31.10.06

MIRROR MIRROR
ON THE WALL


Who's the wisest of them all?

Apes do it, we do it… and so, it seems,
do elephants. They can recognise themselves
in a mirror, passing a test of self-awareness
that is failed even by the majority
of our primate relatives.


Until recently, this ability was thought to be
the exclusive preserve of humans and great apes.
Then, in 2001, Diana Reiss at
Columbia University in
New York, US, showed that dolphins tended
to position themselves to view a mark on their
bodies that would not otherwise be visible,
showing that they too could recognise
their own reflections.


Like humans and apes, dolphins are highly
social animals with large brains, and seem
to show empathy towards one another. So
Reiss turned her attention to another large-
brained and apparently empathetic
species – the Asian elephant.

Teaming up with Frans de Waal and
Joshua Plotnik of Emory University in Atlanta,
Georgia, US, Reiss presented three elephants
at the Bronx Zoo in New York City with a mirror.
They began inspecting themselves
with their trunks while staring
at their reflections. One elephant, called
Happy, also repeatedly touched
a mark painted onto its head.

A previous attempt to investigate self-recognition
failed, apparently because the mirrors used
were too small. “Elephants don’t have the
best eyesight,” de Waal says. “It’s important
that the mirror is the size of an
elephant and is accessible.”


ISN'T SHE A CUTIE?

I was looking through some old photos
tonight and found this one of Wardrobe
my cat, who passed away in June 2005.

What a cutie! I really miss her...:-(


WHY DOGS
HATE HALLOWEEN


30.10.06

HOW LAZY?

How lazy do you have to be
to have one of these?


A self stirring cup.

Making a cuppa? It's a mugs game without
this self-stirring mug. Simply press the
button on the top of the handle with your
thumb, and this spins a mini propeller
built in the base of the mug. That creates a
powerful vortex (still with us?) which mixes
your drink - including any sugar or sweeteners
you add - all within seconds!

It's guaranteed to break the ice at those early
morning office meetings. In fact, it causes
quite a stir. So wake up and smell the
coffee/tea/hot chocolate/soup - without
hardly having to lift a finger.


27.10.06

BAMBOO AND
CREAM SURPRISE


“Yum! My favourite!”

Taotao - a panda at China's
Jinan zoo in Shandong province -
receives a bamboo and cream
34th birthday cake.

BEST SEATS
IN THE HOUSE


This picture of monkeys watching the
England cricket team practising in
Ahmadabad, India, cracked me up.

I can hear the conversation:


“Did ya see that bumper mate?”

“Yeah mate, it wasn’t as good
as his googly though…”

“Yeah I know, and he’s got to work
on that lofted drive as well…”


IT'S ALRIGHT MATE...

"You hold it...and I'll drive."

My favourite's got
to be the egg one!

26.10.06

MMMM- HEALTHY...
NOT!


A new fast food is making its debut at
U.S. fairs this fall -fried Coke.

Abel Gonzales, 36, a computer analyst from
Dallas, tried about 15 different varieties before
coming up with his perfect recipe - a batter
mix made with Coca-Cola syrup, a drizzle
of strawberry syrup, and some strawberries.


Balls of the batter are then deep-fried,
ending up like ping-pong ball sized doughnuts
which are then served in a cup, topped with
Coca-Cola syrup, whipped cream,
cinnamon sugar and a cherry on the top.

"It tastes great," said Sue Gooding, a
spokeswoman for the State Fair of Texas
where Gonzales' fried Coke made its
debut this fall. "It was a huge success."


Gonzales ran two stands at the State Fair of Texas
(below) and sold up to 35,000 fried Cokes over
24 days for $4.50 each -and won a prize for coming
up with "most creative" new fair food.


Now other fairs in North Carolina and
Arizona are following the trend, and other
people are trying to emulate Gonzales' recipe.

Gonzales gave no indication of the calories
in his creation and said he would not patent it.

"The best I can hope for is that it's the
original and hopefully the best
fried Coke out there," he said.

But Gonzales said the success of his fried
Coke had inspired him. Next year's fair-goers
can look forward to fried Sprite or - for
those watching their weight - fried diet Coke.

"We are trying to cut a lot of the sugar
out of it. It has less calories but it's
still very, very sweet," he said.


Ray Crockett, a spokesman for Coca-Cola Co., said:
"We're constantly amazed at the creative
ways folks find to enjoy their Coke and make
it part of celebrations like fairs and festivals.
This is one is definitely different!"


DESIGNER CURTAINS

Oh the joy of daytime radio!

I’ve been painting the kitchen cupboards
for the last couple of days and in the
background I’ve had my favourite
chill out radio station Magic FM

Whilst they do play a lot of music, their motto
is “less talk - more music” after all, the
adverts in the middle drive you insane!
If I hear
Kerry Katona advertising Iceland
one more time I’m going to scream!

One ad that was really strange
was for “designer curtains”. What? I
didn’t know such things existed! Are people
going come round to your house and
check the label in your curtains?
“Not Versace?” Well, sorry, I won’t stay”.


It’s like designer clothing: having designer
curtains is not going to make you a better
person and as far as I can tell, is
a complete waste of money.

However on a nicer note, the best song to
sing along while painting I've decided is Lionel
Ritchie & Diana Ross duet
"Endless Love".

I can never hit the high notes and that's
what makes it fun, I'm just glad nobody
apart from the dogs were around
to hear the attempts!



SHE COULDN'T BEAR IT...

The Queen was suppose to meet the Gooners
today and open
Arsenal's new Emirates Stadium
but she was forced to pull out of because
she has strained a muscle in her back.


I reckon it's an excuse and
she is secretly a
Spurs fan and
just couldn't bear the idea! :-)


25.10.06

KURT RAKES IT IN-
EVEN FROM THE GRAVE


Rock 'n' roll legend Elvis Presley ceded his
crown to Nirvana lead singer Kurt
Cobain on a Forbes.com list as the
top-earning dead celebrity.


The list, published yesterday, said grunge
rocker Cobain earned $50 million (£26.7 M)
between October 2005 and October 2006.
Presley wound up in the No. 2 slot with $42
million, down from last year's $45 million.

Forbes.com bases its dollar amounts on
licensing deals for using the deceased
celebrities' work or image in advertising or
elsewhere. This was Cobain's first time on
the list in its six years of publication. Presley
has ruled the roost since its inception,
said Forbes.com staff writer Lacey Rose.

Cobain's coup was due to his widow, actress
and singer Courtney Love, who sold a 25 %
stake in the Seattle grunge group's
song catalogue to New York music
publishing company PrimeWave.

Ranked after Presley is "Peanuts" cartoon
strip creator Charles Schulz at $35 million.
Rounding out the top five were Beatle John
Lennon at $24 million and groundbreaking
physicist Albert Einstein at $20 million,
whose estate profited from such licensing
deals as the popular "Baby Einstein"
educational videos.

Other celebrities on the list include
Theodore Geisel, better known as children's
book author Dr. Seuss; rhythm & blues pioneer
Ray Charles, silver screen legend Marilyn
Monroe and reggae superstar Bob Marley.


DICK OF THE DAY

Rush Limbaugh.

What the hell does he know?!
Shame on you!

In a series of new campaign ads,
Michael J. Fox's body jerks and sways
uncontrollably as he urges voters to support
candidates who back stem cell research.

As Rush Limbaugh sees it, Fox, who has
publicly battled Parkinson's disease since
1998, is clearly playing up his affliction
for dramatic effect.

The actor's visible symptoms and poignant
message in the 30-second spots apparently
aroused the ire of the conservative radio host,
leading him to speculate that Fox either
"didn't take his medication, or he's acting."
"He is exaggerating the effects of the disease,"
Limbaugh told his listeners on Monday.
"He's moving all around and shaking,
and it's purely an act…This is really
shameless of Michael J. Fox."

Limbaugh was responding specifically to
Fox's ad for Missouri Democrat Claire
McCaskill, who is running against Republican
Senator James M. Talent. The spot, available
on YouTube.com, had already received
1.2 million views as of Wednesday morning.
"What you do in Missouri matters to millions
of Americans," Fox says in the spot as
his torso writhes to a rhythm
all its own. "Americans like me."

But according to Limbaugh, Americans
like Fox are apparently liars, not to
mention hypochondriacs. "This is
the only time I've ever seen Michael J. Fox
portray any of the symptoms of the
disease he has," Limbaugh said.
"He can barely control himself."

However, numerous experts on the
disease pointed out that Fox's
movements were consistent with
symptoms of advanced Parkinson's.
Fox's spokesman, John Rogers, who
also serves on the board of the
Parkinson's Action Network, called
Limbaugh's remarks "shameful."

"It's an appalling, sad statement," Rogers said.
"Anybody who understands Parkinson's disease
knows it's because of the medicine that
one experiences the tremors and
movements Fox displayed in the ad."

Even Limbaugh's loyal Dittoheads felt
the need to let their leader know he might
have crossed the line, resulting in an
on-air apology of sorts from the host.


NOT DOWN THE HATCH
BUT DOWN THE PAN


This just proves that the
sillier the idea...

A new restaurant themed on toilet utilities
opened in
Shenzhen, China, recently,
winning the favour of some novelty-seeking
consumers.
Although some felt disgusted when
dining with the surroundings of a toilet, some
people seem to enjoy it very much.


In the restaurant, toilet bowls are used as
seats, bathtubs are used as bowls and
some dishes are served that are
shaped like manure.


"Customers are mainly young people,"
said the manager. "Some
are willing to be on a waiting
list for the toilet-bowl seats."

The restaurant has four outlets in
Shenzhen, and there are
outlets in Chengdu and Wuhan.


24.10.06

UGLY BEAST

This photo, ugly as it is, is the winner of
Shell Wildlife Photographer
of the Year award.

The picture of a walrus feeding on
clams on the sea floor took nine years to
obtain and was almost deleted at the last minute.

Goran Ehlme caught the magic moment
on a digital camera and deleted
many unwanted shots.

"My finger was poised to delete this one too,
and then I noticed something special," he said.

The competition has become one of the
most prestigious in world photography.

It is organised by BBC Wildlife Magazine
and London's Natural History Museum.
This year brought more than 18,000
entries from 55 countries.

Here's some of the runners up:

Hispaniolan treefrog in the grip of a
green vine snake by Rick Stanley.

Flamingos at Lake Nakuru,
Kenya by Todd Gustafson.

A bear at Kamchatka Peninsula in the
Russian Far East by Igor Shpilenok.

A Coconut crab at Aldabra, in the
Indian Ocean by Jan Vermeer.


NUNC HIC
AUT NUMQUAM


Or "It's Now Or Never" in Latin.

Another weird story from
the "motherland":

Finland is one of the quieter members of
the EU but now its turn at the EU presidency
has thrust it into the spotlight - and
exposed an unusual passion.

It has been caught doing something vaguely
disturbing - indulging a penchant for Latin.

It is the only country in the world which
broadcasts the news in Latin. On its EU
presidency website one can find
descriptions of meetings in Latin.

In a hotel in helsinki you can find
Dr Jukka Ammond singing Elvis Presley's
songs in Latin, like "Can't Help Falling
In Love"- or "Non adamare non possum."

It sounds a little like Italian but rather more
stilted - like Italian sung by a Finnish person.
"The legend of Elvis lives for ever, and it's of course
very important to sing his songs in Latin,
because it's the eternal language," he says.

Mia Lahti, who edits the EU presidency
website, is like many Finns an optimist
at heart. But why do a website in Latin? "The
website is in English and French," she says.
But they have their secret language:
Conspectus rerum Latinus,
or "Latin News in Brief".

"I know there are people who are angry
because in their childhood they had to
study compulsory Latin. Also I think it
might be interesting to read the
news in Latin," she believes.

The news in Latin on Finland's national radio
gets 75,000 listeners, which may not sound
like much, but on a per capita basis is more
than some BBC Radio 4 programmes get.

This is the final piece in
the Finland's Latin jigsaw.

"In Latin we have more listeners in the
world than for Finnish broadcasts,
simply because Latin is known better than
Finnish," explains Professor Tuomo
Pekannen, who does the translations.


SQUEAKY
MUS MUSCULUS


For the last few nights there's been some
"mus muculus" aka house mouse action in
the kitchen again. I haven't heard it
but apprently they make a sort
of squaky toy noise.

It seems they've made another hole to climb
through after I stuffed the previous ones
full of wire wool- apparently the
only thing they won't eat!.

So did a bit of investigating:
they've made a route behind the sink &
draining board, washing machine along
water pipes, through another bit of
cupboard wall, along the pipes, into the
radiator between the two parts that heat
up, along some more pipes and a hole
into a plaster & brick wall into the basement.
What they've going on down
there, who knows!


I pulled out everything, cleaned up their
mess, bleached the floor and squirted some
Flash into the radiator, let's see
if they'll like that smell!


We've got (humane) traps everywhere with
treats like chocolate and peanuts in them but
they're just not interested. Probably
too clever to go in there!

Bloody squeaky little bastards!
I'll get you yet! :-)


No, not the latest Damien Hurst installation
but the behind of our washing machine
with wire wool stuck in all the holes the
mice have made. Actually I should
sell that to the Tate Modern as a piece of
art to pay for all the mousetraps!


FIRST CLASS MIAOW

A pensioner accidentally sent a cat in the
post after it sneaked inside the parcel
she was sending to her nephew.


Edith Schonberg, 67, from Rosdorf in
Schleswig Holstein, Germany, posted the
birthday parcel without noticing Felix
had crawled inside for a catnap.


She believes the three year old tom must
have found his way into the package while
she was searching for some sticky tape.

The mistake was only spotted when a
postman at the central sorting office
realised there was an animal inside
the parcel and called police.

Mrs Schonberg said: "I had not even noticed
he had gone until they called,
I thought he was asleep in
the airing cupboard."


23.10.06

WHERE AM I?

I found this article really sad but not
at all surprising given the crap
standard of schooling in this country:


One in five British children cannot
find the UK on a map of the world and

fewer than two thirds of children
were able to correctly locate the US.


National Geographic Kids, which questioned
more than 1,000 six to 14-year-olds, said
it found several London children
did not know they lived in
England's capital.


They also discovered 86% of the children
interviewed failed to identify Iraq
and one in 10 could not name
a single continent.


Boys seemed to show a slightly better geographical
knowledge than girls, with 65% able to
locate a number of countries around the
world compared with 63% of girls.


Scottish children appeared to be the most
geographically aware with 67% able to
point out the most countries, out of
England, the US, France, China and
Iraq, on a world map.


Professor Alan Smithers, director of the
Centre for Education and Employment
Research at
Buckingham University,
said the findings were"rather frightening".


"These results underline the need for
education to concentrate on the essentials.

How are children going to be able to get
as much out of their life if they fail
to have an understanding of the
shape of the world?"


22.10.06

A DANGEROUS PLACE

Being a bit of a techno phobe (I don't
trust myself to do anything "modern"
although once I get into it, it goes OK-
like installing the broadband etc)
I only just got round to downloading
some music off the internet.


I've had an iPod for over a year now (my
friend Heidi bought one for me as a gift-
THANK YOU HEIDI!) but I've never
even looked at HOW to download
music let alone done it.


iTunes Store is such a dangerous place
because the choice is endless and it's
only £0.79 a pop! You look at the A-Z list
of bands and think "Oh, they've got this!
Oh, and this! Oh and I love that song,
I'll just get that..." and so on.


I was very good though, downloaded only 3
songs tonight. What were they? Well,
feel free to laugh at (two) of my
choices but I just had to:


GENESIS: "Congo"

FRANKIE GOES TO
HOLLYWOOD: "Rage Hard"


JULIETTE & LICKS: "Hot Kiss"


AMAZING PIC
OF THE DAY


This amazing but sad photo from 1940 by
J.A. Hampton was in today's
Sunday Times Magazine.

68 people were killed when a bus fell into
a bomb cater outside Balham tube station
in south London during the Blitz.

21.10.06

BLACK CABS MOVE
WITH THE TIMES


Even iconic things have to
sometimes change to fit the "bill":


The famous London cabs have been given
a makeover centred around a new Euro
IV-emissions standards-compliant
2.5-litre diesel engine which will
also run on 5% Bio-Diesel fuel-mix.

A re-styled and more
environmentally friendly version
called the TX4, they will sport a mesh
grille on its front-end and its interiors
have been upgraded to make
the ride more comfortable.

The new models will replace older cabs
introduced in 2002. The cost of the new
cab ranges between £26,995 and £35,495.

Black cabs were introduced
in 1948 and since then
London Taxis International(LTI)
has made more than 100,000 cabs.


IT CAME FROM
OUTER SPACE...


A fire that destroyed a cottage near
Bonn and injured a 77-year-old man
was probably caused by a meteor and
witnesses saw an arc of blazing light in the sky.


Burkhard Rick, a spokesman for the police
in
Siegburg east of Bonn, said the fire
gutted the cottage and badly burnt the
man's hands and face in the
incident on October 10.


"We sought assistance from Bochum
observatory and they noted that at that
particular moment the earth was near a
field of meteoroid splinter and it could be
assumed that particles had
entered the atmosphere," he said.

"The particles usually don't reach the
surface because they disintegrate in the
atmosphere," he added. "But some can make
it to the ground. We believe this was a bolide
(meteoric fireball) with a size
of no more than 10 mm."


WHERE'S THE SNAKE
WARNING LIGHT?!


A German car rental clerk had to take apart
the interior of a removals van to take out
an eight-foot boa constrictor that had
escaped from a cloth sack on the passenger
seat and slithered behind the dashboard.

Thomas Weber, a rental clerk in the state
of Thuringia said the snake's owner had
brought the van back seeking help
for his unusual problem.

Weber then took the
dashboard apart and the owner
slowly pulled the giant snake out.

"The snake was completely content in there
and didn't want to come out," said Weber.
"Evidently, he liked the warm and
cozy feeling near the engine."


20.10.06

MONSTER INDEED

I watched Metallica's "Some Kind Of Monster"
documentary for the first time last night
(it was on telly) with great interest.

It's the story of the bands struggle to record
a new album whilst battling their personal
problems and the audition process for a new
bassist after the departure of Jason Newsted.

I've never been a huge fan of their music
but I've got a real soft spot for
Lars
... don't ask! Maybe it's because he's
a fellow Scando done good...plus
I like watching any kind of
rock/pop documentaries.


Anyway, the whole thing was silly: their
management hired a" performance-
enhancing coach" Phil Towle to help
the group better understand one another
(?!- after 25 years?).

When the band finally decided that
'The Therapist' is no longer required
(
James Hetfield pointed out that "he thinks
he's a member of the band now!") and tell
Phil this he tries to convince them that they
still need him - "We've still got some trust
issues that I think we need to sort out."

At one point Lars says it himself :
"You're telling me that us guys who've been
through so much together can't sort
something like this out ourselves-
we're just a rock'n'roll band!"


Understantably Phil was not happy about
the band trying to call it a day as far as
his services were concerned: he was
getting paid $40 000 a MONTH!

Just proves that in the States you can get paid
a lot of money for doing something bordering
on diddly-squat. As far as I could work
out all this guy did was just sit in a room
(wearing the most awful woolly jumpers!)
with the guys and listened to them talk.
Their roadies could've done that!

One of the funniest scenes in the film is when
James comes back from his time-out rehab
spell and he announces that he is only allowed
to work from 12 till 4 every day and when he
leaves the others can't even listen to any of the
tracks they'd laid down during the day let
alone work further on them because
he would feel left out.

At which point
Kirk points out
that "that's what I've felt like for fifteen
years!" referring to the fact that James
as always written all the lyrics. They tried a
new approach whilst recording the album

"St Anger": all band members wrote
lyrics and it seemed to work fine.


WE WOULD HAVE
OUR KNICKERS IN A TWIST-
IF WE HAD SOME!


A vicar has come to the rescue of a small
New Zealand town that has run
out of women's underwear.

A group of women at the local Anglican
church revealed the crisis caused by the
only clothing shop in the small town of
Inglewood
, about 280 km (175 miles)
north west of the capital Wellington,
no longer stocking women's underwear.

"Someone came up with the point that it
was a bit difficult that ladies essentials were
not able to be bought in Inglewood,"
Reverend Gary Husband said.
"So we're going to have what's
been called a knickers run."

Husband, who came up with the solution
to the less-than-spiritual problem,
said volunteers would now take anyone
without transport to the nearby city of
New Plymouth, about 20 km (12 miles)
away, to buy their essentials.

Men's underwear is readily available
in the town of around 3,000, but it also
has no shoe shop and no bus service.

Husband said a trial run would be
made before Christmas and if successful
it would probably become a monthly event
and open to all, regardless of faith.
"This is for the community ... the response
has been positive, we've had one (other)
denomination get in touch
with us, so it's spreading."


19.10.06

MOCK THE WEEK

I'm a huge fan of shows like
"Have I Got News For You"
and "Whose Line Is It Anyway?"
and the latest arrival in the same sort of
"genre" (current issues and improvisation)

Mock The Week which is currently
showing on BBC2.

It is in fact the second series and I hope
they keep making many more as this stuff is
absolute dynamite. I always laugh out loud
whilst watching it and they are not afraid
to take the piss out of anyone or anything.


My favourite comedian in it is
Hugh Dennis
(above) whose facial
expressions are enough
to make me laugh!


KAZAKHS PLAN TO SET
BORAT STRAIGHT


Never has a fictional TV character
caused this much international trouble:


Alarmed by the antics of a "TV reporter"
Borat who portrays their country as a nation
of horse urine-drinking misogynists,
Kazakh
authorities have invited the comedian
who plays the character to come and
see the truth for himself.

Rakhat Aliyev, Kazakh first deputy foreign
minister and a powerful son-in-law of
President Nursultan Nazarbayev, asked
comedian Sacha Baron Cohen to visit the
vast, oil-rich nation and meet normal
human beings rather than the
larger-than-life lunatics shown
by Cohen's TV show.

"His trip could yield a lot of discoveries -
that women not only travel inside buses
but also drive their own cars, that we make
wine from grapes, that Jews can freely attend
synagogues and so on," Aliyev said.

The Central Asian state's Foreign Ministry
threatened Cohen with legal action last
year after he hosted an international music
show as Borat, who arrived in an Air Kazakh
propeller plane controlled by a one-eyed
pilot clutching a vodka bottle.
His coarse jokes included portraying the
world's ninth largest nation as a land where
cow-punching is a sport and locals would
first shoot a dog and then have a party.

In the forthcoming movie, "Borat: Cultural
Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious
Nation of Kazakhstan", Borat depicts Kazakhs as a
nation of misogynists, racists and anti-semites
whose favourite drink is fermented horse urine.

The Kazakh authorities shut down Cohen's
www.borat.kz site, prompting a move to
a new homepage, www.borat.tv.

But the influential Aliyev, with interests
in professional soccer and sugar trade,
has made a pacifying gesture. "I understand
that the feelings of many people are hurt
by Cohen's show," he said. "But we must
have a sense of humour and respect
the creative freedom of others."


HERO COLLIES

This story is yet another proof of how
intelligent dogs, especially
border collies, are:


A shepherd missing overnight on a Galloway
farm was saved by his two collies who
stayed with him after he collapsed
while checking his sheep.


The crew of a Royal Navy helicopter
searching for Jim Campbell, 59, spotted
one of his dogs running around close to
where he had collapsed, in an area
near St John's Town of Dalry.
The second
dog was lying beside him and had helped
to keep him warm during the night.

Mr Campbell had been reported missing on
Tuesday night when he failed to return home.

The Galloway mountain rescue team and
the helicopter - Rescue 177 from Prestwick -
were involved in the search, along with
local residents.
He was eventually
found on the Balmaclellan farm at
about 8am yesterday.

Chris Marshall, Galloway mountain rescue
team leader, admitted they had been
growing increasingly concerned.
He said:
"During the night we deployed 18 team
members and search-and-rescue dogs.
At first light this morning we then
requested a helicopter from
HMS Gannet at Prestwick.

We were quite concerned for the missing person."

However, Mr Marshall said the shepherd
had been lucky to have the two dogs with him.

He said: "We knew he had the two collie
dogs with him and we were hoping the dogs
would give him some heat - which they did.
We were quite concerned that we didn't find
him immediately in the vicinity of the farm."

Angus Scott Dickins, Lt Commander of
HMS Gannet, said that without the help
of the collies, Mr Campbell would not have
been seen.
"He was lying in a ditch, covered
by bracken. The only reason we found
him was the two sheepdogs.
"When the
helicopter passed over they were
milling around and that alerted the
pilot to where Mr Campbell was."


18.10.06

HAU HAU OR
WOOF WOOF?


Animals make the same sounds around
the world, but each language expresses
them differently. English and French
cows sound the same, but not in
English and French!

Check out this website:

Sounds of the world's animals

HEE HAW IT
MUST BE LOVE


A German donkey is making an ass out
of herself after falling in love with a gander.


The farm where the unlikely couple live,
in the Saxon town of
Cottbus, has been
besieged by journalists and curious visitors
since the affair featured in local newspaper,
the
Lausitzer Rundschau.

The gander, whose name is Hannibal, met
Heidi the donkey when he was put into her
enclosure for being too aggressive
to be kept with the other birds.

Staff say the couple quickly fell for each
other, eating and sleeping together
and are now completely inseparable.

The gander jealously attacks any male
donkeys who go near Heidi. Heidi in turn
is not interested in other donkeys, and
follows Hannibal around all day long.


DON'T HAVE TO BE REAL
TO BE INFLUENTIAL

This book will be
an interesting read.


What have Buffy the Vampire Slayer,
Uncle Sam, Icarus, Saint Valentine,
Cinderella and 96 other
characters got in common?

They influence everything from how we
look and act to eat and speak and have
even helped sway the course of history -
but they are not real.

Quit surprisingly topping a list of
"The 101 most influential people who
never lived" in a book released
on Tuesday is the Marlboro Man -
a macho American cowboy
who emerged in the 1950s.

"The figments of our imaginations, the
creatures we push out of our minds
into the real world are fully capable
of pushing back with surprising consequences,"
Jeremy Salter, one of the U.S.
book's three authors said.

Coming in at number two on the list is
Big Brother of George Orwell's 1984,
followed by King Arthur, who the authors
say embodies for many the ideal monarch,
and Santa Claus comes in at number four.

"Santa Claus governs our entire economy
for the last quarter of the year and without
him businesses would go broke,"
said co-author Allan Lazar.

Lazar, a 75-year-old retired physician s
aid: "The point of the book is to entertain,"
adding that the authors had a tough time
picking just just 101 characters
out of 500 possibilities.

Barbie "the bodacious plastic babe who
became a role model for millions of little
girls, setting an impossible standard for
beauty and style" makes the list at number 43.
But Rosie the Riveter, the buff, blue-collar
factory worker who the authors say helped
jump-start the women's liberation
movement comes in at 28.

"The idea came to us that influential characters
didn't have to exist, that fictional characters
were just as important in our lives, even
in maybe some cases more so
than real people," Lazar said.

Even the Loch Ness Monster
makes the list at number 56.

"As the most popular tourist attraction in
Scotland, Nessie's influence on the cash
flow of that country has been significant,"
wrote the authors of "The 101 most
influential people who never lived."

At 101 was Paul Bunyan, a mythical lumberjack
who the authors say was created by U.S.
lumberjacks during the 1800s "to bring
some good cheer, and esteem into their
lives of drudgery."


17.10.06

ARE YOU
BRITISH ENOUGH?


I don't why but today walking back from
the supermarket I started thinking about
getting a British Passport (as a Finn
I would be allowed to have a dual
nationality) which of course means I'd
have to go through the so called
naturalisation process first.

And tons and tons of paperwork.
Not as easy as you would think,
even after 20 odd years in the country!

Everybody applying for British Citizenship
(after 1.11.2005) are required to
take a so called "Life In The UK Test"

Have a look: the questions
are actually quite difficult!

What you're suppose to do is buy a book
called "Life in the United Kingdom:A Journey
to Citizenship", all the answers to
the test questions are in there.

Here's the stupid thing: I bet if you
took the average born and bred Brit off the
street and asked them to do the
test without reading the book,
half of them would most likely fail!