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Current Events

“a girl in a convertible is worth five in the phone book.”

By Asides, Business, Current Events

In these days when cap­it­al­ism seems like the cause of all our prob­lems rather than the solu­tion to them, it is more than edu­ca­tion­al to read the latest let­ter to Berkshire Hathaway share­hold­ers from Warren Buffett, an old school cap­it­al­ist who believes that money should be made by adding value – for cus­tom­ers, share­hold­ers, staff and soci­ety at large.

As always, Buffett’s let­ter is full of quot­able por­tions but I was par­tic­u­larly taken by this seg­ment on the Berkshire Hathaway rail­road BNSF:

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UK Film Council shuttered

By Asides, Cinema, Current Events

In New Zealand we have a con­ser­vat­ive gov­ern­ment and our Film Commission has just been reviewed. In the UK, the new Conservative-Lib/Dem gov­ern­ment decided to just shoot theirs in the head:

This decision could prove dev­ast­at­ing to an entire gen­er­a­tion of film-makers; for all its ups and downs, the Film Council has got involved with the likes of Armando Iannucci, Andrea Arnold, Lynne Ramsay, Peter Mullan, Sam Taylor-Wood, Kevin McDonald and Pawel Pawlikowski. How much cred­it the coun­cil can take for their film-making is up for debate, but it has at least func­tioned as the con­nect­ive tis­sue between such dis­par­ate talents.

(There’s a sec­tion on the demise of the UK Film Council in The Guardian and more reac­tion at the excel­lent aggreg­at­or


By Current Events

Despite my fer­vent desires to the con­trary, John Key has­n’t done much wrong in his first two weeks as PM but I was dis­ap­poin­ted with this com­ment about Flight of the Conchords, quoted in Stuff this morning:

I think they are great actu­ally,” he said of the Grammy Award win­ning artists. “They are a great example of a Kiwi export that ends up being picked up on the world stage … they are tak­ing a bit of humour and music to the world. We are lucky to have such tal­en­ted indi­vidu­als.”

Does Key really think that pro­du­cing this sort of tal­ent (and the glob­al reach and ambi­tion that is also required) is a res­ult of luck? Or is it more to do with the dra­mat­ic increase in sup­port of our cre­at­ive sec­tor over the last nine years, sup­port and com­mit­ment that allowed tal­ent like Bret and Jemaine to con­sider careers here and over­seas. If it’s just about luck, why sup­port our artists at all?

This reminds me of a story told to me by F&S com­menter Gary H. He was a reliev­ing teach­er at Parkway Intermediate in Wainuiomata and some­times played gui­tar and sang songs in class. In the staff room one day anoth­er teach­er said, “Gary, you’re so lucky you can play that gui­tar in class” and he thought to him­self, I taught myself to play it and prac­ticed for hours and hours to get good at it. Luck has noth­ing to do with it.

I miss Jed Bartlet

By Asides, Current Events, TV

Aaron Sorkin ima­gines former President Jed Bartlet giv­ing Candidate Obama a pep talk:

BARTLET That was a hell of a convention.

OBAMA Thank you, I was proud of it.

BARTLET I meant the Republicans. The Us versus Them-a-thon. As a Democrat I was sur­prised to learn that I don’t like small towns, God, people with jobs or America. I’ve been a little out of touch but is there a man­date that the vice pres­id­ent be skilled at field dress­ing a moose —

Like find­ing a lost epis­ode of “The West Wing”, this has made my day.

[via Maureen Dowd’s column in the New York Times]