Martini Meanderings

March 30, 2008

A couple of weeks ago I was in the Brooklyn bar with a few colleagues when Paul mentioned a cocktail called a “wanker” that was based on tequila. We got chatting and I mentioned that I’d been wondering about a tequila-based martini. Paul agreed to try one with me if we could come up with a recipe. So we “invented” ourselves the tequila martini “wanker”. After drinking it, much to the disgust of one or two of our companions, we altered the recipe slightly and got to the “tosser”. Read the rest of this entry »


Blogs, bar talk and corridor commentaries – shorthand #2

March 29, 2008

My colleague Helen doesn’t like the idea of virtual discussions, she doesn’t really fancy blogging as a way of having a “conversation”. As a “hackademic” she still thinks like a journo and prefers to yarn with mates and peers in the bar. It seems a lot of journos feel that way.

I’ve had a few comments on my recent “why do we need shorthand” post, but it’s been interesting to find out from doing the rounds of newshound watering holes that it has been much more widely read and discussed than the few comments on the blog would lead us to assume.

A meeting in my office with Mike Fletcher of the JTO elicited the information that my comments have caused some traditional hacks to palpitate at the heresy of thought that shorthand might no longer be a core skill for our young graduates. The day before, a phone call from a senior Auckland news editor alerted me to the fact that there’s a subterranean conversation about shorthand underway. “Ah,” I thought, “this is interesting”. Read the rest of this entry »


McCanns’ win lesson to the tabloids?

March 20, 2008

The couple at the centre of a European missing persons case have won a substantial libel suit against two leading British newspapers.

Kate and Gerry McCann, both doctors, are the parents of Madelaine McCann, the three-year-old girl who disappeared from the couple’s holiday flat in the Portugese resort town of Praia da Luz in May 2007.

The case has confounded investigators. Initial reports suggested Madelaine had been taken from the apartment during the evening while her parents ate supper at a tapas bar down the road.

Then in September 2007 the Portugese police announced that Gerry and Kate were suspects in the disappearance. At that point the British tabloid press went into a frenzy. All sorts of weird stories began to emerge, including rumours that the McCann’s had killed the child and disposed of her body.

The story was weird too because the McCann’s had gone to the media and launched a high profile campaign to have their missing daughter returned.

The English tabloids reported all the rumours in front page splash stories and the McCann’s sued.

A court has ordered the Express and the Daily Star newspapers to publish an apology and pay an undisclosed sum (rumoured to be more than half a million dollars) to the couple.

It’s one thing to win a libel suit, it’s another to have suspicion of murder lifted. Read the rest of this entry »


A blast from Palast

March 20, 2008

I don’t really have anything of substance to add, but this spray from Greg Palast on the hypocrisy in Washington and New York over the Spitzer affair is worth linking too just for the humour in the writing and the venom in the digital pen.
Eliot’s Mess

Here’s a taster:

While New York Governor Eliot Spitzer was paying an ‘escort’ $4,300 in a hotel room in Washington, just down the road, George Bush’s new Federal Reserve Board Chairman, Ben Bernanke, was secretly handing over $200 billion in a tryst with mortgage bank industry speculators.

Read the rest below the fold. Read the rest of this entry »


Bouqets not brickbats

March 16, 2008

I thought I’d keep readers up-to-date with the Blue Chip story from last week. I had a go at the Herald on Sunday for its front page piece about businessman Mark Bryers and his visits to an Auckland brothel.

I noted at the time that it would be interesting to see what the paper came up with this week. Well, it’s a much more detailed expose of some of Bryers’ and Blue Chips money trails. Much more like a good investigative piece; though still no allegations of criminal behaviour; just dodgy dealings and attempts to evade process servers.

And while I’m handing out some praise today, I thought the front page lead in Saturday’s NZ Herald about the difference in pay rates for New Zealand and Chinese flight attendants on Air New Zealand international services was great.

It had all the ingredients to make me really angry with Air New Zealand. It exposed their dreadful behaviour, one could almost suggest Air NZ is being racist in its dealings with Chinese staff. Of course the airline argues it’s contract is with a Chinese labour hire company and that the pay rates are about what the attendants would get in China – it’s all relative, the airline says. Read the rest of this entry »


A day in the life of Ashley Dupre: Celebrity callgirl to callgirl celebrity

March 15, 2008

It seems that 24 hours is a lifetime in the blogosphere. Just yesterday I was defending the right to privacy for sex workers caught up in scandals and media stories.
Now I find myself being amazed again at how quickly some people can turn adversity into a new adventure. Read the rest of this entry »


Prostitutes, privacy and media harrassment

March 14, 2008

Good things come in threes…but not it seems if you’re a sex worker caught up in a high profile media broo-ha-ha.
I recently mentioned a Herald on Sunday story that outed an Auckland businessman who frequented a brothel in the city. My point then was that the guy had done nothing illegal (at least as far as the paper could report), so why was the HoS harassing him?

I got a brief reply to an email I sent to the journalist. Basically her response was “I know a lot more, but can’t say anything for legal reasons.” Let’s see what next Sunday brings – perhaps another installment in that story.

The story also featured a photograph of a woman who, according to the caption, was a worker from the brothel in question. Her face was turned away from the camera, but she’d be identifiable to people who know her.

Now this week the New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective has gone public with a complaint about an immigration department raid on another Auckland brothel in November last year when officials were accompanied by a television crew shooting for a reality TV series called Borderline which is produced by Auckland company Cream TV. Read the rest of this entry »


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