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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"Kim Jong Il reportedly owned a collection of over 20,000 videotapes and authored a number of books on film theory. The James Bond films were reportedly among his favorites, though given his penchant for underground lairs and gray jumpsuits, it's tempting to wonder whether he considered Ernst Stavro Blofeld the misunderstood tragic hero of the series. His cinephilia went as far as kidnapping a famed South Korean director and his actress wife in order to make the infamous 1985 socialist Godzilla knockoff Pulgasari ...The Lilliputian strongman was a huge hoops fan. He reportedly owned a video library of every game Michael Jordan ever played, as well as a basketball autographed by the Bulls legend, which was presented to him by U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright during a rare period of d├ętente with the United States ... As his pudgy appearance attested, Kim was a legendary gourmand. As always, it's hard to separate fact from fiction in Pyongyang, but the leader reportedly liked to have his sashimi carved from live fish and preferred having his rice cooked 'over wood that has been cut down from Mount Paektu, Korea's sacred mountain,' according to the Telegraph. He sent couriers around the world to fetch him Danish bacon, Iranian caviar, and Thai mangos.  Kim had an odd affection for Austrian cuisine and once sent a delegation of his chefs to train and collect recipes in the land of Linzer torte. In the 1990s, he hired Italian pizza chefs to teach his cooks the proper art of olive placement . .Kim also had a taste for Hennessy cognac that would put Tupac to shame. He was the company's largest single customer for over a decade, spending between $650,000 and $720,000 on cognac annually." (ForeignPolicy)


"Emerging as a real Republican contender in Iowa, Representative Ron Paul of Texas is receiving new focus for decades-old unbylined columns in his political newsletters that included racist, anti-gay and anti-Israel passages that he has since disavowed. The latest issue of The Weekly Standard, a leading conservative publication, reprised reports of incendiary language in Mr. Paul’s newsletters that were published about 20 years ago.   A 1992 passage from the Ron Paul Political Report about the Los Angeles riots read, 'Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks.' A passage in another newsletter asserted that people with AIDS should not be allowed to eat in restaurants because 'AIDS can be transmitted by saliva'; in 1990 one of his publications criticized Ronald Reagan for having gone along with the creation of the federal holiday honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., which it called 'Hate Whitey Day.' The magazine article largely matched a similar report in The New Republic in 2008, and it was written by the same author, James Kirchick. The passages were plucked from a variety of newsletters that Mr. Paul’s consulting business published during his years out of Congress, all of them featuring his name: Ron Paul Political Report, Ron Paul’s Freedom Report, Ron Paul Survival Report and Ron Paul Investment Letter." (NYTimes)   


"Newt Gingrich is scrambling to regain his footing after several polls released on Monday showed him in a freefall and his rivals have moved in for the kill. Polls from Insider Advantage and Public Policy Polling found the former Speaker in third place in the early caucus state of Iowa, trailing both Mitt Romney and newly minted front-runner Ron Paul. A similar trend has emerged in the national polls, with Gingrich — who had posted a double-digit leads as recently as a week ago — falling into a deadlock with Romney at 28 percent in a CNN/ORC poll ... It’s a position other GOP presidential contenders have found themselves in: rising to the top of the polls only to find increased expectations and the glare of the spotlight result in a resounding crash as indecisive Republican primary voters switch from candidate to candidate. Gingrich hasn’t reached rock bottom yet, but political watchers in Iowa say the former Speaker has done little to take advantage of his boomlet, avoiding the hard work necessary to convert popularity into success at the notoriously difficult caucuses." (TheHill)


"The city seemed quieter. Making my way down to Michael’s by cab, traffic seemed lighter ... I went to lunch with Maria Cooper Janis who has a new book out, done in collaboration with G. Bruce Boyer, and a brief introduction by Ralph Lauren, about her father. It’s called Gary Cooper: Enduring Style. It’s a perfect gift for anyone you know who likes movies or fashion; a keeper, beautifully published (by PowerHouse Books) boxed in a beautiful sleeve. Maria and I have known each other for quite a few years in the way people often know each other in New York -- brought together at cocktail parties or dinners, in the company of mutual friends ... Enduring Style is a book mainly of family photos – including a few by some of the great photographers of the age – of the man, from his beginnings growing up in the early 20th century on a ranch in Montana, where his father and mother, emigres from England, owned a cattle ranch. Born Frank James Cooper, the youngest of two boys, when he was 13, his parents sent him and his older brother back to their native land for an 'education.' The boy who grew up on the land of the West with children of Indian tribes as playmates, acquired some sophistication during his English schooldays that clearly enhanced what became his famous style." (NYSocialDiary)



"Reports from the holiday-party front indicate that 2011 was another long and lonely year for the fiction writers and memoirists of New York, who were kept company at home all day long mainly by various "internet friends" and related applications, as well as their favorite songs/albums/radio shows. Below is a totally non-scientific list of 2011's Top 10 pieces of music for writing, as supplied by the authors of recent books ... 6. Emily Gould (And The Heart Says Whatever): 'The reissue of Gish. I know that's really pushing it for 'came out this year,' but it's so perfect when you want to create a fortress of sound around your ideas.'" (VillageVoice)

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