Saturday, January 29, 2005

The Corsair 25 (To be Concluded on Monday)

There is a second Republican Administration in office, Preppies are back in vogue, short-fingered vulgarian Trump is getting married (again), corporate excess abounds, Jacko gets top-billing, everything looks like the 80s all over again (The Corsair sips on a Riunite on Ice)-- except the great Spy Magazine (RIP) is no longer on the newsstands (The Corsair pours out a bit of riunite "for the dead homiez"). In their spirit -- and with only a fraction of their human resource manpower -- we present The Corsair 25, "My Annual Census of the 25 Most Annoying, Alarming, and Appalling People, Places and Things." We miss you, Spy (The Corsair lights up a Macanudo Robust Baron de Rothschild; humming Mozart's Queen of the Night Aria to himself):

25- Tom Wolfe.


Inherent loathsomeness: 8/10:

Media Saturation: 5/10

Misdeeds: Author of the laughably naive "I Am Charlotte Simmons" -- and judging by those dandy threads, he just might be -- which is "naught else but simplistic shit" ... Once called Norman Mailer's friend, the African-American boxer Archie Moore, "Mailer's pet primitive" ... knockout-king Moore nearly punched the geek out on the spot ... Moral sensibility not unlike that of a turn-of-the-century Southern-belle debutante ... Shocked -- shocked! -- that sexually prime 18-22 year olds "hook up" while their roommates are still in the room! (Heaven forbid!) ... Wears crisp white suits in filthy, polluted NYC ... Has a weak chin.

Mitigating Factors: ... Appreciates architectural design.

Predictions 2005: Will get into some nonsense literary feud, quite possibly this time with a younger, on-the-make writer. Will promptly get knocked the fuck out.

24- Calvin Klein


Inherent loathsomeness: 7/10

Media Saturation: 7/10

Misdeeds: ... Fires Janice Dickinson for taking Quaaludes before fashion shoot, saying, menacingly, "you will never work with me again, Janice, you have my solemn promise on that" ... Subsequent substance abuse problems caused him to "pitch woo" at hyper heterosexual NBA star Latrell Sprewell ... Hampton's Party was a bust ... Gawker Stalker: "crashers abounded and no one was even checking the guest list. the page sixers were there, trolling for items, and calvin was deeply conflicted, or confused, because we saw him ask patrick mcmullan to stop taking pictures... why invite him then? ps no body was wearing his clothes. yes, this was a $600,000 party that backfired."

Mitigating Factors: Fairly open guest list at said party

Predictions 2005: ?

23- Damon Dash


Inherent loathsomeness: 6/10

Media Saturation: 10/10

Misdeeds: Unpardonably once called Victoria "Posh" Beckham's singing "hot" ... Even with $300 million, could not score a chickenhead's phone number "in da club" ... Marginally efficient New York media hustler ... Ghetto-to-the-bone hypercapitalist, Dash forms "boxing" (?) group with Lou DiBella ... highly implausible! ... Can't hardly resist being in every papparazi pic for indie pic "The Woodsman," even though he was only the filthy moneyman behind it (Note in all subsequent photos the patient gazes of Kyra Sedgwick and the tolerant Kevin Bacon)

Mitigating Factors: Mom died when he was 15, Dash put himself through school, which goes a long ways in explaining his general prickishness.

Predictions 2005: Boxing group goes bust.

22- The Kabballah


Inherent loathsomeness: 10/10

Media Saturation: 10/10

Misdeeds: "That disgusting voodoo" ... Page Six: Kabballah mystical spells chanted by Madonna and Guy Ritchie to cleanse Chernobyl ... Demi proselytizes Fergie ... Britney gets mark of the beast on back of neck ... A religion that accepts Paris Hilton ... Kabballah red string was on sale this summer at Target for $25.99.

Mitigating Factors: Aspects of Kabbalah can be traced to the 1st Century, AD.

Predictions 2005: Worldwide domination through "tweens"

21- Victoria Gotti -- no disrepect

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Inherent loathsomeness: N/A (no disrespect)

Media Saturation: 10/10 (No disrespect)

Misdeeds: N/A (no disrespect) ... we're quite scared to go into this ... But "Humpy" VF interviewer GW said some interesting things -- no disrespect -- which we don't really agree with ...

Mitigating Factors: Upstanding citizen.

Predictions 2005: A beautiful year! (No disrespect intended)

20- Joan and Melissa Rivers


Inherent loathsomeness: 10/10

Media Saturation: 10/10

Misdeeds: Where do we begin? The Corsair opens Blue Octavo Notebooks: ... Celebrity Fashion Critic ought not to be a proper six-figure vocation in the entertainment industry; especially if you split it down the middle with Mumsy ... Stars as herself in frightful "telemovie" (Averted Gaze) biography "Tears and Laughter: The joan and Melissa Rivers Story"... Melissa married horse Breeder (Averted Gaze) John Endicott in "Russian Royalty"-themed wedding (Controlled belly laugh) arranged by Joan at the Plaza with 25,000 white roses -- the couple divorced several years later (exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment) -- on grounds of bigamy, in that she was married for life to her Mother... Joan using every opportunity to speak (rewrite history) on how much Johnny Carson meant to her, when, in fact, Johnny hated her guts to the end

Mitigating Factors: None. Living breathing bad stereotypes. And proud of it. The Wayanses of Jewishness.

Predictions 2005: Will break world's records for tastlessness

19- Quentin Tarrantino Versus Spike Lee


Inherent loathsomeness: 10/10

Media Saturation: 7/10

Misdeeds: Spike: "Was Pulp Fiction really an indie film? I don't think so" ... "King Magazine: In one of our previous issues, Quentin Tarrantino said he could ..."Spike Lee: ... He said he would beat me, Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorcese in a fight. Yeah, I read that. That's infantile, talking about directors who could beat up other directors. That's all I have to say about that." ... Ignorant too ... Quentin: He once drank St. Ides in a Bikini Magazine photo shoot; sadist; delusions of blackness ... Spike: Visits strippers while his wife, Tonya, shlocks her book; so narcissistic as to believe Spike Tv was named after him -- and sued.

Mitigating Factors: Both equally contemptible self involved auteurs du enema.

Predictions 2005: Telluride Smackdown; Marquis of Queensbury Rules, shot via Dogme-styyle

18- P Diddy


Inherent loathsomeness: 5/10

Media Saturation: 9/10

Misdeeds: Peddles Pepsi with Cindy Crawford and Eve Longoria in new Superbowl commercial ... Has something to wash down junior's cheesecake ... Pepsi had better beware: Diddy spent the summer 2004 pitching the useless "Vote or Die" ... Voter turnout in 2004 virtually the same percentage as 2000 ... Allegedly drank $8,000 worth of drinks with infamous LA partyboy, Jamie Foxx ... Never saw a camera he didn't like ... Diddy's a little l'oeuf in his oevres ... His entourage is excessive ... A "freaked" P Diddy ran through the streets of Ibiza in his "drawers" and fur coat after raid mixup ... tossed his AmEx card in Melissa and Joan Rivers' tip jar at The Golden Gloves ... later retrieved it ... Ass

Mitigating Factors: Diddy did run the city, thus raising $3 million for the Board of Ed bureaucracy to squander.

Predictions 2005: More desperate red-carpet clinging to bigger stars.

17- Andrew Cuomo.


Inherent loathsomeness: 10/10

Media Saturaton: 3/10

Misdeeds: Ruined the chances for possibly the first African-American governor of New York after a quixotic and contentious Primary with H.Carl McCall, the highest elected statewide Democrat ... Bill Clinton had to ask a badly losing Cuomo to drop out for the good of the party ... Horrible temper; gives The Cosair a "bad vibe"*shudders* ... Feuding with former brother-in-law, the saintly Robert Kennedy, Jr ... Feuds with everyone ... Utter prick asshole ... Thrust the affair of the mother of his children and his own wife into the tabloids ... Total fucking loathsome scum.

Predictions 2005: Will self-destruct due to red-hott temper on Attorney General campaign trail.

16-Dakota Fanning


Lil Bitch! (Only kiiding)

16- Abigail Vona, "Bad Girl"


Inherent loathsomeness: 7/10

Media Saturation: (Then) 10/10; (now) 3/10

Misdeeds: Mouth, ostensibly alluring (Averted Gaze), consistently open in a pucker the shape of a cat's ass ... At 19, caused Media World War 3 in NY tabloidland ... Wars caused the firing of Ian Spiegelman ... Took responsibility of her mess -- to little, too late ... A low grade piece of ass, to be sure ... What merits a biography at the age of 19? Other than the marginally hott ass ... entirely devoid of talent

Mitigating Factor: If so inclined, and you have proper journo credentials, she may just "break you off a pice of ass" ...

2005 Predictions: Some lurid and distasteful media act.

15- George Stephanopoulos


Inherent loathsomeness: 8/10

Media Saturation: 10/10

Misdeeds: Allegedly fucks overamped wife twice a day ... From his bio, All to Human: "During June battles on the budget and affirmative action, hives had erupted across my chin. I grew a beard. The rash subsided after an August vacation, but my most pernicious symptom persisted unseen ... But by December I couldn't take it anymore. I sat on the edge of the sofa as the psychiatrist told me what I already knew: I was burned out." ... soft-voiced Grecian pussy boy... parlayed Machiavellian betrayal of Bill Clinton into lucrative as mild voiced Establishment-loving gig on ABC's This Week .. burn, George, burn!

Mitigating Factor: Adorable daughter, Elliot.

2005 Predictions: Future NY Senate run? Teaching at Columbia School of Journalism? The Peter Jennings seat? Anything is possible for the impossibly ambitious Greek boy.

14- Senator Trent Lott


Inherent Loathsomeness: 9/10 (Hair): 10/10

Media Saturation: 7/10

Misdeeds: Attended White supremacist CCC meetings while in Senate ... Opined out loud that the United States "wouldn't have these problems" if former segregationist Strom Thurmond had been elected President in 1948 ... cloying Senator hair ... Almost perverse Senate hair ... Alright, we are fixated on the John Edwards-like Senate hair ... Had to give up prestigious Majority Leader post for humiliating "Rules Committee" (Averted Gaze) ... Was a cheerleader at Ole Miss ... real fucking manly, Trent.

Mitigating Factors: Scorching "tell all" forthcoming; scores will be settled (we can hardly wait, we say, as we rub our hands together mischievously)

Predictions 2005: Tell all book will make him a popular in Congress as Representative Charlie Rangel's girdle.

13- Amber Frey


Inherent Loathsomeness: 10/10

Media Saturation: 10/10

Misdeeds: Masseuse (Averted Gaze) ... Eye color evoking the color of smoke ... Mistress of the world's best known convicted wife and baby killer ... New York Times Nonfiction Hardcover Bestseller, #1! ... Hundreds show up to get copies signed ... Suggests the decline of Western Civilization

Mitigating Factors: Most probably gives an energetic blowjob, accompanied, to be sure, by aromatherapeutic scents of jasmine and honeysuckle.

Predictions 2005: Heavily airbrushed Playboy photo shoot.

12- Dan Rather


Inherent Loathsomeness: 10/10

Media Saturation: 10/10

Misdeeds: Thoroughly stupid ass ... Bush half assed unchecked source memo's "gotcha" backfired ... Spent 3/4 of "60 Minutes" interview on Lewinsky ... During said interview, went to Little Rock with Clinton, dressed identically alike ... "Kenneth, what is the frequency?" ... a graduate of something called "Sam Houston teachers college" (Averted Gaze) ... Wise man?

Mitigating Factors: Retirement

Predictions 2005: Journalism School-- as a remedial student, not a teacher.

11- Eric Benet


Inherent Loathsomeness: 9/10

Media Saturation: 1/10

Misdeeds: "I am not a sex addict ... I am a person who ... through a series of emotional events, troubles, challenges, made some really, really stupid, painful mistakes" ... I'll say ... Ex-wife Halle Barry has sworn off the institution of marriage because of him ... "Composer"(Averted Gaze) ... tried to fleece Halle Barry out of as much money as he can get ... Played himself on the monstrously unfunny "Mad TV" ... Sucky musician

Mitigating Factors: Was once married to Halle Berry.

2005 Predictions: More sucky R&B.

10 - Ovitz Versus Eisner


Inherent Loathsomeness: 10/10

Media Saturation: 10/10

Misdeeds: Kurt Andersen, The Imperial City: "Ovitz was a Disney board member when he was fired, so he is, in a fine irony, one of the eighteen co-defendants. But unlike the others, he doesn?t consider the case an embarrassment or fret about the looming financial liability if the judge imposes fines or restitution. Rather, it is for him a priceless, desperately welcome opportunity to revise his reputation upward?and, in this zero-sum game, that of his former friend and employer downward." ... Eisner claimed Steve Jobs created Windows ... Further, called the Pixar CEO, who has made millions for Disney, "a Shiite Muslim" ... Ovitz stunned Hollywood by claiming, in Hollywood bible Vanity Fair, that the "gay mafia" ruined him ... At issue in -- of all places, Delaware -- Eisner's $140 million severance package.

Mitigating Factors: Media schadenfreude galore

2005 Predictions: Mickey Mouse sqeaks!

9-Uncouth Royals


Inherent Loathsomness: 10/10

Media Saturation: 10/10

Misdeeds: Prince Harry wears Nazi uniform to "Colonial and Native" party (Averted Gaze) ... Princess Michael of Kent told a table of African-Americans at Da Silvano's that they should "go back to the colonies" ... Denied to NYPost columnist Cindy Adams she ever made the remark, then tells her how she said it ... HRH Princess racist told September 2004 Tatler this dubious (exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment) story: " ... A friend of mine went with her grandchildren into the park with a ball. They were happily playing when an African-British or British-African child, aged about 12, grabbed the ball and ran off. The grandmother pursued her and said, 'Excuse me, can we have the ball back?' The child turned and said, 'You're a racist,' to which the grandmother replied, 'No, I am not a racist, but you are a thief. Now give me back my ball.'" ... Riight ... racist 'ho.

Mitigating Factors: Inspired online anti-royal drama

2005 Predictions: E! True European stories?

8- Al Franken


Inherent Loathsomeness: 10/10

Media Saturation: 10/10

Misdeeds: Generally considered an arrogant dick ... Got verbally aggressive with Steven Spielberg's 15-year old adopted son, Theo, on Topic A with Tina Brown ... Attacks heckler at Howard Dean rally in 2003, according to NYTimes Magazine: " ... Franken hits the floor, wedges himself among a couple dozen legs and puts the man in a wrestling hold, grabbing him at the knees ... That destabilizes (the heckler), and others now quickly push him down the aisle and out the side door of the theater ... Franken gets up, looking dazed; his glasses are snapped in two. He's quickly swarmed by confused but excited reporters who want to know, like, what was he doing?"

Mitigating Factors: None. Typical Harvard Elitist Asshole liberal.

2005 Predictions: Senate run against Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman

7- The Real World


Inherent Loathsomeness: 10/10

Media Saturation: 7/10

Misdeeds: Waay past expiration date paleo-Reality TV Show ... Boring; sleeping gas; a magnum of chloroform ... Jumped the shark after Hawaii ... Sexy 20somethings should be seen (in porno) and not heard ... Their lips should have "non speaking roles" ... Was once innovative -- when no one knew what would happen -- but the kids are all polished and media savvy ... Cast feature on SmokingGun Archives: Landon assaulted a horse ... Alton assaults ... Robin assaults ... And, most disturbingly, Lyme-disease assaulter, Stephen, sold his ass!

Mitigating Factors: RW Formula: frat boys and rah rah sisters; nudity; "hook ups"; unpleasant subsequent break up episode; jealousy ensues episode; assault episode; substance abuse intervention episode; very special counselling episode; "It's so hard to say goodbye episode." ... Did we miss anything?

Predictions 2005: A thoroughly unpleasant cancellation

6- Karl Rove


Inherent Loathsomeness: 10/10

Media Saturation: 9/10

Misdeeds: Counterpunch: " ... The 2000 GOP primary was a chance for Rove to hone his skills in dirty tricks. His target then was Senator John McCain who appeared to be within striking distance of Dubya in South Carolina after the then-GOP maverick's surprise upset victory in New Hampshire. Rove's operation proceeded to target McCain with false stories: McCain was a stoolie for his captors in the Hanoi Hilton (this from a lunatic self-promoting Vietnam 'veteran'); McCain fathered a black daughter out of wedlock (a despicable reference to McCain's adopted Bangladeshi daughter); Cindy McCain's drug 'abuse'; and even McCain's 'homosexuality.'" ... such a godam blast of evil, it's almost cool, in a dark-green gemlike way. Almost (Averted Gaze)

Mitigating Factors: Masterfully outmaneuvered the Democrats on Ohio in 2004, which he correctly predicted would be the ultimate battleground -- the gladiatorial fundament.

2005 Predictions: Prepping Bill Frist-Pataki for 2008 ticket; sealing the deal on a Republican Party in saeculorum

5- Brett Ratner


Inherent Loathsomeness: 9/10

Media Saturation: 6/10

Misdeeds: Clumsy juggling of homoerotic hero worship of Hollywood mainstay Robert Evans and Jehovah's Witness g/f, Serena Williams ... Supplied a faulty tv that ultimately burned down Evans' architecturally spectacular legendary mansion, destroying Hollywood history ... smooth move, Ex Lax ... in 1978, made his first 'movie' at eight years old with a camcorder (could it have been much better than Money Talks?) ... From the Oct/Nov 2004 Complex Magazine, The Rat brags: " ... Ratner sits in the executive area of the Universal Commissary, where the latest Atkins-friendly offerings are available. He talks about his $3.5 million mansion while stabbing a piece of chicken with his fork. 'It's under renovation,' he says with a touch of excitement. 'Ingrid Bergman used to own it, later the director of Grease installed a crazy 70s disco. I have secret tapes of Travolta and Olivia Newton-John partying."

Mitigating Factors: Appreciates African-American culture, but white, like Tarrantino, a ... "whigro."

2005 Predictions: More Hollywood dreck. More braggadocio.

4- Bonnie Fuller


Inherent Loathsomeness: 10/10

Media Saturation: 7/10

Misdeeds: Notoriously cold blooded ... While at Cosmo, devoted herself to articles, like, "What Kind of Sexual Vibes Do You Give Off?" ... Routinely overworks NY Media (TM) employees ... Defended running picture of Kobe Bryant's alleged rape accuser, thus setting a disturbing tabloidal precedent ... Jann Wenner said Bonnie is not a good boss, after she dumped his ass ... the Toronto Globe and Mail calls the profile of's former Media Person of the Year Bonnie Fuller in Vanity Fair 'devastating.' A taste: 'Even Fuller's reported best friend, Jane Hess, is quoted as saying, 'She's like a shark.'" ... only a taste ... "said Dennie Hughes, Ms. Fuller's assistant at YM. 'She was like, Dennie, my cappuccino has no foam. " ... The Corsair has some "foam" for Bonnie ... "... Fuller's Us assistants about how they let her walk around with 'Wash by Hand' tags stuck on her freebie designer clothing and once contaminated her take-home dinner by rubbing a loaf of bread in their pants and spiking her mini-chocolate souffl� cakes with ... well ... with snot. 'I swear to God, we're really nice people,' one ex-staffer said. 'You just don't know what we went through.'"

Mitigating Factors: She scowled at The Corsair once behind the tents.

2005 Prediction: Overworked employees leave tasty Bonnie-gossip on Gawker.

3-Mike Tyson


Inherent Loathsomeness: 10/10

Media Saturation: 7/10

Misdeeds: Fucking dude Gnawed on Evander Holyfield's ear ... Did $1400 worth of damage with his "rib busting ox-strength" to an innocent man's car ... Naomi Campbell to Tyson: "'You know, Mike, if it weren't for the sex, I wouldn't even talk to you,' she seemed to enjoy telling him.'You don't offer me anything else.'" ... Fucking disgusting ... Odd Polynesian-like face tatoo ... Blew through $200 million during his professional career:"Mike Tyson, who earned more than $200 million during his professional career, had $5,553 left in cash on December 31 (2003), according to papers filed with the US Bankruptcy Court." ... Punched out Wesley Snipes over a girl.

Mitigating Factors: Alleged comeback fight in March 2004

2005 Prediction: Felony assaults (plural)

2-James Lipton


Inherent Loathsomeness: 20/10

Media Saturation: 7/10

Misdeeds: Smarmy ... Looks like he carries warm gummy bears in his jacket pockets ... Namedropping on a cosmic scale ... According to NYTimes Magazine: "I do Pilates. I actually trained with Joseph Pilates himself and his wife, Clara. This was in the mid-1960's, and it was a thing for dancers then. When Joe died, a group of us bought his gym for his widow. I still do Pilates downstairs, all the mat work. I don't need an instructor. I could teach it myself. Not that I look thin these days. I sit too much and eat too much." ... had JLo on Inside the Actor's Studio ... "Often the guest and I have dinner afterward. I don't eat before the show. We go to Elaine's, and we eat and talk until 1 or 2 in the morning. We did it with Harrison Ford and Mike Myers; Charlize Theron and her mother; and John Travolta." ... Had Chris Rock on the Actor's Studio ... "Our home in Bridgehampton, without question. It is my oasis, my salvation." ... (The Corsair lights up a Cuban Schimmelpennick, grabs his bottle of Baron de Sigognac Armagnac, and a chilled white wine glass and hums a dark, ornate piece of Couperin to himself) "Car: A Mercedes S.U.V. I love that car. I'm not a P.C. person. I sit there royally in my S.U.V. and never think about the gas consumption." ...

Mitigating Factors: He does not molest children.

2005 Predictions: Inside the Actor's Studio 2005: Ashton Kutcher, David Spade, Dakota Fanning, Jonathan Lipnicki, Frankie Muniz, Freddy Prinze, Jr, and his master, Beelzebub, Lord of Hell ...

1- Kimora Lee Simmons


"I'm One Fly Bitch!"

Inherent Loathsomeness: Off the Charts

Media Saturation: Too Much For Our Tastes

Misdeeds: The antichrist ... Arrested for possession of "the stickey ickey" ... (The Corsair munches Cappuccino Caramel Joseph Schmidt Mosaic Chocolates) Swan-like Phoebe Eaton: "'You gotta get tough,' Russell (Simmons) told his wife. She had gone to such trouble?for him!?to measure up as an urban fashion icon, a woman who, in her own words, could 'inspire young women to aspire.' But to the New York tabloids, Kimora Lee Simmons is an irresistible pincushion." ... The vapid hysterics .. the untaxed mind .. the whole child-as-fashion-accessory thing(The Corsair sips from a pimp cup filled with 1978 Chateau Mouton Rothschild) ... the aggressive name dropping, the really "big bones," the rampant ultramaterialism wholly without a mitigating interior dimension as a factor in her personality -- it all just comes together, so perfectly, so archly, quite frankly, in the bloated form that is Cremora, as The Corsair likes to call her when he is in a particularly adolescent mood (which he is in right now) ...

Mitigating Factor: Nada.

Prediction 2005: Total global media domination.

A Little of the Old In and Out: Davos Buzz Edition

In: Sharon Stone. Granted, Sharon Stone has a tendency to go off on self-indulgent monologues if you give her the mic (which, you really shouldn't do), but she did good things for Tanzania, among this crowd of heads of state, royals and celebs, and, being East-African born, we cannot fault her for those spontaneous poetics, although the dramatic method left much to be desired (Averted Gaze), according to BBC News:

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(all images via Hello!Magazine)

"... Sharon Stone: --And I'd like to offer you $10,000 to help buy you some bednets today. Would anyone else like to be on a team with me and stand by with money and help as well?

"... BBC Announcer: Within 5 minutes she found 30 pledges, making one large donation.

"Sharon Stone: People are dying in (Tanzania) today and that's not okay with me."

Although she now admits, 24 hours later, that she "made an ass of herself," Stone raised, the BBC notes, $1 million in five minutes, and, at $7 a mosquito net, that would fund 140,000 nets, almost as many nets as children who died of malaria in all Africa last year. Good for her.

Out: "Networking." Sure, this is quite possibly the only blog doing Davos (from New York, no less) that will harsh on the age old Davos tradition of networking ("all I want to do here is network") and schmoozing ("so, what do you do?") at the "temple of capitalist narcissism." We are not, per se, averse to capitalism or networking, both of which make the world go round and pay the rent of grownups keeping us in luxury items (The Corsair sips very fine 12 year old Macallan Sherry cask scotch), but if Sharon Stone has to bitchslap these characters out of their self involved nametag gazing ("who is he? how much money does he have? how can I part him from his business card?") to the tune of that well-reported Swiss Alphorn trio, well ... charmed, I'm sure.

In: Angelina Jolie. The full-lipped beauty (Ed Note: Damn, I wish I was her lover) and long term human rights activist used her "capital" well, warning celebrities, like Stone, that the role of effective humanitarian and agent of social change is not merely "spontaneous," according to Reuters:

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"'Celebrities have a responsibility to know absolutely what they're talking about, and to be in it for the long run,' said Jolie, 29, who has has spent four years as goodwill ambassador to the U.N.'s refugee agency UNHCR.

"She has used her pulling power to draw public attention to humanitarian crises in Chad, Sudan and Sierra Leone, winning praises from United Nations officials, and says she donates one-third of her income to charity.

"'Just being an actress doesn't help me sleep well at night. When I do something for other people, then I feel my life has value,' she said."

Out: Russia. Russia turned it's back on the West -- alas -- and, increasingly, looks eastward in the form of a China alliance that could precipitate another Cold War in the long term (Incidentally, Chinese media is using the occasion to porpagandize that their massive industrialization isn't affecting the environment. Fuck). Davos, as well, has become frosty to Russo investment and networking, according to the AP:

"Alexander Zhukov, the highest-ranking Russian attending the World Economic Forum, appeared on a panel entitled 'The Russian Riddle' with two critics on Friday. Zhukov defended President Vladimir Putin's economic policies, recent social reforms and political openness.

"'If anybody today believes there is a choice between democracy and authoritarianism, we don't see any choice,' he said. 'There is no question that Russia will remain a democracy and integrate into the world economy.'

"Zhukov stressed that 'Russia will do everything possible, will bend every effort, to ensure that it is integrated in the world economy,' noting that this year it plans to bring its accounting methods up to global standards.

"Putin has come under attack for scrapping elections for the country's 89 governors, calling for an end to direct election of lawmakers in the lower parliament house, the State Duma, and other Kremlin-sponsored political reforms that critics say will strengthen the president's grip on Russia at the expense of democracy.

"His crackdown on the Yukos oil giant, which has virtually collapsed under a $28 billion tax claim, and the sell-off of its main production unit in December to a state-owned oil company sparked criticism that Russia was moving to recapture key chunks of national industry."

Mixed: Bono and Tony Blair. Hmm. Sure, the highest level of meetings between the Israeli's and the Palestinians took place, but ... this is an odd picture. Bono is a bit of the political jinx (remember former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill AKA, The Incredible Vanishing Cabinet Secretary?) --image via Hello!Magazine:

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In: Noblesse Oblige. Sharon Stone's dramatic gesture may actually be attributed as having tipped the scales at Davos, making the general theme not so much "Fair Trade," which is a big issue, but an the obligation to the poor (although, it must be noted, Australian PM Howard is against complete debt relief; but those Australians are a congenitally the hard-core masculine "pull yourselves up by the bootstraps lot"), or, noblesse oblige, as writes:

"Leaders of rich nations competed to show their commitment to the poor after Bill Gates (above) set the pace by donating $750m to support vaccines in developing countries ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos. As the obligation of business and governments towards the third world emerged as a key theme at the Swiss gathering, Gordon Brown, chancellor, promised almost $1.8bn to the same cause over the next 15 years and urged other wealthy countries to contribute a further $1bn over the next decade."

SUNDANCE BUZZ: Out: Ruthe Stein. According to Blogging Sundance:

"It turns out Anthony Kaufman from the Village Voice (who confirms the story on his blog) left his jacket on the chair before the movie and stepped out?people do this all the time. It?s like digging out a parking space in Boston during a blizzard?it?s your spot till the snow melts, or at least for a couple of days.However, according go the story, Ruthe Stein from the San Francisco Chronicle moved his jacket and took his seat?whoa!!! When he returned shenanigans begin, and the ending, well? you?ll have to visit eFilmCritic and Kaufman?s blog. Can?t we all just get along? Come on guys? get a burger at Burgies and work it out."

Davos. In: Shorting the Dollar. According to Bloomberg:

"Bill Gates, the world's richest person with a net worth of $46.6 billion, is betting against the U.S. dollar.

"'I'm short the dollar,' Gates, chairman of Microsoft Corp., told Charlie Rose in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. 'The ol' dollar, it's gonna go down.''

"Gates's concern that widening U.S. budget and trade deficits are undermining the dollar was echoed in Davos by policymakers including European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

"The dollar fell 21 percent against a basket of six major currencies from the start of 2002 to the end of last year. The trade deficit swelled to a record $609.3 billion last year and total U.S. government debt rose 8.7 percent to $7.62 trillion in the past 12 months.

"'It is a bit scary,' Gates said. 'We're in uncharted territory when the world's reserve currency has so much outstanding debt.''"

Mixed: Viktor A. Yushchenko. According to The Old Gray Lady:

"Viktor A. Yushchenko, still basking in the glow of the street protests that swept him to power in Ukraine, appeared here on Friday to ask for help in creating 'a prosperous Ukraine in a successful, united Europe.'

"'I'm addressing you as a president,' Mr. Yushchenko told the World Economic Forum's gathering of high-powered business executives, men, world leaders and intellectuals here.

"'Please help Ukraine, and quite shortly, you'll see a European, beautiful nation.'

"For Mr. Yushchenko, this speech was a chance to introduce himself to another useful constituency: European and American investors and business people. They gave him a hero's welcome.

"Still, the diplomatic hurdles are formidable."

And, if he wants to avoid open conflict with Russia, he will turn down this request, according to Reuters:

"Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky, a fierce critic of President Vladimir Putin, wants to leave Britain, where he has been given political asylum, and move to Ukraine, media quote him as saying.

"Berezovsky, one of Russia's once-mighty and hugely wealthy 'oligarchs,' voiced his intention just days after the inauguration of Ukraine's new President Viktor Yushchenko, a Western-leaning liberal whose candidacy Putin publicly opposed."

(The Corsair assumes the Zazen posture, contemplating Archimedian Spirals)

Friday, January 28, 2005

No Posts Today; Super Double Posting Tomorrow

It's been a busy week. The Corsair is preparing a pretty interesting double-posting-super spectacular tomorrow. Stay tuned. (wait till you see what I did ...)

And: To the Most Excellent, Michael Musto ... you rock our world as well.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Lunch with David Patrick Columbia

The Corsair teases DPC of NYSocialDiary out of fondness, David really is the best at what he does, which is, essentially capturing New York WASPs, those virtually extinct knickerbockers, and the ancillary rara avis --like Edith Wharton did before him in her amber prose -- and sometimes Palm Beach -- in their power in repose. Dancing. Drinking. Flirting.

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Who is going to what party? Whose fortunes have turned against them? Will he wind up marrying above his station and redeem the family name? Will she manage to make an honest gentleman out of the paragon of confirmed bachelors? Was the charity event/ fundraiser successful? Which boldfacers are "on the rise"? Which Great house is "in decline"? My, he looks chipper for a man about to do hard time for money laundering -- the sort of swell talk you'd expect from Pagan Gods in the last empire on the planet.

But the pictures -- the pictures always -- like faded oil paintings (Elgar's Symphony Number 3 would be appropriate here), or trompe l'oeil still lifes of turn-of-the-century financiers, or perhaps their frail but determined wives carrying orchids, appear vaguely melancholy ("and this too shall pass away") but they capture New York power in fascinating and unsuspecting moments; power in the flush of a new love; the trophy wife's illicit flirtation behind the back of the cuckolded investment banker; power in full-on seduction mode; power on the make. All that swishy stuff.

No one on the web comes close to capturing the after hours social rituals of New York power quite like DPC's NYSocialDiary. All the studied bows and curtsies that power does to power does to money is captured by David, the insider, our ambassador into the cultural anthropology of that shrinking world. So we didn't know what to expect when David Patrick Columbia invited us to lunch Michael's on Monday. Do they actually have Andalusian peasant baby blood on the menu? (Kiiding!) Can we really have the braised Rumanian baby with some Gruyere cheese? (joke!)

But it was fantastic. David Patrick Columbia is one of the coolest cat's around. Smooth and real, Leo to my Gemini. He is an honest man despite the considerable seductions of his vocation. His gossip -- about Hillary, about Bill, about Cokie, about ... well, let's not get into it ... if you've seen their names in boldface, in NY, in DC, David has a keen anecdote to offer that will change the way you see things. Suffice it to say, David Patrick Columbia has a tremendous amount of the gossip of power at the ready. And a fucking grade A wit. And a wise piece of advice or two for the young media type.

Dominick Dunne -- on his way to LA to cover "the Spector trial and the Awards" -- stopped by our table and DPC introduced me, as he did also with Jesse Kornbluh of Beliefnet, and the various other media power figures who passed by his regular table, my mind was buzzing, my neck was straining to see who was power lunching with whom. The Corsair had a wonderful lunch with a truly decent man who lucked into one of the best jobs ever and treats it all with healthy irony. Cheers, DPC; you're one of the good guys.
Blogging Sundance

Damn, I wish I attended the Inside Deep Throat party, the World's of Wonder guys know how to throw down and Par-tay, but I'm here in New York hording all the data here. Meanwhile, Defamer goes in search of the dirtiest, filthiest joke in the world. Sundance -- from out here in New York sifting through the tabloids -- looks like Dante's inferno, what with all that blue state filth and porny liberalism going on. But when God smites them, we'll be safe. Ori2006 blogs:

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"'Grizzly Man' - Famed director Werner Herzog combines footage shot by Tim Treadwell, the man who spent 12 summers living with grizzlies in Alaska, with his own interviews. In Treadwell's 13th summer, however, he ended up being eaten by one of the bears, so this film is a study of a number of things - was Treadwell crazy for thinking he could 'become' a bear? Should people even try to do stuff like this? In addition, it's a study of Treadwell the filmmaker, and how he saw himself in the world. Fascinating film, with some amazing wildlife footage. B+"

Jason writes of the film:

"In my review of Grizzly Man yesterday I speculated that someone would make Timothy Treadwells story into a drama, but that there is no way it would be as good as the real life footage in the Sundance 2005 doc.Well, after a little online research it seems that Leonardo DiCaprios production company Appian Way has bought the rights to Ned Zemans Vanity Fair article on Treadwell, and Leo himself is considering the role. I?m interested to see how Leo chooses to plays Treadwell: as a mentally unstable suicide victim, an egomaniacal fail actor, or as a spiritual guru who saw something the rest of us missed. I suppose Treadwell had a little bit of each of those qualities."

Indiewire on the Sundance scene:

"Outside Main St.'s Zoom restaurant on Sunday night, a large crowd began lining up nearly a half hour before the start of the Cinetic Media party. A sizable number of the invited industry guests (who were forced to go to a local condo to pick up a laminated invite guaranteeing admittance), even those who arrived 15 minutes early, braved the cold outside for nearly an hour waiting to get into the small restaurant. While a few were insulted by the Studio 54 scene that played out on the sidewalk and headed off to another party, many endured being yelled at by hired party staff to get into what has become one of the festival's hottest insider parties. The battle to get into Sunday's party is proof enough of how important Cinetic has become at Sundance.

"About 36 hours later, with some party attendees still griping about the fiasco outside the Zoom party, Cinetic head John Sloss became an even hotter topic at Sundance. While last year at parties and in movie lines, festival attendees buzzed about Peter Biskind's 'Down and Dirty Pictures,' this year a front page story about Sloss published in Tuesday's New York Times has become as much of a must-read as the Biskind book (which was given away in a swag bag at last year's Cinetic party).

"In an article entitled 'At the Sundance Festival, a Power Broker Is Born,' Times writer Randy Kennedy profiled Cinetic's Sloss and his increasingly important role at the core of the annual film market that has become the heart of the modern Sundance Film Festival. While the headline heralds an article that is certainly a few years late, the high-profile piece has cast even more attention on the festival's loosely-shaped market side and offers a reminder of how the business of independent film has changed over the years."

From Ruthe Stein's Sundance Diary:

"The unusually high turnout of movie stars at the Sundance Film Festival is a sign of how cool it's become to appear in independent films. The coolest thing is to take a small role to help an indie get financed, which is what Mr. Cool himself, Keanu Reeves, did on "Thumbsucker." He appears as a caring dentist concerned about a teenage patient's inability to keep the widest digit on his hand out of his mouth.

"... Pam spotting: Every year, it seems some celebrity comes to Sundance for reasons that aren't immediately apparent. Last time, it was Paris Hilton, the time before, Jennifer Lopez, who caused a traffic jam on Main Street with drivers craning to catch a glimpse of her.
Pamela Anderson was this festival's mystery guest. She showed up at a party over the weekend for 'Rize,' an inside look at krumping, the latest dance craze to sweep the streets of South Central Los Angeles. Anderson wasn't shy about telling party guests that she gives financial support to these dancers. Who knew?"

Jason tackles Hustle and Flow in Blogging Sundance:

"The New York Times film critic Manohla Dargis says what many of the old school folks at Sundance have been saying for the past couple of days: Hustle & Flow is garbage.

"Frankly, I thought the movie was as entertaining as many Hollywood formula movies tend to be. However, after you leave the theater you feel like you just ate a big bucket of whipped cream it tasted good but youre empty.

"Most Sundance films dont taste so good going down, but leave you filled for days.What do you think? Is Hustle & Flow rubbish or not? Should Hustle & Flow have been let into Sundance?"

There are alot of great Sundance sites, in this one, Netflix film reviewer James Rocchi of the Therocchireport (link via Jason) interviews Austin, TX indie auteurs Mark Duplass and Katie Aselton of "The Puffy Chair" (screening today), asking a really good question:

"James Rocci: You're each given 80 million to make a film, but the catch is it's gotta be a remake: What do you go back to, and who's the dream cast?

"Katie Aselton: ET. With myself in the title role, of course.

"Mark Duplass: Id remake 'The Breakfast Club.' same cast, played totally straight without a hint of irony. think about anthony michael hall playing the hapless high school geek as the late 30?s 200 pound stud he is now. could be good. maybe not."

Virginia Hefferman takes on Sundance Channel's "Festival Dailies":

"The producers seem to have doubted that they could count on live material, and thus nothing in 'Festival Dailies' belongs to the day on which it appears.

"Instead we get only taped blather about how great each film at the festival is, supplemented by taped interviews with directors and actors jabbering about how great their films are.

"The films probably are good. This is Sundance, after all. Alan Cumming does a decent job as the host of a nightly convocation of people associated with a film in the festival; he asks the group to talk about working together, and, junket-style, they offer each other fulsome praise. Tuesday night's session, which included Jennifer Jason Leigh and Adrien Brody, who star in a movie called 'The Jacket,' had some charm. With his mischievous manner and amusing Scottish accent, Mr. Cumming nearly saves these segments from 'Entertainment Tonight'-style monotony.

"But in all, this show's no good. Producers' reps and buyers swarm around one another, trying to make deals; we don't get to hear any details. In group shots, snow-bunny Hollywood people with their colored passes seem to be having fun.(As the festival's caste system, the passes permit different kinds of access.) But we never get to meet anyone.

"Finally, every now and then, someone like Mr. Redford can be heard giving a speech about how independent film will save our divided world. That may be the worst part."

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

A Little of the Old In and Out

In: Marion Barry. Wonkette informs us that Marion "The Bitch Set Me Up" Barry, former DC Mayor and disgraced crackhead is actually -- and we are not making this shit up, people -- teaching a high school class in chemistry:

"He has been mayor. He's now a councilman. But not everyone knows that Marion Barry studied chemistry in college. And Thursday, he showed off that knowledge. After finishing a chemistry lesson at Ballou High School, the former mayor explained his passion.

"Barry says he was too poor growing up to be a doctor or lawyer, but he really wanted to be a teacher. He last taught professionally in 1964. Barry studied science at LeMoyne College in Memphis. He went on to earn a master's in organic chemistry from Fisk University in Nashville.

"Barry says the science training helped in politics because it taught him to be a problem solver."

Sure, like how does a lactose intolerant man ingest as much of "the crack rock" as humanly possible and still function as the city's chief executive?

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Out: Chyna Doll. In that significant cultural artifact Star, wrestling steroidal freak, Chyna Doll says, "One of my dreams has always been to be on a Spanish soap opera -- they wear bumblebee outfits!" Uhm, excuse me Misses Freak, but that would be the bumble bee man on Chespirito known for saying, "Ay, ay, ay! No me gusta! Ay, es grande!'' to which you refer.

Chespirito is in the "comedy-variety" category-genre, sweetie, like "Sabado Gigante," not a soap opera, or, as diehards like myself like to call them, "telenovelas," like Xica. The bee was played by Roberto Gomez Bolanos, who is a well known comedian in Mexico. His celebrity came with the TV shows 'El Chapulin Colorado' (The Red Grasshopper) and 'El Chavo del Ocho' (The Kid from the 8th.). Oh, you haven't laughed (controlled belly laugh) till you've seen El Chavo del Ocho. We take our Spanish variety shows seriously here, thank you dear. Just so you know.

In: Chimeras. WTF (link via Drudgereport)?! When there aren't natural disasters or freak geological disturbances of the highest magnitude or -- lest we forget -- sexual scandals on Capitol Hill, Matt Drudge has to fall back on extreme cases of genetic tampering to hold his readers' attention. And it works. Matty really harshes on our mellow with this little ditty. According to National Geographic News:

"Scientists have begun blurring the line between human and animal by producing chimeras?a hybrid creature that's part human, part animal.

"Chinese scientists at the Shanghai Second Medical University in 2003 successfully fused human cells with rabbit eggs. The embryos were reportedly the first human-animal chimeras successfully created. They were allowed to develop for several days in a laboratory dish before the scientists destroyed the embryos to harvest their stem cells."

Soon to be sported at Sundance -- the snazzy status chimera in the Louis Vuitton bag, meowtalking at you. *The Corsair shudders* And, uhm, that feral cat/human hybrid with the flat ass dull eyes rising from the primordial ooze very "Island of Dr. Moreau"-like (Averted Gaze)? ... that would be Paris Hilton.

The feral pig/human admixture making crappy pictures in Hollywood? That's director Joel Schumacher.

Out: Social Security. The jury is still out as to whether or not there is a crisis in Social Security. Dems say no; Repubs say yes; the Dems see an opportunity to part Florida's elderly vote from the Republicans, or atleast loosen it up a bit. According to The Hill:

"Congressional Republicans retiring to the hills of West Virginia later this week to craft a Social Security reform game plan will be treated to a rosier political landscape than the one recently outlined by AARP. In a poll that will be released during this week?s Republican retreat, 60 percent of the 1,000 respondents favored investing some portion of their Social Security funds into 'personal retirement accounts,' as compared to the 35 percent who opposed it."

The problem is (or maybe to you this isn't a problem) Democrats have decided to make Social Security their Rubicon, the line which they will not cross. And some Republicans are leary of the political costs. The elderly are easy marks, and in electoral college rich Florida, Social Security is the third rail of politics. Nancy Pelosi, we hear, has made it clear that any Democrat in the House who crosses party lines to work with the President -- and the President wants a bipartisan plan -- will get payback. The President only has two years to make this happen then he becomes a lame duck (both Houses of Congress will be out looking after their own asses and elections, the President will be focusing on legacy) The loser here is Social Security. The winner here is politics as usual.

UPDATE 1/28: Dems Bash SS.

In: Snap, on the Discovery times Channel. Finally, the Discovery Times Channel appears to to have shed it's oh-so-compelling programming schedule of Liberian Wars (Averted Gaze), Navy SEAL training documentaries (exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment) and military academy propaganda to get in touch with it's softer, bitchier, gossipy side. Toni Fitzgerald of MediaLifeMagazine reviews Snap, a well needed documentary on the stalkerazzi:
"'Snap!' focuses on the evolution of the paparazzi itself rather than its subjects or its secrets. The most telling trick of the trade is that paparazzi oft-times include bushes or trees in their photos to make them seem all the more illicit. Other very interesting but hardly revelatory tidbits:

"The Fergie toe-sucking photo was the most expensive in celebrity journalism history. A photographer caught the princess having her toes sucked at a poolside by a man who was most definitely not the prince. She found out about the scandal when she came down to breakfast one morning with the other royals and found them fighting over copies of the paper in which the pictures appeared.

"The National Enquirer bribed a Presley family member to snap the famous Elvis coffin shot, the only published pictures of the dead King. The Enquirer sold a record 6.5 million copies of the issue containing that shot.

"The so-called 'chopperazzi,' who fly helicopters over celebrity weddings hoping to get a picture, originated with Sean Penn and Madonna?s 1985 union. One of the wedding guests, rumored to be Johnny Carson, wrote a message to the choppers on the nearby beach in 40-foot letters: 'FUCK OFF'"

"... Monica Lewinsky is the only celebrity interviewed in the documentary."

Hold on, wait just one minute -- Monica Lewinsky is a celebrity? Does blowing the Commander-in-Chief bestow that kind of social pull? Highly implausible. Anyway, the special airs on DTimes, Sunday 8PM.

Out: Johnny Depp's Irish/Scottish (?) Accent. What's up with Johnny Depp's Irish/Scottish (?) brogue? Detrius from Finding Neverland? Isn't Depp from Kentucky? Are we the only one's who notice this thusness? And did he employ said brogue when, according to Ananova:

"Talking about 2004's ceremony he attended with girlfriend Vanessa Paradis (Depp) said:

"All I could think of was, 'When and where can we go smoke?' and 'Where can we get a drink?' and 'When is it over?' and 'Please don't let me win.'

"It was such a shock, to get the news that I'd been nominated. My first reaction was 'Why?' On one level I was flattered, but it's not what I'm working for," reports

"He added: When I didn't win the thing - oh, I was ecstatic. Absolutely ecstatic. I applauded the lucky winner and said, Thank God."

In: Jean-Paul Gaultier. (In Zoolander Hansel voice) This shit is hott. Africa hott. Hotter than the bread couture show. According to British Vogue:

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"'AFRO-DISIAC!' yelled Jean Paul Gaultier backstage after daubing the likes of Naomi Campbell, Lily Cole, Erin O'Connor and Jade Parfitt in red and ochre body paint to give the Parisian fashion scene a taste of Africa on the last day of the couture shows. Typically attention-grabbing, he was the perfect antidote to the haughty elegance of Lebanese designer Elie Saab, whose spring/summer 2005 couture collection brought the week to an end last night. Tomorrow, the boys are back, with menswear shows from Issey Miyake and John Galliano before the spotlight turns to New York on Friday for the beginning of the ready-to-wear women's autumn/winter collections."

Out: Schwag. According to Fashionweekdaily:

"S.W.A.G. Alert: The Sundance Channel gave gift bags valued at more than $6,000 to stars like Zooey Deschanel, Jesse Bradford, Jacqueline Bisset, and Zach Braff. The leather Kenneth Cole duffel bag was stuffed with an Apple iPod Mini, pashmina from Henri Bendel, Stila brushes and gloss, a two-night stay at any W Hotel, Bumble and bumble hair products, and much, much more!"

--Because, of course, poor Jackie Bissett needs the free stuff.

In: Busta Rhymes. The Corsair has never met Busta Rhymes personally, but we did see him getting out of a car going into a restaurant once near midtown and although we are not a medical doctor, we would diagnose him as having a severe case of Attention Deficit Disorder.


In the five seconds it took him to get out of a black SUV and go into the restaurant, he must have screamed like a little bitch and pumped his fist into the air about, oh, 700 times, shaking his dreadlocks menacingly ... and he wasn't doing it for the benefit of anyone! *The Corsair shudders* This from Gawker Stalker seals my amateur ADD diagnosis:

"... sat next to busta rhymes on a flight from dallas to jfk on sunday. he was seated in coach because there was only one seat left in first class. Busta had to give it to his body guard because he couldn?t fit into the coach seats. Ended up getting in an altercation with his rapper friend (flip squad or something or other?) because he was talking VERY dirty to a lady he had courted on the plane. when i told him i could over hear his whole conversation (complete with 'i?d like to stick my nine incher in you'), he got angry. He called busta over, only to draw more attention to the scene. i eventually got scared and apologized (hey, i?m a small white 19 year old girl?). busta then seemed more friendly but also seemed to think i like it 'rough' and have 'chains and whips and shit.' it was a long flight."

We can imagine. The Corsair thought busta was having an epileptic fit in Times Square when we saw his crazy ass. The thought of busta rhymes forced to sit still next to you is a nightmare we would wish on no one. Okay. Maybe Joel Schumacher.

Out: Usher, Diva. What's up with Usher? (sotto voce) First superhead, then dumping Naomi, now this. The fame has gone to his head. He's got a touch of the bitch about him of late. According to The Dish:

"Usher shocked fans after the screening of his latest movie on Monday night -- by ordering his chauffeur to drive him 200 yards to the after-show party.

"The singer was attending the showing of his film 'Rhythm City Volume 1: Caught Up' at London's Rex Bar + Cinema venue.

"But he surprised the V.I.P. audience by traveling to the post-screening bash at the capital's Penthouse nightspot in his Rolls-Royce Phantom, even though the venue was a two-minute walk away.

"A witness says, 'People were pretty shocked to see him piling into his car, especially as it took three times longer to drive than to get there on foot. It's a two-minute stroll.

"And when his car pulled up at the Penthouse, his security insisted everyone who had been [lining up] patiently clear."

What's up playa?

In: Tara Subkoff. Sure, we razz her, but we eventually come around. She did a great job on the fashions of A Life Aquatic. And according to Fashionweekdaily, "Heard: Tara Subkoff is negotiating with a handful of denim companies--including Diesel, Levis, Lee, Wrangler, AG, and Big Star?to produce a line of Imitation of Christ jeans for the winning bidder. Turns out that she?s wanted to branch into the denim market for ages?who knew??and is close to sealing up a deal with the right partner."

Out: Robert Deniro, Whore. He was once an actor's actor, a manly man, a sweaty character actor, we like to remember him in The Mission, where he fucking rocked. That was when Deniro ruled. But after Rocky and Bullwinkle (Averted Gaze), Meet the Fockers (Audible Groan) and Taxi Driver 2, we wonder. Deeply. We grew up on Deniro. He's a hero. A paragon of a hard work ethic and the arts. Tis a pity he's a whore. About now, we can all collectively toss a crumpled c-note at him and show him the door. We hope for a late vocation, a conversion to the God of the stage, but, don't count on it. Deniro can get Brando f-u-money for just gracing the screen and playing himself. According to The Dish:

"Robert De Niro has angered fans by making a rare TV commercial appearance in a controversial new American Express advert directed by pal Martin Scorsese.

"The movie legend is shot by the director walking around his beloved New York explaining why the Big Apple is so important to him in the grainy black-and-white ad.

"The emotive commercial also includes montage footage of policemen, fireman, old-timers and basketball players. But shots of Ground Zero and De Niro's comment 'My heartbreak' in the 30-second commercial have upset many fans, who deem the images inappropriate for an American Express commercial.

"One angry New York fan on the Digital Spy Internet chat site has blasted the actor and Scorsese for their insensitivity.

"He fumes, 'For a guy who's supposed to love the city, you'd think he'd show a bit more class ... Using a tragedy to sell a product stinks.'"

We sadly agree.

In: Christian Lacroix. We gave you African inspired fashion, now to Paris, 1789 (although, of course, we subscribe to Edmund Burke's sublime distinctions between the validities of the French and American revolutions), via Hello!Magazine:

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"The French couturier had promised the collection, his last for fashion giants LVMH, would be his 'answer' to critics. And he certainly seems to have triumphed, with the audience of style critics and industry buyers honouring him with a standing ovation when the show came to an end."

Out: Gitmo Tactics. This has a 60 Minutes expose written all over it. An indignant Leslie Stahl would be my bet. According to the AP (link via Drudgereport):

"Female interrogators tried to break Muslim detainees at the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay by sexual touching, wearing a miniskirt and thong underwear and in one case smearing a Saudi man's face with fake menstrual blood, according to an insider's written account.

"A draft manuscript obtained by The Associated Press is classified as secret pending a Pentagon review for a planned book that details ways the U.S. military used women as part of tougher physical and psychological interrogation tactics to get terror suspects to talk.

"It's the most revealing account so far of interrogations at the secretive detention camp, where officials say they have halted some controversial techniques.

"'I have really struggled with this because the detainees, their families and much of the world will think this is a religious war based on some of the techniques used, even though it is not the case,' the author, former Army Sgt. Erik R. Saar, 29, told AP."

A Little of the old In and Out

In: Schwag. 'Tis the season for corporate freebies, that significant cultural phenomenon. As Bruce Fierstein writes in the New York Observer:

"At the Sundance Film Festival, the hills are alive with the sound of freebies, as corporate giveaway condos line the ski slopes, passing out everything from cell phones to Converse sneakers.

"And as Hillary Atkin, a Los Angeles writer who specializes in covering (tabulating?) these things, points out, we�re about to hit the mother lode of swag: the Oscars, where the corporate gift-giving began with the nominations Tuesday morning ($30,000 in assorted merchandise from Michael Kors, Est�e Lauder, Manolo Blahnik, Veuve Clicquot, Victoria�s Secret and Motorola) and culminating on Oscar night itself, when the value of the swag rises to almost $150,000 and includes $7,000 plasma TV screens and free Lasik eye surgery."

The history of schwag here.

Out: Prince Rainier. Being Prince of Monaco is not unlike being the head of a prestigious municipal convention center, only with a significant mention in Debrett's Peerage with a side order of hott starlet ass on the side. Your job is to attend a lot of events and plaster on a big fake ass Kool Aid smile as the convention center rakes in the cheddar; only, his "convention center" (Averted Gaze) is the principality of Monaco. Nice work if you can get it. But you can tell Rainier's heart is not in it this time, he looks like he'd rather take a nap, as the Hello! pics show:

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Princess Stephanie, however, who once married a Portuguese circus acrobat, may or may not be looking to supplement her diet with a taste of some more of that fantastic gymnastic ass.

In: Sandino Moreno, Oscar Nominee for Maria Full of Grace. According to indieWire, she learned of her Oscar nomination while at Sundance looking for more work:

"... Crying and screaming after hearing her was name announced live on television, Sandino Moreno said she was talking with her mom when 'Maria Full of Grace' director Joshua Marston called her. He watched the (Academy Award) nominations live in a laundromat in Brooklyn, since he does not have cable. 'That is just so Josh,' Sandino Moreno said, excitedly. Asked if she has any new projects she is working on, Sandino Moreno quipped, 'I am waiting ... I am just working on breathing.'"

Out: Jennifer Garner. That Ben Affleck is a jinx is scientific fact. See what he did to JLo. See! Before she ever got mixed up with the likes of him she was attached to somewhat edgy projects like The Cell. She was Jenny from the block. Apres le Ben?

The woman doesn't even smile, people.

And so with Jennifer Garner. Before Ben, she was hott, had a hott tv show, 13 going on 30 did marginally successful business, she did the CIA website, she was a Sci-Tech geek goddess (or, would fembot be the appropriate analogy as a universe with wedgies cannot be run by a an omniscient benevolent deity)! And now, the Page Sixxies report:

"JENNIFER Garner knew 'Elektra' was going to be a turkey, but she starred in it anyway because she was under contract. That's what her 'Alias' co-star (and former boyfriend) Michael Vartan told Us Weekly the other night in L.A. as he mingled with Kirsten Dunst, Orlando Bloom and Leonardo DiCaprio. Asked if he'd seen 'Elektra,' Vartan replied: 'I heard it was awful.' Us: 'You saw it?' MV: 'No, (Jennifer Garner) called me and told me it was awful.' Us: 'Would you ever make a movie you knew was awful?' MV: 'She had to do it because of Daredevil. It was in her contract.'"

Which explains that dodgy "virus" or "nerve damage" excuse that prevented her from doing extensive promotions for the film. How convenient! (Averted Gaze)

In: Academy Award Speculation. The Corsair's academy Award speculation (WTF?! Paul Giamatti didn't get a Best Actor nod? Was it critics revenge on that really tired joke that said film critics liked him because, well, they look like him?) In the meantime, my bud Case has some thoughts here. And, while we're at it: Who do you think will win Sundance?

Out:Rising violence to coincide with the Iraqi Elections.