The Reliable Source Live

Jul 25, 2012

Washington Post columnist Amy Argetsinger was online Wednesday, July 25, at noon ET to discuss your favorite gossip, celebrity sightings and their recent columns.

Past Reliable Source chats

Hello, and welcome back to the second-to-last Reliable Source Web chat before the gossip drought forces us into hibernation for most of August. Things on our radar lately:

Which Obama aide was sleeping with a GOP Senate staffer?

“Parks and Recreation” films in D.C. And then films some more.


Look who’s back: Anthony Weiner! In one of those white-shirt/sundrenched-room photo shoots that always seems to say, "comeback!"


Celebrities descend on Washington for the AIDS Conference.


Happy 90th birthday, George McGovern.


James Windle's uphill race for Congress made more challenging by the huge log on his shoulder.


In other news: Tiki Barber marries that intern. . .  The Jackson family — what a sad mess. . . . Fred Willard's very bad day . . . Miss America still hasn't met Aaron Rodgers, darn it. . . Bruce Springsteen will probably sit out the 2012 race.


Or whatever else is on your mind. We're still looking forward to a thorough reading of The Hill's 50 Most Beautiful, but we'll ask you to please put that down while we're conducting the chat. Thank you.

"Sharon Stone is set to kick off the parties Friday ..." I read not "parties" but "panties."


That article just cracked me up? You think with that much money, you would have some dignity. But, ladies: if you have a child with your first cousin, are you both the father and a cousin once removed? Or is it a second cousin?


Actually, in fairness, I believe Eric Hotung and his secret sweetheart Winnie Ho are actually second cousins, not first cousins, so, you know, whole different ballgame, and not really that uncommon among imperial families. The story is definitely worth reading, though you'll have to keep your thinking cap on for this one:

Hong Kong tycoon ordered to pay son $1.2 million by Fairfax County jury

Is there something in the water? This seems to be the year for the passings of people of note - one right after the other.

No, I think it's just that Internet culture makes a bigger deal out of famous people's passings, especially showbiz people, than you used to experience in the old media days. So the deaths just feel bigger and more plentiful.

What a tool.

At some point you cease to be provocative and just look like an insensitive jerk. Really, it's not all about her or her art.

I remember the political sex scandal, but I forget, did Anthony Weiner ever meet up with any of the women he flirted with via, let alone have sex with one of them?

No. It was all just talk and tweets.

How excited are you for the Opening Ceremony of the London Olympics?

Mixed feelings: I'm curious, but wary because the Beijing opening was so amazing. And I heard this morning that the theme Friday is Shakespeare's "Tempest" --which has me a little dubious. 

Gotta be Peter Orszag, doesn't it?

Now, I told you, we weren't going to play any guessing games. But thanks for planting that image in my head.


Now, for a second, can we just discuss the weirdness of this reported bit of pillow talk? Man turns to a woman in bed and says, "How do we get a stimulus deal?" And she replies by talking about the actual American Recovery and Reinvestment Act? Man, these people were made for each other.

When I hear the name Fred Willard, it now reminds me of Pee Wee Herman

Yes, sigh. That's him. I think the same thing every time I hear his voiceovers on the La Quinta hotel commercials now.

Props to Christian Bale for visiting the victims of the shooting in Aurora yesterday.

More props for not making it about him.

I remember when I was 7 or so, my dad woke me up in the middle of the night to watch her take shuttle launch, imparting on me the face that women really can do whatever they choose. I really liked what she said, that it was too bad it was even a big deal. There are a lot fewer firsts women have to tick off because of women of her generation, who not just were "firsts" but did so with such grace and dignity.

The biggest news is when it's not news -- but we're still waiting for the first woman (U.S.) president.

Has TCM booked you two for their celebrity cruise yet ? Because their commercials keep showing Ernest Borgnine and if he's on the cruise -- I ain't going.

Wow, I did not know about this, but a few seconds of research indicates that not only is there such a thing as a Turner Classic Movie cruise, and not only was Borgnine a regular on it, but that he used to introduce screenings of "The Poseidon Adventure" on it. (Or so I've read.) Today I will mourn a lost opportunity just a little, because that is possibly the only thing that could have compelled me to go on a cruise.

Parks and Recreation? That's a diferent show from Community, right?

So I hear.

Have you seen the crazy stuff about Kristen Stewart having a fling with her Snow White director? I haven't seen any real evidence - there are suppose to be some photos - but those can be photoshopped. She & Robert Pattison kept their romance out of the press for a long time by being very careful not to be photographed in a romantic situation. Yet we are suppose to believe that she slipped up and was photographed with this married director although his wife and kids were around at the same time? Meanwhile, the Twilight fans are believing every word.

So does this mean that Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattison really were a real couple? I've been so confused about that over the years.


I'll also say that it's a very rare infidelity story where the publication has photos, or so they say, to back it up. Pretty remarkable. But maybe it's just another storyline for the fauxmance.

Please do not try to bring back the Real Hosewives of DC. Thoses sleeping dogs are best left to lie.

You know, I usually go in to clean up your typos, but this one cracked me up too much.

There is a lot more of it than you think. Or, maybe more appropriate, there's a lot more bipartisan cannodling. I think a lot of the 20something nerd types care more that the person they are hanging out with likes politics than is of the same party, and when you work long hill hours - especially amongst committee staffers, where you work long hours in relatively close quarters together. Actually, especially in the summer when the heavy load of interns are around, the Hill can be a big bipartisan "hot tub".

Ah, see, that's interesting. I assume, based largely on memory of the olden days, that the Washington 20-somethings in politics are the ones who are too self-serious to cross party lines socially, but that the ones in their 30s and 40s are more likely to be, hey, whatever. Anyway, I definitely think it's a good thing.

Does anyone know anything about his finances? It seems he is not working and has an awful lot of child support he is paying. How does he pay the rent?

Unclear. He's a charming personality -- I assume he'll try for an on-air sports broadcasting job that doesn't involve sleeping with the office intern.


What you said.

What are you guys doing - taking the cutest dog you can find and photoshopping it into photos with baby animals. This is just too precious to not be fake!

You'd have to ask the AP about that -- or perhaps this so-called "zoo near the Black Sea," which I can only assume is really a cute-animal-photos content farm that supports itself from YouTube ads.

Why doesnt Christopher Nolan want to do a 4th Batman movie?

I assume he's getting bored of this thing. Few directors stay with a long-running film franchise for many movies.

Madonna has reached the sad point in her career when she needs to be a jerk to stay relevant. As if the hot pants on a fifty something body weren't bad enough.

I'm prepared to give her props for keeping in shape, even if I'm not a fan of the hot pants. But waving around a fake gun two days after a mass shooting -- in a country that had its' own mass school shooting a few years back --smacks of desperation. Sad.

Who would be your cast selection if they were going to do a reboot of the Real DC Housewives show?

Hmmm. I guess Charrisse Jordan, Esther Coopersmith, Catherine Reynolds, Heather Podesta, and Chris Cooley's wife. Cameo appearances by Marlena Cooke and Dominic Strauss-Kahn's wife. What would make it so great is that none of them would ever do it.

You think the Kristen Stewart story was planted to drum up some publicity for that Snow White movie that is bound to be coming out soon? When does that come out again? Julia Roberts isn't in that one, is she?

Nah---she clearly doesn't need publicity. This was probably just a drunken hookup that went public because movie sets aren't all that private. And no --Julia Roberts was in the other Snow White movie that tanked.

Have you seen the cheetahs yet? They're certainly adorable!

Not in person. Awwwwww.

What does one get a newly married dictator these days?

And yes, before we forget, congratulations to newly married Kim Jong Eun!


What do you think? She's kind of out of his league, don't you think? Though I suppose he does have the ability to  guarantee her family doesn't starve in prison camps, and that kind of power is such an aphrodisiac.

Just curious, was it Roxanne Roberts or Amy Argetsinger who was into genealogy?

I'm the one who can explain to you what dimension of cousin -- first, second, third, once removed, whatever -- someone else is to you.

"No. It was all just talk and tweets." C'mon. That's according to Weiner, who has shown no problems with lying through his teeth to everyone important in his life (his wife) and to his career (senior Democratic officials and his constituents). Are you going to believe him when he says he never actually had sex with any of those women? I sure don't.

I think we would have heard from the women by now.

I give up, what did she do now?

She waved guns around on stage during her recent UK concerts.

Clearly, she needs to threaten the audience to keep them from leaving.


"So does this mean that Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattison really were a real couple?" According to the cover story in this month's Vanity Fair, they still are, but just don't like to talk about it or exploit it. Call me naive, but I actually believe it's legit and not simply a film-promoting thing. (And I say this as a total non-Twilight person -- caught the first movie on cable and hatedhatedhated it -- but I did like her in "Adventureland" and the Joan Jett one.)

I'm prepared to believe that two relative unknowns who worked together and became massively famous had a romance, and also that they are young enough to make some of the classic young love mistakes.

Who said it was a typo? And, isn't Marlena Cooke a little old to be exciting now?

Marlena? Never.

Is Marla Gibbs the last surviving member of the show the Jeffersons?

Of the primary stars of the show, yes.

Is this show now reaching with Mariah Carey as a judge?

It's clearly struggling and I think producers have another year ---maybe two--to reinvent or it is gone. I miss Simon, but haven't bothered watching the X Factor. Don't care about Mariah one way or the other. But what do I know, really?

Not sure any of us could muster up the word "Congratulations", especially after the way he exited his marriage

Hey, he actually married the new one, so that's something. But yes, I will not fault anyone who doesn't send a card.

Could you please explain the Libor scandal to me?

I was about to ask you the same thing.

So has the story changed? He is a victim and she is a publicity hound, right?

No. They're BOTH publicity hounds.

You were promise us a star studded week in DC! Where has Elton been eating? Who else has rolled on in? I hope they aren't all holed up in the Four Seasons eating room service together...

I think that, indeed, they've all been holed up in Four Seasons suites or very very exclusive gatherings. We did finally get a decent Stone sighting, which we'll post soon.

Do you remember the old days when we used to see guys walking around with signs that said " The End is Near " ? Not many of those characters around anymore and yet I suppose the end is actually nearer now than ever if you think about it.

Did you ever actually see anyone walking around with those signs, or just in old New Yorker cartoons?

Carville-Matalin. 'Nuff said.

And they got rewarded with talk shows and lucrative speaking gigs, it was such a rare thing.

Wow, I didn't know that Paul Benedict had died. That show was either snakebit, or everyone was really old on that show.

A show that debuted nearly 40 years ago, with a cast that was then all middle-aged . . . just the arrow of time.

It sure doesn't work for the WaPo Date Lab -- see this past week's "couple"! Isn't that right?

Love? Maybe not. Hookups? Much lower bar.

Different parts of banks are not supposed to talk to each other about what they do. But oops, they did -- and (allegedly) price fixed bank products. That gave the one side which shouldn't have learned of the prices, an "in" that it legally shouldn't have had, and therefore it made WAY more $$ than it should have, legally. Bad boys all around -- but remember, they are too big to fail. The important question is: are they too big to have people go to jail? Stay tuned.

Of course, I can't vouch for any of this, but sure, sounds good to me.

Have you noticed how there are few stories out of the White House about Bo Obama during this election year ? Any ideas what that means ?

It means...nothing. Bo is all grown up and therefore no puppy-cute photo ops. And since the Obamas aren't going on a family vacation this year, no pool shots of Bo running to the steps of Air Force One. 

No, they got rewarded because they are obnoxious media whores. After reading your column on the bi-partisan hookup, I was actually thinking of an article that you guys ran a few years ago about how Matalin is the very definition of "falling up". She fails repeatedly at almost everything, and manages to move to greater heights each time.

You say "obnoxious media whores" like it's a bad thing. And I think it was Slate that made that diagnosis.

Norman Lear, the creator/producer, is also alive - 90 to be exact. He's outlived many of the people he made stars.


You might find this kind of interesting It isn't until your half-fourth cousins typically do not exhibit greater genetic similarity with one another than with any other individual from the same population.  Also trivia note (maybe creator and writer Julian Fellowes was aware of genetic tidbit), the characters Lady Mary Crawley and Matthew Crawley on "Downton Abbey" are... wait for it... half-fourth cousins.

Oh, it always comes back to "Downton Abbey" for you people, doesn't it?

Amy wrote 'A show that debuted nearly 40 years ago, with a cast that was then all middle-aged . . . just the arrow of time.' What surprised me about Sherman Hemsley's death was that he was only 74. 40 years ago he was only 34, and that may have been considered middles aged back then (seems like not so much now,) but the character had a grown son. So he was playing older then he was.

A lot of actors do play older than they are. I think you'd be surprised to see how young a lot of sitcom parents really are. That's what was so hilarious about "The O.C.," of course -- a lot more 36-year-old-mothers-of-teenagers than you see in your typical affluent community. What I really appreciate about the reboot of "Dallas" (who else is watching?) is that it's so bracingly unusual to see someone as old as Larry Hagman (80, and looks it) on TV. Same for Ken Kercheval.

I am in a mixed marriage - I'm a bleeding heart liberal living with a Fox watching conservative. I am always rooting for Carville and Matalin, 'cause if those crazy kids can make it, so can we. It is actually easier on the relationship. Instead of fighting about sex and money like everyone else, we have much better things to fight about.

Aw. That's sweet.

Any thoughts on Britney becoming an Idol judge? Never thought of her as the analytical type, but then maybe that's not a requirement. Or is she on that other singing show? Okay, I'm getting confused, time to push send.

Yeah, she's on that other singing show. Not The Voice, but the other other one. I'm an Idol loyalist, so don't really have any insight for you.

I'm curious if you have any thoughts on her keeping her sexual orientation so private. I had remembered in the recesses of my brain that she was married to an astronaut, so I was a tad surprised. But, also, I think people of my generation are not used to people needing or wanting to keep their orientation private.

From what I read, it wasn't a secret in her private circle, just not a big public disclosure. I'm torn: I can understand her not wanting her private life to color her professional work and accomplishments. But I also know that she would have been -- like Billy Jean King -- a powerful voice for equality. I guess I see it as a missed opportunity to weigh in on an important cultural issue.

Should someone send out a search party for Oprah and her network because they seem to be missing.

Fascinating, isn't it? All her fame and audience went 'poof' after leaving her daily show. I'm baffled how such a smart team of people were unable to transfer that attention to her cable network -- and makes me wonder if, despite all our worship of cable shows, it's still a far more limited audience than the networks.

Phylicia Rashad was nowhere near old enough in real life to have had a daughter as old as the eldest child on the "Cosby" show, especially since her character had graduated not only from college but also law school.

TV is afraid of showing truly middle-aged people. Or even elderly people. One of the jarring things for me about "Political Animals" was seeing Sigourney Weaver's mother played by barely-17-years-older  Ellen Burstyn.

Still? Really?

I mean, as opposed to taking up with one of the new shows. I tried The Voice, and I tried X-Factor, and wasn't drawn in.

How are two people half-fourth cousins?

That's a good question. Let's work this out. Your brother-from-another-mother, he's your half-brother, right? So his kids would be half-cousins to your kids. And their kids would be half-second cousins, and their kids would be half-third cousins, and so on.

Isn't it nice that NBC decided to do a crunchy-gravel version of "Dracula?" Good thing they're "updating" it, because the original is so....old. You can always depend on NBC to ride the wave of popular culture (as it ebbs).

NBC is hardly alone here. Why can't anyone come up with a new superhero, or a new supernatural monster?

I read that Isabel Sanford ("Weezie") was 20 years older than Hemsley! I never would have guessed that.

That is correct.

I'm surprised there isn't some big hoe down or something at Verizon to raise money/bore PBS watchers.

Ha. They had something like that at the Kennedy Center; I don't think it's set to be televised but I could be wrong.

Isn't it enough of a statement to learn of her sexual orientation at her death? It still makes her a role model on sexual orientation, just a quiet one.

That was her choice, but some might argue that she would have been a powerful advocate in the gay rights battles of the past two decades.

I saw my first episode last week, and, despite my initial skepticism (who ARE those judges? Oh, thanks, Wikipedia!) I found myself drawn in. And I've never seen American Idol, The Voice, The XFactor (or Survivor for that matter).

Pulitzer winning dance critic Sarah Kaufman is a fan of SYTYCD.

What the hell does that even mean?

Oh, you know. Think it through.  All those period dramas that involve a horse-drawn coach pulling up to a manor house, and what kind of sound does it make?

Manchurian Candidate, anyone? Murder She Wrote was only a few years older than the guy playing her son.

Which is why everyone's always amazed to learn that Angela Lansbury is still alive. She's only 86, but she started playing 60 years old about 50 years ago.

To the Downton. To the deluxe abbey in the county.

Oh, cut it out.

They tried it before. "Heroes". Didn't work out great.

Oh. Huh. Well, there you go.

Put another way, you have 1 out of your 32 great-great-great grandparents in common.

Yes, thanks.

Will the DC area swimmer who now alleges, after 25 years, that she was chronically raped by her coach now be required to reimburse his payoff in the confidentiality settlement?

Are you talking about this story? Just now breaking, haven't read it yet: Curl-Burke founder Rick Curl faces hearing on former swimmer’s account of underage sexual relationship in 1980s


I guess I fall in the "Live your life as you see fit" camp. What business is it of others (like Roxanne and Andy Sullivan)? She was a remarkable woman, a respected astronaut, and a great American.

I agree. She had every right to decide how much of her private life to make public, and for what reasons. No reporters went public with her sexual orientation before her death. But -- because I was asked my opinion -- I believe precisely because she was so respected that she could have had a powerful impact on an important social issue in our country.

I understand your point about the possibility of being a powerful voice for equality, but the woman was pretty private. Didn't allow NASA to license her image to sell things, didn't do massive publicity tours...etc. So it seems like she would have been an unwilling spokesperson at best. And personally I prefer the Wapo's obit of 'survived by her partner' to HuffPost's SALLY RIDE COMES OUT--b/c hey, 'the first lady in space' much more important than who she loves.

All true.

Uh, Jessica Fletcher was a widow with no children. She did, however, have a nephew named Grady (who married Genie Francis' character).

Chatter, I believe, was referring to Angela Lansbury's earlier role in " The Manchurian Candidate."

But it happened anyway, Roxy. The nameless service men and women who advocated that they had a right to serve our country. Celebrity is nice, but it's the foot soldiers (pun intended) who do the heavy lifting.

Fair point. But every fight need leaders to articulate the cause.

On that note, we've got to wrap up for today. Send your tips and sightings to Stay cool and we'll talk next week.


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Washington Post columnists Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts discuss your favorite gossip, celebrity sightings and their recent columns.

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