• Ellen beat Oprah as the nation's favorite TV personality, dethroning the Queen of Talk who held the top spot for five years. [HR]
• Will Schwalbe quit Hyperion after seven years as editor-in-chief. His decision seems to have come as something of a shock, and the publisher has no immediate successor planned. Schwalbe, co-author of Send, the recent guide to e-mail etiquette, won't divulge his own plans. [NYO]
• Christopher Hitchens quits smoking! Really, we're excited and interested! [Radar]
Recently, we were watching John Waters's 1998 movie Pecker, which starred all kinds of great people like Martha Plimpton and Lily Taylor and Edward Furlong, before he got weird and started getting arrested and dating his manager. Anyway, as in all John Waters movies, there were about five really brilliantly funny parts in it, one of which was a game the characters played called "Shopping for Others," in which they'd go to the supermarket and sneak things into the shopping carts of fellow shoppers when they weren't looking. (Like a long phallic gourd in the cart of a mousy single woman or a stack of Depends for a smarmy dude in tight jeans, etc.) Anyway, we got to thinking: How about if, this year, we make New Year's resolutions for others? We've never made New Year's resolutions ourselves — it's weird, every year New Year's Eve rolls around, and we realize we're still kind of perfect! — but we've always felt we were missing out on that great American tradition. Not to mention, frankly, there are people that could use our assistance. So. To celebrate the great New Yorkers who make this blog possible and to help them continue their gloriousness into 2008, we've generously ginned up some resolutions for their benefit.
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Are you hating this Christmas season? Feeling Scrooge-like, or just fat? Well, then, you might enjoy this uncomfortable-making video in which Christopher Hitchens, smooth-balled author and proud heretic, entertains the crowd at Reason magazine's "Secular Christmas" party Monday night. The Hitch arrives with a Santa hat perched on the large decorative gourd that is his head, but he's drunk and he clearly hasn't brought any presents. So, he entertains them the best way he knows how — with song. Click the image to view.
Today's "Rush & Molloy" reminds us, as if we could forget, that some poor lady had to wax Christopher Hitchens's balls this year. This, we have noticed, is the mostwell-publicizedhair removal since Britney took hold of a razor in a prison-grade beauty salon. Nay, since John Smith nearly got scalped by Powhatan in Roanoke, Virginia, in 1607. So needless to say, we wanted to get it over with already and read what Hitchens had to say about the experience, but Rushmo left us hanging. Vanity Fair posted a photo slideshow of the affair on their Website (don't worry, it's blessedly G-rated), and even they left out his description. But today we finally got our six-pound copy of Vanity Fair, and read it for ourselves. So here, for your enjoyment, horror, and titillation, is what Christopher Hitchens had to say about the dreaded "Crack, Back and Sack" Maneuver:
I had no idea it would be so excruciating. The combined effect was like being tortured for information that you do not possess, with intervals for a (incidentally very costly) sandpaper handjob. The thing is that, in order to rip, you have to grip. A point of leverage is required; a place that can be firmly gripped and pulled while the skin is tautened
John Updike says he moved from New York to New England to get away from the "ego-eroding literary hustle" of the city. Glamour editor Cindi Leive had a rare blowup over racially insensitive comments fashion editor Ashley Baker made while speaking to a group of African-American lawyers. Sarah Silverman confessed to Howard Stern that she got extremely upset after being mistaken for Melissa Rivers. Jimmy Fallon and Rangers teammates Sean Avery and Brendan Shanahan ate at the Waverly Inn after their season opener. Martina Navratilova and Jeffrey Lyons may or may not have left Kenjo together on West 57th Street.
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Sony BMG chief Clive Davis doesn't like Kelly Clarkson's music, even though it makes his label a lot of money. Barbara Corcoran dropped trou for a bunch of people who commented that she'd lost weight. Ellen Barkin returned some diamonds she was loaned to wear to a Darfur benefit at Cannes at 3 a.m. Usher has taken to calling in radio stations to complain about hosts who make fun of his fiancée. President Bush promised a bunch of Vietnam vets that he'd read a book that alleges that Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, among others, were responsible for keeping soldiers in Southeast Asia even after the U.S. withdrew from the region. In her new book, former venture capitalist Christine Comaford-Lynch compares Barbara Walters to a small action figure.
Bobby Kennedy Jr. says he and his uncle Ted aren't as opposed to the proposed Cape Cod wind farm as a book says they are. Liza Minnelli and Isle Werther are fighting over a dress. Barneys creative director Simon Doonan is happy to be a "card-carrying fag." Boxing will go upscale when three Ford models replace the traditional ring girls at the upcoming welterweight championship at MSG. Former Justin Timberlake flame Cameron Diaz and current Justin Timberlake flame Jessica Biel will both be at the MTV Movie Awards, which may be awkward. Adam Carolla noted that Rosie O'Donnell is a fat female lesbian, and thus has "triple coverage as a minority." President Bush's chief domestic policy adviser, Karl Zinzmeister, reportedly said he'd never hire another woman because they "just get pregnant and leave." Dean McDermott broke up with girlfriend Mary Jo Eustace via "Page Six."
• Mayor Bloomberg says he may run for governor in 2010. The reasoning: He is allegedly angry at Spitzer for trying to "run the city," so he may as well wrest the state from him. Does this mean people will finally stop bugging Mike to run for president in '08? [NYP]
• We told you the Giuliani campaign is going to be filled with moments like this, and, boy, does the man deliver: Just as Rudy got comfortable saying he "hates abortion" on the trail, out pop his donations to Planned Parenthood — six of them, all made while he was mayor. [amNY]
• The Daily News drops an interesting statistic: There are 250,820 fugitives currently on the lam in the state of New York. Of course, almost a quarter of them are "various drug offenders," which calls into question our drug laws rather than their lackadaisical enforcement. [NYDN]
• In a wire item none of our local papers deemed fit to print, the AP reports a faulty pipe that has spewed millions of gallons of sewage into the Hudson is finally fixed. We knew our Hudson River Raw Tea tasted a little off this past weekend. [WHDH]
• And Christopher Hitchens's evening at the Public Library last night, in support of his atheist screed God Is Not Great, was originally billed as a debate with You, the audience (how Web 2.0!). Then how did he end up debating the Reverend Al Sharpton — and, God, why? [Empire Zone/NYT]
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Karl Rove got into a fight with Sheryl Crow and Laurie David at the White House Correspondents Association dinner Saturday night. Also at the dinner: Eliot Spitzer got Sanjaya Malakar's autograph, and host Richard Little bombed. And Antonin Scalia chatted up blogger Ana Marie Cox at Christopher Hitchens's after-party. James Carville owns several guns. Chevy Chase was mentally and physically abused as a child, according to an upcoming biography. Keith McNally is still at his street campaign against the giant Hotel Gansevoort billboard. Cynthia Nixon is still holding out hope for a Sex and the City movie. The widow of Dr. Robert Atkins is trying to remove trustees of his estate because they sued her for back pay.
Keith Richards snorted his father's ashes. Ed Koch still hates Rudy Giuliani, now via e-mail. Paula Zahn and Richard Cohen have filed for divorce. Insiders blame the "Pale Male and Lola incident." Cynthia Nixon rooted through a trash can in Riverside Park last week. Felix Rohatyn had an enthusiastic love life in his office at Lazard Freres, says a new tell-all about the firm. Julia Child didn't care for the gays, according to a new biography. Kate Moss probably won't make FHM's sexiest-women list, but Keira Knightley and Sienna Miller are expected to rank high. Don't forget, Jane Pratt had sex with Drew Barrymore.