* Departing Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin is captured by Japanese agents who won't release him till he says something nice about the Japanese economy. NBC White House correspondent David Bloom reports as Defense Secretary William Cohen worries and hostage negotiator Jesse Jackson rhymes about the yin and the yang and the yen and the dollar. That's the idea of a comic video shown last night at Rubin's White House farewell party, with cameo appearances by all of the above plus national security adviser Sandy Berger, Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, incoming treasury secretary Larry Summers and White House economic chief Gene Sperling--who doubled as producer-director. Lots of laughs from President and Hillary Rodham Clinton--and though he hadn't seen it, even Japanese Ambassador Kunihiko Saito claimed to be amused.
Lowe on a High
* We remember Rob Lowe as a Brat Pack bad boy who often got into mischief. There was that notorious sex-video incident at the 1988 Democratic convention--which today he jokingly blames on being bored to distraction by Michael Dukakis--and, after early stardom in "The Outsiders" and "St. Elmo's Fire," there was a series of forgettable roles in negligible movies.
"Hey, listen--show me a leading man who's making a million bucks a movie at age 18 who isn't wild, and I'll show you somebody who needs to have his pulse checked," Lowe told us. "When that kind of fame and money happens to you as a teenager, it's not possible to deal with all of it correctly."
But today, at 35, Lowe's coming into his own. Not only is he a happily married father of two, he's back on the radar screen with his funny send-up of the young Robert Wagner in "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me" and his part as a George Stephan- opoulos-ish White House aide in "The West Wing," the hot NBC series debuting this fall.
Ahoy, Rich People!
Boy Wonder Daniel Snyder, new owner of the Redskins, is selling his mega-yacht, the Lady S, hoping to get between $30 million and $40 million for the 165-foot-8-inch, Dutch-built vessel--enough for maybe a quarterback, a defensive lineman and a wide receiver. Lest anyone think the 34-year-old Snyder is trimming his sails, he wants us all to understand that it's not the money but his time that Lady S was eating up. Since he bought the boat in 1997, Snyder and kin have been spending those lazy September-to-January days cruising out of Palm Beach. But now that he has a football team, he doesn't expect to have any free winter weekends.
For the edification of prospective buyers only (and please, everyone else, stop reading here!), we can say that the vessel takes a crew of six--whom Snyder was attempting to notify yesterday--and boasts a sumptuously appointed master suite, five guest staterooms, a Jacuzzi, a gym, a sky lounge and a host of exotic decorative accents involving bubinga wood, lacewood and what Power & Motoryacht magazine describes as "a mosaic tile design [depicting] a tribal figure." The yacht cruises at 18 knots and is scheduled to leave the Mediterranean on Monday. Snyder told us he isn't getting emotional at the prospect of parting with Lady S: "I mean, my love of the Redskins goes far beyond any material item like a boat."
THIS JUST IN . . .
* The movie version of Washington writer Barbara Raskin's "Hot Flashes," her 1987 novel of menopausal angst, starts production in September in Boston and Toronto. Mary Agnes Donoghue will direct, and the cast is rumored to include Harrison Ford, Glenn Close, Susan Sarandon and Sally Field. The 63-year-old author is recovering from vascular surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, her son Jamin Raskin told us.
* Hollywood deity Steven Spielberg will be at the Smithsonian on Aug. 11 to pick up the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal "for his outstanding career and public service."
* Hello? Madonna is suing her former managers and accountants for $2 million, claiming they cost her that amount in New York state back taxes by erroneously listing her residence as California on her 1992 return.
* Yesterday in our exciting Celebrity Tip Challenge, Ted Danson left a $2.25 gratuity--or 30 percent--after buying five coffees at the Starbucks on L Street near Connecticut Avenue NW.
* Washington Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. is collaborating with Associate Editor Robert G. Kaiser on a book for Knopf about the future of the news business, to be handed in next spring.
CAPTION: Rubin, right, was treated to a video starring Greenspan, top left, and Jackson.
CAPTION: Lowe in "The Spy Who Shagged Me."
CAPTION: A peek inside the Lady S: The master stateroom.
CAPTION: Millions, sailing away.