right?

The next Reliable Source team? R.I.P, Amy :(

Hey, why not? We just loved waking up to watch Minka and Chris on "Good Morning, Duluth" every day for the past seven years -- I think they're good and ready to take over a newspaper gossip column. . .


But seriously, folks: Our colleague Emily Heil, who has spent the past few years working with Al Kamen on In the Loop, will be joining Roxanne on the Reliable Source, probably sometime, er, in December. This is very good news.

Here's something that should be passe: calling a mistress a homewrecker. That little piece of enduring misogyny just ticks me off to no end. I would think the cheating husband had significantly more to do with wrecking his home than she, no?

Yes, exactly.

There actually is a type of whale called a Minke.

Oh, but it's pronounced "minkey," according to the American Cetacean Society. Which has led me down another YouTube rabbit hole. "He lives with me, but he is not my minkey!" still used to describe bathrooms. "Gender neutral bathroom" just sounds so fraught, doesn't it?

It does, actually.

Lucky for us, people still cared about illegitimacy in the past. Otherwise, James Smithson, the illegitimate son of the Duke of Northumberland, probably wouldn't have ended up leaving his fortune to the United States to found an institution "for the creation and diffusion of knowledge."

Sounds like there was some more complicated family history going on for Smithson -- but still, an interesting history lesson.

Did Silda Spitzer ever divorce Eliot?

Not yet. . .

One has to wonder if history would have gone a different way had Hitler not changed his name. "Heil Schicklgruber" just isn't as catchy.

One does wonder.

Prince William carried George into the chapel. Pictures of Wills' christening show Charles standing next to Diana with his arms clasped behind his back. A very royal and unfatherly pose. I'm always kind of surprised and find it sweet that William and Harry seem to be so close to Charles. He really must've come a long way.

You really can't tell anything about a family from the body language at ceremonial events.

in the World Series? Going to be a lot of red and white out there. Am waffling a bit but picking the Red Sox.

Apparently I'm now a member of a Boston household. Don't have much say in the matter.

I used to read Us Weekly as a guilty little treat, but it no longer works since I don't know who any of those people are. (Minka Kelly? Chris Evans?) Any good gossip suggestions--aside from RS, of course!--for a discerning reader of a certain age?

I increasingly have no idea who the people getting married in the People and US email blasts are, but I blame the proliferation of channels and reality shows for that instead of age -- I don't think anyone can keep up with the entire field. But that's going to be the case anywhere -- I don't know who half the Manhattan financiers or nightclub promoters are that Page Six is writing about, but if you just let it all wash over you, it's still kind of enjoyable.

This has been a lovely chat -- dark and deep -- but I've got promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep. So I'll be on my way now. See you next week, but stay in touch all week long at

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