Sunday Round-up

My round-up of news, events and stuff and nonsense from the last seven days –
if it’s news to me, it must be news to you!

HannibalEuphemism of the week: Ever wondered what a ‘mass animal deposition event’ is? It’s what you might expect to find on your lawn if you kept a herd of buffalo or sheep on it. But it has scientific and historical, as well as scatological significance. Scientists at Queen’s University, Belfast, are trailing a thin crust of horse excrement to solve the riddle of which route Hannibal took to cross the Alps 2,000 years ago.

Human sacrifice and Big Society: Researchers at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, have concluded that the secret of our structured societies is all down to human sacrifice.

Blink and you’ll miss it: The secret skill shared by the great magicians isn’t sleight of hand or even smoke and mirrors, but knowing when their audience is going to blink and miss the prestidigitation and legerdemain.

Alistair CampbellPhobia of the week: Alistair Campbell struck fear into the hearts of media hacks and political friends and foes alike. If only they’d known that it wasn’t a silver bullet or wooden stake and mallet they needed, but a simple bottle of ketchup.

Phone number of the week: If you are stuck for something to do this weekend, why not call a random Swede for a chinwag.

Flasher of the week: Despite the disappointment of England losing in the final of the T20 World Cup, I did enjoy the spectacle of the flashing stumps as they broke. Here’s how they work. And how spectacle, speculation and despicable originate from Roman scouts and spies.

Better late than never: The Austrian town of Tegernsee has stripped Adolf Hitler of his honorary citizenship. He would have got away with it too if it wasn’t for those pesky kids.

Otto SkorzenyAnd speaking of Nazis: The notorious Otto Skorzeny (left) became an assassin for Mossad, presumably as a change from farming in Ireland.

Tweet of the week:Due to an IT issue, nominations for the UK Tech Awards will now open next Monday.’ The unintended irony of those celebrating the very best in UK tech.

Myth of the week: That there are 26,911 words of European Union regulation on the sale of cabbage, a myth that started life in wartime America.

Misheard headlines: News on Thursday that France has made it illegal to pay for sex is misheard by many that it is now ‘illegal to play cassettes’.

Brief lives: Andy ‘Thunderclap’ Newman who gave his name to the band whose Something in the Air (right) was an iconic sound of the 1960s; Cesare Madlini, one of the original defensive sweepers in football, later manager of the Italian national team and father of the great Paolo Maldini; Peggy Fortnum who created the iconic image of Paddington Bear; Douglas Wilmer, the first tv Sherlock Holmes; and country singer, Merle Haggard.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

6 comments… Add yours
  • Yorkshire Pudding 10th April 2016

    In what is another fascinating “Sunday Round-Up” you have introduced me to a word I had never encountered before – “legerdemain”. The research, consideration and smooth linkage in this post are all most admirable. Thank you.

    • Mr Parrot 11th April 2016

      I suppose my passing interest in magic and illusion helps!

  • Trevor Rowley 10th April 2016

    Merle Haggard, I know absolutely nothing about him other than he seems to have functioned in country and western music since Adam was a lad. Perhaps his name was the best thing his parents did for him, sounds like he’s just ridden in from the heat-soaked plains – I can’t imagine “Brian Plenderleith” would have helped him sell many records. One of my old bosses was always referring to Jean – Pierre Arkwright – now, that’s a real name.

    • Yorkshire Pudding 11th April 2016

      Trevor Rowley sounds like the kind of name a novelist might invent for a shady, womanising car salesman who was an opening batsman for Middleton in the Lancashire League.

  • Trevor Rowley 11th April 2016

    My namesake is an academic who churns out highbrow historical literature – check him out. Actually, joking aside, that is me.

    • Yorkshire Pudding 11th April 2016

      Kellogg College? Any chance of a free box of crunchy breakfast bars Trevor?


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