Angelina Jolie: Seriously Beautiful

We're attending a very serious conference on Capitol Hill for the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, and everyone is doing a valiant job of pretending that the Sexiest Woman Alive is not sitting at the table.

Former Merck chairman Raymond Gilmartin discusses the company's efforts to license AIDS drugs in South Africa, and Angelina Jolie clasps her hands under her chin. Every camera goes sch-sch-sch.

Richard Branson laments "rows and rows" of dying Africans. "If this were the U.S., there would be a war room set up." Jolie scribbles notes. Sch-sch-sch-sch-sch.

Sen. John Kerry broods about tax cuts that he says will squeeze AIDS funding. Jolie knits her brow (sort of -- it didn't really wrinkle), turns to Sen. Joe Biden with a look of alarm . . . and if sch-sch-sch came again we didn't really notice because we were utterly transfixed.

Jolie, the "U.N. goodwill ambassador," wears a dark suit and a single strand of pearls. Her hair is expensively streaked. Her eyelashes are impossibly long.

Finally she speaks, declaring that the AIDS fight "needs to be all-inclusive," tackling hunger and poverty as well. If the war in Iraq costs $5 billion a month, she complains, "three months of the war is all we're spending on AIDS."

Biden utters an impressed "Wow."

"I don't understand that," she concludes. "I'm confused about the priorities."

As yesterday's conference wraps, we rush forward hoping for something more. Coalition director Trevor Neilson notes that Jolie flew in from Canada and must be exhausted. Actually, she responds, "it was my first night away from the kids, so it was the first time I'd slept in a while."

We rush back to our desks and Google "Angelina" and "Canada" . . . where she was photographed over the weekend riding motorcycles with Brad Pitt.

At the Kennedy Center gala later, where she's recognizing corporate do-gooders, Jolie poses for shot after shot with smiling men in suits. A photographer wheedles: "Can we do just one shot alone?"

"Oh, god, fashion shot," she says, and strikes a pose.

Love, Etc.

* Expecting: Capitals co-owner Raul Fernandez and wife Jean-Marie. The couple will welcome their second child -- a boy -- in mid-October. Alas, "Zamboni" has been ruled out as a name for the future ice jockey.

* Divorcing: Florida Rep. Connie Mack, 38, and wife Ann, 40. The first-term Republican congressman, son of former senator Connie Mack, and his wife of eight years called it quits last month. No details. They have two young children.

* Short and Not-So-Sweet: "Sopranos" star Jamie-Lynn DiScala and manager A.J. DiScala splitting after two years; "One Tree Hill" stars Chad Michael Murray and Sophia Bush, after five months. Remember to calculate all celebrity marriages in dog years: One year equals seven in Hollywood.

HEY, ISN'T THAT . . . ?

* Lynne Cheney at the Pottery Barn in Georgetown last week. The second lady (and bodyguard) has made multiple visits to furnish . . . well, could it be that rumored getaway on the Eastern Shore?

* Musician Henry Rollins strolling Dupont Circle with a latte. The punk pioneer gave a nod of recognition with that mighty neck when we shouted to him from the car.

* Saudi royals ordering carryout last week from Italian restaurant Da Domenico, bypassing the acclaimed Maestro at their hotel, the Tysons Corner Ritz-Carlton.

UPDATE

The sight of Austin Black stoically staring at "Amazing Race" host Phil Keoghan was almost too much to bear: The Woodbridge native and his family were the first team eliminated in Tuesday's season premiere. He's 8, but we're the ones who cried!

Austin, schoolteacher parents Reggie and Kimberly and brother Kenneth, 11, fell behind when they hit a strong current while rowing a George Washington stand-in across the Delaware River (reality TV, folks -- hard to explain), then took a wrong turn. "I'm very proud of my family," Reggie said. "Nobody quit."