Topics: Jesse Jackson's local mistress, Lindsay and Paris's bad weeks, Lack of lion cubs, Christine O'Donnell's witchcraft and more from The Reliable Source

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010; 12:00 PM

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Amy Argetsinger: Good morning! I've been sitting here at my desk doing actual work (yes, at this godforsaken hour of the morning) and utterly lost track of time, so sorry for the late start. Can't account for Roxanne, though. Let's get started.

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Not quite Harry Belefonte...: ..but I saw Ashford and Simpson in the lobby of the Washington Court Hotel last week... I may be dating myself, but they totally rocked in the 80s! He still had the trademark long slick-backed hair and the goatee, and she still looked great. For a split second couldn't remember if they were Peaches and Herb. They probably get that all the time!

Amy Argetsinger: Dang, why didn't you tell us? That's not a half-bad sighting (though naturally I cannot vouch for it, not having done the due dilligence to check it out). You know the drill -- don't wait until Wednesdays and the chat, send it promptly to reliablesource@washpost.com.

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Where are the lion cubs?: The Lion Cub Cam at the zoo has not shown any lion cubs (or for that matter, mom lion) for days. The Sept 17 exam went well - all four may be girls. So where are they? All I have seen for days is an image of an empty den. The time clock is running on the camera image but that does not mean anything. Maybe the expectant lioness had her cubs??

Amy Argetsinger: That would be the pregnant aunt, I guess? I think they would have let us know if the new set of cubs had arrived. I don't know -- the Lion Cam page says that the cubs had their first vet visit last week. Maybe they're still tired from that, or maybe they resent the surveillance and have figured out a way to hide from it.

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The Palins: Why oh why are the Palins on TV all the time?

Amy Argetsinger: I guess they're good for ratings.

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They're here somewhere: Ashley Judd and Jeff Corwin are in DC for an enviro dinner somewhere. I think the dinner is tonight. Best I can do for you.

Amy Argetsinger: I'm sure that's the case. We are super-glutted with celebrity visits this week.

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Joe Kennedy III: Just curious if you been following the career of Joe Kennedy III in Cape Cod?

Amy Argetsinger: This is the redheaded member of Kennedy 4.0 who thought about running for Congress this year but didn't? I haven't much, not beyond that...Just doing the math -- I guess he and Katherine Schwarzenegger would be second cousins. (This is my idiot savant trait: An ability to instantaneously calculate degrees of cousinhood.)

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Paris Hilton: Paris shows all the signs of being an addict. Nevada sure went soft with her plea, and she will get in trouble again

Roxanne Roberts: Jeesh. You'd think people would learn, but they don't. On the bright side: I'm not a huge Chanel fan, but I really like the not-my-purse/okay, my purse she was carrying on the night she was arrested.

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Lindsay Lohan: Are we really surprised that Lindsay Lohan has failed not one, but two drug tests. This girl has obviously not learned anything from her previous 13 days in jail

Amy Argetsinger: Beginning to think she might have a problem.

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My take: Why oh why are the Palins on TV all the time? To respect their privacy of course. I'm watching "Dancing with the Stars" solely to respect the privacy of the Palin kids.

Roxanne Roberts: You are such a good person. It's lamestream media like us who are writing about poor Bristol, who just wants to be left alone.

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Ian Somerhalder: Do you know who Ian Somerhalder is? Heads up that he is suppose to come to Capital Hill tomorrow.

Amy Argetsinger: And he's also doing something here inside the Washington Post building -- some conference about energy policy, maybe? Good looking kid; never understood why he got voted off the island so early on "Lost."

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Christine O'Donnell: Christine O'Donnell was ahead of the times with her witchcraft tales.

Roxanne Roberts: I'm not sure I understand. This is a new trend? I thinking Salem had the jump on her....

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Paris' Purse: She must watch a lot of Cops. Everybody on that show is either driving someone else's car, using someone else's purse, or using someone else's ID.

Roxanne Roberts: It's the all-purpose, go-to answer---and yet, it never seems to work. Someone needs to get a new scriptwriter.

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Hilton: Has there been any fallout from her pleading guilty? Like losing contracts and endorsements?

Amy Argetsinger:

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you're right about second cousins.: He's also very involved in local Cape Cod Democratic politics.

Amy Argetsinger: Curious to know how you're related to a cousin-like relative? Just email me with the details of who is descended from whom, and I'll tell you whether you're second cousins once removed, or first cousins twice removed, or third cousins, or whatever. I should start a business, really.

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Bristol Palin: Bristol Palin did much better than I expected on Dancing with the Stars - but that's not saying much. On the other hand, Hasselhoff was much worse than I expected. I don't know why I assumed he would be a great dancer.

Roxanne Roberts: I think because he has a light, playful quality about him---so maybe we assumed it would translate into grace on the dance floor. What's more intersting is how few of his fans bothered to pick up the phone in his defense.

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Scott Baio: You have missed the big story of the day -- Scott Baio is 50 today. Please celebrate accordingly.

Amy Argetsinger: Does this mean we should also be celebrating the fifth anniversary of "Scott Baio is 45 and Single"?

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Political endorsements: Should the Reliable Source endorse political candidates, like the editorial pages do? I'm in favor of you guys telling us which candidates would be best for gossip and humor. For example, newspapers editorial boards may not support Christine O'Donnell, but there is no question she is better for your pages.

Amy Argetsinger: No, it would be wrong for us to bring our massive influence to bear on the national electorate. Instead, after every congressional election, we review the results to determine whether they were Good for Gossip or Bad for Gossip. Really looking forward to it this year.

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Something is not right with the lion cubs: The National Zoo makes lion cub pix, videos, keeper updates, and a live cam available but now there's radio silence about them? Isn't your spider sense tingling at least a little? I will be crushed if there is bad news but I will be peeved beyond words if the zoo is in cover up mode (again) and you are abetting them (even accidentally).

Roxanne Roberts: I was wondering the same thing: I went to the cub cam in the last days and saw nothing. I dug around the website for an update, but nothing. I'm a little freaked out, to tell you the truth. I just want to know they're okay.

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SAY IT AIN'T SO!: Missy Salahi claims on her Facebook page this morning that she will be "co-hosting" The Today Show during the 10-11 hour this Friday. If true, then the time has come to REPENT, ye sinners, for surely the apocalypse is well-nigh at hand.

Amy Argetsinger: Lisa de Moraes tells us this is true: NBC News has made this decision. Make your own decisions.

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Ian Somerhalder story: True story. My brother was at a bar in a Vancouver airport, looking at the tiny plane he was about to get on, and thinking, with trepidation: Holy #$%&, that looks like the plane that killed Boone. Who then sat next to him in the bar? Ian Somerhalder. My brother chatted him up. He was, unsurprisingly, quite angry to have been the first person voted off - sorry, killed off - the island. What was surprising was how open he was about it.

Amy Argetsinger: He's sort of like the Pete Best of "Lost."

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Salahi on Today: Does this mean that Kathie Lee Gifford will try to crash the next White House party ?

Amy Argetsinger: Hey, why not? Sounds like she's endorsing the practice.

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Jesse Jackson Jr.: Do y'all have any scoop on Giovana Huidobro, the "DC restaurant hostess"/alleged Jesse Jackson Jr. mistress?

Amy Argetsinger: Apparently she's worked at Ozio for a few years.

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Salahi, Hoda and Kathie Lee?: SNL will have to bring Will Forte back to play Ms. Salahi while Kristen Wigg and Jenny Slate play their usual roles.

Amy Argetsinger: Oh, you mean because Kristin Wiig can't do both roles? Funny...

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The Hoff: I'm not that surprised The Hoff got voted off. All the while I was watching him dance, I kept seeing visions of him trying to eat that burger. I figure voters questioned whether he could go the distance -- if you know what I mean -- and decided to vote more a more deserving person ... like The Situation!

Amy Argetsinger: Okay, I'm about to show my hand as a cultural ignorant and say... The Hoff got voted off?Yeah, it's true. Haven't watched.

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Witchcraft: My question about this is why and how did Christine O'Donnell come to participate on Maher's show so many years ago ?

Roxanne Roberts: Don't know. Maher cast a wide net for his "Politically Incorrect" show and O'Donnell cast herself as a conservative pundit---so producers probably put her on because she was young, female, and outspoken. The perfect guest for a show like that.

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Bristol, the anti-Palin: I admit, I secretly love the fact that Bristol is getting all this attention. Clearly she is in a phase in her life where she was rebelling against mom (see: teen pregnanacy and multiple engagements to Levi). It's a little ridiculous for her to try to be an abstinence spokesperson because her life is looking pretty good right now. But I like that she's off doing things Mom can't control. Go Bristol!

Amy Argetsinger: Are you one of those people who believes reality TV is real? You really believe this is something Sarah Palin *isn't* controlling?

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"Japan wouldn't let her enter the country. ... Paris gave up and flew home on her private jet this morning.": Why are bad things always happening to good people?

Roxanne Roberts: Because they can't convince their boyfriends to carry their cocaine. Sad, isn't it?

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How am I related to : Our grandfathers are brothers. (my maternal grandfather, and his paternal grandfather).

Amy Argetsinger: You and Wayne are second cousins -- congratulations!

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Maeve Townsend: Maeve Townsend, daughter of former Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend of Maryland, making her a first cousin of Joe Kennedy III and second cousin of Katherine Schwarzenegger, is also apparently a Kennedy clan member to keep an eye on.

Amy Argetsinger: Also, her yoga-teacher sister Meaghan. See how flexible she is? Here's her website.

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New Sweden: Considering how Delaware is such an old colonial state (actually it was originally New Sweden and Sweden's only North American colony), so there must be some witch hunt history and legends there.

Roxanne Roberts: Oh heck, there were which hunt stories in almost every colony. I don't think that explains Ms. O'Donnell.

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Answer about the lion cub cam: From the National Zoo's website re: the lion cub camera: Note about the cub cam: After Shera's cubs had their first vet exam on September 17, the keepers gave Shera access to another den. After the exam, Shera was brought inside with the cubs. She spent several minutes grooming the cubs. After about an hour, as expected she calmly moved her cubs to the new den. She may have chosen to move the cubs because staff had accessed the first den, but she also may have moved them to the new den simply because it was a new space. Now it appears that this new den is where Shera and cubs have denned up. Unfortunately, that den is identical to this one in every way except that it does not have a webcam, and we are not able to move webcams between dens. Shera still has access to the den with the cam, but she has chosen not to bring the cubs back there. Our biggest goal with Shera is to keep her as stress-free as possible, and that means offering her choices as to where she feels the most comfortable. We hope that she will elect to bring the cubs back into the den with the cam, but that is completely up to her.

Amy Argetsinger: See, they're totally avoiding the surveillance. Just like that cute CIA-like agent on "Rubicon," who hooked up with the cute girl across the street so he could get away from his bugged apartment. (Am I the only person watching this?)

Roxanne Roberts: Okay, I feel better. But man, I'm in trouble without the cub cam. You'd think it wouldn't be that hard to move.

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SNL Kotb: Maybe Kristen Wiig will have to do all three roles, because Jenny Slate was not asked back for this season....

Amy Argetsinger: Ah, indeed...

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Relationships: OK, so how am I related to my cousin's daughter? I've always wondered about this.

Amy Argetsinger: First cousins once removed.You're welcome.

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Palins and Politics: Why is Bristol getting all the press when Piper is the cute one ? Wasn't she supposed to host a show with Mike Huckabee or something. BTW what happened to him ?

Amy Argetsinger: Word -- where is Piper? Why isn't she hosting her own Disney Channel talk show yet? She's a major star. Two years ago I wanted to pitch a series about the Palin kids going around the country solving mysteries in a bus driven by Mike Huckabee -- but internal dynamics forced me to scuttle that idea. (Basically, Levi ruined everything.) So now I'm pinning all my hopes on Piper's show.

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Rubicon?: I've never even heard of that one. What channel is that on? How hot are the male leads - hot enough to distract from poor acting?

Amy Argetsinger: hair now, and he's ADORABLE. The acting is very good throughout.

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Cousins: You know that you can pick any answer out of the air and none of us would know the difference, right?

Amy Argetsinger: This is the tragedy of my idiot-savant genius: It's like I'm the only speaker of an obscure language. So what if I know the proper terminology, if no one else does?

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Fort Christina is just one vowel off from Christine: Random factoid that I know from having Delaware in-laws is that Wilmington was originally founded as Fort Christina in 1638 and is named after Sweden's then girl regent, Queen Christina. Although they switched the name when New Sweden was subjugated by Colony of New Netherland.Christina River, which flows through Wilmington, is still a remind of the New Sweden days.

Roxanne Roberts: You never know what you're going to learn on this chat. I thought all the Swedes in America were in Minnesota, but they came 200 years later.

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Hollywood Wedding in New Jersey: So Kelly McGillis tied the knot ( again ) and this time with another chick ! Wow! Do you think her daughters were bridesmaids for Mom ?

Roxanne Roberts:

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Takers: So I followed your advice and went and saw Takers. What a movie. But my question -- is Idris Elba seven feet tall or is TI a midget?

Amy Argetsinger:

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But man, I'm in trouble without the cub cam. You'd think it wouldn't be that hard to move.: Maybe Shera has heard so much bad stuff about Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears and Kate Gosselin that she's decided pushing her kids into the spotlight isn't a great idea.

Amy Argetsinger: Shera has totally soured on the reality TV thing, and I don't blame her.

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Me and my cousins: It always annoys me when people get the cousins thing all wrong. So, thank you for helping people out. You are providing a wonderful service

Amy Argetsinger: My pleasure.

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You know that you can pick any answer out of the air and none of us would know the difference, right?: Except there are some who will check all the answers and come back with a "you were so wrong" next week.

Amy Argetsinger: No, they won't, because I am correct.

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Cub Cam-Gate: I believe this issue has been covered in the keepers update regarding their exam last week. The momma lion smells the scent of the humans on her cubs therefore she is "hiding" them in another location of their den which doesn't have a cam (sux to be the sponsor of the cam!). It is expected that at some point the lioness will return her cubs to the original den. Call me the crazy cat lady!

Roxanne Roberts: Just when they were getting so cute. I want my cubs back.

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Do you do in-laws too?: I know my sister's husband is my brother-in-law, but his siblings are what to me? Nothing?

Amy Argetsinger: His siblings are nothing to you -- nothing!Ha, ha, just kidding. I'm sure they're not nothing. But our society has not yet devised a terminology for this relationship -- which in some families is close, in others is non-existant. It has no official standing. You can call them your in-law-in-laws. Or your outlaws. Or simply, just your friends.

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Dina Lohan: How will Dina Lohan be able to freeload off her daughter, if she is going to be spending time in jail?

Roxanne Roberts: Getting her daughter to pay the legal bills? Sending out for pizza? There must be a way.

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Jimmy Bell: So this lawyer who got charged $2 more than his lady friend for a manicure was so upset he couldn't go to dinner? Such drama!

Amy Argetsinger: I figured the $200K damages request would raise some eyebrows. But how about the issue at the center of this -- is it right that they charge men $2 more? Why should men pay $2 more?

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Piper not as 'bad': Bristol Palin gets major press because everybody likes the bad girl. She's like the Palin 'Rebel without a cause'.

Amy Argetsinger: Bad girl? I don't think that's quite fair... I think it's just that the entire family, love them or hate them, is undeniably FASCINATING. It's called charisma.

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new TV season: I know about what your colleagues said I should watch with the new TV season. But what about you? What new shows are you watching?

Roxanne Roberts: Honestly, not a thing. I've been swamped and haven't had a chance to watch anything---well, except poker and football, but I'm guessing you meant a comedy/drama/miniseries.

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More Than a Sighting!: Ok, so I have to share this one. I work at a department store in Lancaster, PA. Two Saturdays a ago two guys dressed in black -- they weren't Amish -- walk into the better sportswear department. One looked vaguely familiar. He comes up to me with a pair of black pants and gives me his AMEX. It's Alice Cooper. I told him I knew he was someone and he asked me to keep it quiet. So we start chatting and I ask him what he's doing "here" meaning the mall. He says he's in Lancaster for a show. I clarify myself and ask why isn't he out looking at the Amish and he says they're not really his fan base. He had really nice teeth -- I wondered if they were veneers.

Amy Argetsinger: Where have you been all this chat? I don't care if this story is true -- it's the most entertaining thing I've heard all day. Thank you for sharing.

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Royalty Rocks !: Which one of you gets to cover the next Royal Wedding ? Will that be Prince Albert's nups or is there another blue blood wedding coming up sooner ?

Amy Argetsinger: Ah, you see, these royal weddings tend to be overseas... Most likely one of our foreign correspondents.

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Cub update!: Via twitter: Many congrats to @NationalZoo and Luke & Nababiep on the birth of three new cubs: http://wldc.us/bW80rR

Amy Argetsinger: Twitter. Of course.

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Ask the zoo to post the cub-moving video!: Because, dang, that would be adorable. >^.^<

Roxanne Roberts: Yes, it would. And I have to say your kittie emoticon is also adorable.

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Hilton's sentence: The no-nonsense judge sentenced herj to probation and community service. I'm wondering what her service will be. Going to a battered woman's shelter, or a halfway house for coke addicts, and tell women how to pick out a nifty Chanel purse? I imagine when some current coke users or sellers see the sentence Paris got, they'll think twice about their lifestyles. This could be a new line on "Cops": "Just remember what happened to Paris." Sadly, I think we'll always have Paris.

Amy Argetsinger: Hey, Paris walked away without any jail time. That should be an inspiration to most users.

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I knew Dick Cheney was old, but this is just silly: Doesn't that look like Dick Cheney in the background of FDR's State of the Union speech?

Amy Argetsinger: That was back in the era when all men looked like Dick Cheney.

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Kelly McGillis Wedding: I was hoping Maverick, Goose, Iceman, Jester, Viper, Couger and Merlin would have all been invited

Amy Argetsinger: Ford.

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No, they won't, because I am correct.: Well, I only meant that would happen if you just pulled an answer out of a thin air.

Amy Argetsinger: Oh, gotcha.

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Bristol has charisma?: You've got to be kidding. She froze up whenever asked a question by Brooke Burke.

Amy Argetsinger: Charisma isn't about speaking ability. It's the reason people pay attention to you despite it.

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But how about the issue at the center of this -- is it right that they charge men $2 more? Why should men pay $2 more?: No, they should not pay more. Especially since they aren't getting polish (usually). But, I still think he reaction was overly dramatic. You can sue them, and still enjoy your dinner out that night.

Amy Argetsinger: I tell you, when I talked to him on the phone, he got very worked up about the matter all over again.

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O'Donnell's financial wizardry : When asked how she has no income, she claimed she is doing freelance public relations work "for an artist." Oh, yeah, as someone who spent 10 years as an ad and PR freelancer, I know those artists are always dropping by with 10k monthly retainers. Seriously, what this woman really has to fear is not her zany past appearances with Maher, but all the financial stuff, including the fact that she seems to have, in past candidacies, used campaign contributions for living expenses.

Roxanne Roberts: And I want to know what's happening to the money flooding in for her campaign now.

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How I'm related: Here's another: My great-great-grandparents had two sons. One son is my great-grandfather. I met a relative who is the grandson of the other son. What would our relationship be? My head hurts thinking about it, but I assume I've got a "removed" in there.

Amy Argetsinger: You are second cousins once removed. If this distant relative has a child, then that child is your third cousin.

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Cousins: My grandfather Melvin had a brother, Forrest. How is my father related to Forrest's children, and how am I related to Forrest's grandchildren? Always wondered this!!

Amy Argetsinger: Your father is a first cousin of Forrest's children. You are Forrest's grandchildren are second cousins.

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Re: cousins: No, no. I'm all over this subject too, and I'm watching you. Perfect so far.

Amy Argetsinger: Thank you.

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Dancing Bristol: Do you think Bristol would win DWTS because all of the tea baggers and supporters would vote for her to prove how much power they feel Palin has? Do you think the produces thought of that?

Amy Argetsinger: I think producers only think in terms of how many people are going to watch -- they could care less who wins. It's not like "American Idol" where they're stuck promising a contract to the winner.

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Hey, Paris walked away without any jail time. That should be an inspiration to most users.: She fessed up. If you don't fess up you do jail time. If you fess up, you get probation.

Amy Argetsinger: What about if you snitch?

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Map prices for a mani-pedi: Hey, women pay more at the dry cleaners for their blouses than men do for their shirts. Has this guy sued cleaners? I figure the salon deserves to charge more since his feet and hands must be bigger than the average woman; he's using up more lotion and pumice stone for his services.

Roxanne Roberts: By that argument, we'd have to charge airline seats by weight for the cost of fuel. Not happening anytime soon.

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President's late mother and Harry Belafonte: To quote Pres. Obama's late mother, Dr. S. Ann Dunham-Soetoro: "Harry Belafonte is the best-looking man on the planet."Think she's right.

Amy Argetsinger: One could make a compelling argument in Belafonte's favor.

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D-List Celebrity Relation: Tying all the themes of today's chat together. My grandmother was first cousin to Joan River's late husband Edgar. Which means I'm related to her no-talent daughter Melissa, who I've never met and don't really want to meet. But what level of cousins are Melissa and me?

Amy Argetsinger: Second cousins once removed.

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Crazy like a fox: Do you think Christine O'Donnell and her wackiness are helping taking media attention of other wacky candidates like Sharron Angle and Rand Paul in states where they are a real shot of winning?

Amy Argetsinger: However you feel about these candidates -- at the end of the day, it's really about what's going on within Delaware, Nevada, or Kentucky, more so than the national news coverage.

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Money into O'Donnell's campaign: Very good point, Roxanne. Delaware is tiny, she doesn't have to be TV in major media markets. A full accounting after November will be intriguing.

Roxanne Roberts:

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LiLo: She was not in rehab long enough. Addiction/recovery is a rough road...90 days barely scratches the surface. Why do they keep letting her out of 20 days?

Roxanne Roberts: Because she had good lawyers. Maybe they won't be able to keep her out this time.

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Amy Irving: I'm pretty sure I saw Amy Irving on Monday night, eating dinner a few feet away from me at Logan Tavern. Have you heard anything about her being in town? If it wasn't her, it was her twin.

Amy Argetsinger: Sigh. You know the routine. Next time, go up to her and say, "I'm sorry -- are you Amy Irving? Oh my god, I LOVED 'Crossing Delancey'! What brings you to town?" And then you email us at -- well, you know the drill.I don't know about Amy Irving in particular, but there are so darned many stars in town this week, who knows?

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cousins.: The way I learned 'em was in my Trusts and Estates class in law school. The book had a chart for intestacy inheritance and had all the names of the relations each step away from the decedent you'd look for an heir.

Amy Argetsinger: I'm so glad this has a usefulness somewhere.

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The Hoff: David Hasselhoff reportedly has bad knees, which is what made his dancing so rickety. Sure, I feel for the guy, but not enough to have voted for him *just because* he's the Hoff.

Roxanne Roberts: If he has bad knees, he had no business doing the show. Dumb.

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Fall TV: What new fall tv shows should I be watching? Any recommendations?

Amy Argetsinger: Ask Hank Stuever -- or rather, consult his masterful Fall TV Preview from this past weekend. Link to follow.

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Jodi Westrick: Catch what's new here.

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Lion cubs: The other lion had three cubs this morning, so she was probably in the birthing den for the past few days, hence the lack of video.

Roxanne Roberts: OMG! Cute overload coming to a computer near you!Well, I'm too excited about the cubs to think sad thoughts about Paris or Lindsay or the Hoff. Plus we've got a column to write. Send you tips and sightings to reliablesource@washpost.com. Oh, and enjoy the last blast of Indian summer!


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