Dining out on the end of the world
It's official, the world will end on Friday.
Even Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced it to her nation.
"Whether the final blow comes from flesh-eating zombies, demonic hell-beasts or the total triumph of K-Pop, if you know one thing about me, it is this: I will always fight for you to the very end," she said in an Apocalyptic hoax promotion for a radio station.
So what to do until then?
Looting and pillaging might come to mind for some testosterone-fuelled chaps, but quite a few of us would want simple pleasures: maxing out the credit card, making sure there is enough LPG for the barbecue, decent stocks of good wine, steaks to last and, oh, a long lie-in on Friday.
Buying Saturday's big Lotto ticket might be a bit pointless, unless the Mayans made a mistake about the whole thing, but the Sunday Star-Times asked a few leading New Zealanders how they planned to spend the time leading up to the end of time.
Prime Minister John Key, whose last days seem to have been devoted to fashion crimes (gay red shirt, anyone) and exploring the IQ of British footballers, decided he would not share his Parnell plans for the end of days.
Opposition leader David Shearer pointedly noted that the end of the world would not have happened under a Labour government. For the last couple of days he would "gather the family, and turn up the stereo really loud".
The end of the world thing is pretty old hat - it's been imminent since folks first began standing upright, but the best scenario came in the 1957 thriller On the Beach. Much of the world was destroyed in nuclear war, except Australia.
Sadly though, the killer radiation cloud was bound for Sydney and Australians knew the end was up.
One character planted a garden, another went to typing and shorthand classes. More pragmatically, the older members of a gentlemen's club drank the cellar dry.
Here in New Zealand it seems we want to eat, drink and be merry - and then sleep through the whole thing.
Actor Cameron Rhodes has a clear plan.
"Fly first class to New York, get drunk on the plane, then party in Times Square - the crossroads of the world."
Fellow actor Mia Blake has it all mapped out.
"I would spend the first day shopping for a lot of delicious food and planning a killer menu, then on the second day we would start prepping our feast, and on the last and final day we would eat - taking our time over a 12-course meal in the sun, overindulging on wine and all sorts of deliciousness, because the best way to go is with a full and happy belly."
Mad Butcher Sir Peter Leitch was amused to think he might even make it to the end of the world.
"If the cancer doesn't get me first, mate, I would barbecue until the end of the world."
Fight for Life promoter Dean Lonergan might have to settle a few accounts as well.
"I would get together with my son - and some more of the family, but mainly my son and we would have fantastic food."
Comedian Mike King said if the end was nigh he would sit back and let nature take its course.
"I'd just mow my lawns and have a swim in my pool, brother," he said.
"If it's impending doom, let's at least be tidy."
In other parts of the world, it's less light-hearted.
The Wall Street Journal reports a businessman from the east Chinese province of Jiangsu has built a series of Noah's Ark-like apocalypse survival capsules.
Yang Zongfu is selling large stainless-steel ball shelters for between 1 million and 5 million yuan. He claims one Chinese customer has already bought 15 and that orders have come in from New Zealand.
In Chile, Bishop Bernardo Bastres Florence of Punta Arenas is happy some believe in the end of the world.
"If there are many who believe the world will end on December 21, as the Church, we have no problem with them naming us as the beneficiaries of their possessions in their wills."
After all, on the other side, you won't need your worldly possessions.
Sunday Star Times