Thursday, February 23, 2006

A Little of the Old In and Out


(image via NYSocialDiary)

In: David Patrick Columbia. From his strategically perfect Table 8 at Michael's (anyone who enters or exits the power eatery must pass by that significant table), Our favorite social chronicler, David Patrick Columbia entertains all sorts, from European royalty to, well, myself. (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment) We'll say at the outset that we rather adore DPC and his infinite gossip and history about the power centers in DC-NY-LA. He is the perfect lunchtime companion. David Patrick Columbia pulled out all the stops at Michael's yesterday. According to FishbowlNY:

"It was a fun day today. At the bar. Not. We were supposed to join David Patrick Columbia at Table 8 (his regular table), but at the very last second he cancelled because he had a surprise visit by none other than Joan Collins. Oh well, we can't blame him.

"(Table 8) New York Social Diary's David Patrick Columbia with Joan Collins looking devilish in all black wool, a thick, tufty fur cap and a gigantic glittering diamond cross. She was accompanied by her husband of five years, Percy Gibson. We ran into Joan in the ladies room and said, 'What a cool outfit you're wearing.' She looked down, ran her fingers over the fabric and quipped: 'Actually, it's quite hot.'"

Also at Michael's yesterday at lunchtime: Diana Taylor and Barbara Walters (together at Table 5); "Dapper Court TV CEO Henry Schleiff (we like him, we really do), with Tom Fontana of OZ fame"; and "Keith Kelly in deep conversation with Seventeen magazine's uber multi-media diva Atoosa Rubenstein wearing a ripped-at-the-neck-on-purpose black Lanvin number and a Tracy Reese necklace to cover (accentuate?) the tear."

If you want the full dose of Laurel Touby's addictive media crack, you'll have to go here.


(image via

Out: Greed, Lust, Sex. Democratic capitalism at its best brings the greatest hapiness to the greatest number of people. No other form of government known to man comes close. But one of the great dangers of democratic capitalism is the possibility that in the marketplace our basest instincts might eventually triumph. Often they do. The marketplace, for example, values the "works" of shmaltzy fuckers Neil Diamond and Barry Manilow more than it does Anne-Sophie Mutter or extraordinary jazz-genius Keith Jarrett. (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment)

While Newscorp's new channel may indeed be "profitable from Day 1," the Wall Street Journal took an unusually critical look at the possible implications of the venture (link via iwantmedia):

"News Corp. will launch a new broadcast network called My Network TV in September, a swift and aggressive response to Time Warner Inc. and CBS Corp.'s decision last month to form the CW network.

"My Network TV will strive to attract viewers aged 18 to 49 with a unique prime-time gameplan: Instead of the traditional patchwork quilt of reality shows, sitcoms and dramas offered by the likes of the big four networks, My Network TV will air new episodes of the same show every night of the week. It's a programming format more akin to daytime television than prime time.

"High-brow the endeavor is not. My Network TV will kick off with two campy, sex-drenched dramas in the style of Spanish-language telenovelas. 'Desire' will air at 8 p.m. and chronicle the lives of two brothers fleeing the Mafia who find themselves in love with the same woman. 'Secrets,' which will air at 9 p.m., focuses on 'greed, lust, blackmail and blind ambition' at a fashion company, according to Twentieth Television, the News Corp. studio producing both programs. One show in development as a back-up is a reality series titled 'Celebrity Love Island.'"

"... Although Messrs. Chernin and Ailes both described having their stations dumped by UPN as "a huge opportunity," there's no question that News Corp. wasn't pleased at how CBS and Time Warner handled the announcement of the CW. Due to the sensitivity of negotiations, CBS and Time Warner didn't inform certain business partners of their plans until just before they held a press conference. Mr. Ailes, who added oversight of Fox's TV station group to his control of Fox News Channel last year, was only given 20 minutes notice."

We're hoping that Newscorp -- which, we cannot fail to note, is navigating the dodgy straights of this new digital whirlwing majestically -- will come up with some more respectable and sophisticated offerings than we see at present. We know they have it in them. More here.


(image via onlinereporter)

In: LoudEye. The Sunday Times article has launched a thousand coutiers after LoudEye. Although LoudEye is a shambles it has the potential to be useful to a larger and more aggressive company. The courtiers, incidentally, are Google, Microsoft and Amazon, who look to be targeting the company for acquisition. According to the article:

"Loudeye has access to millions of songs from record companies, large and small, and is the engine behind many European music websites, including MSN, Virgin Megastore, MTV and

"It also handles back-office fulfilment functions for Apple�s iTunes, the dominant online music store.

"Loudeye, an American company, acquired Gabriel�s OD2 business just over 18 months ago, but the company has struggled badly.

"Mike Brochu, the Loudeye chief executive, said that he inherited 'a shambles' and has recently announced a wide-ranging restructuring that has left the company largely focused on the original OD2 business, which is based in Bristol.

"With less than $12m (�6.9m) to support the loss-making business, Brochu is conducting a strategic review that is likely to lead to a sale.

�'Ideally, I would like to continue to build it,' he said. 'That would be my wish. The pragmatic side of me says that if the right opportunity came along from a strategic buyer, my first responsibility is to the shareholders.'"

Here come the suitors. According to Paidcontent:

"Loudeye's music business is B2B and Google, when it starts its music biz, would be consumer. I could see MSFT to kickstart their music efforts, especially in Europe...and of course, the still vaporware Amazon music service might get a kick with it. Mike Brochu, Loudeye CEO, is pretty pragmatic about it: 'Ideally, I would like to continue to build it,' he said. 'That would be my wish. The pragmatic side of me says that if the right opportunity came along from a strategic buyer, my first responsibility is to the shareholders.'

" John Cook: Readers have e-mailed me in the past couple of weeks asking about the huge trading volumes in Loudeye stock. And as the The Times story points out, this could be an indicator of a buyer swooping in. In fact, average trading volume this month is 67.9 million shares. That compares to just 3.6 million shares last month. Still, the stock is stuck around 61 cents."


"Porky" (image via washtimes)

Out: Senator Ted Stevens. Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska is a tough, leathery old bastard. His time, though, has passed. For example, he is inflexible on ANWR; now, he throwing his considerable weight as President Pro Temproe of the Senate behind the archaic culture of Lobbyist influence, which is clearly on the wane. The longest serving Republican in the Senate (he was appointed in 1968 to fulfill the term of the beloved Senator Bob Bartlett, who had died while still in office), his brand of old Alaskan conservatism makes even today's conservatives blush with shame. According to the perfect Dickensian villain, Robert Novak:

"The cream of Washington's lobbyists gather next Monday evening on Capitol Hill, paying at least $1,000 apiece, to listen to Sen. Ted Stevens, the doughty and defiant president pro tempore of the Senate. In the climate of lobbyist and earmark reform, they will hear plenty.

"The 82-year-old Stevens put his fabled temper on display as chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee last Thursday when he browbeat a federal bureaucrat for diminishing largess to his beloved Alaska. Stevens, the Senate's senior Republican, bemoaned the assault on the earmark, an instrument he has refined -- enabling the individual lawmaker to override the executive branch's control of spending.

"Sen. John McCain has described a symbiotic relationship between lobbyists and earmarks breeding a climate of corruption. A freewheeling lobbyist can enrich himself and his friends, bypassing regular governmental and legislative procedures, by earmarking funds in legislation. Nobody has accused Stevens of any part in this scandalous system. But he is the Senate's lion in winter, standing athwart reform.

"Stevens showed his distress at last Thursday's Commerce Committee hearing. The witness was Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration -- a federal agency that has been the uncomplaining beneficiary of Stevens' earmarks. But Lautenbacher now has felt Stevens' wrath. The senator complained that President Bush's effort at some control over federal spending had discriminated against Alaska."
Crusty fucker. More here.


(image via aol)

In: Is the Kimora-Russell Marriage A Sham? We have always secretly wondered in the quiet of our soul if this is a real marriage, or is it something contractually arranged in a lawyer's office. Both worship the dark Elder god Mammon; but he is a vegan, and she is a heathen. (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment) On the one hand, he at least pretends to be "spiritual" to offset the pungent ghetto ultra-materialism that permeates his media persona; she couldn't care less. Kimora actually thinks it maximalist displays of wealth are tasteful. (Averted Gaze) We don't even want to imagine what the two look like in the process of "commingling." Says out favorite superhero duo Rush and Molloy:

"Kimora Lee Simmons is hosing down talk that her blissful marriage to hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons is a sham.

"Ever since they wed in 1998, the power couple has battled gossip that their union was one of 'convenience' - that business, more than passion, held them together, and that their interests, shall we say, lay elsewhere.

"Kimora argues: 'One thing my marriage is not is convenient. I am inconvenienced, s-!

"'Honey, Russell and I have been together 14 years,' she adds. 'That's almost half my life.'

"The bodacious model and fashion czarina admits she and Def Jam founder have had their rough patches.

"'The things we go through are very regular things that regular people in Middle America go through,' she tells Margeaux Watson in Vibe Vixen magazine.

"Folks in Kenosha, Wis., may not have exactly the same issues. Take that time Russell slapped her picture on a Phat Farm T-shirt without her permission.

"'He didn't pay me, which is totally illegal,' she points out. 'That's like putting a print of Beyonc� on my shirt - she would sue the s- out of me! But I never did sue him. See, that's one of the things about being married.'"

(A considerable pause) We are .. speechless; fly-bitch has robbed us of the power of speech. More here.


(image via comedycentral)

Out: Damon Wayans. We are not really fans of the Wayans brothers brand of comedy that involves almost exclusively artful commentary on body functions. (Averted Gaze) And Scary Movie 2 may be the worst movie we have ever seen (we actually slept during a screening). But this takes the cake. According to Wired (link via ohnotheydidnt):

"The actor Damon Wayans has been engaged in a 14-month fight to trademark the term 'Nigga' for a clothing line and retail store, a search of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's online database reveals.

"Wayans wants to dress customers in 14 kinds of attire from tops to bottoms, and use the controversial mark on 'clothing, books, music and general merchandise,' as well as movies, TV and the internet, according to his applications.

"But, so far, his applications have been unsuccessful. Trademark examiner Kelly Boulton rejected the registration dated Dec. 22, citing a law that prohibits marks that are 'immoral or scandalous.' A previous attempt by Wayans was turned down on identical grounds six months earlier.

"While debate exists about in-group uses of the term, 'nigga' is almost universally understood to be derogatory," Boulton wrote to Wayans' attorney, William H. Cox, according to the application.

"Cox and other representatives of the actor did not respond to interview requests about the registration.Wayans can appeal the rejection, but experts in trademark law differ on his chances for success."

What manner of a stupid ass is Damon Wayans? You'll remember that the Wayans brothers wanted to name the stinkbomb movie "Blankman," "Blackman" until studio executives stepped in and made a decision to change the name. Classy. (Averted Gaze)


(image via glowria.typepad)

In: Telenovelas. We don't speak Spanish, but our favorite telenovela of all time -- which we watched religiously -- was "Xica da Silva." The Corsair just liked to look at the full-bodied Brazillian women (the networks prefer more anorexic fare). We knew something was up with Spanish language programming when Richard Parsons started making waves about Univision. According to the LATimes:

"Suddenly, everyone wants to be in the telenovela business.The first programs for the newly announced My Network TV, the mini-network of News Corp.'s nine former UPN affiliates, will be two prime-time melodramas fashioned after the popular Spanish-language serials. The company is not going out on a limb with the idea. The major networks � NBC, ABC and CBS � have similar plans to rework the Latin American format for mainstream U.S. audiences.

"Telenovelas (sometimes shortened to novelas) feature over-the-top plotlines similar to those of traditional daytime soap operas, if a little racier. But if daytime soaps can drag story lines out for years, often taking months to resolve the smallest points, telenovelas typically have a clear, predetermined end date, running five nights a week for three to 18 months.

"They get in, they get out and they get noticed. Since Nielsen Media Research began including Spanish-language networks Univision and Telemundo in its prime-time ratings in December, telenovelas have consistently made the top 10. Univision's 'Alborada' ('Dawn') performs very well among 18-to-49-year-olds and often ranks higher than some of the English-language programming in its time slot.As networks look for new, innovative programming, they are turning to the Spanish-language sizzlers as a way of reinvigorating their lineups."

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