The Reliable Source Live

Apr 18, 2012

Washington Post columnist Amy Argetsinger was online Wednesday, April 18, at noon ET to discuss your favorite gossip, celebrity sightings and their recent columns.

Past Reliable Source chats

Good morning, everyone, and welcome back. Here's what's been on our radar lately:


It's  Alec Baldwin Week in Washington! Which is like Shark Week or Squirrel Week, just not lethal. The ubiquitous actor cracks wise at National Press Club, and schooled a bunch of newbie celebvocates in the ways of the Hill.


Are Kimye for real? (Or is the proper term "Kanyashian"?) Who cares; let's just analyze the dynamics of fauxmance.


James Brown's overlooked backup singers finally make it into the Rock Hall of Fame, while Axl Rose takes a pass.


The debut of "Veep" (very funny, btw) gets us wondering: Can we draw up a list of actors pre-approved to play the president?


In other news: Sorry, ladies, Ryan Zimmerman is engaged. . . . Robert Ballard, coolest man on the earth or undersea, rules the Titanic centennial. . .  President Obama still thinks Kanye West is a jackass. . . . Doggie fashion show evolves into a big-time Washington gala. . . And after eight years and six children and no wedding date, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie enter the most symbolically abstract engagement you can imagine.


Now, for your questions?

Last week I decided to keep several browsers open and jump between chats. Never again! Your chat is so superior it makes the others pale by comparison. Monogamous chatting from now on.

Aw, that's very nice of you. I promise to do the same.

Nice to see that Ted Nugent has become the pundit to make a dumb comment of the week

What I don't understand is how Ted Nugent is still someone anyone cares about, 32 years after he last charted any music.

With the republican candidates singing, "this campaign was the time of my life?" I loved it!

Missed it -- will check it out. I did enjoy the Piers Morgan takeoff, though.

And by "strikes" I mean out! Reliable Source is no longer on the drop-down for any button at the top of the web page - not Lifestyle or Entertainment! I had to go into the long list of blogs and columns to find you. That is just NOT okay!

Hmmm, looks like yet another redesign -- though I just checked, and while the entire thing looks like a third-geration Xerox, and it takes you to our most recent (minor) post rather than the entire column, we're there, under both Lifestyle and Entertainment.

It's like my mid-week mini vacation!

Me too.

I found her comments about her 62 year-old voice refreshing. A lot of performers ignore the effects of aging on their vocal chords and singing ability. For rock stars, we may not notice, but for a soloist/musical theatre-type like Lupone, it would be obvious. That said, her "bad performance" would probably still be pretty good!

It sounded very good to this non-singer's ear, but she's smart about lowering expectations. She also has a terriffic pianist who works with her. All that said, Patti on a bad day is better that most others on a good. But there is a point where the smart thing to do is gracefully retire. I've seen Barbara Cook perform over the past few years and --athough the audiences were very kind--I wish she wasn't singing in public any more.

Oh, I gave you the wrong SNL Piers Morgan parody, it looks like. Here's the most recent one.

I love to go to zoos! It was always a stop on any family vacation, to go to a local zoo and/or aquarium. Entertainment and education all in one place! I hope Newt learned something from the penguin, though.

Me too, although I don't go enough. When my son was younger I could blackmail him into going with me on Mother's Day, when I would drag him around for hours. 

Instead of state dinners and Capitol Hill celeb appearances, have Amy and Roxanne ever considered hanging out at a GSA retreat/team building exercise? That seems to be about the most glamorous thing going on in DC. Imagine being able to get a 2,000 sq. ft Vegas suite w/hot tub for a government rate!

No kidding. I want a session with a mindreader and a build-a-bicycle contest! I'll pass on the commemorative coin, though -- whose idea was that?

I think Twitter should let the general public vote to ban celebs. Maybe once a week, a famous person is banned for life. That would be awesome!

Or, we could simply not follow them.

The Nationals are 9-3. Is this another sign that climate change is real?

Something like that. It's definitely unnerving.

This news caused me to tell my 20-something daughters how disappointed I am that they were unable to obtain this guy for my son-in-law. Another dream gone.

You were in it for the behind-home-plate seats, I take it?

The man who invented scratching at a launch party for the book Groove Music. He even took to the turntables to show his stuff. I was very tempted to ask him to scratch my back, but I'm proud to say I refrained from doing so.

I'm proud of you too.

Greg Mortenson is now being sued for lying in his book. How unusual is this (the suit, not the lying)? I understand when memoirs are written, they usually present information from the writer's perspective and thus may not be entirely accurate. What makes this lawsuit worthy (no that I support lying)?

As we wrote the other week, Greg Mortenson is in enough trouble as it is  -- he has to pay back $1 million to his charity. This new lawsuit is provocative but kind of crazy; if the plaintiffs prevail, there are a whole lot of writers who are going to be in trouble. 

He's the farmer from Babe, and was in iRobot and a bunch of other things. He'd make a good one - and not too famous to hire.

Yes, that's a good idea. I'd put Cromwell on the pre-approved list.

They should never show the president until the very last episode, and it should be someone like Newman or Frank Costanza.


So, what info on the shuttle Discovery? Relationships? Favorite area restaurant? Rather large residence, I see....

You mean Diz? You know the type: Jet-setter who used to go out ALL the time, now just sits at home  and watches IMAX films about his glory days. A little worn around the edges. Has his buddies over for Tang and freeze-dried pizza.

He seemed really petty for not showing up for the Guns N Roses induction

He seems kind of petty, period.

Don't these guys know: you always pay the hookers. Especially when you are traveling on government time. They deserve to be fired for stupidity as much as immorality (although probably most of all for skeezyness.)

Yes, but what if the hookers then say, oh, you agreed to pay them more? Hookers are basically a no-win situation.

I beg to differ. Many people subscribe to the theory that a woman's voice gets better with age. Mellowing like fine wine or good cheese. Barbara Cook knows how to heat up the house and I personally hope she never stops singing.

We'll agree to disagree on this one.

RE: the space shuttle. . . . I just want to know how Jonathan Newton got this photo (#36 in the gallery).

I think the main problem Kim had with Kris was that he wasn't famous enough. Kanye will do nicely for her career.

I hope Kim has a good investment adviser because ---and this could just be me---I'm pretty bored by her. It's one thing to have no talent (although she is GORGEOUS in person), it's another to have no wit or personality. I'm not sure even Kayne can keep her boat afloat for much longer.

Why was he on the Hill this week?

Hey, we give you the links to click on, you need us to do all the work? He was hear to lobby for more federal arts funding.

Does the Obama eatting dog story pretty much take the Romeny dog on the car roof story off the table ?

Nope. One is a cultural practice in a foreign country where Obama--as a kid---likely had no say in the matter. Romney was an adult here in the USA when he put his dog on a car roof---not a standard practice here.

1. OK, so I'm NOT a Nugent fan and never was, but, just to be picky, he was in Damn Yankees, which had a huge hit with "High Enough" sometime around 1990, so let's make that 22 years. (Yes, I'm a little ashamed to say I remember because I saw them in concert, and I remember the timing of it because Nugent went on some rant about Saddam Hussein and then shot a photo of him with his crossbow, which I guess was/is his "thing," but in my defense, I was young, and it also had Tommy Shaw from Styx, as well as someone from Night Ranger -- wait, this isn't helping, is it? -- and they were on a double bill with Paul Rodgers from Bad Company -- OK, then I give up, there is no defense.) 2. He gets a lot of attention because, frankly, the hard right wing doesn't have a lot of celebrities to parade around, so people like Jon Voight and Victoria Jackson get WAY more attention than liberal D-listers ever could (since we libs have Brangelina and Clooney and Baldwin and pretty much everyone else at the Oscars), so it's a much lower bar and the next thing you know, people are paying attention to Ted Nugent.

Okay, thanks. I should just get you to write the story for me.

Anyone remember when he was younger and hotter--i.e., Hunt for Red October, Married to the Mob, even Notting Hill?

Yes, but he wasn't as funny then.

Poor Enterprise - replaced by a younger, sexier shuttle. I see lots of therapy sessions in its future.

Need a pretty big couch. Except all the shuttles are done for, aren't they?

You may need to pick up the pace a little here because you're up against a chat about donating blood and you know how popular that one must be...

They've been holding back your questions from us!

Rob Lowe

No, I'm sorry, he has not been pre-qualified for that role.

one word: yawn


Could be someone who looks vaguely trustworthy like Tom Hanks or Kevin Kline or Harrison Ford. Or it could be someone scary like the inept mayor from Spin City (Barry Bostwick) or Daniel Day Lewis in full Method mode.

Barry Bostwick is a good addition to the list. I'd be okay with that. And yes, Kline and Ford have actually played POTUS already; and DDL is gearing up to.

Can someone explain the existence of this show? I thought a Shah was an Iranian or Persian term - but it appears it means incredibly tacky.

"Shahs of Sunset" are to Persians as "Real Housewives" are to actually stay-at-home spouses.

Has anyone checked to be sure the Penguin hasn't taken ill from his unfortunate run-in with the former Speaker ? Those ex-Congressmen can carry some nasty diseases.


I think if Pippa had been with Grace Kelly's grandson at that New York nightclub the poor chap wouldn't have gotten his jaw broken.

Omg, we need to get these two together.

I don't know a lot about the standard economics of these situations, but, by all reports, the "lady" didn't seem to be unreasonable in her request. These guys were trying to get a two-for-one! So, these guys embarrassed the service, possibly compromised the safety of the President AND made Americans look cheap! For shame!

When squeezing hookers, don't squeeze pennies.

One of the network news shows last night claimed there is an unofficial saying that Secret Service guys utter when taking off on overseas details: "Wheels up! Rings off!" Ever hear this?

I have, but it seems unfair to most of the agents.

Those photos of Hillary having a good time where really great. If more of that had been available during the 2008 campaign, who knows what would have happened...

Don't know if it would have changed things in 2008. We've been watching the evolution of Hillary over the past couple years, and she's become much more fun and user-friendly as Secretary of State than she ever was as a candidate.

Which celebrity, who has not spoken up yet, would you most like to become a celebvocate? And for what issue?

Oh, that is a very very very good question. I'm trying to think of someone who has been cause-less that I'm actually interested in hearing from. Okay, Merle Haggard. Drawing a blank beyond that. How about you?

Could Brian Keith play the president? Or is he no longer living?

Brian Keith *could* have played the president but now no longer can, RIP.

following the chat while eating lunch and was interested in to see the Diz photo Amy linked to. Yet another ad video you have to watch before seeing the gallery (same with the Peeps earlier this month). So I didn't. I'm a daily/Sunday subscriber and would love to have the secret code for viewing the photos without the ads. The ads are backfiring, aren't they, if no one watches? Have NO idea what or who is being advertised because as soon as one of those starts, I click away.

I'm with you. I had been trying to hunt down that photo to answer the earlier shuttle question, and by the time I found the gallery and sat through the ad and clicked through to #36, Rox had long since answered it.

Is it legal in Colombia?

From what I understand, yes --but not for U.S. government employees. One report I read said investigators are able to interview all the women because they were required to give their ID's to the hotel before going up to the rooms.

My favorite story so far this week is Pippa Middleton riding shotgun in Paris. A dwarf and chastity belt party?!?!? I clearly need to get out more often.

Congratulations to the Daily Mail for winning the "dwarves and chastity belt" search-engine contest with this amazing story.

Jeff Daniels (he's already played George Washington, but, then again, so has Kelsey Grammar, so that alone wouldn't qualify an actor),

Jeff Daniels has played George Washington? But yes, I think he's capable of playing the president.

Anyone else hear the Brangelina divorce rumors?

Too soon, too soon. . . .

You know it is Springtime in DC when Clint is doing his Ryan Seacrest impersonation and throwing t-shirts into the crowd.

Jumbotron Guy is back!

That's quite the balancing act. Looks like one of those desktop toys that executives have in their office.

Amazing, isn't it? Wonder if he spent hours planning that or if it just spontaneously worked out.

So why didn't that many people get excited about space shuttles when they were actually being used as space shuttles? Maybe if NASA had flown it over DC a few times over the past 30 years the shuttle program would still have public support.

Oh, it's like a restaurant that goes out of business: Everyone shows up the last week and says how great it was and how it's a real loss. But they didn't love it enough to actually go there. Same with NASA and the shuttles. 

It's my first time? You're my king? Hello, I'm Juan Valdez?

How do you like your coffee?

Anything cause that would bring Paul Rudd or LL CoolJ to DC would be a worthy, worthy cause.

Agreed. Apparently Cool James has been enlisted into arts advocacy stuff here and there, but I don't think he's come to DC for it.

You'll have to pay extra if you want me to bite your nose.

And you have to pay in fish.

Dan Hedaya

Other than playing Nixon? I don't see it.

I submt Will Smith.

With some more years on him, perhaps.

Merle Haggard has been involved with the use of biofuels.

Well, what do you know.

At first, I thought what's the big deal that the Secret Service agents were seeing prostitutes? Then I realized the enormous safety risk this poses to our country - since they can be tricked/coerced into giving information on the President's plans and whereabouts, can be blackmailed, etc. It's a really serious thing.

It is. The issue is not that anything happened that risked the president security--- but that it COULD have because these agents had Obama's schedule. The fact is, any one of the hookers could have been someone hired to get sensitive information from the agents.

Will Roger Ailes face any serious consequences (I hope) from FOX News for falsely calling Soledad O'Brien "that girl who's named after a prison"? (CNN reported that her parents, who met at Mass, in fact named her after a saint). And what about Ailes calling O'Brien "girl"? Can you imagine the hue and cry if he'd referred to a Hispanic male as a "boy"???

You know, I didn't keep up with this one. Is it just me, or are there just too many examples these days of famous people saying stupid stuff and everyone else getting mad?

Doesn't it HAVE to be Morgan Freeman?

A few years ago, he was at the top of the list. But now that he's up in his mid 70s, it's time to look for other candidates.

He was George Washington in a miniseries fro the 1980s.

Yes, I know -- with Patty Duke Astin as Martha and Jacqueline Smith, um, whats her name, the other lady he liked. But point being, I think Bostwick has the sufficient gravitas to play a generic, fictional, modern-dress president as well.

An annoying little by-product of the Secret Service scandal is that we're getting the image of the Salahis crashing the White House state dinner again, as yet another instance of the Secret Service falling short.

Yes, I've seen that infamous red-carpet walk about five times in the past couple days.

Any word on whether Brad made sure that no "blood diamonds" were used in making it?

You know, I'm sure there's a 2,000-word story on this very topic, but I kind of don't care.

Did you see the video of the mega millions winners in Illinois from this morning? They are so cute! They are just like that Uncle and Aunt that you are most excited to see at holidays! Good for them for coming forward and not hiding like cowards behind anonymity!

Did not. Let me just say, however, that I've thought too much about this and would ABSOLUTELY try to remain anonymous if I won a big jackpot. Laws differ from state to state; both Kansas and Maryland allow winner to claim prizes without public disclosure. Don't know about Illinois. No matter how adorable this couple is, their lives will NOT be better for going public with their new wealth.

I've been wondering this for a few weeks. How in the world did that MD woman make the news for claiming to have the winning Mega Millions ticket? How did that story get started and why did her 15 minutes continue even after it was determined that she was bat guano crazy?

Because these days, no one is particularly interested in checking facts before they move a story, so long as they think you'll click on it. And then when it turns out not to be true, they can always move another story you'll happily click on that says, "lady was lying!"  Suckers.

were they waiting to see if they'd get a 7 year itch?

Ha. Yes, something like that. Looks like they're in the clear now.

Meeting the guys behind Texting with Hillary was great! And having her photo taken. I think she's an excellent Sec of State and love that she's showing her relaxed side at times.

I think she's genuinely more relaxed, which is a good look for her.

Call me cynical, but I really think a "fun" Hillary would not have succeeded politically, either. A woman in politics is damned if she does and damned if she doesn't. If you're assertive, you're a humorless b*, if you show a fun, human side, you're not serious enough to be a politician, etc.

You may have a point.

Isn't there some type of education requirement to run? A literacy test?

Doubt it as long as she's a legal resident of the city and can sign her name. There are plenty of moron politicians out there.

Which of you will replace Ann Curry on the Today Show?

Has to be Amy. I'm not a morning person.

$800,000 sounds like a lot, but I just went to a medical conference recently and my company shelled out about 1500 for a three-day trip, and there were about 100 people there, so this conference cost roughly 150,000. When you are dealing with catering and hotel expenses, it's pretty easy to rack up a serious bill without being ridiculous. I hate to defend the GSA, but surely there are many more egregious examples of government waste. I don't get why this one is getting SO much attention.

There's a difference between a private sector conference and a government conference -- and it sounds like this GSA one might still have been more expensive than yours. Having said that -- yes, there are probably (certainly) bigger examples of government waste, but they're maybe a little more arcane and harder to understand than something like this.

When it comes time for the WaPo web team's performance evaluation, please oh please may I provide some 360 feedback? Oh, and thanks for all you do. Love your column and especially your chats.

You are so sweet. Thank you very much.

Congratulations to Ryan & his lovely fiancee. I hope he & Michael Morse schedule their weddings so that everyone can make it to both. For those with 20-something daughters, five words--Jordan Zimmermann or Tyler Clippard (although as of the All-Star game Clip had a girl friend, but Drew Storen is his local roomie!).

I'm sure no one's going to be a groomzilla here.

Nah - he never quite seems to nail the serious roles to me...always seems like he's trying too hard or trying not to laugh. I'll never not see him as a clown. Hey, maybe that means he's perfect for the role!


I'm a woman who was in the military. Our crew visited Cartegena in fact. I was shocked by the behavior of so-called upstanding family men. I thought these guys were good guys, and I finally came to the conclusion that they were as long as I didn't take into account their behavior whilst in foreign countries. Being in a foreign country seems to make people feel as though their marriage vows don't apply.

Weird. Guess they assume their wives will never find out.

Denzel Washington would be a worthy celebvocate. He always comes across so smart in interviews.

Yes. He's also on our pre-approved list of actors allowed to play the president. . . . .He's been here before for celebvocacy things; the Boys and Girls Clubs are his issue.

They can't have plastic surgery for that, I guess.

They sort of can, but it's never the same.

I liked Bill Pullman in Independence Day, Kevin Kline in Dave, and Bruce Greenwood in National Treasure Book of Secrets (and he also played JFK).

These are all on our list already, I believe.

Played Sally Fairfax.

Yes, thanks.

The problem with Roger Ailes calling Soledad "that girl who's named after a prison" is that he's dismissing her value as a news anchor with a single racist, sexist slur against Hispanic females. Imagine if he'd done something comparable re a Black male anchor.


Alec Baldwin should play the president.

Can he now? Or is he too "Alec Baldwin" for the part?

celebrities ALWAYS said stupid stuff. we can talk about it more and more and there's always a recording device somewhere. that wasn't always the case.

I guess that's it, isn't it? And instead of the limitations of newsprint and TV news blocs, we now have endless time and space to catalog and dissect this stuff.

Apparently if a state requires you to make your name public after winning the lottery there is a way around it. You can set up a trust or something. They were talking about it on the radio the other day. So you need to get a lawyer as soon as you win to protect your anonymous status!!

Unclear how much of that is true ---in fact, I mentioned this to a Post editor for a story because I'd love to know. (Seems like a good reason to start buying more of my lottery tickets in Maryland.) But you need a lawyer in any case.

Has to be Martin Sheen, if only because I'd get a real kick out of seeing (or imagining) his West Wing staff trying to handle the Veep. Imagine Toby's rage or CJ's wit. Even if only for one episode a season!!!

Actually, I think we've created some confusion here. "Veep" doesn't show the president and doesn't (so far as I know) plan to. But I argue that's a good call, because really, too often on TV you see someone playing the president who just doesn't have the gravitas for it. Hence the need for our pre-approved list.

There are tons of things that I think are really cool but would never pay for when I realized that my interest is mostly....that it is really cool and rare. I admit that I got really excited seeing the shuttle go by (once in a lifetime, so out of the ordinary - in fact, if it came by often over the past 30 years, I doubt I would have thought it was so cool), but that doesn't mean that I think it would be worth the money it would cost to extend the program.

That's one of NASA's problems: Most everyone thinks space exploration is cool, but how does it stack up to other government programs and needs? Tough call.

The answer is so mundane it's probably best that you keep imagining he planned it and it worked out perfectly. The reality is a little something called motor drive on the camera.

Well, duh. But it's not just the timing I was wondering about, it's getting the precise angle to create that illusion.

I'd love to see Neil Patrick Harris.

Hmmm. No, don't think he's right for the part.

It is legal in Colombia. According to news reports, even the swankiest hotels allow men to bring working girls up to their rooms, under these rules: the women must be registered (have to sign a book), they can't come in until after 11 at night, they must leave before 6 a.m. and they can't be seen in the public areas. Knowing the trail they were leaving, I am stunned that Secret Service and military personnel got into a dustup about payment. Remarkably stupid.

Remarkable. And haggling over the price the next morning? Even dumber.

Sounds like a hockey game to me---I go for the Penguins any day.

Kids, that's it for today. Send your tips, sightings and hotel hooker receipts to Same time, next week. Stay good. 


In This Chat
Reliable Source
Washington Post columnists Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts discuss your favorite gossip, celebrity sightings and their recent columns.

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