Monday, February 06, 2006

A Little of the Old In and Out


Oh, It's on like Gray Poupon. (image via msnbcmedia)

In: Parsons Versus Icahn. The first rule of media mogul fight club is you do not talk about media mogul fight club ... Eisner versus Katzenberg; Godzilla versus King Kong; Ali versus Frazier; Lindsay versus Scarlett -- these are the great feuds of our time, people. Add one more to the list: Brooklynite Carl Icahn versus Queens' own Dick Parsons. Everyone from Barry Diller to Bruce Wasserstein is involved, in one way or another, in this full-on balls-to-the-wall media brawl to end it all. Tomorrow, at long last, at the St. Regis Hotel, we will hear of Carl Icahn's actual plans for the beleagured Time Warner, where he is the largest individual shareholder. According to Jon Friedman's Marketwatch (link via iwantmedia):

"Parsons of Brooklyn and Icahn of Queens are as different as oil and water. Parsons prefers to let his results speak for themselves instead of shouting to reporters. He is thoughtful and analytical in the way of the corporate lawyer he was trained to be. Icahn preens and seems to love playing to the media."

David Wilkerson of Marketwatch notes that the largest institutional shareholder is backing Icahn:

"Capital Research & Management, the largest institutional shareholder in Time Warner with a stake of more than 5%, has become disillusioned with the performance of the company's stock and is expected to back Icahn's push for a breakup of the media giant's assets, The Times of London reported in its Monday editions.

"A Capital Research spokeswoman declined comment, saying the investment firm does not discuss its holdings.

"If Capital Re does join Icahn's effort, he will be able to say that a group representing more than 8.5% of Time Warner shares is in favor of a restructuring."

Meanwhile, in Newsweek (on stands now), Rupert Murdoch backs Parsons:

"Newsweek: To increase the stock price, Viacom's boss, Sumner Redstone, split up the company. Now dissident investor Carl Icahn is trying to force the breakup of Time Warner.

"Murdoch: Look at Viacom shareholders. They made little or nothing. As of yesterday, the stock was back to where it was before the split-up. Look at Time Warner. They are very well run. If you split them apart, there's no more than $1 or $2 in it for shareholders. And that's without thinking about [capital gains] taxation. I don't know what Icahn thinks he's doing. Icahn has gone out on a limb. Even if he succeeds in getting it broken up�and that would be very sad�I don't think he'd make money out of it."

Paidcontent here.

Icahn's "Enhance Time Warner" site here (Formal launch: 3:30 EST tomorrow).

The full Marketwatch story on the feud (And how Time Warner is covering it).


Heather Pink, rocking the pornish deer-in-the-headlights look. (image via myspace)

Out: Trust Fund Sluts. Paris Hilton, what hath thou wrought? Historians of the future may look back, lasciviously, and claim -- in mid-salivation -- that the Sargasso-sea green porn video seeped, smarmily, onto the pristine catwalk (eew; watch thy step, models) We all know about rockstars and porn. Those two dubious "vocations" are ancient allies.

Now fashionistas and socialites can commingle just as freely. According to the Chris Wilson of the NYPost's buzztastic "Fashion Buzz":

"SOCIALITES who shop at the A.S. Parker boutique on Madison Avenue may find themselves portrayed in an upcming series of porn movies called 'Trust Fund Sluts.'

"Andrew Parker - the preppy owner and designer of the A.S. Parker line - has a girlfriend, Heather Pink, who happens to be a porn star. The buxom blonde stars in such carnal classics as 'Ultra Vixens New York City' when she's not working in Parker's shop.

"Pink says she plans to produce and star in the 'Trust Fund Sluts' series, which is 'based on real socialites whose names I can't mention, but if you watch the movies you'll figure out who they are,' she said.

"Pink isn't the only oddball employee of A.S. Parker, which counts Matthew Modine, Muffy Potter-Aston and Fabian Basabe among its clientele. Foppish party fixture Patrick McDonald just signed on as fashion director, and will bolster Parker's collection of polos, sweaters and oxfords with edgier pieces by emerging designers."

In the ghetto that is porn, creativity rears it's ugly head -- no pun intended -- in the naming process. We can already imagine those delicious porn-socialite sobriquets: Matthew Blow-ween; or, better, Labian Basabe. And we'll just leave the all-too-descriptive "Muffy" name as-is ... (Averted Gaze)

More Fashion Buzz here.


(image via

In: Jim Cramer. If Jim Cramer's spasmodic antics smack of classic Bonobo-ape-in-heat behavior it is probably because he trained under the tutilege of The Master Primate, Steven Brill, who, we cannot fail to note, once tried to eat his former employee (Cramer probably tasted like the "hot dog" he is). Still, he is -- as the Dallas Morning News informs us -- "CNBC's highest-rated business show for viewers in the 25-to-54 age bracket." According to the DallasMorningNews (link via Romenesko):

"Jim Cramer certainly looks sane.

"But then it's still four hours before he goes on the air � four hours before this thoroughly engaging madman is unleashed on the investing public as host of CNBC's highly rated show Mad Money. Mr. Cramer is dressed in a crisp, white shirt and dark tie, sitting calmly on the deserted set of Mad Money at CNBC headquarters here. He's discussing stock investing in the measured tones of the Harvard-trained lawyer that he is.

"'I am trying to get unsophisticated people to understand about money,' he said. 'I'm trying to appeal to that great mass of people who don't know the difference between a stock and a bond or people who are bored by investing.'

"That battle against boredom and complexity � something all business-related shows face � is why the folks at CNBC allow Mr. Cramer to transform one of their sets into a one-man insane asylum every day. The pockmarked walls and cracked Plexiglas of the set are tangible evidence of chairs gone airborne.

"When the show really gets rolling, he stands atop his desk and flails his arms, or throws small, foam red bulls toward the head of his producer, Susan Krakower, whose job is to keep this man from spontaneously combusting.

"Somehow, it all works better than any other show at CNBC. Every night a combined 416,000 viewers tune in to Mad Money at 5 p.m. Dallas time or its replay at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m."

If Steve Brill tried to eat you at a vicious little waterpolo game, wouldn't you be a little fucked up as well?


(image via nymetro via Emanuele Scorcelletti)

Out: Don't Pinch Karl Lagerfeld's Ass. In the Lagerfeldian cosmos, where buff men in fingerless gloves and elegant paper fans swoop about, everyone is out to touch him. It's all about Karl. They even want to pinch an inch. And, according to Rush and Molloy, Lagerfeld is displeased:

"If you see him at Bryant Park, don't try to be too affectionate.

"'In the whole world, there is nowhere I can go,' the designer says. 'In Japan, they touch me. I have Japanese women pinch my a�, so now I must say, 'You can have the photo, but please don't touch me.' You cannot pinch the a� of a man my age!"

From Vanessa Grigoriades' New York article:

�'Everybody has a camera, and it is flash-flash-flash, and I am a puppet, a marionette, Mickey at Disneyland for children to play with. And I cannot go out without something for my eyes, because someone might throw chemicals in my face, and I would be like my childhood French teacher whose wife burnt him with acid, Mr. Pommes-Frites ..."


"A dreadlocked white guy with Rollerblades slung over his shoulder streaks down the sidewalk and snarls, 'Blood for money, that�s what Karl Lagerfeld wants. Karl is greedy! Karl is evil! Karl is wicked! Karl is . . . the devil!'"

Karl Lagerfeld is not the Devil. Karl Lagerfeld is "The Horse Muncherer." (More Rush and Molloy; New York Mag)


Larry Kirshbaum. (image via romantictimes)

In: Legardere. This should have an interesting effect on tomorrow's confab at the St. Regis with Bruce Wasserstein and Carl Icahn. Drama! According to Greg Lindsay at FishbowlNY:

" Lagardere to buy Time Warner Book Group for $537.5 million. Larry Kirshbaum barely had time to clean out his desk before they sold it off. Meanwhile, a few blocks away, Carl Icahn breaks out his red pencil."

And, says FT's -- via MSNBC -- Aline Van Dyne:

"... The acquisition will make Lagard�re's book business, which publishes authors such as Stephen King and John Le Carr�, the third-biggest in the world and will give it an immediate presence in the US."

Listen to that sound ... It's Carl Icahn hurling chairs.


(image via

Out: Roy Blunt. How did John Boehner get the House Majority Leader post? The Corsair thought, by the by, that it would take years before we got the full story as to how Blunt got the axe. Republicans -- especially conservatives -- aren't much for leaking. But we didn't count on our favorite Dickensian villain, Robert Novak, who writes:

"When Roy Blunt entered the Caucus Room of the Cannon House Office Building on Thursday, he was sure he had enough votes from fellow Republican House members to be elected majority leader. He probably would have won had it not been for what was said by two dissimilar congressmen: Bill Thomas of California and Mark Souder of Indiana.

Thomas seldom deigns to descend from his Olympian heights as House Ways and Means Committee chairman. Accordingly, his colleagues were surprised when he rose to imply Blunt had not made the trains run on time as acting majority leader. Souder, a back-bench bomb thrower for 11 years, suggested that the election of Blunt could ratify the Democratic indictment of the GOP as the party of corruption.

"The speeches by Thomas and Souder built concern that Blunt's election would signal that Republicans really want nothing to change. Blunt would have continued the promotion from within for Republican leadership of a select circle of insiders intimately connected to the K Street lobbyist community. Blunt's campaign exuded an aura of entitlement, especially when he declined to appear with his opponents on Sunday televised interview programs.

" ... Thomas' speech backed Boehner as a fellow committee chairman who appreciated present shortcomings in House operations. 'If these elections come back with the same top leadership,' Souder declared, 'we will be telling the American people that we have not changed -- that the rest of the world has shifted, but we have not.'"

And so they did. The full story here.

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