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Saturday, June 02, 2012

Media-Whore D'oeuvres


"Speaking in Singapore, Mr Panetta said the shift from the Atlantic to the Pacific would take place by 2020, at the same time as military cooperation with nations including Vietnam and the Philippines was enhanced.At present, around half of all US war ships are in the Atlantic, and the shift is being seen as part of what President Barack Obama has described as a   'pivot' towards Asia in American foreign policy. Some Asian critics had questioned whether the White House would find the money to make good on its commitments to the region. But Mr Panetta told an audience of military chiefs and defence officials: 'By 2020 the Navy will reposture its forces from today's roughly 50-50 split from the Pacific and Atlantic to a 60-40 split in those oceans. 'We will also invest - invest in cyber, invest in space, invest in unmanned systems, invest in special forces operations." (Telegraph)


"Halfway through lunch at the Delaunay, a fashionable European-style brasserie in London, George RR Martin compares the giant slab of breaded chicken on my plate to a map of a fantasy kingdom ... The first, called A Game of Thrones, took Martin five years to write, and was published in 1996. By 2005, when the fourth volume, A Feast for Crows, came out, he was a successful genre author, nudging the mainstream bestseller lists. Then, in April 2011, things changed utterly for Martin. Overnight, he became globally famous when HBO, the American pay-TV channel renowned for making high-quality drama, put out the first episode of its new series Game of Thrones. This lavish, faithful, and very expensive (a reported $60m per series) adaptation of Martin’s tale of sorcery – and a lot of sex – became a huge hit. As the second series reaches its climax this week in the US and the UK, it has become HBO’s most successful series, shown in 29 countries and with average US viewing figures of more than 10m per episode. Fans include Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who held a Game of Thrones-themed barbecue (featuring goat and 'obscure animal parts') for close friends last month.I arrive early, only to find my guest is already waiting, settled on a green leather banquette. There’s a jug of water and two glasses on the crisp white tablecloth, along with some artisan-looking breadsticks and butter. It’s a simple, peaceful scene and Martin looks as though he might have been here for hours. In his richly-imagined world of the kingdoms of Westeros, fortune favours the quick and the well-prepared." (LunchwiththeFT)


"Speaking of baddies, why are people surprised that the most unattractive of twerps, Mark Zuckerberg, pulled a fast one with his IPO? Zuck rhymes with 'yuck.' Facebook stock will go down to nuthin’ eventually, but his billions are safe. Just like those two spiritual brothers of his, the Tchenguiz Ali Babas. They seem to have gotten away with plundering the Icelandic bank Kaupthing unless the Serious Fraud Office wakes up and sends them away for the long time they deserve.
Yes, dear readers, crime does pay. All you have to do is look around you. Here in Cannes and Antibes, Russian bling is choking the place to death. Last week I went to Eden Roc for one of those ghastly parties given by outrageously expensive jewelry salesmen. Never have I seen such foul-mouthed, avaricious, posturing peacocks ...  They are covered in bling, as are their wives and hookers. I’d rather dine with the Michaels of Kent for two nights running than pay a return visit to Eden Roc." (Taki)


"After igniting a war of words with Harvey Weinstein that became the most interesting story at an otherwise ho-hum Cannes Film Festival, James Toback’s documentary 'Seduced and Abandoned' has moved filming to LA and New York. Spies say Toback and Alec Baldwin interviewed Universal Studios’ chief Ron Meyer this week. They’ll also shoot the project, about getting a film financed, in the Napa Valley. Before leaving Cannes, they nailed interviews with festival juror Diane Kruger and 'The Artist' star Bérénice Bejo. Baldwin and Weinstein had gotten into a bratty tiff when Weinstein refused to be interviewed." (PageSix)



"For Giorgio Armani, more than a decade in China was something worth celebrating. Last night in Beijing, the maestro held court at a party that attracted Fan Bingbing, Michelle Yeoh, and a surprise guest in the form of Tina Turner, on her first trip to China. Held in a massive 1950's industrial water tank in the city's 798 art district, the event started with (what else?) a fashion show of 15 new Armani Privé couture creations made in homage to China. Nearly 100 more looks would follow, from the designer's signature and Emporio collections for both men and women. After the show—which was held on a circular steel runway designed by Armani himself—Mary J. Blige performed a mini-concert, singing her hits 'Family Affair,' 'No More Drama,' and a cover of U2's 'One.' The fun really started around 1:30 a.m., when merrymakers in the VIP section, fortified by Champagne and canapés, started voguing to Madonna tunes dished out by Jesse Marco, a DJ from New York." (Style)


"How much sex is 'normal' in a long-term relationship? Almost 80% of married couples have sex a few times a month or more: 32% reported having sex two to three times per week; 47% reported having sex a few times per month, according to "The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States," a 1994 University of Chicago study considered the most comprehensive in the field. Married couples have more sex than either dating couples or co-habitating couples, other research has shown. When sex therapists talk about a nonsexual marriage, they mean a couple having sex fewer than 10 times a year, Dr. McCarthy says.  Sex is important but not necessarily at the core of what binds couples together. It energizes the relationship, making each person feel desired and desirable, and serves as a buffer against trials and difficulties, Dr. McCarthy says. When a couple avoids or is conflicted about sex, the disconnection can play an inordinately negative role, he says. Often, if you can repair the sexual bond, the relationship improves as well. Love's initial romantic phase lasts anywhere from 18 months to three years, experts say. During this time, our hormones are out of control. We are intoxicated with our partner ..." (WSJ)

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