Has a day gone by in the past month without Charlie Sykes slamming Steve Kagen over the tall tale of his visit to the White House? "What a strange man" he intoned today, reveling in another twist in a tale few people care about.
He's been so busy knocking Kagen that he's forgotten to mark the anniversary of an even more bizarre story -- one told, not surprisingly, by him!
The Brawler is referring, of course, to Liz Woodhouse Day, which is celebrated every January 16. It's a day to commemorate the revelation that Sykes radio show regular Liz Woodhouse was actually a local chanteuse named Janet Riordan. Though Sykes hadn't bothered to tell listeners Woodhouse was a pseudonym.
But let's go back a bit. The Journal Sentinel's Tim Cuprisin reported on Jan.9 that Liz Woodhouse was a fake name.
WTMJ's flack spun mightily:
"I can't tell you what her name is. Her name is Liz Woodhouse on the air. The only reason that she wants to use this name is professional privacy reasons.
"This is someone who is not involved in any of the issues as a decision-maker. She functions on this program like a listener who has a conservative voice.
"This is not a case of a failure to disclose a conflict of interest."
Later in the week, Charlie said he might reveal her name. But was he apologetic for lying to his listeners for months? If you think so, then you don't know Charlie! From a Cuprisin followup:
Here's what Charlie said about "Liz" during a brief telephone conversation Thursday afternoon:
"I'm not going to tell you (who she is). If I decide to say it, I'm going to say it on the show."
Here's what he said on his radio show Thursday morning:
"She's not one of the regular pundits. She's not a professional journalist. She's not a politician. She is a listener . . . somebody who I think is intelligent and informative.
"There's this world of the chattering classes . . . then there are the people who have to work for a living. There are people out there who, if they are outspoken conservatives, it might damage their professional opportunities."
Can anyone play the victim card like a conservative?
On the 16th all was revealed:
WTMJ spokeswoman Mary Alice Tierney says that Riordan is a family friend and a sometimes researcher for Charlie. She's also a 35-year-old soprano who has sung with groups such as the Boulevard Ensemble. A few of you might have seen her in a Dec. 10 holiday concert at Carroll College. In 1992, she starred as Laury in the Skylight Opera Theatre's version of "Oklahoma!"
But the story was even more bizarre:
But remember when Charlie was nabbed in Whitefish Bay last August for shooting off illegal fireworks? At the time, he said he was with a family friend from West Bend.
Yep, Riordan lives in West Bend.
A check of the police log from the Aug. 2 fireworks caper showed Charlie Sykes' name there right next to Janet Riordan's name. Whitefish Bay police say they were the only two people on the beach in Big Bay Park at 9:45 p.m, 45 minutes after closing time.
Here are some other key dates in that family friendship:
February 1998: Riordan and her husband divorce
June 1999: Charlie and Diana Sykes divorce
July 2000: Riordan and Sykes marry.
Shortly before the wedding, Cuprisin reported on a conversation with Sykes:
In a Wednesday afternoon telephone chat, Charlie described his relationship with Riordan thusly: "We were friends, and we have obviously become better friends."
The Brawler's sense of etiquette is slipping. What's the appropriate gift for 10th anniversaries?
What a deeply, deeply strange man.