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Archive for "Apr 24 2008"

Remember… These Guys are Called “Allies”

I call them, “desperately needing a beating, followed by a shooting” – Secret Service Catch Mexican Official Nabbing White House BlackBerries

Whether he was up to no good or simply desperate to play BrickBreaker, a Mexican press attaché was caught on camera by Secret Service pocketing several White House BlackBerries during a recent meeting in New Orleans, FOX News has learned.

Sources with knowledge of the incident said the official, Rafael Quintero Curiel, served as the lead press advance person for the Mexican Delegation and was responsible for handling logistics and guiding the Mexican media around at the conference. He took six or seven of the handheld devices from a table outside a special room in the hotel where the Mexican delegation was meeting with President Bush earlier this week.

Everyone entering the room was required to leave his or her cell phone, BlackBerry and other such devices on the table, a common practice when high-level meetings are held. American officials discovered their missing belongings when they were leaving the session.

It didn’t take long before Secret Service officials reviewed videotape taken by a surveillance camera and found footage showing Quintero Curiel absconding with the BlackBerries.


Anyhow, pardon the digression, and back to 1988. Several of us, spending an hour or two or three after work at the pre-chic Milano’s on Houston Street, tossing back pints of beer and shots of crummy tequila, would trade names back and forth, but nothing stuck. As it happened, not long before the launch, at home in Tribeca, my sister-in-law called to tell me my brother had been accosted at their co-op a few blocks down the street at Hudson and Franklin. Terry asked if I could mind their infant son while she went to St. Vincent’s. My brother, walking home from his job on Rector St., had reached their loft—the ground floor of which is now occupied by Nobu—and was suddenly approached by a disreputable character who pointed a gun at his head and demanded “all your money.” Acting out of adrenaline, and not common sense, my brother hit the guy with his briefcase and ran down the street, eluding his stalker—Holland Tunnel traffic aided his escape—but was moving so fast that he tripped and wound up with a serious infection on his leg.

The next day, while visiting him at the hospital, I asked if it was OK if I called my column “MUGGER,” an idea that occurred while rocking the baby to sleep the night before. He laughed, said it was no skin off his nose, and so I had a name. The initial anonymity of MUGGER—I didn’t attach a byline until the New York Press’s 10th anniversary—was a gimmick, an attempt to create any bit of controversy for a 24-page paper that was riddled with typos and articles that wouldn’t even be considered for publication a few years later.

More significantly, this incident illustrated the landscape of Lower Manhattan in 1988, pre-Giuliani, a time when streetlights were scarce or often broken. A few months later, wading through the Soho tourists on the way to the office on a brilliant Sunday afternoon, I saw the strangest spectacle. A tall man, with a bright red bandana on his head, was calmly smashing the windshield of a parked car on Spring St., ignoring the then-ubiquitous “no radio” hand-scrawled poster on the dashboard. He went about his business as if he were changing a flat tire, put the plundered loot in a pillowcase, and then walked off to an unknown destination

Happy Two-Oh, New York Press & RUSS SMITH

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You Call it “Wobble.” I Call it “Dip! Dip So I can Buy Some More!”

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