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Friday, August 26, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"About 40 yards away from the house, in the middle of a large grass lawn, is an ordinary looking rectangular hedge. What’s inside is far from ordinary. A set of stairs go down and down, about 40 feet altogether, into a heavily reinforced bunker with neon lights, a fire alarm system and wall-mounted telephones. Light green steel doors about a foot thick separate a complex series of tunnels and rooms, which seem to have been built as a last-ditch hideout. Neighborhood residents say they found a fully equipped operating room in the bunker which included an X-ray machine. Surgical masks are strewn around various rooms in the bunker, too. The usable medical equipment was taken out and donated to local hospitals. A couple of the rooms are decked out with bunk beds, perhaps for a security detail or other family members. Gaddafi, or his son Mutassim, did like to muse about self-defense in their underground lair. In one room, there is a 404-page book by Jane’s Consultancy called Protection of Libyan Military Assets. But it’s not all business down in the bunker: there were a number of magazines in English, including Playboy, Vogue, and National Geographic, scattered around various rooms, along with an empty box of Corona beer. 'He’s one freak,' says Ashraf al Khadiri, a 30-year-old doctor who also lives in the neighborhood. 'He’s been preparing for this moment for a long time.' Neighborhood residents had long suspected there was an underground facility on the property because of the large amount of dirt that was trucked out during construction. 'We always thought he could be walking under our houses,' says Khadiri with a smirk and a shrug. 'We didn’t know.'" (TheDailyBeast)

"He was once hailed by Vanity Fair as 'a sartorial genius of our time', despite a look that appeared to be a fusion of Michael Jackson and Sylvester Stallone – with an added flanking battalion of virgins – but what we've seen of Colonel Gaddafi's interior design taste so far has been disappointingly tasteful. Given that he had a merciless will, billions of oil dollars, a well-established hierarchy of minions, and even a signature colour, you might have expected something more spectacular than the recent pictures of his daughter Aisha's palace (AKA 'the prostitute's palace') suggested. True, the gold-mermaid-with-Aisha's-face sofa in the stairwell pushed the right buttons. But other images of the home revealed that the swimming pool had a rather nice vaulted timber structure, the bedrooms were discreetly wood-panelled and the gym was utilitarian. Yes, they were objectionably oversize and luxurious, and spoke of obscene, ill-gotten wealth, but where were the stuffed rhinos, the gold-and-onyx swans, the lifesize replica of the Albert Memorial? The Gaddafi family is in danger of failing to live up to our expectations of dictator chic." (TheGuardian)
"Regular readers may have seen and been following Augustus Mayhew’s installments of an archival collection of photographs taken by Ellen Glendinning Frazer of her friends and family in Palm Beach, Philadelphia, Bar Harbor, Paris, New York, London and Arizona between 1929 and 1940. Taking pictures and putting them into albums came into vogue by the early 1930s on a mass market level. Many American families had begun photograph albums, as well as 8 mm movie cameras recording the same situations. Ellen Frazer was one who took it a step further. She became a serious amateur photographer. She used the best equipment and had her own darkroom. It was a hobby but the lady was as respectful of it as an great artist is of his work. The same interest and diligence today would probably been realized as a professional. Frazer’s subjects are her friends and family. These were the common subjects. Her group traveled regularly between Philadelphia (as well as other cities such as New York) to Palm Beach and other destinations of social leisure. It was the pre-jetset crowd where time was still required and expected. People didn’t travel hundreds or thousands of miles for a weekend, or even a week, if they could help it." (NYSocvialDiary)


"Goldman Sachs has kicked off an internal probe into who’s running Twitter feed @gselevator, which claims to dish the dirt on things said in the company elevators. A source told us that following 'a failed attempt to force Twitter to freeze the account, they are investigating who is behind it. They believe it is an intern or a young gun, but there are enough facts on the feed for bosses to suspect it is someone with access inside the company. The culprit may just be riding elevators, but that is caught on camera.' There is no absolute proof that the tweeter, who claims to be a Goldman banker but uses an anonymous Gmail account, really works for the firm. His tweets of overheard conversations include: 'Suit#1: ‘Was that really an earthquake?’ Suit#2: ‘No, I just dropped my wallet.’ (laughter).' And, 'My garbage disposal eats better than 98% of the world.' Also, 'Suit #1: ‘I let him present one slide. He was sweating and stuttering like Michael Jackson in Mothercare.’ Goldman denied there is an investigation." (PageSix)

 
"The New York Times got ahold of former vice president Dick Cheney’s forthcoming memoir, In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir. Skipping over the bits about his insatiable warmongering, the paper uncovered some interesting information in the epilogue. According to the Times: 'Mr. Cheney’s long struggle with heart disease is a recurring theme in the book. He discloses that he wrote a letter of resignation, dated March 28, 2001, and told an aide to give it to Mr. Bush if he ever had a heart attack or stroke that left him incapacitated. And in the epilogue, Mr. Cheney writes that after undergoing heart surgery in 2010, he was unconscious for weeks. During that period, he wrote, he had a prolonged, vivid dream that he was living in an Italian villa, pacing the stone paths to get coffee and newspapers.' But what does it mean? For help, we checked with top Freud scholar www.dreammoods.com. According to the 'Dream Themes' user guide, a driveway symbolizes the following: 'To see or drive up to a driveway in your dream, symbolizes an end to your journey. It also represents security and rest. Alternatively, it denotes your path toward achieving inner peace and toward finding your spirituality.' As Cheney was in a coma at the time, the 'inner peace' theory checks out. A villa, or 'mansion' in dreammoods.com parlance, 'suggests that you need growth. You may feel that your current situation or relationship is in a rut.'” (VanityFair)

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