QUIRKY WORLD ... A daily look at some of the world’s stranger stories

David Ortiz: Will shave beard for charity.

Tea towels a class act at exhibition

ENGLAND: A university is hosting an exhibition to mark the changing “class and cultural aspirations” of British generations — through tea towels.

Drying to Know, a two-week exhibition at Bath Spa University’s Bath School of Art and Design campus, will focus on informative and instructional tea towels to highlight how the kitchen staple can be used as a communication tool.

Art fans will be encouraged to view the humble tea towel as a work of art, form of advertising, instructional guide and a “celebration of all things British”.

Join the dots

ENGLAND: Would-be artists will need a little lead in their pencil to complete the illustrations in a new dot-to-dot version of the ancient Kama Sutra sex guide.

The original book, based on ancient Indian Hindu philosophies and first translated into English in 1883, is believed to have been written around 1,600 years ago. It includes chapters on Sexual Union, About A Wife, and About Others’ Wives.

The new version includes several incomplete illustrations of recommended positions including the inverted crow and the tortoise. The design team behind the book said it was an “obvious subject for a dot-to-dot”.

Alligator airport

US: Authorities have been left baffled after a small alligator was found under an escalator at a US airport.

A maintenance worker at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport discovered the alligator, which is about 30cm long. A police officer captured the reptile by putting a dustbin over it. The alligator is now being cared for by the Chicago Herpetological Society.

Chicago police spokesman Jose Estrada said: “We don’t know where it came from or how long it’d been residing in the airport facilities. It’s one of those random incidents.”

Street sweeper fanatic

USA: Some people are into fast cars or sleek aircraft. But McKinley Page, from Pennsylvania in the US, has nurtured an obsession with a more mundane vehicle: the street sweeper.

Page is arguably the world’s most enthusiastic devotee of the machines, and has been obsessed with them since his first glimpse of one as a child nearly 50 years ago in Newark. He says the noise and movement of the brushes captivated him.

As a teenager, he even bought his own street sweeper, and used it to clean streets in his Newark neighbourhood when city workers failed to make the rounds.

Goodbye Boston beards

USA: US baseball stars David Ortiz and Shane Victorino will shave their beards off in a promotion at Gillette’s headquarters in Boston.

The Boston Red Sox players will be joined by policeman Steve Horgan who was photographed with his arms in the air celebrating when Ortiz struck a grand slam in the American League Championship Series match against Detroit. A fan chosen by social media also will take part in the shave-off.

The Red Sox players’ beards became a symbol of their solidarity as they went from worst in the American League East last year to first this year by winning the team’s third World Series title in a decade.

Nepal’s cawing ‘bird brother’ amazes crowds,

NEPAL: A young man with a microphone stepped onto a small stage and cawed like a crow. Minutes later, hundreds of noisy birds circled above him, perched on trees and sat on roof tops, astounding the crowd at a show called the “crow conference”.

Gautam Sapkota, fondly known in Nepal as “charidada” or “bird brother”, then made another series of sounds. The crows fell silent before disappearing into the grey sky before dusk.

“I told them to come, sit, be quiet and fly away,” said Sapkota, a 30-year-old school dropout who has been doing “crow shows” at schools since 2005 to entertain students and raise awareness about nature and the conservation of birds.

He says he can imitate the sounds of 251 kinds of birds and hopes for recognition of his talents from Guinness World Records. He plans to broaden his conservation message with an album that remixes Nepali songs with the sound of a crane.

“I want to preserve the sounds of birds which may eventually become extinct, by keeping them in recordings,” he said.

Conservationists say 149 of Nepal’s 871 bird species face the threat of extinction. Although not considered to be threatened, crows are disappearing fast.

Sapkota has given more than 3,200 shows in 66 of Nepal’s 75 districts and received an award from the conservation group WWF-Nepal for his efforts.


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