Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Kill the President
Tears before lunchtime
Oliver adjourned to the local school, where children were tucking into their daily breakfast: pizza and chocolate milk. "I have never seen pizza served for breakfast," he said, shocked. Oliver then watched aghast as the dinner ladies whipped up a lunch of chicken nuggets and reconstituted "pearls" of processed potato. "It's that kind of food that's killing America," he announced.In which Jamie Oliver discovers America. Of course, if he were really as laddish as he makes out, he would know that left-over pizza is the breakfast of champions - when those champions had been drinking the previous night.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Jo Hughson, chairwoman of a complaints assessment committee - part of the new Real Estate Agents Authority - said the condolence card had with it a property summary report with the rating valuations, title and ownership details of the widow's Castor Bay property.In which a new depth is plumbed by an Auckland real estate agent.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Protocols of the travel agents of Zion
What I find wholly unsatisfactory is that the NZ government - the victim of Israeli state terrorist espionage activity in the form of the Mossad passport imbroglio five years ago - is signing up to a working holiday agreement with the Jewish State that will facilitate an exchange that is ripe for exactly the sort of Mossad infiltration that leads to a Dubai-type assassination. The people Israel will send over will be Jewish. The people NZ will send over, and that Israel will accept, will be mainly Jewish. The sort of people that regard it as their patriotic Jewish duty to the Jewish State to misuse other nation's passports and anything else they can get their hands on. And that's not the Israeli-born Jews I'm talking about either, that's NZ Jews as Fran O'Sullivan has explainedOddly enough, only last night I was having several drinks with an NZ Jewess and with Mr Dentith, the well-known conspiracy-theory theorist. It was he who alerted me to this post by Mr Tim Selwyn, the well-known ex-con. Mr Dentith heard of it from Mr Judd, the well-known Jew. I am pleased to report that I still have my passport.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Dances with cougars
The film industry's idea of a great feminist breakthrough is to applaud the tits of women over 40 as well as under it. All week, the press has gurgled about the great bodies of the Oscar-cougars: photo spreads of Pfeiffer, Bullock and Streep, above text that essentially says, both incredulously and smugly: "You'd still do 'em, wouldn't you?"Victoria Coren in the Guardian. And there's more:
The other "feminist celebration" of Bigelow seems to be that she beat her ex-husband James Cameron to the award. I say it's embarrassing that she ever married him in the first place. Look at their two films. The Hurt Locker versus Dances With Smurfs. How could that marriage ever have worked?
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Not clever and not funny
"Peter was really clear about it being an exact copy of the Hollywood sign because he wanted it to be a send-up. He and Richard epitomise creativity and innovation in this city and I'm going to go with their judgment."
Ms Prendergast defended the sign on Radio New Zealand this morning, saying it would be a great way to welcome visitors flying into the capital.
Jackson said he was "thrilled that Wellington Airport were paying tribute to the Kiwi craftsmen and women who created the movie magic that entertains all corners of our planet".
Wellington Airport chief executive Steve Fitzgerald said using anything other than a "tongue-in-cheek play" on the Hollywood sign did not make sense. "The idea of having a ... fun play on the most famous sign in the world has an instant recognition factor that anything else would struggle to match."
So that is why Kerry Prendergast is making Wellington so ugly: she is scared of creative people. It used to be that public art commissions were awarded to artists, but now creative people, the makers of monster movies and special effects, dictate public taste. I expect Sir Peter and Mr Taylor sit in their creative spaces of a night and chortle about what larks they will have, once Wellington Airport has a sign that sends up the Hollywood sign, by saying 'Wellywood.' Laugh and the world laughs with you, as they say.
Of course, Mr Taylor is not just an arbiter of taste. He and his Workshop are an artist themselves. They have produced the tripod sculpture in Courtenay Place, which is a terribly witty tribute to themselves. They also made that moving tribute to our chaps in Bomber Command, a masterpiece of the Franklin Mint Style, described thus: "a freestanding bronze sculpture of a Lancaster crew with a Lancaster coming out of the marble background." It cost a freestanding $100,000. For once, the old adage "a child of ten could do it" rings true: this is a work that is less than the sum of its parts, and those parts could be found in any small boy's toybox. Of course it had to be forced on to Auckland Museum by use of the mighty powers of sentiment and shame.
Speaking of a child of ten, the artist known as Weta is also responsible for the deeply moving Dyslexia Discovery Exhibit in Christchuch, which uses the simple trope of a near-naked girl to convey "Richard's empathy for those young people struggling with a learning disability." This is Art, you see. There is nothing smutty about it; those older people struggling with their obsessions should look away. And, being Art, it is made of bronze, although it may look like chocolate and remind you of those annoying Cabdbury advertisements: more Rolo than Rodin, as we Art Historians say.
You see, Richard and his Workshop are not just creative people, they are also successful people, who are in touch with the commonsense tastes of the common people. They realise that the business of Art is imitation. If you want a memorial to bombers, you will get bombers. If you want an instructional sculpture about reading difficulties, you will get "a young girl lying down, barefoot, reading a steel ribbon of words that float through the air, spilling from the pages of her book"
Being successful, creative people, they must congratulate themselves constantly, just like the people in the advertising industry. And the citizens of Wellington must look on their works and despair. They must bow before the mighty monster makers, and accept their monuments of whimsy. The creative people must be celebrated, for their industrious light and magic. Never mind that their latest work (a film called Avatar which apparently is an allegory of something or other - I have not seen it) was made possible by a $60 million taxbreak: there will be no monument to the unknown taxpayer.
Oh well, at least it is not a danger to flying like the ghastly Hook of Maui and Receding Waters, an ideation whose time has has come, and gone.
The ideation visualised above was created by the estimable Mr Christopher Banks, who the author hopes will not mind. You can ideate your own visualisations at the Wellywood Sign Generator.
Louder than bombs
- Entered Eden Park during Thursday's cricket international between New Zealand and Australia dressed as construction workers – wearing hard hats and reflector vests hired from a costume shop. Despite having no tickets or ID, the two reporters had unfettered access to construction areas and other restricted zones within the stadium, walking past at least six security guards and getting within arm's-length of Australian Doug Bollinger while he was fielding. At one point the reporters stood next to four police bomb squad officers as they surveyed the new grandstand. At no point were the reporters questioned or asked for ID.
The Australian players are particularly concerned about security right now, following threats by al Qaeda against this month's IPL tournament in India, and have demanded that rigid security be put in place before they take part in the tour.
- Took toy explosives and detonators, as well as alcohol, in a bag and on the body, into Waikato Stadium during the March 5 Chiefs-Reds Super 14 rugby game, with Red Badge security staff failing to search one reporter's bag. He walked freely around all parts of the stadium, approached the Reds' bench and shook hands with a team manager, entered the VIP corporate box area and spoke with boxer David Tua, got players including All Black Sitiveni Sivivatu to sign the bag containing the toy explosives and walked unchallenged through the players' tunnel, getting within a metre of the changing rooms before finally being asked to leave by a security guard.
Breaking news: New Zealand is not a police state. Sunday Star-Times journalist are able, if they so wish, to dress up as members of the Village People and hang around with sportsmen. They can even take concealed toy explosives with them.
Does anyone else find a certain Chris Morris quality in this reportage? Not, it seems, Superintendent Grant O'Fee, who said: "I am absolutely amazed anyone got near the players' tunnel, with or without [toy] explosives." The SST also managed to find an unnamed source (probably a bloke with no neck who hangs out in the same pub as the writers and who claims to have served in the SAS) to say "that shouldn't happen, full-stop. A person shouldn't get from one zone to another, especially near players. That's a poor breakdown, I'd be kicking arse."
Meanwhile, the Herald on Sunday is frothing about the SST's irresponsibility, possibly because the HoS could not get find any stories, other than a plane being diverted and the usual car-crash heroes story. Some points should be given for effort, though, for attempting to build the golden triangle of Celebrity-Property-Tragedy in a story in which the "talented" younger brother of the heir to a property firm flies his plane into a van.
Friday, March 12, 2010
The Mayor is in the house
Thursday, March 11, 2010
A club of two halves
The reputation of football's playing fraternity was not enhanced yesterday when it emerged that 85 people had been shown the door by financially stricken Portsmouth while only two players had offered to take pay cuts to save the fate of the less well-off.This blog does not usually comment on matters concerning Association Football, but this story takes the half-time orange. Whilst appreciating that professional footballers have significant hairdressing expenses, one cannot help remarking something to the effect of "what a bunch of overpaid mercenary gits."
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
The strangeness of Comfort
New Zealand-born author Ray Comfort, who is now based in the United States, has written his own introduction to Darwin's groundbreaking work on evolution, where he argues for intelligent design. Melissa Day, of Comfort's New Zealand Living Waters Ministry, said the group planned to give away about 10,000 copies of the book today on university campuses in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.He's back! Christchurch's gift to Intelligent Design, Ray "bananas" Comfort, takes on the Intelligentsia at a campus near you.
I, for one, welcome this bold attempt to provide the Origin of Species with an introduction. We can only hope that Mr Comfort's followers notice that there are many other books in the libraries of our universities and encourage him to write further introductions. Perhaps we might soon be able to read his introductions to Middlemarch, The Open Society and its Enemies, Learning from Las Vegas and The Joy of Sex.
News from Northwich
Although the name The Charlatans was used when original members of the band were located in the West Midlands, many sources state that they formed in Northwich, Cheshire. This is because the band relocated to the home town of new lead singer Tim Burgess (who lived in Northwich) before the release of The Charlatans' debut single "Indian Rope" in 1990 on the band's own Dead Dead Good Records label. This means that, based on the definition of the hometown used by Guinness World Records, the band formed in Northwich and consequently Northwich is recorded as their home town in "Guinness World Records: British Hit Singles and Albums."It's that Wikipedia feeling: the uncanny sense that an entry has been amended by some pedantic nerd who wants the world to know he knows something the world does not, something which he will express in his own way.
Still, cracking good band, even if they did wear raincoats indoors:
Sunday, March 07, 2010
The Denny’s restaurant chain had been enjoying a wave of positive publicity after its most recent offer of free breakfasts, made in commercials that ran during the Super Bowl on Feb. 7. But a subsequent spot has earned the wrath of many consumers.Wut? When you work alone, it is easy to forget how stupid people can be when the work in groups, especially when those groups are in advertising.
The spot promoted another offer: to recognize the 150th anniversary of the end of the Irish famine, Denny’s would serve French fries and pancakes in all-you-can-eat portions.
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
It seemed like a good idea at the time
There appears to be a cross-party agreement to squander the public's money. Why? It's partly because many Tory and Lib Dem voters hate big, efficient windfarms, and this scheme appears to offer an alternative. But it's mostly because solar panels accord with the aspirations of the middle classes. The solar panel is the ideal modern status symbol, which signifies both wealth and moral superiority, even if it's perfectly useless.The British Government's Feed-in tariffs for solar panels.The independent report by Otago University researchers, commissioned by EECA, said the standard insulation upgrade was warming some homes in the deep south by less than half a degree.The NZ Government's home insulation scheme
The Conservative economic legacy is a massive transfer of wealth and power away from the majority of the people to capital, away from the poor to the rich, and away from the country to London. The economy has been financialised at the expense of more equitable productive wealth creation. Cameron has no political economy to enact his pro-social politics and his rhetoric of social justice.The Property-owning DemocracyThe church member who contacted the Herald said many in the congregation felt the covenant was going against the Gospel."It was a money-making scheme. All the people who make covenant with Bishop Tamaki have to buy a $300 ring. You might think I'm stupid for going into the church in the first place. But I [only] found out it was a cult after I went in."Destiny Church
Last week Seinfeld gavean interview to the New York Times in which he said he was unable to resist making the new programme. "If it's a good idea, you become its servant. A good idea has a draft suction, that you get pulled into it."The Marriage Ref, which turned out to have more suction than anyone expected.
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
Down with this sort of thing
This month's taxpayer-funded Art Monthly Australia magazine placed the photograph of the young dark-haired girl on the cover, sitting and with one nipple showing, to protest censorship of a recent photo exhibition featuring similarly naked children. "I can't stand this stuff," said Rudd, a staunch Christian whose centre-left Labor government won a sweeping victory over conservatives last year, in part on a vow to reinvigorate Australia's small but influential arts community.
A photograph of a nude six-year-old girl on the cover of a high-brow Australian art magazine today sparked an uproar after Prime Minister Kevin Rudd called it disgusting, infuriating liberal art critics.Sometimes, I wonder why Australia bothers having a rabid, frothing Christian Right when it can get the same sort of service from its Prime Minister. Sometimes, I recall the days when the Independent was a serious newspaper.
This month's taxpayer-funded Art Monthly Australia magazine placed the photograph of the young dark-haired girl on the cover, sitting and with one nipple showing, to protest censorship of a recent photo exhibition featuring similarly naked children.
"I can't stand this stuff," said Rudd, a staunch Christian whose centre-left Labor government won a sweeping victory over conservatives last year, in part on a vow to reinvigorate Australia's small but influential arts community.
What next? Will the Prime Minister demand the burning of Led Zeppelin albums? Will the Independent find more excuses for prurience?
Monday, March 01, 2010
When Art Historians attack
Mr Restellini is disliked by the French state cultural establishment for several reasons. He is an art historian (and an expert on Modigliani) but he has never taken the official French examination for museum curators. He is young and brash and speaks his mind publicly in a world that prefers discreetly poisonous intrigue. And he made his name in Japan and by running a series of successful exhibitions in the (now temporarily closed) Musée du Luxembourg, which belongs to the upper house of the French parliament.Discreetly poisonous intrigue... so, nothing unusual there.
Another reason to avoid Britain
Henry, from Essex, was the first man in Britain to have buttock implants. He hated his flat, skinny bottom but didn't have £7,000 to blow on surgery. So he approached an agency called Talk to the Press.
Launched two years ago by freelance journalist, Natasha Courtenay-Smith, the London firm receives more than 20 emails a day from people with tales to tell. Courtenay-Smith sold the buttock story to the Sunday Mirror and New! magazine and is seen in the documentary talking to Henry about a follow-up. As the narrator puts it, "For everyone involved, Henry's bottom has become a goldmine."Buttock implants, true life stories, PR agencies, instant celebrity; that's four reasons and I could go on; and, of course, women called Natasha.
Small surge in Napier; not many hurt
Leon Mickelson was fishing for paua at Red Rock Beach in Hawke's Bay when he was swamped by a metre-high surge of water, followed by two more waves. He had no idea a tsunami alert had been issued.
"This wall of water just hit me. I was getting tumbled across all the rocks, it was unbelievable. The force was just unstoppable. There was no way you could fight it, you just had to roll with it."
The water then sucked him 20 metres out into the ocean, bouncing over rocks. "It was like being in a washing machine. It just completely and utterly caught us out."
Mr Mickelson, 30, managed to swim ashore, and suffered cuts and bruises.No news of the paua has been reported. Meanwhile, in other news, 700 people in Chile are dead, two million are displaced. On Nine to Noon Kathryn Ryan talked to a man who has a daughter in Chile; she is fine, but they have had some difficulty keeping in contact with her.
Coming up: is New Zealand media parochial? We talk to somebody with a book to sell.
Prime Minister's Question Time
On one occasion Brown went round to No 10 to get an answer. One of Blair's inner circle who witnessed this says: "Gordon was just losing it. He was behaving like a belligerent teenager. Just standing in the office shouting: 'When are you going to fucking go?' "For one moment, although little did he know it, Gordon Brown spoke with the voice of the nation; nay, the voice of all nations.