The Reliable Source

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Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, January 10, 2007; 12:00 PM

Welcome to "The Reliable Source" with 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 news babes, 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: Good morning everyone! Much news this week, and not all of it involved Gilbert Arenas's stupendously huge party or Adrian Fenty's unmanageably oversized party. The Bush twins were back in town and back at the haunts that haven't seen much of them in recent years. The surviving members of the Grateful Dead for here for LolaPelosi events. And... other stuff. I can't remember, and the RS page (washingtonpost.com/reliablesource) is ridiculously slow to load. So send us your questions instead.

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Leesburg, Va.: The Golden Globes are Monday, Jan. 15th -- any scoop on what to watch for (or whom)? Any predictions? What star's daughter is the "Miss Golden Globe" this year?

Amy Argetsinger: Lorraine Nicholson, Jack's daughter, has been chosen as Miss Golden Globe this year -- which means, I think, that she carries the trophies out to the presenters, and stands around looking hot.

We also think you'll see a lot of love for "Dreamgirls" -- though that won't necessarily make it a front-runner for the Oscars. The thing about the Golden Globes is that they break up a lot of the films into "Drama" and "Comedy/Musical" -- so in effect you have two sets of winners. And the bar is always lower in the comedy/musical category.

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washingtonpost.com: Today's Column: Playing Hard to Get? ( Reliable Source, Jan. 10)

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Winchester, Va.: My UVA daughter (who, of course, thinks she is very smart) told me that former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum was born in our little city. I thought you'd be able to confirm this. Of course, the big question is how long and why was his family in this area?

Amy Argetsinger: It's true! At least according to Wikipedia, which has impressed me for the most part. The recently evicted U.S. Senator from the state of Pennsylvania was indeed born in Winchester, Va., though he was raised in Butler County, Pa. Those U-Va. kids are smart.

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Trump and Rosie: Donald Trump's feud with Rosie O'Donnell is so five minutes ago, but did it affect his ratings for the new season of "The Apprentice"?

Roxanne Roberts: The feud, which at first appreared to be a pr stunt, actually seems to be real. So much nastiness, and Rosie is reportedly furious with Barbara Walters for not defending her more on the "View."

That being said, the ratings for the LA version of the show that debuted Sunday are down About 9 million people watched the latest batch of would-be corporate tycoons whine through the first episode---the smallest audience to date for a season premiere.

You're crying, right?

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KC: I am a huge Kathleen Turner fan -- any gossip or news to pass on about her? Can't wait to see "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf."

Amy Argetsinger: I am also dying to see her in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf," which I've never seen on stage though it was one of my four or five favorite movies in the world. The Style section will be reviewing sometime later this week. Alas, have yet to hear any sightings of Kathleen Turner out on the town -- if you have, drop us a line at reliablesource@washpost.com

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Amy Argetsinger: Confidential to the person with the sighting of the actress and the musician: Drop us a line with the details at reliablesource@washpost.com -- would like to check that out for the column. Thanks for writing!

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RE: Best of 2006: So, of the Best of 2006, the only one with any potential for good dish and column space in 2007 seems to be Mary Cheney and baby. How do you feel about that? Any predictions about what else you expect to see a lot of in '07?

Amy Argetsinger: This is a good question to throw out to the crowd here. Indeed, Mary Cheney (who polled very high among readers for top stories of 2006) seems far more likely to have a compelling story line through 2007, what with the baby and all. Most of the others on our list (link to follow) have probably passed their newsworthiness peak. Still, we expect there will be a lot of gossip subjects who will only begin to hit their stride in 2007... Gilbert Arenas, possibly, and Jason Campbell (now that he's dating Miss D.C./USA)... What about the rest of you -- who do you think will be big in '07?

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Carlo Ponti: Just saw on my Web news that Carlo Ponti died. The article also said that he and Sophia Loren were married by proxy in Mexico, and didn't even know they were married until it was reported by an outside source. That sounds a little weird, but it does show the power of folks like yourselves. So, what are you holding back? Whose marriage do you know about?

washingtonpost.com: Movie Producer Carlo Ponti Dies ( AP, Jan. 10)

Roxanne Roberts: The confusion is probably caused by the circumstances of their marriage: They first wed in 1957, but that had to be annulled because of legal complications with his first wife. They remarried in 1966 after getting French citizenship to skirt around Italian divorce laws.

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washingtonpost.com: Sunday's Column: Your Picks for the Cream of the '06 Crop ( Reliable Source, Jan. 7)

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Kate Middleton: I'm not sure why the Post felt the need to run the article about Prince William's girlfriend. Is it so we can laugh at how those Brits are no better than the rest of us when it comes to living vicariously through famouse people?

Amy Argetsinger: Sometimes we put stories in the paper just because they're interesting. I thought it was interesting. It satisfied my need to learn about the craven, shallow interest the British have in Kate Middleton, while also satisfying my craven, shallow interest in learning more about Kate Middleton. Anyway, it was a good story -- I recommend. Link to follow...

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Springfield, Va.: I am assuming that since Tuesday has now passed, that there is no engagement news for Miss Kate Middleton? That poor girl ... just because its her birthday, they assume he's going to propose to her. Today she's either disappointed or laughing.

Roxanne Roberts: For those who missed it, we're talking about Prince William's girlfriend and maybe future queen of England. Lots of gossip Wills might propose yesterday because it was her 25th birthday, but no palace news. I assume she's pretty used to all the silliness surrounding them, since they've been together for years now.

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washingtonpost.com: Attention That's Fit for a Queen ( Post, Jan. 10)

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Anonymous: I was interested to see reports of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger pushing for limits on greenhouse gasses, saying we have been driving dirty cars for too long. I did wonder whether he still drives a custom Hummer. Do you know?

Amy Argetsinger: Ha, good question! According to Forbes.com, Arnie has a hydrogen Hummer. What does that mean? Not sure, but Forbes says, "In a recent statement, Schwarzenegger said that the purpose of the prototype is to 'demonstrate the economic and technical viability of hydrogen.' He had said during his gubernatorial campaign that he was interested in alternative fuels and one day would go so far as to own a hydrogen-powered Hummer." Last week, the San Francisco Chronicle made reference to the governor's "four Hummers."

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Chicago, Ill.: Hello Ladies,

I can't help but swell with pride when I look at Nancy Pelosi and the effect she is having on politics. She has held the gavel for a little over a week and already she has lowered the boom. NO SMOKING IN THE SENATE LOBBY AREA. She complained about the odors and the effect of secondhand smoke. I haven't heard a word of opposition (yet). I guess she has that much clout. What do you ladies think?

And also, did you happen to see the People's Choice Awards last night? I got tired of the underwear jokes.

Amy Argetsinger: People's Choice was on last night? Totally missed that. But then I try to keep the bar high for awards shows -- Grammys, but not AMAs, etc.

Not a smoker, not really following that -- except that it was the area around the House floor, naturally, where she banned smoking -- but it's amazing to me that there's any public office-space area that was still allowing anyone to smoke.

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Mt. Vernon, Va.: The Post reported that Arenas celebrated his birthday in style. Style? Maybe they meant the Style section of The Post. Does spending tons of money automatically equal style? Fred Astaire had style. Donald Trump does NOT have style (and neither does Rosie, for that matter).

Amy Argetsinger: For the record -- and remember, the place was really really crowded, and a lot of the VIPs were up on the fourth floor where I couldn't see them -- I'm almost 95 percent sure that Fred Astaire was not at Gilbert Arenas's party.

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Washington, D.C.: Hey I was wondering why you didn't cover the antiques show -- you have to admit it is a major event in the uppercrust society here. So why no coverage??

Roxanne Roberts:1. We did report that the first lady dropped by.

2. We didn't hear of anything about the event that seemed like a good gossip item.

3. Did you really say "uppercrust?"

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Washington: Miss Middleton is a commoner, right? I thought I read somewhere that her father owned a chain of tire stores, or something.

I'm just curious, if she's not a Diana-style showdog, bred and raised for the express purpose of marrying a prince, would the palace still approve?

Roxanne Roberts: Well, we know how that worked out, now don't we? Some fresh blood is just what the family needs---and they approve, by all reports. Besides, after everything that happened to his mother, I doubt William is going to spend too much time listening to his elders about happy marriages.

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Miss Ameri, CA: Help, please! As a spectator in the balcony, what should I wear?

Amy Argetsinger: Wear a cocktail dress. Uh, assuming that you're a woman, that is. Or a similar ensemble. Audience members get ridiculously dressed up -- floor-length gowns, tuxedos -- or at least they always did when the big show was in Atlantic City. You don't want to go that far, but you also don't want to wear jeans -- sign of respect to the contestants, you know.

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Downtown D.C.: Is it true that the guy who played CC in "Dreamgirls" was a Power Ranger? If so, does that make him the most successful former Ranger ever?

Side question: that guy looks so much like Dule whatsisfuzz from West Wing and Celebrity Poker Showdown, but they're not the same guy, right? Are they related?

Amy Argetsinger: Yup. Keith Robinson was the green Power Ranger, according to IMDB. He also did a few episodes on "ER" and had a role on "American Dreams." He was not, however, that guy on The West Wing -- I don't think they looked that much alike, but I also didn't watch WW in its final seasons...

The pink Power Ranger appeared in Paris Hilton's movie "Pledge This!".... but, yeah, looks like Keith Robinson is the most successful Power Ranger in history.

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Washington, D.C.: Roxanne, this isn't a gossip question, but a question about your side gig on "Wait, Wait." I listen to the podcast each week!

When the show is in Chicago, how does it work -- do the panelists fly out there for the taping and fly back, or are you on some kind of a conference call or something?

Roxanne Roberts: Thanks for being a loyal fan!

Until we began doing the show in front of live audiences, the panelists were holed up in studios around the country, but we've been gathering in Chicago (when we're not doing road shows) every week for the past 18 months. We all fly in the day of the show and fly out first thing the next morning. We thought the Midwest snow storms would cause major problems, but not so far. Maybe the Big Guy likes Wait, Wait, too.

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NW D.C.: Either of you going to trek to LV for the Miss America pageant ... always look forward to the Post love it/hate it coverage ... Hope so. Kind of sad to see the zany old institution being overshadowed by the truly inane Miss USA.

Amy Argetsinger: I'm going! But as an off-the-clock civilian. Don't know yet what Style's coverage plan is... I'd love to see another big Style story on it; problem is, in recent years (judging by the ratings of the show, which lost its place in NBC's lineup two years ago) is that the Style section of The Washington Post was actually paying more attention to this fascinating institution than anyone else in the country...

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Pathetic: Kate's parents sell party supplies over the Internet. Sophie Rhys-Jones' (Prince Edward's wife) father sold tires. I can't believe I know that.

Roxanne Roberts: It's okay---one late night, in a bar, you are SO going to win a drink.

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Baltimore, Md.: I saw Kathleen Turner with Alicia Silverstone and Jason Biggs in "The Graduate" when it came through here years ago -- she was good (and naked!), everything else about the thing was godawful. Well, the set was cool.

Amy Argetsinger: Yeah, that did get pretty dismal reviews, didn't it?

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Seattle, Wash.: Y'know, Maria Cantwell is actually pretty good looking, as senators go. Who is she romantically linked to?

Amy Argetsinger: Good question. I could be wrong but I don't think she's been linked to anyone lately. So for all you fellas who are always asking us who the hot single congresswomen are -- hey, aim higher, try for a lady senator!

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Washington. D.C.: The person who called himself/herself pathetic for knowing what some royal brood mare's father did ...

I want to be your best friend. We're kindred spirits, because I sorta knew that but had the generation wrong, and you TOTALLY knew it, and are ashamed of it.

Let's pick up Amy and Rox after the chat and go get drinks. Kay? Seriously. I'm there.

Amy Argetsinger: I swear I didn't write this myself.

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Power Rangers: Wasn't Hilary Swank a power ranger before her 90210 days, before her Oscar days, before her double-Oscar days?

Amy Argetsinger: Korin, whose web browser is moving faster than mine today, says that no, Hilary Swank was not a Power Ranger. You're thinking of Amy Jo Johnson, the Pink Power Ranger who kind of looked like Hilary Swank.

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Farragut Square, Washington, D.C.:"... Paris Hilton's movie "Pledge This!..."

Sorry, come again?

There's a movie? For real? Please say more, before my brain dribbles out my ears and shorts out my keyboard.

Thanks.

Amy Argetsinger: Pledge This! (from Wikipedia):

When a toilet explodes on the first day back to school on a group of misfit girlfriends, they are forced to leave their housing and search for a new home. They ultimatly decide on pledging a sorority. However, not many sororities are normal at South Beach University. The girls decide to pledge the most popular and exclusive sorority at the university, Gamma Gamma, which is lead by president Victoria English (Paris Hilton). The only reason Victoria plans to let the freshmen pledge is to display diversity, which is a requirement for the "FHM Hottest Soroity In The Country" contest. From then on, Victoria declares war on the girls during "Hell Week" but ultimatly lets them join, only to kick them out once they have won the contest. This angers the leader of the mis-fit freshmen Gloria, who declares war on Victoria by sneaking into the Gamma Gamma house and stealing embarassing photos and video footage of Victoria to show to everyone at the Gamma Gamma victory party. Victoria becomes embarrassed and eventually makes a public apology to the freshmen. The movie ends with a giant food fight at the Gamma Gamma party, and Victoria saying that she loved her cover of "FHM" so much, that she bought the magazine.

It was released in 2006. We think Paris blew off the premiere. We also think it might have gone straight to video, more or less.

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Kate: My understanding is that although the Middleton family is not titled (i.e., no dukes, earls, etc.), they are hardly commoners. The family is very wealthy. Her father owns a very successful party supply company and they're very well-off.

Besides, the girl is gorgeous and seems to handle the pressure of living in the spotlight well. I hope people just give her a break and let her be.

Roxanne Roberts: Good luck to her. She seems pretty tough, but this is a hard gig, even with the jewels.

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Royal Disease:"Some fresh blood is just what the family needs."

Ha Ha. You wrote this because of the incidence of hemophilia in the European royal families, right?

Amy Argetsinger: Ha, ha! Yes just a little hemophilia humor. Good stuff.

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Baltimore, Md.: Forget Power Rangers -- there is a Transformers movie coming out this summer! Which brings up the question: Transformers or Go-Bots?

Amy Argetsinger: They did some of the filming for Transformers in D.C., albeit without any of the "stars."

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Falls Church, Va.: I miss Gene ...

Roxanne Roberts: There, there. Surely there's another madman you can worship in his absence?

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Washington, D.C.: So, how many generations does it take to work out the effects of inbreeding? Charles's parents were cousins, and Prince Phillip's parent's were related -- I'd be worried about the gene pool.

Roxanne Roberts: Another point in Kate's favor.

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Fairfax, Va.: People.com said that women wearing only thongs and body paint were entertaining at Gilbert Arena's party. Is that considered stylish these days?

Amy Argetsinger: Oh yes, even though Fred Astaire would never have chosen that look for himself.

Actually, I think that detail was probably first reported in the Washington Post Style section story on the party (link to follow, I hope).... though we later got some plausible sounding reports (included in yesterday's column) that they may actually have been wearing some kind of body stocking, so as to stay within the law or something like that.

Anyway, they sure looked naked to me. (Have I mentioned already that I was there? Because I went to that party! Have I shown you my Arenas Express card yet? I never leave home without it.)

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Falls Church, Va.: Going to the KenCen for the ballet (great seats) next Saturday evening, and I was wondering what to wear. Any suggestions for this 20-something with a decent wardrobe?

Roxanne Roberts: You'll see a bit of everything, including jeans, but I still think a Saturday night at the Kennedy Center deserves a nice dress or pantsuit (nothing too bare, it gets cold in there!) Pick something you would wear to a dinner party.

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Washington, D.C.: Seriously, I was wondering why you guys didn't cover the antiques show, seeing that its a high profile society event. I mean Laura Bush was there. Why the lack of coverage? Usually you guys are on the ball.

Roxanne Roberts: Enough, already, with the scolding about the self-proclaimed "high profile" social event. After almost two decades of covering parties in this town, I think we're in a pretty good position to know what deserves coverage for the column and what does not. And not one e-mail or message came up with a single reason to write about this event, other than the first lady's visit. And I gotta say: Most people who are really uppercrust NEVER use that word.

Amy Argetsinger: This is a column that covers news of interesting personalities and institutions, not a column that necessarily covers parties per se. A lot of parties, galas, events go on in this town every week -- more than 95 percent of them don't get covered in this column. You don't tend to notice that, though, unless you're the organizer of an event that you think should have been written about.

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Baltimore, Md.: I just noticed that new congressman Heath Shuler's kids are named Island and Navy. Navy?

Amy Argetsinger: And I don't think he was ever in the Navy, was he? Guess he just likes the color.

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washingtonpost.com: From A-List to Zero: Arenas's Celeb-Rich Bash (Post, Jan. 7)

Amy Argetsinger: a fine story, check it out. Great pictures too.

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Royalty Nerds Unite: We need our own chat, please.

Kate is definitely being treated better than ol' crazy Diana. Public appearances (Will's graduation from Sandhurst) and holidays at Sandringham.

She seems normal. Which is good because those Windsors are all sorts of crazeee.

Roxanne Roberts: God knows there are plenty of web sites devoted to the royals, if you go over the edge. Until then, we'll try to update you as developments occur.

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The widow Ponti: Hey, didn't George Clooney say that Sophia Loren was his celebrity dream date?

Amy Argetsinger: Here's his chance!

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Washington, D.C.: Note to fellow loyal "Wait, Wait" fans: Go see it live! It is SO much fun! They probably cut three quarters of the live show to make it fit on air (at least they did when I saw it in Pasadena, Calif., a few years ago).

Roxanne Roberts: Then there are the dirty bits that don't quite make our family-friendly threshold....

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Roxanne Roberts: Another hour wasted on the chinless royals, et al. Good to back in the swing of 2007! Send your thoughts, complaints and sightings to reliablesource@washpost.com. Same time, next week.

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