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Monday, August 13, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"The favored Republican adjective for Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan is 'bold.' The favored adjective for Democrats is 'risky.' The word that historians will choose to describe the selection, though, is anyone’s guess. Ryan, who the Crystal Ball listed among its final five Veepstakes contenders (from an original 23), is certainly not the safe pick that a Rob Portman or Tim Pawlenty would have been. The House Budget Committee chairman is perhaps the leading conservative economic spokesman in the Republican Party, and his now famous (or infamous) budget plan, with its changes to how Medicare is delivered and its multitude of cuts to social programs, became a major lightning rod earlier this cycle. By selecting Ryan, Romney has essentially taken ownership of Ryan’s budget ideas. That’s probably a relief to Republicans, who question Romney’s commitment to the cause, but it also provides openings to Democrats, as the Ryan budget could be a potent political weapon in the fall, and not just at the top of the ticket. His selection has also heightened the differences between the two party’s tickets; Romney’s actual beliefs on issues might be difficult to nail down, but Ryan’s aren’t. This is a big choice election, at least when it comes to budget and taxation issues. And, frankly, that’s the way it should be: The nation does undoubtedly have questions about the future of its entitlement programs and the size of the national debt. Anything that promotes discussion of those national choices, as opposed to a national fixation on gaffes and attack ads, is welcome. In picking Ryan, Romney is, in a way, emulating the vice presidential decision made by the man who beat him for the 2008 GOP nomination: John McCain. Ryan, like Sarah Palin, is a pick designed not necessarily to appeal to independents or Democrats, but rather to excite the party’s base. Palin’s selection did that for McCain, at least for a time, but her candidacy fizzled after a number of slip-ups, including her now-infamous interview with Katie Couric. Presumably, Ryan won’t make the same sorts of mistakes that Palin made, and it’s helpful to him that he’s much more familiar with the national press, which regards him as an intellectual." (SabatosCrystalBall)


"Friday night I stopped by Swifty’s briefly to get a picture of Arlene Dahl and Marc Rosen and their guests celebrating Arlene’s birthday which was yesterday. Arlene and Marc live nearby and are frequent diners at Swifty’s. Because this writer is a frequenter of the restaurant, we’ve accidentally got to know each other over the years there.  Like millions of movie fans I’ve been watching Arlene’s career and life since I was a kid. As it is with some of those great stars, she still looks likethe lady on the big screen who made her debut 65 years ago in 'Life With Father' in 1947 at age 22.  A little girl from Minneapolis (born Arlene Carol Dahl), her father was a Ford dealer and executive. Although her career in films was mainly during the decade of the 1950s, she made more than 30 films, the last being in 1991. She also had six husbands along the way including Lex Barker, the 'Tarzan' of the movies in the 1950s, and Fernando Lamas, with whom she had a son, Lorenzo Lamas. She is also a practicing astrologer (having married, she likes to say, six of the twelve signs of the zodiac). She and Marc have been married for 28 years (Marc is a Libra) and they have a very successful partnership, often surrounded by many good friends." (NYSocialDiary)


"Venus Williams and sister Serena celebrated their Olympic gold triumphs in London with a dance party at their mother’s apartment near Wimbledon. After the pair took gold in the doubles and Serena won the women’s singles gold medal, Venus said, 'We didn’t hit the town. My sister and I started a dance party at the apartment my mom rented. But mom kept saying ‘Turn the music down, the neighbors are going to complain.’' Speaking at a Saturday Hamptons garden party at the home of Rita Schrager to celebrate tennis wear line EleVen by Venus Williams, she said: 'Competing for my country in the Olympics was the biggest honor. It was so exciting to carry the Olympic torch through Wimbledon, and it was incredible to visit the athletes’ village.' An avid button collector, she said she and Serena spent time at the village swapping US pins with those from other nations. But, she said, 'Only North Korea didn’t want to swap with us. They saw my sister’s US pin and just said, ‘No.’ ' Venus added she is now focused on the US Open, which starts Aug. 27. But she still took time to hit some balls with brave guests including Adelina Ettelson and gave backhand tips to Dylan Lauren. Others at the party sipping Grey Goose cocktails and admiring the tennis champ on the court included Alexandra Lebenthal, Fern Mallis, Star Jones, Christina Greeven Cuomo and Gigi Grazer." (PageSix)

"'I’m looking for a strong voice and somebody that’s completely original,' actor Michael Pitt told The Observer last Thursday. 'Something crazy. Something I haven’t read before.' He was referring to the benchmark that vying screenwriters must reach in order to nab a winning spot in the Four Stories screenplay competition, of which he is a judge. A cocktail hour at the W New York Downtown commenced the competition, which beckons burgeoning scribes to submit work in a global contest sponsored by Intel and the W and curated by director Roman Coppola. Despite the abundance of circulating champagne glasses, we noticed the cocktail-less Mr. Pitt was out of step with of his Boardwalk Empire character, the typically imbibing Jimmy Darmody. 'I learned a very long time ago that when somebody’s got a tape recorder in their hand you shouldn’t have a drink in yours,' Mr. Pitt told us coyly." (VelvetRoper)

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