Daily Bite November 2010

By Nicola Harvey

This week in the Daily Bite: Pitt keeps an eye on Chile's miners and Jay-Z hits the book shops.


What does Mark Zuckerberg, the creator and president of Facebook, have in common with that other president, George Bush? Quite a lot, apparently.

At least, Bush seems to thinks so. He spent an hour in discussion with Zuckerberg in a Facebook interview streamed live from Palo Alto on Monday night, comparing his time in the White House with Zuckerberg’s leadership of the social networking site.

Watch the interview here.

29.11.2010a: LESLIE NIELSEN

Comic actor Leslie Nielsen, star of a string of madcap spoof movies
including Airplane! (Flying High) and The Naked Gun, died of complications from
pneumonia in Florida on Sunday, his spokesman said. He was 84.

is probably best known for playing the bumbling cop Lietenant Frank
Drebin in the Naked Gun franchise, but enjoyed a movie and television
career spanning more than 60 years.

The spokesman said Nielsen
died in a hospital near his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, surrounded
by his wife, Barbaree, and friends.

29.11.2010: HOBBIT RACE ROW

Peter Jackson’s Hobbit project has reportedly become embroiled in a race row after a would-be extra was told she was too dark to play a one of the pint-sized Tolkien creatures.

Briton Naz Humphreys, who has Pakistani heritage, attended a casting session in Hamilton last week.

She says she queued for three hours only to be told her skin tone was not suitable.

“It’s 2010 and I still can’t believe I’m being discriminated against because I have brown skin,” Humphreys told the Waikato Times.

“The casting manager basically said they weren’t having anybody who wasn’t pale-skinned.”

The newspaper said video footage showed the casting manager telling people at the audition: “We are looking for light-skinned people. I’m not trying to be… whatever. It’s just the brief. You’ve got to look like a hobbit.”

26.11.2010: SARAH, Oh SARAH

US vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin is again in the news after
confusing North and South Korea in a radio interview.

asked for her opinion of the outbreak of hostilities on the Korean
peninsula, Ms Palin said of the United States: “Obviously, we’ve got to
stand with our North Korean allies’.

Palin, the matriarch the Tea Party movement, has previously been
criticised for her lack of foreign policy knowledge. In the lead up to the 2008 presidential election she used
Alaska’s proximity to Russia as an example of her foreign policy experience.

She is now widely believed to be positioning herself to run for the White House in the 2012 presidential campaign. We can’t wait. 

25.11.2010: PANDA MAN

An 8ft-tall Panda was found roaming the streets of Brooklyn, New York last week asking people to punch him in the stomach.  As a point of clarification it was a man dressed as a panda not a real panda that could talk. But that aside, why would someone volunteer to get whacked in the stomach over and over again? 

According to the 33-year-old performance artist Nate Hill (the Panda) it was a social-cum-health service. 

“If you find yourself angry, frustrated, or just had a bad day, I will come to your house, and you can punch me,” Hill wrote on his website, where he announced the Punch-Me-Panda project. “I am sympathetically masochistic, so you can hit me as hard as you can.”

While I don’t condone violence I find myself seriously considering putting in an international house-call request, but I may have to wait a while because Laura Barnett from the UK Guardian has already claimed first dibs.

See photographs of Hill out-and-about in Brooklyn courtesy of the the Wall Street Journal.

24.11.2010: PRETTY PIXIE

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the pixie cut, and as it happens the cut is making a comeback. 

It was 1960 when America actress Jean Seberg set a new gold-standard for looking drop-dead gorgeous with short hair and a stripy T-shirt in Jean Luc Godard’s A Bout de Souffle. Edie Sedgwick, Mia Farrow and Twiggy followed in her footsteps and the fantastical vision of youth took off.

But now, the pixie cut has almost the opposite meaning. See the coverline on Vogue: “Emma Watson comes of age”. Emma Watson says her inspiration was her mum, who has had the style for decades.  Long gone are the dreams of youthful cute, apparently.

For the nine years Watson spent playing Hermione Granger the contract terms demanded that she not cut her hair, but now the Harry Potter series is at rest Watson has lost the locks. Of her new look she says: “I’ve wanted to do this for years and years . . . it’s the most liberating thing ever.”


The UK Guardian is speculating the Dalai Lama might be nearing retirement from political life. 

They cite comments from an interview with an Indian television journalist as a clear sign of the exiled Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader’s intent to step down. He said that he was contemplating raising the issue with the elected political leadership of the Tibetan community in exile within six months and that a final decision could be made “a few months” later.

“In order to utilise fully democracy I felt [it is] better I am not involved [and that] I am devoted to other fields, promotion of human values and peace and harmony,” the 75-year-old said. “[But] firstly I have to discuss, to inform members of Tibetan parliament.”

Traditionally the office of the Dalai Lama combines spiritual and temporal roles. The current 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, has progressively distanced himself from a direct political role and expressed a desire to live as a simple monk. He remains however official head of the central Tibetan administration in exile.

The most likely date for discussions to start would be after the elections for the Tibetan parliament in exile to be held in March next year.


The Washington Post has reported that Lindsay Lohan has been dropped from what was supposed to be her comeback project –  a biopic about 1970s porn star Linda Lovelace.  

The writer-director of Inferno, Matthew Wilder, says his production team is in negotiations with another actress and will make an announcement soon.

“We are withdrawing our offer from Lindsay Lohan. We are currently in negotiations [with another actress] and working out the legalities of bringing her on board,” Wilder told E! News.

“We have stuck by Lindsay very patiently for a long time with a lot of love and support.

“Ultimately, the impossibility of insuring her – and some other issues – have made it impossible for us to go forward.”

Lohan’s spokesperson said the decision to replace the starlet in the film was “mutual”, so she could continue with her court-ordered rehab treatment.


Helena Bonham Carter and Liam Neeson are to be honoured at the 2010 Moët British Independent Film Awards.

The King’s Speech star will receive the Richard Harris Award for Outstanding Contribution To British Film.

And the Irish actor will pick up the Variety Award, which honours stars who have helped turn the international spotlight on the UK film industry.

Previous recipients include Sir Michael Caine, Helen Mirren and Keira Knightley. 

On December 5, the high-profile pair will be handed their glittering gongs – made by crystal firm Swarovski – at a star-studded ceremony at London’s Old Billingsgate Market.

They couldn’t go to a more deserving duo.

17.11.2010: HAITI IN TURMOIL

The BBC have reported two men were killed over night as protesters clashed with United Nations peacekeepers over a deadly cholera outbreak in Haiti.

The protesters suspect the Nepalese contingent of the peacekeepers introduced the cholera to Haiti, which the UN’s humanitarian coordinator, Nigel Fisher, says has become an issue of national security.

The suspicions concern a base of Nepalese soldiers located on the river system where the epidemic broke out.

Mr Fisher repeated UN statements that no evidence had been found to justify the accusations.

He said the country had resources to deal with the initial outbreak, but now the UN is appealing for $164 million to try and stop the spread of disease.

This is based on the expectation that 200,000 people will show some symptoms of cholera and that resources will be needed for six months.

16.0.2010: BRAD PITT’S PLAN B

Brad Pitt is negotiating the film rights for the Chilean miners’ story, according to a Chilean paper. In addition, the Chilean miners may be negotiating roles for themselves, says the Wrap.

The 33 miners were rescued a month ago after 69 days underground, and have since been bombarded by fame, job offers, and gifts. The Wrap is reporting that the miners want to create a holding company to make sure that any profits are fairly shared between them before they sign with Plan B.

The miner’s have received over 1,000 job offers since the rescue touched off an international media storm. They have repeatedly said that they would share equally any profits to come from their story. Plan B has offered “millions” for the rights to the film, according to the Guardian.

15.11.2010: DECODED

From selling crack cocaine as a teenage hustler to becoming one of America’s richest rappers, Jay-Z writes about his life, decodes his music and explains hip-hop culture in his literary debut Decoded.

Having released 11 studio albums, co-founded Roc-A-Fella Record, founded the Rocawear fashion label, which he sold in 2007 for US$204 million,  serving as president and chief executive of Def Jam Recordings, it’s clear why Forbes magazine predicts Jay-Z will be one of the richest 400 Americans by 2015.

Jay-Z claims his success is, in part, because of the influence of hip-hop pioneer and Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons, who he describes  an “informal mentor.”

Jay-Z met Simmons when he was negotiating a Def Jam deal soon after the 1996 release of his debut album.

“I was looking at Russell and thinking, I want to be this nigga, not his artist,” writes Jay-Z, who is married to singer Beyonce. “He’d discovered a way to work in the legit world but to live the dream of a hustler: independence, wealth, and success outside of the mainstream’s rules.”


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