Thursday, 6 December 2012

Off the beaten track

Born to be King or Queen

Well didn’t that cause a media kerfuffle? No sooner had the ink dried on Lord Justice Leveson’s pen to give the British press a kick in the rear when all hell breaks loose as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announced that Kate is expecting. No doubt as the new year wears on there will be many more scramblings and in summer expect carnage as the race is on for the first picture of the newborn.
Cameramen and reporters were almost killed in the media scrum to take up pole position outside King Edward VII hospital where the Duchess had been admitted with morning sickness in the early stages of her pregnancy. Why do they do it? All they are going to see is a hospital door for goodness sake. Kate’s hardly likely to come tripping down in her nightie to pose for pictures in between retching, is she?
Some of the words which come out of media mouths on such occasions can make you equally sick. Charged with filling three minutes on the main news they come out with all manner of tripe. Under new laws, even if this baby is a girl, it will be third in line of succession to the throne. Bearing in mind the longevity of the Royal Family I reckon she could be around 87 before she comes to the throne and I certainly don’t think I’ll be at the street party to celebrate.
One conversation between media types discussed what would happen if she had twins. Eventually the concensus was that the first child to emerge would be third in line to the throne. Fascinating, they go to college for this you know.
It’s been over 2,000 years since we had such fervour over an impending birth, and look at the trouble that caused. Every guest house was closed and the poor beggar ended up in a stable jostling for position with cows, sheep, singing shepherds, camels, a donkey and a confused surrogate father who claimed he hadn’t done anything to Mary anyway! (Oh dear, there will be letters).
Joking apart, good luck to the Royal couple, they were one of the few bright spots in the year 2012 and let’s hope the chastised media minds its manners with them and their future family as we go into 2013.

Twittering Pope

I could of course make some very irreverent remark about the fact that the Pope has opened a Twitter account. But he’s got something going for him for he picked up over 300,000 followers in the first 24 hours of tweeting putting Stephen Fry and others in the shade.
I have a sneaking admiration for any 85-year-old who takes up social media but note that he has a new media department who will doubtless be handling his tweets before publication. It remains to be seen if congregations dwindle in the light of this innovation or whether many turn over in bed on Sunday morning and reach for their lap top!

When Irish eyes are smiling!

We recently rented out a property after receiving quite a bit of Internet interest but it was the last enquiry which made me chuckle. It said simply by text, “Would you consider renting to an Irish escort?”
I didn’t reply and the following day received another text with a link to the escort’s web site. Checking, as you do, I was staggered at the rates she was charging, £170 an hour….she could certainly have paid the rent!

Dogs in the driving seat

Given that they have usually four perfectly good legs why would you want to teach a dog to drive?
A New Zealand animal charity is doing just that because it reckons that owners will be more encouraged to adopt them if they show signs of increased intelligence.
Right then. I’ll admit it’s handy if you’re out to a party and don’t want to drive. Instead of your wife you could take the dog to drive you home but if the police stop you don’t count on being home before morning, they will have questions.
The charity put Porter, Mont and Ginny behind the wheel of an adapted Mini Cooper and after just eight weeks are reported to have put it in gear, accelerate and steer, something which is beyond many humans after they have passed their test!
So far the dogs have been driving with the help of an assistant inside the car but the next move is to let them try solo, on live television. Simon Cowell wait for this. According to an instructor, they will hop in, start the car, put it in gear and use the accelerator. Thankfully this is being done on an off-road track but the charity has visions of carrying it further.
When I see a Jack Russell driving a Mini Cooper down the motorway I will know it’s time to hand in my licence.

Coffin therapy

Next time you fancy a lie down try a little coffin therapy! A Ukrainian man is encouraging people to lie down for 15 minutes in one of his coffins to “prepare for the afterlife”. Now why would I want to do that?
The coffin maker has been in business for ten years and says the feeling is just like being in a bed. It’s the same sheets and pillows with its own special aura. You can choose from one of ten coffins in a special room with birdsong, falling water and he says you go home in a completely different mood.
Err, no thanks

Is your man a pig?

A US company has created a gift for the man who has everything - bacon flavoured shaving cream.
J&D's new product is described as "high end, luxurious bacon-scented shaving cream" and is on sale for about £9.
Inventor Justin Esch said: "There is nothing more powerful than the smell of bacon, nothing. Bacon is the smell of champions.
"Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and bacon is the best part of breakfast. Why not smell like it and be the best?"
The self-titled "bacontrepreneur" has also come up with other pork inspired products such as bacon roses, bacon lip balm and bacon baby formula.
And, for those "who love bacon to death", he has created a £2,000 bacon-wrapped coffin.
Mr Esch added: "Bacon is delicious, people get excited when they smell it. When you walk into a room don't you want people to be excited to see you?"
I told you they weren’t all locked up.

Little lit up donkey!

Hundreds of donkeys are to be fitted with glow-in-the-dark ear tags in Botswana to stop accidents on rural roads at night.
About 500 of the animals will be fitted with the reflective tags in the north of the country where one in ten crashes is donkey-related.
I think it’s a wonderful idea and also recommend the tags for those barmy joggers who tear around in pitch blackness.
The UK-based Society For The Protection Of Animals Abroad is paying for the Maun Animal Welfare Society, in Botswana, to carry out the project.
Laura Higham, outreach veterinary advisor for SPANA, said: "The people that own working donkeys are some of the very poorest in Botswana's society and often have no choice other than to let their animals roam freely in search of food in the sparse desert environment.
"This practice is essential, but obviously makes the donkeys vulnerable to accidents and we hope that this simple solution will help reduce the number of collisions caused by the animals every year."
The charities hope the project will be adopted in other parts of the country, and will be the first step towards making reflective tags a legal requirement for freely roaming livestock.
Isn’t science wonderful?