On Tracht's show, the 400,000-plus listeners are "maggots," and the insults are guaranteed to offend, regardless of race, creed or sexual preference. Nonetheless, Greaseman, 34, has been named by Washingtonian magazine for the second year in a row as "Best Deejay" in the area.
"A bold, proud, bulky man," in his words, Tracht was born and raised in the Bronx, N.Y. He started in radio while at Ithaca (N.Y.) College and soon thereafter created Nino "Grease" Minnelli, the character now known as Greaseman. He was lured to WWDC two years ago from Jacksonville, Fla. with a five-year, $1 million contract. The Greaseman has no trouble explaining his popularity. He likens his show to a movie "where you see a car driven through the front window of a store and you hear a couple of maggots get blasted with a Magnum. Everyone likes that."
She has been called "Bobby Fischer in a dress," which probably sounds like an insult but is meant as a compliment. And, in the case of Soviet chess player Maya Chiburdanidze, the accolade is well-deserved. The 24-year-old from the republic of Georgia has already won the women's world chess championship three times, the most recent victory coming last fall. In December the World Chess Federation awarded her the title of Men's International Grandmaster, making her only the second woman in history (after fellow Georgian Nona Gaprindashvili, 43) to be so honored.
Chiburdanidze's father is an economist and her mother a Russian language teacher, but it was an older brother who taught her to play chess at age 8. That same year, in an exhibition game, Maya beat the reigning champ, Gaprindashvili, who gave the girl an autographed picture inscribed, "To Maya—future world champion." Chiburdanidze fulfilled the prophecy by the time she was 17, becoming a women's grandmaster along the way.
Though she is giggly and bouncy in an interview, Chiburdanidze takes her chess very seriously. She is also a fifth-year medical student and a deputy of the local Georgia government. Georgia, in fact, is known for its women chess players, a fact that some trace to the folklore of the region, in which a bride's dowry would include a book of poems—and a chess set.