- The Washington Times - Monday, October 24, 2005

Show prep

“Whatever you do, Dad, don’t embarrass us.”

Advice given by the children of former FBI Director Louis J. Freeh before his appearance last week on “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart. Mr. Freeh is author of the new book, “My FBI: Bringing Down the Mafia, Investigating Bill Clinton, and Fighting the War on Terror.”

Vivian’s apprentice

You can’t be married to the corporate communications head of the Ritz-Carlton empire and not learn a thing or two about the hotel and tourism industry.

But little did Vivian Deuschl realize that her husband, Dennis, a retired U.S. government spokesman in Washington, was paying such close attention.

As Mr. Deuschl tells the story, he was having a rather heated discussion with his wife about her demanding profession, and her response was: “If you’re so good at it, you ought to write a book!”

What better venue than the Ritz-Carlton Washington this past Friday evening to celebrate the publication of “Travel and Tourism Public Relations: An Introductory Guide for Hospitality Managers,” the first book of its kind? Mr. Deuschl, interestingly enough, teaches a university course on the discipline and realized his students were in need of a proper textbook — what Michael Gehrisch, president and CEO of Destination Marketing Association International, now hails as a comprehensive “bible” for travel professionals.

Industry insiders are arriving from both coasts to toast the attentive husband and author: NBC “Today” show travel editor Peter Greenberg, airline industry guru Chris Chiames, Christine Fischer of the International Cruise Line Association, AAA public relations manager Justin McNaull, publisher Anne Daly Hellerof the weekly hotel/convention trade newspaper USAE, Nancy Friedman of Nancy J. Friedman Public Relations in New York, Simone Rathle of Simone Ink in Washington, Travel Industry Association of America Senior Vice President Dennis Petroskey and Vice President Dexter Koehl, Ritz-Carlton president and COO Simon Cooper, Marriott International Vice President Roger Conner, and Marriott/Ritz food and beverage connoisseur Wendy Reisman, to name just a few.

Mr. Deuschl was even more touched when his wife and two daughters, Lisa and Piper (the latter about to deliver the family’s first grandchild), led the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday” to their father. If you’ve never seen a flaming Baked Alaska birthday cake, Ritz-Carlton executive chef Rich Arnoldi owns the recipe for such a monster.

Tee boy

That was 7-year-old Christian Thomas, the grandson of syndicated columnist and TV pundit Cal Thomas, playing the all-important position of “tee boy” after the opening kickoff of yesterday’s football game between the Washington Redskins and San Francisco 49ers.

“His is a remarkable story,” says the proud grandpa. “He survived serious heart surgery in August 2004, when he was six.”

Mr. Thomas bid on the tee-boy privilege at a recent Youth for Tomorrow auction, proceeds of which assist Redskins coach Joe Gibbs in his efforts to help shape the lives of boys and girls who have had early brushes with the law.

And what does a tee boy do?

“He’ll run on the field, grab the [kicking] tee and take it back to the sidelines,” Mr. Thomas explained before the game. “Needless to say, I am proud of the boy, and as a longtime Redskins fan myself, it’s great to be raising up a third-generation Redskins fan.”

John Thomas, Christian’s dad, says his son could not have been more thrilled when, recovering from his heart surgery in the hospital, an autographed football arrived at his bedside, sent over personally by Mr. Gibbs.

Fallen heroes

Wearing the hat of “ambassador” for Products for Good — supporting families of fallen U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan — country music legend Lee Greenwood will appear this morning at the Washington headquarters of the Family Research Council.

The Grammy Award winner is best known for his anthem “God Bless the USA,” which has the memorable lyrics: “And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free. And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.”

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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