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Animal Magnetism: The BritNews RoundUp

NOTE: This camel has nothing to do with England, but is simply meant to illustrate generic "animalness."

The British are obsessed with animals. I tend to think it's because they wiped out so many of them. There are no bears left in England, for example. No wolves. That's why they're especially fond of the few animals they have left, from badgers and hedgehogs to dogs and cats. So we'll start this week's edition of BritNews RoundUp with some animal funnies.

You really have to watch this BBC (!) video about a kleptomaniacal cat in Swindon. I suppose its owner is glad it isn't bringing home dismembered mice and sparrows, but she can't be happy at its sticky-fingered sticky-pawed antics. I especially like the "cat-cam" recreating the crimes.

From cat to mice: A part-time Essex fire fighter sent to occupy a one-man fire station overnight fled when he saw two mice there, the Daily Mail reported. "But his furious bosses ordered him to go back and face the small furry creatures," said the Mail.

The English aren't obsessed only with their animals. They like ours as well. Check out the gallery accompanying this story on a California dog groomer who shapes her standard poodle into all sorts of non-standard styles, including a rooster, a peacock and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. "Most people are positive about what I do but lately I've had a lot of negative comments from people saying that it's wrong and I'm hurting Cindy," groomer Sandra Hartness told the Telegraph. "I would never hurt my dog - she really is my best friend." Somehow, I'm sure that's true.

If you want your dogs to do more than just stand there and look pretty, check out this video of skateboarding pooches from the Telegraph. Want your dog to skateboard? "You have to set a goal, but know it's going to take at least a year," said Omar Muller. What's that? Seven years in dog time?

Has it been a while since you saw a Ghurka Army chef carve a Buddha out of lard? Well today's your lucky day.

Finally, here's why I try not to make predictions: Someone will write them down and throw them back at you when they don't come true. The Daily Mail has a story about the 10 worst technology predictions. Bill Gates makes the list, with his pronouncement that no personal computer would need more than 640KB of memory. But my favorite is a prediction made by Sir Alan Sugar, an entrepreneur who stars in the British version of "The Apprentice." In 2005 Sir Alan told an interviewer: "Next Christmas the iPod will be dead, finished, gone, kaput." I'm sorry, I can't hear you. I have my iPod in.

Still, the man is worth a billion dollars so he must have done some things right.

Let's Discuss This, Shall We?
If it's Friday, it must be chat day--excuse me, online discussion day. (So much classier.) Join me at noon as we kick around anything that's on your mind. With a new version of "The Day the Earth Stood Still" opening today, howzabout we talk about movies set in Washington? Or the ad-explosion that the atheists have released?


By John Kelly  |  December 12, 2008; 9:00 AM ET
 | Tags: Britnews roundup  
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Next: Clowning Around: Catching the Cirque du Soleil


When I was in London a few years ago, I remember a commercial for car insurance featuring an animated bulldog named "Churchill."

The commercial ended with a British person expressing love for Churchill, and the dog replying, nervously, "Steady now."

I think that this is, perhaps, the best example I've ever seen of the English psyche at work: they can only truly express love for their domesticated animals, and anthropomorphic versions of those animals react to such affection with horror and confusion.

Posted by: MattinSW | December 12, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

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