From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …

Sacked Telstra staff celebrating? There’s always upside to downsizing — in Telstra’s case, its alumni program grows. CEO David Thodey dispatched an email to staff yesterday that read:

“Our Alumni is one of the fastest growing programs of its kind in the world, demonstrating the strong connection our former employees have with each other and Telstra. With more than 10,600 members, we have a lot to celebrate.”

As one Telstra mole whinged: “Clearly he will have a lot to celebrate with his bonus, not sure all of the retrenched (or those losing their jobs with offshoring) would want to celebrate.” But then, how successful is the alumni program, really? “Telstra has probably got a potential ex-employee base of ~250-300,000 (since T1 privatisation) so a 10,600 penetration is less than 3%. Maybe the connection isn’t that strong after all?” Maybe.

Pitt hanging around like bad smell. With Hollywood uber-star Angela Jolie in Sydney for movie-making business, there were reports yesterday hubby Brad Pitt had flown home after a Christmas get-together. Not so, Crikey can exclusively reveal — because he was hanging around our Sydney office in Surry Hills yesterday. No, we’re not sure why; we didn’t care enough to find out. But you read it here first.

MUA (more unfortunate acronyms). Those suspect acronyms just keep coming. How about this one: apparently there’s a Prahran Institute Students Society. “I gather they had many a Universal Party,” quips our correspondent. We mentioned the Flinders University Choral Society yesterday but today we’ve been alerted to the Australian National University Singers. Clearly nobody thought that through. And Crikey reader Nigel Mitchell reports:

“The rumour around Perth in the 1980s was that Curtin University (proper name Curtin University of Technology) was nearly Curtin University of New Technology until someone thought about what it would look like on a T-shirt.”

Meanwhile, those TWATS at the ABC had a re-think on one doco:

“Back in the early 1980s I worked on an ABC mini-series about Captain Cook. The working title while we were shooting was The Wind And The Stars. After some thought and a few urgent memos it was released under the less unfortunate (but very prosaic) title Captain Cook.”

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