By Betsy Rothstein - 09/12/07 05:23 PM EDT
“Oh boy, every meal,” said Rep. Chris Cannon (R-Utah), who recently returned from a congressional delegation trip to Kazakhstan led by Democratic Samoan Del. Eni Faleomavaega. “Every meal was like an eight-course meal. I think we had horsemeat at every meal. Breakfast is a buffet at the hotel. I wasn’t looking for [horsemeat] at that point.”
One form of horsemeat that Cannon often encountered were intestines, the Kazakh answer to pork sausage: “Very thick, very chewy and not very attractive,” Cannon said in describing the delicacy. “I try to be gracious wherever I go. That was hard.”
What does horsemeat taste like?
“Not much different from beef, really,” Cannon said. “Mostly it was baked or cooked.”
Other than the country’s choice of protein, Cannon said Kazakhstan has Westernized at an “amazing pace.” He said being there was “really a very European experience. The country is very modern. The telephone system is among the worst. The country is not the backward, awful place suggested by [comedian Sacha Baron Cohen’s character] Borat.”
The country may not have cornered the market on fine cuisine, but it is gaining momentum in other areas. For instance, says Cannon, Chevron’s joint venture with the Kazakhstan government is about to double its production of oil. In addition, he said, the president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, enjoys an approval rating of 93 percent.
Besides, for Cannon, eating horsemeat is nothing. In his lifetime he has sampled lizard, armadillo and rattlesnake. Probably the oddest dish was fried scorpion in China. “I try to eat everything,” he said. “I really liked them. I ate a bunch of them.”
How do you call Fred Thompson?
Former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.), who last week formally announced his run for president on NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” is a hard man to reach. His presidential website lists no contact number for him or his campaign. Press releases also list no contact number to pose questions. The name after the word “contact”? There is none; it’s a blank space.
So how does one reach Thompson?
Apparently, it’s word of mouth. “Someone told me” the number to call, said one reporter.
In the interest of informing our readers, the Fred Thompson for President campaign can be reached at (571) 730-1010 or (571) 730-1000.
The Beard Caucus
It’s no official caucus, but several lawmakers, including House Parliamentarian John Sullivan, returned from August recess sporting facial hair.
The short list includes Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), whose beard lasted a day before he shaved it off; Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), whose beard lasted four days into the session; and Rep. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), whose beard and mustache also were gone after four days back in Washington.
Sullivan would not say why he had a new beard. He jokingly told one Capitol employee that he was hiding out from bill collectors. “Gives him the homeless, don’t-chase-me-for-money look,” the employee said.
Murphy grew a full beard and mustache while on his honeymoon to Belize and Guatemala. So did it look good? “That’s not fair,” spokeswoman Kristen Bossi laughed. “I’m not answering that question.” Bossi said Murphy did not consult his staff before he grew it.
Shuster shaved off his beard for a good reason — his mom made him.
“My mother was giving me too hard of a time about it,” Shuster explained last week.
The normally clean-cut lawmaker said he had been growing facial hair for four to five weeks. He said he and his family traveled to Mystic, Conn., over the break and he was trying to look more like a New Englander. “It’s a whimsical kind of thing,” he said, noting that he has grown beards each of the last three summers. “It’s a nuisance to shave.”
Shuster said he tried to sneak around behind his mother’s back, but she saw him on television and immediately called him up. “Two minutes after the interview I got the voice mail,” Shuster recalled. “She said, ‘Shave the beard, you don’t look good.’”
Please, hold the onions on Sen. Thune’s hamburger
If you’ve ever dreamed of pigging out with Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the tall, slender lawmaker with an affinity for junk food, now is your chance.
Next Tuesday night, friends of Thune will host an all-you-can-eat fundraiser for the senator at Five Guys (808 H St. NW) from 7 to 9 p.m. The cost is a whopping $500 per person, $1,000 per political action committee and $2,500 per host. The senator prefers everything on his hamburger, except onions.
No offense, but of all places, why Five Guys?
“Thune prefers laid-back atmospheres versus formal affairs,” said a source close to the event. “He avoids first class even though he has a million frequent flyer miles and is in, like, the quadruple-platinum airline club. He’s a pretty common guy, thus the common man’s restaurant.”
RSVP to Lisa@johnthune.com or (202) 744-7373.
Are you the next Washington PR Woman of the Year?
Nominations are now being accepted for the 2007 Washington PR Woman of the Year award, to be announced in November. This year’s event, sponsored by Washington Women in Public Relations, takes place at the Mayflower Hotel and features White House veteran reporter Helen Thomas as the keynote speaker.
Nominations — a letter of support — are due on Sept. 14.
Don’t worry about looks, they have no place in this contest. “It’s judged from the letter that is sent in, and [nominees] have to meet certain criteria,” said Jennifer Bulick, chairwoman for the event and one of the five judges.
Nominees must have 10 years’ experience, with five years in D.C. They are asked to submit a résumé, notes on past experience and any supporting information. “It’s based on the accomplishments of their life,” Bulick noted.
All nominations may be sent to Bulick at Jennifer@richfieldproduction.com.
Two House GOP aides tie the knot
It’s official. Elaine Laura Paulionis, 27, and Christopher Phelen, 29, married on June 9 in St. Louis, Mo. The new Mrs. Phelen is a professional staff member on the Energy and Environment Subcommittee of the Science and Technology Committee. Mr. Phelen is a military legislative assistant for Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.).
She wore a duchess satin column gown designed by Ulla Majia Couture and carried a spray of flowers that included two large white calla lilies representing the bride’s and groom’s deceased fathers. The seven bridesmaids wore navy strapless gowns with cream sashes by Alvina Valenta.
The reception was held in a loft space in downtown St. Louis. The couple danced their first song to Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”
The wedding cake was quite a sight: a five-tier, round, light yellow creation with spun sugar calla lilies cascading up the side of the cake.
The couple delayed their honeymoon until the August recess to accommodate the congressional schedule. Last month they traveled to England and Lithuania.