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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah scolded Russian President Dmitry Medvedev last week for failing to coordinate with Arab states before vetoing a United Nations resolution demanding that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad step down. Emboldened by the lack of international action, Assad's forces are now slaughtering civilians in the streets at an even greater rate. Referring to the bloodshed, the king ominously warned Medvedev that Saudi Arabia 'will never abandon its religious and moral obligations towards what's happening.' The last time the Saudis decided they had a moral obligation to scuttle Russian policies, they gave birth to a generation of jihadi fighters in Afghanistan who are still wreaking havoc three decades later. According to news reports confirmed by a member of the Syrian opposition, Riyadh currently sendsweapons on an ad hoc basis to the Syrian opposition by way of Sunni tribal allies in Iraq and Lebanon. But in light of recent developments, more weapons are almost certainly on their way. After his delegation withdrewin frustration from last week's Friends of Syria meeting in Tunisia, Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, said that humanitarian aid to Syria was 'not enough' and that arming the Syrian rebels was an 'excellent idea.' Soon afterward, an unnamed official commented in the state-controlled Saudi press that Riyadh sought to provide the Syrian opposition with the 'means to achieve stability and peace and to allow it the right to choose its own representatives.' Meanwhile, Saudi clerics are now openly calling for jihad in Syria and scorning those who wait for Western intervention. One prominent unsanctioned cleric, Aidh al-Qarni, openly calls for Assad's death. Other Sunni Gulf states, principally Qatar, may be contributing weapons." (ForeignPolicy)


"Could Rick Santorum pull out yet another come-from-behind victory in Michigan? The polls are tightening again, and Santorum has a history (okay, several states worth, spanning a couple months) of overperforming his polling. If that happens, the next stage will be a vicious spin war between the Romney and Santorum camps over what the Michigan results mean. The key point of contention will be crossover voting. Michigan voters, being clever and sophisticated, have a long tradition of strategically infiltrated the opposing party’s primary to bolster the candidate opposed by the establishment. Republicans helped throw the 1972 and 1988 Democratic primaries to George Wallace and Jesse Jackson, to the mortal embarrassment of Democratic leaders. Democratic voters pulled the same trick in 2000, supporting John McCain over George W. Bush, to the high-profile embarrassment of Republican governor John Engler who backed Bush. There are many rumblings afoot of a similar effort this year on behalf of Santorum. PPP finds Santorum regaining a tiny 1% lead, a margin entirely attributable to crossover voting. If something like this comes to pass, the spin war will follow. Romney will maintain that Democrats intentionally hijacked the party’s primary in order to saddle them with a loser for a nominee. He’ll have plenty of evidence on his side – liberal blog Daily Kos dubbed its effort to gin up Democrats for Santorum 'Operation Hilarity.'" (NYMag)


"The skin around his eyes bordered on slack, grayish. Although the rest of his body was in relatively solid shape—he still exercised regularly, albeit with varying degrees of gusto—the star detected telltale indicators of impending decline. There were 'little blotchy patches' on his skin and “weird saggy stuff” on his upper torso. The latter was especially disheartening, considering his immediate goals. The actor was circling a film role that would require him to be, in addition to semi-athletic, half naked. Nobody, least of all him, wanted to see this body on a screen 70 feet wide. Then there was his energy level, which had been heading south for months. Likewise his libido. If being a movie star was all about charisma, and charisma was a kind of energy, then he needed to start exploring alternative energy sources, and fast. To hell with all those damned protein bars and shakes and oxygen chambers. And, frankly, he’d tattoo PATHETIC on his forehead before he’d let some shiny plastics guy cut his face open, or shoot it full of goo, or do any sort of 'work.' There’s no sadder specimen, in his view, than the actor who labors under the impression that no one can tell. The first time he was offered H.G.H.—short for 'human growth hormone'—it freaked him out. This was about three years ago, while he was vacationing with friends. During a late-night search for toothpaste, he found his friend injecting a needle into his belly. 'Party, drugs, needles, bathroom,' the actor says. 'Do the math.' He was relieved to learn that the syringe contained H.G.H., which the friend was taking as part of doctor-prescribed treatment for a hormone deficiency. 'Makes me feel 10 years younger,' the friend said. The guy did have a certain zip. And he looked, if not younger, pretty good. But still. H.G.H.? The junk all those roided-out ballplayers were using? Why would any actor go there? As it turned out, though, the actor knew plenty of people who used H.G.H. Most of them sang its praises, saying it made them look and feel stronger, sharper, younger; one of them, a studio executive, told him it had changed his life." (VanityFair)


"Some time last summer, former model and rising New York free spirit Hannah Cohen released a music video so evocative it demanded a double take. The nearly underwater visuals accompanied "The Crying Game," a haunting confessional of lost love and betrayal, sung by a voice that sounds like a cross between the weeping Sirens of Greek myth meets Lana Del Rey. Twenty-five-year-old Cohen, originally from San Francisco, has only been performing for about four years, after a whirlwind stint as a model on runways from Milan to Malaysia. (She first took off for New York at age 17.) On stage, Cohen is both ethereal and endearing, as evidenced by last Friday's intimate Le Poisson Rouge show. There, Cohen, cloaked in a green poncho, her long brown hair framing her porcelain-like face, sang a stripped down set of tear-soaked songs -- just her on guitar, collaborator Thomas Bartlett (he of Doveman) on piano -- to a crowd illuminated by candles and soft lavender lighting, occasionally bursting into nervous laughter. 'I'm waiting for the big applause,' she once tells the crowd charmingly. 'Like, yeaahhhh!'   The songs are from her upcoming buzzed-about debut, Child Bride, a self-described coded soundtrack to her life recorded over the past year in a half. Cohen met me at West Village eatery Gottino the next day for peppermint tea to discuss stage fright, the album, how modeling prepared her for her budding music career, and her love of animals." (Papermag)


"Liz Smith called me last night to tell me that our friends Parker Ladd and Arnold Scaasi who are down in Palm Beach had a very difficult day yesterday. Parker fell and hit his head and is being hospitalized at St. Mary’s in West Palm. The incident upset Arnold so much that he suffered some sort of a heart disturbance and also had to be hospitalized at Good Samaritan, also in West Palm. Both incidents are worrying for friends because both men have not been in the best of health recently. The couple have been together for a half century. They made it official in a wedding last fall with reception at Le Cirque and Mayor Bloomberg attending. Parker and Arnold and Liz have been the driving forces behind Literacy Partners, another brilliant community-oriented charity. While they still maintain homes in Manhattan and Quogue, in the past few years, they’ve spent more time in Palm Beach because of the weather." (NYSocialDiary)


"Years ago, at Beige, Eartha Kitt and I were posing for a photo and she reached under my chin to put her hand on my cheek. Her finger accidentally went up my nose very quickly and scratched it to the point that I was bleeding. I ran away so she wouldn't see what happened. I walked around with a dinner napkin up my nose for a while." (Parker Posey/Papermag)

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