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Lloyd Grove
Lloyd Grove
The Reliable Source
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The Reliable Source
Hosted by Lloyd Grove
Washington Post Staff Writer

Friday, June 06, 2003; 11:00 a.m. ET

Got a rumor to dispel or confirm? Looking for dirt on your favorite or most-hated Washington celebrity? Ask "The Reliable Source" columnist Lloyd Grove.

Grove, a 20-year veteran of The Washington Post, has been writing The Reliable Source column in the Style section since May 1999.

Grove grew up in Los Angeles and Greenwich, Conn. He was an English major at Yale and worked for the Kansas City Times (now defunct, we think), the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and the Dallas Morning News before joining the Post on the Weekend section, where for a few years he reviewed practically every live theater show that opened in D.C., including a few in church basements.

From there, he joined Style as a general assignment writer with a special interest in politics, and spent a year and a half covering the 1988 presidential campaign for the National staff. In 1991 -- after an ill-advised book leave -- he returned to Style and served as a political reporter, with occasional detours into television and movie coverage. He also has written extensively for Vanity Fair magazine.

A transcript follows.

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

Lloyd Grove: Good morning, all. Let's get to it.


Kensington, Md.: Lloyd, how did a day in the life of a Saudi executioner make its way into a D.C. gossip column? Slow week?

Lloyd Grove: I thought it was the most interesting story I saw all week.


Chantilly, Va: Lloyd,

While surfing channels during the news hour, I came across Channel 9 with a female, first name Gurvir, or something like that. What's her story ?

BTW, this does not change my loyalty to the Wendy Rieger fan club.

Lloyd Grove: Good lord, Gurvir has been there for years and years! But I guess this shows she is finally getting traction in this market.


Re: Muhammad Saad Al-Beshi: That is one sick dude.

Lloyd Grove: He seems happy.


New York, N.Y.: Re: "Dating issues"

I was in the lingerie section of Bloomingdale's earlier this week, and one of the sales associates was chatting loudly on the cash-wrap phone. She kept loudly checking a credit card name and number, like two or three times, and then she said, "So we'll ship that to her at the ___ Street NW address?" She had a piece of paper on the counter, and it was Theresa's Heinz's info -- her name, her address, all her credit card info, two phone numbers ... There were about three customers and two other sales clerks within earshot. Sheesh, don't you think salespeople should be a little more discreet with this kind of info, whether it's someone famous or not?

Lloyd Grove: Wow. Can we have a private conversation about this? E-mail your fane number to grovel@washpost.com.


Tysons Corner:: Hey Lloyd, I was surprised to read about former Mass. Gov. William Weld's recent wedding. His marriage to his first wife seemed so solid. What's the scoop?

Lloyd Grove: He has Leslie Marshall, formerly married to Ben Bradlee's son Dino, have been dating for a few years. I gather the Welds, Bill and Sukie, have been estranged for at least that long.


Alexandria, Va.: Lloyd -

First of all, I love your sessions. Thanks!

Second, both my fiance and I are D.C. natives and we do our fair share of going out, both in the city and in the suburbs. How 'come we have never seen you throwing back a few? Where do you usually hang out, if you don't mind me asking ...

Again, thanks!

Lloyd Grove: You're probably there too late, when I have finished "throwing back a few" and have entered the mode of "snoring back a few." But generally I am here there and everywhere, and occasionally in my saloon-invested neighborhood of Adams Morgan.


Castle Shannon, Pa.: Have you been following the dust-up between Roger Ebert and that film director? Is this all tongue-in-cheek or is that director just a bit wacky?

Lloyd Grove: Tongue in cheek on Roger's part, wacky on the director's part is my theory. I have only been paying scant attention to their repartee via Jim Romenesko's media gossip site.


Saudi BeHeader ... : I thought one credo of newspaper folk was that the pen is mightier than the sword. Was there some allegorical message in your story today?

Lloyd Grove: Nah. Just doing one of our periodic lifestyles reports from Jiddah.


Oxford UK: Spoken to anyone in the Pentagon lately?

Lloyd Grove: Torie Clarke was at the Radio TV correspondents dinner, as was her boss Rummy. Had a brief chat with Torie. Why?


12th Floor Metro Center: Have you ever thought about changing your name to Spike?

Lloyd Grove: No, but I'm sure you have an amusing reason for asking ... which is?


Washington, D.C.: Too bad Sen. Kerry doesn't remember D-Day, too.

Lloyd Grove: Yes, somebody has already pointed that out to me. Of course I remember when Bush 41 did a whole riff on the importance of Pearl Harbor Day on SEPTEMBER 9. Bit embarrassing, that.


College Park, Md.: Re: your execution bit in today's paper: I don't see how it really fit in the overall purpose of providing gossipy news. Isn't that what the Reliable Source is all about? Was there a slow gossip week? I mean, don't get me wrong, I read it; it was interesting. Just that it seemed misplaced.

Lloyd Grove: Well, I thought it fit perfectly in my mission here -- bringing you fascinating personality items from around the globe!


Southern Maryland: After helping my wife organize several parties for friends and relatives recently, I think I understand why Martha Stewart generates so much hatred.

In real life, throwing a party can be incredibly stressful. It doesn't matter whether it's birthday bash for your 5-year-old or a $500-a-plate fund-raiser. Keeping all the details straight is a challenge for even the most organized people. Martha seems to be able to throw exquisitely perfect parties without suffering an iota of stress. Either she makes her staff handle all the last-minute crises, or she's a robot.

Lloyd Grove: I am eagerly looking forward to her much-anticipated Prison Tea Times.


Celebrity Brauction: Lloyd, would this make good fodder for your column? (Bras Across RFK Brauction) A number of Washington celebrities have donated bras to help raise money to fight breast cancer.

Lloyd Grove: Sounds good. wonder why no one thought it give me some support on this one?


Little Bunny Foo Foo: Would O'Reilly talk to you now?

Lloyd Grove: I doubt it. Except to say something nasty perhaps. I saw him from a distance, and I kept that distance, the other night at the Washington Hilton.


Old Town, Alexandria, Va.: Oh come one ... Martha isn't ever going to do any jail time.

Lloyd Grove: You're correct, no doubt. But then again, Leona Helmsley was certain SHE wasn't going behind bars.


Oxford UK: Oh, I just wanted to hear if you had any source like Nick Kristof's in today's times.
"As an employee of the Defense Intelligence Agency, I know how this administration has lied to the public to get support for its attack on Iraq."


Lloyd Grove: No I'm afraid Nick Kristoff beats my butt in the anonymous DIA source with a political agenda dept.


They help him clean his sword: I couldn't help chuckling at that!

Lloyd Grove: Fun for the whole family!


Alexandria, Va.: Hey! Maybe if Martha Stewart skips the country (Run, Martha, run!) she can do my wedding in England ...

Lloyd Grove: Just because she'd be a fugitive, don't go thinking she would drop her price.


washingtonpost.com: Reliable Source (May 6)


Bethesda, Md.: Lloyd -

I read today that A&E is going to make a movie about the Clinton's and that Sharon Stone of all people is in talks to play Hillary! Interesting casting. Is this to be based on the new Hillary book?

Lloyd Grove: I gather it's to be based on Gail Sheehy's "Hillary's Choice."


Washington, D.C.: If you change your name to Spike, you could get sued by Spike Lee. (He's suing TNN for changing its name to Spike as it positions itself as a men's network. I miss the days when it was the Nashville Network and had a Florence Henderson cooking show.)

Lloyd Grove: Then maybe I WILL change my name to Spike!


Dupont, Washington, D.C.: "Re: Muhammad Saad Al-Beshi: That is one sick dude."

You realize there are folks who make a living putting people to death right here in the good ol' U.S. of A., don't you? But newspapers just don't usually do features on them ...

Lloyd Grove: Well, I'm certain they don't go around giving celebrity interviews like this guy.


Lincoln Park, Washington, D.C.: Why search for executioners in Saudi Arabia, when there are plenty available here in the United States? It would be interesting to take a peek into their minds as well.

Lloyd Grove: See answer above.
Also there's something quite, well, up close and personal about chopping somebody's head off with a sword (that is, when not sawing off their limbs with a knife).


Arlington, Va.: I heard a few years ago that John Kerry got a chin implant before he ran for the Senate. True?

Lloyd Grove: I would think not.
At least I would HOPE not.


Re: Muhammad Saad Al-Beshi:: I wonder if he plays "this little piggie went to market" any differently then the rest of us ??

Lloyd Grove: LOL.


Oxford, UK: Oh I forgot your wife works for Sen. Frist. Sorry

Lloyd Grove: Wrong.


Bethesda, Md.: His family sometimes helps him clean his sword!? Yick! Now there's something they wouldn't show on The Brady Bunch!

Lloyd Grove: It might make a funny scene for the fifth remake.


Seattle, Wash.: I understand that prior to your stint at the Reliable Source, you accompanied Hillary on a campaign tour years back. From your observations was she so disconnected from reality then as she is now? It is just not credible to think that while the entire country was in an uproar over the Monica/Bill interface, she wasn't asking tough questions of him. If she is so undiscerning about people and their motives and actions, how can she possibly be considered qualified to deal with world leaders should she ever be elected to the White House?

Lloyd Grove: Well, apparently she says in the book -- and in the Barbara Walters interview -- that she cross-examined him relentlessly and he didn't crack till the very end. And don't worry, she's one sharp cookie. Wait, am I allowed to mention cookies and Hillary in the same sentence?


Virginia Did Clinton's lawyer, Kendall, actually told Hillary two days before Bill confessed to her?

Lloyd Grove: Well Kendall insists he did not. But Peter Baker published this anecdote more than two years ago, and it received wide attention at the time -- and nobody has challenged it till now.


Arlington, Va.: Re: Kerry's chin. I heard it from a well-connected Bostonian who worked on the Hill at the time.

Lloyd Grove: Well if you want to e-mail me privately I will pursue this chin thing.


Washington, D.C.: I wonder what Hillary thinks of Tammy Wynette's "Stand By Your Man" being the top country song of all time.

Lloyd Grove: Well I think she addressed that question on "60 Minutes" back during the New Hampshire primary in 1992: She's no Tammy Wynette.


Oxford, UK: I just linked your column on my blog. Is that okay with you?

Lloyd Grove: Not only is it okay, it is an honor!


Bethesda, Md.: Maybe Martha could go in with John Walsh to produce something like America's Most Wanted Lifestyle Mavens. Or with Trading Spaces on Trading Cells. Or with Louis Rukeyser on ...

Lloyd Grove: The jokes will be endless, of course.


Conspiracy Theory Central: Do you think Hillary timed the "leak" from her upcoming "memoirs" to divert attention away from her husband's canceled "60 Minutes" segment?

Lloyd Grove: NO!!!!
That leak was a disaster for her, Simon & Schuster, ABC News, and Time Magazine, all of which have a financial stake in the book's success at the proper moment. The Associated Press threw a monkey wrench into those carefully calibrated plans.


Washington, D.C.: Hi Lloyd. Do you have to be famous to have your own lawyer? I mean, I know who I'd probably call if I needed legal advice or representation, but I wouldn't actually call any one particular person "my lawyer." Sounds like it'd be neat to have one, a boost to the ol' status and ego. Am I wrong here?

Lloyd Grove: Not famous. Just litigious.


Spike Grove: What would New York Avenue have to say about that?

Lloyd Grove: New York Avenue no longer exists, alas.


Fairfax, Va.: So, Hillary had no idea about the truth with Monica before Aug 15? How can anyone MISS a pattern here -- Genifer Flowers, Paula Jones? ... I have a hard time believing that one. Oh well, still like them both no matter what.

And Lloyd, please, please, please don't go to NYC!! We need you too much here!

Lloyd Grove: Fair points, both. Many thanks.


Boston, Mass.: Re executioners at home, please see, for example, Errol Morris' documentary "Mr. Death," about the guy who worked on electric chairs but then got blacklisted for testifying that the holocaust never happened.

Truly weird, disturbing guy.

Lloyd Grove: See, he's probably not a family man like our friend in Jiddah.


Oxford, UK: Sorry about that. Is someone remotely connected to you remotely connected to Sen. Frist? I don't know why I thought that.

Lloyd Grove: Yes, my girlfriend works in the majority leader's office, but believe me, you can't do this job without having friends -- and enemies -- on both sides of the aisle.


Washington, D.C.: But U.S. executioners have given interviews, broadcast on NPR about a year ago. You can listen here: "Witness to an Execution"

"In a broadcast journalism first, the documentary is narrated by Warden Jim Willett, overseer of all Texas Executions, and is told through the voices of the men and women who have participated in or witnessed as many as 162 executions. Many of those interviewed have never before spoken to the press."

Lloyd Grove: Thanks for the link.
Interesting stuff.


Arlington, Va,: Lloyd, saw you on TV the other day. Like the new glasses, but ... how can I say this? I think you need to visit the gym a little more often. Love ya', guy.

Lloyd Grove: You are sooo very right. Did you have to?


Springfield, Va.: Re: Kerry's chin -- Who really cares? Would that make any difference on how he would run the country if he were elected?

Lloyd Grove: We care about everything involving those who seek the presidency.


Oxford, UK: You know, before 9-11 they called George W "Mr. Death" in the French press. I guess they always had it in for him.

Lloyd Grove: Well there have been all those executions in Texas, but my impression is that the governor of that state doesn't have all that much direct control over the process. I may be wrong but that's what I remember reading during the campaign.


Where, Lloyd, Oh Where: Can I see you on TV?

Lloyd Grove: I might be on CNN tonight ... 8:45 pm or so perhaps. They just called me to do a pre-tape. Got to go to the Opera Ball tonight so I can't do it live.


Northern Virginia: Many pro-death penalty citizens claim to be family oriented. Isn't it kind of odd that to teach people that killing is wrong, we kill them?

Lloyd Grove: One of life's -- or rather death's -- paradoxes.


Annandale, Va.: Kerry's chin implant matters not. His real challenge will be trying to stop people from calling him "The Tall Dukakis."

Lloyd Grove: LOL.


Arlington, Va.: The item on the Saudi executioner reminded me of a bit years ago from the "Lazlo letters," in which D.C.'s own Don Novello (aka, Fr. Guido Sarducci) wrote fake letters to world leaders as a flat-earther nut named Lazlo Toth. One of them was a letter to the Saudi king in which Lazlo complained that he had heard a rumor that the Saudis were planning on using anesthesia when they cut off thieves hands and warned that this coddling gave criminals the wrong message.

The spokesman for the Saudi embassy apparently remembers this letter, but never realized it was a prank.

Lloyd Grove: Speaking of which, I actually thought the story was a hoax when I first read it. I have since been assured, repeatedly, that is the real deal. The ARAB NEWS editor e-mailed me today: "Quote with confidence."


Bridget Grove's Diary: Shame on the person suggesting a workout. How rude! We love you just as you are.

Lloyd Grove: No, that person is right.


New York, N.Y.: I'm very sorry to hear about New York Ave., Lloyd.

Lloyd Grove: It's just that she works on Capitol Hill now.


Eastern Market: So you're back on the market, Lloyd? Sorry for you, but lucky for all us gals!

Lloyd Grove: HAhahahaha.
No see answer above.
But maybe this will keep that Bill Frist aide on her toes.


Washington, D.C.: Do you think Jim Vance likes Wendy Rieger -- not in a girlfriend type way, rather in a sharing anchoring duties with her way. It seems to me that he is frowning when he is working with her.

Lloyd Grove: Well I like Jim and I like Wendy, so I can't imagine that they wouldn't like each OTHER.


Chevy Chase, Md.: Heard Jay Leno actually donated part if his chin to Kerry.

Lloyd Grove: Oy.


NYPL: Do you have any juicy tidbits to offer about the late theatrical producer Joseph Papp? He comprises my entire professional life at the moment, so I'm dying for something not related to A Chorus Line.

Lloyd Grove: He's still dead.


New York, N.Y.: Are you really laughing out loud when you LOL?

Lloyd Grove: What is this, the Spanish Inquisition?


Kerry's Chin: While you're looking for answers on that, why not look into whether Bill Frist has performed any chin implants as a doctor. I mean, shouldn't this issue be explored from both sides of the aisle, essential as it is to our fledgeling democracy?

Lloyd Grove: No, I believe his specialty is reaching into people's chests and pulling their hearts out.


Seattle, Wash.: Hi Lloyd,

Of the current flock of democratic presidential hopefuls, which do you think would provide you with the most fodder for your column? Also, read the other day about a thick file of dirt on Condi Rice, any inside scoop?

Lloyd Grove: Kerry is a pretty rich vein. Al Sharpton is almost too easy. Gephardt is death on gossip.
I only know what I printed about the alleged "dirt file."


New Jersey: What do you mean, "NY Ave. no longer exists"?

Lloyd Grove: The correspondent is no longer at that location, is what I mean.


Queens, N.Y.: Hey Lloyd, long time, no etc. ...

First, I have to disassociate myself from the correspondent referring to herself (or hisself) as New York, N.Y. I was using that for while, but I defer as I've been away for awhile. You're welcome.

Next, your piece on Hillary yesterday came off as really snide. Do you dislike the senator personally or is this "memoir sarcasm"? In your business, I'd guess you look at everyone with a raised eyebrow, but it was way too censorious.

Lloyd Grove: I didn't think it was snide, though I will admit to introducing a skeptical tone. After all, there were two published sources in apparent disagree with her account, and this wouldn't be the first time that Hillary's rendering of events raised eyebrows.


K Street: Is Marion Berry still living on the "gated" street in Anacostia (w/the #4 ex-Mrs. Berry) or has he moved back downtown?

I'm a bit nostalgic for Marion News ...

Lloyd Grove: He is separated from his wife Cora Masters, who lives in the house, while he has an apartment two blocks from where I am sitting tapping this out to you.


Silver Spring, Md.: Lloyd my good man. You simply can't go to NYC. All the rats are deserting the sinking ship of journalism there. Stay where people love and need you.

Not Lloyd's mom

Lloyd Grove: Thanks for your vote of support.


Washington, D.C.: OK, I'm now officially confused by Hillary Clinton's assessment of her husband's activities. Didn't he say in that "60 Minutes" interview back in 1992 that he had "caused pain" in their relationship? That means he had cheated before, I'm thinking. But in 1998 when her husband is accused of cheating, Hillary doesn't believe a word of it? Hmmm.

Oh, and she completely disgraced herself by denigrating Tammy Wynette and "Stand by Your Man," recently voted the greatest song in the history of country music.

Lloyd Grove: Again, how many times can you be struck by lightning?


New York, N.Y.: Lloyd, don't go to work for Mort Z. He's a ruthless, power-mad tyrant that makes Howell Raines look like Ghandi. You'll be regretting it instantly. And think of your kids, man.

Lloyd Grove: I disagree with your assessment of Mort Z, who comes in for the same kind of "ruthless, power-mad tyrant" charges as every wildly successful business type I have ever met. Personally, I think he's a smart talented guy -- and babe-magnet to boot.


New York, N.Y.: I have a question I hope you can answer due to your extensive experience with human nature -- why does everyone hate Hillary so much? She's a smart and strong woman, great mother, was an active First Lady, is (according to people on both sides of the aisle) a solid senator, and has a record of accomplishments and accolades longer than most career elected officials. She was exonerated of all alleged wrongdoings surrounding Whitewater and everything else (laying off 9 staffers due to "Travelgate" is nothing compared to the 3 million people who've been laid off in the past three years). It's not like she's the first politician to write a book, or write a book about personal experiences. Plus, the proceeds from her other book "It Takes a Village to Raise a Child" went to charity.

Why, oh why, is there such a witch hunt? In a way, her situation is analagous to Martha Stewart's, except Martha actually did something illegal.

Lloyd Grove: Everyone doesn't hate Hillary. She is both loved AND hated -- and clearly more people like her than not, otherwise she wouldn't have won her Senate seat. She is, for my money, a talented politician -- and I certainly like the fact that she's around. Why? Because she and her husband have a penchant for operatic drama. She is larger than life. She's a superstar. And while she was an active first lady, I think it's also safe to say she was the most outwardly POLITICAL first lady in U.S. history. Just my two cents.


Executioner: To a previous poster, I've read lots of media stories on the guys here in America who man the "switches". There was a rash of them when Texas and Florida were in the news for their high execution rates.

Anyway, there's a big difference from pulling a switch that gives an injection and cutting someone's head off! It's the lack of that indirect step that people find fascinating. More execution stories, Lloyd!

Lloyd Grove: I will take your suggestion under advisement.


The more important question ...: ...is whether Ghandi was a babe magnet.

Lloyd Grove: Yes he was! Remember the movie?


Hillary's Hairdresser: Hillary's hairdresser was a woman named Isabel -- she worked at Christope. I used to go to her as well as she was really good with fine hair, but I thought I remembered her saying she was moving to Arizona (this was a while back) -- does anyone know if she moved or if she is still around?

Lloyd Grove: I think Isabel Goetz is still plying her artistry in D.C.


Cheverly, Md.: Speaking of the former Mayor Barry ... what is his source of income these days? Appearances/speaking engagements? How can he afford four ex-wives , couple of homes and an apartment?

Lloyd Grove: He works for an investment banking company whose name now escapes me.


Washington, D.C.: This may be ancient history by your calendar, but why in the world did you out Carolyn Hax re: her twins, etc.? Is there no honor among journalists?

Lloyd Grove: I didn't OUT her. She talked to me for the item and thanked me for it afterward.


Re: Marion Barry: What the Ef ever happened to Effi?

Lloyd Grove: I think she's living in the Richmond area.


Herndon, Va.: Mr. G: How do you work for Vanity Fair and the Post? Do you have a "quota" of work the Post requires, then you can freelance?

Lloyd Grove: Actually now that I'm doing five columns a week, I barely have time to brush my teeth, let alone write for Vanity Fair.


Okay, Gandhi was a babe magnet.: But was Joseph Papp?

Lloyd Grove: I can only believe that he was. He was a powerful producer, see what I mean?


Lloyd, please don't go!: We need your trenchant wit and repartee here in D.C.! Don't leave us!

-Another vote for "Stay, Lloyd, stay!"

Lloyd Grove: I hear ya. Thanks.


Washington, D.C.: I'd hate to lose you, but being the new editor of The New York Times would be a great career move.

Lloyd Grove: Not so sure at this point. That is one messed-up place at the moment and it is going to take someone with tremendous leadership abilities, journalistic talent, and a knack for inspiring loyalty, to fix that great newspaper. Here's hoping he or she materializes.


Marion: What kind of bank hires Marion Barry for anything? What does he do there? This city ceases to amaze me...

Lloyd Grove: Well he's a terrifically smart and charismatic guy with a fabulous Rolodex, so I don't see why they wouldn't be happy to have him. Anyhow, my work here is done. It seems like the weekened weather is shaping up nicely. so let's keep our fingers crossed, and hope to see you next Friday same time same place. Bye.



That wraps up today's show. Thanks to everyone who joined the discussion.


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