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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres



"There are growing indications that Iran, Syria and their local proxies may be attempting to build up militant capabilities in the West Bank to eventually threaten Israel. Physically transferring weapons into Fatah-controlled West Bank will remain a key challenge, as recent arrests of weapons smugglers in Jordan have shown. Though Iran and Syria face many constraints in trying to spread militancy to the West Bank, their quiet efforts are worth noting, particularly as Hamas and Iran are now finding reasons to repair their relationship after a period of strain. In the past several days, Jordanian authorities have reported two separate incidents in which groups of smugglers traveling from Syria have been caught with weapons and drugs in Jordan. A Jordanian security official speaking anonymously to local media said that five Syrian smugglers were caught the morning of Aug. 6 with anti-tank missiles, surface-to-air missiles and assault rifles in their possession. According to a Stratfor source, the arrests were made near Madaba in central Jordan. The smugglers, carrying Jordanian identity cards, allegedly hid the weapons in two pickup trucks loaded with watermelons, but when the two trucks traveled beyond the main produce market and kept heading south, the Jordanian police became suspicious. Jordan's state-owned Petra news agency said the army had thwarted another attempt to smuggle a large amount of drugs and weapons from Syria into Jordan earlier in the week.
Jordan is the primary supply route for weapons (mostly from Arab Gulf suppliers) meant for rebels in southern Syria." (STRATFOR)



"There is perhaps no more unlikely milieu to observe André Leon Talley than the Scarsdale branch of Balducci’s food market, about 30 miles north of Manhattan, but it was there that Talley, one of the top arbiters of the fashion world, arranged to meet for lunch. Talley, 64, recently of Vogue and now heading Numéro Russia magazine (as well as curating fashion shows at such venues as the Mona Bismarck American Center for art and culture, in Paris, and Little Rock’s William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum), is often assumed to be leading a life of glamour amid fresh-cut flowers at the Carlyle hotel or perhaps at a modest Connecticut estate near Oscar de la Renta’s. But instead he has lived in nearby White Plains, a bedroom community with a ring of 1920s homes around an ugly downtown and housing projects, for the last 15 years. He describes his house, though, as a thing of beauty, surrounded on all sides by forest, and with a living room furnished with the sofa that once graced Truman Capote’s legendary United Nations Plaza apartment. (Talley bought the sofa at auction, and don’t even think about sitting on it.) Talley spends most of his time on the porch, contemplating the cardinals flying through his garden of tree hydrangeas, white azaleas, and Japanese maples, home to a hooded gnome on a swing, with a squirrel hanging off the bottom. One of his best friends, George Malkemus III, the C.E.O. of Manolo Blahnik, U.S.A., says, 'At one point, André could have lived in Manhattan, in a huge loft in Tribeca, or an apartment uptown—but now I don’t know where he would put the rooms and rooms and rooms of clothes.'" (VanityFair)


"Gwyneth Paltrow was a huge draw at East Hampton Library’s Authors Night — but also drew the ire of her fellow writers, who took their revenge with pungent meat products. Paltrow, a vegan, was there with her Coldplay rocker hubby Chris Martin and kids Moses and Apple to promote her impossibly virtuous cookbook 'It’s All Good.' Author Christina Oxenberg — who sat next to Paltrow signing copies her own book 'Life Is Short' — wrote on her blog, 'Due to the inflexibility of the alphabet, I had the questionable good fortune to be seated directly beside [Paltrow] . . . Slowly yet unmistakably a line began to form in front of my section of table. These folks were hushed and reverential and had a particularly earnest and focused demeanor and casting furtive eyes around . . . the increasingly urgent question they posed, ‘Where is Gwyneth?’ . . . Then the divinity in question arrived with hubby, children and a couple of massive bodyguards. The worshippers blocked my view of the whole world.' Oxenberg said she abandoned her post and headed to the food table and loaded up on 'sloppy hamburgers' and 'stinky steak sandwiches.' Then, 'Gwyneth’s bodyguards blocked my re-entry despite my assurance I was just an author and pointing at my name tag. ‘No!’ they growled, body blocking me. So I was forced to crawl under the table. And there I sat with my meat products, wafting the excellent smells toward my sleek vegan neighbor. She ignored the siren smells of protein. We never did say hello, although I did try to sell my book to her sleek vegan children. No bites.' Fellow author and attendee Jay McInerney tweeted of Oxenberg’s post: 'Authors Night at East Hampton Library hijacked by movie stars with ghost-written cookbooks.'" (PageSix)


"I went up to Nantucket for a long weekend to stay with my friend Joy Ingham who’s been a Nantucket summer resident for a long time. She once owned a house there, although she now prefers the luxury of renting. Nantucket is a luxury community, all the way. But that is always second, a far second, to the fact that Nantucket is a beautiful community on a beautiful island. We can thank our Creator (whoever it may or may not be for you) for that one. I’d been twice before for a day, a lunch. I’ve written about it on these pages. We had an advertising client who was a private jet service and the owner Adam Katz invited me and JH, and other media people, for a ride up to Nantucket and lunch and then back to New York. It’s not a long ride. It was an interesting trip. The point of it was to experience the luxury of your own private jet taking you there. I don’t have to tell you, what is obvious: it beats the bus, the train and let’s not forget the airport. My memory of those trips to Nantucket itself is almost blank." (NYSocialDiary)


"I resist making predictions if only to avoid the inevitable disappointment when they fail to peg future events. As best as I can tell, every forecast, every prophecy, every reading of entrails and chicken bones that I’ve committed to print (or its digital equivalent) has failed to come true. But this time I think I’ve read enough into my tea leaves to confidently assert my suspicion that in early October, after Jeff Bezos consummates the deal he made with Donald Graham to purchase the Washington Post for $250 million, one of his first acts of ownership will be to name Vijay Ravindran his publisher of the newspaper. Ravindran, who holds the title of senior vice president and chief digital officer at the Washington Post Co., seems like such a logical fit for the job I feel guilty about killing that goat and boiling a chicken to confirm my hunch. Ravindran’s company biography makes him sound like a research product bred specifically to replace the Washington Post‘s current publisher and chief executive officer, Katharine Weymouth. Ravindran previously worked as a software engineer and technical manager between 1998 and 2005 at Bezos’s Amazon, where he labored to help bring 1-Click ordering, Amazon Prime, and other advances to the online shopping." (Jack Shaeffer)

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