Subway Diplomacy

January 24th, 2014

If ping pong opened up China (it was actually a communist plot that worked), perhaps Mrs. Obama visiting a Subway on Thursday Michelle Obamawith some fun sports figures could pave the way to some healthier meals for kids. Flotus tucks into a sub sandwich.Michael Phelps, Michelle Obama, Justin Tuck With Michael Phelps and Justin Tuck. Michelle Obama, Nastia Liukin The First Lady puts in her order . . . herself–to Nastia Liukin! Nastia Liukin, Jared Fogle Nastia Liukin high-fives. Michael Phleps VP of Subway meets Michael Phelps.

First Lady Michelle Obama today announced that SUBWAY® restaurants joined the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) in a three-year commitment to promote healthier choices to kids, including launching its largest child-targeted marketing effort. As part of its commitment, the SUBWAY® restaurant chain will launch a series of campaigns aimed at increasing fruit and vegetable consumption in children; set and implement new marketing standards to kids; and strengthen its children’s menu offerings.
“I’m excited about these initiatives not just as a First Lady, but also as a mom,” mentioned Mrs. Obama. “Subway’s kids’ menu makes life easier for parents, because they know that no matter what their kids order, it’s going to be a healthy choice.”
The SUBWAY® restaurant chain is the first and only quick service chain to join PHA, which works with the private sector and Mrs. Obama – PHA’s honorary chair – to broker meaningful commitments to help end childhood obesity.
SUBWAY® restaurant chain will only offer items on its kids menu that meet strong nutritional guidelines, including offering apples as a side and low-fat or non-fat milk or water as an additional possible drink order.
“Ending childhood obesity is a cause that has been near and dear to SUBWAY® since we introduced the Fresh Fit for Kids Meals in 2007,” said Suzanne Greco, vice president of R&D and Operations for the SUBWAY® brand. “With this partnership with PHA, we will now reach millions of kids as part of a healthier eating education campaign.”

Big Affleck Item at PGA Awards

January 20th, 2014

Ahem, big moment at Producers Guild Awards, Chuck Lorre, producer of Big Bang Theory and Two and a half Men, said he was standing next to Ben Affleck a the urinal at Globes and he looked. And he said he was well hung, that they had made the right pick for Batman. And Ben, in his speech, said someone told him, when he came back from having drink at bar, that someone said he had a big dick. He seemed genuinely displeased to have missed the moment. But said, he is often mistaken for Matt Damon, but not so often Michael Fassbender. Good line. Actor producer Brad Pitt looked really cool with the shaved sides of his scalp look. He took guild award tie for best picture with Twelve Years a Slave. He claimed he voted for Gravity at last second, and they tied and also won. Daniel Craig also in the house. The pirate from Captain Phillips said he is a limo driver in his home state (Minn) but that he took a limo to the event, “I love Hollywood!”

Beyonce’s Masked Ball for Mom

January 16th, 2014

Beyoncé and Jay-Z don’t do anything in halves. But if you ever regretted not doing enough for mom, she likely never will. Her mother, Tina Knowles, was just turning 60 they threw a full on Louisiana masked ball in New Orleans. Beyoncé’s gown was by Naeem Khan, a blush v-front caviar-beaded tulle number.52d60ab9d16b91389759161[1]52d60ad8644fe1389759192[1]52d60bfd384c71389759485[1]The event took place in New Orleans. Jennifer Hudson and Kelly Rowland were also in the house. . . Beyonce in AM EYEWEAR 1 (Beyoncé in AM Eyewear with band) Beyonce in AM EYEWEAR 3 And B hearts New Orleans….

Charlize Turns Sean Penn Anti-Gun

January 12th, 2014

Last night, Sean Penn & Friends HELP HAITI HOME Gala & Fundraiser was an exceedingly special night. It benefitte his J/P Haitian Relief Organization and was presented by Giorgio Armani (Sponsored by NRG Energy). Armani kind of doesn’t miss with events. So you kind of knew it was going to be extraordinary ahead of time. And it so was. In fact, they raised $6 Million.
But am I the very last to realize that Sean Penn an Charlize Theron are an item? He was talking about his South African woman who talked him into getting rid of his guns (which he gave away for Koons sculpture tonight at his fundraiser for his Haiti charityalg-sean-penn-haiti-jpg[1]) She obviously had sad history in her family with a gun. And the guns use for sculpture to be made by Koons for Anderson Cooper (he bought it for 1.4 million) will include Penn’s late brother’s guns. He said he’d lost workers for his charity in Haiti to gun violence. But that his South African woman finally talked him into realizing the evil of guns. And then I saw him leaving the fete and leading Charlize by the hand. And I’m like Oh… finally got it. He’s really very intense person, like his character in Walter Mitty. Was an eye opener to see him up close like that. And he got a room full of people to open their hearts and wallets for Haiti in a way I’ve never really seen at any charity. And then, as promised, he offered up private concert U2. Julia Roberts, Emma Thompson who used the F word, Gwyneth and Chris Martin, just a very WOW group. Kevin Bacon an Kyra. And Sean worked the room, really hugging people taking PHOTOS with donors. Super on and charming.1536468_10152146243336052_1567741999_n[1] And Chris Martin bought a Banksy of a heart with band aids on it (significant?). He an Gwyneth seemed really close. He ha his arm around her, an they rocked out to U2. He spent $650k on the piece. Michael Douglas, Wynona Rider, and Usher Also attended. And Usher, too, was being super nice to fans.. The lapels of his tux had colorful space scene on them. Emma Thompson said F-ked onstage. And that apparently blew Anderson cooper’s mind. He mentioned that on the mike. She had a hat on from org, an flowy white shirt. And she went onstage at one point and tried to take mic from Penn, when he was rambling. But then he got coherent an told great story about U2. A friends pregnant wife died on United flight that went down. And Penn mentioned that to Bono in conversation. And that she loved one particular song by U2. Four years later Penn brought that friend to concert. And Bono, without asking or reminding about the name, played the song as encore that night and said, “This one is for Lauren.” He said everyone has stories about Bono like that…So glad Thompson wasn’t successful getting the mic…

My Sensational Father

January 9th, 2014

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“Life is not a dress rehearsal,” was one of my father’s favorite lines. And that is really how he lived, and how he insisted that we live.

He was raised with a kind of Depression era common sense, cutting to the essentials in life. Family and providing security for your family was the be all end all. And we learned many crucial things about living from our amazingly sensible father.

We were luck to have had all the wonderful times with him, all the many, many wonderful years with this extraordinary man.

On Friday last week, when he wound the ships clock on the mantel we had no way of knowing that it would be for the last time. But on that quiet afternoon after our perfectly normal Thanksgiving. And we all really did share how thankful we were for that–he kept saying how nice it was just to sit with us and his grandchildren and to not do anything.

To say that this has been tough for all of us is an understatement. For our family, loosing my Dad is like loosing a force of nature, something on the order of magnitude of importance as gravity. He was a solid guy, funny, charming, sturdy, adamant. His wishes and sensibility seem even stronger now that he is not here to represent them.

For nearly every crazy, impractical thought we ever shared with him, his instant response was: Jesus, Christ!
Get your head out of your [you know what].

Still, we still kept calling back, and running every nutty passing thought by him.

It feels like we live in quite a different world today than the one we grew up in, the stately quarters at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, where people left calling cards in a bowl when they visited. My mother’s special meal for company from around the globe was curry with the chutney and spices that the men who cooked for the Admirals aboard ships had brought from their native lands.

That said, if you listed all the adjectives that described my Dad: strong, amusing, witty, handsome. One, high one the list would certainly be uncouth—in a delightful way, of course.

I can always remember our dear friend Mrs. Collins or Sims Ross saying, “Oh, Chuck.”

His father, Sam, had been a traveling salesman. And the famous story that he brought his wife to a dinner, went to use the loo, came out, and went to his car and drove 300 miles before he remembered that he had left her at the rest stop. Sam was hired to play piano at a silent movie theater, but needed sheet music to play, so when they turned out the lights, according to the story, he ran.

For a son of immigrants who grew up during the depression, when paying the water bill wasn’t a given, my father did astonishingly well for himself. He followed his brother Gilven to the Naval Academy.

Pictures indicate he was movie star handsome in uniform. When he met my mother, he kept her out at a party until 4 a.m. Her parents likely should have known better. There are also early pictures of him at an officers party in Puerto Rico with an unnamed beauty. When Hunt traveled to Morocco, my father related that he’d been there in the Navy, and had cowered in his room Tangier was considered so dangerous at the time.

In an age before Facebook and iPods children were the centerpiece at family gatherings. We were the entertainment. And it was a wonderful way to grow up. And my parent’s friends weren’t just online. They were life long. The MIT group, Navy families, charming, charmed, wonderful family people. They helped to make America strong. He was a commanding presence. Younger officers in the Navy and his employees at IBM looked up to him.

And I can’t imagine how my parents gave us all that they gave us in life on his salary. It was a different world. They made sacrifices, for example, they sold their apartment at Virginia Beach to pay for me to go to Yale.

Besides an endless font of Salami Sam stories, early memories include getting spritzed at the fragrance counter. My father would grab a perfume bottle and spray me. I think it had to do with the fact that the stuff was free; hence, I’ve never been fond of makeup counters.

He was a bargain shopper, likely buying thousands of bathrobes for my mother onsale at Sears over the years.

We traveled, but mainly by car, back and forth across America, passed out and sweaty in the back of a station wagon, to Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, in the days before GPS and online reservations (a source of consternation for my mother). When she wasn’t flipping the pages of AAA triptics, my mother would read books like Urma Bombeck, or, Help: I’m a prisoner in a Chinese Bakery, by Alan King.

And God help us if a bee got into the car. My Dad was brave but not in that way. An insect could present a life-threatening situation. And then my mother would reach over with a napkin and make the kill.

The girls would sing the songs of the ‘60s, and my dad would boom out, “Some enchanted evening, you will meet a stranger, across a crowded room.” Significant, because, of course he had.

I found an early photo of my dad online the other day in uniform attending a meeting, looking terribly dapper, smoking. Shades of Madmen. The picture of my parents in Hawaii (above), looks particularly glam. My Dad in the starched Navy whites, mom in a short silvery dress. There are home movies of them going off to Kawaii to get away from the kids. And if you think it looks unspoiled now, then, it was a complete paradise.

One early memory is of my father playing a game at parties out our quarters in Bremerton. He would start a Conga line, and everyone would follow him into a room, one would kiss the next and on down the line. And then the last one got a big unexpected slap. And then they’d Conga back into the party and add another person. Oh, Chuck!

And in Bremerton, in the beautiful country quarters, we had tennis courts horses, an orchard. But lets just say that we did not make the best farmers.
Our goat was allergic to the grass and died a sad death. Hunt raised chickens as he does birds now. And we cried when we had to pluck and cook them. One of the saddest nights we ever spent there was now when we had to eat a favorite rooster. Amy’s pony, Tucumsa (bought cheap) kicked, leaving a purple horse shoe mark on my mom’s thigh.

My mother always said that she never went to Europe until she was 50. But they would later travel to Switzerland, England. They took me up the spectacular Fjords in Norway. There are photos of them, I think in Thailand riding a water buffalo, with a giant steer in Arizona, Australia. China with Mrs. Jong. And they could tell you the life story and about the children of all the many people they met along the way.

Someone as practical as my Dad was beyond verklempt when Hunt moved to New York to become an artist. Just driving through New York gave him apoplexy. But at a certain point he gave up worrying. He was terribly impressed by Hunts many successes. A friend in college who visited our house thought it was a kind of shrine to my brother’s work.

In a way, my Dad’s practicality made it possible for Hunt to be so impractical, and I happen to know my father had great faith in him. And even in my writing career–he would have rather had an IBMer–some years back he mentioned, I’d been doing well at it so many years, he was no longer concerned.

One thing he taught us all, Amy Anne, me, Hunt, was to work as hard as he had. His theory that when you were asleep, someone else was working, outdoing you. And Anne and Amy and Hunt and I have pretty much followed in the workaholic path.

He was a rock solid citizen and father, but not so perfect at things you might think he would excel at. One would have assumed he learned to sail at Annapolis; Jack Cummings just showed us a photo of the young hunk leaning against a sail. But when my parents lived in Newport Rhode Island in the 80s, my Dad took me out on the water, and we ended up hitting another boat, maybe filled with kids. I believe the Coast Guard temporarily took away his license.

We tried to catch up on recreation later in life, went out to play a round of golf here in Manassas. My first ball I hit went out into the road and began bouncing off windshields of cars, bounding up into the air, clocked a few trucks. His solid citizen advice to me, “Run, Jeffrey!” And we made it to the bushes before any locals came after us.

He was a great family man, but not always there when my mother had to handle emergencies. That said, I do recall two clutch situations he fielded:

Believe it or not, an astonishingly naive Anne came home one time in High school really proud of the fact that she had landed a job as a receptionist part time in the afternoons. But as we asked questions, it turned out the place had bamboo on the façade out front and was called The Tiki Tiki massage parlor. He hurried and took back her application. And nothing else.

And there was an equally poignant moment in high school when Amy got a false positive for syphilis back from the Navy hospital during a physical “Amy is there anything you want to tell us?” he exhorted.

FYI, we were all taught about the birds and bees in terms of Parquets oiling the pipes, as Hunt had scores of the small birds in Hawaii. What parents would indulge a child like that? Likely a big parenting no-no. To this day, Hunt keeps huge cages filled with birds

But Chuck wasn’t all just work. His humor is legendary and jokes were a specialty back in the day.

In one, prisoners just called out the numbers of jokes and all the inmates would laugh, and then, when a new prisoner called out a number, nobody laughed.
When asked, they offered, “You just don’t tell it right.” It was like that with us after a while, where we could almost just call out the numbers, mainly punch lines to get a laugh.

The widow Dune in Ireland, sends someone to look for her son at a small white house in America. The white rest room at a gas station fits the bill. The man knocks on the door and says, “Are you Dunne?”
“Go write your mother.”

And by the way, my parents had all the time in the world for the grand children; kids were their main interest in life.

But one of the most telling signs about who he really was, came last week. My sister Anne told me on the phone that the women who have been helping them take care of my parents at the house were inconsolable when they heard the news.

Anne went to the bank to take care of business, and when the employees at the heard, they, too, were all broken up. He apparently used to go there often, stop for cash and “presumably free” coffee.

My parents were terrific at bickering. But Chuck was wonderful with my mom over the last number of years, and that was a special thing to watch. It was amazing in his condition with the weakened heart, he worked so hard to always make sure she was okay.

And God bless the neighbors who checked in on them. Jim White called during Thanksgiving weekend at lunch one day, and you could just tell how much it meant to Chuck when he thanked him, he appreciated the kindness.

My Dad used to say that you had to “walk on water” to get the big promotion in the Navy. Well, to us, our Dad walked on water at home, as a son, a brother, a neighbor, a father, and finally as a husband.

His presence was so larger than life, so magnanimous, so true to character to his final day, I don’t think that to any of us, it will ever truly seem as if he is gone.

Finally, Hunt and I, who are overscheduled and likely in a kind of perpetual Quixotic quest to “make Admiral,” would like to thank our sisters who live in the area, and who have done so much for Popi and Mima over so many years.
Putting together this wonderful day. Bring meaning and comfort to my parents to my father’s final hours. We adore you and appreciate you. And together I know we will all, even our children, honor our father’s memory in our hearts and by deed.
We are, one and all, blessed by our blessed time with our beloved “Popi.”
Your life was not a dress rehearsal; we’ll miss you Chuck.

Twilight at Sandals

January 8th, 2014

Don’t know if they were wearing sandals, but Twilight star Ashley Greene and her beau Paul Khoury are seen here getting their feet wet at Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island in Nassau, Bahamas on January 5. Sexy coverup that she has on…Unknown-1UnknownClick on pic for closer look.


Berardi in Black and White

January 8th, 2014

Black and white is apparently very in…checkerboard black and white floor at Mr. Chows in Beverly Hills during the Peroni-sponsored dinner.Screen Shot 2014-01-08 at 2.48.04 PMScreen Shot 2014-01-08 at 2.10.08 PM Check. Kate beckinsale wearing fab B&W Berardi number. Screen Shot 2014-01-08 at 2.45.11 PM check. Nichole Richie looking fab, and two tone. Screen Shot 2014-01-08 at 2.49.27 PMCheck.

Miley at Beachers Madhouse Opening

January 1st, 2014

Beacher'sMadhouseLasVegas_MCyrus,KPerry_12.27.13Beacher'sMadhouseLasVegas_MCyrus,KLutz_12.27.13Beacher'sMadhouseLasVegas_MCyrus_12.27.13Beacher'sMadhouseLasVegas_JBeacher,MCyrus_12.27.13My buddy Jeff Beacher (red vest) drew a fab crowd at his opening soiree of Beacher’s Madhouse in Vegas, Miley Cyrus, Adam Lambert, Emile Hirsch, DJ Pauly D, Mark Salling, and Katy Perry. Performers included Beacher’s Mini-Beyonce, Mini-Miley and Mini-Robin Thicke, the world’s tallest stripper, Mini-Kanye, Mini-Psy, Mini-Michael Jackson, Shaving Cream Man, and Beacher’s house band The Pawn Shop. Believe that the pics express a bit of the madness. So great for Beacher, who got his start here in the Big Apple…

Photos: Kevin Mazur, Getty Images/ WireImage