An Italian journalist, Riccardo Orizio, spent years interviewing deposed dictators and says that after hanging with them, he feels empathy -- even when they don't feel contrite (as none did). His book "Talk of the Devil: Encounters With Seven Dictators" sounds like a fascinating account of evil and denial. Orizio talked to Poland's Wojciech Jaruzelski and Serbia's Mira Markovic (wife of Slobodan Milosevic) as well as to the craziest of all: Uganda's Idi Amin, who sent a telex to President Richard Nixon during Watergate that said: "I hear you have troubles with this problem called Watergate, but you know what, when a leader has problems with some politicians, they simply should be killed. That's how you should deal with it. I know it's a bit harsh, but believe me, that's how we do things here and they work out quite well." Life is so much simpler when you're psychotic. (Washington Post)
As is its job, Newsweek has just proclaimed that sexless marriage is the latest epidemic to hit America. The article is full of quotes from sex therapists who say there is no one reason, and from marrieds who are too tired or angry to get it on. And there are statements like this one: "Sex is only a small part of a good union, but happy marriages usually include it." Jeez, what would we do without this kind of searing analysis? And, of course, there is no discussion of passion, romance, sensuality or things erotic in the story -- only the number of times a week it occurs (stats that are bogus anyway, since everyone lies on sex surveys). This is America, after all, and sex -- like movie success -- must be quantified to be understood. (Newsweek)
Speaking of sex, it seems the reigning attitude among critics (CNN being an exception) is to say that "Sex and the City" has lost its edge, its wonderfulness and its mojo. Alas, ye cynics, it has not. After two viewings it is clear that the show is still delightful. You laugh, you cry and you still wonder what the hell Carrie is wearing. What more do you need on a Sunday evening? And the world should still be grateful for Samantha, who loves pleasuring men -- and herself -- and isn't too p.c. to say and do so. One question popped up after a chat with other viewers about the first episode: Is keeping your bra on the newest trend in sex?
Speaking of bangs, seems they are all the rage in follicle fashion this season. Gwyneth Paltrow sports them now, as does supermodel Heidi Klum and hottie Liv Tyler. And don't forget Antonio Banderas -- who has perhaps the cutest bangs on Broadway right now. (USA Today)
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It's wedding season.
Adam Sandler married model/actress Jackie Titone in Malibu, Calif., on Sunday. Standing up for him: his bulldog, Meatball, clad in tasteful black tuxedo jacket and white yarmulke. (No pants, though.) The groom, who did wear pants, has posted wedding pix on his official Web site, AdamSandler.com, captioning them "Sandler got married ... WOOPITY DOO!" No shots of the wedding singer, though.
Hunter S. Thompson has wed his longtime assistant, Anita Bejmuk. He's 66. She's 30. Last week, he blew off a panel discussion with Grace Slick, Dennis Hopper and New York Times film critic Elvis Mitchell, among others, at the Las Vegas film festival CineVegas, citing "back problems that developed during activities in the marital honeymoon bed," according to the Las Vegas Sun.
Having less fun on his honeymoon: Howard Kurtz. The Washington Post media reporter admits to working in the midst of his nuptials. "As the person who broke the Jayson Blair story, I was very dedicated to following the saga to its conclusion. So I ended up having to file stories both on the weekend I got married and from London while my wife and I were on our honeymoon," he tells MediaBistro.com, adding, "I've found myself having to reassure people that despite these extracurricular activities my marriage is still going strong after four weeks." To quote Adam Sandler, "Woopity doo."
Not married -- yet? Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake may be pulling a Demi and Ashton. Reports are rampant that they're dating. And while the 22-year-old singer's publicist is declining to comment, the 30-year-old actress's rep, Brad Cafarelli, flatly denies that there's any intergenerational hanky-panky going on. "They are friends, and they are not dating," Cafarelli tells USA Today. Then again, he allows, "People are going to believe what they want to believe."
Diana Ross believes she was strong-armed into taking the breath test that showed she had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.2 percent, considerably above the legal limit of 0.08 percent, and resulted in her DUI arrest in Arizona a few months back. Appearing in court on Monday, Ross said the policeman who stopped her in a Blockbuster parking lot "said if I don't take the breath tests, I was either going to go to the hospital or to jail ... I felt a threatening tone from him. You know, like a command, a demand." ( Arizona Daily Star)
Regrets, Courtney Love has one. She wishes she'd never had plastic surgery to reduce the size of her ample booty. "I shouldn't have done the backside. Nobody should lipo their butt. I've flattened my perfect fat ass." No one said they were modest regrets. (New York Post)
Regrets, Heidi Fleiss doesn't seem to have many. Well, maybe a small one. The former Hollywood madam wishes she'd had Sarah Michelle Gellar in her stable way back when. (Tatler via Liz Smith)
-- Amy Reiter