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Weird Britannia: Thank God an Ocean Separates Us

Regular readers of this blog (hi, mom!) know that on Fridays we look across the Atlantic for BritNews Roundup, a collection of the wacky stories that pass for news in the United Kingdom. Occasionally as Wednesday and Thursday roll around I fear I won't have enough items for a good BNR. But the Limies have never let me down. This week is a good case in point. I have almost too many odd, funny, disturbing stories.

For example, from the Telegraph (via the Sun) comes the story of a parrot named Fred who is taking Prozac to deal with the loss of his owner. "Tropical birds are extremely emotional," reads the caption with the photo.

From traumatized parrots to traumatized children. Researchers at Dundee University have determined that babies placed in front-facing strollers experience more stress than those placed in rear-facing strollers. "Our data suggests that for many babies, life in a buggy is emotionally impoverished and possibly stressful," said Suzanne Zeedyk, the developmental psychologist who carried out the study. "Stressed babies grow into anxious adults." All this time we've been thinking babies like to see the world around them. Instead, they want to look at their parents' smiling faces. Should we expect a class-action lawsuit against Graco?

Moving from babies to teenagers: My daughters report that those body sprays you see advertised for men and boys on TV are dangerously popular. Some teens douse themselves in so much Lynx and Axe that home room can smell like an explosion in a musk factory. Now comes news that a 12-year-old boy in England allegedly died after spraying himself with too much in an enclosed bathroom. I'm sticking to my Speedstick.

Have you ever thought that supermodels were not quite human, that they were instead members of some other species, impossible to emulate if you're a woman, impossible to attain if you're a man? Well you may be right. The Daily Mails says that Czech bombshell Karolina Kurkova evidently has no belly button. Is she an alien or was she grown in a lab? The BBC explores these navel issues.

Finally, what's cuter than a hedgehog? An albino hedgehog of course! A Kent couple came across the ghostly animal late one night and fearing for its safety scooped it up. The founder of the Tiggywinkles Animal Hospital (you can't make this stuff up) said the hedgehog should be kept in captivity for its own safety. "It should not really be released because its weight is so low and albinos do not seem to do very well in the wild. They get picked on and generally do not survive."

Give that hedgehog some Prozac!

If you come across a story from the world's press that needs to be shared in "John Kelly's Commons," shoot me an e-mail.

Chat You Up
Hey, Friday also means it's time for my weekly online chat! I'll be going live at noon but feel free to post a question any time this morning. Riffing off this week's columns and blogs I'm interested in whether you think Christmas is coming too early these days, and what's the strangest thing you've had to dodge while driving on the highway. Stop on by!

By John Kelly  |  November 21, 2008; 9:15 AM ET
 | Tags: Britnews roundup  
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Next: Capturing the Flag: Long May It Wave

Comments

John: I am sure you know that the mail-boxes adjacent to the Porter's Lodge in Oxford colleges (quite spacious open affairs of wood arranged in rows and generally shared with others on an alphabetical basis) are called pigeon-holes. It takes some American students a while to feel comfortable with the new terminology.

Posted by: cktirumalai | November 21, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Cheers for the BritNews Roundup! On a similar note, have you found a good place around Silver Spring to get British beer? I imagine it's been hard to readjust to not having a good local pub.

Posted by: TerpPhysicist | November 21, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Isn't it "Limeys"?

And it may be spelled "Tiggywinkles," but it's pronounced "Luxury Yacht".

Posted by: staxowax | November 21, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

John,

You know you have more tnan a couple of readers. I think using "Limies" to refer to Brits is a step toward my advice of making politically provocative statements to attract more traffic a la Weingarten. I thought my own background was mostly Kraut, but after checking I found out I am part Limey, and one of my ancestors was a Pilgrim. Buncha strange people, waay outside the mainstream. Brits were good at generating wierd news even back then.

Posted by: reddragon1 | November 21, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

What? Nobody arrested for having sex with an inanimate object this week?

Posted by: AmyH3 | November 21, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I just don't get it. Why focus on Weird Britannia, when there's plenty of weird to around here. After all, we did re-elect G. Bush in 2004 and if that isn't weird I don't know what is.

Posted by: atidwell | November 21, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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