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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres


"The Dan Brown–style intrigue surrounding the Pope’s shocking retirement from popehood intensifies today, as the secular media has revealed that Benedict XVI had pacemaker surgery about three months ago. The Guardian notes that a report in an Italian newspaper 'said the pope had recovered sufficiently well from the operation to be able to deliver his Sunday service the day after. But, it claimed, the surgery had given him pause for thought over whether or not he could continue.' The Vatican, while confirming the surgery, denied that it had anything to do with the papal retirement. A Church spokesman described the procedure as 'a routine replacement of the batteries.'" (VanityFair)



"Russia is an inherently vulnerable country, surrounded by other great powers and possessing no easily defensible borders. In addition, Russia is a massive, mostly inhospitable territory populated by diverse ethnic groups that historically have been at odds with Moscow's centralized authority. This leaves Russia with a clear set of imperatives to hold together as a country and establish itself as a regional power. First, Russia must consolidate its society under one authority. Second, it must expand its power across its immediate neighborhood to create buffers against other powers. (The creation of the Soviet Union is the clearest example of this imperative in action.) Finally, it must leverage its natural resources to achieve a balance with the great powers beyond its periphery. Russia has used a variety of tools throughout history to achieve these imperatives, ranging from agricultural exports to pure military conquest and intimidation. Starting in the late 1800s, Russia added energy to the list of vital commodities it could use to achieve its central strategic goals. By the 1950s, Russia's energy sector had become one of the major pillars of its economic and political strength. The revenues from oil and natural gas exports show how the energy sector empowered the Kremlin to consolidate the country. Energy export revenues for the Russian Empire began flowing into government coffers in the late 1800s, with oil export revenues making up 7 percent of the export earnings. These revenues rose to 14 percent in the late 1920s during the early stages of the Soviet Union, and by the 1950s accounted for half of Soviet export earnings. Currently, energy revenues make up half of the government's budget. This capital influx was and continues to be instrumental in helping Russia build the military and industrial basis needed to maintain its status as a regional -- if not global -- power. However, as the Russian governments became dependent on energy, the revenues also became a large vulnerability." (Stratfor)

  "Sunday, February 10th was another beautiful sunny morning. I am still on a high as the clothes I have seen seem to me to be pleasing, wearable, but not boring. A very influential journalist who is surely zillions of times more read than I am seems to totally disagree. I do not know what sour milk she drank, but let's get her some spoonfuls of sugar! These designers have worked long and hard on their collections. They do not need to be kicked! I hope you will believe my praise and raves!First the news: Suzy made it. Her plane from London delivered her to the Derek Lam show this morning. Secondly, Anna had a royal and white mink three-quarter sleeve pullover sailor top, which would have been very special with white pants on a yacht sailing the Mediterranean or wherever the night time temps drop below 50. It did not work over the blue and taupe tweed suit. Thirdly, the race to ruin shoes and boots for fashion sake is heating up. White lace front black boots posing on the corner. Bill Cunningham will surely have in his next Sunday column! Again the gloves and the zipper pocket hiding the iPhone 5 new camera prevented me from showing this to you. I know that DPC and Jeff H would scold me and tell me to have my camera out and ready at all times ... sorry guys!" (NYSocialDiary)


"Imagine you nodded off in a library and next thing you knew books were skydiving off shelves, instantly metamorphosing into walking talking humans in party attire. Well this was exactly how it felt when recently I attended the joint birthdays of two literary scions at a charming house. It was a wet dream come true to be among so many of the greatest living artists, all of them at ease and merrily celebrating. No doubt about it, I was awestruck. Allow me to namedrop shamelessly (listed alphabetically, because, really, how else?) while I attempt to recover my composure just thinking of the eminences. Judy Blume Laurent de Brunhoff Michael Carrol Annie Dillard Larry Estridge Edward Hower Alison Lurie John Martini Carol Munder Lincoln Perry Phillis Rose Robert Stone Edmund White Bill Wright …and everybody else whose names I’ve lost track of… I apologize, it was mighty difficult to concentrate while being starstruck to this degree. Exactly one week later I was parking, involuntarily, outside that lovely house.  According to the three Key West motorcycle cops who detained me, sirens blaring, you do not want to wash your car before you have any kind of accident, because, 'It’s easier to read what happened if there’s dust,” one of them said, as he poked at the rills of sticky pollen, bending close to examine. “Like here! If it hasn’t been disturbed you know nothing happened.' Turns out some mendacious dumbass complained I’d scraped the side of her car. And she might have pinned the crime on me except that the marks along the side of her car were black and my car is gray, and furthermore the inch of filth coating my vehicle is perfectly undisturbed and thus absolves me from so much as touching her minivan." (Christina Oxenberg)





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