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Monday, May 17, 2004

The Sopranos Dream Episode.

This episode rolled out like a Fellini film, like Ingmar Bergman's Wild Strawberries. According to the HBO site, it describes the dream like this:

" ... At the Plaza, Tony gets a voicemail message from Silvio that's as chilling as it is succinct: 'Angelo's gone.' While the old consigliere was out buying a big wheel for his grandchild, he was shot to death by Phil and Billy Leotardo. Suddenly Tony realizes why Tony B. was so agitated. 'I saw him this morning and he must've fuckin' known already,' Tony says over the phone to Paulie. Tony B. and Angelo became close friends in prison and Tony B. loved the old man like a father. Fearing the worst, Tony makes several more phone calls in an attempt to locate his cousin, with no results.

"Eventually, Tony settles in for the night. After availing himself of the services of an Asian call girl, he finally manages to fall into a fitful sleep. He has a long dream peopled with important individuals from throughout his life and culminating in an encounter with his high school football coach, Mr. Molinaro. In the dream, Tony points a gun at Coach Molinaro, who berates him for the company he keeps, the life choices he's made and his lack of preparedness. When Tony pulls the trigger, the gun's silencer goes limp; he pulls it again and the clip falls out. Just before he wakes up, Coach Molinaro tells him, 'You'll never shut me up.'"

Psychic trauma, Asia motif, dream: up until this moment, Tony has been getting ready for the big bang, the upcoming gangland bustup that will either validate all his mother's critiques of his masculinity and his ability to be effective in the world, or invalidate them, freeing his energies up. Perhaps I'm reading too much into this (probably), but could the Asian call girl symbolize the East, and Eastern non-linear thought (the entrance into the realm of dream)?

Coach Molinaro, like most of the characters in the dream (although, for the life of me, I don't know what Annette Benning means -- wife of Warren Beatty? Tamer of the male libido run amock?), accuses Tony of not being "man" enough, squandering his leadership abilities. And the horse (whores?) that Tony rides in on while visiting Carm ("we need to set up some ground rules ... I don't want to clean up after it"), is the symbol of Wild West Americana manhood, like the tv show they were watching, which, most probably, saturated his childhood.

The camera angle is always in an odd relation between Tony and Carm. Remember when he almost threw her in the pool after she drained it in passive-aggressive protest at his penurious ways with child and spousal support? Tony towered over her, like he did while on the horse, like Fellini's women tower over him.

Scrooge? To Carm Tony is, withholding money, withholding affection; but it looks like Tony will get back to her, just in time for the bust up with Johnny Sacks and the much anticipated Adriana whack job, whih looks like it may occur next week. They will both see the light. But if Tony is Scrooge, is Carm Tiny Tim?

And is Tony the Frankenstein monster that the crowd made him up to be? Like Janice last week when she threw down on the soccer mom? Janice tried to suppress her hostility in anger management, to not be a monster, to hold on to her marriage: but Tony let the monster out, and was happy.

But isn't depression rage turned inward, as Melfi might say. The Coach says, "You'll never shut me up," like the Reverend at the end of Bergman's Fanny and Alexander, who, beyond death, continues to haunt Alexander (Bergman).

What do you think?





Hail to the Sheath

According to Wonkette via The Sun, Alexandra Kerry, the 30 year old daughter of likely Democratic Presidential nominee John Kerry, wore an ultra sheer, revealing see -hrough dress to Cannes.

According to The Sun:

"THE dishy daughter of US Presidential candidate John Kerry certainly gets our vote.

"Brunette Alexandra Kerry left movie fans gasping at the Cannes Film Festival in her daring see-through dress.

"Film director Alexandra, 30, showed at least two reasons why Americans should vote her dad into the White House in November.

"Democrat Mr Kerry is hoping for a good showing at the polls. His girl is content with just a good showing."

Hail to the sheath!

Comment here or at VH1's Best Week Ever

Seriously, though, Alexandra Kerry was at Cannes not to simply show off her cans, but to promote her short film, "The Last Full Measure," her film. Cannes, that jet set mecca, is a place well known over the years for gorgeous women dressing flimsily in order to promote their projects. Hey, Works for me.
Meet The Press: Cue to Dead Sea (Dead Air); Or, Emily Get Out of The Way

On yesterday's Meet The Press, Secretary of State Colin Powell's assistant, a woman named "Emily", got a little bit frisky with the cameras on the show of NBC's Chief Washington Correspondent, Tim Russert. Bad move. Tim Russert hasn't been snubbed since before he worked for Senator Moynihan, Russert owns DC.

Courtney C. Radsch of The Old Gray Lady characterizes the Sopranoesque dream sequence-like appearance of Colin Powell on Tim Russert's Meet the Press thusly:

"Secretary of State Colin L. Powell was abruptly cut off during an interview on Sunday on the NBC News program 'Meet the Press' when one of his aides decided the interview had gone on long enough.

"As Tim Russert, the program's host, began to ask his final question, the camera unexpectedly panned away from Mr. Powell, who was being interviewed in Jordan via a satellite link from Washington. In the confusion, Mr. Powell could be heard saying, 'He's still asking me questions,' to which a woman's voice answered, 'No, he's not.'"

The article concludes:

"Betsy Fischer, the show's executive producer, identified the staff member as Emily Miller, deputy press secretary to Mr. Powell, and said Ms. Miller 'pulled the plug' without warning. Although the interview was taped in advance, she said such interviews were usually run without being edited. Mr. Russert called it a case of 'press management gone berserk.'

"'I've been doing this program for 13 years and nothing like that has ever happened,' he said in a telephone interview. 'I remember sometimes in countries around the world this happens, but not in America. This is a free press, and political figures can always say I don't want to answer.' He said he did not know if it was the content of the question that caused Ms. Miller's reaction or simply that the interview had gone over its allotted time.

"Julie Reside, a State Department spokeswoman, said the interview had gone on considerably longer than scheduled, and that the personnel there 'made every attempt to get NBC to finish up.'"

Clearly, Emily was a bossy child, and, as in the case of Secretary Powell, her universe just sort of ignores choleric outbursts and odd decisions. One wonders how Emily reacted to lifes little vagaries as they came up, in the fullness of time, during the course of her life:

Doctor: Alright, you're having the baby -- push!
Emily Miller: No, she's not.
Mrs. Miller: (with averted gaze, pushes)

**

Teacher: Class: repeat after me: Two plus two equals four.
Emily Miller: No, It does not.
Class: (averted gazes) Two plus two equals four.

And so on.







A Little of the Old In and Out

In: Did JLo have plastic surgery? You be the judge.

Out: Arnold Shwarzenegger's Total Body Workout, circa 1984. God bless Scott Stereogum for giving us, the people, this pop cultural chestnut of when the Governator was just a weight-lifting shlub hawking health supplies. God gave rock and roll to you, but Scott Stereogum gives us the pop kulcha.

In: Jerry Springer, or, as they call him "Jere," in the trailer parks, is a Democratic Party delegate:

"According to the AP, Jerry Springer is a Democratic Party delegate for the Convention in DC:

"'(Springer's) made 50 appearances at Democratic events this year. He's been an outspoken advocate for the party,' said Dan Trevas, spokesman for the Ohio Democratic Party.

"Springer, who was the mayor of Cincinnati before hosting the raunchy 'The Jerry Springer Show,' was named Democrat of the Year by the state party last weekend. He was named Friday as one of 159 delegates and 24 alternates from Ohio at the convention July 26-29, when Sen. John Kerry is expected to be nominated as the party's candidate for president.

"'We welcome all delegates,' said Jennifer Palmieri, Ohio spokeswoman for the Kerry campaign."

Evidently.

The article concludes, interestingly, "Springer is considering running in 2006 for either Ohio governor or for the state's other Senate seat."

Out: Seacrest--Out!. According to that significant cultural artifact, The Star: "Ryan Seacrest is very upset these days -- (Ed. note The Star's) source says his TV talk show, On-Air with Ryan Seacrest, was canceled last week. (The Star's) source went on to tell (The Star) that Fox network execs were very unimpressed with Seacrest's ratings and were waiting for something to 'you know, pop!' But nothing happened -- 'his show is not a hit,' says (the) source. (The Star was) told execs called Ryan to their offices the week of May 3 and broke the news to him. 'He really thought the show would eventually take off -- he felt that at any minute, he was going to fly,' says my source. As a result, (The Star's) source says, Ryan has been taking out his frustrations on the cast members of his other show, American Idol. (The Star hears) his pals are just giving him some space to vent and get used to the bad news."

Seacrest--Out!

In: JK Rowling. According to Ananova:

"J K Rowling says she's 'well under way' with the sixth Harry Potter book.

"She took time off during her new son David's first year but is now back on track.

"On her website, Rowling, 38, says: 'Book six is well under way, hooray, although I still have a large and complicated book on my desk to remind me what happens where.

"'I am really enjoying this book, though for the first time I am conscious that I am approaching the end of the series.

"'So much of what happens in book six relates to book seven that I feel almost as though they are two halves of the same novel.'

"Rowling also teases fans by saying that regular visitors to her internet page will be able to find snippets of information on book six on the site 'if they can work out where to look'."

Out: Thinking Different. An Apple Store employee couldn't recognize Ed Bradley. This comes from Gizmodo:

"So I'm geeked to go buy a brand new Apple 23-inch display on a sunny New York Friday, on my way to the Apple Soho store. I enter and wander around looking for one of the aloof Apple drones to lower themselves to take my money. Finally I snag one and I'm given a card with some writing and told to stand and wait for the unit at the register. As I walk up, I come upon some Apple customer dissing in progress ... Holy smoke, yep, '60 Minutes' anchor Ed Bradley is an Apple fanatic! ... I walk up for my turn, and the really cute, but really clueless cashier is still looking at his back like he's an ass. I go, 'Yeah, that's Ed Bradley.' She says, 'Who's that?' I say, 'Uhhh, one of the most famous journalists on the planet on the most famous new program in the world ... The brain surgeon goes, 'Oh, I don't watch TV. He did seem upset though...whatever...' And here I thought Steve Jobs hired people with brains. Think Different indeed!"

Dweezil and Lisa Loeb: B-Listers on the rocks

According to the AP, rock music skank couple Lisa Loeb and Dweezil Zappa, who had the ultimate B-List romantic-television food show synergy, have gone the way of the dodo:

"Loeb told AP Radio that she and Zappa recently broke up, and that it was just time for them to go their separate ways.

"She said they had a good run with their Food Network show this spring, but they had only intended to do one season anyway."

The rock couple had been seen all over the red carpets. And, according to John Matsumoto of the Merc:

"'When (Zappa and Loeb) were on stage, we would play songs from the album, and we would have a friend come up on stage and make pies,' says Loeb, who vaulted to prominence in 1994 with the No. 1 ballad 'Stay (I Missed You).' 'It was a combination of a food demo and a concert. It was a totally sensory experience. The audience would even get samples of pie and cake at the end of the show."

Any way you slice it, the pie is over.

Comments here on on VH1's Best Week Ever Blog.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Sopranos: Does Adriana Get Whacked?

We are down to the last three episodes of The Sopranos, and Drea de Matteo is all set to play Matt Leblanc's sister in the NBC Friends spinoff, "Joey." So, does that mean Adriana is about to get whacked? Or does she go 40,000 Leagues in Witness Protection? Somethings gotta give, fuggedaboudit.

One, comare, Adriana has been a snitch for the Feds, using that hookup to get rid of rivals on The Soprano food chain. There's no way David Chase, the consigliere, is going to tease this out beyond the last episode this season: it screams resolution, like a (makes Italian hand gesture) Chiacchierone.

Two, FBI agents planted listening devices in Adriana's nightclub, particularly in the back office where Tony meets with other gangsters. (The Corsair munches on a plate of Gabagool) Were Tony to find said devices, or someone else, Adriana might be fingered. And, should Tony suspect that their semi-romantic moment might have been a ruse to set him up, Tony would come heavy, react with furious anger, commit a Message Job. Either way, if Johnny Saks hears ot it, he will force Tony to show that he is still in control.

Col tempo la foglia di gelso diventa seta.

Three, Adriana, in the last episode, (The Corsair munches Sfogliatelle) asked Christopher very earnestly to move, perhaps to California, to pursue screenwriting (The Corsair makes elaborate hand gesture). He replied that he was "a soldier." But by the end of the episode, after an argument with Tony S. and Tony B. Maybe Christopher doesn't have the iron constitution to be a soldier. Maybe he has the heart of an artist, a screenwriter, an FBI Informant?

Fox Columnist Roger Friedman notes, "Sources insist that De Matteo's work on 'Joey' will not conflict with 'The Sopranos,' which is filmed at various locations in New York and New Jersey. 'She is contracted for a sixth season' of 'The Sopranos,' an HBO source said."

Whatever.



A Lizzie Spiers Jones?

My old bossman Jason Calacanis makes an interesting point in his blog, "(Elizabeth) Spiers retiring from blogging makes me feel like the times when Jordan retired from the NBA. :-("

"Hey kid, can you just give us a couple of riffs on Graydon (Carter) for old time�s sake?!"

My sentiments exactly, although, to my knowledge, Ms. Spiers is still in the game, just caught in the whirlwind of Adam Moss' new New York Mag. Spiers hasn't posted for her blog in two weeks, and, with Choire Sicha going on vacation, which is going to leave snark addicts with a serious jones at the height of the Graydon Carter mess.

Of course, the talented Ms. Spiers is prolly quite busy at the print side of the new New York Magazine, and the Kicker blog is, quite possibly, going to be updated on a more infrequent basis. Such are the mysteries of Adam Moss.

That having been said, I'm having a Lizzie jones ... can somebody spare a fix? Just to get me past the shakes?

A Little of the Old In and Out

In: A goddamn Kerry-McCain ticket; gimme five, spoonbread. Kerry and McCain for the ages. Ahhhh, the pause that refreshes.

There are a lot of aristocratic Republican types (Arnaud de Borchgrave, anyone?) as well as Log Cabin Republicans (Why in this day and age, after civil rights, would anyone oppose gay marriage? I don't get conservatives sometimes), immigration reform minded Republicans in the Southwest, who cannot abide by the fucking hayseed/hillbilly reactionary center of the universe that is the Bush White House. Any fucking moment I expect John Ascroft to do a little faith revivalist hillbilly dance with a rattlesnake in his arms, singing some West Virginia ditty.

A Kerry-McCain ticket would make it pretty goddam jake for swing voters to go Democrat("and they say once you go Democrat ...") even though John Kerry is as exciting as photosynthesis. According to The NY Times:

"'Senator McCain would not have to leave his party,' (former Senator Bob) Kerrey said. 'He could remain a Republican, would be given some authority over selection of cabinet people. The only thing he would have to do is say, I'm not going to appoint any judges who would overturn Roe v. Wade,' - the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, which Mr. McCain has said he opposes.

"Chris Lehane, a Democratic strategist who once worked for Mr. Kerry, said such a ticket 'would be the political equivalent of the Yankees signing A-Rod,' referring to Alex Rodriguez, the team's star third baseman."

The very fact that this idea is being "floated" (last weeks flavor was Governor Bill Richardson)tells me that the Kerry camp is seriosuly considering it; which is, as Martha Stewart might say were she not so stressed at present, a good thing. One can almost see George Stephanopoulos choking on his Ovaltine. McCain comes from the critical Southwest and he brings Republican moderates into the fold. The Southwest, to the Democratic Party, is the new black; (note to Kerry: pick up a Navajo-made Silver & Turquoise Bolo Tie for the campaign trail).

Out: Troy. That shit sucked. I am the biggest classics geek. Ever. Homer and Plato and Sophocles and Xenophon are my favorites. I weep over Euripides' Medea. I read Greek and Latin; I actually studied the languages and their literatures in college. Fuck it, I find anacreontic poetry to be darkly beautiful, I'm hopeless; get some Cutty Sark in me and I'll recite (or, better yet, don't and avoid the ungodly spectacle of a Ugandan blogger scanning Homeric meter). But, goddamn it, Troy sucked ass. Oh Lord, how it sucked. Hollywood should just leave the fucking Great Books alone. They are not equipped to handle the job. Patently unfit. And no Hollywood actress has an interesting enough face to play Helen of Sparta, the most beautiful woman in the world, daughter of Zeus. Hmmm, well, allow me amend that, maybe Angelina Jolie, with that beautiful Gemini face.

Out: Apple Paltrow, grrr (The Corsair frowns). According to the AP: "Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow has given birth to her first child, a daughter called Apple, a spokesman said on Saturday."

Grrrr. I know, I know, why would you welcome an innocent little WASP baby into the world like that by putting it on The Corsair out list? Paltrow's face just sets me off and makes me do crezzy things. I didn't even like her in Seven, where she played the mousy wife ("What's in the box ..."). I'm just old school like that.

In: Jimmy Kimmel ODs on Advil. "Don't hate ... appreciate," (The Corsair heard a little suburban wigger with a hat tipped pimp-style like Britney's boyfriend saying that this morning in Midtown at the cross street to another tweenager).

Out: Fashionweekdaliy's Quote of the Daily, from Farnsworth Bentley, P Diddy's (softly chuckles) "manservant/ Howard University graduate," "There will come a time when people will ask, 'Where�s your umbrella from?' and if it isn't from FJ Bentley, it won't be special. The parasol will be the next avant-garde fashion accessory. Trust me."

From Howard U. to peddling parasols. Nice. The shark is circling Farnsworth, you of the bandy legs and discombobulated dance maneuverings. Your next line, Mr. Bentley, should be, "do you want your blood blisters removed, Mr. Diddy?"

In: Socialites. Thin slices of yum yum, spending their lives in leisure, looking good. There are so many things we mortal men wish to know about socialites. How do they remain so razor-thin: Do they always eat such small portions: how come they always smell so mmm-mmmm good?

Anyhoo: Our favorite socialite, our future first wife, Miu Von Furstenburg, is in Los Angeles, causing quite a stir. You will remember yesterday she went mano-a-mano with Milla Jovovich:

"Being in LA, and preparing for the long haul, I wanted to get pampered. So my friend Nicky and I went to the unfortunately named Juan Juan Salon in Beverly Hills. We went in for a simple manicure and pedicure. However, when we saw that they do aromatherapy hair treatments, we had to jump at the chance (although my first thought was, 'what the fuck is it?'). I mean how LA would this be. Maybe this exists in New York City, and I've never noticed (I have been going to the same stylist for years).

"To my disappointment, it was basically an expensive oil treatment. A combination of Lemon, Geranium, Tea Tree, Chamomile, and lemon were used. All I have to say, is that afterwards I hated the smell of my hair. If I wanted to smell of Geranium, I would have gone to my aunt Allegra's and rolled around in her garden."

New York just isn't the same. Come back, Miu.


Out: Don Hewitt and his old ... old ... very Old Boys Club, with Mike Wallace. You know you're on CBS when, as the party bumps, Leslie Stahl is the spring chicken of the bunch.

On Tuesday night, the 60 Minutes Gang (what do you call a grouping of octagenerians? A murder of Old Crows?) talk with Don Hewitt as he gets ready to retire. You can be sure there will be more softballs tossed here than in Elijah Woods' bedroom after the Appletinis are drunk:

"The man most responsible for telling the stories that 60 Minutes is famous for finally tells his own story on CBS.

"Broadcast journalism legend Don Hewitt takes the spotlight to talk with his correspondents about his career and his creation in 'Tell Me a Story: The Man Who Made 60 Minutes,' to be broadcast Tuesday, May 18, at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

"Correspondents Mike Wallace, Morley Safer, Ed Bradley, Steve Kroft and Lesley Stahl join Hewitt in a lively discussion punctuated with footage of 60 Minutes classic moments and people."

No mention of how he and Mike Wallace made Meredith Viera's life a living hell before she resigned because she had the temerity to have a baby. Wallace and Hewitt essentially double teamed her until she finally resigned, all chronicled by Richard Cohen. Assholes. Great journalists, though, who did great things, but assholes nonetheless of another era not as liberal and sophisticated.

Also, Out: The Swan. According to TheSmokinggun.com: "The Los Angeles doctor Fox Television has tabbed to provide "psychological counseling" to contestants on "The Swan," its controversial plastic surgery makeover show, received her Ph.D. from a California correspondence school that was described this week as an unaccredited "diploma mill" by congressional investigators, The Smoking Gun has learned.

"Therapist Lynn Ianni, it turns out, is not a doctor, she just plays one on TV."

Ouch.









Friday, May 14, 2004

Court Love: The Unbearable Lightness of Being Crezzy

Or, Silly Girl ... Silly Trial

TheSmokinggun.com does their usual fine job of deconstructing the disintegrating rocker today:

"The way Courtney Love sees it, her March arrest for assault actually had nothing to do with her smashing her microphone stand in the face of that poor New York concertgoer. Instead, the bedraggled 39-year-old singer chalks her assault/reckless endangerment to an overarching plot: 'The police have a conspiracy against rocker chicks.' That is just one of many kooky statements Love made to New York Police Department officers after her March 18 arrest, according to the below disclosure form filed yesterday by Manhattan prosecutors. Love also told an NYPD sergeant that she was getting popped because, 'You just want to be famous.' Love entered a not guilty plea at her misdemeanor arraignment yesterday in Manhattan's Criminal Court. She then repaired to a courthouse bathroom for a rambling press conference with female reporters, a tactic Martha Stewart never thought to employ."

Her soon-to-be infamous impromptu bathroom press conference tapped into a wide array of important social issues, including but not excluding, Why My Daughter (The Corsair sobs softly, sweetly) has to give up her horse to help her Mommy (Another generation of Cobains, it appears, has to give up The Horse ... fascinating); also, the Cryptic Mosaic Warning, "You do not sleep with married men (is this the Kabbalah-red-string-theory at work?);" and, immediately contradicting the previous statement, in a personal message to the very married Russell Crowe (like, personal over the world's media personal -- you know we're in the Bizarro world of Courtney logic here), "I'm sorry to Russell Crowe for you leaving me all those messages for the Golden Globes. I never got them, dude. It would have been a fun date."

Indeed it would, biscuit. Courtney's a fun sorta gal: a hoot, no doubt, if you will, with her own, to be quite graphic, surgically-enhanced set golden globes to play with; but even Russell, our gruff, lager-infused-punkface-thesbian, even Russell Crowe couldn't handle that flavor of heapin' crezziness that is Court Love. She's a whole lotta woman, that Court; whole lotta woman.

Court Love: Livin the Thug Life, swinging from court date to court date, assaulting peeps.

She's like the wind.
Will Andy Kaufman Return From The Dead?

He's Supposed to Resurrect on Sunday

The AP reports: "Andy Kaufman died of lung cancer on May 16, 1984, but according to legend, the eccentric comedian said if he were faking, he'd resurface 20 years later to the day.

"'So, just in case, a party is being planned by Bob Zmuda, Kaufman's best friend and partner, at the House of Blues in Los Angeles on May 16. (Ed note: This Sunday)

"'Over 100 personal ads will be taken out across the country and abroad, reminding him of his words. Will he show?' Zmuda asked on the Web site for Comic Relief, a series of shows that raise money for health care for the homeless. Zmuda founded Comic Relief after Kaufman's death.

"VIP tickets to the Andy Kaufman � Dead or Alive? tribute offer 'select seating and celebrity reception (hopefully with Andy).'"

Is this the second coming of Latke? Was Andy Kaufman's death a hoax? Will Zmuda make a bundle for Comic Relief and the homeless, two worthy charities, BTW.

Tune in. Comment here, or VH1's Best Week Ever. I can't say I believe this to be anything other than Zmuda drumming up money for worthy charities with dubious means, but, say, wouldn't it be wild if Kaufman actually pulled a prank of galactic proportions that took 20 years to pull off? How ... Kaufmanesque ... would that be?
A Little of the Old In and Out

In: Stolen Demi-Ashton pics ... I'm never gonna dance again, guilty feet aint got no rhythm. Anyhoo: Enough about me; lets talk Kutcher. Soon to make the rounds of your favorite Not-Safe-For-Work internet sites (cue to the sleazy neon lights and cheap ass sax solo) are the forbidden love photos of Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher that were allegedly filched, according to The Sun:

"FILM beauty Demi Moore is devastated after discovering that X-rated snaps of her and toyboy lover Ashton Kutcher have been stolen.

"The pictures were on a laptop nicked from the Hollywood Hills home of Ashton�s friend Adam Goldberg.

"The couple are worried that the images will appear on the internet like heiress Paris Hilton�s infamous sex video.

"A police spokesman said the photos were of Ashton, 26, and 41-year-old Demi in 'compromising positions.'"

We'll glance over the British use of 'nicked,' which has always rubbed me the wrong way, like Benny Hill, which, to me, is just one more reason to hate the British (let me not get started on the term 'cheeky,'). Wonderful to relate, though, true believer, is that The Corsair, too, keeps intimate photos of himself and his various toygirls on the laptop at of fellow blogger TMFTML. Ashton and Demi, combined, prolly share a solitary, but pretty brain cell and on that day, it was in joint custody. The Corsair erupts: Pickleheads!

Out: The oily Vanity Fair Editor Graydon Carter, slithers into the out column this week. According to Graydon Carter's Vanity Fair, the Entertainment industry is so very alabaster indeed that African-Americans have failed to grace the cover of said august institution for years ... years.

Because we all know that Gretchen Moll is hotter than Prince.

So, having vented thusly (deep cleansing breath), it comes as no surprise to The Corsair that his ethics are being called into question. He was rather conveniently paid a staggering $100,000 "finders fee" (Russian wink, Nigerian nod) for suggesting to Universal Pictures that Sylvia Nasser's 'A Beautiful Mind be made into a film:

"'Vanity Fair has been blurring the lines for some time,' said Cynthia Gorney, associate dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. 'But there is something particularly distressing about the nice round figure of $100,000 and the fact that it directly lined Mr. Carter's pocket.'"

Indeed (The Corsair gloats), his Turnbull and Asser suit must have been specially tailored to manage all that loot (The Corsair struts, vindicated). We all know, of course, that in Hollywood, studios throw money at anyone who mentions an idea (The Corsair is now all puffed up and self-satisfied). Of course, (The Corsair puffs a Montecristo cigar) Ron Howard has been lavished with praise (wink wink) by Vanity Fair as a result.

Well, you have to hand it to Graydon Carter, this is a particularly inventive, possitively Nigerian way to get graft by using his position in the world.

In: Scott's stereogum chronicles the Coppertone motif from ad to Magazine cover, as Carmen Electra takes over where Jim ("Voices") Carrey left off, namely, on an exposed moon.

Out: Russell and Kimora, possibly-maybe on the out. We'll have to wait for the next New York Magazine. According to Fashionweekdaily, "Writer Phoebe Eaton is doing a piece on Baby Phat 'designer' Kimora Lee Simmons for New York magazine."

Phoebe Eaton is a hottie. That's apropos of nothing, I just wanted to let my feelings on the subject be out there. ( ... call me Phoebe?)

In: Sidney Blumenthal is partisan to the nth degree, but he is also a smart cookie, and he makes a strong argument this week against the neoconservative star in DC, which shines less brightly these days. In his column for The Guardian he writes:

"Under Bush, the team of Cheney and Rumsfeld spread across the top rungs of government, drawing staff from the neoconservative cabal and infusing their rightwing temperaments with ideological imperatives. The unvarnished will to power took on a veneer of ideas and idealism. Iraq was not a case of vengeance or power, but the cause of democracy and human rights.

"The fate of the neoconservative project depends on Rumsfeld's job. If he were to go, so would his deputy, the neoconservative Robespierre, Paul Wolfowitz. Also threatened would be the cadres who stovepiped the disinformation that neoconservative darling Ahmed Chalabi used to manipulate public opinion before the war. In his Senate testimony last week, Rumsfeld explained that the government asking the press not to report Abu Ghraib 'is not against our principles. It is not suppression of the news.' War is peace."

We miss you, Bill, we honestly miss you ...

Out: Oh, snap, Dany Levy, possibly the cutest, petitest online writers gets a bit of a beating at the hands of the evil geniuses at Lowculture today:

"Either Dany Levy�s minions are easily fascinated or they should think about changing their meds. Daily Candy, Levy's digest of overpriced baubles and prime evidence of why Americans deserve to be hated ..."

Low culture is so good, and yet so evil, like Rocky III's Clubber Lang ... we like.

In: Sometimes I feel like Haley Joel Osment ... I see white people. (The Corsair sends special thug love to socialite Topsy Taylor, and kudos to NY Social Diary's David Patrick Columbia, who we suspect, will see the humor in this)

Out: My friends Lola and Patti and the always excellent Dman (hey Casey and Michael) from Papermag.com's message board came up with the clever line: 'Dude, Where's My Couture?'

How right they are, as according to British Vogue:

"PARIS will be a poorer place come Couture Week. Both PARIS will be a poorer place come Couture Week. Both Emanuel Ungaro and Donatella Versace have announced that they are bowing out of fashion's most exclusive week, which is set to run from July 6 - 9. The news follows Givenchy's announcement this week that it would not present a couture catwalk show, as it had not yet replaced Julien Macdonald, as well as rumours that Valentino may not be showing either. Pierre Berge, Yves Saint Laurent's long-time partner, says this is simply a continuation of a trend begun by YSL himself, followed by the likes of Thierry Mugler, Louis Feraud, Lanvin and Nina Ricci. 'I'm sure others will follow,' he told Women's Wear Daily. 'I've always said that the couture would die with Yves Saint Laurent. Now it's a domino effect. The couture has lost its raison d'etre. Couture isn't art. It's not meant to be hung in a closet like a painting. The women who wore couture no longer exist, the art de vivre that spawned couture has died. If houses such as Chanel and Dior one day get proof that they can sell as many bags and fragrances without a couture show, they'll stop couture, too."

In: Miu Von Furstenberg, we love. Perhaps someday my blog and Miu's blog will get married, and beautiful mocha colored blogs will ensue. Miu is on the left coast, causing mayhem:

"I'm in LA, so of course one must visit Fred Segal. A trip to Fred Segal usually entails a celebrity sighting, although with my luck it's usually the minor ones. Once again, FS doesn't disappoint. Of course I drag along my good friend Nicky Getty.

"Since this is LA, I must purchase something white, so I go with a little white cocktail dress from Gucci (Robi is taking my later this week for my first spray on tan so I won't look like a ghost). It seems every third woman in LA is wearing white; it's quite disarming. While I'm making the purchase, I spot Milla Jovovich."

The Corsair grabs some salt-free popcorn and is riveted to the screen.

"I'm never one who has a problem engaging in banter with a celebrity. I of course to the obligatory,

"Miu: 'Are you Milla Jovovich?'

"Milla: While not directly looking at me, she answers, 'Yes I am.'

The Corsair mouths the words: 'It's-on-like-Grey-Poupon!' and pumps his fist wildly in the air.

"Miu: While racking my brain trying to come up with a film she was in, I blurt out - 'You were the best part of The Fifth Element.' (Knowing for a fact that Chris Tucker was, but I wasn't talking to Chris Tucker.)

"Milla: She smiles, and says 'Thank you.'

"Miu: She obviously knows I just lied to her. But of course I press on. 'Are you ever going to record another CD? I really love your singing voice.'

The Corsair cringes.

"Milla: 'No. I'm sorry, I don't have time for this.'

"Miu: So the loving her singing voice comment threw her over the edge. No one to back down, I slightly shout as she's walking away 'Any chance for a sequel to Joan Arc?'

The Corsair is crushing so hard on Miu's gutsiness.

"Milla: She turns her head briefly and I believe mouthed the word 'Bitch.'

"So I guess we will never know if there will be a sequel to The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc. I turned around to sign the receipt for my purchase, and the saleswoman was just staring at me. I said, 'Well at least I didn't ask for an autograph.'"

It's Miu's world, I just blog in it.

Out: The Administration. Even Republicans are mad at Bush, notes Jonathan E. Kaplan of TheHill.com:

"Republicans on the Hill are so frustrated with the White House that when Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) criticized the administration at a House GOP meeting last week, the caucus burst into applause.

"The meeting was only the latest sign in an accumulating body of evidence that lawmakers are unhappy with the way the administration treats them.

"One GOP lawmaker at the caucus meeting said Hastert 'expressed outright dismay with the White House staff for the way the transportation bill had been handled. They did not give the priority necessary to the issue in resolving it as the Speaker had wanted. It�s in absolute limbo.'

"A rank-and-file lawmaker said: 'Hastert was frustrated and disappointed that he had not been dealt with openly and fairly and given accurate information. He was not so much speaking to the conference as he was speaking for the conference.'"











Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Like Father, Like Son

Adam Clayton Powell IV. There are few greater pleasures in the world than watching Harlem politics. And the upcoming battle between Adam Clayton Powell, IV and ranking member on the Ways and Means Committee, Charlie Rangel, was going to be a battle of the superheavyweights. It was slated to be hotter than Sylvia's gumbo.

As the legend goes: Charlie Rangel humiliated Adam Powell's dad, the legendary Adam Clayton Powell, arguably the grandaddy of Harlem, a larger than life figure. Light-skinned, Powell passed for white, and ended up going to elite universities and moving in powerful circles. He wasa good looking man, and that helped him navigate in both the black and white worlds during the Civil Rights struggles, in Congress, representing Harlem

In his later years, alas, he became corrupt (on a Nigerian-Russian scale), carousing with busty women and whiskey instead of defending Harlem's interests in Congress during the crucial civil rights era. Rangel, it is said in legend, headed the delegation to Bimini sent to seperate Powell from the booze and chicks (party pooper!). Powell, allegedy, slapped Rangel in the face during the "impromptu intervention" and said, simply, "you do what you gotta do, baby"

And he did. In defeating Powell, which led to the great man's ruin on the cliffs of unfulfilled destiny, Rangel became the new biggest cat in the jungle in Harlem politics. Cut to a few decades later, the former great man's son, Adam Clayton Powell, IV, has come back to avenge the family name (like Andrew Cuomo, like George Bush the Younger). Powell was born of a Puerto Rican mother, and has a base in both black Harlem and the rising Latino demographic. Add the fact that he inherited his father's looks. The battle, as they say, was on like Gray Poupon

After Powell got elected to an Assembly seat, it was only a matter of time before WW III. Even Al Sharpton, angry that Rangel didn't support his presidential bid, .
threatened to inject himself on the side of Powell

But the rape allegations in a seedy Howard Johnson's that sufaced against Powell may have ended the dream. Just like his dad, and, perhaps just like Andrew Cuomo and George Bush the Younger.

Fathers and Sons ...

Funny how generational sagas tend to repeat themselves ...

(The Corsair contemplates Bill Clinton in his harlem office, on 125th street, in the summer, contemplating the kapow booty of the ladies that stroll that way in the poom-poom shorts. This isn't anemic DC flank -- no, this is Harlemworld USDA Ground round highwater booty. The Corsair feels profound sympathy for The Passion of Bill)
"Lindsay Lohan is a Total Snob"

That significant cultural artifact Star Magazine tells us that the raspy-voiced teen hearthrob Lindsay Lohan is letting all the fame go to her head (and not, contrary to beliefs aired on TMFTML, her chest):

"'Lindsay was a total snob,' says a source on the Canadian set of her latest and most excellent flick, Mean Girls. 'She thinks she's as famous as Britney Spears. She treated the crew members like they were her personal servants, commanding them to grab her drinks.' Lindsay's natural naughtiness helped her land the part, reveals an executive with Paramount Pictures. '[Mean Girls writer] Tina Fey wanted a star like Drew Barrymore, but Lindsay nailed it on the first audition,' the source says. 'Everyone knew she was right for the role.'"

"But sources say Lindsay's stardom has gone to her head. A fashion stylist who recently worked with Lindsay on a magazine shoot tells Star, 'She would take clothes off the racks and if she didn't like something, she would just throw it on the floor. She is by far the most difficult star I've styled.'"

Okay, leaving aside the fact that said precvious speaker used the word "style" as a verb, there is something strangely fascinating about teen superstars and how they behave. I have a touch of the amateur sociologist about me (one could argue, frankly, that this is the primary focus of the blog), and the psychology of how a teenager behaves when the world gives them its full attention and they are liberated from family need and from financial worry, is ... intriguing (rubs hands together and chuckles like mad scientist).

Thank you Star Magazine, for answering my prayers with empirical data. Lindsay Lohan is our lab monkey (no, TMFTML, lab monkey, not love monkey):

"While filming Mean Girls, the talented (Ed. Note: The Corsair softly chuckled when he read the word 'talented' in reference to Lohan) 17-year-old singer/actress reportedly scrambled to cover up a messy car accident she got into while illegally driving around in a rented $100,000 Mercedes. Lohan reportedly tried to sneak the damaged vehicle into a repair shop, but got caught.

"And recently, Lindsay reportedly tried to pick up Colin Farrell on the Paramount lot. After eyeing each other, Lohan supposedly offered Farrell her phone number -- but he declined the minor's offer (Ed note. Lohan is under 18). Her reps deny it, but Farrell has mysteriously not commented."

The Corsair Lab Notes (scribbling furiously): Rich, famous teenagers will cover up illegal car wrecks and initiate unlawful sexual encounters with other, older hearthrobs.

"Then there is Lindsay's feud with her archrival Hilary Duff, 16.The starlets are said to have first battled over 16-year-old singer Aaron Carter, who was dating Lohan, but reportedly started two-timing with Duff behind Lohan's back. Lohan was said to be furious.

"The pair have also become increasingly competitive for lead roles. Even after Lindsay was cast in Mean Girls, a source says Hilary's manager-mom Susan was calling to get an audition for Hilary. 'Too bad. She was never even a consideration!'"

The Corsair Lab Notes: Child actor manager-parents are stupid asses.

"These days, one of Lindsay's friends tells Star that the teen feels her star shines much brighter than Duff's (who's best known for Disney's Lizzie McGuire), and now has a few films and an album in the works. 'Lindsay doesn't care about any of this. There is no competition on her part.' However, in an apparent copycat career move, Lindsay is also recording her own debut album, which some say is another attempt to steal Duff's thunder.

Adds the source on Mean Girls, 'Lindsay has a major attitude problem. She'd better watch her behavior or she's going to make even more enemies.'"

The Corsair lab notes conclude: Teenagers plus fame plus fortune equals picklehead.








A Little of the Old In and Out

In: Nudity Riders. TheSmokinggun has collected two, count them two, nougaty, nudity riders from Linda Fiorentino and Diane Lane, both respectable older actresses who have been around the Hollywood block. Linda Fiorentino's is 4 pages long!

Out: Congressman Henry Hyde. The paunch, the small minded take on internationalism, the (makes disgusted hand gestures) the whole Hyde package -- (averted gaze), it just doesn't work. Now, According to TheHill the Congressman has been ahving a grand old time with taxpayer funding for a fiscal conservative:

"Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), chairman of the House International Relations Committee, took 23 aides on a 13-lawmaker congressional delegation, to Ireland and Hungary last month.

"There were 17 congressional staff and 6 military aides.

"The high number caused consternation among lawmakers on the trip who say codels usually include fewer staff than members of Congress.

"Among Hyde�s retinue were three of his Chicago-based district staff, including a mother and her daughter, and a military physical therapist/personal trainer who spent much of his time shopping and sightseeing with the lawmakers� spouses."

(Averted gaze) Now, you will remember, of course, this asshole Hyde, from Lewinskygate where his own hypocritical affair was revealed in all it's suburban smarm.

Out: Sadie Frost. Jude Law's terminally melancholy ex-wife Sadie Frost got fired from her UK talk show, according to the Sun.

"The series, What Sadie Did Next on Channel 4�s satellite arm E4, was her first go at telly presenting and she hoped it would be a springboard to a new career. But bosses pulled the plug after eight shows.

"Last night a source said: 'Sadie got a lot of criticism for being a lightweight interviewer. People just didn�t warm to the sycophantic way she treated her celebrity pals on the show.'

"She was supposed to use her connections to pull in A-list guests. But after kicking off impressively with GWYNETH PALTROW, things went downhill fast."

Okay, we'll leave aside those of you (me included) that question the status of Gwyneth Paltrow as an A-Lister. The article continues, brutally:

"The limp cast of low-rent C-listers included artist TRACEY EMIN, dope smuggler HOWARD MARKS, Hollywood madam HEIDI FLEISS and singer PEACHES."

This unfortunate news does, however, have a good side. The spare time will allow Frost to more accurately stalk Jude Law.

In: Orla Healy, who will replace the excellent Libby Calloway as fashion editor of The NY Post. Calloway left the Post this past February to edit The Tennessean's Living Section. As WWD's Jeff Bercovici tells it, "The New York Post has hired Orla Healy to be its fashion editor. Healy�s career in fashion started in 1989 with an 18-month stint as Anna Wintour�s assistant. After 10 years with The New York Daily News, she joined In Style in 2000 as deputy editor, leaving in 2002 to become U.S. correspondent for The Sunday Independent, an Irish newspaper. 'She�s unique in her ability to understand both news and style,' said Faye Penn, the Post�s features editor."

Out: One nasty little Conde Nasty. According to the Fashionwiredaily, Bernd Runge, (doesn't the name tip you off that no good is coming up?) "the founding publisher of Russian Vogue and Vice President of Conde Nast International, was a snitch for eight years, who tattled on his own colleagues, according to Der Spiegel, Germany's leading news weekly." Apparently his code name was "Olden," as opposed to, say, Jonah.

Fashionwiredaily continues:

"In his file, Runge is described as 'social, a good talker and crafty.'" Which, in retrospect, makes him the perfect Conde Nasty.

In: Peter Jennings, acoording to The Drudgereport, "ABC News� World News Tonight with Peter Jennings attracted 8,940,000 total viewers and 3,060,000 Adults 25-54 to place first in the ratings race last week. NBC News� Nightly News with Tom Brokaw placed second with 8,740,000 total viewers and 2,690,000 Adults 25-54.

"The ratings mark the first time since September 24, 2001 that World News Tonight beat Nightly News in both demos with Peter Jennings and exiting-Tom Brokaw anchoring the broadcasts. Additionally, World News Tonight won four out of the five nights for the week of May 3rd, 2004."



Monday, May 10, 2004

Deadbeat ... Lookin' For a Deadbeat!

Don Johnson, 54, former star of Miami Vice and Nash Bridges, who recently filed for bankrupcy, is being accused of being a deadbeat on his bills. One would think that Sony Crockett might have more pull with Johnny Law. Apparently not; According to AP:

"An Aspen grocery store has accused actor Don Johnson of leaving an unpaid bill of $5,470, according to court records.

"Other Aspen businesses also are suing the (Johnson) in Pitkin County Court for outstanding bills. A list of creditors in a bankruptcy petition include $7,345 from Aspen Valley Hospital, $1,228 from Isberian Rug Co., $1,688 from Holy Cross Energy and $2,787 from Garfield & Hecht law firm.

"A spokesman for the actor could not be reached for comment."

(all together now): Deadbeat ... lookin for a deadbeat ...

comment here or VH1's Best Week Ever

Brad Pitt: The First Rule of Skirt Club

Mel Gibson wore a skirt in Braveheart, Russell Crowe wore one in Gladiator, heck, even that dude who played Shaka Zulu wore one. Now, Reuters reports (thanks to Tom from TheMediaDrop) that Brad Pitt believes that men may start wearing skirts in general:

"Actor Brad Pitt said Sunday that fashion-conscious men may be wearing Greek-style skirts soon after his big-budget film about the Trojan War opens this week.

"'... Men will be wearing skirts by next summer. That's my prediction and proclamation,' he said with a laugh. 'The film answers to both genders. We were going for realism and Greeks wore skirts all the time then.'"

First rule of skirt club is you do not talk about skirt club.

Comments here or at VH1's Best Week Ever.
Platonic Symposium: Don Imus, Dierdre Imus, Larry King

Or, Can Virtue be Taught?

Leathery old racist Don Imus and his dingbat wife, Dierdre, on CNN with spring chicken Larry King. When three intellectuals of world-historical importance gather together, well, you can imagine the conversation -- Hannah Arendt, Plato, Ralph Ellison, Marie Curie and Confucius, surprisingly, did not come up in conversation:

"DEIRDRE IMUS: It started as being an athlete and playing sports. I've never been on a diet. So this isn't about diets or what diets work or don't work. It's just about, for me, at least, eating a healthy. And the most important thing goes beyond whether you eat meat or not. It's eating organic food and eating whole food.

"KING: But this is ranch food, you bill it as cowboy food, meaning. Because cowboys are associated with beef. This one's for dinner.

"DEIRDRE IMUS: That hasn't changed except for at our ranch. These cowboys that work on the ranch, they don't have to stay for lunch and dinner. They want to be there. They eat lunch and dinner with all the kids. They love it. They love the food. They still eat their steaks and hamburgers and everything else.

"DON IMUS: She's not against people. All of our friends are cattle ranchers. We're not opposed to people eating meat.

"DEIRDRE IMUS: I don't have any vegetarian friend and I hate most vegetarians."

More of this Platonic symposium here.

This is not a pipe. It is, instead, a complex piece of performance art demonstrating the failure of our educational system.

And, next week: Imus, Imus and King on the subject of Poetry.
A Little of the Old In and Out

In: My fellow blogger and partner in online crimes, Miu Von Furstenberg, is in Los Angeles:

"Miu has arrived and will be trying to avoid any silicon spills during my extended stay. I'm unfortunately not here for pleasure (although I'm sure I will stumble upon some), it's a business thing."

Miu is in LA. The air is thick with scoop. All is good in the world. Basta!

Out: I will not even try to unravel the geopolitical mess that is the Chechnya situation here. Can;t do it. Too fucking complex. But lets, for a second, at least, mull it over, a la Reuters:

" The leader of Russia's restive Chechnya region was buried Monday, the day after an assassination that shook President Vladimir Putin's plans to tame rebellion he sees as a threat to the fabric of his country.

"Thousands of mourners attended the funeral of President Akhmad Kadyrov, an ex-Muslim cleric central to Putin's bid to pacify mainly Muslim Chechnya but viewed by rebels as a traitor. Security appeared tight at the ceremony at his home village, Tsentoroi.

"Kadyrov was killed with six others by a bomb blast at a World War II victory ceremony in a stadium in the regional capital Grozny Sunday. The bomb was planted under the VIP stand where top Russian and Chechen officials had gathered."

I am no fan of central asian terrorism or even the sinister means by which the Black Widows of Chechnya are using in their war, but: Why is Putin holding on to this region? Is it a matter of pride? Is it some barbaric sense that Russia's power will unravel if he lets this region of darker skinned people go? What the fuck is Putin smoking that he considers his Chechnyan War anything remotely like the United States' War on Terror? Why do Russians have such a powerful national addiction shows of force? Does this have anything to do with the suppression of the Orthodox Church, the Death of God, the rise of Communism and now, without any mitigating ethical system, the rise of Ultracapitalism (Sopranos-style)? Is the Russian character okay with autocratic personas? How will Putin respond? Revenge is like cold cuts ... With ultraviolence, most likely.

Out: What's RuPaul up to? The blog says it all:

"i have a real passion for roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds from TRADER JOE�S grocery store. today, while i was down there picking up my supply, i spotted the actress who played 'charlie' (the murdering, kidnapping lesbian) on the NBC soap PASSIONS. i said 'hi charlie,' and she said 'wow, i can�t believe you recognized me with my new blond hair'... she was a brunette/redhead on the show."

(sound of cicadas chirping in the Spring breeze)

Hmmm. Time to cut some records, darling. (Ed. Note. The Corsair is holding out hopes that the Rupe regains the "Eye of the Tiger")


In: Jennifer Capriati's Hulking Arms. Scott L's most excellent blog, Stereogum gives us a peep at those massive barn door delts and massive traps of tennis star and former stoner Jennifer Capriati.

Can you imagine those arms cradling the egg-shell fragile and well moused head of troubled former Friends star Matthew Perry?

Don't get Capriati angry, you wouldn't like Capriati when she's angry.

And, don't get me started on whose been in the arms of Matthew Perry ...

Out: Fashion Alert: Stolen Donna Karan Shwag! Someone walked off with "pounds" of DKNY, and Donna aint having it. According to British Vogue, "A BATTLE is brewing between DKNY and the producers of Notes From New York, which appeared at the Donmar Warehouse in March, after thousands of pounds worth of costumes have gone missing."

The story continues:

" ... ex-RSC actor Craig Purnell, who co-starred with Paul Spicer and Julie Atherton, has held onto the contents of his stage wardrobe, according to the Daily Express. 'It makes me sick to my stomach,' a spokesman for the play's producers, who are set to commence legal proceedings against Purnell, said. 'Everyone involved with the show and all of the staff at DKNY are extremely upset by his actions. Donna and her colleagues have been so supportive of the show and to say we're disappointed in Craig's behaviour is an understatement. It's a case of gross professional misconduct, which means that Craig has not been paid and nor will he be paid unless the property is returned in the condition in which it was given to him.' Purnell's spokesman confirmed that the clothes were still in his possession but said 'the situation is being dealt with. We are obviously hoping the items will be returned.'"

Hey, Craigie: return the DNKY: ASAP! (Ed Note: you don't get to keep the shwag until after you are famous)

In: Fed to Boost Interest Rates Before Election, according to Republican-pariah-monkey-boy Robert Novak:

"The Bush administration has been alerted that Chairman Alan Greenspan (Ed Note. I'm Federal reserving the right to say: That photo was taken in the fucking Coolidge era, Greenspan; you're not fooling anyone there, bro) will guide the Federal Reserve Board to a small interest rate boost before the presidential election, and President Bush is reported to be satisfied.

"According to these sources, the central bank this fall will raise the federal funds (interbank lending) rate from the current historic low of 1 percent to 1.25 percent. The Fed is expected to push the rate to 1.5 percent later this year after the election, and up to 2 percent early next year."

How does Novak, the self proclaimed "Prince of Darkness," King of the studied leak in DC, get this type of detailed information?

Out: Carmen Kass as politkon zoon. Our philosopher queen is not all she is cracked up to be. According to British Vogue, via The Evening Standard, Carmen is indeed aware that she is not the, uhm, er, best qualified candidate for the EU from Estonia. Nevertheless:

"'To Estonians, being part of Europe sounds at first like being part of the Soviet Union,' she says. 'So that is my first task - I don't have a whole lot of policies worked out. I just want to activate people to be a part of it, the political process; to educate people on what it means to go out there and take up the opportunities. I think people in Estonia realise that at least I can represent the opportunity that the outside world offers them.'"

She may not have the policies worked out, people, but she, herself, is no stranger to some serious cardio.
Henry The Intern: Topic A with tina Brown

The Gawker's intrepid intern Henry breaks down Tina Brown's Topic A with elan:

"'What are the chances this is going to change the minds and the convictions' of Arabs, voters, and the administration? (Foreign Affairs Editor James) Hoge hypothesized America is a superpower acting as a rogue state. Back to the pornographic imagery, what do these pictures mean for women? (bloated art critic Robert) Hughes: 'Women can be just as bad and demonic. . . the culture that generates this kind of behavior affects women just as much as men.'"

Hughes then, I thought brilliantly, referenced his own book on Goya, contrasting the Master with the pornographic "hooding" sadomasochistic photos. He said that while Goya's eye was "appaled," the soldier's photos were "... done with a kind of jokey approval."

Like, d'uh.

Then Henry notes that Tina forgot herself, or ran out of questions, and asked the same obvious question, twice:

"Tina's idea of a probing question for a tease: 'Would Camelot be possible without Jackie?' They all answer no, duh -- and Tina asks again on the other side of the break."

Wake up, Tina, when cometing with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, you've got to be at the top of your game, on the real.

Anyhoo: thanks, Henry.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

CBS 60 Minutes: That Corrupt House of Saud

It is really easy to hate the corrupt House of Saud, and all their skanky progeny, raping the oil of their people, resisting principled leadership, lording it over a strategically undereducated and impoverished populace, making the GDP of the country their own little family checkbook. What's not to hate about the House of Saud? But 60 Minutes kicks it up a notch.

Apparently Bush is so cozy with them that Barbara, "Bar" Bush, wife of Bush the Elder, allows the skanky Prince Bandar the luxury of smoking in their house at their crib. He is the only person allowed to do so:

"'To this day,' the elder George wrote to The New Yorker, 'Bandar is the only person besides the President of the United States that Bar lets smoke in our house, although both have to do it in their room with the door closed.'"

Say what you will about the House of Saud and their underage prostitutes, they know how to buy a President. The sleazy corrupt bastards could also spell the end of the Bush dynasty if Kerry makes them a campaign issue. And he should.

60 Minutes reports on Sunday:

"A London-based Saudi dissident says Saudi Arabia framed Britain for bombings in its capital in an effort to pressure the British to stop his group from criticizing the Saudi regime."

"...The Saudi government reacted to a series of bombings in Riyadh that began in late 2000 by arresting five Britons, a Belgian and a Canadian, even though expatriates were the apparent target and Muslim fundamentalists the probable perpetrators.

"The Westerners confessed and were convicted of the bombings, they say, after being tortured -- a fact the Saudis deny, but doctors have confirmed. In the confessions, the detainees say they were forced to implicate British diplomats in Saudi Arabia. It was all part of a plot against his group, says al-Faghi.

"'They wanted to use those detainees as leverage to twist the British arm in order to force them to kick us out of Britain or do something to silence us,' al-Faghi tells Bradley."

The harrowing story continues:

"Al-Faghi's group has criticized the House of Saud for years, condemning the repressive kingdom on a radio station beamed into the country that the British allow the organization to operate from the United Kingdom. "

"Saudi Arabia took drastic action because it was frustrated, says al-Faghi. 'We are a political opposition to the Saudi regime and because they've tried all means to harm us, to convince the British that we are doing wrong things, [but] they failed,' he says.

"Britain did not capitulate. A team from Scotland Yard was forced to investigate the diplomats in Riyadh and found no basis for the allegations. The detainees, however, spent several years in captivity, enduring more torture, and for two of them, the promised threat of execution. A personal plea from Prime Minister Tony Blair last summer got them pardoned and released - but not exonerated. The Saudi government still considers them guilty.

"This is difficult for Briton Sandy Mitchell, who with his friend, Canadian Bill Sampson, spent two-and-a-half years on death row.

"'To my dying day, I will hate myself for this,' says Mitchell, 'because I was ashamed of having to falsely accuse two innocent men and I had to name two British diplomats.'

"Sampson is resigned to the injustice. 'I know the members of [the Saudi] government are hypocrites. I know the members of their government are liars and therefore I do not expect anything better from them than that,' says Sampson.

"Prince Turki al Faisal, who was head of Saudi intelligence when the men were arrested, twice postponed an interview with 60 Minutes before finally declining to talk to Bradley."

Watch this on 60 Minutes Sunday at 7pm. Now, if you'll excuse me, writing about the House of Saud makes me want to take a shower.




A Little of the Old In and Out

In: Desmond Tutu was pimping hard at the Vanity Fair Tribeca Film Festival. Check out the ice grill and hit pause on the playa hating button, 'lil bit, you better recognize: the archbish is up in the TriBec to see and be seen (as well as get his crunk juice on at the Skyy Vodka open bar). The arch Bish will bish slap all pretenders and contenders. "Kiss my bling-bling," the bish seems to be saying, nonchalantly, with that angelic countenance, and the sufferage-aristocratic sounding Afrikaner-Soweto lilt, what, with the reddish-Bronze twilight of the stuggle for racial equality shining in the background. No "loser dust" gathers on his fancy threads Tutu is flossing: go archbish, go archbish! Graydon Carter better jump back!

Out: How does one put this? How does one broach a subject so ... so sensitive? Tender as the teenage heart. Well, I'll come out with it, and thank you to Scott L at Stereogum for bringing this to my attention. Britney Spears has a crack problem. Who knew?

In: Mistreatment of Iraqui soldiers and the attendant Rumsfeld-bashing. prediction: Rummy resigns after setting-up-the-grounds for exit ("I would obviously resign if I didn't feel I could be effective") and McCain takes Rummy's place (and, by Karl Rove's evil genius, gets taken out of the equation once and for all as a powerful Southwest bulwark Veep for Kerry)

Out: Tomb raiders. Not cool. So-not-cool. And yet, it is such an evil Nietzschean-Kissingeresque enterprise ... Anyhoo: Some corpse thieves raided the Toscanini family tomb, desecreating the final resting place of the legendary conductors daughter, Wanda Toscanini Horowitz. Apparently there truly is no honor among thieves. The AP chronicles:

"'It surely wasn't an act of vandalism,' (Police Col. Marco Rizzo) said, citing the fact that they didn't leave graffiti. 'There were at least two people involved, maybe a third person. We don't know.

"The break-in happened Thursday night, although it wasn't noticed until the following day. The culprits entered, pulled open a grate to the underground chamber, but ignored Toscanini's coffin.

"Instead, they smashed a marble tombstone covering the coffin of Wanda Toscanini Horowitz, who died in 1998. They opened the coffin, then left, Rizzo said. He said it was possible the intruders may have been hunting for jewels."

It is deliciously ironic (and how can one not talk about matters concerning death without the requisite irony?) that Scythian tomb robbers, who robbed ancient tombs, were expert at the practice actually, ended up leaving, in their wake, archaeological data of sometimes greater import than the tomb that they themselves had robbed. Okay, enough with the dark irony, guys, (see what two days sick will get you?) next:

In: Middle Aged women baring breasts are the new black. Washington DC, home of the FCC and their ludicrous tirades against Howard Stern as well as all the networks, is, it appears, a place that is very fixated on the the proverbial "dirty pillows." Freud might say something about being weaned too early and the concurrent effects on psychosexual development. Who knows, who cares: all we know is, a middle aged lady flashed Ben Affleck at the Bloomberg after party, as he was with Vanessa Kerry. According to Ananova, via The Sun:

"A fan flashed her breasts at Ben Affleck as he chatted with the daughter of US presidential hopeful John Kerry.

"Affleck was with medical student Vanessa Kerry at a Washington dinner at the time, reports The Sun.

"The middle-aged woman showed off her bare chest, exclaiming: 'You are fucking gorgeous.'

"An onlooker said yesterday: 'It wasn't pretty.'"

Did she have a tablemat holder nipple ring, too; or were the naughty bits closer in resemblance to a Ninja star of death, perhaps? DC: it's gritty: it aint pretty.

Out: Louisiana's disproportionate legislative power is going the way of the Dodo bird, so much the better for us. Louisisana is far more conservative than the general consensus in the blue states, yet, alas, for many years they have held a disproportionate amount of political juice. The secret is very southern: blue state congressional seats have a migh higher turnover rate than the sloe gin fizz of the humid and conservative South, where plus sa change, plus le meme chose. TheHill notes:

"Louisiana�s congressional delegation is going to lose much of the power it has wielded for nearly half a century because retirements and election-year maneuvering mean four of its nine members will be freshmen in January.

"One senator and three members of the state�s seven-member House delegation are retiring at the end of their terms. With the loss of seniority, much of the state�s historically influential delegation may be unable to garner prime committee assignments.

�'There are no two ways about it,' said Rep. David Vitter (R-La.), who is retiring to run for the U.S. Senate. �We will lose seniority in the delegation.�

�We have a tradition of having an effective delegation up here in part because of seniority,� he added.

" ... W.J. 'Billy' Tauzin (R-La.), the most senior member of the state�s delegation, is leaving his seat for health reasons. Tauzin served as chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee and sits on the House Resources and Homeland Security committees. He is serving his 13th term."

No offense to my one southern conservative reader of this blog, but good fucking riddance to that Cajun bastard. Anyone on Energy and Commerce would be better than that cat. The words Louisiana and power scare me as an African American, they remind me that in 1990, 14 years ago, David Duke won 55% of the white vote in his run for Governor, despite the fact that the National Republican party denounced him.

In: trailer trash: whether on Jerry "(wheezes) Jere ... " Springer, or anywhere else, their lack of shame makes for great shadenfreude, and their desire to be famous -- if only on reruns and at the local dive bar and Dairy Queen -- is a little on the yucky side. But oh-so-compelling; I lie to myself often and psychologically justify my fascination by calling it all "my amateur sociological research into Americana." Whatever. Those are my hang-ups, I will not hide them from you, because, well, I show them to you, like 5, maybe 6 days a week?

Anyhoo: This man sold his ex-wife's wedding dress on eBay, and, as trailer trash is wont to do in these social situations, he couldn't resist the urge to spill the beans on the seedy breakup of his nuptual bliss in lurid detail. Oh, hey, Mr. trailertrashman, resist ... resist:

"I found my ex-wife's wedding dress in the attic when I moved. She took the $4000 engagement ring but left the dress. I was actually going to have a dress burning party when the divorce became final, but my sister talked me out of it. She said, 'That�s such a gorgeous dress. Some lucky girl would be glad to have it. You should sell it on EBay. At least get something back for it.' So, this is what I�m doing. I�m selling it hoping to get enough money for maybe a couple of Mariners tickets and some beer. This dress cost me $1200 that my drunken sot of an ex-father-in-law swore up and down he would pay for but didn�t so I got stuck with the bill. Luckily I only got stuck with his daughter for 5 years. Thank the Lord we didn't have kids."

Mariners tickets and some beer -- pour l'amour. (That's about as romantic as riunite on ice)

In: Embedded with Grrrls. Our favorite Spin employee, Ulragrrrl, shares with us Andy DePunk's observations on dating-in-your-twenties:

"It is bizarre though, that no one in their twenties knows what the hell's going on. Since college, dating's been a lot like my little 6 year old cousin's soccer club. The parents drop off the kids and everyone just kicks the ball around like crazy, bonking heads and skinning knees until they occasionally make an accidental goal. But girls, no matter how savvy they are, seem a hell of a lot more frustrated and confused with us than we are with them. And I guess that was the gist of my previous email.

"I have a female roommate now, which is sort of fascinating. I feel sort of like a journalist embedded with the enemy troops. I'm privy to war room discussions on hot guys who haven't called back, strategic planning sessions on capturing high profile targets, and endless standoffs with pussy boys who flirt with their eyes at bars and don't do anything about it. The whole thing was funny to me at first. Because girls seem to have absolutely no idea what they're doing. But lately I'm feeling more humbled. Maybe the pheromones are getting to me."

Maybe, but this is interesting stuff delivered with a lot of heart and sharpness. Read on here.

Out: Fashionweekdaily has an interesting post about "punchy" former New York Magazine editor "sweet" Caroline Miller possibly-maybe headed to another Primedia property, one jingled about by the late ... mediocre ... Steve Allen:

"Caroline Miller, who was ousted as editor-in-chief of New York Magazine in favor of Adam Moss in February when Bruce Wasserstein bought the title from Primedia, has emerged as a strong contender for the top spot at TV Guide. TV Guide editor Mike Lafavore was fired on Monday, and Miller has already had a pow-wow with the publishers."

Can you get any more edgy that TV Guide, what, with those mutiple collectors item covers? TV Guide is raw like cole slaw.

In: Conservatives value wisdom and the Permanent Things, liberals value sophistication and Internationalism: why can't we combine the two teleological ends? Both sides have merit: the depth of conservative wisdom and the breadth of contingent pragmatism are two sides to the same coin. Dewey and Voegelin, why can't we all just get along ... philosophically?

Out: The great Choire Sicha on Remnick's unchanging hair.




Was Andy Kaufman's Death a Hoax?

The AP reports: "Andy Kaufman died of lung cancer on May 16, 1984, but according to legend, the eccentric comedian said if he were faking, he'd resurface 20 years later to the day.

"'So, just in case, a party is being planned by Bob Zmuda, Kaufman's best friend and partner, at the House of Blues in Los Angeles on May 16.


"'Over 100 personal ads will be taken out across the country and abroad, reminding him of his words. Will he show?' Zmuda asked on the Web site for Comic Relief, a series of shows that raise money for health care for the homeless. Zmuda founded Comic Relief after Kaufman's death.


"VIP tickets to the Andy Kaufman � Dead or Alive? tribute offer 'select seating and celebrity reception (hopefully with Andy).'"

Is this the second coming of Latke? Was Andy Kaufman's death a hoax?

Comments? Here or on VH1's Best Week Ever blog.

Are Checkoslovakian Faces "Complex"?

Fashionweekdaily has an interesting quote from 70s icon Karen Black regarding her face, a subject which, I, too, I must admit, have pondered with deep consideration:

"It�s very nice because it�s severe and I have naturally curly hair. I�m Checkoslovakian descent and I have a kind of complex face. So, I need very simple things to offset that. Tony Basil told me that. He said just wear very simple things because it�s very complicated from the neck up."

Karen Black's face has always kind of freaked me out, you know, kind of like that kid in the Total Eclipse of the Heart video with the glowing green eyes, y'know?

I was born in Uganda, and we are rather earnest from the neck up.

Oh, and speaking about Africans, is one of the most imteresting people in the world. Born in the early 1940s, T�t�-Michel Kpomassie, travelled from his home village in West Africa to Upernavik in northern Greenland. Why did a young tribesman decide to go to such an Arctic environment? Would I be lose all credibility with you at this point if I were to bring up Eternal Recurrence and Deja Vu with respect to how certain people seem driven by forces in their life choices that might have already occurred? Yeah? Okay, forget I said it.