Friday, February 13, 2004

Livin large
There's Hugh Hefner swanning around his Playboy Mansion surrounded by a sea of breasts, talking about his life. Somehow this two hour homage to the man (made by his own company, Playboy Enterprises) made it into TV3's Documentary slot. Strange. Still, the archive footage of Hugh's old tv shows was pretty cool, and he was candid about certain aspects of his life, such as living in a house with six girlfriends;
"My life is an open book" said Hugh, "with really great illustrations!" Hefner pays $US1.1m in rent annually to Playboy Enterprises for his mansion.
What do Lemmy from Motorhead and Hugh Hefner have in common? Why, Viagra, of course. Here's Lemmy's 12 Questions, from the Playboy website.

Speechwriter David Slack has some good comments on Don Brash's controversial speech, noting that what Brash was trumpeting on about were vague notions that had wide appeal, or as he sees it "baseless unsubstantiated assertions." He's set up a great pop quiz on his site to see just how much you know about the issues behind his speech. Take the test, you'll learn something about the treaty claims etc. I scored so-so.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Do fries go with that shake?
The same day McDonalds launch their new healthy salads and wraps range with corporate mouthpiece NZ cyclist Sarah Ulmer, Consumer magazine announces that McDonalds have come out tops in a survey on the fattiest fries.

"It found McDonald's fries were the least healthy, containing almost 17 grams of fat per 100g, despite the company's recent change from using saturated beef fat to a vegetable oil for the final cooking stage of its chips.
McDonald's fries had more than three times the fat content of Pizza Haven chips which, at just 4.5g of fat and 721 kilojoules per 100g, were the overall winners in the survey.
At present McDonald's uses beef fat in the factories which make and precook its fries, but by May this year, all chips will be cooked in vegetable oil for the entire process." Burger King, Nandos, and KFC were just behind McDs.

I've been reading Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser (heres a few interviews with him, here and here), and he outlines how McDonalds have claimed that their fries are part of their restaurant range that is suitable for vegetarians. They later denied it, but found themselves in court being sued by Seattle lawyer Harish Bharti, on behalf of unhappy Hindus (there are 1 million Hindus and 15 million vegetarians in the US).

"Word of the Seattle lawsuit became big news in India, whose Hindu population does not eat beef for religious reasons. Indians held anti-McDonald's protests, vandals hit one restaurant, and some radical Hindu groups called for the fast-food chain to leave the country."

"The company apologized for any confusion surrounding beef flavoring in its U.S. french fries. McDonald's has said it adds a small amount of beef extract while the potatoes are cooked.
News reports on the case outraged some Hindus in India, who smashed windows at McDonald's franchises. McDonald's said fries sold in India have never been flavored with beef extract."

The lawsuit was settled in 2002; "McDonalds has agreed to donate $10 million to Hindu and other groups to settle lawsuits filed against the chain for mislabeling french fries and hash browns as vegetarian.

McDonald's also posted an apology on its Web site, acknowledging that mistakes were made in communicating to customers and the public about the ingredients in the fries and hash browns. The vegetable oil used to prepare the fries and hash browns was not pure, but contained essence of beef for flavoring purposes. Many Hindus consider cows sacred and do not eat beef."

McDonalds in NZ proudly proclaim on their website that they are NZs biggest first time employer, which is kind of like saying 'look, we hire lots of teenagers so we can pay them minimum wage!' The annual turnover of staff in fast food restaurants is often close to 100%. Go figure. Can't wait to see Morgan Spurlocks a film called Super Size Me: A Film of Epic Portions. He ate McDonalds for a month, at every meal. He gained 12kg. Now that's suffering for your art, don't you think?

Monday, February 09, 2004

Don Brash - contortionist.
He managed to put not one, but both feet in his mouth over the weekend.... check the following quotes....

...Dr Brash, who was part of Dame Silvia's official party at Government House, said his reference to the "one people" term was not about making New Zealand a homogeneous nation. "I'm very comfortable with different cultures. Clearly. I've got a Chinese wife."

"Many employers faced with the choice of hiring a Maori or non-Maori of equal qualifications, equal merit, might very well choose the non-Maori, because of the risk that the Maori might be away for a significant chunk of time".
Is he talking about Maori tangi's? Their funerals only last three days. Or maybe its to do with Maori life expectancy being ten years less than Pakeha, they all drop off a bit sooner. Or maybe he is referring to low income Maori who can't afford decent health care, so they just get sick and stay home. What planet is this fool on?
He says the issue is that the Government should be dealing with all NZers on the basis of need, not race. At the low income end of the spectrum, 22 % of Pakeha students leaver school with no qualifications; 35% of Maori in the same group. The Sunday Star Times came up with a bunch more statistics like this one; for example, race-based funding in health - those programmes specifically targeted for Maori - amount to about 2% of the health budget. Maori make up 15.4 per cent of the population. More here.

Wonder if Don took the Chinese wife to the Lantern Festival?