Friday, January 29, 2016

Give Him What He Wants

A teenage thrill-seeker has risked his life, jail AND an historic icon - by scaling the Great Pyramid of Cheops, at Giza!
It's illegal to climb the 4,500yr.old landmark, but 18yr.old German tourist Andrej Ciesielski decided he knew better, so flew to Cairo with the express intention of doing just that.
Ciesielski reached the top of the 146m structure in eight minutes in broad daylight: "I'd asked locals what they thought of my plan and they warned me it was illegal, but I thought it would be fine, what with Egypt's dependence on tourists. I was told I risked prison, but on balance I thought the photos would be worth it."
The rules against climbing the pyramids are in place to protect them from human damage, and it is an act punishable by up to 3yrs in Egyptian prison: "After a few minutes' climbing, I started to attract a bit of attention, and security guards shouted to me in Arabic to come down..." Oh, really? What a surprise!
The prize prat does this sort of thing for thrills. He accesses high-rise rooftops around the world, clambering into precarious positions just for the buzz, with no concept of the illegality or risk!
So if this inconsiderate fool was prepared to knowingly risk jail for those pix, then LET HIM HAVE IT! Delete all his photographs, take away his freedom for the maximum sentence...and make an example of him for other idiots!
The world has lost far too much heritage over the last few decades, through terrorism, earthquakes and other natural disasters. We do not need selfish fuckwits like Ciesielski damaging what's left: "I wanted to experience Egyptian culture and I definitely managed that."
Now his next experience of Egypt should be 3yrs in a Cairo cell!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Even The Experts Say No

More than 30 of the world's top whale scientists have called on Japan to stop its "scientific" whaling programme.
In the international journal Nature, the experts wrote a letter under the headline "Japan's whaling is unscientific": "The IWC urgently needs to develop a process of scientific review that results in clear decisions that can be respected by all." The experts are mostly members of the International Whaling Commission's (IWC) Scientific Committee, whose evidence contributed to the 2014 International Court of Justice ruling against Japan's previous whaling.
Prof.Liz Slooten (Uni.Otago) says "scientific whaling" is a loophole in the international regulations, allowing whaling to continue despite the moratorium on commercial whaling which began in 1986: "When I first joined the IWC Scientific Committee in 1992, I was surprised to discover that Japan is under no obligation to respond to criticism on the scientific whaling proposals it submits to the IWC. Japan decides whether to go whaling and how many whales it will kill. The IWC can neither reject a scientific whaling proposal, nor set a quota for the
number of whales that can be taken."
Hence why four Japanese ships, incl.harpoon boats, are en route to Antarctic waters to hunt whales again, despite that 2014 international court ruling that such missions are unlawful. They plan to kill 333 minke whales in the Southern Ocean, adding to the 10,712 already taken since 1987.
The Steve Irwin, flagship of conservation group Sea Shepherd, last week left Fremantle in Western Australia to try and stop them...

Saturday, January 23, 2016

How Do You Say "Opps!" In Italian?

An Italian woman has had to seek help, after losing the keys to her chastity belt!
The unnamed woman arrived at a fire station in Padua, Italy and asked firefighters to help her with a lock she couldn't open.
Thinking she'd locked herself out of her house, the officers began asking for details about where she lived.
It was only then that she revealed the specific nature of the problem, pulling up her jumper to reveal an iron chastity belt...
The firefighters quickly managed to break the offending lock. They then investigated whether the woman had been forced to wear the belt by someone else or whether she had been a victim of some kind of domestic violence, but ascertained this was not the case.
She explained she had chosen to wear the belt, to prevent herself from embarking on a sexual relationship. However, she quickly lost the keys and despite several desperate searches, was unable to find them. Clearly she needed some assistance in the willpower department, as well as the lost-and-found!
Both the woman and the firefighters are said to be extremely embarrassed by the situation.
Better work stories, huh?

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Eagle Soars No More

Eagles guitarist Glenn Frey died last Mon.18th, from a combination of complications from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis, and pneumonia.
He'd been battling intestinal issues for months and had surgery in November, forcing The Eagles to pull out of appearances.
Glenn was one of the founding members of the band. He co-wrote and sang most of the Eagles hits, including Hotel California, Take It Easy, Tequila Sunrise, Lyin' Eyes and Heartache Tonight.
The star was a major part of The Eagles, helping them land in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame with several classics.
When the band split up in 1980, Frey went off on his own and found success. His single The Heat Is On was a chart topper after it was in the film Beverly Hills Cop (1984). He also came out with You Belong to the City, which was used often in commercials. During his solo career, Frey had 12 charting songs in the US Top 100, and he also appeared in several episodes of Miami Vice.
In 1994 he reunited with The Eagles. They launched their Hell Freezes Over tour, which was a massive success.
As a member of The Eagles, Frey won six Grammy Awards, and five American Music Awards. The Eagles have sold over 120 million albums worldwide and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, the first year they were nominated.
He is survived by his wife Cindy with whom he has three children. Glenn Frey was 67.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The 24 Clock Keeps Ticking

Great news for fans of the awesome TV series 24!!!
FOX is making a pilot, called 24: Legacy, which'll be a potential new season of the groundbreaking award-winning thriller.
The story will involve a military hero Eric Carter's return to the US and the trouble that follows him back – compelling him to ask CTU for help in saving his life, and stopping what could be one of the largest-scale terror attacks on US soil.
It'll have an all-new cast with the same real-time, pulse-pounding pace with split screens and interweaving storylines, and back to the original one-ep-per-hour concept.
Not so great news: no sign of Jack Bauer (Keifer Sutherland). The producers have hinted the series may continue without Jack! They're not talking about continuing the whole show without him - just whether there's one installment (season) that he's not in. Hmmmmmm...
So, who've they got with enough cred to carry another season of 24 without Kiefer? There've been whispers of Kate Morgan (Yvonne Strahovski) from 24: Live Another Day. Was she strong enough? She certainly clocked up an impressive kill-count.
Freddie Prinze Jnr turned in a commendable performance as Cole Ortiz in 24: Season 8. But Cole was damned for associating with Dana Walsh (Katee Sackhoff), so that won't fly.
Still, not all is lost, not by a long shot! Stand by for the return of Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard)!
This spoiler, 24: Legacy, is set two years after Jack's capture by the Russians. Tony's been in maximum security for eight years, and wants and why? [ click ]
No-one's gonna cast and film this sorta clip for no reason, so it's safe money that - if 24: Legacy actually does screen - then Tony. Will. Be. Back!!!

UPDATE: The 20-something main character, Eric Carter, was conceived by the producers as an African American, and the actors approached so far have all been black. Depending on how the casting goes, I hear the character's ethnicity may change but he will remain "diverse".
And get this: the female lead is a woman with a long history at the agency, a former head of CTU. Will we recognise her? Or will she just have a nice back-history written into the script? So much for "an all-new cast"...

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Air Asia Returns To NZ

AirAsia X will be returning to New Zealand skies... but not into Christchurch.
It's announced a daily Kuala Lumpur-Gold Coast-Akld service will begin in late March, using an Airbus A330-300 aircraft with 377 seats.
Christchurch was the Kuala Lumpur-based carrier's only NZ destination, until the airline suspended its 4 x weekly Malaysia-Chch flights in May 2012 only a year after they started. (It was rumoured that AirAsia had been encouraged to Christchurch by the waiving of landing fees, for its first year of operations: once they were reinstated, the airline withdrew its service.)
The airline reimbursed Chch Int'l Airport $400K in marketing costs, for failing to maintain services for an agreed 2yr.period. Tourism NZ also spent about $950K promoting the airline, while Chch and Canterbury Tourism spent $117K promoting Canterbury and other South Island regions in Malaysia and Singapore.
Akld Airport and Tourism NZ would not say if similar incentives were offered for the Auckland service.
The AirAsia group has a network of more than 100 destinations throughout Asia, India and Australia, including hubs at Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Jakarta, Bali, Bangkok, Delhi, Bangalore, Manila and Tokyo...
...meanwhile Christchurch Airport says passenger numbers into the city are set to increase by 16% over this summer. It expects to welcome a record 6 million+ passengers by mid-year, making up for failing to win back the Malaysian flights. That's well up on the previous year's 5.9 million passengers, and would generate more than $150 million in extra visitor spending.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Kiwi Takes Boxing Triple Crown

Today in history, 14 Jan.1891, New Zealander Bob Fitzsimmons knocked out Jack Dempsey in New Orleans, to win the world middleweight championship.
He also won the heavyweight title in 1897, made history as boxing's first three-division world champion, and became one of NZ's first
sporting heroes.
Robert James "Bob" Fitzsimmons (26 May 1863 – 22 October 1917) was born in Cornwall, England but learned boxing – and developed his upper-body strength - working as a blacksmith in Timaru.
Discovered by legendary British boxer/bare-knuckle fighter Jem "The Gypsy" Mace in 1882, Bob served his boxing apprenticeship in Australia. He won his first world title in 1891, knocking out Jack "Unbeatable" Dempsey to win the world middleweight championship.
In 1897, at Carson City in Nevada, in the first fight to ever be filmed, Fitzsimmons knocked out James "Gentleman Jim" Corbett for the world heavyweight crown, which he held for two years.
[Originally running at over 100 minutes, The Corbett-Fitzsimmons Fight was the longest film ever released to that date: as such, it was the world's first feature film. It was also the first to be shot in widescreen. Only fragments of the film survive today.]
Known as "Ruby Bob", he gained an unprecedented third world title at the age of 40, when he beat George Gardner over 20 rounds in San Francisco in 1903, for the recently-introduced light-heavyweight crown.
When his boxing days ended, Bob Fitzsimmons embarked upon a career on the vaudeville stage, and died in Chicago of pneumonia in 1917. Having had four wives, a gambling habit and a susceptibility to scam artists, Bob did not hold on to the money he made.
Considered one of the hardest punchers in boxing history, he is ranked No.8 on Ring Magazine's list of 100 greatest punchers of all time.
Fitzsimmons was posthumously inducted into the NZ Sports Hall of Fame in 1995.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Final Change For Pop Chameleon

The Starman has left.
David Bowie, one of the most influential musicians of his era, has passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family, after an 18-month battle with cancer.
Bowie's hits included Let's Dance, Changes, Space Oddity, Starman, Modern Love, Under Pressure, Heroes, Rebel Rebel and Life on name but a few. He was also well-known for his flamboyant alter-ego Ziggy Stardust.
The singer, who'd been living in New York in recent years, released his latest album Blackstar only last Friday, on his 69th.birthday. It's been well-received by critics and was intended as a "parting gift", says his long-time friend/producer Tony Visconti: "His death was no different from his life - a work of extraordinary man, full of love and life."
Hundreds of fans gathered in his birthplace of Brixton, south London, outside his New York home and also in Berlin where he lived in the late '70s. Tributes have echoed around the world -
Sir Paul McCartney: "David was a great star...his music played a very strong part in British musical history and I'm proud to think of the huge influence he has had on people all around the world."
Brian Eno: "David's death came as a complete surprise, as did nearly everything else about him. I feel a huge gap now."
The Rolling Stones: " extraordinary artist...a true original."
Brian May, Queen guitarist: "...a fearsome talent."
Iggy Pop: "David's friendship was the light of my life. I never met such a brilliant person."
Glastonbury Festival founder Michael Eavis: "Bowie's one of the three greatest in the world, ever - Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and David Bowie. There's no-one else even close."
In a career spanning 51 years, Bowie clocked up:
estimated net worth of £135m
+ 140 million albums sold, since his first release in 1967
+ 111 singles - averaging more than two a year
+ 51 music videos and a number of film roles
+ 25 studio albums
Born David Jones on 08 January 1947, he changed his name in 1966 after The Monkees' Davy Jones achieved stardom. The title track from his 1969 album Space Oddity became his first UK #1. His breakthrough came with The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars (1972).
Throughout his career, Bowie was an innovative, visionary, restless artist. He reinvented not just his sound but his persona over and over. His style shifted with the sands, but he was always recognisably David Bowie.
Along with the Beatles, Rolling Stones and Elvis Presley, Bowie defined what pop music could be. Described as the 'Picasso Of Pop', he brought art to the pop party, infusing his music and performances with avant-garde ideas.
He also carved out a successful acting career, including his role as an alien seeking help for his dying planet in The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976). Other roles included Labyrinth, Cat People, The Last Temptation of Christ and The Hunger.
The Thin White Duke suffered a heart attack in 2004, after which he largely stopped making public appearances.
He was a great singer, songwriter, performer, actor, producer and collaborator - but beyond all that, David Bowie was quite simply... cool.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

No Go At Woods Mill

Lovely frontage, but...
A deal to restore the historic Woods Flour Mill building in Christchurch may have fallen over.
John Cameron, owner of the majority of the Wood Brothers Mill complex on Wise St, had been in talks for about two years, with a potential buyer who wanted to buy and restore the brick buildings. They’d hoped to sign a deal just before Christmas, but could not agree on a price.
The prospectives spent quite a bit of money doing due diligence, and sorting out engineering investigations on what is required to bring it up to 67% code.
So the property may be back on the market later this month.
The Riccarton Players own the Mill Theatre in the historic complex. The community theatre group hopes to restore/strengthen its part of the building and move back in. It would have to strengthen the building in partnership with any developer who took on the rest of the mill complex.
Chair of the theatre redevelopment group, Graeme Randle, says the theatre restoration would cost more than a million dollars.
...lots of work needed round the back.
Previous plans to restore the rest of the Woods Mill buildings have struggled to get off the ground: a $15 million plan to transform the buildings into a precinct of bars, restaurants and offices did not get beyond the planning stage.
Meanwhile, vandals and taggers are making a bloody mess...

UPDATE: 31 March 2016 - Back on the market again after another potential sale fell through...

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Spying on Star Wars

Have you seen the new Star Wars film yet?
If so, did you spot 007, Daniel Craig???!!!
It was revealed late last year that Daniel Craig had nabbed a cameo in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (true!). But few realised the James Bond actor features in a prominent moment, in which he speaks four lines. The scriptwriters even named his Stormtrooper JB-007, in a nod to his role as super-sleuth Bond.
Daniel appears in a short scene opposite Daisy Ridley's character Rey, who mind-controls Stormtrooper JB-007 before they become involved in a brief humorous exchange.
The next 007...???
This wee part came about simply from being in the right place at the right time. Craig had been filming Spectre at Pinewood studios in Buckinghamshire, when he got talking to Star Wars director J.J. Abrams, who also shot some of his film at the same complex: they concocted the cameo together.
So, if you haven't seen the movie yet, keep your eyes peeled - and may the Force be with you!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Shark-bait Selfie!

We see ourselves here...we see ourselves there...we take our selfies EVERYwhere!
Self-obsession has risen to new heights over the past few years, with folk like the Kardashians posting virtually every part of their lives (and anatomies!).
Your average Joe (and Josephine) Bloggs have followed suit, trying to gain a higher profile and larger ego, by posting more and more 'extreme' selfies! And when THAT doesn't work...well, they fake it 'til they can make it! Check THIS out!
Logic tells us that, if this was a REAL selfie, the guy could never have posted it, as he was about to become a shark sandwich!
But the Believers believed! Even the guy himself claimed (for a while) that he'd escaped by the skin of his boardshorts to tell the tale...
But sooner or later on the 'net, the truth will come out! A cute bit of Photoshopping, that's all!

Friday, January 1, 2016

The Italian Job

Ahhhhh, such are the joys of the internet.
People THINK they know something, post wrong info...and within a short space of time, it becomes solid fact!
Thus an old video clip of a very skillful motorcyle display gets cited with dates ranging all over the known universe! Yet just a tiny bit of
research would have clarified things...
Pathé News was a producer of newsreels and documentaries from 1910-1970 in the UK (older readers will recall its newsreels playing in movie theatres, ahead of the feature flick). The Pathé News archive is known today as British Pathé. Its fully-digitised collection is available online...and is the source of this particular clip.
The short footage (below) is of a motorcycle display in Rome, to mark the 107th anniversary of the Italian police. The force formed in 1848, so that means the film can be no earlier than 1955. And among the officials seated in the grandstand, you'll see Italian President Giovanni Gronchi - who held office from 1955-1962.
Thus - unlike many YouTube posters - I'm confident that the footage can be dated at/soon after 1955. And Pathé News has dated it at 1959 (a few years later than the anniversary year...but a damn sight more accurate than those who said the 1930s!!). that's cleared up, enjoy some pretty fancy motorcycling!