Saturday, January 31, 2004

The Chattering Class Virtual Year Book

Far be it from me, lowly blogger, to impede the progress of all the primping and preening that goes on among the chattering classes. I mean, they do deserve their time to waddle in the sun being as they explain reality to the rest of the world daily, via their nesting centers in NY, DC and LA, and occasionally Davos and Sundance.

Sometimes the chattering class appear to be unruly students at J K Rowlings' mythical Hogwarts, struggling in childlike wonder with The Great Questions of Good and Evil --- naked ambition versus the ermine robes of state. Imagine, if you will, Eisner or, say, Michael Powell, as Voldemortian forces lying in wait in support of media consolidation! Not too much of a wizarding stretch, I hope.

Now, take away the element of magic and at other times, The Chattering Classes appear to be not unlike the birds. Imagine if you will, Barry Diller a heron, or Anna Wintour a swan, pecking at a salad, Jayson Blair (averted gaze) a turkey ("performs distraction display") and Harvey Weinstein an American Kestrel ("Pale belly"). My bird's eye view. That's just how The Corsair's fevered media-oversaturated imagination works: all wizards and warblers.

The Chattering Class render their ideas in varying forms of, uhm, media: sometimes they use the standard black and white print, often radio waves, other times tv, glossy mags are the usual, even mini studios-- whatever the means of communication, there is some hawkish champion ready to express themselves, so, in the end, it is difficult to characterize The Mediaratti fully as the variety of media are matched only by the infinitude of styles and thought, limited only by the imagination; and, of course, I don't intend (or pretend) to be the last word on the matter-- neither as Hogwarts' sorting hat nor as Audubonian birder on the prowl. Nor do I, in any way, mean this to be a complete list, but only a partial listing of those flapping wings who have crossed my radar screen.

So, like the snarky and chaotic (I think the very cool Choire called me absolutely mad, and I don't dispute that claim) Gemini that I am, allow me to mix my metaphors, combining Rowlings and Ravens, to try and draw a bede on these venerable birds.

Basta, now let's just coalesce all the necessary, fluttering data, my little pomegranates, and see if we cannot usher these rara avis into an aviary fitting for public consumption, uhm -- only the catty consume birds -- public observation.

And so, I present, as it were, on the fly, a virtual HS yearbook (the school song a martial, Murdochian anthem, possibly in Mandarin Chinese?), without the pictures:

For your pleasure, Rupert Murdoch HS, Class of 2004 (stands at attention, hums anthem solemnly):

roll credits

Who's Who:

Barry Diller, Headmaster, Dumbledoresque mogul standing athwart media consolidation ... white tailed tropic bird("In pursuit of fish and squid, tropicbirds engage in graceful dives from the air.")

Don Imus ... shifty-eyed leathery janitorial-type (think of the creepy Carl the Janitor in The Breakfast Club) ... Masked Booby ("a variety of hissing and quacking notes on breeding grounds") ... Slytherin ... Affrimative Action for geeks past their expiration date

Felix Dennis, (rolls eyes; extended averted gaze) sex ed ... Northern Gannett("Guttural croak or grunt, heard only on breeding islands") ... "like most rich eccentric men, aspires to be a cigarette-smoking artist (poet) ... some of his lines: "As jealousy anticipates revenge/
So envy swamps compassion in its wake; Thus petty men seek insults to avenge/ And reaching for a ladder grasp a snake" ... the snake reference is obvious, but ... what-the-fuck?! ... so, Mr. Beer and Bikini wants to thorw down poesis? ... Pussy-boy

Harvey Weinstein, Mascot, who portrays a rat named Eisner ... Although Big Harv fills out the mascot costume well, his feet are dainty: he cannot fill Michael's shoes... tough guy... hangs with Pat Buchanan, Steve Brill and the Dead Rabbits, (don't ask) the school gang ... aggressively bad taste (the anti-Kurt Andersen), which becomes evident when he slices a true auteur's bacon ... Thanks for giving us Benigni, you fucker ... A/V Club ... Slytherinesque

Jim Romenesko, Head, Gryffindor House ... dry wit ... Best Personality ... creator of the most significant media blog ... humor, letters, memorials and breaking news for us navel-gazers

Bonnie Fuller, The Dark Arts ... "I was the girl in the front row of class with my hand held very high. And I wore glasses." ... Thanks for sharing ... Will shadenfreude turn against Bonnie? ... well known for giving her students inordinate, no, Gargantuan amounts of homework ... burning bridges, making benjamins ... gossip zeitgeist 101 ... Least Tern("Least Terns will sometimes abandon their nests if they have been disturbed") ... doesn't play well with Jann

Walter Isaacson, Diplomatic History ... Magnificent Frigate Bird ("Frigatebirds, also called man-o'-war-birds, are among the most agile of birds on the wing") ... serious man with the weight of history on his shoulders ... casts a cold eye towards the purple twilight emanating from Washington and sees, with gemlike clarity, the crisis of the West ... Time Inc and Old Man Luce's old job aint what it used to be ... waiting for something better to come along ... future Secretary of State? ... N'Orleans ... coiled potential energy ... founder, Model UN ... a good man and hard worker ... Hufflepuff

Harry Evans, American History, Department Chair .. Oh, Mr. Magoo, you did it again! ... a bit distant ... house husband ... Tina Brown is his A student, Al Gore to his Marty Peretz ... writes elaborate coffee table books that no one really reads ... well liked in the media ... hosts "events" ... Glaucous Winged Gull("A raucous series of similar notes on one pitch")

Roger Ebert, Cinema, Chair ...Most European Midwesterner ever ... argumentative in a grandfatherly way ... simplistic thumbs up technique of cinema criticism ... will give at least one crappy studio picture the thumbs up per show, just so that Hollywood doesn't lock him out altogether and also to show that he has a sense of humor about poo... would rather be watching Resnais ... what was he thinking in going with that Frat Boy, Roeper for TA?

Arianna Huffington, Women in History and Art ... Absolutely brilliant and rhetorically stunning ... Our Livia Frighteningly ambitious ... Darkly beautiful in her wraith ... Then: rival for Sally Quinn's social position as doyenne of DC; Now: so Unelected Mayor of Hollywood ... Ravenclaw ... Phoenix("This
ubiquitous legendary bird of the sun was believed to make an appearance every few
hundred years or so only to die immolated in its own flames")

Sidney Blumenthal ... How to brownnose your way from "objective" observer to Presidential aide ... more popular in Europe, while his rival, Christopher Hitchens is, ironically, more popular in America ... as smart as he is well dressed ... Ravenclaw

Donald Trump, Milton Friedman Chair, Economics ... "you're fired" ... bad hair ... likes Eastern European women ... "there is no such thing as a free lunch" ... short fingered vulgarian ... purchased a modeling agency and a beauty pagent ... insatiable publicity hound ... louche: there is no other way to describe this man: turned Mar a Lago, an historic and palatial home, a masterpiece, into a pay-per-play resort (cafe society debutantes and Town and Country subscribers faint on cue) ... plasters his Hancockian signature on every monstrosity he erects... a gassbag ... a strong argument against democratic capitalism ... so Slytherin it hurts ... Aleutian Tern("Habitat: shallow bays")

Steve Irwin, Care of Magical Creatures ... Mulleted ; a grown man who wears short pants .. for he so loved the aligators that he was prepared to give his child ... your typical yabbo

Greta Von Susteren, Defense Against the Dark Arts ... don't let the flawless legalese fool you, this former lawyer, Gret, is also a former Swedish Foreign Exchange Student ... "is -- ya-ya?" ... can't give her books away, God bless her ...bolted sinking AOHell for the sly FOX ... the latest lawyer turned journo to get some "face" ... and speaking of face, don't even get me started on her eyes

Sue Simmons, Potions ... longtime anchor of evening news cast ... does not play well with others ... no, don't ask me why I included Sue here, I can't figure it out either ... flubs cue cards regularlyThe Bird("middle finger extended to all")

Maureen Dowd, Transfiguration ... sexy, hip bohemian aunt type ... apparently she dated Michael Douglas ... regularly vivisects the Bush Administration ... cardinal("robust seed eating bird with strong bill")
Ted Turner ... fired his own son ... Jane Fonda tried to hook him up with subservient Republican Bo Derek ... peacock

Larry David, Hufflepuff ... hard worker ... peeves easily ... the postmodern Charlie Brown

Dick Parsons, Juggling ... gee, thanks for transferring the CEO job to me right here, right now, Gerry ... Black Noddy("Courtship consists of head nodding and fish transfers")

Coach Regis Philbin, Football ... wanna be tough guy circa 1950 cred was shot when "Coach Reege" took off his shirt in protest of a referees decision and revealed unseemly "man teats" ... likes to play career-enhancing sugar daddy to younger girls ... Brylcream man ... essentially, harmless ... looks like the type of man who wears (makes bracket marks in the air) "old man" garters

Martin Peretz, Civics Chair ... Does not call on African American Students ... Secretly compares every student to his star pupil, Al Gore '00 ... out of power and melancholy about it ... oh, so godamm Slytherin ... no ordinary Bird, perhaps ... a Robert Byrd?



David Remnick, Senior ... Hufflepuff ... lends intellectual glamour to the Conde Nast set

Fareed Zakaria, Senior ... dreams dark and reptilian dreams of becoming Secretary of State ... Junior Kissinger Hessian Society, founder and sole member ... Metternich was misunderstood ... regards the post at State as, "my preciousss" ... oh, just so ya know: Slytherin .... Bismark matters! ... weeps openly at Wagner's Der Ring Des Niebelungenlied when Wotan steals the ring of power ("it's so true!").

Christopher Hitchens, Senior ... formidable debater ... a good man ... The Corsair's first media mentor ... South Polar Skua("Habitat: Open ocean") ... does not play well with Sidney Blumenthal ... pugnacious, honest ... Next Move: MSNBC Show

Kurt Andersen, Senior. Most Likely to Succed ... National Honor Society ... Architecture Club ... Ham Radio ... Editor, ... dry as a martini ... Elder Brother of New York Media ... sharp eye ... highbrow aesthetics ... Osprey("instantly recognizable even at a distance")
... Next move: PBS documentary on the Media

Bill Kristol, Senior ... Most Intellectual boy ... however, misreads Plato ... didn't mesh well with Cokie and Sam ... hijacked US Foreign policy with his pen ... Most Likely to Misuse Power ... Senior Officer ... Next Move: Senior Foreign Policy Advisor

Christiane Amanpour and Jamie Rubin ... The Investigators ... National Honor Society ... Power Couple ... Best All Around ... Madeline always liked him best ... She does a heck of a lot of reporting on blood, mutilation and body fluids ... is he a future Secretary of State? Over Isaacson's dead body ... she: Orianna Falaci; he" Thomas Jefferson::he, Owl of Minerva(""The owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the falling
of the dusk."); she: Raven("For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Amanpour/
Nameless here for evermore")
... so International Chic that it hurts

Maria Bartiromo, Senior ... flirts with Francis Ford Copolla (Francis said that for her he had a part, but The Corsair believes he just wants a piece)... big waifish eyes make grown men turn to calamari estofado ... call me, Maria? ... (The Corsair goes back to wistfully nursing a double shot of Cutty Sark)

Michael Hirschorn, Senior . Best Personality ... Editor ... Most Friendly ... Full of Most Smiles ... Turned the boring campus tv station into "must see" tv ... Everybody's Favorite Cousin ... Next Move: Heading up mini prestige studio, the next Miramax

David Letterman, Senior ... Number two to Leno ... Midwestern Existential Americana: observe carefully Kierkegaard's Concept of Dread play itself out on network television in real time ... mellowing out; growing up ... accepting of himself ... Varsity Football ... Wittiest ... in the reddish-bronze twilight of his career ... passes the torch and becomes a happy family man (a ream of the red states as opposed to a dream of the red mansion)

Eric Alterman, Senior ... Not handsome ... looks to be in a perpetual state of constipation ... the official face of the left (The Corsair slowly, disgustedly claps hands sarcastically, like Bender in the Breakfast Club upon seeing Molly Ringwald apply lipstick with her breasts) ... Worst Personality ... National Honor Society ... phony liberal: rails against aristocratic hierarchy, yet covets swishy party invites to media events ... dick ... Wenner school of liberalism

Andre Leon Talley, Senior ... deceptively intelligent despite position of distinction among the Conde Nast crowd, who favor, uhm, lightness of being ... Mitigating factor: Diana Vreeland watched Soul Train with him; how cool is that? ... next move James Truman's second

Katrina Van Den Heuvel, Gryfindor, Senior ... pretty and brainy student of Russian poetry, history and philosophy ... Most Courteous ... waifish, idealistic and striving for the good... Best All Around ... lone voice among angry commentators ... often in over her head ... a good and honest woman ... next move: Ambassador to Russia

Les Moonves, Senior, Slitherin ... Mr. Julie Chen ... a wanna be big screen thespian with a face made for for back office politics

Richard Johnson, Senior ... The epitome of cool ... arbiter elegentiae, baby ... Our Petronius, and we wouldn't have it any other way ... magestic American Eagle

Michael Wolff, Senior. National Honor Society ... Young Enterpeneurs ... Goes where the action is ... sharp social observer ... can be abrasive ... not afraid to mix it up in the business world, which is rare among writers ... doesn't play well with Tina ... Vanity Fair bound

Anna Wintour, Senior Too Cool For School ... Winter Sports Queen ... Fashion plate ... Joined at the hip with Andre Leon Talley ... Chair, Remove the Popcorn Machines From the Cafeteria Drive ... resolved: food should have no smell ... "I need these minks killed in the most horrid way imaginable ... it adds to the lustre of the coat" ... called Cruella de Ville behind her back... cranky cause she's hungry ... I still love this frosty archetype of a woman: swan("Color: White; Weight: About 28 pounds")

Campbell Brown, Senior ... Full of the Most Smiles ... Most Courteous ... "hottie" ... What ever happened with Richard Branson that night when he stole your shoe? ... Hawk("You may see one perched on a branch in a tree, watching for a meal to scurry by")

David Hershkovits and Kim Hastreiter, Seniors. Most School Spirit ... Wittiest Couple ... nurturers of the bohemian flame ... Barn Owls("the barn owl has eyes that face forward. This gives it depth perception, the kind of vision you have when you look through two eyes instead of one") ... next move: VH1 or E! Network show

Michael Musto, Senior ... Class Favorite ... a good man: Gryffindor all the way ... Wittiest ... bohemian ... the downtown scoop ... Bird of Paradise("Spaniards in the 16th century coined the name bird of paradise")

Charlie Rose, Senior ... Has amiably carried the Dick Cavett mantle in his stately bill ... Most Courteous ... "Lawrd almighteh, when will Wallace retire so that I can take his spot!" ... Could have been a fine Democrat Senator from NC -- he has the name recognition and the looks -- but, ultimately, that doesn't pay as much as CBS and Bloomberg ... Ring Billed Gull("Adult silvery gray on back, white on head, tail, and underparts.")

Jon Stewart, Senior ... Class Clown ... Laughing Gull("Loud, high-pitched ha-ha-ha-ha-haah-haah-haah-haah-haah") ... a good man ... Gryfindor all the way ... a good man who made us laugh after the horror of 9-11 ... national treasure

Dan Rather, Senior ... Eerie serial killer-like stare (and, no, not the CBS one-eye)... Psychology Club ... Young Democrats ... signs off school Ham Radio program, "what's the frequency" ... Confused ... Thayer's Gull("This bird has variously been considered a species of its own, a subspecies of the Herring Gull, a subspecies of the Iceland Gull, and even a hybrid of the two") ... very strang; retire Dan, retire

Bill Mahar, Senior ... once class clown ... now more mature, tried by a bitchlap by the Mouse network ... chastened, now evenhanded in his insults to both right and left ... hugely talented but routinely overlooked ... Prairie Falcon("Life is tough for a baby prairie falcon")

Wolf Blitzer, Senior ... The Wolf ... A-Woo! ... "Turn up that Memphis Bleek, Wolf" ... "Stop bogarting the last beer, Wolf" ... hungry like the Wolf ... busted smuggling beer into the rooms during Senior Ski Trip ... that crazy guy ... "Road trip, Wolfmeister! I got shotgun!" ... Best Personality ... he's not a bird, he's Wolf

Brian Lamb, Senior ... Serious Thinker ... Most School Spirit ... Martin Van Buren Society, founder and sole member ... "Pat Buchanan and Steven Brill stole my lunch money!" ... perhaps the only man to own a collectirs DVD set of everything dome by Ken Burns ... genuinely and passionately in geek love with all things American ... Hufflepuffish ... Hes not a Lamb, he's a dove.

Lloyd Grove, Transfer Student from DC. Started out slow, but is getting better ... the most Washington-Politics-based NY Gossip column ever ... We like Lloyd.

Toby Young, expelled ... flew back to Britain ... punk ass ... chicken

Pat O'Brien, Senior ... "Everyone, look at me!" ... "Demi, what do you think of me as Governor of South Dakota?" ... "Everyone, look at me!" ... Common Black Headed Gull("various squealing notes") ... "Look at meeee"

Howard Kurtz, Senior ... editor, school paper ... protective of the institution of journalism ... Great Skua-like ("They are vigorous in the defense of their nests, diving boldly at human intruders") ... Gryffindoresque ... got a little wrapped up in the K Street celebrity politics thing, but came around

David Chase, Senior ... fuggedaboudit! ... ear for dialogue ... Lesser Scaup("They're found on big water, typically lakes and deep wetlands, and aren't shy about approaching hunting decoys")

Bruce Wasserman, Senior ... dates New York Mag, the head cheerleader, which comes with built in social cachet ... from geek to chic

Liz Smith, Senior ... Texan ... Likes to quote intellectuals ... Flamingo ... good natured; secretly controls New York

Geraldo Rivera, Senior ... gross .... kisses and tells: in print! ... the ladies bathroom wall has detailed warnings of this man's antics ... Black-Legged Kittiwake("Very noisy on breeding grounds") ... Bette Midler? What were you thinking when you fucked Bette Middler?

Tina Brown, Senior ... Topic A: Party Girl ... Gabba, Gabba, Hey ... Secretly dating Mr. Evans, the American History Teacher ... Gossip! ... "Where's Barry Diller?" ...Wild about Harry ... "Barry?" ... Common Snipe("A small bird with an eratic flight pattern composed of twists and dives")

Graydon Carter, Senior ... Leader of the Snobby Conde Nast Clique ... Too Cool For School ... Full of the Most Smiles ... Young Democrats ... Winston Lights ... That's so First Room, Toby ... Bloomberg Sucks ... architectonic hair ... Canadian Goose("Canada geese migrate in V-shaped flocks") ... Vanitas Vanitatum

Michael Barone, Senior ... Mathematics Club ... AV Club ... "Calvin Coolige Society ... "Pat Buchanan and Steve Brill stole my lunch money!" ... ... has bandy legs ... Slaty-backed Gull("similar to Great Black-backed Gull only paler")

Laura Zalaznick, Senior ... Most Intellectual Girl ... Art Club ... "Did you see that documentary last night on PBS?" ... National Honor Society ... The revolution will not be televised because we are the tv revolution ... Black Skimmer("This extraordinary bird, especially when in flight, can hardly fail to impress even the most casual observer")

George Stephanopouos and Ali Wentworth, Seniors ... Golden Boy and Girl ... Twice a day? Really? ... A power coupling that has actually halved their cachet ... still the couple we love to discuss ... A Couple of Ross' Gulls("The appearance of a Ross's Gull in settled areas attracts hundreds of observers and often makes headlines in newspapers") ... decidely not Christiane and Jamie

Tim Russert, Senior ... Gryffindor ... In a state of grace ... Saint Tim ... St Theresa of Avila Rosary Society ...
So, you really confronted Farrakhan about the spaceship and Yakub, the black scientist who Muslims belive created the white man? ... very cool ... Dean of Washington Press Corps

Chris Matthews, Senior ... The Ego has landed ... The Assistant Dean of Washington DC ... Blue Jay ... Conservative Democrats ... understands Americana backwards and forewards ... even handed

Laurie Duhe, Senior ... "Those pouty lips, those legs, those come hither eyes!" ... Iceland Gull("Immatures are creamy buff") ... Rowrrrr

Howard Stern, Junior ... King of the Geeks ... Drilled a hole in the Sumner Redstone Gym to peek at girls showering ... hides pornography in Student Lounge ... Move over Barbara Walters ... most likely to get slapped in the face during his first ABC interview with Angelina Jolie

Peter Jennings, Junior ... O, Canada! ... Young Democrats ... Clark's Nutcracker("Despite pine seed diet specialization, an opportunistic forager")

Rush and Molloy, Juniors ... Cutest Couple ... Star reporters of The Daily ... Too Cool For School ... lovebirds

Diane Sawyer, Senior ... Next in line now that Barbara is gone ... Nice score on the Dean interview ... stately journalist ... America's Junior Miss in 1962 ... Deep Throat? ... Mourning Dove("Mourning doves make a soft cooing sound")

Jon Favreau, Junior ... Allegedly a "director"... Sell Out ... Not especially talented or even creative ... likes to pretend he is a vapid cigar smoking Hollywood exec even as he hosts show on IFC-- the anti-Hollywood ... ass ...Spruce Grouse("The spruce grouse has several nicknames, such as fool's hen and fool's grouse")

Dennis Miller, Junior ... Let's get this straight: Acting? Not an option ... HBO entertainment show? Nada ... Hair? Nope ... Republican Party Reptile? Priceless ... let's take a wait and see attitude re: his little "show"

Cramer and Ludlow, Juniors ... Hufflepuff ... Hardest Working Man in the Media (Cramer) ... Ludlow "more tax cuts" his hair ... it isn't quite ... it isn't quite ... it isn't quite right

Martha Stewart, Junior ... Ivory Gull("A harsh eer ... The Ivory Gull shares the realm of the Inuit and the polar bear")

Joel Klein, Junior ... No Longer Anonymous ... Once objective journo, now card carrying member of the Washington Establishment ... Kerry booster ... Heerman's Gull("Predominantly dark") ... corrupt Establishmentarian with crows feet ... once respectable and objective

Caroline Miller, Junior ... aggressive NY Times interview with boxing gloves as prop ... Black Tern("Sharp kick; when disturbed, a shrill kreek") ... this gal is punchy! ... watch the pageboy haircut, she'll slap you silly

Roger Friedman, Junior ... Quixotic feud with NY Times ... Bonaparte's Gull("soft, nasal snarling note")

Neil Strauss, Junior ... New York Times Style writer who uses geek techniques to trick girls into dating him ... ass ... Slytherin ..."I had provoked a negative reaction, but now at least we had a relationship. I just had to turn her anger around to make it a good relationship" ... fucking creepy ... vulture


The Up and Comers

Elizabeth Spiers, Sophomore ... editor of underground newspaper ... varsity cheerleader

Chris Wilson, Sophomore ... social Page Sixer ... coming up on the radar

Lockhart Steele, Sophomore ... Avid New Yorker ... best neighborhood site on web ... next move: City Council or NY Times Metro section

Jen Chung, Sophomore ... Most School Spirit ... New Yorker ... the sex symbol of the blogosphere ... next move: NY1 Talk show

The Minor Fall, The Major Lift ... the Underground, Underground Paper ... addictive reading ... the coolest threads in the blogosphere

MemeFirst ... highbrow news and a dash of snark ... must reading

Choire Sicha, Sophomore ... underground web site that everyone reads ... wittiest ... best personality ... we heart Choire ... next move: Vanity Fair Columnist

Matt Haber, Sophomore and Jean-Paul, Sophomore ... class wit ... Most Courteous ... on the radar; in the cut

Uncle Grambo, Sophomore ... Most influential

Bunsen, Sophomore ... gotta get my Bunsen on

Victoria Gotti, Sophomore ... Welcome to the wonderful world of publishing, fuggedaboutit!

Mary Kate and Ashley, Freshmen

Steve Cojocaru, Freshman

Keep in Touch: Judith Regan ... Bryant Gumbell ... Garrick Utley ...

Now I am going to take a rest and not relate to anything media for a while. If you enjoyed this, guys, please bookmark me.

Ron Mwangaguhunga
AKA The Corsair

Sammy Convalesces

"Sinatra ... nursed (Sammy Davis, Jr.) back to health and to performing agfain after the 1954 automobile wreck on the desert highway between Palm Springs and L.A. that cost him his eye.

"I have never seen anyone more caring and generous than Mr. S(inatra) in that crisis. He was the ultimate stand up guy. Despite his hatred for hospitals, he visited Sammy constantly in San Benardino Community Hospital and made sure he had the finest specialists braught in from L.A. to treat him. On a psychic level, he used his own comeback as the example that gave Sammy the strength to return to performing, bucking him up ever day and making one-eye jokes that somehow took the curse off Sammy's disability. Mr. S also used all his power to arrange Sammy's famous comeback engagement at Ciro's on the Sunset Strip, and making sure that every big name in Hollywood was there on opening night to cheer Sammy on.

"Meanwhile he had installed Sammy in the Palm Springs house to recouperate and prepare for his fateful return engagement. Mr. S had me stay at the house to be at Sammy's service for the three weeks he was there, cooking whatever he dreamed of, rounding up the broads he dreamed of. I'd help him light his endless cigarettes until he could practice enough with his left eye to get his field of vision straight. Sometimes, when he'd end up lighting the tip of his nose instead of the cigarette, he'd break down crying in frustration that he'd never get it back again. 'Shit, Sam,' I'd console him.'You get to see more out of your left eye than a thousand guys see outta two. You're gonna make it. Don't waste that good eye on fucking tears." And he'd stop, and try again, and soon he was striking up matches like old times."

Mr. S, My Life With Frank Sinatra, by George Jacobs and William Stadiem

Friday, January 30, 2004

These Lovely Bonesmen

"I remember, when I was a child, being taken to to the celebrated Barnum's circus, which contained an exhibition of freaks and monstrosities, but the exhibit on the programme which I most desired to see was the one described as 'The Boneless Wonder.' My parents judged that that spectacle would be too demoralizing and revolting for my youthful eyes ..."

Winston Churchill, Speech in The House of Commons, January 28, 1931"

A Reagan aide once referred to George Bush, then a contestant for the Presidency, but eventually President number 41, as, "a Yalie, a preppie, a sissy." Bush 41 was also, by the way, a Bonesman, like his father, Prescott, and, his son, George Bush, who eventually became President number 43.

Now, what is interesting is the prospect that the front runner for the Democratic ticket is John Kerry, also a Yalie, and also a Bonesman, albeit a Botoxed one. So, oddly, we have the prospect of two Bonesmen going at it skeleton-to-skeleton for the Presidency of the United States of America.

What does this all mean? Well, for one it means that should Kerry get the nod, every goddam network news program from here to Antarctica will do feature stories on Skull and Bones.

2) From point one, we can make the logical leap to point two, namely that said feature stories will prompt every major crackpot in the world not on their medication with a theory on (makes quotation gestures into the air) "The New World Order" (secretive wink) will be flapping their gums. Those Freaky Larouchies will be foremost among the rabble, interrupting Presidential debates and causing all sorts of ruckus and yam yam with hand-drawn messages on cardboard.

3) Following from the rise of unmedicated freaks on our streets, bitter Yalie, Alexandra Robbins, who was not tapped to be in Skull and Bones will continue her "Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorned" tour, railing against the secret society (and, subsequently, another generation of Bonesmen and women will wonder why they didn't just pick the whiny baby to get her off their backs).

4) Native American Warrior Geronimo's skull -- the Sacred Skull -- reportedly stolen by Bush patriarch Prescott will be mysteriously returned to the Apache tribe -- no questions asked.

5) Tom Brokaw will ask Kerry at the debate whether he can maintain the "Bones Code of Silence" and still run as a Middle Class populist. Also, at the same debate, it will be asked whether or not the Russell Trust Association bestows $15,000 on each Bonesman upon graduation, simmering resentments that the Democratic candidate has blood as blue as the Republican.

6) The next inaugural swearing in will have Chief Justice Rehnquist ending the ceremony by saying "By order of our order, I dub thee knight of Euloga."

Should be interesting.

Henry Rollins as Talk Show Host

I am not a fan, per se, of Henry Rollins, although do I think that he is an interesting specimen of disaffected white urban aggression. I was never really a (makes bracket sign in the air) "punk" kid -- my childhood was a fairly happy affair. But if I were inclined to be punkish in temperament, Rollins would not be my punk icon. He's a sell out, frankly. Rollins once said in an interview on the subject of Madonna:

"Madonna recently put out a couple of platinum albums, a movie, a few videos and is well into an ass-whomping tour. The promoter here in Los Angeles estimates that she could have sold out The Forum three times over. 60,000 people? That is pretty substantial. This is not due to a fluke, a twist of fate or a miracle. Her movie, Desperately Seeking Susan is good. Her albums have well arranged, well executed tunes. The production is fantastic. Her videos are well done, very well done" (excerpted from Madonna OK in his collection of essays and spoken-word transcriptions Polio Flesh).

You see what I mean? -- he wants to be loved by The Music Establishment ... he desires to be on that Vanity Fair cover, in between Quincy Jones (although, he'd call him 'Q'
) and Liz Phair, chuckling about a "crazy gig" the night before. He wants to be that man. Badly. Rollins is perhaps the only somewhat talented musician in the industry who craves Grammy's for validity, and, more important than that, the prime time real estate on network tv in which to speechify after the fact.

His shifty puppy dog eyes and that air of aggression relay the odor of a bad childhood (which is not his fault). But, on the bright side: This is a key to celebrity: the desire for acceptance, the need for approval, the insatiable compulsion to make everyone pay attention to you.

Which leads me to the question -- why am I writing about Rollins? Well, I think Rollins could turn that unfulfilled ambition into a magnificent late night talk show, possibly for VH1.

No way!


Rollins has odd masculinity issues. He overcompensates. The tattoos. The sneer. The whole (makes sweeping bracket gestures in the air) "being typecast as a cop thing." It reeks of authority issues and the lack or overinvolvement of a male authority figure in his youth. Whatever the case, his pathology would feed into a late night talkshow marvelously.

Imagine Rollins interviewing, oh, say, Keith Richards. Imagine the puppy dog affectionate eyes that Rollins would throw his way. Now -- imagine how Richards might react? ... Priceless.

Now, imagine that Madonna would throw caution to the wind and allow herself to be interviewed by this mess of Ego and Id. Follow me? The need for approval by this Grande Dame of the music industry would make for some amazing tv. Again: ... Priceless.

Let me not even throw Ice Cube, or Busta Rhymes, or Justin Timberlake into the mix.

And as we go to break, Henry could show some us some tats and rant with his band some dissonant post-punk music. Think of the audience: Men 18-34 would like to see this more than the unwatchable Jimmy Kimbell (someone please sink that Titanic). Come on VH1, add Henry Rollins: The Spoken Word to your line up.

Victoria Gotti Gets It Wrong

I hope the Gotti family doesn't come after me for this (performs a Capriole, dodging swingling meat hook). I really do. I am paranoid enough having just published a compendium of the Bush Twins' underage drinking exploits without having to worry about a swarthy Sicilian man, sucking on a horsetooth, accosting me as I order my life-giving Cutty Sark from the neighborhood lounge.

A lot of journos make mistakes -- I know I have. The Cindy Margolis-Tara Reid catfight comes to mind, which, apparently, never happened, although The Corsair blogged overheatedly about what a sexy thing it would be (sorry). If only one could wish something so hard that it would actually be ...

Anyhoo: for Victoria Gotti -- incidentally, what are her qualifications to be editor at American Media's Red Carpet? I mean: other than a sordid last name -- to publish an uncorroborated interview with JLo is beyond th pale: it's just wrong on so many levels.

I am stunned but not surprised that the New York media circuit is so silent on this matter. Well, God Bless Page Six for taking it on, anyway.

Maybe we just do not think of Gotti as a Jayson Blair because The Star is only a celebrity rage and not The Old Gray Lady. Maybe it is because Gotti (performs a rapid demi-pointe, then a side demi-pointe, gently extracting head from a vice) did it only one time and she is very new to this game and is busy with her reality show on A & E (fuck! Remember when A & E used to fun first class French art house flics?).

Page Six reports:

"'Obviously, they did not have a sit-down interview to get two sentences. And obviously Victoria is in New York and J.Lo is in Los Angeles . . . [but] Victoria got the information in a stand-up way that was fact-checked and legaled.' Sources say Gotti wrung an innocuous quote out of the Lopez camp by pleading that she was under tremendous pressure from her notoriously tough boss, Star editorial director Bonnie Fuller, to come up with scoops.'"

So maybe there is a lesson in there to Bonnie "The Slavedriver" Fuller, and to organizations like The Daily News, which made the quote the basis for a cover story, and maybe it is a lesson to Victoria Gotti (performs a sequito grave a tordiglione, thereby avoiding a flying baseball bat)

Now, please don't have me sleep with the fishies?

Do 40% of the People Watch the Superbowl for the Ads?

"Super Bowl ads have become so big that 40% of the audience watching the game tunes in just for the ads," writes Phyllis Furman in today's Daily News.

Say what?!

That cannot be right. "In fact, only 9 percent of adults plan to watch the game just for the ads, and that number is down from last year's 14 percent and at its lowest level in eight years, according to a new report from Baltimore advertising firm Eisner Communications," writes A.J. Livsey in Media Life Magazine.

The interview continues: ?'This may be more of a reflection on the quality of the last few years of Super Bowl ads and the higher quality of advertising seen throughout the year than a reflection that the Super Bowl is a bad advertising investment,' says Eisner senior vice president David Blum."

Which reminds me of an interview I did years ago with Macromedia CEO Rob Burgess. I asked his whether or not he was planning on a Superbowl ad. He responded, with a hardly concealed laugh that he was the CEO of a publicly traded company and there was no way he could justify to his shareholders spending millions on a minute of ad time.

And as a media-obsessed blogger there is no way I can justify the practice of watching the Superbowl just to see the commercials.

Burn, Eisner, Burn

On his left flank, sitting upright, bolt straight, is Roy Disney, Jr -- The Popular One -- using the bully pulpit of his name to call for Eisner's ouster. Filled with Old Testament thunder and the corporate family name, Roy Disney is a formidable opponent.

And on Eisner's right is the surefire stock market plunge that Disney (down 2.7% at press time) will take after he misplaying hardball with Pixar (up 3.3% at press time) ... a game so bitterly lost.

For years I have dogged Michael Eisner's Simian ass. He has been ridiculous in his dealings with Pixar, which is the centerpiece, nay, the pearl of Disney's animation operation. In point of fact, it is on the backs on profits eked from it's parasitic deal with Pixar that Eisner -- who holds onto the reins of power at Disney ("my preciousss") with the tenacity of an African dictator -- still has a fucking job.

Eisner was playing the prototypical overmanly Hollywood power game -- talk tough, concede nothing, bully, hector and, when all else fails, threaten lawsuit -- on Steve Jobs. You know, in Power Player fashion he was just fucking with Job's' head.


Dont ask me. But now Eisner, the rat who may sink Disney, has handed over to his competition a sorely needed asset. And what would happen (takes out The Corsair's infamous crystal ball, spinkles some Haitian herbs, and says some juju) if Steve Jobs hammers out a deal with, oh, say --- Jeffrey Katzenberg's SKG? Huh? What then, fucker?

I'll tell you what: Eisner's ego will have given his arch nemesis -- "the midget" -- the tool needed to break Disney's animation back. Pixar's every victory over Disney will be fussed over by the Hollywood press and agonized over by shareholders who lost out becuase Eisner was looking out for his ego.

I could easily see Steve Jobs being that vengeful a motherfucker and SKG offering a very sweet deal indeed to indulge him. A sweet deal for Jobs but a bitter one for Eisner and a Cruella de Ville of a nightmare for Eisner's shareholders.

Here's what I wrote on November 19, 2003:

Why Is Eisner Still At Disney?

Wasn't November supposed to be the month that Eisner either showed some miraculous growth numbers for Disney or he was to be shown the door? Sheesh. Will someone fire Michael Eisner already!

We all know that he is antagonizing Steve Jobs and the guys at Pixar who are singlehandedly saving Disney's bacon.

Michael Wolff made an interesting comment on Eisner a while ago in his column in New York.

Eisner has made himself indispensible at Disney. He has a large amount of shares and, like an African dictator, he has never groomed a succesor. So it would be hard to fire Eisner without greatly affecting the already bad stock price.

Sad that a public company has to be held hostage to the Hollywood tactics of a real punk like Michael Eisner. Will the Board of Directors react? only time will tell.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Smackdown: Fox 411's Roger Friedman vs Vanity Fair's Maureen Orth

Fresh off of his mini feud with Sharon Waxman of The New York Times, Fox 411's pugnacious scribbler Roger Friedman is now picking a bone with Vanity Fair's Maureen Orth.

Friedman writes in 411:

"Vanity Fair magazine issued a press release yesterday about their new Michael Jackson story, and the whole thing sounds pretty funny.

"It turns out that writer Maureen Orth, whom I have cited before as lifting material from this column and other places in her recent Jackson reporting, got her latest scoops from the National Enquirer.

"The Vanity Fair press release breathlessly announces that Jackson plied his 12-year-old accuser with wine and called it 'Jesus Juice.' Big news, indeed!"

Ouch. Friedman goes on to complain that Orth's news that Jacko gave sleeping pills and wine to the accuser came from his November 19th story, but the quote Jesus Jusice came from the Enquirer.

Friedman goes for the jugular:

"But people's memories are short, and Orth's clip reading is deep. I think the National Enquirer -- which gets a lot of flack and is never taken seriously -- should go after Vanity Fair. "

Oh, Roger, come on now: can't we all just get along? Let's not all fight over the Jesus Juice. There's enough Jesus Juice for everybody.

Angie, Pam Anderson and Howard

It was quite the threesome this morning on The Howard Stern Radio Show!

Stern, who has lately taken to boasting on air that he has taken over Barbara Walter's position at ABC, was in rare form today, reliving make out sessions in studio with two former Playboy Playmates.

First up was hottie Angie Everhart, who was on promoting her lingerie bowl superbowl halftime special.

As quick as Rudy Giuliani dropped his bad combover as a result of his newfound 9-11 street cred, Stern moved on to his relationship with the ex model. Apparently, Stern took a page out of Sean Penn's *alleged* bondage incident involving his then-wife Madonna ... *allegedly*.

Stern admitted to tying Everhart up and then leaving her alone in a hotel room. "You were bad," said Stern, by way of explanation. As the show progressed, Everhart hinted that she was not quite pleased about the incident. "I think I used scarves," the shock jock explained.

Everhart later said of her relationship with Stern, "it was tender ... except for that tying up thing." And concluding, "I got a wonderful friend (out of the relationship), I have no regrets."

And then came erstwhile Jane Magazine columnist Pam Anderson.

Show producer Gary Dell'abate interrupted Angie and Howard to say that Anderson, an animal rights activist, has spotted Everhart's fur lined Gucci coat in the green room.
"The b-word might have been used," offered Dell' abate.
"That's all right," replied Everhart,"she can be mad at me... she wears leather soled shoes, doesn't she"

And with that, Anderson was quickly ushered into the studio. "(furriers) anally electrocute animals, and they're not even dead and they skin them," explained the former Playmate, in a stream of consciousness.

"I have four dogs, a cat and a horse and knowing that, it hurts," replied Everhart, also a former Playmate.

But it was all good between the three after peace and animal rights were asserted on all sides, and the two realized that they had Howard Stern in common. Pam quickly asked about the sex.

"What's it like?" asked Pam.

"Good," replied Everhart, girl-to-girl and 10 million listeners.

"We kissed," replied Pam.

"--No tongue," added Howard.

"I'll remember it forever," concluded Pam, wistfully, "because he'll never let me forget."

And all this before my morning coffee.

The Smoking Gun's On The Case

The intrepid folks at the uber court document of site of celebrity, TheSmokingGun report that the Sopranos made Best Buy an offer they could not refuse.

According to the site:

"Eight cast members from The Sopranos will whack up a $1.5 million payout from the electronics chain as part of a confidential settlement of a legal beef, The Smoking Gun has learned. Last January, James Gandolfini, Edie Falco, Lorraine Bracco, and several co-stars filed suit over a Best Buy newspaper ad containing a photo of the cast posing on a New Jersey boardwalk. The actors alleged that the retail giant misappropriated their images. The case was closed out last month when the parties signed the below settlement agreement, which includes a pledge of omerta when it comes to specifics of the financial terms. The document does not indicate whether the boss, Gandolfini, gets a larger taste of those seven figures. But what's unclear is why four other cast members pictured in the Best Buy ad -- Dominic Chianese (Uncle Junior), Aida Turturro (Janice Soprano), Drea de Matteo (Adriana La Cerva), and Joe Pantoliano (Ralph Cifaretto)--did not join in the lawsuit or benefit from the settlement."

Then again, Best Buy does not have the most spotless of records among consumer electronic stores. has quite a few disgruntled reports of everything from bad customer service to refusing to honor rebates.

Anyhoo: TheSmokingGun offers another interesting piece of data. Yeah, yeah, I'm sure that you heard about James Brown's latest brush with the law re: domestic violence ---pfft. But did you see the freaky misspelled ad that James Brown had published in Variety last July?

The Corsair wasn't around last July, or maybe I was just rollin' down the street smokin' endo sippin' on "Jesus Juice," but the ad reads, in part:

"Due to Mr. James Brown and Tomi Rea Brown's heavy and demanding tour schedule, they have decided to go their seperate ways. There are no hard feelings, just a mutual show business decision made by both parties."

The decision was made "for the benefit of their carriers" I think he meant careers. In the accompanying photo, James Brown, Tomi Rea Brown, James Joseph Brown II, are all smiling at Walt Disney World posing with Goofy.

Apprentice Want to Tear Trump's Hair Out

Apprentice contestant and firee Sam Solovey, a one time interactive media vet, told Media Life that he wanted to "crawl across the table and pull the hair out of Donald Trump's head" when he first heard that he was fired.

"I was devastated.

"In the back of my mind I saw it coming, but the reality of the moment was overwhelming. I had never heard those words before and they physically hit me --l ike getting shot between the eyes."

He concluded, "I have a sense of humor about the whole experience and realize that this is probably going to be my 15 minutes of fame.

"I've got about three minutes left. There are no delusions of grandeur from this contestant."

Actually I count 1.5 minutes left, but just so we are all on the same page ...

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

The Youth Gone Wild

That significant cultural artifact, Star Magazine today comes out with a compendium of the wild and crazy antics of the daughters of President Bush, usually involving booze. And while those antics are completely normal to any red blooded American kid (please don't send the secret service on me), the twins Jenna and Barbara have their fun with the involvement of a considerably greater cash flow than you or me. David Caplan writes, "'They both really like to have fun,' says Ann Gerhart, author of The Perfect Wife, a new book about First Lady Laura Bush. 'But Laura Bush really adores their energy and spirit.'

Some of that energy and that spirit:

"In October of 2000, as a freshman at Yale University in New Haven, Conn., Barbara was caught attempting to use a fake I.D. at a local watering hole, Toad's Place. "She was polite, but she definitely argued with me to get it back," said the staffer who busted her.

"In spring 2001, Barbara Bush and some pals gave the Secret Service agents the slip while driving from Yale to New York City to attend a wrestling match.
'There's been animosity between the twins and the Secret Service from the beginning,' author Gerhart tells Star. 'They wanted their freedom.'

"Cops spotted Jenna and some friends drinking during the early hours of April 27, 2001, at Cheers Shot Bar in Austin, Tex., and handed her a citation. At the time, the First Lady's spokeswoman said, 'We respect the privacy of this young woman and we're not going to comment on her personal life.'

"On May 29, 2001, Texas police charged Barbara with underage drinking, and Jenna with trying to use a false I.D at Chuy's restaurant in Austin. Both cases were dismissed after the girls each paid $100 fines and performed community service.

"While vacationing in St. Tropez, France in July 2002, Jenna and a pair of gal pals headed to the tony resort town's trendy Caves du Roy nightclub, where they reportedly polished off a $225 bottle of vodka and a bottle of tequila. While considered underage in the U.S., they were of legal drinking age in France. C'est la vie.

"On June 26, 2002, then-under-age Barbara and Jenna were seen kicking back Budweisers and chain-smoking cigarettes with a group of friends well past midnight at Stetson's, a Texas-themed bar in Washington, D.C.

"The twins met Ashton Kutcher and a pal a couple of years ago at a Nike party and headed back to Ashton's place. 'The Bushes were underage drinking at my house,' Ashton later told a reporter.

"In August 2003, Barbara kicked back shots at a birthday celebration for a fellow Yale grad at the trendy NYC haunt Capitale. The group's final tab? $1,100."

And while, of course, there is nothing wrong per se with underage drinking (legalese be damned!), the twins do it in trendy spots in DC, NY and Saint Tropez while hanging with A-List celebrities, while The Corsair did it in a bodega in Manhattan while cutting classes. And there were no $225 bottles of tequila involved here, my little pomegranates, no: I was all about the 40s of Olde English 800 at 17. I'm olde school like that.

Gee, the rich are different

Halle Berre Collides With Equipment

I don't know why, but beautiful people are often clumsy. It is almost as if their ethereal natures are meant for more rarified air than that which exists here. So, trapped in the musty atmosphere of planet earth, they appear clumsy and fragile.

Winona Rider fractured her arm during those shoplifting trials. Then Berry broke her arm while filming Gothika, and even before that injured her eye shooting Die Another Day. says:

"The accident was minor, Everett said Tuesday, denying reports that the Oscar-winning Monster's Ball actress was hit in the head with a microphone boom and spent six hours in a hospital waiting room."

Three lives, six more to go, Catwoman.

Maybe the Catwoman suit should be armored?

Courtney Cox Pays Up

The fellas at TheSmokingGun have done it again. They post documnets from a case settled by Courtney Cox in the "fraudulent conveyance" case of that Jagged Little Pill, Dana Giacchetto.

TheSmokingGun writes:

"Cox is the latest celebrity to settle a 'fraudulent conveyance' lawsuit brought by the court-appointed trustee overseeing the financial ruins of The Cassandra Group, once headed by the thieving Giacchetto, a felon who once called Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio friends. In August 2000, Giacchetto pleaded guilty to defrauding his lesser-known clients of millions and diverting some of those funds to A-list clients like Cox, Cameron Diaz, and Alanis Morissette (the stars unwittingly believed the money represented legitimate investment returns). Giacchetto spent 28 months in federal custody for his swindles."


Anyhoo: in the text of the six pages of snooze inducing chlorofom, we learn that Courtney's middle name is Bass.
Ron Jeremy Gets Tammy Faye's Phone Number

It must be a slow week of shadenfreude for National Enquirer, which reports that adult film "star" Ron Jeremy and the wife of a disgraced televangelist, Tammy Faye Messner, are "bosom buddies."


Rick Egusquiza writes:

"The pair discovered they had more in common than they ever dreamed of after their initial meeting on the WB reality show, which features a strange assortment of celebrities living together.

"'Tammy Faye was a living doll,' Jeremy told The ENQUIRER in an exclusive interview. 'She's a real cutie.

"'I wasn't expecting that a Jewish adult filmmaker and a televangelist would click, but we did!

"'Even though Tammy is very religious, she's got a live-and-let-live attitude. She'll never endorse pornography, but that's O.K. We frequently discussed religion, and I would smack somebody if they ever tried to take her Bible away.

"'Tammy's also got a great laugh -- and we even danced together. I respect her and vice-versa. We were so close that whenever Tammy got emotional and her tears started flowing, I felt like crying, too.'

Egusquiza continues:

"Jeremy, 50, also reveals he had a very special wake-up service during filming of the show.

"'Erik Estrada would wake me up each morning with a cup of coffee and a song.'

"As for the future of his friendship with 61-year-old Tammy Faye, Jeremy reveals to ENQUIRER readers: 'I have her phone number and we'll be keeping in touch. Who would have thought?'"


Faith Evans Mugshot

Why are Biggie and Tupac going to heaven? Cause they both had Faith

Okay, it was a bad and tasteless joke, but I couldn't think of any other caption to the Faith Evans drug bust story. The snark just isn't flowing today. My Libra must be in transit or something.
Conde Nast's Disappointing Style

When I think of Conde Nast several dominant characteristics immediately pop into mind. One, glamour. Two, a dearth of African Americans on staff. Three, style.

So, in passing over my second objection and focusing on the third, it is surprising to me that on the style count, Conde was a bit lacking in regards to their big send off of Steve Florio at the final publisher's meeting in Key Largo, Fla.

For one, Kevin Kelly of the New York Post informs us that:

"The music for the dinner dance on the final night was supplied by KC and the Sunshine Band, still going strong after 30 years."


KC and the motherfucking Sunshine Band?! Not Parliament or even Chicago? Did S.I. Newhouse Jr., chairman of Conde Nast "shake-shake-shake ... shake" shake his booty?

Well, no he didn't; in fact he wasn't there, but in his place, Kelly writes, "(Newhouse) made sure his CEO for the past 10 years went out with a bang by presenting him with a Steuben crystal sculpture on black marble."

Hmm. Okay: at the risk of exposing an until now dormant metrosexuality, wouldn't Lalique crystal have been the better gift? And wouldn't the guys at Conde Nast be well aware of something like that ? Since when has The Corsair been the one to correct the arbiters elegentiae at Conde Nast on their sense of glassware?

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Stop With The Fucking Text Messages!

(Update: The most excellent Rush and Molloy report that both Kidman and Cruise's PR people deny that the incident took place)

Britain's 3AM Girls give us an interesting scoop about the cold front that exists between Cold Mountain helmer Nicole Kidman and her ex husband Tom Cruise.

Sure, their break up was bitter, leaving Kidman adrift in a sea of sharkish paparazzi, not to mention Lenny Kravitz. But who knew that after all these years there is still, well, rage.

Apparently Cruise was writing Kidman unsolicited text messages.

The 3AM gals write:

"Cold Mountain star Nicole, who lost out to Charlize Theron in the best actress category, marched up to Tom and snapped: 'Can you please stop sending me those stupid f***ing text messages?!'"

Oh, it's on like Grey Poupon!

They continue:

"Startled Tom, who also missed out on a gong for his performance in The Last Samurai, hissed: 'Not here, Nicole!'

"The furious exchange left onlookers stunned and is bound to shatter the myth that, despite their divorce, the couple remain the best of friends."

The Corsair leans towards screen, riveted

"'It all happened so quickly,' a shocked witness tells us."

The Corsair shakes his media addled head, knowingly: doesn't it always?

" 'Nicole went up to Tom and it looked like they were just going to have a catch-up chat. But Nicole had an ice-cold look on her face. She grabbed his hand, squeezed it and then started telling him that she was fed up with his texts and wanted them to stop.

"Tom made it clear that it was neither the time or place for such a conversation. He didn't want to be drawn into a public slanging match. Everyone was talking about it afterwards. It's not every day you get the biggest names in Hollywood bickering like teenagers.

"Goodness knows what the texts said but they left her with steam coming out of her ears. The fact that she didn't win anything at the awards can't have helped."

And so, in snarky fashion, here are some possible text messages that Tom may have sent to Nic:

1) That dress does not flatteringly expose your cold mountains

2) The Best Actor in a Drama category, which you have duly announced, is an almost complete chronicle of your romantic life during the past year. Does that offer you any personal insights?

3) Charlize brings off yellow better than you do.

4) Lose the headband

5) Where's Lenny?

Oh Nicole, I love you, but how could I resist?

Lloyd Grove is Getting Stronger

There is no question about it, Lloyd Grove's Lowdown is improving. I mean, no, it's not the consistently solid Rush and Molloy or the magnificent Page Six, but it is consistently okay, which is much better than it was a few months ago.

So, Media Life asked Grove which recent stories have provoked the most reaction, he answered:

"I probably have done between 300 and 400 items since I started the column, but some standouts that come to mind are: scooping the world on Gwyneth Paltrow's pregnancy, ripping the cover off the sexually explicit Abercrombie and Fitch Quarterly, and reporting Kerry Kennedy Cuomo reading the riot act at Michael's to Dan Klores over his spinning of her split from Andrew.

I know, I know I was hard on our man Grove. On November 13th, I actually wrote:

"Lloyd Grove Job watch

How long do you think Lloyd Grove will survive in this town if he recycles old Jackie Kennedy gossip about her priest/confidante?

"I mean, The Corsair loves Rush and Molloy. Those guys know how to hustle and get the scoop. And of course The Corsair loves Page Six. But Lloyd Grove is the worst. I don't think I have ever read something that made me widen my eyes in wonder.

"The Corsair gives Grove another two months before the mercurial Mort Zuckerman sends him packing back to K Street."

Ouch (cringes). How does one correct such a wicked post? To paraphrase Chicago, sweet Lloyd:

"Everybody needs a little time away, I heard her say, from each other /
Even lover's need a holiday far away from each other/"
Hold me now. It's hard for me to say I'm sorry. I just want you to stay."

Keep on keeping on, Lloyd

My Trio

reprinted: January 10th:

I suppose Time Magazine's Joel Stein is an okay kind of guy. I've never met him. He seems to have a bit of a wit, however dry, for someone who works at Time Magazine, the world's capitol of gravitas and all that. In the end, though, there is nothing wrong with Joel Stein that a robust multivitamin couldn't remedy. But what was he thinking when Trio TV gave him the gig of a lifetime? I mean, who wants to watch endless hours of Battle of the Network Stars?

I mean, seriously, who even watched Battle of the Network stars back then, when Telly Savalas and Gabe Kaplan had juice and ruled the roost? Not me: and I was ever the hip 6 year old with emergent media antennae outstretched towards the avant garde world of Schoolhouse Rock's Figure Eight song on the melancholy of infinity and The Land of the Lost.

Now, If Laura Zalaznick of Trio Tv called The Corsair tommorrow (call me, Laura, call ... me ...) and asked: What low budget high quality shows would you program for Trio TV? Remember, we only have a fraction of the network budgets, but we want high quality. I would say: Laura, have you ever read my blog? I am all about low budget high quality.

Anyhoo: These are some of my picks:

Dummy. Gritty 70s drama of urban social decline -- thanks, Ed Koch! Asshole! Back in the Koch day, NYC was all pimps with straightrazors and greaser glue sniffing graffiti punks roaming the streets in search of ultraviolence. Koch turned NYC into a Guns n Roses video, with Mr. Brownstone creeping around Central Park in a raincoat with nothing on underneath! Get this plot, though, peeps: LeVar Burton plays a deaf and dumb mute who is framed for the death of a prostitute (Kuta Kinte, you are a framed man!). But will we get justice for the amiable host of Reading Rainbow?

Anyhoo: Will a young Paul Sorvino get him redemption when he cannot even communicate with his morose client? Or will "Dummy" just become another urban statistic on the Koch street? Despite the overall bleakness, this a very, very cool slice of social commentary.

Masterpiece Theater: Last of the Mohicans. No, not the cheesy Michael Mann MTV video with Daniel Day Lewis and Madeline Stowe overproduced romance to the lowest common denominator. No, this one was the real deal. The French and Indian War, my little pomegranates. Colonial wars involving trappers and Native Americans dressed in coonskin and caribou, muskets at the ready. The Massachusetts Bay Colonizers and what not. Dodgy alliances based on mutual interests, snow and the fate of North America -- we're talking the French and Indian War, people, work with me here. The drama, fo' shizit. For some bizarre reason the Masterpiece Theater programs made in the 70s -- arguably the best programming of all time -- languish in someone's vault, uncherished and unsung. American history geek? (raises hand sheepishly) Present.

Alice: I've always wondered if this was a comedy or a tragedy, or perhaps that significant 70s artistic construct, the (flexes fingers) "dramedy." Single mom who sings Bradway showtunes working to support her kid in Arizona on diner tips. Fuck! It's a hard knock life.

I'd imagine that singing "There's a New Girl In Town" ought to really get those coffee refil tips into the bathysphere out there in Phoenix. I'm sure the serial killer truck drivers en route to the Pacific Northwest on one hours sleep, a thermos full of coffee, tweaking from the crank with a meat cleaver under the diner stool are really up and around to hearing broadway medley's a la Our Alice, no? "How about a little Irving Berlin whilst I carve up the dingy broad" -- "might I suggest a breathless version of Marie from Sunny Italy?"

Better yet, Alice Hyatt, thou repository of the standards of The Great White Way, stick with Florence "Flo" Castleberry's crafty weltanshauung: a leathery-Southwestern oversexed outlook on truckstop flings and a pipin hot "kiss my grits!" for the cheapskates.

Imagine if that show were pitched nowadays. Only David Lynch would know what to do with it. Without the laugh track, Alice could easily be an American drama drenched in pathos, like Dreiser's Sister Carrie --only more chilling. Take away the laugh track, throw in some creepy Lynchian music, or maybe some John Cage, and you've turned a dramedy into Americana horror. In all likelihood, Alice would end up on the evening news having sung ill-advisedly some Mel Torme to a guy who insisted that he "was not the one."

Lil' Tommy would be shackin up with the crank smoking Vera faster than Mel could re-lard his pork chops or Flo could pitch woo in her mobile home. No ... Alice doesn't live here anymore.

Don't even get us started on the great Vic Tayback banging the pick up bell with his spatula like the true character actor he was. Dating those seedy Phoenix chicks well past their expiration date. A diner owner is royalty in the A-Z, you better recognize! Americana horror is the genre. May Mel Sharples rest in a greasy kind of peace. Pink uniforms, ah, Mel, read much de Beauvoir?

Just looking back I cannot believe I just wrote this much about Alice the tv show (holds his head in shame)

Rich Man Poor Man: Observe Nick Nolte before the fermented grape robbed him of his marginal looks, then again, there is charm in Nolte's whiskey ravaged grim visage. If Nolte can be a star then so, dammit, can anyone. Earns props for Teachers, slo. He counts. In both North Dallas 40 and Teachers Nolte plays a disenchanted member of the middle america with his job. He was a Gephardt man before his time, methinks.

Poldark: This cult British tv series is quite habit forming. Incredible. Just incredible. A period piece that is a cross between Wuthering Heights, the Mayor of Casterbridge and Le Liaisons Dangereuse but with a compelling soap opera character at its heart. A guilty high quality pleasure. You get sucked in to this costume drama that is one part Danielle Steele and one part high art.

Assorted Good Times episodes: Come on, you know you had a crush on Wilona ("and you too, Wilomena" said the archetypical corrupt pol, Alderman Davis) when you were kid, didn't you; or, if you were a girl, Bookman the janitor was your long, cold drink of water. What, you never saw a black man doing a John Wayne impression, pilgrim? And you know in your heart Wilona saved Janet Jackson from falling down that elevator shaft while trying to escape her mom who beat her with a hot iron just before she became Willis' girl, then Cleo on Fame, then the ill-starred Ms. deBarge.

Remember the episode where Michael gets crunk off some dodgy ghetto "health tonic" (aka muscatel) classic ("Get Vita Brite and sleep tonight" ...*promptly passes out*).

Then there was the time Michael joined a gang and hid his jacket in the oven. Oh, what about the one where Thelma almost married this polygamist Nigerian cat. Crazy! What about that pimpy guy "Lennay," who always sold hot appliances from out of his coat. Classic. So was the episode when James has hypertension. So was ... hey ... was this a comedy or what?

Cinema Paradiso. The best work of art on the subject of friendship I've ever encountered. A glorious film.

Fellini's Satyricon. A pagan work. Un-be-fucking-lievable: creativity on a galactic scale. The Rablasian Fellini walks us through Roman antiquity as he imagines it, crossed with highbrow science fiction sequences of an imagined future. There can never be anyone as Felliniesque as Fellini. The soundtrack alone is mindblowing.

The Big Blue Marble: My favorite show as a kid, if you must know.

Carl Sagan's Cosmos: Okay, so in the madcap world of astrophysics Sagan's hypotheses are probably all outmoded already. Right? So what? So is Ptolemy's Almagest, and yet I still read it in college and gained benefit. The provocative thinking is worth another looksie; and, of course, worthy of more questions in light of our current data. This series was the bomb! (looks around sheepishly, then raises hand, "question: who is the PBS geek"?) Classics are never outmoded.

Chespirito. This show was a mystery to me: Why would a grown Latin man want to go on tv dressed like a bumble bee with a big "CH" affixed to his paunch. Subtitle it and put it on Trio; I'd watch it just to clarify a childhood mystery. Why is everyone else laughing but me on this one? We'd all like to know what the people on that endless laugh track find so funny.

Stoned, the Afterschool Special with Scott Baio. "Super Stoned Jack," was the scariest introduction that most of us had to the world of the sweet leaf. Sensimila? Not if you have any sensibilities! If I were stoned I would never go out in a row boat on some grey and greasy river. Well, certainly not after seeing this little chestnut. Put it on Trio so we can all laugh at the "reefer madness." Just say yes to the Farah Fawcett haired Felicity. But I'm sure skeevy New York Times writer Neill Strauss will.

Fame the TV Series: Why are there not repeats on VH1 of this show already? When you say low budget and high quality I think .. right here's where you start paying for it ... with pain ... and sweat. The show of young, artistic people struggling for their moment to shine is about as American as it gets. Whatever happened to that sexy cello player who wouldn't give anyone the time of day, Lori Singer. I was all about the emotional cellist Lori Singer back in the day.

Cries and Whispers by Ingmar Bergman. If Black Stallion is the most beautifully shot film, then this is number two. All natural lighting. Bergman uses a fade to red to seperate scenes, mimicking the inner membrane of our eyelids. About as fucking intense as art can get. And halfway through this film about communication and treachery and time past, Bergman dissolves a reconcilliation scene with a Bach Sarabande in the most mysterious manner imaginable.

Schoolhouse Rock: That Figure Eight. Mysterious, melancholy and mathematically instructional. Time will never again be so mundane. A strong influence on The Corsair's childhood.

The Black Stallion: Those fabulous Copollas! This is perhaps the most beautiful filmed movie ever.

The Gore Vidal-Bill Buckley Debate-Fight It was in the heart of the 60s: the polarized political center of the 60s. The left and the right clash violently on national television. In the news division of a respectable network. Fuck! A classic. I just finished reading Vidal's Burr, BTW. Excellent. And of course Buckley's role as Grandfather of the American movemenet is secure. For a moment, our two leading intellectuals of our two political polarities went at it in a bareknuckled intellectual fistfight. Not since Burr shot Hamilton dead has there been so much political drama in The Republic.

Woody Allen's Teleplay: Don't Drink the Water. One of the most interesting experiments on television ever. Woody Allen directs and writes a teleplay starring Michael J Fox and the kid who played Blossom. Shaky handheld camera follows a grown Michael J. Fox as he slowly becomes involved with a bright but much younger woman. How the fuck did this get on American and not Parisian tv? Aren't we supposed to be puritainical? Did Woody Allen have so much juice back in the day that he could put on pedophilic Americana on network tv? Does the story sound familiar? Actually the story is tame, and inventive and very, very arty.

Kramer vs. Kramer. The first dramatic and fully articulated statement of the Baby Boomers achieving adulthood. A film of the first water. Young married couple breaks apart. They become two seperate people post sexual revolution. Wife leaves shallow workaholic husband and baby. Goes out West. Comes back revitalized. In the meantime, shallow husband defined by his work, like an Eisenhower-era man, like--probably--his father changes, grows. Welcome to 1978, motherfucker.

Husband fights custody. Bach and Vivaldi weave in and out of drama that takes place, it seems, amidst the most poignant colors of Autumn in Central Park.

And the courtroom scene where Meryl Streep slowly dissolves into tears offset by forced composure as Hoffman's lawyer vivisects her irresponibility -- her feminism, her 1978ness -- are among the best goddamned acting you ever will see. Kramer versus Kramer is as good as film gets.

Okay, so those are some of my Trio picks. And you have to admit it is a hell of a lot better than Battle of the Network Stars.