He speeds: Jesus doing 140km/h. (Snapped by Kevin & Denise McCaffrey of Torbay on a recent trip to Italy)

Beach eclipses solar happening

Glenda writes: "I was outside viewing the solar eclipse with a pinhole camera when a couple of classes of schoolchildren came down the road with their teachers. I asked if they knew that there was a solar eclipse happening right now and offered to show the kids with the pinhole camera. Most of the adults looked at me with incomprehension. Finally, one woman said "We can't stop - we have to get the kids to the beach!". I told them eclipses don't happen often ... but they just walked on. So much for taking advantage of teaching moments when they arise. If our teachers aren't curious about the world, what hope have we that they will inspire curiosity in their pupils?"

Word of the Year


The word Omnishambles, which describes a badly mismanaged situation, as used by Malcolm Tucker, a character from the British political satire The Thick Of It, has been named British Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries. Meanwhile, in the US ... their word of the year is GIF (used as a verb) that beat "Higgs Boson", "superstorm" and "yolo" (an acronym for you only live once). "GIF verb to create a GIF file of (an image or video sequence, especially relating to an event): he GIFed the highlights of the debate," explained a spokesman.

Strange but true

1. Navy doctor Dr Mark Shelly was notified of disciplinary action after admitting that he let his children handle a brain (and pose for photos with it) that he was transporting for autopsy. (Source: News of the Weird)

2. A supermarket in Britain has outraged parents by selling reindeer steaks in the run-up to Christmas. Lidl is selling frozen Siberian reindeer leg steaks and promoting them as "exceptionally lean low-fat meal with a lovely natural flavour". But parents have accused the German-based supermarket, which has more than 500 shops in the UK, of "destroying the magic of Christmas as it risks excitable children spotting the frozen steaks and thinking the reindeer won't be bringing their gifts". (Source: The Daily Mail)

No joy in birdsong

"We are a middle-aged couple living in Karaka St, Takapuna, who are slightly worn down by tui [we think two] which have learned to sound like a backing truck," declares a flummoxed reader. "There are always five beeps and they're delivered dawn to dusk - so about 11-12 hours a day - by tui which fly on a circuit round our right of way, playing their curious, repetitive 'beeping song' from various perches, on trees high and low. I have filled a commercial plastic nectar feeder with sugar and water and hung it in a tree, hoping to sweeten them up and perhaps encourage them to sing like real birds, but they can't seem to find it, or maybe just want to torture us. Any ideas? PS. I saw one of these birds close up and it looked skinny and dishevelled, so (because I have a vivid imagination) I suppose it could be singing a half-starved protest song."

Video: In Taiwan the funerals have drums, dragon dance troupe, two female marching bands and ...um, exotic dancers...

Fashion-able: Huge fan of Boardwalk Empire with very little body fat? This dress is for you ...

Never undersestimate the power of cats (and cute kids) on the internet: Dan Urbano told his 7-year-old son that he would buy him and his younger sister a cat if a picture of him and his sister pleading got more than 1000 likes on Facebook. It did, and now Dad must front with the cat...

Video: The screw in coffin sounds like a really good idea...

Got a Sideswipe?

Send your pictures, links and anecdotes to Ana at ana.samways@nzherald.co.nz