Monday, August 29, 2005

A Little of the Old In and Out


(image by Franco Biciocchi via Washpost)

In: HBO's Rome. (The dull blast of an ancient Roman military Triton horn) Caesar was a bit undefined (And no, The Corsair is not veering into food reviews), but, all in all, HBO's "Rome," which premiered last night, was surprisingly good. The Corsair, something of a former Classics scholar, was all up in that bitch. Granted, the characters are weak -- but hey, it was only episode one (plus: they only had 55 minutes to flesh out the lusty plot), but the timeline is quite accurate, and the lush, "pagan-disgusting" reptilian feel (not to mention the delicious acoustical touch of original ancient Roman music) is not unlike the sick, slithery blood-soaked vibe of Rome, circa 50something BC, pre-Julio-Claudian dynasty.

Box office success notwithstanding, if "Revenge of the Sith" did not fail in giving us a serious meditation on the tragedy of the merciless quest after power, it would look more like HBO's Rome.

HBO's Rome begins -- abruptly -- with the sanguinary conclusion of the imperial wars that eventually led to the rise of the Oedipesque Caesars (with Cicero offering eloquent but now impotent caution), ushering in the end of the Golden Age of the Roman Republic. According to InsideBayArea:

"The series is set in 52 B.C., 400 years after the founding of the Republic. While Rome was based on principles of shared power with no man given absolute control, times are shifting.

"Corruption and excess are the norm, with the ruling class becoming richer and more decadent. As the legal and political systems weaken, the power is sliding toward the military -- and commander Gaius Julius Caesar.

"While not drawing too fine a point, the producers admit they see some parallels between this period in Roman history and what's happening in the United States.

"'It's the transformation of a republic into an empire,' says writer/producer Bruno Heller in an interview. 'I think America is dealing with that issue right now.'"


And speaking of Caesar ... (image via cloud9 via AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Out: Congresswoman Katherine Harris, No respect. It's hurricane season in Florida's Cuban cigar smoke filled political backrooms as well in the panhandle. One of the less-reported stories in the media is how the Republican Establishment is actively courting anyone -- anyone! -- to run against the impossibly ambitious and socially undesirable U.S. Congresswoman Katherine Harris, who is challenging Bill Nelson for a Senate Seat in Florida. Despite the wall of Republican power standing against her advancement (Allegedly, Rove fears that a Harris' Senate race will polarize Florida Democrats, reminding them of her role in 2000, putting the state back into play in 2008), she is holding her own, slightly.

It reminds The Corsair -- vaguely -- of President George Bush, 41, who, in an act of great nobility (along with Nancy Reagan, we cannot fail to note), publicly repudiated bigot ex-Klansman David Duke (the Republican nominee) in his 1990 race for Governor against corrupt Louisiana pol Edwin Edwards (Unofficial campaign posters read, "Vote For the Crook. It's Important." and, our favorite, "Better a lizard than a wizard.")

As the great Dickensian villain Robert Novak writes, lamenting Liddy "Sugarlips" Dole's ineffective handling of the NRSC:

"In Florida, the Republican establishment tried and failed to find an alternative to Rep. Katherine Harris. But now that Harris is clearly the candidate against Nelson, the NRSC still has not embraced her."

The cosmetically-challenged Harris, who has a rabid fan base, may get the last laugh (but not likely: an early July poll has her losing to incumbent Senator Bill Nelson 50 percent to 38).


(image via southbeach-usa)

In: Jason Binn. The Hamptons rolled over; Aspen welcomed him; and he had Gotham at hello. Jason Binn's Media Domination Tour 2005 (tm) goes on, relatively unabated, but there may be a tiny snag on the Potomac, en route to that final victory lap. According to Lloyd Grove's Lowdown:

"I hear that supporters of Washington Life magazine, the 14-year-old chronicler of high society in the nation's capital, are greeting Binn - of Gotham, Hamptons and L.A. Confidential fame - like an alien invader who must be stopped.

"I'm told that, in recent months, Washington Life's editor, Nancy Bagley, and her husband, Washington Life CEO Soroush Shehabi, have been watching with alarm as Binn has hired away their advertising director, persuaded some of their longtime supporters to buy pages in his mag, and listed many of Washington Life's longtime friends - sometimes without their explicit permission - on Capitol File's advisory board.

"'There is a little competition for advertisers, but we have a different style,' Bagley said. 'And, no, we're not threatened.'"

You should be, Nancy Bagley; you really should.


(image via courttv)

Out: Suge Knight. Who shot ya? Suge "Marion" Knight took it from behind. According to The Daily News:

"Police were puzzled by the failure to find a shell casing inside SkyBar's VIP Red Room at the plush Shore Club - and that no one got a good look at the shooter. Knight gave only a cursory account of the shooting, raising more doubts about the event. He was in stable condition last night after doctors removed the bullet and set a fractured bone in his right leg.

"'He didn't see anything, he got shot from behind,' said Bobby Hernandez, a police spokesman. 'He fell to the ground.'

"Hernandez said 'an accidental discharge' was one scenario under investigation."

"Shot from behind"? "Accidental discharge"? "Didn't see anything"?

Hmm. Did he hug you afterwards, Suge?

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(image via nysocialdiary)

In: 740 Park. Granted, The Corsair is friends with both Michael Gross and our favorite social chronicler, David Patrick Columbia, but since this is our blog, we'll take the opportunity to plug both (order your copies of 740 Park here). This, from NYSocialDiary:

"Meanwhile, over this past weekend I�ve been reading the galleys of Michael Gross� fabulous new book 740 Park; The Story of the World�s Richest Apartment Building. The book, which will be in the stores in October is a riveting document of the city�s social history from the time of the building�s construction which began about the time the stock market crashed in 1929 right up to today. Now considered one of the best addresses in the city, it was built by Jackie Onassis� grandfather James T. Lee.

"Mr. Lee had the right idea although The Crash destroyed any dreams he had about a great financial success with the building. Jackie and Lee Bouvier and their parents (who had a horrendous marriage) lived there rent-free for several years until the building could find a tenant (to rent) their apartment. The building limped along financially until it got an important boost when John D. Rockefeller Jr. moved in with his wife Abby and his son David in 1938-39. Even then, it was well into the late 1950s before the building became entire co-op, thanks to the effect of the Crash.

"The book is can�t-put-downable but more on it when I finish (it�s a tome � more than 500 pages)."

Also, DPC covers Rick Hilton's 50th in the Hamptons, and end-of-summer power weddings. Here.


(image via canada.america-atlas)

Out: The Canadian-American Diplomatic Crisis. You've read it here first, folks. Although, at present, this is just a minor blip on the constantly flashing radar screens in the adventurous world of international diplomacy (possibly even less than that), there will be a growing rift, we predict, between Canadian-American relations that we really ought to attend to, before, of course, China takes advantage. It's what they do, and they do it, unfortunately, quite well (Coincidentally, President Hu visits -- wink, wink -- Prime Minister Martin, next week)

Perhaps Vice President Dick Cheney, who plans to visit oil-rich Alberta (who knew?!), in an "invitation-only" dinner next month, can resolve this situation. According to Angus-Reid Consultants:

"Adults in Canada are divided on how their country should react to a recent change in the implementation of daylight savings time in the United States, according to a poll by Ipsos-Reid released by CanWest Global. 50 per cent of respondents believe Canada should retain its schedule, while 47 per cent would consent to an adjustment.

"On Aug. 8, U.S. president George W. Bush signed the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The legislation mandates for all clocks in the U.S. to be set one hour forward on the second Sunday in March�three weeks sooner than now�and one hour back on the first Sunday of November�one week later than now. The new rules�meant to help conserve energy�will be implemented in 2007.

"This, plus the softwood lumber dispute, equals: an opportunity for China to swoop in on Alberta's oil fields, so key to America, especially as speculation rises that Saudi Arabia's oil wells may not be infinitely deep.


casey said...

I think I should resurrect the "Suge Knight List".

la depressionada said...

so you liked rome? delighted to here it. it's tivo-ed.

Ron said...

yes, La depressionada, I like Rome a lot. The characters aren't yet recognizable, but the story and the music and the atmosphere are something wonderful. I cannot wait to see how it turns out.

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