The Washington Post

The Reliable Source Live

Feb 22, 2012

Washington Post columnist Amy Argetsinger was online Wednesday, Feb. 22, at noon ET to discuss your favorite gossip, celebrity sightings and their recent columns.

Past Reliable Source chats

Hello everyone . . . It's been a shorter week, what with the holidays, but here's a few things that have been occupying us:


Former Redskins QB Jason Campbell and his fiancee call off their wedding at the last minute.


Oprah eyes a return to the big screen with a role in "The Butler," based on our colleague Wil Haygood's story about longtime White House butler Eugene Allen.

Controversial GOP strategist Roger Stone defects to the Libertarian party -- sign of the times or cry for attention?

The man who rocked Embassy Row with the clothes-free sauna parties at the Finnish Embassy leaves town.

And some other interesting stories in the Post today: President Obama sings at the White House blues night.
And Wilson Ramos, who had a more interesting off-season than any other member of the Nationals, has put his dramatic kidnapping behind him. 

Wilson Ramos

How small does Bobby Brown look by storming out of the Whitney Houston funeral?

I think you had to be there. From what I read, he showed up and they asked him to move three times, wouldn't let him talk to his daughter (of course, she had some say in that, too), and otherwise made a point of treating him badly. Then again, maybe he showed up and was a big pain, then left. The fact is that he could have manned up, sat anywhere, and or slipped out quietly --but funerals are emotional and people not at their best. So I think it's better not to call him a jerk until more facts come out.

I've noticed in news articles that the Post refers to "freshmen" or "seniors" at UVa, even though those aren't the terms the school uses (first-year and fourth-year, respectively). The Post also refers to the campus, whereas the University prefers "Grounds." In general, when does the Post defer to individual or organization preferences for terminology and when does it follow a standard rule?

As a graduate of the University of Virginia, I'm okay with the practice of translating those beloved terms for a general audience. What seems to us Virginia people like the proper terminology is confusing jargon to outsiders, and it's the job of journalists to make things as clear as possible to a general readership.


By the way, if you're interested in U.Va. or the tragic saga that has launched it into the news, you'll want to read the story about Boylan Heights, the bar where Yeardley Love and George Huguely's friends centered their social life.

Well, I must have missed something because I was not impressed with Marvin Winans' so-called eulogy. I thought the purpose of a eulogy was to remember the deceased, not lecture about priorities.

I didn't mind it so much. After so many personal words about Whitney, I'm guessing he took on the role of preacher and guide on the larger issues her life represented. If he was the only speaker, then maybe---but Whitney got more than her due at the service.

I'd like to send out birthday greetings to George Washington because some of us are just old school enough to remember when George got to celebrate his birthday without all those other Presidents butting in.

I feel bad for Lincoln, too. We always had a little ceremony at school for Abe on Feb. 12.

Once a couple calls off a wedding at the last minute (or the groom leaves the bride at the altar), are they only allowed to go to the Justice of the Peace the next go around?

I assume you mean if the same two people later decide to actually go through with the ceremony. Couples can -- and do ---anything they want: City Hall to a big blowout. The biggest issue (besides the prospects of their marriage) becomes the guests. In the case of Campbell/Montes, their friends have already shelled out a small fortune in travel and gifts for the wedding, so it would be rude to ask them to do that again. So a couple can have a wedding, but not one that requires guests to do anything more than they already have. Oh---and yes, all the shower and wedding gifts should be returned to the givers.  

How often does President Obama sing?

Increasingly, during an election year, it seems. I think the video is in Chris Richards' story about the White House blues night.

Well, I am sure his ex-girlfriend (Ms. DC) is probably happy right about now. There is nothing more f-ed up than when your ex-boyfriend jumps up and gets engaged to his new girlfriend not long after he dumps you.

Not fair----Jason and Jenny had dated before, were friends for five years, and got engaged after dating another year. So his ex might have been sad, but it's not like he met someone new and got married in three months. (Which has happened to some women.)

Just what is the difference between The Reliable Source & Celebritology? Is one more local & the other more Hollywood, etc? Is one political & the other more personalities? It seems to me that often you discuss the same people &/or events. And who gets to follow the Washington athletes?

If you're reading Reliable Source and Celebritology, I think you'll see they're fairly different. Maybe you're just following the respective chats? There's probably more overlap in that regard, simply because we're both following whatever topics you chatters are throwing at us, and I know you guys take us in more of a pop-culture direction here than our columns do. 


The essential difference is that they're basically an online product, and we're basically a print product that we present online in a blog format. They're very focused on showbiz, summarizing the best entertainment news from a variety of sources in huge quantities. We're very focused on original reporting, about Washington personalities or Washington-type topics. In our print column, we include a sprinkling of Hollywood/New York news, citing other sources, and that's why you'll see a bit of overlap online.  Sometimes we're citing them, sometimes they're citing us -- a practice you'll see across all Washington Post blogs.  But they're doing a lot of pop-culture stuff (TV show recaps, movie trailers) that we don't; and we're covering a range of celebrities that they don't. . . I guess what I'm saying is that you really need to read both. Please don't slack off in that duty.

I'm a bit confused why it's news that Bethenny Frankel had a miscarriage. It's sad and I'm sorry for her and all but let's face it she's just a nobody reality TV phoney and not worth the three inches of column space or three cents worth of printers ink you gave her.

We weren't working this weekend; it was the Names and Faces column that provided that news.


Having said that, I'll make two points. (1) You might not care, but other people do. It's a big tent here, you're not expected to be fascinated by every story in the newspaper or by every news item in a column. (2) The folks doing that column this weekend didn't have a huge about of celebrity news to choose from during a quiet holiday weekend.

Why, thank you OP. You just reminded me of why I never applied to UVA.

Am I being disloyal if I laugh at that?

Any insight as to why Jason Campbell's nuptials were cancelled?

You mean, who pulled the plug? And what was going on in the hearts and minds of these two people? These things are always complicated, and we only know what they choose to tell us. But read the full story -- there's a lot to chew over. When Ellen McCarthy talked to them a couple weeks ago, he clearly appeared to be under a lot of stress; and he's in a very tenuous spot with his career and future right now.


Jason Campbell and fiancee call off wedding, 2/21/12

Jason Campbell showed why destination weddings are supremely obnoxious, unless the guests travel and expenses are all paid for. If you're going to cancel a destination wedding, try to do so more than a few hours ahead of time.

That's what got me: He said they knew the wedding was off and decided to make a vacation of it.  But the guests weren't given that choice and were stuck with non-refundable hotel and plane reservations,  so they only had the choice of staying home and losing all the money or making the best of it -- and didn't even get that. Unless there are very good reasons, I'm against destination weddings for the time and expense they impose on all the friends. If I'm going to spend a couple thousand on a vacation, I want it to be where and when I want to go.

Obama has a nice voice. Clinton played the sax. See any musical talent in the GOP hopefuls thus far?

I think our best hope is if John Ashcroft decides to jump in the race. Let the Eagle Soar!

That story of him getting beat up in a bar was tragic- who would hurt that pretty, pretty face?

The New York tabloids say he's been "disfigured"! But look how pretty he was. Doesn't he look exactly like a prince of Monaco should look?

While I commend the Posts reporter for a good article as it was, there is hardly anything unique about this place. Every college town has such a place- 20 years later I still have fond memories of my own spot. But, thinking about it now, I am not sure much should be done to give too much publicity to a place where everyone is old enough to drink and hook up, but no one is actually mature enough to do something about a blatant case is domestic violence in their midst. The whole trial just reminds me how tragically immature these kids are (as was I, back in the day) and how the the adult owners of this bar should stop Trying to glorify and profit off it, while undoubtedly reliving the college days they should have grown up and out of a long time ago.

I'm not going to slam the bar owners, because they aren't responsible for what happened. There are thousands of college dives run by people who love the students and do right by them, not because of some misguided attempt to relive their youth. I think college bar owners do have an extra responsibility not to overserve kids for the reasons you cite, but there's no indication that the Bolyn Heights owners are responsible for or trying to profit from this tragedy.

Oh my goodness, I just read the article. What a story. Do you know if President Obama ever met Mr. Allen?

Oh, I'm glad you read it, and glad you asked. After Wil's story appeared, post-Election Day, Mr. Allen was invited to sit in the VIP area for the Obama inauguration. Here's the lovely follow-up story.


White House Butler Eugene Allen Witnesses Swearing-In, 1/21/09

I don't know if you have been to a shower lately for the mid-20s set, but I went to my nieces a couple weeks ago, and I, who is no prude, actually was kind of appauled at the,um, intimate nature of the gifts. I can't imagine wanting many of the gifts back, on the off chance they had already been used! No wonder my mom wasn't invited!

It probably was an lingerie shower. I was thinking more along the lines of china.

It was nice to see Maya Rudolph back on SNL. Best bit was of her doing Beyonce

That was excellent. But I was really blown away Jay Pharoah's Jay-Z impersonation. Here's the clip.

My wife was asked to be in a wedding party at a destination wedding in Puerto Rico. She agreed, thinking the bride would pay her expenses, but then backed out when she discovered the bride was paying nothing and we would have to pay for ourselves, which is money we didn't have. The bride got mad and hasn't spoken to us in years, nor has she spoken to the other wedding party members who also backed out because they didn't have the money, either.

It's part of this weird entitlement culture, which the wedding industry encourages ("It's YOUR day!") and thrives on. Weddings are two things: A ceremony followed by a big party the couple hosts for their friends. The notion that friends should spend a lot of money for the "honor" of being part of it has always struck me as selfish and shortsided.  

I was surprised that the restaurant is such a big deal. I went to UVA years ago, and that place on the Corner has changed hands so many times. And the Corner "dangerous"? Are you kidding? It's pretty tame.

They made the point in that story, and it's so true: When you're a student there, you feel like these places are age-old institutions, but most of them turn over every five years or so. . . . I don't think the juror meant that the Corner is dangerous crime-wise (though I do remember a couple of horrific crimes there back in the '80s), but that it can be a bad scene in terms of drinking and fights. I don't fault any parent who wouldn't want their high school kids hanging around a college bar scene.

I've lived in several college towns and find the bar owners fit two categories (sweeping generalizations here, of course there are exceptions). There are those who are trying to re-live their college days, who are in their 40s, unmarried, living in an apartment and still sleeping with college girls. And there are those who have grown up and simply make their living as a college town saloon keeper, who are married, have children, own a home and are members of the Rotary and Chamber.

There are immature 40-year-old guys sleeping with 20-somethings everywhere, and they're NOT bar owners. So hate the player, not the setting. 

yes, because college students would just stop drinking and would make good choices if this bar shut down.


Not the worst that can happen. Beats a divorce. Sometimes it provides just the clarity one needs.

Very, very true. (And sorry I edited down your question; I couldn't immediately vouch for all the details about the other athlete called-off wedding you mentioned -- that's some complicated soap-opera stuff!)

Your EX-wives funeral is not all about you.

Yes, but I'm not sure Whitney would have behaved any better at HIS funeral. We're not talking about highly functional people here.

So what do you think about Lilo playing Elizabeth Taylor?

I'm skeptical: It feels like the producers' no-commitment publicity stunt. ("There is one legal-related caveat: Lindsay needs to stay on the right side of court," says Access Hollywood. Well that's a big if.) I also don't think she's up to the task. Though, really -- what can we really expect from a made-for-Lifetime movie about Taylor and Burton? I think we can reasonably expect that whomever they cast in these roles won't really have the charismatic firepower of Taylor and Burton.  

My husband and I got married where we live, which happens to be where he's from. A relative thought we should have a destination wedding because she didn't want to come to where we lived (and still live) - and it would be more like a vacation for her. *sigh*

Well, no big loss if she didn't end up coming to your wedding, then, huh?

My daughter had a destination wedding of sorts--she was married in Florida where the groom's family lives. Everyone paid for their own travel & lodging (although the rooms were reduced). I thought that was pretty standard. The best man & his bridesmaid wife had had a destination wedding in Georgia which our daughter and her then-fiance had attended at their own expense. Everyone else in the party was family.

Well, unless both the bride and groom are from the same town, it ends up being a destination for someone.

ha. no joke. He must've been perfecting his "yeah" (done Jay-Z style) for a while. It was spot on.

He sounded so much like him, and that's a very tricky and subtle thing to pull off. Try as I might, I can't do a credible Jay-Z imitation.

completely overrated. ick

Oh, really? I've always been a big fan.

but so many "traditional" weddings are destinations too. I'd rather pay to fly to Key West than Dayton, OH. No offense to those from Dayton, but it's not where I want to spend my vacation dollars.

There is no perfect solution, but I vote for getting married A) in the place where most of the guests reside and B) trying to make the trip as inexpensive as possible for those who have to travel. Anything that costs $$$$ should be ruled out. And I believe (in a perfect world) that the couple should pay all the expenses for guests at an actual destination wedding.

At least they had the good sense to call it off. Better than having a sham wedding. (See Kim Kardashian)

I agree.

How do you think a Santorum presidency would affect the social scene in Washington?

I think the social scene would survive regardless. None of our recent presidents or their staffs have been particularly party-hearty. So we gotta make our own fun here in Washington.

When I saw clips of Whitney Houston's funeral, why is the first thing I noticed is Jesse Jackson on the stage. I know he is highly regarded, but how does he get to be the honorary reverend at every famous black person's funeral? And no, I do not mean that in a racist way.

He does make the rounds. In a way, though, it's maybe similar to the role that Billy Graham played back in the day, mostly in political circles. Why was he the guy? As with Jackson, this is probably something best answered in a 600-page biography.

They are all so gorgeous, and so tragically screwed up. No one was actuallly shocked or surprised that a Monacco royal would be in the middle of a late night bar fight.

That's why the European tabs love them. Most of the other royals aren't nearly as pretty and live boring, stable lives.

Thank you!

...and then there are the situations where people from different countries fall in love and end up getting married in the bride's hometown in Asia. Definitely a destination wedding... for the groom's family. But a very understandable decision, and quite appropriate if funds permit!

That's a different matter. We're talking about Americans who think it's romantic to get married in some exotic locale (which it can be) and then expect all their pals to shell out big bucks to share the moment.

He made a really good speech at Whitney Houston's funeral

Thanks for the reminder on this -- I was traveling over the weekend and haven't seen it yet. Here's a clip of it.

About 10 years ago as my family was getting ready to head up to NH for my cousin's wedding (seriously, the cab was pulling up to the door), we got a phone call from my aunt saying the wedding "might not happen". We still went up there and were told that it was in fact not happening at all, but that we were still going to the rehearsal dinner. My aunt and uncle brought every tupperware container they owned to take home the leftovers (the bride and her family did not attend). My cousin and his jilted bride did still go on their honeymoon. And we had a lovely family reunion. But I would have been pissed if it had been much further away than NH.

The fake honeymoon thing is weird. I would have demanded the second ticket and gone with a girlfriend.

has any reputable news source verified the post-funeral Bobbi Kristina stories that are floating?

I don't think so -- but it's my sincere hope that all reputable news sources are taking a pass on this altogether. If an unfamous teenager (or rather, famous only by blood) is suffering difficulties in the wake of a parent's death, she's not going to be helped by having it all spilled out as gossip. The family/friends supposedly leaking this stuff aren't doing her any favors.

A Black Sheep brother! I miss the days of Billy Carter and Roger Clinton. Any chance of a resurgence of the embarassing sibling kind by 2013?

Aw, yeah. That would be great. We'll have to start looking around, but you'd think that by now the black-sheep sibling would have reared his head.

Or snobbery, as many will tell you. I went there too, so I'm not trying to be mean here.

There's that.

I wonder how they always get people to marry into that family: one the one hand you get to be a royal. On the other hand, every single one of your new in-laws would make their own Hax column. No wonder that last bride tried to run.

Hahaha. They are awfully cute, though.

Would you settle for Newt's lesbian half-sister Candace Gingrich?

Oh, she's always fun. We haven't heard a whole lot out of her during this election, surprisingly -- except for the fact that she's planning to vote for Obama.

My destination wedding was St. Paul, MN in November. Wife's family lived in Burnsville at the time.

Awesome in November. I hope the honeymoon was someplace warm.

I didn't realize the red-beret-wearing anti-crime do-gooders were still in business. Is Curt Sliwa still in charge, or has he passed the reins?

Here is Dan Zak's very entertaining and very controversial story about the D.C. Guardian Angels.

But we already know he's a jerk, so it's pretty easy to roll your eyes and say "typical Bobby Brown."

I'm jus trying to be fair here. Even jerks aren't jerky ALL the time.

They are, but domestic violence is ignored by all age groups, and all economic groups. Lots of adults see domestic violence in their midst and do nothing because they are embarrassed to step in.

Fair point.

i keep forgetting to submit this! The Top Chef website lists Springfield VA as one of the hometowns for Paul, who many consider the front runner. I grew up in Springfield too, so would love for a famous-ish person who is not Dave Grohl to be from there. Can you all track anything down on this? Is that local enough?

Will look into it, but at this point there are so many people who are reality-TV celebrities, and so many people who grew up here but now live somewhere else (Paul Qui is based in Texas) that we need a truly local winner/near-winner to get excited about it.

How do you think LiLo will handle SNL this week?  There definitely will be a couple of skits regarding her run ins with the law

God, who knows? Everytime I think she's finally got her act together, she manages to screw it up. She'll probably be great on the show -- she's funny and a good actress -- if she's sober. The more she makes fun of herself, the more people will love it. But it doesn't mean anything if she can't keep it together for more than one or two weeks---and she keeps proving she can't.

We can discuss this and any leftover Oscar buzz during next week's chat. In the meanwhile, send your tips and sightings to Next week, all.

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