Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"Name one high-profile issue that’s going well right now for Secretary of State John Kerry. Russian troops are still sitting on the Ukrainian border, and Russian-backed militants haven’t backed off inside the country. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is still taking Kerry’s calls, but not seeming to care much about what’s being said. Syrian President Bashar Assad announced Monday he’s running for re-election, unopposed, eight months after firing nerve gas over President Barack Obama’s red line. Kerry’s attempted peace process reboot between the Israelis and Palestinians has stalled out. And then, 'apartheid' — what the future could hold for Israel without a peace deal, he warned in a closed door meeting last week. In a defiant apology of sorts that fired back at those who questioned his support for Israel, the nation’s top diplomat acknowledged 'the power of words to create misimpression, even when unintentional.' Kerry’s been confronted with this lesson throughout his career in public life, repeatedly getting caught in impolitic descriptions of what he would argue are just realistic assessments of where things stand. This is the politician, after all, who famously explained his procedural maneuver on Iraq War funding as, 'I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it' — a true, and in his mind defensible, position that proved poison to his 2004 campaign. 'One of those inarticulate moments,' he said at the time. Once again, he’s fed a problematic narrative about himself as a man who goes knee deep with his foot in his mouth, and a larger narrative of an Obama administration foreign policy that’s stumbling and in trouble — which the president defended over the weekend as 'you hit singles, you hit doubles; every once in a while we may be able to hit a home run.' State Department officials say Kerry is undeterred. 'This guy is absolutely locked in, unafraid of bumps in the road, and he always jokes, ‘What are they gonna do — send me to Vietnam?’ said a senior official close to the secretary. 'Now the proof is in the pugilism. Kerry has spent a lifetime in the arena, and that’s where he’ll stay.'" (Politico)

"Over at the New-York Historical Society, they were holding their annual Strawberry Festival Luncheon. This is mainly a ladies luncheon, for several hundred, with a featured speaker of some note and/or achievement. This year’s honored guest was Doris Kearns Goodwin whose most recent history is 'The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism.' Last night in New York, there was more music in the air over at Juilliard with their 'Dreams Come True: A Celebration of Julliard Music' Gala black tie Evening. William Christie and Renee Fleming made appearances. After the Concert, there was a dinner and dancing in The Tent at Lincoln Center ... Down at Pier 60, Riverkeeper was holding its annual Fisherman’s Ball and honoring Chelsea Clinton and SolarCity with Special Recognition of George Hornig, who has been involved with Riverkeeper for the past 15 years, and chaired the board from 2004 through 2009. Yesterday was a busy day for Ms. Clinton who was also honored at a luncheon given by the American Jewish Committee over at the Pierre. " (NYSD)

"We’ve had Roosevelt, Rockefeller, Nixon, Bush, Kennedy — now Clinton — juniors. Thankfully no little Jimmy Carters craved politics. Tuesday was Chelsea’s Pierre luncheon. Invitations, reaffirmations, confirmations followed my advance invite promising 'a special great table.'I arrived.Checklist girls didn’t know who I was. Never heard of me. Couldn’t find my name. Repeated: 'Who invited you?' Pitying guests vouched for me, offered to share their table. I was 'allowed' into the ballroom. Someone in charge indicated a rear table, at the door, way in the back, for me. I left.
Hard hats jackhammering outside shouted: 'Hey . . . Cindy . . . ' The street knew me. The ballroom didn’t. So Chelsea wants to run for office? With chimps running her future, better she should walk for office." (CindyAdams)

"Imagine waking up the day after a breakup—a breakup with a prince, no less—and emerging from your apartment to find . . . a slew of photographers waiting for you outside. Must be exactly what you’re in the mood for after a presumably sleepless night spent cuddling with a box of Hot Tamales candies (that’s how we’d try to cope with splitting with Prince Harry, at least). Anyway, yes, Cressida Bonas was snapped traipsing through London’s West End this morning—her trademark scrunchie swapped out for a colorful headband (a sign of a new era?)—wielding a red smoothie in one hand and looking none too pleased by the paparazzi treatment. (The Daily Mail employs the following descriptors for her, all in one post: 'looked glum,' 'appeared tired,' 'had rings under her eyes,' 'looked lost in her thoughts,' 'hoping for a text?,' and 'wore . . . messy hair.')According to the Daily Beast and other outlets, yesterday’s report—via People—that Bonas’s 'neediness' was to blame for the breakup isn’t quite accurate. Instead, the 25-year-old former dancer—who is currently working an office job—was fed up with all of the attention, apparently. 'She just got fed up with it,' a source told the Daily Beast. 'She and Harry are very fond of each other, but she wants to have her own life.' The paparazzi attention had reached a point where photographers were consistently camped outside her apartment (where she lives with friends) and her office in London’s Soho neighborhood. The Daily Mail notes that the split is in fact quite 'amicable' and they are 'still very much the best of friends,” but have just decided to 'go their separate ways,' which all sounds very publicist-y but may very well be true nevertheless. A 'source close to Cressida' told the Daily Mail that the two are at different stages in life (Harry will be 30 this year) and 'he is incredibly fond of Cressy and understands that she wants to do something with her life and with her career before she considers settling down.' (There have been similar-themed reports over the past few months that Cressida wasn’t so sure she was ready to become Mrs. Prince Harry just yet.)" (VanityFair)

Porn star Layton Benton Denied Chase Banking Account

Layton Benton 2

Apparently, porn stars are not allowed to bank with Chase. From p6:

"Adult film star Layton Benton says she is ready to sue Chase bank, claiming they closed her account because she does porn. Benton claims she was screwed by the bank when they abruptly shut her account, containing thousands of dollars, earlier this month. Benton, the 22-year-old star of charmingly titled movies including 'The Bomb Booty' and 'Doublicious,' says Chase closed her account for no reason apart from her line of work. She told us, 'I am going to take legal action. Chase told me my account was ‘a risk,’ after they closed it without even calling me. I had a few thousand dollars in there, and they told me I’d have to wait 10 days to get a check. I literally went to the bank and cried, saying, ‘You can’t just take someone’s money.’' Benton, who lives in Los Angeles, continued, 'The worst part is that this goes on your credit history, making it hard for me to open another account.' She added, 'I never told Chase I am an adult film star, I said I am a model, I am trying to figure out how they ever found out about my line of work. The bank shouldn’t get to decide what my career should be. It is just wrong.' Sources say Benton is one of at least four porn stars whose accounts have been shut by Chase because they have been flagging payments for work including webcam appearances as 'irregular activity.' ... While a spokesperson for Chase declined to comment, a snooty letter sent to Benton from Chase Customer Service reads, 'We recently reviewed your account and determined that we will be closing it.' The letter orders her to 'cancel all automatic deposits that you have set up with employers, government agencies … destroy your debit or ATM card.' The letter does not explain the reason for the closure of her account, but adds, 'We may also report the account to credit reporting agencies, which could discourage other banks from opening an account for you.'"

Irregular activity indeed. Charmed, I'm sure.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Media-Whore D'oeuvres

The White House Correspondents' Dinner table in 2013 is shown. | AP Photo

"Washington is Hollywood for ugly people. That line, or a variation thereof, was first used by Paul Begala in the 1980s. Begala says he might have heard it in a bar. Which is where most truths about Washington and Hollywood originate. This Saturday is the Nerd Prom, officially called the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, a gigantic bash where the powerful of Washington, the beautiful of Hollywood and the geeks of the national press corps gather together in one giant banquet room to do … what? Critics say the whole affair stinks of elitism, classism and narcissism. (In my experience, it stinks mostly of bourbon.) The New York Times, which has not attended the dinner since 2007, said through one editor, 'It makes it appear that everything in one Washington is a big game, theater. But that a couple times a year the press and pols take their costumes off, sing together, mingle with celebrities and act like we are all in it together. I just don’t like the appearance.' A blogger called BooMan wrote a few years ago: 'The primary importance of the WHCA Dinner is to document yearly just how out of touch our elite politicians and journalists are with the rest of the country and to confirm the rest of us in our hatred and resentment of this class of people who have led us like thieves and incompetents for decades without let up.'To which I say firmly and with resolve: 'Can I get another drink here?' To me it’s a party. It’s fun. Though some journalists squeezed into too-tight tuxedos or ballgowns defensively say they use the party to get information from powerful sources. I have attended the dinner for almost 30 years and the most powerful person I ever talked to was Vanna White." (Roger Simon)


"When computers are involved, otherwise brilliant leftists who carefully examine the political commitments of most everyone they side with suddenly throw their lot in with libertarians — even when those libertarians explicitly disavow Left principles in their work. This, much more than overt digital libertarianism, should concern the Left, and anyone who does not subscribe to libertarian politics. It is the acceptance by leftists of the largely rhetorical populist politics and explicitly pro-business thought of figures like Clay Shirky (who repeatedly argues that representative democratic and public bodies have no business administering public resources but must defer to
disruptive' forces like Napster) and Yochai Benkler (whose Wealth of Networks is roundly celebrated as heralding an anticapitalist 'sharing economy,' yet remains firmly rooted in capitalist economics) that should concern us, especially when they are taken up as if they are obviously positions the Left should favor. It is the boastful self-confidence of engineers and hackers that their advanced computer skills inherently qualify them to say a great deal about any part of the social fabric to which we are lucky enough to have them contribute, regardless of their understanding of politics or society. The inherent claim informing these politics of digital utopianism is that the political world has shifted so radically due to digital technology that the old rules do not apply; computers represent such a fundamental break in human history that they justify altogether new ethical and political standards." (Jacobinmag)

Screen Shot 2014-04-21 at 5.00.58 PM.png

"Dana Giacchetto, the man convicted of fraud and misappropriating up to $10 million from celebrity clients in 2000, is back in the news. Once dubbed as 'Investment Adviser to the Stars' he was a fixture in the schmoozy, '90s New York nightlife scene and best buds with Leonardo DiCaprio and other Hollywood hotshots like Tobey Maguire, Cameron Diaz, Ben Affleck, and Michael Stipe. Giacchetto served three years in prison after it was discovered his firm Cassandra was using client money to replenish other clients' accounts and to cover company and personal expenses. Recently I received a call from an 'unknown number' as I was about to go into a meeting. It was Dana, who I hadn't spoken to in years, though I knew that he was quietly rebuilding his life since his release in 2003. Barred from trading, he remains active with several business ventures and has two young children. Dana never did me wrong and we tried to reconnect when he was released from prison, but a sketchiness that was always there that I self-servingly overlooked, got in the way. I asked him to call back. He never did. I knew Dana when he was Master of the Universe, went to parties at his Soho loft and hobnobbed with his A-list connections. I valued his advice, was in awe of his contacts, drank fine champagne at his parties and couldn't help being drawn into his orbit even as my journalist's mind kept sweeping the room for something that would help me understand how he did it. Think Nick Carroway to Giacchetto's Gatsby..We met at an annual Christmas party thrown by an elite downtown couple, a head turning affair full of bold-face names hobnobbing in every direction you looked. Giacchetto exclaimed his admiration for PAPER and proceeded to tell me about himself and his business model, an investment firm focusing on the creative community, helping people who weren't traditionally good with money to grow their wealth. He was believable and I believed him, watching his client list grow, his indulgences escalate, his bubble burst. Hours after I received a phone call from him, the New York Post's Page Six reported that Giacchetto was in trouble again, accused this time of identity theft and wire fraud, under the alias Stanulis." (David Hershkovits)

"Perhaps what we should really be asking is: How did Clooney manage to snag her? Alamuddin is 36 and speaks French and Arabic, and her English is probably very posh, because she studied at Oxford and NYU Law. Clooney, 52, did a silly voice in O Brother, Where Art Thou? Alamuddin was named the hottest barrister in London in 2013; Clooney hasn’t been the  'Sexiest Man Alive' since 2006. Alamuddin looks a glamorous hybrid of Anne Hathaway and Huma Abedin, even when her hair is wet. Even when she’s super embarrassed. She has the regal grace of Carolyn Bessette but possibly with even better style?  Not to mention impeccable brow game. The daughter of the Diane Sawyer of Lebanon, Alamuddin served as an advisor to Kofi Annan on Syria. At leading human rights firm Doughty Street Chambers, her clients include former Libyan intelligence chief Abdullah Al Senussi, former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, Julian Assange, and the state of Cambodia. Clooney won a prize for playing a CIA operative in the Middle East in a movie." (NYMag)

Adam Gopnik and his wife, Martha Parker.

"The past week stands out for parties that were different in form and location but lent themselves to the spirit of capturing the moment. The first was last Thursday at the St. Regis Hotel and hosted by Thornwillow Press publisher Luke Ives Pontifell, who gives good parties. A full room but not crowded, a din of conversation but no need to shout, and delicious cocktails. I’ve only been to two of Luke’s parties, both in Washington, and both delightful. He appears to craft his soirées with the same measures used in his profession of creating handmade books, stationery, calling cards and other beautiful paper items. The party was to promote Thornwillow’s new edition of Lewis Carroll’s poem 'The Walrus and the Carpenter,' and to thank Adam Gopnik, who wrote the book’s foreword. The photo I loved best happened the moment after Pontifell introduced Gopnik, who said something that was insider funny to both of them, and Pontifell cracked up. It’s attractive when men make other men laugh. I wish I could remember the joke, but I can’t and it doesn’t matter." (NYSD)

Canadian Breast Cancer Society
Canadian Breast Cancer Society

"The arrest of Palm Beach socialite Nancy Tsai is big news in Toronto, where she once ruled the charity circuit as one of 'The Glitter Girls' (also the title of a 1993 book about her and her clique).
Tsai, 66, ex-wife of the late Primerica chairman Gerald Tsai, was charged last week with defrauding millions of dollars from the trust account of Helga Marston, 92, a friend of four decades who has dementia and 'zero mental capacity.' Among the purchases were a $2.3 million beachfront penthouse condo, a $170,000 Bentley and a $28,000 private jet day-trip between Florida and Canada.
After a small-town childhood, where she grew up pitching hay, Tsai, then known as Nancy Paul, was the founder of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. 'Her pièce de résistance is when she hosted Valentino himself at a lavish party at her home, in 1986,' said Canadian social columnist Shinan Govani. 'It’s a party some people still talk about. Apparently, she still holds the city record for that event for having the most flowers delivered to a single home.' Tsai, whose daughter E. Sarah Paul was the beneficiary of Marston’s most recent will, was Marston’s trustee and had power of attorney. Police say Tsai was also having an affair with Dennis Melchior, the broker of the trust until UBS terminated him last year." (Richard Johnson)

Monday, April 28, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

By Richard Drew/A.P. Images.

"We were living in Westchester County in the early 80s, and we would come into New York on Saturday mornings, stop at Jean’s, and he’d ask us to drive him to pick up some musical equipment that he needed,' remembers Lenore Schorr, who, along with her husband, Herbert, qualify as the most devoted early collectors of the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat, who died at 27, in 1988. 'Having us drive him was clearly easier for him than his trying to get a taxi, because of the fact that he was black,' explains Lenore. 'He used to joke that he needed to get Herb a driver’s cap, and that he’d buy us a hot dog afterwards.' After he’d lost faith in the art-world establishment, Basquiat even asked Herb, a scientist and self-described 'nerd,' to take over as his dealer. No fool, Herb, he did not give up his day job. What he did do, though, with Lenore, was build an unparalleled collection of Basquiat’s work, some of it bought directly from the artist’s studio, all of it clearly chosen with eyes that knew what they were looking at. Talking to the couple 30 years later, one cannot help being moved by the mutual respect and affection that bonded this unlikely trio; they were surrogate parents to a surrogate son, whose relationship with his own parents was complicated and fraught. Basquiat grew up in Brooklyn. His mother, Matilde, was of Puerto Rican descent, and his father, Gerard, an accountant, had originally come from Haiti; they separated when Jean-Michel was seven. The artist spoke only loving words about his mother, who was the first person to take him to museums, but whose emotional fragility landed her in psychiatric institutions. (Having permanently left his father’s home at 17, he did not hide their strained relationship.) Basquiat’s most influential mentor was Andy Warhol, whom the young artist sought out, befriended, and collaborated with, much to both men’s pride. But the Schorrs provided a safe harbor. Their love affair with the artist started in 1981, after he had decided to reject his famous (among graffiti writers) tag as Samo© (which stood for 'same old shit') and become Jean-Michel Basquiat, an artist in the so-called legit art world." (VF)

N.Y. Post's Mark Graham Photo: Zandy Mangold

"It’s Friday night. You turn on Apple TV, open Netflix and spend the next hour trying to decide what to watch before switching over to cable for yet another Law & Order: SVU marathon. That’s the scenario Decider, an entertainment site the New York Post launches this summer, wants to help you avoid. The stand-alone site, which Post CEO and publisher Jesse Angelo describes as a 'TV Guide for the streaming age,' will focus on all facets of the digital-content landscape—from popular, digital-only series and niche streaming channels (Crunchyroll anyone?) to the latest Netflix movies and platform launches. 'The way people consume entertainment has changed drastically with the advent of streaming platforms, and yet the way the media covers that entertainment is very much the same as it has been for decades,' Angelo said. 'There’s nothing wrong with that kind of coverage—we do it ourselves [at the Post]—but I think there’s a way to do it that speaks to that new digital consumer.”
To lead editorial operations, Angelo hired Mark Graham, most recently managing editor at MTV Networks and before that editor of New York magazine’s Vulture and Gawker’s Defamer. Graham plans to launch Decider with a staff of about 10, while ad sales and other back-end operations will be handled by the Post’s digital team." (AdAge)

"My excellent friend David Wolkowsky invited me for Easter Sunday lunch on Ballast Key, his private island five miles south and in the direction of Cuba. The plan was to meet at the marina at 11am. Due to my neurot...ic ways I was the first to arrive. I strolled the length of the dock, past tethered boats, until I saw David’s boat. You can tell which is David’s boat by the lavender cashmere sweaters strewn across the helm. Amongst the guests was one James Auchincloss ebullient in safari clothes and slung with a camera and a white headband (see photo- I've 'shopped a Fez). The entire ride to the island, interrupted by the sight of mating turtles, James never broke stride as he unspooled reams of tantalizingly gossipy morsels, all of which he declared ‘Off the record’. At the island we walked the slim planks of the jetty, high above silver fishes and a baby bull shark lazing in the shadows. Three small tractors awaited us in which to cross the island to the house by way of sandy paths decorated with statues and palm trees and bougainvillea. David’s house is three levels of glass and white wood and painted ceilings and wide open windows. To sit in the second story living room and breathe in the ocean air is tranquility itself. A tranquility fluffed by James and his ready smile and his intriguing monologues. James has been everywhere, done everything and he has met everyone, and conveniently he has a crystalline memory. Luckily for James I’m a vault of secrecy but with the right amount of sodium pentathol heaven knows what I’d reveal, I now know everything. Jacqueline Kennedy's father, Jack Bouvier, married a Janet Auchincloss. Janet was James’s mother, thus James is the half-brother of Jackie O. Lunch was served in the marble ground floor dining room, with walls of glass pushed open so that one is surrounded by pink sand planted with sun baking conch shells and the turquoise sea." (Christina Oxenberg)

"I've got a great story about Truman sitting at the Driver's seat bar in Southampton and talking to my cousin George for two hours- June 1979, mid-week. George Keffas (aka gorgeous George) was an incredibly handsome man who was both unintere...sted in and immune to the power of celebrity. I got home from the beach that day and George said ' Spero, I met one of your heroes at the Driver's seat today, Truman Capote." He said it so nonchalantly I didn't hear him at first. 'The writer Truman Capote' I responded? 'One and the same,' replied gorgeous George. Apparently the bar conversation covered a wide range of topics from the nature of evil, the Ottoman Empire and the miraculous invention called Ketchup. Several times during their sprawling discussion, admirers of Capote approached the writer to say hello. The great author dismissed them saying, 'can’t you see that I’m talking to my good friend George?'  This story has been rumbling around the back of my mind for 35 plus years. Such is the plight of the wordsmith- so many stories to tell and so little time to write them down." (Spero Alexio)

"Spring break found us fleeing Manhattan for the glorious Los Angelino sunshine, palm trees and Alfresco lunches by the Beverly Hills Hotel pool. We were ensconced in the famed Howard Hughes bungalow, which I am sure has withstood its own share of vibrations over the years. Still, nothing prepared us for the 4.9 earthquake that interrupted our reverie and shook us out of bed at 6:30 a.m. Like a fool I called the front desk for confirmation. 'Yes, Mr. Kirshenbaum. That was indeed an earthquake.' The next day, after a sleepless night, we ran into myriad New York families all on spring break, having McCarthy salads by the pool, fiddling with the romaine and cheddar.'Aftershocks can be worse than the quake,' I worried aloud to anyone who would listen.'Don’t worry,' my friend’s platinum blonde wife said retrieving her pillbox, implants immoveable in her string bikini top.  As her toddlers pranced about, she opened what seemed like a veritable pharmacy in her designer clutch. 'A little XANY will do you good,' she said, picking around in the compartments. 'Let’s see, I have Valium, Xanax. Oh those are the anti-depressants. Wait are those the Klonopin or the Zoloft…?' she pondered. 'A cosmo and Molly and you won’t remember a thing,' she offered. 'Even if the big one comes.' Having grown up in the 'Just Say No'generation, afflicted by fear, guilt and propaganda, it’s strange to see so many New York parents smoking, popping and snorting as soon as their kids are counting sheep." (Observer)

"Last night in New York at the Four Seasons Restaurant the Irvington Fellowship Program of the Cancer Research Institute held its annual 'Through the Kitchen Party.' Perri Peltz, who briefly emcees the evening, told us how this was their 32nd, all started by her mother Lauren Veronis, who every year swears it will be her last, and how every year Perri talks her into doing it one more time. Perhaps there will be a 33rd. It is a very successful fundraiser. 260 guests and many of the most prominent people in town  buying a ticket. Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a long time supporter of the Irvington Institute, was there. I don’t know how much they raised although Jamie Niven conducted an auction and raised at least $400,000 by asking people to give in increments of 50, 25, 10, 5 and one thousand. He also sold a dinner for six at RAO’S for $15,000. Getting a reservation at RAO’S can’t even be had for that price. You have to know somebody who’s not using their table that night ... The evening always has a theme (it’s held in the pool room). Last night’s was “Dancing” and so the tables had names of dances. Mine was the 'Belly Dance' table. I was a guest of Herb and Jeanne Siegel and they had Joanie Schnitzer, in from Houston, on her way tomorrow to Rome; Richard Meier, Peggy Siegal, who made a mountain of food on her plate; Regis and Joy Philbin, Tony Bennett and Susan Crow, Bill Finneran and his guest." (NYSD)

"The greatest jokes, Louis C.K. tells me, never register as jokes. Not quite. The punch line of a great joke may punctuate it and make people laugh, 'but it doesn't solve the joke, doesn't stop it, so the joke keeps going and going and going...' And the more it keeps going, he explains, the more it tends to 'point.' 'Toward what?' I ask. 'Well...nothing.' C.K. shrugs. By which, it turns out, he actually means: nothingness. 'I'll give you the perfect example,' he offers, 'but... Wait, is your oatmeal hot enough?' C.K. is an attentive conversationalist, lots of eye contact, asking as many questions as he answers. Oatmeal's fine, I tell him. 'I'm sorry," he says. 'I gotta get my oatmeal hot first!' Fair enough. It's a brittle February morning, the streets around this SoHo café glazed with black ice. He arrived on foot—his walk pegged him a block away, that crouched, duck-foot shuffle, a man wary of his own senses—and needs his porridge just perfect." (GQ)

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

Patrick Morgan's illustration of Grace Coddington

"Lunch can be an illuminating experience – at least when it comes to establishing one’s place in the pecking order. On arriving at Café Un Deux Trois, for example, the regular Manhattan dining establishment of American Vogue’s creative director Grace Coddington, I give my name and am shown to a table for two in the middle of the noisy restaurant, next to a giant pillar.  It’s not what anyone would think of as a good table, and just as I am debating whether I should make a fuss, the maître d’ rushes over and says, somewhat breathlessly, 'Are you meeting Ms Coddington?' 'Yes,' I respond. 'Oh, come with me,' he says with great concern, and leads me to a round corner booth. 'This is her table,' he says confidingly. It is probably the nicest, most sheltered spot in the restaurant. Coddington, 73, became an accidental celebrity in 2009 thanks to RJ Cutler’s film The September Issue, which was nominally about the making of the September 2007 edition of American Vogue but turned out to be a portrait of the complicated alliance between the analytic and creative sides of the business, as embodied respectively by editor-in-chief Anna Wintour and Coddington.Now Coddington gets recognised at least once a day when she is on the way to the subway from her home in Chelsea, where she lives with her partner, hairstylist Didier Malige and their two cats, to her office on Times Square. After sliding into the booth, she says with a laugh: 'People come up to me and say, ‘Oh, I love you!’ It’s kind of wonderful; it really cheers you up if you are having a bad day. Or even a good day.' Coddington is in her usual uniform of navy Céline crewneck sweater, black trousers, and bright orange Céline Vans shoes; for as long as I have been going to the shows and seeing her across the runway, this, with a few variations and different brands – a white shirt here, a black dress there – is what she has worn. Her cloud of bright red hair is pulled up on one side in a barrette, two diamond studs are in her ears, and some dark red lipstick has partly migrated to her teeth; otherwise, her face seems bare. In the world of street style and cosmetic surgery, she is notable for opting out, which has had the effect of making her even more noticeable." (FT)

"French beauty Carla Bruni performed music from her latest album in her first live New York show — and even sang about her husband, former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, with lyrics such as, 'He’s the boss.' With a beaming Sarkozy in the audience, Bruni took to the stage at Town Hall on Thursday night to sing in French to a packed house. Introducing her song 'Mon Raymond,' she said,'This song is about my man. I had to change his name and give him a nickname.'The translated lyrics include, 'My Raymond is the big gun, he is the atomic bomb/When he lets loose . . . the air turns electric,” and, “Though he wears a necktie, my Raymond is a pirate . . . He storms aboard for his prize . . . Whatever fools may say, Raymond is dynamite.' Before the show, Sarkozy, wearing a suit and tie, was practically mobbed by concertgoers demanding selfies as he took his seat for the show. According to an onlooker, 'He was friendly and posed for pictures with everyone, but he smiled and remained coy when a few people encouraged him to run again for office.' Sarkozy, 59, who was the French leader from 2007 to 2012, is rumored to be preparing for a comeback, and could defeat scandal-rocked president François Hollande in 2017." (P6)

Death Out of Season

"The poet was right, April is the cruelest month. We at the Spectator lost Clarissa Tan, my good friend Bob Geldof’s 25-year-old daughter Peaches died, and my oldest friend from prep school buried his son, one of the greatest athletes of his time, at age 42. There is something obscene about surviving the young, something only politicians like Tony Blair can do and still smile, and A.E. Housman got it right in his 'To An Athlete Dying Young.' We live in a culture awash in talk about happiness and the pursuit of it. Thousands of books are published about it every year. Arianna Huffington’s opus on how to thrive is number one on the best-seller list. (More about this later). Eliot also wrote that humankind could not bear very much reality, but is there anything more real than death?I didn’t know Clarissa well, but whenever I met her at Speccie parties and pulled her leg about her teaching me strange Oriental sexual rituals she would crinkle up her face, blush, and laugh. She never once hinted that all was not well, that she was ill. Talk about profiles in courage. Bob Geldof’s Peaches I had met only at parties and she was swell. Friendly and very polite, she had her father’s nous, and that means she had a lot of brainpower. For those of us who know Bob Geldof well, he may use the F-word more than necessary at times, but he’s an extraordinary man. A rock star who neither drinks nor smokes, he’s a walking encyclopedia and has read more serious books than all the rock stars put together have had one-night stands." (Taki)

"IF you read my friend David Patrick Columbia in his New York Social Diary yesterday when he covered the Maria Droste charity, you know we had a big success. I was interviewing the former Times drama critic Frank Rich and his equally well-known wife, Times ace Alex Witchel. And the paying audience for this little annual event had none other than Barbara Walters sitting at the first table near the stage. She was joined by Lesley Stahl, Marie Brenner and others equally brilliant and I had to comment that it took a lot of nerve for me to do an interview in front of such pros. The audience seemed enchanted to see Barbara, in person, and when I closed the proceedings, I asked for two questions from the audience. Before hands went up, Barbara said emphatically that she had several questions so the audience roared and I said, 'Be my guest!' Naturally, Barbara asked some trenchant ones and she was delightful. And the star of TV stars looks great these days and seems to have come to terms with her so-called 'retirement.'" (NYSD)

"Signs of Russia’s growing economic distress became even clearer today, as the central bank unexpectedly raised interest rates for the second time since March, while Standard & Poor’s cut the country’s debt rating to one notch above junk.In lifting the benchmark borrowing rate from 7 percent to 7.5 percent, the bank said it was acting to cool inflation that’s now running above 7 percent. But, says economist Tim Ash of Standard Bank in London, 'it has nothing to do with inflation. It’s all about signaling that the central bank is shoring up its defenses' to strengthen the ruble and stem the flight of capital from the country.Whether the bank can achieve those goals looks doubtful. The ruble, the second-worst-performing currency among developing countries this year, continued to lose ground today, trading above 36.01 against the dollar. And, as S&P noted in its downgrade announcement, the standoff over Ukraine could spur capital outflows, which already exceeded $50 billion during the first three months of the year. Ash predicts the total could reach as much as $200 billion by yearend." (BusinessWeek)

Chloe Valentine Knows How to Throw A Party

Chloe Valentine and Michelle Mitchell threw a wonderful Boardwalk Empire themed Speakeasy at Chez Jacqueline on Thursday in honor of the Tribeca Film Festival. Koran Thomas was our bootlegger, supplying a thirsty crowd with William Wolf Pecan Bourbon.

A word needs to be said about the food at Chez Jacqueline on Macdougal. Amazing French regional cuisine. It was my first time trying erscargot, but it was wonderful. As were the clams and the fries were perhaps the best I've ever tastes.

It was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon, listening to oldies with bourbon and catching up with David Barish, Alisha Trimble (Happy Birthday!), Steve Shaw, Jr. of Shaw Vinyards, And making new friends like Anthony Lanza, Alexis Lass Trbojevic, celebrity photographer Dana FrankSiki Pucci, the well-dressed Delbart Duchein, Frank Giraldi and Jason Franke.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Media-Whore D'oeuvres

"The digital era has led to increasing challenges for western and traditional news media business models. Media outlets are facing steady declines in revenue, while the migration of advertising online has brought limited success in 'monetising' digital’s audiences. To make things worse, internet ads have progressively decreased in value in recent years. The issue of how to fund quality journalism that would hold the government to account is a pressing one. As newsrooms continue to cut back, there is a real reduction in reporting capacity with profound effects on quality, investigative and exploratory journalism. And yet, the last year has seen a quite hectic, energising movement of 'digital journopreneurs'. Personal-brand journalists, digital entrepreneurs and investigative journalists have decided to embrace the capabilities of web technologies to launch a new wave of journalism platforms.In March, statistician and journalist Nate Silver launched his ESPN-backed, a data blog that, by banking on Silver’s impressive record, will bet everything on a data-focused approach. Silver is part of a wider movement of celebrity journalists who are migrating from mainstream press to digital start-ups. Ezra Klein left the Washington Post earlier this year for an initiative launched in April and backed by Vox Media, which promised to 'explain the news' in a new revolutionary way by employing 'next-generation technologies'.The list could go on: there is also Jessica Lessin’s The Information and Pierre Omidyar‘s First Look featuring Glenn Greenwald. In February, First Look launched digital magazine/investigative site The Intercept.These exciting ventures led New York Times media commentator David Carr to declare the birth of a new start-up digital journalism bubble." (TheConversation)

"Speaking of McConnell, his campaign operation has had its share of minor headaches. His campaign manager was caught on tape complaining about the job. “McConnelling” became a new meme thanks to some stock footage the campaign put on the Internet for use by third-party groups. And the minority leader evoked memories of Michael Dukakis by awkwardly clutching a rifle at the Conservative Political Action Conference, among other things. But none of these stories have apparently meant much in McConnell’s primary race against Tea Partier Matt Bevin, who appears to have little chance to upset the five-term incumbent. Bevin’s own troubles, particularly his seeming support for the 2008 bank bailout that McConnell’s forces gleefully spread far and wide, seem more significant. So is the fact that it’s just really hard to beat an incumbent senator in a primary." (Centerforpolitics)

"Late in the afternoon the news came out about the sudden, untimely death of Mark Shand, an Englishman who had been here in New York promoting his Elephant charity with The Faberge Egg Hunt auction that was held this past Tuesday night at Sotheby’s. To the many who knew him, it was shocking. Shand had gone on to a party to celebrate the great success of the auction fundraising for the elephants. At some point, he either was leaving the party, or went out onto the street to have a cigarette. At curbside, he briefly slipped or lost his balance and fell headfirst onto the pavement. He was taken immediately to Bellevue Hospital, had surgery, and never recovered. He died at noon yesterday. He was sixty-two. Head wounds are often fatal and New Yorkers, all New Yorkers, including visitors, are at risk. It is important (and almost impossible) to watch where you’re going all the time. Even then, an accident, like a slipping or tripping, can land you on your head. It’s a most ordinary accident that can occur under any circumstances any time of day. And very often fatal. For Mark Shand, it was night time and it was not light. A moment’s distraction can be one’s fate. Mark Shand was first in the American press in the 1970s when it was reported that he had a date with the then teenage Caroline Kennedy. She had been in London and they met there. The item was newsworthy because it was showing that the late President’s daughter was growing up. Shand was no more than in his early twenties, if that. I met him in the early '80s when he was in Los Angeles with his friend Harry Fane and they were doing business internationally collecting and selling vintage Cartier jewelry, watches, etc. The two young men were staying with our mutual friend Lady Sarah Churchill in Beverly Hills. Sarah often had houseguests and there was the resulting camaraderie between everyone, as she liked to entertain. These boys she had known all their lives." (NYSD

Condé Nast rumored to shutter Lucky Magazine

"Could Lucky magazine be in for a bit of bad luck? Talk in media circles is that Condé Nast will finally shutter the struggling shopping title soon, and move Editor-in-Chief Eva Chen back to Teen Vogue. Chen was the beauty director at Teen Vogue for many years, and last year was tapped to overhaul Lucky. A Condé rep insisted the rumors are not true, and pointed out that the magazine’s ad pages in its May issue are up 19 percent." (P6)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"Income inequality in the United States and elsewhere has been worsening since the 1970s. The most striking aspect has been the widening gap between the rich and the rest. This ominous anti-democratic trend has finally found its way into public consciousness and political rhetoric. A rational and effective policy for dealing with it—if there is to be one—will have to rest on an understanding of the causes of increasing inequality. The discussion so far has turned up a number of causal factors: the erosion of the real minimum wage; the decay of labor unions and collective bargaining; globalization and intensified competition from low-wage workers in poor countries; technological changes and shifts in demand that eliminate mid-level jobs and leave the labor market polarized between the highly educated and skilled at the top and the mass of poorly educated and unskilled at the bottom. Each of these candidate causes seems to capture a bit of the truth. But even taken together they do not seem to provide a thoroughly satisfactory picture. They have at least two deficiencies. First, they do not speak to the really dramatic issue: the tendency for the very top incomes—the '1 percent”—to pull away from the rest of society. Second, they seem a little adventitious, accidental; whereas a forty-year trend common to the advanced economies of the United States, Europe, and Japan would be more likely to rest on some deeper forces within modern industrial capitalism. Now along comes Thomas Piketty, a forty-two-year-old French economist, to fill those gaps and then some. I had a friend, a distinguished algebraist, whose preferred adjective of praise was 'serious.' 'Z is a serious mathematician,' he would say, or 'Now that is a serious painting.' Well, this is a serious book." (TNR)

"There was a time not so long ago when the vast majority of experts agreed that a country could not emerge decisively from a financial crisis unless it solved problems of both 'stocks' and 'flows' -- that is, secured a flow of money to cover its immediate needs and found a way to manage its stock of outstanding debt over time.In Europe today, this conventional wisdom appears to be fading. The temptation there is to declare victory having solved only the flow, not the stock, challenge.The flow/stock intuition is quite straightforward. In the first instance, a crisis-ridden country must generate enough resources to meet its pressing funding needs, and do so in a manner that does not erode its growth potential. Soon thereafter -- or, even better, simultaneously -- the country needs to realign its longer-term payment obligations in a manner that is consistent with both its ability and willingness to pay.Unless a country does both, the productive commitment of its own people and companies will be too tentative to drive a full and proper recovery. It will also be a lot harder to attract the scale and scope of long-term foreign direct investment that is so helpful for enhancing growth, jobs and national prosperity. The need for a comprehensive approach was most vividly illustrated during the Latin American debt crises. Having secured sufficient emergency financing and embarked on serious economic reform efforts, the successful countries devoted lots of effort to improving their debt maturity profiles, better aligning the currency composition of their debt and, most important, reducing the size of their contractual obligations. These efforts were instrumental in productively re-engaging the domestic private sector and in attracting sizable foreign investment.
Peripheral countries in the euro area -- such as Greece and Portugal -- have done a lot to deal with their flow challenges over the last few years. They have also made some progress in addressing stock challenges, yet quite a bit remains to be done." (Bloomberg)

"Last night I went to see Liz Smith interview Frank Rich and Alex Witchel at the Cosmopolitan Club on East 65 and 66th Streets. Billed as 'An intimate evening of conversation' moderated by Liz, that is exactly what it was. Or as intimate as two adults/writers are going to get in a room of a hundred people. Liz has been conducting these interviews (last year I think it was Whoopi Goldberg) every year to benefit Maria Droste Counseling Services. Founded by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd 32 years ago and named for a Good Shepherd sister who was renowned for her ability to console those who came to her in pain. The Mission of the Counseling Services is to provide affordable therapy. Last night’s benefit raised funds that will augment that mission. Elizabeth Peabody, who works at the Services, organized this annual benefit and produces it each year.This was the first of these interviews that I’ve attended. Guests were provided with tables and chairs, as you can see, and hors d’oeuvres (excellent) were passed along with wine, sparkling water, etc. It was a middle-to-older crowd, not surprisingly, many of whom know each other, perhaps through the club, or professionally, or socially. I saw many faces that I see when I am out and about, or at dinner or lunch, or a culture event. It’s kind of a neighborhood of mutual interest and curiosity. There was also a center table of Barbara Walters, Peter Brown, Marie Brenner and Ernie Pomerantz, Suzanne Goodson, Lesley Stahl and Aaron Latham, all close acquaintances or friends of the three conversers. For me it was somewhat of a Proustian moment in that last night was the first time I’d crossed the threshold of the Cosmopolitan Club since the day I changed my life at age 23 and got married, in October 1964. The Cos Club is mainly a private woman’s club where a lot of wedding receptions and dinners are still held. I remember the day very well, of course, from morning (early) to night (late) in Nassau, the Bahamas. The first and only time I was there also." (NYSD)        

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Robert DeNiro on Vine

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"If you want to know what someone’s views of society are, ask what they believe is the best long-term investment.  I am fascinated each year when Gallup Poll asks Americans to choose the best option among real estate, stocks and mutual funds, gold, savings accounts and CDs, or bonds. The results are a pop psychologist’s dream of cognitive issues, belief systems and ideologies.
Now, before we get into the details, some caveats: First, people often don’t really know what they want or think. Instead, when questioning people about their hopes and desires, we end up with a distorted mass-media version of a bad Robin Leach television series. Sad but true, often we don't know what we want out of life. Second, survey responses are not all they appear to be. There is value in the collective data, but we need to dive into the details to tease out some fascinating cultural differences. Note what happens when we divide the survey responses along income lines. We discover some very telling things about the American psyche. Consider the differences between what the wealthy and poor believe is the best long-term investment .." (Bloomberg)

Walmart heiress’ prenup overshadowed by lawsuit

"Walmart heiress Paige Laurie Dubbert is done with husband Patrick Bode Dubbert, but it’s going to cost her a pretty penny to be rid of him. Paige — whose mother, Natalie Walton Laurie, and aunt Anne Walton Kroenke inherited a multibillion-dollar fortune when their father, Bud Walton, died — recently filed for divorce from her husband of five years, reports TMZ. Shortly after she filed for divorce, Paige also filed a civil lawsuit against her soon-to-be-former husband, according to a later report by the website. The suit accuses Patrick of funneling huge money out of a business — a retail center in Malibu, Calif., that Paige financed. Allegedly, Patrick hired a friend to co-manage the project. The duo then named themselves general contractors on the project — positions they were completely unqualified for — in order to up their monthly pay (from $15,000 to $75,000). All of this on top of the $250,000 a year Patrick was already being paid to monitor the project." (P6)

"Kyo, not his real name, is a young black man in his mid-20s currently living in transitional housing for the homeless in Northern New Jersey. I have known him since he was 18. I had met Kyo during my former job as a reporter with The Star-Ledger, New Jersey’s largest newspaper. Kyo was placed in the foster care system as a toddler. His mother was dead of a drug overdose, and his father was a long-time drug addict until he became clean several years ago. Kyo does not have a close relationship with his father, but has kept regular contact with his siblings, one younger brother and two older sisters. In the system, he had stayed at several places including a good orphanage, where he felt taken care of, and the home of an abusive couple who would make him and their other charges stand for hours on end as a form of punishment. He had bounced between several schools over the years as well, but he did manage to graduate with a high school diploma. When I first met Kyo, a Newark native, I was immediately struck by his demeanor. He was simply the coolest teenager I had come across in a long while. He had a mature, perceptive air. I took to him because he reminded me of my younger self. Fellow geeks, we bonded over our love of manga, anime, and comics. He is a skilled artist and musically gifted as well. He can play the guitar and has a lovely voice. I kept in touch with him and we became good friends. Over the years, I have seen him age out of the system, move from job to job, couchsurf with friends, grapple with the emotional legacy of his upbringing, and basically survive hand to mouth. The last time I saw Kyo was a few weeks ago. He had left a friend’s apartment where he had stayed for a few weeks, and then slept over at my home for a night. Afterwards, he stayed at a homeless shelter for about a week. He just started a stint in transitional housing that will last for three months during which time he aims to find a job and get his own place to live. We talked about survival, the demons of depression, his views on government assistance, and hopes for the future." (Sharon Adarlo)

Jane Hansen and Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum.

"I went down to Michael’s to lunch with Bill Stubbs, the interior designer from Houston who was headed for a new Designers Conference in Argentina, which will attended by several Americans designers including Charlotte Moss. You might know him as William Stubbs, who hosts the PBS show 'A Moment  of Luxury.' I first met him when he was shooting his first show down in Palm Beach at the Brazilian Court Hotel where JH and I were staying while covering the Palm Beach Antique show ... Over 200 people attended the 16th annual Healthy Give and Take luncheon sponsored by the Auxiliary of NSLIJ- Lenox Hill Hospital. This year's luncheon was held at the Metropolitan Club with the theme 'A Healthy Give & Take Luncheon:  Relationships, Friendships and Intimacy:  The Mind/Body Connection.' Jane Hanson, the Emmy award winning broadcast journalist acted as moderator for the event. The topic focused on relationships and the affect they have on our minds and bodies. Just like Henry Jaglom’s new film 'The M Word,”'in a way." (NYSD)

"In June 1942, the bulk of the Japanese fleet sailed to seize the Island of Midway. Had Midway fallen, Pearl Harbor would have been at risk and U.S. submarines, unable to refuel at Midway, would have been much less effective. Most of all, the Japanese wanted to surprise the Americans and draw them into a naval battle they couldn't win. The Japanese fleet was vast. The Americans had two carriers intact in addition to one that was badly damaged. The United States had only one advantage: It had broken Japan's naval code and thus knew a great deal of the country's battle plan. In large part because of this cryptologic advantage, a handful of American ships devastated the Japanese fleet and changed the balance of power in the Pacific permanently. This -- and the advantage given to the allies by penetrating German codes -- taught the Americans about the centrality of communications code breaking. It is reasonable to argue that World War II would have ended much less satisfactorily for the United States had its military not broken German and Japanese codes. Where the Americans had previously been guided to a great extent by Henry Stimson's famous principle that 'gentlemen do not read each other's mail,' by the end of World War II they were obsessed with stealing and reading all relevant communications.The National Security Agency evolved out of various post-war organizations charged with this task. In 1951, all of these disparate efforts were organized under the NSA to capture and decrypt communications of other governments around the world -- particularly those of the Soviet Union, which was ruled by Josef Stalin, and of China, which the United States was fighting in 1951. How far the NSA could go in pursuing this was governed only by the extent to which such communications were electronic and the extent to which the NSA could intercept and decrypt them.The amount of communications other countries sent electronically surged after World War II yet represented only a fraction of their communications. Resources were limited, and given that the primary threat to the United States was posed by nation-states, the NSA focused on state communications. But the principle on which the NSA was founded has remained, and as the world has come to rely more heavily on electronic and digital communication, the scope of the NSA's commission has expanded. What drove all of this was Pearl Harbor." (STRATFOR)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"I have maintained a certain agnosticism about Edward Snowden’s relationship with the Russian intelligence services up until now. I noted with interest, but unconvinced, statements by congressional intelligence committee leaders that suggested he was a spy. And I questioned Edward Lucas’s conclusion that Snowden was at least a passive, unknowing dupe of the FSB.Snowden’s appearance on Russian television yesterday in a highly-scripted propaganda stunt for Vladimir Putin does not settle the question of whether he was originally an FSB tool. But it sure does settle the question—at least in my mind—of his role now. I’m not sure why this grotesque display does not move Snowden’s many admirers. Perhaps people may rationalize what he did and say that he’s posing the same question to the Russian leader about which he forced a debate in this country—and that he is thus being consistent. But they can’t actually believe that. These are sophisticated people, after all, many of whom are journalists. They must know the difference between a scripted set-piece appearance with an authoritarian strong man on state-controlled television and asking the tough questions in the context of democratic dialogue. They must know that Snowden either played that role willingly or was, in one way or another, encouraged to do so by authorities who have enormous leverage and control over him. They must know, in other words, that at this point at least, Snowden—by his own volition or against his will—is very clearly working for the Russians. Having said that, let me now make clear that I do not believe this fact should influence overmuch the way we read the material Snowden has disclosed. The authenticity of the documents in question is not disputed. Those documents reveal programs, some of which raise significant public policy concerns, and we need to discuss those, whoever Edward Snowden may be. But I do think we should regard the subplot here of who Edward Snowden really is—a subplot that has been an important discussion in its own right over the last year—very differently in light of yesterday’s appearance. We should stop thinking of Snowden, to the extent that we ever were, as a hero. We should stop thinking of him as a whistleblower. We should think of him, rather, as a man who has actively thrown his lot in with Vladimir Putin even as the latter is working to dismember Ukraine, and who helps a dictator make propaganda videos designed to embarrass his country." (TNR)

"Here's one easy way the Republican primaries could go.  Let's say you've got your saggy Scott Brown, your Rand Paul, maybe your Ted Cruz on the outside… and then up front, your Marco Rubio and your Jeb Bush. I just can't take Mike Huckabee seriously, even though he's polling first right now. (In this hypothetical universe, it's, predictably, all men: Everyone decides Nikki Haley is too young, Mary Fallin never gets any steam, and Sarah Palin sticks her head out and everyone's checkbooks retreat in terror and she goes away again.) ... Jeb is the money leader early out, just because a Bush raises money like a cat hunts a mouse. The machinery is oiled. And all the 'negative perceptions' of a Bush only exist in a Libertarian or liberal mind. 'Four more years of Bush' is soothing to everyone else, for some unknowable reason. There's a brief period where Jeb is the front runner, through Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada. Let's say he loses New Hampshire (the kind of state where they get their back up about legacy names). The Republicans are compressing the primary season because it's brutal, expensive and bad for party unity. Totally reasonable, honestly. But it means zooming towards their convention, in some city that starts with a C (Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus) or maybe a D (Denver, Dallas) in late June or early July, instead of stupid old August. They need the time on the ground to work against Clinton. Haha, and everyone is losing their minds, because we're about to have a Clinton versus Bush race, which is hysterical, it's like a referendum on America itself. Madness! So then there's probably a reduced Super Tuesday on March 6th, a likely not very impressive Tuesday (2012's super Tuesday had ten states). And right before that, let's say March 5th… Obama drops the hammer and says something really nice about Jeb Bush, and blammo, even though Obama's approval rate is like 8% by then, he's still Obama, and it's over, Republicans run screaming from Obama's semi-endorsement of Jeb and the Republicans are left with whoever's standing, with only three months or so for the rest of the primaries before the convention. Maybe it's Marco Rubio! Maybe it's stupid old Mike Huckabee! Maybe it's… Marsha Blackburn??? " (Choire Sicha)

"A tally of Jeb Bush’s many lucrative board positions and consulting gigs paint a complicated picture of the former Florida governor’s chances at surviving a campaign for the White House. The report, by The New York Times, offers a look at a man who felt his wealth had been diminished by being governor of the country’s fourth most populous state, a perceived wrong he’s been busy righting since he left office in 2007.According to the Times, Bush has worked for or with Lehman Brothers, a soap maker whose books were cooked, and an Affordable Care Act-supporting hospital owner. He has raked in at least $3.2 million from board positions, charges $50,000 for speeches, and is said to be paid more than $1 million a year by Barclays, the firm that absorbed much of Lehman after Bush’s bid to have Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim Helú save the failing bank.He’s made so much money, in fact, that one Bush supporter went on the record with the paper to cast doubt as to whether or not the presumptive candidate would even want to pause the gravy train to run for president. 'Although he’s been at this for seven years, it’s the last few years that he’s begun to flourish as an investor and build a commendable nest egg,' longtime ally Al Cardenas told the Times. 'Leaving all of that behind, all he’s built, is a challenge and a sacrifice for him.' The Republican picture for 2016 is quite murky, with would-be front-runners such as New Jersey governor Chris Christie embroiled in scandals, and upstart challengers like Kentucky senator Rand Paul scandalizing the party with unorthodox platforms (Paul is unapologetically isolationist, for example). Florida senator Marco Rubio, Texas governor Rick Perry, former senator Rick Santorum, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, and Ohio governor John Kasich have also been rumored to be mulling bids." (VF)

Diane & Woody’s ‘Hall’ of fame date

"There’s at least one person out there who still loves Woody Allen. Diane Keaton waxes poetically about the reunion she had with Allen on 77th and Madison Avenue, a stroll down memory lane nearly 40 years after 'Annie Hall' hit theaters, according to Keaton’s memoir 'Let’s Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty' (Random House).Keaton invited Allen out for a stroll 'like we used to' on Madison Avenue before he headed off to France for a shoot in 2011. 'We didn’t hold hands, like the old days, but I swear he wore what must have been one of his beige bucket hats from ‘Annie Hall,’ ' she writes. She paired a Marni dress with a black turtleneck, a big cross around her neck, and “the requisite wide-brimmed black hat,' Keaton’s signature 'Annie Hall' look. 'We looked in the windows of stores, starting with Ralph Lauren complex on 72nd. We passed the Whitney. We took in the people. They took us in, as well.' 'When we reached Campbell’s mortuary, we looked at each other. He was 77. I was 67. Where did the time go?' 'It was almost like it used to be, only sweeter, because I knew it couldn’t last. Paul waved goodbye as we headed back.'" (P6)

Click to order Dying Every Day.

"History Lessons from the Emperor Nero. I spent quite a bit of the weekend catching up on some reading. I’m still moving along with 'Dying Every Day; Seneca at the Court of Nero.' I bought this book half-expecting to lose interest halfway through. It’s one of those preconceived notions of mine that invites ignorance. However, Seneca and the Court of Nero will keep your interest. Although it’s creepy at its roots. A lot of poisoning going on. Agrippina killed Claudius (poison), then his son Brittanicus or Germanicus (more poison), and then Nero had his own mother Agrippina murdered in a botched crime. I haven’t got to what happens to Seneca, philosopher of the ages. So far Seneca is still alive. He was famous in his day and in modern times as a philosopher of note. As the first tutor and then “adviser” to Nero, he becomes ... very rich ... Sound familiar?  Although the Romans were brutal and completely decadent to the point where I wonder if their brains had been toxified. At least the ruling classes. Even the poisoners got rich. We don’t know about the working classes. Until, of course there’s a revolution; and that was a long way off, at the time.James Romm, the author of this history presents his story through Seneca’s writing at the time. Philosopher and all, Seneca was a guy who talked out of both sides of his mouth. Especially as he was amassing his fortune. That’s all I can tell you right now because I’ve got another third to go. But if you like history, it is an amazing experience grasping what life was like and how those people behaved under the circumstances of temptation." (NYSD)

"I leave the Rock so infrequently my world has shrunk to this final bead of coral, the end of the archipelago and sunk in the shallows of the Straits, near the edge of the Gulf Stream and surrounded by predators like sharks, crocodiles, tourists and Bubbas. Key West is a fractal of the world at large, and I love it, but to leave is daunting. Usually I depart from the Key West International Airport,... minutes from my home, reached by a route that parades along the coast with palm trees to one side and the other a scape of wide open dazzling glittering ocean its horizon split with bands of blues.
I almost never drive. Partly because it’s effing loooooooooooooong. Occasionally, for one reason or another, I do motor to Miami or the even chillier north of the Palm Beaches, west or otherwise. To cross the divide and merge with the highway northbound and roll into the mess of rushing automobiles is to enter an alien world, also known as the Real World, and mixed in there is a whiff of something horrifying. Recently I made one such trip and on the way, forgoing the phone, I plucked music discs at random from the center console of my car. Full blast and blaring like a pimped-mobile I relished one great track after another. This was a year’s worth of discs I have happily and sweatily purchased at the end of nights of hypnotic dancing at my favorite bar in the world The Green Parrot which I love because of the reliably sensational bands they book. Groups of searing talent like only the backwaters can produce. I’m there so often I worry they might hit me up for rent money. The drive north and back I zoned out to this music and it helped insulate me from the fray of big city vibes and hectic anguish inducing traffic. The tunes were original and nothing you would find on the radio, especially since radio stations scarecely waver from predictable Billy Joel. Nothing against old BJ you understand, but there’s so much more out there to explore." (Christina Oxenberg)

lindsaydinalohan The Failed Social Experiment of Lindsay

"It turns out, things could get worse for both Lindsay Lohan and her mentor/enabler Oprah, as we saw on last night’s finale of OWN’s terribly-rated, viciously-panned docu-series, Lindsay. As we found out approximately 10 hours ago, in what appeared to be an hour-long coda to a wince-inducing protracted portrayal of a woman on the verge (of her N-th rehab stint), Ms. Lohan admitted to having a miscarriage during the filming of the program. This was teased out before the two-part, two hour finale last night, and apparently caught more than one person by surprise. Even if director Amy Rice hadn’t planned for this last-minute revelation when she began releasing episodes of Lindsay out into the world, the last-ditch opportunism of throwing it in casts an even worse pallor over the entire enterprise, and by extension, Oprah herself. Who knew that Lindsay was going to be her Achilles’ Heel? I would be surprised if OWN didn’t close up shop after this horrific debacle, which wasn’t even good as a narrative story. In fact, the whole timeline of Lindsay seems a bit murky: they were filming the last portion of the series while the first episodes were airing, allowing a sort of infinite mirroring. Lindsay saw Lindsay, then reacted negatively to it, and that happened approximately a month ago. That’s the reason she didn’t get out of bed for what constituted the majority of the show, because she was miscarrying a baby from unknown origins. And despite the fact that nothing Lindsay Lohan has ever done has been kept a secret for more than ten minutes, this story never leaked.
Here is what happened on Lindsay, as best as I could reconstruct it: she missed some meetings, relapsed, came to terms with her mother’s book deal, got yelled at by Oprah, was late to several photo shoots, went to Art Basel, was late to film with Billy Eichner, got her own book deal (maybe?) and had a miscarriage." (Observer)