By Betsy Rothstein - 04/14/08 05:01 PM EDT
Late last week Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) condemned the maker of a so-called sexy new energy drink, Blow Energy Drink Mix, at a press conference at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif. She claims the company is billing the white-powdered drink as though it were cocaine.
Sure enough, the product is sold with a credit card and a mirror to cut the powder that is then mixed into a beverage.
“It’s an outrageous product and is being marketed in a way that glorifies drug use,” Bono Mack told her hometown paper, the Palm Springs Desert Sun, calling it a “gateway” or “precursor” to real cocaine.
The drink mix’s potent ingredient, however, is not cocaine, but 240 milligrams of caffeine.
Las Vegas-based Logan Gola is the founder of Blow Energy Drink Mix. The product hit adult venues such as bars, nightclubs and tanning salons late last year. Gola said Bono Mack should “relax,” noting that the marketing campaign was intended to be edgy and sexy, but not geared toward children.
The website, iloveblow.com, which sells “I love blow” booty shorts for $12, reveals as much.
With scantily clad women in the background, one page instructs the consumer to “Just add a vial of Blow Energy Drink Mix to your favorite beverage and enjoy with a friend.”
The Pope has Dupont barber on call
He has cut the hair of countless VIPs since coming to Washington from Italy as the Italian ambassador’s personal barber, but he may serve his most important customer ever this week.
That’s because Diego d’Ambrosio, who owns Diego’s Hair Salon on Dupont Circle, is on call in case Pope Benedict XVI needs his locks shorn during his visit to Washington.
Congressional leaders plan to meet with the Pope Wednesday morning at the White House.
When called on Monday, d’Ambrosio said he didn’t want to discuss it, but sources at the Italian Embassy and the office of the Vatican’s official representative in the U.S., the Apostolic Nuncio, say he has been asked to make himself available in case the Pope needs some tonsorial attention.
If that happens, it’s unlikely that Diego will charge his usual $20 fee. More likely he’d settle for a papal blessing instead. But who knows, maybe the Pope’s a big tipper.
A biting incident near Capitol Hill
There are biting words on Capitol Hill. But biting recently took on its more literal meaning as U.S. Capitol Police responded to an incident at the Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building near Union Station and arrested a man for unlawful entry and assaulting a Judiciary Building special police officer.
When police arrested the man, he had scratches on him (it is yet unclear if these came from his altercation with the officer or something previous or unrelated), so Capitol Police took him to be treated at George Washington Hospital. But while he was there, the prisoner attempted to get out of his handcuffs and escape, becoming combative in the process and causing a Capitol Police officer to restrain him. The close proximity of the two allowed the prisoner to bite the officer at least once on the neck. The prisoner was restrained and the officer was treated and released.
Sen. Salazar doesn’t need a dog in Washington; he has Sen. Enzi
Normally, when someone compares a colleague to a dog, it’s grounds for high offense. But Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) was so comfortable with Sen. Ken Salazar’s (D-Colo.) recent, umm, compliment at the National Prayer Breakfast that he entered it into The Congressional Record last week.
“For me, I don’t need to buy a dog in Washington, D.C., because I have a friend named Mike Enzi,” Salazar said at the Feb. 7 prayer meeting, playing off the catch phrase coined by Henry Kissinger: “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.”
Enzi enthusiastically registered those and other remarks from the prayer breakfast into The Congressional Record last week so that others could enjoy the “superb message.”
A call into Salazar’s press office confirmed the close friendship between the lawmakers.
“He was saying he was a friend,” explained spokeswoman Stephanie Valencia. “He was saying, ‘I don’t need a dog because Mike Enzi is a true friend.’ ”
Valencia insisted her boss was not comparing Enzi to a dog. “No, no, no, [he was] trying to express how friendship has strengthened through the prayer breakfast.”
And no, she added, Salazar does not have a dog at home.
Lawmakers mash foreign leaders’ names
Just as President Bush is “Boosh” to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (on his nice days, at least), the South American leader and his Colombian counterpart, Álvaro Uribe, are now getting the pronunciation of their own names mangled by American politicians. The two leaders have been the subject of much talk on the Hill during discussions of the Colombia free trade agreement.
Chavez’s name has been mentioned multiple times on the House floor this month, but many of those references might sound completely unfamiliar to a listener expecting a more authentic pronunciation of his name (OO-go CHA-vez).
Rep. Wally Herger (R-Calif.), for instance, referred to the Latin American leader as HYOO-go Shu-VEZ in a floor speech on April 1.
Herger spokesman Darin Thacker acknowledged that his boss put “the em-PHAS-is on the wrong syl-LAB-le” of Chavez’s name but reiterated Herger’s point that the Democrats recent delay of the Colombian free trade agreement was a “slap in the face to the Colombian people and undermined U.S. security interest in the region.”
The next day, Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) used the same Shu-VEZ pronunciation when talking to reporters about the Colombia free trade agreement and repeatedly referred to the Colombian president as Yoo-REE-bay (think Oo-REE-beh).
ITK spoke to House experts in Spanish pronunciation to see if these and other politicians get a pass on botched pronunciations of the names of foreign leaders.
“Some of the names, frankly, you have to admit are complicated,” said Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla), offering the name of the Brazilian president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, as an example.
Diaz-Balart, too, has been the victim of name-mangling. He frequently hears “BAY-lart,” and remembers a man he worked with in the Florida legislature who, despite being coached by Diaz-Balart, never figured out how to say his name (It is pronounced bah-LART). “He just couldn’t do it,” he said. “It’s normal to struggle with names.”
Rep. José Serrano (D-N.Y.), who once hosted Chavez in his district, wasn’t so kind.
“If you’re going to be opposed to a democratically elected president … you should go out of your way to pronounce his name right,” he said, referring to allegations that the Bush administration was involved in the 2002 coup against Chavez. “Part of our foreign policy should be to make an effort to pronounce their names correctly.”