- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 14, 2009

Fun (out of) the sun

With summer right around the corner, we got the skinny on various politicos’ vacation plans at the Shade Foundation of America reception, where VIPs Sen. John McCain and Shonda Schilling, wife of recently retired major league pitcher Curt Schilling, were honored for their fight against skin cancer.

Don’t expect to find Mr. Schilling at any Washington Nationals games when he is in town. The former Red Sox and Diamondbacks great told us, “I never go to games; I played them for 23 years.”

“Eastern Shore,” replied Rep. Charlie Dent, Pennsylvania Republican, when asked where he’ll be off to for some R&R.



However, he told us he was present for the evening to honor his late father-in-law, a skin cancer victim. Before leaving to go vote, Mr. Dent explained that while he’s out in the sun this summer, he’ll be equipped with lip balm, baseball cap and SPF lotion.

Ditto for Sen. McCain. “All of the above,” he said when asked what methods he uses to protect his fair skin and balding head from the blazing heat in Arizona, which has the highest number of skin cancer cases.

Mr. McCain told G2 he is looking forward to his summer trek up the Grand Canyon and hopes other vacationers will “come to Arizona and wear sun screen.”

Although skin cancer is a serious concern, Mr. McCain, a skin cancer survivor, was in a joking mood. When the presenter of his Ray of Hope leadership award remarked that cancer survivors can go on to accomplish anything, the defeated Republican presidential nominee quipped, “Almost.”

Rep. Peter T. King, New York Republican, told us that he, too, has had skin cancers removed and is extra careful in the sun, but does not venture out very often. “I am a homebody and don’t go on many vacations, which my wife can’t understand,” he said.

Not so for Sen. Sam Brownback, Kansas Republican, who is fond of beach holidays and trips to Colorado with his family. “I wear a T-shirt to the beach” since having a skin cancer removed from his side, he told us. “My kids think I look like the white whale.”

If you want to avoid the sun and have a great time, Rep. Shelley Berkley, Nevada Democrat, hopes you’ll “come to Las Vegas and drink like a fish and gamble like maniacs.”

Bride wars

Melody Barnes may be director of President Obama’s Domestic Policy Council, but what does she want to chat about at the end of a long day?

Dresses and makeup, of course!

We ran into her at the Georgetown manse of Smith and Elizabeth Bagley for a reception honoring education philanthropist Elaine Wynn, chairman of the board of Communities In Schools and a director of Wynn Resorts in Las Vegas.

Miss Barnes, flush with excitement, said she will marry beau Marland Buckner, a former Microsoft lobbyist, June 13 and, after much vacillation between Vera Wang and Amsale, decided on the latter for her wedding dress.

She says that, like White House social secretary Desiree Rogers and senior adviser to President Obama Valerie Jarrett, she has glammed it up for magazine shoots. In fact, she told us she liked her makeup for her Ebony spread so much that she asked the artist to doll her up for her big day.

What we really wanted to know was whether President and Mrs. Obama will be guests of honor, but the bride has been kept waiting for an RSVP. Apparently, there is another couple that met on the Obama campaign trail who are marrying the same day.

Where was Ms. Rogers when this decision was made? Isn’t she supposed to be the social traffic cop to prevent an Obama bride war?

Tap on tour

The trio formerly know as Spinal Tap - Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Harry Shearer - stopped by Nathan’s Q&A Cafe to talk up their acoustic “Unwigged & Unplugged” tour, which brought them to the Warner Theatre on Wednesday night.

Why no wigs? Perhaps because they lost the rights to the characters they portrayed in the movie during contract negotiations to get the film made initially. They’ve since become far more savvy.

“It was 1982 when we shot the film, and things were very different then,” said Mr. McKean. “Nowadays you make a big deal of ownership because it’s liable to slip away from you. But the deals are pretty much the same. You know, it’s all lawyers.”

Mr. Guest revealed that he is almost single-handedly keeping newspapers afloat, reading eight each day. None of them is domestic, unfortunately. He added that “C-SPAN’s fantastic, especially since they’ve added the laugh track.”

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