Sideswipe

Westport Youth Aid Constable Don Abbey has paid the price for forgetfulness - he's had to do 825 press-ups for riding a bike without wearing a safety helmet. Mr Abbey headed off to the Buller Cycling Club time trials, then realised he had no helmet. He made a quick dash to retrieve his helmet from a friend who lived "only a few hundred metres away" but was spotted cycling without a helmet by 15 people. He gave himself the medicine he dishes out to others: pay a $55 fine or do one press-up for every dollar. Because he was caught 15 times, he promised to do 825 press-ups yesterday.

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N.J. O'Brien wonders if anyone else finds it truly ironic that the current face of McDonald's, Sarah Ulmer, was also chosen as the face of this year's annual appeal for the SPCA. "Following on from this, the nominees for the face of next year's appeal are: The Mad Butcher, Colonel Sanders and the guy who shot Bambi's mother."

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According to a report in the British review Biology Letters, herrings have an unusual way of communicating. The report described how the researchers studied the sounds produced by two types of wild-caught herring. "At night herring squeeze bubbles out of their swim bladders through an anal pore, producing sounds not unlike people blowing raspberries," the team of three recounted.

The Pacific species were found to emit distinctive bursts of pulses, known as fast repetitive tick (FRT) sounds. "Digested gas and gulped air transferred to the swim bladder ... do not appear to be responsible for FRT sound generation," the report said.

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Robbie Ellis from Greenhithe writes: "Okay, this is something that's been bugging me. Every so often, there is the foulest smell coming from Western Park, near the corner of Ponsonby Rd and Hopetoun Rd. The stench smells like a really pungent variety of rotting red wine, but I've got no clue what it is. Does anybody?"

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Reader B. Garvey of Henderson thinks the Italian Government was spot on including corgis in its list of dangerous dog breeds that should be banned: "Corgis are possibly the most vicious dog I have ever encountered. You haven't met a corgi until you've been menaced at fang-point by a slavering corgi. They all suffer the trait of being highly excitable and prone to becoming deliriously psychotic. I've encountered two corgis - both became feral, extremely aggressive and attempted to herd me like a sheep dog. Do not let their diminutive size fool you - you will be in for a nasty surprise."

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