Saturday, May 31, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"Of course, the richest Americans have always used their fortunes to try to tilt the nation’s political landscape to their liking. The robber barons spent unknown millions financing William McKinley’s 1896 presidential election. Insurance magnate W. Clement Stone invested $4.8 million helping Richard Nixon win the White House—twice. And billionaire currency trader George Soros spent $27 million trying to elect John Kerry in 2004.Having tracked the flow of money into politics as a reporter for more than a dozen years, I’d heard plenty of hyperbolic predictions from self-styled reformers like Obama. From their perspective, the latest developments in campaign finance law always seemed to be threatening the very fabric of American democracy by empowering rich donors or special interests. Mostly, though, the system self-corrected as Congress, regulators, or judges closed down loopholes, and democracy survived.But this time I saw that the cresting wave of big money powered by the Citizens United decision was truly altering the very character of American politics. Sure, there were still potential marginal changes that could come from lawsuits, court rulings, bills and regulatory processes that were pending even as this book was going to press. But Obama’s judgment was sound: A new political reality was here to stay." (Politico)

"I was going down to Michael’s to lunch with Tomas Maier, the Creative Director of Bottega Veneta and his partner Andrew Preston, and Ellin Saltzman, the intrepid fashion reporter who covers the Fashion Weeks for NYSD. Ellin was carrying a large handbag that Tomas designed about 12 or 14 years ago for Bottega. One of those Bottega bags with the leather weave. Black. Beautiful, and as fresh looking as if it were new ... The Kardashians are perhaps the most realistic description of 'society' today in America, and maybe in the world. Looking at  the party arriving at the Chateau of the Sun King, the same Chateau from which Queen Marie-Antoinette and King Louis XVI were seized by the crowd who arrived there on that fateful day in October 1789, having trekked the fifteen miles from Paris on foot in the rain and the mud, with pitchforks and other sundry would-be weapons in October 1789; and now seeing Kim and Kanye arriving with the 21st century version of 'royal' – albeit proletarian – flourish at this world monument to kingly extravagance, vanity and excess, this is history too, post-modern though it may be. You had to be there (in my head). All this from a passing phrase at table, at Michael’s. Meanwhile, back at Wednesday night. I gone to Michael’s to lunch on that day also. The Wednesday lunch with its roster of Michael’s celebrities and bankers and agents and media barkers. I had lunch with Jesse Kornbluth who is wrapping up (or has by now) his serial on rich kids from the Upper East Side in The New York Observer." (NYSD)

"For almost a quarter of a century, or most of his career, one pundit or another called Andrew Sullivan the future of journalism. Twenty-three years ago, when he was appointed editor of the New Republic at age 28—a Brit, no less—the Washington Post noted that 'there’s a heap of future in Sullivan’s life, and not much past.' In 2009, after more than a week in which his blog curated the best global coverage of the Iranian 'green revolution' pretty much nonstop, the Week magazine declared, 'The future belongs to Andrew Sullivan.' Two years later, Tina Brown acquired Sullivan’s blog for the Daily Beast and extolled his 'trailblazing journalism,' writing: 'Andrew almost single-handedly defined the political blog and has been refining it as a form of journalism in real time nearly every day for the past decade.' On a recent afternoon, the subject of all this praise—a writer-slash-thinker who has sojourned at virtually every major publication on the East Coast—is sitting in the window of the Duplex Diner in DC’s Adams Morgan, alternating sips of Jägermeister and Coke, hacking phlegm into a napkin (he has terrible asthma—sorry), and ogling a good-looking chef in a blue-and-white striped apron. Sullivan is 50 now. After an openly miserable 18 months in New York that began while he was at the Beast, he’s back in Washington permanently—and thinking hard about the present. Which at this moment includes a continuous parade of hot male specimens passing by outside. 'I love home, and this is it,' he says, bearded and scruffy in a gray T-shirt but looking around with the air of a Victorian landowner surveying his acreage. 'At some point in your life, I think you accept that and you think, I’ll be happy to die here. Lucky to die here. Lucky.' The weight of the attention that was lavished on Sullivan’s future is ironic, mostly because 20 years ago he didn’t think he had one." (Washingtonian)

Mayor Bill de Blasio (Photo: Paula Duran)
Mayor Bill de Blasio. (Photo: Paula Duran)

"If anybody needed a crash course on who’s who in New York politics, there was no better place to be than at Basil Paterson’s memorial service at the imposing Riverside Church on Thursday evening.
As the sun set on a chilly spring day, a first lady, two governors, two mayors, a congressman and the state attorney general, among other elites, paid tribute to Basil Paterson, the Harlem power broker and father of former Gov. David Paterson. Mr. Paterson’s life was a hallmark of Manhattan politics in more ways than one. He was a state senator, deputy mayor to Ed Koch, New York’s first black secretary of state, an influential lawyer and a recognized labor negotiator. As one of Harlem’s Gang of Four–the other three were former Mayor David Dinkins, Manhattan Borough President and 1977 mayoral candidate Percy Sutton and the still-serving Congressman Charlie Rangel–Mr. Paterson was a mover and shaker in the city’s political life. Gov. Andrew Cuomo reminisced about his relationship with Mr. Paterson and his son, David, whom he recently appointed as chair of the State Democratic Party. 'I am essentially a contemporary of David Paterson and we grew up together, basically, and remarkably our fathers were very, very similar in many ways. And our situations were very similar in many ways,' Mr. Cuomo, the son of three-term Gov. Mario Cuomo, said. 'David and I would talk about the big shoes that we had to fill. And our fathers, who were growing before us, the good and the bad of being the son of Mario Cuomo and the son of Basil Paterson, the challenges and the opportunities.'Mr. Cuomo also spoke about the significance of Mr. Paterson’s political legacy. 'I learned so much just watching Basil Paterson and the example that he set. He taught us the original lesson of coalition politics with the Gang of Four, supporting each other, being there for each other. They had eleven losses among them before winning their first race.' Mayor Bill de Blasio, who attended the service in the company of his wife Chirlane McCray, spoke next. He recalled that he was deferential towards Mr. Paterson, who he met when he worked in the Dinkins administration." (Observer)

You Say Wrongful Termination, I Say Murder   

"Last week something funny happened concerning a lady I once stepped out with. A book that had been sent to me by Knopf and which I had misplaced surfaced among the mess around my desk. Seven years later. It was the memoirs of Leo Lerman, a writer, critic, editor at Condé Nast, and man about town when going around the city was a glittering experience. Here’s his journal for February 25, 1984: 'Lee Radziwill rang Tina Brown, saying, ‘I can’t be on a magazine that has Taki on its staff.’ Alex Liberman instantly concluded that I had told Jackie the news of Taki in Vanity Fair, which has been told in newspapers, even on television.' Now for the life of me I can’t imagine what all this fuss was about. I used to make fun of Jackie Kennedy Onassis’s tendency to prefer very rich and powerful men, but I was always close to Lee, her younger sister. I had left Esquire after five years to join VF, then struggling badly with a Tina Brown at the head who didn’t yet know the difference between a Dickie Mortimer and a Mortimer Zuckerman. Lee trying to get me fired reminded me of my older brother, who tried something similar with a large advertiser at Esquire. Both attempts failed as they have since at the dear old Spectator." (Taki)

" Several years ago, as you may remember, some people tried to stop the development of a mosque a few blocks from the World Trade Center site. It was an emotional issue, and polls showed that two-thirds of Americans were against a mosque being built there. Even the Anti-Defamation League -- widely regarded as the country’s most ardent defender of religious freedom -- declared its opposition to the project.The opponents held rallies and demonstrations. They denounced the developers. And they demanded that city government stop its construction. That was their right -- and we protected their right to protest. But we refused to cave in to their demands. The idea that government would single out a particular religion and block its believers -- and only its believers -- from building a house of worship in a particular area is diametrically opposed to the moral principles that gave rise to our nation and the constitutional protections that have sustained it. Our union of 50 states rests on the union of two values: freedom and tolerance. And it is that union of values that the terrorists who attacked us found most threatening. To them, we were a God-less country. In fact, there is no country that protects the core of every faith and philosophy -- free will -- more than the United States.That protection, however, rests upon our constant vigilance. It is up to us to ensure that equality under the law means equality under the law for everyone. If you want the freedom to worship as you wish, to speak as you wish and to marry whom you wish, you must tolerate my freedom to do so -- or not do so -- as well. You may find my actions immoral or unjust, but attempting to restrict my freedoms, in ways that you would not restrict your own, leads only to injustice.Throughout history, those in authority have tried to repress ideas that threaten their power, their religion, their ideology or their re-election chances.  That was true for Socrates and Galileo; it was true for Nelson Mandela and Vaclav Havel; and it has been true for Ai Weiwei, Pussy Riot and the kids who made the 'Happy' video in Iran.We cannot deny others the rights and privileges that we demand for ourselves; that is true in cities, and it is no less true at universities, where the forces of repression appear to be stronger now than they have been since the 1950s.There is an idea floating around college campuses -- including here at Harvard -- that scholars should be funded only if their work conforms to a particular view of justice. There’s a word for that idea: censorship. And it is just a modern-day form of McCarthyism." (Michael Bloomberg)

Obama fund-raiser Jane Hartley eyed for France post

"President Obama is expected to finally name a new envoy to France when he lands in Normandy for the 70th anniversary of D-Day on June 6 — and a well-placed insider confirms it will be a woman. A second source says that recent gossip is correct and Madame Ambassador will indeed be Jane Hartley, the pretty, blond co-founder of the economic/political Observatory Group consultancy who raised more than $500,000 for Obama’s 2012 re-election race. She also contributed to the war chests of Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker.In March 2012, Hartley and her husband, Evercore Partners CEO Ralph Schlosstein, co-hosted a $35,800-a-head fund-raiser for Obama at their Park Avenue spread. The choice position in Paris has been vacant since much-loved Ambassador Charles Rivkin returned to the US early last year; he now serves as assistant secretary of state for economic and business affairs. Obama’s first choice, New York-based hedge fund billionaire Marc Lasry, withdrew his name a year ago after a member of the regular high-stakes poker game he frequented was charged in a mob gambling ring. The chattering class in Paris was abuzz after a well-placed government source recently leaked that the new ambassador is a 'she.' Some hoped it would be Caroline Kennedy, whose mother, Jacqueline, was so well-received there in 1961 that JFK quipped, 'I’m the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris.'
Others thrilled to the idea of Anna Wintour, but the fashion oracle turned it down because she has a more powerful post running Condé Nast ... Ambassadors are expected to entertain lavishly and supply the Champagne with their own money. Not a problem for Hartley." (Richard Johnson)

Friday, May 30, 2014

Wearable Wednesday Panel, Moderated by Paul Farkas

Wearable Wednesdays is an ongoing panel discussing the intersect of technology and fashion with panels of experts. Paul Farkas moderated a wonderful panel hosted by XO Group including Evan Cohen (above) of IndieGogo, Dan Rosenbaum of Wearable Insider, Guy Horrocks of Carnaval Mobile,  Jeanniey Mullen of Wearable Collective and Kyle Cameron Studstill at

The evening began with Evan Cohen giving a prepared talk about IndieGogo and how crowd funding is supporting innovation in the wearable tech space. he made a convincing argument that crowd funding is better for innovation in wearable tech -- and possibly all other sectors of the tech economy -- in that "makers" can keep more of their companies/inventions. Afterwards, the all star panel convened, covering all sorts of tech in fashion questions, from the importance of medical monitoring in wearable fashion (health care is transforming the perceptions of wearable), to the role of headsets (which is a part of wearable tech), to watches and pendants, to listening -- through crowd funding -- to your audience in the design process. I've known Paul, on and offline, for years. His organizational abilities -- to get influencers and though leaders into hospitable networking experiences -- are amazing. But this is the first time I've seen him moderate, keeping the discussion interesting and informative, and it was well worth the wait.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"The resounding gains made by the anti-EU parties in last week's European parliamentary elections have alerted Europe's mainstream leadership to its fundamentally precarious position. This is a warning Stratfor sounded more than two years ago, when we predicted the rise of the far right and cautioned that these fringe groups should not be underestimated, precisely because they were tapping into very real and deepening sentiments that emerged from the economic and social malaise that has developed since 2008. The highest levels of European leadership are finally and unequivocally feeling the political consequences of years of unemployment and stagnating growth across much of the continent. The dismal election results for many of the mainstream European parties (particularly in France, Spain and the United Kingdom) overshadowed the small but much-lauded gross domestic product growth figures for the year to date that dominated headlines until last week. The current European leadership sees the rapid rise of Euroskeptical parties as an existential threat to the postwar order in Europe. This is not only because of old specters of Europe's bloody nationalist past, but also because the economic and financial stability of the continent has been rigged (sometimes haphazardly) around the open market and common currency that these Euroskeptical parties want to recuse." (STRATFOR)

"Only two Democratic presidents have been reelected since World War II, Bill Clinton in 1996 and Barack Obama in 2012. When comparing the prowess of the two as vote-getters, each had their advantages. Obama was reelected with far more votes than Clinton 16 years earlier and drew a higher share of the total vote. But Clinton was involved in a three-way race of sorts, as third-party candidates led by Ross Perot took 10% of the vote. As a result, Clinton actually scored a wider victory in 1996 than Obama two years ago in terms of margin of victory (in both votes and percentage points); electoral votes; states won; and congressional districts and counties carried ...
The separate pulling power of the nation’s two most prominent Democrats has already been on display in Kentucky, where Clinton made his first campaign foray of 2014 in February on behalf of the Democratic Senate candidate, Alison Lundergan Grimes. She is challenging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) in a contest that has drawn considerable national attention.
Clinton turned out to be a good draw. He carried the Bluegrass State twice for president, the last Democratic nominee to do so; Obama lost it twice by margins in excess of 15 percentage points.
During her appearance with the former president, Grimes lauded the Clinton presidency for creating prosperity, but according to news reports, did not mention Obama once. Apparently, that is fine with the White House. Clinton is better positioned to help Democratic candidates in states such as Kentucky, Arkansas, Louisiana and West Virginia than Obama is. Yet as the year unfolds, Obama could probably be of assistance to embattled Democrats in states and districts where there is a large minority or youth vote, elements of the electorate in which Obama has run particularly well. In Charlottesville, for instance, the home of the University of Virginia (as well as the Crystal Ball), Clinton never drew more than 62% of the vote in his two presidential bids, while Obama never won less than 75%. Both Democrats have experienced the damage that can be done to the president’s party in a midterm election. In Clinton’s first midterm in 1994, Democrats lost both the House and the Senate and never regained either chamber during his presidency. In Obama’s first midterm in 2010, Democrats lost the House, making his ability to govern difficult. And the Democrats are again playing defense this year — trying to hold the Senate with little chance of regaining the House.
Clinton, at least, was able to enjoy the leavening impact of a favorable midterm election in 1998, when the president’s party bucked the historical trend to actually gain seats in the House. An improved economy and the widespread perception of Republican overreach in pushing Clinton’s impeachment played major roles in the outcome. Obama has not experienced such a midterm comeback, nor do many expect him to in 2014. Instead, he has taken on the role of a Cassandra of sorts, urging Democrats to turn out in larger than anticipated numbers this fall or experience the dire consequences that he predicts would come from a robust Republican Party in control of Capitol Hill." (SabatosCrystalBall)

"As you may have seen from our May ratings posts, the cable news channels are seeing double digits drops in their audience. Fox News, MSNBC, CNN and HLN are all down, year-over-year.
So where did the viewers go? A few possible explanations: May is a big month for broadcast TV; there was not a big news story driving viewership; despite being a mid-term election year, there are few compelling political stories; second, third screens; Netflix. Another explanation for viewers still tuned in to cable is the continued growth of reality, non-scripted and documentary TV on channels like History, Discovery, HGTV, and even the new channel AHC, or American Heroes Channel. Formerly known as Military Channel and before that Discovery Wings, for the first three months under its new name, AHC is posting double digit year-over-year growth. With series like 'Myth Hunters' and mini-series like 'Nazis: An Evolution of Evil,' the network was up +15% in primetime, and up +25% in total day, total viewers. Another channel, Science, with shows like 'Outrageous Acts of Science' and 'Survivorman: Bigfoot,' is up +20% in primetime and up +4% in total day, total viewers. Both networks rank lower than the cable news channels, but they’re growing." (TVNewser)

"On Saturday, May 24th, ARF kicked off the Memorial Day weekend with the 4th Annual Designer Showhouse at the ARF Thrift Shop in Sagaponack, chaired by Gordon Hoppe, Gigi Mahon and Sandra McConnell. Vice-Chairs included Peter Hallock and Lisa McCarthy, with Fern Mallis as Honorary Chair. The shop was transformed into six rooms styled by some of New York’s most illustrious interior decorators. Each room incorporated ARF Thrift Shop items as well as pieces donated from the designers own collections. Rooms ranged from a peek into the 'Captain’s Cabin' to an 'All About Eve' room inspired by the birthday party Margo Channing (Bette Davis) threw for her boyfriend. Guests enjoyed wine donated by Channing Daughters Winery, vodka donated by Alpha Noble Vodka and hors d’oeuvres donated by the Dancing Gourmet as they mingled and shopped among the themed rooms. Designers included John Bjørnen, Suzanne Caldwell and Maria Greenlaw, Byron C. James, Zoe Hoare and Chris Mead, Scott Sanders and Rod Winterrowd." (NYSD)

Wutzwhat Official Launch Party

Instagram media by wutzwhat - Showing our fabulous guests a demo of the app last night at @shopcurve. Thanks to the crowd for your warmth and enthusiasm! #launchparty #NYC #app

Last Thursday we ventured out into the rain to Curve on Bond Street for the launch of Wutzwhat for both iPhone and Android. Wutzwhat allows the user to experience cool selections of top tier dining, shopping, hotel and nightlife catered to your particular city. The demonstration was very cool and I intend to use it when travelling. If the users are as cool as the posh crowd at the event, then it should be the perfect way to experience a city. DJ Bock Monsieur did a fabulous set.

Cheers to the Catering and by Death + Company, Elderberry Catering and New York Distilling Company, who kept the beer going well after the event was supposed to have ended.

Instagram media by wutzwhat - Wutzwhat president greeting the crowd tonight at our official launch party at @shopcurve #NYC

Co-Founder and President Aaron Tench in the hizzy.

Download it here.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"Good morning. Thank you, General Caslen, for that introduction. To General Trainor, General Clarke, and the faculty and staff at West Point – you have been outstanding stewards of this proud institution, and excellent mentors for the newest officers in the United States Army. I’d like to acknowledge the Army’s leadership – Secretary McHugh and General Odierno, as well as Senator Jack Reed – a proud graduate of West Point himself. To the class of 2014, I congratulate you on taking your place on the Long Gray Line. Among you is the first all-female command team: Erin Mauldin and Austen Boroff. In Calla Glavin, you have a Rhodes Scholar, and Josh Herbeck proves that West Point accuracy extends beyond the three point line. To the entire class, let me reassure you in these final hours at West Point: as Commander-in-Chief, I hereby absolve all cadets who are on restriction for minor conduct offenses. Let me just say that nobody ever did that for me when I was in school.I know you join me in extending a word of thanks to your families. Joe DeMoss, whose son James is graduating, spoke for many parents when he wrote me a letter about the sacrifices you have made. “Deep inside,” he wrote, “we want to explode with pride at what they are committing to do in the service of our country.” Like several graduates, James is a combat veteran. And I would like to ask all of us here today to stand and pay tribute – not only to the veterans among us, but to the more than 2.5 million Americans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and their families.It is a particularly useful time for America to reflect on those who have sacrificed so much for our freedom – for you are the first class to graduate since 9/11 who may not be sent into combat in Iraq or Afghanistan. When I first spoke at West Point in 2009, we still had more than 100,000 troops in Iraq. We were preparing to surge in Afghanistan. Our counter-terrorism efforts were focused on al Qaeda’s core leadership. And our nation was just beginning a long climb out of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Four and a half years later, the landscape has changed. We have removed our troops from Iraq. We are winding down our war in Afghanistan. Al Qaeda’s leadership in the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan has been decimated, and Osama bin Laden is no more. Through it all, we have refocused our investments in a key source of American strength: a growing economy that can provide opportunity here at home.In fact, by most measures, America has rarely been stronger relative to the rest of the world. Those who argue otherwise – who suggest that America is in decline, or has seen its global leadership slip away – are either misreading history or engaged in partisan politics. Think about it. Our military has no peer. The odds of a direct threat against us by any nation are low, and do not come close to the dangers we faced during the Cold War.
Meanwhile, our economy remains the most dynamic on Earth; our businesses the most innovative. Each year, we grow more energy independent. From Europe to Asia, we are the hub of alliances unrivalled in the history of nations. America continues to attract striving immigrants. The values of our founding inspire leaders in parliaments and new movements in public squares around the globe.And when a typhoon hits the Philippines, or girls are kidnapped in Nigeria, or masked men occupy a building in Ukraine – it is America that the world looks to for help. The United States is the one indispensable nation. That has been true for the century passed, and will likely be true for the century to come. But the world is changing with accelerating speed." (President Obama)

Joanna Rakoff
Joanna Rakoff (photo credit: David Ignaszewski)

"It was 1996 and Joanna Rakoff was 23. After abandoning her plan to become an academic, she found herself, like many other young liberal arts grads with literary aspirations, working as an assistant in book publishing. 'There were hundreds of us, thousands of us, carefully dressing in the grey morning light of Brooklyn, Queens, the Lower East Side, leaving our apartments weighed down by tote bags heavy with manuscripts,' Ms. Rakoff writes in My Salinger Year, her new memoir that comes out next week about the year she spent as an assistant at Harold Ober Associates, a literary agency best known for representing J.D. Salinger. One of Ms. Rakoff’s tasks was to respond to the steady stream of fan mail for the legendarily reclusive author. Ms. Rakoff was given a typed-up form letter from 1963 to copy, informing the fans that the author did not wish to get letters from readers.
The letters, many of them handwritten, were personal and passionate. There were old men who had served with the author in the war and young people discovering the hypocrisy of the real world for the first time. Ms. Rakoff went off script and began to write back, giving the fans her own advice and opinions, mediating between Salinger and his fans. Although Salinger’s larger-than-life presence, or really absence, casts a shadow over My Salinger Year, the book is really about first jobs and navigating adulthood. Ms. Rakoff’s life had shifted. Instead of moving to Berkeley to be with her college boyfriend, she lived with a socialist would-be author in an apartment without a kitchen sink in Williamsburg, which was then in the early stages of gentrification. 'That time in your life is a really hard moment,' Ms. Rakoff told me over tea in her airy apartment in Cambridge on a recent afternoon.'You’re so clueless and don’t yet have your own sense of agency.'My Salinger Year is a book that Ms. Rakoff, who mostly writes fiction and journalistic essays, had been asked to write for years come naturally to her." (Observer)

"One Jasper of South Africa is currently under observation at LARS. Dark, slim and 33 Jasper says he is in the United States to find a wife. He says his understanding of a ‘relationship’ is that the woman takes care of the food, and the man builds a house. He described how he enlarged his mother’s kitchen, back home, with walls of bundled reeds. ...He chattered excitedly telling me how there’s a girl he likes, 'I’m hunting for a wife, you know?'  But he fell off his scooter right in front of her and now she no longer replies to his texts.  I, however, was fixated by his footwear, and I couldn’t help myself from asking him about the very strange looking shoes, like woven rubber baskets, 'Are those made from truck tires?' Jasper nodded yes, they were. 'Did you make them yourself?' I was stunned. 'Yes!' He smiled proudly. After recovering my breath, I said, 'In this country, no one will be expecting you to build them a house of reeds, but the ladies do care about shoes. Go get yourself some sneakers ASAP!!' 'But these will last forever!' Jasper implored. I used my minimal Swahili on him (because I don't know any Zulu!) and told him, 'Mass Mali' (sp?) Which means, 'Take them away!!!'" (Christina Oxenberg)

"You could argue that in agreeing to participate in an HBO documentary called Monica in Black and White I had signed up to be shamed and publicly humiliated yet again. You might even think I would have been inured to humiliation. This encounter at Cooper Union, after all, paled in comparison with the 445-page Starr Report, which was the culmination of independent counsel Kenneth Starr’s four-year investigation of the Clinton White House. It included chapter and verse about my intimate sexual activities, along with transcripts of audiotapes that chronicled many of my private conversations. But the 'B.J. Queen' question—which was included in the show when it aired on HBO in 2002—sat with me for a long time after the audience left and the taping wrapped.True, this wasn’t the first time I’d been stigmatized for my affair with Bill Clinton. But never had I been so directly confronted, one-on-one, with such a crass characterization. One of the unintended consequences of my agreeing to put myself out there and to try to tell the truth had been that shame would once again be hung around my neck like a scarlet-A albatross. Believe me, once it’s on, it is a bitch to take off.
Had that awkward moment at Cooper Union aired only a few years later, with the advent of social media, the humiliation would have been even more devastating. That clip would have gone viral on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, TMZ, Gawker. It would have become a meme of its own on Tumblr. The viralness itself would have merited mention on the Daily Beast and Huffington Post. As it was, it was viral enough, and, thanks to the all-encompassing nature of the Web, you can, 12 years later, watch it all day long on YouTube if you want to (but I really hope you have better things to do with your time). I know I’m not alone when it comes to public humiliation. No one, it seems, can escape the unforgiving gaze of the Internet, where gossip, half-truths, and lies take root and fester." (Monica Lewinsky)

"On a Monday afternoon in May, Adelle Waldman is drinking an S. Pellegrino at a coffee shop on the south side of Fort Greene Park, wearing pronounced Warby Parker glasses, shifting a lot in her seat, nervously cutting herself off, pausing to think about what she’s just said, jumping through topics. The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P., her debut novel, came out in paperback on May 6, and tonight, Warby Parker is throwing a party to celebrate its release. On the day the book came out in paperback, she also released New Year’s: Nathaniel P. as Seen Through the Eyes of His Friend Aurit, a Kindle Single whose title is helpfully literal. I felt exposed when I read The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. There are some things in it that I didn’t think men would admit to themselves or their therapists, but especially not to a woman. After I read it, my then-girlfriend nervously asked me if it was all accurate. My mom said she hated all of the characters. Who were the men she spoke to for research for the book who were spilling my secrets? How could a woman read this book and be comfortable with me or any man who resembled Nate? So I wanted to ask her about that and some other stuff." (TheAwl)

"Robert De Niro has revealed that his dad was gay. The actor, whose parents divorced when he was 3, says in a soon-to-air HBO documentary that he knew as a young man that artist Robert De Niro Sr. was gay. He also tells Out magazine, 'I wish we had spoken about it much more. My mother didn’t want to talk about things in general.'  He says it was his duty to talk about his dad’s life. 'I felt obligated. It was my responsibility to make a documentary about him,' he said. De Niro Sr. died in 1993." (P6)

President Obama at West Point Commencement: Full Video

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

"When presidential popularity sags, the predictable calls begin: Off with their heads! The heads, of course, belong to key administrators and Cabinet officials who are perceived to have contributed to whatever woes are besetting the president.The calls come from both friends and foes of the White House. The friends want to satisfy and silence baying opponents with a pound of prominent flesh; the foes hope it’s just the first pound. President Obama has been resistant to dismissing any senior person. He refused to fire Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius during the disastrous Obamacare rollout (though Sebelius later resigned). Nor has he, as of this writing, dismissed Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki, despite widespread problems in the VA that are ballooning into a damaging scandal . If Obama gave Shinseki his walking papers, it would be out of character for this president. Except for Gen. Stanley McChrystal, it is hard to think of any significant appointee shown the door during Obama’s first five years in office. (McChrystal was fired in June 2010 after his unflattering comments about the president surfaced in a Rolling Stone article.) Plenty of White House aides have cycled in and out, some perhaps nudged out the door, but 'no-drama Obama' clearly does not like to make headlines with splashy sackings. Is this a good or bad practice? Is a president better off 'demonstrating tough leadership' and 'holding people accountable' by dismissals, or should he stand behind his appointees? Naturally, it depends on the situation—and more than public opinion is involved. Maybe the chief executive has had an irreparable breach with an adviser or there is an unresolvable policy dispute. Better to send a Cabinet member packing than let a sore fester. The purely political questions are different, of course. What effect do firings have on public opinion? Does it help a president’s job approval when he shakes up his team? Is there a pattern in history that can be detected, at least since polling began?" (Larry Sabato)

1 (2)

"In this post I present the most comprehensive analysis ever reported of the gender of New York Times writers (I think), with a sample of almost 30,000 articles.This subject has been in the news, with a good piece the other day by Liza Mundy — in the New York Times — who wrote on the media’s Woman Problem, prompted by the latest report from the Women’s Media Center. The WMC checked newspapers’ female byline representation from the last quarter of 2013, and found levels ranging from a low of 31% female at the NYT to a high of 46% at the Chicago Sun-Times. That’s a broad study that covers a lot of other media, and worth reading. But we can go deeper on the NYTimes, thanks to the awesome data collecting powers of my colleague Neal Caren.
Here are the results based on 21,440 articles published online from October 23, 2013 to February 25, 2014. 1. Women were the first author on 34% of the articles. This is a little higher than the WMC got with their A-section analysis, which is not surprising given the distribution of writers across sections.2. Women wrote the majority of stories in five out of 21 major sections, from Fashion (52% women), to Dining, Home, Travel, and Health (76% women). Those five sections account for 11% of the total.3. Men wrote the majority of stories in the seven largest sections. Two sections were more than three-fourths male (Sports, 89%; and Opinion, 76%). U.S., World, and Business were between 66% and 73% male. Here is the breakdown by section (see above)" (TheSocietyPages)

Walking Her Down

"So the wedding of my little girl to Andy Bancroft Cooke went off without a hitch, a wonderful ceremony in a beautiful Catholic church off Portman Square and even the weather played ball and gave us the most perfect spring day imaginable, cloudless and cool, Green Park at its most glorious as we drank outdoors in the long terrace and lunched in Spencer House, which pulled out all the stops ... Just before I flew back, I went to a Claus von Bülow lunch that was heartrending in its scant acquaintance with the modern world of hubris and egomania, self-absorption and self-promotion. John Julius Norwich and his Mollie, Claus’s daughter Cosima, the great Nicky Haslam, Annabel Goldsmith, and Melanie Vere-Nicoll, an American lady who is a keen polo player as is her hubby, whose two boys go to Yale, and whose daughter is at my old alma mater, University of Virginia.She had just been to Charlottesville to see her and I asked if the Honor system was still on. And how, she answered. Melanie gave a party next to my fraternity where everyone wore jackets and ties, everything was yes ma’am and yes sir, and not a single F-word was heard throughout a long evening of partying. That’s how it was when the poor little Greek boy was there five years ago—make that 57—which goes to show that the reason we have people like the Kardashians and James Stunt—he is Bernie Ecclestone’s son-in-law—and other such contemptible parasites and sleazeballs is not hard to figure out." (Taki)


"I arrived in Bucharest, Romania, the day after U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel will be here in a few weeks. The talk in Bucharest, not only among the leadership but also among the public, is about Ukraine. Concerns are palpable, and they are not only about the Russians. They are also about NATO, the European Union, the United States and whether they will all support Romania if it resists Russia. The other side of the equation, of course, is whether Romania will do the things it must do in order to make outside support effective. Biden left Romania with a sense that the United States is in the game. But this is not a region that trusts easily. The first step was easy. The rest become harder. If this little Cold War becomes significant, there are two European countries that matter the most: Poland and Romania. Poland, which I visit next, stands between Germany and Russia on the long, flat North European plain. Its population is about 38 million people. Romania, to the south, standing behind the Prut River and bisected by the Carpathian Mountains, has a population of about 20 million. Of the roughly 82 million people along the eastern frontier (Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria), approximately 58 million live in Poland and Romania. Biden's visit to Romania and U.S. President Barack Obama's planned visit to Poland provide a sense of how Washington looks at the region and, for the moment at least, the world. How all of this plays out is, of course, dependent on the Russians and the course of the Ukrainian crisis." (STRATFOR)

Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos and Amy Astley

"On Wednesday, May 21st at Cipriani 42nd Street, El Museo del Barrio held its annual Gala. Over 500 dinner guests were greeted with the signature Cipriani Bellini, followed by dinner and welcoming remarks from Tony Bechara and Jorge Daniel Veneciano. Designer Alejandro Ingelmo was honored with the Artistic Achievement Award, Present by Teen Vogue's Editor in Chief, Amy Astley. Andy Unanue presented Maria Eugenia Maury and Dr. William A. Haseltine with the award, named in memory of his father, Joseph A. Unanue Trustee Leadership Award. The Gala Chair was CuCu Diamantes and the Gala Co-Chairs were Andrés Levin, Anita Durst, Lex Fenwick, and Cathy and Alex López Negrete." (NYSD)

"They’re at it again. Hamptons socialite Whitney St. John is being accused by her ex, James Fairchild, of surreptitiously squirreling away hundreds of thousands in jewelry rather than turning over the pricey baubles to a ­court-ordered estate sale in their bitter divorce battle.St. John and Fairchild’s possessions were sold over the weekend in a high-end Estates NY tag sale at their Bridgehampton marital home, which raked in $350,000 on its first day, sources said. The Memorial Day weekend sale included more than 200 paintings plus cars, minks and furniture, and was ordered after the couple couldn’t agree on dividing up their possessions. But St. John, who objected to the court-ordered sale, is being accused of holding back baubles valued at up to $300,000 retail, and Fairchild could seek to hold her in contempt. 'Whitney refused to hand over the jewelry for the sale,' a source sniffed, adding the sale would’ve reached $750,000 if it had included the jewelry.The couple’s been in an ongoing battle over a small fortune in jewelry they’d bought together to launch a high-end Hamptons store before their 2011 divorce case." (P6)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Why Does Judge Judy Make $47 Million a Year?

Okay, we've known for at least a year that Judge Judy makes $47 million. But a recent NYT profile made it clear that not only does the most biased "TV Judge" (Averted Gaze; sniff sniff) makes that much, but makes that much on just 52 days of taping. WTF.

I don't get it. I don't get reality TV in general, but that is an astounding thing, that number for those amount of days labor. It presents a classical economic conundrum. Is her "content" really that ... valuable a property? Does she present that much value?

The late Bill Buckley, not a fan of the Beatles, called them "awful" during the 60s. He preferred Bach. He said, in effect, that he would not quarrel with the free market assessment of what the invisible hand assigns value, but that doesn't mean he -- and other people of taste -- wouldn't rather be listening to Rosalyn Tureck performing Bach on the harpsichord.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Celebrities Read Mean Tweets -- Genius

Sohn: Artifice (Song of the Summer 2014?)

Media-Whore F'Oeuvres

2014 Crystal Ball Outlook

"Democrats face several challenges in trying to maintain their majority in the U.S. Senate in the 2014 midterm election. In addition to the normal tendency of the president’s party to lose seats in midterm elections, Democrats are defending 21 of the 36 seats that are up this year including seven seats in states that were carried by Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. Moreover, six of those seats are in states that Romney carried by a double-digit margin. Given this math, Republicans are almost certain to make at least some gains in this year’s Senate elections, and the six seats they need to regain control of the upper chamber appear to be within reach. The Crystal Ball’s most recent Senate ratings predict a GOP pickup of between four and eight seats in November, and several statistical forecasting models, including my own, have given Republicans at least a 50-50 chance of gaining six or more seats this year. Despite the difficult task that they face in defending so many Senate seats in Red states this year, Democrats have some hope of offsetting expected losses by taking back two seats currently held by Republicans — the Kentucky seat held by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Georgia seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Saxby Chambliss. Based on recent polls, the Senate contests in both of these states appear to be highly competitive. In the Bluegrass State, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) has been running even with or slightly ahead of McConnell, and in Georgia, non-profit executive Michelle Nunn (D) has been running even with or slightly ahead of businessman David Perdue (R) and Rep. Jack Kingston (R), the two finalists facing off for the Peach State’s GOP nomination. Picking up one or both of these seats would obviously make it much easier for Democrats to maintain control of the Senate. Republicans would then need to flip seven or eight seats currently held by Democrats instead of just six in order to get to 51 seats. But what are the chances of Democrats winning either one of these contests? Despite the results of recent polls, there are several reasons to be skeptical about Democrats’ chances of winning either the Kentucky or the Georgia seat in November. Kentucky hasn’t elected a Democrat to the Senate since 1992, and Barack Obama lost the state by 16 points in 2008 and 23 points in 2012. Georgia hasn’t been quite as unfriendly to Democratic candidates in recent years. Still, no Democrat has won a Senate contest in the state since Zell Miller in 2000, and the last Democratic presidential candidate to carry the state was Bill Clinton in 1992. Obama lost Georgia by five points in 2008 and eight points in 2012." (CenterforPolitics)

"And as usual, a busy one on the calendar. For example, last night at the Edison Ballroom, Joyce Carol Oates was honored at the Author’s Guild black tie dinner. While over at the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park, Urban Stages held a benefit dinner and honored veteran agent Lionel Larner for 30 years devotion to the organization. His longtime friend and client Dame Diana Rigg presented the award. Because it was in Central Park, on a beautiful night, and at the Boathouse, the evening included dinner and cocktails of course, and entertainment and dancing, and boat rides! Meanwhile down at Capitale on the Bowery, the Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter hosted a benefit evening with singer Nellie McKay. And dinner of course.My day started like this. (Horrible traffic in the midtown cross streets, not because of too many cars but because of too much building construction which takes up lanes and often the entire street with construction equipment like plows and bulldozers and cranes). It took three quarters of an hour to cross from the FDR Drive at 63rd Street to Fifth Avenue and 59th Street and the Plaza where at  noontime in the Grand Ballroom, the National Audubon Society’s Women in Conservation were hosting their annual 2014 Rachel Carson Awards luncheon. They honored Ellen Futter, the brilliant President of the American Museum of Natural History; Actress and director Kaiulani Lee, and Nell Newman, daughter of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. Over the past 21 years Ellen Futter has raised more than $1.3 billion for the AMNH. " (NYSD)

"On Oct. 8 of last year, Irving Azoff got a call from Kevin Huvane, managing partner at Creative Artists Agency (CAA), congratulating the megamanager on the latest addition to his client list. There was just one problem: Azoff didn’t know about it. 'Chelsea Handler one day decided I was her manager, and I was only too thrilled to accept the assignment,' says the chairman/CEO of Azoff MSG Entertainment, 66. 'She sent an email to her business manager, lawyer and agents saying, 'Please deal with Irving from now on.’ Shortly thereafter a press release showed up where she'd written my quotes.' Handler, who was without a manager at the time, says Azoff already had been 'acting as a manager by proxy” — “he had some good, sagacious advice for me time and time again" — so it was simply a matter of making it official. 'We bonded and joined forces and now we’re the dynamic duo.'
The initial fruit of the partnership came in January, when Handler, 39, announced her first tour in four years — more than 30 dates in theaters and arenas to coincide with her fourth book (and fourth New York Times No. 1 best seller), Uganda Be Kidding Me.Two months later came a potentially even bigger development: After seven years of Chelsea Lately, Handler will be leaving the E! Network when her contract expires at the end of the year. 'We have at least seven suitors and many ideas,' Azoff told The Hollywood Reporter at the time." (Billboard)

Blair Brandt, CEO of the Next Step Realty and COO Field Hucks.

"As a college student at the University of Richmond, Blair Brandt, the 26-year-old CEO of Next Step Realty, spent a summer working for an independent Florida realtor named Christian Angle. Mr. Brandt had been counting on an investment banking internship in New York City, a course toward which he had steered since his days at the Deerfield Academy. But when the financial crisis caused Lazard to cancel its internship program, he found himself at home in Palm Beach, Fla.At his mother’s behest, a dejected Mr. Brandt attended a cocktail party where he met Mr. Angle, a smooth talker who could transition seamlessly between idle chitchat and a cunning pitch. Impressed with the realtor’s savvy, Mr. Brandt was nonetheless initially interested primarily in Mr. Angle’s beautiful assistant, following her doggedly around the party. But when it turned out that she was moving to London, he settled for her job, from which he advanced swiftly to a junior agent position. Relatively new in town, Mr. Angle, whom Mr. Brandt describes as 'a hustler from Boston,' had been selling mostly homes that pass in that community for modest—priced around $1 million—and struggling to transition to the oceanfront palaces that house the upper class.'Palm Beach is a small town, and he couldn’t get to that next level of the market,' Mr. Brandt told us recently when the Observer visited Next Step’s East Village storefront. 'He was smart and he was a hard worker. But he didn’t really know anyone. People liked him, but they didn’t trust him. Then I started introducing him to the people that I know.'With Mr. Brandt vouching for him among the Palm Beach glitterati, Mr. Angle notched several multimillion-dollar contracts, earning a badge of legitimacy in the process. Mr. Brandt earned $50,000 in commissions that summer, but sales of his own proved elusive. 'I was too young,' he said. 'Ultimately, people weren’t going to trust me to handle deals like that.' How, he wondered, could he build relationships with the sorts of clients who were likely, one day, to shop for luxury real estate?
'When I was thinking of starting Next Step, I thought about all the things that an agency like Corcoran was doing, because they have luxury clients,' Mr. Brandt said. 'And I thought: We’re going to provide the same exact level of service to kids right out of college who aren’t there yet but might be in that category eventually.' Jason Briggs, a family friend of Mr. Brandt and an early Next Step investor, provided an illuminating case study. Brushed off by a dozen brokers during his search for his first place in Manhattan, in the 1990s, Mr. Briggs, who comes from a well-to-do family and has worked in finance and real estate development, has to date enlisted the agent who ultimately assisted him for $30 million worth of transactions." (Observer)

"On Wednesday, May 7th at Cipriani 42nd Street, they held the 13th Annual Women Who Care Luncheon benefitting United Cerebral Palsy of New York City (UCP of NYC). The sold-out event celebrated the extraordinary accomplishments of women as professionals, caregivers and philanthropists and raised nearly $550,000 to fund programs and services offered by UCP of NYC to over 14,000 children and adults with disabilities throughout New York City. The 2014 Women Who Care leadership included: (All in Attendance) Loreen Arbus – Producer, Disability Rights Activist and Founder/Chair of Women Who Care; Susan Lucci – Emmy® Award-winning star of the hit Lifetime series Devious Maids, New York Times Best-selling Author, Host of Women Who Care, and former Women Who Care Honoree; Jill Herzig, Editor-in-Chief of Redbook and Honorary Co-Chair of Women Who Care; Donna Hanover, Former First Lady of New York City, Author, and Honorary Co-Chair of Women Who Care; Robin Givens, Star of the ABC series Twisted, and Co-Chair of Women Who Care; Ali Stroker of Glee and Glee Project fame, and Co-Chair of Women Who Care; Paula Zahn, Six-time Emmy® Award-winning Host of On The Case With Paula Zahn, and Co-Chair of Women Who Care." (NYSD)

"Judging the success of a TV show used to be a relatively simple matter. Nielsen crunched the viewership numbers and shows survived and died based on the ratings. The rise of social media and especially its second-screen applications has complicated the picture by adding a rich stream of complementary data. Now television networks and producers can dig into public conversations about their programs to learn much more about how the audience is reacting to the content. But the blessing of extra data comes with a major chore. TV executives, marketers and advertisers still want simple answers: How did the show do? Did people like last night’s shocking episode of “Fargo”? And that’s not easy to quickly determine from the stream of social media commentary about Billy Bob Thornton and co. That’s the issue Mashwork founder and CEO Jared Feldman believes he has solved with Canvs, a social TV analytics tool his Manhattan-based startup launched last month. The solution lies with the natural language processing under the Canvs hood — engineered by Mashwork chief scientist and NYU marketing professor Sam Hui — that allows it to go beyond basic Twitter sentiment analysis of positive, negative or neutral. It’s the product of four years of Mashwork doing much of analysis manually for entertainment clients, Feldman said, building a database of emotionally charged keywords and phrases and their various misspellings. Such work typically has to be done by hand. Feldman said he knows of one PR firm that sends tweets out to Mechanical Turk for processing. Another network assigns 'sentiment interns' to the task. 'The reason that this is such a hard fricken problem is because no one spells things properly,' Feldman said. 'People say things like fricken. There’s no academic library or thesaurus on the planet you can use to capture how real people feel about Walter White.'" (Marketingland)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014 Launch Party at the Maritime Hotel

Clearly summer has begun in New York as the parties now are more and more outdoors. Yesterday I attended the launch of at the Maritme Hotel. Geomarketing is the source of record for all things location based marketing. A brilliant idea at just the right time. My favorite couple from the arts-interwebs community in New York, Cat Weaver and David Kaplan were there, which was pretty awesome. Nichelle Stephens, who I haven't seen for over a year, was also there (thanks to Internet Week, where she was hosting a panel).

Also spotted in the crowd: Laura Colona, Liz Walton, Megan Telles, Rebecca Lieb and Blast PR Veep Matthew Caldecutt.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Euan Rellie's Party For Benn Watts's Wine Awesomeness

SIPA McMullan/Sipa USA A ENT New York USA  13600460
(Photo by Liam Mcmullan/Patrick McMullan/Sipa USA) (Sipa via AP Images)

So I was curious about the invitation on Euan Rellie's party Monday night for Ben Watts's Wine Awseomeness.  Women were welcome after 10pm. "We have a suitably rakish list of 30 for dinner,"  he wrote. Hmm. To party or not to party without women for a few hours, that is the question.

It turned out to be a wonderful evening. Guys at parties are in full competitive mode when it comes to beautiful women. A few hours among men conversing over a wonderful dinner is a rarity. And then, as if by magic, the ladies came in at 10 Pm and the party really got rolling. Among the bros and ladies: Liam McMullan, Richard Johnson, Annie Venier, Rob Holzer, Chris de al Mott, Ben Watts, Nate Freeman, Rett Wallace, Chris Shumacher, Joey Jalleo, Nick Wooster, Erik Maza, Tatiana Vidus and Tyler Thoreson.

The evening started with whisky and then, at table, there was the rosé, the guest of the evening. I am usually loathe to mix my booze, but there it was and the temperature was perfect in the West Village.

It is a hell of a rosé. Absolutely bananas delicious and perfectly seasonal. I am lucky I made it home in one piece. I cannot for the life of me tell you what the song of the summer of 2014 will be, but I can tell you in all honesty that the wine of the summer (at least for me) is Watts Up Rosé, $54 for a case of three. That's what's up, yo.

Charlie Rose: Ken Auletta on Jill Abramson

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 21: (L-R) Architecture critic for The New York Times Michael Kimmelman, 2014 Pritzker Prize-winning architect Shigeru Ban, Executive Editor for The New York Times Jill Abramson, and Chairman and Publisher of The New York Times Company Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. attend the cocktail reception for the New York Times Cities for Tomorrow Conference on April 21, 2014 in New York City.
Photo: Miguel Villagran/Getty Images

"On Monday evening New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. continued his effort to reclaim the narrative following Jill Abramson's abrupt firing last week, offering his first public comments on the debacle (aside from statements issued by the paper). Sulzberger said little about Abramson's contributions to the paper last week, but while speaking at a Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press dinner, he praised her for being 'a powerful and outspoken advocate for a free press.' He added that Abramson, 'has been one of the most forceful voices in challenging the secrecy of the Obama White House and the initiation of criminal leak investigations. I will always admire Jill’s commitment to this issue and be grateful to her many contributions to the journalism of the New York Times.' Just a few hours later, Vanity Fair published an interview in which Sulzberger bashed Abramson's management style, and reports that suggested sexism played a role in her dismissal. 'I’m not going to let lies like this lie,'  he said. In his interview with Vanity Fair's Sarah Ellison, which was conducted on Sunday afternoon, Sulzberger emphasized that 'a lot of what's out there is untrue' – particularly the sexism allegations. Sulzberger said he found it 'weird' that Abramson hired a lawyer to press the issue of pay disparity, but it was not a factor in her firing. He also argued, once again, that Abramson's overall compensation was on par with that of her male predecessors." (NyMag)

"I went down to Michael’s to lunch with Linda Fairstein who is publishing her sixteenth (!!!) Alex Cooper detective novel, 'Terminal City.' Alex being Alexandra, if you’ve never read one of them.Linda is a New Yorker. She grew up in Mount Vernon just north of the city. Her father was a doctor. He was very verbal about his work, so the girl growing up was being unconsciously tutored in the ways of life and the human condition. She was a big reader as a kid and she dreamed of being a writer. When it came time to think about taking care of herself as a grownup, her father suggested she get herself a profession first so she could be sure of supporting herself. I don’t know if he suggested it although it sounds as though he was a strong influence in her thinking early on. She decided to study law. After Vassar, she went to the University of Virginia Law School. And after that is was back in New York and in the early 70s and DA Frank Hogan’s office, she got a start on something new. There were 7 women attorneys in his office when she was first there. Now, she told me yesterday, half the office is women.But I’m telling you all this to lead up to Linda’s 'today’s story' which is partly that her sixteenth novel is being published on 17 June. But three and a half years ago, Linda lost her husband Justin Feldman. He was 92 when he died. Mr. Feldman also had a great career in law and in politics – he helped manage Robert Kennedy’s 1964 Senate run in New York – and was not only Linda’s husband but her mentor and editor/adviser. They had been married 25 years and it was a great loss for her. Cut to the chase. In the last year or so, Linda has been seeing an old friend whom she first knew as a student at UVA Law. Michael Goldberg. Mr. Goldberg and Linda were good friends back then, and the friendship continued over the years, as he too became a practicing New York lawyer and was also a friend and admirer of Justin Feldman. Mr. Goldberg had been married but was divorced a few years ago. And since Linda was now a single woman, and he was a single man, and they had always been good friends, they began to spend more time in each other’s company. They share many interests, many friends and are approximately the same age – late sixties. Familiarity breeds content (in this case)." (NYSD)

Michael Alig Out Of Prison 05

"'I need you to help me with something,' says Michael Alig, somewhat sheepishly. 'Can you show me how to make a new email account for, you know, sex stuff?' It’s midafternoon and I’m with Alig in his friend’s spacious three-bedroom apartment in the Bronx, where he’s staying in a spartan spare room until he gets back on his feet. He’s sitting on a white folding chair pawing at a laptop, and I’m on his unmade single bed, next to a pile of dirty laundry. On a bookshelf behind him sits a Michael Jackson figurine and a vase holding a single, wilting red rose. He’s been holing up here since his release from prison on May 5, trying to adjust to life after 17 years on the inside. One thing he’s struggling with is technology. The 48-year-old says he didn’t know how to turn on a computer at first, and he’s still coming to grips with texting. 'I can only handle learning about one new thing each day, otherwise it’s overwhelming.' But he’s a quick study, taking to Chatroulette and gay hookup sites after being introduced to them by his roommates, Ernie Glam and Glam’s husband, David. Now he wants a new email account so he can browse more discreetly. A friend is helping him manage his email and passwords, just until he can figure things out for himself. 'I need one that’s just for me,' he says. 'For private stuff.' Privacy is a relatively new concept to Alig. In December 1996, the former New York club kid was sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter over the murder of his friend, Andre 'Angel' Melendez. The ordeal was chronicled by fellow nightlife fixture James St. James in the book Disco Bloodbath, which was adapted into the cult movie Party Monster, starring Macaulay Culkin as Alig.In March 1996, Melendez came over to Alig’s Hell’s Kitchen apartment and the pair began fighting over money. They started to scuffle and, as Alig tells it, Melendez pushed him through a china cabinet, a piece of glass piercing his back. It was then that another friend, Robert “Freeze” Riggs, hit Melendez on the back of the head with a hammer, causing him to fall over. Alig, Riggs and a rarely mentioned third party, Daniel Auster, then piled on top of him, and Alig smothered him with a sweatshirt. Once Melendez had stopped writhing they propped him up on the couch, assuming he was unconscious. They were high, Alig says, on a cocktail of Special K, crystal meth and Rohypnol, and conducted a series of crude tests to make sure he was still alive. 'We put a spoon to his nose and we thought we saw a breath. Maybe he was still alive then? Maybe he died on the couch? I’m not sure. We were watching his stomach and I swore I saw it go up and down. Freeze checked his pulse and we kept checking on him every so often in between our drug use,' he says, adding that about nine hours later it finally dawned on them that they’d killed their friend." (Vocativ)