Wednesday, December 31, 2003

And to close out the year here are our predictions for 2004.
See you same bat time same bat URL on January 2. Predictions:

Renee Zellwegger will stop sucking lemons before turning in a performance.

Michael Jackson will flee to Morocco, get a villa in Marakesh, and harass little boys unmolested by the local culture until extradited back to the US.

MTV will cancel The Real World.

Bill Murray will win Best Actor and deliver the best speech in Oscar history.

Brendan Frasier will release more bombs this year than the Iraqi resistance.

Lauryn Hill will engage in a lonely, Kierkegaardian crusade against the Roman Catholic Church.

Graydon Carter and Sophia Coppola will date.

Ashton Kutcher and Leo diCaprio will get into a fistfight.

Christina Aguilera will pose nude for Playboy.

J_Lo and Ben Affleck will get married after their film Jersey Girl crosses the $100 million mark.

John Stewart will be tapped to replace David Letterman at the expiration of his contract.

Page Six's Richard Johnson will host a weekly pop culture roundtable on Fox News Channel.

VH1 will give Mo Rocca a Late Night talk show.

John Edwards will win the South Carolina Democratic primary making him the Anyone-but-Dean candidate that Terry McAuliffe and the Clintonistas will rally around.

Dick Cheney will leave the ticket due to "heart concerns" opening it up for fellow Yalie George Pataki. Pataki will back Rudy for Governor of New York and the Dems may lose New York and another shot at the White House.

Jayson Blair will be tapped to write a cover Michael Jackson interview for Vanity Fair.

Bill Clinton will finally accept a $50 million a year deal to host an Oprah-like talk show with world leaders, CEOs, journos and religious figures as guests for CBS.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

RuPaul's Blog!

Have you ever whatever happened to RuPaul? Well, Ru has a weblog.

What's that? You don't remember Ru? You never watched the Ru Paul Christmas? The VH1 Show? Crooklyn? Didn't you see Ru insult funnyman Milton Berle and his adult diapers?

Ru Paul was a late 90s phenomenon.

Fast forwards to today, where Ru has a blog.

As of 7:51 Eastern time, here is a part of Ru's New Year message on the blog:

"so, in this moment of heightened sensitivity, i wanna take this time to tell all my niggaz, my bitches and all my ol' skool ho's, i love you from the core of my soul, to the bottom of my heart.

"because of the love you gave me, i'll know that i existed."

And on behalf of all the "niggaz, bitches and ol' skool ho's, "happy new year, Ru.
What's Eating Russell Simmons?

What's Eating Russell Simmons? Or rather, what is Russell Simmons eating? Plants ... lots and lots of plants. The Corsair knows all the telltale signs.

I was editor-in-chief at MacDirectory, and reported frequently on Apple's CEO Steve Jobs.
Jobs drank so much carrot juice that at one time he appeared to be turning orange. We had to recalibrate our digital cameras, it was a fiasco (only kidding).

The hip hop herbivore is looking a little ... now I don't want to offend anybody here ... these are powerful toes I'm stepping on ... and I'm sure many of my readers are veggies as well ... Russ is looking a little anemic.

A little unhealthy.

In the "urban community," it might be phrased as: Russ doesn't look like he's packing "the rib-busting ox-strength."

Seriously, though, keeping it gangsta: could someone throw some curry oxtail in Russell's algae shake? Please?

Monday, December 29, 2003

Jackie, Oh!

"A perfect example of (the glamour of Kennedy power) would be ... the way Jacqeline Kennedy acquired the use of the estate she wanted for riding in the hunt country of Virginia. She found a country place and set her heart on it, but the widow who owned it did not want to leave her home, since she had also set her heart on it, years before, and had shared the place with her husband before sharing it with his memories. Mrs. Kennedy called on the then-powerful lawyer Clark Clifford, who wanted to become ... 'an honorary Kennedy' by doing the will of the family, even down to its most arbitrary whims.

"The first two times Clifford tried to persuade the woman, he was turned down; but Mrs. Kennedy told him to keep trying. Clifford then resorted to what he called his National Security argument: it was the woman's patriotic duty to help the President meet challenges to the nation by giving him a place to relax. This worked. The delighted Mrs. Kennedy sent Clifford a drawing to congratulate him on these ingeneous bullying tactics. (The drawing) shows him striding up to a woman's house with a lawyerly sheaf of documents labelled 'Acts of Exile, Tortures, Lists of Jail.' All very funny, except to the woman."

From The Kennedy Imprisonment, by Garry Wills, p. xii

Saturday, December 27, 2003

The Corsair's Remote Control Tour Diary

There are over 500 cable channels nowadays, so who better to give you a tour of some of the major ones?

Anyhoo: 500 channels means "niche marketing." And with all those niches, things can get confusing as to what is being marketed. So, The Corsair will help the viewer through the wonderful world of cable with these pithy explanations, In Media Res:

TNT: Lousy with Middle aged Testosterone. A musky-smelling channel. Bruce Willis and Steven Seagal action flics and basketball. Big in New Jersey.

CNN: Used to be a channel for Kings and Queens and heads of state, but of late it is the channel for cranky retired people with an angry opinion on everything political ("Those libs are holding up Medicaid!"). Poor CNN: They used to wine and dine with kings and queens, but now they are laying in the gutter eating pork and beans.

Lifetime: A channel earnestly devoted to the smouldering resentments of Midwestern housewives. Husbands are to blame in most of these story lines. Anger is the predominant emotion. Hollywood has not been kind to Nancy McKeon. Hell hath no fury like Joanna Kearns scorned!

Family Channel: The channel devoted to Christians in a nuclear family with a conviction that human history has a purpose beyond this world. Halleleuia. Lots of Mary Kate and Ashley films, which, ironically, attract a very different sort of crowd than the ones that these cats are aiming after.

CNBC: This channel serves as "White Noise" for the various strip joints in the Wall Street and financial district vicinity. As your Bud Fox-like trader with a "Lawng Island" accent sips a Stoli on the rocks on his lunchbreak, sniffing his "Bolivian white Powder" ("Vitamin C"), getting a "friction dance" from his favorite "dancer," he can look over her shoulder, casually, and catch a brief glance at just how the markets are doing, and get a gauge on when he should return to the office.

A&E: An elderly folks network with lots of Murder, She Wrote, and "original" films like "Horatio Hornblower," for viewers who can remember their glorious years of service in the British Imperial navy policing those hectic colonial ports.

History: This is the Hitler and Outlaw Biker channel. At any time of the day, there is a hilbilly bar with serious discussions going on as to Hitler's "tactical blunders" and what they would have done "different," with this channel serving as the background noise.

Discovery: This is the older, skeevier companion network to the already low rent History Channel, which means that it attracts a comparatively downscale sort of viewer than one would expect at History, which is not saying much at all. Seriously, though, This is the straight up serial killers network. No joking, yo. Somewhere in the Yosemite Valley there is a man, in a dungeon, sweating profusely, wearing clown makeup and laughing at the moon. He is surrounded by dog collars and he is described by co workers at the post office as "a solitary man."

Guess which channel this guy is watching to drown out the screams. That's right (sotto voce) Discovery. Homeland security must needs to monitor anyone who watches more than 3 hours a day of this shit.

VH1: Perhaps the coolest channel on basic cable or otherwise, my little pomegranates! Suffused with irony, snark and nostalgia, this channel supplies the basic components of the Gen X diet. Michael Hirschorn is our god; we are not worthy.

MTV: No longer cool: a little resentful of the joie de vivre its older, more successful brother, VH1. It will never be the 80s again and the blush has wore off that ordinary looking frat boy Carson Daly. No one over 16 should be watching this channel, even for the misguided purpose of irony.

E!: Creepy celebrity stalking and gossip. Everyone on this channel reeks of thwarted Hollywood ambitions and plastic surgery gone awry. This channel hasn't had a hit since Gregg Kinnear was up in this bitch, and Jules Asner snatched Steven Soderberg, using the Asner name (she divorced Ed Asner's son years ago).

ESPN: This is reality tv for the Maxim set. Faint but palpable homoerotic subtext via "hero worship" of alpha males, like, say, Shaq or Sprewell (but viewers call him Spree, cause, like, they know him personally in a Calvin Klein kind of way), although your average Joe Fratboy will never acknowledge that distrubing little truth.

Bravo: For the affluent gay man. Cultural programming(National Dog Show, Cirque du Soleil, Inside the Actors Studio) and Queer Eye For the Straight Guy rebroadcasts. If you go in for the National Dog Show, collect Lalique crystal ("Steuben Glass is for amateurs"), or the like, then this is your network.

BET: A seriously embarassing network marketed to the seedy stereotype of the urban underclass. Ghetto comedy skits told in unremarkable english with frequent reference to bodily functions; charmed, I'm sure. Snakeoil selling televangelists prevail over the airwaves on Sundays. And C-List Blaxploitations flix fill out the rest of any regrettable week spent watching this schedule. Can you fucking believe that Viacom paid three billion dollars for this channel?

Sci Fi: The repressed sexuality channel. Their niche is the grown man who has a crush on the X Man, Storm and dreams in full-on video games. Somehow the unresolved "sexual energy" gets worked out into a reverence for the "paranormal." B List hot chicks like Shannen Doherty and Tracy Lords end up here after Hollywood is through with them.

Fox: If you go in for Karl Rove's talking points, this is the channel for you. The Corsair has to admit that he watched it during the Second Gulf War. Fox routinely scooped the other networks because it sometimes seemed that Rummy gave them the inside scoop. For a "family values network," the women broadcasters have an oddly pornographic patina about them. Hmmm.

Showtime: Tries earnestly to out-extreme the original programming at HBO, who got there first. Dreams of getting recognized at events like the Golden Globes; not likely, however. This is the place to try to pitch your indie documentary on transexual underwater basket weavers in Micronesia.

Food: For people who's interest in food has transcended the purely phenomenal eating stage.

TLC: This channel is a bit of a mystery to me. It used to have a niche as a sort of Cliff Clavin channel: you know, for the general interest trivia mind-- programming on the imago stage of child development, poisonous reptiles, the Minoan civilization, Roman mosaics, classical biological warfare, the robber barons, volcanoes, that sort of thing. But now it has a lot of "fixing up the home" programming. Go figure what that means.

AMC: Kind of Cool. Old Hollywood glamour with some original programming and commentary on the Gilded Age of Hollywood. This is like a channel put together by the editors of Variety looking backward. Vanity Fair should do a show here. Old school.

FX: Not worth talking about. Maxim lite. Loads of testosterone.

We: Women's fantasy. Lots of Merchant-Ivory Brit productions of aristocrats who fall in love with common women, who are often middle aged American divorcees. Pure drivel.

C-Span: For the ultra political science geek. Viewers tend to look like Michael Barone, wait anxiously for their New Republic copies to arrive, and chuckle over Senate voting record statistics. Can rattle off the precise wording of the Republican Party platform of 1964.

Oxy: Very "sisterhood" oriented; Oprah and Gerry Laybourne's experiment has recently taken a sort of Sapphic detour of late with regard to their programming.

National Geographic: Interesting and kind of cool. This is a channel about animals and exotic cultures.

IFC: So earnest, so hip, so anti-Hollywood: yet as soon as Dinner for Five's indy star John Favreau gets to do a big shlocky Hollywood film like Elf, he jumps like a Cocker Spaniel being offered a dog yummy. Independent cinema is dead.

TCM: This is a less hip AMC. This is like AMC with a broken hip. Lots of old movies with no irony or relevant commentary.

Ovation: The Corsair has a theory that this is a piece of flotsam adrift on the vast media ocean that is digital television. They repeat the same ten or so programs ad nauseum. Is there anyone employed at Ovation? Did the programmer have a heart attack in the 80s? Did anyone notice? Is anyone watching?

ESPNClassic: Oh, dear lord help us. Old men with beer bellies reliving "classic sports moments." (At this point, Bruce Springsteen's Glory Days should be playing). This is the tv channel Al Bundy would most likely be watching on his day off from the shoe store.

TVLand: Tries to be all retro-ironical, but street cred will not be forthcoming by running repeats of Bewitched and Sanford and Son, alone. Poor saps. The other networks have bought all the good old tv shows, leaving TV Land to contemplate Mayberry.

Animal: Television for committed vegans and PETA members. What kind of ad revenue do these guys generate?

Sundance: An edgy IFC; very left wing political, but pure. Robert Redford's pet liberal project.

Trio: Perhaps the coolest channel of them all. What VH1 viewers will most likely watch once they quit being ironic, get real jobs in the media and participate in the economy. Used to be a Canadian station, believe it or not. Culture and media navel gazing.

NWI: A rap up of all the international anti-American news agencies. Al Gore wants to buy this station and kick things up a notch.

DiscoveryTimes: One of the strangest channels in the world. this is actually the New York Times' channel, but it is devoted to showing America militarized or in crisis, which, all told, are the moments when The Old Grey Lady was at its finest. Lots of Civil rights struggles, war footage, terrorism analysis, and --wierdest of all -- endless looks into our military academies. What the fuck?!

FUSE: MTV's unsuccessful competitor for the extreme generation low attention span kiddie market, which is not saying much.

VH1Classic: Could be interesting, as the X Generation is big on nostalgia, but right now this channel is not happening.

USA: This is the sybil channel. It is high testosterone most of the year, but come holiday time it is all about the holidays... kinda like our dads.

Style: If it is possible this is an even more shallow channel than E! Lots of B-List types talking about the beauty business.

Friday, December 26, 2003

Corsair 2003 Year End Awards:
The Pirates

Every blogger worth their salt has year end awards and "this thing of ours" is no different. It's in the kool aid that we all drink from. 'Tis the season to be snarky, and all that jazz (sorry Cindy Adams, that's jazz, not your annoying little lapdog Jazzy). So, without further ado, The Corsair presents The Pirates -- more credible than the Golden Globes, and able to leap tall publicists in a single bound -- my 2003 year end awards. Basta!

Most Embarassing Media Moment pirate goes to Paris Hilton beating the President's first post Sadaam interview. Howard Kurtz of the uber media program Reliable Souces on CNN read my little email at the end of his show:

"And Ron (Mwangaguhunga) says -- 'Of all I know that you Northeast corridor media types will give the victory to Jayson Blair scandal, the most embarrassing media moment for the rest of the country has got to be Paris Hilton beating President Bush's in-depth post-Saddam interview in the ratings.'"

Thanks, Howie: love to love you, baby.

Great Read pirate goes to the Village Voice's beloved columnist Michael Musto. Musto is damn fun to read. His voice is pure and his love of pop culture, served with a dash of snark and a side portion of gossip is downtown through and through. It's La Dolce Musto's world, we just live in it.

The Wierdest Hair pirate goes to Donald Trump. There's something (grimaces) ... something (frowns, shifts in chair) ... something not quite right about Trumper's hairdo.

Takes One to Know One pirate goes to blowhard defrocked (or left of his own accord, whatever) Catholic priest John McLaughlin. The vow of poverty left way behind (way, way behind), he once declared to George that he would love to come back in another life as the Sultan of Brunei. Continuing in that homage to tyrants and corrupt rulers, the pseudoconservative voted last Sunday on Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin as Person of the Year. His reasoning? "The person to lead Russia into the 21st century is a blend of despot and small 'd' democrat." Hmm. Takes one to know one, Father John.

The He's taken to Jebus pirate goes to Howard Dean. Superphilosopher Leo Strauss used to exhort his disciples to immerse themselves in the religions that they grew up with and use his rigorous method of examining texts to vivify their religious experience. After Joe Lieberman attacked Dean on his religion flank, Dean done got the lord in him. Which is a smart move as we all have a little bit of the puritain about us, whether Whitmanesque or Emersonian or even the Ginzberg-Kerouacesque hippie Buddhist. Why else would all the news magazines do those religious cover stories come springtime? Or Milton Bradley sell all those Ouija Boards to malicious high school kids wanting to freak out the repressed virgins in the crowd.

And on the subject of newsweeklies, the Dutch Trucker Hat of Obsolescence (worn backwards) pirate goes to US News and World Report. Does anyone read Mort Zuckerman's bronze medalist in the newsweekly marathon? Is this purely a vanity affair? Aside from affording the colosally boring Michael Barone a chance to dress up and play journo ("want to hear about FDR's postal reforms?") is there any other use for this? Semi glossy bird cage papering, anyone?

Best Blog pirate goes to Choire Sicha's Gawker and Elizabeth Spier's Kicker. Those two are the standard to which we all aspire. Thanks guys.

The Best Name Pirate goes to The New York Times' Jennifer 8 Lee. And I know whereof I speak: After graduating from college, I sent a snail mail letter (hey, it was 1994) to Roger Ebert asking advice on making a splash in the media swirl. He said, and I'm paraphrasing, that not to be cynical, (I) should emphasize my last name because it is memorable (well, how many Mwangaguhunga's do you know anyhow?). Well, so is Jennifer's.

With Great Power Comes Great Responibility pirate goes to Page Six. I love 'em, pure and simple (we also love the first power couple of NY Gossip Rush and Molloy, yang to the Page Sixer ying). Page Six is the hands down best daily gossip media organization. Ian Spiegelman went public, giving us some inside on the working of this great institution. They broke up Uma and Ethan and saved Nicole Kidman from making a biiig mistake. Richard Johnson, Chris Wilson, Paula Froelich and Ian can all take a bow. You guys rock hard: keep on keeping on.

The Ubiquitous as Ugg Boots pirate goes to David Brooks. The conservative sociologist "Brooks Brother" (I call him that) was everywhere this year, explaining Manhattanites to the Bush states. Did you know, for example, that in most areas outside of the Manhattan and DC and LA and Silicon Valley power nexus you can get a breakfast for under $2? Fascinating. I guess that's why our man Brookie thinks that the inhabitants of the heartland are more real than the mediaratti.

Although Brooks would scoff at the s-Ugg-gestion of being associated with such trendy footwear, we still love to read him.

The Jordana Brewster Career that Wasn't pirate goes to Jennifer Love Hewitt. Stalking the celebrity caravan at the outskirts, the self professed "Love" wasn't getting any. Hollywood is mean to starlets, ask Jimmy Woods' former chippie Heather Graham about that one. Once something of a movie star, Love is guest starring in unwatchable music videos and dodgy tv shows. Next?

The Mischief Maker pirate goes to Robert Novak. Look at this man. Observe him closely. His smile declares malice to the world. Good will towards man? Ha; more likely bad intentions! Very ... bad ... intentions. This man actually kind of scares me a little. It's those moist rat-like eyes that seem to twinkle in the downfall of a good politician. From the Chicago Sun Times and The Capitol Gang, the Prince of Darkness works his merry brand of mischief. Whether insinuating himself in the Valerie Plame affair or being lambasted by fellow conservatives as being an "Unpatriotic American" in National Review, Robert was as much a story as the issues he covered. When Novak scuttles by it is said one hears the unholy bleating of the goat, sulfurous malodors arise and the cacophanous echo of cloven hoofs striking marble abound.

The Low Down Dirty Dog pirate goes to Lenny Kravitz. Lenny would rather let his career rule over love. The far-ahead-of-her-time Britisher songbird Neneh Cherry warned all women in the spirit of sisterhood to steer clear from Mr. Kravitz with her musical diss "Buddy X," which described Lenny in all his hypocritical narcissistic glory, and how he broke the heart of Lisa Bonet, who risked her career to pursue their relationship.

Neneh sang:

"I don't care what you do/
But there's a hypocrite that lives in you/
Cause if your woman gave her love/
In the same way that you do/
You'd feel a-way/
You know you would"

And Page Six broke it all down for us, ninja-style, at the beginning of December, revealing that Lenny's relationship with Nicole Kidman was an elaborate publicity ploy -- or so he bragged to friends -- to raise his moribund career. I do hate the game, but in this case I don't very much like the playa, if you must know. I find Lenny a low down dirty dog for chosing, of all people, the most publicly jilted woman in the world, our Nic Kidman, who was divorced in the full media spotlight, immediately following a miscarriage. Outside of Euripedes' Medea, it's hard to thing of a more badly jilted celebrity. Great timing, and great show Lenny Kravitz, always adept at raising the image of black men in America -- asshole!

The Christmas spirit pirate goes to The Charlie Brown Christmas special. The Corsair isn't always snarky, but this year, for whatever reason, the old Xmas cheer just wasn't there. Nada; it wasn't happening and I couldn't, for the life of me, get into the whole commercial holiday drunken office party thing. I couldn't even put up a credible front. Then along came that darn Charlie Brown Christmas special.

I am not a pussy.I am not saying that I got teary-eyed, or anything like that. You wouldn't respect me if I made that fact known anyway. My snark web cred would be at zero percentage, sho nuff. Let's just say The Corsair got a little ocular moisture over said tv show, okay? And let's just leave it at that.

The Meta Network pirate award is a tie. My two favorite networks, Trio and VH1 win the honor. Both networks seem to subsist on commentary on the excesses of the established networks, the Golden Globes, the bad sit coms, the commercials, the beauty pageants, all that stuff -- and I love it. How meta is that? They take the thin gruel offered by the dinosaurs and rolls pop cultural sushi. In fact, the only cable channels that hold any water with me are Trio and Vh1. Michael Hirschorn and Laura Zalaznick, take your bows now, you truly deserve the applause.

The Que Pasa USA? pirate goes to the Latino people, who surpassed African Americans as the largest minority in the US. Let's have some love for our Spanish-speaking brothers and sisters. And higher representation on the magazine covers and tv programming, okay? A one time only Salma Hayek issue in which the terminally unfunny Dame Edna blasts latinos doesn't count, Graydon ... and take that Winston Light out of your mouth when I'm getting all righteous!

The She ran for Governor of California to become the Mayor of Hollywood pirate goes to Arianna Huffington. Crazy like Swayze. As Ahrnold made his leap from Hollywood to Politics, Arianna made a simultaneous leap (watch you're heads, fellas), thus terminating the vacuum left behind, from Politics to Hollywood. Somehow, Arianna Huffington came out of her quixotic independent party run for governor as the cool political voice of the Hollywood set, heir to all their influence and affluence and radical chic. How did that happen and did anyone even observe its occurence? The woman is smooth ... Sade made that sultry song about her -- she's whip smart, a devastating rhetorician, a formidable reinventor of self and she is dark. Greek dark. Admiring Arianna is like admiring the guy who picks your pocket beneath your notice, under your radar, on the DL. If Arianna were a man, she would be in the Senate, possibly in a leadership position, or maybe even Prime Minister of England, where she spent her college years.

Six Million Dollar Woman pirate goes to every young man's older woman fantasy, Demi Moore. Undergoing what can only be described in Pravda, of all places, as "massive plastic surgery," Demi went from being pretty, to some kind of wonderful. Demi gave new meaning to the Golden Globes. She is our bionic woman, a real life analog to the hyperadvancement in technology. She is bigger technology news than the blackberry pager. One imagines, with tongue in cheek and a heart full of mirth, the conversation at that historic moment when the plastic surgeons conducted their Wierd Science on her:

"We can rebuild her. We have the technology.
We have the capability to make the world's first Bionic woman. Demi Moore will be that woman. Better than she was before. Thinner . . . bustier . . . tighter."

When you get tired of Ashton, Demi ... call me?

The Six Pieces of Bubblegum Diet Award goes to Dylan Lauren. I find Dylan, the socialite owner of Dylan's candy store, to be immensely fascinating. She's sweeter than an Alexander the Grape!

Although she sells 50,000,000 calories of candy in a year, she remains rail thin, like most Upper class Upper East siders chicks. How does anyone working in a candy store come off looking, well, to be frank, a little anorexic (and I mean that in the nicest possible Nan Kempner kind of way). In the Your Body section of the January 2004 Harper's Bazaar, written up by one Jacqueline deMontravel
she gives up the goods and reveals her eating habits to us, the readers. Sweet fucking Jesus I never knew that rich women go through such deprivation!

The diet is as follows:

"Ninety percent of my diet consists of healthy foods, 10 percent of indulgences.
8:30 A.M. Large bowl of mixed fruit (half a melon, an orange and one cup of blueberries)
9 A.M. One-hour run (6-8 miles)
10 A.M. Stretching for 15 minutes
10:05 A.M. 8-oz. Emer'gen-C ElectroMix electrolyte-fortified sports drink, liter of water
10:30 A.M. Omelet with six egg whites, one cup of broccoli and spinach, and fat-free cream cheese
1 P.M. Liter of bottled water with lemon
2 P.M. Salad with 3-oz can of tuna, ginger dressing, a multivitamin, 8 oz. Of diet Coke, 10-15 gummy bears
3 P.M. Liter of bottled water
4 P.M. One medium grapefruit
6 P.M One-hour session of weight training
7 P.M. Six pieces of bubble gum
8 P.M. 8-oz. Glass of water
8:30 P.M. Half a roasted butternut squash, 4 oz. Of steamed Chilean sea bass, stalk of steamed kale, spoonful of Birthday Cake ice cream
10 P.M. 8-oz. Cup of hot water with lemon
Total calories consumed: Approximately 1520"

Six pieces of bubblegum at 7pm, huh? Well, as The Corsair is writing this at around one, poor Ms. Lauren is half way between bottled water and her tuna salad and gummy bear break. Let's send good vibrations her way, huh peeps: you can do it, Ricky! Resist the smell of those everlasting godstoppers. Beauty is pain!

The Thug Life Born, Thug Life Bred Award goes to Harvey Weinstein, the good natured "indie" studio exec, who appears to have the thickest skin of any media personality in the world. Michael Wolff skewered him in Autumn of the Moguls, calling him "grotesque," "a thug," "a great and gross manipulator." Wolff added, for good measure, "he is generally thought to have good taste. He's kind of kitsch."

Ouch. Thems fighting words when applied to a pseudointellectual like Big Harv, the man who inflicted Roberto Benigni on Western civilization.

Weinstein returned fire by actually attending the book party at Michael's restaurant. Like water rolling off a thugs back ...

The Girl, Interrupted Award goes to Paris Hilton, who finds answering her cell phone to be of greater imperative than pursuing good vibrations by way of Rick Solomon. Well, that's showing us that the girl has her priorities in order.

The Jenna Dewan pirate award goes to Fisher Stevens. Every so often a chestnut bubbles up from the oozing cesspool that is the eternally adolescent mind of Howard Stern, who, mirabile dictu, was seen dining with Steve Martin at Coco Pazzo. They must have been discussing Picasso's late erotic paintings.

Anyhoo: one such magical Sternian chestnut is the Jenna Dewan Game. It goes like this: name a "celebrity" whose name you know but really shouldn't. And if you say Ron Mwangaguhunga, I'll be heartbroken. Jenna Dewan is famous for dancing for Justin Timberlake and then dating him. The Corsair would like to add the august name of Fisher Stevens to the Jenna Dewan game. Why did I spend much of the last quarter of the year on the ex-Mr. Michelle Pfeiffer? I don't know ... I really don't know, but for a second there, it was as if Fisher Stevens was busting loose, breaking all bounds, about to reach the media heavens, as if everything was finally going to go right with him and he wouldn't have to hang out anymore with unsavory past-their-expiration-date type seedy "stars" such as Matt Dillon. But no, false alarm. Fisher's still just fisher.

The Has Been pirate goes to California's former Milk dud munching gerbil faced geek of a governor, Gray Davis, who showed us that he has Vice Presidential levels of charisma lazily wobbling out of his veal-like torso. Proving he did not have what it takes to govern the fifth largest economy in the world, Gray Davis put on a campaign so lackluster that it made Al Gore's 2000 bid look like Napoleon at Jena. Fuck!

The Never Was pirate goes to Vincent Gallo, auteur du cinema. That rat's ass can polish his pirate award like Coolio and his Grammy as far as I'm concerned because this will be the last goddamn honor he will receive. Ever! (shouts, shakes fist at computer screen) The vole-like "star" put out the verminy-titled film Brown Bunny in which he receives the most talked about blowjob since Monica blew Bill from Chloe Sevigny, whose current dental condition might make for a fascinating reshoot.

Anyhoo: Sleazy creep Gallo -- aptly named -- whined about Roger Ebert's bad review of his unwatchable "work."

Why? Even Gallo remarks that he made a stinker. He was 'Le scandal de Festival' at Cannes. Why do we still talk about him? By now he should have beat out Fisher Stevens for the Jenna Dewan award!

The Dance Move of the Year pirate is a three way tie. Neve ("First off it's pronounced Neve, not Ne-vee!")Campbell wins for her surprisingly graceful moves in The Company.

The other ties are Al Sharpton, who threw down some serious foot magic on SNL, impersonating his one time mentor, James Brown.

The third and last tie award goes to Calvin Klein, whose substance-abuse feuled sprint to courtside to pitch woo at Latrell Sprewell exhibited a surprising grace. The things one does for love ...

The Most Irrelevant Magazine pirate goes to Rolling Stone. I am of two minds on the subject. First, May 3, 1998, to me, was the day the music died. Rolling Stone Magazine, the embodiment of hip counterculture colluded with the Giuliani adminitration as a corporate sponsor for "Family Day" to displace the Million Marijuana March from Washington Square Park. No lie.

Also: putting April Lavigne on the cover of March 2003 was a very sad reminder that even though the music has died at Rolling Stone, the stink still lingers like a fucking puddle of stillwater at 1290 Avenue of the Americas.

The He Kept Us On Our Toes pirate goes to Michael Wolff. Oh you can love the man (and we do) or you can hate the man, but if you care about the media, you have to keep you eyeballs firmly affixed to Michael Wolff. Unlike Tina Brown, Wolff appears to be genuinely thoughtful, capable of expounding on politics and media in something other than "synergetic" buzzwords. Whether it was that crazy little Centcom fiasco, or his tome Autumn of the Moguls, his will-he-or-wont-he-buy New York -- the man has style. He is one of the best interpreters of the media, and, simultaneously one of the canniest players in the media.

The Jill Clayburgh Older Women are the New Black pirate goes to Diane Keaton. Looking for Ms. Goodbar? An older, more mellow blend of nougat, you say?

Older women are veering around the national landscape like Calvin Klein in hot pursuit of Latrell Sprewell. Why? Is this a delayed reaction from the popularity of The Golden Girls? No. In the case of Diane Keaton's meteoric rise to sex symbol from author of a book on bad Clown art is the most surprising. What is even more surprising is that Keaton actually likes the bad Americana clown art. Taste isn't everything, I guess.

She's got "it" says the Sun Herald. She's portrayed as "passionate" and "desirable" says the NY Times. The Washington Post goes so far as to call her a "babe."

And she is in a manner of speaking, to be frank. Her rise comes at the tailend of a year where Tinseltown said: it's okay for older women to be considered sex symbols. Look at Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, for one example, and even, the not old Cameron Diaz, 31, who is dating Justin Timberlake, who is 23. Then, of course, there is the 12 year age difference between 50 Cent and Vivica Fox. Hey, it's all good.

From older women-younger men it was a short hop skip and jump to older woman as sex object, when you think about it.

So, jumping bones with Diane Keaton? I don't know, but I'd definitely like to have some coffee with her and ask her about her absurd position on clown art.

The I Wanna Be Vice President pirate goes to Senator Bob Graham of Florida. Jesus Christ, I have never seen a man lust after the Vice Presidency in my life. Like Golem chasing after the ring of power("my preccciousss!!!"), Graham wants this thing. I mean, what is there so grand and swishy about the office, huh? You get to go to rubbery chicken fundraisers. You get to go to funerals of dead heads of state in remote but politically important nations. You get to speak at fascinating places like -- yawn -- the Daughters of the American Revolution, and such.

So why has Bob Graham gone out of his way -- no, strike that -- gone way the fuck out of his way to get the post. First he ran a quixotic campaign which no one believed he was in to win. Then pulled out just before he had to burn bridges by campaigning negative. The he quit his extremely important Florida Senate seat, making him that much more important to keep on the Presidential ticket in order to keep the state.
God, this man has a love jones for the Vice Presidency and The Corsair cannot for the life of him figure out: why?

Runner ups in the chasing the ring of power contest include Newt Gingrich chasing after Secretary of State, James Baker chasing after Secretary of State (hey, Colin Powell is laid up recovering from prostate cancer -- als fair in love and politics!) and George Pataki, chasing after fellow Yalie Dick Cheney's position on the ticket.

The Hey, I Really Am Black pirate goes to Michael Jackson. Like OJ before him, Michael found his black roots just in time for jury selection in his criminal case. Now he's Muslim and giving an interview to Ed Bradley and, we imagine, BET to prove that he really is black, although the visual seems to contradict the fact. Coming soon: Michael proclaims his innocence on the labels of the bean pies!

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Happy Holidays

I'd like to take the time to wish you, my little pomegranates, a healthy and happy holiday season. Thank you for poutting up with me during the year. One types and types and wonders if anyone is even reading. You are, and I am filled with gratitude. I'll recharge my batteries and be back on Friday.
Until then, guys, cheers,

Ron Mwangaguhunga
The Corsair

(oh yeah, here's Al Gore's son's mugshot.)

(oh yeah, and an NBC reporter got run over by a reindeer)
The Charlie Rose Drinking Game

The art of the interview is to draw out the subject while the interviewer recedes into the background. Although Charlie Rose delivers the goods on any given weekday, he uses the first person singular personal pronoun often. Excedingly often. Okay: all the damned time. Charlie, thank you for giving us those great interviews with Will Ferrell and Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, but honestly: It's not all about you. All those I's and me's Charlie; it's not all about you.

So, in the spirit of Charlie Rose's energetic use of the first person singular personal pronoun, The Corsair proposes The Charlie Rose Drinking Game. It's late at night, it was a hard day at work, you are about to go to bed and Charlie is interviewing some Master of the Universe -- so why not have a drinkie poo on everyones favorite social climber- cum-interviewer? Every time Charlie uses the first person singular personal pronoun, down a shot.

And don't use any of the cheap stuff, ladies and gentlemen, this is Charlie Rose we're talking about, and that whole "corridors of power Illuminati Trilateral Commission" power nexus. One doesn't just down muscatel with Charlie Rose; you better recognize.

If you are still conscious after the drinking game, then you are a candidate for the Jared Paul Stern Ironman Drinkie-poo competition.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

New Celebrity Mugshots

Tis the season to be jolly, and what better way to be jolly than to scope out celebrities at the top of their game getting collared for a stint in the pokey! Shadenfreude! There, I said it: a day cannot pass happily without mention of that Germanic buzz word, which is now almost past it's prime. Almost.

Anyhoo: Check out Johnny Cash in a 1965 drug bust.

And here's 50 Cent awaiting felony charges for peddling crack cocaine and heroin.

Oh, here's a sweetie, Andre the Giant, awaiting arraignment for "roughing up a local tv cameraman." Oh dear sweet lord ... can you imagine the poor wretch who had to share a cell with Andre? Can you fathom a moist Oz-like scenario where a hapless convict has to do Andre's laundry? Or fluff his pillows for him? (please excuse the pun there)

But my all-time favorite is Robert Downey, Jr, inexplicably bubbly as he gets ready to serve some serious time on a drug conviction. He deserves an Oscar for this performance.

The Paris Hilton-Trey Lindley Aftermath

The little town of Altus, AK, not Bethlehem, is still reeling from The Simple Life stars Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie, who were anything but simple, according to The Star Magazine.

Up until now, Altus has been positive about the whole pr affair. But lately, as The Star reports, bitterness has set in. It's the extreme wealth that Paris is generating on top of her already considerable fortune that is sizzling the playa hating juices of the little town of Altus. Julia Campbell writes:

"The small town of Altus -- population, 817 -- agreed to let Fox come in to film the show because they believed it would put their little town on the map and bring in much-needed revenue from tourism. Well, the town is definitely on the map, but so far, Altus has netted a mere $59 from the girls' participation in a kissing booth at the town's annual spring festival, the Springdale Gala. Meanwhile, Paris reportedly stands to make more than $3 million from a sequel show and other projects. 'Must be nice,'says Altus' mayor, Veronica Post. 'We would have been happy with $150,000 for a new fire station.'"

Trey Lindley, Paris' boytoy, is still milking his 15 minutes of fame, because according to the article:

"Trae Lindley, was 'smitten' with the hotel heiress, according to Trae's father, George Lindley. The couple occasionally still talk on the phone, he says. 'When she was down here, they were always together,' says Russell Sturdivant, 19, who played basketball with Trae. 'But I don't know how serious it was.'

"George Lindley says the feelings between his son and Paris were mutual, but that it was Paris who plucked his son out of a crowd. 'Trae is not the type to go over and be forward and introduce himself and say 'Hey, I'm the big man on campus,' George says. 'Apparently, Paris picked him.'"

But there were other boys, I mean, you don't expect your typical boy crazy socialite alpha female to settle down with one
mate in her sojourn into the heartlands:

"Lindley wasn't Paris' only pick, say locals. One boy, who would not give his name, claimed that he had a fling with Paris. Karen Stites, whose husband Scott owns the local bar Hog Calls, says Paris planted a wet kiss on her husband's lips. 'He was so proud of it because she's a celebrity,' she says. 'I guess he figured it was a free pass.' Bill 'Buffalo' Leding, owner of the Lakeside Mart gas station and convenience store says, 'We've got some pretty girls around here, but when you bring someone to the town who's confident and spends the money taking care of herself, these boys are bound to swoon over her.'"

Read it for yourself.

Limbaugh Medical Records To Be Released to Prosecution

As the fellows at The Smoking Gun salivate like a Wall Street broker at a strip club on his lunch hour, a Florida Judge has ruled that Rush Limbaugh's medical records can be released to prosecutors, but must be kept from Enquiring minds, if you know what I mean.

The investigation is to find out whether or not Limbaugh engaged in "doctor shopping" as a bid to fuel his addiction. The Smoking Gun has posted Limbaugh's incredibly large drug stash yielded in the search of his home here.

Elizabeth Spiers Shines

The patron saint of all good bloggers, Elizabeth Spiers gets her comeuppance in the form of a glowing New York Times profile and we can not be more happy for her.

On the history of the very cute Miss Spiers, Shaila K. Dewan writes:

"(Spiers) had a difficult time persuading her parents to let her apply to an out-of-state college, but nonetheless ended up at Duke University, where she took Arabic, wrote a paper on terrorism and considered working for the State Department or an intelligence service. 'I applied to the C.I.A. but nobody called me back,' she says."

Hey, what's up with that? First Page Six's spectacular editor Richard Johnson and now Elizabeth Spiers? If Richard and Elizabeth cannot get the scoop on our enemies, then what makes you think Valerie Plame will? Fo' shizzle.

Anyhoo: The Corsair counts as his main influences Spy, Elizabeth Spiers, Page Six, Kierkegaard's battle against the original Corsair and ... uh... well, this is not about me ... it's about Spiers.

And, in a sense it is about about all bloggers. This is the golden age of blogging -- everyone and their grandma has a blog. Recently, The Daily Candy (a semi blog) sold for between $3 and $4 million. Now Ms. Spiers gets her due. How much longer before The Gothamist gets a show on NY1? When will The Corsair get a gig on MSNBC? Or essay writing privileges at Vanity Fair?

I'm getting off track again. Any time things veer away from being about me I lose interest (I can't help it, I'm a Gemeni), so I'll say it quickly before the mood evaporates:

Congratulations Elizabeth Spiers on a well deserved moment in the sun.

Justin Timberlake and N Sinc: Racists?!

Say what you will about NSync, that they were a sucky boy band, that Joey Fatone got busy with older woman Kathy Griffith, or even that they are a Backstreet rip off. Accroding to that significant cultural artifact The National Enquirer, former NSync band manager Ibrahim Duarte is accusing Justin Timberlake, among other band members of using the n-word in a way that does not bespeak of brotherhood and friendship.

Tom DiNardo writes:

"Ibrahim Duarte filed a $10 million lawsuit November 25 in New York Supreme Court, saying he was fired without warning in 2000 -- after suffering a constant barrage of racial remarks, incidents and humiliation."

"In one fiery confrontation, Timberlake -- now a successful solo artist -- exhibited astounding racial insensitivity, according to the complaint.

"The singer said to Mr. Duarte, 'You niggas ain't s---.'"

Duarte's attorney Douglas Wigdor told The ENQUIRER: 'Justin Timberlake used the N word to Mr. Duarte frequently.'"

Tha article goes on to say:

"What's more, the emotionally charged suit states that once during the summer of 2000, band member Lance Bass 'segregated' Duarte by placing him on a separate tour bus away from the band and other personnel."

Segregated? Come on, Ibrahim ... come on. You almost had me there. I was all set to go off on a rant about that evil Justin Timberlake and march with the Reverend Al Sharpton against him interloping in the R and B game, but then you had to pull the segregation shit and now the credibility is no percentage.
Why doesn't Ibrahim just sue for the real cause, he got his ass fired and missed out on he NSync gravy train and the subsequent Timber-lake o' cash.

Once you have understood that, the article takes a more comedic tone:

"'Duarte always traveled with the band on their bus and Mr. Bass did not ask any of the White/Caucasian employees who regularly traveled with the band to travel on the other bus . . . ,' according to the suit. "


Monday, December 22, 2003

(scroll below Paris Hilton-Trey Lindley fans)

Most Embarrassing Media Moment

The Kenyan coffee was pipin' hot as to our liking, the Sunday New York Times was sprawled underneath my feet and Howie Kurtz was interviewing the "shark-eyed" Sam Donaldson, throaty professional Presidential "advisor" David Gergen and the ever-smiley singsong Robin Wright on CNN's Reliable Sources about something called "Spider Hole Journalism."

All that we needed was Smokey to sing for everything to be good in the world ... tonight.

Anyhoo: At the end of said convocation of the Beltway Insiders, Zowie Howie relayed that he wants viewers to send in their votes for "The Most Embarrassing Media moment," which suggests that even Howie isn't immune to the charms of shadenfreude (do we get spanked for using that word?).

Of course, the winner is going to be the Camel Filter poster boyJayson Blair. But that doesn't mean that you can't accost Howie with your own picks. The email is, and he will read the most soundbytable little morsels on the show. And tell him The Corsair sent you.

For my money, Paris Hilton beating President George Bush's in depth interview with Diane Sawyer on Sadaam's capture takes the cake, or Iraqi Pomegranate Soup, if you will.

Paris Hilton: Homewrecker!

(Note: This story is reprinted from 12-18, but for some reason people are requesting it, so I'm putting it up here. Trey Lindley's 15 minutes and all that. Please scroll down to the new stuff on Kournikova and Julio, George Stephanopoulos, Neve Campbell and CNN's Howie Kurtz's Most Embarassing Media Moments if you have already read it. Sorry about that, my little pomegranates)

The National Enquirer reports that Paris Hilton, while taping her reality show The Simple Life, wrecked the relationship of two high school sweethearts in Altus, AK, and then got the hell out of town quicker than a wayward preacher faced with a shotgun wedding!

Caroline Cains --the earth angel-- told the Enquirer:

"Thanks to Paris, the future Trae (Lindley) and I were building was ripped apart within a matter of days ... As lovers, Trae and I are back to square one."

Caroline Cains and Trey Lindley were Mr. and Miss Ozark High in the 2003 yearbooks, but apparently, Trey thought being Paris' Arkansas fling was a more prestigious title. Or, at least cooler for a high school kid when in the locker room with the guys. Men.

Trae spoke out in the same interview:

"There's a chance Caroline and I can mend our relationship, but it's going to take a lot of work. Caroline just doesn't trust me anymore."

Noo: really? Ah, young naive love. Why can't the Real World be as exciting as this? Come to think of it, when was the last time that TRW was even exciting?

A source told The Enquirer:

"(Paris) admitted to at least one person in Altus that 'The Simple Life' producers encouraged her to find a romantic counterpart because they thought it would make for 'good TV.'

"It wasn't very difficult for her to find a fall guy, because Paris was the first celebrity most of the townspeople had ever met. And she used that star power to cast a spell on Trae."

The story goes on (Corsair munches popcorn distractedly, leans in to computer screen) ...:

"'Paris met Trae at the Altus bait shop where she and Nicole were working, and Trae was smitten.

"'Then Paris ran into him a few nights later when she and Nicole were carousing, hanging out with some neighborhood kids at a local gas station.

"'Trae is a handsome guy, so when Paris saw him again she made it pretty clear she wanted to hook up. And as the evening progressed, she continued to pursue him.

"'As soon as Paris learned about Caroline through one of Trae's friends, she giggled and said, He has a fiancee? Well, we'll see about that!

"'She started rubbing against Trae, batting her baby blues, and flipping her hair.

"'By the end of the evening, Trae had forgotten all about his fiancee and had become Paris' toyboy ... whatever Paris wanted to do with him, he was game. It was really sad to watch Paris take a couple who were so madly in love and destroy them without a care in the world."

Bait shop. Gas station. Leg rubbing. Hooking up. This story has it all: the heartland, an uptown girl, reality tv, and romantic betrayal (Corsair claps). You've got to read it to believe it. Oh good job, guys; inquiring minds are satisfied.

Now, if only we could fit a Golum into the story.

Entertainment Update: Congratulations to Russell Crowe and his wife, Danielle Spenser, who gave birth to a boy, Charles Spencer Crowe on Sunday night, weighing 2.8 odd foot of grunt (6 pounds 2 ounces).

Stephanopoulos Is In The Cut

Yeah, I came down hard on Geoorge Stephanopoulos a while ago. I came down on Our Man Georgie like stupid on Senator Patty Murray. In a very special Corsair, dated Halloween 2003, we wrote:

"Not since Attilla the Hun's aggressive campaign against the Roman Empire has anyone been so audacious and bold as George Stephaopoulos' very public transformation from the creepy giggling elf behind James Carville's Cajun strategist routine into a respected network news correspondent, or, as they say in the biz a "Wise Man." Imagine the massive thumos involved (George would appreciate the Greek philosophical reference) to think that you can go from the "the mouthpiece that turned" of the Clinton Years to Cronkite or Eric Sevareid, if you will, without paying the requisite dues. One wonders whether the appropriate response is to applaud or to be appalled at the cheek displayed."

Ouch. We were in rare spirits that day (Cutty Sark, to be precise), so cut us some slack.

George Stephanopoulos did a bang up job shoring up all that raw ambition into some decent content on This Week on Sunday.

The mop-headed Wise Man slogged through The Hague to give us the behind the scenes with Wesley Clark facing off in a smackdown at the Hague with Slobodan Milosevic. Then afterwards, he shuttled to Littleton, New Hampshire to follow the NATO General on the campaign trail.

The most arresting scene by far was when Milosevic, cross examing Clark, read from Peter Boyer's damning New Yorker article, confronting Clark about disparaging comments on his leadership (BTW: How the fuck does a war criminal at the Hague get a New Yorker subscription?!) by Amy Gen. Henry Shelton, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

With a slow, devious predator's smile, Milosevic asked -- through a translator -- "So your former superior talks about your character. Isn't that right, General Clark ... Why were you removed from your post prematurely?"

It was an evil moment. Tryants cornered, like rats, will do anything -- anything -- to survive, and Milosevic did as his slimy character dictated. Afterwards, outside, Stephanopoulos asked Clark if any of the testimony inside hurt his Presidential bid. Clark was upbeat but it looked as if he had been punched in the solar plexus by 50 Cent, or gotten "Alec Baldwined" in the most excellent Page Six (we love you, Page Six).

You done good George, you got us a memorable scene and you asked a hard ass question of a public figure seeking to become Master and Commander of the Universe. In 2004, we promise to go a bit easier on you and the "healthy" sex life he enjoys with wifey, Alexandra Wentworth.

Ballet Done Right

I am not a fan of the ballet. Let me amend that: I am not a fan of sitting in an audience and watching -- in two dimensions -- the stage as a ballet troupe athletically presents their program.

Robert Altamn's latest flic, with, of all people, quirkey Canadian Neve ("First off, don't call me Ne-Vee") Campbell gets it right.

The film adds a third, and of course, fourth dimension to the ballet scenes with the help of DP Andrew Dunn, a God of the perfect shot.

Dunn gets camera shots from up in the stage lights, the wings, from behind the stage and he catches the gossamer costumes as well as the elaborate and draining movements.

Altman gets the "social macrocosm" and Neve Campbell is terrific, but the real star here is the camera, and the man behind it: DP Andrew Dunn

And here's something I wrote on in April in the In and Out:

"In: And, closing on a positive note, the white wine slurping cucumber munching Fifth Avenue set got together to support the ballet (yuck! The Corsair doesn't eat swine, and the Corsair sees no redeeming social function in ballet, excepting Neve Campbell's performance in The Company, which was sexy) in a civilized manner. Fashionweekdaily reports, 'As the 100+ crowd gathered for the luncheon, young ballerinas in tutus from The American Ballet Theatres costume archives mingled with the ladies who lunch, who were all wearing their very best Carolina Herrera outfits. The darlings of New York society think Dayssi, Blaine, and Muffie mingled with the editors Kerry, Amanda and Kristina. During lunch, Carolina Herrera staged a presentation of her fall collection for guests, followed by one-on-one consultations.'

"What other occasion would there be for braised artichoke bottoms with fava beans.Fucking rabbit food. No wonder the Old Money Upper East siders are so mean. Hunger from all that dieting and the rabbit food!"
Enrique and Kournikova: It's Over

In the beginning was the herpes rumor. During Enrique Iglesias's Escape video, rumors flew. But Enrique Iglesias, like a gentleman, brushed them off, telling UK reporter Julie Goodhand:

"There are stories about how I wouldn't kiss (Anna Kournikova) in the video because she had herpes on her lips. They are all rubbish."

They were indeed, but it appears that now he won't be kissing the Slavic beauty as that significant cultural artifact National Enquirer reports that they are no longer an item. Done deal: Finito ... (The Corsair makes a 'surfer dude' hand signal) call me Anna (he slowly, earnestly puts his fingers to his ear) ... call me?

The singer's PR people refused to answer the Enquirer's questions for the story. (Actually, I can't blame them on this one)

The Enquirer writes, "When Today host Katie Couric probed Enrique Iglesias, 28, on Nov. 25 about his on/off romance with tennis babe Anna Kournikova, 22, he stammered, 'We're, we're cool.'"

Iglesias seems to not have given up on a Donald Trumpian taste for Eastern European cuisine, if you get the snarky drift. Iglesias went in for a Kournikova look-alike to chase the holiday blues away.

The story continues: "(Iglesias) was recently spotted making out with 25-year-old Croatian model Monika Jakisic at a London nightclub. 'Yes, I was with Enrique,' Monika reportedly has admitted. 'He's a lovely man, but I don't want to comment on his personal life.'

'Enquiring" minds want to know.

... And now they do.

Most Embarrassing Media Moment

The Kenyan coffee was pipin' hot as to our liking, the Sunday New York Times was sprawled underneath my feet and Howie Kurtz was interviewing the "shark-eyed" Sam Donaldson, throaty professional Presidential "advisor" David Gergen and the ever-smiley Robin Wright on CNN's Reliable Sources about something called "Spider Hole Journalism."

All that we needed was Smokey to sing for everything to be good in the world ... tonight.

Anyhoo: At the end of said convocation of the Beltway Insiders, Zowie Howie relayed that he wants viewers to send in their votes for "The Most Embarrassing Media moment," which suggests that even Howie isn't immune to the charms of shadenfreude (do we get spanked for using that word?).

Of course the winner is going to be the Camel Filter poster boyJayson Blair. But that doesn't mean that you can't accost Howie with your own picks. The email is, and he will read the most soundbytable little morsels on the show. And tell him The Corsair sent you.

For my money, Paris Hilton beating President George Bush's interview with Diane Sawyer on Sadaam's capture takes the cake, or Iraqi Pomegranate Soup, if you will.

Ah, that fleet of factcheckers employed by our private Ugandan coffebean fortune sometimes misses a factoid. ((Note: this is a one man organization, my little pomegranates) Like, we appreciate the time when the very cool Jon Friedman of noticed that we misspelled the name of Sofia Coppola and the excellent Chris Bonanos of New York Magazine emailed that we mistakenly blogged that Joan Didion was fired from Vogue for negatively reviewing The Sound of Music (it was, as Chris noted, Pauline Kael)

Hey, if we dish the snark, then we have to be ready to take the lumps when we muck up. If we have any blaring errors, email me the corrections at . Thank you.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Rating David Brooks

The time has come to grade the Satuday Op Ed of David Brooks, our favorite Brother from another planet. This week was a welcome surpise, compared to last week's boiler plate special that seemed to be a victim of deadline rather than good use for the most important sounding board in the Western world.

Brooks serves us two scoops of yummy Beltway sorbet in the form of some of the content of the President's State of the Union Address. Brooks begins rather confidently:

"Not long ago, a man who runs a construction company came to the White House to meet with a senior Bush administration official. He talked economic policy, then was asked how his business was going.

"He said things were going well. Orders were up. He'd revamped his I.T. system, and he'd re-engineered his production process so he'd been able to reduce his work force to 7,200 from 9,800.

"You can imagine the reaction as he dribbled out this final bit of good news."

No, David Brooks, we, lowly and untethered to the inside beltway that is Washington DC , do not have the contact with the Administration that you do, but we can guess. Call us outsiders, David Brookie! Blindly and in vain, we can guess, O lord: out of the Divine Light of Karl Rove, flailing in the darkness of the GOP in the wilderness, we can only guess in error. To be sure, our guesses would not be anything near in approximating your divine knowledge of, say, the name of the construction company owner.

You see, Brother Brooks is saying in his signature offhand way that someone in the administration told him that story and they probably did. Brookie is top drawer right now, he is The Republican at the New York Times. He is useful, especially in those swing states and in communicating with the East Coast Establishment.

And in that mutually dependent cha-cha, carried out discretely across those blue states, the Administration slips David some scoop in his lapel; scoop in the form of SOTU (State of the Union, my little pomegranate) content:

"In his State of the Union address, the President will announce measures to foster job creation. In the meantime, he is talking about what he calls the Ownership Society.

"This is a bundle of proposals that treat workers as self-reliant pioneers who rise through several employers and careers. To thrive, these pioneers need survival tools. They need to own their own capital reserves, their own retraining programs, their own pensions and their own health insurance.

"Administration officials are talking about giving unemployed workers personal re-employment accounts, which they could spend on training, child care, a car, a move to a place with more jobs, or whatever else they think would benefit them.

"President Bush has a proposal to combine and simplify the confusing morass of government savings programs and give individuals greater control over how they want to spend their tax-sheltered savings. Administration officials hope, in a second term, to let individuals control part of their Social Security pensions and perhaps even their medical savings accounts."

Pioneers? "Give individuals greater control over how they want to spend their tax-sheltered savings"? Having "individuals control part of their Social Security pensions and perhaps even their medical savings accounts."

Hmm. Interesting (The Corsair rubs his chin in recognition of an interesting idea). I thought the President was going to rattle off a Moon program, reacting to the Chinese mission, unfocused, silly. Been there done that, was my reaction to Cheney's latest treat bag to the aero-space-defense industry.

But this ... this. Hmmm. It smacks of vision. It smacks of policy wonkishness, of make the economy of prime importance. Yes ... yes. It is not the McGrocery list that Bill Clinton used to read at the SOTU, you know, the Fillet O' Fish, the Dunkin Doughnuts Kruller, the more charter schools, the Egg McMuffin, the tax credits for stay-at-home parents -- but you get the picture.

The speech has not yet happened, so there is still time for the President to mess things up, but this is an interesting piece of news and David Brooks did a good job. So, up from last week's C-minus, we give Brookie and A.

Entourage versus Entourage: P Diddy v Jesus

As I noted yesterday, entourages have had a risorgimento in recent days. The Corsair would like to compare and contrast two of the more influential entourages in the past, oh, say, two millenia or so, namely: P Diddy's and Jesus Christ's.

Violence? Both entourages have caused a ruckus at one time or another. P Diddy's entourage poked NY Times Boldface columnist Joyce Wadler in the ribs. That's pretty roughneck, but JC has P Diddy beat: Peter, one of the leaders of Christ's entourage, sliced off the ear of Roman soldier Malchus -- and JC healed him!

VIPs? JC has got P Diddy beat again. It goes without saying that P Diddy bestrides the earth on CP time, and is it well known that he basically unhooks any velvet rope that bars entry for him and his crew. He's old school like that. P Diddy is not seperated from any event in the world. The velvet rope is not an impediment to having his drink on, fa sure, nah mean? That's cool: but JC is cooler. Pearly gates? No problem. JC can get his entourage into the most exclusive club of them all: heaven!

And, finally: Influence? Well, P Diddy's entourage is blazing with bling-bling, up and coming rappers, publicists and beefy former bouncers. But what about the future? What do these guys do after the gravy train dries up? Probably 3 to 5 in Sing Sing. (Kidding. Can''t you guys take a joke about Jesus and P Diddy? Sheesh.)

Anyhoo: The influence of JCs crew goes as far and wide as sub-saharan Africa, Central and South America and Western civilization, through the Early desert fathers, through the scholastic monks of the Medieval era, to the Roman Catholic Church, to the Protestants up to todays Evangelicals.

So, The Corsair concludes that Jesus of Nazereth had a cooler entourage than the P, I double D. Respect.

(The Corsair hope no one took offense at this largely playful Christmastime comparison. In toher words, please P Diddy, don't hurt me!)
Jennifer Aniston Has Best Celebrity Hair?

Tis the season for vacations -- falalalalalalalala. As journalists far and wide take their holiday vacations to warner climes than the chilly Northeast corridor and the news stream becomes slim pickins indeed (remember last year around this time we were debating whether or not the Raelians had cloned a baby?), some poll has asserted as news the shocking -- shocking! -- propaganda that Jennifer Anniston has the best celebrity hair.

There is not much to say on that subject except that we disagree: Senator John Kerry has the best coif. Basta!
Only Geeks Understand

With today's high level announcement that The Pope has praised Mel Gibson's rendering of the last 24 hours in the life of Jesus Christ, the question arises: can only true blue fans-as-directors garner the highest excitement from the filmgoing public?

There is precedent to this theory. The geek directed spectacular LOTR broke worldwide records for an opening on a Wednesday (Wednesdays!) pulling in $34.1 million in the US and $23.5 million in over a dozen other countries.

Spiderman is a similar story: Spidergeek Sam Raimi hit a grand slam in his vision for the Marvel comic here. Sharon Waxman wrote in yesterday's NY Times:

"In the United States, the film, a New Line Cinema release, broke the box-office record for an opening in December. The record holder for opening-day ticket sales remains "Spider-Man," which took in $39.4 million on May 3, 2002, according to Exhibitor Relations, a company that tracks box-office sales."

In Wednesday's NY Times, David Edelstein wrote:

"Wandering around (The Loews Theater on 42nd Street), I saw people reading Tolkien. Miriam Kriss put down her book to explain that she was there in tribute to Peter Jackson, ' fan who understood.'Then she delivered a rather stunning tribute to the fan aesthetic: 'The problem with the last George Lucas Star Wars movies is that he's not a fan of his own work. You can't be if it's your work. But he doesn't understand anymore why we loved Star Wars. He just sits and stares at special effects on his computers. I'd rather see Star Wars movies by people who grew up with Star Wars. A fan would get it.'"

A fan would get it? A fan who understood? Yes, my little pomegranates, the AintItCoolNews gang are spending their hard earned milk dud-stained dollars on films, sending shockwaves through Timseltown.

Take Harry Potter, for instance. By all accounts of fans, the film was faithful to the book, and, as a result, it got rave reviews as a sort of visual analog representation of the impression JK Rowling's tale left on the reader. The rave reviews translated into extremebox office (I always wanted to say that and sound like a Variety insider, forgive the pretention).

So, will Hollywood turn the reigns of film over to the geeks? Will Hollywood -- the epitome of cool cachet -- become like Silicon Valley? Will the geek inherit the world?

Time will tell ...

Friday, December 19, 2003

Michael Not Biological Father of His Kids?

That significant cultural artifact and guilty pleasure The National Enquirer is reporting that the biological father of Jacko's kids may be an anonymous sperm donor.

The article, which, with the tabloid, goes on sale today, but is teased online here goes on to say, "Jackson was also caught in a lie about his third child Prince Michael II, (the article) tells how his credibility could become a major issue in the child molestation case."

In other Jackson news, Machiavellian lawyer Mark Gregaros, on Larry King last night, tried to quell the hullabaloo over Jacko's Nation of Islam "conversion," and whether or not Metternichian Johnny Cochran was going to replace him, saying:

"The fact of the matter is -- you want to know where this originates from? It's the PR firm that the prosecution hired ... And what they did is, they played the race card. They're trying to inject Johnnie Cochran into this. They're trying to inject the Nation of Islam as some kind of a buzz word into this."

But the only buzz word, or "buzz inducer" anyone is focusing on at 11:30 am Friday morning is what the hell is the "intoxicating agent" that Michael Jackson used. Multitudes of purveyors of hard beverages are hoping against hope to profit from the Grand Prize in the "Ford Bronco" and "ugly assBruno Magli Shoes" sweepstakes of Product Placement in Celebrity Crime Award.

Better known as 'The Juicies,' these awards are lucrative, but not as prestigious as, say, sitting next to Dominick Dunne, enthralled, as he gloms celebrity off our latest bad-celebrity-cocktail-chatter episode, like an engorged wood tick feasting on an unfortunate tabby cat.

Greeat. Has Geraldo got his Michael Jackson theme song at the ready? Such are the rituals of shadenfreude and democratic levelling in progress. Or maybe The Corsair is playa hating and moralizing with such high falutin terms because he isn't profiting from the Bonfire of Vanities? Don't even entertain the thought.

We report, you decide.

Update: "MilkNCookies" writes, "In the words of Maury(Pauvich), Michael Jackson, "YOU ARE NOT THE FATHER!"

Update: "NeedMoolah" writes, "Mike is a mess someone on another BB said they saw on the news that when Mike was being booked he said his eyes were chocolate:

"Officer: Eye Color?
Mike: Chocolate
Officer: Chocolate?
Mike: yes, chocolate
Officer: That's not a color
Mike: I said Chocolate
Officer: I'm putting down brown"
Governor Rowland Implodes Under The Weight of His Own Hot Air

Shadenfreude is a bitch, let me tell you. And there is nothing worse that being hoisted by ones own petard in the media capitol of the world. I know this instinctively, as an occasional practitioner of that spooky art in this city. Well, sport sounds less pretentious than art, so let's call it that.

Never in my life have I seen a sitting politician receiving so many bitchslaps, in such rapid succession, within, ostensibly, a season of holiday warmth towards humankind, as are being issued toGovernor Rowland of Connecticut. Never (affects "outraged" tone).

If this beating took place in the ring, Judge Mills Lane would throw in a skimpy white towel and send Governor Rowie's black-and-blue broken body, spent from the bitchslaps, to the showers. Pronto! It's over, Johnny.

It's over to everyone but the Rowland's, which makes this little political shadenfreude particularly touching and cruel and fascinating in observation; it's like watching a couple of ants, slowly by slowly, reeling under the heat of a magnifying glass -- knowing what is going to happen next.

Equally sizzling a proposition, Connecticut's Governor, a thick-headed man, by refusing to just resign that damn job in the face of rising public anger, is not doing himself a service. This stubborn man is getting a long, protracted vivisection from everyone in the media biz. A serious vivisection, my little pomegranates, to which his wife is, sadly, a party.

Connecticut Governor John Rowland, and his wife, his "partner-in-crime" , so to speak, Patricia, are too good to be true and too sad to be true, simultaneously. There is a snarky blogger heaven where bloggers are 24/7 press access to the Rowland's, to trap the gaffes, like beetles in amber, ad infinitum; there is also a blogger hell, where the conscience of the blogger creeps up and asks the man -- can't you just leave them alone?

I can't.

First off, Governor John Rowland is ethically challenged. Now, I don't know whether this is because ethics are invisible little creatures (darn tham!), but even by the standards of politicians, Rowland is creepily devoid of ethics, of an ethical universe, oh, why mince it: devoid of even a single negative imperative imprinted upon his psyche, those chestnuts that make us fit for civilization (puffs out chest, gets all "moralizing," while simultaneously projecting a jocular and macho sense of final judgement).

For example, today's Times ties Rowland's "paving contractor" to his controversial partnership in a private deveolpment group (wink wink, he'll thake care of that thing for ya). What's up with that?

Since when do politicians engage in business ventures with ties to their precinct while still in office -- that's crazy talk: what was he doing, pulling a Mariah?

Rowland was absent with the sniffles in "political corruption" class on the day Ambassador Lauder taught everyone to make your scrilla after you leave office and have cemented your contacts, preferably in an emerging democracy, where the legal framework is dodgy at best.

And then there is that whole country house angle with the Rowlands. Not that I am against summer houses, per se, if you go in for that sort of thing (averted gaze), even though the majority of Americans are summer homeless, Governor ass. Summer house issues, air-conditioned dog houses thingies, (sigh) these issues just don't work out with the electorate, even in an electorate as wealthy as there are in Connecticut. Be afraid, Rowland, be very very afraid.

But of all the Christmastime fun surrounding this *dramedy* the Rowland's, produced, of course, by Asaad Kelada, was yesterday's press conference, where husband and First Lady, like Bonnie and Clyde, took on the press -- big mistake, baby pop -- in poetry -- a bigger fatter Greek mistake -- was a moment of great hysterical, and historical significance.

And I do not mean to say that they quoted Edmund Spenser, or Rilke or even Dr. Suess, people. No, the Rowland's, well, Patricia, to be frank, with moral support from "her man," read a "witty" attack on the media in the form of Twas the Night Before Christmas.

(The Corsair cringes at the thought)

The NY Times yesterday described the delivery as a "sing-song rebuke." It goes a little something like this:

"Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except me, the first spouse.

"I was waiting for Santa, that jolly old elf, to give him the list I had drawn up myself.

"For I had hung all the garland and tinseled the trees and festooned the house for the public to see.

"I'd sent all the cards to our friends far and near, and thanked all our staff for their hard work this year.

"I'd shopped and I wrapped all my gifts full of love for our five picky teens, the black Lab and the guv.

"I kept quiet and calm through December's dark storm, protecting my family from those who wish harm.

(Corsair cringes again)

"So now it was my turn to get Santa's ear, to tell him what I wanted for Christmas this year.

"When out on my yard there arose such a hubbub, I thought maybe [Hartford Courant reporter] Jon Lender had jumped in the hot tub."

--You see where this is going? No? I must continue? Very well:

"Now surely that man needs to go soak his head, but there on the lawn stood Santa instead.

"'Come in, dear Santa, and rest for a while. I've got cookies and milk,' I said with a smile.

"'I am late,' said Santa. 'My last stop took hours, all that coal I delivered down The Courant's tall towers.

"'They used to be good girls and boys,' Santa said. 'But the poison pen's power has gone to their head.

"'And I have the same problem at the media stations; they've just simply forgotten good human relations.

"'Their thirst and hunger for the day's biggest story has earned them black coal for their ill-gotten glory.'

"'Oh Santa,' I said, 'that is sad, I agree. They've acted like Grinches who have stolen our tree.'

"'They whipped themselves into a mad feeding frenzy. They've embarrassed our children and our Mama McKenzie [Jo McKenzie, a longtime aide]."

Here is how Alison Leigh Cowan and Marc Santora of the Times described the event:

"After the poem's tone became clear and the audience gasped, she glanced at the governor to assess his reaction. 'Go for it, hon,' he said. 'What can they do to us?'

"'They can't make it worse,' she replied, and continued reading."

The media can;t make it worse, honey? I just did. And, as I write this, many media organizations in the tri state area are doing worse ... much worse. But enough, even I have had enough of this shadenfreude; it's just too sad. Resign, Governor Rowland, resign.