Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Arts & Letters Randomly

# The Strategist gives a great pep talk to this jaded blogger.

# When Jesuses collide. What happens when you introduce three people who think they're Jesus? Not a lot, apparently. HT Arts & Letters Daily.

# I've only read Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential once, because I lent it to a chef who never returned it (The Howard Marks Book of Dope Stories went the same way). Suffice to say that the hospitality lifestyle infuses many cultural traits wherever in the world it might exist. Outlaws, artists and addicts. It goes with the territory.

Bourdain is doing the rounds plugging his latest book, Medium Raw. The Guardian has an excerpt, where Bourdain explains his disdain for industrial food, his unusual shared sympathies with vegans and Jamie Oliver, and the ongoing psychological battle between McDonalds and him over his daughter's soul food. Kim Hill had a good chat with him last weekend, where he goes on to explain his rationale. Namely, ammonia is not a valid food ingredient in the preparation of beef.

The Globe and Mail has a favourable review too. HT A&L again. Like an ex-smoker or a former lifestyle junkie can relate to, Bourdain remains wistful for the kitchen addiction. Don't we all (Oh no we don't).

# Hadyn Green wonders whether the Noughties left us with any memorable movie quotes, and not just boom, crash, kapow. A quick flick through a fairly good list of the top movies of the decade to refresh the memory, and it seems Haydn might have a point. It's no so much quotes as much as moments which drive things. Figurative explosions of narrative like Memento or the implosive meditations of No Country for Old Men.

# Vultures facing extinction as their innards are used to predict football scores.

# Roger Ebert points to some handy advice for the Labour Party from Saul Alinsky.

# Charlie Brooker writes on how his old stunt of playing up the Dick van Dyke Cockney or Hugh Grant toff when he travelled to the US has changed because of BP. Here's Clarke and Dawe on the oil spill. HT onegoodmove.

# Speaking of Yanks, Real Time with Bill Maher has been running a vote for the Stupidest State in the US. The winner?

# Meanwhile in Oz, Roy Morgan Research sez hard liquor sales rose after the introduction of an RTD tax. Way to go, harm minimisation people! In other alcohol news, check out the latest moral panic to freak out the USA vanilla people: Teens pouring vodka into eye sockets!!!

# The New Zealand Medical Association has announced it now supports medicinal marijuana. This is a historically very conservative organisation, so this is a big win.

# A fascinating photo essay of British gang life; The Firm:

# Sim City Porn; 20 years in Shanghai is a long time. Same place, different time, 1990 and 2010:

# continues tracking rural lending stories, with the real estate pimps  blaming the banks over the slump in farm lending and not, for example, the massive block of Crafar cow carve up that might flood the market if and when someone ends up buying it. The government might be pondering whether the Crafar golden cow is a strategic asset.

# Meantime in Auckland, the NZPA/NBR wonders whether there's such a thing as a strategic brewery. If selling Crafar is a headache, the $1 billion 5.2 hectare Lion Nathan Khyber Pass land will be like shitting a pineapple:

AMP Capital Investors plans to build apartments, offices, shops and a high-rise retirement village in what is believed to be the biggest property development in New Zealand. The site is about 10 minutes from Auckland's central business district, next to the Auckland Domain, and in the Auckland Grammar school zone.
But development plans are delayed and Cameron Brewer, chief executive of the Newmarket Business Association, is "increasingly concerned that this huge site could be abandoned for years."
# I have a theory that some people made a great deal of money in property and new home buyers are paying for that great swindle still. Here's Olly Newland with the numbers:

My parents bought their first home in the late 1930s for $800.
I bought my first investment property in 1959 for $600 and sold it 6 months later for $1,200.
I bought my first house in Astley Ave New Lynn in early 1960 for $6,000 and sold it 12 months later for $8,000.
All through the 1960's I was buying and selling Auckland houses for around $8,000 - $10,000.
In the 1970s I was doing the same for around $18,000 - $20,000
In the 1980s these same houses had reached $150,000 and in the 1990s $250,000.
These days you have to pay $350,000 for something half decent in the main centres (unless you buy in the slums or the wop-wops) and if that figure wobbles 5% or 10% either way -- so what?
# It's moments like this you can understand why Muslims avoid Act of God irony by forbidding images of their holy ones:

# Futurama soon. Devo included.