Of television hosts and plastic ponies

A plea to Sainsbury; how the financial crisis will affect the wine market; Palin's hair secrets; My Little Pony turns 25; and more

Mark Sainsbury, what the hell happened to you?

You are a smart man. You used to be a solid political editor. So what’s with the softball Close Up interviews and community newspaper-style editorial choices? It’s been a long, wet winter. Are you feeling emotional? Need a break? Look, look - as you would say - I understand that it’s hard to resist the tele-visual gags promised by the installation of a giant purple sperm sculpture in Christchurch, but what are you, 14? Don’t send John Sellwood along to giggle boyishly and pretend he can’t pronounce the artist’s Dutch name. It makes all of us look bad. The Colonel Sanders suits and New Orleans paddle-boat captain’s moustache actually gain you points in my eyes, but if you’re going to present yourself as an eccentric, ask some unexpected questions.

Cheers, comrades

Slate’s wine columnist has written a nice little piece on how the financial crisis will effect the wine market. Apparently, the day it became obvious that Lehman Brothers was going down the gurgler a group of Lehman traders opened a $700 bottle of wine and shared it out into paper cups. Presumably that will be their last $700 bottle of wine for some time to come.

Fashion on the cheap

Hands up all you folks who rushed down to the Warehouse to buy Rachel Hunter’s new clothing line. Or did you think, as I did, that her frocks, so generously lauded by our media, just looked kinda cheap and uncomfortable? I’m all for saving money on clothes—the excesses of Fashion Week bring out my Puritanical streak—but comfort is important too, and you can’t tell me that getting about in non-breathable fabric that puckers at the chest is good for the soul. When we lived in California we used to go to behemoth variety store Target (pronounced Tar-jay by those trying to bestow some hipster cred on what is basically an upmarket K-Mart) to buy frozen chicken and Christmas decorations and criminally cheap t-shirts from China. Once or twice I was tempted to buy items from their designer diffusion lines by Proenza Schouler and Alice Temperley and others whose pieces are usually pie-in-the-sky for the likes of me. Well, the super-cute, super-versatile pink Isaac Mizrahi mules I bought at Target were the pinchiest shoes I have ever worn. Lesson learned.

Finally, the secret to Sarah Palin’s immaculate bouffant is revealed

According to New York magazine, she either uses an entire can of hairspray each time she coifs, or she is cheatin’ by using hairpieces to boost her volume. Now that the mystery is solved, let’s all get back to wishing her ill in tomorrow’s veeps debate.

Thanks for the plug, California

The nice people at California magazine, where I worked until February, noted the launch of Pundit. They can afford to be generous because they just won more gold medals at the Folio Awards, the clever clogs.

Pony party

Mark your calendars: the 25th anniversary of My Little Pony has finally arrived. To celebrate this occasion luminaries such as John Stamos and Courtney Cox have designed ponies for auction. Courtney Cox's pony is zebra striped in black and gold. Stamos designed two ponies, a surfer dude and dudette. I was too old when My Little Pony was launched to ever covet one, and probably would hesitate to buy them for my own kids because, really, they are the Barbies of the animal kingdom. But I must admit that choosing an ice-skating pony for my pseudo-god daughter’s fifth birthday was pretty awesome.


My sixth-month-old puppy is teaching me a lesson in stoicism. I am laid up in bed with a really nasty sore throat/cough thing. Scout is waddling around the apartment with a plastic cone on his head recovering from his de-sexing operation. He is on hefty painkillers and spends his days lying on the bed with me, shifting peevishly to find a position that allows his cone to lie flat. Or looking sadly out the window and crying softly. Even treats go wrong: I shared some apple with him this morning and he kept dropping pieces into the base of his cone where he couldn’t reach them. All this misery and yet at the merest promise of a scratch he thumps his tail. That is what they call a good attitude.