profile of AndrewPStreet

Rihanna stars in Hacks on a Plane - 10 Things

Even as you read this, there's a mutiny in the skies: reports from Rihanna's Boeing 777 are not doing what her management team presumably hoped. The plane is packed to the gills with lucky fans, Rihanna-handlers and around 150 members of the press, in what no doubt seemed like a jolly promotional wheeze in the planning stages, on a junket around seven shows in seven countries. "Here's a neat way for the press to feel like they have personal access to our artist," one can almost imagine said management plotting out on a white board, "and hopefully sidestep all that weird stuff on her Unapologetic album, like the lyrics seeming to equate violence with love and that duet with her ex-and-possibly-current boyfriend who beat the living hell out of her and has been remarkably unrepentant since." However, rather than be overwhelmed by the artist's largesse, word is that sticking a bunch of journos on a plane and plying them with booze, forced sleep deprivation (with reports of three hours of less of downtime between afterparties and wake-up calls) and Michael Christian of Melbourne’s Fox FM playing his harmonica over and over and over isn't winning them over. Especially since it's involved a major lack of Rihanna, who Rolling Stone reports made herself available on the first morning and has barely been seen since, with reports that she's done zero interviews, given no quotes and has been holed up in the plane's "panic room" for most of the time. And the lesson we've taken away from this is: Boeing 777s have a panic room? How often does that come up?

In other career-saving-move-turned-fiasco news, early word from the US is that Liz & Dick, the telemovie about Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton screening in the US this weekend, may not in fact be the comeback that Lindsay Lohan was rather banking on it being. With her performance as the screen siren being variously described as "inadvertently hysterical" and "woeful" (Hollywood Reporter) to "hilariously bad" (Newsday), it appears that Liz and Dick could yet become a camp classic to rival Faye Dunaway's legendarily over-the-top portrayal of Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest. Can dialogue like "I don't need a pool - I've got a whole ocean in you?" equal "No! Wire! Hangers! Ever!"? Only time will tell.


And while we're talking awesome career decisions, Sean Connery has revealed that he turned down the role of Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings movies, despite a US$6 million per film plus a staggering 15% of the profits which would have made him approximately all of the money in the world. The cinema legend supposedly has admitted that "I read the book. I read the script. I saw the movie. I still don’t understand it" - though he conceded that they went with the right decision on the character: "Ian McKellen, I believe, is marvellous in it." Start your own Bond-as-Gandalf quote thread in the comments. 


He might be a K-pop flash in the pan destined to have the same cultural impact on the west as such august creative forces as Crazy Frog and Melissa Tkautz, but PSY, it turns out, is the champion of the flagging musical career. First, as we pointed out earlier, he was a surprise guest at Madonna's show in NYC; but on Sunday he raised the has-been bar further by closing the American Music Awards with a surprise guest of his own: MC Hammer, who contributed '2 Legit 2 Quit' to 'Gangnam Style'. Yes, really. And yes, he's wearing Hammer pants. And boy, that dude from Modern Family looks like he's been waiting for this moment all his life.

If you were kicking yourself for not buying up big in Apple shares, then good news: having hit a record US$705.07 per share in September, the stock is now celebrating its eighth smash week of plummeting value. In fact, the value of the company has plunged by US$170 billion, which is just over three Telstras-worth of pretend money according to the SMH's baffling comparison. On the other hand, it's still one of the most successful companies on the planet and the plunge in value has very little to do with Apple itself and mainly reflects investor fear over changes to capital gains tax in the US. So, y'know, maybe this is a great time to buy up, if you're prepared to take investment advice from a somewhat facetious news column written by a man whose main retirement strategy requires a massive upswing in the value of pre-opened Star Wars figures. 

Budget airline Tiger Airways reputation for quality, service and not falling out of the skies took another hit with the revelation that the carrier was using "third party" software on the bit of their computers telling them what altitude the plane was at, which is why an Airbus A320 landed at Tullamarine last June at a potentially-disasterous 500 feet lower than it had been cleared for. That somewhat disturbing piece of news joined the ominous-sounding finding that the airline had an "inconsistent safety management system" - although for all we know that just means there's no panic room in case of Rihanna. Seriously, planes have those things? Are their designers just combining elements of all of their favourite Jodie Foster films? 

And the Elmo sex scandal rages on: first we told you about how Elmo muppeteer Kevin Clash was accused of having had a relationship with an underage chap; then said chap - revealed to be 23 year old Sheldon Stephens - announced that no, he'd actually been of age when he and the now-52 year old Clash were together. However now, after a reported US$125,000 out-of-court settlement, Stephens has apparently remembered that ah, no, he was totally underage and who'd like to represent him legally while he shakes some more money out of Clash's now-somewhat-parlous-looking career. That sound you hear is your childhood memories breaking.

Melbourne students, breathe easy: the VCE exam body have explained that you won't have your history marks affected by your failure to accurately explain how giant battle robots helped the socialist revolutionaries during the Russian Revolution. Yes, proving once again that it's best not to use the first thing that pops up on Google Image Search when preparing state-wide examinations, a doctored version of Storming the Winter Palace by Nikolai Kochergin appeared in the VCE History: Revolutions examination which - in an act of either inexplicable sloppiness or subversive genius - had a BattleTech Marauder in the background. Then again, if our high schools won't teach our children about the robot wars, who will?

Any fish reading this will be pleased to learn that the two year ban on letting the Abel Tasman supertrawler is totes legal, according to Environment Minister Tony Burke. While the ship's Dutch operators are planning a legal challenge, Burke reckons that it's "not uncommon" for bans to be enacted while environmental studies are conducted. To that end, a panel examining the effects on redbait and mackerel has been convened - so, enjoy your aquatic amnesty, piscine brothers.

And finally: not unlike the Victorian exams board, a Toronto bookshop has discovered that nothing livens things up like the addition of robots. Hence: Biblio-Mat, the glorious alternative to the discount bin at the Monkey's Paw bookshop, where one inserts coins and gets a random mystery book with a whole lot of satisfying clanking and rattling. It's the baby of designer Craig Small, who should be churning these babies out all over the place if you ask us. No word on whether it supports the Tsar or the Bolshevik forces, but we assume that will become terrifyingly clear soon enough.  

7 comments so far..

  • HisLordship's avatar
    Commenter
    HisLordship
    Date and time
    Tuesday 20 Nov 2012 - 9:50 AM
    My name is Dalf. Gan Dalf.


    No? Too soon?
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  • Beavdog's avatar
    Commenter
    Beavdog
    Date and time
    Tuesday 20 Nov 2012 - 10:56 AM
    Any Gandalf quote in a Connery accent is pretty funny. "Do not take me for some conjuror of cheap tricks!" Especially when imagined as his SNL character "Then the day is mine!"
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  • reselsnark's avatar
    Commenter
    reselsnark
    Date and time
    Tuesday 20 Nov 2012 - 11:23 AM
    Mr Street,

    I must take you to task for your repetition of the obviously incorrect information regarding the image that was included in the VCE exam.

    I realise that when the culturally backwards see a big metal walky thing they all start waving their hands in the air screaming "killer robot" but I expect much more of you. We often see on the news big armoured boxes on tracks with big guns that we in modern parlance call "tanks" as inquiring minds ask questions such as "Is this capable of autonomous action?", "Are there people inside it?" and "If one of them exudes some form of noxious gas, how quickly can we escape from said vehicle?". If these same questions were asked concerning the contraption depicted in the VCE exam the answers would be "No", "Yes" and "Get that damn hatch open"

    Clearly as it is not capable of autonomous action and depends entirely on a human (or not so human) crew it is an armoured vehicle of war and not a robot.

    Secondly is the provenance of the image and design. Many have identified it as a Mech, (aka mecha, BattleMech) from the game BattleTech called a Marauder. Unfortunately, some media, including The Age and SMH, then included a separate image of a mech that was not in fact a Maruader. A small piece of investigative journalism would have identified that image as a Marauder II, a larger, heavier, better armoured, more heat efficient version of the Maruarder that also is the ability to jump short distances. You can tell this as the Maruader II has winglets on these jump-jets that are clearly obvious in the illustration, but not contained in the image used in the VCE exam. In essence the media has been using a picture of a Lamborghini Aventador and calling it a Countach. For Shame.

    Most sadly is that this design is not original to BattleTech but was culturally appropriated from the anime Super Dimensional Fortress Macross, which later was incorporated into the American Robotech series. The original design is for the Officer's Battle Pod for a genetically engineered soldier-race of giants called the Zentraedi. The cultural development of the Zentraedi was deliberately stunted by their creators (variously the Robotech Masters and Protoculture society) with no art, or other cultural expression, and extremely limited contact between the sexes. Once a portion of the Zentraedi was exposed to human culture they rebelled against their masters, and joined with humanity to fight off their oppressors.

    Surely this is the most important aspect of this issue. The inclusion of the Zentraedi Officer Battle pod in the artwork Storming the Winter palace would have been an excellent jumping off point for a 40-year old, anime-obsessed wargamer to write a subtle and nuanced examination and comparison of the Bolshevik's casting off of autocratic rule verses the Zentraedi's rebellion against cultural and sexual repressions by their creators, but this has been entirely ignored by mainstream commentators.

    And with that I say "Good Day to you sir!"

    P.S. I have deliberately not included the issue of the overarching storyline in BattleTech that includes a family suspiciously named "Kerensky" that could have also made a good starting point for a different essay comparing the technological oppression of ComStar over the Inner Sphere as it may have made matters too complicated and made me look a little bit like a nerd.
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  • AndrewPStreet's avatar
    Commenter
    AndrewPStreet
    Date and time
    Tuesday 20 Nov 2012 - 12:05 PM
    Not only have I been comprehensively schooled, @reselsnark, you are my new hero and mentor. Consider yourself my official Mech Consultant going forward. My people will be in touch.
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  • coreyallegorymontessori's avatar
    Commenter
    coreyallegorymontessori
    Date and time
    Tuesday 20 Nov 2012 - 12:08 PM
    @reelsnark has to actually be Paul Verhoeven, no?
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  • reselsnark's avatar
    Commenter
    reselsnark
    Date and time
    Tuesday 20 Nov 2012 - 12:54 PM
    Sorry @coreyallegorymontessori. As a longtime nemesis of Mr Andrew P Street he can attest that I am not in fact Mr Verhoeven, and most definitely have never been described by Marieke Hardy (or in fact anyone else) as 'the hot one'.
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  • AndrewPStreet's avatar
    Commenter
    AndrewPStreet
    Date and time
    Tuesday 20 Nov 2012 - 1:49 PM
    For the record, @mariekehardy has also never described me as hot in comparison with Pauls Verhoeven* or otherwise.

    *And yes, that is the correct plural of Paul Verhoeven. Look it up.
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