Do we really want monkeys able to control robotic arms with their brains? I mean, do scientists even think these things through? To them, it's all "Wouldn't it be great if monkeys could control robotic arms," giving little thought to how it might all end: bionic monkeys rampaging, Terminator-like, through our streets, smashing our doors down with one swing of their mighty robotic arms.
Much better, I think, for researchers to figure out a way for Sharon Stone to control her brain. So far that's eluded science, which is how she ends up saying things like "bad karma" caused the Chinese earthquake. Of course, first they'll have to find her brain. It won't be easy, but once they locate the small, vestigial organ (last seen, briefly, in "Basic Instinct") they can wire it up so it can control a robotic arm, plucking marshmallows from the end of a skewer and popping them into her, um, mouth.
From Sharon Stone to Kirsty Wark. Who's she? A presenter on "Newsnight," the BBC's bestest current affairs program. Like Stone, Wark got into a spot of trouble with her legs, at least according to the Daily Mail: "Viewers watching the Newsnight Review show from the French Riviera last Friday were treated to the 53-year-old mother-of-two flashing her legs in a black dress with a hem several inches above the knee." This unleashed a "flood" of complaints to the program's Internet message board, said the paper.
How would you like to be the Daily Mail person in charge of scouring the BBC's message boards. Don't think there isn't such a person. How else to explain the story headlined "BBC viewers attack Bill Oddie's 'smutty' and 'almost perverse' Springwatch innuendoes." Springwatch is a nature show. Oddie is a birdwatcher and former comedian. The show in question featured footage of birds and insects mating, with commentary from Oddie that included him saying "Oh be gentle with me" as two stag beetles copulated. Wrote one viewer: "I am sick to death of the constant innuendo being offered by Bill every time a scene of mating appears."
One shudders to think what Bill Oddie would say when describing the mating habits of the great tit. Great tits are in the news after a nest was found inside an ashtray on a Scottish nature reserve. And let's hope Oddie never gets his hands on an Australian trouser snake of the sort that bit a tourist on the wild and rugged Cape York Peninsula of Queensland. Actually it bit the tourist on his, well, let's just say it bit him "down under." The tourist had stopped for a toilet break when the deadly brown snake lunged at him, sinking its fangs into his, um, didgeridoo. According to the Telegraph: "The man, whose nationality was not released, was extremely fortunate to be alive but also 'shocked and embarrassed' about where he had been bitten, an ambulance spokesman said."
Moving to New Zealand, where 27-year-old William Singalargh was found guilty of assault and offensive behavior after asking a 15-year-old if he wanted to "wear a hedgehog helmet" and then throwing a hedgehog at him. The Telegraph story is a marvel of understatement, allowing the facts to speak for themselves: "Singalargh was holding a hedgehog and asked the boy: 'Do you want to wear a hedgehog helmet?' When the boy indicated that he would rather not, Singalargh threw the animal, leaving a large red welt and four quills lodged in the teenager’s hip."
"Wearing a hedgehog helmet." Why does that sound dirty, like something Bill Oddie might say?
At times like these it's nice to return to good old human sex, or at least what passes for it in England. The Sun reports that a Watford dentist shares office space with his girlfriend, "Tiny," who offers sex shows upstairs while he fills cavities downstairs. Actually, it sounds like she fills cavities, too. (Rimshot, please.)
Gargoyle of the Week
Now that's a proper gargoyle. I snapped him at Keble College, where My Lovely Wife and I lunched as guests of Malte and Jette. You'll notice the sky was blue, something that happens occasionally around Oxford, though not today. I suppose if it was always sunny they wouldn't need gargoyles and then what would I do every Friday? Sundial of the week?
Thanks for reading during this spotty week. My paper still isn't completely finished but it's almost done. And that means I'm almost done, too. In preparation for my return to Washington and the unpacking of my mothballed column I invite the Washingtonians among you to submit questions to Answer Man. That's the weekly feature in which I answer questions about the D.C. area. E-mail them to me at john[at]voxford.com. Thanks and have a great weekend.