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The Independent Culture

Pythons are passe. If you want to stay cool, in a cold-blooded pet sort of a way, then this, the Chacoan monkey tree frog, is today's exotic creature of choice. Its movements are slow and deliberate and it will stay in almost any position in which you care to place it. But too many of these cute little amphibians have been croaking (in the most unwelcome way) as owners seem unable to look after them. For the record, the monkey frog's natural habitat is the Paraguayan desert. It must be fed live prey, such as crickets, two or three times a week and kept at 35C. pounds 165 each. Ribbit.

Bottomed out

Things got a bit "near the mark" for Stephen McGaw, who marched his party of schoolchildren out of the Royal Shakespeare Company's performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Titania, the fairy queen placed under a spell, was seen writhing on the stage simulating sex with Bottom, the weaver disguised in a pair of donkey's ears. The school is now demanding pounds 610 compensation for the cost of the trip and expenses incurred while trying to "amuse" the children in Stratford after the walk-out. Lord, what fools these mortals be.

Doll wars

Wrestling in the mud for doll supremacy with Barbie, Sindy is being made over as a politically correct sort of blonde bimbo. Her makers explain:

"Sindy is cooler than Barbie. She doesn't have a duff boyfriend like Ken who has no life of his own but just hangs on to Barbie's leg. Kids now won't fall for Barbie pretending to be a dentist. She's too embarrassing."


Sindy isn't the only pretty plastic doll having a relaunch. Pamela Anderson has done the right thing and had her breast implants removed. "Pammi just wanted her body to go back to its natural state," said a spokeswoman. She'll be joining the WI next.

Image of the week

Nothing plastic about the ladies of the Rylstone Women's Institute in Yorkshire, who are raising money for leukaemia research with a Baywatch- style candid calendar. This is Miss March, Lyn Knowles, in the kitchen preparing her baps. Call 01900 821011 for the Alternative WI Calendar, pounds 5 plus pounds 1 p&p.