COLUMNS

Booked to Tie the Knot

  • The Washington Examiner
  • |
  • July 19, 2005

by Karen Feld

buzz

Washington ladies missed out on this one! One of the city’s most eligible bachelors, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., 56, is engaged to New York’s Nancy Bass, 44, co-owner with her dad, Fred Bass, of the famous Strand Bookstore, which claims to have “18 miles of books.” The Broadway store, a New York institution, is the place to find very rare books, new, used and out-of-print books. It was the first bookstore where Christo, after designing the Central Park gates, did a signing. The happy couple met – where else? – in a bookstore in Portland, Ore., last summer when Bass went west to meet with Michael Powell, the owner of Powell’s City of Books in Portland. They plan to marry in the fall in Oregon. It’s Bass’ first marriage and Wyden’s second. He’s divorced and the father of two kids, Adam, 21, and Lilly, 16.

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Antonin Scalia
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Ron Wyden

Political advice from ‘first’ literacy advocate

Speaking of books, while skimming the letters to the editor in the Bridgton News, a weekly that serves the western Maine Lake community, one entitled “Keep library” caught my attention. Usually the police blotter is the most interesting page in this paper, but this particular letter in the July 14 edition was signed by Barbara Bush, Kennebunkport. The letter begins: “My family often jokes about how I am always offering political advice, yet the truth is that their father and I prefer to stay out of the way. In fact, we made a promise five years ago not to get involved in political matters and we continue to honor that promise today. That is, until …” The former first lady, a literacy advocate, goes on to oppose the budget cuts that could force closure of the Bridgton Public Library. Bridgton, by the way, has a year-round population of 4,900.

Flora, fauna, fellows at Bohemian Grove

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Bush ’41’

I ran into “clean” comedian Dick Hardwick in Harrison, Maine, last weekend. He performed at the historic Deertrees Theatre – in the footsteps of Ethyl Barrymore, Tallulah Bankhead, Joe E. Brown and Rudy Vallee. Dick put on a great show Saturday night at Disneyland for their big 50th anniversary gala, where he brought back the “Pecos Bill” character for Frontierland, and then was looking forward to heading up north to Bohemian Grove for that exclusive all-boys club two-week summer camp in the redwood forest 70 miles north of San Francisco. That’s the top secret encampment where 2,300 power players and corporate CEOs follow prescribed mock pagan rituals. Dressed in hooded red robes they burn an effigy of Dull Care in front of a huge owl shrine during the opening ceremony to remind them that they can forget their everyday responsibilities. News is blacked out. There’s plenty of camaraderie but networking is taboo, and the club motto is “Weaving spiders, come not here.” Of course, there’s networking, regardless. Wouldn’t I like to be a fly on the wall!

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Henry Kissinger

George Bush “41” usually attends, as does Henry Kissinger, Dick Cheney, Bill Gates, Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, Jack Valenti and former CIA Director Bill Webster. Campers usually include past presidents (all GOP ones since Calvin Coolidge) – no sitting presidents – Cabinet secretaries, corporate and entertainment elite. We’ve confirmed that Colin Powell and Newt Gingrich are headed that way within the next couple weeks. They stay in camps with names like Cave Man, Hill Billies, Owl’s Nest and Mandalay, the most prestigious. Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and IBM’s Tom Watson Jr. stay here. Former President Bush “41” is a member of Hill Billies, along with Walter Cronkite and Bill Buckley.

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Bill Gates

Former Vice President Dan Quayle was never admitted, and comic Harry Shearer was booted out for using foul language on stage. That won’t happen with Hardwick, who is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most performances – 47,250 – at the very wholesome Walt Disney’s “Golden Horseshoe Revue.”

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Clarence Thomas

Using your head for homeland security?

Do you feel safer now that Sequoia, the indoor/outdoor restaurant in Georgetown’s Washington Harbour, has instituted its “no hats” policy?

“It wasn’t clear whether people were hiding weapons under their headgear, but the words ‘common sense’ and ‘skin cancer’ were less important to the manager than having a consistent policy applicable to all,” reports one AARP-aged reader who was asked to remove a floppy cloth hat because of the restaurant’s new security policy. A list of prohibited clothing items included “athletic hats.” Perhaps a dermatologist’s note is required for those with the most dangerous of skin cancer; a plastic surgeon’s note for those who have had recent “lifts,” or a clergyman’s letter for those who wear headgear for religious reasons. And what about the fashionistas? Perhaps the fashion police could intervene!

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