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Start 2022 with a laugh – time for the best of our Oddball stories!

Jan 5, 2022 Episode 80

Start the new year with a laugh – it’s time for the best of Newsy Pooloozi’s Oddball stories from 2021!

Episode Transcript

OPENING STING – LEELA: “New, new, newsy – Newsy Pooloozi!” 

THEME MUSIC 

LEELA: Hello and happy new year, folks. 2022 is here. I’m your host Leela Sivasankar Prickitt and this is my sidekick.

MAMA: Hello, hello – I’m Lyndee Prickitt. 

LEELA: So we’ve got the best way to kick off the new year – laughter, of course. Yes, welcome to a very special, happy-wacky episode Newsy Pooloozi – the fun news pool for curious kids and adults!  

MAMA: What are we talking about? The last in our Best Of’s, of course – we’ve been playing the best tech, news and animal stories of 2021 for you these past few weeks.  

LEELA: And, of course, we’ve saved the best for last too. 

MAMA: Ah-ha. Get ready to chuckle at how wonderfully silly world news can be. 

LEELA: From soap made from snail snot to a worm with a hundred butts. 

MAMA: To the cactus thief and a very wordy croquet competition. 

LEELA: Never mind the bumblebee that befriended a British girl. 

MAMA:  First up – 

LEELA: Move over centipedes – a hundred legs is nothing compared with, what I like to call, the “centibutt.” 

ODDBALL STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “Step right up, step right up… Have a go at the lucky dip machine… What’s it gonna be today, eh? An oddball, no doubt!”

LEELA: Ball is not the b-word we’re going for today.

MAMA: OK… 

LEELA: I want to talk about butts.

MAMA: Ah, Leela, we’re recording, you know. 

LEELA: Yeah, I know. But this is news. Off the coast of Australia, in fact. A land – as we just heard – that’s known for its crazy and sometimes creepy creatures. 

MAMA: That’s true. 

LEELA: Well, hit the music Mama. 

MUSIC

LEELA: This is a story about a very special sea worm that spends most of its life living in a sea sponge. 

It’s called a Ramisyllis  multicaudata. 

And, surprisingly, that spectacular name isn’t the most amazing thing about it. 

And neither is the fact that it grows not in a single line, like most worms, but branches out – in many, different directions – kinda like a tree. 

Now while “branching bodies” are quite common in plants and fungi, in animals it’s practically unheard of, according to the Australian Academy of Science.

Buuuuut, even that’s not the most extraordinary thing about this creature. 

MAMA: Oh,  no.

LEELA: Oh, yes. After years of studying these creepy sea creatures, scientists have just discovered that at the end of each of these branches is… a… butt!

MAMA: A butt? Like a bottom?

LEELA: Uh-huh. Or you could say, an  anus, or I should say ani, which is the word for more than one anus. Now, there’s a fab fact if ever you wanted one!

MAMA: Uh-huhhh.

LEELA: With the help of high-resolution scanners, scientists have recently been able to see – in detail – the worms’ internal anatomy. In other words, their insides and, particularly, their guts!

MAMA: OK, then.

LEELA: Buuttt, there’s more behind this story than the worms’  behinds. The weirdness doesn’t stop at multiple butts, oh, no.  

MAMA: Really?

LEELA: Get this – when the worms are ready to reproduce, their bottoms can grow eyes and a brain! 

Which then detaches from the rest of the body and swims off to date, mate and die. 

MAMA: Are you finished? 

LEELA: Oh, no, Mama. Turns out this story with many ani has no real “end.”

MAMA: (coughs uncomfortably!) Yes

LEELA: There’s still a mystery to be solved. When they analyzed all the intestines – you know, where the poo, I mean, waste, is supposed to come out – they were empty!  So, scientists are still trying to get to the bottom of it. 

8.14 

ODDBALL STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “Step right up, step right up… Have a go at the lucky dip machine… What’s it gonna be today, eh? An oddball, no doubt!”

LEELA: So you’ll never guess what a French cosmetic maker is putting in soap, as a special ingredient to make skin shine and well, for you older folks, look younger. Any guesses? 

MAMA: Hmmmmm.

LEELA: Something that contains molecules of the proteins collagen and elastin, which have anti-aging and skin-healing properties. Apparently.

MAMA: Ohh, I got it, milk from a donkey!

LEELA: Uhhh, no. Something that glistens. Well, you could say. 

MAMA: Oh, ummmmm….

LEELA: In a sort of slimy way. 

MAMA: Ewww…. Oh, wait! I know. Whale blubber!

LEELA: Getting closer in terms of the texture, but no. 

MAMA: Oh, I don’t know!

LEELA: Alrighty then – cue the music, Mama.

MUSIC 

LEELA: No, I think we need something slower. 

MUSIC SLOWER

LEELA: Nope, probably even slower. 

MUSIC SLOWER STILL

LEELA: And slowwwwer.

MUSIC SLOWER STILL

LEELA: Yes, that’s the right pace. Snail pace, to be exact. 

MAMA: Oh! Soap made with snail snot? 

LEELA: Snail mucus is the term we’re going with, Mama. Although it’s uncommon in Western cosmetics, snail mucus has become a more common ingredient elsewhere, like in Korean beauty products. It’s thought to have “anti-aging properties,” thanks to the molecules of collagen and elastin. Aside from that, snails also use their slime to repair their shells when damaged. So imagine what it can do for our skin!

At least that’s what the former computer technician, Damien Desrocher thinks. 

And HOW he gets this mucus is even, well, slimier! 

MAMA: Oh, no. 

LEELA: Oh, yes. Afraid so. The 28-year-old soap-maker has to lightly rub or, in fact he says, “tickle,” the slippery suckers to get them to produce slime bubbles. Yuck or what? 

MAMA: Yuck. 

LEELA: And, get this, a single snail only yields about 2 grams – that’s just a quarter of a teaspoon – of slime.

Meaning, when he makes a batch of 15 bars of soap – he’s gotta get the slime from 40 snails!

And as he aims to produce 3,000 snail-slime soap bars a year – it’s no wonder he keeps sixty-thousand snails in his backyard. Yiiiick.

MUSIC

LEELA: And by the way, you may or may not know that the French also like to eat snails. 

MAMA: I do indeed know that. I’ve tried some myself. 

LEELA: Oh! I didn’t know that. Were they good?

MAMA: Ehhh – not my thing. But I did eat them at an English pub’s French night, so probably, it wasn’t the best preparation. 

LEELA: I see. Well, do you know WHY the French like eating snails?

MAMA: Ummmm… 

LEELA: Because they don’t like fast food!

ODDBALL STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “Step right up, step right up… Have a go at the lucky dip machine… What’s it gonna be today, eh? An oddball, no doubt!”

MAMA: Do tell.

LEELA: Well, you might think she was a very “prickly” woman… as she tried to smuggle into New Zealand nearly a 1000 cacti and small succulents those are basically fleshy plants. 

How, you might ask? Well, stuffed in stockings and strapped… to her body! As you do. But before you wince at the thought of what an uncomfortable flight she must have had, none of the cacti were of the prickly variety. 

But they were precious – worth $10,000, in fact! Including some endangered varieties. But what should arrive… 

SFX – barking

Yep, A sniffer dog. 

SFX – sniffing

Who thought she smelt a bit funny… So she ran into the bathroom, hoping to dispose of her leafy loot, but she was caught before she could… 

SFX – toilet flush

LEELA: That’s what happens when you break biosecurity laws.

MAMA: Bio-what? 

LEELA: Regulations to try and stop harmful organisms being transferred from one country to another. In other words – you can’t travel with plants!

MAMA: Right! Okay.

LEELA: Well, that story really “leaves” me wanting more, get it? 

ODDBALL STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “Step right up, step right up… Have a go at the lucky dip machine… What’s it gonna be today, eh? An oddball, no doubt!”

LEELA: Not an oddball, but a powerful pellet of poo – sheep poo to be precise. 

MAMA: Ummm. OK. Should we tell people to stop eating now? 

LEELA: It’s not so bad. Just looks like a lump of slightly squishy coffee beans. 

MAMA: Leela. Move on. I’m sure there’s a point to this story. 

LEELA: Oh, yes. The point is the poo. OK. Not just the poo. Mainly the fact that sheep are constantly munching on grass to make the poo. But the poo helps too. 

MAMA: Okay, What is this story? 

LEELA: Alright, This is the tale of Sheep – du-du-du-dunnnnn –  Versus The Lawn-mowers. Dun-dunnnnn! Cue the music, Mama.

MUSIC – PASTORAL 

LEELA: The University of California–Davis campus – is in the midst of a bold experiment. 

It’s letting sheep, or more precisely ewes – which is the official word for female sheep (spelled ewes in case you were wondering) – graze in a one acre field. 

The quaint, wooly creatures will eat the grass till their hearts are content. 

But they’ll also eat  pesky old weeds. 

And, naturally, they’ll poo, which will fertilize the earth, never mind providing some nice grub for insects, which are beneficial to the landscape.

Oh, and did I mention their walking of their dainty little sheep feet helps air to the soil.

MUSIC – INDUSTRIAL 

Meanwhile, in the acre of grass next door modern human’s methods are being used. 

Pesticides to kill the weeds and, well, as the name suggests, pests. 

Then fertilizer to help the remaining grass grow despite its chemical bath. 

And when the grass needs a trim, no mouth will munch its way down, oh no. 

SFX  OF LAWN-MOWER

That’s the job of the gas-powered lawn-mower. 

It’s exhausting. (Coughs) Get it? 

OK, OK. I’m sorry – I’m not being very balanced here – can you tell I’m on the side of the sheep? 

But, if I’m being fair, maybe the sheep, while natural, aren’t the most efficient way to keep a feel tidy in an urban, city setting? 

That’s why this pukka academic experiment is being conducted throughout the summer. 

We’ll keep you posted on this exciting competition. 

So come baaaaack for more!

ODDBALL STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “Step right up, step right up… Have a go at the lucky dip machine… What’s it gonna be today, eh? An oddball, no doubt!”

LEELA: This is really an oddball, trust me. So earlier we were speaking of burgers and tomatoes. I say tomato, you say: 

MAMA: “Tomahto.”

LEELA: I say methane gas, you say: 

MAMA: “Mee-thane.” 

LEELA: Rebels and:

MAMA: Re-bells.

LEELA: But what about when mispronunciations –

MAMA: Pronunciations. Corelary-corollary. Panoply-panoply. 

LEELA: Huh? 

MAMA: Sorry – I’m an American who’s lived in England and now India for a long time, I have a looong list. You collect Legos, I collect word disputes. 

LEELA: Right… Anyway! What about when such disputes take place between people who live along the same river, which they insist on pronouncing differently? 

MAMA: Oh, that’s gotta be the United Kingdom, the land of one language and dozens of different dialects, or accents. 

LEELA: You got it! 

Cue the music, Mama.

In the middle of fair England is an idyllic river that winds its way from the pretty city of Peterborough to the city of Northampton.

They are not even 50 miles apart and yet… 

Peterborough calls it the River “Neen” and Northampton calls it the River “Nen.” 

It’s spelt N-e-n-e, by the way.

SOUNDBITE OF LOCALS

You would think it was a minor disagreement. 

But no.

After centuries, they finally decided to battle it out. 

In a vicious, brutal way: a match of… croquet.

Yes, that old-fashioned, cute little game, most famously played by Alice in Wonderland. 

Oh, aren’t the English so quaint?

But, really, it was agreed that the winner of the game – that would be Northampton – gets to have the river called its way for the next year. 

So, out with Neen, let flow the River Nen. 

And, by the way, it turns out this battle wasn’t really about the river at all, but a way to inspire more of us to play…  croquet!

But, only, as long as you pronounce it the right way! 

15.34

ODDBALL STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “Step right up, step right up… Have a go at the lucky dip machine… What’s it gonna be today, eh? An oddball, no doubt!”

LEELA: An odd pet, in fact. 

MAMA: OK. Are you talking about a dancing turtle?

LEELA: Uh, no. Is that a thing? 

MAMA: No – but you said odd pet so… 

LEELA: This is a story that actually might ring – or should I say sting – a few alarm bells, actually. 

MAMA: Oh. Like that pet snake in Austria that made its way into a neighbors toilet bowl, surprising the neighbor with a snakebite in a sensitive place.

LEELA: Yikes! No – but that was a seriously funny story – we’re happy to say the bite wasn’t bad. But I’m talking about something a little buzzier. 

SFX OF BEE

LEELA: Play the music, Mama. 

MUSIC 

LEELA: Once upon a time, just a few days ago, a 13-year-old from Coventry, England – Lacey Shillinglaw  – spotted a large bumblebee lying in the road while on a walk with her family. 

When she scooped up the bee, she noticed it had a crumpled wing, the poor thing.

But when she tried to put on some nearby flowers, hoping it would find the group of bumblebees, which is called a colony, that it had come from. 

It refused to stay put, buzzing back over to her. 

In fact, kinda crawling all over her. 

So she tried again. 

And again. And again.

Finally, she just headed home with the creature perched on her shoulder.

Once again, she tried to leave the busy bee somewhere safe in the garden of her house. 

But no.

The bee refused to leave Lacey’s side. 

So Lacey gave in, she brought the bee inside and named it Betty. 

Now, when Betty’s not sleeping on Lacey’s bedside table, she follows the 13-year-old everywhere – on walks to the shops, outings with her friends and once to a bowling alley!

Sometimes she buzzes around Lacey – sometimes she just chills out, perched on Lacey’s glasses.

That sure does give new meaning to the term Bee-FF – wouldn’t you say!

THEME MUSIC

LEELA: And that brings us to the end of this episode of Newsy Pooloozi! 

If you enjoyed this dip in the whirlpool of news and information then do subscribe to our podcast on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, Alexa or wherever you get your podcasts.

While you’re at it… Give us a good rating. Or better still, leave us a review.

And don’t forget to check out our website – that’s newsypooloozi.com – p-o-o-l  o-o-z-i.com

See you next week in the happy, splashy giant Newsy Pooloozi!

-ends-

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