Monday, May 03, 2004

Felix Dennis: Poet? Naaaah

Maxim Magazine founder and vole-like mogul Felix Dennis really wants to be a poet, or so he hints to the Wall Street Journal today.

Oh, The Corsair loves rich eccentrics, like Sargent Shriver and Felix the scat ... we could go so many ways with this little chestnut.

WSJ's Matthew Rose writes:

"'It would be nice if Mr. Letterman or Oprah gave me two minutes,' Mr. Dennis says. 'I'd blow their bloody socks off.'

"Mr. Dennis has let his hair grow long and shaggy since he started writing seriously in late 2000. He has completed 650 poems, at last count, in the four hours a day he devotes to them. Every few weeks, he sends what he calls a 'wodge' of poems to his editor and to a lawyer friend, who stands in for the kind of ordinary reader Mr. Dennis seeks. Mr. Dennis then joins the other two in grading his poems. Those that get three As make the cut. Cs are discarded. Anything in between goes up for discussion or revision.

"Mr. Dennis says in the next few years he's considering selling Dennis Publishing, owner of the highly successful Maxim, an irreverent men's magazine. He would like to concentrate on poetry and other interests ..."

" ... A poet named Michael Horovitz (during a reading by Dennis) jumped up and protested that it was 'so wrong and so unfair,' Mr. Dennis recalls. Mr. Horovitz says he didn't use those exact words, but he has little admiration for Mr. Dennis's style: 'He has this maddeningly reactionary and Philistine concern about rhyming, which is why Felix, until he gets over it, won't become a true poet.' He adds that people only bought the book out of 'sheer gracefulness' in return for free wine."

Wine ... or whine. Mr. Dennis is like any other good British boy who wants deeply and perversely to be Lord Byron. The Corsair believes that the whole Rolling Stones/ Beatles thingie began with Lord Byron, rock stars are just pale imitations. But the sun has set on the British Empire, although they have colonized the language -- why not make the most of it, my little soupbones, goes the thinking.

Alas, "Mr. Dennis," while living like an imperial viceroy on Mustique, doesn't know that the category of poet is, in fact, dead. Rigor mortis has set in. No one gives a flying fuck about the poets anymore. And poets, as a social class, are on the rungs somewhere between subway motormen and squeegee handlers on the great social ladder of Being.

Finally, Dennis lacks the exotic bohemian style, the savoir faire, of Lord Byron, Don Juan; rather, Dennis strikes us as Falstaff without the wit and minus the drinking stamina. The Corsair managed (wink, wink) to get a few stanzas of Dennis' floetry, his low grade godawful doggerel.

Check it:

"Epistle to Celebrity Skin

"Halle Berry's got a lotta class/
Fills out a swimsuit with her tits and ass/
She took the Motion Picture Academy to the Cleaners/
Plus she stirs my Oscar ... Meyer Weiner"


"Lara (Flynn Boyle)

"How does one adequately describe in verse/
Without appearing too perverse/
I'll set aside my pint of Bass/
And describe the bony curvature of her ass."

But, that's not all ... Finally:

"Gina Gershon

"Gina, Gina, Burning Bright/
In the forest of the night/
Should a pizza suddenly appear/
Which slice would go best with beer?"

I'll refrain from reading Rhyme of the Ancient Pamela.

Big kudos to TMFTML, who also tear Felix a new hole.

Comments? post here or at BestWeekEver.

White House Correspondents Dinner: Famous-For-DC

We are the world's last superpower. America, the great. We sit astride the globe like a mighty colossus. So, what went on at the WHCD Bloomberg After Party?

Wonkette, Mrs. Cox (2nd story on OldHag), who was charming on Howie Kurtz, leads us off:

"Line is not quite around the block. Jeff Bezos is behind us. Franken about five places behind us, swaying just slightly. Much discussion on whether or not IDs are being checked and whether or not everyone is being forced to stand in line or just those of us who may be famous-for-DC but who are not legitimately famous. Question answered:

- Olsen twins are swept by.
- Chris Matthews goes right on in.
- Joe Scarborough, talking to Marines, follows.
- Bezos takes this as his cue.
- John Podhoretz next, eliciting memorable exchange:

Franken: 'I'm telling Page Six!'
Podhoretz: 'I am Page Six!'
Franken: 'You can't handle Page Six!'
Franken proclaims his intention to get to the bottom of this. Marches forward. Returns, announces, 'They told me I could get in, but I'm gonna wait in line with you!'

"Truly, a man of the people."

Jon Fine of AdAge tells us:

"The crowd of well-wishers demanding snapshots with Internet gossip-and-links purveyor Matt Drudge -- outfitted for the occasion in a simple white hat he bragged cost $3.99 -- was substantially larger than those demanding snapshots with entertainer Wayne Newton. (Those convinced that Donald Trump has the most terrifying hair in the world would do well to avoid the improbable and elaborate structure that crowns Mr. Newton's skull.)"

"... Newsweek columnist Howard Fineman end-running an entire receiving line to enter Newsweek's pre-dinner reception -- an egregious offense of party etiquette ameliorated slightly by the fact he had Meg Ryan on one arm."

Next, we have Hank Steuver of the Washington Post:

"Nix the moment where Henry Kissinger, older than ever, declines, with actual horror in his voice, the opportunity to speak to Lyndon LaRouche. (Who, it happens, told us: 'Keep out of mischief, unless you enjoy it.' Oh, that lovable LaRouche.)"

"But Ben Affleck looked exactly like Ben Affleck, and his draw was understandably magnetic. He was large-headed, and available, out on the crowded smoking yard in back, surrounded by all these young Republican women (he told one of them he thinks Republican girls are better looking than the rest, and she told us, and we tell you). Vanessa Kerry, daughter of, took his cigarette out of his hand and threw it on the ground, as a health admonition. Later Affleck got involved in a heated debate about the estate tax."

Danna Harman of the Christian Science Monitor:

"Serena Williams, awesome enough in her tennis clothes, was in an even more eye-catching emerald number."

And, finally Elizabeth Bumiller of the NY Times:

"'It's become like everything else,' said Christopher Buckley, the comic novelist and a former speechwriter for Mr. Bush's father. 'It's become the Super Bowl.'"


NYTimes to Spurlock: You Want Liver Failure With That?

It is rare that the staid New York Times Arts and Leisure section makes The Corsair spit out his Kenyan blend coffee, but Susan Dominus did, in her interview with Morgan Spurlock of the eagerly anticipated fast-food bashing film Super Size Me. Sure, Emily Nussbaum's lovingly rendered 70s tv nostalgia moves me; but Dominus downright floored me.

After about 30 days of McDonalds:

"DOMINUS: Did you start to smell bad?

"SPURLOCK: Oh, man. I was deliberately not exercising any more than the average American, but I did let myself go to the sauna, to kind of sweat some stuff out of me. And when I came out of the sauna, some guy was like, man, somebody or something smells like cheeseburger in here. I could only assume it was me.

"DOMINUS: I think that's a safe assumption."

A Little of the Old In and Out

In: Kaballah gibberish tatoos. In her rush to emulate the Material Girl (who, apparently, is no longer materialistic) Britney Spears made a boo-boo, according to the 3 AM girls:

"The 22-year-old has had a series of Hebrew symbols etched into the back of her neck in an act of devotion to Kabbalah, the mystical form of Judaism she was introduced to by Madonna.

"But unfortunately for her they are absolute gibberish.

"Says a source: 'She had hoped it would say new year or new era. It seems she's got the words the wrong way round."

Oops she did it again (we couldn't resist).

Out: Fashionweekdaily reports that Plum Sykes may, finally, have found her plum pudding, I mean, prince charming:

"Has Plum Sykes, 34, finally found her prince? Sources close to the Bergdorf Blondes author tell us she may be getting engaged soon to erstwhile Internet entrepreneur Toby Rowland. The 35-ish Rowland is the son of the late Tiny Rowland, a British press baron who owned Britain�s The Observer newspaper at one point. Toby, who was engaged once before, to an American, started an Internet company at the height of the dot com boom, but his company went down when the bubble burst; before that he worked for Disney."

Not the freshest catch, Plum, darling: Rowland was head of something called Clickmango, an online health site that went bust ... can the air of impatient superiority that surrounds you support such an association?

In: Art wars. Who wins? Us! Those crafty Page Sixers report that Sotheby's and Christy's are going all out this week:

"Both are holding their major Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary art sales. On the block is between $400 million and $500 million worth of art. Each auction house has gambled millions of dollars guaranteeing owners minimum prices, whether their artworks sell or not. The excitement starts tomorrow with Christie's Impressionist and Modern art sale featuring, among others, Modigliani, Monet, Chagall and Picasso."

Seriously, though, if any of you want to hook me up with George Braques Bouteille et Verre ( a steal, BTW, at $1.2 million to $1.6 million), I wouldn't have a problem.

Out: Teenage Exhibitionism. Daphne Merkin in today's New York Magazine brings us up to scoop on what the private school kids are doing (Is there a NY Mag private school beat?). And, as far as I am concerned, it makes my old UN School spitball embarassment moments look fucking miniscule in comparison:

"In the latest instance of a teenager attempting to convey her hotness factor, a Horace Mann eighth-grader used a digital camera to tape herself masturbating and simulating oral sex, then e-mailed the gawkily explicit video�which resembles an audition for a pedophiliac porn film�to a male classmate she had a crush on. The boy in question chivalrously rushed the three-minute clip onto the Web, and its contents quickly made the private-school circuit."

Damn. Kids are cruel.

In: Guy Ritchie; Lourdes: Language Maven: Einstein. According to the Austrian Magazine Woman, via Ananova, Madge says of her husband:

"'My husband was always a scientific type and a total Darwinist when I met him. He was never interested in spiritual things like God and the Bible. But Kabbalah is based on scientific facts and that captured his analytical mind.

"'My daughter also attends her own spiritual course every Saturday where she learns about sharing and the power of her words. It's changed her a lot - she doesn't overreact as much anymore,' she said."

So your baby is a sorceress and your hubby is a mad genius. Gee, the Kaballa has really made Madonna down to earth.

Out: Sofia and Quentin are officially an item. A gawker stalker breaks it all down for us. Check it out, apparently, "They like each other quite a bit, actually. It's all been rather peasy."

In: Russia. All that corrupt cash floating around, not to mention the spikey hair, the gel, the loose women -- get me a flight. According to Nick Charles of Fashionwiredaily, "No wonder Vanity Fair-y George Wayne has not returned from a jaunt to Russia. According to Lotus co-owner and party poohbah Mark Baker, Moscow is the place to be these days, and a Moscow branch of Lotus isn�t far off. Apparently the city is crawling with newly-minted billionaires who love anything that smacks of American-style glamour, and Moscow fashion week has become a must. Baker is also helping Russian aristo-model Natalia Vodianova channel some of the cash to a good cause and establish a children�s foundation with a Calvin Klein fashion show planned for the Moscow launch. As for George, he is still 'missing' somewhere on the Volga. After persistent reports of perk fests in the name of Vanity, is there a home to come back to?"

The Corsair prediction: Wayne will return in a few weeks with a harrowing story of partying with ukranian cossak crime lords and Moldavian slave-boytoys. All in time for the VF's next issue: That crezzy GW.

Out: Writers and envy. Carl Swanson on Elvis Mitchell in NY Mag:

"'Elvis has this sort of Candide-like air about him,' says Outside executive editor Jay Stowe, who edited Mitchell at Spin (yes, he worked there, too). It�s not na�vet�, exactly, but an aura of doing what he wants and seeming surprised, in all innocence, when people take offense."

Offense or envy?

Sargent Shriver: Keeping It Gully

WWD keeps us up to date on America's semi-Royals, The Shrivers (Quickly: let's do the math on this one -- Spensors:Windsors:: Shrivers: Kennedy's):

"The Shriver clanEunice Kennedy Shriver and her husband Sargent 'Sarge' Shriver, Timothy, Bobby, Anthony and First Lady of California Maria, descended on Giorgio Armani�s Rodeo Drive boutique Thursday night for a party hosted by Details and Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis to benefit Special Olympics, founded by Mrs. Kennedy Shriver in 1968. While the entire retinue wore neutral-hued Armani, it was Sarge who caused the biggest fashion frisson in an Old Guard navy blazer and buttercup yellow trousers paired not with the standard loafers, but black and gold Reebok trainers. 'Am I hip? I don�t know,' he growled, 'but have you ever seen an 89-year-old man do this?' he asked as he lifted his leg to a 45-degree angle, leaned over and bent his knee to better examine his shoes. 'Oh, he is the most fashionable one of us,' joked his wife. 'Don�t let him fool you.'

(The Corsair lifts his leg to a 90-degree angle, leans over and bends his knee to better lift a bottle of Cutty Sark)

Anyhoo: Sure, Sarge, Dick Cheney would pass out if he tried that: you are the healthiest Vice Presidential also-ran in history; but Sarge, you're not tha only old man with some serious athletic game: Jack Palance, 84, that gravelly-voiced creepy Silver Age star, a full three years your senior, does push ups in public.

You better recognize!

Frankly, though, my favorite Sargent Shriver story is told by Sam Stossel here in The Atlantic, April 9, 2004:

"A campaign-trail legend from 1972 places Sargent Shriver, the dashing Democratic candidate for the vice presidency and the former director of the Peace Corps and the War on Poverty, in Youngstown, Ohio, chatting up voters in a working-class tavern. Shriver is his usual genial self, and seems to be connecting with the assembled steelworkers, who will form part of a vital voting bloc in the general election. As the merrymakers call for another round, people shout out the names of their favorite beers. Not to be outdone, Shriver eagerly joins the chorus: 'Make mine a Courvoisier!' For Congressman Tip O'Neill, who had been traveling with Shriver, this faux pas was the last straw. 'That's it,' said O'Neill, stepping away from the bar. 'I'm getting back on the plane and going back to Boston. There's no hope here.' (Indeed, there wasn't. Richard Nixon was reelected in a landslide that November.)"

Oh, yeah, Tip, like a man named after a drink gratuity is unfamiliar with the 'voisier. (averted gaze). Rest in Pickled, Tip
John Simon: P Diddy Has Presence ... Alacrity

We are in "the last days," people; the last days. Strange things are happening. Jesus is right around the corner. Will you be Left Behind? John Kerry's presidential campaign is shaping up to be the biggest natural disaster since Al Gore. George Bush's base is starting to abandon him. Now, John Simon, the ultrasnarky New York Magazine theater critic, has some, sort of, nice things, to say about P Diddy's performance in Raisin in the Sun:

"Under Kenny Leon�s meat-and-potatoes direction, all the principals in Raisin�Phylicia Rashad, Audra McDonald, Sanaa Lathan, and young Alexander Mitchell�do admirably. As for Sean Combs as Walter Lee, his eyes widen a bit too readily, his limbs are so loose as to threaten flying apart, and his face is curiously babyish. Still, he has genuine presence, and his emoting, except in a moment of utmost dejection, has alacrity�no diddling or puffery�and shows potential, if not quite yet heart."

Genuine presence .. alacrity ... boyishness ... no diddling or puffery?

On the subject of snark, Bob Hoover of the Pittsburg Post Gazette wrote on Simon:

"John Simon's dismissal in The Times of Norman Mailer's 1991 'Harlot's Ghost' came close.

"Confronted with that 1,300-page 'widow-maker,' Simon summed up Mailer as 'a punch-drunk writer trying to outbox all competition, real or imaginary.'"

The Hindu of India (no, that was not a typo) summed it up:

"But the review that really got Mailer's goat, perhaps because it appeared in the one publication that matters most to American writers, was that of John Simon in the New York Times Book Review.

"Simon, better known as a theatre critic, found Harlot's Ghost an 'arbitrary, lopsided, lumpy novel that outstays its welcome'. Mailer's 'hang-ups are too naked, puerile, perverse", wrote Simon, adding that "what he lacks is (a good) editor'. Worse has been written by reviewers � and some of Simon's 2,500-word critique was even complimentary � but Mailer blew a gasket. He stormed into the offices of the New York Times, demanding � and obtaining � a meeting with the Managing Editor of the paper and the editor of the Book Review section. Simon, he alleged, was biased against him: Mailer had apparently described Simon years ago as being 'as predictable in his critical reactions as a headwaiter.'"

A kinder, gentler John Simon? Naaaaaahh.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

(UPDATE MON MAY 4) Page Six Blind Item Guesses

Those crafty Page Sixers write:

"WHICH newly single model/actress has a drug problem? Pals say the leggy looker has always dabbled, but now the cocaine habit is spiraling out of control - and the friends are siding with her estranged husband, who is clean and sober . . ."

Hmmm. Let me rack my brain on who this possibly could be. Newly single model/actress ... I'm thinking either Cindy Crawford or, quite-possibly-maybe, Rebecca Romijn Stamos? Hmmmm. Who would be the stronger of the two?

And the second: "WHICH pop star has a sex tape about to surface, a la Paris Hilton? The tape, shot by her own brother, shows her fooling around with a woman and doing cocaine and crystal meth between sex acts."

I haven't the faintest idea, but I'm sure in about a week or so we all will know, thanks to Page Six. I posted the story on theWendyExperience Board and people think that it is either Britney (older brother Brian Spears) or XTina (younger brother Michael Aguilera) or Avril Lavigne (brother is Matt Lavigne).

Actually, I haven't the faintest idea about either of them. I'm just continuing the conversation that the Page Sixers started, as any good media-centric blog is wont to do.

That ... man, it's like electronic crack it's so addictive. They must mix some high grade lactose in the Page Six recipe.

And, for those of you who need more of the electronic crack, on Monday, May 4th, this blind item by those crafty Sixers:

"WHICH talk show host has a problem with a sexy segment producer? She's telling friends how he tried to slide his hand up her skirt during a private meeting."

I don't know who this is, but I am goddamned sure that it aint Ricki Lake.

A Little of the Old In and Out

In: Desire as opposed to need, baby pop -- that's how we drop. Does that sound too trippy? Is The Corsair being a tad too Schopenhauresque in formulations? Let me do the remix, my little soupbones: Fashionweekdaily, overheard at �French Kiss,� a night of dinner, dancing and gambling to benefit Memorial Sloan-Kettering�s cancer center at The Mandarin Oriental Hotel�s Grand Ballroom, on bidding on the silent auction items, �Need is so ten years ago; it�s all about desire now.�

Out: Naomi Campbell gets the big Italian boot (ka-pow!) from Valentino ("don't let tha door hit ya , where the good lord done split ya"), reports JJ Martin of Fashionweekdaily:

"Campbell, whose level of celebrity here in Italy rivals the Pope, is being replaced by Gisele 'The Bod' B�ndchen. Gisele will be shot today and tomorrow in Val�s own backyard, Roma, by Mario Testino for the Fall/Winter 2005 campaign. Valentino hasn�t shot in Rome since 1995, when Arthur Elgort captured Claudia Schiffer looking as irresistible as Fellini�s fountain-bathing Anita Eckberg in La Dolce Vita.

Crazy, like Swayze: she's like the wind (ponders Naomi meaningfully, then goes back to the snarky gossip).

In: InStyle writer Erica Kennedy, the godmother of Russell Simmons and Kimora Lee's daughter Ming, is the author of Bling, which, it appears, has already made quite a bit of bling bling and hoopla among rap royalty -- names changed to protect the not so innocent.

The Page Sixers write:

"Vanessa de la Cruz, the 'bitchy faded supermodel,' is trying to open up her own image consultancy firm but doesn't like to do any real work, and is losing modeling gigs because of her bad attitude and age. Insiders giggle the character seems to be loosely based on Naomi Campbell, who last year started NC Connect, a publicity and image-relations firm.

"Meanwhile, Lena Whittaker, 'the wild, hip-hop-obsessed daughter of a powerful entertainment lawyer,' is a cross between Lizzie Grubman and Nicole Richie. At one point, Lena even hits someone with a glass - a la Richie's fracas at Bungalow 8 two years ago ("say you, say me ...").

"There's even a comic take on Combs' mother("is she too a 'natural blonde'?"), Janice Combs, via the character of Mama Jackson, a flamboyant older woman who rides on Lamont's coattails."

Writers can be so cruel. Present company excepted, surely. (altogether, now, my little soupbones: "... and don't call me Shirley")

Out: XTina cancels US Tour. Scandal ensues. According to the Sun, via Ananova, Christina Aguliera cancelled her tour at the last minute. According to Victoria Newton:

"Doctors ordered the star to pull out of a 28-date US tour to avoid permanently wrecking her vocal cords.

"The singer said: 'I really look forward to getting back out there and I�m using this time to write for my next record.

"'It�ll make the next time I play live bigger and better because I�ll have time to get things right for the next tour.'

"Revealing the cancellation to disappointed fans, Christina took a swipe at pop rival BRITNEY SPEARS who has been criticised for miming during her world tour.

"She said: 'I�ve had vocal strain in the past because I DO sing live.'"

Oh-oh, XTina's getting punchy; someone give her a film cameo, you know: she's beautiful ... no matter what they say. Although XTina made number 14 in the Rolling Stone Magazine 2004 Rock Rich List, with $27.9 million, and her tour last summer with Justin Timberlake sold out big cities, roughly one year ago Page Six reported that they were having problems selling tickets. Problems. Hmmm.

Then again, words can't bring her down.

In: According to the indispensible Page Six, this is the moment of truth for the Sex and the City movie (The Corsair plays The Final Countdown, by 80s hairband Europe):

"Sources say Kim Cattrall is still holding out, demanding pay and airtime equal to that of her nemesis Sarah Jessica Parker, and it's going down to the wire. 'If it doesn't happen this week, it doesn't happen,' said our insider. 'No one can believe Kim would pass this role up - it's not like there are that many offers on her table right now. HBO is desperately trying to convince her to do the movie, but it could go either way right now.'"

Nemesis. That sounds hott. Sounds vaguely superheroish. So, why not write a script capturing that nemesis chemistry: Carrie and Samantha catfight. Hey, I'm there.

Thousands of trim urbane women in Manolo Blahniks are pulling for Kim or HBO to come around. And The Corsair is right behind them in that imaginary demonstration line, checking out all their assets.

Out: Governor Shwartzenegger's Teutonic lack of a sense of humor, what a stereotype he is becoming -- what a bore. Apparently, the Governator is planning on suing an outfit that makes bobbleheaded dolls of him, according to the Smokinggun:

"Arnold Schwarzenegger is threatening to sue an Ohio company that is selling a bobblehead doll featuring the name and likeness of the California governor. In a blistering letter sent yesterday to the Ohio Discount Merchandise company, lawyer Martin Singer contended that Schwarzenegger was entitled to 'substantial damages' for the "unauthorized commercial exploitation" of the Republican pol's image on the $19.99 doll. With the exception of movie promotion, Singer noted that Schwarzenegger does not permit the use of his likeness on commercial products in the United States. Below you'll find a copy of Singer's letter. The Schwarzenegger doll, which went on sale about a month ago, is one of several bobbleheads featuring politicians that the Ohio firm sells (John Kerry, Wesley Clark, and Howard Dean also retail for $19.99, while George W. Bush would only set you back $14.95). The bobblehead company contends that since Schwarzenegger is now an elected official, his image is public domain."

Please Arnold: let's just chalk this whole unseemly episode up to the 'roid rage (how sinister does that sound?) -- you know and I know, big guy, that you must have know that you've got a boatload of hormones from the animal kingdom in you that you shouldn't have in you, dude, I'm talking about the wild horses, and what not, guy. The 80s were a different time; man to man, I know you did what you had to do -- it's bodybuilding, extreme stuff, hey, I'm socially liberal about that stuff.

Anyhoo: Fuck if I know, dude, but I'm not even fucking technically sure at this point that you can even be classified as human anymore, you know what I mean? -- just -- just withdraw from these legal procedings slowly and blame it on your unnatural equine tendencies, no one will think the less of you. Let me take a flying leap into the unknown on this and predict that Arnold loses the case. Badly. In fact, his pressing of the point makes him look a tad fascist about the press. Perhaps some enterprising reporters as a result probe his dodgy deal "editing" Muscle and Fitness magazines while governing Cal--ee--for--nee--ahhhh. He is embarrassed at his inability to look humorously at himself. Just a guess, mind you, just a guess.

In: Naomi Watts is single. According to the San Fransisco Gate, via the Daily Star:

"Hollywood beauty Naomi Watts has dumped her toyboy boyfriend Heath Ledger -- because he's 'so immature,' reports a British newspaper.
The '21 Grams' actress, 35, is fed up with being left embarrassed by 25-year-old Ledger's conversational skills and has decided to branch out on her own.

"According to the Daily Star, Watts said, 'He doesn't want to get married and have kids.

"'He is immature and unruly. He's always out clubbing with his friends.

"'He's so immature that it makes me look stupid for being with him.'

Naomi, I understand where you're going with this, he is a monosyllabic dummy, but he's 25. At 25 I sure as fuck know all I wanted to do was club and party and drink and make money. But I'm drinking milk ... so, Naomi ... call me?

Out: The rogue punk ass British troops who tortured the nameless, faceless Iraqi, who may or may not be even alive. Paul Byrne of the UK Mirror writes (ed: note pictures accompanying the story are intensely graphic):

"A HOODED Iraqi captive is beaten by British soldiers before being thrown from a moving truck and left to die.

"The prisoner, aged 18-20, begged for mercy as he was battered with rifle butts and batons in the head and groin, was kicked, stamped and urinated on, and had a gun barrel forced into his mouth.

"After an EIGHT-HOUR ordeal, he was left barely conscious and close to death. Bleeding and vomiting and with a broken jaw and missing teeth, he was driven from a Basra camp and hurled off the truck. No one knows if he lived or died."

Accompanying the story is an Iraqi man, face covered with a paper bag, bleeding from the jaw, and urinated on by British soldiers.

UK Mirror writes:

" ... Chief of the General Staff General Sir Michael Jackson said: 'If this is proven, the perpetrators are not fit to wear the Queen's uniform. They have besmirched the good name of the Army and its honour.'

"No 10 said: 'The Prime Minister fully endorses the general's statement.'"

In: From Flab to Fab: 90 days to a hot body, a la VH1. "Could you look like a rock goddess too if you had (a small army of personal trainers, nutritionists and stylists
demanding one more sit-up, counting every calorie and picking out the perfect
outfits to show it all off) at your beck and call? VH1 proves that 'real' woman can in
its two one-hour series, 'Flab to Fab,' premiering Monday, May 10th at 10:00
pm and Monday, May 24th at 10:00 pm."

Out: Trying to get the jump on Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett, the second richest man in the world, and, if he will permit me to say, one crafty motherfucker. According to Bloomberg via The Age, when scalpers tried to make some money off Buffett online:

"Billionaire investment guru Warren Buffett is without doubt one of the most successful stockmarket investors of all time - and it appears he is just as savvy when it comes to sales strategies on the internet.

"When scalpers started hawking tickets to last night's annual meeting of Mr Buffett's famed investment vehicle, Berkshire Hathaway, in Omaha, Nebraska - offering tickets at $US117 ($A162) a pair on the eBay website - Mr Buffett, 73, jumped on to the online marketplace and offered 10,000 tickets at $US5 a pair. He blew away the competition.

"'He's got a situation where people are trying to take advantage of him,' said Donald Yacktman, of Yacktman Asset Management, in Chicago.

"'Count on Warren Buffett to do something like that.' Berkshire shareholders got four free passes to last night's annual meeting, described as 'Woodstock for capitalists' by Mr Buffett, and most take along at least two guests. The tickets are keenly sought - after all, it costs more than $US3000 to buy Berkshire's cheapest share and secure admission unless you can go along as a shareholder's guest."

While Woodstock for capitalists sound, uhm ... well, chic, you know, somewhat, for the economics majors and software company CEO-types, uhm, I guess(laughs nervously) : the big "to do" for tonight is still the White House Correspondents Dinner, and the crunk Bloomberg jumpoff after party ("the roof ... the roof ... the roof is on ... fire"). No offense to the cocktails and BBQ's in Omaha, and, oh, who can forget the 6 hour q and a with Warren Buffett --- sweet! Uhm: but no, Bloomberg's is still the pop off spot to get cookoo for cocoa puffs. Wonkette handicaps the tables, with a jaded but sexy eye:

ABC: "ABC's table is so hot it's practically glowing. Unanimous agreement from all sources. Says one, 'ABC managed a triple play --with heavy-hitter hotties from Hollywood (Affleck), Sports (Tom Brady) and Washington (Powell, Rumsfeld, Rove ... OK, well Rove's not exactly 'hot' but you know what I mean).'"

Bloomberg: "Hottt but not on fire like ABC. (Says one operative: 'Even though Bloomberg has the party tickets, I'd say ABC managed the most-impressive, most-enviable 'gets.'") Still, impressive: Candice Bergen, Minnie Driver, Drew Carey, Anna Kournikova. "

And, of course, Kwame will be at the all important Greta Von Sustern table ... (lulling sound of crickets in the moonlight) ... uh, hello?

In: And, while we are on Washington, Kerry needs to get a pit-bull running mate who is able to go negative, thus allowing him to look Presidential. Kerry is looking like Al Gore, Part II inside the beltway.

Who are the best pitbulls for this particular world-historical mission? Bill Richardson of New Mexico and the fiery and angry Max Cleland of Georgia. Hillary would be far too volatile being the attack dog -- she would only coerce the base to come out stronger for Bush, dashing Kerry hopes at swing voters.

I hate to say it, but John Edwards is too positive a man for this ugly mudslinging race (sorry John), although he would be a damn fine Attorney General, if Ralph Nader doesn't strongarm Kerry for that position at the last minute -- as we suspect that asshole will.

And to end on a positive note: In: Michael Musto has been updating La Dolce Musto as the week rolls by with top drawer gossip, to wit:

"BREAKING NEWS, 4.29.04 Watch out, Donald. IVANA TRUMP is about to announce the launch of her own reality show, called Girls on Top. More details next week.

"BREAKING NEWS, 4.30.04 Web exclusive: Rumors say pop princess MANDY MOORE is being considered for a role (presumably Glinda) in Wicked. That should be a walk to remember."

So keep your eyes peeled to the VV site. We are very pleased, as there is no such thing as too much Musto. So there. I don't care who knows it.

60 Minutes: America's Flirtation with Eugenics

Eugenics, a spurious philosophy that cannibalized Darwin, popular at the end of the nineteenth and top of the twentieth century, and American business executives (and academics at prestigious universities, showered with corporate money to lionize their exploits intellectually) did a flirtatious dance all the way into the 1970s. The philosophy goes as follows: businessmen and the wealthy are at the top of the intellectual food chain (Paris Hilton, Donald Trump?) because they can "survive" with the fittest, and, by contrast, the poor are mentally retarded and prone to criminality, and are thus unnecessary to the society. CBS' Bob Simon tackles the thorny issue if Eugenics in America on 60 Minutes on Sunday.

The 60 Minutes website reads:

"The Nazis became infamous for it, but even before Hitler plotted his master race, America practiced eugenics and it's a secret that a 60 Minutes report brings back to center stage in all its ugly shame.

"Bob Simon's report on a state institution that once kept thousands of children away from the rest of society will be broadcast Sunday, May 2, at 7 p.m. ET/PT."

CBS' site continues:

"The Walter E. Fernald School in Waltham, Mass., was once part of nationwide system of state-run institutions that warehoused children deemed "feeble-minded" -- in some cases right up until the 1970s.

"Michael D'Antonio writes in his new book, The State Boys Rebellion, that eugenics was an idea that peaked in the 1920s and 1930s.

"People were told, 'We can be rid of all disease...lower the crime rate...increase the wealth of our nation, if we only keep certain people from having babies,'" D'Antonio tells Simon."

The Tech at MIT wrote on itself in 1995:

"At the Oct. 3 news conference that announced the completion of the committee's nearly 1,000-page report, (President Bill) Clinton made a formal apology to the thousands of subjects of radiation experiments reviewed by the committee.

"The report stated that children at the Fernald School were 'unfairly burdened' by researchers from MIT and Harvard, who encouraged the children to take part in tests with promises of gifts or trips to Red Sox games.

"The researchers also appeared 'unwilling to respect' some children's wishes not to participate in experiments, according to the report. The parents of the children involved in the experiments were not told that the tests involved radiation."

Fuck. The 60 Minutes site:

"In fact, many of the children were not mentally impaired, but merely wayward or poor and uneducated with no place to go. Such children were often subject to the abuse inherent in large institutions.

"Fred Boyce was committed to Fernald at 8 years old when his foster mother died. 'It was the easy way out. They didn't have to look for homes for you so they could dump you off in these human warehouses and just let you rot,' he tells Simon.

"Boyce spent 11 years there and was labeled a 'moron,' even though his intelligence was within the normal range. There were many others kept at Fernald who were not mentally deficient.

"'We thought for a long time that we belonged there, that we were not part of the species...[not]supposed to be born,' says Boyce, who describes a vicious cycle at Fernald of abuse and harsh punishments for trying to run away from the abuse.

"Moreover, the normal inmates like Boyce had to work long, hard hours in Fernald's gardens, orchards and other work areas and thus were denied a proper education."

They weren't deemed educable. They were poor.


"Joe Almeida was at Fernald at the same time as Boyce was. He relates a similar experience, but talks about another secret both men share: They were unknowingly subjected to radiation experiments at Fernald.

"'We were getting special treatment...extra dessert...extra milk,' says Almeida of the 'science club' they were recruited for. The food was radioactive, part of an experiment conducted by The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the government and the Quaker Oats company.

"Boyce, Almeida and others in the 'science club' filed and won a lawsuit over the experiments. The $60,000 they each received was small, says Almeida, but no amount can replace the precious thing taken from him and thousands of others.

"'They took the most important thing in my life childhood and my education,' Almeida tells Simon. 'The two things that you need in life to make it, they took from me'."

Mad scientist geekboys with human guinnea pigs in supply and business titans drunk on their invulnerability, deeming a class of people useless to their profit margins. A sad alliance. Of Eugenics, at the height of the Eugenicist movement during the Industrial revolution, the conservative -- surprise! --GK Chesterton wrote:

" I take one case of a more or less Eugenist sort from a paper that lies open in front of me --- a paper that still bears on its forehead the boast of being peculiarly an organ of democracy in revolt. To this a man writes to say that the spread of destitution will never be stopped until we have educated the lower classes in the methods by which the upper classes prevent procreation. The man had the horrible playfulness to sign his letter 'Hopeful.'"

Watch 60 Minutes Sunday at 7pm, and, hopefully, America never lowers itself into that Nietzchean pit again.

Friday, April 30, 2004

(sorry, no posts today, will resume tomorrow 5/1/04)

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Livin' It Up With Ali and Jack! (or, Ali, You Got Some 'Splainin to Do!)

Rush and Molloy report that Living it Up starring the oddly hyper Mrs. George Stephanopouolos, Ali along with her aging, charismatically challenged tv news mannequin sidekick Jack Ford (you know, the show with the nonexistent ratings) finally bit the big one (didn't you always know it would end up this way? why aren't we programming the networks?). Here's the poop:

"The syndicated talk show 'Living It Up! With Ali and Jack' was abruptly canceled yesterday with a stinging rebuke from King World Productions boss Roger King that left staffers stunned."

(The Corsair grabs a bag of unsalted popcorn, sits down in front of computer and reads on, excited at the prospect of another's downfall)

"The show, which appears locally on WCBS/Ch. 2, starred Ali Wentworth (aka Mrs. George Stephanopoulos) and Jack Ford.

"A snitch tells us, 'King World senior vice president Mike Stornello called everyone into the room and said the show had been axed. Then he put Roger on speakerphone, because he said Roger wanted to say thank-you to everyone.'

"But our spy quotes Roger as saying: 'There will be no thanks. I want to tell you how I really feel. This has been the most painful and expensive experience that the company has ever been through.'

"King called it 'a disastrous show,' saying 'no one has worked as hard as they could, [and it] cost a lot of money.'"

(The Corsair covers his mouth, then whispers slowly to himself: "oh no he didn't...")

"Ever the wit, Wentworth quipped after the tirade, 'Well, I feel better.'

"A King World rep told us yesterday: 'Roger expressed his disappointment and wished the staff luck in the future.'"

(The Corsair All purpose Simultaneous Translator: The fuckers cost me money, so I'm gonna get the motherfucking last word up in this here bitch.)

"The only person who didn't get an earful was co-host Ford. According to our source, he had left early to play golf."

Jack Ford's devotion to that shitty show is awe inspiring (wipes a crocodile tear) ... it gets me right here (pounds his chest, manfully). In George Gurley's Observer piece, he wrote, "Mr. Stephanopoulos declined to be interviewed about his wife, but released a statement through Ms. Raftery: '(Ali Wentworth's) talent is undeniable and completely unique. She is the most wonderful mother and wife, but what many people dont know is her Chicken Marbella is unbeatable!"

Well, get used to that Chicken Marbella, Georgieboy (aggressively punches the air), cause something tells me you'll have that particular poultry dish quite often while "Dark Ali" is on haitus. And don't be surpised if she starts experimenting with different sauces and spices, Georgie Porgie. Furniture will be rearranged on a daily basis. Unemployment is a bitch, my friend, little Clinton-traitor ... unemployment is hell .... for the other spouse.

Our Boy Gurley also wrote:

"Over the holidays (2003), Entertainment Weekly had listed both Ms. Wentworth and her husbands shows as among the worst of 2003. The couple was blamed for 'spoiling both weekday and Sunday-morning TV.' EW commented that Ms. Wentworths 'madcap shenanigans' make her co-host Mr. Ford look 'like a suicide-watch candidate.'"

"The Daily News also put Living It Up! with Ali and Jack on their worst-of-the-year list (2003), and so did The New York Times, in a print conversation between the papers TV critics. Alessandra Stanley called Living It Up! 'the worst daytime talk show in history' and said shed never reviewed it because 'very few watch it and it's just too painful and sad.'"

The painfulness and sadness is over. Old Yeller, the worst daytime talk show in history,' has been put down. Rest in peace, Livin' it Up with Ali and Jack.

Fashionweekdaily: Fabien Baron of Paris Vogue has ADD

If I ever got Fabien Baron of French Vogue alone in an interview situation, there are so many questions I would ask him, most of which relate to conceptions of beauty and style,and probably I'd ask for some jet set gossip.
Fashionweekdaily wanted to know about Carine, because everyone wants to know about what it's like to work with Carine, it's Carine's world, we just rent in it:

"Fashionweekdaily: What's it like working with Carine?

"FB: It's great working with Carine. I love her sense of risk, her desire for sexiness, her excitement for the new, her international taste, and the way she moves in her always-impeccable outfits -- quite something."

Then, sandwiched in between the data that his uniform consists of a black cashmere sweater and a charvet shirt, Levi's and Converse All Stars, we learn, coincidentally, that he has a pesky little case of that chic disease--attention deficit disorder (all the stars are getting it, my little soup bone):

"Fashionweekdaily: Best and worst things about working in fashion? What would you change?

"Fabien: The great thing about fashion is that it's only for six months. I think change is a good thing. But at the same token, the short-lived fashion world attracts people with short attention spans, which can ultimately create a sense of shallowness. I wouldn't change anything because I have A.D.D."

Pow! He's old school like that. Attention Deficit Disorder, thank you very much. That's pretty heavy stuff offered by way of admission to a total stranger. So, it was quite surprising to follow on, as Fashionwiredaily callously asked this man with attention deficit disorder the politically incorrect question:

"What's the future direction of French Vogue?"

Long distance planning from the ADD patient? Fabien Baron's answer, of course, in unsurprising:

"Who knows. Let's see where the fashion industry is going. I don't particularly think about the future. What we do is concentrate on the moment, doing the best for the moment. I'm glad Carine also works the same way."

Next up, Fashionweekdaily interviews a Down Syndrome kid and asks him to solve calculus problems. And, coming soon, Fashionweekdaily sets up an obstacle course to race sufferers of Parkinson's Syndrome. Sheesh.

And some people say I'm an asshole.

Mark Cuban Likes Rebecca Romijn -- A Lot

Mark Cuban is an arrogant, adolescent, overly aggressive and overbearing man-boy: a punk, in other words a fucking Stallone. But he's big now, as big as the google IPO, what, with that 60 Minutes blowjob last Sunday from Steve Kroft (after 5 unrelenting weeks of punishing the Bush Administration, last week's 60 Minutes was the most Republican-loving episode of all time, with attack pieces on the cigar smoking midget tyrant Sadaam lawyer, and two blowjobs each meted out to ultracapitalists Mark Cuban and a South African mogul named Tokio). I should know, I interviewed him once. But he is funny, and "id" in his manner, very primate, but his humor mitigates that. Or I could just be playa hating (possible).

Anyhoo: That's why when I checked out his Blog at BlogMaverick, and saw him discourse on the lusciousness that is Rebecca Romijn (kisses fingers with reverence, then continues in a dreamlike voice), I knew it was a keeper, and I felt a faint sense of alarm for his wife:

"The sports world is always about what are you going to do next. Sports reporters want to get the story about the game over and done with as quickly as possible so they can bug the hell out of you about what you are going to do next. They will ask you the same damn question over and over. Are you going to sign/resign/hire/fire XXXXX. That's 90 pct of the questions I get, and it's ridiculous because if I do anything, it's immediately available to everyone at the same time. So why not ask a question with some substance? Then I realized how lucky I was that I only had to put up with annoying repetition of questions.

"At the premiere of Godsend this week, I watched Rebecca Stamos deal with the same type of stupidity but at a level that made me realize and appreciate how little I have to deal with.

"The premiere was typical. Lots of paparazzi. It was cool to walk down the red carpet with my wife and Todd Wagner, my production partner. Cameras flashing, people screaming your name to look at them for pictures. But it was a pittance compared to what happened when she came by. My goodness. The questions probably would have had me jumping over the ropes to knock someone out. Personal. Personal. Personal. She handled it like a champ. Laughing off questions she didn't want to answer and being incredibly gracious with her time. Of course I was only watching every step she took because I was curious how she would deal with the media. It was purely an intellectual exercise. I had to refer to the physics classes I didn't take to wonder how she fit in that dress. But I digress."

Yes, indeed you do, my favorite billionaire interview subject. Yes, you do.
A Little of the Old In and Out

In: Ambassador Joe Wilson's book, The Politics of Truth, is the latest anti-Bush tome to come out. His wife, Valerie Plame, was outed as a CIA operative to creepy-eyed conservative columnist Robert Novak, and Wilson gets in the last word. The Independent writes:

"Leaking the identity of a CIA operative is a federal offence and the FBI, headed by an outside prosecutor, has for several months been conducting an investigation and has put together a grand jury to consider evidence and hear from witnesses.

"Mr Wilson initially claimed it was Mr Bush's senior political adviser, Karl Rove, who leaked his wife's identity, though he has since stepped back somewhat from that allegation. Reports suggest that other potential leakers could be Mr Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis 'Scooter' Libby or else John Hannah, a senior national security aide on the Vice-President's staff. Either way, if anyone in the White House is found guilty of the leak to Mr Novak and others, it would be very damaging to Mr Bush as he campaigns for reelection."

The Corsair has 60-40 action on Scooter Libby as the leaker, but my buddy, Pookie, uptown on 125th Street (who also on the side sells bootleg cartons of Newports), is taking 75-25 odds on John Hannah. Act like you know.

Out: Rebecca Loos, she of the meaningful name. It's getting kind of tragic for our Rebecca; she is at 14 minutes and 45 seconds and it's beginning to look like a disaster. Sky News is reporting that no less than Mohamed al Fayed cut the buxom beauty's name from his guest list for a party:

"Rebecca Loos' new celebrity status took a knock when Harrods' boss Mohamed al Fayed refused her entry to a party at the store.

"Miss Loos had been expecting to return as a guest to the upmarket Knightsbridge shop where she worked as a 19-year-old.

"But the former PA, who shot to fame after her claims about sleeping with England football captain David Beckham, was kicked off the list an hour before the bash.

"Al Fayed said the snub was out of loyalty and friendship to the Beckhams, who are customers at the store."

The UK is still all about the class distinctions. And, alas, in the end, the upper crust draws together close and protects it's own.

In: Corporate fat cats talking about fat americans. Oh, the irony is as thick as a McDonald's Milk shake. My old boss Jason Calacanis' weblog paraphrases a panel discussion of Nobel Laureates in Economics about -- of all topics -- obesity in America. Imagine my surprise:

"Daniel Kahneman: Discussed the size - that in the US you get 30-40% more food on your plate then in other countries. He said that once the food is on your plate we dont have control.

"Gary Becker: (Jason agrees) with a number of things Danny said. If you look at weight gain in the USA and the US has been a leader in this (huge laugh.) He said weight gain started to speed up in 1980. What happened after 1980? He mentioned three of four factors: the cost of junk food has gone way done. It is much cheaper to get it thanks to technology to prepare (he mention French fries.) Secondly, the sedentary nature of the teenage population has changed significantly. He mentioned TV and computer activity, and that work is more sedentary.

"Then showed a slide with an escalator leading up to a gym (huge laugh.)

"The third factor is a tricky and difficult one, and I dont know how much weight to put on it. We are in an environment where medical progress has sped up. He says that the people are less concerned about things like weight because they believe that in the future we will have drugs to solve cholesterol problems and sex enhancement drugs (i.e. Viagra.) He says this is all conjecture, but he believes it. We've only seen this increase in weight in the past 25 years.

"Milken paraphrases the concept as 'I can do what I want today and I can take a morning after pill.'"

Junk foods, junk bonds, what's the difference at Club Fed, eh, Michael? (huge laugh)

Out: Jill Sander over at Mediabistro asked some prominent magazine editors who they think should get a National Magazine Award. The usual culprits were represented -- Paul Colford, David Carr, Choire Sicha, Kurt Andersen, Tina Brown -- but then Jill went and asked Wired Magazine's Editor-in-Chief Chris Anderson. Big mistake, Jilly girl. Ol' Chris-co is not going to give the testosterone pull quote. He flips the script on bourgois geekiness and takes it to a whole new level:

"Award: Best Cover. I'd give it to Edge, a U.K. games magazine, which has the grooviest spot-varnished covers around. Minimalist, iconic, and often anime-influenced, they're probably a failure on the newsstand and I can't figure out how they can afford the production costs for subscribers. But each month I get a thrill just opening the polybag and a reminder of what magazines can do."

Ah, the thrill of opening the polybag ... Priceless.

In: Pumas. FashionWireDaily reports:

"Sales at Puma soared 29.3% in the first quarter of 2004, powered by rapid growth in sales of its apparel.

"The German sportswear and apparel brand racked up sales in the first three months of 443.8 million Euros ($532.6 million), while sales of apparel gained a whopping 39% to 111.2 million Euros.

"Puma also revealed that the company had achieved record profit margins in the first quarter. Gross profit margins thickened to an impressive 51.7%, up from 47.2% in the like period a year earlier. Net earnings grew 64.6 percent to 80.4 million Euros."

Out: A-List Movie Star salaries. They are going to go down faster than Paris Hilton on Rick Solomon. This interesting quote from Variety's coverage of the Mike Milliken Institute panels goes, "In a later session with reporters, though, (Sumner) added that star salaries would have to come down and said studios have let A-list actorwalkalk away with a disproportionate share of the rewards.'" To be continued. The Corsair will keep you informed of upcoming developments -- same bat time, same bat URL.

In: Jay Z's "99 Problems" Video is hot. Me? I've got 99 problems but a blog aint one. Thanks Scott of Stereogum for hooking us up with this shit. Rick Rubin is crazy in this trippy urban Brooklyn thuggernaut of a video. Jay Z gets sprayed with bullets a la Tony Montana in the end.

Out: Senate Democrats. According to Alexander Bolton of TheHill, the whoring fcampaignign contributions is at a feverish pace

"Senate Democrats are offering lobbyists new access to Senate Democratic leaders and lawmakers in exchange for personal contributions of $25,000, the maximum amount allowed to national party fundraising committees.

"Democrats are energized by a spate of unforeseen Republican retirements that have dramatically reshaped their prospects of regaining control of the Senate this November."

"...To close the gap, Senate Democrats are turning to allied lobbyists and consultants in Washington, many of who earn big paychecks touting their ties to lawmakers on the Hill. To be a member of the so-called Majority Council a program run by the DSCC lobbyists must reach into their own pockets for a donation of no less than $25,000.

"...Lobbyists at that level will be made members of the elite council, a group that will meet with the Senate Democratic leadership every month or six weeks. The councils first meeting was held about three weeks ago, and another meeting will take place in the early weeks of May."

That's fucking disgusting.

In: And, closing on a positive note, the white wine slurping cucumber munching Fifth Avenue set got together to support the ballet (yuck! The Corsair doesn't eat swine, and the Corsair sees no redeeming social function in ballet, excepting Neve Campbell's performance in The Company, which was sexy) in a civilized manner. Fashionweekdaily reports, "As the 100+ crowd gathered for the luncheon, young ballerinas in tutus from The American Ballet Theatres costume archives mingled with the ladies who lunch, who were all wearing their very best Carolina Herrera outfits. The darlings of New York society think Dayssi, Blaine, and Muffie mingled with the editors Kerry, Amanda and Kristina. During lunch, Carolina Herrera staged a presentation of her fall collection for guests, followed by one-on-one consultations."

What other occasion would there be for braised artichoke bottoms with fava beans.

Fucking rabbit food. No wonder the Old Money Upper East siders are so mean. Hunger from all that dieting and the rabbit food!

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

An Interview with John Kerry's Hair

Matt Drudge reports that John Kerry, right before he flew in to appear on Meet The Press, had a $1000 haircut:

"On the Friday before his MEET THE PRESS appearance, Dem presidential hopeful John Kerry flew his Washington, DC hairdresser to Pittsburgh for a touch-up, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

"Cristophe stylist Isabelle Goetz, who handles Kerry's hair issues, made the trek to Pittsburgh, campaign sources reveal.

"'Her entire schedule had to be rearranged,' a top source explains.

"A Kerry campaign spokesman refuses to clarify if Goetz flew by private jet on April 16 or on the official Kerry For President campaign plane.

"The total expense for the hair touch-up is estimated to be more than $1000, insiders tell DRUDGE.

"One source suggests the hairdresser was flown to Pittburgh on Teresa Heinz Kerry's 'Flying Squirrel', a Gulfstream V private jet.

"'Senator Kerry thinks Isabelle does a superb job,' a campaign source said.

"Goetz grew up in a small town in eastern France. She also does Hillary Clinton's hair."

You know the shit is going to hit the fan. Kerry can fucking wave goodbye to the red states after this East Coast prep school washingtonian shit.

Anyhoo: this gets me in the mood to recycle on old story I did, so, if you haven't seen it:

An Interview With Senator John Kerry's Hair
By: Ron Mwangaguhunga

After several frustrated attempts, we were finally granted this important historical moment. So, without further ado, we proudly present for the first time: a
print interview with Senator John Kerry's hair.

Interviewer: Charmed, I'm sure; why now?

John Kerry's Hair (hereafter JKH): I will concede that I have been reluctant in the past, but setting the record straight is important to me.

Interviewer: That, and the upcoming Democratic Party primaries. Would you care to take the opportunity to sum up your opposition?

JKH: Rather than disparage the talent in the room, I'd like to state categorically that I am the best head of hair among the Democratic Presidential candidates.

Interviewer: That is a bold statement.

JKH: Bold times call for bold statements, my good man.

Interviewer: Well, there is no denying that you are a striking coif.

JKH: Even by the considerable standards of Massachusetts, which were instituted by the Kennedy family. I am the measure of all things hair.

Interviewer: What aboutJohn Edwards? He has impressive hair, no?

JKH: (averted gaze) Well, if you go in for that sort of thing.

Interviewer: What is this that we are hearing about Dick Gephardt dying his eyebrows?

JKH: One hears rumors to that effect. (Unnerved) Look,
what about me?

Interviewer: Sorry. So, tell us: what are your secrets to looking good. (confidentially) Is it Washingtonian power hairstylist Christophe?

JKH: Please. Christophe is so over.

Interviewer: So tell us.

JKH: You're going to laugh.

Interviewer: No, that would be unprofessional. Trust me, I won't laugh. What is your secret for looking so good?

JKH: Heinz Dark Brown Mustard

Interviewer: Oh dear.

JKH: Smeared liberally overnight, it works wonders. Also, I like to tell my constituents in Massachusetts that said mustard is just grand for use in grilled crab po' boys.

Interviewer: I'm sure it is.

JKH: So you see there are many political advantages to my wife, Theresa Heinz.

Interviewer: Yes, I was meaning to get to that.

JKH: I really am not at liberty to discuss her.

Interviewer: (crestfallen) Well, okay, how about the President�s economic stimulus plan?

JKH: Can't talk about that either, old boy. I'll leave the meditations on the merits of the President's plan to help Americans earn ends meet to the Senator. My primary concern, rather, is the avoidance of split ends.

Interviewer: Very well. Let's try something innocuous. What color are you?

JKH: That�s not a political minefield. I am chestnut with a liberal sprinkling of dusted gray.

Interviewer: Liberal, you say?

JKH: A poor choice of words, in retrospect. Let's just say I am a well textured mop of dusted-grey hair.

Interviewer: Are you worried about going completely gray?

JKH: Pardon?

Interviewer: It's a well known fact that the rigors and the burdens of the office of the Presidency turn their resident gray within the first year. That's a fact: look at Bush and Clinton and, as we speak, George W. Are you saying that you are not aware of
this fact?

JKH: (hesitant) I am not unaware ...

Interviewer: Well then what is your position on going prematurely gray?

JKH: Ah, hair today, gone tomorrow?

Interviewer: If you say so. Now ...

JKH: You say that this going gray is an established fact.

Interviewer: Of course.

JKH: Right. Well, I'm going to have to close the lid on things.

Interviewer: -- But.

JKH: So good of you to drop by, but I have things to discuss with the Senator.

Interviewer: Oh well. Good luck in the primaries.

Studio 360's Kurt Andersen Interviews Air America's Lizz Winstead

Of all places, has an interview between Kurt Andersen and Lizz Winstead, co creator of the Daily Show, who left Comedy Central after a brutal feud with the dumb-as-wood politically incorrect mannequin Craig Kilborne. Trippy. But you have to watch Andersen's martini dry wit. It comes up from nowhere, and zaps you on the social level something fierce and unexpected, like an uppercut to the chops. I'm serious.

I know Kurt, somewhat. We worked together at New York magazine, back when he was editor and I was a hungry factchecker. Why, I remember, in another life, years later, being interviewed for a job at by Andersen. The conversation was pleasant. It was the height of the dotcom revolution and in Silicon Alley, and he was starting a new business in an arena that I had been a minor player in for a year or so. The conversation turned to the small consumer magazine I was editing at the time, MacDirectory. He asked me after the magazine. I launched into a spirited explanation of where I was steering the magazine editorially. We were to be the Vogue Magazine of technology magazines, sexy, savvy, digital. He looked at me with a twinkle in his eyes, then leaned toward me, conspiratorially, saying, meaningfully,"No, Ron, I mean, what is MacDirectory."

All at once I felt the air drain from my lungs, and for a second hyperventillation seemed a distinct possibilty. Only Kurt's boyish grin told me that he was just kidding, cutting the tension, clearing the air. Kurt's like that. Blam! And then the grave demeanor is broken with the boyish smile. So, imagine my surprise when I read Kurt and Air America's prickly Lizz Winstead:

"Kurt: When a Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson thing happens, will you talk about it? Or will you purely be Halliburton and Iraq?

"Lizz Winstead: We will, [but] we might take less of a Howard Stern approach and try to break down why people are reacting the way they are and why, for God's sakes, the media is leading with it. Really: Is a society that embraces America's Funniest Home Videos so outraged that they saw a woman's breast? Or are they outraged because the woman is just too old to show her breast, because nobody wants to see the breast of anyone over the age of � I think 30 is the cutoff?

"Kurt: To have all of these modules of news comedy, that's a daunting prospect. Comedy can go wrong in a bigger way and make somebody turn the dial faster than just talk.

"Lizz: We're never going to do some gigantic six-minute sketch. And the comedy is going to have a purpose. That way I think people won't tune out. You've got to be a little bit fearless and say, 'This whole venture is a risk,' because no one's ever done anything this kooky before.

"Kurt: Is the plan to make money, lose money?

"Lizz: Make money.

"KA: Not just from Ben and Jerry's ads."

Fuck. That hurt. I could feel it from across the computer screen. I could see him winding up that suckerpunch. That's his MO, I tell you. Lull you into complacency with banter. Disarm you. Then Ka-plooey, right cross to the solar plexus.

And while we're on the topic of Ben and Jerry's, go get some free ice cream today, as it is cone day and the weather, in NYC, is ice cream friendly.

Deadlines make it impossible to blog tomorrow. I'll be back Thursday.

A Little Bit of the Old In and Out

In: Quirky actor Nic Cage getting married to 19 year old waitress:

"According to The Sun, Cage proposed to 19-year-old Alice Kim with a huge diamond and emerald ring.

Nicholas met Alice when he was out dining with friends on Valentine�s Day at Sushi Avenue, where she worked.

"The star of Gone in 60 Seconds became so captivated by Alice while he was there that he invited her to the Oscars with him the following month.

"Cage, who is more than twice Alice�s age, created quite a stir at some of the Oscar after-show parties when he was seen with her on his knee.

"Since their Oscar date the actor has taken Alice in his private jet for several romantic meals in New Orleans and Chicago, where he has been filming.

"A friend said: 'Nic has really fallen for this girl.'


Out: Halle Berry, the first African American woman ever to recieve a Best Actress Oscar, has filed for divorce from rhythm and blues singer Eric Benet (has anyone ever bought an Eric Benet album?), according to Ananova:

"The couple were married for three years and separated in October. It is the second divorce for the actress, who was previously married to Cleveland Indians outfielder David Justice.

"Tabloids speculated about Benet's faithfulness from almost the moment the X-Men star married Benet in January 2001.

"The two met in 1999 at a party to celebrate the premiere of Berry's movie Introducing Dorothy Dandridge.

In: China. Jason Calacanis attended The Miliken Institute's Roundtable Discussion: Perspectives on China in the Global Economy, and he presents a daunting portrait of competition against China in the next hundred years. Harold Goldstein, the Managing Director of Xinhua Finance, the moderator, said:

"(Harold Goldstein) showed the following slide which shows the number of years to double per capita GDP. It took the UK from 1780 to 1838. It took the US from 1839-86. It took China less then ten years to do it twice�since 1978.

"Copper 97 to present 11 to 20% of the world�s total. Second largest importer of oil with 7% of the globe�s consumption. Harold says China has pricing power in shipping and commodities."

"... China may have a rough landing, it may see a precipitous drop in GDP over the next 24 months, but the more important story are the fundamental changes taking place. China is producing about 200,000 graduates in science and engineering each year � that is more then the US, Germany and Japan combined. I would argue the nature of the reforms means tha the china GDP growth story will continue even if there are bumps in the road."

Out: The always interesting Dick Morris takes George Bush to task for his presentation, his style and his rhetoric, which, Morris asserts, is way too geared towards white men (we agree):

"Asked whether they would give priority to 'letting terrorists know we will fight back aggressively' or to 'working with other nations,' men want to fight by 53-41 while women seek cooperation as their priority by 54-36 � a gender gap of 30 points!

"But much of Bush�s problem is linguistic. He needs to develop a war-on-terror equivalent of his highly successful 2000 rhetoric about being a compassionate conservative committed to leaving no child behind.

"Women are a lot less interested in forcing democracy on Iraq than they are in preventing suffering there and promoting safety here."

In: Wonkette. It's always a bonfire of the vanities over at Wonkette. But this time, she catches the city's powerful in DC making perfect asses out of themselves. To wit, the big Bloomberg after party for the White House Correspondent's dinner. Wonkette says:

"We hear that some enterprising journalists have been attempting to score invites to the big Bloomberg White House Correspondents' Dinner after-party by saying they need to get in because they are 'covering' the party. But those trying this tack clearly haven't coordinated very well -- either that, or a certain local paper is planning entire special issues around the event. What's more, some of these reporters aren't exactly known for their society coverage, though this has yet to stop anyone. Says our source: 'I can see it now: The Bloomberg after-party -- a pespective from Baghdad.'"

In related news, Kwame Jackson of The Apprentice will accompany Great Von Suistern to the Dinner on Saturday Night.

Invitees to the Bloomberg after party include Ben Affleck (Ben's acting career is at an all time low, a political career might do him sone good), Meg Ryan, Jimmy Kimmell, George Clooney, Drew Carey, hopeful country music crooner Minnie Driver, Mary Louise Parker, Candice Bergen, Mary-Kate and asley Olsen (please someone, give Mary-Kate some stew), Anna Kournikova, Serena Williams, Diane Sawyer, Barbara Walters and former Iraq War POWs Shoshana Johnson and Jessica Lynch. Drew Barrymore will be shooting a documentary at the dinner and after party on the 2004 election.

Sometimes, the respective roles of each component of the DC-LA-NY power nexus get all mixed up and the power, the glamour and the media all converge at a single event. This is that event.

Out: OneWorld? One debt. Remember OneWorld, that unreadable urban magazine with all the pretty pictures and interviews of Russell Simmons' family each issue? It's having trouble paying freelance writers. David Carr of the NY Times (and topic A with tina Brown) writes:

"Ward Sutton, an animator and illustrator, said he was owed $2,550 for a comic and illustration he drew for (OneWorld) magazine. He sent a note asking for payment after the final issue, and received this reply from the publisher, John N. Pasmore, 'OneWorld has no ability to pay its bills and unless something unexpected happens, OneWorld will file for reorganization (Chapter 11) or dissolution (Chapter 7).'"

wow. It sucks to be Ward Sutton right about now.

Is Mary-Kate Olsen Too Skinny?

That significant cultural artifact Star Magazine runs the subject of the world famous Gemini twins. Is she too skinny? Peter Davis, Victoria Gotti and Nathan Cooper share authorship on this:

"First she ditched her twin sister Ashley's sunshine-blonde hair color in favor of a reddishbrown hue. Now, on the eve of the May 7 opening of the Olsen twins' $40 million debut feature film, New York Minute, Mary-Kate is upping the ante in her quest for individuality by becoming skeletal-thin, observers say.

"Mary-Kate looks shockingly skinny in recent photographs, leading some to question whether the pressure of her busy career is taking its toll.

"'It looks like she's got no body fat at all,' says psychologist Dr. Robert Butterworth, who has closely examined the pictures of Mary-Kate, but does not treat her. 'She seems thin. I think she's underweight and she's hiding it.'"

"... And with adulthood around the corner -- the twins turn 18 on June 13 -- the girls are gearing up to attend New York University this fall. If that weren't enough, Mary-Kate is also in the midst of her first serious relationship -- she dates Boston University student David Katzenberg, son of DreamWorks honcho Jeffrey Katzenberg."

The article concludes:

"Though a rep denies that either sister has an eating disorder, other reports paint a different picture. At a Hollywood function in December, according to one source who was there, Mary- Kate and her sister barely touched their food. 'They both played with the food on their plates, moving the food from side to side,' the source says. 'And Mary-Kate looked like nothing but skin and bones.'"


Monday, April 26, 2004

The Corsair's Remote Control Tour Diary, 2.0

I originally ran this several months ago, but as the cable universe changes and evolves faster than Kylie Minogue's face, I'm adding on some new channels and my commentary for the newbies. There are also new stories beneath, so, scroll, my little soupbones.

There are over 500 cable channels nowadays, so who better to give you a tour of some of the major ones?

Anyhoo: 500 channels means "niche marketing." And with all those niches, things can get confusing as to what is being marketed and to whom. So, The Corsair will help the viewer through the wonderful world of cable with these pithy explanations, In Media Res:

TNT: Lousy with Middle aged Testosterone. A musky-smelling channel. Bruce Willis and Steven Seagal action flics and basketball. Big in New Jersey.

MTRS: Fashion runway shows. Sexy models on the catwalk in sheer gowns and hip music. The only channel where the velvet rope is open to horny teenage boys and fashion industry insiders. Democracy at work.

CNN: Used to be a channel for Kings and Queens and heads of state, but of late it has morphed into the channel republicans love to hate. Establishment without the ratings or juice. Pity CNN: They used to wine and dine with kings and queens, but now they are laying in the gutter eating pork and beans.

Lifetime: A channel earnestly devoted to fanning the smouldering resentments of Midwestern housewives. Husbands are, of course, to blame in most of these story lines that usually end with a favorable courtroom verdit .. for the wife who killed her abusive husband. Anger is the predominant emotion. Hollywood has not been kind to Nancy McKeon. Hell hath no fury like Joanna Kearns scorned!

ABCFamily: The channel devoted to Christian tween girls in a nuclear family with a conviction that human history has a purpose beyond this world. Halleleuia. Lots of Mary Kate and Ashley films, which, ironically, attract a very different sort of crowd than the ones that these cats are aiming after.

CNBC: This channel serves as "White Noise" for the various strip joints in the Wall Street and financial district vicinity. As your Bud Fox-like trader with a "Lawng Island" accent sips a Stoli on the rocks on his lunchbreak, sniffing his "Bolivian white Powder" ("Vitamin C"), getting a "friction dance" from his favorite "dancer," he can look over her shoulder, casually, and catch a brief glance at just how the markets are doing, and get a gauge on when he should return to the office. Maria Bartiromo as metaphor for the ideal Long Island investment banker's trophy wife.

A&E: An elderly folks network with lots of Murder, She Wrote, and "original" films like "Horatio Hornblower," for viewers who can remember their glorious years of service in the British Imperial navy policing those hectic colonial ports. And Biography. Old people love reading and watching biographies. Another life not their own, I suppose.

History: This is the Hitler and Outlaw Biker channel. At any time of the day, there is a hilbilly bar with serious discussions going on as to Hitler's "tactical blunders" and what they would have done "different," with this channel serving as the background noise. Attila the Hun and notorious historical persona, like Vlad the Impaler are big here.

Discovery: This is the older, skeevier companion network to the already low rent History Channel, which means that it attracts a comparatively downscale sort of viewer than one would expect at History, which is not saying much at all. Seriously, though, This is the straight up serial killers network. No joking, yo. Somewhere in the Yosemite Valley there is a man, in a dungeon, sweating profusely, wearing clown makeup and laughing at the moon. He is surrounded by dog collars and he is described by co workers at the post office as "a solitary man."

Guess which channel this guy is watching to drown out the screams. That's right (sotto voce) Discovery. Homeland security must needs to monitor anyone who watches more than 3 hours a day of this shit.

VH1: Perhaps the coolest channel on basic cable or otherwise (full disclosure: I write for VH1's best blog ever, on occasion), my little soupbones! Suffused with irony, snark and nostalgia, this channel supplies the basic components of the urban diet. Michael Hirschorn is our god; we are not worthy.

MTV: No longer cool: a little resentful of the joie de vivre its older, more successful brother, VH1. It will never be the 80s again and the blush has wore off that ordinary looking frat boy Carson Daly. Lots of prank shows, like Punk'd and Wild Boys. TV for the low attention span generation (thanks hippies for dropping the kids in front of the gameboy) Even extreme sportsmen need eye candy for the downtime.

E!: Creepy celebrity stalking and gossip. Everyone on this channel reeks of thwarted Hollywood ambitions and plastic surgery gone awry. This channel hasn't had a hit since Greg Kinnear was up in this bitch, and Jules Asner snatched Steven Soderberg, using the Asner name (she divorced Ed Asner's son years ago). E! stands for envy, which is the predominant emotion expressed on this channel.

ESPN: This is reality tv for the Maxim set. Faint but palpable homoerotic subtext conveyed via "hero worship" of alpha males, like, say, Shaq or Sprewell (but viewers call him with the jocular-guy-pal sobriquet "Spree," cause, like, they know him personally in a Calvin Klein kind of way), but, of course, your average Joe Fratboy will never acknowledge that distrubing little truth.

Bravo: For the affluent gay man, but not as culturally prestigious as BBC America, because BBC has that whole colonial cachet -- pre 1776. Cultural programming(National Dog Show, Cirque du Soleil, Inside the Actors Studio) and Queer Eye For the Straight Guy rebroadcasts. Excellent movies like Deer Hunter are occasionally sprinkled into the programming.

BET: A seriously embarassing network marketed to the seedy stereotype of the urban underclass. Ghetto comedy skits told in unremarkable english with frequent reference to bodily functions; charmed, I'm sure. Snakeoil selling televangelists like Crispy and Taffi Dollar -- how ghetto -- prevail over the airwaves on Sundays. And C-List Blaxploitations flix fill out the rest of any regrettable week spent watching this schedule. Can you fucking believe that Viacom paid three billion dollars for this channel?

Sci Fi: The repressed sexuality channel. Their niche is the grown man who has a crush on the X Man, Storm and dreams in full-on video games. Somehow the unresolved "sexual energy" gets worked out into a reverence for the "paranormal." B List hot chicks like Shannen Doherty and Tracy Lords end up here after Hollywood is through with them.

Fox: If you go in for Karl Rove's talking points, this is the channel for you. The Corsair has to admit that he watched it during the Second Gulf War. Fox routinely scooped the other networks because it sometimes seemed that Rummy gave them the inside scoop. For a "family values network," the women broadcasters have an oddly pornographic patina about them. Hmmm.

Showtime: Tries earnestly to out-extreme the original programming at HBO, who got there first. Dreams of getting recognized at events like the Golden Globes; not likely, however. This is the place to try to pitch your indie documentary on transexual underwater basket weavers in Micronesia.

Food: For people who's interest in food has transcended the purely phenomenal eating stage. We still like the Iron Chef, though. Fuku-san, ("yes") I just heard that the Iron Chef, that odd Asian man dressed in a Rennaissance courtier outfit via Liberace and Samaurai style days was munching a yellow pepper.

TLC: This channel is a bit of a mystery to me. It used to have a niche as a sort of Cliff Clavin channel: you know, for the general interest trivia mind-- programming on the imago stage of child development, poisonous reptiles, the Minoan civilization, Roman mosaics, classical biological warfare, the robber barons, volcanoes, that sort of thing. But now it has a lot of "fixing up the home" programming. Go figure what that means.

AMC: Kind of Cool. Old Hollywood glamour with some original programming and commentary on the Gilded Age of Hollywood. This is like a channel put together by the editors of Variety looking backward. Vanity Fair should do a show here. Old school.

FX: Not worth talking about. Maxim lite. Loads of testosterone. A warehouse for old Fox Tv shows. Married ... with Children repeats, anyone?

We: Women's fantasy. Lots of Merchant-Ivory Brit productions of aristocrats who fall in love with common women, who are often middle aged American divorcees. Pure drivel.

C-Span: For the ultra political science geek. Viewers tend to look like Michael Barone, wait anxiously for their New Republic copies to arrive, and chuckle over Senate voting record statistics. Can rattle off the precise wording of the Republican Party platform of 1964.

Oxy: Very "sisterhood" oriented; Oprah and Gerry Laybourne's experiment has recently taken a sort of Sapphic detour of late with regard to their programming.

National Geographic: Interesting and kind of cool. This is a channel about animals and exotic cultures and taboos.

IFC: So earnest, so hip, so anti-Hollywood: yet as soon as Dinner for Five's indy star John Favreau gets to do a big shlocky Hollywood film like Elf, he jumps like a Cocker Spaniel being offered a dog yummy. Independent cinema is dead.

TCM: This is a less hip AMC. This is like AMC with a broken hip. Lots of old movies with no irony or relevant commentary.

Ovation: The Corsair has a theory that this is a piece of flotsam adrift on the vast media ocean that is digital television. They repeat the same ten or so programs ad nauseum. Is there anyone employed at Ovation? Did the programmer have a heart attack in the 80s? Did anyone notice? Is anyone watching?

ESPNClassic: Oh, dear lord help us. Old men with beer bellies reliving "classic sports moments." (At this point, Bruce Springsteen's Glory Days should be playing). This is the tv channel Al Bundy would most likely be watching on his day off from the shoe store.

SoapNet: This is ESPN Classics for the housewife. For those who missed an episode of One Life Too Live because the pesky rugrat swallowed a button. Imagine the inconvenience. Bon-bons are big advertisers.

TVLand: Tries to be all retro-ironical, but street cred will not be forthcoming by running repeats of Bewitched and Sanford and Son, alone. Poor saps. The other networks have bought all the good old tv shows, leaving TV Land to contemplate Mayberry.

Animal Planet: Television for committed vegans and PETA members. What kind of ad revenue do these guys generate? Pet detectives and other odd programming fill the bill. The Corsair has heard that lots of pet owners keep the channel on while they go to work.

Sundance: An edgier IFC; very left wing political, but pure. Robert Redford's pet liberal project. While IFC pretends that they their directors will have the integrity to turn down 3 picture deals to make crappy Hollywood car-chase pictures, these guys really would rather do a documentary on Micronesian head hunters. So there.

Trio: Perhaps the coolest channel of them all. What VH1 viewers will most likely watch after they all "sell out" (I didn't sell out, I bought in) . Used to be a Canadian station, believe it or not, back in the day, with lots of Canadian mountie dramas. A station devoted to the sophisticated amateur sociologist interested in the decline of Western Civilization. In a detatched, ironic and witty manner, of course.

NWI: A wrap up of all the international anti-American news agencies. Al Gore is having as much trouble buying this station as he had in Florida. Are you going to blame Nader for this too, Al?

DiscoveryTimes: One of the strangest channels in the world. this is actually the New York Times' channel, but it is devoted to showing America militarized or in crisis, which, all told, are the moments when The Old Grey Lady was at its finest. Lots of Civil rights struggles, war footage, terrorism analysis, and --wierdest of all -- endless looks into our military academies. What the fuck?!

FUSE: MTV's unsuccessful competitor for the extreme generation low attention span kiddie market, which is not saying much.

VH1Classic: Could be interesting, as the X Generation is big on nostalgia, but right now this channel is not happening.

USA: This is the sybil channel. It is high testosterone most of the year, but come holiday time it is all about the holidays... kinda like our dads.

Style: If it is possible this is an even more shallow channel than E! Lots of C-List types talking about the beauty business. Hair care, weight loss, mascara ads predominate.