THE WAY WE WERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRE

My friend Gina Duclayan (center picture, foreground, in front of Kurt Andersen and her future husband Daniel Radosh) posted an album of photos from the Spy days on her facebook page. Fun to see the kids.  (I wonder who got custody of the flag?) Shown in the enlargement-resistent photo at right (you’ll have to take my word for it): Geoff Reiss, Gina, Kristen Rayner, Daniel Carter, Christiaan Kuypers, Nicki Gostin, Marion Rosenfeld, Paul Donald, Damon Torres.

NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL ACTION

Yesterday morning, I posted this item on trueslant.com and on playboy.com (I would have put it here, but I forgot):

Sometimes nature abhors a vacuum, and sometimes it tortures it. Barack Obama was technically correct when he observed the other week that we only have one president at a time, but as we’re seeing, right now we have none. The guy who has the job has been a lame duck since his Social Security Manglement Plan failed in 2005, has been a husk since 2006, and is now showing the effectiveness on ice cube left on sidewalk thirty minutes into an August afternoon. What’s he do all day? Listen to Warren Zevon sing “I Was in the House When the House Burned Down’’? Don’t look to Congress, for as Dow 6000 and 10% unemployment loom into view, the Senate is giving a standing ovation to a convicted felon, and the House is conducting a show trial for the heads of the car companies. (True, it’s no fun to save arrogant people from their own arrogance, but the legislators need to stop preening their disgust and disdain in front of the cameras, and start thinking of the millions of workers who are going to pay the price.) Meanwhile, Obama continues to behave with a reserve appropriate for a president-elect, but one wonders if that’s enough. The wolves that present themselves at presidents’ doors tend to arrive at times and in manners of their own choosing. With sixty days of drift separating us from Inauguration Day, it just may be that the first big challenge of Obama’s presidency—possibly the defining challenge—will be to figure out a way to govern before he takes the oath of office.

Well, not six hours later, word appears that Obama will appoint Tim Geithner as Secretary of the Treasury, and on that news, the Dow shot up and finished nearly 500 points up for the day. You see? Jamie speaks, the world listens.

A QUANTUM OF ENTERTAINMENT

Casino Royale did so much to refurbish and rehabilitate James Bond, but A Quantum of Solace does not advance the effort nearly as much. Daniel Craig‘s portrayal of Bond was a major element in the restoration, but it was really the character of Vesper Lynd, played by the wonderful Eva Green) that made the greatest difference. In Lynd, the film makers gave us a beautiful and intelligent woman whose growing attachment to Bond endowed his character with more depth and interest than he ever previously enjoyed. Unfortunately, there is no similar person in the new film, so what we get is Craig and Judi Dench and the splendid villian Mathieu Amalric and a lot of up-to-the-minute Hollywood mayhem. (Maybe too up-to-the-minute: I loved  Marc Forster‘s The Kite Runner, but he overcuts his action sequences to the degree that you can’t follow the conflict, something that never happens with Paul Greenglass, the maestro of the last two Bourne movies and United 93.) Giving Bond some genuine emotional jeopardy in Casino Royale was significant, but right now, Bond is very much like Bourne, too much so; the challenge in the next Bond film will be to find a way to restore and reinterpret his typical wit and verve.

LOVE THAT BOB

My pal Bob Love bought me sushi yesterday at a nice place near 46th and Park whose name has already galloped out of my head. He had good news that the yoga book on which he has been working for so long has been making good progress through the editing stages. It was great to see him, and to work with him on the Billy Crudup article he assigned me for Best Life. Hopefully we’ll be able to do something else again soon. Before lunch I saw my old Spy colleague Michael Hainey, now part of the ruling junta at GQ, who offered encouragement, and after lunch I had coffee at Osteria al Doge on West 44th Street with a new friend, Jon Kelly of Vanity Fair, with whom I’ve been having fun working on the Starring Five piece.

WE’RE NUMBER 46944!

According to the site mongabay.com, the U.S. Bureau of the Census says MALANOWSKI ranks # 46944 in terms of the most common surnames in the United States for 2000. Out of a sample of 100,000 people in the United States, MALANOWSKI would occur an average of 0.16 times. The Census Bureau says that 95.07 percent were “Non-Hispanic White Only.” Another 2.58 percent were “Hispanic Origin.”