Friday, May 30, 2008

A Little Of The Old In And Out

(image via tampabay)

In: The DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee. Get ready to either wake up really, really late tomorrow morning, otherwise be prepared to watch wall-to-wall coverage of the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee. Tomorrow they will decide what to do about seating those troublesome Florida and Michigan delegates which Senator Clinton is contesting with great gusto. James Roosevelt, Jr, the co-chair of the Committee, is regarded as one of the fairest people in all the world. Members of the Committee include former Gore campaign chair Donna Brazile, the Dickensian-named Harold Ickes and undeclared Virginia superdelegate Jerome Wiley Segovia, among others. From First Read:

"Florida Rep. Robert Wexler and former Michigan Congressman David Bonior -- who also served as John Edwards campaign manager -- will be the Obama campaign's representatives at Saturday's meeting of the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee, the campaign said yesterday.

"Both men were on a conference call Wednesday in which campaign manager David Plouffe said he expected the weekend meeting, called to reach a resolution about how to seat Florida and Michigan delegates since the states broke party rules by moving up their primaries, would result in Clinton gaining a 'not insignificant' number of delegates and would likely raise the magic number needed for the nomination.

The Clinton campaign has yet to announce whom its representatives will be.

Out: Emotionalism in The Church. After listening to this newest preacher, this Father Pfleger, in the newest "Obama-Guilting-by-Association" gambit, we wonder: At what point did white-hot Emotionalism creep, at magma velocity, into the pulpit? Whatever happened to Dignity? What of Christian taciturnity?

We were of the opinion that Christianity -- at least at some point -- was a religion based on sober restraint, not "snake-handling," shameful crying testimonials, Appalachian-Jesus fancydancing or, in the case of this Chicago community clergyman, a stand-up routine for the amusement (but not the edification) of his flock. Church is supposed to cater to our Highest Impulses.

It would be nice if these preachers emulated the sober restraint of Christ and not the deep-scarlet mercuriality of his cloven-hoofed nemesis, Lucifer; we're just saying ...
Gore Vidal: JFK Was A Pretty Bad President

(image via theindependent)

The legendary Gore Vidal visited Amy Goodman's "Democracy Now" to talk about the war, the state of our embattled Republic, and his life, now presently drawing to a majestic close. Vidal, the greatest American essayist -- including Mark twain -- has outlived nearly all of his contemporaries. In fact, as he has suggested often, he has outlived the post-war era where "novelists" were culturally as relevant as comedians are in our present age. Who now even remembers the once mighty Vance Bourjaily? Or even John Dos Passos.

The subject of their conversation veered at one point to his old friend JFK, of who's Camelot court Vidal was a member until a drunken argument with the choleric Robert Kennedy caused a revocation of his open invite to the White house.

Vidal has lived through one-third of this American republic, and is it's unofficial chronicler. He revels in saying provocative and often highly intelligent things. This time the subject is Kennedy. From Democracy Now:

"AMY GOODMAN: What did you think of the Kennedys?

"GORE VIDAL: Which ones?

"AMY GOODMAN: Of Jacqueline Kennedy and John, the President?

"GORE VIDAL: Well, I never thought of them as being glued together, no. I knew Jack first. Then I saw a good bit of Jackie. And I first got interested in them when he ran for—the convention nominated Adlai Stevenson, and he wanted to be the running mate, and I knew Stevenson, so he asked me some questions. I realized he was serious.

"AMY GOODMAN: What did you think of Jack Kennedy as president?

"GORE VIDAL: Well, he was a pretty bad president, but—by any standard. But he was one of the most charming men I’ve ever known and very shrewd. He wasn’t taken in by anybody or anything.

"AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean he was a bad president?

"GORE VIDAL: Well, I don’t think the Bay of Pigs was a good move, do you? And I don’t think quarreling with Khrushchev when he got to Vienna was a good thing to do. I can think of practically everything he did that was basically disastrous and leading us closer to war. The Gores are one of the leading antiwar families all the way back to the Civil War, which, although they were Southern, they did not want to secede from the Union. So I have a whole fix on war that he didn’t have. He thought it was romantic. He was funny about PT-109. His father made him a hero after he lost his boat. And he said, to my surprise, 'I came back expecting to be court-martialed, and my father has made me a hero.' He got John Hersey to write about him in The New Yorker, I guess it was.

"AMY GOODMAN: What happened with PT-109?

"GORE VIDAL: Well, Jack was not a good pilot. So he ran his ship right in front of a battleship or a destroyer, I forget which, and it was cut in half. The crew was jumping around in the sea. Jack got decorated for saving the life of one of them, and that was it. From then on, it was one of the great war heroes of all time. Joe Kennedy knew how to manipulate publicity."
P Diddy's $65 Million Yacht, The Maraya

(image via yachtspotter)

Jacuzzi via elitechoice.

Although P Diddy made an interesting impression at Cannes, associating, briefly, with Mike Tyson (before Tyson made a manic beeline to the more influential Madonna), it was his chartered 4-story superyacht Maraya that stole the show. From Elitechoice: "Maraya falling in Arabic dictionary means 'mirror,' is a project entirely custom-built to meet the needs of the owner expecting lights to rule the ambiance."

But Diddy is restless. After kind of flopping as a New York-based actor in his critically-panned performance in "Raisin in the Sun," the serial-capitalist now wants a more decidedly "Vanity Fair"-ish, Hollywoody image, dropping hints -- with a truly ghettonic velocity -- that that vague self-reinvention scheme might include some screenwriting (Averted Gaze). And ever the devoted materialist, Diddy invited London's 3AM Girls on board his yacht -- mainly to free associate on business deals he wants to make happen and celebrity friendships he wants to cultivate -- and they reported:

-- Diddy's flunkies are having a grand ole superficial time on the French Riviera:

"'Eager for a nose around to see how the jet-set live, I arrive a tad early for my host, who I find surrounded by fussing flunkies.

"One is holding a mirror in front of his face, another is brushing his already perfectly-preened hair.

"'That's enough, thanks,' says the rapper, nodding them away ..."

-- Perhaps the rapper-entrepreneur should be called FasDIDDYous:

"(The yacht has a) 10-man crew. The top deck boasts a stage and huge projector screen above the main party floor which has an '80s-style bar at the back.

To protect the thick cream carpets, guests are asked to remove their stilettos or trainers and go barefoot."

-- Electric blue lights greet guests as they enter, so that, no doubt, they never forget how famous they are. Just a wee bit ghetto, says we.

-- Diddy's decor aims after "plush," but instead brings off just a touch of louche: "...giant jars of dried apricots line the mantelpieces, books about Africa lay on the tables and soft cushions are scattered on the sofas." And: "The crew will make chocolate chip cookies on demand and issue pashmina blankets if Diddy's guests feel the slightest chill." But what about Junior's cheesecake? Will they run out and get it if "SamLo" need some a slice?

More shenanigans.
Corsair Classic

FYI: Scott McClellan does Jon Stewart's Daily Show on Monday, June 2!
There Is No Justice In This World

Religion was probably invented because anyone with an innate sense of justice would have to be unhappy with the ways of this wide world. The peculiar magnetics of this planet are such that ruthless maneuverings are justly rewarded. Perhaps that is why reptilian life flourished here so many aeon's ago? Is former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger a surviving remnant of that Age (Averted Gaze)? To wit: this item from those intrepid Page Sixxies:

"HENRY Kissinger blowing out birthday candles on his chocolate layer birthday cake (he's 85) at the Mayflower Inn in Washington, Conn., with wife Nancy and two other couples .."

That the socialite-war criminal is not uncomfortably ensconsed in the Hague answering for his many various international crimes and misdemeanors boggles the imagination ...(The Corsair lights up a Macanudo Robust Baron de Rothschild)
P Diddy is Rooting For Snoop To Be Let Back In The UK

We all now know the twisted tale about how Snoop Dogg, a knucklehead to be sure, was banned from the UK (after previously being banned from British Airways and Australia). And while, yes, "rockstars" are forestalled adolescents with millions in "Fuck You" money to play with, that's a pretty fucking big slice of the globe in which he can't tour. Or, to put it in language that will really move The Dogg: That's a lot of bitches you can't fuck, Dawg (Averted Gaze).

But at least he has a champiton in P Diddy -- nee Sean Combs -- albeit safely nestled in his perch on the French Riviera. From the 3AMGirls:

"...Anyone who's anyone has danced on the decks of P Diddy's lavish ($65 million) yacht, The Maraya, which is currently moored in Cannes.

"And now here I am, too. I can scarcely believe my luck!

"The king of bling himself has exclusively invited the Mirror onboard for a personal guided tour of the brand new 54ft yacht he's chartered.

"... He sinks into a butter-soft cream leather sofa and flashes another wide smile. I needn't have worried about how to break the ice when faced with a multi-millionaire music mogul - the mere fact that I'm a Brit does that.

"'I can't wait to come back to the UK,' says Diddy, 38, warmly. 'I have such a great time there. I want to do another tour there soon. Last time Snoop wasn't allowed in the UK, but I'm rooting for him to make that happen.'"

No doubt Diddy spilled a little bit of champagne -- just a little bit -- into the Mediterranean, "in commemoration of the banned homie."
Media-Whore D'Oevres

Dee Dee Ricks (image via JT/NYSD)

"Last night in New York. The Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center held their first 'annual Spring Ball' at the Plaza in the Grand Ballroom ... The Sloan-Kettering events are top drawer, top of the heap in New York. The support for the hospital is so great that it is one of the few in the country that runs in the black and provides extraordinary services for its patients. The Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering is one of the most prestigious charities in New York, the closest thing to an exclusive club that a charity can be ... (Event Chair Muffy Potter Aston) told the audience that they’d raised a record $2.25 million before the party started. This was more than twice last year’s record. She recounted how during one meeting to prepare for the evening, she suggested they have a '$100,000' table. No one could believe it possible except suddenly a woman named Dee Dee Ricks stepped forward and said, 'I’ll take it.' Ms. Ricks, a Wall Street executive was a cancer survivor and a patient at Sloan-Kettering. This was, in a way, her way of giving thanks." (NYSocialDiary)

"'Robertson just got a whole lot classier!' Sting's daughter, Kate Sumner, joked to girlfriends at Thursday night's cocktail party and silent auction celebrating the opening of Chanel's new boutique located on 'the boulevard,' otherwise known as one of Los Angeles' finest paparazzi playgrounds ...Tinseltown tastemakers and fashion plates including Angie Harmon, Amber Valletta, Kirsty Hume, Rachel Bilson, Leighton Meester, Malin Akerman, Ever Carradine, Emma Roberts, and Michelle Trachtenberg, who is currently reading Coco Chanel's biography and wants to visit her apartment in Paris this summer ... Tatiana von Furstenberg, meanwhile, gave a progress update on her latest film project. 'I've been shooting a film called Tanner Hall, about four girls in boarding school, starring Amy Sedaris, Chris Kattan, and Amy Ferguson,' she said. 'We're editing it now. We wrote and directed it. We've been holed up working on it, so we're just now starting to emerge from the cave. Hoping it will make it in time for one of the fall festivals, either in Toronto or Venice.'" (Fashionweekdaily)

"Forget the presidential race. Never mind the fact that we just landed on Mars. Sex and the City: The Movie is finally here ... On Tuesday night, the mob outside the film's rain-washed New York premiere at Radio City Music Hall approached The Day of the Locust territory. Brandishing camera phones, thousands of screaming SATC acolytes crushed up against the police brigades in hopes of catching sight of their idols ... (I)t was hard to miss Carrie's main squeeze, Chris Noth, who was posing for a photo op with Katie Couric and her blushing teenage daughter." (Style)

"KATIE Couric's ex is finding a second chance at love with a billion-heiress. According to West Coast spies, TV producer Tom Werner is dating Alexandra von Furstenberg - the Miller sister who was married to Diane von Furstenberg's son, Alexandre, until he left her for 19-year-old Ali Kay. If the new couple stay together, it could be the wealthy version of 'The Brady Bunch,' as they both bring several children to the equation." (PageSix)

"Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow enjoyed a girlie night out together - without their respective husbands, Guy Ritchie and Chris Martin, at Nobu Berkeley last night ... Madonna and Gwyneth looked decidedly low-key for their evening out, dressed head-to-toe in sombre black. With Madonna opting for a pair of huge sunglasses to shield her eyes. Later, the singer was seen heading home in her car, texting on her ever-present Blackberry." (Thisislondon)

"It's really good to be Wolfang Tillmans right now. The German-born photographer has a solo exhibit at the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin (up through August) and is featured prominently as part of the Tate Britain’s BP British Art Display ... To celebrate the exhibit, Paley held a private viewing this past Tuesday that attracted a cross-section of East London glitterati from the likes of Henry Holland and Cassette Playa to stylecons such as Diane Pernet." (Papermag)

"Oftentimes teachers complain of having to compete with the hurlyburly of iPod's, cell phones, video games and the internet for the attention of their young students. One wonders what effect this hyper-accelerated digital media universe has on those delicate nervous systems. Even to us grown-ups the daily multi-tasking is enough to induce cognitive vertigo. What better way to lengthen attention spans and promote general well-being in children than yoga? In 2002, Tara Guber, a former schoolteacher and the wife of Hollywood super-producer Peter Guber, asked an Aspen, Colorado public elementary school if she could implement her 'Yoga Ed' program into their curriculum. Christian fundamentalists had a serious problem with this clear violation of church-state separation. The solution? Take out the mention of Hindu deities and the Sanskrit, which was already above the heads of the kids anyway. It worked." (Ron Mwangaguhunga/ Kenneth Cole's AWEARNESS Blog)
Greg Gittrich To Become News Editor At NBC Local Media Group

Greg Gittrich, who, according to his bio, "oversees The New York Daily News' police, fire and education coverage," is headed to the NBC multi platform. Congrats. From the NYPost:

"Greg Gittrich, the metro editor at the Daily News, is the latest to exit Mort Zuckerman's beleaguered tabloid. He's heading to NBC, as had been rumored.

"Insiders at NBC tell Media Ink that he is going to be the news editor of the digital operations of NBC Local Media Group, a new job.

"( had correctly heard that the man they once dubbed the 'deputy metropolitan love monkey' was rumored to be going to NBC, but had no details.)

"An official announcement from NBC is expected sometime next week, when the network unveils a digital strategy that will, for the first time, try to consolidate local news digital platforms, mobile applications and other Web-based news ventures."

Digital operations at the NBC local Media Group has been brewing for some time. Last year's NBC Blogger's Summit, which we attended, was the Peacock network's first foray into pitching local bloggers for a greater participation in their news gathering process. Let's hope Gittrich moves things along.

Presently, NBC is using their 4.4 channel as a sort of farm league for programming experimentation. Why not marry the synergies of WNBC 4.4 and As stand alones both have minimal impact, but together, powered by some of the better NYC bloggers and 30 Rock's great reporting team, you have something really special. Erin Monteiro once told us that it was difficult to set up the Summit, but it was worth it to get the news executives to see the future. And it was. Unfortunately nothing more came of the summit and the many brief alliances forged between NBC and the bloggers that day.

If Gittrich is smart -- and we think he is -- he will use that kind of obscure channel to reach out to local bloggers, interviewing them for their takes on daily events, readying them for the big leagues, namely larger and regular roles on WNBC-TV New York's local newscast. WNBC TV should report on local bloggers -- a formula that NBC could expand to markets around the country, featuring local bloggers -- with such talent as NBC Tech reporter Sree Sreenivasan, who already has good relations with many of us.

With all due respect, who would you rather watch, Gabe Pressman interviewing some -- zzz-- inconsequential local City Councilperson (no offense Gabe), or, say, Rosanne Coletti interviewing the editors at Or, better yet, WNBC-TV reporters interviewing me.

Embeddable clips of these interviews could be neatly tucked into blogs and that would equal ratings -- in a hot, young demographic -- and a new lease on life for the moribund local "if it bleeds it leads" broadcasts. Bloggers are the digital reporters and syndicated columnists of this age, and utilizing them as well as NBC's awesome staff -- think Andrew Siff -- would make for a killer combination.

For new posts on media and culture from this author go here.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Media-Whore D'Oevres

(image via Ken Geiger/National Geographic)

"At least part of the mystery of Stonehenge may have now been solved: it was from the beginning a monument to the dead ... New radiocarbon dates from human cremation burials in and around brooding stones on Salisbury Plain in England indicate that the site was used as a cemetery from 3000 B. C. well into its zenith around 2500 B.C., British archaeologists reported on Thursday." (NYTimes)

"The World Security Institute's Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting is a non-profit news organization founded in 1996 - at the cusp, serendipitously, of the internet era -- promoting under-reported international stories. Twelve years later we live in a world where coverage of celebrity gossip regularly competes with international news coverage on television and in the dwindling pages of newspapers. The Center's goal, especially today, is something we can all get behind, namely, 'to raise the standards of global affairs reporting, reach a diverse American public and broaden international news consumption.' Now, more than ever, as foreign newspaper bureaus are closing, and international news coverage is in decline, important stories are slipping through the grid." (RonMwangaguhunga/Kenneth Cole's AWEARNESS Blog)

"Last night, we found red-headed supermodel Karen Elson at an intimate dinner in the West Village celebrating the virtual launch of the House of Lavande, a high-end vintage couture jewelry line that started as founder Tracy Smith's personal collection. Ms. Elson was co-hosting with trapeze artist Sarah Sophie Flicker. (The two also perform together at The Citizens Band, a political cabaret troupe.)" (Observer)
A Little Of The Old In And Out

(image via adpulp)

In: Lisa Ling. The classy Lisa Ling always struck us as being a bit too brainy for The View (Sorry, Whoopi; sorry Babs). But everyone has to start somewhere, right? But The View's lowest common denominator formula of dignity-crushing "let them eat controversy" didn't quite mesh with Ling's natural gravitas.

Executing the perfect exit strategy -- equal parts grace with gratitude -- was no easy task, considering how notoriously messy Babs "endings" have been, historically. The path leading outside the orbit of Planet Barbara is steeped in peril, mired in complexity. Many have tried, few have succeeded. Ling took a pay and "status" cut by doing documentaries for NatGeo. And it turned out that that was a good thing (although it didn't look so at the time). Then came Oprah and a return of "face". Now, she moves over to CNN, where she tackles the most serious planetary issues of our time. Not bad, kid. From TheHollywoodReporter:

''Oprah' special correspondent and National Geographic host Lisa Ling will join CNN for a documentary this year that follows up on the network's 'Planet in Peril.'

"Ling will report from countries where battles are being waged over oil, land, water and food. Also reporting for 'Planet in Peril: Battle Lines' will be anchor Anderson Cooper and chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. It will be televised in high definition at year's end."

Out: Beverly Hills Cop, IV. We have only the modest success of Rocky V and, we suppose, the box-office blowout that was Indy 4 for this upcoming natural disaster of epic proportions. If there were justice in the world, meh 80s character Axel Foley (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment) would have taken his fake cop pension and gone into faux private security in Beverly Hills. But, no. And as if that isn't bad enough, Brett Ratner might be on board. From E! Online:

"The heat is back on for Axel Foley.

"More than a year after signing Eddie Murphy for another go-round as the wisecracking Detroit detective who prefers getting his hands dirty in SoCal, Paramount is now eyeing a summer 2010 release date for the fourth installment in the Beverly Hills Cop franchise.

"Variety reports Brett Ratner, who added his frenetic touch to the Rush Hour trilogy and X-Men: The Last Stand, among others, is in talks to direct."
Corsair Classic

If McCain Wins Susan Sarandon Will Move To Italy or Canada

(image via wolfgangsvault)

Actress, activist and all around sexy woman Susan Sarandon might leave America if Senator Barack Obama doesn't win the White House in November. From Liz Smith:

"SUSAN SARANDON, who appeared in three films last year and won kudos for her TV movie 'Bernard and Doris,' is still not a contented soul. She says if John McCain gets elected, she will move to Italy or Canada. She adds, 'It's a critical time, but I have faith in the American people.'"

This reminds us of the brilliant but choleric Alec Baldwin, who may or may not have promised to leave the country if George Bush won the White House in 2000.
Media-Whore D'Oevres

(image via JT/NYSD)

"I left the Armory to head down to The New York Public Library for a black tie dinner given in the newly refurbished Edna Barnes Salomon Room. Mrs. Salomon, who died in 2001 was a long time Conservator and member of the President’s Council of The New York Public Library ... There was a half-hour cocktail reception in the McGraw Rotunda with many familiar faces among the more than 150 guests, including: Candice Bergen and Marshall Rose ... Deborah and Philippe Dauman, Oscar and Annette de la Renta ... Edward Cardinal Egan ... Caroline Kennedy and Edwin Schlossberg, Mort Zuckerman, Edgar Bronfman Jr., ... Tina Brown, Susan Fales-Hill, Princess Firyal of Jordan ... Kathleen and Chris Matthews ..." (NYSocialDiary)

"While MM was in Atlantic City there was a surprise party in the Foundation Room of the House of Blues at Showboat for none other than Miss Patti Labelle. It turns out MM's trusty sidekick Michael Musto is old besties with Miss Patti so when she saw him walk into her party the two immediately began dancing and prancing to Beyoncé's 'Crazy in Love.' It was madness!" (Papermag)

"WITH Mayor Bloomberg getting out of politics when his term ends on Dec. 31, 2009, the billionaire is dropping any pretense of being a man of the people - and joining the aristocrats of Lyford Cay, the gated community of 300 mansions on New Providence Island in the Bahamas. Bloomberg, an avid golfer who already has an estate on Bermuda, has been proposed for membership in the Lyford Cay Club by his friend Donald Marron, the former PaineWebber chief who now runs Lightyear Capital." (PageSix)

"Bill Clinton isn't the only one who is getting a little testy about the endlessly long and increasingly tabloid-y battle for the democratic nomination. At today's lunch, politics were on the menu as supporters of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama took sides over their Cobb Salads ... Table 11. Glamour editrix Cindi Leive looking like a cover gal for her own magazine in a stunning yellow sheath and sky high Christian Louboutins with GMA host Robin Roberts who dazzled the dining room in her chic suit, short 'do and killer leopard pumps. You go girl! (Table)12. Today's Al Roker, who was stopped by a squadron of fans on his way in and gamely chatted with them before joining his producer Jackie Olensky and Lauren Kapp, who is on leave from NBC until mid-August." (FishbowlNY)

"Last Friday afternoon, after a short flight to Granada, I followed a tour through the summer house that Federico García Lorca’s family bought in 1925. Laura García Lorca de los Rios, dressed in tailored black linen, evoked the memory of her uncle by way of a recollection of footsteps on a rocky path—the sound of Lorca and his friends as they would return to the house after an evening in town. The lively group would usually wander back around 2 AM, and Lorca would head straight to his desk to write. He would wake for lunch, then begin writing again as the rest of the house settled into a siesta. The images lingered as Laura García Lorca plainly explained that we were standing inside the house that the poet was taken from before he was shot, in 1936, shortly after Francisco Franco came to power." (Artforum)
Sharon Stone Apologizes

(image via diamondring)

We've wined and dined with Kings and Queens and lain in the gutter eating pork and beans. We thought we'd seen everything there is to see on this Big Blue Marble, but we didn't expect to live to see the day when Sharon Stone apologized. Yes, Sharon Stone's odd interpretation of the Law of Karma was, ah, unorthodox. We really don't think that the tens of thousands of killed Chinese nationals were meant to suffer because the government of China represses the freedoms of Tibet. But we didn't think Sharon Stone, one of the ballsiest people in Hollywood would apologize. Apparently Dior -- for which she works -- didn't appreciate her impromptu commentary. From AFP:

"Hollywood star Sharon Stone has apologised for suggesting China's earthquake was bad 'karma' for its handling of Tibet, but Christian Dior on Thursday dropped her from its local ads amid a public uproar.

"The 50-year-old US actress offered to help with relief efforts after the May 12 quake that killed nearly 70,000 people, in an effort to smooth over tensions sparked by her controversial comments at the Cannes Film Festival last week.

"'My erroneous words and deeds angered and saddened the Chinese people, and I sincerely apologise for this,' she said in a statement issued by Dior China and sent to AFP on Thursday."

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Picture Pages, Picture Pages ...

Rough night, huh, Kim Cattrall? Wanna let that thing breathe?(image via defamer)

Romanian pimps, dear readers, are the new black. (image via thecobrasnake)

A daily spoonful of beef liver powder wouldn't make her a bad person. (image via thecobrasnake)

If slugger here hugs her any harder she may become "with child". (image via thecobrasnake)

The pause that refreshes! (image via thecobrasnake)
A Little Of The Old In And Out

(image via drudgiepoo)

In: "What Happened." Former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan's new book, "What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception," is being described by various news outlets as "scathing," and, in others as an "excoriation." Apparently, the President -- the same who looked into Vladimir "Pootie-Poot's" soul -- thought that McClellan would go quietly into the night with his reputation destroyed, taking one for the team.

Not quite.

In the case of disgraced former CIA chief George Tenet, for instance, the cost of silence was a Congressional Medal of Freedom. Everyone has a price, and some people can be had on the cheap. But McClellan didn't even rate that. And so comes payback. Big time. We are categorically not fans of McClellan or of the whole revenge memoir genre, but this is the topic of all conversations today among the chattering classes and it -- along with Paul O'Neal's account and Woodward's series -- will all play a role as the first draft of how historians will judge the Bush administration. We hope that judgement is harsh. From ABCNews:

"He calls the Iraq war a 'serious strategic blunder' and 'grave mistake' and chastises the president for his 'decision to turn away from candor and honesty when these qualities were most needed.'

"'The Iraq war was not necessary,' concludes McCLellan, who defended the war during his three years as the White House spokesman.

"'Scott is in for a whirlwind, I can tell you that from personal experience,' said Matthew Dowd a former Bush advisor who publicly criticized the White House's handling of Iraq and is now a commentator for ABC News."

This should do wonders for his 26-percent approval rating.

(image via cgfocus)

Out: HBO. While we reserve the right to renew HBO's cool pass, right now their membership dues are seriously in arrears (Averted Gaze). John From Cincinnatti? What were they thinking? From the salmon-colored weekly:

"Over the past few weeks, HBO has announced a series of moves to stem the tide of speculation that the network is faltering ... Even as its documentary, original-movie and comedy programming remain strong, the network has been without a new hit series for some time now. Lucky Louie tanked. John From Cincinnati is practically a punch line. In Treatment, the five-day-a-week peek into therapy that aired this past winter, was a little too much like, well, therapy to draw a mass crowd. The Wire, which reliably delivered critical acclaim for five seasons, is over. And Flight of the Conchords? Although it was renewed, that show is kids’ stuff compared to the shows that kept HBO series so far ahead of the rest. What they do next has to be big, smart, serious, bold."

For the time being that involves Tina Brown and Frank Rich. More here.

(image via montereyherald)

In: Gary Hart. What can one say about a man who resumed his doctoral studies -- at Oxford -- in what can only be properly construed as his senior years, when most people believe that they already know everything? One could say that he, like Edmund Wilson and Miles Davis and other American originals, were always learning.

The former Senator continues to be a statesman of the highest magnitude. On Tuesday, Hart gave a speech at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterrey. He returned to his theme of "the security of the commons," marrying it to his ongoing preoccupation with America's national security in a world of increasing pandaemonium. From The Monterrey Herald:

"It has been through such violent, demoralizing attacks that nation-states began disintegrating after the Cold War ended, (Hart) said. Hart noted that nation-states came into being in the 17th century as a pact between the populace, which offered its allegiance, and a government, which promised protection in return.

"Hart said the rule of government and law in many portions of the world has been replaced by 'tribes, religious fundamentalist movements and gangs — non-state actors.'

"A key to achieving security, Hart said, lies in the United States' other role as 'guardian of the commons.'

"It is the U.S. that currently guarantees the world oil supply, he said. And the U.S. should enlist other nations with similar values and interests — equality, transparency in policymaking, freedom of the press and an independent judiciary — in safeguarding and organizing a world economy to promote stability and prosperity."

More here.
Are The Top Chef Contestants Getting Too "Saucy"?

Anyone else noticed that the Top Chef contestants have grown increasingly insolent as the series has progressed? We worry after the safety of the ravishing Padma Lakshmi in the presence of such surly, chimpanzee-like behavior coming from, of all people, chefs (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment). We would like to volunteer to be Padma's "bodyperson" -- "Huma" to Padma's Hillary, fulfilling her every need -- should these chef-tensions continue build to boiling temperature.

And, while, yes, Hung -- the previous winner -- had a colossal ego, he relegated his culinary bitchiness to the confines of the confessional camera. The idea of a contestant "sassing" a judge would have been considered anathema last season. This season's Top Chef is another kettle of fish altogether.

It's like someone is putting anabolic steroids in the cerviche and orangutan hormonal extracts in the edamame or something. Top Chef: Chicago, especially, represents the crest of this culinary 'roid rage, this bonfire of the civilities. And although there is some precedent for chefs that behave like The Great Apes (Averted Gaze), Top Chef -- on Bravo, no less -- always struck us as a more civilized arena, a precinct where a sure hand and a refined palate reigned supreme. Alas, it was not. The barbarians have stormed our Bravo's gates.

Some evidence in support of the argument:

-- "Spike," who has a vast array of Federlinish hats worn a la "Fosse," declared, upon losing a neighborhood street fair cookoff, that his team was "cooking for the people." From reality-Online-TV:

"When Padma called back the blue team, the red team was showing signs of concern but never really lost their confidence or arrogance. When they are called back to face the judges at judges’ table you could see they were truly surprised to be there. Spike explains that they were cooking for the people, not the judges, and Tom Colicchio said they shouldn’t dumb down what they are doing to appeal to the masses. Guest judge (Rick) Bayless makes a comment later that good food is universal and will sell to everyone. One interesting thing during this judges’ table was Andrew speaking back to the judges. When Colicchio says someone has to go home from this team Andrew says that they would have to drag him out of there with security guards since 'this is my house now.'" WTF?!

This same Spike, refusing to follow the dictates of the "gourmet taco" contest, declared that he would not go upscale because "Taco's are from the streets." And he didn't want to "fake it."

-- Earlier in that same episode, Spike outright lied to Antonia about a house that they had just visited. The nature of the challenge was that they had to ask neighborhood residents for the ingredients they would use in the cook off. While this act of "sabotage" -- their word -- was, technically, legal, it was against the fairplay exhibited on the show thus far.

-- Once again we cannot fail to note -- with increasing rage -- Andrew's thumoeideutic boast to Tom Colicio: "You'll have to drag me out with security guards, cause I ain't goin nowhere. This is my house." He said this all up in Tom Colichio's bitch! Oh, it's on! It's on like Gray Poupon!

-- The token Aussie Mark, breaking Top Chef tradition, lamenting aloud, "Tom doesn't like me... It's undercooked, it's overcooked, it's too salty, how do I make this guy happy?" Just go.

-- Lisa, after ratting out "culinary boner" Andrew for not using a whole grain on a nutrition challenge(admittedly a punk move), said she felt like if she said anymore he would punch her. Afterwards an increasingly unstable Andrew pointed to his eyes, alluding to the fact that he had his eyes on her. This cracked-up scene caused Antonia to shout out, "Ew, Andrew, stop, it’s totally freaking me out."

-- Lisa, who trafficks in high drama, fucked up the entire kitchen vibe during the nutrition challenge, screaming, "WHO FUCKED WITH MY RICE?!” Then, later, she contended that someone sabotaged her burner. No one fucked with her rice, people.

-- Dale, who is just as negative a personality as Lisa, punched a wall (and screamed in the acoustically-friendly kichen, "Fu-u-uuck!") after his team lost a quickfire challenge in which he filetted a really gnarly-looking monkfish.

-- And Richard Blais' faux-hawk is just ... aggressive. It rankles.

"Saucy," like we said. And unexpected coming from the sphere of the homely arts.
Sharon Stone Remark Causes Furor In China

We live in a brave new digital world. A remark uttered out of the side of one's mouth on the french Riviera can have reverberating effects on the other side of the world within a single news cycle. So when the outspoken Sharon Stone attacked China for it's policies in Tibet at Cannes, the largest film festival in the world, it was bound to cause some kind of a ruckus. Hulaballoo, even.

And Sharon Stone is no stranger to media ruckus. remember when she wore that Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres medal the French gave her everywhere -- as if it were the Nobel prize? We do. And what about the odd Komodo dragon incident? Or, Stone -- in vintage form -- years ago pestering the editors at Time magazine to give her a cover (she setlled for a small feature in the entertainment section)?

China, which is one of the largest film markets in the world (and growing), is reacting negatively to Stone's comments. Thus far the furor has been limited to individual vendors and internet chatter. But the anti-buzz is building. Massively. From TimesOnline:

"Film star Sharon Stone has set off a storm of fury across China after she suggested the deadly earthquake that killed as many as 80,000 people was bad karma for Beijing policy in Tibet.

"Several Chinese cinemas have pledged not to screen her movies and the Internet has exploded in a stream of angry comments.

"Ms Stone, speaking at the Cannes Film Festival last week, said: 'I’m not happy about the way the Chinese are treating the Tibetans because I don’t think anyone should be unkind to anyone else.'

"Answering questions on the red carpet, she revived memories of the international outrage that followed a Chinese decision to send in troops and the paramilitary to restore order to swathes of Tibetan China after Tibetans rampaged through Lhasa on March 14, killing at least 18 people."

No word yet on whether Stone's comments about P Diddy and "the crack" will cause similar turbulence (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment). But seriously: just how much this will affect Sharon Stone's film career overseas is probably dependent on whether or not: a) the mandarins of Beijing themselves weigh in on this (Possible, given enough popular uproar), and b) If Stone issues an apology (not likely; the gal is, if anything, quite ballsy). Something tells The Corsair that this story is not nearly over yet.

Stay tuned ...
Media-Whore D'Oevres

"Leave it to Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana to close out Cannes with their own glittering birthday affair for longtime friend and muse Naomi Campbell ... Inspired by La Dolce Vita, Le Bâoli featured both an excess of champagne and guests. Bold-faced names like Kate Hudson, Lance Armstrong, Natalie Portman, Lily Donaldson, Milla Jovovich, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Laura Harring, Stavros Niarchos, Tatiana Santo Domingo, Andrew Saffir and Daniel Benedict and Carine Roitfeld were safely escorted inside ... Inside, Lindsay Lohan and pal Samantha Ronson arrived 10 minutes before the bash started to help set up the latter's deejay equipment that fueled the dance floor for the next four hours. 'I have never had so much fun dancing as in this dress,' exclaimed Kerry Washington, while nearby, Dita Von Teese stepped it up on a table, removing her skirt to reveal a Dolce & Gabbana corset and thigh-highs. One sideliner was Rose McGowan, who still showed high spirits despite a broken foot. 'I'm a fashion survivor,' she concluded, happily modeling her boot cast---accessorized with a shiny Dolce & Gabbana plaque, bien sur." (Fashionweekdaily)

"Yesterday lunch at Michael’s the big table in the bay was occupied by several high profile women and one man. The man was Felix Rohatyn and the women were his wife and (some) of his friends. They were celebrating Ambassador Rohatyn’s 80th birthday ... Among the party were Sarah (Mrs. Mitch) Rosenthal on the ambassador’s right; Kathy Lacey Hoge on his left; his wife Elizabeth, (mother of Nina Griscom), friends Giney Burke, Joan Ganz Cooney, Lynn Nesbit, Casey Ribicoff, Binky Urban, Brucie Boalt, Linda Janklow. After the main course, the Michael’s staff brought out a birthday cake with candles lit for the birthday boy to make a wish." (NYSocialDiary)

"The DNC's lawyers set an important parameter for Saturday's meeting: No more than half the Florida and Michigan delegates can be restored." (Politico via ThePage)

"Israel’s defense minister called on Wednesday for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to remove himself from his post pending the outcome of a high-profile corruption investigation in which Mr. Olmert is embroiled. The defense minister, Ehud Barak, a former prime minister, was the first senior member of Israel’s coalition government to insist Mr. Olmert relinquish his office over the corruption case." (NYTimes)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Why Didn't Senator Obama Serve in Grenada?

Trapped like a fossil in amber, the Methuselan Senator John McCain opposed Senator Jim Webb's 21st century GI Bill of Rights. Not so swift. McCain's proxy, Senator Lindsay "Linds" Graham had blundered. And to add insult to injury, Senator Obama, who clearly enjoys rustling McCain's ancient feathers, mentioned how he simply couldn't understand how the former POW could oppose such a bill.

Oh, snap.

McCain fought back, intemperately, flashing some of that sweet political ankle, namely -- his infamous temper. Rrr. McCain, quoted from MSNBC:

"And I take a backseat to no one in my affection, respect and devotion to veterans. And I will not accept from Sen. Obama, who did not feel it was his responsibility to serve our country in uniform, any lectures on my regard for those who did."

How selfish! How dare Senator Barack Obama not serve in the armed forces where he was much needed during the Grenada War? After he graduated from Columbia, he could have -- if he were a true, blue "bona fide" -- have volunteered to help our boys kick some sweet Grenadian ass. While, yes, we did swat that tiny island nation like a great cosmic force dispatching a troublesome gnat, the Senator could have enlisted his boots-on-the-ground. And instead of walking the gritty streets of Chicago heading a voter registration drive and writing his first book in order to pay off his college loans, Obama could have served in the first Persian Gulf War!

What was Obama thinking? John McCain is so obviously right. He must be a secret Muslim, or, at the very least, well-practiced in the art of Hindoo magicks.
What's With The Sports Stars As Media Interns Trend?

(image via thehinternfilm)

Professional sports careers -- especially in such high-impact jobs in the NFL and NHL -- are, to paraphrase the philosopher Thomas Hobbes, "Nasty, brutish and short." Perhaps that is the reasoning behind the new trend for athletes to use their cache to snare internship gigs at high profile media outlets. They certainly don't have to worry about the cost of living in the media capital of the world on an interns meager stipend.

As if it wasn't weird enough that New York Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce interned at The Howard Stern Show, now this, from those intrepid Page Sixxies:

"NEW York Ranger Sean Avery spent last week saturated in the world of couture. 'I wanted to immerse myself in fashion,' Avery told Women's Wear Daily. 'I couldn't think of a better place to do it than Vogue.' ... WWD previously reported he would attend the couture shows in Europe next month with Vogue editrix in chief Anna Wintour, Andre Leon Talley, Hamish Bowles and Sally Singer. There is also speculation Avery will appear like LeBron James on the cover of Vogue, or like Roger Federer on the cover of Men's Vogue. The special treatment won't be reflected in his paychecks, however. Vogue reps were firm in stating he'll be paid the same minimum-wage as the other interns."

And Tiki Barber's seemingly seamless transition from paid brute to media establishmentarian laid the blueprint.

And, yes, if you must know -- we just like saying the word "Tiki."
Separated At Birth

The infamous, obnoxious Lindsay Lohan hijacketed blond mink? (image via nypost)

-- And Dennis Leary's infamously obnoxious, scene-stealing, blond coif? (image via bostonherald)
A Little Of The Old In And Out

In: Benicio Del Toro. Benico, aka, "Benny the Bull," aka, "Duke the Dog-Faced Boy," aka, "An Unsanitary Elevator Episode with Scarlett Johansson," won Best Actor at Cannes for his portrayal of Che in Soderbergh's exhaustive -- self-indulgent? -- epic film. From UKPress:

"Benicio Del Toro revealed his delight after being named best actor at the Cannes Film Festival.

The Hollywood star was honoured for his portrayal of Che Guevara in Steven Soderbergh's two-part, four-hour biopic, Che, about the Latin American revolutionary.

"Benicio said: 'I've got to thank a lot of people for this stuff, this is not just me, it's the writer, the director, the producer. I think they enjoy the movie too, which is great and I'm very proud of the movie.'

"The jury, which included Sean Penn and Natalie Portman, awarded the coveted Palme d'Or (Golden Palm) to French director Laurent Cantet for his docudrama The Class. It is the first time a French film has landed the title since 1987."

In an acting stretch, the former "Dog-Faced Boy" will be playing the Wolf Man. Seriously: Cannes or Canine?

(image via DannySeo)

Out: The Early Show. We have made a study of morning television shows. It is a fascinating medium of "poised, creamy insincerity." The fake smiles, the ruthless bookers, the cock-blocking the competition, the going to sleep at 8 pm. We find all that crazy morning television behind the scenes stuff fascinating.

And so the most interesting region to train our fire on would be the perennial third-place program, CBS' The Early Show, where staff morale cannot but be vaguely north of where the crew of the Titanic's were when that fateful iceberg was sighted off the larboard bow (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment). From Gawker:

"How is it humanly possible for the CBS Early Show to be so dysfunctional? And so early in the morning, at that? The show has been a nest of infighting for months, since the times of deposed mean boss Shelley Ross. Now, we hear that more scheming and devious machinations are underway. A tipster says that Zev Shalev, who was named a senior producer for the show in March, may be in the crosshairs of Michael Rosen, another senior producer who was once described to us as 'a tyrant to the staff.' Laurye Blackford, another senior producer and "mean girl," may also be involved."

More here.

(image via usnews)

In: The Mountain West. As Appalachia has made the existential decision to consign themselves under the category of national laughingstock (Averted Gaze), the Obama campaign presently fixes its sober gaze upon The Mountain West -- aka, the Rocky Mountain region -- for some crisp electoral booty (The Corsair pops open a bottle of the fizzy). From Politico:

"Officially, Sen. Barack Obama traveled to this desert city Monday for a Memorial Day address. He stood against the backdrop of the Organ Mountains and talked about honoring veterans, but his campaign aides came here believing they could do something bigger: Win back the Mountain West from Republicans.

"The underlying goal of Obama’s trip this week through New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado is to lay claim to a region that Obama views as one of his best opportunities to pick off states in November.

"'We want to send a message now that we are going to go after them and I expect to win them,' Obama told reporters after laying a wreath at a veterans’ memorial.

"President Bush picked up 19 electoral votes across these three states – the margin by which Democrat John Kerry fell short in the Electoral College in 2004. He edged out Kerry by five percentage points in Colorado, two points in Nevada and less than one point in New Mexico. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters Kerry lost because he ignored places like rural Nevada."

Out: Hillary On Florida. Is there any limit to the low-grade piece of ass arguments that the Clinton campaign are making to win the nomination? Basking in the racist lather of the West Virginia electorate, Senator Clinton proved, once again, that there really is no rock 'neath which her campaign wouldn't crawl.

But the Clinton's rhetoric on Florida is particularly ... fetid. It goes beyond the pale. The Democratic Party be damned, they are winning this campaign no matter what. No. Matter. What. Florida. It calls to mind HBO's anxiety-laden "Recount," which left us -- so to speak -- without a happy ending. From TNR:

"It is usually a mistake to read too deeply into the character of a presidential candidate on the basis of some tactical maneuver or grubby compromise. Anybody who was a saint wouldn't be in the position of running for the White House. And yet, Hillary Clinton's speech last week in Florida was so audacious, so divorced from reality, that it begs characterological questions.

"In the speech, Clinton--summoning as much passion and moral fervor as she has mustered at any point in the campaign--demanded that the Florida and Michigan delegations be seated at the Democratic National Convention. She compared her cause to abolition and women's suffrage. And--perhaps even more outrageous to those of us who have lived through the last eight years but weren't around for Seneca Falls--she said the Democratic Party and Barack Obama were reenacting the Republican effort to prevent the Florida recount in 2000.

It is a repellent comparison."

Yup. More here.
Stop Encouraging James Baker!

In a just cosmos, former Secretary of State James Addison Baker would be relegated into the full dust bin of marginally important courtiers who owed his entire political career to friendships with Important People. The Texan-via-Princeton, nicknamed "The Velvet Hammer" was, like Henry Kissinger, unelectable in a somewhat educated American democracy. And thus he handled his mischief on the margins, behind the scenes, among the ermine-clad Princes whispering yam-yam into the ears of the dimmer Presidents (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment).

James Baker, oily courtier of two Presidents returns to power. Baker once remarked that you know you're out of power when your limousine is yellow -- not black -- and your driver speaks Farsi. He's sort of a less blood thirsty pony-boy Kissinger. No less a bloodless character than Margaret Thatcher reportedly once referred to Baker as Bush's "Fixer (Averted Gaze)," and the ever-outspoken Lyn Nofziger, when told that Baker had gone turkey hunting quipped that Baker killing a turkey would be "fratricide." Charmed, we're sure.
From the salmon-colored weekly:

"Jim Baker was so tickled by his portrayal in the new HBO film 'Recount' that he actually scheduled an advanced screening of the fictionalized Florida recount retrospective at the Houston public policy institute that bears his name.

"In some ways, he should be. While the movie makes clear that the facts at the heart of the disputed election mostly favored Al Gore, it can’t suppress its respect for Baker’s shrewd and cutthroat pragmatism. Gore’s legal team is stricken by infighting and ever-shifting strategies, while Baker commands the Republican operation with no hesitation or self-deception: It’s a street fight, and winning is all that matters."

Fuckhead was rewarded, to be sure, by having his magnum opus (a profoundly even-handed Iraq war exit strategy), The Baker Commission Report, entirely ignored by Bush 43, the thickheaded son whom he helped enable.

Fixer, fix thyself ...