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Monday, June 29, 2009

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"Cinematographer Nicola Pecorini, who worked with Ledger on his last film, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, says Ledger 'used to smoke marijuana on a regular basis, like probably 50 percent of Americans.' But after it became an issue, Ledger 'went clean as a whistle.' And vocal coach Gerry Grennell, who worked and lived with the actor during the filming of The Dark Knight, says Ledger even stopped drinking: 'Heath would happily go to the bar, buy a round of drinks for friends, and come back and have a soda or juice, never once drinking alcohol .. Ledger’s use of sleeping medication to combat chronic insomnia at the end of his life was of more concern to Grennell. 'I’d say, ‘If you can possibly bear it to stop taking the medications, do, because they don’t seem to be doing you any good.’ He agreed. It is very difficult for me to imagine how close he came to not taking them.' Ledger would typically spend night after night awake, diverting himself with time killers, Biskind reports, such as re-arranging the furniture in whatever space he happened to be living in at the moment. Grennell coached him in the Alexander Technique, which helped him to sleep for a few hours at a time, but he still struggled." (VanityFair)



"For the sake of storage, we hope one of the Autobots also doubles as a very large bank vault. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen dominated the box office this weekend to the tune of $112 million in ticket sales. Couple that with the $89.2 million earned since the film opened last Wednesday, and Transformers has already grossed a ridiculous $201.2 million, giving it the second largest five-day opening haul in Hollywood history, behind only the $203.8 million earned by The Dark Knight last summer. The search for 2009’s first megablockbuster can officially stop." (BoxOfficeGuru)



"Before Michael Jackson’s body was cold, controversy was already brewing around the custody of his three children. Michael Joseph, 12, Paris Michael, 11, and Prince Michael, 7 (Blanket) landed in limbo when their dad died because they have no real 'mother' and it’s unclear which of several women in their lives might be granted custody." (TheDailyBeast)



(Bobby Sager and NBC-Universial entertainment vice-chairman Ben Silverman via NYSocialDiary)

"NBC and The Creative Coaltion hosted the world premiere of 'The Philanthropist' in Washington last Thursday evening. Why here? Because, according to Ben Silverman, the network’s co-chairman of entertainment, the show’s theme is 'at the epicenter of what’s going on in Washington' ..Executive Producer Peter Horton’s direction is exciting, and the star, James Purefoy, at least in person, is thoughtful, friendly and a pleasure for the eyes. His character, Teddy Rist, is based on the adventures of a real life rich boy 'philanthropist,' Bobby Sager .. Emmy Award-winning writer/executive producer Tom Fontana, co-creator and executive producer Charlie Corwin, executive producer Gareth Neame, and executive producer Teri Weinberg .. were scheduled to be at the White House the next morning for a tour hosted by Social Secretary Desiree Rogers." (WashingtonSocialDiary)

"Whatever the CIA is doing in Iran — handing out Blackberrys, maybe — isn’t immediately obvious. Which is a good thing. But even if the spy agency has an informant serving tea to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, there can be little confidence that it really knows what’s going on in Iran. That is not to knock the CIA, which is easy enough on any account. As I was reminded the other day, even the very best intelligence agency can get things wrong in that part of the world. It’s well known that our spy chiefs were surprised and, dare I say it, shocked, when forces unleashed by the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Iran in 1978 brought down the CIA-installed shah, who had occupied the Peacock Throne for a quarter of a century, despite the ubiquity of Americans in the country. What is far less well known, however, is that even Israel’s much vaunted intelligence service was surprised by the joint Egypt-Syrian attack in October 1973. And by most accounts, its intelligence on Iran- and Syria-backed Hezbollah guerrillas in southern Lebanon in 2006 was fatally flawed." (CQPolitics)



"IT sounds like Harold Ford Jr. and his wife, fashionista Emily Threlkeld, might be planning on a baby. The Post's Jennifer Gould Keil reports that charismatic Ford, the former Tennessee congressman turned New York banker who's also a regular on MSNBC's 'Morning Joe,' is putting their co-op at 105 Fifth Ave. up for sale for $1.79 million. The pad has classical features and 11-foot high ceilings but only one bedroom, and Ford's been saying on the show they're ready to have a child. Broker Kathy Sloane of Brown Harris Stevens had no comment." (PageSix)



"One Sage came from Omaha, seeking stocks he could hold 'forever.' Another fled Hungary and traded his way to wealth. The third, a rumpled giant, slew the inflation dragon that ravaged the U.S. in the 1970s. Warren Buffett, George Soros and Paul Volcker may look as different as Coca-Cola, Cristal and German lager. Yet all three had this in common: the character and judgment to shun the mob, as can be seen from two new books on the financial crisis, 'The Sages' by Charles R. Morris and 'Our Lot' by Alyssa Katz. Their approaches are poles apart. Morris offers three biographical sketches to show what it takes to rise above financial frenzy. Katz plunges us into the stampede itself, documenting how decades of U.S. social engineering fed the anxiety and greed that drove Americans mad with housing lust. Taken together, they offer insights into how to steer through the crisis and toward a sounder future." (Bloomberg)



"The Huffington Post is trying to monetise its overseas audience, enlisting AdGent 007 to sell localised ads to readers outside the US. The 'internet newspaper' may be highly US-centric but its publishing model - aggregating leading opinions, insight and news - is attracting admiration in international publisher circles, too. European unique users grew 279 percent to 864,000 in the year to May, including 244 percent growth in the UK to 305,000, comScore (NSDQ: SCOR) told paidContent:UK." (Paidcontent)

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