Robert Blackwill's Habit of Full Disclosure
Now that National Security Council aide Robert Blackwill, President Bush's point man on Iraq, is leaving behind the rigors of government service, will he finally find time to purchase curtains for his Georgetown home? His neighbors, who tell us they've seen far too much of him while he dresses, sure hope so.
"We're not prudes. We're not hung up about the human body, but it's just common politeness to not present yourself naked to other people without their permission," says Francis Brooke, who lives with his wife and three kids in a townhouse across from Blackwill's. "It's a bit much. My daughter is 8 years old."
Another neighbor, who asked not to be identified, told us: "I've seen something that no man should see at 6:30 in the morning." He laughed. "I couldn't eat my breakfast."
Residents of the Cloisters development, near Georgetown University, have been getting an unfettered view of the 65-year-old Blackwill since he and his wife bought their two-story, $870,000 townhouse last fall. Blackwill, former U.S. ambassador to India, arrived at the White House in the summer of 2003 and helped establish the interim Iraqi government. He unexpectedly announced his resignation last week, removing himself from contention for a Cabinet post by saying he would pursue opportunities outside of government.
Blackwill was wrapping up work at the White House yesterday and our query about his curtainless windows was relayed to him. "We don't have any comment," an NSC spokesman said.
Brooke, American political adviser to the fallen-from-favor Iraqi politician Ahmed Chalabi, concedes that he and Blackwill may hold differing views on Iraq policy, but says he's "always been friendly" with his across-the-street neighbor. The Cloisters is favored among the striped-pants set, and neighbors have tried (diplomatically, of course) to bring the matter to Blackwill's notice. During a visit to Blackwill's home several months ago, Brooke says he dropped hints about the unwelcome view. There was joking in the neighborhood about the need to take up a collection for curtains.
"Perhaps it's been the pressures of the job and civil service salary that had prevented him from buying curtains," Brooke noted yesterday. "We hope he'll do better in the private sector."
The Truth About Men in D.C. Is a Tough Pill to Swallow
* Guys, rejoice: Washington is the No. 1 place to find "babes." So claims Men's Health magazine, which ranks America's sexiest cities in its November issue. This city boasts "the highest percentage of young, single, college-educated women," according to the editors' analysis of U.S. Census info.
But while the mag christens us the "Dating Capital," there's very bad news for those ladies: Washington ranked No. 2 among 101 cities in erectile-function diagnoses and "the number of Cialis, Levitra and Viagra prescriptions dispensed per capita," Men's Health reports. Washington also ranked second in doctor visits for male-pattern baldness and sales of Rogaine.
But hold on! Whatever their other deficiencies, the men here stay in good physical shape. They score high for "best abs" and low for body mass index. "It may be the home of pork-barrel politics," the mag says, "but D.C.'s male population is far from porcine."
Hmm. Have those editors frequented any lobbyist-heavy steakhouses lately?
* Spotted walking down M Street in Georgetown on Sunday afternoon holding hands: actress Sandra Bullock, in big black shades, and her heavily tattooed celebrity mechanic boyfriend, Jesse James. The star of Discovery Channel's "Monster Garage" is in town all week, serving as a surprise substitute teacher at Ballou Senior High in Southeast Washington. Students will learn how to build a custom motorcycle from scratch in five days, for a show that will air early next year. James will apply finishing touches at his Long Beach, Calif., shop and unveil a "Monster Chopper" at a later school assembly. No word on whether Bullock will help, though we're sure that, since dating the king of all grease monkeys, she's picked up a better appreciation for internal combustion.
* Stem-cell research may be the hot political topic now, but Nancy Reagan lobbied quietly for funding for several years. Yesterday Scientific American recognized the former first lady as its "Medical Treatment Policy Leader" on a list of 50 science and technology visionaries. "This year she emerged to take a powerful public stand on a controversial issue with a plea that resonated across political boundaries," said editor-in-chief John Rennie.
With Anne Schroeder