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JERRY LEWIS WOULD BE PROUDThe French usually like to congratulate Americans who flail at the establishment back home, so here …


The French usually like to congratulate Americans who flail at the establishment back home, so here is real news: Culture Minister Jack Lang, who back during the Cold War used to talk about American imperialism, will be pinning the medal of Arts and Letters on none other than Rambo himself, American actor Sylvester Stallone.

At the ministry, nobody seems to be batting an eyelash, and a spokeswoman said that the honor was to show France‘s “attachment to the United States” and its respect for “all the arts” that it produces. She added that it was important to “recognize the public’s taste.”

Stallone has been carefully doing his part by showing that he’s not Rambo, but a sensitive individual with aesthetic taste. He wears those big intellectual glasses, and he recently sat front row at the ready-to-wear fashion collections, admiring the cutting and draping skills of those ultimate sissies, fashion designers.

-International Herald Tribune


One by-product of the collapse of Australia‘s famous entrepreneurs is that Australian banks are now world experts at disposing of seized collateral. However, Westpac Banking Corporation is maintaining a discreet silence about its latest asset-Kalgoolie’s Pink House brothel in the heart of Western Australia‘s goldfields.

Westpac took possession of the property after Madame Cherie failed to keep up mortgage payments on the 14-bedroom house, which also boasts a spa, swimming pool, and various “entertainment areas.” The brothel operates legally under the Western Australian government’s vice-containment policy.

But there is no prospect of a Westpac-sponsored executive relief center. According to the fine print, corporations are barred from running brothels; these can only be operated by women acting without financial backing from men. In these tough times, that’s another corporate opportunity lost.

-Financial Times


When I was a child, the greatest thing about baseball cards was that grown-ups had nothing to do with them, and wouldn’t have known whether two Duke Sniders were worth one Sandy Koufax. Now monthly prices for every card are published in thick guidebooks that resemble the Value Line Investment Survey, with highs and lows and little arrows that indicate upticks and downticks. The maturing of the card trade has resulted in the printing of seven billion new cards each year, while hundreds of thousands of speculators, most of them old enough to have ulcers, bet on which basically worthless pieces of cardboard are going to get “hot.” That’s what happens when sophisticated adult capitalism is injected into an innocent and primitive barter market. My advice to children: Take your father’s cards and stick them into the spokes of your bicycles, where he would have put them when he was your age. They may not appreciate, but you will have fun.

-John Rothchild, Worth


Seeing the current TV commercial in which Cher extols the virtues of a low-calorie sugar substitute reminded me of the time, a while back, I found myself seated directly in front of that svelte lady and her male companion at a performance of The Phantom of the Opera. She munched her way through a whole box (large size) of Milk Duds during the first half of the show. At intermission, she tossed the empty box on the floor and left.

The box, by the way, was retrieved by an adoring teenager who put it lovingly in his pocket.

-Karolyn K. Wrighton, New York Times


According to the newspapers, there is an LSD revival among people born in the late 60s and early 70s. We may not be eager to frazzle our brains in that fashion again, but we’re darn glad that the kids are. Why should they get off easy? John Mulheren’s particular form of brain frazzling is more contemporary-completely natural.

Mulheren, the Ivan Boesky associate whose conviction was overturned, is working as a stock trader again, and he recently told The Wall Street Journal that a key to his success is his manic depression. Even though his illness once made him set out to murder Boesky, Mulheren says, “I’d never give it up.” His mania lets him operate “at 150 percent of capacity.”


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