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Green Is Good, Too

By Richard Leiby
Tuesday, November 30, 2004; Page C03

Ordering takeout? Check the Yellow Pages. Trying to take out a socialite or a senator? Check the Green Book.

The 75th edition of the venerable Social List of Washington -- featuring, as usual, a green pseudo-suede cover -- has just been published. Therein you can learn such niceties as how to greet an emperor ("Your Imperial Majesty") and peruse 5,005 names of the capital's elite.

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"That sounds pretty important," artist Bill Dunlap of McLean said with a chuckle yesterday after we informed him that he'd made the 2005 edition. "I'm flattered. I guess my social life will pick up." He's listed with his wife, Linda Burgess, also an artist.

Others newly anointed are philanthropist and former AOL honcho George Vradenburg and his screenwriter wife, Trish, actor and ex-senator Fred Thompson, Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), gambling industry lobbyist Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr. and Neiman Marcus publicist Patricia Cumming, who's listed with daughters Whitney Ann and Ashley Virginia. But don't expect to find every social or political striver in the book: Juleanna Glover Weiss and Nancy Jacobson Penn, rising Washington party stars recently cited by Elle magazine, are nowhere to be seen.

So how does one make the fabled list? "People who are in the book nominate those they think should be in the book," said editor David Porter Howe. "And we have a board of governors who make the final decision." There's no point in applying or lobbying.

Cumming pronounced herself "stunned" to make the list -- "I have no clue where it came from" -- but guessed that charitable work got her nominated. Trish Vradenburg did her best to sound overjoyed: "I needed another color for my library! I'm very excited. My heart is pitter-pattering."

The Green Book costs $75. "Many buy it because they're in it," Howe tells us. "The Supreme Court buys 23 copies every year, for reasons that are obscure to me." Some 4,000 copies are sold annually by phone or mail order: "A condition of sale is that it may not be used for solicitation or junk mail," he says.

People seldom turn down a place in the Green Book, and the number of names has grown slightly over the decades, the editor says. "Although interestingly, people who have been in the book for years have said that it's getting too big."

(Hmm: Can't have too many members of a club that would have you?)

Not Much for Books, But Loves Magazines!

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver star in: "Too Much Information!" That's how we'd bill the exhaustive cover profile of California's governor and first lady in the January issue of Vanity Fair. He calls the Shriver family "clones" who can't even decide for themselves a favorite color. She reveals "Arnold doesn't like to read." Though groomed to favor preppy Ivy League boys like John Kerry, the Kennedy scion explains her choice to wed a bodybuilder from Austria: "I married my authentic self."

Shriver and Schwarzenegger: More than you wanted to know. (Annie Leibovitz)
(Pause to erase that mental image . . .)

"This is what she fell in love with -- me," Schwarzenegger asserts in the magazine. "This is the way I am -- outrageous, out there. And it comes with things that are not all rosy." Like that enormous nude portrait of Arnold by LeRoy Neiman that hangs in the entrance of the family's 11,000-square-foot Brentwood mansion?

The campaign stories alleging Schwarzenegger's womanizing were "flat-out tough, painful, no doubt about it," Shriver tells Vanity Fair. But fortunately she and her husband are still "hot for each other," says the former NBC News star. Arnold, for his part, notes that "those stories came out and my poll numbers went up two points!" But he is quick to add that he learned a lesson about sexual harassment and now "would not even tell someone I like their outfit. It could go south."

Shriver also talks about how she quit NBC rather than accept a celebrity beat. "What would I be doing now? I would be on the Scott Peterson trial. Or Michael Jackson. It would have been all the time trash. How do you then explain to your kids that is what you did?" (Well, Maria, The Reliable Source tells the children: That trash pays for your iPods!)


• The race is over, let the books begin: Random House will announce today that it has signed Mark Halperin, creator of ABC News's "The Note," and John F. Harris, a Washington Post national correspondent, to write what the publisher bills as a "behind-the-scenes analysis of the Republican Party's quest for dominance and the Democratic Party's efforts to recover from the defeats of 2000 and 2004." We're told the authors will focus on the influence of such players as Karl Rove and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. No title yet, but publication is expected in time for the 2006 midterm elections.

• Former Black Entertainment Television personality Tavis Smiley, who joined National Public Radio a few years ago, bailed out of his NPR gig yesterday. He said he'll give up his show, heard on 60 stations, in mid-December. Though NPR says the show successfully reached out to African Americans, his departure letter challenged NPR to do a better job of appealing to "the most multicultural, multiethnic and multiracial America ever."

With Bob Massey

© 2004 The Washington Post Company