Your Daily Guide to Trending Topics

Every day there are some topics that are trending. Since many of them don’t make sense, we provide easy contextualization. Also, this way, you won’t actually have to know anything about anything.

Deb Fischer

Normally TV-obsessed Google has a nose for news this morning, with Nebraska’s unexpected candidate for Senate topping the list of most-searched words. Deb Fischer, who shot from next to nowhere to defeat trounced Nebraska’s Attorney General and State Treasurer in their primary, despite spending next to nothing (or at least the political version), and will go on to face former Senator Bob Kerrey, supposedly widely disliked in Nebraska after leaving for a decade on the East Coast, in the election. Nebraska, who knew!

Solar Eclipse

Something else taking up brain space for Google readers—who, in fairness, are also still reading about America’s Got Talent—is the solar eclipse coming to most of the U.S.A. May 20. The East Coast won’t have a chance to see the sun slip behind the moon and give it what for, but the rest of the country should have no problem checking out the first such eclipse of the century. Real science geeks can tune into NASA’s website, among the first to come up in a “solar eclipse” search, for nerdier details.

Rachel Uchitel

Yahoo! is nowhere near as brainy as Google today. The most-searched term at the ‘hoo! is “Rachel Uchitel,” the former Tiger Woods ladypal—you might remember her making millions to keep her lip buttoned about their hijinks—who popped out a kid Tuesday night. “Contractions are starting to kick in,” she tweeted yesterday before dropping a seven-pound little girl. No worries, golf stars: The dad is Uchitel’s husband, Matt Hahn.

Zodiac Killer

Lyndon Lafferty, a former California Highway Patrol Officer, has published a book that allegedly identifies the Zodiac Killer, the infamous serial killer who plagued the San Francisco area in the 1960s. While the book doesn’t name the killer by name, Lafferty asserts that the man who killed at least five people is now a 91-year-old California resident who was motivated by alcoholism and a rage over his wife’s infidelities to kill. And while it might sound flimsy to the casual Internet searcher (or the police, who have closed the case), when Lafferty showed his suspect’s image to the sister of one of the Zodiac’s victims, she reportedly said, “It’s him."

#womencantresist

Behind “I Hate My Face,” a trending topic for compliment seekers and body dysmorphics, this hashtag is Twitter’s favorite morning topic. Surprisingly, however, not all women on the social network are in agreement about what they want and are unable to resist. Is this not something they all agreed upon beforehand?!

Can't Resist 1

Can't Resist 2

Can't Resist 3

Can't Resist 4

Can't Resist 5

 

Afternoon Links: Rachel Uchitel Is Five Months Pregnant, Kanye West Is Moving To London

● Tiger Woods’s former mistress Rachel Uchitel announced on her twitter yesterday that she’s five months pregnant with no, not Tiger Woods’s baby. And in order to prepare, she has asked her friends for a $300 breast pump, two strollers totaling $1,400, and cashmere bedding. [Page Six]

● The newly single Ashton Kutcher spent Christmas with Adam Brody’s ex-girlfriend, screenwriter Lorene Scafaria, in Italy, holding hands and sharing spaghetti. [Us]

● Last night while we were all on Beyoncé baby-watch, Jay-Z was at the Nets game last night wearing a new pair of Kanye’s Air Yeezys. Guess that means no Babyoncé just yet. [MTO]

● Rumor has it that Kanye West is moving to London to more seriously pursue his fashion career. [MTV UK]

● Kate Middleton is starting to worry that her new high-profile, media circus, inlaw-to-the-queen life makes her "undateable." [Page Six]

● Rihanna went to dinner at McDonalds last night after her London show and "no one batted an eyelid." [The Sun]

If the spotlight makes you nervous: This girl became the luckiest karaoke-goer in the world when Drake stepped-up to help her out with "What’s My Name" at L.A.’s Saddle Ranch. [NahRight]

Dear Rachel Uchitel: Thank You for Lying

Way back in the medieval dinosaur days of June 2008, BlackBook started an innocent interview series focused on personalities in the nightlife, dining, and hospitality industries called “Industry Insiders.” By way of (at the time) purely coincidental circumstances, the first person we interviewed was a VIP hostess named Rachel Uchitel. Perhaps you’ve heard of her?

I certainly didn’t think much of the interview at the time. Other than servicing rich folks and celebs in New York and Vegas, Uchitel’s main interesting backstory was her status as a 9/11 widow. That gave her a certain counter-intuitive gravitas, if only in the mind of the observer (Uchitel herself was past talking about it much). Her Q&A was fair to middling and generated mild traffic at best.

What a difference a sexually indiscreet year makes! In late 2009, Uchitel became the central Other Woman in the Tiger Woods scandal d’amour. Since we have decent SEO and Uchitel has an unusual name, our otherwise blah profile of her was, for several days, the top Google result for interested searchers. The sudden surge in traffic broke our server into tiny, squealing pieces. After applying forty rolls of virtual duct tape, we managed to get everything back online again. And while other media outlets hounded us for comment and perspective on a woman we seemed to know more about than anyone (we didn’t), I remembered that I still had Uchitel’s email address and cellphone number.

Home for the Thanksgiving holidays, I left her a message, largely as a goof. I had zero faith she would even remember our conversation, much less respond. Instead she emailed immediately, asking me to call her back in ten minutes. Thus we managed to run the first actual quotes from Uchitel since the scandal broke.

I talked to her for about half an hour. She had not yet lawyered up, but had obviously been schooled a little about what she could and should say. In sum she denied everything, while slagging the various girls who were ratting her out about the affair with Woods. She encouraged me — mysteriously, without really saying anything specific — to check into their sordid backgrounds, to question their motivations for selling their stories, and so on. Afterward, she emailed trying to get me to take down the original story: “a pr girl in vegas wrote all that for me and ow it just looks bad take out of context [sic all]”. I said, hells no (watching our rising site analytics with my other eyeball). Poor Vegas PR ghostwriter girl. Then Uchitel wanted to change the coquettish picture from the original post to a (slightly?) more wholesome image of her sitting on steps with dogs: “can u change that picture at least in the new article.. that is a more scandalous pic that the one of me and the dogs … stick with the dogs one . that one looks like the part they are trying to pin me as.”

I didn’t believe her at all. I suspected she had in fact slept with Woods, and her ex-friends were indeed selling the scandal, though it probably wasn’t quite as juicy as the scandal-sellers would have their buyers believe. The choice details of uncontrollable sexting and flaunting her Woodsian prospects to one and all seemed a bit crazy. But people having sex with celebrities sometimes do crazy things.

Regardless, here we are now, and Uchitel has a bit part in the fourth season of a reality show that’s pretty far down the ass-end of even that disreputable scale. She’s certainly making bank off her notoriety (she’s on the “rehab” show as a “love addict,” which apparently hasn’t yet made it into the DSM). So it doesn’t look like she’s particularly interested in distancing herself from the spotlight, or her tawdry place in it.

More to the point, last month Uchitel “broke her silence” about the Tiger Woods affair in an interview with the Daily Mail. Widely characterized as Uchitel’s moment of finally copping to the romp and related silence-buying financial settlement, in strictest technical terms, it is neither of those things. None of Uchitel’s quotes actually have her admitting to the affair or the payoff; the closest she comes is voicing regret about an affair with a married man. “That could be an affair with any married man!” argues Uchitel’s lawyer in my head, defending his client from Woods’ lawyers in my head, since the latter would naturally want their hush money back if Uchitel actually admitted to anything in public.

But it would be beyond naive to doubt the affair now, or the money Woods paid for an extremely abstract level of plausible public deniability. Let’s just come out and say it, shall we? Rachel Uchitel slept with Tiger Woods while he was married. Then she lied about doing so, to me and everybody else. Then she got paid to be very slightly quiet about only the very central point of what is, by now, the obvious truth to everyone.

And I just want to say to Rachel — thank you very much for lying. You played your part expertly and much more methodically than Tiger’s other paramours. You get to have it both ways! Woods paid you very, very handsomely to keep “quiet” about something that’s openly acknowledged worldwide, and you can leverage that for TV parts and god knows what other opportunities. Furthermore, I can point out your lies, and Tiger Woods’ lies, by omission or otherwise, secure in the knowledge that both of you have a vested interest in grinning and taking it. Because if you challenge anyone who calls you out for lying, you jeopardize your financially constructed alternate reality bubbles.

So please don’t think I take umbrage at your lies. Quite the contrary! In addition to the generous traffic bumps your story provided, it’s a relief when a source brazenly lies to your face, because then you don’t feel at all bad about mocking their previously private communications. In other words, once you bullshit me, all bets are off (and on the record). And I absolutely don’t endorse the frothing horde of judgmental prudes and golf fans who wanted to torch you for being a whore or other such 18th-century peasant clamoring. After all, one of the other interesting pieces of content I … happened across during all this is a stash of topless photos of Uchitel, and I ain’t running those.

Anyways, I can’t imagine any of this will much trouble Uchitel, as she can always stop up her ears with wads of Tiger Woods’ money. Perhaps Celebrity Rehab can also help her get over her addiction to fibbing.

Afternoon Links: Sean Penn Is Purty, Rachel Uchitel Wants Her Some Tiger

● Sean Penn: Serious actor, serious director, serious activist, serious Wyclef Jean skeptic, and now, serious babe. [D Listed] ● Someone wielding two large knives tried breaking into Paris Hilton’s home before she called the police. She really doesn’t recognize her own gardener? [TMZ] ● Joanna Newsom says she’ll be touring the U.S. this November, traveling from city to city with nothing but a wand, a dash fairy dust, and good cheer. [Pitchfork]

● Thank the Lord Jenna Jameson has thrown her weight into the great sex tape debate, because arguing over mosques and religious tolerance is so not sexy. [Jenna Jameson/Twitter] ● Apparently Rachel Uchitel would “give up everything” to have the newly-divorced Tiger Woods back, and for someone who has nothing, everything is a whole lot. [TMZ] ● Thanks to the miracle of DNA testing, scientists are more certain than ever that Hitler had both Jewish and African blood. He’s the new Amar’e Stoudemire! [Telegraph UK]

Links: Jason Sudekis Steals Don Draper’s Girl, Rachel Uchitel Goes to Rehab

● Not even one of the worst hosting performances in SNL history could keep Jason Sudekis from bedding Don Draper’s girl. That’s how cool he is (Don, not Jason). [Socialite Life] ● Bryan Singer and Taylor Lautner are friends! How cool is that? Less cool: Taylor dissed his friend Bryan by not signing on to his film X-Men: First Class. With friends like these…[Blastr] ● Even with the not-terrible looking Devil, audiences seem to have really given up on M. Night Shyamalan. I see a dead career. [Film Drunk]

● Today on The View, Elisabeth Hasselbeck used the ‘S’ word to describe Kathy Griffin after the comedienne called Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown’s daughters “prostitutes.” Yep, she called her a ‘scholar.’ [EW] ● Following rumors of an upcoming gig on Celebrity Apprentice, Rachel Uchitel has instead taken a step way, way down, signing on for the upcoming season of Celebrity Rehab. No one’s sure what her addiction is, but we’re guessing it’s not anonymity. [People] ● The Porn Identity. That’s our suggested, if a little obvious, choice for the title of alleged Russian spy Anna Chapman’s proposed adult film. [TMZ]

Talk Is Cheap: Rachel Uchitel & Bottle Girls

Talk is cheap. Silence can get expensive. The New York Magazine article ‘Rachel Uchitel is Not a Madam‘ by Lisa Taddeo is the talk of the town and spot on. For an outsider to gain such access and insight is amazing. As the story developed, club moguls called me to get the story on Lisa. I made it clear I was talking to her and I felt in my bones she could be trusted. Most opted not to chat with her but there were many who did. The result is a story that, in my opinion, properly describes the conditions in bottle service clubs that led to the Tiger Woods scandal. It was great to hear Rachel’s side of things. When Lisa told me she was talking to her, I realized that this piece was going to be real. Whether Ms. Uchitel was paid to be quiet is subject to much speculation. I actually don’t care. Consenting adults can do what they want, say or not say what they want, as long as they let the slobbering public have a peek once in awhile. The Uchi-Woods scandal is the tip of an iceberg that could take down the Titanic, the 6th Fleet and half of Clubdom, if it exposed all the other gents doing the exact same thing. The most unforgivable thing Tiger did was to make me feel sorry for him.

When I walk through a serious club and I see the Arab business types or the real estate heirs or the celebrities, I don’t write about it. First of all I don’t do gossip…much. Secondly, if I did, I wouldn’t be considered a ‘friend to the club’ when I came through. It’s not that I’m gagged, but there is an understanding that the thing that real clubs are selling is more than booze, music and accessibility to fine looking loose women. The most cherished commodity is confidentiality. The big spenders must believe that their free spending on not so free women and seriously expensive booze will not be all over the gossip rags tomorrow. That’s the reason a Brittany Mendenhall or a Justin Ross Lee get into broohaha’s every so often. They’re often considered loose cannons and therefore a danger to a system which supports a global network of nightclubs.

Nightclubs are no longer the sole domain of guys like Rick from Casablanca or dudes like me. The lone wolf with a dubious past, a quick one-liner and access to the important guys and dolls, now works within a corporate structure which precludes them (and me). The high price of bottled booze pays for impossibly high rents, insurance, legal teams and the salaries of door people, promoters and bottle hosts who bring in the money guys. In Casablanca, the Peter Lorre character gives Bogie the important papers even though he knows Bogie despises him. What Bogart has is his word. The word of the proprietor today is one of the fundamental things that still apply as time goes by. The married baller, broker or lawyer must leave the club knowing that what has transpired will not be revealed. What happens in New York nightclubs must stay in New York nightclubs.

Lisa Taddeo got it right. The part about trusting the girls… the proven temptress, the ones who will not talk was so well put:

“To be a girl who is trusted, you need a track record of having slept with famous men and not talked about it. It’s an unwritten résumé. Talking about anything that goes on at the clubs is called “burning the athlete” or “burning the celebrity.” Privacy is prized invaluably in an age when the National Enquirer performs police-quality stakeouts and the video capabilities of cell phones have turned every banquette kiss into a YouTube trailer. It’s a wonder celebrities think they can get away with cheating, but if they do, it’s because of people like Uchitel. People who understand the value of future returns”

Right up front in her title block she says:

And the bottle girls who work at clubs are not prostitutes. As Tiger Woods’s very public escapades through the 21st-century courtesan economy suggest, it’s all much more complicated than that.

There are plenty of hot girls you can pay for. These women advertise quite openly in magazines and online. Every so often, someone’s locked up with a big show in the papers to let you know it’s still illegal. Society’s shocked when a powerful man is caught with his pants down and socks still on, but we all know it’s happening every day. Tiger just got tanked. It could have been a lot of people. The hookers have their charms, and the more you pay, the more considerable they are. Former pimp to the scene Jason Itzler (who also contributed to the article) was the genius who realized that most men figure they’re always paying for the sex in some way or another. He advertised the girlfriend experience (GFE),. This meant his girls made their ‘Johns’ feel like they weren’t hookers but their fantasy girlfriends. Jason made a killing.

There’s an old joke about the difference between sex in NY and LA. In NY, you ‘get some’ after dinner and a movie. In LA, you skip the movie. This is funny because, like most jokes it has some truth in it. Buying a hooker is simple and easy. The Johns who buy the booty nowadays often want it to seem more like a natural relationship. The club bottle experience is direct competition to the pimps and madams. The spender sees his love, talks to her, whispers in her ear and it’s done. He can actually leave the experience feeling in his very small heart that she likes him…a little. In a sense, it’s a new form of romanticism. The John gets the illusion of being loved for being himself and success makes him the stud attracting the babe. His triumphant mind is always working, and figures it costs him the same money as the call girl. The added value is that his ego (that ever present commodity with successful men) is satisfied that he didn’t have to pay for it. As for the girls, they’re just connecting or having fun doing what you do when you live in New York and, “John is so nice”. In a few years they’ll grow too old to be relevant to these fellas, but the hope is by that by then, they’ll finish school and get a great job with a connection they’ve made, or marry rich or move back home with loot and the hot ex-model boyfriend. Lisa had it right, it’s as complicated as any machine with thousands of moving parts and dreams can be .

I caught up with Lisa and asked her what she came away with. She answered, “It’s easy to denigrate the bottle waitresses. It’s easy to be high-horsed about anything that’s less 9 to 5 than what many of us think ‘normal’ is, but the truth is that nightlife is its own microcosm with its own set of rules and morals and good times or bad times. Like PR or fashion design or any other, I came away from my research intrigued by the world, but no less respectful of its moving parts.” Great job, Lisa.

The Earth Quakes in the South, We Feel It in the North

An earthquake in Chile left me limp. The world seems to be doling out one disaster after another. We are bombarded with bad news on a daily basis, to a point where we are anesthetized to reality and we seek out mind-numbing reality TV or a zillion western world distractions. Crises like Haiti, global warming, Iraq-astan, health care bills, Governor Patterson’s campaign or massive chunks of melting arctic ice, go in one ear and out the Grey Goose bottle, unless we are able to put a face on it. Celebrities usually provide that face and we come to know the magnitude of the disaster through their words. Rarely do we know someone personally affected. In the club scene, we happen to have a Haitian friend or two, in the form of a club owner, DJ or promoter, who made it a more personal tragedy for us. There is no such connection with Chile, a place so foreign and far away to most of us that it seems almost mythical. Yet a quake 500 times the magnitude of the quake that devastated Haiti, has left at least 700 dead, many more injured and people sleeping on the streets of Chile for fear of aftershocks. We barely blink. Figure skating and snowboarding scores are far more important to the world.

Clubdom does have at least one familiar face in Chile. On February 10th, a date that seems such a long time ago, this column congratulated Scott and Rande Gerber for the opening of three new properties within the W Hotel in Santiago. Our friend Lindsay Risk, (an incredibly appropriate surname), is down there opening those joints up. Back then I wrote, “If I ever find myself in Santiago, Chile, maybe visiting my friend Lindsey Risk, I’ll stay at The W and visit the Gerber Group’s Whiskey Blue, W Lounge and Red 2 One. I know I can expect high design and great service.” Just a couple days ago, prior to the disaster, she asked when I was going down to visit and I replied “Never.” She told me she’d be “coming home to Soho real soon.” Her Facebook page has been a major source of communication for us while she was down there, now her Facebook page is filled with concerned friends and family trying to reach her.

Last month’s distraction, Rachel Uchitel, pleaded with Lindsay on her Facebook page to contact us. She wrote, “LINDSAY. YOUR PHONE ISNT WORKING. UPDATE YOUR FACEBOOK PAGE AS SOON AS YOU CAN SO EVERYONE KNOWS IF YOU’RE OKAY. I’M CALLING THE W NOW…” Lindsay finally responded to everyone, “Love u, thanks for reaching out. So scary. Felt like the world was ending, but everyone is OK here. So much help needed. Will send you fundraiser info. Xoxox” That was Saturday night and there has been nothing since. My prayers go out to Lindsay and Chile and to all of us. Our world seems to be teetering under the weight of our psychosis. All this just feels like the tip of one of those giant icebergs that have just broken off Antarctica.

The new iceberg has been described as being the size of Luxembourg in Europe, or the state of Connecticut in the US. This could spell trouble for the oceans, scientist told media on Friday, as it could affect global ocean circulation with the melt from the ice.

And we’re worried about a little snow.

Links: Rachel Uchitel, Broadcast Journalist; John Mayer’s Racist Penis

● Patient Zero in the Tiger Woods Tales of Tail, Rachel Uchitel, scores a gig as a special correspondent for Extra by impressing producers after being interviewed by the Barbara Walters of Hunky Vapid Latino Celebrity News Correspondents, Mario Lopez. [NY Post] ● Durex puts out an ad about blowjobs, giving rise to lots of questions about the people who use (or don’t use) condoms during oral sex. Which one are you? Etc. [Jezebel] ● 40% of French guys polled think they’re the best in the sack in all of Europe. Too bad the biggest vote for best lovers from French women goes to Italian men. [Daily Mail]

● New York shopping blog Racked goes National. [Racked] ● John Mayer has a penis. He uses it to navigate various wonderlands. And that penis happens to be a total racist. Southern Poverty Law Center, where you at?! [Mediaite] ● The Cutest Tagger in America, UTAH, is now out of jail. And she’s still totally cute and totally spray painting things. [Gothamist]

Links: Tiger Woods Narrowly Skirts Mob Trouble; MacGruber!

Tiger Woods‘ story almost gets more sordid: Rachel Uchitel’s got mob ties, but way back in her family tree. [Daily Beast] ● Jennifer Lopez continues to impersonate a far less famous person, may guest star on Glee. [Perez] ● U4EA, Moloko Plus and other memorable fictitious drugs. Plus, the ten weirdest places drugs have been found, including inside a frozen shark. [Unreality; Complex]

● Almost a 30 Rock episode: Old man tries to commit suicide, but his blow-up doll girlfriend cushions the blow, saves his life instead. [China Smack] ● The MacGruber trailer is here, and it doesn’t look half bad, except for Val Kilmer, who looks like he’s been taking fashion tips from Men Who Look Like Old Lesbians. [Coming Soon] ● Someone got served a frozen McDonald’s burger. Almost makes you wish for a cooked rat tail. [Consumerist]