AS THE WORLD TURNS: “Why Are So Many West Village Stores Closing?” asks hotshot Columbia Law prof Tim Wu in The New Yorker (answer: “high-rent blight”). The Times blares: “Shop Owners in a Changing Brooklyn Decide to Call It Quits” (“Mom-and-pop proprietors who have shut down or sold are not just tired of long hours, skirmishes with the health department and stress. Because of hyper-gentrification, they feel they no longer quite belong”). NY Post reports “Real Estate Boom is Edging Out City’s Gas Stations” (40% fewer pumps in Manhattan than ten years ago). ORB SAYS: Top off your tank while you still can.
“JOHNNY DEPP COULD FACE TEN YEARS in Prison for Taking His Dogs to Australia”, screams The Guardian. In early May, when he entered the country in his private jet, Depp failed to declare his Yorkshire terriers, Pistol and Boo, thereby breaking quarantine laws. He got caught by pictures on social media showing him taking them to a groomer. The Agriculture Minister gave him two days to expatriate them or suffer caninocide. His wife Amber Heard spirited les petits chiens to California. Elle Hunt writes, “Did Depp simply not see Pistol and Boo sneak onto the jet because he was wearing sunglasses indoors?”
THE JESUIT POPE IS NO DOPE: The Vatican Bank said on Monday that its 2014 profit was 2,000% higher than the year before, reports NY Times. Pope Francis has named close aides to scrutinize the Holy See’s financial activities, which allegedly had once included ignoring tax avoidance and money laundering. Only Catholic institutions, members of religious orders, Vatican City State employees and accredited diplomats are now allowed to have accounts.
GLOOM-AND-DOOM PROPHET Rush Limbaugh’s syndicated radio contract expires next year and he’ll have a hard time getting the $400 million he reeled in for the past eight years, according to David Hinckley in the NY Daily News. “Today’s talk radio is fast fading into the sunset because of a format stuck with 1990s rhetoric. A constant right-wing political drumbeat no longer resonates.” The caustic commentator’s ratings are down and some stations are not renewing his show. ORB SAYS: If Rush can just hang on until Hill & Bill retake the throne, his scripts will write themselves.
WITH ALL THIS SOBERING NEWS, are the troops staying sober? Not if you believe Page Six, which reports that over the Memorial Day weekend Philippe restaurant in East Hampton “sold out of Jeroboams of Champagne at $5,000 a pop. More than two dozen were sold.” [A Jeroboam is the equivalent of four normal bottles.] Who was there? George Soros’s son Alexander, with 21 guests, as well as Garrett Camp, founder and chairman of Uber. Twenty-four Jeroboams? “Somebody call a cab.”