Thursday, January 14, 2010

Its old self

Looking south along Broadway from 135h Street. 3:45 PM. Photo: JH.
January 14, 2010. Wednesday was sunny and mild in New York. Traffic was heavy again.

I went down to Michael’s where I hadn’t been much since the Christmas holiday. Michael’s was closed for that holiday week and the weekends before and after. Which gives you an idea of what Manhattan becomes like. Then come Jan and we’re still kind of napping.

Michael’s yesterday was its old self. Dr. Mitch Rosenthal was lunching with Perri Peltz. The Mayor of Michael’s Joe Armstrong was entertaining Sharon Hoge, Michael Clurman, Jean Halberstam and Chris Buckley, up from Washington. No loss for words at that table, you can be sure. In the corner, Barry Diller.

Next to them investment banker Stan Shuman was lunching with his beautiful wife Sydney. Pamela Keogh was here and there. Sara Nelson was presiding over another table; Patrick Murphy with Joanie Jakobson and Betsy Gotbaum (no loss for words there either). Kathy Lee was with Sunny Lucani and Hoda. Peter Gregory was lunching with his daughter Samantha who is expecting her first child on April 23rd.

Spotted around the room: Chris Meigher, Stephen Swid, Marylou Luther, Cynthia McFadden, Beverly Camhe and John Logan, Nick Verbitsky, Ed Klein, Barbara Guggenheim, Michael J. Wolf; Ed Adler with Jon Friedman, Roger Friedman with Jill Brooke. Kate White of Cosmo was presiding at the table next to mine where I was lunching with Richard Story, the editor-in-chief of Departures.

If the names mean nothing to you, let it be said that in that room the names are familiar to many at the tables. The familiarity is an important tool in what is known in our world as media. The degrees of separation can be likened to a web that creates the sphere of interest that is the Grand Illusion. After all, Information is power.

Aside from all that, former Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford Jr. breezed in with Kammy Moalemzada. On Tuesday the New York Post was reporting that Mr. Ford is now vice-chairman of Merrill Lynch. Before that he was Congressman. Before that his daddy was Congressman for many terms. Harold grew up mainly in Washington because of that.

In the Post he allowed that he was “strongly considering” running against Hillary Clinton’s successor, Kristen Gillibrand in a primary.
DPC with Lisa Dallos and Harold Ford at Michael's (last summer).
I think Harold Ford is in his late 30s, but he looks like a kid. I met him in Michael’s serendipitously one day when I was waiting for a lunch date who never showed.

A woman walked by my table whom I didn’t know but had seen there many times. She introduced herself and asked me if my lunch date was late.

I said yes and she told me she was waiting too. Then she told me that she was half-expecting her lunch date wouldn’t show because sometimes he was very late and sometimes he didn’t show because he was so busy.

Then she suggested she and I lunch since we were there and we had a lot to talk about (she is a publicist). So we did. And right after we ordered in dashes Harold Ford. He joined us. He’s a very friendly and agreeable fellow.

Yesterday, several people went up to him as he entered the restaurant, stopping him right by my table. It was all about would-he, wouldn’t-he?

The political party atmosphere seems oddly quiet these days. These are hard times for politicians. Doesn’t matter the party. The public has come to expect nothing of them. Is it that we have come to expect nothing of ourselves? After all, our politicians are our politicians.

I was thinking this watching Harold Ford engaged in the spotlight. He still looks like a kid, an innocent.

Allison Mazzola and Carmen Dell'Orifice
at Swifty's.
Last night I went over to Swifty’s for a quick meal with my friend and neighbor Charlie Scheips who was meeting some friends from Chicago for a later meal there. Like Michael’s at lunchtime, the place was bustling. Although the players come from a different list.

On the way to table, we stopped to say hello to Carmen and Alison Mazzola. You all know the story about Carmen, now legend, working as a model since age 14 and now on the later side of seven-oh. Ebullience, effervescence, beauty; that’s Carmen.

I asked her how she was.

“Wonderful! This is the dessert part of my life and it’s wonderful!”

Carmen wasn’t kidding. She is one of those people who has the wherewithal to keep putting one foot ahead of the other, no matter what, and laughing when she may. And she does. Alison, who has her own public relations business, told me she met Carmen when was first working as an intern at Town & Country way back when; and Carmen was so nice to her.

Many people have mentioned the Casey Johnson coverage
mainly because we put a more rational, less sensational report on the end of the young woman’s life. Since then several others who knew Casey well, and in a couple of cases, knew her all her life, have shed more light on what was essentially a lifelong struggle against the disease that is known as Juvenile Diabetes.

Casey, from early youth, was involved in raising the public consciousness, giving talks, raising funds, and sharing the experience with others about this terrible disease. Aside from the little that is widely known about its ravages, even less is known in the public consciousness about its psychological effects on its victims who are, remember, required to deal with its seriousness as young children.

There were obviously other components to this girl’s life. She came from a family of enormous wealth, also a family marked with other harsh and sudden losses of life, and uneasy alliances in marriage. All of these things are brought to bear on all children, in all families. How they deal with them depends on the personality and the strengths of the individual child. However, whatever those problems might be, they are distorted by the reality of the disease. Casey Johnson knew this, and she felt an obligation to do something to make a difference to its victims. How much she succeeded was naturally affected by her own personal burdens, and she was impaired by her weaknesses and shortcomings.

Casey Johnson (Photo: Patrick McMullan).
It is important to understand this because Diabetes is wreaking its own havoc in our national health.

Yesterday I got an email from a medical professional here in New York explaining clearly, clinically, what the diabetes patient is dealing with:


FYI, type 1 diabetes of the type Ms. Johnson had (I assume) is much rarer than type 2 diabetes which is rampant now due to the obesity problem in the US. The incidence of Type 1 diabetes has not increased.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder (cause) in which the pancreas no longer makes insulin, thus the need for insulin.  It usually is diagnosed relatively early in life. It used to be call juvenile diabetes.  Insulin is necessary to utilize carbohydrate (oxidize it for energy).  The form of carbohydrate in blood is glucose. All carbohydrate consumed is converted to glucose in the liver and circulates as the same.

Type 2 diabetes is associated with obesity and is an inability to use insulin. These people make it, they just use it inefficiently. Weight loss often helps them use insulin effectively even normally. The obesity problem in the US is the reason for the increase in type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes used to be called adult onset diabetes because it came later in life associated with obesity. Now kids are getting it, obese kids.

In type 1 diabetes, when you take your insulin, you have to follow it up shortly thereafter with food.  If you do not, you can become hypoglycemic (low blood glucose). Very low blood glucose can kill someone and this is what is referred to as an insulin coma. (This is what happened to Sunny Von Bulow — she was brain dead from glucose deprivation — classic, most die all the way.)

People with substance abuse, alcoholism problems frequently take their insulin then perhaps start drinking. They "forget" to eat. I know of many instances of people with drinking problems or substance abuse problems dying from an insulin injection NOT followed by a meal. If you see someone in an insulin coma, you are suppose to give them juice or some source of simple sugar immediately.

My guess is that this may be what happened to this troubled young woman.  Amazing how the press is often not close to the truth.
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