The Reliable Source: Tanya Snyder, Cate Edwards, 'Funniest Celebrity,' Fred Smoot, More

Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, September 30, 2009; 12:00 PM

Washington Post columnists Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts were online Wednesday, Sept. 30, at Noon ET to discuss your favorite gossip, recent celebrity sightings and their recent columns.

In recent columns: Tanya Snyder opens up about her breast cancer battle at Redskins luncheon. Political kid Cate Edwards settles into D.C. and new job. "Funniest Celebrity in Washington" charity fundraiser is not so funny -- we found it's given next to nothing to charity the past five years. Fred Smoot's secret wedding to a gorgeous lawyer. Pink gives a shout-out to Michelle Obama for being "officially fur-free" and DJ AM's death report.


Amy Argetsinger: Good morning everyone! In addition to all the above-mentioned things to talk about and ways to be in touch with us, we are now Twittering, passive-aggressively, at @reliablesource.


Anonymous: Have any local show biz celebrities, whether they live here or not, weighed in on the Roman Polanski, uh, affair? I did find some dark humor in Woody Allen standing up as a character witness for Polanski, but that could be just me. Today's L.A. Times has an interesting column by Steve Lopez that includes excerpts from grand jury transcripts and I felt like I needed to wash my hands after reading it. Polanski may be a gifted director and someone touched by tragedy, but he was also one sick puppy. Polanski's Defenders Lose Sight of the True Victim (Los Angeles Times, Sept. 30)

Amy Argetsinger: Uh, local show biz celebrities? Are you saying we should demand some kind of reaction from Lynda Carter on this sordid affair? Or Mya?

A lot of Hollywood types have been expressing solidarity of sorts with Polanski. Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, Jonathan Demme, David Lynch and other filmmakers signed a petition basically expressing outrage that he was arrested while going to a film festival. I didn't realize those were supposed to be safe havens.

Fewer sympathizers in these parts. Links to follow to Gene Robinson and Richard Cohen's recent columns on the matter.


Funniest Celebrity in Washington: Maybe it needs a new name to reflect what it is -- Fraudiest Celebrity Event in Washington?

Amy Argetsinger: Has a ring to it.


Woodbridge, Va.: Hello Ladies! Love you column! Please correct your incomplete title posted for Pat Smith. She is a former Miss Virginia USA!... and first runner-up to Miss USA. There are actually two pageant systems in the Commonwealth for young ladies. Miss Virginia competes for Miss America, while Miss Virginia USA, the larger of the two systems, competes for Miss USA and then Miss Universe. Thank you and keep the outstanding coverage coming. Warmest Regards, Leslie Morton Field Operations Director Miss Virginia USA

Amy Argetsinger: Yeah, that was Roxanne's fault. I thought she knew her pageant protocol better.

_______________________ Robinson: What Polanski Deserves (Post, Sept. 29) and Let Polanski Go -- But First Let Me At Him (Post Partisan, Sept. 28)


Tanya Snyder: Your piece on her work about breast cancer awareness made me forget (briefly) how her husband is messing up the Redskins! While I doubt that was the point, it is an unintended consequence. Putting on a Game Face to Tackle Cancer (Reliable Source, Sept. 30)

Roxanne Roberts: The timing happen to work: The team planned to mark Breast Cancer Awareness month in October by having local survivors on the field Sunday. Obviously, this is something close to Tanya and she's hoping to reach as many fans as possible this season, and the players there yesterday all have a personal connection to the issue. So yeah, it was a nice break from the general mess of the Redskins ownership/coaching/play on the field.


Lady Gaga: Really?

Amy Argetsinger: You mean, was she really wearing a black blazer and seemingly nothing else in the lobby of the W yesterday? Yes. In keeping with the strict no-pants dress code she adhered to throughout her show later that night. I was there. I saw it all.


Roxanne Roberts: A moment to defend myself: I know the difference between Miss Virginia and Miss Virginia USA----a change was made later in editing. The important thing: Patricia is still drop-dead gorgeous and nice as can be. So was Emmitt. Good for them.


Does anyone feel sorry for Jon Gosselin?: I mean, now the show will be "Kate Plus Eight." Maybe he's learning that it's not so great to get what you want. Loved the recent, quote, though about how he thinks maybe he shouldn't have be doing things with other women so soon after the separation. D'oh!

Amy Argetsinger: I feel bad for him in that I assume this switch means he's no longer picking up the sweet paycheck for being in that job. I'm seeing a lot of reports that they were each getting something like $75,000 per episode? I mean, no amount of money is worth having your life ruined and becoming a damaged fame-ball -- but better to get the money than not, once said life is already ruined.


Arlington, Va.: So was Tom Cruise at the U2 concert last night?

Amy Argetsinger: Not that we heard.


Cate Edwards: Your piece today mentioned Cate and the dog, but what about the significant other who was in medical school here? Update/Cate Edwards (Reliable Source, Sept. 30)

Roxanne Roberts: Sorry, no recent sightings of the two----but Cate is pretty private and the two have been a couple for a long time, so that doesn't mean they aren't still dating. Besides---how much free time do medical students and law clerks have? Like, none, right? They probably rent movies and order out pizza, which is why we never see them out.


New York, N.Y.: Hello,

I saw some lovely pictures online of the president playing with his baby niece, Sativa.

I was just curious, is she adopted? I followed the campaign and I remember an interview with his half-sister Maya mentioning that she only had one daughter Suhaila born in 2004. I don't remember her mentioning that she was pregnant since then?

Amy Argetsinger: She's got two kids. Savita is a baby still; Suhaila would be four or five, I think...


Breast Cancer Awareness Game: This will make the 'Skins game a little more fun -- looking for the pink on the players and coaches! How about the announcers and other commentators? Are they wearing some pink?

Roxanne Roberts: EVERYONE should wear something pink to the game Sunday. Pink socks, wristbands, ribbons, underwear. (Every guy has a pair from a laundry mishap, don't they?)


Lady GaGa: When you "saw it all," did you mean you saw it ALL?

Amy Argetsinger: No. There's a lot of, uh, artistry going on. A lot of creepy flesh-colored body suits that, when she bares her crotch, makes her look like a Barbie doll without the skirt.


Washington, D.C.: I thought someone ought to note the passing earlier this week of Sen. Henry Bellmon of Oklahoma who died at 88. He was a model of rectitude which was scarce then and even more so now. Best to his family and friends. Former Oklahoma Gov. Henry Bellmon dies at 88 (AP, Sept. 29)

Amy Argetsinger: Thanks for sharing.


Purcellville, Va.: The local connection to the Roman Polanski case is really kind of weird, isn't it? The girl in the case now looks so much like her mother, Susan Gailey, who was on our TVs for so many years smiling and walking through auto lots. She just seemed so ... nice, and it's hard to imagine her daughter in a situation like that.

Roxanne Roberts: I'm sure SHE never imagined she'd be in a situation like that. No one does.

Amy Argetsinger: She's described herself as being pretty naive to the ways of Hollywood when she went out there. Was tortured with guilt for years, probably still is. Link to our story from last year about this to follow.

_______________________ The Secret of the Ourisman Chevrolet Girl (Post, June. 18)


Cate Edwards: Who would spend $1M on a FIXER-UPPER? Does it need another million to be made livable?

Also, if it is proven that her father has another child with another woman, I have to wonder if Cate will bother having a relationship with the child. . .

Roxanne Roberts: Well, it sounds crazy but $1 million in Georgetown doesn't buy a perfect property---it probably needed some work, or it would have cost a lot more. Location, location, location.

And the Edwards family drama is now so complicated that it will take years to sort out. I can't even predict what will happen.


No more Arenas blog!: You two must be devastated! However, having him back on the court will surely give you some things to write about. It was just too funny, though, to get his views of the world. They were sometimes so different from reality!

Amy Argetsinger: You know what I'm waiting for? For him to get married. It's been a year now since he got engaged (with a typically epic proposal -- link to follow), but he made it clear then he was in no hurry to seal the deal. Such a rascal.


Cate's pup: An Italian water dog? Is that a different breed than the Portuguese water dog, Bo Obama, and the late Sen. Kennedy's much-loved Sunny and Splash?

Amy Argetsinger: Maybe someone here is more familiar with the breed? You tell us. Link to the wiki page to follow.


Not just a laundry mishap!: I think one of the best things about our current world is that men can wear pink WITHOUT it being a laundry know, on purpose. And some men look great in pink!

Roxanne Roberts: That's true! Shirts, ties, socks. But underwear? It takes a real man to wear pink boxers for the cause!

_______________________ Lagotto Romagnolo (Italian Water Dog) (Wikipedia)

_______________________ The Proposal: Gilbert Shares It All With You (Post, Oct. 1, 2008)


Baltimore, Md.:Re Kate + 8: If the ratings go any lower, we are looking at +8. Numbers were 10 million at peak, now a little over 1, proving that the show's real draw was its car wreck mystique. People (not me, I hasten to add) tuned in to watch a guy be verbally abused by his wife while their brood looked on silently. It was some weird Americanized Pinter play.

Roxanne Roberts: I'm afraid you're right. Kate goes to the zoo with the kids! Kate goes to parent/teacher conferences alone! Kate goes on her first date as a single mom! Much less interesting.


Winchester, Va.: What's the scoop on those handsome McDonnell kids so often featured in the Virginia gubernatorial candidate's ads? And how long before the candidate declares his kids' personal lives off limits to the press?

Amy Argetsinger: Those kids were BORN to be in a political TV ad, that's all I can say. Remember, his wife is a former Redskinette. (Link to follow.)


Washington, D.C.: Once I got over the next-to-unbelievable irony of Woody Allen supporting Roman Polanski, I realized that the spectacle of all these clueless celebrities supporting an admitted child molester, and urging that he escape punishment because (choose at least one: the quality of his films, his wife's murder by the Manson clan, his Holocaust experience, or because "he gave him a good role in one of his films") would have one good consequence: it would help people realize that celebrities are not more intelligent or logical than anybody else, and their endorsements of any political or ethical position is not worth considering.

Amy Argetsinger: Deep.

_______________________ Family History That Must Cheer the AG's Heart (Reliable Source, Dec. 6, 2007)


Charlottesville, Va.: @New York

I was wondering that too. Was Maya Soetoro-Ng pregnant during the campaign?

You did a pretty piece about her and her baby at some Indonesian-related affair some time ago.

Roxanne Roberts: No. Maya and her husband have one daughter and quietly adopted a little girl earlier this year.


Ga-Ga??: Ok, I admit, I'm out of it...don't watch TV, so I leave it to you ladies to help me sort out what's going on. But I'm totally perplexed over the "Lady Gaga" thing. Who are we talking about?...Once you tell me, I should be able to sleep better tonight!

Amy Argetsinger: Honestly, I've seen her in concert now, and I'm still perplexed. I had never heard of her six months ago, and now she's on the verge of filling arenas. Which is amazing because she only has one album, and only enough material to fill an hour-long show (nine songs, four costume changes). Where did she come from? What does she want from us?

Here's my basic assessment of Gaga. She is Madonna, if Madonna couldn't dance but wrote her own material and had a sense of humor, but also Liza Minnelli's desperate neediness, but looking like a young Carol Channing. Without pants.


Kate: I think the next version of the show will be to dump the kids entirely and focus on her romantic life -- Kate the Cougar. Why not? Can't be any worse than Cougar Town.

Roxanne Roberts: She can't dump the kids. Without them, she's just another bitter ex-wife looking for love. Bor-ing.


Transylvania: Hi ladies. America's Favorite Holiday, Halloween, is almost here, and I'm stumped about who to dress up as.

The leading contenders are Lady Gaga (topical, easy and recognizable, but will probably be overly popular) or the Log Lady from "Twin Peaks" (clever, but only recognizable to teenage hipsters and people over the age of 30).


Amy Argetsinger: Well, obviously, last year was the year to dress up as Piper Palin -- I think all of us here did that, right?

Lady Gaga is harder than you think, because it involves wearing no pants, which is unpleasant in late October.

Log Lady? Why now?

What are the other obvious/not-so-obvious sorta-topica costumes we'll see this year?


Washington, D.C.: Most of us single men do not have laundry mishaps. We just wash everything on the cold setting so that sooner or later it all achieves an indeterminable shade of gray

Roxanne Roberts: Hot. No wonder so many women buy underwear for boyfriends/husbands.


re: Kate + 8, minus Jon: Cannot believe I am going to say this, but I am happy for Jon that he is no longer doing the show -- if you watch the end of the 5th season, it is completely obvious that he does not want to continue with the show and Kate was basically like, um, yes we are. I believe this was partly what led to their separation. I mean, I think he at least realizes that being on a reality show is not a "job" as Kate has claimed (which sickens me to no end).

Amy Argetsinger: You know, you raise a good point. Remember back in the day when we all felt sorry for Jon? And then that all changed. I'm still kind of sickened by the fact that I know so much of this couple -- and I've never watched more than 10 minutes of their show -- and the fact that they seem so damaged by the whole experience.


Who buys a $1 million fixer-upper?: Someone who will fix it up and then sell it for $2 million.

Roxanne Roberts: Or someone who really wants to live in Georgetown and is willing to compromise to be there. It's pretty nice there. And we should note that Cate paid for it herself with money from an inheritance and trust.


Who else?: So, U2 and Lady Gaga were in town. January Mones (haven't watched MM so my only point of reference is Love Actually) was lobbying for shark conservation. Who else was in town this week?

Amy Argetsinger: Oh, let's see.... Sigourney Weaver was around yesterday for ocean acidification (she's against). Wilmer Valderrama is around today to talk about Latino civic engagement and promote his Disney Channel show, "Handy Manny Motorcycle Adventure." Cheryl Hines from "Curb Your Enthusiasm" is doing the honors at the United Cerebral Palsy gala tonight. And Joe the Plumber is on the roster of stars for the, ahem, Funniest Celebrity in Washington show tonight.


Alexandria, Va.: Congrats on the Funniest Celeb scoop. I love it when you ladies actually get hard news because it's so easy to forget among all the fun that you are really real live journalists, doing a public service. Way to go, newswomen! 'Funniest Celeb' Charities Get Little Aid (Reliable Source, Sept. 29)

Amy Argetsinger: Thanks, mom!


Where did she come from?: Didn't she grow up in NoVa?

Amy Argetsinger: Lady Gaga? No, she grew up in New York.


Reston, Va.: You know, one of the more interesting things I've read about the Polanski situation is the comment made by his former sister-in-law, Debra Tate. She effectively blocked parole from Susan Atkins who was 85 percent paralyzed and dying from a brain tumor by saying she was a danger to society, yet she has no problem with her brother-in-law, who admitted sodomizing a 13-year-old girl, walking the streets a free man and calls him a 'good guy.' Weirdness.

Roxanne Roberts: It is weird but also human nature. If someone we know/love does something awful, we still see all the parts that are good and that we love. The law focuses on the crime, not the person.


Halloween costumes: A half-naked Boris Yeltsin eating pizza?

Roxanne Roberts: Vodka in one hand, pizza slice in the other. Might be too subtle without a Russian accent.


Leesburg, Va.: Interesting that the same unprintable word ending with "ing" was accidentally uttered both on Saturday Night Live this weekend and by one of our gubernatorial candidates on WTOP. Will you guys be reporting on this? Do you think this slip shows that McDonnell isn't as puritanical as he's purported to be?

Amy Argetsinger: I missed the McDonnell slip-up! But looked up the stories, reading them now. That was two and a half weeks ago.


Handsome McDonnell kids : Ewww, sounds like a planted question by a McDonnell campaign staffer. Puleze

Amy Argetsinger: People are always asking for details about political kids. It's an interest that transcends partisan boundaries.


Cubeville;: My take on the Polanski thing is that the lack of outrage from Hollywood makes me wonder, how often does this sort of thing happen? I know the casting couch is legendary, but how often does this involve 13-year-old girls? And have some of his defenders done the same thing but not been caught? I know that's not fair since they could be defending him for many other reasons, but it's hard for me to make sense of it otherwise.

Amy Argetsinger: Good question.


Halloween costumes: My husband and I have been invited to a Halloween party, costumes required. He'll be wearing his kilt (Black Watch pattern), I will be wearing my costume from my Madrigal singing group. I love dressing up.

Amy Argetsinger: Okay, but what will you "be"? What are you going "as" in those get-ups?


Going Rogue: Sarah Palin has "written" this book in four months and it will be on the shelves for holiday giving. To whom? Trying to imagine if this will be as dense and hard to decipher as some of her speeches? Will she use emoticons so we know when she's sneaking a sly wink at us? Will she address any of the many interesting family and in-law (and nearly in-law) situations in which she has been involved? The mind reels.

Roxanne Roberts: Sarah Palin wrote (we're being generous here) the book for all her fans who will pay retail to read her deep thoughts about life, liberty and the pursuit of free designer clothes.(We kid!)It's her spin on her life, and should be taken with that in mind.

And yes---you can write a book in four months. She could have dictated into a tape recorder, or worked with a ghostwriter, or written it on the back of expense receipts. I'll be curious how many copies it sells: Think of that as an informal poll on her 2012 presidential chances.


ACK. NOT ironic: It is NOT ironic that Woody Allen is supporting Polanski. It is completely consistent. IRONY would be Mia Farrow supporting him. Sigh.

Amy Argetsinger: Thank you, vocabulary police.


Washington, D.C.: "Sigourney Weaver was around yesterday for ocean acidification (she's against). Wilmer Valderrama is around today to talk about Latino civic engagement and promote his Disney Channel show, "Handy Manny Motorcycle Adventure." Cheryl Hines from "Curb Your Enthusiasm" is doing the honors at the United Cerebral Palsy gala tonight. And Joe the Plumber is on the roster of stars for the, ahem, Funniest Celebrity in Washington show tonight."

So, tell me, if you knew that Sigourney Weaver thought that Roman Polanski should be freed, how could you take her seriously on ocean acidification (once we knew what it was)?

Amy Argetsinger: Hey, don't ask us. We didn't go listen Sigourney Weaver talk about ocean acidification. Not that she didn't do a marvelous job of it, I'm sure. Just, you know, busy week.


Washington, D.C.: Kate as a Cougar show idea: I think this would last about, oh, 20 seconds, as very, very few men would seek involvement with a woman who has so publicly demonstrated a narcissistic personality disorder and, oh yeah, has eight toddlers.

Roxanne Roberts: I think the eight kids are the least of it, but we are taking reality TV: She may have tons of potential boyfriends vying for her hand. A new spin on the "The Bachelorette!"


Washington, D.C.: I started to watch Jon and Kate Plus 8 because I thought the kids were so incredibly cute, and because it gave me hope that I could manage if Kate could manage with 8 kids. Now, the show I want to see is Jon and Kate Plus Their Divorce Lawyers, because trying to divide their estate will be some show (Kate makes a small fortune from her books and appearances, and Jon could claim that he helped her earn some of that because it's based on the fame of the entire family).

Roxanne Roberts: Oh yeah--Kate will be the one paying child support to Jon. She's the moneybags of the relationship.


Funniest Celeb: I assume you're not on this year's invitation list.

Roxanne Roberts: You assume we'd want to be?


Palin Land: You are the second WaPo chatter to "wonder how many copies" Sarah Palin's book will sell. Don't you guys know that the conservative book clubs buy thousands of copies of books by Coulter, Beck, Savage, et al in order to drive their place on the best-seller lists?

Roxanne Roberts: That makes sense, although Palin is a rock star compared to the others. I suppose liberal groups do the same thing?


Alexandria, Va.: What's happening with Old Town's Le Gaulois? First it was under new management, then the Web site said "closed for renovation until April 1." Now it's dark with for sale or lease sign.

Amy Argetsinger: From what you're telling me, sounds like it's they've closed the restaurant and the space is now for sale or lease.

That doesn't help, I know. I called their number; no answer. Tough time for restaurants.


Log Lady: Why now? Well, because it's going to be cold, and she wears those huge terrible sweaters.

Amy Argetsinger: You have the right glasses for the costume? And a log?


Cleveland Park, Washington, D.C.: re: who else is/was in town.

Don't forget Tyler Perry.

Amy Argetsinger: That was so last week.


I will be wearing my costume from my Madrigal singing group--ok what will you "be"?: nerds

Amy Argetsinger: Whoa! " is not responsible for any content posted by third parties." So take it outside, kids.


Los Angeles, Calif.: Dear Cubeville: 13-year-old girls? What about 13-year-old boys?

That Polanski is reviled while Michael Jackson is being deified sickens me to the core!

Amy Argetsinger: They're both being reviled in some quarters, they're both being deified in some quarters.


Leesburg, Va.: What's the male version of "governess"? 'Cause I'd totally watch a Gosselinesque version of "The Sound of Music."

Amy Argetsinger: Is that where the word "manny" comes in?


Sarah Palin has "written" this book: I KNEW there was a reason she quit, not just preserving privacy of her (media hungry) family. I KNEW it!

Roxanne Roberts: No annoying conflict of interest now. She's poised to make real money, something that would have been a problem in public office.


Washington, D.C.: It's so horrible what happened in American Samoa.

I was curious, what exactly is the United States' relationship to American Samoa? Is it a territory or something? They have a non-voting delegate in the U.S. House of Representatives like we have Eleanor Holmes Norton, right? They don't get a vote in the general election or even presidential primaries?

It's so to think of American Samoa as part of the United States.

Amy Argetsinger: It's an unincorporated territory. They don't get to vote for president.


Costumes: Not to quibble, but if you wear it normally or rather not as a costume is it still a costume in the Halloween sense? I mean, if you dressed as William Wallace using a kilt that you had on hand that would be one thing, but if you're just wearing your kilt that's dressing up not really putting on a costume.

Amy Argetsinger: You kind of are quibbling, actually. But that's okay with me. That's what this chat is for.


Le Gaulois: declared bankruptcy quite a while ago.

Roxanne Roberts: True. Restaurants are a tough, tough business, especially in a tight economy.


I will be wearing my costume from my Madrigal singing group: If you really wear it in your real life (even if only when you perform), it's not a Halloween costume, it's Madrigal singing night. cop out

Amy Argetsinger: Madrigal, you still there?


Palin: Would she do book signings at Politics and Prose or Kramerbooks?

Amy Argetsinger: That would be awesome, if she did a signing at Politics and Prose. I'm betting... against it.


Sarah Palin's book: Sarah Palin's book is already #3 on Amazon due to pre-sales. It will, no doubt, like Glenn Beck's books, Rush Limbaugh's books, Ann Coulter's books, and Mark Levin's books, reach the top levels of the NYT best-seller list and NOT be reviewed in your newspaper, the hallmark of any book by a conservative.

PS: Liberals also use ghostwriters.

Roxanne Roberts: Everyone famous uses ghostwriters. And we can't imagine it wouldn't be reviewed in this paper: She a huge political figure, not merely a pundit. Personally, I'm dying to know what she wrote, and Amy has a Sarah Palin calendar at her desk. Palin belongs to us all.


Amy Argetsinger: Okay, and that's it for us! Thanks for joining. Stay in touch all week long at


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