Lets get rid of good old USA for starters. Where else would two idiots shoot each other over dog mess on a lawn (Mississippi). And where else would would you get a live sex act with a mechanised phallus as part of your university course. (North-western University, Illinois.) Or a man drive 40 miles with his wife on the bonnet of his car. She was trying to stop him from driving. She fell off when he stopped (Los Angeles). The whole place strikes me as mad. It loses £262 million when a Nasa satellite finishes in the Pacific instead of orbit, (it was intended to study the impact of aerosols on the Earth's climate) and spends another £276 million on a small satellite, Messenger that hopefully will orbit Mercury. If it works they probably think it's money well spent. Presumably you have to be an 'Ivy Leaguer' not to see that in a troubled world there are better priorities. Talking of The Ivy League, one question in the entrance exam (SAT) concerned reality television; which explains a lot. Not that Nicole Impresia is impressed. She is suing an academy for placing her daughter with children of lesser academic ability. Mother claims it is affecting her chances of Ivy League entry. By the way, daughter is in a nursery in Manhattan being only four years of age! Before we move on, an American who is worth saluting. Kelly Gneiting, a sumo wrestler from Arizona became the heaviest person to complete a marathon. He weighs 400 lbs but completed the Los Angeles Marathon, (time 9 hours, 48 minutes). Well done, son! The animal kingdom is always interesting. I thought that the rescue of a porpoise three quarters of a mile inland after the Japanese tsunami was heartening. And the mysterious death of the famous polar bear, Knut was sad. Plus the severed thumb, probably from a crow that fell from the sky in Ilford was weird. (It led to a killer's conviction.) Talking of crows, Percy, a one-legged crow has turned up in Felixstowe again after almost four years. Perhaps things are looking up for animals in general. A man in Beijing has adopted more than 140 stray dogs since 2009. He spends around £500 a month on dog food and rent. And a plan to move stray dogs to a site outside the city of Moscow has been dropped. (There are around 26,000 stray dogs in Moscow.) In Holland a crime force has been set up dedicated to fighting crimes against animals. Plus a business man has set up a pet first-aid course in Essex to teach cardiopulmonary resuscitation on dogs, cats, hamsters, rabbits etc (using dummy animals). Adders are under threat in Britain. So they are rounding some up and moving them. This entails trapping them and collecting DNA samples before release; any takers? Finally, the Queen is being replaced on Fijian currency by geckos, snakes or parrots. I'm not sure how she'll take that!
Talking of money (currency, please keep up!) Spanish police are investigating the theft of £1.2
in cash from a convent north of Zaragoza. Evidently the nuns kept it in plastic bags. Oops! A thief stole £172,ooo by sneaking into the cargo hold through the toilet on an Air Antilles aircraft bound for Saint Martin. A computer hacker in Devon stole £7.4 million in 'virtual' poker chips from Zynco. Strangely enough, you can't cash them in, only spend them on poker games! Footballer Stuart Downing realised there was £700, 000 in real money missing from his bank account when he checked. His agent denies fraud! Luckier was Steve Whiteley, who won £1,445,671.71 for a £2 stake at Exeter Racecourse. Very similar (£1.6 million) to the amount the head of Copland Community School in Wembley is accused of defrauding. And again similar (£1 million) the speed cameras cost on the A537 in the Peak District. Sadly they never led to a single conviction. Cash is king some say. Not in Mr Kevin Cash's case. The property developer, worth £500 million, flew into a temper tantrum when his roast chicken dinner was served at the wrong time according to a housekeeper at a tribunal in Reading. Finally 'Psst, wanna buy a Stradivarius?' Thief John Maughan asked just that in an internet cafe when he tried to sell a Stradivarius violin (value £1.2 million) he had stolen. He wanted £100 but the buyer turned it down because his daughter already had a recorder!
Now for some final titbits that caught my eye. A woman in Southwark has failed her theory driving test 90 times. And a man in the West Midlands has failed the practical test 36 times. Mind you, I think a Halifax burglar is a bigger failure. He fell down a 30 foot well whilst escaping on a job. He had to use his mobile phone to summon help. A feminist group in the Ukraine has protested against a New Zealand radio station' competition to win a wife. A new Radio 3 adaptation of Wuthering Heights contains the f-word several times. (evidently to give it a grittier feel.) Budapest is naming a square after Elvis Presley because of his support for the 1956 Hungarian Uprising. Essex police and council chiefs have been using 'Sniffer wardens' to catch employees smoking in company cars. A new cycle bridge in Cambridge was found to be two feet too big when they lowered it into place. Whoever made it would do well at a concert in Manchester in July. It's to be held in complete darkness; Amadou and Mariam, both blind will star.
Another mad month. As Arthur English used to say, 'Play the music and open the cage.'