Palmer parma a hit on five levels
By · 23 Sep 2013
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23 Sep 2013
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Palmer parma a hit on five levels

On Sunday mining magnate Clive Palmer was just 36 votes ahead in his battle for the hearts of the people of Queensland seat Fairfax, but CBD can confirm he has already triumphed over the tummies of inner Melbourne tipplers.

Inspired by the big man's presence, the Birmingham Hotel in Fitzroy is offering what it calls the "Clive Parma" - five chicken parmagianas on top of each other for $30, with chips and salad. Eat the lot and you get your money back.

That's about a kilo of food, according to Anthony Alcala, a bar manager at the pub who took time out from preparing the venue for its regular Friday night influx of indie-rock party hounds to answer CBD's inane questions.

"We've been doing it for about five or six weeks now," he said. "We've had about 45 attempts and five people have done it. It's possible, but each one who's done it has been like a rugby player in size."

He said the challenge was "really going off".

"At least two people try it every day - most of them lose. No one's even cheated, they really think they can do it.

"When we actually give them the plate they start freaking out."

While officially the prize is simply a free extremely full stomach, Alcala said that when he's working he offers successful gut-busters a beer on the house - "if they can stomach it when they're done".

"Most of them can't," he said.

The Birmingham offers the pub classic by the clock on Sunday evenings - a parma costs $6 at 6pm, $7 at 7pm, and so on.

Many laps on tax

Taxing times at Ron Walker's Australian Grand Prix Corporation, where an ATO probe is taking far longer to complete than a hot lap of its Albert Park racecourse.

The AGPC's annual report, tabled in the Victorian Parliament this week, again records that the state-owned company is being audited by the taxman - a process that's been going on since 2010.

No doubt the AGPC's tax stoush is completely unrelated to the various woes of formula one's 82-year-old global boss, Bernie Ecclestone, who earlier this year was charged with bribery and inciting breach of trust offences by German authorities.

The charges followed the jailing of banker Gerhard Gribkowsky for 8½ years on charges of tax evasion, breach of trust and accepting a corrupt £26.6 million ($45.3 million) payment from Ecclestone.

Ecclestone denies the allegations.

Meanwhile, the AGPC also faces a rather nicer problem: what to do with a spare $6 million.

The money is left over after ruthless cost control and improved ticket sales slashed the amount the F1 race cost taxpayers.

AGPC originally thought it would need a $56.6 million subsidy from the government, the same as last year.

The government handed over the money but in the event the race made a smaller loss of about $50.6 million.

Apparently the extra money returns to the government.

Margin call-call

No one likes a margin call, so a call before the call is clearly called for. That's the approach being taken by Ian Narev's Commonwealth Bank, which is again spruiking the miracle of margin lending.

Pre-GFC margin lending, where the bank lends you money to buy shares, was all the rage.

Everything was dandy until the sharemarket dropped and banks started demanding investors put up extra cash or sell off stock to maintain their loan margin - the dreaded margin call in action.

The GFC led to floods of margin calls as hordes of day-trading keyboard warriors came unstuck.

Now, in a bid to make the gruesome process cuddlier, the CBA is offering "a feature so that investors are alerted if their account is close to receiving a margin call".

It's not enough for CBD. How about a call before the call before the call?

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