Just a brief edition today. I had to make a delicious couscous salad this morning, and this afternoon I am going away to... a conference... on... blogging. Yeah, that's it, a conference on blogging.
Blood runs thicker than milk: Well, I imagine Fonterra executives will be calling off their holidays to China today, having heard the news that two executives of Sanlu Group have been sentenced to death, and another (the unlucky one, if you ask me) to life imprisonment. Sanlu Group is, of course, the company who, in partnership with Fonterra, put melamine - a substance more at home in your chair than your milk - in their milk powder. Now, I'm no supporter of capital punishment but I find it hard to sympathise here; if only we could come up with a more 'humane' idea for the punishment of those Fonterra execs involved. Milkboarding, anyone?
Whites whiter, and colours out: From the 'only-in-America, but-if-in-New-Zealand-then-in-Canterbury' file, an upstanding citizen wishes to create a 'European' ministate in rural North Canterbury. He has commissioned Europe's finest architects and artisans to make his dream a reality: baroque cathedrals, fairytale castles, theatres, the opera, olive groves... Ok, you got me. Actually, by European I mean white. And, presumably, by white I mean Anglo-Saxon; Eastern- and Southern-Europeans need not apply. This wouldn't actually be a particularly interesting story if it weren't for Kyle Chapman's bizarre vision of what would constitute his utopia. Housing, of course. Small business, naturally. A huge vegetable garden? Well you never know who has touched those tomatoes before you at the supermarket. Schooling for the young "away from the multicultural brainwashing of current system schools" - although surely it would be easier to just send your kids to school in Remuera. Yes, this all seems pretty standard... oh wait. Survivalist training, and a sport fighting ring, just in case the plan wasn't 'Mad Max' enough to start with.
To be honest, I don't know why anyone bothers getting up in arms about this. Everyone from the Race Relations Commissioner to local MPs has condemned it, but I'm pretty sure that, even if it happens, all the skinheads will end up back in Christchurch in six weeks anyway, quite a bit thinner and not a lot wiser. In fact, we should encourage them - the rest of New Zealand will be all the more tolerable while they're gone.
The bullshit whisperers: Newsflash: some Australians may not be that bright. That's how I would have summarised today's article on how 'pet whisperers' are apparently catching on in Australia. Then there would have been all the more space for more in-depth horoscopes. But there are some 'corker' lines in there that almost - almost - make it worthwhile losing some braincells over. One woman has even created the ultimate crossover - talking to dead animals.
It's surprising that people have taken so long to build and then jump on this bandwagon. The difficult thing about talking to dead people is that people have quite a lot of characteristics. Did old Joe like reading, or gardening? Was Agnes Jewish or Catholic? With, say, dogs it's a bit easier. "Oh, yes, I'm getting a message. Fido really liked eating dog food, and chasing sticks. He says he's having a great time in the dog afterlife." I suppose I would be more concerned about this kind of thing if it were anything more than a tax on stupidity. But that's no excuse for the Herald to fan the flames.
Oh, and one final warning from the Herald: "psychics shouldn't replace a vet if an animal has serious health or behavioural problems." Now they tell me; when my grandfather became seriously ill, all we did was call a psychic phone line.
Bored games: Hey, wasn't The Dark Knight great? And, man oh man, Transformers had some kickass action scenes! Spiderman! The Incredible Hulk! Man, what other awesome franchises does Hollywood have lined up for us?? Well, according to the Herald, "Universal has a deal with Hasbro to make live-action versions of Ouija, Battleship and Monopoly." You may pick up your jaw from the floor now. Imagine the thrill of property ownership, and charging rent, all on the big screen! So, incipient thespians, start practising your lines now:
"You sank my battleship!"
Ungrammatical headline of the day: "Woman joining stars of the kitchen". Oh wow, just who is this woman? Well, actually, there's a whole bunch. So... that would be "Women..." then. Sean, I thought you were supposed to be fixing this kind of thing?