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More Ebert

By Asides, Dinner for One and Wellington

Roger Ebert on the personal, private places he loves (and the joys of being alone with them, as well as the occasional pleasures to be found in sharing them):

I first visited the Moscow Arms near Pembridge Square in 1970, when the room fee at the hotel now named the Blue Bells was £4 a night. I have never met anybody in that pub. I always sit in the same corner booth. There is a man who comes in every lunchtime, tattooed, bald, and wearing a motorcycle jacket. He is nearly 40 years older now, but he is still there, and it looks like it’s still the same jacket. Has he noticed me crossing his field of vision 50 or 75 times in his lifetime? Certainly not. But if he still comes at lunchtime every day, it is my duty to bear witness, because by now I have become the only person in the Moscow Arms who knows how long he has been doing this, or cares. I believe this includes him.

I too enjoy sitting alone in cafés, restaurants and bars. Indeed this very morning I took brunch at The Cheeky Pipi in Island Bay and, despite the average-ness of the coffee and the meal, I enjoyed the sitting, the reading and the watching.

An Anniversary

By Newtown, Personal and Wine

According to TreeHugger, wine in 3 litre cardboard casks is significantly more environmentally friendly than the equivalent volume in glass. I was pleased to read this as, in my final year of drinking, when I was giving it a bit of a nudge, pretty much all my consumption was from those cheap casks of Country Medium you get at the front of the New World in Newtown. So, I’m glad to confirm that, even then, I was doing my bit for the planet.

Yesterday, Friday, marked two years sober, two years which have easily been the most productive of my life. To celebrate (and while we are on the subject of the environment) here’s John Clarke and Bryan Dawe discussing an environmental catastrophe: “The Front Fell Off”.

John Clarke & Bryan Dawe — The Front Fell Off (Bob Collins)

Cheers.

A good idea

By Asides and Food & Drink

I love this idea:

Speaking of caring, though, no discussion about coffee would be complete without mentioning the Neapolitan tradition of the “caffè pagato”, the paid-for coffee. What happens is after you’ve consumed your customary morning espresso sometimes you’ll choose to pay double, and leave a paid-for coffee. Thanks to this practice, the place will be able to cater for a few known customers who couldn’t otherwise afford their daily tazzulella ‘e cafè, without them having to ask or you having to offer.

I’d like to think it might save some of our beloved seniors from having to beg for the free cups at McDonald’s.
[via a post by Giovanni Tiso in the epic coffee thread at Public Address System]

Patton Oswalt on alcohol and flying

By Asides and Food & Drink

And while we are on the subject of drinking, here’s Patton Oswalt:

Southwest Airlines.
No more. I’m done. That’s it.
“Ladies and gentlemen, there’s a passanger with a young child who would like to be able to sit with her. As we are a very crowded flight, if there are two passengers who’d be willing to move so they could sit together –”
“Ma’am? We’ll move.”
“That was so nice of you guys. I can offer you free alcoholic beverages for the duration of the flight.”
The two guys who moved (FOR THE ENTIRE THIRTY-EIGHT MINUTE FLIGHT): “Aw yeah! Fuck yeah, ma-hun! Free booze! Par-tay! (etc. etc.)
Everyone else (FOR THE ENTIRE THIRTY-EIGHT MINUTE FLIGHT): “What the FUCK?! Why’nint that cunt SAY we’d get free fucking drinks?! No fair! Bullshit!”
If you’re HAPPY about getting free beer and cheap blended whiskey for thirty-eight minutes, or SAD about NOT getting free beer and cheap blended whiskey for thirty-eight minutes, you need to die. In a plane crash. And I get to fuck your eyes while we’re crashing.

Once upon a time I might have been one of those people and now, I think, I see them all the time.

The Return of the Spelling Police (Wellington Division)

By Cinema, Cricket, Food & Drink and Wellington

Over the last couple of weeks both the Penthouse and the Paramount have upgraded their websites — the Penthouse scores marks for having their session grid available only a click away from the front page and the Paramount scores bonus marks for having the session grid right there on the front page — no extra clicking.

Paramount loses serious marks because the film titles aren’t clickable! You have to go to another menu to read about the films. Counter-intuitive, dudes.

My favourite aspect (in a schadenfreude-y sort of way) of the Paramount’s new design is the lack of attention to detail, as displayed in the following image (snapped today, may have been fixed by the time you get there but it has been like that for more than three weeks):

paz_spelling.txt

Notice how they manage to mis-spell the title of the film and all the members of the cast. Re-spect to Altman, though, as they got him right.

To prove that I’m not picking on them, here are a couple of choice Wellington chalk-typos. The first from a couple of weeks ago outside <forget the name, on the corner of Cuba and Vivian>:

Duck Brest
(click to enlarge)

And my favourite, from outside The Caledonian last Summer (the blackboards and fences have since been taken down by the new management):

Big Screen Cricet
(click to enlarge)

2 Quickies

By Food & Drink and Personal

One of the cheesiest ads of all time – for coffee! (via Coudal)

Suggested by Kottke (via Rivers Are Damp):

Go here and look through random quotes until you find five that you think reflect who you are or what you believe.”

Here are my five:

Our greatest pretenses are built up not to hide the evil and the ugly in us, but our emptiness. The hardest thing to hide is something that is not there.
Eric Hoffer (1902 — 1983)

I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is they must change if they are to get better.
Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742 — 1799)

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.
Charles Dickens (1812 — 1870)

People are people, messy and mutable, combining differently with one another from day to day — even hour to hour.
Elizabeth Moon, The Speed of Dark, 2003

I’m better than dirt. Well, most kinds of dirt, not that fancy store-bought dirt… I can’t compete with that stuff.
Matt Groening (1954 — ), The Simpsons