Storm season chaos, clever hand-washing contraption and the story of the sly fox and cat thief

Aug 20, 2020 Episode 08

The storm season is creating heavy monsoon rain in Asia and whipping up hurricanes in the Americas, also hear about a Kenyan boy’s clever hand-washing contraption and the story of the sly fox and the cat thief all on this week’s Newsy Pooloozi!

Episode Transcript



LEELA: “Newsy Pooloozi!”




Hello and welcome to our eighth episode of Newsy Pooloozi! I’m your host Leela Shivashankar Prickitt.


MAMA: And I am the sound effects editor and big story explainer – Lyndee Prickitt.


LEELA: Ahhem, you mean my mama.


MAMA: Yes. My other name is Leela’s mom. Ok, you ready?




MAMA: Got your umbrella?


LEELA: Got my brolly check.


MAMA: Got your galoshes on?


LEELA: Wellington boots are on – check.


MAMA: Alright, let’s go!




LEELA: In case you didn’t know we’re in the middle of the monsoon here in India and it’s pouring!


MAMA: And over in America, hurricane season is underway in a BIG way already.


LEELA: So, in this week’s episode we’re diving deep into storm season around the world… Explaining what hurricanes really are and how they get their names… How the season is kicking off in America…

How the monsoon is causing a mess in South Asia…


We also find out about the 9-year-old Kenyan whose clever invention is helping fight COVID-19…

And finally, a tale about a sly fox and a clever cat thief!


But first…  let’s hear what’s been making news around the world…


WORLD WRAP STING – LEELA: “Hold on tight, it’s around the world in 80 seconds.”


MAMA: America’s two political parties hold virtual national conventions, or meetings, to drum up enthusiasm ahead of the big November election. The Democratic Party went first and soon the Republicans will host theirs. But with no balloons, no standing ovations no big audiences at all these are the most unusual party conventions ever held.

The U.S. Postal Service promises it will look into new policies that’ve caused mail to be delivered more slowly. This disruption in service comes as many Americans will be relying on the Post Office to deliver their mail-in ballots as some people don’t want to go to polling booths during a pandemic.


Tensions remain high in the Eastern European country of Belarus with people still protesting over the reelection of longtime President Alexander Lukashenko. Protesters say the recent election was rigged unfairly in his favor.


A volcano in the Asian country of Indonesia is hot after an eruption sent a column of volcanic material 3 miles into the sky. It’s the latest eruption along the Pacific Ring of Fire, which is an arc of volcanoes encircling the Pacific Ocean where most of the world’s volcanoes are.


And an ancient soap making workshop is being uncovered in Israel. Archeologists, who discovered the artifacts, say the soap makers clearly liked passing their time playing an ancient game called “Windmill” as a round limestone game-board used for the strategy game was also found.


LEELA: Whooa… Thanks for that fast flash around the world. And now  it’s time to tackle… the Big News Story of the Week.


MAMA: So, it’s officially hurricane season and do you know what that means?


LEELA: My grandparents have to board up their house and head to the hills?


MAMA: Well, yes sometimes… You’ve got the right idea. But let’s talk about what the hurricane actually are…


LEELA: A tornado?


MAMA: Well, sort of. A hurricane is a huge, swirling storm that’s formed over warm tropical water in the ocean. You’ve maybe seen those images of them from space and it really does look like a bunch of thick white swirling clouds. Like cotton.


LEELA: Like cotton candy…?


MAMA: Well, Kinda – white cotton candy. But underneath that cotton swirl of clouds – it’s wind.


SFX – wind starting up


MAMA: Think of the windiest wind you’ve ever experienced… Maybe on a playground or a beach as a storm suddenly came up your hair starts to blow all over the place, your hat might blow right off your head or have you ever had your umbrella flipped inside out? Well, that’s nothing. That was probably just your average 20 to 30 mile-per-hour super strong… breeze.


But have you ever been out when it’s so windy that it’s difficult to walk? That twigs are breaking off from trees?


SFX – Twigs


MAMA: (stage scream) Even that’s just called a gale.


LEELA: (stage screams) A what?


MAMA: (stage screams) A gale. That’s a pretty word for serious wind. But when you being a sensible person go inside… Uhhhhh, whooo


SFX – door shut, wind off


LEELA: That’s better.


MAMA: Tell me about it! When it’s a storm outside and you see from your window roof shingles or tiles flying off houses and those guttering pipes that are around house ripping off… that’s still just a strong gale going at about 45-50 miles an hour.

LEELA: Even when branches of trees are ripping off, it’s still not considered a storm?


MAMA: Not until the winds get to 55 miles an hour and then loads of things


SFX – wind again


MAMA: …like trees, are uprooted and stop signs are yanked from the road and slung up into in the air and, look out! Things are flying about and might knock you out…


LEELA: Mama (stage screams)!


MAMA: Yeaaaaaah????


SFX – (ends)


LEELA: (stage whisper) I thought you’d said we were indoors…


MAMA: Oh yeah. Got a bit carried away there… anyway that’s still not a hurricane, Leela. Only when the wind reaches 74 miles an hour that’s a 119K.M. then it’s a hurricane. That’s as fast as a car goes on a highway –on a highway, a car powered by fuel.


LEELA: That’s fast!


MAMA: And things flying about that could knock people out or bust windows isn’t the only problem… That wind can also cause a storm surge you remember that surge means push… right?


LEELA: Mama! (laughs)


MAMA: Well, the wind pushes wall of sea water to the shore. Mix that with the rain already pouring and…


LEELA: You have a lot of water!


MAMA: Bingo! Which is called?


LEELA: A flood!


MAMA: Right. So even when the storm passes, there can still be massive flooding which can rot out cars and wooden floors and carpets, never mind the creepy things that can swim around in streets that’ve turned to rivers…


LEELA: Are you talking about…  Ahhh…!


SFX – snakes


MAMA: Yep! Snakes. And the other thing is you don’t know where those sewer holes are… what if the lid has popped up and you slip down.


LEELA: (verbally shudders)


MAMA: I know… So, while it looks tempting to play in the flood water, it’s better to stay away if you can help it… So that, my dear, is a hurricane. Sounds like Fun, huh?


LEELA: Uh-uh!


MAMA: Usually there’s a big one every season. But this season is already proving to be a doozey.

So, it’s high time we cut across to South Carolina a state on America’s eastern seaboard that gets bashed every summer by storms.


LEELA: Ah, yes. Our reporter Gabriel Goldman is standing by to give us the latest. Over to you Gabriel.


GABRIEL: Thanks, Leela! Here in South Carolina, we have 200 miles of some of the prettiest beaches in America. But when the air and water get warmer out at sea… creating clouds that whip up into a massive storm watch out… These pretty beaches become a danger zone. Like last year when Hurricane Dorian hit land. With winds going 185 miles per hour, it was one of the most powerful hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean. And weather experts, called meteorologists, say this season could be just as bad! We’re in the early part of the season, but there’ve been nine storms already

LEELA: Thanks Gabriel  But can you tell us how storms even get their names?

Believe it or not, the World Meteorological Organization come up with a name list way ahead of the season. There’s a name chosen for each letter of the alphabet, alternating between girl names and boy names. Except for Q, U, X, Y, and Z, of course, because there aren’t a lot names starting with those letters, are there? But, hold on… Let’s do the math… We’ve had nine storms already and experts predict there could be ten to 15 more… Hmmm…. We could get through the name list at this rate!

And, that, listeners, means I’ll be heading to the hills sooner than later. Reporting from South Carolina, this is Gabriel Goldman for Newsy Pooloozi!

LEELA: But… Mama… what happens if they run out of names? Do they start all over again with a name that starts with A?


MAMA: Ahhh, good question! Actually, they switch over to the Greek alphabet.


LEELA: The what?


MAMA: Well, you know there’s a country called Greece? And, like India, they had a very ancient civilization, meaning they were some of the earliest humans to be developed to have advanced languages and sciences, right? So, like Sanskrit here in India, the ancient Greek language is the backbone of a lot of European languages, including English. So, when the weather people run out of letters in the English alphabet to name their storms, they go to the Greek alphabet: alpha, beta, gama etc…


LEELA: But I have another question.


MAMA: Fire away.


LEELA: How come we don’t have hurricanes here in India?


MAMA: Well, we do. But they’re not called hurricanes…


LEELA: Huuuuh? We have the monsoon… and cyclones…


MAMA: Bingo! Hurricanes here are called cyclones. And they’re not very common, but they can happen. Here it’s the monsoon we have to worry about. Last week the heaviest downpour in nearly 50 years brought the city of Mumbai to a standstill. So…


LEELA: We need to go across to our reporter in Mumbai, Nyla Farooqi, and her little sister Nuwara Farooqi for more.


NYLA: Hello, Leela! I’m here in Mumbai India’s most populated city. You’ll never guess how many people are crammed into this narrow peninsular that’s a fancy way of saying we’re surrounded by water? Twenty-million people live here! And because this peninsular is not very big, most of us are packed in densely like jellybeans in a jar. In fact, we are officially the most densely populated city on earth! So, when it rains and rains and rains here it’s crazy!


NUWERA: Nyla, you have to tell them what the monsoon is first!


NYLA: Right. It’s when the big winds change direction. Many people don’t know this but there’s a wet AND dry monsoon. But these days when we say monsoon we mean “the rainy season,” which is April through September. For us in Mumbai this one has been bad!


NUWERA: Its rained and rained and rained!


NYLA: And a few days ago, the wind was more than 100 kilometers an hour that’s 60 miles per hour. Cars were being tossed around, billboards ripped away and trees were uprooted! We’ve had the heaviest rainfall for August in 47 years! And being in a super-crowded city means there are more chances for people to get hurt in such a storm. But, also, the drainage isn’t so great here… so it was flooded for days! And, sadly, more rain is expected.

This is Nyla Farooqi.


NUWERA: And Nuwera Farooqi


NYLA: Reporting from Mumbai for…  Newsy Pooloozi!


LEELA: Thanks, Nyla! And you too Nuwara. Don’t forget your umbrella (say in cutie pie voice).


MAMA: And just to finish off this stormy segment… While hurricanes are what people in the Americas call massive tropical storms and we call them cyclones here in the Indian Ocean AND in the South Pacific… Guess what they call them in the North West Pacific Ocean, I mean for Japan, China and the Philippines…? Typhoons!


LEELA: Typhoon…  Waaaahooooooo!


MAMA: Alright let’s dry off! Shall we?


LEELA: Yes, please!


MAMA: Now for a story about terrific ingenuity.


LEELA: Terrific what?


MAMA: Ingenuity. You’ve heard of the word genius, right? To have exceptional, natural talents. Well, ingenuity is similar, in that you’re being clever, particularly in an inventive, imaginative way.


LEELA: OK… Got it.


MAMA: So, this story is from Kenya in Africa. Where a nine-year-old boy showed some solid ingenuity in helping fight the nasty old coronavirus in his village.


LEELA: Solid ingenuity I like that.


MAMA: We have this report from our East Africa correspondent, Janki Shah.


JANKI: The whole world is in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. And when a nasty virus is spreading like crazy… what’s the most important thing we can do? Wash. Our. Hands. But this is easier said-than-done when you live in a place where water is scarce or hard to come by.


And when it’s not always flowing from a tap or faucet. Also, if you’re holding a bottle or bucket of water to wash with… How do you keep those things clean and virus-free? And if you’re sharing it with others… it’s makes even harder.


These problems were bothering Stephen Wamukota, a nine-year-old from Western Kenya. Luckily for his village, he has great ingenuity. So, he invented a contraption with two pedals. One pedal is connected to a bottle of water. When you step on it flips upside-down so the water comes out.


And when you take your foot off the pedal, the bottle goes back up. Same thing with the other pedal that’s connected to some liquid soap. And presto! You have a hands-free hand-washing-machine for the whole village!!! After his dad posted the clever contraption on Facebook… of course, it went viral.


Now Stephan is something of a celebrity here in Kenya. So much so, that the President of Kenya has given him an award for helping in the fight against COVID-19! And that’s not all. People realize how ingenious and kind Stephan is.


So, his governor has promised him a scholarship to a super good private school…  to make sure those brains of his don’t go to waste. In Kenya I’m Janki Shah, reporting for… Newsy Pooloozi!


LEELA: Thanks, Janki! Such a cool story!


MAMA: Such a cool boy!


LEELA: But, Mama… I don’t think it was just ingenuity this boy had. I think it was also jugaad!


MAMA: You’re soooo right! But, ummm, for those listeners who don’t speak Hindi… You wanna tell ’m what jugaad means.


LEELA: Well… It’s like ingenuity, but it’s being clever and inventive when you’re stuck, when you can’t just go to the store and by whatever tools and supplies you want.


MAMA: So being ingenious and inventive with limited resources.




MAMA: Alrighty what do we have next?


STING: Step right up, step right up… Have to go at the lucky dip machine… What’s it gonna be today, eh?

And odd ball. No doubt!


LEELA: Odd ball, indeed. Or, should I say, odd animal!




LEELA: So usually naughty humans who steal things at night, quietly climb walls and silently stepping into windows, like a cat… are called cat burglars. But what about when the CAT is the thief!

And not a hungry little kitty stealing the odd chicken bone. Not even a frisky kitty stealing a toy.

But a cat with a thing for shoes!


Peeeee-yuuuuu! Well, that’s the story of Jordon, the fluffy black-and-white cat thief, who prowls his neighborhood in Pennsylvania, America, nabbing 2 or 3 pairs of shoes left outside every night!

His owner is overwhelmed and a little embarrassed with all the shoes showing up at her house.


So, she decided to put up a post, hoping to reunite her neighbors with their stolen shoes. Turns out, this isn’t just an American cat thing… All the way over in Germany there’s a sly fox doing the same thing!

A resident in a neighborhood in Berlin was so irked to discover his best running shoes were stolen, he posted something on his community page.


Only to find out, he wasn’t alone… Loads of people were wondering what had happened to their shoes.

So, this resident went on the hunt. He followed the fox into a thicket of bushes, crawling around for almost an hour… until he discovered the fox’s secret stash… of more than 100 shoes!


But one mystery still remains. Why shoes??? You can’t eat them. Not much anyway. Do they want to play with them? Doesn’t seem so. I think maybe they just…  like the smell of feet!


MAMA: (laugh) Gross! I think maybe they’re just trying to keep up with the latest fashions!


LEELA: I don’t know… The picture I saw showed a lot of Crocs.


MAMA: You used to love Crocs…


LEELA: I did.


MAMA: Yes! Anyway, maybe it’s an animal thing. Foxes, Cats, Crocs… get it?


LEELA: Uhhhhh… Good one!


MAMA: Now, we usually end our show with the odd ball story…


LEELE: oh, yeah, but no longer!


SFX – ding bell


MAMA: We have something fabulous to introduce.


LEELA: That’s the word.


MAMA: So, you know this is a news podcast. But what does news mean? It just means new information. But even with new information there’s a lot of background, a lot of… fun facts.


LEELA: Yeahhh, uhhhh…


MAMA: Yeah, you’re right why do we all call them “fun facts”?


LEELA: I mean, playing tag is fun. But facts…


MAMA: When they’re super interesting…


LEELA: They’re fabulous! Or, just… fab for short.


MAMA: So, every episode we’re going to wrap up with our top five fab facts heard on the show… Of course, this episode the fab facts are pretty stormy.


LEELA: Here goes…


SFX – Bell


LEELA FAB FACT NUMBER 1: In order for a tropical storm to be called, or categorized, as a “hurricane” the winds must be 74-miles-per-hour. (recorded already)



: Hurricanes are named after letters of the alphabet – alternating between male and female names – except for the letters Q, U, X, Y, and Z.


LEELA  FAB FACT NUMBER 3: If there are enough named storms to go through alphabet…  in a single season…  (excluding the 5 letters that aren’t used) … then the Greek alphabet is used to name tropical storms. (recorded already)


MAMA FAB FACT NUMBER 4: Hurricanes are called cyclones in the south Pacific and Indian Ocean and typhoons in the northwest Pacific Ocean near China and Japan.


LEELA FAB FACT NUMBER 5: The special Hindi word for having ingenuity – which means thinking of clever and unusual way of doing something but with few resources is called jugaad.




MAMA: And with that…


LEELA: We’re over and out on this stormy episode of Newsy Pooloozi. If you enjoyed this dip…. in the whirlpool of news and information… then do subscribe to our podcast, and while you’re at it… Give us a good rating. Or better still, leave us a review on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher or where ever you get your podcasts.


And if you want to get in touch, drop an email to… contact@newsyjacuzzi.com


See you next week in the Newsy Pooloozi!