Human Interest

Christopher Hitchens dies

Christopher Hitchens has died.

Author Christopher Hitchens has died of cancer at the age of 62,Vanity Fair has reported.

The magazine said he died today after being diagnosed with oesophageal cancer last year while on a book tour for his memoir “Hitch-22”.

Vanity Fair’s website reported that he died at the MD Anderson Cancer Centre in Houston, Texas, surrounded by friends, whom he described earlier this year  as “my chief consolation in this year of living dyingly” after writing last year  that “cancer victimhood contains a permanent temptation to be self-centered and even solipsistic”.

Hitchens  was known for his heroic intake of alcohol and cigarettes. He wrote in 2003 that his daily intake of alcohol was enough to “stun the average mule”.

He said he had given up smoking in 2008, but journalist and author Peter FitzSimons, who interviewed him for his appearance the 2010 Sydney Writers’ Festival, said Hitchens had been still smoking as of last year.

Hitchens was a columnist for Vanity Fair and Slate, the online magazine, and the author of the New York Times bestselling book God is Not Great.

I don’t subscribe to Hitchens’ views on religion or God. However he was a great intellect and he is now gone. As an antitheist and atheist he is now…well…at an end.

The Japanese really do think of everything

…including Monkey Butlers:

A restaurant in Japan has some unusual waiting staff on its books – two macaque monkeys.

Yatchan and Fukuchan serve customers hot towels and drinks, and are given soya beans as tips.

The monkeys are family pets who have been allowed to help in the bar. Animal rights regulations mean the premises have been visited to ensure the creatures are not being mistreated.

Mental Health Break

A tribute video to Steve Jobs made entirely from sounds from Apple products and Steve Jobs own voice from his 2005 Stanford commencement speech. Every instrument, including drums, has been sampled from a Mac product, tuned by ear, and replayed in the context of the song.

Quote of the Day

From Ricky Gervais

“I never actively try to offend though. That’s churlish, pointless and frankly too easy. But I believe you should say what you mean. Be honest. No one should ever be offended by truth. That way you’ll never have to apologise. I hate it when a comedian says, “Sorry for what I said.” You shouldn’t have said it. You shouldn’t say it if you didn’t mean it and you should never regret anything you meant to do,”

I once had a lawyer write to my boss describing me as churlish and pedantic. However Ricky Gervais is right, no one should ever be offended by the truth.

David Cameron on gay marriage

Family First should adopt this policy on gay marriage because of exactly the same reasons that David Cameron explains. They won’t though because they like dying in a ditch and losing battles.

“I once stood before a Conservative conference and said it shouldn’t matter whether commitment was between a man and a woman, a woman and a woman, or a man and another man. You applauded me for that. Five years on, we’re consulting on legalising gay marriage. And to anyone who has reservations, I say: Yes, it’s about equality, but it’s also about something else: commitment. Conservatives believe in the ties that bind us; that society is stronger when we make vows to each other and support each other. So I don’t support gay marriage despite being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I’m a Conservative.” – David Cameron in a speech to the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester.

Not as good as my policy on gay marriage, but a more mature reasoning than anything seen here.

1992 – Nineteen years ago

January 1 – George H. W. Bush becomes the first U.S. President to address the Australian Parliament.

January 8 – George H. W. Bush is televised falling violently ill at a state dinner in Japan, vomiting into the lap of Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa and fainting.

January 26 – Boris Yeltsin announces that Russia will stop targeting United States cities with nuclear weapons.

March 18 – White South Africans vote in favour of political reforms which will end the apartheid regime and create a power-sharing multi-racial government.

April 6 – Isaac Asimov, Russian-born author (b. 1920) dies

April 20 – Benny Hill, British comedian and actor (b. 1924) dies

May 6 – Marlene Dietrich, German actress (b. 1901) dies

May 9 – United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, adopted in New York on 9 May 1992.

May 9 –  Whaleoil married Spanish Bride in Auckland

May 25 – In Australia, Lindy Chamberlain receives compensation for wrongful conviction on murder charges.

June 1 – Venezuelan revolutionary Carlos (the Jackal) is sentenced to life imprisonment.

July 13 – Yitzhak Rabin becomes prime minister of Israel.

July 20 – Václav Havel resigns as president of Czechoslovakia.

August 5  – Robert Muldoon, former Prime Minister of New Zealand (b. 1921) dies

October 4 – Denny Hulme, New Zealand race car driver (b. 1936) dies

October 31 – Pope John Paul II issues an apology, and lifts the edict of the Inquisition against Galileo Galilei.

November 18 – Russian President Boris Yeltsin releases the flight data recorder (FDR) and cockpit voice recorder (CVR) of KAL 007, shot down by the Soviets in 1983. In 1983 I was in Beaulieu-sur-Mer, France when the news of this hit.

November 23 – Miley Cyrus, American actress and singer was born

November 24 – Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom describes this year as an Annus Horribilis (horrible year), due to various scandals damaging the image of the Royal Family, as well as the Windsor Castle fire.

December 9 – Prince Charles and Princess Diana publicly announce their separation.

The number one single of 1992 was I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston

Dog bites fool

Good job is all I can say

A drunken man who thought it would be a good prank to pull a dog’s tongue has suffered serious facial injuries after the dog bit his mouth.

The 39-year-old National Park resident was partying at a friend’s house on Wednesday when he grabbed the large crossbreed dog and held it down while trying to grab its tongue.

The dog managed to free itself and lunged at the man’s face, biting the corners of his mouth, Constable Conrad Smith said.

The man was taken to Taumarunui Hospital and later flown to Waikato Hospital. He was in a stable condition last night, a hospital spokeswoman said.

“He had lost a lot of blood,” Mr Smith said. “It is likely he will need cosmetic surgery to repair the wounds.”

The dog was impounded overnight but returned yesterday to its owner, whose house the party was held in.

Hope it hurt.

Good to see the dog was returned, they must have a sensible copper down that way. I imagine he couldn’t stop laughing at the fool who got bit though.

 

A little song for the Chinese

So the Chinese want extra compensation for their dead in Christchurch. So while the rest of the world is asking how they can help us, the Chinese are asking how they can help themselves.

Cactus Kate explains just what sort of compensation you’d get if you died in a Chinese earthquake.

Sichuan had an earthquake, remember that? The one where shonky construction led to mass destruction. Lets see how much the Chinese government forked out to each victim’s family.

The compensation for a death in the earthquake is just 5,000 yuan ($US730) from the central government plus an equal or smaller amount from the local government.

For many in a rapidly growing China, the amount is almost token.With ACC of a funeral grant of a whopping NZ4,500, a survivors grant for spouse of $NZ4,700 and for children of $NZ2,351 per child and repatriation of remains exceeding this level of compensation that Mainland China thinks its own citizens deserve in identical circumstances, New Zealand really needs to send China only one thing -An invoice.

Well after that all I have for the Chinese is a cute a little song (NSFW).

 

Pay for it yourself

As readers know I have no problem at all with having a Gay Mardi Gras. The problem is when ratepayers and tax payers are expected to pay for it.

New Zealand is in the midst of its greatest humanitarian disaster, when we are going to make tough choices about infrastructure projects that will slow economic development in the rest of New Zealand so we can rebuild Christchurch.

The Gays and Lesbians need to have a little more empathy and show a little more emotional intelligence before they start sticking their hands out asking for money that would be better spend on things that actually matter, like roads, sewerage and building state owned property like schools in Christchurch, things that have been destroyed.

Readers – don’t think of ringing the tip line to tell me Nikki Kaye is a lesbian like last time I posted on this. She is not a lesbian and even if she were I wouldn’t care or out her or anything silly like that.

Almost as good as Trololo

Is it possible that Trololo man can be beaten? Could be. Now we have Looky Looky man.