BritNews RoundUp: The Last Dance
Morris dancers are a staple of English country fairs. These are groups of men who dress in distinctive white outfits, adorned with bells and ribbons, and slap little sticks against each other:
I once described Morris dancers in a story as "fey and mincing." Boy, that really irritated a group of Morris dancers from Takoma Park (where else?). I think if I ran into them in a dark alley they would hit me with their tambourines.
Now comes news from Britain that young men are just too embarrassed to take up Morris dancing and that the practice, based on an old fertility ritual, may be extinct in 20 years. "This is a serious situation," Charlie Corcoran told the BBC. "The average age of Morris dancing sides is getting older and older."
Certainly the big local story this week was that 6-year-old boy who took his parents' car to drive to school. He made news even in England. I love the way the Daily Mail covered it: "The child, who has not been identified, took the keys to the 2005 Ford Taurus while his mother was sleeping and drove six miles across the American state of Virginia. He ran off the road several times before coming to a halt after hitting an embankment and telegraph pole about a mile-and-a-half from his destination."
Six miles equals "across the state of Virginia"? He hit a "telegraph pole"? Um, we actually have telephones here.
Mysteries, Part One: Why have the branches of a tree in Buckinghamshire been covered with dangling shoes for the last 30 years?
I assume it's just idiot teenagers who lob them up there, but that explanation wasn't good enough for local officials, who, according to the Telegraph, spent $400,000 to investigate the matter. Their findings? "[Nobody] knows quite why shoes are put on it, or quite when it started," said Rachel Sanderson, co-ordinator of the Special Trees Woodland Project. "It's one of those things, it's an absolute mystery." Wouldn't that money have been better spent on a Morris dancing academy?
Mysteries, Part Two: What smashed into a 65-foot-long wind turbine blade in Lincolnshire, severing it from its high-tech, 200-foot-high wind mill?
A UFO, says the Sun. After all, there were strange "orangey-yellow spheres skimming across the sky." Er, not so fast, reports the Guardian. One of its editors admits her family was shooting off fireworks that night. That might explain the lights, but could the wind turbine have been destroyed by a top secret unmanned stealth bomber? Yes, says the Daily Mail.
One more reason I'm glad I gave up golf: According to Dr Malcom Buchanan, an ENT specialist, keen golfer and co-author of an article in the British Medical Journal: "Our results show that thin-faced titanium drivers may produce sufficient sound to induce temporary or even permanent cochlear damage in susceptible individuals."
In other words, golf can make you go deaf -- if you use certain metal woods, whose loud "ping!" can damage your ears. "The worst offender was the Ping G10, at over 130 decibels," said the BBC. Fore! What?
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If the Glove Fits
And remember that I'm in the market for glove photos. As I explained yesterday, if you come across any lost gloves forlorn on the sidewalk I want you to snap a picture and send it to me: firstname.lastname@example.org. You do go everywhere with a digital camera or camera-equipped cell phone, don't you?
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