In the latest installment of the Roll Call series that examines fictional characters and who represents them in Congress, we look at our favorite Christmas characters.
The rules for Fictional Franchise go like this: We decide where a fictional character lives and then look up who represents them in the House. (See more here.)
George Bailey (James Stewart) “It’s a Wonderful Life” Bedford Falls, N.Y. Republican Rep. Tom Reed
Seneca Falls makes a pretty good case that the upstate New York town is the “real” Bedford Falls.
And so Seneca Falls is not just the birthplace of the women’s rights movement, it’s where Clarence earned his wings and George Bailey lassoed the moon and his future wife, Mary.
Clark W. Griswold (Chevy Chase) “Christmas Vacation” Shermer, Ill. Democratic Rep. Brad Schneider
“Christmas Vacation” is part of writer/director John Hughes’ 1980s anthology of life in suburban Chicago. He based his movies in a town called “Shermer.” Hughes spent his high-school years in the Chicago suburb Northbrook, which was originally called “Shermerville.”
Geography aside, “Christmas Vacation” also functions as a public service announcement against the dangers of using a storm drain as a depository for recreational vehicle sewage.
Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell) “Elf” Upper West Side, New York City Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler
Buddy the Elf moves into the Central Park West apartment of his biological father, children’s book publisher Walter Hobbs, according to severalblogs.
But Buddy has connections to another New York City district. He commutes to work at Gimbell’s and in the mailroom of the Empire State Building in Democratic Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney’s 12th District on the east side of Manhattan.
Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) “Miracle on 34th Street” (1947) Great Neck, N.Y. Democratic Rep. Steve Israel
Friend of Roll Call/Long Island native/Hotline Editor-in-Chief Steve Shepard weighed in with this analysis.
Per Shepard: “Just a stone’s throw from the Empire State Building is Macy’s Herald Square location, situated on the western edge of Maloney’s district. But in the film, Kris Kringle actually lived at the fictional Brooks Memorial Home for the Aged in Great Neck, N.Y., on Long Island. That makes Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., Santa’s congressman. And presumably Israel would also represent the bucolic suburban home for which Natalie Wood asked Santa.”
It should be noted that Great Neck is also home to Jay Gatsby and Israel’s 3rd District hosts Tony Miglione of Blume’s “Then Again, Maybe I Won’t.”
Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley) “A Christmas Story” Hohman, Ind. Democratic Rep. Peter J. Visclosky
Writer Jean Shepherd set “A Christmas Story” in Hohman, which is a stand-in name for his hometown of Hammond, Ind.
Even so, the house used in filming is located in Ohio’s 11th. Democratic Rep. Marcia L. Fudge represents that district that is also home to Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn, star pitcher for the Cleveland Indians.
Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) “Home Alone” Winnetka, Ill. Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky
All sorts of crazy went down over one Christmas break in Illinois’ 9th District. The owners of the “Silver Tuna” McCallister household accidentally left their 8-year-old son at home unsupervised as a crime wave involving a pair of burglars named “The Wet Bandits” hit the neighborhood.
Like other John Hughes films, this one is set in the North Shore suburbs. Schakowsky’s 9th District and Schneider’s 10th District bisect the region. The movie was shot in an actual house in the area that is well-documented on YouTube and various blogs. The McCallister house is an identifiable site in the neighborhood and Kevin, like Regina George of “Mean Girls,” is most definitely a Schakowsky constituent.
We love the Internet:
Rudolph T. Reindeer “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” Christmastown, Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young
We interpret “Christmastown” to be North Pole, Alaska.
Christmastown is a deceptively cheerful name for the fictional village. Just about everyone in Christmastown, from Santa down to the reindeer calves, exhibits deplorable behavior and discriminates against Rudolph for what they perceive to be a birth defect.
It’s one thing for children to pick on somebody, but where were the adults in Christmastown? Comet? Rudolph’s own father, Donner? Santa?!?
Oh, they were there, bullying Rudolph right along with the children. Completely inexcusable. The ostracism was so unbearable that Rudolph was forced to flee the town with his band of oddball friends.
Oh, hey Santa! We hope that crow tasted delicious!
Given the fact that Hermey the Elf likely does not walk at a fast pace, we have concluded that the Island of Misfit Toys is a river archipelago in the nearby Tanana River.
As for Yukon Cornelius, we assume that judging by his name, he is likely Canadian, and thereby ineligible to vote in American elections.
Mike and Carol Brady (Robert Reed and Florence Henderson) “A Very Brady Christmas” North Hollywood, Los Angeles, Calif. Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman
In 1988, the Bradys reunited for “A Very Brady Christmas,” and the film took a dangerous turn. Mike, an architect, was called away from Christmas dinner after a building collapsed on two security guards. He, too, became trapped when he entered the building. The entire Brady clan raced to the worksite to keep vigil for him.
Carol single-handedly saved Mike through the power of song. Her rendition of “O, Come, All Ye Faithful” summoned the Brady patriarch’s strength to emerge from the rubble.
But the North Hollywood Brady House is only a stone’s throw away from Democratic Rep. Tony Cárdenas’ 29th District. The 29th is also home to Andrea Zuckerman, star-but-illegal student at West Beverly Hills High of the 90210 ZIP code.
The parade of self-styled holiday greetings has officially begun. And we dare suggest that the first vanity project to cross our desk may very well win the entire season.
(Courtesy HOH tipster)
For those of you not lucky enough to bask in the glory of House staffer Scott Cunningham’s Christmas correspondence, the legislative aide to Rep. Kenny Marchant, R-Texas, re-purposed his debut on this year’s “50 Most Beautiful” list by The Hill as the backdrop for his personal greeting.
“Making The Hill’s 50 Most Beautiful People list? Easy. Sending my Christmas cards out on time? Harder than keeping the government open,” the House GOP aide quipped, referring back to the unscheduled legislative break that was Drunktober.
Cunningham’s bold maneuver (bonus points for making light of the government shutdown, what with Congress unlikely to beat reindeer poop in a public opinion poll right now) made at least one veteran Hill staffer cringe.
“That’s horrible! I’m embarrassed for them,” our source said upon learning of the recycled imagery.
Cunningham did not respond to repeated emails requesting clarification about how many cards were mailed out, or how far the insider-y missive might travel. (Outside the Beltway? All the way back to the Lone Star State?)
Others remain hard at work on the blizzard of creative messaging that blankets congressional offices around this time of year. Full story
As part of a push to promote the Hellenic diet, the foyer of the Rayburn House Office Building will be transformed into a “Mediterranean festival of feasting” Wednesday evening, featuring exotic foodstuffs prepared by headline-grabbing Greek chefs.
The “Greek Diet Goes to Congress” demo is scheduled to take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The Embassy of Greece arranged for the invite-only festivities in conjunction with Hellenic Caucus Co-Chairmen Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., and Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., and New York Democratic Rep. Joseph Crowley.
“The Omega Diet” author Dr. Artemis Simopoulos is the headliner for the cultural exchange and he will be accompanied by a number of telegenic toques from all over. Some of those who’ll come bearing edible gifts include: Food Network personality Cat Cora, Zaytinya chef Michael Costa, local restaurateur Mike Isabella, Kapnos chef de cuisine George Pagonis and healthy eating advocate Katerina Stai.
A Think Food Group aide said Team Zaytinya would be serving olive oil-poached salmon with smoked walnut skordalia and pomegranate, as well as kale dolmades filled with butternut squash, pine nuts, short grain rice and parsley.
A spokeswoman for Isabella said the “Top Chef” alumnus was planning to woo tasters with marinated shrimp with fennel and grapefruit, melitzanosalata (featuring smokey eggplant, roasted peppers, walnuts, feta) and fava (yellow lentils, squash, spinach, pearl onions).
An embassy aide said Stai, who mostly works on kid-friendly eats, plans to dish out a modified pumpkin pie mixed with feta and wrapped in phyllo dough, and melomarakona — traditional holiday cookies fashioned from sugar, olive oil, honey, chopped walnuts, orange juice and cinnamon.
“This event will show that eating healthier doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor,” Simopoulous said in a release announcing the inaugural culinary extravaganza.
Reps. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., will join iconic District sports figures at the Tuesday unveiling of a new basketball court erected outside the Horton’s Kids Community Resource Center at 2500 Pomeroy Road SE.
Monumental Sports & Entertainment and Hoops for Youth sprung for the “modern” blacktop, which replaces a woefully run-down predecessor.
(Courtesy Horton’s Kids)
“Most of the concrete was uneven and cracked,” a Horton’s Kids aide said of the dilapidated, single-hoop play area the local nonprofit had to contend with prior to the monthlong renovation.
Monumental CEO and Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis will be on hand to help break in the new court, and he’s bringing along Wizards players Otto Porter Jr. and Jan Vesely to, presumably, run a few drills with local youths. The official program will run 4-5:30 p.m.; after that, the open-air court will be available to anyone who wants to drive to the hoop. Full story
It took about a year, but freshman Rep. Joe Garcia has officially landed on Harvey Levin’s radar.
The celebrity gossip site took notice of the Florida Democrat after he was photographed strolling surfside with a lady friend sporting barely-there swimwear. Remember: You can’t un-see things: Full story
California Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell has an urgent message for Miles, the 5-year-old leukemia survivor who donned his Dark Knight costume to help secure the Bay Area today: San Francisco needs your help.
“Only you can defeat the Riddler and the Penguin. … We’re all counting on you, Batkid, to use your superhero powers to protect our city,” Swalwell said in a special S.O.S. to be delivered to the heroic youth who has captured the imagination of just-for-the-day Gotham.
(Courtesy Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area)
Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area has recruited tens of thousands of people to help choreograph Miles’ dream day as the caped crusader. Follow along with the unfolding adventure here.
Ranking congressional Bat-fan (and “Dark Knight” guest star) Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., tweeted out his best wishes for the youngster.
As formidable a Batman as I’ve seen, and I’ve met a few! Rootin’ for ya #SFBatkid@SFWish
A recent 93-word intrusion into Federal Reserve nominee Janet L. Yellen’s wardrobe has spawned pages and pages of unbridled outrage, prompting feminists, economists and all-around pragmatists to flood comment boards and social-media feeds with burning questions about this publication’s sudden interest in sartorial decision-making.
Where is the blistering assault on President Barack Obama’s strict rotation of blue or gray suits, some wondered. Why no exposés about current Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s penchant for Jos. A. Bank wear, prodded others. Hell, when have you ever taken note of a man’s appearance? (Oh, let’s see, just in the recent past there were musings about South Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Sanford’s shorts, North Carolina Republican Rep. Howard Coble’s blazer and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum’s sleeveless gear.)
“Are you Claudia from the Babysitters Club, determined to never wear the same outfit? Do you burn your clothes the minute you take them off?” demanded one email interrogator. (No clue. Never read that series.)
“How would you like comments on your heritage or weight being relevant to your worth?” asked another. (Fair point.) Full story
According to an aide to Rep. Jim McDermott, the Washington Democrat enjoyed his first Sir Mix-A-Lot concert earlier this month. But confidence is low that the jazz and folk rock fan will delve much deeper into the rap world.
McDermott first became aware of the Seattle-born rhyme spitter when faux conservative newsman Stephen Colbert attempted to pin him down about his preference of posteriors during a recent “Better Know a District” segment.
His curiosity piqued, McDermott ventured over to Mix-A-Lot’s Nov. 2 show to see what all the fuss was about.
“It was interesting. But it was a bit loud for his tastes,” a McDermott spokesperson related about the overall experience. The aide added that McDermott certainly enjoyed meeting Mix-A-Lot — “He thought he was very nice” — but suggested that he’s more likely to stick with longstanding musical favorites Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Miles Davis and Israel Kamakawiwoʻole.
“This one’s for you,” said Carolyn Porco, leader of the imaging team monitoring the Saturn-circling Cassini spacecraft and friend of the late Carl Sagan, as she unveiled the mesmerizing new snapshot of Saturn she dedicated to the pioneering stargazer.
A rare scientific love fest on Capitol Hill, the Tuesday gathering of academics and entertainers at the Library of Congress was spearheaded by subversive cartoonist and trash-talking teddy bear creator Seth MacFarlane.
(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)
The comedian, via his charitable foundation, helped make the “Seth MacFarlane Collection of Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan” available to the Library of Congress. Librarian of Congress James H. Billington giddily welcomed the addition of the 1,705 boxes of archival material chronicling Sagan’s deeply inquisitive life.
“It is exciting that the rich Sagan-Druyan archive is joining other great collections of scientific knowledge,” he said of the treasure trove of documents set aside for credentialed researchers.
While he had nothing but complimentary things to say about Sagan, MacFarlane unloaded on both political parties for failing the scientific community. He lambasted the far right for making too much noise (“Evolution really happened. It’s not in debate,” he jeered, adding, “I’ve never seen gravity questioned”), while browbeating the left for remaining eerily silent.
“They’ve allowed it to fester,” MacFarlane said of the cacophony of flat-Earth-style rumblings resonating in the national echo chamber. Full story
How does one properly reward those willing to spend the better part of a day debating the nuts and bolts of intellectual property rights and innovation policy? The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center figures a few tunes from a long-forgotten “American Idol” winner ought to about cover it.
The GIPC is hosting its inaugural global IP summit Friday at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a daylong gathering featuring guest speakers — including Rep. George Holding, R-N.C. — and discussion panels galore.
Once it’s all over, attendees will be treated to a 15-minute performance by singer/songwriter Lee DeWyze.
Name not ringing a bell for you?
That’s probably because DeWyze won the ninth cycle of American Idol — and immediately faded into obscurity. Full story
Long before Mark Leibovich took this town to task in his book “This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral — Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking! — in America’s Gilded Capital,” another celebrated writer zeroed in on the power and the glory that float through the air in Washington.
In the Nov. 6, 1988, Heard on the Hill column, Bill Thomas chronicled the D.C. visit of Jay McInerney, the author of “Bright Lights, Big City” and a zeitgeist-catching scribe of the times. Full story
For Rep. Peter T. King, the most salient part about “Killing Kennedy,” a TV movie dramatizing President John F. Kennedy’s doomed ride through downtown Dallas in late 1963, was reliving the utter chaos the shooting loosed on the unsuspecting American public.
“It just captured the way the whole country just came to a halt,” King told HOH about the paralysis that gripped the nation in the wake of Lee Harvey Oswald’s defining political statement.
(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)
The film tracks the lives of JFK, played by Rob Lowe, and Oswald, portrayed by Will Rothhaar, from 1959 until that fateful November day in Texas. It is based on a book by the same title co-written by Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly and presents grim portraits of everyone involved.
The dark sides of JFK (troubled leader burned by the Bay of Pigs debacle) and Oswald (paranoid psychotic with monumental delusions of grandeur) propel both of the main characters along their collision course, with their respective counterparts (Jackie Kennedy spends most of her time smoking, crying and/or fawning all over her unfaithful spouse while Marina Oswald is little more than an emotional, and sometimes physical, punching bag for her malcontent of a mate) dragged along for the brutal ride. Full story
“Who better to represent rock royalty than Roger Daltrey … an icon on both sides of the Atlantic,” Speaker John A. Boehner said Wednesday as he introduced The Who co-founder, who performed in Statuary Hall at the dedication ceremony for a bust of Winston Churchill.
The Ohio Republican showed a bit of giddiness in introducing Daltrey, who went on to sing Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me,” perhaps a reference to the “special relationship” of the United States and Great Britain.
For anyone wondering whether Daltrey would add some rock ‘n’ roll to what are typically dry affairs, it must have been disappointing. Although some of the speakers at the ceremony, such as Secretary of State John Kerry, made mention of Churchill’s legendary humor and irreverence, most everyone made sure to note how very serious it all was, and that Churchill indeed saved the world, etc. Daltrey’s gospel-like rendition of the American pop standby was as tame as it gets.
Boehner made bringing a bust of the former British prime minister to the Capitol one of his first priorities as speaker. During that debate, he called the British politician “the best friend America ever had.”
Looks like Rep. Renee Ellmers had herself a little fun Wednesday night, stepping out for a buzzy flick — Tom Hank’s skippering saga, “Captain Phillips” — and later rubbing elbows with the eponymous gent who inspired said maritime thriller.
Met Captain Phillips last night after watching movie based on 2009 hijacking of MV Maersk Alabama by Somali pirates. pic.twitter.com/fU6ULIKu7X
Restaurateur-cum-philanthropist José Andrés is presiding over his first TEDx conference this weekend here in D.C., and he’s bringing along a close buddy — Rep. Jim McGovern.
A Think Food Group aide confirmed that Andrés, who is serving as “guest curator” for the upcoming TEDxMidAtlantic gathering Friday and Saturday, personally invited the Massachusetts Democrat to attend.
“They’ve actually been friends for a really long time now,” Think Food Group spokeswoman Stephanie Salvador said of the bond that’s formed between her cheflebrity boss and the anti-hunger advocate through their continued efforts to feed the world, one mouth at a time:
Per his office, the congressman is expected to continue sounding that particular alarm during his debut TEDx talk, electing to share his thoughts on the “politics of hunger” with the enlightenment-seeking crowd. Full story