NAMES & FACES

Roll Call's Morton Kondracke proposed to America's Promise CEO Marguerite Sallee last week in Paris. Kondracke's wife, Milly, died last year after a 13-year fight with Parkinson's disease.
Roll Call's Morton Kondracke proposed to America's Promise CEO Marguerite Sallee last week in Paris. Kondracke's wife, Milly, died last year after a 13-year fight with Parkinson's disease. (Courtesy Of Marguerite Sallee)
Thursday, August 25, 2005

For Kondracke, Life After Milly

The man who wrote "Saving Milly: Love, Politics, and Parkinson's Disease," about his wife's 13-year battle with the disease (she died last year), has found love again.

Roll Call Executive Editor Morton Kondracke , 66, became engaged to America's Promise CEO Marguerite Sallee , 59, on Aug. 14 outside Notre Dame cathedral in Paris and says he feels "wonderful, terrific, elated and excited."

According to Sallee, the two were set up on a blind date and have been a couple for about a year. "It's very exciting for older people to find happiness at this stage in their lives," she said.

Kondracke said he chose Paris for the big event because "there's no more romantic place that I could think of," but he steered clear of emulating Tom Cruise 's over-the-top proposal to Katie Holmes there in June. "We did have lunch at the restaurant in the Eiffel Tower after my proposal," he admitted. "But I was not about to repeat Tom Cruise."

Despite recent knee surgery, Kondracke said he still managed to get down on one knee to propose. And he noted: "At the very moment she accepted, the bells of Notre Dame started pealing. It was like a blessing."

Sallee said the couple, who just moved into a house in Georgetown, have not set a wedding date but plan to marry next year.

Rock Star? Paper Tiger? Cut Above?

Move aside, kids. This game's for grown-ups. The National Championships of Rock Paper Scissors will one-two-three, shoot! into Washington this week, and tournament director Jason Simmons says not-so-serious competitors need not apply.

"It's just like any other sport," said the Washington resident and retired RPS player. And yes, he called it a sport. "Anyone who has played knows you can end up with sore elbows, and some people bring a physical game."

How athletic is it? Simmons said referees are used, diligent practice is required and players can "go pro." "Like any pro athlete, you want to train for six to eight weeks before the game. The best way to prepare is to train a lot and have a sparring partner." He added, "There are people who will make use of stretching exercises."

Simmons should know what it takes to make a champ: The 34-year-old director said he was the "Bobby Fischer of the sport" while growing up and was considered the greatest player in the history of RPS when he retired last year.

Simmons described typical players as "pretty intelligent young professionals in their twenties with good strategy." Trash talk like "my grandma throws a better rock than that" and mind games are not uncommon as competitors duke it out for the $1,000 prize.

Simmons said he expects more than 250 players to enter this year's contest, at Club Five on 18th Street NW on Saturday, and urged contestants to be prepared: "A lot of people go into it thinking that it's all a joke, but when you're playing someone it becomes frighteningly real."

Graham Rights Himself

Controversy has been very, very good for Michael Graham . Well, not bad, at least. Two days after being fired from his talk show on WMAL-AM in Washington, Graham has become a bit of a media darling and has lined up two new gigs, one temporary, the other permanent, reports The Post's Paul Farhi.

Graham -- who was canned by WMAL President Chris Berry after he refused to back off from calling Islam "a terrorist organization" on the air last month -- has appeared on Fox News Channel twice since his Monday firing and was scheduled to appear on CNN and MSNBC last night. In the meantime, Graham has lined up a one-shot fill-in assignment tomorrow night at KFI-AM, a mighty righty talk station in Los Angeles. He has also been signed to host a one-hour show on Rightalk.com, a Web site that streams conservative talk shows. Not too shabby, considering. Said Graham: "It may be the case that the best thing that ever happened to my career is having Chris Berry not like me."

End Note

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid (Nev.) made his first public appearance yesterday since suffering a small stroke last week. At a community forum in North Las Vegas, the 65-year-old former boxer joked to reporters: "I feel like I could go a couple of rounds with all of you. I'm anxious to get to work."

-- Compiled by Korin Miller from staff and wire reports


© 2005 The Washington Post Company