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Fingers crossed for the NYO

David Carr‘s lovely profile of the New York Observer proves that it’s an institution worthy of preserving – holy incubator of talent, batman! Lots of very talented alumni cut their teeth there back when they were pink with promise; I fail to see why Arthur Carter‘s burgeoning career as a sculptor should change that (Gawker offers some measure of comfort on that score, too). Nevertheless, if it is indeed for sale then hopefully whoever buys it won’t screw it up.

For Sale: Fabulous Pink Money Pit [NYT]

What’s sexy now? The guns.

guns.jpgYesterday in the NYT‘s Thursday Styles section we read writer Steve Friedman‘s compelling tale of transforming his life, his body and his vocabulary with the Bowflex&#153. We found his continued references to his guns, engorged by weeks of devoted Boflexin’, entertaining and inspiring. Yet all the NYT offered by way of accompanying images were pictures of infomercial models and a fun slideshow of home gym stuff through the years (my favorite is the Tunturi Exercycle). It’s not that we didn’t trust Mr. Friedman – a longtime MB instructor and a four-time contributor to “The Best American Sportswriting of the Year” thankyouverymuch – and we’d even recently attended an event at his home where the Bowflex was proudly on display. What was not on display, however, were the guns. So, Fishbowl did what any responsible journalist would do: she demanded proof.

Accordingly, dear reader, below please find an honest-to-goodness photo of one of Steve Friedman’s guns, the result of many hours of devoted Bowflexin’, which had also followed many hours of trying to figure out how to put the damn thing together (our Steve, not the handiest). After the pic, go to the article and decide which is more oddly compelling (and frankly, downright hilarious).

After the jump, the gun, otherwise known as “jumping the gun.” And after you see this sweaty, straining muscle, you just might.

A Better Body in 64 Payments [NYT]
What’s sexy now? The slip. [NYT]
Steve Friedman – Instructor Bio [MB]

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Is that a sword in your scabbard or are you just glad to see me?

From today’s NYT story on the adult film awards:

[Best Picture] went to “Pirates,” a relatively high-budget story of a group of ragtag sailors who go searching for a crew of evil pirates who have a plan for world domination. Also, many of the characters in the movie have sex with one another.

(Thanks to FishFriend PBump for this one!)

Hey! You’ve got to hide your sumptuousness away

Thank goodness for idle media catch-up time or we would certainly have missed this little gem. Kudos to CJR Daily‘s Liz Cox Barrett for catching this, a singular NYT justification for granting anonymity, courtesy of – what else? – Sunday Styles:

And so, Birnbach reports after quoting one New York mom: “This mother would speak only if her name did not appear in the newspaper, a condition also demanded by most of the others interviewed for this article. It is not that the vacation plans of privileged Manhattanites are sensitive matters of national security. But the families did not want to expose themselves to envy, or even ridicule, because of the sumptuousness of their lives.” (Emphasis ours.)

“If you use my name, they’ll make fun of me” [CJR]

The $25,000 Critical Shopper; In Which We Do Alex Kuczynski’s Receipts For Her Accountant, Jonathan [The Transom]

Daily News poaches new CEO from NYT

Welcome to media musical chairs! First the New York Post raided Les Goodstein from the Daily News, and now the News has dipped into the New York Times’ executive layer to pluck Marc Z. Kramer, now the proud new NYDN CEO.

It will be a sort of homecoming for Kramer, who was with the News from 1993 – 1998 as VP-general counsel, responsible for labor relations and labor strategy, from 1993 to 1998 (general counsel? Do we hear ANOTHER media lawyer?). In between, of course, he was at the Times as their senior VP-circulation.

Nat Ives at AdAge has the details (including how delighted Mort Zuckerman is about the hire); check it out for some more backstory. Here’s his characterization of Kramer’s job description: “Mr. Kramer is charged with expanding the reach and revenue of both the paper’s print and online editions.” No pressure there. Good luck, Marc Z. Kramer!


The NYObserver in ten seconds or less

Hooray, the Observer’s back from vacation – thank goodness, that freaky mustachioed puppet-marionette thing up on the website for the past two weeks kind of freaked me out. Good stuff this week:

You’re so cute, you probably think this post is about you

Yesterday’s NYT Science article on the appeal of cuteness proved its point meta-style by soaring to the penultimate spot on MEL, second only to “Owners’ Web Site Gives Realtors Run for Money,” which is objectively adorable. Upshot: we are hardwired to coo over big ol’ eyes and heads, and apparently wrinkles, which would suck for the multi-billion-dollar skincare industry if only we actually knew it. In any case, just to clarify: babies, pandas, puppies, kittens and pert little punchbuggies all get the nod, in addition to that plucky little Emma Watson from the Harry Potter movies. Rupert Grint, not so much. Puberty can be awkward.

The Cute Factor [NYT]

Kinda Kute [Joe Jackson]

Not related:
Can John Bolton Save The U.N.? [New York]

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O inspiration, where art thou?

An astute observation from the “Fake Fact of the Day” site:

Critics are often flummoxed in writing their columns this time of year, unable to find a hook.


Media Web’s 2005 awards [MarketWatch]
114 Magazine Industry Predictions for 2006 [Folio]
2005: A (Somewhat) Comprehensive Look at a (Not-So) Surprising Year in Magazines [Folio]
Slate’s 10 Most Popular Articles of ’05 [Slate]
Media Guy’s 10 Most Pathetic Media Meltdowns of 2005 [AdAge]
The Year in Politics [Salon]
Sneak Peek: 2006 Media Predictions [Forbes]
2005′s 10 Sexiest Geeks [Wired]
The Year in Sports [Salon]
The 10 Best Movies of 2005 [Salon]
Best of 2005: Entertainers of the Year [EW]
2005: Boob Tube at Its Worst [NYDN]
Business: Winners & Losers 2005 [NYDN]
2005 Stories of the Year [InTouch]
2005: The Ratings [TVNewser]
Top 10 Newspaper Industry Stories of 2005 [E&P]
Crunk ’05: The Year in Media Errors and Corrections [RTE]
Top 50 Albums of 2005 [Pitchfork]
2005 Jossip Awards [Jossip]
Film Critics’ Poll 2005 [Village Voice]
The Year in HuffPo Blog Posts [HuffPo]
The Ten Best Top-Ten Lists [AlterNet]

UPDATE: Nora Ephron’s strudel on HuffPo and the NYT

Yesterday Nora Ephron had a lovely, lovely op-ed piece in the New York Times on food as memory, the small moments of goodness that are to be appreciated in life, and why Hungarians are about more than just goulash. I will use her words to describe it: “simultaneously sweet, savory and completely unexpected, like all good things” (now I will use my word to describe it: strudelicious!). It’s an evocative, funny read (with a major meow moment to her first husband Dan Greenburg, whom she apparently did not get a book and movie out of). The NYT readership approves: it is currenly sitting proudly at #4 on MEL.

Here’s where Fishbowl comes in: yesterday I got a tip that the op-ed was posted on HuffPo, on its very day of publication. I’d seen double-posting before on HuffPo; I knew Jay Rosen often posted new PressThink entries on HuffPo, and I recalled the same about David Corn. With Ephron, though, my eyebrow arched; it wasn’t her own website but a customer paying for content. Hm.

It is at this point, dear reader, that I goofed. Because after reading the piece on the NYT site, I clicked over to HuffPo to see if it was indeed there; a quick glance down the left-hand side revealed that, yes, Ephron’s post was indeed up, complete with the opening sentences as teaser. I didn’t bother clicking through.

If I had clicked through, though, what would I have seen? Find out after the jump, where all mysteries are revealed.

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The Hills Are Alive With Hot Goat Cowboy Lovin’

art by campbell robertson.jpgHear me now and mock me later: there is never a bad time to invoke the “Sound of Music.” Especially as hilariously as this. Warning: do not read said this while drinking Diet Coke. Seriously. Your computer screen will thank you.

The “this” in question is today’s hilarious take on “Brokeback Mountain” re-imagined as “The Sound of Music” by Joyce Wadler, which finds two goatherds not quite so lonely anymore, and includes lines like this which must be reprinted in full:

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?

Die anschluss.

This is Austria; come right in.

The goat, cracking up, turns to Ernst und Jurgen.

It’s an old joke, but it gets me every time. In a few months, I bet it will work with France, too.

Even people who don’t know from Captain Von Trapp’s surpassing sexiness will understand that. For those who are familiar with this Oscar-winning classic (and also Oscar-penned classic, as in Hammerstein), there are hilarious reference aplenty, which will inspire you no doubt to climb all sorts of mountains solve all sorts of problems, whether they’re named Maria or not.

Please note that the illustration is by the NYT‘s Campbell Robertson, who has so far illustrated Wadler’s other “Underfinanced Production Company” entries (here and here). Who knew?

Also: could I plotz any more, thanks to this item Fishbowl once again is enjoying blog synchronicity thanks to dual unrelated Ethel Merman references (see Gypsy ref below). Bonus points for invoking Passover on Chanukah with a little Chad Gadya. Next year in Jerusalem!

p.s. Here’s my meshugenah horse.