Ian O'Doherty: All mourn the great leader
This column is coming to you from a darkened room in a secret location as I try to cope with my grief at the news that Supreme Leader of All He Surveys, Kim Jong-Il has kicked the bucket.
If there weren't millions of people starving in gulags and concentration camps, North Korea would be a pretty funny place -- after all, when you have a leader who was prone to kidnapping South Korean actors he liked and forcing them to star in movies he wrote, then you know you're into fairly strange territory.
But the country is undoubtedly a better place with this nutter off the stage and despite the carefully orchestrated scenes of mass grief, you can bet that there will be plenty of people delighted to see the back of him.
But it would appear that some Westerners have a rather more benign view on the man.
That would certainly appear the case with The Only Way Is Essex resident geopolitical expert analyst, Jessica Wright, whose scheduled interview on Sky News was cancelled when news of the death broke.
She immediately went on to Twitter and said: "Interview on sky sunrise cancelled because Kim Jong died rest in peace."
She has been slammed for saying 'RIP' in relation to the tyrant and she has apologised, saying that she didn't know who he was.
It all seems a bit unfair on the woman, in fairness, it's not as if she's renowned for her intellect.
Stay tuned next week when the cast of Tallafornia convene a special meeting to restructure the North Korean agricultural strategy of forced collectivisation.
That'll have the viewers tuning in.
That's the spirit
Have we reached the tipping point yet?
Have we finally decided as a nation that we're mad as hell and we're not going to take it any more?
After all, there is only so much a people can take before they finally rise up and destroy their oppressors.
No, I'm not talking about our political and financial elite, I am referring instead to the relentless proliferation of reality TV which is creeping through our schedules like some weird, fake-tanned poison ivy.
But it seems that some people have seen sense.
Dani Robinson from the hideous Fade Street has hit out at the programme and says that, while she doesn't regret initially signing up for the show, it wasn't what she thought it was going to be.
In fact, she now says: "I'm completely done. The whole thing was just too much stress. The scenes were set up and sometimes we were told what to say."
Fair play to you girl -- it's nice to see someone realising they've been manipulated.
So, presumably she's going back to college?
Um, not quite.
In fact she has started shooting another reality series about her time as a tattoo artist.
Bookworm . . .
He might have committed suicide six years ago, but the memory of Hunter S Thompson still breathes on as strongly as ever.
One of the most influential American writers of the 20th Century, Thompson's Gonzo-style completely revolutionised modern journalism, although where fact ended and fiction began was always of little interest to him.
Now if you're looking for a handy stocking filler for the Gonzo in your life, then you could do worse than pick up Fear And Loathing At Rolling Stone, a selection of some of the pieces he did for that mag.
He had been accused by many of living on past glories by the time of his death, but reading some of the earlier pieces you're reminded of just how glorious they actually were.
And some of the stuff still resonates today.
Take his view on politicians, for instance: "If I followed my better instincts right now I would drive to the home of the nearest politician -- any politician -- and hurl the goddamn typewriter through his window ... soak him with Mace and run him down Main Street with a bell around his neck and black lumps all over his body from the jolts of a high powered 'Bull Buster' cattle prod."
Yup, I think that's a sentiment we can all fully concur with ...
Oi! Leave her religious convictions alone!
At what point does protecting religious conviction clash with the laws of the land?
It's a perennially thorny topic and while I have actually discovered a solution that would keep both sides happy, I'm a jerk, so I'm not going to tell you.
And anyway, where would we be without stories like the one about Emily De Santo?
Emily is an American citizen living in Britain whose visa had run out.
She was due to be deported but when it emerged that she had a child with an Englishman she was given leave to stay.
And then it gets weird.
It turns out that she is in a polygamous relationship and another woman lives with her and her partner.
That's against the law in Britain, but her lawyers argue that because she is a pagan, it would be a breach of her human rights to try to stop the arrangement.
She also says they worship Odin and Thor.
Funny that -- I would have thought Thor, the hammer wielding God Of Thunder, would have been a bit reluctant to start using lawyers to bleat about the Human Rights Act.
Okay -- sign me up . . .
Competitive sport brings out the best and the worst in us.
It can teach loyalty and team work, on the one hand; on the other, it can bring out aggression and cheating.
So it will be interesting to see if there are any fireworks at a new sporting event in the England next year -- staring at paint drying.
Yes, what's sure to become the next big spectator sport will see six contestants sit in a room and the winner is the one who can stare at the drying paint the longest without ever looking away.
According to the organisers: "You don't have to be physically fit and you don't need to have any experience in watching paint dry."
That maybe so, but anyone who is a fan of Big Brother auto-matically has an unfair advantage.