The Reliable Source

Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, October 5, 2005; 12:00 PM

The Reliable Source is back, under the stewardship of Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts . Appearing in the Style section on Tuesdays through Fridays and Sundays, The Reliable Source brings you gossip from across the region and around the world -- candid looks at the lives and loves and hijinks of all your favorite bold-faced names, be they congressmen or millionaires, ballplayers or newsbabes, nightlife divas or master thespians, DJs or gadflies, has-beens or will-bes.

This Week's Columns:

Capitol File: From Name Dropping to Dropping Names (Post, Oct. 5)

The Mellow Yellow Fellow's Soft Spot for Sappho (Post, Oct. 4)

Another Distinguished Bentleman? (Post, Oct. 2)

Argetsinger and Roberts are online each Wednesday at Noon ET to discuss your favorite gossip, what you thought about their recent columns or who you want to see them writing about in future ones.

Argetsinger is a veteran of all leafy-green, protein-rich sections like Metro and National while Roberts brought you the champagne and bon-bons of Style's society beat.


Amy Argetsinger: How you doing Washington! (and also Forward Operating Base Kalsu and all our other chatters in Iraq)... It is always bee-U-ti-full to be back! Much going on since we last rendezvoused -- Angelina in town, Kate Moss in Arizona, buzzing about Nats bidding, livestock at Saks, a new Supreme Court nom, Capitol File stepping on ties, and a fierce battle for the Benator title! What's on your mind? Who do you want to hear about? Tell us all!


A Gold Digging Man: So, How do I get in touch with the grieving Widow Haft? And did she win her legal battle with the Haft kids?

Amy Argetsinger: Maybe try bringing flowers to the open house -- I'm sure there will be one!

Roxanne Roberts: Show up with a Rolls Royce and a walker.


Washington, D.C.: Ok, so what's the deal with Paris and Paris? How come she called it off? Did Nicole cause THIS break-up, too!?

Amy Argetsinger: I don't know. All I know is that if these two great kids couldn't make it work, what hope do the rest of us have?

Roxanne Roberts: Rumor has it that her parents disapproved because they thought he was a spoiled rich boy. Love that! Hahhhhhhhhhhh!


Arlington, Va.: Loved the dirt on Capitol File. Have been hearing all sorts of unethical stuff and nastiness about the magazine. Rumor has it that some of the promotional spots/ads have been put in by the magazine itself, not advertisers. And have been hearing that some of the staff have been rude to people about town. Can you confirm? And what's the inside story on the other new magazines?

Roxanne Roberts: I can say for sure that my former colleague, Ann Schroeder, is a sweetheart and Capitol File is lucky to have her. Haven't met the rest of the staff, but God Bless 'em. The competition for advertisers and readers is going to be tough: Washington Life and Washingtonian have longtime ties to the community. The three new magazines will try to beat each other silly for ads and readers. Frankly, I expect one one---and I don't know which one---of the newbies to survive more than two years.


Alexandria, Va.: Are you the people who wrote that article about John Roberts's wife and how she dresses herself and her children? You made a big point about how old-fashioned she is. The question that comes to mind is, what could be more of a throwback to the 50's than being a gossip columnist? Do you have any news about Hedy Lamarr? Thank you!

Amy Argetsinger: No, that was the Style section's fashion writer Robin Givhan. But we do have news on Hedy Lamarr! Not only was one of film's most beautiful women -- she also helped patent a ground-breaking frequency-switching system for torpedo guidance. True story! Alas, Ms. Lamarr passed away five years ago, at the age of 86.

Robin Givhan, meanwhile, was ranked at #15 on VIBE magazine's "most juice" list last month! Beating out both Mariah Carey and Pharrell, I believe.

Roxanne Roberts: I have a soft spot for Hedy because my father was a big fan and thought brunettes were sexier than blondes. Loved him for that.


Washington, D.C.: I heard a rumor that Pharell is dating Mariah Carey. Please, say it ain't so!

Amy Argetsinger: It ain't so. Feel better now?


Amy Argetsinger: Confidential to the concerned Fox 5 watcher... we'll do our best to find out!


Chapel Hill, N.C.: While this is admittedly a bit unconventional, I was wondering if Roxanne Roberts would like to get married? I listen to NPR, read the Washington Post, pick-up after myself and buy really cold beer. It's actually a pretty good deal.

Roxanne Roberts: My very first on-line proposal!!! Ah, the romance of it all! Especially beer cans. But really, I'm not worthy.


Washington, D.C.: Is Queen Noor still dating that nerd Kimsey?

Roxanne Roberts: Jim Kimsey has been called many things, but "nerd" is not one of them. All I know for sure is that they're good friends, which can mean anything from actual friends to tonsil hockey, and that they have a shared interest in international charity work. They most recently appeared in public together a week ago at the Kennedy Center for the opening of the National Symphony Orchestra's season.


Silver Spring, Md.: Any word on what's going to happen with the space where Visions used to be? It's not person-related gossip, we know, but Visions was part of a scene, for a while, and it's a visible location, and lots of people drive and walk by the location. So, many people are wondering what's going to happen with that space.

Also, whatever happened with plans to resurrect the Biograph in D.C.? Has that been put aside in the wake of the invasion of the moneyed Landmark Theaters in D.C. and Bethesda?

Amy Argetsinger: Good questions -- I don't know. Anyone else?


Danbury, Conn.: Is it true that Paris Hilton has dumped her fiancee for an even richer, more prominent Greek playboy?

Amy Argetsinger: Please -- I'm sure this is a very difficult time for both of the Parises. I think the psychologists say it takes at least a year to get over the end of a serious relationship. I'm sure they'll both want to lie low for a while.


Chesapeake Beach, Md.: Can you give any insight into the future of your role on the West Wing? Does your character select your own political views ?

Amy Argetsinger: You mean, there's a Reliable Source-type character on The West Wing? News to me! But then I haven't really watched much since 9/11, after which scenes of people walking briskly through hallways bantering wittily about the agriculture bill suddenly seemed a whole lot less riveting...

Roxanne Roberts: Does this mean we're NOT on Commander in Chief?


New York: David Letterman's Top 10 list last night was the "Top 10 signs that George Bush has started drinking again."

One of the reasons was:

He appointed Michael Brown as the director of Zima.

Amy Argetsinger: HA! Thanks for sharing that...


Woodley Park, Washington, D.C.: I love the new column. Have you heard anything about this Wine Auction tonight at Charlie Palmer's? Any celebrities slated to show up (famous for D.C. or actually famous)?

Amy Argetsinger: Hey, thanks, glad you like it! As for wine auction celebs... well, Rep. George Radanovich and Rep. Mike Thompson are listed as co-chairs, so they better be there. I might stop by, if I have time after deadline and before John Travolta's descent on the Museum of National History, so I'll let you know who was there...


Lincoln Park, Washington, D.C.: Amy and Rozanne -- I was the chatter who sent in the post commenting about Wendy Rieger's hair last week. I was so glad this weekend to see that in so doing, I did my part to help support the troops in Iraq! (Given the frequency with which Wendy changes her hair color, you'd think that troop morale would be at an all-time high, and world peace would have been achieved by now!)

Amy Argetsinger: Thank you! You're a fine American.

Roxanne Roberts: Indeed. How'd you feel about taking over a major federal agency?


Arlington, Va.: LOVE the new 'voice' of the Reliable Source! You seem more ebullient and effervescent than your immediate predecessors. Both were fine, witty gentlemen; however, I gotta confess to liking your wit more.

(Roxanne -- loved the cruising article too, as did my 11-year- old son -- more ammo for him!) Parent-Teen Cruise (Post, Oct. 2)

Roxanne Roberts: Gosh, thanks. It's the champagne talking. Part of the new contract: Bubbly for lunch!

As for the cruise: We had a blast. The trick is to forgo all dignity and cool. I danced "Mambo Number 5" with the dining room waiter. And bring money for bingo.


Arlington, Va.: The North-bound HOV lanes between the Pentagon and the 14th St. bridge were closed on Sunday afternoon and it appeared that there was a film crew there shooting a TV show or a movie. Any scoop on that?

Amy Argetsinger: I *think* this was for Mission Impossible 3, but action scenes only (i.e., no Mr. Katie Holmes on the premises, but would be interested of course to know if anyone thinks they spotted him...)


Washington, D.C.: Why is everyone ignoring the reliable gossip about Bush drinking again? Should we "trust him" on decisions made while possibly intoxicated. Look what happened in Russia under a drunken leader. Don't we have enough problems without this?

Roxanne Roberts: It's gossip, but hardly reliable. Until there's a serious confirmation of this from the White House, it's just another rumor. And pretty sad, if true.


Breaking News! : So word on the street is Jessica and Nick are breaking up!

I'm heartbroken. Are you all on the case yet??


Amy Argetsinger: US magazine, my bible and compass, is apparently about to report that that's the case.... Considering that US has devoted cover after cover after cover to puffy interviews with Nick and Jess proclaiming their undying love and denying all previous rumors, if they're now saying they're kaput, then I'm willing to believe it.

So sad. Makes you think, huh? I don't know if I really believe in love anymore...

Roxanne Roberts: I believe in love. I'm not sure sure if I believe in celebrity love. I think the new rule in Hollywood should be: Get married, and then shut up, already---with the exception of Reliable Source. Jessica, honey: WE CARE.


Gaithersburg, Md.: We haven't heard anything about Tom Cruise lately.

That's good, isn't it!

Amy Argetsinger: Ooh, whoops, I think you probably just jinxed us.


Chicago, Ill.: Point blank: There are many of us who HATE Oprah Winfrey. And here's a good reason: She has to have one of the most inflated and self-serving egos anywhere, including Capitol Hill, Wall Street and Hollywood. She publishes a monthly magazine, and guess who's on the cover every month? She produces some television show drama (not her daily thing), or something, and guess who's name comes before the title of the respective show (as in, "Oprah Winfrey Presents: Gone With the Wind")? She has that daily television show that she hosts, and, well, guess what the name of the show is? She has a book club, and, well ... zzzzzzzzz.

We can't wait until her retirement. Really.

Roxanne Roberts: Ah, fame. The cult of Miss O is so large I think she may have put something in the water. Personally, I don't have a problem with her ego---but then, I do spend a lot of time in Washington, where big egos are a dime a dozen. Here's the great thing: If you hate her, you don't have to watch her show or buy her magazine. Free market, baby!


Bluffton, S.C.: What's the hot scoop on Brian Lamb's marriage?

Amy Argetsinger: No, first you have to tell us how you responded in our Sunday challenge: YOU Be the Gossip!!! We'll issue it again, and tabulate your votes...

@íSPAN CEO Brian Lamb got married last week, much to the delight and amazement of the lifelong bachelor's friends. We wanted to share the happy news, but Lamb, 63, declined to return our calls or give minor details such as . . . oh, the name of his bride. (This from the guy who criticized Washington as a town of control freaks.)

Would you:

a) Respect their privacy, and refuse to pry further?

b) Tell readers that the bride is a longtime girlfriend, Victoria Somethingorother, a grade-school classmate at St. Mary Cathedral in Lafayette, Ind.?

c) Send a toaster?


Eastern Market, Washington, D.C.: Amy and Roxanne -- What is it with the first names of these women who were mentioned as SCOTUS possibilities: Harriet, Priscilla, Edith (not one but two!) -- good grief, that's not a bar association, that was my grandmother's bridge club!

Amy Argetsinger: I guarantee you, in another 15 years, those will be in the top 10 for baby-girl names again. That's how the cycle goes...

Roxanne Roberts: "Justice Jessica Does Washington."

"Justice Harriet Does Washington."

See the difference? Not anywhere the same tone.


Silver Spring, Md.: I don't have much sympathy for celebs who moan about being in the limelight, but it does seem the paparazzi are getting a bit out of control. Do you think it will continue until someone is killed or seriously hurt in one of these car chases?

Amy Argetsinger: No, I think it will continue well after that. Already has. RIP, Lady Di.


Falls Church, Va.: I read something recently about an interviewer trying to fix Condi Rice up with a woman -- do you know what that was about?

Amy Argetsinger: That was a Fox news interviewer who later explained that he just thought Condi would like to know of the existence of another pretty African-American woman who plays concert piano -- like, maybe they'd have a lot in common and want to be pen pals or something. It's one of the weirder interview transcripts I've read. Condi's politely muted responses suggest that she couldn't quite figure out where exactly he was going with all of this either...


Rockville, Md.: I see where Prince Charles and his dog, Camilla, will be touring the U.S. I feel like barfing at the thought of it. Please tell us that they won't be in D.C. long!

Roxanne Roberts: Now, now. The Duchess will accompany her husband to the United States in November, and I expect you to all behave like civil grown-ups when they visit Washington. Besides, barfing was Diana's territory.


Washington, D.C.: Bob Johnson's ex wife got remarried last week on her estate. What was the juice behind the Johnson's breakup?

Roxanne Roberts: Look, a lot can happen during 33 years of marriage. The divorce was civil and they appear together at events for their kids. I wish the new bride and groom much happiness.


Washington, D.C.: It seems like the new Victoria's Secret in Tyson's has more buzz in D.C. than Harriet Miers. Will there be any coverage on your end? I'd love to know more about the manager who was seen kicking a Channel 7 reporter out of the store on the news and/or whoever thought it'd be a good idea to make a store in a mall look like the kind of place you'd see in Times Square, circa 1980.

Amy Argetsinger: The Metro section story today on the Victoria's Secret store at Tyson's had the paper's single best quote of the day in it -- the woman who said, "It's disgusting -- and *I'm* from Europe!"

The second best quote of the day, of course, came in the A section, from the federal judge in Texas who defended Harriet Miers to his fellow conservatives by saying: "I'm like, y'all, has George Bush appointed anyone to an appellate court that is a betrayal to conservatives?"

Valley speak -- alive and well in the heart of Texas!

Roxanne Roberts: Talk about great free advertising! How many people will swing by to see just HOW disgusting it really is? The other stores in the mall must be SO jealous.


Rockville, Md.: Did the Source see that Nicholas Cage has named his new son Kal-El, or something, which is Superman's Kryponite name, or something. (We're not big comics fans.) This is true, and it is not a joke.

This, of course, comes shortly after Gwyneth Paltrow and the Coldplay guy named their kid Apple.

How about a short list of recent goofball celebrity kid names?

And people wonder why celebrity kids grow up unhinged and a few sandwiches shy of a picnic.

Amy Argetsinger: Oh geez, how did we miss that... that is fantastic! (and true, according to my quick scan of the wires -- haven't received the birth announcement yet)


Washington, D.C.: Do you know the name of the Web site that's doing a catalog of Harriet Miers's bad hair days? It must be a large site indeed.

Amy Argetsinger: anyone?


Potomac, Md.: Lots of recent speculation about who, if anyone, is dating or seeing or hanging out with Condoleezza Rice. Who is she seeing, if anyone?

Amy Argetsinger: Why don't you tell us what you're hearing? This is where tips come from, folks...

Roxanne Roberts: The Single Secretary, Circa 2005. The zany adventures of America's top diplomat and her dating habits.


Frederick, Md.: So what do you think the White House will serve Charles and Camilla? A chew bone for him and a bag of grain for her?

Roxanne Roberts: I said CIVIL!


Alexandria, Va.: Speaking of Mr. Katie Holmes, why have they went from couch jumping to being relatively low-key? In the beginning they were gushing about each other nonstop, and all of a sudden it seems like they want their relationship to be taken seriously.

Amy Argetsinger: Excellent question. My guess is that the focus groups they've been consulting told them that their couch-jumping, fist-pumping displays of infatuation seemed -- what's the phrase I'm looking for here -- contrived? phony? nauseating? And that they decided to re-brand the relationship to make it more palatable for a broader demographic.


Amy Argetsinger: confidential to the chatter with questions about the local sports-news team. Let's take this into another room, shall we? Drop us an e-mail,


Washington, D.C.: Roxanne, is Sue Ellicott (am I spelling that right?) single, and can I get her phone number? I have fallen in love with her voice on "Wait Wait".

Roxanne Roberts: Married with two sons. But I understand. She's got the smart, sexy Brit thing down pat.


Washington, D.C.: Hello Amy and Roxanne: Your responses are so P.C. What gives?

Amy Argetsinger: You mean "pretty cute"? Aw, shucks... Which ones in particular did you mean?


Falls Church, Va.: Re: Rice

ROSEN: All right. I close with a gift for you. You met this person once, I believe, but you really, I think, ought to know each other because this woman is I think you'll have an interest in knowing her. She is one of our Fox News anchors in New York. Her name is Lauren Green. She is brilliant, she's beautiful, she's African-American, she's single and she's a concert pianist in her spare time.

RICE: My goodness.

ROSEN: And she asked me to give you her CD and I promised her that I would.

RICE: That's perfect.

ROSEN: And here's her doing a number of different classical pieces.

RICE: Well, that's special.

ROSEN: So there you have it.RICE: Thank her very much and I look forward to seeing her sometime.

ROSEN: All right. She's going to want to hear from you.

RICE: And maybe even playing dual piano sometime.

Not surprisingly, the curious exchange left many wondering if the wry reporter was trying to set Rice up on a date. But when we called to ask if he was trying to play matchmaker, Rosen insisted "nothing could be further from the truth What I meant to say is that the two of them have a lot in common." The veteran correspondent, who has frequently accompanied Rice on overseas trips, added, "I would never presume to deal at all with Secretary Rice's personal life."

Roxanne Roberts: So there you go.


Bethesda, Md.: Can you give an update on the real life romance of Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams?? I loved them in the Notebook and I cant believe that theyre dating in real life!

Amy Argetsinger: Are they not the cutest? You know, I was hanging out at Bar Marmont with Rachel, and I was all, "oh my god, you guys were so cute in The Notebook you should totally hook up!" and she was all "NO! do you really think so?" And I'm all "look, there he is now! I'm going to go see if he's with anyone..."

Okay, that's a lie. But you knew that. All I know is that US magazine -- my bible and my compass -- reported that they're together, and that "The Notebook" is one of the least-bad movies I've ever seen on an airplane.


Re: Baby Names: Jason Lee (of My Name is Earl) named his child Pilot Inspektor (and yes it is spelled with a k).

Amy Argetsinger: And what did Penn & Teller's Penn Jillette name his daughter recently? Moxie Crimefighter Jillette, if I remember correctly...


Cagey name: You guys got a problem with hyphenated names?


Roxanne Roberts: Hyphens are okey-dokey by me. But I worry about double-trouble from smart-alecks.


Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.: So what's the buzz behind Mary Bono's pending divorce? Is she going back to that singer from Diamond Rio she was dating for so long? Or maybe now that she's done pop and country western, she should look to a new musical genre for dating prospects (James Hatfield from Metallica? Usher? Kanye West? Or maybe really expand her horizons and check out some hot opera baritone like Bryn Terfel!)

Amy Argetsinger: Excellent ideas, all of them. But did you see that Metallica documentary? James Hetfield -- complicated guy! Not my pick for a fun rebound romance...


Silver Spring, Md.: Do you think Chris Cagle suspected that he wasn't the father of his girlfriend's child before it was born? Should most unmarried celeb guys with preggers girlfriends do these tests?

I'm expecting a child in a few months and wonder if I should have it check to see if my wife has been fooling around since this may be one of those new fads.

Amy Argetsinger: I think he didn't suspect, since his statement suggested he had been happily spreading the news of the baby-on-the-way... Good idea about getting your new baby tested -- let us know how your wife reacts to the idea!


Amy Argetsinger: Friends, it has been an honor and a pleasure. We only wish we could have responded to more of your questions. But please don't hesitate to send others to us at -- seriously! we've got to fill our new Sunday mailbag feature. Otherwise, we'll meet here again next week.

Roxanne Roberts: Thanks for sharing.


Editor's Note: moderators retain editorial control over Live Online discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions.

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