Charles Nevin: News from Elsewhere

Can you hear a strange, unearthly singing? Believe me, it's just the tip of the iceberg


Well, well, is it Monday already? Great. There are some people, you know, who sit around willing the weekend to go more quickly so they can reach today and my renowned digest of the other news, the stuff that provokes a wry smile which is then replaced by the sensitive, musing look which accompanies pondering the human condition. Well, there must be some people, although something, modesty, I imagine, has prevented them from coming forward so far. Come on, don't be shy, we're all in this together, you know!

No? Very well, suit yourself. I've got a singing iceberg to cover. German scientists have found one operating on the 0.5 hertz frequency. "The tune even goes up and down, just like a real song," says Professor Vera Schlindwein. No details of the playlist yet, but I, naturally, have a few suggestions, starting, naturally, with "Ice Work If You Can Get It", by George and Ira Brrrshwin and "Summer Freeze" by The Icely Brothers.

All right, all right, but not before I speculate on it being signed by the Atlantic label and doing some Celine Dion covers before moving on to a meltingly lovely tearjerker about an over-ambitious iceberg, "Do You Know The Way To San José", by Berg Bacharach. There won't be any dry ice in the house.

Hang on, though: 0.5 is, apparently, undetectable to the human ear, which is something of a minus, marketing-wise. But if your dog starts acting strangely, and then the plates start sliding off the table, I'd take a look out of the window pretty quickly.

Which reminds me: there's been a spate of thefts of chihuahuas in Japan. There has. Police are, obviously, given the circumstances, leaving no stone unturned, but say that, so far, drum roll please, there are no leads. One called Beckham has been found abandoned by the thieves; sent off again, then. Or strayed.

Out of step

More cold weather news, now, and I'm absolutely delighted to report the first sighting of the season of a very old friend: that's right, in Austin, Minnesota, a 25-year-old man has been arrested carrying a television after police followed his footprints in the snow leading away from the house he had stolen it from. Marvellous, gets them every year, you know.

Perhaps we should also mention here the man in Poughkeepsie who was hit on the head again last week by a train pulling into the station, and the absconder in Springfield, Illinois, who attempted his getaway on a ride-on lawnmower.

Pull the other one

Remarkable species, aren't we? Two more top examples from last week: first, the Qigong Iron Crotch Grandmaster, Tu Jin-Sheng, pulled a furniture van several yards with his penis, which is stretching it a bit, if you ask me, while Mr Drew Tillotson of Windsor Heights, Iowa, donated his collection of 15,000 bricks to the town because he was uncertain what to do with them. The town is going to use them to build things with. Good thing Tu Jin-Sheng didn't hear about this, as it might have given him ideas.

Bit of a flap on about birds, too, I notice, at the moment, so I thought I'd better bring you some of the other avian announcements, starting with the meteorologists in Newton Abbot who have been issued with crash helmets as protection against the seagulls that keep attacking them on the roof of the council offices as they go about their business. I know we're having a cold snap, but that's going a bit far, surely.

Not as far as India, though, where in Assam they are appealing for dead animals for vultures. Vulture numbers are in serious decline, it seems. Splendid. I now look forward to Jackal Aid and Mice in Need. Elsewhere, there were a couple of parrot stories, but they are terrific publicity hounds, so I'll conclude in Northlake, Illinois, where Mr Mark Copsy has saved an elderly couple from a blazing car by smashing the windscreen with his frozen turkey.


What else, what else? Well, you can imagine my feelings when I heard that there had been a shooting in a dance competition, and when it turned out to have been in Philadelphia rather than on Strictly Come Dancing. Pertinent piece of information bonus: W C Fields chose as his epitaph: "On the whole, I'd rather be in Philadelphia."

Oh, and there's a couple of health warnings. First, think carefully if someone asks you to kiss their fish. Mr Alan Binnie declined the offer in Falkirk and was then slapped in the face with it by Mr David Evans, who was given six months and told by the Sheriff that he had "reached the end of the line". Mr Binnie could not recall if the fish was a wet kipper but says better things have happened to him.

Second, after an unfortunate incident in Pittsburgh, female llama owners are being advised not to cuddle the young animals as in adulthood they are likely to treat men as competing llamas; this applies particularly to the ones who have not been castrated. Verb sap, Tu Jin-Sheng, I should have said.

Finally, something else to worry about, when you've got a second: the south polar ice cap on Mars has shrunk for a third successive year. The iceberg is reported to be humming pensively.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

HR Advisor - East Anglia - Field-based

£35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: To be considered for this position you will n...

Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, Graduate, SQL, VBA)

£45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Analyst (Financial Services, ...

Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Perl, Bash, SQL)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Application Support Engineer (C++, .NET, VB, Per...

C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB6, WinForms)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Software Developer (Client-Side, SQL, VB...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Jihadist militants leading away captured Iraqi soldiers in Tikrit, Iraq, in June  

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Robert Fisk
India's philosopher, environmental activist, author and eco feminist Vandana Shiva arrives to give a press conference focused on genetically modified seeds on October 10, 2012  

Meet Vandana Shiva: The deserving heir to Mahatma Ghandi's legacy

Peter Popham
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home