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Anna Wintour Gets Run Through The “Sketchy” Rumour Mill by Talented Illustrator Lisa Hanawalt via [TheHairPin]

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Rumors I’ve Heard About Anna Wintour

By Lisa Hanawalt | The Hair Pin

Lisa Hanawalt lives in Brooklyn and does illustrations + funnies for publications like the New York Times, McSweeney’s, Vice, and Chronicle Books. She’s best known for her comic book series I Want You.

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Book Review: ROGUES’ GALLERY The Secret History of the Moguls and the Money That Made the Metropolitan Museum By Michael Gross via [nyt]

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Exhibitionists

By AMY FINNERTY

Michael Gross, a journalist and best-selling author, organ­izes “Rogues’ Gallery,” his tirelessly detailed and gossipy history of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, not around its more than two million artworks — many gouged from tombs, many magnanimously donated; many venerated by humanity, many coveted by jealous curators — but around the handful of men (and rare women) who have run what may be America’s pre-eminent cultural institution. The Met’s gatekeepers are the “rogues” of the book’s title.

The museum’s directors (there have been nine since its inception), its curators and board members, and the moneybags who have donated important collections together form a blockbuster exhibition of human achievements and flaws. Gross maintains that the place has bred in its stewards “arrogance, hauteur, hubris, vanity and even madness.”

The urban planner Robert Moses — “a 20th-century czar of the city,” as Gross puts it — was aware of the problem. In the late 1930s, he pushed the elitist mu­seum to be more democratic, entertaining and responsive to the community. But proximity to treasure, the author suggests, is a potent narcotic, and the Met has always attracted — and magnified — big egos (many having lived within a few blocks of one another on the Upper East Side).

Luigi Palma di Cesnola became the Met’s first director in 1879. This former soldier of fortune had a provenance as dubious as some of the collections he presided over. In 1865,trading on a wispy connection to the recently assassinated Abraham Lincoln, he managed to be named United States consul to Cyprus, and there, smelling opportunity, started digging up tombs. Within a few years he had 12,000 objects, many of which he later installed at the Met.

Cesnola revealed his contempt for the public during a debate about opening the young museum on Sundays to accommodate the city’s working folk. Calling them “loafers” and “scum,” he declared the idea unthinkable, envisioning visitors who would “peel bananas, eat lunches, even spit” in the museum.

Gross, whose previous books include “Model” and “740 Park,” has a quiverful of damning items about his subjects. The Met president J. P. Morgan became paranoid and delusional toward the end of his life; William Ivins, acting director of the museum in 1938, had an “absolutely ungovernable” temper, according to his assistant, and was nicknamed Ivins the Terrible; Arthur Houghton, the president from 1964 to 1969, was “a serial marrier whose new wife was always younger than his last.”

In a typical revelation, Thomas Hoving, the museum’s charismatic director from 1967 to 1977, recalls a conversation he had with Robert Lehman, who would become the Met’s first chairman. Hoving says that when he suggested a Jewish financier for the board, Lehman, who was himself Jewish, objected to the nominee and went on to explain to Hoving the difference between “the Episcopalian Jews” and what he coarsely deemed the less desirable sort. (The author reports that Lehman’s son questions Hoving’s reliability on this matter.)

Hoving — who, unlike those who have recently run the museum, cooperated with Gross — is central to many of the book’s most pungent passages. In one, he calls Nelson Rockefeller “a cheap grifter.” In another, he recounts his delicate dealings with what was known as Culture Gulch, the culture desk of The New York Times. (Arthur Ochs Sulzber­ger, chairman emeritus of The New York Times Company, served as chairman of the museum from 1987 to 1998.)

The philanthropists and former Met trustees Charlie and Jayne Wrightsman make for a rich source of material, including pages of Vanity Fair-worthy name-dropping and social climbing. In a passage that may be as snobbish as the museum is reputed to be, Gross says that Charlie Wrightsman hired tutors to teach his wife not only table manners and French but also “proper English.”

Certainly, the Met has been used to launder reputations and fortunes, and in turn has used its supporters. But in this telling, sadly, its magnificent art is buried in lurid details.

Book Review: “French Women Don’t Sleep Alone” by Jamie Cat Callan via [zabeth’scorner]

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originally posted by Zabeth

In her book French Women Don’t Sleep Alone Jamie Cat Callan outlines the romantic secrets of French women that have intrigued and captivated men (and some women) for decades. Callan unlocks the secrets that have made French women so alluring.I did find the advice offered in this book to be good; however, it’s the same advice you’d find in The Rules. Both books concur that women should not chase men, that they should play hard to get and, not make themselves too easily available. That’s nothing new or revolutionary. Also when reading this book there are some obvious caveats that you should take into consideration. First, French men are not American men and French culture is not American culture so, not everything will “translate”
so to speak. Second, the French live in a much smaller much more intimate country; therefore, their “rules of the game” will be different from our own.

I also don’t like the notion of European cultural superiority and the idea that Europe does things better than America, or that Americans need to learn something from Europeans. As a proud “can do” American I do get a bit defensive about that. Nonetheless there are many things in this book that American women can learn from French women:

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  1. Instead of going online or to a club/bar try throwing a dinner party.

    French women don’t meet men online or in bars. Instead they meet men through their existing social circle or “coterie.” Try throwing a dinner party at your home and have each guest bring one or two guests. This broadens your social circle and will give you a chance to get intimately acquainted with the people in your inner circle. Your friends and acquaintances will get to see you in a different light too- dinner parties give you a chance to show off your intellect and your cooking and conversation skills. There’s also an air of competition. When you’re online men already know you are available; when you meet at a dinner party they won’t and thus can’t take you for granted. They’ll also take note of other potential suitors.

  2. Go for a walk.

    Instead of going to a restaurant on a first date and confining yourself to that one person for 2 hours, go on a walk or a bicycle ride. This eliminates the quid-pro-quo where because the man is paying for something he feels entitled and you (may) feel obligated. Also when you’re out and about walking through town looking and smelling good other men will notice you…and don’t think your date won’t notice that. For the times when you don’t have a date, fill in the time by doing something else out and about in the world where you can be visible to the opposite sex.

  3. Dare to be feminine.

    There’s nothing wrong with being a woman and embracing your femininity. American women have had this beaten out of them for the past 40 years. French women on the other hand love being women and they don’t turn their sensuality on and off- it’s just always on. Second, French women don’t hide their intelligence. In fact they like to look brainy and appear intellectual. Intelligence isn’t a masculine trait and, real men know that smart is sexy.

  4. Take care of your body.

    French women put themselves first. Putting yourself first means taking care of your body both physically and emotionally. This is something we as BW especially, often neglect to do. Always know you’re beautiful and be happy with who you are. Exercise. Eat quality, nutritious food. Take good care of your skin. In other words, don’t neglect yourself.

  5. The myth of the French Mistress.

    Contrary to popular belief, adultery is not as tolerated in France as some people (men) would like to believe. Nor are French women as tolerant of a husband’s indiscretions as we are sometimes led to believe. Let’s also not ignore the fact that women are just as capable of being unfaithful. Affairs do happen in France but it’s really not much different than in the U.S.

Overall I’d give this book 2 and ½ stars out of 5. Callan often repeats herself- really just re-wording points she’s already made- throughout the book. However, I found it to be a cute and fast paced read that offered interesting advice and insight into another culture.



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Meet Dan Phillips CEO of Phoenix Commotions… He Builds Dreams Through His Green Economy Homestead Project in Texas via [N.Y.T.]

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One Man’s Trash …

Michael Stravato for The New York Times

CYCLES Dan Phillips builds houses out of salvaged items, like frame samples, which he used on a ceiling.

By KATE MURPHY

HUNTSVILLE, Tex.

AMONG the traditional brick and clapboard structures that line the streets of this sleepy East Texas town, 70 miles north of Houston, a few houses stand out: their roofs are made of license plates, and their windows of crystal platters.

They are the creations of Dan Phillips, 64, who has had an astonishingly varied life, working as an intelligence officer in the Army, a college dance instructor, an antiques dealer and a syndicated cryptogram puzzle maker. About 12 years ago, Mr. Phillips began his latest career: building low-income housing out of trash.

9
Michael Stravato for The New York Times

Dan Phillips with a “tree house” he built and rents to low-income artists in Huntsville, Texas.

In 1997 Mr. Phillips mortgaged his house to start his construction company, Phoenix Commotion. “Look at kids playing with blocks,” he said. “I think it’s in everyone’s DNA to want to be a builder.” Moreover, he said, he was disturbed by the irony of landfills choked with building materials and yet a lack of affordable housing.

To him, almost anything discarded and durable is potential building material. Standing in one of his houses and pointing to a colorful, zigzag-patterned ceiling he made out of thousands of picture frame corners, Mr. Phillips said, “A frame shop was getting rid of old samples, and I was there waiting.”

So far, he has built 14 homes in Huntsville, which is his hometown, on lots either purchased or received as a donation. A self-taught carpenter, electrician and plumber, Mr. Phillips said 80 percent of the materials are salvaged from other construction projects, hauled out of trash heaps or just picked up from the side of the road. “You can’t defy the laws of physics or building codes,” he said, “but beyond that, the possibilities are endless.”

While the homes are intended for low-income individuals, some of the original buyers could not hold on to them. To Mr. Phillips’s disappointment, half of the homes he has built have been lost to foreclosure — the payments ranged from $99 to $300 a month.

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Some of those people simply disappeared, leaving the properties distressingly dirty and in disrepair. “You can put someone in a new home but you can’t give them a new mindset,” Mr. Phillips said.

Although the homes have resold quickly to more-affluent buyers, Mr. Phillips remains fervently committed to his vision of building for low-income people. “I think mobile homes are a blight on the planet,” he said. “Attractive, affordable housing is possible and I’m out to prove it.”

Freed by necessity from what he calls the “tyranny of the two-by-four and four-by-eight,” common sizes for studs and sheets of plywood, respectively, Mr. Phillips makes use of end cuts discarded by other builders — he nails them together into sturdy and visually interesting grids. He also makes use of mismatched bricks, shards of ceramic tiles, shattered mirrors, bottle butts, wine corks, old DVDs and even bones from nearby cattle yards.

“It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a complete set of anything because repetition creates pattern, repetition creates pattern, repetition creates pattern,” said Mr. Phillips, who is slight and sinewy with a long gray ponytail and bushy mustache. He grips the armrests of his chair when he talks as if his latent energy might otherwise catapult him out of his seat.

Phoenix Commotion homes meet local building codes and Mr. Phillips frequently consults with professional engineers, electricians and plumbers to make sure his designs, layouts and workmanship are sound. Marsha Phillips, his wife of 40 years and a former high school art teacher, vets his plans for aesthetics.

“He doesn’t have to redo things often,” said Robert McCaffety, a local master electrician who occasionally inspects Mr. Phillips’s wiring. “He does everything in a very neat and well thought-out manner.” Describing Huntsville as a “fairly conservative town,” Mr. McCaffety said, “There are people who think his houses are pretty whacked out but, by and large, people support what he does and think it’s beneficial to the community.”

Michael Stravato for The New York Times

Other materials used in Mr. Phillips’s houses include bull vertebra for decoration.


Indeed, city officials worked closely with Mr. Phillips in 2004 to set up a recycled building materials warehouse where builders, demolition crews and building product manufacturers can drop off items rather than throwing them in a landfill. There’s no dumping fee and donations are tax deductible because the materials are used exclusively by charitable groups or for low-income housing.

Michael Stravato for The New York Times

WHIMSY For the windows on the house, Mr. Phillips used crystal platters and lids of Pyrex bowls, creating a series of playful porthole-like accents.

“I’ve been recycling all my life, and it never occurred to me to recycle a door,” said Esther Herklotz, Huntsville’s superintendent of solid waste. “Dan has changed the way we do things around here.”

Officials in Houston also consulted with Mr. Phillips before opening a similar warehouse this summer, and other cities, including Bryan, Tex.; Denham Springs, La.; and Indianapolis have contacted him to inquire how to do the same.

Phoenix Commotion employs five minimum-wage construction workers but Mr. Phillips also requires the labor of the home’s eventual resident — he tends to favor a poor, single mother because his own father walked out on him and his mother when he was 17, which left them in a tough financial situation. “My only requirement is that they have good credit or no credit but not bad credit,” he said.

One of his houses belongs to Gloria Rivera, a cashier at a doughnut shop, who built the home with Mr. Phillips and her teenage son in 2004. Before then, she lived in a rented mobile home. Constructed almost entirely out of salvaged and donated materials, the 600-square-foot wooden house is painted royal blue with various squares of red, maroon and fuchsia tile glued to the mismatched gingerbread trim.

Inside, there is imported Tuscan marble on the floor, though the tiles are not of uniform size, and bright yellow stucco walls that Ms. Rivera said she textured using her thumb. “It’s not perfect but it’s mine,” Ms. Rivera said, touching the stucco, which looks like very thick and very messy butter cream frosting. “I call it my doll house.”

Phoenix Commotion homes lost to foreclosure have resold to middle-class buyers who appreciate not only their individuality but also their energy efficiency, which is also part of Mr. Phillips’s construction philosophy.

Susan Lowery and Alfredo Cerda, who both work for the United States Department of Homeland Security, bought a Phoenix Commotion house after the intended low-income owner couldn’t manage the mortgage. It has mosaics on the walls and counters made of shards of broken tile and cushy flooring made out of wine corks. “My wife likes the house because it doesn’t look like everyone else’s, but, being a guy, what I like is that it has a galvanized metal roof that I’ll never have to replace,” Mr. Cerda said.

Mr. Phillips said it bothered him when his low-income housing became “gentrified.” But if it leads to an acceptance of recycled building materials and a shift away from cookie-cutter standardized construction, he said, “I’m O.K. with it.”

Although it has a social agenda, Phoenix Commotion is not a nonprofit. “I want to show that you can make money doing this,” Mr. Phillips said.

He said he earned enough to live on but he was not getting rich. While he declined to be more specific, he allowed that the business has become more profitable as he has gained construction experience. It now takes six months to build a home rather than the 18 months it took when he started.

But Mr. Phillips said his biggest reward was giving less-fortunate people the opportunity to own a home and watching them develop a sense of satisfaction and self-determination in the course of building it.

An example is Kristie Stevens, a single mother of two school-age sons who earned a college degree last spring while working part time as a restaurant and catering manager. She has spent the months since graduation hammering away on what will be her home.

“If something goes wrong with this house, I won’t have to call someone to fix it because I know where all the wires and pipes are — I can do it myself,” she said. “And if the walls are wonky, it will be my fault but also my pride.”




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World’s RICHEST man, Slim is a born wheeler-dealer via [Reuters]


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World’s richest man, Carlos Slim, a born wheeler-dealer

by Noel Randewich

MEXICO CITY
(Reuters) – Mexico‘s Carlos Slim, named the world’s richest man on
Wednesday, first showed a talent for business as a 10-year-old kid when
he filled his pockets with pesos selling drinks and snacks to his
family. 

Lifestyle |  Mexico
As a youngster he also kept accounting ledgers of what he earned and
spent and bought a government savings bond from which he learned
valuable lessons about compound interest.
More than half a century later Slim, 70, has amassed a fortune of
$53.5 billion, beating Microsoft founder Bill Gates to top the list of
the world’s richest people, according to a new ranking published by
Forbes magazine (www.forbes.com).
His far-flung business empire includes some of Mexico’s best-known
department stores, its biggest telecoms operator, hotels, restaurants,
oil drilling, building firms and Inbursa bank (GFINBURO.MX)
— making it hard to go a day in Mexico without paying him some money.
Outside Mexico Slim has holdings in such prestigious groups as
retailer Saks (SKS.N)
and New York Times Co (NYT.N).
His defining foray occurred in 1990 when he and his partners bought
creaking state telephone company Telmex (TELMEXL.MX)
for $1.7 billion. Turning it into a cash-making jewel, he spun off
America Movil (AMXL.MX)
and expanded it through acquisitions to become the world’s No. 4
wireless operator.
While critics accuse him of using a monopoly to build his fortune,
Slim has a simple philosophy about making money.
“Wealth is like an orchard,” he told Reuters in 2007. “With the
orchard, what you have to do is make it grow, reinvest to make it
bigger, or diversify into other areas.”
Cigar-smoking Slim’s trademark is his “Midas” touch, acquiring
struggling firms and turning them into cash cows.
In 2008, he bought a minority stake in the New York Times as the
stock tanked. Now, warrants he received for lending the publisher $250
million could net him more than $80 million and could lead to a 16
percent stake in the company for Slim, who says he has no interest in
becoming a U.S. media baron.
But Slim’s newspaper investment has ruffled feathers in the New York
media establishment. As investors speculated last week that he could
move to acquire more of the Times, media mogul Rupert Murdoch said he
doubted the controlling family would relinquish control to an outsider,
especially from abroad.
FRUGAL LIFESTYLE
Slim learned his first business lessons from his father, Julian Slim
Haddad, a Lebanese immigrant who came to Mexico in the early 1900s,
opened the “Star of the Orient” general store and bought properties
cheap during the Mexican Revolution.
In 1987, when stocks nosedived during one of Mexico’s many crises,
Slim saw opportunities where others feared disaster, picking up
low-priced shares and selling when they recovered.
“We know that crises are always temporary and there is no evil that
lasts 100 years, there is always an overshoot,” Slim once said. “When
there is a crisis that provokes an adjustment, an overreaction comes
along and things get undervalued.”
Slim’s enormous wealth stands starkly against his frugal lifestyle.
He has lived in the same house for about 40 years and drives an aging
Mercedes Benz, although it is armored and trailed by bodyguards. He
eschews private jets, yachts and other luxuries popular among Mexico’s
elite.
After studying engineering, Slim founded a real estate company and
worked as a trader on the Mexican stock exchange.
His wealth growing, he opened a brokerage in the mid-1960s and a
decade later he began his trademark trait of buying failing businesses,
including a cigarette company. He acquired department store and cafe
Sanborns, a mine operator and manufacturers of cables and tires.
By 1990 Slim had built the fortune he used with partners to buy
Telmex and launch his telecoms empire. America Movil now has 201
million customers from Brazil to the United States.
Slim has handed over the day-to-day operation of his companies to
his three sons and loyal business partners but remains clearly in
charge when appearing with them at media events.
He has become involved in combating poverty, illiteracy and poor
healthcare in Latin America and promotes sports projects for the poor,
but has never voiced plans to give chunks of his wealth to charity like
Gates or fellow billionaire Warren Buffett.
Businessmen, he says, do more good by creating jobs and wealth
through investment, “not by being Santa Claus.”
(Editing by Catherine
Bremer
and Eric
Walsh
)



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