Tom Clancy, the author, Annapolis resident, and part-owner of the Baltimore Orioles, died Tuesday in a Baltimore hospital. Clancy was 66 years old. His best-selling novels, many of which became hit films, included several from the Jack Ryan series: The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, and Clear and Present Danger. His books were particularly popular with Washington readers because of the authentic detail he brought to stories of espionage and military derring-do. The news of Clancy's death was announced by his publisher.
Clancy was born in Baltimore and went to school and college there and in Towson, Maryland. Before he found his fortune as an author, he was in the insurance business.
Clancy was unabashed about his conservative politics. One of his most notable fans was President Ronald Reagan.
Other Clancy books include The Sum of All Fears, Without Remorse, Debt of Honor, Executive Orders, Rainbow Six, and his most recent, in 2012, Threat Vector, by which time Jack Ryan is President of the United States and his son is a rising CIA operative. Command Authority is scheduled to be released in December of this year.
From the Archives:
So there we were, a crowd of mostly tanned and rested travelers about to leave the pink sand and aquamarine shores of Bermuda to fly back to Washington and, most likely, work. The US Airways gate agent said the Monday afternoon flight was fully booked. Sigh—so much inching and carry-on shoving ahead. In the long line waiting to board, I noticed a man in a dapper white linen suit and sporting a sombrero-style straw hat. He looked familiar to me and to others, who also glanced his way. It was DC City Council member Marion Barry, also known as former mayor Marion Barry and occasionally “mayor for life” Marion Barry. We’ve met on several occasions over the years for professional reasons, mostly interviews, and when we were side by side he smiled broadly, said hello, and introduced me to his companion and significant other Sandy Bellamy.
I wanted to turn to fellow passengers and make the classic morbid joke about what the headline would be if the plane went down, but I’m too fearful a flyer to go there.
Later, at a cruising altitude of about 35,000 feet, the flight attendants brought out the beverage and snack carts to navigate the narrow aisle, offering sodas, cocktails, and chips to the passengers sitting snugly, three across, on either side. I was in the aisle seat in row 11. Barry was in the aisle seat of the seventh or eighth row, up ahead. The cart was between us.
The cart did not deter him. He was up, the hat now off, coming in my direction, looking right at me over the flight attendants, smiling and talking, though I couldn’t make out the words in the din of the cabin. The flight attendants moved this way and that, backed up, let him pass, and then followed him as he came toward me, still smiling and talking. When he got close, I heard him clearly. Did I have credit cards? I did. “I only have cash,” he said. “Can you buy me two vodkas?” Well, sure—I was about to buy one for myself (the anxious flyer). The aisle seat across from mine was open, and Barry asked if he could sit there. The young couple in the center and window seats smiled and said, “Of course.” The flight attendants, standing practically on top of us, filled cups with ice, cracked open cans of Bloody Mary mix, poured in vodka from tiny bottles, and passed the drinks around. I handed over my credit card. “Are you sure you don’t mind?” Barry asked. I didn’t.
With the exception of those time-honored fireworks metaphors, honestly, it’s tough to connect romance with July Fourth—all that bunting, red, white, and blue, marching music, and fattening up with barbecue and beer. But then, who knows—maybe waving sparklers in the air is the key to turning a first date into lasting love (or just a good first date). There will be plenty of opportunities throughout the Metro area this evening and tomorrow, thanks to fireworks, parades, and cookouts. No surprise, then, that Craigslist is filled with posts from individuals seeking friendship, companionship, romance, a party, a good time, a hook-up—most of all, an occasion not spent alone.
We sifted through a few days worth of posts to provide this random and edited sampling. Happy Fourth, all.
[Ed. note: All posts appear exactly as written, including spelling and punctuation.]
The title was just to get you inside the message. I have full command of the English language. When I text, I do use shortcuts, however when I write, I tend to spell things out and take my time with my words. Having said all that, how are you doing today?...
The 4th is coming soon. Any good plans for that? I plan to watch my neighbor risk his hand again lighting fireworks. Last year he managed to nearly reenact a scene from an Indiana Jones movie as the fire leaped from the pit he was making it in to the trail of gasoline fumes, to the mason jar he had the gasoline in, exploding only nanoseconds after he released if from his grasp. ...
What else. I will probably take in a baseball game. That seems like a good 4th of July activity. Maybe go swimming and work on that tan. ...
I might also make brownies. Not the good brownies. ... I just like brownies. They taste good. You have to share them though, because I don’t want to be eating a full tray of brownies. They are pretty good with peanut butter or ice cream or cool whip and maybe some strawberries too.
So there you go. Peace
4th of July—m4w—22 (Alexandria,VA)
I have never done this before, but I would like to hang out with someone for the fourth
of July. We can go to D.C. and walk around, movies, etc. I am a 22 year old man, you
must be women below 28 years of age. Let me know if you are interested. Please reply
with a picture and I will do the same. No picture = no reply. Thanks.
July 4th weekend—m4w—55 (Nova & greater DC)
Going stir crazy. Single, mature, white, active, fit, fun, sane, gentleman seeking a woman, or a group of men & women, that don’t want to get stuck doing nothing or doing something alone, this weekend. I’m game to go see fireworks, go trail bike riding, go kayaking (I have 2), go camping, go fishing, go dancing, play poker all night, go to movies, rent a motorcycle, go skydiving, etc. Notice all those things involve going and doing stuff, and NOT sitting around. Need to get out there, daytime and evenings....
Maybe we can form a group of singles, divorcees, widows, widowers, separatees, etc that can all meet somewhere.
Ever since Russell Brand appeared on the Morning Joe breakfast show and slayed host Mika Brzezinski, social media has been blowing up about the episode—even now, two days after it happened. And it’s easy to see why. There are few who consider the video clip anything less than one of the brightest recent moments on live American talk TV, because everyone on the set, including and because of Brand, broke from the conventional vanilla talk show script.
Brand appeared on the MSNBC show to promote his new comedy tour, Messiah Complex. What Brzezinski tried to conduct as a routine guest interview quickly devolved into Brand mocking her, her show, the newsroom, and the other guests. “Is this what you all do for a living?” he asked.
In Brand’s defense, Brzezinski, Katty Kay, and Brian Shactman were talking more around him than to him. “You are talking about me as if I’m not here,” Brand said. “As if I’m an extraterrestrial.” Brzezinski gulped nervously from a plastic bottle of presumably a soft beverage and made faces, Kay plopped her head on the desk, and Shactman squirmed. No one ever accused members of the US media of having comedic potential—and the media often assume comedians have only one channel, one speed. Brand was perplexed by the manner in which Mika and her cohosts questioned him, with them basically demanding he “be funny,” and showing dismay when he didn’t perform according to their expectations.
The episode was reminiscent of when John Stewart went on CNN’s Crossfire in 2004 and got into it with host Tucker Carlson, calling him a “partisan hack.” Carlson slammed Stewart for a Daily Show interview with John Kerry, in which he thought Stewart did not ask tough questions. Stewart was beside himself. “I didn’t realize that . . . news organizations look to Comedy Central for their cues on integrity,” he responded. Crossfire was canceled the next year.
Vice President Joe Biden is a familiar and exuberant presence at a lot of events in Washington, and when he appears he typically bounds onto the stage. But that was not the case on Sunday evening at the annual Ford’s Theatre gala. Biden was remarkably subdued, speaking in a quiet near-monotone during his opening remarks to an audience of corporate power players and members of Congress and the Cabinet. Rather than stay for the show, which is typical, he departed immediately after his remarks. A short time later, the evening’s host, actor Richard Thomas, gave some explanation: “We got a call about an hour ago letting us know that Vice President Biden wouldn’t be able to stay for the show.” Then he cracked that for half of the audience “that’s a disappointment and for the other half a sigh of relief.” When the comment prompted weak chuckles, he said, “That was in the script!,” earning a much bigger laugh.
After the show, when guests gathered for a buffet dinner at the National Portrait Gallery, members of the cast said they, too, were surprised by Biden’s brief drop-by. In years past the Vice President or President stays for the full show. What the cast members said they’d heard backstage was that Biden was tired from a trip—he’d just returned from a six-day Latin American and Caribbean swing—and was not feeling well. He did not do a backstage meet-and-greet with the cast, but he did spend a few moments with a group of first responders who were among the evening’s honorees. (We have a call into his office to learn the official reason for his early departure.)
In his remarks, in which he called Ford’s a “hallowed hall of American history,” Biden mentioned the first responders he’d met backstage. They included Sergeant David Kullgren* of the Newtown, Connecticut, Police Department and Douglas S. Fuchs of the Redding, Connecticut, Police Department, who both responded to the December Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings; Matt Patterson of the Lynn, Massachusetts, Fire Department, who was on the scene and responded to the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings; and Robert Payne, of the West, Texas, Volunteer Fire Department, who responded to the April 17 fertilizer plant explosion. They “lost some of their brothers and sisters [and] saw some of the most horrible things anyone has ever seen,” Biden said. “They continue to rebound. To them I say, ‘God bless you.’” Later the men were introduced onstage.
We’re told that Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper was at the Tombs in Georgetown last night, tucked into a back booth, with a possible new girlfriend, and that after enjoying the comforts of the legendary Georgetown University haunt he left a big tip.
Cooper is a GU alum, and visits the campus often when he’s in Washington.
Cooper seems to have a new girlfriend almost quarterly. Previously he was linked to Zoe Saldana, while of late he’s been making the rounds with British model Suki Waterhouse. But our sources say on Sunday night he was with someone else, a woman named “Alex.” No one else joined them at their corner booth in the pub’s wood-paneled and cozy main room.
Cooper is in town to attend today’s National Conference on Mental Health at the White House, an issue he’s been advocating for since appearing in the hit film Silver Linings Playbook. In that film, which earned him a Best Actor Oscar nomination, he portrayed a character with bipolar disorder. President Obama will open the conference, and Vice President Biden is expected to deliver closing remarks.
They come in for all kinds of reasons. Because they have a skin disorder. Because their profession demands a youthful glow. Because they are curious. And sometimes just because their wives or girlfriends ordered them to do whatever was needed to stop the effects of Father Time. The men who come in are all ages, according to Dr. Terrence Keaney, who oversees W for Men, described as “the world’s first clinical practice” dedicated to skin treatments for men. It celebrated its launch Wednesday evening. The clinic is in the city’s business hub—14th and K streets, Northwest—convenient for lobbyists and lawyers, the media offices, the White House, and the Capitol. The clients come from all these places, and sports fields, too. The entrance, on the ground floor, is discreet—no mixing with the adjacent women’s clinic.
“The focus of the practice is to create an environment where men feel comfortable, as well as to treat all their dermatological needs,” says Keaney via a phone interview. “There are a lot of middle-aged men who are becoming increasingly conscious of their age and the demands of their profession, and younger people, and the newly single. We see the middle-aged group, 40- to 50-year-olds. That’s when we see a lot of patients. We do see a lot of 20- to 30-year-olds, too, who are being proactive, because patients who start earlier get better results; you can slow the damage before it begins.”
Keaney started formulating the idea for a men-only practice when he was working his way through the rigors of medical school. He got his undergraduate degree at Duke and his medical degree at the University of Virginia, then trained at the University of California in San Francisco; he completed dermatological training at the University of Miami. He did a fellowship with Dr. Tina Alster at her Washington clinic, which is where the two doctors have created the special men’s practice.
“I recognized during my medical school training that the study of aging invariably focused on the female and how to slow the aging process on the female face,” Keaney says. “I noticed from the beginning that whenever companies produce products or physicians talk about using lasers or injectibles, they talk about the female face. It makes sense, because that’s where the market was.” But he knew male skin was different, and he sensed an emerging market for men who wanted to deal with skin issues and look their best. “My theory was that if men were going to be spending time and money on clothes and were concerned about their appearance, they would be concerned about their face and their skin,” he said. He says it’s a growth market now, with many skin-care companies making products for men.
At-large DC City Council member David Grosso, an Independent, made a splash earlier this week when he announced plans to introduce a non-binding resolution calling on Redskins owner Dan Snyder to scrap the team’s moniker, which critics have long considered an offensive racial slur. As a replacement, Grosso suggested the Washington Redtails—a reference the Tuskegee Airmen, a celebrated team of African-American pilots who served during World War II.
Meet DC’s tiniest resident, the Little Heart Man.
He’s the brainchild of Lorie Shaull, a government consultant by day and pipe cleaner sculptor by night. Inspired by street artists, Shaull began placing the men around the District this past summer.
You’re most likely to catch him hanging out around Dupont Circle or Capitol Hill, says Shaull, who puts her creations in places she thinks they will be easy to spot.
Her goal? Simply to make DC residents smile.
“I happened to notice someone walk by one of them once and just saw them react positively to it,” she said. “And I thought that was really sweet.”
You can see more photos of the Little Heart Man in action on Facebook.
On Thursday, President Obama announced his nomination of Caroline Kennedy as ambassador to Japan. Our earlier post, written before the nomination, details what Kennedy might expect while serving in the position.
Recent speculation about whether Caroline Kennedy will be nominated by President Obama to become ambassador to Japan has focused attention on that particular high-profile diplomatic post, especially since it has never before gone to a woman. Still, the list of past ambassadors is impressive and emphasizes strong political and diplomatic skills. John Roos, a Silicon Valley lawyer and Obama friend, is the current ambassador. His predecessor was Tom Schieffer, a Texas businessman who had also been ambassador to Australia. Schieffer, the younger brother of CBS News correspondent Bob Schieffer, served in Tokyo from 2005 to 2009, and though a Democrat he was appointed by a Republican, his friend President George W. Bush.
We checked in with Tom Schieffer on Thursday to find out more about what it means to be ambassador to Japan. He calls it “a great experience” and says he’s “never found anything quite as satisfying as serving your country in a foreign land.” Now based in Fort Worth and running his own company, Envoy International, he considers Tokyo unique in the modern diplomatic corps, because “you are it” and if you are a “substantive person who wants to play a larger role in the American foreign policy, Japan is a good place to do that.” While he would not disclose any inside information about whether Kennedy is in line for the position, he does say he thinks she would be a good choice and one that would be popular with the Japanese.
What’s the learning curve like in switching from a job outside the diplomatic corps and into an ambassador post?
It’s pretty steep, but fortunately you have a lot of people who are very helpful. It’s very interesting, and that’s one thing that makes it fun. You get to talk to a whole lot of people about a whole lot of things. The State Department is very good about that. You go all over the federal government, and they give you briefings and tell you what their particular department is concerned about.
They have “charm school,” a two-week briefing—they bring in eight to ten nominees, both political appointees and career diplomats, and they go through what it means to be an ambassador. They tell you, “This is going to be the most interesting job you’ve ever had in your life.” Anybody who has done it will say at the end that it was.
Do you become involved with a large staff?
The thing about a foreign post—and a lot of people don’t know it—is that there are so many federal agencies present at the post. In Japan there are about 27 federal agencies that have some sort of representative there. It’s very interesting because there’s such a broad range of issues and you’re talking to people who are very smart and about subjects that are intellectually fulfilling.
It’s a place of action. Sometimes people think being an ambassador means going to receptions. You do a lot of that, but it’s the least of what you do. It’s a hard job. I started at 7:30 in the morning and was done at 10 at night, practically seven days a week, because something is always going on.
Why did you leave diplomatic life?
The President appoints, and when presidents change you go.
Would you return?
Sure. It’s a great experience.
What are the central issues in which a US ambassador to Japan would have to be well versed?
The US-Japan Alliance. It is the lynchpin of our whole foreign policy in Northeast Asia and Asia as a whole. It is the thread that runs through the stability of the region. We have 50,000 troops in Japan. That’s more than anywhere else in the world. Everybody depends on those troops being there and the American presence being there.
What you have in Asia is the last place where great powers can reasonably collide—the Taiwan Strait and the Korean Peninsula. As dangerous as it is, the day has passed when you would have a superpower confrontation that would lead to war in the Mideast. That doesn’t mean you wouldn’t have a war in the Mideast, but not between two nuclear powers.