The Reliable Source Live

May 16, 2012

Washington Post columnist Amy Argetsinger was online Wednesday, May 16, at noon ET to discuss your favorite gossip, celebrity sightings and their recent columns.

Past Reliable Source chats

Glad to see you all here. Some of the topics on our radar this week:


Check our Grover Norquist's cameo as a sad wino in the next "Atlas Shrugged" movie.


What's next for Carla Bruni-Sarkozy? The ouster of the world's most glamorous first lady is, yes, another excuse to publish a lot of photos of Carla Bruni-Sarkozy.


Few people have changed genders as publicly as Against Me! lead singer Tom Gabel is doing, but we got advice for him from one.


Hard to say which celebvocacy story was more touching this week: Glen Campbell talking about his Alzheimer's, or Dominic Chianese (Uncle Junior from "Sopranos") bringing music to nursing homes.


Highlights from George Clooney's massive fundraising dinner for Obama.


In other news: Sad messy court battle for Reese Witherspoon's parents. . . Cyndi Lauper and Billie Jean King happened to be in town for Obama's announcement on gay marriage -- how the longtime advocates reacted. Or are you curious what Bristol Palin thought? And an up-close look at John Edwards on trial.


Looking forward to your questions. . .

Last week I heard your colleague, Marc Fisher (sitting in for Kojo Nnamdi), on NPR. The topic was fashion, and a guest was talking about the history and current fashions of blue jeans. Marc mentioned that he had never, ever, seen anyone at the Post in jeans. I was surprised. Is this just part of the culture there?

I've worn jeans to the office. I've seen many other people wear jeans to the office. Perhaps you misheard Marc? Or maybe he's in an unusual formal part of cubicle-land.

We've learned a little about John Lannan's bride & Ryan Zimmerman's fiancee, but we know nothing about Michael Morse's fiancee. I know Desmond, Werth, & Strasburg are married and Desmond's wife had a baby last year. But what about the other Nats? Details, please. Who's free & who's taken? Any more diamonds coming from the diamond?

My two-minute investigative reporting indicates that Michael Morse's fiancee, Jessica Etably, is very attractive. We will research this further, closer to the time of their wedding.

Loved your column speculating on the future for Carla Bruni so much that I sent it on to my best friend, which led to our speculating on who she would latch on to after she dumps Sarkozy (no question in our minds that she will). We both think that Vladimir Putin is the way to go. The romance kicks off when he sends her a baby pet tiger. She thanks him by crooning a sexy song about "purring power love." Pretty soon they're reviewing the troops while wearing matching spandex action-wear. If Sarkozy tries to make any trouble, Putin can have him assassinated. Are these two star-crossed lovers or what?

I, personally, would be swept away by the baby tiger. Are we starting a pool about how long the Sarkozy marriage lasts? Don't forget they are new parents.

As disgusting as I am finding this whole thing, I feel pretty let down that we won't get to hear the scumbag testify. And, for what its worth, everyone involved in campaign finance in DC thinks that, despite the fact that he is a royal (curseword) the government's fundamental position is untenable.

There are some sound legal logistical reasons why Edwards isn't taking the stand -- but who cares about those? Yes, I'm with you. As horrible as it all is, I've come to count on the afternoon stories from the Edwards trial like it's the latest installment of "General Hospital." So, yes, very disappointing.

Say, isn't he from NoVa? I wonder where.

His paso doble was a terribly damaging gaffe for this point in the campaign season. Even Prince Michael of Kent was lighter on his feet this week, and we really thought he was a goner for sure.

Does LevI Johnston have a job that anyone knows of, now that he has another mouth to feed on the way? Can baby mama no. 3 be far behind?

The best thing for Levi is for him to have a job and for none of us to know about it. I'm at the point where I don't even click on stories about him anymore. I've rescinded his "famous" license.

My dad, now retired, was a journalist back in the day and based on my memory of newsroom fashion, jeans would have been a significant improvement over the wardrobes of the average newsroom denizen.

This is true. One of the things I liked about "State of Play" is how they dressed the small-part reporters in the Not-the-Post newsroom, i.e., terribly.

Am I the only person who really really doesn't like her?

Probably not. I've never met the woman, so I'm only going on what I read---but I think she's super high-maintenance and probably exhausting, but with sex appeal like crazy. We need women like this, if only to write about.

What's not to like? Carla Bruni is my hero. I mean, she's just done it all, hasn't she?

premier june 4 for season two. i think my house will be in *that* one. the ugly kitchen, that will be mine. really interesting what a set designer can do!

For those of you just catching up with this saga, the chatter above tells us that the producers of the new-ish "Teen Wolf" TV series used their kitchen to shoot a scene. I can't vouch for this, but it also doesn't seem like something you'd bother making up.

Yeah... but nothing very well.

It's the trying that counts. Give it up for her ambition and her swag.

Until I saw his obituary.  I had let that story fall from my memory. That guy really sounded like a hoot!

Oh, thanks for calling attention to this -- I'd actually never heard about that literary hoax. What a story, and what a great obit. Interesting life.

I enjoyed that little item you ran about the actor smiling on the street in Georgetown as a construction worker recognized him and said, "I really like your work." He's about the most unpretentious performer I can think of. (If you've never seen it, find a way to see Rancho Deluxe, a movie he made with Jeff Bridges in the 1970s. A very different part for him.)

Yes, and frankly I don't understand why more actors aren't like him when it comes to fans. It only takes a minute and a few kind words to make a lasting impresssion. The price celebrities pay for all the good stuff of fame (money, perks, etc) means that when they are in public, it's work. No getting around it, and every reason to be gracious.

Do her and Edwards have any type of relationship? That poor, poor kid, being raised by these two creatins.

Yes, according to news reports---as parents. They see each other on his visits to see Quinn and have spent some holidays together. Looks like the romance is over, but you never really know. I'm waiting for the trial to end to see what happens next.

I have a DC friend who likes to rate DC-based tv and movies in part on how accurately they reflect the zeitgeist. I have been trying to get into Veep, but don't have much time and don't find it compelling enough to watch. My friend said after the second episode that it really captured DC's fascination with yogurt (possibly frozen yogurt. Not sure.) Having your finger on the pulse of the DC zeitgeist, do you agree?

I saw the first two episodes, or maybe it was the first and the third, at a screening, and really enjoyed it, but my no-HBO-having ways have gotten in the way. But yes, I feel like the show got a lot of little things right about a certain quadrant of Beltwayland.

... is kind of lame as he's not very recognizable. AND, I used to work in the same building as his group and the were always stealing my CQ Daily!

I have to disagree. I expect a huge number of people likely to see that movie know exactly who Grover is.

Would you rather name your daughter Maxwell or Wyatt?

Oh, had to Google that second one -- so Rachel Uchitel and her new husband named their new daughter Wyatt Lilly.


I guess if I had to choose between the two, it would be Wyatt. Not high on my list, though.

PBS had an amazing show about Johnny Carson this week. He said in it that when you're struggling, you try to get well-known and recognized in public. He said that once you've done that, you do everything you can to lead a normal life in public, which is impossible. He was a really interesting figure in that regard - he became increasingly reclusive and private over the years. He seemed very unhappy to me, as I watched the show. Contrast that with his warm, natural presence while onstage or performing. It's not just shyness, which is what he said about himself early on. It's got to be something much more profound than that.

Well, he also had an unhappy childhood, as he talked about; a terrible drinking problem, which he later beat; and three broken marriages. Complicated life that was probably complicated all the more by his fame. Looking forward to seeing a rerun; sorry I missed the show. (Hank's review: PBS’s ‘King of Late Night’: Johnny Carson, deeper down)


Looking forward to catching a rerun

Does anyone know where he is?

I feel terrible saying this, but the first reaction I had reading the stories about his disappearance was wondering who he is. Had to look him up on IMDB.

I know we have probably exhausted this thing to death, but my boyfriend made an observation that, the more I thought about, was interesting: it was surprising that no news organization brought the GTown contraception lady.

Sandra Fluke? She was there, she was a guest.

We don't hear much about his other two kids, which is probably good. But how old are they? What happens too them if he goes to jail?

His younger kids are about 12 and 14 now. I don't know what the family's plans are if he goes to jail; presumably Cate and their mom's family would be involved.

Based on the box office receipts from The Fountainhead - I don't expect a huge number of people to even see the movie.

Oh, but that was 63 years ago.

false. I have one of her songs on my ipod and it is my favorite cool down song after running.

Isn't that an oxymoron? Do you know of a happy one?

Happy winos? All too many.

I'm sure he's a very gracious man, but, as far as fame goes, he's not Brad Pitt. I can't imagine being so famous that you can't go down the street without being mobbed. I can imagine Stephen Strasburg or Bryce Harper being mobbed but the Zimmerman(n)s and Clippard and Storen walking unmolested. I've often thought that if I were famous, I'd like to be famous like Susan Jaffe (a local woman, BTW).

I don't thinki any actor fully understands how great fame will restrict their life, but that's the price of all the other good stuff. Plus, there's a quick solution to fame---stop making movies, and the cameras go away pretty quickly. It's very possible to make millions and then live a relatively private life.

I always thought that being rich but not recognizable was the perfect way to go: Enough money to get the perks without the hassle of a public life.


Many parents can learn from Bunny Mellon. Don't give kids money to take out their dates. They should pay for their own girlfriends.

Exactly. Another reason not to fool around: Never know the actual price of an affair. Hunter proved to be a very expensive date, in every way.

You think Mitt Romney and Papa Doc hang out at all at Cranbrook alumni events?

Sigh. I don't think Mitt's going to have a lot of fun at Cranbrook reunions anymore. And I think the fun's been ruined for poor Papa Doc too, ever since Rabbit outed him as a Cranbrook grad.

Not to get all grammar police, but the happy wino would be the oxymoron. ie military intelligence. sad wino would just be unnecessarily repetitive.

Redundant, in other words. Except that it's not. I think one needs to qualify what kind of wino you're talking about, because they come in many different model.

I think the poster meant to refer to the failure of the first part of this movie, which made less than $5 million at the box office and had a 11% approval rating on Rotten Tomatos

No, I think it's one of those smarty-pants chatters who intentionally referred to the 1949 box-office disappointment of "The Fountainhead" -- which, stipulated, probably still did slightly better than "Atlas Shrugged, Part 1" last year.

and most of them won't be recognized. I guess that doesn't work for men quite so well.

A hat and sunglasses can cover a lot---and a change in hair color pretty much does the trick. If people do stare, it's more like, "That dude looks a lot like Brad Pitt" instead of "Hey, that's Brad Pitt." 

I think he's pretty famous! Law and Order is so ubiquitous and he was on it for so long - you probably can't turn on a television with cable and there not be a channel running his product.

I'd argue he's one of the most recognizable men in America.

How are you getting over their loss in the playoffs?

By killing, from the print edition, an otherwise charming sighting of Ovie, mingling with fans in Georgetown between Game 6 and 7. It just felt stale, you know? But look at that smile! In other news, congratulations to new first-time dad Braden Holtby.

My sister lives in Springfield Mo and reports that periodically Brad, Angelina and kids all come to town to visit with his parents, brother and sister and the whole extended family will eat at a local pizza joint or other family restaurant where they are simply left alone. Local boy makes good, so what?

Pizza sounds so good right now.


By the way, for all the celebrities who get mobbed, I think a lot of people would be straight-up intimidated to see the entire Jolie-Pitt family. Would you feel worthy to approach them?

I've know some of them too.

A very special category.

Who's going to win American Idol this week? Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, or that guy from Train?

Ha. Maybe it's time to change up the Idol format. Like, having a "celebrity" edition as they've done with every other reality show. So, you could have 12 celebrities compete to see who would become the next "Celebrity American Idol," and the prize would be utter obscurity.

Actually, she's kind of a bargain at $9,000 a month. Considering that the Secret Service hooker cost $800 a night, that comes out to a pro-rated $24,000 a month. Of course, that all gets skewed if you include the cost of a marriage, reputation and political career. It's hard to put a price on those.

One way or another, you pay.

The great (and quite attractive) violinist Joshua Bell once played his violin in a subway station (L'Enfant Plaza, I think) at the behest of the Washington Post. Almost no one recognized him even though he played magnificently. I'd like to be famous in my field (like former ABT principal dancer Susan Jaffe) and only recognized by people who knew my work.

In case you haven't read the legendary Gene Weingarten Pulitzer-winner, here it is: Pearls before breakfast: Can one of the nation's great musicians cut through the fog of a D.C. rush hour?

Sir Noel years ago took a poke in song about the sad plight of the famous who say they can't stand it: Louisa was perfectly lonely, Louisa was perfectly sad It appeared that the cheers that had rung in her ears for years Had been driving her mad.

I love to watch celebrities when they're NOT being mobbed by fans. The White House Correspondents dinner is a great example of what happens to B-listers when the A-listers get all the attention. They actually deflate. Honestly, I think it's good for them.

Not only a gracious guy, but has been advocating for our National Parks for years, I like him almost as much for that as for his prosecutorial acumen.

Like we said. All-around like guy and handsome to boot.

I know he is a local guy, but still, the best celebrity we have here. How come there are never Jim Vance sightings? I mean, if I saw him at Whole Foods buying cereal, I'd follow him around for a half hour and send you guys 1000 words on it. How come nobody else does?

This is a good question, and I've wondered the same thing. We've maybe received one Jim Vance sighting in all these years -- and yet he is the best celebrity in Washington. What's up with that? Can anyone explain? Are you seeing Jim Vance around town all the time but staying quiet out of sheer reverence?

Is that really coming out? I assumed it was a joke, like that movie version of On The Road where they made a god-awful looking trailer for it just to tease 16 year olds who would rather see that than have to read the book for AP English.

This is Part II. Part I did so poorly at the box office that I assumed the second part was doomed---but no. The first should be on DVD by now.

Regarding the person who said they didn't think Strasburg or Harper could walk down the street without getting mobbed.....people here in DC seem very respectful of our local sports celebs when they're out and about, aware that they are out with friends and family and not at, say, a team meet & greet event. Even Alex Ovechkin doesn't get mobbed--people let him eat in peace. As fans, we really love our teams, but I think we're very good about not hounding players 24/7 and letting them live lives where they can eat, shop, and go to the car show without being interrupted every 2 seconds.

Look at the ladies crowding in on Alex Ovechkin! But who could resist?

I would start watching again, only if they switch to a Hunger Games format.

Do you want them to keep singing too? Or just kill each other?

Why did my boss schedule a teleconference every week at noon? This is harshing my vibe.

And yet: You're here!

I recall on the "Tonight Show" one time after he'd just returned from vacation, he recounted how they'd been in France and how wonderful it was because NO ONE recognized him there. Obviously this was before satellite dish TV, the Internet, etc.

Yes, he always went overseas to get away. But even today, stars from other countries can come to the US and go unrecognized by a vast amount of people. I'm always reminded of that when I'm reading a British newspaper or magazine and realize I don't know most of the celebs featured. I assume that's also true for most American celebs except the global movie stars and a few television stars of internationally syndicated show like "Baywatch."

According to a news report, Elizabeth Edwards designated daughter Cate the legal guardian of her youngest two children in case John was unable to care for them.

Yes, I've also heard that.

If I am to understand these stories (which are no where near explicit enough), the secret service dude and the hooker never actually, um, consummated their relationship?

I think I read that somewhere too. So one can understand the quibble over the bill. Then again, it's not just her work, it's her time.

Wow, Roxanne Roberts said dude. Not sure what to make of that.

Sometimes "dude" is exactly the right word---but not nearly as often as people think. Pitt is kind of a "dude" guy; Clooney not so much.  

What does that mean? He's certainly not the biggest celebrity. I'd say he comes behind Obama, Harper, Strasburg, RGIII, Ovie - and if Linda Carter is still in town - her.

With all due respect to professional athletes and White House residents -- they're fairly transient. But Jim Vance is widely acknowledged to be the best local anchorman in America, and he's ours.

You didn't know who he was? Did you never see Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. Or Carnivale?

I'm sorry. I never saw either.

Is that the etiquette in these situations? Do you still have to tip?

I don't know -- maybe ask Carolyn Hax?

The story about Harry Thomas offering the judge his preferences for Federal prison made me wonder: is this common? Could Edwards request where he will spend his time?

I don't know how the feds select where someone serves time. Lawyers? If convicted and sentenced to time in prison, could Edwards request a location that makes it easier for his children to visit on a regular basis?

A couple weeks ago my husband saw him picking up some food at the Mama Lucia in downtown Silver Spring. Said he appeared to be a regular and was very friendly and chatting everyone up. We also saw Pat Collins at Pete's Apizza in Tenleytown last year. News 4 folks, love their pizza apparently!

Thank you -- finally a Jim Vance sighting!

That could be the reason?

You're not from around here, are you?

I dunno. Seems iin many ways that the whole trial is mostly just a political and social witch-hunt. I imagine he regrets the entire affair, so to speak.

Seems like our society just needs a good witch-hunt now and then, unjustified as they may be.

When was the last time this happened? I'm not talking about at a movie premiere, or at a night club or some place where fans would gather to see them. But when, recently, has someone famous not been able to walk down a street without passersby deciding to mob them? The Beatles?

Off the top of my head: Michael Jackson. (Well, not in the last couple years.) Justin Bieber. Lady Gaga. It probably happens even more now because it's easier to pass information when a star goes into a store. I wouldn't care, but it absolutely still happens.

No - you mean a tautology or redundant. An oxymoron is two things you don't/can't get together, like Military Intelligence, Business Ethics, Christian Science. Not sad wino. The Style Invitational had a contest to identify oxymorons for our time years ago. Some of them were pretty funny.


I would not approach too many celebrities (or any strangers for that matter) if they were with their children or a large group. However, if they are alone wandering the streets, I consider them fair game.

I think most fans would agree with you.

Yeah, well, he doesn't know you either.

That made me laugh out loud.

Lawyer here. Yes, you can make requests. Some judges are more receptive to helping families maintain relationships, even with the large obstacle of a federal prison term in the middle of things.

Good to know. Thanks.

Just thought you would want to know. Talk about overexposure.

And she's getting roasted tonight by the Friar's. I think there's an "over 90" exception for over exposure if you last as long as Betty.

Is he romantically linked to anyone else? Since he clearly likes them crazy, I imagine that there are women his type who would date him.

Are you kidding? There are women who would MARRY him in prison. No accouncting for taste.



Did he talk quick enough in reallife to have Aaron Sorkin writing the screenplay?

Oh, I'm sure. He strikes me as a very Sorkiny character.

please google "jim vance george michael laughing model" and enjoy the funniest news clip I've ever seen.

Yes, I'm sorry I forgot to tell you to do this earlier. Watch and you'll understand.

and it cracks me up to see TV newsmen at my kid's sporting events.

When I lived in a mid-sized Midwestern city, it was always jarring to see the anchors out at the grocery store or whatever. There'd be that split-second where I'd smile at them like I know them -- and then realize, oh, no, wait, they can't see me when I'm watching them on TV! But no matter -- they'd always smile back, because, you know, their entire life is strangers smiling at them like they know them.

Sin City

yeah, sorry -- I haven't seen that one either. Saw the trailers! That's something, right?

I once saw Mike Isabella at Oyamel right after Top Chef All-Stars and didn't even think of approaching him. It just doesn't feel like a DC thing to do, because it would somehow imply that I'm not as important and influential as he is.

Good call.

any of the chatters have ever approached someone famous. I've seen a lot of famous people, but wouldn't have anything to say to someone just because they're famous. So what do people say when they approach celebrities? Hi you're famous?

As it happens, there is a correct answer: They're supposed to say, "Hey, aren't you. . . ?" And then follow up with a friendly, "so what brings you to D.C.?" And then email us at with the results.

I will bet you that some of the most famous people in the world--British and European soccer stars--could stand in the middle of Times Square and no one would say anything.

I sure wouldn't.

The pirate themed vegan strip club closed after only a year!

If you can't make your pirate-themed vegan strip club work there, you can't make it work anywhere.

Most of these places aren't exactly Pelican Bay. I knew a guy who was the tennis champ three years running of his Federal prison cell block.

I don't know why I find that funny, but it made me giggle.

Chatters, time to wrap up. By this time next week, we may know if Edwards has an orange jumpsuit in his future. In the meanwhile, send tips and sightings to Cheers, all.



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