Hollow Mentions

Finally went to see The Hollow Men film tonight. It was just me and about ten lefties.

I’d been apprehensive about going since I found myself chatting to the editor, Abi King-Jones, at the Film Festival gala night.

“Oh I’m probably in that,” I joked, not for one moment suspecting I would be. After all, I’d escaped mention in the play.

“Yes you are,” she replied.

Oh gawd.

I thought it was a movie, with actors recreating the scenes from Hager’s book.

Naturally I enquired as to which portly, follically-challenged thespian was going to be putting my words in his mouth.

“Cohen Holloway,” said Abi.

I was pleased.

And terrified.

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Plain English

Gareth utters the D word

“Main Street just told Wall Street to get stuffed.”

So Gareth Morgan told Paul Holmes on Newstalk ZB this morning.

Then, just when I thought financial English couldn’t get any plainer, Gareth said this: 

“We’re toying with a depression.” Ouch.

And this: “New Zealand is extremely exposed.” Double ouch.

Even Gareth can’t get much more black and white than that. And this morning, his mood was all black.

Clearly the American moms and dads are leaning on their congressmen to exact revenge on the fat cats.

Yet by vetoing the $700 billion bailout of the finance sector, guess who they’re really punishing?

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I’ve been making radio ads for Kapiti Olive Oil.

The campaign features the impassioned critiques of my second-favourite chef, Raffaele Abbate from the wonderful Nicolini’s in Courtenay Place.

(No prizes for guessing my favourite: my son Paul from Logan Brown.)

Being immersed in olive oil culture for a week brought to mind this beautiful metaphor penned by St Augustine. It was a favourite of the great copywriter David Ogilvy.


The Stricken Chicken

“Oh why did the chicken cross the road?”
The chicken farmer cried.
The clairvoyant answered:
“To get to the other side.”

“You mean it wanted to be dead?”
The stricken chicken farmer said.
“Why else with death would it have diced
If not to be… a poultrygeist?”

(c) J Ansell 2008

An idea that came after a meal of satay chicken and an episode of Sensing Murder.


Peters-beater Bob bows out


The congenital lawyer… and the builder who demolished him.

I like Bob Clarkson. He gets things done. 

Like the clubhouse that he thought he’d build for his drag racing mates in Mt Maunganui.

Only he got a bit carried away and it ended up as a stadium – built in a matter of months.

“How did you put it up so quickly, Bob?” I once asked him.

“People,” he shot back.

“I’d just say to my guys, ‘You build me X number of rows this week, and I’ll put on the beers for a big party Friday night’.”

Winston Peters got done by Bob too. Twice. (If you count the electoral petition.)

How did he do it when so many more articulate Nats had failed?

Another one-word answer:


Only he said it without the g. “It’s all about reconization.”

That’s Bob-speak for branding.

He really should stick to the short Anglo-Saxon words. Long ones like testicles and foreign ones like burqa can be problematic. 

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Historic Lionic mauling

I’ve done this graph to show the magnitude of Jamie Joseph’s team’s achievement in winning the Shield in Auckland.

(Mind you, as you can see, the 27-0 mauling the Lions gave Auckland on Saturday is still ten short of the 37-point hammering Wellington got the last  time the two teams met in a Shield challenge at the same ground fifteen years ago.)

Remarkably, it was only the second time Wellington has ever lifted the Shield at Eden Park. The other time was in 1963, when victory was by the more sober margin of 8-3.

Wellington have won two other Ranfurly Shield matches in Auckland. But not at Eden Park. And only one of those was a challenge.

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26 years, 27-0!

They scored a point for every year it’s been gone – plus one for luck.

Tonight’s 27-0 shutout of Auckland was the biggest win by any Wellington Shield challenger in the 104 year history of the Log o’ Wood.

During the Great Black-and-Golden Shield Era of 1981-82 (yeah right), I paid a high price for waiting five games to get into the Shield spirit.

The first challenge I watched at Athletic Park turned out to be the last for a generation. 

To put it in perspective, my eldest son, who arrived three years after the Log’s departure, has had to wait until adulthood to have a chance to experience the otherprovincely phenomenon known as Shield Fever.

(Not that you give a stuff about rugby, eh Mike?)

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