The Reliable Source

Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, June 21, 2006; 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.

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.

Reliable Source Columns

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.

A transcript follows.

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Amy Argetsinger: Hello all! It's been a relatively busy week for the last week of spring. We saw how vile smackdowns help Ann Coulter's book sales, how Andy Card got hoisted up a flagpole, and how Nicole and Keith are getting married in Australia, in a curiously conspicuous way for a couple of privacy-loving celebs. We heard a movie producer say a naughty word to Al Gore, we read about People's Hottest Bachelors, and watched Cher meeting up with Mary Bono on the Hill. We learned that Jack Evans is totally single and on the market and looking for a nice lady. And we met Henry Schally, the 3-year-old who celebrated a "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer"-themed birthday. (Jimmy Jimmy BoBo!)

For now I'm flying solo. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, and as a consequence, Roxanne hasn't quite rolled in from her weekend away. She might catch up with us later in the hour. Now on to your questions.

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Washington, D.C.: What's the scoop behind Wally Bruckner's contract not being renewed by Ch.4? Does George Michael want more cute babes to bring up the ratings?

Amy Argetsinger: Here's what our colleague Tom Heath wrote up a couple weeks ago:

"WRC (Channel 4) sportscaster Wally Bruckner, who has been a staple of the local television sports scene for the last 16 years, will leave the NBC affiliate in mid-July, Bruckner said yesterday.

"'It's been a great run,' said Bruckner, who has backed up sports director George Michael for nearly two decades.

"WRC chose not to renew his contract, according to Bruckner. He said his last day on the air likely will be July 16.

"'It's been a fabulous 16-year run,' Michael said. 'He's been a hand in glove. We work well together.'

Bruckner will be replaced by Dan Hellie, the sports director at Orlando's WFTV, who grew up in the Washington area, sources said. Bruckner, 50, is moving to Connecticut. WRC's sports reports, with Michael in the anchor chair and Bruckner in the field during its newscasts, have dominated local sports television ratings.

Bruckner's assignments have included coverage of several Super Bowls, nearly a dozen NCAA Final Four men's basketball tournaments and the Washington Redskins."

All very gracious on Wally's part, don't you think? I asked our TV guy John Maynard for more info, and here's what he had to say:

"Wally may have gotten a bit too expensive for the station to keep. He will be missed in this market as the soothing antidote to George Michael. As for the 'cute babe' theory, it doesn't work in this case. Bruckner is being replaced by a dude: Dan Hellie who comes from Orlando"

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Kensington, Md.: Amy and Roxanne, in the past you've asked chatters to tell you what we do and do not want to see in the Source. Please, I beg of you, no more Godless Ann.

Amy Argetsinger: Yeah, well, I hear what you're saying... She's such an evil genius when it comes to drawing publicity that one is loathe to ever write about her at all. However, we were interested in seeing whether her latest controversy dampened book sales -- and were struck to find completely the opposite. Her first-week sales were 33 percent higher on this new book than on her last.

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Pittsburgh, Pa.: So, Ms. Jolie and Mr. Pitt are already scouting locations to adopt another child? What in the heck is the rush? Her c-section scar hasn't even healed yet and she's pondering another child? While I commend her wanting to help a child in need to find a home (I am an adoptive mother myself), maybe she should put the brakes on for a moment and just enjoy the children she already has. I am sure having lots of help in the form of nannies and cooks and housekeepers and assistants take some of the heavy lifting off of her shoulders, but jeez!

Amy Argetsinger: Good point. "Scouting locations" is a very good metaphor for what seems to be going on here -- nicely said.

Hey, did I miss the Anderson Cooper interview with Angelina? Was that last night?

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Washington, D.C.: I had a dream Sunday night that Jenna Bush had a White House wedding. What does this mean?

Amy Argetsinger: Oooh, what was her dress like? Did they have it inside or outside?

What does your dream mean? It means our society's collective unconscious is yearning for such an event to take place. I don't think there's a chance in hell she'll have a White House wedding, but don't you agree it would be fantastic if she did? Every TV series that's about to be cancelled ends up having a big wedding sequence in its final weeks. Jenna's dad is due to end a turbulent eight-season run in two and a half years... what better way to end it?

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Rosslyn, Va.: Come on, chatters! Someone must have seen Rachael Ray throw a hissy fit about something while screeching in full on harpie-mode!!! Plus, yeah. I find it amusing that Ms. Ray chose not to go to Galileo, when Chef Donna has got the full support of the Food Network. No one else got a rematch.

washingtonpost.com: Not Playing at a Theater Near You (Post, June 21)

Amy Argetsinger: We tried to ask Rachael Ray (or rather, ask Her People) why she keeps going to Zaytinya whenever she's in town. Don't get me wrong, it's a very fine restaurant, and she's certainly showing more creativity than most celebs, who head lemming-like to Milano...

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Annandale, Va.: Whatever happened to Carla Martin, the DHS attorney involved the Moussaoui trial?

Amy Argetsinger: That's the lawyer who allegedly nearly derailed the Moussaoui trial by allegedly coaching government witnesses. Last we heard of her, there was talk that she might be prosecuted, for charges ranging from criminal contempt to witness tampering.

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Alexandria, Va.: Hello Sources -- What would be the perfect Washington gossip story, in your expert opinions? Who would be involved -- movie stars, DC politicos, pandas, presidential children? What kind of story -- romance, embarrassment, feel-good? What locales -- DC monuments, chi-chi restaurants, sleazy bars? Let us know what you dream about!

Amy Argetsinger: All of the above! But why don't we throw this question out to the chatters? We'll post the best of your gossip wish list (if you keep it non-shrill, non-vulgar).

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More Kids ...: I sort of hate to ask this question but isn't Angelina sort of displaying some questionable behavior here? Her motives on the surface seem good, but I can't help but think there's some sort of hoarding mentality going on...

Or is it just me?

Amy Argetsinger: Well... this is tricky, because it's hard to criticize someone who is freeing another baby from a childhood in a third-world orphanage?

Having said that, I cracked up when I read "hoarding mentality." It's a Small World After All!

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Capital Hill, D.C.: Last Fri. around 1:00 p.m. I was coming out of Union Station and walking in opposite me is Sen. Arlen Spector. I smile and say hello Senator and almost offer my hand to shake. Almost. As I said hello, he went diggin' for gold up to the second knuckle.

Pick a winner!

Amy Argetsinger: The Washington Post Co., its reporters and its attorneys cannot confirm or vouch for Capitol Hill's eyewitness account of a prominent legislator allegedly using manual means to clear his nasal passages.

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Clifton, Va.: What DC TV stations need is more sportcasters like Lindsey Czarniak. Babes in short skirts. Come on even Joe Gibbs and Boss Hog showed their visible appreciation for her talents on air. Wally just doesn't get the same reaction out of Gibbs and his staff. Wander if his wife noticed. If it works for Fox News it will work locally news readers in short skirts reading the news from a chair.

Amy Argetsinger: Watch for Lindsey Czarniak's GoogleImages rating to spike.

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early post - time zone difference, mates: we have been told you both are beyond babed out - why no pics? - would you post just a head shot?

Amy Argetsinger: We're much happier if you THINK we're beyond babed out. Head shots could only burst the myth.

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Best Scandal: would involve a conservative southern congressman who was elected on a "traditional moral values" platform being caught in a "Gerry Studds" moment at Cafe Milano, preferably with Brad and Angelina sitting nearby after closing on their new Georgetown house that was once owned by JFK and Jackie. If you don't know who Gerry Studds was, readers, then get back to your job scooping ice cream.

Amy Argetsinger: Ah, so nostalgic for congressional page scandals! We haven't had one of those in eons. It's worth noting that Studds (awesome name, btw) was a Democrat from Mass.... but yes, that would indeed make the story better.

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Falls Church, Va. : re: perfect Washington gossip story

One of the Bush twins romantically involved with Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks?

Amy Argetsinger: That is hot.

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Annandale, Va.: The folks at WRC are idiots to let Wally Bruckner go. He will be truly missed. Before he leaves for Connecticut, maybe The Post can get him to host an on-line chat on July 17.

Amy Argetsinger: Just putting it out there.

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Arlington, Va.: Have their been any sightings of new local resident Tom DeLay now that he is officially a resident of Alexandria? It is hard to imagine him dining at home after all these years.

Amy Argetsinger: Indeed, one of his last days in office, he dined with a bunch of friends at La Paradou. A French restaurant!

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Washington, D.C.: How about during Jenna Bush's wedding at the White House (Tai Shan is the ring bearer, naturally) the wedding is crashed by George Clooney (a long time secret love of Jenna's, weird age difference but bear with me) she runs off to the Sudan (with the help of Tom Cruise's plane) to join his work with the Darfur genocide issue. Krista Allen is devastated and runs for political office on the scorned other woman card and wins, giving us another public figure to watch for years to come.

Amy Argetsinger: Damn! They'd definitely get renewed for another season if that happened.

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Best Scandal...: would be someone punching out the clown who told those who don't know about the oh so important Gerry Studds to go back to scooping ice cream. And doing so right in front of Anne Coulter, Michael Moore, and Yao Ming.

Amy Argetsinger: Hey, where's this ice cream everyone keeps talking about?

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Falls Church, Va.: Wouldn't it be easier for Dustin Screech Diamond to find one person to buy a T-shirt for $250,000 then to try and sell 30,000 at $15 each?

Amy Argetsinger: Or how about finding a job?

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Herndon, Va.: Idol is over for the television season, but lives on in the thoughts of its fans. My question is the future opportunities available for Elliott Yamin, who is so loved by many Idol fans. Has he landed professional management expertise who can help him launch a recording/performance career?

Amy Argetsinger: Was just reading TV Guide's "exclusive" interview with Elliott. No details on his management, though. I might be wrong about this, but my general sense is that Simon Cowell has an option on all the AI finalists.

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More Kids II...: Yes, of course, one can't criticize her for literally saving two lives and wanting to save more. She has the means and desire to do so; more power to her.

But at what point does someone say "Uh, Angelina, you have a problem." 20 kids later?

Amy Argetsinger: No, I think we can do an intervention after six kids.

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Erik Wemple: Now that he and the Village Voice "parted ways" is there any news of what he will be doing? Back to the City Paper?

Amy Argetsinger: Yep, he's returning to his job at the City Paper, which I think is good news. The paper's been better recently under his watch than it had been in years.

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Bethesda, Md.: Hey Guys!

This isn't a DC sighting but I was in Atlanta a couple weekends ago when I ran across Joaquim Phoenix. You know he probably could have fit in a little better had he not been dressed in a gigantic red sweatshirt and sunglasses. It was after all like 100 degrees and pouring down raining. Why do celebrities do stupid stuff like that? It just makes them even more obvious.

Amy Argetsinger: Was he hot in person? Love him.

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Angelina: Yes kudos to her for adopting kids from third world countries. However, what is wrong with adopting kids from right here in the U.S.? There are tons of kids here who could use a loving home. How come no one ever points that out when they're going goo-goo for Angelina??

Amy Argetsinger: My understanding is, that if you've got the money and you're in the market for a cute little infant, it's a lot easier doing it overseas... You're right, there are a lot of kids in need of homes here in the U.S., but most of them are older...

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Bethesda, Md.: What is it with CBS showing Dan Rather the door after 44 years with them? That is so ungrateful.

Amy Argetsinger: It was all a little unseemly, yes...

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Washington, D.C.: So where do the beautiful people watch the World Cup in DC?

Amy Argetsinger: Depends on your definition. The news aides and mailroom guys are all sitting around the television in the 4th floor newsroom kitchen.

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Adopting Too Many Kids: How about Mia Farrow???? I think she had 14.

Amy Argetsinger: Something like that. And then one of them stole Woody Allen away from her!

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NYC, N.Y.: Could there be anything more pathetic than social clubs like the Madison? Outside of DC these wanna be high society women are laughed at and seen for what they are - wannabes who can't seem to let go of their mostly southern sorority days who are simply trying to find their husbands while working on Capitol Hill answering phones and making copies pretending to be important. Only in DC.

Amy Argetsinger: I don't know anything about the Madisons except what I've read in the paper, but it doesn't offend me. Freedom of association, just like the Moose Lodge or the Junior League or the Monty Python Fan Club.

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Bethesda, Md.: Wasn't the "hoarding kids" line used by Woody Allen to initially explain his break-up with Mia Farrow (before we knew the real cause?) And didn't Mia get up to about 14 kids, including her biological and adoptive ones?

Amy Argetsinger: Sounds familiar. And I'm operating solo here today -- Korin's not even here to help with the research -- so I'm relying on The Wisdom of Crowds to tell me that it was 14 kids and Woody's quip.

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Adoption: Also, I believe in the US it's harder to adopt as an unmarried person (as Angelina still is, apparently). Overseas you can always just grease a few palms.

I too think it's great that she's doing this--every kid deserved to be loved and taken care of--I just hope she doesn't end up like the "No wire hangers!!!!!" lady. (Was that Joan Crawford?)

Amy Argetsinger: It was indeed Joan Crawford.

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Joaquim: Well, in all honesty the first thing I thought of when I saw him was that he was the apple Hanes Underwear guy. His sweatshirt easily had to be three sizes too big. Not particularly sexy...

Amy Argetsinger: Oh, Joaquin! That's so sad.

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Logan Circle, Washington, D.C.: How about Dustin Diamond loses his house to foreclosure, but his secret girlfriend (insert Bush twin here) invites him to live in the White House, where he and Bush join forces - like Zack and Screech of Olde - in wacky schemes and hilarious misunderstandings? Condi could be like Miss Bliss and Cheney would be... err... Belding with a hangover.

I guess that's more of a TV idea than a scandal, though it -would- be scandalous.

(And I'd rather imagine Screech with a Bush twin than my beloved Clooney with a Bush twin - blasphemy!)

Amy Argetsinger: And isn't there some big musical number in this middle of all of this? And then Screech wakes up and realizes -- It Was Just a Dream...

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DeLay???: at La Paradou??? Wasn't he one of those idiots who was all for "Freedom Fries"?

Amy Argetsinger: Yep, we made that joke in our item...

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Angelina's children: Each time Angelina has adopted a baby, it has drawn attention to the plight of all the other children in that poor country, whose circumstances are so much worse and opportunities so much fewer than for kids here.

Amy Argetsinger: Good point.

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Germantown, Md.: To all the people flapping their lips about adopting kids from the USA, how many of those kids have they adopted? Uh-Huh, that's what I thought.

Amy Argetsinger: hey, you never know... fortunately we only have a few minutes left...

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Last Time I saw Rachel Ray: It looked like she should be doing a TV show called $20 a day. $30 provides too much eatin'.

Amy Argetsinger: actually, wasn't it "$40 a day"? That doesn't sound like much of a challenge.

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ex-Marylander: Any dish on Meredith Vieira? Or is she Teflon?

Amy Argetsinger: Hmmm, she's married with kids, which means she doesn't have a hot dating life like Katie Couric's for us to follow. We'll just have to wait and see if she turns out to be mean to parking valets and news desk assistants -- but if that were the case, we'd already have heard about it, she's been around long enough...

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washingtonpost.com: Cher Rides Shotgun at Helmet Hearing (Post, June 16)

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Arlington, Va.: Perhaps Not the Representation That Washington Is Looking For...

So, I'm curious as to what representation Washington IS looking for... popped collars, metrosexuals? Serial daters? I would just like to know, so I can be more like the idiots in this city that I mock on a regular basis...

Amy Argetsinger: This is in reference to our item on People's Hottest Bachelors. We joked about how little D.C. representation there was (no Harold Ford Jr., or Gilbert Arenas, or Josh Bolten, or Patrick Kennedy!!!), with the only local dudes being Dave Redmin, Mark Feldhousen Jr., and Tim Kievit -- three Ballston dudes who live in a totally-wired party house they call the "Geekpad." People magazine even put them in a special bachelors category called "They Really, REALLY Need a Woman." (I think we just put the link to last Friday's column out there.)

We don't write the headlines, and actually I think these guys are pretty good reps for D.C. I mean, they've got an automated beer-pong table that washes the balls itself!

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Rockville, Md.: Who bought Wilson Pickett's house? That would be a fun follow-up.

Any upcoming film productions being shot in D.C. this summer?

What, exactly, is Barbara Bush doing in New York City?

In the current issue of "New York" magazine, Bob Guccione, Jr., says that, years ago, he had a romantic relationship with....Ann Coulter! Really. We're not making that one up!

Amy Argetsinger: 1. Don't know if it's sold yet. Thanks for the reminder -- we'll follow up!

2. None that I can think of, but there have been so many in the past year I'm sure some will come along soon.

3. That's a mystery! After we reported that she had moved there, the New York Post reported that she had applied to work at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum. Can't confirm anything yet.

4. Glad to hear those great kids hit it off.

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Northwest, Washington, D.C.: No offense to Cafe Milano, Nathan's and Zaytinya (sp?), which are all fun places, but there are something like 300 or 400--or whatever the number is--OTHER restaurants in the D.C. area---many of them above-average--that celebrities can eat at while they're in town! We're just saying that, for variety purposes, and to mix things up, celebrities need to realize that there are many other perfectly good places to eat at in D.C. It's a little unfair, and ridiculous, to all of those other good restaurants in the region to lose out on the celebrity attention--and tips. Spread the wealth--literally!

Amy Argetsinger: Amen.

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Need to know: So, you really have to disclose how tall Jack Evans is before some of us would throw our names into the ring...

Amy Argetsinger: We don't know for a fact, but we think he's about 6'2''. Roxanne -- who just crawled in here -- says he's a tall, thin drink of water.

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Washington, D.C. : "Each time Angelina has adopted a baby, it has drawn attention to the plight of all the other children in that poor country, whose circumstances are so much worse and opportunities so much fewer than for kids here."

Yes and no. There are children in this country that live in deplorable conditions - not just poverty, but abuse that is inconceivable to most people. In addition, our foster care system is completely overwhelmed and so many children fall through the cracks. Finally, there is actually a chance of making the U.S. system better by bringing attention to it. Not to be a good will kill, but taking one child out of a country that is corrupt and lacks social works saves exactly one child. If the country has a failing government, as most of the countries to which we are referring do, there is little chance that a system wide change to the benefit of children will occur. Not to say it's not charitable, but I think we should be realistic.

Amy Argetsinger: Wow, this is getting heavy.

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Amy Argetsinger: Hey, it's been fun! Roxanne sends her regards. I don't want you to feel hurt that she's not taking the time to join us today -- she's still catching up and recovering, it has nothing to do with you. She's already looking forward to chatting with you next week, as am I.

Extend the fun! Chat with us all week long at reliablesource@washpost.com.

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Angelina = : Mia Farrow redux.

Think about it.

Amy Argetsinger: They both also had very interesting love lives...

Okay, now I'm really gone. Bye!

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