- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Two highly anticipated reads with Washington back stories made their debut this week.

The first is “True Compass,” the memoir of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. Mr. Kennedy’s sons Teddy Jr., 47, and Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, Rhode Island Democrat, 42, have been making the rounds on television reminiscing about their father and promoting the book, which was released Monday.

On “Larry King Live” Monday night, the elder Kennedy fielded a rare question about his father’s involvement in the 1969 car accident that left Mary Jo Kopechne dead.

“Years ago, he spoke to me about exactly what happened that night. And I knew how sorry my father has been each and every day of his life for what happened that night. If he could undo that moment, he would give anything to have been able to do so. He doesn’t make an excuse - any excuses. He accepts responsibility for what happened,” he said.

Meanwhile, “codeheads,” devoted followers of author Dan Brown, who penned the international bestseller “The Da Vinci Code,” were trekking to their nearest book shop Tuesday to pick up his latest thriller, “The Lost Symbol.”

The book brings Mr. Brown’s recurring protagonist, Harvard University professor Robert Langdon, to the nation’s capital where he delves into a murder involving the secretive Freemasons, who boast many a founding father among their members.

The book’s release date is not coincidental. Adding the numbers in the date together - 9/15/09 - equals 33, a number steeped in Freemason history and culture.

Football and folly

In light of South Carolina Republican Rep. Joe Wilson’s angry outburst during President Obama’s congressional address last week and Kanye West’s microphone-snatching on the MTV Music Video Awards show on Sunday, politicians are especially cognizant of civility these days.

We had a chance to talk about the subject with the gravelly-voiced Sen. Sherrod Brown, Ohio Democrat, at a Newseum reception Tuesday hosted by the Formosa Foundation for the film “Formosa Betrayed.” The film is a drama about Taiwan’s struggle to become a democracy, a cause Mr. Brown has aligned himself with out of concern for human rights.

Mr. Brown was joined at the party and screening by Rep. Michael McCaul, Texas Republican; Rep. David Wu, Oregon Democrat; and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Florida Republican, as well as one of the stars of the film, actor Tzi Ma, best-known for his roles in “The Quiet American” and on TV’s “24.”

Mr. Brown, sporting his favorite black sneakers, which looked slightly incongruous with his suit, told us that instead of hosting town hall meetings on health care while on recess in August, he held round-table discussions across the Buckeye State in an effort to keep things a little more high-minded and harmonious, but things did not always turn out that way.

“I would interrupt people who agreed with me and those who did not, and told them to quiet down if they got out of hand. I did my best, and just hoped they didn’t have a gun,” he told us with a grin.

Evidently, the Ohio authorities are ready for such a ruckus. A health care meeting was planned at Ohio State University, Mr. Brown said, and far more security was needed for the school’s boisterous games against OSU chief rival, the University of Michigan. Mr. Brown’s event was a tea party in comparison, according to local police.

Thanks to college football, our little political food fights don’t look so bad.

Out to lunch

Speaking of food, French chef Eric Ripert, who runs the Westend Bistro at the downtown Ritz Carlton, a popular watering hole for the well-heeled and well-connected, will be a guest on “The Martha Stewart Show” on Thursday.

What’s on the menu? We hear he and Martha will be cookin’ up some seasonal vegetables - zucchini and tomatoes - with bread crumbs and Parmesan along with a vegetable salad featuring ravigote vinaigrette while dishing on his new book “A Return To Cooking.”

Save us some leftovers, please.

Over the moon

On the red carpet at the MTV Music Video Awards on Sunday, we spotted legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who’s no stranger to the D.C. social scene and scarcely seems to miss a red carpet. In case you’re wondering just what a retired rocket man was doing brushing shoulders with Lady Gaga, here’s the answer. The statuettes given at the awards feature an astronaut on the moon, one of the earliest representations of MTV, so it would be remiss, to say the least, not to have an original “moon man” there.

To contact Stephanie Green or Elizabeth Glover, e-mail [email protected]

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