Wednesday, November 30, 2005
As in Dante's Paradiso where the name of the game is proximity to The Big Guy, similarly, at the Conde Nast holiday luncheon today, the name of the game is to sit at Si Newhouse's powertable. (image via cinemythology)
Ah, joy: It's that time of the year again. The Conde Nast holiday lunch. The Byzantine politics of Conde Nast are laid bare in the stark symbolism of who sits where (The consumer magazines, no doubt, will be relegated to the outer periphery of Si Newhouse's nimbus of obscene power). The farther away one's table is from the benevolent grace of Si, the closer to the Dantean rings of the Inferno -- namely: existence in the absence of Si. The excellent Keith Kelly of the NYPost will, no doubt, be casing the joint with a photographer in tow to give us the goodies.
Forget outmoded questions like: Will Graydon Carter light up indoors? (Averted Gaze) Rather, ask yourselves the meaty, ground-of-being question: Who will be sitting at Si's table? Will Jay Fielden of Men's Vogue get a ticket to the big leagues?
Next question -- more juicy by a whisker -- Who ought to be sitting at Si's table, but isn't? Lance Ford of Cargo ought to be at the Si table, IMHO, the only table that matters -- but will he?
Last year, we speculated:
"Ah, the holidays are here again, and that means missletoe, the ambient dulcet tones of Manheim Steamroller, pine needles on the street, the Charlie Brown special (The Corsair gets a tad fucking misty during that show), and, to be sure, that silly woman who makes a proper ass of herself and invariably gets dragged home through the chilly streets of New York by her patient chums because she drank too much brandied egg nog at the company party ('You guysh ... are the besssst'), and, finally, the Conde Nast Four Seasons editor and publisher bash.
"Imagine for a moment the ambitious, Prada-clad collective egos assembled in that VIP room ever-ready to brown their noses on Si Newhouse's billionaire tushy; all that fucking hot gas and fake bonhommie in a single combustible location. (Averted Gaze) No wonder there is no smoking permitted.
And, from Medialife last year:
"'Medialife: Every year it seems you have devoted some words to the seating order at the tables nearest Si Newhouse and what it all means. Cond� Nast watchers of course gobble up your insights. Yet each year it also seems you quote Maurie Perle, CN's spokesperson, tossing cold water on the whole notion that where people sit means anything at all. Who's right here, you or her?
"Keith Kelly: ...It is not as perfect as the old Cond� Nast annual group picture. They abandoned that some years ago, right around the time Tina Brown dropped out of the scene. I think they should bring it back. It was always Anna to the right of Si, Tina to the left. The seating is not quite as meticulous as the photo, but there is some thought process behind it. I think it is no coincidence that the embattled Graydon [Carter editor of Vanity Fair] got a good seat this year. And when The New Yorker finally went into the black a few years ago, they were sitting pretty as well. And you can be pretty sure that Si and or the CEO are not going to look at someone through a long holiday lunch and then fire him first chance they get in the new year. Given that, there is also a conscious effort to rotate. So in the end, neither one of us are 100 percent right. They are just clues that have to be put together with other clues."
More of The Corsair's take on it:
"... Oh, look (waves fakely; Condenastyish), and there's Lucky Editor in Chief Kim France who, like Christ's neighbor, the crucified robber who repented at the last minute, now sits on Si Newhouse's left hand ('... and ascended into heaven'), at the power table ('.. to judge the living and the dead').
"Metaphors of Paradise abound, ringing -- like Silver bells -- true here as Conde Nast is the Nirvana of glossies, lo ultimo. Just as Dante Aligheri places the true Paradiso in the Empyrean, situated outside the universe, and therefore, my fellow grad-students of the Byzantine rituals of Conde Nast, outside of space and time, those outer tables, those Fairchild consumer magazine tables, far away from the Mystic Rose, that celestial choir that is Si Newhouse, are less appealing, less -- shall we say -- 'holy.'
"And would it be a far stretch of the imagination to envision the editors at Conde Nast dressed in ermine like Castiglione's courtier? Why, Teen Vogue Editor-in-Chief Amy Astley is seated so close to Si that she can just ... just dip her head, slightly ... and gently brush her rose lips 'gainst Si's signet ring.
"Not since the Court of the Sun King has anyone assembled such a crowd of nonpareil beauty and excellence commingles with a desire to kiss Si's ass. There -- look -- far out in the distance, out of the consoling heat of Si Newhouse's ambit, Eva Dillon of Cookie. If she cranes her neck just so, she might -- just might -- catch a gander at Si's lordly brow, framed by a fawning Graydon and Anna, as Si tucks meaningfully into his luncheon of oh, let's say: beef cheeks. (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment) A feast, to be sure, for sore, Conde Nastish peepers. "
(image via artnet)
In: Gore Vidal. The Corsair finished the Michael Gross' meticulously researched and perfectly gossipy 740 Park, and, afterwards, Voltaire Almighty, and now we are on to The Lessons of Gore Vidal published by Duke University Press.
Something tells me that the infinitely witty, urbane and learned Gore Vidal, who'se political career calls to mind Tom Paine (With a dash of Somerset Maugham by way of Suetonius), would approve of this whole blogging-as-the fifth-estate phenomenon (Why, o why isn't he on the HuffPo?). From Carlin Romano of the Philadelphia Inquirer:
" Vidal, the grandson of U.S. Sen. Thomas Gore (D., Okla.), remains the patrician, elegantly groomed, acerbic commentator who for decades turned up on the nation's talk shows from David Susskind to Dick Cavett, dispensing urbane wit and battling the likes of Norman Mailer and William F. Buckley Jr., before disappearing back to his privileged life in Italy.
"Now Marcie Frank, an English professor at Concordia University, offers up Vidal as one of the first literary figures to grasp the need for novelists and intellectuals to leapfrog the print/TV gap. To her, he's the writer who 'more ably negotiated the shift from print to screen' than any of his contemporaries, who exemplified 'successful management of literary fame in the age of TV,' who still "seeks the broadest audience that he can access.'
"Frank cites Vidal's own pronouncements as part of her evidence. Once, she reports, when assured by an interviewer that he was still a famous novelist, Vidal replied, 'There is no such thing anymore.'
"What he meant, Frank explains, is that by the mid-20th century, 'one could be famous and a novelist but not famous as a novelist.' As Vidal put it in his book Screening History, 'Today where literature was, movies are.'"
Let's hope the blog figures prominently somewhere in there, shall we? The Lessons of Gore Vidal is available here.
The bitch-face, triumphant. (image via rp-online.com via AP Photo/Joe Cavaretta)
Out: Jacko. We don't really want to know what "Booger Sugar" was doing in Michael Jackson's underpants -- underpanties? --where, to be frank, his blotchy wenis ought to be nestled, snugly; but if the British press says it is allegedly so, then we'll take their word for it.
Perhaps Jacko's over-surguried waifer-thin nasal cavity is unable to handle the "volume"? We can only speculate idly as to why residue of Bolivian Marching Powder found its way onto his the crevices of his groin region.
We love to cover, though, the Felliniesque atmospherics that surround Jacko's universe (Complete with an eerie Nino Rota soundtrack of electric noise and an ancient, sarcastic laughter). What, when Jacko is not allegedly mourning the post-coital assasination of his pet monkey, Bubbles, or -- better yet -- lounging about with his personal court jester, Majestik Magnificent, or even when he is, ehr, "regurgitating all the way to the bank," like, well ... a freak without warning. (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment)
Now, according to Emily Smith of TheSun:
"TRACES of cocaine were found on Michael Jackson�s underwear during a police raid, it was revealed yesterday.
"The discovery emerged as the troubled singer faced shock new claims that he is abusing and trafficking drugs.
"Cops are secretly investigating allegations by former aides that Jacko, 47, is hooked on anti-depressants and painkillers.
"They say he pops up to 40 pills a day � and was seen falling flat on his face after injecting himself with a mystery drug."
(image via edge.org)
In: Lunch at Michael's. Pouty lipped media scribbler Michael Wolff is still MIA at Michael's. Oh, Michael, really, just accept the flowers and rejoin The Chattering Classes at Table 5, already; sheesh. According to our favorite social chronicler, David Patrick Columbia, who according to the intrepid Page Sixxies, is going to "host a party tonight for Julie Baumgold's new book, 'The Diamond,' at Graff's Madison Avenue store," and writes in NYSocialDiary:
"Michael�s, now resplendent with its holiday decorations of swags of evergreen and big red bows decorating the rooms, drew a big luncheon crowd including ... New School president, former US Senator Bob Kerrey; uber-editor Alice Mayhew talking shop probably with uber-agent Binky Urban. A table away, former uber-editor/literary agent Joni Evans probably talking some kind of shop with National Television Academy (Emmy Awards) Peter Price ... Marc Rosen holding forth at a table of eight, Broadway producer Fran Weissler; mag editors, Good Housekeeping�s Ellen Levine and Newsweek�s Dorothy Kalins; Lorna Graev, Mike Strohl, Beverly Camhe; former Paramount exec and film colony scion John Goldwyn; Bway producing partners Terry Allen Kramer and Liz McCann; Manolo Blahnik president George Malkemus with the Times� premier fashion critic Cathy Horyn; Barbara Walters at the corner table ... and at the table next to mine, the queen of 'Can We Talk?' that glama-puss herself, Miss Joan Rivers."
The full, unexpurgated list here.
(image via usatoday)
Out: Google. Ann Mather's ascention notwithstanding, newly minted millionaire Jason Calacanis has some interesting things to say about Google and the possible impending bubble bursting. According to Reuters:
"Shares in Web-search leader Google Inc. slid 4.7 percent on Tuesday, their biggest decline in a year, as analysts expressed concern that its stock was overpriced after soaring 40 percent in two months.
"Merrill Lynch analyst Lauren Rich Fine said in a research note on Monday that Google needs to develop new sources of revenue beyond its booming search advertising business to justify the current valuation on the stock.
"But she also pointed out that as Google enters new businesses and becomes increasingly dominant on the Web, it was starting to get negative publicity, which could dampen some interest in its shares."
(image via photos1.blogger)
Disgraced former Congressman "Duke" Cunningham will keep not only his pension, but, incredibly, unlimited floor access to the House of Representatives, which, ironically, could allow an admitted bribe taker to actually lobby members of Congress at a fat salary after he gets out of the pokey. From Jackie Kucinich of TheHill:
"Rep. Randy 'Duke' Cunningham (R-Calif.) will soon relinquish many of his properties and his freedom after pleading guilty to charges of fraud and conspiracy, but he will keep his government pension and could retain the privileges enjoyed by other former members of Congress.
"Cunningham has served in the House 17 years, and his right to his federal pension will not be affected by his crimes, according to a senior House aide familiar with the rules.
"... Ordinarily, upon leaving Congress, former House members, like former senators, get lifetime floor privileges, access to the gym and a parking space."
The floor privilege access would make The Duker a gold prospect for any lobbying firm on K-Street. Come on, Congress (The Corsair intones for posterity): Revoke his privileges!
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Chill out, kick back, crack open an adult beverage if you will, and stare -- you are now becoming sleepy -- into the insouciant eyes of .... Hasseloff. (image via gofugyourself)
It was a jaded town after all, so when "Ass-for-Free" was suddenly offered, everybody seemed a little skeptical. (image via thecobrasnake)
If the legendary 70's Mime-tertainers Shields and Yarnell had creepy test-tube babies ... (image via thecobrasnake)
Greed. (image via bryan-talbott)
It is almost impossible to name a recent fundraiser for either party that doesn't carry about them the stink of corruption. Remember former Senator Torricelli, moist eyed, shamelessly running for reelection (!) with a tristate area ad blitz of the campign commercial entitled, unironically, "I'm Sorry"?
Aggressive fundraising and the whiff of sleaze go together, forever, like peanut butter and jelly. One doesn't get to Congress without a certain amount of boldness, and boldness, above all other virtues, is rewarded in DC. Too much so, perhaps; the accumulation of power leads to a feeling of invulnerability which leads to ... corruption. The catastrophic fall of Congressman Duke Cunningham only refocused our attention on the ball that the DC media types have clearly dropped: the influence of money in DC is far, far too great.
In Washington, eager, ambitious Congressmen and Senators rise quickly in their party ranks by shilling to the corporations and the lobbyists of K-Street, shucking and jiving with stale jokes and robust backslapping at rubber chicken and wine dinners as massive checks in exchange for a "seat at the table" and "favorable legislation" are passed, like the Dutchie, to the left hand side.
Everyone knows this; nobody does anything. Such is the state of American politics in the hour of the wolf.
Senator John McCain tried, for years, to curb this extravagant display of magnificent horseshit. Undeterred, the influence of money in politics staggers forward with hideous strength. Today Jeff Birnbaum of the Washington Post writes:
"For several years now, corporations and other wealthy interests have made ever-larger campaign contributions, gifts and sponsored trips part of the culture of Capitol Hill. But now, with fresh guilty pleas by a lawmaker and a public relations executive, federal prosecutors -- and perhaps average voters -- may be concluding that the commingling of money and politics has gone too far.
"After years in which big-dollar dealings have come to dominate the interaction between lobbyists and lawmakers, both sides are now facing what could be a wave of prosecutions in the courts and an uprising at the ballot box. Extreme examples of the new business-as-usual are no longer tolerated."
One of the reasons that these stories weren't really pursued in the press is that the Washington press corps -- unlike bloggers -- are so stuck up the goddamned asses of the lobbyists. The excuse is generally that campaign finance reform isn't a sexy medium for the cool medium of television, but, IMHO part of the reason also is that lobbyists are a part of the general social fabric of Wasington so negative stories by, say, a Cokie Roberts -- who's brother Tommy Boggs is the king bitch of K-Street -- is unheard of. There is miniscule wiggle room between the corporate interests and those of the press that covers them; their children attend the same schools, they are each others' godparents, they attend the same embassy parties, they all live in the Watergate. As a result, with press fanfare only ex post facto:
"No fewer than seven lawmakers, including a Democrat, have been indicted, have pleaded guilty or are under investigation for improper conduct such as conspiracy, securities fraud and improper campaign donations. Congress's approval ratings have fallen off the table, in some measure because of headlines about these scandals.
"'The indictments and the investigations have strengthened the feeling that people have that in fact there's too much money in Washington and that the money is being used to influence official decisions,' said William McInturff, a Republican pollster with Public Opinion Strategies. 'Polls show that neither party is held in high regard.'"
Washington is becoming a cozy little tea party to which the resident journos have all become the invited guests (For further reference see: Bob Woodward, Judy Miller). It is up to bloggers -- dispassionate outsiders, unlike to Cokie Roberts crowd -- to keep the city on the up-and-up.
More Jeff Birnbaum here.
(image via jsonline)
In: Morgan Freeman. The idea of short DVD windows is hott. The archaic 45-day DVD window is simply absurd in this age of rampant piracy and dwindling Hollywood profits. According to PaidContent:
"Disney CEO Bob Iger says he's even suggested that exhibitors sell the DVD at the theaters for moviegoers to pick up on the way out while the interest is still fresh. In exchange, the owners would get a cut of the sale. 'They think we are out of our minds,' Iger said during a Monday q-and-a at the Wall Street Journal. But he thinks the roughly four-month theatrical exclusive when most of the screen money is made in the first few weeks may be costing everyone: 'We are spending too much time chasing box office (dollars) and we are waiting too long to enter the next window.'"
That's why Morgan Freeman's new venture ClickStar is so particularly intiguing and ahead of the curve. With Freeman's star power behind the company, it can't go wrong. According to the Business2business blog:
"Intel and actor Morgan Freeman's Revelation Studios announced a new venture called ClickStar to distribute movies online as soon as they hit theaters. The rest of Hollywood might resist, but this is inevitable. The days of Hollywood's staggered movie release schedule (first theaters, then Pay-Per-View, then DVDs, then cable) are numbered. If Hollywood bothered to listen to its customers, it would hear that they want their movies delivered to them in a manner and medium of their choosing. At least Morgan Freeman is listening."
And: watch film piracy become more manageable; see: "Easy Reader" just made an easy billion.
Alba displays her considerable assets. (image via cfox.com)
Out: Jessica Alba. Easy on the eyes, to be sure, but essentially lame and, worse, greedy to boot. No one would mistake Jessica Alba's career with that of Cate Blanchett or, for that matter, John Malkovich. There is, of course, quite a difference -- a yeawning chasm, really -- between being a movie star and being an "actor." Alba has forsaken the latter altogether and embarced wholeheartedly the former, unfortunately. (Averted Gaze)
Indiewire's Reeler blog duly skewers Jessica Alba, who has released more bombs this year than Hamas, and feels no intrinsic need -- how ghetto -- to even cover up her shameful deeds. According to Indiewire:
"I used to think the only thing separating siren Jessica Alba from B-movie oblivion was her films' budgets. Sure, she is hot enough to buckle pavement, but if Into the Blue and Fantastic Four are not this year's Camp Tandem From Hell, then I am Armond White:
"However, this week's "Stupid Questions" feature in Entertainment Weekly exposes even more of Alba's appeal--to wit, an unmistakeable whiff of ambivalence about her own sultry canon:
"EW:What about Dark Angel did you find more implausible � the fact that you played Max, a hot chick with genetically engineered superpowers, or the fact that you played Max, a hot chick who shared the same name as an old Jewish man?
"JA: A genetically engineered superhero is a little far-fetched. An old Jewish man is a bit more relatable. Long walks to school and the whole nine...
"EW: I never got around to seeing your 1998 kiddie comedy P.U.N.K.S. � which featured both a suit with supernatural powers and Randy Quaid � but can I assume that it kinda S.U.C.K.S.?
"JA: It was a job. You do what you gotta do."
Yes, well (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment), thanks for the warning: Just don't expect us to plunk down $10 to see you "do what you gotta do" next time around, 'kay honey? (Averted Gaze) How ... meaningful do you think it is, my keemo sabe's, that her fiance's name is "Cash"?
(image via newmediamusings)
In: Craig Newmark. The Newmark-Jarvis venture is drawing major buzz. According to EditorandPublisher:
"Details are slowly starting to crystallize around the online news venture Craigslist founder Craig Newmark mentioned last week at an Oxford University symposium.
"Blogger Jeff Jarvis explained that the project Newmark is involved in as an angel investor is actually the one he signed on with some months ago. At his Buzzmachine blog today, Jarvis pointed readers to a post he made back in May when he announced his departure from Advance.net: 'I will act as editor in chief of a new news start-up founded by Upendra Shardanand (ex Firefly, Microsoft Passport, AOL, and Time Warner) and a sterling team.'
"Jarvis' latest post says the project is still in development and those involved are not ready to talk about it in any detail. But he reveals: 'Our goal is to create a platform to organize the world's news using the best of technology, community, and editors. We see an explosion of interest in and coverage of news from incredibly varied sources around the world and see a need around that.
"'We plan to have a beta in the spring. And as I've blogged before, we will be looking for talent in various areas; we're not ready to take on more folks yet but I'll let you know when we are. And of course, we'll post the jobs on Craigslist!'"
(image via lisarein)
Out: Al Sharpton. Even a 'ho's gotta eat! Damn; this -- to paraphrase Ford Maddox Ford -- is the saddest link ever(link via Wonkette), in the Washington Post under the dubious title "loan ranger":
"Al Sharpton, 2004: candidate for president of the United States. Al Sharpton, 2005: pitchman for car title loans.
"Car title lenders give cash to those who own their cars free and clear, with interest rates that can approach 300 percent annually. The lender can repossess and sell the car if the short-term loan is not repaid on time. The controversial practice is permitted in about half the states, and consumer groups are pushing hard for more regulation. 'These are predatory small loans,' said Jean Ann Fox of the Consumer Federation of America.
"'If I felt this is in any way abusive, I would stop doing the ads,' Sharpton said yesterday."
Therin lies the problem with Al: His connoiseur meter is stuck on the Ghetto setting.
Nina Garcia and Vanessa Neumann. (image via nysocialdiary)
In: Nina Garcia. According to Fashionweekdaily, "Nina Garcia receives her U.S. citizenship this Friday." The Corsair wishes the Elle Fashion Director a hearty congratulations.
Abe Rosenthal dramatically reenacting a "woozy" scene from his infamous "crazy period." (image via nysocialdiary)
Neither did we know that yesterday, after having our monthly lunch ast Michael's with David Patrick Columbia, our favorite social chronicler, he was off to spend time in the society of personnages almost -- but not quite -- as fabulous as The Corsair. From NYSocialDiary:
"Last night at the Pierre. The Queen Sofia Spanish Institute of New York held The Gold Medal Gala, a reception and dinner in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Sofia of Spain, chaired by Oscar de la Renta, Chairman of the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute; and honoring Julio Iglesias, Dr. Henry Kissinger, and Mrs. Beatrice Santo Domingo. The evening was under the honorary patronage of President and Mrs. George W. Bush and Their Majesties King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain. Senator Hillary Clinton also attended the dinner and was seated on the right of Mr. de la Renta, with Queen Sofia to his left (and he, to her right of course).
"... There were several long dresses with trains last night. And lots of jewels � more than one usually sees as these occasions. Mrs. Jayne Wrightsman was in the crowd � an unusual occasion for the now dowager of what makes up the top tier of what is now described as New York society. Also in the crowd I saw Mr. and Mrs. Sid Bass, the very regal looking Nancy (Mrs. Henry) Kissinger, Carroll Petrie who was with John Christensen and her daughter Andrea, the Marquessa de Portago who has just finished a book of photography on Native American culture; Rafael the duc de Feria, Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia. The prince and the duke soon learned on meeting that they were wearing the same Royal Oak watch by Audemars Piguet, except Prince Dimitri�s was accompanied by a wristlet with one large black pearl ..."
Prince Dimitri to Rafael the duc de Feria, "Dukey: check out this here pimped out bling." (image via nysocialdiary)
The Black Pearl. (image via nysocialdiary)
Kate posing for Stella this week in St. Barts. (image via vogue.co.uk)
Stella McCartney is red hott right now. So is Kate Moss. So, of course, media speculation that these two will sign on the dotted line and collabo together is entirely justified. According to British Vogue:
"KATE MOSS may not have starred in the ad campaign for Stella McCartney's H&M line, but the two are clearly still in business together. Kate, who has posed for Virgin Mobile, Longchamp and Roberto Cavalli in recent weeks, looked more gorgeous than ever as she posed for Stella on a beach in St Barts just days ago. While it remains unconfirmed that she will be the star of McCartney's own forthcoming ads, the pair are clearly enjoying working together � whatever they're planning."
Monday, November 28, 2005
(image via cnn)
Our favorite punchy, three-piece suit wearing Dickensian villain, Robert Novak, waxes philosophical this time around:
"On Nov. 16, as Congress raced to adjourn for Thanksgiving, Senate Democratic Whip Richard J. Durbin found time to sit down with Republican political activist C. Boyden Gray. It was unpleasant for Gray, who followed with what looked like a prearranged letter of apology to the senator. After that, Durbin was reported to have lifted the 'hold' blocking Gray's confirmation as U.S. ambassador to the European Union.
"That very day, Durbin engaged in public confrontation with Republican Sen. Ted Stevens, the Senate's president pro-tem. Durbin took the Senate floor to accuse Stevens of making it easier for oil executives to lie to Congress. When Stevens demanded an apology under the rules, Durbin refused on grounds the rules did not apply.
"I have been watching the Senate for nearly 49 years, and there once was a time when Durbin's busy Nov. 16 would have attracted attention. But it went virtually unnoticed. The Senate has hardened, and so has Dick Durbin."
Ka-Pow! A cautionary tale from the DC journo with the stiffest right cross in the city ...
(image via terra.com.br)
Duelling weddings! In the corner to our right, we have the Wedding of the Year, the Athina Roussel-Doda nups. According to Ekathimerini.com:
"Onassis heiress Athena Roussel�s wedding on December 3 in Sao Paolo to Brazilian equestrian Alvaro Alonso de Miranda Neto � otherwise known as Doda � marks her victory in the love stakes. Possessor of a huge fortune � albeit administered by Swiss trustees, inherited from her mother Christina and her grandmother Tina � Athena is preparing for her big day despite the reservations of her father Thierry, who has made known his view that the marriage is premature. The paparazzi are already packing their bags, as the wedding is expected to be a magnificent affair, with both Catholic and Greek Orthodox ceremonies. When Athena reaches the age of 21 on January 29 next year, she will have a husband by her side in her new homeland of Brazil, where she has bought two floors in an apartment building in a Sao Paolo suburb � a home furnished by a German decorator. Jennifer Lopez will sing at the wedding at the 'Oscar and Louisa' reception center for guests from around the world, although the guest list is still a secret.
We give the grade of A, mostly because of JLo singing in Sao Paolo (originally reported, we cannot fail to note, by NYSocialDiary), but also the inspired East-West blending of Christianity with its Orthodox cousin and, no doubt, exquisite, glottal Byzantine chants. The Swiss trustees are just gravy at this point. The maintaining of a double secret guest list one week before the actual wedding is also quite swellegant.
(image via mundodelocio)
And, in the corner to our left, according to the extremely downmarket Newsoftheworld:
"LIZ HURLEY will marry her millionaire boyfriend ARUN NAYAR in India next year, I am delighted to reveal.
"The pair are planning to tie the knot in a lavish three-day ceremony�with Arun making an eye-popping entrance on an elephant.
"The star-studded bash will take place in the grounds of the 16th century Devigarh Fort in Rajasthan, India�now a swanky five-star hotel.
"Guests will include DAVID and VICTORIA BECKHAM, PATSY KENSIT and PAMELA ANDERSON.
"Actress Liz's close friends ELTON JOHN and DAVID FURNISH will also be there, with David taking the unusual role of �maid of honour'."
A grade of C-plus, needs remedial work, see me. And: Patsy Kensit? (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment)
The 16th Century Indian wedding is a definite exotic plus, but the lamentable inclusion of Pamela Anderson, most recently of the even more lamentable "Stacked," on the guest list sounds vaguely ... jinxy. (Averted Gaze) Plus, 3 days of partying? We won't even entertain a snarky commentary on the elephant.
And, let's be honest, 21st Century Elton isn't the same as the existential 1970s Elton; nowadays he'd attend the opeining of an envelope.
A gilded envelope, to be sure, but still -- sniff, sniff -- 2nd class postage all the same. (Newsoftheworld)
Saturday, November 26, 2005
(image via epochtimes)
In: Condoleeza Rice, Iron Lady. Niccolo Machiavelli, the expert and oft-maligned 16th Century Florentine statesman, believed that luck -- or, as he referred to it using the Graeco-Roman Goddess "Fortuna" -- is an actual observable force at work in the theater of international politics. Although our skeptical post-Enlightenment age has all but dismissed the reliance on such unquantifiable forces, it is almost uncanny how much luck -- Fortuna? -- Condoleeza Rice had this week. Madame Secretary's deft reaction to the said luck, however, is, as even us skeptics can begrudgingly allow, a clear tribute to her skills at the Art of diplomacy.
State Department diplomacy earlier this week averted a confrontation with Iran, outsourcing the job to Russia, the formerly disrespected superpower. Exquisite. With a renewed sense of purpose, Russia has taken to the job with great gusto. Curiously, this risorgimento of Russo-American bonhommie comes at a moment -- Fortuna? -- when Chinese secrecy may result in an environmental catastrophe of Brobdingnagian proportions. This environmental tragedy presents a shrewd opportunity for the United States to obfuscate the Sino-Russian alliance which is clearly against our interests. Condoleeza Rice would be wise to bring Russia back into the Western antechamber by adopting a strategy of neo-Nixonian Triangulation.
This week also: Condoleeza Rice inserted American influence into the stalled Middle East Peace Process, gaining, after heavy negotiations, access for Palestinians to cross into Rafah (And, for the first time, Israel cedes the crossing to the Palestinian authority). The European Union, that most nebulous of international entities, which will help monitor the crossing point, was duly involved in the negotiations. After a disastrous first term diplomatically, the Bush Administration appears to now understand the concept of diplomacy (It's that "nuance" thing). In the process, Mahmoud Abbas, a man we can deal with, gains in stature (against -- always -- the spectre of Hamas), thus gaining legitimacy in negotiations with Israel, who had all but wrote him off as sufficiently irrelevant.
The peace process got another shot of adrenaline -- Fortuna again? -- with Ariel Sharon's seamless transition from the party he founded to the new "Forward," which, astonishingly, is effortlessly leading in the polls.
The stars are once again aligned favorably and Middle East Peace seems, however remote, a distinct possibility.
Take a bow, Madame Secretary. (The Corsair pours himself a glass of the black wine of Cahors, elixir of Popes) It is well deserved.
Why is this man smiling? (image via majoritywhip.gov)
Out: Majority Leader Blunt. Congressmen, like sharks, can smell blood in the water. Majority Leader and Majority Whip Blount of Missouri, who lacks the effectiveness -- and, in his defense, the stink of scandal -- of Tom Delay, is in way over his well-coiffed, Congressional head. And everyone in the United States House of Representatives knows it.
It should be noted in passing that Blunt, an amiable and essentially harmless dunce to be sure, was a last minute second choice for the extremely efficient Congressman Dreier, whose, ahem, "lifestyle" was a tad too, ehr, "sophisticated" for the rock-ribbed Republican Right. (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment)
Half a dozen Republicans are quietly scheming with Iagoesque intricacy behind the scenes to part Blunt from his House Leadership position. Most prominent among the names mentioned are Congressman Pence of Indiana, beloved of House conservatives. And, according to our favorite Dickensian villain, the punchy Robert Novak, Ohio Congressman John Boehner wants the Republican party to "break him off a piece," to wit:
"There is no doubt Rep. John Boehner of Ohio is quietly enlisting support from fellow House Republicans to elect him as majority leader in January. The question is whether Rep. Tom Reynolds of New York also is campaigning to be majority whip. Reports of a Boehner-Reynolds ticket have circulated in Washington, but Reynolds vigorously denies it. If he does run for whip, Reynolds would be accused of cutting and running from his duties as House Republican campaign chairman because of the difficult 2006 midterm election ahead.
"A special election in January would mean House Republicans have given up on Tom DeLay getting rid of his criminal indictment in Texas in time to resume the majority leader's chair in this session of Congress. Majority Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri has been acting leader. "
Congressman Blunt (Averted Gaze), we cannot fail to note, is most well known in his own home state for the fastidious attention he devotes upon the matter of manure. (A considerable pause; Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment)
A rock hard sweet ass calculated to rasp. (image via smh.com.au)
In: Madonna's Ass. Okay, The Corsair apologizes in advance if we are crude in expressing what ought to be said in-the-locker-room out loud, but honesty -- and our congenital Gemenianess asks, nay: demands -- an candid reckoning with regards to the subject of "sweet ass." A toned, "Arroz-con-pollo" ass like Madonna's, as displayed so charmingly in the "Hung Up" video, must be lauded for the craft and nurturing required for its prodigious upkeep.
Madonna's ass is a triumph of the will; Madonna's ass defies gravity as well as the ravages of Time.
For a fortysomething or however old she is, Madonna's has a fantastic poundcake. Respect.
President Ilham Aliyev: A low grade piece of Ass, to be sure. (image via unocqota)
Out: Ilham Aliyev. Wouldn't you love to know what former Governor and White House Chief of Staff -- to Bush 41 -- John Sununu had to say to PseudoPresdient Aliyev? And, while we are on the subject of the impossibly arrogant Sunnunu-- isn't it curious that Presidents tend to use the most infamously arrogant, nakedly ambitious of public officials as envoys on sensitive issues when dealing with dictators (Why is that? Expectations of Professional courtesy?). According to Swissinfo (link via JoseMarquez):
"Police in Azerbaijan's capital used truncheons and water cannon on Saturday to break up a protest by opposition supporters complaining of fraud in an election earlier this month.
"A Reuters reporter at the scene said he saw dozens of protesters with blood coming from head wounds after riot police moved in to disperse a crowd of about 10,000 people in a square on the outskirts of Baku.Police said the protesters were breaking the law. But the violent scenes may create added discomfort for Ilham Aliyev, the president of the oil-producing state who is already facing Western criticism over the November 6 parliamentary vote.
"'A lot of our people have been hurt,' Ali Kerimli, one of the leaders of the main Azadlyq opposition bloc, who was at the protest, told Reuters by telephone."
Branglina chat with Musharaaf, not pictured. (image via nationalledger)
In: Brangelina. Diplomacy had a tremendous week. Brangelina travelled to Pakistan to meet with "General" Musharaaf -- speaking of dictators with bad hair -- and did some celebrity diplomacy of their own, cashing-in on their Hollywood cred to bring attention to a calamity that has all but fallen off the radar of the global media. What's that sound? Oh, it's Jennifer Anniston oscillating wildly and throwing a high-pitched conniption fit. Never mind. Carry on. According to ITN:
"The Hollywood stars met the President during a crusade to help victims of Pakistan's earthquake disaster.
"Jolie described the 'hope and despair' she witnessed as she toured the Pakistani region of Rawalpindi and visited towns hit by the quake on October 8.
"Accompanied by Pitt, she said: 'You fly in a helicopter and you see ... one house after another just rubble, nothing standing.'
"Jolie appealed for a speedy delivery of promised aid to the country.
"Around 86,000 people were killed in the disaster, and more than 3 million homes were destroyed."
Of course, little or none of this content will actually be reported on tonight or tomorrow. It lacks "Zap!" All that will matter bittersweetly in the end is that in that same press conference Brangelina sidestepped questions as to whether or not they will marry. See if The Corsair is incorrect.
Kate Moss rocks our world! (images via thesun)
Post-rehab, post Doherty, several million dollars richer, Kate Moss looks, as you can see, quite goddamned wonderful. Good for her. The heart really is a quite resilient little muscle. From thesun:
"WELL, at least it�s only Kate Moss�s leg that�s high . . .Laughing Kate threw her right pin in the air on an island fashion shoot.The models looks back at her stunning best after kicking cocaine at a spell in rehab.
"Kate, 31, had been dumped by several fashion companies after revelations of her drug use.But as she lay on rocks on the Caribbean island of St Bart�s, and ran on the sands � switching between orange and grey dresses � it looked like her career was back on track."
Fembot love from the "approved right side." (image via towerload via gawker)
While we still don't quite know what Tom Ford has actually done re: Hollywood (Ford retired from the fashion industry dramatically, yet continues to haunt his old stomping grounds with an almost poltergeistish zest), and that W Magazine photoshoot with the fembots was downright fucking creepy, the man is a cash cow. Ford oozes success.
And, of course, ancillary to success is Vanity ("Vanitas vanitatum, et omnia vanitas"). From Popbitch, "Tom Ford only allows photographers to take pictures of his 'approved' right side."
Charmed, I'm sure. (Averted Gaze)
Friday, November 25, 2005
"Bad touch is if someone touched you, like where your bathing suit covers you .." (image via thecobrasnake)
Ironically, the DJ was playing something by ... Squeeze. (image via thecobrasnake)
Let's play: Guess whose not fucked up on 'X'? (image via thecobrasnake)
Easy access! (image via thecobrasnake)
"... Chello?" (image via thecobrasnake)
... Because Mariah needed thigh-dance. (image via yahoo.news)
(image via shopforphotos.net)
We can still hear the explosive and infectiously percussive laughter of Pat Morita, after he dunked the overconfident and precariously balanced Daniel-san into the chilly Pacific from their boat during that atmospheric Crane-style training scene in the first Karate Kid film (Scored, charmingly, by Bill Conti). That could not have been just acting, it was too much of a pure moment.
To the legions of young men -- The Corsair included -- who regarded Pat Morita as a sort of cinematical father-figure, a temperate mixture of the twin virtues of wisdom and strength, Morita's death comes as a crane-style kick to the side of the head.
We half expected Mr. Morita to grow old, do the requisite cameos, and perhaps -- if we were lucky -- to revive his role as our favorite dojomaster-of-one at some later date. Death, who laughs at such naive expectations from the future, had other plans. Pat Morita is gone and we are left to make sense of it. From Tom Molloy of the AP:
"Actor Pat Morita, whose portrayal of the wise and dry-witted Mr. Miyagi in 'The Karate Kid' earned him an Oscar nomination, has died. He was 73.
"Morita died Thursday at his home in Las Vegas of natural causes, said his wife of 12 years, Evelyn. She said in a statement that her husband, who first rose to fame with a role on 'Happy Days,' had 'dedicated his entire life to acting and comedy.'
"In 1984, he appeared in the role that would define his career and spawn countless affectionate imitations. As Kesuke Miyagi, the mentor to Ralph Macchio's 'Daniel-san,' he taught karate while trying to catch flies with chopsticks and offering such advice as 'wax on, wax off' to guide Daniel through chores to improve his skills."
Oh, he did so much more than that. Morita's Miyagi honed Daniel Laruso's unfocused teen angst into an effective weapon, one that would singlehandedly and methodically take down the entire Cobra-kai empire, led by the sinister, ass-dimpled on his chin "Kreese," the bent embodiment of the unappreciated Vietnam veteran gone ... sideways.
Our favorite scene of Miyagi is in the beginning of Karate Kid II, when, immediately following Daniel-san's victory at the Middle Valley tourney, Miyagi throws down on Kreese. Ninja-style. It was on like Gray Poupon!
Kreese is trippin' (image via photobucket)
Kreese, revealing his true, sulfuric nature, had the prickish California-blonde Johnny Lawrence in some ferocious Karate choke hold from behind (see above), and was about to put his former A-student down for the count. Enter: Miyagi.
Miyagi briskly took Kreese out, ironically without striking a single bone-crunching blow, leaving a bloddy-fisted and helpless Kreese to face the teleological end of his own errant philosophy. ("honk-honk")
And, afterwards, the following bittersweet lesson:
"Daniel: You could have killed him, couldn't you?
"Mr. Miyagi: Aiy.
"Daniel: Well, Why didn't you?
"Mr. Miyagi: Because Daniel, for man with no forgiveness in heart, life worse punishment than death."
Of course, Kreese would come back in Karate Kid Part 3, up to evil and out for revenge, with some geeky dude with a ponytail, and once again face ignoble defeat at the hands of the Crane-style. But that's beyond the point. Surely, Morita himself had learned of the transcendance of forgiveness, for according to the AP:
"For years, Morita played small and sometimes demeaning roles in such films as 'Thoroughly Modern Millie' and TV series such as 'The Odd Couple' and 'Green Acres.' His first breakthrough came with 'Happy Days,' and he followed with his own brief series, 'Mr. T and Tina.'
"... Morita was prolific outside of the 'Karate Kid' series as well, appearing in 'Honeymoon in Vegas,' 'Spy Hard,' 'Even Cowgirls Get the Blues' and 'The Center of the World.' He also provided the voice for a character in the Disney movie 'Mulan' in 1998.
"Born in northern California on June 28, 1932, the son of migrant fruit pickers, Morita spent most of his early years in the hospital with spinal tuberculosis. He later recovered only to be sent to a Japanese-American internment camp in Arizona during World War II.
"'One day I was an invalid,' he recalled in a 1989 AP interview. 'The next day I was public enemy No. 1 being escorted to an internment camp by an FBI agent wearing a piece.'
"After the war, Morita's family tried to repair their finances by operating a Sacramento restaurant. It was there that Morita first tried his comedy on patrons.
"Because prospects for a Japanese-American standup comic seemed poor, Morita found steady work in computers at Aerojet General. But at age 30 he entered show business full time.
"'Only in America could you get away with the kind of comedy I did,' he commented. 'If I tried it in Japan before the war, it would have been considered blasphemy, and I would have ended in leg irons. '"
And so, America made good on its shameful treatment of Pat Morita -- Michelle Malkin's disgusting defense of internment camps notwithstanding. Against the odds, despite a showbiz beginnings playing to sterotypes, Pat Morita triumphed. Alas, Hollywood never put together a reunion of sorts between Macchio and Morita. It would have made millions. It was not to be.
Pat Morita rides off into the Hollywood sunset, the stuff of legends, the fabric of soft memories, mourned by his legion of fans.
The Corsair will never forget first viewing the Karate Kid, especially that scene when Daniel-san takes the opportunity to look through Miyagi's photographic past after his master's sake-feuelled evening, discovering, in effect, a mysterious and concealed past. Although it took the sequel to flesh-out that past, in that moment, Danile-san realized that there was far more to his rescuer-building superintendant than he, a Jersey boy, would ever know. After reading about the internment camp and his childhood with spinal tuberculosis -- and comparing that to where he ended his days, working in Hollywood, the land of Dreams, I also feel that there is far more to Pat Morita than we will ever know.
With that, goodbye Pat Morita. Wax off, stage left, we will miss you.
Pat Morita, RIP
(image via hello!magazine via afp)
In: Sir Bob Geldoff. Geldoff, a noble with a keen sense of noblesse oblige took home a "Man of Peace" Award at, ironically, the all-but-peacefully named Julius Ceasar Hall. According to Hello!Magazine:
"Sir Bob Geldof's showed his more stylish side when he picked up a humanitarian award in Rome this week. The Irish star, who is famous for his casual presentation, was looking unusually dapper in a tailored pinstripe suit with buttoned-down collar when he appeared in the Italian capital.
"The former rock star, who was being honoured with the prestigious Man of Peace award at the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, found himself in some esteemed company, as former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was there to present him with the trophy.
"... 'Africa must be allowed to trade itself out of poverty,' he said. 'The EU must break the deadlock and as of today it has failed to do so. We live in a broken world which has never been healthier or wealthier, but some 500 kilometres south of here they die of want.'"
(image via twitch.net)
Out: Joaquin Phoenix. Was channeling Johnny Cash too much for Joaquin Phoenix's fragile vessel? It was hard enough, to be frank, for Johnny Cash to be Johnny Cash, much less some actor, no matter how talented he may be. First, Joaquin was feeling frogs in his hair. Now, according to Jeanette Walls:
"The moody actor, who plays Johnny Cash in the hit biopic, hinted to reporters that acting is so consuming he�s considering quitting.
�'Getting into a character is very difficult for me because I step away from everything that makes me comfortable,' Phoenix told the London Mirror. 'I show up with nothing in a strange hotel room in a strange city. I don�t know anybody. . . . I�d like a relationship � I�ve grown very tired of acting, the whole process, having to walk away from my life.'"
(image via smh.com.au)
In: Madonna. (Yeah, as a matter of fact: It is a slow day) We prefer the older, slightly less preachy incarnation, however, according to Reuters:
"As Madonna's 'Hung Up' jumps seven places to No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, the pop icon matches Elvis Presley's tally for top-10 hits -- 36, the most for any artist in the rock era.
"Madonna racked up that tally in about 21 and a half years, starting with 'Borderline.' Presley scored his 36 top 10 hits in 16 and a half years, from 1956 with "Heartbreak Hotel" until 1972 with 'Burning Love.'
"'Hung Up' is Madonna's highest-charting single in almost five years, since 'Don't Tell Me' reached No. 4 in February 2001. It is her first top 10 hit since her James Bond theme song 'Die Another Day' hit No. 8 in 2002."
(image via zug.com)
Out: Mel C. What's a washed up former Spice Girl to do? Mel C, or, as she was known to hordes of pre-pubescents in the late 90s (Averted Gaze), "Sporty Spice," recently self-financed the massive flop "Beautiful Intentions," and -- to make matters worse -- tore a ligament in her knee in a televised Judo match against Miss world (!).
Covered head-to-toe in loserdust, according to the 3AM Girls, shmaltzy Canadian crooner Bryan Adams says, unsportsmanlike, that the topheavy Pam Anderson is a better singer than Mel C:
"IS Bryan Adams trying to tell Mel C something? When the Canadian rocker did a new version of their duet, When You're Gone, he chose Pamela Anderson as Mel's replacement because - wait for it - she CAN'T sing.
"Bryan, 46, told Virgin Radio's Ben Jones: 'For my new anthology album I wanted to replace the song I did with Mel C as it wasn't a hit in America. So I asked Pamela if she could sing and she said no, and I said, 'Perfect!'
"'We recorded it in LA a couple of months ago. After a few glasses of champagne she was away.'"
The shmaltzy single here.
Well-aged beefcheeks? (image via cnn)
God bless the folks at Premiere. It was from Premiere that we first learned of Sam Jackson's "cracting," Brando's incessant "mooning," and the fact that Winona Rider spraying hot tears at Tom Waits' soulful rendition of "Waltzing Mathilda" ("You know, watching Tom Waits sing 'Waltzing Matilda' to Winona at the piano, Winona crying. It was a beautiful life. Les enfants du paradis.")
Now, Premiere totally befouls our mental image of The Four Seasons as being an austere joint for impeccably-clad but robustly botoxed ladies who lunch. Ass is on the menu, people; namely, a Dame Judy Dench's sweet, aged beefcheek salad with endives, chives and smooth watercress. (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment) Oh, Dame Judy. From the December 2005-January 2006 Premiere Magazine:
"Brantley Bardin: So do you turn film companies into faux theater companies?
"Dame Judy Dench: That's hard, because (the cast) is not all together that much. But, you understand, on Mrs. Brown, we were like a company, because we only had thirty days to do it -- it started life as television, and it was only thanks to Harvey Weinstein that it ended up as a film.
"BB: Yes, with Mr. Weinstein having released Mrs. Brown, Chocolat, Iris, Shakespeare in Love, The Shipping News, and now (Mrs. Henderson's Presents) I'm thinking you're neither Mrs. Brown nor Mrs. Henderson you're actually ... Mrs. Weinstein.
"JD: Oh, yes. Don't tell his girlfriend, will you?
"BB: What has stormy Harvey done that's made you laugh?
"JD: It made me laugh when I told him that I'd had his name tatooed on my bum -- and then showed him at lunch at the Four Seasons.
JD: It was painted on by my makeup lady."
Charmed, I'm sure. (Averted Gaze)
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Sorry for the lack of heads up that I was taking the day off. My email was hacked (We thought that sort of thing only happened to the Drudge-types; does that mean we have officially "Made It" as a blog?), so, as you can imagine, I was doing recon all day on what damage was done. If you are a media type who over the years has corresponded and you got an email allegedly from me in the last 24 hours beginning with the words "Dear Fucker .." or something to that effect -- that was really and truly not me.
Anyway: Happy Thanksgiving to all (Thank you for reading me daily over the past 3 years, or whenever you joined the Corsair fam), see you all back here Friday, after all is sorted out, security measures are put into place, normalcy is restored and my mood is more pirate-slapstick and less "Why are there people like Frank in this world?"
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Although Ted Koppel's gig at Nightline is nearly over, ABC brass cruelly announced his toupee is still in the running for the vacant Peter Jennings anchor chair. (image via news.yahoo)
The tragedy being that this earnest hipster truly feels the flavor, he just doesn't have the funk. (image via thecobrasnake)
Fabian and Martina Basabe mugging for the press at the Ambercrombie and Fitch opening. Immediately afterwards, both wipe their mouths with the back of their hands ostentatiously and say, in synchronicity, "Yuck!" (image via NYSocialDiary)
Debra Lefave is the teacher found guilty for "abusing" a student. Some would call her a slut. (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment) We prefer to think of her as ..."charitable." (image via yahoo)
... What fools these Mortals be. (image via yahoo)
Don't make this man angry. You wouldn't like him when he's angry. (image via cnn)
Has our favorite Dickensian villain metamorphosed into a virile Hemingwayesque protagonist? We think not. (Averted Gaze) From the Washpo (link via Romenesko):
"Don't mess with columnist Bob Novak when he's on his way to a Maryland basketball game. Novak, the enigmatic center of the CIA leak scandal, was headed to Hawaii Saturday morning to watch his beloved Terrapins play in the Maui Invitational tournament when he tangled with a fellow traveler.
"According to our unofficial mascot on the flight, Novak was boarding an American flight to Chicago when he cut in front of another passenger while entering first class. The guy protested and laid a hand on Novak -- who responded by socking him and threatening to knock his teeth out.
".. Novak, the enigmatic center of the CIA leak scandal, was headed to Hawaii Saturday morning to watch his beloved Terrapins play in the Maui Invitational tournament when he tangled with a fellow traveler....'
"We reached Novak in Maui, just minutes into yesterday's game.
"'Some guy pushed me and I pushed him back,' he said, shouting into the phone from the stands. 'That's all there was to it.'"
(A considerable pause; a sharp intake of oxygen) Several variables contrive to deny Our Novak the status of filthy manliness.
To wit: 1) The article is written so tongue in cheek that one can almost feel the editorial staff laughing in unison at the assembly of the story as we read from the page, 2) While, yes, engaging in fisticuffs over sports is the very stuff of virility, we cannot fail to note that this is not the case when the sports team in question is named after turtles, the slowest terrestrial animals, and, further, not when the alleged pseudobrawl takes place in Maui, and, most importantly, 3) The use of the world "socking" in the article to characterize the state of violence suggests not so much a dangerous fisticuffs in which eyes and teeth would be rendered unhitched, so much as bad 1950's gangster dialogue better left to The Movie Channel. Sorry, Bob, you still only rate a Dickensian villain in our book. A thirsty evil, to be sure.