Flat Earth

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Keep the black flag flying here

WHEN Boris Yeltsin watched the VE Day parade from the roof of Lenin's Tomb, his foreign friends, Clinton, Major et al, huddled warily together on a makeshift platform some way off. It seemed odd at the time, but perhaps they had wind of the exciting information that Lenin's corpse bombards visitors with 700 Roentgens of "black, invisible energy", which leaves them spiritual cripples.

Now, now, I know what you're thinking. The Russian paper Argumenty i Fakty notes that gazing on a long-dead corpse (especially that of the old diabolo himself) "inflicts a powerful blow of negative energy" which is bad for Russia as a whole. A lot of wild and whirling words emanate from Moscow, it's true, but that last bit sounds quite sensible.


IT MIGHT be best not to read the following item, if, say, you have a hangover and aren't up to thinking about Australia for the moment. Otherwise: a nasal bot- fly has attacked a scientist by spraying its offspring into his eye when he provoked it. Government scientist Andrew Sheppard said he endured hours of pain as the larvae used their hooks to crawl around his right eyeball. The doctor could see nothing there and packed him off home with an eyewash. But Sheppard realised that the larvae were simply scared of the light and had been hiding behind his eyeball. Cunningly, he turned off the light and the little creatures crawled to the front again, allowing his wife to blot all 15 of them off his eye.

The bot-fly's aim in life, when not being teased by government scientists, is to deposit larvae in sheeps' noses where they are eventually sneezed onto the ground, to grow into adult flies.

Insufferable Oz

STILL WITH Aussie eyewash: we were sad to see that the country's leading newspaper, the Sydney Morning Herald, has mislaid the Anzac spirit. When New Zealand won the America's Cup last week, the yachting world celebrated the defeat of the dastardly US syndicate of Dennis Connor with its endless waiving of the rules and swapping of boats and so on. Even the New York Times was moved to editorialise along these lines, under a headline "Bravo New Zealand".

But the SMH was furious. This "flea of a country" has a history of upsetting Australian sporting pride, it wrote. "The next four years willl be insufferable for Australia."

Australia is 206 years old.