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Daily Bite January 2010

This month in the Daily Bite: Haiti, top-ten lists, pigs, 'Hurt Locker' and much more.

Daily Bite January 2010

30.01.10: Holy disaster Batman!

The 1997 movie starring Clooney as the caped crusader with Chris O’Donnell as Robin and Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl came top in an online survey by film magazine Empire to find the most disastrous film ever made.

Here’s top 10:

1. Batman and Robin starring George Clooney, Alicia Silverstone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Uma Thurman

2. Battlefield Earth (2000) starring John Travolta, Forest Whitaker

3. The Love Guru (2008) with Mike Myers

4. Raise the Titanic (1980) with Jason Robards, David Selby

5. Epic Movie (2007)

6. Heaven’s Gate (1980)

7. Sex Lives of the Potato Men (2004)

8. The Happening (2008) with Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel

9. Highlander 2: The Quickening (1991)

10. The Room (2003)

29.01.10: Help for Haiti

In the wake of George Clooney and Haitian-born rapper Wyclef Jean’s star-packed telethon on January 22, a similar star-packed album Hope For Haiti Now has debuted at number 1 on the US pop chart, becoming the first digital-only release to achieve this feat since records were first kept nearly 54 years ago.

The album, featuring songs performed by the likes of Madonna, Bruce Springsteen and Taylor Swift during the US televised telethon, sold 171,000 copies, while its TV predecessor  raised $61 million thus far, organisers say.

28.01.10: Calling all nudists

New York photographer Spencer Tunick is looking for thousands of Australians to disrobe in the name of art on the steps of the Sydney Opera House.

The photographer, who has produced almost 100 installations around the world, wants to create an installation involving nude volunteers on the steps of the Sydney Opera House on Monday, March 1.

Tunick is hoping at least 2,000 people will get involved in the photograph to be called The Base.

“In a way, I’m making a base for the structure, a base for the architecture – and by combining straight and gay and lesbian people I’m weaving the different sexes and society together to form this wonderful fabric that holds up this gorgeous building,” he said.

27.01.10: British folk rule

British folk band Mumford and Sons has been awarded the top spot on Triple J’s 2009 Hottest 100 list for their song Little Lion Man.

Despite criticism from industry insiders that the award has become to mainstream hundreds of thousands of people across Australia and overseas continue to vote in the annual countdown.

Here’s the top ten according to the masses.

    1.    Little Lion Man – Mumford and Sons

    2.    Parlez Vous Francais? – Art vs Science

    3.    Chase That Feeling – Hilltop Hoods

    4.    Lisztomania – Phoenix

    5.    Broken Leg – Bluejuice

    6.    Bulletproof – La Roux

    7.    Coin Laundry – Lisa Mitchell

    8.    Not Fair – Lily Allen

    9.    Uprising – Muse

    10.  Dog Days are Over – Florence and the Machine

26.01.10: Titanic goes down

The sci-fi epic Avatar has surpassed the romantic epic Titanic, with no sign ticket sales, awards and critical accolades will ease.

The worldwide total for James Cameron’s movie stands at $US1.859 billion after Monday’s sales, beating the $US1.843 billion haul racked up by Titanic in 1997.

Avatar broke the seemingly insurmountable record set by Titanic in little over six weeks, handing Cameron the remarkable feat of directing the world’s two biggest movies of all time.

The film took more than five years to make and was reportedly one of the most expensive films, with a budget of at least $US300 million.

25.01.10: Tireless campaigner

A seven-year-old British boy has raised more than 60,000 pounds (AUS$107,000) in a day for survivors of the Haiti earthquake by doing a sponsored bike ride.

Charlie Simpson set out to collect around 500 pounds ($890) for a UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) appeal by cycling eight kilometres around his local park in London, but his efforts inspired hundreds of people to donate online.

According to his website, he started his fundraising efforts after seeing shocking images of children being pulled alive from the rubble in the Caribbean nation.

“My name is Charlie Simpson, I want to do a Sponsored Bike Ride for Haiti because there was a big earthquake and loads of people have lost their lives. I want to make some money to buy food, water and tents for everyone in Haiti,” he wrote.

To find out more about Charlie’s fundraising campaign visit:

www.justgiving.com/CharlieSimpson-HAITI

23.01.10: Surely not Jack!

The Jack Russell terrier could be fast becoming one of Australia’s most dangerous dogs, according to the latest New South Wales dog attack register.

The state’s government has released its quarterly dog attack report for the period between October and December last year.

Topping the list of 20 breeds that bite was the Staffordshire bull terrier, followed by the Australian cattle dog and the German shepherd, while the seemingly harmless Jack Russell bred came in at number seven.

22.01.10: Oh Paris!

One hundred years ago, the river Seine burst its banks and filled the elegant boulevards of Paris with torrents of muddy water, forcing thousands of inhabitants out of their homes and cutting off power for months. Now experts are warning it could happen again, only worse potentially turning the city into France’s version of Venice – a city linked by watery canals. 

Some of Paris’s revered art institutions are already working on flood plans, according to Reuters the Louvre, Musee d’Orsay and Musee du Quai Branly will be able to spirit the priceless works stored in their basements to a safehouse at Cergy-Pontoise, a town northwest of the French capital, leaving the flooded city to its water drenched inhabitants.

21.01.10: Pigs

Some of the first wild boar to roam free in England for 300 years have been raiding rubbish bins, attacking dogs and digging up green spaces in villages scattered around England’s first national forest park.

Aside from being an ole fashioned nuisance the rampaging porcine are also turning into wily predators.  Weighing up to 200kg and roaming a territory of several kilometers, in past weeks they’ve garnered a poor reputation for attacking family pets – not  a good idea when there are villagers baying for their blood.

Ecologist Martin Goulding, who holds a doctorate degree in Wild Boar Ecology, is, however, standing up for the boars telling Reuters that scavenging was a natural activity for the porcine raiders.” He goes on to iterate that, “the boar are indigenous creatures with a right to live in England whose activities are mostly a benefit to the environment. ”  Shame about the family dog.

20.01.10: Willie wombat

As helicopters hovered above the Block in the Sydney suburb of Redfern yesterday keeping a watchful eye on England’s future king on the ground “Willie Wombat”, aka Prince William, was getting his comeuppance at the ping-pong table.  His victorious opponent Reegan Carr, said he should ”stick to what he’s good at – not ping pong”.

In Sydney for a fleeting visit, the Prince made a specific request to meet indigenous leaders many of whom took warmly to the prince referring to him by the nickname he was given when he first visited Australia as an infant with his parents.

While meeting community leaders in Redfern Prince William was also given a letter intended to be given to King George in 1937 protesting against the treatment of indigenous people. The Aboriginal activist Lyall Munro handed the letter to the prince, telling him as the future king he could help restore the rights and dignity of indigenous people.

One of the thousand-plus crowd, Ms Cummins, said she was proud the prince visited an indigenous community. ”That really overwhelms me and I said to myself, ‘He’s just like his mum.’ ”

19.01.10: It’s a pop-fest

A quartet of high-flying females will dominate next month’s Brit awards, according to the nomination list for the most glittering night in the UK music calender revealed this week. Lady Gaga, Florence and the Machine, Lily Allen and Pixie Lott were nominated for three awards, matched only by tweenybopper band of the moment, X factor runners-up JLS. 

I think it’s safe to assume the Brits like their sparkly pop tarts.

18.01.10: ‘The Hurt Locker’

The awards season has begun well for American director Kathryn Bigelow. Her suspense-filled film The Hurt Locker, about a bomb disposal unit in Baghdad, took home prizes for best picture and best director at the Critics’ Choice Awards on Friday, The Associated Press reported.

“It’s wonderful to have this honor,” Ms. Bigelow said at the ceremony, “but the recognition should also go to the men and women who are in the field to this day.”

For more on the 2010 movie awards season what this space …

17.01.10: Tennis Power

The world’s top tennis talents raised over AUS$200,000 for the Haiti earthquake appeal in an exhibition match today.

World number 1 Roger Federer arranged the Hit for Haiti charity event in only 24 hours after being shocked by the television pictures from across the other side of the world.

The Swiss star quickly enlisted Rafael Nadal, Andy Roddick, Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams, Kim Clijsters, and Aussie stars Lleyton Hewitt and Sam Stosur to play a light-hearted set of doubles, including repeated substitutions, with Jim Courier acting as chair umpire.

For a full list of aid organisations taking donations visit news.com.au

15.01.10: Jimi at the top of his game

An album featuring previously unreleased recordings by rock legend Jimi Hendrix will go on sale next month in the US almost four decades after the rock legend’s premature death.  Valley’s of Neptune, features 12 fully realised studio recordings and has been described by longtime engineer Eddie Kramer as, “wonderfully fresh material … you hear the pure essence of the band”.  Jimi’s sister Janie Hendrix, co-producer of the album and CEO of Experience Hendrix, said “his brilliance shines through on every one of these precious tracks”.

14.01.10: Smeared with the plagiarism brush

It is quickly raking in the dollars worldwide ($1.3bn to-date), amused the critics, and spawned yet another generation of Cameron fans, not-to-mention posited Australian actor Sam Worthington in the hottest Hollywood star seat.

But the film director James Cameron is facing this week accusations that his 3D blockbuster Avatar owes an unacknowledged debt to the popular Soviet fantasy writers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky.

Writing on Monday in Russia’s leading liberal newspaper Novaya Gazeta, the author and journalist Dmitry Bykov pointed out there were a lot of similarities. St Petersburg’s communists, meanwhile, have condemned Avatar as a gung-ho rip-off of Soviet science fiction.

The UK Guardian, taking up the case, points, however, out that there would “inevitably be similarities between Avatar and the Strugatskys’ intellectually demanding novels as both were anti-utopian fantasies. The brothers’ work sold millions of copies, with many reading their intricate fantasies as a thinly disguised satire on the KGB communist system.”

13.01.10: Attempted murder, or not?

Reported in the New Zealand Herald today is the news that the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has filed with New Zealand police a complaint of attempted murder against the captain of a Japanese whaling vessel, which collided with the Ady Gil vessel on January 6, 2009.

“The crew of the Shonan Maru 2 assaulted the crew of the Ady Gil with the use of military grade LRAD (long range acoustic device) systems and high-pressure hoses.

“Further to this, the deliberate ramming of the Ady Gil, we believe to be attempted murder,” Bill Watson, head of Sea Shepherd New Zealand, told 3News.

12.01.10: It was only a matter of time

The conservative firebrand has signed a multi-year deal to serve as a Fox News contributor, the cable channel’s executive vice president for programing, Bill Shine, said in a statement.

The move will help give Palin a large audience for her views (naive and ultra conservative that they are),  as she mulls whether to run for president in 2012.

Look out Oprah!

11.01.10: The fascinating world of hipsters

In what is surely one of the stranger hipster fads, the New York Times have uncovered a group of people (specifically: 10) who call themselves “cavemen” or “paleos”.  They live in the New York city, but try to replicate in diet, exercise, and other lifestyle choices, the caveman lifestyle. They eat raw meat and leap around barefoot through the brush. They hate vegans, and judge each other for not being extreme enough cavemen.

Riiight. Sounds Super.

09.01.10:  Pirate madness

Johnny Depp received the Favorite Movie Actor Of The Decade award at the People’s Choice Awards last week night in LA, based on an online poll.

The modest actor went on to say, “The only reason that any of us are up here is because of you,” after accepting the award. “It has been quite an amazing decade and an incredible ride, and I sincerely thank all of you for bestowing on me all your great treasures.”

Ah how nice.  But just how good is Johnny Deep at his craft.  Is he better than, say, Daniel Day Lewis, Sean Penn or Javier Bardem?  Or is he just good looking?  Who’s to say.

08.01.10: Celebrity hunting

So. Here’s a bit of celebrity news to pass the time.  Angelina Jolie was snapped by the feisty celeb hunters at New York magazine this week cursing around NYC with the little ones, bundled up against the arctic blast, in tow. The actress, humanitarian and uber-mum was in town to shoot scenes for her latest film Salt.  This is all very pedestrian and not really news worthy, but New York magazine goes on to mention that the role in question was original assumed by Tom Cruise … what?  Now that is kind of interesting. Is Tom Cruise now a woman?

07.01.10: Lots of Love

Big news from the annals of Courtney Love. The ever morphing musician / actress / all-round red carpet vixen is rumored to be hitting the stage later this year with her former band Hole. Well, sort of.

Barring legal action from past band members, the gig at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London on 17 February will be the band’s first concert in almost 11 years – that is, assuming they are still calling themselves Hole by the time they take the stage. Hole co-founder Eric Erlandson (who will not be participating in the reformation) has criticised Love’s use of the band-name but as yet has not commenced legal action to halt the goddess of grunge’s comeback.

We await more news.

06.01.10: Knights, Sir, honour roles and people of the year

As the new year commences in New Zealand Her Majesty the Queen announces a list of people upon whom she (and her loyal advisers) bestow the honour of become either a Dame Companion or Knight Companion to the Order of New Zealand.  The short of it all is that NZ now has one new Dame and four new Sirs.  I’ve no complaints on the people chosen this year, who can refute the fact Peter Jackson, erm sorry, I mean Sir Peter Jackson has made an extraordinary contribution to the creative industry in New Zealand, not to mention confirming time and again the country’s reputation as a lovely, pretty place to visit (see scenes from any one of the Lord of the Rings films for confirmation). Nor should one question Professor Mason Durie’s tireless commitment to improving health standards for Maori. 

Those acknowledged are extraordinary individuals who more often than not devote their lives, energy and often personal funds to pursuing causes for the betterment of others.

It’s all good stuff really and the Queen has chosen well.

So with the NZ honour roll out of the way we jump across the Tasman to take a peak at the race for Australian of the Year – the annual award given, hypothetically, to an exceptional individual who embodies the qualities Australian’s hold most dear.  Last year Mick Dodson – the tireless and vocal advocate for social justice and reconciliation – was chosen and boy did he step up to the role. Using the honour as a platform he shook a little bit of much needed life into the political debate on whether federal policy is in fact addressing the gross economic, health and political  disparity that cripples many aboriginal communities.

This year, however, the race is a wide open.  Writing in The Australian yesterday Pru Goward argued that the award should go to someone of the elk of Mark Donaldson, an Australian SAS soldier who was awarded the Victoria Cross – the highest military honour – in January 2009. 

Goward writes, “Donaldson’s citation says it all, summarising his deeds on September 2, 2008 in Afghanistan in these words: ‘During a prolonged and effective enemy ambush, on numerous occasions he deliberately drew the enemy’s fire in order to allow wounded soldiers to be moved to safety.

“As the battle raged around him he saw that a coalition force interpreter was lying motionless on exposed ground. With complete disregard for his own safety, on his initiative and alone, trooper Donaldson ran back 80m across exposed ground to rescue the interpreter and carry him back to the vehicle.'”

Is bravery and loyalty qualities we should honour?  Where do they stand in comparison to those exhibited by the professional sportsmen who have been awarded Australian of the Year in the past (Patrick Rafter 2002, Steve Waugh 2004, for example).  Hmm is it’s a tricky one.  What qualities would you want to see in someone named a nation’s person of the year?

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