Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Fatties slam Skinny Pepsi

Superior cola company Pepsi has launched a new taller, skinny can for its Diet Pepsi drink at New York Fashion Week 2011.

The company's marketing boss Jill Beraud says the "taller, sassier, attractive new can" is a "celebration of beautiful, confident women", and says the new product is "all about celebrating a beautiful shape".

The slimline Diet Pepsi cans (still containing 355 ml / 12 oz of cola goodness) will go on sale nationwide in the United States from early next month.

But some chunky critics are apparently outraged at PepsiCo Inc's plans, which they say promote the sales pitch that skinny is better. (Which it totally is).

The "National Eating Disorders Association" is most offended by the sexy, slimmer cans. It says the idea denigrates the majority of woman, and says the company is being "thoughtless and irresponsible".

Cola drinkers will still be able to buy Diet Pepsi in the traditional shorter stubbier shaped cans, along with regular Pepsi and other varieties like Pepsi Max. And I'm sure some of the biggest Diet Pepsi drinkers will continue to be the tubby ones who ask for the diet drink while ordering their mega burgers and extra large fries.

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Monday, 31 January 2011

Lefties look to dredge up the past

Caustic beneficiaries activist Sue Bradford isn't ruling out attempting a political comeback, if a new extreme left-wing party manages to get off the ground.

The red-for-life-Bradford spent a decade as a list MP for the "Green" party, before quitting in 2009 after losing out to Metiria Turei for the co-leadership position.

She has confirmed there are ongoing discussions about a new left-wing party, but won't say who's involved. Former New Labour/Alliance power browker Matt McCarten is another likely to be involved in any new party. McCarten is currently the national secretary of the Unite Union (hospitality and retail workers), and stood as an Independent candidate in the Mana by-election last October.

The old Alliance Party still exists, but struggles to garner support from the electorate, gaining just 0.08% of the vote in the 2008 General Election. However left-wing backers believe they can ease concerns over "wasted votes" and attract more support for a new party if they have a chance of gaining an electorate seat (meaning they don't need to reach the 5% MMP vote threshold).

Hone Harawira's showdown with the Maori Party hierarchy is seen as a timely "in" for the loopy-lefters, who believe his Te Tai Tokerau could be their potential doorway back to Parliament. Harawira's future in the Maori Party will be discussed tomorrow by its disciplinary and disputes committee, altho Harawira wasn't saying whether he'd be attending.

But while Bradford and Harawira may find some common ground over areas like a higher minimum wage and bigger welfare handouts, the two agendas may have difficulty working in tandem longterm, particurlary if that relationship ever included being part of a Government.

As David Farrar points out, voters are unlikely to willingly back a Goff-led Government which required the support of all of Russel Norman, Metiria Turei, Hone Harawira, Sue Bradford, and Winston Peters to pass any laws.

* Stuff: Bradford confirms Leftist party talk

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Monday, 17 January 2011

Thousands grin and bare for No Pants 2011

Despite freezing winter temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere, thousands turned out for the 10th Annual No Pants Subway Ride on January 9th 2011.

Organised by comedy/prank group Improv Everywhere, participants have to ride the subway (or similar mass public transport system in their city), but without wearing pants (as in the trouser-variety... suitable underwear is a definite must!)

New York City is the hub of the annual event, with an estimated 3,500 people taking part in 'No Pants 2K11'. The riders were split into six different locations across the city to begin their subway ride, which covered 10 lines before converging on Union Square. Apparently at some stations, the number of pant-less people outnumbered the bewildered clothed travellers.

Thousands of other travellers also took part in at least 50 cities in 24 countries around the world, including London, Adelaide, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Mexico City, Las Vegas, Chicago, Seoul, Stockholm and Wellington, New Zealand.

The challenge for riders was to keep a straight face and "act normally" on their pants-less commute. Many participants read newspapers and books, listened to music, and casually chatted with friends on the train.

If they were asked by other subway riders why they were dressed that way, participants were asked to say they were "feeling uncomfortable" or simply "forgot their pants".

Improv Everywhere says their aim is to cause "scenes of chaos and joy in public places". The No Pants Subway Ride is their highest profile and most popular annual stunt.

Official No Pants 2K11 video from Improv Everywhere...

2011 No Pants Subway Ride: Train

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Sunday, 16 January 2011

Starbucks dumps the Coffee

Coffee giant Starbucks has annoyed loyal customers with its latest logo revamp. The international coffee chain has dropped the "Starbucks" brand name from its new logo, along with the word "coffee". Only the green twin-tailed mermaid siren remains, as the company looks to expand its market offerings.

The changes will be rolled out worldwide, following trials in Starbucks' home base of Seattle, Washington. Three stores were "debranded" and remodelled as local coffee houses. One on Capitol Hill also serves wine and beer, along with hosting live music and poetry readings. Starbucks has also overhauled its menu in the United States, adding salads and healthier baked goods.

Starbucks last changed its distinctive logo in 1992, but the 2011 upgrade hasn't impressed fans of the coffee chain. Hundreds of complaints have been posted on the company's American website, along with plans to bombard Starbucks with complaints by phone and snail mail.

The logo change has been prompted by plans by Starbucks to build new brands, as well as promoting the company's other brands including instant coffee label VIA "Ready Brew" and Seattle's Best Coffee.

Experts say the nameless logo may not hurt sales at Starbucks stores, but could be a bad fit for Starbucks products sold in grocery stores and other retail outlets.
Meanwhile, the chain has also hit the headlines for its new oversized 31-ounce (916 ml) beverage size, which is apparently larger than the average human stomach. Customers will be able to select the 'Trenta' size for Iced coffee, Iced Tea, and Iced tea lemonade drinks.

The Trenta has already been rolled out in 14 states across the United States, and will go nationwide there from May. (No word yet on whether the Trenta will also be added to international Starbucks stores. The 24 ounce Venti is currently the largest size available outside the US).

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Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Ralph Mag goes out with a Chk Chk Boom

lossy Aussie men's magazine Ralph is closing down after 13 years in print, after struggling in the competitive print magazine marketplace. Changing tastes have lifted Zoo Weekly to the most popular men's mag with young Australian men.

The July 2010 edition of Ralph will be the final print version of the magazine, although the brand is expected to continue through an online presence.

The magazine launched back in 1997, with the honour of being the last Ralph covergirl has gone to 20 year old Sydney babe Clare Werbeloff - better known to most people as the "Chk Chk Boom Girl".

Werbeloff became an internet celebrity, after a TV news clip of her giving a hilarious eyewitness account of a shooting outside a King Cross nightclub became a viral hit.

Her account was later revealed to be false, apparently made in the heat of the moment after a drunken night on the town. Werbeloff told reporters, "I didn’t think it would blow out of proportion like this".

Final issue of Ralph Magazine, July 2010, Clare Werbeloff.

* Ralph - Chk Chk Boom babe Clare Werbeloff

- Can't remember Clare the Kings Cross bogan's eyewitness story?...

“There were these two wogs fighting, The fatter wog said to the skinnier wog: ‘Oi bro, you slept with my cousin’.
And the other one said: ‘Nah man, I didn’t for shit, eh’ and the other one goes: ‘I will call on my fully sick boys, eh’.

And then pulled out a gun and went chk-chk boom!”
Pure class!  Werbeloff is now also working on the Australian version of the TV show The Real Hustle for the Nine network.

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Monday, 21 June 2010

Nude Rugby Attracts Big Crowd in Dunedin

There were big celebrations in Dunedin on Saturday night, as the All Blacks beat the Welsh 42-9 in their final rugby test at Carisbrook ground.

Earlier that day, their naked rugby counterparts the Nude Blacks beat rivals the Welsh Leeks at Logan Park ground (an unofficial score had the result as 20-15).

It's currently winter in Dunedin (in the South Island of New Zealand), but it was an unseasonally day for this year's nude rugby game, which attracted its largest ever crowd. Over a thousand spectators (including students, couples, and families) turned out to watch the fun and cheer on the brave players.

Veteran local player Dave Bourke again led the Nude Blacks in the 7th Bottom Bus Nude Rugby International, while visiting newcomer Johnny Morris captained the Welsh Leeks.

The Nude Blacks perform a haka before the game

And the Welsh Leeks respond with an equally intimidating Welsh Jig...

Former All Blacks John Timu and Richard Lowe acted as the (fully clothed) referees for the game, which featured all the traditional nude rugby elements, including a nude haka, a clothed streaker, a staged brawl, and a toilet-seat trophy.

A female nude streaker also got in on the action this year, being persuaded to stay in join in the game and take part in a lineout.

She then managed to score a try for the Nude Blacks, rejoining the action later as a naked cop to arrest an ill-disciplined clothed streaker.

A female streaker joins in the fun on the field

Referee Richard Loe struggles to stop the on-field brawl...

* More info & photos here: 7th Annual Nude Rugby International (Part 2)...

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7th Annual Nude Rugby International (Part 2)

The Nude Blacks continued their winning streak in Dunedin this past weekend, and have now won all 7 naked rugby test victories (5 on the beach, 2 on grass).

The popular annual event is an unofficial curtain raiser to All Blacks test matches staged in Dunedin. It's organised by New Zealand local touring companies Bottom Bus and Headfirst Travel, and features a mix of Otago students and visiting players.

The naked policewoman runs in to arrest the game's clothed streaker...

The Nude Blacks celebrate another victory

Members of the NZ and Welsh 2010 nude rugby teams

Fans mob the nude rugby players after the game for photos & autographs

Organiser Ralph Davies and Welsh Captain Johnny Morris
giving interviews to the local and international media

* Also see: Nude Rugby Attracts Big Crowd in Dunedin...

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Monday, 14 June 2010

An Ill Wind That Blows No Good

Is that constant buzzing noise during the FIFA World Cup matches doing your head in yet?

As football fans are learning, the sound isn't coming from a swarm of angry bees or locusts, that buzzing is apparently a "musical instrument" (of sorts).

South African fans are used to the colourful plastic horns known as Vuvuzelas (or Lepatata in the Setswana language), which they say sound like a herd of charging elephants. The stadium horns are about a metre long, and produce an annoyingly loud high-pitched noise which many people say is drowning out the usual singing and other match atmosphere.

The instruments have long been a feature at South African sports games, and apparently require some lip and lung strength to blow and produce the loud monotone note. (A similar kind of plastic horn is also common in Latin America).

The vuvuzelas have been slammed by everyone from the international footballers, through to the visiting fans, and the broadcasters trying to cover the matches at the FIFA World Cup in South Africa (who say it drowns out the commentators).

Soccer fans have described the noise from the horns as "mindless" and "excruciating", with petitions and Facebook groups being set up calling for them to be banned at the event.
There was talk in the media that the World Cup organising committee was considering banning the noisy trumpets, but they have since confirmed that won't be happening. They have however asked crowds not to use vuvuzelas during national anthems or during other spoken announcements.

However Fifa president Sepp Blatter claims the vuvuzela-haters just don't understand African culture, and he reckons it adds to the atmosphere in South Africa.

For the technically minded, the droning sound can sometimes be reduced or cancelled out on modern TVs, by adjusting the sound settings to drop a specific frequency. You can even buy an 'Anti Vuvuzela Filter', which claims to cancel out the sound of the horns.

* NZ Herald - FIFA World Cup: Ban vuvuzelas, say football fans
* Guardian.co.uk - Vuvuzelas set to soundtrack tournament
* Pocket-link - How to cancel out the vuvuzela on your TV

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Big Cats Love CK; Save Cool Water for the Cougars

Have the blokes out there got a favourite cologne? For me it's definitely Abercrombie & Fitch's popular cologne Fierce (a version of which they spritz on the clothes they sell in stores), followed closely by Hollister's SoCal (another familiar smell, thanks to more in-store clothes spritzing).

On the other hand if you're looking for a cougar, you might be better off going for something more traditional, like Cool Water by Davidoff or Diesel Fuel for Life.

But watch out next time you go tramping in the jungles of Guatemala, and leave your CK at home!  Biologists tracking and photographing jaguars in Guatemala's Maya Biosphere Reserve have found the big cats are big fans of the Calvin Klein cologne Obsession for Men.
The cologne is used to attract jaguars to their camera traps, and follows research by scientists at New York's Bronx Zoo. They tested out 23 different fragrances on cheetahs there, with Obsession for Men holding the big cats' attention for the longest time.

* Reuters - Scientists use Calvin Klein cologne to lure jaguars

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Friday, 28 May 2010

The Students Are Revolting!

This was the scene recently at Otago University, as warriors clad in cardboard and rolled up newspapers battled rival soldiers along the Leith River and on the Union Lawn...

You could forgive Otago University students for wanting to stage a revolt, but this is actually the annual Selwyn College Capping Battle, traditionally fought between the hall's male students and members of the local 'Lindskii regiment' (now supplemented by former Selwyn residents, or 'Exies').

The female students also have a vital role to play in the battle. The girls take on the role of Nurses, "reviving" fallen warriors on the battlefield with a nip of red wine (or whatever red liquid they decide to fill their bottles with that day).
The battle's been part of Capping Week celebrations since the early 80s, with the more committed amongst the students spending many hours constructing the cardboard and paper armour and weapons.

For now, it's all fun. But don't be surprised to see a similar uprising from the wider student body in a few years time, if the crazy old cats running Otago University continue down their current crusade of self destruction.

Varsity bigwigs recently unveiled a grand 25-year 'Master Plan' for the University of Otago Campus. Planners are expecting an extra 7,000 students by the end of that period, along with 500 more staff, and the need for an additional 100,000sqm in floor space.
Unfortunately, that healthy increase in Otago's campus population may never happen if the University's incessant campaign to kill off the traditional 'Scarfie lifestyle' continues unchecked.

The 'powers that be' seem to have convinced themselves that students from all over the country choose Otago purely on academic grounds, with no consideration for the unique 'Studentville' atmosphere which has attracted young people to the chilly south for decades.

The Otago University Council recently voted to close down the Design Studies department for apparent financial reasons.

Yet somehow it managed to find the spare funds to buy local drinking landmark 'The Gardies', paying around half a million dollars over the market value for the pub to ensure it stayed out of the hands of anyone else.

The University still hasn't decided what to do with the building, although it has made it clear it doesn't have any plans to get into the pub business.
The University's haste in making a over-market offer had more to do with concerns that another hospitality industry entrepreneur could enter the frame, than any of its claims of "space requirements".

The Gardens Tavern, at the end of Castle Street, was partly squeezed out by restrictive opening hours (which the University and Police campaigned heavily in favour of). The University has already taken over the former premises of The Bowler, and is trying hard to trip up The Cook.

Otago University is now looking to put another nail into Castle Street, by leasing 14 flats from a tenancy agency (plus 6 in Cumberland St), which it will sub-let only to International Students.

The University obviously believes these students will not indulge in evil activities like drinking games or couch fires, and the new-approved residents will all be in bed by 10pm.
(Except for weekends, when Castle Street can probably look forward to non-stop Karaoke sessions, including painful renditions of the Bob Dylan classic 'Ray Rady Ray').

OUSA magazine Critic rightly described the move as another step in the University's "ongoing war against the `Scarfie' drinking culture". Local rag the ODT however bought the line of University officials, who not surprisingly denied the plan was "designed to counter the excesses of student culture".

Could this be the caption in 25 years time?... R.I.P. Otago University?

[ Right now I'm listening to: ^ Eminem - Not Afraid
^ La Roux - Bulletproof

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