Thursday, 29 April 2010

Elephant provides breakdown assistance to zoo keeper

Elephant provides breakdown assistance to zoo keeper

Some animal-based hilarity again now. First it was a zebra dentist, then some penguin photo-models - this time comes the elephant mechanic. Elephants have long been thought to be highly intelligent animals and this story seems to reinforce this theory. Quite what was going through the elephant's mind and what influence captivity and human interaction had on her actions we may never know, but it makes for an amusing story if nothing else. Don't expect to see the RAC employing pachyderms any time soon, though.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Land-speed record hope for lawnmower at Pendine sands

Land-speed record hope for lawnmower at Pendine sands

Some video footage here, courtesy of the B.B.C., of the preparations for the attempt on the lawnmower land-speed record that I first posted about a couple of months previously. The two chaps in the film seem particularly personable and just the kind of stout fellows one would expect to try for such an attempt. Were it not for the fact that the current record is held by an American one could say that it is a peculiarly British endeavour. Nevertheless it can be see as appealing to our sporting nature and sense of humour, so it would be nice to see us take the record. Good luck to Team Runningblade come the 23rd of May!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Crowds reminisce over road and rail heritage


A little bit of local interest now, featuring one of my favourite museums - the Castle Point Transport Museum. As a member I'm almost bound to tell you to drop in if you're in the area, but if you visit one of the open days that are held once every few months you'll get to ride round on a classic bus or two - lovely! A fascinating window into the history of local transport, vintage machinery and bygone times, all highly recommended. Good to see youngsters enjoying themselves (I was one myself once, you know) and here's hoping this particular museum is around entertaining and educating them for many years to come.

India's Chaplin-loving town

India's Chaplin-loving town

An absolutely delightful story here, with so many brilliant facets it's almost hard to know where to begin. To start with, it's always wonderful to see such a great comedian still being appreciated and enjoyed by so many people, so many years after he made his most famous films. It shows that the humour employed by the likes of Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd and Laurel & Hardy can never date and, as the article mentions, this bodes well for the future in that there are new generations of fans who enjoy these films and so ensure that they will continue to entertain for many more years to come.

It is also a testament to the universal quality of early and, in particular, silent comedies in that they are watched and loved by people all over the world regardless of race, religion or politics. This, then, is one of the greatest things about silent comedies - they rely predominantly on the visual and so can be understood by anyone, anywhere. The early comedians like Chaplin also created "everyman" characters, that appeal to our human nature. We can relate to them, even after almost 90 years of social change, and in spite of differing cultures. What an achievement!

Monday, 19 April 2010

Agatha Christie mystery gets 21st Century debut

Agatha Christie mystery gets 21st Century debut

Things have been a little quiet on the interesting story front lately, no doubt partly because of the election fever that is gripping the country. Quirky stories get edged out by reams of political news and debate.

Nevertheless I have managed to unearth this interesting piece about a play based on a book by one of my favourite authors - Agatha Christie. What makes this particular play rather interesting is the fact that it hasn't been performed in over 30 years and has helped to save an hitherto little-known Christie work. I've given away too much of the article already - I'm terrible at keeping things to myself! I'll let you read more about it in the accompanying story.

It is good to see the theatre enjoying some good times and particularly plays from Christie novels still being enjoyed by and commissioned for modern audiences. More wonderful 1930s settings, hurrah! I wonder if it will be touring...?

Friday, 16 April 2010

Audio slideshow: Classic cars in Gaza

Audio slideshow: Classic cars in Gaza


Gaza, like Cuba, is at the mercy of several trade blockades and a by-product of such a situation is the otherwise unusual proliferation of classic cars often being used as everyday vehicles. Here we have a pleasant little slide-show, courtesy of the BBC, which shows the heart-warming way in which these vehicles are kept on the road, the love and respect that can be engendered by looking after these old machines and the opportunities available to the young people of Gaza to learn an important and useful trade, whilst avoiding much of the pain and destruction that sadly blights the area. A truly fascinating and life-affirming article, showing an interesting aspect of Gaza life, a little bit of motoring trivia and perhaps most importantly a bit of hope for the future (with some help from the past!).

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Solar-powered plane takes to the skies - at the speed of a bicycle

Solar-powered plane takes to the skies - at the speed of a bicycle

You may recall that back in November I made mention of the impending test-flight of the Solar Impulse, the solar-powered aeroplane that aims to circumnavigate the planet. Well the day of its test flight has come and, I'm happy to say, seemingly gone without incident.

A slow and steady inaugural hop, one might say, but then again such an approach often wins the day. Everything looks to be on course for an attempt on a round-the-world flight (although it may take some little time at such low speeds!). Good luck to all involved in the endeavour, I say, and don't forget to keep checking this blog for updates if and when they do launch!

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