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Archives: August 2006

Lunch at Michael’s: Step Right Up To Meet Penelope Cruz

lunch_at_michaels_logo.jpgIt was the rainy, dreary Wednesday before Labor Day at Michael’s, and the regulars picked at their Cobb salads with neither the anxiety of pressing matters nor much enthusiasm.

And then Penelope Cruz walked in.

She arrived late, clad in the celebrity mufti of a black baseball cap. Before long, the receiving line of well-wishers inside mirrored the growing pack of paparazzi waiting on the sidewalk. We slipped out while the line was still forming, and informed the photographers outside that they had a two-fer waiting for them inside — Cruz and the newly out and proud Lance Bass (although he was sansboyfriend Reichen Lehmkuhl). One response: “Is Sumner Redstone inside, too? Or Katie Couric?” Not to ruin the suspense for anyone, but, um, no. Sorry. On with the roll call:

Table 1: He ain’t Sumner, but he’s the next best thing: CBS CEO Les Moonves, eating with PR chief Gil Schwartz. (And no, Les did not need to ask Sumner for permission, either.)

2: Sony Records’s A&R chief David Massey appeared to have been stood up today. He was still sitting alone when we left, looking a little forlorn and pecking away at his Blackberry.

3. The Mayor of Michael’s returned after a long summer absence (at least on Wednesdays). Joe Armstrong held down his usual table wiith Freud Communications CEO Matthew Hiltzik.

4. Ron Perelman was back as well, with crony Howard Gettis (he’s a Revlon director and Perelman’s partner) and a third lunchmate.

5. Jack Myers and an unidentified guest.

6. Robert Goldstein, president of the Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas, accompanied by his wife Sheryl, their teenage daughter Courtney, and one of her friends.

7. David Patrick Columbia with one of his favorites, Hill & Knowlton’s Jonathan Capehart.

8. We should have known who Bobby Shriver’s lunchdate would be, but neither of us — that would be myself and managing editor Dylan Stableford — had kept up to date on Penelope Cruz’s love life. As for what Shriver himself is up to these days, well, he has a Wikipedia page for that.

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Media Minutiae: Village Voice | Fox News Journos | MTV Japan | C.I.A. Leak | Schieffer | People


  • Layoffs: In the offing at the Voice? [Gawker]
  • People: Fails to source, credit National Enquirer in John Mayer-Jessica Simpson courtship story. [Jossip]
  • Kidnapped Fox Journos: Recall abduction. []
  • MTV: Big in Japan. Or small. [Bloomberg]
  • C.I.A. Leak Source: Admits role through lawyer. [NYT]
  • John Mark Karr Debacle: Worse than O.J. [HuffPo]
  • Microsoft: Investigates leak of Office videos. [Reuters]
  • CBS News’ Bob Schieffer: To stay at net through 2008 election. [Hollywood Reporter]
  • Footballers’ Wives: Coming to U.S. [Guardian]
  • Off the Media: Bob Cackles Maniacally

    It’s so hard to be self-absorbed, shallow media-celeb-stalking types when “On the Media” keeps reminding us about all these overseas places trying to bomb people to smithereens or courageous journalists exploring child pornography (and how we’re all perhaps a little guilty). It’s not so hard to give a “bravo” for exploring these issues and getting guests willing to talk so openly, even if the child porn stuff from the TimesKurt Eichenwald (left) made us a little squirmy (Eichenwald, himself noted how he needed counseling).

    Bob Garfield was again alone as host this week, and so we’ll let him off the hook for running a repeat story about how no one friggin’ knows what really moves financial markets. Even though we’re now half an MBA, we find no flaws in the 2003 piece that points out how financial reporting is just a little too facile in pegging market ups and downs to one or the other specific cause (an Osama bin Laden tape, a presidential speech, “profit-taking,” investor optimism, take your pick).

    Another story about financial news being done by computers that are fed numbers and, Mad Libs-like, making a story, reminds us of a computer program a decade or so ago that we heard about doing the same thing from sports agate (that’s stats, for you civilians). Computers are scary enough. Just be glad that people in Bangalore working for cheap don’t speak English. Oh, wait. OK, then, be glad about China.

    And, we just have to point out another little clip of Bob letting his eccentric interview technique show.

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    Another Planned Community. Is It Really ‘A Good Thing’?

    martha.jpegPerris, a city that is known for … let’s see, oh yeah, nothing, is slated to become the site of a 125-house Martha Stewart/KB Home planned community by the end of the year.

    Residents concerned about the potential cookie-cutter look of the homes — well, they shouldn’t be looking at a planned community. Particularly not one that promise to “feature homes inspired by Martha’s personal residences in Maine, Connecticut and New York.”

    We have no idea why this media mogul mashed up with KB. But we think we know why KB thought Martha was so attractive. Bruce Karatz, KB’s CEO, is divorced from Sandra Lee, the Food Network’s Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee.

    So our guess is he’s been lonely for another nationally known quasi-housewife to help mind the hearth. Whaza matter, Bruce, Nigella, turn you down?

    Ex-Mediabistro Editor Launches Legal Gossip Blog

    Above The Law, Dealbreaker founder Elizabeth Spiers‘ long-awaited addition to her latest blog empire, has launched. Spiers, who told us in April that “launches aren’t much fun,” seemed at least mildly excited about this one.

    Via Spiers’ e-mail announcement:

    —–Original Message—–
    From: Elizabeth Spiers
    Sent: Wednesday, August 30, 2006 2:42 PM
    To: Elizabeth Spiers
    Subject: Introducing

    Dear Friends, today is Warren Buffett‘s 76th birthday. And as a special gift to the father of value investing, we’ve made him a very special LAW BLOG.

    It’s called and it’s written by David Lat, ex-of and Underneath Their Robes. And it is now LIVE.

    Sure, a law blog has nothing to do with investing and nothing to do with Mr. Buffett, but it’s the thought that counts, right? And if Buffett doesn’t like it, then he’s an ungrateful bastard.

    So Happy Birthday, Mr. Buffett.

    Elizabeth Spiers
    Dead Horse Media, LLC


  • Elizabeth Spiers: ‘Launches Aren’t Much Fun’
  • Spiers to Break the Seal on Dealbreaker on Wednesday
  • Don’t Forget It, Jake, It’s Chinatown


    Murderati is a group blog written by 7 mystery writers, who might be divided by distance, but united by a common love of mystery, murder and marketing. Thanks to K-Rod at LAObserved, FBLA is a firm devotee.

    Today’s entry, by Los Angelean Naomi Hirahara is a preview of her LA mystery walking tour. One of the stops will be at the newly re-opened Chop Suey Cafe. Hirahara, a former editor at The Rafu Shimpo, defends chop suey thusly:

    …this was the comfort food of Japanese America and mainstream America at one time. During one period of time, probably 90 percent of all Japanese American wedding celebrations and funerals luncheons took place at a chop suey restaurant.

    And as luck would have it, Jennifer 8. Lee (the woman who gave us Man Date) is writing the history of Chinese food in the US. Maybe she’ll stop by.

    Carson Daly-Backed Online Video Site Launches


    Carson Daly, the ex-MTVer and host of NBC’s Last Call — a late night show that depends on viewers who are either inebriated, sick or accidentally TiVo it — is behind The Daily Reel, an online publication created by independent film producer Jamie Patricof and ex-Details executive Jeffrey Stern. Daly is slated to be a regular contributor to the project, which its creators say is driven by a “need to create a viable economic model” in the buzzy online video space. The site’s lofty goal is to be a sort of editor for the seemingly unmanageable amount of video content on the Web.

    “The Daily Reel’s editorial staff lives and breathes online video,” Patricof said in announcing the launch. “Our staff spends every day scouring the web for interesting material. Whether it’s funny, flashy, newsworthy, or just plain entertaining — if a video is worth watching, it’ll end up on The Daily Reel’s Top 10 List.”

    The Daily Reel

    What Would You Write About for $6 Million?

    cash_money.jpgImagine you had lots of resources and time, and a bunch of eager, J-school grads to report at length about issues of national and international importance under the guidance of seasoned coaches and trainers. Sounds pretty idealistic, yes?

    What if you could get the Carnegie and Knight foundations to kick in $6 million over two, maybe three years for five universities? And to see if those grads could produce some serious journalism, while improving research and journalism curricula?

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    WSJ In 90 Seconds


  • YouTube is WeTube, and everybody can have 15 minutes.

  • European “.com” suffix “.eu” causes confusion rather than competition.
  • The most popular product plugs on reality TV.
  • Oscars get ad agency for first time.
  • Even AOL execs need exercise. Tennis, anyone?
  • CNN Apologizes For Another Microphone Gaffe

    At least this time the errant mic caught bathroom banter from one of their own anchors, rather than a sitting president.

    CNN sorry for Bush speech gaffe [Hollywood Reporter via Reuters]