Change of Scenery

Posted: Mar 31, 2008 10:34 AM
Change of Scenery

"It's gotten boring around here."

Or so Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton supporter James Carville tells Inside the Beltway is one reason he's happy to be moving to New Orleans this summer with his family, including wife Mary Matalin.

Kennedy fan

"I like RFK better."

That was the immediate reaction from Washington print and broadcast journalist Morton Kondracke when we bumped into him in the sprawling concourse of the newly opened Nationals Park during Saturday evening's exhibition baseball game between the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles.

Otherwise, Mr. Kondracke, who battled alcoholism during the 1980s, made it clear he had visited an untold number of beverage vendors in the sparkling new stadium — trust us, there are many dozens — and yet none served nonalcoholic beer.

"You can print this: 'Mr. Lerner, where is the nonalcoholic beer?' " asked Mr. Kondracke, addressing his question to Ted Lerner, whose group of Washington-area businessmen owns the Nationals.

We'll let the journalist explain his nostalgia for aging Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium when he and Fred Barnes bring viewers their next installment of "The Beltway Boys" program on the Fox News Channel.

Fix the rug

Taking a private West Wing tour of the White House one evening last week was "24" actress Regina King, otherwise known for her roles in "Ray," "Jerry McGuire," "Miss Congeniality II" and "Legally Blonde II."

"The White House staff was excited to see her, and she posed for photos and signed autographs," tour arranger Joe Deoudes, president of Principled Capital, told Inside the Beltway.

"Her observations to me were: 'The Situation Room was very impressive, and the Oval Office rug is blue on '24' and not accurate with the actual light colored rug.' "

Word is the upcoming seventh season of the popular terrorism-fighting TV series, starring actor Kiefer Sutherland, will be centered primarily in Washington.

Military or not?

If anybody has a difficult time figuring out the dress code for Washington's myriad social functions it's members of the U.S. military, who we now see also must know when — and how — to become civilians.

Take the Navy. Depending on whether it is an informal, formal, dinner or ceremonial event, there is summer white and winter blue, dinner dress blue and dinner dress white, service dress blue and service dress white and service khaki. For the Army, there is Army green, Army blue and Army white, as well as blue mess and white mess. Keep in mind this is barely peeking at the extensive wardrobe for these and other military branches, including the Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard.

"Washington, D.C., as the nation's capital city and the official seat of the federal government follows a very strict social protocol with regard to proper dress at events, and to attend and not be in the appropriate uniform or formal social attire can easily be perceived as a sign of disrespect towards the hosts of the event, as well as an embarrassing moment for yourself," reads a memo issued last Friday by retired Rear Adm. Jim Carey, senior wardroom mentor, to the military stationed here.

To make matters more confusing, the retired admiral notes there are those occasions when military uniforms might not be appropriate "and if so what is considered appropriate equivalent civilian attire?"

So he attached what he called this "handy-dandy one-pager" for civilian dress:

"Washington, D.C., Specific Attire:

"Civilian Informal: Business Suit for gentlemen; Dress or Suit for ladies.

"Civilian Casual: Sports Coat & Open Collar for gentlemen; Dress, Pantsuit or Suit for ladies.

"Smart Casual: Open Collar with Sports Coat or Jacket for gentlemen; Dress, Pantsuit or Suit for ladies."

The meaning of 'Is'

"I brought Belfast the peace they desire
And in Bosnia dodged sniper fire!
I'm impossibly grand
And cannot understand
Why I'm called an incorrigible liar!"
— F.R. Duplantier