Saturday, July 4, 2009

Palin Campaigns Vigorously to Resign, Picks up McCain Endorsement

A day after Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin announced that she plans to step down from the governership later this month, she picked up the endorsement of former running mate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

"I fully support Gov. Palin in her decision to step down," McCain said, accosted by reporters at his Sedona ranch as he was carrying in racks of ribs for grilling Saturday.

"And now if she'll just shut up," McCain was heard to mutter to an unidentified aide as they disappeared into his house.

"Or go ahead and run in 2012; she's got so many opinions on how she could have done it better. I'd like to see her try and then be obliterated in the press," McCain added, apparently not a subscriber to Vanity Fair.

McCain's daughter, Meghan McCain, a commentator for The Daily Beast, who has refused to comment on Palin since the election, continued her silence on the matter, though she nodded darkly at her dad's comments.

Palin, meanwhile, continued to seek additional endorsements for her resignation, with William Kristol of The Weekly Standard offering her most prominent support to date.

Disgraced South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, a fellow Republican, said that while he respected Palin's decision, her contention about not wanting to be a lame duck and ineffective at governing did not in any way apply to his continued governorship. Sanford insisted in a phone interview that he would continue to be a capable chief executive, even as "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" played in repeat in the background.

Palin's staunchest supporters of her decision remain her family. "This isn't family friendly language so I won't repeat it verbatim, but when I asked my husband Todd about resigning his reaction was, 'expletive, yeah!' Palin said. "He celebrated by buying a new snowmobile. We couldn't have afforded it on my governor's salary but you betcha we'll be able to pay for it once I get on the talk circuit."

Ruth Madoff Ponders Hair Dye Endorsement

NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- Ruth Madoff, wife of disgraced financeer Bernard Madoff, is in talks with Clairol about an endorsement for a new line of hair dye.

"She has the most famous streaks of gray right now," said a person involved in the discussion.

Madoff was banned from the exclusive Pierre Michel Salon recently. She used to get blonde highlights every six weeks but the owner banned her out of respect for the other customers, many of whom lost millions in her husband's Ponzi scheme.

Her resulting streaks of gray have been covered extensively by the New York Times, New York Post and other publications. One reporter at the Post has been assigned full time to follow her around and to pay particular attention to her graying roots.

Even if Pierre Michel were to change its mind, Madoff could no longer afford the pricey highlights. The deal that she struck with prosecutors leaves her with just $2.5 million and does not preclude future criminal or civil charges.

The endorsement deal is "by no means final" cautioned the source, and is conditioned upon Madoff improving her public image at least slightly. The one-year deal would be worth approximately $250,000.

The source said that Madoff would be required to use the product though they would send a professional to her apartment to assist.

"Think about the message it would send millions of women who can't afford $200 highlights every six weeks," said the source. "For just $8.99 you too can look like as good as a fraudulent billionaire's wife after just an hour in the privacy of your own bathroom."

Friday, July 3, 2009

New Molecular Gastronomy Menu: Air

Famed Chicago chef Homaro Cantu will be offering a special Fourth of July tasting menu consisting of various types of air at Moto, his restaurant in the lively meatpacking district.

"To celebrate our Nation's independence we will be offering a menu free of calories, fat and cholesterol," he said in a press release. "It's healthy and environmentally conscious."

Cantu previously gained recognition for his inkjet dishes that included a picture of a buffalo printed in soy-based ink onto edible paper that tasted like buffalo wings.

Within an hour after Cantu's announcement, all the reservations on OpenTable were filled.

Joanne Ackerby, a food connoisseur from New York City, plan to fly to Chicago for the meal with her husband, Glenn Vander Beak. The couple make annual trips to El Bulli, the Spanish restaurant of Ferran Adria, widely regarded as the father of molecular gastronomy. To celebrate their 30th anniversary they took a private sous vide cooking class with Thomas Keller at his Napa Valley-based French Laundry restaurant. The Ackerbys have a standing Sunday brunch at wd-50, Wylie Dufresne's restaurant that serves dishes such as bagel flavored ice cream and fried mayonnaise.

"I can't wait to try these latest creations," Ackerby said. "Homaro is a genius."

Diners will begin with an amuse bouche of air from Jamestown, Va., the site of the first permanent English settlement in the United States. The olfactory feast will also include Fume of Freedom (singed firecrackers and musket powder) and Essence of Democracy (aged parchment and quills).

When asked about the probability that they would leave the meal still hungry, Ackerby said she was not concerned and that she expected the experience would leave her sated. Her only concern was her husband's cold and resulting clogged sinuses, but "we bought a Neti Pot and that should clear him right up."

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Sanford Gives Another Cringeworthy AP Interview

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford granted another squirm-inducing exclusive interview to the Associated Press on Wednesday in which he referred to his Argentine mistress as "mi amor" and related that their favorite song was Shakira's "Hips Don't Lie."

"I never really knew that she could dance like this, She makes a man want to speak Spanish, Como se llama, bonita, mi casa, su casa," Sanford sang, gyrating his hips, as the AP reporter averted her eyes in embarrassment and the photographer reluctantly clicked away.

Sanford showed the reporter and photographer an iPod loaded with songs he personally selected, including Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" and Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On," that he plans to send to his mistress, even as he insisted that he plans on working to repair his marriage with his wife of 20 years, Jenny Sanford.

"My heart aches knowing that my soul mate is thousands of miles away. But I'm hopeful that I can work on winning back Jenny's like, if not love," he said.

Sanford's latest interview comes as the chorus of calls for his resignation by prominent South Carolina politicians from his own party threatens to grow louder than calls by Democrats.

Republican Rep. J. Gresham Barrett plans to run for governor next year and would be disadvantaged if the current Lieutenant Governor, André Bauer, took over as governor and was able to run as an incumbent next year. Nonetheless, Barrett called on Sanford to resign for the sake of the party.

"I don't want my three children exposed to such moral depravity," Barrett said. "I don't want them reading seamy Harlequin romance novels that just happen to be playing out in serial form in The State," he said, referring to South Carolina's biggest newspaper.

Sanford's former allies have been putting increased distance between themselves and the governor as they seek to limit the damage to their own future employment and political prospects.

But not everyone has abandoned the governor, even if it sometimes comes at great physical cost. During the interview, Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer excused himself for a few minutes, claiming he had to take an important phone call although there was no audible ringing or visible vibrating of his Blackberry. Loud banging noises were heard shortly after his departure and when he returned his forehead was bruised and puffy. During Sanford's dance display Sawyer had made wild gesticulations off-camera that the AP reporter interpreted as trying to get Sanford to stop and sit down.

The flustered AP reporter, who spoke about the interview on the condition of anonymity, said that she had requested a reassignment. "I don't really consider myself a prude but this is too much," she said. "I'd rather cover the philandering politicians in DC where at least they have the decency to leave something to the imagination."

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Jodi Picoult Writes Cheerful Book, Falls into Deep Depression

Jodi Picoult, author of youth-in-peril bestsellers like "My Sister's Keeper" and "Nineteen Minutes" recently completed a draft of a book, "Lucy's Luck," in which nobody died, got sick, molested, abducted or otherwise harmed.

The main character, Lucy, comes in for some mild teasing from the school bullies because she is on the math team, but her high self-esteem leaves her psychologically unharmed. Her greatest physical challenges come from a stubbed toe and a paper cut.

But Picoult's worried family reports that she has taken voluntary bed rest since she submitted the finished draft to her editor three days ago and has subsisted on unsweetened lemon juice and raw onions.

"'It's all I deserve,'" Picoult murmurs faintly, according to her anxious husband, Tim Van Leer, when he tries to convince her that she should eat something more substantive and, well, less smelly.

Van Leer says that he'd read Picoult's latest manuscript and while he was surprised that it did not include anything more tragic than the protagonist getting a $75 parking ticket (which her loving parents do not even scold her about) it still included her trademark taut suspense and believable adolescent dialogue.

"I think that her fans will love this book just as much as all her others," he said. "In fact, some of her readers have begged her to write about something that's not depressing for a change," Van Leer says, showing some tear-stained, handwritten letters on personalized floral stationery as proof.

Picoult typically leads an active lifestyle, helping to care for their 10 chickens, eight ducks, three children and two miniature donkeys. Her distraught family has been encouraging her to begin writing a new book in the hopes of improving her spirits.

"We've been suggesting all sorts of plot twists," says eldest son Kyle. "Like, a wheat farmer can discover that his gravely ill son is a severe celiac and the dad's guilt tripping over not wasting food contributed to his permanently compromised immune system. I think that might cheer her up."

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Jackson Mania Continues; World Dictators Breathe Sighs of Relief

TEHRAN, IRAN -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad relaxed happily into an upholstered silk settee at the presidential palace Tuesday as he flicked between CNN and E! coverage of Michael Jackson's death.

"Those Western fools!" he chortled to Mohammad Reza Rahimi Qorveh, Vice President for Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, who nodded sycophantically. "I knew if we could just ride it out something would come along to distract them from my rightfully seized election win. I thought that it would be U.S. troops withdrawing from Iraq or Obama's latest date night with a foie gras stuffed burger -- never did I imagine that I'd get such a gift as the death of Michael Jackson."

The much-publicized delay in Twitter's scheduled maintenance has been long forgotten amidst an avalanche of stories about how Jackson's death caused Twitter to crash. Even almighty Google had 35 minutes of sluggishness as millions tried searching for "Michael Jackson," Micheal Jackson," "Michel Jacksin" and other such variations.

After a proliferation of Facebook groups supporting Mir Hossein Mousavi, the reformist candidate who was allegedly defeated by Ahmadinejad in the June 12 presidential election, fickle Facebook users have turned their attention to creating and joining Michael Jackson pages. Over 2.3 million had joined the R.I.P Michael Jackson (We Miss You) page, and over 3 million free Sequined Gloves have been sent as virtual gifts.

After weeks of insomnia, Ahmadinejad said he was finally able to sleep now that images of women marching in green and black hijab have given way to tearful fans wearing fedoras and a single glittery white glove and making awkward attempts at moonwalking.

"Neda?" said Macauley Swift," an agent at Creative Artists Agency who specializes in image crisis management. Swift usually alternates between wearing a yellow Livestrong wristband, a green one to "Save Darfur" and a red one for AIDS awareness and prides himself on his social consciousness. Since Friday night, he has been sporting a sequined cufflet emblazoned with "King of Pop."

"I think that NEDA stands for National Eating Disorders Association. Every year someone goes overboard in trying to lose weight and our HR department makes us give them NEDA paraphernalia," Swift said.

New York Times Editor Bill Keller, meanwhile, dismissed allegations that he had ceased his output of Q-head stories on the Iranian election based on his on-the-ground reporting to return to the United States and helm the Jackson coverage.

"That's nonsense," he said in a phone call Tuesday afternoon. "Just because our Michael Jackson Times Topics page is eight times more popular than our one on Iran doesn’t mean that we’re not devoting adequate coverage to the latter. Roger Cohen is still opining for us from Iran.”

The interview with Keller was interrupted by an unidentified voice asking whether they should have Frank Bruni write a breakout on Michael Jackson’s favorite restaurants or combine it with Mark Bittman’s article on his favorite recipes (chicken quesadillas, cheese potatoes).

Ahmadinejad wasn't the only tyrant jubilant over the massive news coverage of Jackson's demise. North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il planned to send a ship loaded with nuclear arms materials to Myanmar on Friday, the day that a public memorial at the Staples Center and Neverland is reportedly planned. "Even if the ship is intercepted, it probably won't even make the evening news," Kim said gleefully to his military adviser.