yesterday i was waiting on london bridge station when tezzer pointed out a guy munching on a twig. i asked him what it was. it turned out to be khat (or qat, which is useful to know if you play scrabble and find yourself without a U). the guy pulled out a bunch of twigs and handed us a bunch each. he told us to pull off the green leaves and chew. we all got on a train munching away. let’s just say it was bitter.
it reminded me of being in singapore having dinner with an indian. he had given me beetlenut wrapped up in a banana leaf. i chewed as told, and tried desperately hard not to be sick.
i don’t think i’ll be trying khat again any time soon.
This is a rather splendid guide to writing a suicide note.
In general, use first person.
It creates a sense of intimacy and makes it easier for a reader to see things from your point of view, if you want to use a different viewpoint, be sure that you stick to it throughout your whole note.
Don’t reveal your methods.
This is most important when taking poisons and pills. Telling everyone what you took just makes it easier for them to give you the treatments needed to revive you. Alternately, you do not want someone to find the note that details which bridge you’re jumping off of before you get that chance to jump. They might be able to stop you. People will find out how you did it once the autopsy reports come in anyway.
but my favourite:
Make sure it’s not too long.
There is a reason it’s called a suicide note and not a novel. Try to keep it around two or three pages at the most. Avoid the temptation to mention or leave a little note to everyone you know. Not only does that get dull fast but you’re certain to leave someone out.
i remember hearing, a few months ago, an interview with gore vidal. vidal was so down on the world situation that the interviewer asked him if he saw any hope. i had never heard him despair before. he answered, no.
But then Vonnegut starts coughing, clearing his throat of phlegm, grasping for a half-smoked pack of Pall Malls lying on a coffee table. He quickly lights up. His wheezing ceases. I ask him whether he worries that cigarettes are killing him. “Oh, yes,” he answers, in what is clearly a set-piece gag. “I’ve been smoking Pall Mall unfiltered cigarettes since I was twelve or fourteen. So I’m going to sue the Brown & Williamson Tobacco Company, who manufactured them. And do you know why?” “Lung cancer?” I offer.
“No. No. Because I’m eighty-three years old. The lying bastards! On the package Brown & Williamson promised to kill me. Instead, their cigarettes didn’t work. Now I’m forced to suffer leaders with names like Bush and Dick and, up until recently, ‘Colon.’”….
the article mentions vonnegut’s continual thoughts of suicide. beautifully, as i was reading this, a song came on by the tiger lilles, ‘your suicides’, with the line
you say someday that you will succeed, but you’re ninety-three next year
Steve irwin spent his tv career bothering dangerous animals before finally getting himself killed on camera by one of them. he subsequently is offered a state funeral, turned down by his family, and instead a faux state funeral is instigated anyway, with video contriutions from hollywood and an address by the australian prime minister.
not to be outdone, britain responds. richard hammond a tv presenter that drives dangerous cars very fast, almost dies on camera behind the wheel of a jet-powered car at nearly 300mph. it is unlikely that he would receive a state funeral here, even were he to die. the number of video tributes from hollywood would probably be small. tony blair would probably not turn up to any service.
if you want to know the details you could read various versions of events in different newspapers and media. Or you could just go to wikipedia, which, just a few hours after the event, now contains anything you might want to know.
yes, the real world becomes more like the onion every day.
steve (croc-botherer) irwin died a while back and the memorial ceremony has just taken place at the zoo. up to 300 million people worldwide tuned in to watch.
“We have lost a friend, a champion,” actor Russell Crowe said in a recorded tribute. “It will take some time to adjust to that.”
And what did the prime minister say, oh yes, he attended too:
“Steve Irwin touched the hearts of Australians and touched the hearts of millions around the world in a very special way,” said Howard. “He did that because he had that quality of being genuine, of being authentic, of being unconditional and having a great zest for life.
“Throughout his all-too-short life he demonstrated a love for the two things that ought to matter more to all of us than anything else — his love of his family and his love of his country.”
and there were many others:
Later, as part of the public memorial entitled “He Changed our World,” actress Cameron Diaz said in a video presentation that Irwin was incredibly popular in the United States.
“I’ll never forget what I learned just by being around Steve,” Justin Timberlake said in the video presentation. “Not even what he taught me, just what I learned by being around him with animals. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you and he will definitely be missed.”
Actor Kevin Costner said Irwin put himself “out there” for everyone to see.
“He was fearless,” said Costner in the video tribute.
“He let us see who he was. That is being brave in today’s society.”
Fellow Aussie, Hugh Jackman, spoke of the croc hunter’s legacy. “I spoke with my son a few days ago and he said, ‘Daddy I think we should all be warriors like Steve.’ And I just said to him you’re absolutely right,” Jackman said.
The flags on the sydney harbour bridge flew at half-mast.
YouTube is going to win bigtime. They’ve built the audience. They’ve built the value added services that make their service fun to use. And eventually they are going to get the content owners to play ball.
Begging for forgiveness is going to work for YouTube. And when it works for them, its going to work for others too. Precedents are hard to break.
Also, I don’t think any of the big media companies are desperate enough for YouTube’s traffic to buy their company/impending lawsuits and collapse.
In fact, if someone at the company I worked for made a run at YouTube I would fight it to my last dying breath for a) our shareholders and b) the fact that there is no long-term business model stealing people’s content. I know executives from the other big media/Internet companies and they have a similar “hell no!” approach to acquiring YouTube. That’s why you see everyone making their own syndicated video services–we all know that YouTube is on the brink of extinction.
it takes a popular song, changes the lyrics entirely, and plays over a re-edited hollywood film. there are hundreds of them, mostly bad. but not all. and why not? but it’s a nightmare of a legal issue. there was a solution to sampling in music, paul mccartney used to wet himself at the thought of the royalties everytime oasis released an album. and i suppose a similar solution is needed. where money is made it should be distributed based on original input, but there can be no requirement for licensing in advance. the amount of content holders in different media are large. youtube has to please all of them and, if/when it does, it will make a lot of money.
this is the first time i’ve embedded a video in a post. it took me about 3 seconds to work out. gotta love it.
I now seem to have a thing about books that come in multiple volumes. proust, gibbon, etc. and all this from someone who prefers short books. right now i’m two volumes through george orwell’s “collected essays, journalism and letters”. recommended to all. there are many good things about it.
today i read his diary entries from the war. he continually hypothesises and predicts. at one point he thinks churchill has to go, that there has to be a mass uprising if britain is to stave off an invasion. and there are lots of small details, too.
anyway, from my reading on the 18.36 london bridge to sydenham:
14th june 1940 -
Always, as I walk through the underground stations. sickened by the advertisements, the silly staring faces and strident colours, the general frantic struggle to induce people to waste labour and material by consuming useless luxuries or harmful drugs. How much rubbish this war will sweep away, if only we can hang on throughout the summer. War is simply a reversal of civilised life, it’s motto is ‘Evil be thou my good’, and so much of the good of modern life is actually evil that it is questionable whether on balance war does harm.
15th june 1940 -
It has just occured to me to wonder whether the fall of Paris means the end of the Albatross Library, as I suppose it does. If so, I am £30 to the bad.
20th june 1940 -
The police are the very people who would go over to Hitler once they were certain he had won. Well, if only we can hold out for a few months, in a year’s time we shall see red militia billeted in the Ritz, and it would not particularly surprise me to see Churchill or Lloyd George at the head of them. . . .
. . . According to R.H. a woman who rented an island in the Hebrides in order to avoid air raids was the first air-raid casualty of the war, the R.A.F. dropping a bomb there by mistake. Good if true.