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Monday, April 12, 2010

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



(image via NYSD)

"In the Frank Sinatra biography, My Way, (Kitty Kelly) tells the story of how JFK, then President was scheduled to stay overnight at Sinatra’s Palm Springs house, and in anticipation, Sinatra had a helipad immediately built so that the President could be delivered right to the door, far from the madding crowd. However, last minute, Sinatra’s relationship to the Mob became an issue in the matter, and the President (probably much to his own chagrin) was re-routed to stay elsewhere (where he no doubt didn’t have had as good a time, and damned well knew it). Sinatra was so angry and slighted by the change of plan that on hearing the news, took a sledge hammer, went out to the helipad and started banging away at it, in his raging fury. If you wanna know what it was like to be around Frank Sinatra when he was angry. There were a lot of people around Frank Sinatra who did not like the book, and were insulted. Although a friend of mine out there, the late Armand Deutsch, who was a close friend of Sinatra’s as well as an admirer and a fan of the man, told me, after reading Kitty’s book, that 'she pretty much got it right.' Sinatra stories, if you have ever lived within hearing distance of his world, are always fascinating. He had a big personality to match his big fame, and a big temperament that ran the gamut of emotions – and passionately -- just like his songs. His friends loved him, and not because he was Frank Sinatra, but because he was a GREAT friend. Dominick Dunne, on the other hand, for example, loathed him because he personally had been victimized and publicly humiliated by the horrible bully in the man. In Oprah we have another phenomenal public personality .." (NYSocialDiary)



"They are enemies, yet so much alike, media tycoons fiddling with empires and battling over market shares and airways. The edge, though, goes to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, owner of his country's largest TV corporation and head of a center-right government that regulates a network run by his voracious rival, Rupert Murdoch. The high-stakes tussle, which would make an enticing miniseries, is a saga of billionaires, pornography, technology, conflicted interests and the future of television in Italy and perhaps Europe. The drama highlights the competition between two of the industry's most relentless personalities. Murdoch, owner of Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and tabloids featuring topless women, epitomizes conservative populism. Berlusconi, whose topless women are more likely to appear on his yacht, is known for a scandal-prone government and outrageous quips, such as his description of President Obama as 'young, handsome and suntanned.' The skirmish is driven by the prime minister's dominance of Italy's commercial and political worlds." (LATimes)



"We’ve all been reminded repeatedly that Democrats face problems this year because of both the normal drop in midterm turnout and the mix of voters in non-presidential years. But those national problems will be magnified in a couple of states without high-profile races at the top of the ballot. Democratic problems in both Virginia and New Jersey, where Republicans won governorships in November, could well be repeated in congressional contests this year, in part because neither state has a statewide race on the ballot in November." (Stuart Rothenberg/CQPolitics)



"One of the best gags in the new film Boogie Woogie, a satire on the London art scene at the height of its Noughties boom, comes after the credits. It’s the disclaimer: 'Any similarity to the name, character or history of any actual person, living or dead, or to any actual event, firms, institutions or other entities, is entirely coincidental and unintentional.' ... Amid the sharp business practices, art is an aphrodisiac ('It’s so alive!'), though the real turn-on is being able to demand 'How much?' This is collecting as a form of conquest. And in the hunt for sexual trophies, the gallerinas who prettify the sales desks are fair game. Those in the know may snigger at the scenario’s little details, but the rest of us will be wondering, 'Is that what really goes on?' Manhattan art circles have already played this guessing game. The novel by Danny Moynihan on which Boogie Woogie is based set the story in 1990s New York. Who was the model for Art Spindle, the irrepressible dealer at its centre? Artforum magazine opined that Spindle was 'too bourgeois to be Larry [Gagosian]'. Artforum was probably only being polite. The dealer Gagosian has elsewhere been described as 'a combination of corporate raider, a dark lord, Peggy Guggenheim and a railroad magnate'; in another profile, 'a feeding machine.'" (TimesOnline)



"Fortunately, because interest rates are lower in China than those on its US bonds, the Chinese central bank does not incur any accounting cost to carry out its sterilisation programme. If, however, the Treasury stopped selling bonds to China, the Chinese central bank would have to convert its dollars in China to other currencies, such as the euro, and purchase euro-denominated assets. These purchases would drive up the value of the euro and increase China’s conversion costs. Those costs may be high enough to reduce returns on China’s foreign reserves below what the central bank must pay on its sterilising bonds. At this point, to keep its accounts balanced, the central bank can either allow the renminbi to appreciate against the dollar so it needs to spend fewer renminbi to buy dollars, or to stop issuing sterilising bonds and allow domestic inflation. As domestic prices increase in China, Chinese goods will cost more dollars. Either way, the renminbi will appreciate." (FT)

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