Friday, 1 February 2008

Friday Grab Bag: BritNews RoundUp

Let's dive straight into the papers, shall we?

If you're looking for a reason to feel bad about your diet--or lack of one--read this BBC story about Oscar, a black lab who has just been named "pet slimmer of the year." "We used to feed him everything and anything," said the owner of the corpulent canine. "But then he collapsed and we thought he might have had a stroke."

Ya think? Oscar is relatively svelte now. Of course, it'd be easy for you to lose weight, too, if all you ate was what someone gave you.

In other animal news: What happens when you scatter sheep food in a perfect circle in a field? Well, this.

Regular readers of this blog know that I meticulously track the Daily Mail's fascination with women's breasts. That paper has an entire team devoted to the subject, sort of like the Times's old Insight team. But it isn't just the lascivious Mail that grabs on with both hands and won't let go. The Daily Telegraph is always looking for way to slip in photos of or stories about young women in low-cut tops. Yes, the staid Telegraph, mouth piece of the Conservative Party. The paper used to run so many photos of the lovely Elizabeth Hurley--the epitome of English dollybirdness to its landed male readers--that wags dubbed it the Hurleygraph.

The whole paper has been sexed up, energized with a 24/7 Web operation and a small army of bloggers, one of whom wrote about female birdwatchers on the Cayman Islands who are raising money with a racy calendar. And what sort of bird do they hope to help? The booby, of course.

Speaking of the Telegraph, I love these banners that appeared on its home page the other day:

Teenagers and old people. That about covers it.

Whoops: Woolworths has withdrawn a range of children's furniture after complaints over its name: The Lolita. "What seems to have happened is the staff who run the website had never heard of Lolita, and to be honest no one else here had either," a Woolie's spokesperson told the Daily Mail. "We had to look it up on Wikipedia. But we certainly know who she is now."

The furniture is being renamed The Joan Crawford.

Martin Amis explains to the Independent why he is not an anti-Muslim racist but the comment that gets the most press is his dismissal of Diet Coke as the "least cool of all drinks." Read the carbonated riposte from the Times.

Gargoyle of the Week
Every Friday in this space I've been offering my "Gargoyle of the Week," a service that I believe no other blog provides. I am proud of my weekly offering and yet I feel a little guilty, for not all of my gargoyles have been, strictly speaking, gargoyles. Many have been grotesques. (The difference? Gargoyles contain water spouts that direct rain away from buildings. Grotesques are fancifully-carved stone features. See here for more.)

I apologize to anyone I may have misled. I will, however, continue to call this feature "Gargoyle of the Week," since it is a snappier name than "Grotesque of the Week" or "Random Photo of Anthropomorphic Stone of the Week."

This week's offering is from my fellow Fellow Joyce, who snapped it at the St. Lorenz church in Nuremberg, Germany:

That's all for now. Have a great weekend and thanks for reading.


SuburbanCorrespondent said...'re joking about the Joan Crawford thing, right?

Candadai Tirumalai said...

There used to be a Woolworth's near Carfax in the later 1980s and early 1990s but it became something else. I don't believe I ever saw one in Oxford again. Come to think of it, I have not encountered one in the States for years.
It seems characteristic of England that quite a large number of people in it have never heard of Lolita.

mark from alexandria said...

Well, its not like Nabokov is a well-known author or there was an iconic movie made of the novel...oh wait a minute...

Joyce said...

Overheard recently at Oxford:
An older institute-director-type guy uses the term "big brother" to talk about media in totalitarian states. He looks around at his foreign young charges and decides to explain that it's from Orwell.
"No," his young charges say. "It's from the TV show."
"Ah, yes. Well... But I bet the TV show took it from 1984, you see..."
"No, that show wasn't on in the '80s."
"I mean, the book 1984. From a man called George Orwell."
I feel the ivory tower crumbling around my feet.