Will Ferrell walked the red carpet last night at The Campaign movie premiere at the Hoyts Entertainment Quarter. The Campaign is a satire directed by Jay Roach (GoldMember) and pits the screen’s two pre-eminent idiot-actors as political opponents in a North Carolina congressional election. Ferrell plays an epically self-regarding cynical four-term Democratic congressman named Cam Brady who is out to crush bumbling patsy Republican Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis), who’s been plucked from his job as a tourism centre director by a pair of viperish powerbrokers played by John Lithgow and Dan Ackroyd.
A SORRY TALE GETS A LAUGH
Former prime minister John Howard never quite got around to the apology many in the indigenous community wanted to hear, but he did get pretty close in 2003, rugby union legend Mark Ella has revealed. Speaking at the Sydney council's Living Sydney policy launch last week, Ella regaled those assembled with the story of being in the dressing room after the 2003 World Cup, after Australia had just defeated arch rivals New Zealand. Spirits were high when in walked PM Howard. Greetings were exchanged, the national anthem was sung and then Mark's brother Glen stepped up. He got Howard in a headlock, Ella said, and demanded: ''Say sorry now, you bastard!'' Apocryphal or not, the story was, we are informed, well received.
Generally, when someone informs you the area you're about to enter is home to a 6-metre-long glowing green radioactive ant, the sensible thing to do is thank them politely, turn and run as fast as possible before the tiny bird on a spring shoots out of their head singing, ''Cuckoo!'' From this week, however, it's all perfectly reasonable with the aforementioned ant - and other radioactive items - being part of an exhibition at the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, in Haymarket. ''They're all sculptures by Blue Mountains sculptors Ken and Julie Yonetani made with uranium glass beads, glass that is blown, if that's the right word, with uranium so it has a green tinge,'' said 4A's general manager, Summer Hipworth. ''It's basically the same treatment that was used in the early 20th century for drinking vessels or cake stands.'' It's impressive, she said, particularly when a UV light is turned on nearby and the whole lot glows an eerie green, but it's not dangerous. ''Because of the way it's been treated it's quite safe,'' she said. ''The only way it could possibly be dangerous would be if you crush it all up and ingest the broken glass. Which I don't recommend.''
CHANNELLING THE COLD
Amid all the hand-wringing (and not enough hand extending) from Australian swimmers at the Olympics, it is with much pleasure we report at least one Aussie will be taking to the water in London next week almost certain to set a record. Sometime between August 8 and 15 Annandale swimmer Wyatt Song is planning to dive into the English Channel at Dover and keep going until he hits France, becoming the first Chinese-Australian to do so. In last-minute training, 36-year-old Song has been updating his followers via Twitter. ''Just finished an hour swim at Dover harbour. Shook off the tiredness after a 30hr trip, baptized by the English channel!'' Before that he had been enthusing about the joys of putting on weight and posting pictures of wrappers from one of the Olympics' major sponsors. ''Part of swimming training is to put on weight to shield against the cold,'' he explained. We will let you know how he goes.
NOT ROCKET SCIENCE
Somewhere in a laboratory right now, a team of taxpayer-funded researchers is probably flicking a light on and off, measuring the relative ease with which someone under said light can recognise and mentally absorb the contents of a printed page, to justify a hypothesis that it is indeed difficult to read in the dark. How else to explain the findings of the Centre for Human Psychopharmacology, at Swinburne University, in Melbourne, which has released the results of a study ''to assess the effects of drinking alcohol in a naturalistic setting on aspects of performance''? For the study, 30 individuals were approached and tested in a university bar. ''They provided details regarding alcoholic drinks consumption,'' the study's ''methods'' revealed. ''Each was breathalysed before and after completion of a computerised test battery administered on a handheld device. The battery consisted of visual analogue mood scales, a series of alcohol-sensitive psychomotor and cognitive tests.'' And what did they find? That the drunker people were, the less able they were to function. Right. Back to that light switch.
Hollywood has been temporarily moved to the Southern Highlands, it would seem, with Menangle Street, Picton, transformed into a movie set for the filming of The Wolverine last week. Two snow-covered semi-trailers loaded with logs, American pick-up trucks, a Canadian police car and snowmobiles and shovels were scattered about to transform the area into a town in northern Canada's Yukon on Friday. As a crowd of hundreds watched, Hugh Jackman eventually emerged to start shooting - to the sound of Ted Nugent's epic Cat Scratch Fever - swaggering through the town's hardware store doors as a group of hunters drank beer and loaded their car with bags and rifles. After multiple takes, Jackman stopped to sign autographs and it was, the locals said, more fun than the usual Friday. ''The last exciting thing that happened in Picton was the Sydney Olympic Games when the torch came through,'' Wilton's Christine Frame said.
STAY IN TOUCH ...
WITH THE NEW ALAN PARTRIDGE
GOOD news for fans of Alan Partridge. The BBC has been grooming the great man's successor - and at these Olympics he's already proving he can match our hero for vim, insight and verbal panache. Before scaling the heights of his profession as chat show host, Partridge started life as a sports reporter, and few who heard them will ever forget his majestic football commentaries for the 1994 TV series The Day Today. ''He must have a foot like a traction engine!'' he'd cry. Or: ''The proof is in the pudding, and in this case the pudding … is a football.'' Or: ''Boof! Eat my goal! The goalie has got football pie all over his shirt!'' Now we have Ed Leigh, at the Holland versus Latvia beach volleyball: ''Oh, a massive smash from Smedins! Burying that ball like a turtle burying its eggs!'' Yes, of course, everybody knows a mother turtle buries her eggs by leaping three feet into the air and smacking them into the sand with a flipper. In beach volleyball, a point is scored roughly every 10 seconds, so the commentator needs a big variety of exclamations with which to greet each tiny triumph. Thankfully, Leigh's supply seems to be inexhaustible. To give just a few examples: ''He's tenderising this court like a big T-bone steak!'' And: ''The beast! Like a woolly mammoth at the net there!'' And: ''The Dutch put the point to bed. Tucked up, night night!'' It isn't only the sport that inspires poetry. On spotting some children in the crowd: ''Their big brown eyes could melt butter!'' And who knew? The 37 year-old is a three-time winner of the British Air Guitar Championships.
WITH TWEET STREET AT THE OLYMPICS
Will Ferrell treads the red carpet last night at The Campaign movie premiere at the Hoyts Entertainment Quarter. The Campaign is a satire directed by Jay Roach (GoldMember) and pits the screen's two pre-eminent idiot-actors as political opponents in a North Carolina congressional election. Ferrell plays an epically self-regarding cynical four-term Democratic congressman named Cam Brady who is out to crush bumbling patsy Republican Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis), who's been plucked from his job as a tourism centre director by a pair of viperish powerbrokers played by John Lithgow and Dan Ackroyd.
THE greatest Olympian, Michael Phelps, went out in style on the weekend and the greatest Olympics tweeter of them all Samuel L. Jackson was there to mark the moment:
@SamuelLJackson: ''If it is THE END …. WAY TO GO OUT MP! GOLD GOLD GOLD!!! Relay GOLD!!! Go USA!
American singer-songwriter Frank Ocean was observing.
@FrankVerified: ''3 Olympics, 22 medals, 18 gold medals; It's going to be weird not seeing @MichaelPhelps swim again …''
Well - almost right - it was four Olympics, actually. The weekend, though, was really all about the Brits, especially Jessica Ennis, pictured, Mo Farrah and Greg Rutherford who all seemed to win gold at the same time.
@SamuelLJackson was pumped for heptathlete Jessica Ennis: ''She gets MAJOR PROPS @j-ennis she's a Total Beastess!! OUTSTANDING!!''
Russell Crowe sounded quite touched for Ennis, too:
@russellcrowe: ''Jessica Ennis, you did it girl, so happy for you''.
But most touching of all was Ennis herself who sent out her tweet.
@J-Ennis: ''I can't thank everyone enough for the support they have given me over the past few weeks! I'm blown away! Can't believe I'm Olympic Champion!
Scottish comedian Frankie Boyle found the idea of suddenly numerous British champions disorienting, and wanted a cleaner, easier-to-understand hierarchy:
@frankieboyle: ''I don't see why the last day of the Olympics shouldn't be all the gold medallists playing dodgeball till we have an ultimate champion.''
The Aussies, meanwhile, continued to have a relatively lean time of it. That wizened philosopher Rodney Hogg had some thoughts to offer:
@RMHogg: ''Our olympic team is like our cricket team. We just haven't got the super stars like we did have.''
Fair enough. But Cricket Australia's Peter Young and broadcaster Glenn Mitchell liked the idea of cricket and the Olympics together.
@PeterYoung1952 @MitchellGlenn : ''We need T20 cricket in the Olympics. We won Silver the one time cricket was at the Comm Games''
All of which had nothing to do with the following from Jackson, but then again the following seems to have had nothing to do with anything, except suddenly being overcome with a desire for a funky something:
@SamuelLJackson: Gotta get me some a that Red Hot Chili Pipers!! How random was THAT?! But really … I want some.''