GWU President Saying Goodbye To Lots of Stuff

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Thursday, July 26, 2007

Steve Trachtenberg is downsizing. When the brash, energetic president of George Washington University steps down after 19 years Tuesday, he'll move to a much smaller house and much smaller office. So if you stop by to say goodbye, you probably won't leave empty-handed.

"I am dispatching books and vases and knickknacks and tchotchkes," he told us. Spokeswoman Tracy Schario got porcelain egg cups and a necklace; a colleague got salad tongs and a bowl. The library got 1,000 books "and about 10 cartons of -- do you remember the word? -- records. Some of which are collector's items."

How to decide who gets what? "Some things just call out for certain individuals. A small statue from Korea went to [GW senior veep] Bob Chernak because it's a very huggy-looking statue with a little belly. It looks as if he modeled for it."

Next up for Trachtenberg: writing books, consulting, lectures in New York and California, before he returns to the classroom as a GW professor in the spring. His dilemma: Should he have his phone answered with "President Trachtenberg's office"? He noted that Colin Powell prefers "General Powell's office" instead of "Secretary Powell." Powell told him he took his example from George Washington, who went by general, not prez, after leaving the White House. So now he's leaning toward "Professor Trachtenberg."

"Little by little, we're downsizing, but coming upon wonderful old things, like my kindergarten report card," he said. "Turns out I don't work and play well with others."

Giada Gets an 'F' in Geography

The lovely Giada De Laurentiis turned heads all over town when she came to D.C. to film a segment of her "Weekend Getaways" show for Food Network. In the final product aired Tuesday night, she:

  • Described Cafe Atlantico as an Adams Morgan eatery. (Giada, it's downtown!) At least she got the video right, rolling images of Penn Quarter -- while extolling the wonders of Adams Morgan.
  • Explained that Georgetown is "just outside of D.C." (Oh, close enough, Giada!)
  • Rode the escalator out of the Dupont Circle Metro station . . . while carrying a cup of coffee! (Giada, you could get arrested for that!)


  • Details of Britney Spears's disastrous July 19 photo shoot with OK! magazine have emerged -- not a pretty picture. The new cover story, "Britney's Meltdown," reports that the singer arrived late, went to the bathroom several times -- sometimes neglecting to shut the door -- and emerged "disoriented" and "erratic," complaining that the expensive designer duds borrowed for the day weren't tight or short enough. Spears ruined one $274 Alisha Levine dress when she wiped chicken grease on it, allowed her Yorkie puppy to relieve itself on a $6,700 Zac Posen gown and destroyed a $5,602 Versace dress and a pair of $595 Marni shoes. Other items -- including a $6,387 diamond ring -- disappeared, bringing the total of damaged and missing items to $21,267. The magazine's verdict: "What we experienced was a young girl who is desperately in need of help."
  • Lindsay Lohan may not be able to deny drinking and driving when arrested Tuesday morning in California; police said her blood-alcohol level was between 0.12 and 0.13 percent. But that cocaine in her pocket? The actress e-mailed "Access Hollywood" host Billy Bush to say, "I am innocent . . . did not do drugs they're not mine." Lohan still faces charges from two separate DUI incidents and possible jail time, causing Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in N.Y.C. to dress Lohan's likeness in prison stripes. J'accuse!


  • Alberto Gonzales and his family lunching at ESPN Zone yesterday. The attorney general arrived just as the sports restaurant opened; he ate queso chips with blackened chicken, ribs and Asian chicken salad.

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