The Reliable Source
Hosted by Lloyd Grove
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 20, 2003; 11 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, one and all. Tomorrow at this hour I will be on a plane to L.A.-- nothing like communing with a bunch of frightened Hollywood people during Oscar time -- so we're doing the show a day early. I just can't miss the chance to talk to y'all! Anyhow, let's see if my enthusiasm is well placed ...
New England: Hey Lloyd,
I'll be at an office function during your chat. Just wanted to say YOU DA MAN!
Lloyd Grove: No.
YOU da man.
Washington, D.C.: Your item today about Wolfgang Puck offended me. Instead of whining about not being able to cater a lavish affair for stupid celebrities because there are more pressing national concerns, the dude should cook the 300 (500?) pounds of "lost" sea bass for the homeless. Or serve some at a battered women's shelter. Does he realize how ridiculous he sounds out here in the REAL world?
Lloyd Grove: Probably not. But I was just trying to demonstrate that different folks have different perspectives on life.
Fairfax, Va.: TV News Anchors - When we see them doing news from the street when they once sat behind a desk, is this being put out to pasture or what? Also, are Don and I.J. Hudson related?
Lloyd Grove: I would think that doing a little street reporting is the opposite of being put out to pasture. Who is Don Hudson? Does he look like I.J.?
Alexandria, Va.: Lloyd,
I hope in this time of trouble we can continue to seek humorous relief from this chat.
I'm typing today from work, wearing a shirt with "Freedom" cuffs!
Lloyd Grove: You are far better dressed than I. It's all I can do to find an unwrinkled shirt to put on. Yes, there's a war on, but all other aspects of life move forward.
Mt. Lebanon, Pa.: Just a quick note: The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has declared today, the 20th of March: Mr. Fred Rogers Day. Mr. Rogers would have been 75 years old today. He is remembered today and greatly missed in our neighborhood. Thanks much, neighbor.
Lloyd Grove: Thanks for the info.
NW: Lloyd, why the day earlier?
Anyway, I know you often eat with your friend Carol Joynt at Nathan's. Do you know when Paul Wahlberg (brother of Marky Mark and Donnie) left and why? My friend and I just found out that he used to be the chef there and are now extremely disappointed to find out he's been gone for sometime.
Lloyd Grove: I haven't the foggiest about this Wahlberg issue, but I will certainly ask Carol the next time we speak.
Washington, D.C.: I couldn't beleive this cheesy, nonsensical quote from Howard Dean in yesterday's Post: "What those guys don't understand about me is that getting me mad is a bad thing to do," Dean says. "My instincts are not to take off the gloves. And the reason I do is that people say things like that and it gets me mad." He seemed like a decent candidate before I read that article. But could anyone come off well in an article based on a clever, jaded reporter following one around for days?
Lloyd Grove: I, for one, would sooner run shrieking through a plate glass window then to let Mark Leibovich -- or for that matter any other talented, observant reporter -- follow me around. Then again, I would sooner do both than run for president.
Chantilly, Va: Lloyd,
What's the latest on Wendy Rieger ?
Lloyd Grove: She thrives, is all I know.
We chatted not too long ago.
You've reminded me to make good on my promise to invite her to lunch.
Broomes Island, Md. What a Treat! Lloyd one day early!: Now what am I supposed to do on Friday?! Work!?
Lloyd Grove: Or take a long "war weekend."
City of No Shame, N.Y.: This time it was Liz Smith who robbed you blind in yesterday's column about CC's salary predicament. Who da thunk it -- a nice old lady like that, such sticky fingers!
Lloyd Grove: I did notice that, too, and wrote Liz a gentle and I thought witty reminder that I don't like it when she does that. I just hope it wasn't too subtle. Though she very kindly sent me a nice note about the column being syndicated.
What's the deal with NBC's Pat O'Brien: How does someone with such a nasaly voice become a TV announcer? Hhe is terrible and annoying.
I'm sure you will see him out in L.A., please tell him to get some Breathe Right Strips and some Flonase please.
Thanks in advance.
Lloyd Grove: Oh, I will definitely pass on your concerns to Pat!
It will be at the top of my list of things to do!
I can hardly wait to see him and tell him to get some Breathe Right Strips and Flonase!
You can count on me!
Washington, D.C.: Lloyd, I hope your entry into the whole 50 Cent fracas doesn't mean you'll end up in the middle of some East Coast/West Coast rap conflict. You might want to watch your back in L.A.
Lloyd Grove: Stop making me nervous!
Let all who care understand this: I am just reporting the facts, not taking sides.
And please please don't hurt me.
Alexandria, Va.: Lloyd, could you please do more reporting about other journalists and what they are doing during the war? I, for one, cannot get enough of the teevee updates telling me, as part of the stupid public, how this is affecting journalists. After all, reporters are really the stars here, not our brave fighting soldiers defending freedom. Thank you.
Lloyd Grove: I will do my best to satisfy your demands -- even if they are dripping with sarcasm.
I missed rapper DMX by a minute: ... at Waffle House last Friday night in Cincinnati.
Actually I didn't, I was passed out at my friends house but everyone else went and came back with the story.
I didn't believe it til someone on Saturday said they were at the DMX show on Friday night. If I had seen DMX, I would have told him Lloyd said 'what up'.
Lloyd Grove: To quote my good friend Mike Lighty: "Never again will I show you love. Your corny!"
Kingstowne, Va.: Lloyd, how come your esteemed colleague Lisa de Moraes reported on Monica Lewinsky's new gig on Fox? That seems like a tidbit tailor-made for your part of the paper. Do you fight over such items and then Gene Robinson decides who gets it? Please dish.
Lloyd Grove: Lisa and I are amazingly cooperative with each other, given that I occasionally try to poach on her beat (as I do with every other section of the newspaper). Sometimes we haggle over stuff, but generally Lisa writes about programming news such as the Monica Lewinsky show -- boy oh boy I can hardly wait for THAT one -- and I write about the behind-the-camera stuff. Unless Lisa insists on writing about that. But we are friends.
Re: Pat O'Brien: OK, Lloyd, mock me if you must. But after you converse with him even for a brief moment, you will want to strangle the breath out of him just to stop that nasaly squeal he produces.
Sounds like he has a clothes line clip on his nose.
Lloyd Grove: Have you considered JUST NOT WATCHING HIM??
12th Floor Metro Center: Julie Chen is covering the war for CBS. She was in full combat gear this morning and mentioned that she was told they were in a "Mach something, I don't know what" stage. I think Julie oughta stick to interviewing the people from Survivor and Big Brother.
Lloyd Grove: That's hilarious. The wheels have really come off CBS's morning show, and poor Julie is just one of many examples....I wonder what Les Moonves thinks?
FYI: Glenn Close celebrated her birthday at 1789 last night. Frivolous, but there you have it.
Lloyd Grove: Well I'm glad, she and I have had several converations in the past week. Hope she was satisfied with yesterday's item about her dad.
Capitol Hill: Since the big-name celebs will be slipping into the Oscars through the back door, will we get to see you sashaying down the red carpet on Sunday night with a fabulous babe on your arm? If you do, I promise to stand on the corner and scream, "LLLLLLOOOOOOYYYYYDDDD!"
Lloyd Grove: On the basis of your promise, I will make every effort to do so. Just as long as I don't have to speak to Joan Rivers.
N.Y. Press: Hey Lloyd --
I'm a longtime fan and was just looking for a reaction to this from yesterday's "New York Press," about your and Howard Kurtz's alleged bias.
"After I wrote a widely linked column last year about Washington Post gossip columnist Lloyd Grove’s furthering of cybergossip Matt Drudge’s smears against Blinded by the Right author David Brock —- a column in which I also criticized Kurtz for not being more critical of Grove -— I received a voicemail message from an editor at one of America’s largest daily newspapers (no, not the New York Times), who got my phone number through my editor. This individual didn’t send me an e-mail, nor even say on voicemail what the call was about, perhaps fearful of leaving any trail. When I called back, I was told: "I just want to say thank you for taking on Grove and Kurtz. They are accountable to no one. It’s terrific that you did that.""
Lloyd Grove: LOL!
Pat O'Brien: He is indeed the worst anchor on local TV and does sound like he has a clip on his nose. Train me and I could be a better news reporter than him.
Lloyd Grove: Good lord, I didn't know Pat had so many detractors. And this was the man NBC was going to send to interview Michael Jackson!
Bethesda, Md: Lloyd, how about Monica Lewinsky going to the Fox Network? How will this sit with O'Reilly, Hannity and the little helmet-haired guy on the Right Wing Am news show? Tee Hee! I want to see them promo THAT!
Lloyd Grove: Oh you will. You will.
Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C. Lloyd,
Thank you for the lovely frivolity today! I'm very disappointed that the red carpet will be cut short on Sunday, does that mean you won't have as much juicy gossip for us from LA?
As my part in combatting excessive PCness, I will be making a lovely souffle this weekend, with crepes for dessert. Although California wines.
Lloyd Grove: Sounds lovely.
I think it will be very interesting to be out there during a time of war.\
Everybody on edge, worried about--well they're not worried about the future of the world, necessarily, but about not making fools of themselves on television.
Which I believe is at once fascinating and prudent.
Laurel, Md.: Lloyd, how did the company that makes Breath Rite strips determine that for thousands of years humans have been breathing wrong by not putting tape across our noses?
Lloyd Grove: This is an issue I will have to save for another show -- unless anybody would like to share some compelling theories.
Comment: Chelsea's six figure salary is not so unusual. Young associate lawyers who get in top firms receive the same kind of money.
Lloyd Grove: So I've been told.
Silly Question: Was that NBA star being serious when he was comparing going to war with the Wizard's going to the playoffs?
Lloyd Grove: Apparently so.
Tyronn was given ample opportunity to take his words back and he refused to do so.
Arlington, Va.: Bob Levey said in his chat that he is in negotiations with the new left-wing talk-radio network. Why haven't you reported on that? How is that different than plugging other Posties' books? Sounds like you're not being fair to Bob. Please disabuse me of this notion.
Lloyd Grove: I can't.
And I won't.
But if this is true, I say good for Bob.
Pat O'Brien: I always thought he was all right. One I liked while growing up was Irv Cross. Now Brent Musberger and Marv Albert can get a bit much.
Lloyd Grove: Especially when Marv bites women.
LaLa, Calif.: Lloyd,
Has Susan Sarandon reacted to your item about her GOP Mom?
A relative in the industry has described her to me in less than flattering terms, though my relation likes her husband very much.
Lloyd Grove: We'll be doing a little followup item in tomorrow's column, but I won't say more because I'm afraid that Liz Smith will steal my scoop.
At the Oscars: Hiya Lloyd --
Just curious. When you're at a big event such as the Oscars, are you instantly recognizable? Do you need to introduce yourself to celebs/movie stars you haven't met before? Do they care about The Washington Post? Are they happy to talk to you?
Lloyd Grove: Not only am I not instantly recognizable, no one has the faintest idea who I am or what I do. Last year, Mel Gibson told me: "Are you SURE you're from the Washington Post? There are a lot of hucksters around." Meanwhile, I sometimes have comical difficulty recognizing famous people. I managed not to realize when I was saying hello to J.Lo and Reese Witherspoon, for instance. I just thought they were anonymous babes.
Centreville, Va: Speaking of nasaly voices -- Joe Lieberman is the worst -- haven't heard him for a while though -- maybe he's off getting voice lessons -- I sure hope so -- he may have wonderful things to say but I'll never hear them cause I always switch channels when he comes on cause of his voice.
Do you think he knows that he sounds so bad? Has it been mentioned in the press at all in the past?
Lloyd Grove: Hmmm. This is the first I've heard that Lieberman's voice is bad. I'll have to give it a careful listen at some point before the campaign ends.
Chicago Blues: So, Lloyd, what do you think the reason is that an about-to-give-birth-any second Catherine Zeta-Jones can get on stage at the Oscars to sing her Best Song-nominated number but Renee Zellweger bows out from doing so to let Queen Latifah take over? Do you think it has anything to do with the fact that Renee really CAN'T SING A NOTE?
Lloyd Grove: YES!
Washington, D.C.: First year associates at major law firms earn $125,000/year plus bonus. But Chelsea doesn't have a law degree. That said, I think she'll earn her keep. That's not favoratism -- it's profit.
Lloyd Grove: I'm sure you're right.
Virginia: New associates at law firms get 120,000+. Most have no working experience. Believe. me.
Lloyd Grove: Can we talking about something else?
You're depressing me.
Re: Wendy: Lloyd,
Any chance of having her on the chat as a guest?
Lloyd Grove: Very possibly, though I have never had a guest on this show and I'm not sure about the logistics of such an enterprise. Maybe I'll check on Wendy's availability when we do have lunch.
Kingstowne, Va.: How come you haven't noted the irony that Chelsea is earning almost as much money as her mother?
Lloyd Grove: Because I wanted to save some irony for YOU to note.
Washington, D.C.: Who is Monica's boyfriend now? Did she ever bumped into Clinton yet?
Lloyd Grove: I think she and Bill have been giving each other a double-wide berth. I don't know who, if anyone, she's dating. I read the NY tabs for that.
Annandale, Va.: What is the latest news on Dan Moynihan's health?
Lloyd Grove: You mean former senator Patrick Moynihan? I heard he's been having some trouble recently, but only vaguely. Anybody know how he's doing?
George Michael and his suits: Is he the best dressed dude in the city or what?
Dude's got threads, man, threads.
P.S., Saddam, you are going down, punk, going down.
Lloyd Grove: A brilliant synthesis of fashion sense and jingoism!
A dare to Lloyd while in Los Angeles: I dare you to tug on Joan Rivers' hair to see if its a wig.
We dared a kid in sixth grade to do the same to our art teacher, and it was her real hair. He just told her he tripped and grabbed the closest thing to him.
OK, then I double dog dare you.
Lloyd Grove: There are things one can get away with in sixth grade that, in these litigious times, adults are better off not trying.
On the other hand, if I see Joan, not only will I de-wig her, I will tug on her facelift if that will amuse you.
Keepin' it real Lloyd: DMX Sighting,
I saw him last year at the Florida Grill. He likes to keep it real and eat with his peeps. I asked for an autograph for my niece. He said no one would believe it was from him so do I have a camera so he could take a picture with me instead. I said I was the biggest square walking so they would believe me. He signed a dog is a dog 4 life"
Lloyd Grove: Wow. he sounds nice.
By the way, I didn't have room to report that when 50 Cent was asked by a fan to have his pciture rtaken with her at the Armory, he said, "For 50 dollars, I will!"
Capitol Hill: Lloyd, I know this isn't Hollywood, but I have a rather indelicate question to ask of you: did you see Karen Hughes' pic on page A12 of The Post today? She's either pregnant or very fat. Can you find out which?
Lloyd Grove: I will have to investigate. It does look as though Karen, like me, needs to get on the Stairmaster.
Re: Joan Rivers: HAHAHA! Step on her dog, too. Will ya, pal.
Lloyd Grove: I will be attempting to spare the innocents from collateral damage. I think Miss Rivers's dog qualifies.
Washington, D.C.: Any interesting Bono sightings while he was in town?
Lloyd Grove: Not that I saw. I think he was holed up at the Four Seasons with my pal Bobby Shriver, and probably going around talking to influential politicians and policymakers, as is his practice.
McKinsey: First year associates at McKinsey typically earn $120,000. Some have MBAs (like my brother). Some have other advanced degrees (like Chelsea). Many come with no work experience. Life sucks, don't it?
Lloyd Grove: It's also unfair, as I needn't repeat this morning but will anyway because I can't think of anything else to say.
1st year lawyers ...: They work 110 hour weeks. If you look at the hourly rate, it ain't that big a deal. Of course, they're saving loads of dough because they don't have any time to spend it, whatever $s don't go to student loans, that is.
Lloyd Grove: I won't worry about them, then.
Washington, D.C.: This may be slightly out of your area of expertise, Lloyd, but who are you picking to win the NCAA tourney?
And yes, your fair alma mater was slighted yet again. Talk about your conspiracies!
Lloyd Grove: Yale. That's my choice!
I don't care if they're in it or not.
(And you are correct, I know less about college basketball than I do about neurosurgery.)
Capitol Hill: Re: Glenn Close ... that explains how come today's crossword is all about her. She's the theme for her birthday!
Lloyd Grove: Though her birthday was yesterday.
Castle Shannon, Pa.: If the Oscars get cancelled, what are you gonna be doing on Sunday night?
Lloyd Grove: Looking for a free meal.
Bethesda, Md.: I regularly log into Post chats with you, Tom Sietsema, and Gene Weingarten, plus I recently had a lengthy e-mail exchange with Jonathan Yardley. I forward my entries (and responses) to my boyfriend, who has become disturbed to see how I adopt a totally different persona and voice with each of you. I dunno, I just can't see asking Yardley about Oscar trivia, potty jokes, or why the waiters at Citronelle are so snotty. And I suspect none of you guys want to get into a debate over Theodore Dreiser. You know what I mean?
Lloyd Grove: I will debate John Yardley any day, any time, anywhere, about his misguided views regarding "An American tragedy" and "Sister Carrie"!
Somewhere, USA: If it weren't for Joan Rivers, what would Melissa Rivers be doing?
Lloyd Grove: The larger question, or course, is: If it weren't for Joan Rivers, what would ANY of us be doing?
New York, N.Y.: Lloyd-
Anything to report on the upcoming White House Correspondents Dinner? Do you think it will still be on with the war going on? Can we still laugh during a time of war?
Lloyd Grove: I think we can laugh in time of war, but I would hope that hostilities will have largely ceased by the end of April, when the White House Correspondents Dinner is scheduled to occur.
Southern Maryland: Lloyd, I believe that celebrities who pontificate on social and political issues embarrass both themselves and the causes they support. This goes for righties like Ted Nugent as well as lefties like Susan Sarandon. Do you stop and wonder if they realize how stupid these celebrities sound, or do you see their idiotic remarks as simply a few more inches in tomorrow's column?
Lloyd Grove: The latter.
Washington: Re: Chelsea's job
What exactly is she going to do? I know she's going to be an associate at this place, but what the heck does that mean?
Lloyd Grove: Your guess is as good as mine. I know less about the work of McKinsey & Co. associates than I do about college basketball.
Pat O'Brien vs. Pat Collins: I think some readers of the chat are getting confused between Pat O'Brien of Access Hollywood and Pat Collins of NBC4. However, both have the same nasal voice, bad hair, and irritating reporting skills.
Lloyd Grove: I personally have no trouble telling them apart. It's Pat Summerall I get confused by, usually. I always think he hosts "Wheel of Fortune."
Washington, D.C.: A lot of us graduated from law school with over a $100,000 in student debt. When you account for the debt, law firm kiddies have less take home pay than many people, including the average Post reporter. And when you quit the firm because you can't take the 18 hour days and go to the goverment, it's a real bitch making those student loan payments of well over a $1000/month.
Lloyd Grove: Oh let me get out my violin!
Lincoln Park Treehouse: Any idea where Cheney has been hiding out lately?
Lloyd Grove: As far as I know he's been in his office at the White House and very much a part of the war councils.
Yes I hate both of them equally: Joan Rivers and Pat O'Brien, he needs to see her plastic surgeon to get that nasal problem fixed.
Lloyd Grove: Sounds like a referral!
More Joan Rivers bashing: Good fun, let's keep it going!
Make sure Joan doesn't get too close to Wolfgang Puck's cooking; her face is likely to melt.
P.S., I still think she looks like Michael Jackson.
Lloyd Grove: No. Michael Jackson looks like Joan Rivers. Joan has the ur-face.
Howard Dean: Yesterday's pic in the Post made Dean look like a reasonably attractive man, but you should see his pictures on the cover of the latest issue of the gay mag the Advocate. He's wearing the biggest s----eating grin you've ever seen. (Still, I wonder who does his teeth --they're FABULOUS!)
Lloyd Grove: What is a soup-eating grin?
Can you grin while eating soup?
But I'm glad you have your eyes on the prize, presidential campaign-wise.
Speaking of Melissa Rivers: She put the "ugh" in uglyyyyyyyyyyyy.
Did ya ever catch her on the "I'm a Celebrity! Get Me Outta Here" show?
I knew Melissa wasn't the prettiest flower in the bouquet but boy without her make up ... Painful.
Lloyd Grove: Now you're being mean.
Actually, I thought she was attractive and I felt badly for her when she started whining to Alana Stewart about her mother and how unsupportive and passive aggressive she is ...
Most annoying Pat: Pat The Perfect, ME from Gene Weingarten's posts.
Lloyd Grove: I'll have to take your word for it. I'm afraid I am not in the loop.
That's Kamen's column.
Anyhow, Thanks everyone for deigning to take part in this frivolity on a day of serious affairs. I'll be trying to get some decent material to bring back from L.A. ... have a great weekend, stay out of trouble, And see you back here usual time usual place usual day. Bye.
That wraps up today's show. Thanks to everyone who joined the discussion.
© Copyright 2003 The Washington Post Company