Skip to content

Cheeseburger in Paradise

Rep. Ric Keller (R-Fla.) won’t be around for today’s scheduled floor debate on his so-called “cheeseburger bill,” which would bar lawsuits against restaurants for making their patrons obese and unhealthy.

Instead, Keller will be in a hospital bed. For a heart condition. At the tender age of 41.[IMGCAP(1)]

Keller is undergoing a procedure at Orlando Regional Medical Center to have a loop monitor installed in his chest to monitor what doctors believe may be cardiac arrhythmia.

The Congressman has been hospitalized since Friday with the condition.

If you’ve seen Keller lately, then you know that he hasn’t exactly been holding back on the cheeseburgers himself.

Keller’s spokesman, Bryan Malenius, acknowledged the irony of the situation.

Still, “there are no plans for him to file suit against the many fast food restaurants he has patronized over the years,” Malenius joked.

“His hospitalization is non-cheeseburger related,” he added. “This morning when I went to visit him, he had his room service menu and there were plenty of circles on it.”

Malenius said his boss’s spirits are great and that he’s expected to be discharged from the hospital on Thursday.

Spicoli Alert. Shades of “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”: Sean Penn was eatin’ some birthday cake and learnin’ some politics Monday night at Bistro Bis, where he closed down the bar around midnight before heading up to his room in the Hotel George.

The studly actor walked into the bar as a birthday party was winding down for MSNBC “Hardball” booker Colleen King, who (finally) turned 24. Excited buddies of the birthday girl introduced her to Penn (who, of course, they didn’t know) and he seemed just as impressed with King as she was with him. Penn, it turns out, is a “Hardball” fan.

He asked the young booking producer if she was the one responsible for putting Howard Dean on the show earlier this month when he made his weird “hide the salami” comment about Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers. (Dean had suggested President Bush shouldn’t play hide the salami with a judicial appointment. Get it? Neither do we.) “Indeed I was!” King said excitedly to Penn.

Penn opened the box of King’s chocolate birthday cake and eyed it admiringly, but waited until after the producer left to eat a slice as a nightcap with his new pal, Joe Cirincione, the head of nonproliferation studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Cirincione met Penn at a dinner Monday for members of the Ploughshares Fund, where Penn filled in as the celebrity speaker for Michael Douglas, who was off making a new movie. Penn invited the nonproliferation guru back to Bistro Bis, where they drank, talked politics and engaged in a little Bush bashing.

Penn had to leave, though, so he could go help his 14-year-old daughter, who was back in California, with her homework over the phone. “I’m not sure what kind of shape he was in to help her with her math,” Cirincione joked.

Penn, Part II. Well, The Greatest Actor of His Generation didn’t seem too hung over the next day when he had lunch with his old friend, the lovestruck Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), at Greek Taverna before touring the Capitol, where (proving that the world is still really, really small) Penn ran into his buddy … Bono!

Maybe it’s a testament to the difference between a rock star and movie star: While Penn kept it low-key, hanging with a Democratic back-bencher from Ohio, Bono (with an entourage in tow) snared a sit-down meeting with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.).

Frist spokesman Bob Stevenson said the stock star and the rock star discussed global AIDS, Africa and the increasing lack of potable water around the world.

Bono is in town for U2’s “Vertigo” tour concerts tonight and Thursday at the MCI Center.

Nancy Pelosi: Hot! The November issue of Esquire magazine pays homage to the “Sexiest Women on the Planet.” Amid the models, actresses and pop singers, an honorable mention (of sorts) goes to … House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Specifically, Pelosi’s name appears in the “Women We’re Ashamed to Love” category.

Why? “Because we feel guilty about staring at a sixty-year-old ass,” the magazine says.

Actually, boys, she’s 65. And why the guilt?

P.S. Pelosi’s office declined to comment.

Please send your hot tips, juicy gossip or comments to