Butted out of a grave matter

The former Home and Away actor Bryan Wiseman has been known for his controversial revelations about drug use among the young. But it’s his thoughts on the smoking requirements of the dead that is taking him to the Supreme Court next week. Wiseman and a co-beneficiary, Antony Millard, are seeking to remove Heidi Muggenthaler as executor of the will of their friend Desda Edwards after they were not consulted on the wording of her headstone – which they thought should feature a cigarette and ashtray. Muggenthaler said she knew the 72-year-old Edwards had been a heavy smoker, but assumed the headstone suggestion was made in jest. ”I had [the grave] renovated and had a plaque put on, but no ashtray,” she said. The lucrative estate was all but finalised when the relationship soured, and Muggenthaler was served with the complaint, which also alleges she did not grant Wiseman and Millard access to some of Edwards’s dogs. ”I’m a bit stumped, I don’t know why they’re doing this,” she said. The Diary doesn’t know either, so we contacted Wiseman, who was not prepared to illuminate us. ”It’s in the hands of my lawyers, I’m just going to rely on the courts to make a decision,” he said.EGGHEAD NEWSScientists claim to have answered the question that has confounded philosophers for centuries: which came first, the chicken or the egg? It was, they say, indisputably the chicken. A team from Warwick and Sheffield universities in Britain examined the formation of a chicken’s egg in microscopic detail and discovered that the shell was made from a protein found only in a chicken’s ovaries. Called ovocledidin-17, the protein acts as a catalyst to speed up the development of the shell. But don’t worry, some mysteries endure. The really big question – which came first? The omelet or roast chook? – remains one for the ages.LEFT IN THE PASTThe maxim used by generations of parents to temper the idealism of their children goes: ”If you’re not a socialist at the age of 20 you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative at the age of 40, you have no brain.” Well, research suggests that the adage still holds, though many middle-aged ”champagne socialists” fail to notice their views shifting. A new study reported in London’s The Daily Telegraph shows that people who dabbled with left-wing politics as students still defined themselves by their old radical views, even though the responsibility of raising a family had given them a more conservative outlook. The study suggests that people – mostly the well-educated – vote for left-wing parties ”by mistake”, in ignorance of their actual political interests and sympathies. The paper was based on a study of 136,000 people, gathered in 48 countries, over five periods between 1981 and 2008. Respondents were first asked to assess how they perceived their own political beliefs. These perceptions were then compared with indicators of the respondents’ actual ideological positions, established by asking them whether they believed wealth should be divided more equally. The paper concluded: ”This is further evidence not just that voters are far from fully informed, but that somehow voters consistently misperceive where they lie on the ideological spectrum.”HEAVY DUTYIt’s not a sight you would expect to see in or out of court. But on display yesterday, during a committal hearing into a fatal brawl at Sydney Airport, were 10 giggling bikies. The Comanchero chuckles followed some weighty questions by one of their lawyers. ”It’s fair to say that if somebody’s fat they are not well built, are they?” came one question, followed by: “If you’re talking about someone who is really well built, you’re not talking about someone who is obese, are you?” The magistrate, John Favretto, quipped: “I think that is a rather subjective matter.”BIG DAY FOR THE BAREFOOT BANDITHE HAD been dubbed the Barefoot Bandit but Colton Harris-Moore has suffered the ultimate humiliation, brought to heel in a Nassau courtroom on Tuesday and then promptly extradited to Miami to face further charges. The 19-year-old fugitive burglar pleaded guilty in Nassau to charges of illegally landing a plane in the Caribbean nation. AFP reports that Harris-Moore achieved outlaw folk hero status by eluding authorities on foot, in stolen cars and aircraft, and was wanted in the US for burglaries in at least six states and in Canada. He has a criminal record stretching back to the age of 12. In a digital camera recovered from his stolen booty, police found a self-assured, smirking self-portrait. His mother, Pam Kohler, has hailed him as a genius, even if of the criminal sort. ”He’s smart. He took an IQ test a few years ago and he’s three points below Einstein,” she said last year. It is widely accepted, however, that Einstein never sat an IQ test.STAY IN TOUCH…WITH HARRY POTTER AND THE PARALLEL PLOTHARRY POTTER has contended with Voldemort, dementors, short-sightedness and puberty and more than held his own. Now he faces one of his biggest battles over a claim that he based one of his adventures on the experiences of one Willy the Wizard. Yesterday the estate of the British author Adrian Jacobs filed a copyright infringement in the Federal Court of New York, claiming Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is ”substantially similar” to Jacobs’s 1987 book, Bloomberg reports. ”The central theme of each work – a year-long wizard contest – unfolds as similar characters enact parallel plot points,” according to the complaint. The trustee for Jacobs’s estate has called for Potter’s publishers, Scholastic Inc, to recall the Goblet books and pay the estate all profit from it. Jacobs and J. K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, had been represented by the same literary agent, Christopher Little, who had copies of Jacobs’s book, The Adventures of Willy the Wizard, well before Goblet was published, the estate said. Jacobs’s book was published in Britain by Bachman & Turner in 1987 and hasn’t come out in the United States. The writer died in 1997. There are 143 million copies of the seven Harry Potter novels in print in the US and the books have sold 400 million copies worldwide.WITH SECRETSNEXT month Rhonda Byrne the author of The Secret, will publish its successor, The Power, in New York. The success of the 19 million-selling The Secret was astonishing. For one thing, its ”secret” – if you want something, keep wanting it and you will get it – seemed as obvious as it was nakedly avaricious. Its corollary was pretty obvious, too: if you don’t want something, you’re less likely to get it. That the Diary has yet to successfully stuff an elephant, or remove the hubcap from a speeding vehicle, has a lot to do with not wanting to do it in the first place. But we digress. Byrne’s publishers say she was inspired to write The Power ”after answering thousands of letters from readers of The Secret, and reaching extraordinary new levels of insight”. Her new book will continue her ”groundbreaking work, as she reveals the single greatest force in our universe: the power to get what you want.” All of which makes us think that what Byrne wants is for another 19 million people to ignore that the secret of The Power is that it is rather too much like The Secret.WITH ROVEIT SEEMS Rove McManus’s ”Say hi to your mum for me” sign-off is not set for an airing on US television after all. One of America’s top TV talk show hosts, Craig Ferguson, has dismissed suggestions the Australian is talking over his job, AAP reports. The Scottish-born comedian used his Twitter account to announce there would be no guest host replacing him on The Late Late Show while he went on leave for six weeks. ”I hope reports I’m being replaced by an Australian are false,” Ferguson wrote. ”CBS would never allow a foreigner to do the show. Or would they? Oh no!” But McManus still has prospects for a job stateside later in the year. The network is developing a daytime talk show starring McManus and the former One Day at a Time sitcom star Valerie Bertinelli as hosts.GOT A TIP? Contact [email protected]南京夜网.au or 92822350
Nanjing Night Net

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