When Harry Corbett bought a bear glove puppet on Blackpool’s North Pier in 1948 to entertain his children, he could surely not have realised he was teaming up with a future TV icon.
Sooty, who turned 70 on Thursday, cost the then-engineer 7s 6d (about £11.50 in today’s money) but proved a bargain as he grew from those humble beginnings into a star of stage and screen, delighting generations of children on both the BBC and ITV.
Although he whispers into his co-stars’ ears, the rest of us have never heard him speak a word, as he prefers to let his wand and water pistol do the talking. And yet the “magical” bear has still managed to have a catchphrase – “Izzy wizzy, let’s get busy” – which his human companions have uttered to accompany his tricks.
Richard Cadell, who has been keeping Sooty in check since 1998, said it was “an amazing achievement that Sooty is so popular after 70 years”.
But for him, the “secret is absolutely the simplicity of it all – everybody knows The Sooty Show”.
Sooty shot to fame four years after he and Corbett teamed up in the Lancashire resort, winning the BBC’s Talent Night programme in 1952 and bagging themselves a series shortly after.
TV also gave Sooty his black ears and nose, as Corbett decided to cover them with soot so they would show up on black and white transmissions – the colouring also gave the bear his name.
Since then, Sooty has barely been off the screen, appearing in shows that have seen him show off his magic and comedy skills, run a hotel, work as a shop assistant and entertain several generations of children.
And he’s taken all his antics on to the stage too, appearing in pantomimes and Christmas shows for decades.
Speaking on Wogan in the 1980s, Harry Corbett said when he first introduced the idea of Soo as Sooty’s girlfriend, he was told by a producer that she could not be included as “it’s sex creeping into the programme”
The story was covered in the national press, with one headline reading “No sex for Sooty”
Number of king penguins on the remote le aux Cochons has fallen from 2m to 200,000, warn scientists
The planets largest colony of king penguins has declined by nearly 90% in three decades, researchers have warned.
The last time scientists set foot on Frances remote le aux Cochons roughly half way between the tip of Africa and Antarctica the island was blanketed by 2m of the penguins, which stand about a metre tall.
But recent satellite images and photos taken from helicopters show the population has collapsed, with barely 200,000 remaining, according to a study published in Antarctic Science.
Why the colony on le aux Cochons has been so decimated remains a mystery.
It is completely unexpected, and particularly significant since this colony represented nearly one third of the king penguins in the world, said lead author Henri Weimerskirch, an ecologist at the Centre for Biological Studies in Chize, France, who first set eyes on the colony in 1982.
Climate change may play a role. In 1997, a particularly strong El Nio weather event warmed the southern Indian Ocean, temporarily pushing the fish and squid on which king penguins depend south, beyond their foraging range.
This resulted in population decline and poor breeding success for all the king penguin colonies in the region, Weimerskirch said.
El Nio events are cyclical events that occur every two to seven years, but they can be amplified by global warming, which itself produces many of the same results, albeit on a longer timescale.
Indeed, Weimerskirch and colleagues showed in an earlier study that climate change, on its current trajectory, will probably make the Crozet islands the archipelago that contains le aux Cochons unviable for king penguins by mid-century.
Migration is not an option because there are no other suitable islands within striking range.
Other factors may be contributing to the decline of the le aux Cochons colony, including overcrowding. The larger the population, the fiercer the competition between individuals, noted a statement from Frances National Centre for Scientific Research, which funded the study. The repercussions of lack of food are thus amplified and can trigger an unprecedented rapid and drastic drop in numbers.
But this so-called density-dependent effect can also be made worse by climate change, the study notes.
Another possible culprit is avian cholera, which has affected seabirds on nearby Marion and Amsterdam Islands, including some king penguins. But until Weimerskirch and other researchers return to le aux Cochons hopefully, he said, in early 2019 they wont know for sure.
It is also possible that invasive species such as rats, mice or cats, have found their way on to the island. The Red List of Threatened Species conservation status for king penguins is currently least concern, but the new data may prompt a reevaluation.
King penguins are the second-largest penguin species after the Emperor. They do not make a nest, but rather lay one egg at a time and carry it around on their feet covered with a flap of abdominal skin, called a brood patch. Parents take turns incubating the egg, switching every couple of weeks over a two-month period.
I think it’s safe to say that Apple rules the world right now. Whether its constantly upgrading to the newest iPhone year after year or getting a new MacBook for work, nearly everyone has at least one Apple device. That doesn’t mean Apple products are cheap thought — quite the opposite, in fact. Well relax, Prime Day is here to help out.
If you find yourself in need of a new laptop, Amazon has plenty of MacBooks on sale as part of Prime Day. MacBooks are among the most popular and in-demand laptops on the market today. But they typically run a little on the expensive side. That means almost any deal on MacBooks is a good deal.
Thanks to Prime Day, there are some very, very good deals to take advantage of:
Cat owners and their cats demand the very best options in cat care, so it’s no surprise that luxury accommodation for our feline friends is on the increase. With cat sitters, cat boarders and catteries competing for business, the cat hotel industry had to pull out all the stops and boy, have they! Via: Style & Tails
Vacation A Cat is a brand new state-of-the-art cat hotel, designed with the 21st century cat in mind. Based in the Chaoyang District, Deshang, the hotel has three floors with 15 individual spacious suites and a separate playroom for the kitty who needs entertaining for longer than usual. Between each suite are round windows on the wall that can be opened to create an interconnecting suite for for multi-cat families. Climbers, multi-level platforms and other fun hidey-holes ensure every cat owner is getting the best possible care for their much-loved mog. Each suite also has air-conditioning and CCTV.
Prices: From 350RMB per day (one cat) to 500RMB per day (2 cats) upwards. Discounts are offered for longer stays.
Abi Purser Launched Longcroft in 2010 in response to the fact that she could not find a premium cattery in her area for her own beloved cat, Norman. It was the first boutique cat hotel opened in Welwyn Garden City. Longcroft boasts wrought iron designer cat beds, individually decorated bedroom suites, gourmet menus and grooming services, not to mention a choice of music and a team, whose sole job it is to come in and entertain the feline residents. It sounds to me like the cats are going to have a far better holiday than their owners!
Prices: From Â£17 a day (one cat) up to â€“ Â£80 a day (family of 7-8 cats)
Additional services include: Spa day + play session Â£45/ Mini bar snacks Â£1.50 to Â£3.50/ A La Carte Menu from Â£3.50
This state of the art, 5 star cat boarding hotel, located in Willoughby on Sydney’s lower north shore, was designed and created by veterinary professionals. Offering deluxe triple-level (often themed) condos and even a penthouse apartment where multi-cat families can holiday together, this is a little slice of heaven down under. Facilities include a ‘jungle gym’ for additional recreation and entertainment, plus pussy pampering grooming sessions. I’m close to buying a cat suit and booking myself in!
Prices: From AUD$29.50 a day up to AUD$105 depending on type of suite and number of cats.
Based in West Yorkshire, This luxury cat hotel has designed its suites based on a luxury human hotel room, offering each lucky cat a luxurious, light and cosy suite. Stunning panoramic views across the fields and woodland ensures the furry guests are kept stimulated with local birds and other critters. Offering single suites to super-sized family rooms, plus an out door viewing balcony for up to four cats, The Ings ensures there is something for every type of cat owner. The 5 star service also includes under-floor heating throughout the winter, maintaining constant temperatures, and shading for a cool, well-ventilated environment during the summer months. Our cats can’t ask for more than that, although they will no doubt try!
Prices range from Â£18 a day through to Â£50 depending on type of suite and number of cats.
Additional services include: A La Carte menu Â£4 a meal/ VIP updates from Â£5 â€“ Â£12/ Hunting toys and a salad bar Â£20
Hotel Cat was built to top hotel standards, offering lavish elegance and refined comfort with the additional luxury of abundant space. A small, intimate, family-run business with just seven suites, cats are given a personal one-to-one service that any cat owner would pay top dollar for. They are based in the idyllic and peaceful location of Sway in the New Forest, where birdsong fills the air and the scenery is sublime. With cats offered the option of a fine dining menu and a view through purpose-built glass doors and windows, Hotel Cat sounds like the purr-fect holiday.
Prices: From Â£21 â€“ Â£35 a day depending on the suite. Additional family members Â£7 a day extra.
Additional services include: London Chauffeur Service Â£60 â€“ meeting at Sunbury train station
Aristide is an urban hotel for Parisian cats that sulk if they do not get their way. Each suite has been designed with the nature of cats in mind. High ceilings, spacious hiding and spying posts, water fountains, grass salad bars, cat stairs and plenty of cat trees. There is even a TV for the cats, by way of large secure fish tank, as well as a secure playroom with unlimited access. Only the very best for the French fur bods, or the cats will go on strike!
Prices: From â‚¬26 a day up to â‚¬55 depending on type of suite and number of cats. A frequent traveller pass is available.
Additional services include: Online pet shop/ Taxi service/ Souvenir photos â€“ â‚¬2.50 a day, up to professional photo sessions â€“ â‚¬125.00/ Grooming and massage â‚¬15 â€“ â‚¬75
Recently, my wife and I went through one of the more excruciating experiences of our lives – the euthanasia of our beloved dog, Murphy.
I remember making eye contact with Murphy moments before she took her last breath – she flashed me a look that was an endearing blend of confusion and the reassurance that everyone was OK because we were both by her side.
When people who have never had a dog see their dog-owning friends mourn the loss of a pet, they probably think it’s all a bit of an overreaction; after all, it’s “just a dog.”
However, those who have loved a dog know the truth: Your own pet is never “just a dog.”
Many times, I’ve had friends guiltily confide to me that they grieved more over the loss of a dog than over the loss of friends or relatives.
Research has confirmed that for most people, the loss of a dog is in almost every way comparable to the loss of a human loved one.
Unfortunately, there’s little in our cultural playbook — no grief rituals, no obituary in the local newspaper, no religious service – to help us get through the loss of a pet, which can make us feel more than a bit embarrassed to show too much public grief over our dead dogs.
Perhaps if people realized just how strong and intense the bond is between people and their dogs, such grief would become more widely accepted. This would greatly help dog owners to integrate the death into their lives and help them move forward.
What is it about dogs, exactly, that make humans bond so closely with them?
For starters, dogs have had to adapt to living with humans over the past 10,000 years. And they’ve done it very well: They’re the only animal to have evolved specifically to be our companions and friends.
Anthropologist Brian Hare has developed the “Domestication Hypothesis” to explain how dogs morphed from their grey wolf ancestors into the socially skilled animals that we now interact with in very much the same way as we interact with other people.
Perhaps one reason our relationships with dogs can be even more satisfying than our human relationships is that dogs provide us with such unconditional, uncritical positive feedback. (As the old saying goes, “May I become the kind of person that my dog thinks I already am.”)
This is no accident. They have been selectively bred through generations to pay attention to people, and MRI scans show that dog brains respond to praise from their owners just as strongly as they do to food (and for some dogs, praise is an even more effective incentive than food). Dogs recognize people and can learn to interpret human emotional states from facial expression alone. Scientific studies also indicate that dogs can understand human intentions, try to help their owners, and even avoid people who don’t cooperate with their owners or treat them well.
Not surprisingly, humans respond positively to such unrequited affection, assistance, and loyalty.
Just looking at dogs can make people smile. Dog owners score higher on measures of well-being, and they are happier, on average, than people who own cats or no pets at all.
Our strong attachment to dogs was subtly revealed in a recent study of “misnaming.” Misnaming happens when you call someone by the wrong name, like when parents mistakenly calls one of their kids by a sibling’s name. It turns out that the name of the family dog also gets confused with human family members, indicating that the dog’s name is being pulled from the same cognitive pool that contains other members of the family. (Curiously, the same thing rarely happens with cat names.)
It’s no wonder dog owners miss them so much when they’re gone.
Psychologist Julie Axelrod has pointed out that the loss of a dog is so painful because owners aren’t just losing the pet. It could mean the loss of a source of unconditional love, a primary companion who provides security and comfort, and maybe even a protégé that’s been mentored like a child.
The loss of a dog can also seriously disrupt an owner’s daily routine more profoundly than the loss of most friends and relatives. For owners, their daily schedules — even their vacation plans — can revolve around the needs of their pets. Changes in lifestyle and routine are some of the primary sources of stress.
According to a recent survey, many bereaved pet owners will even mistakenly interpret ambiguous sights and sounds as the movements, pants, and whimpers of the deceased pet. This is most likely to happen shortly after the death of the pet, especially among owners who had very high levels of attachment to their pets.
While the death of a dog is horrible, dog owners have become so accustomed to the reassuring and nonjudgmental presence of their canine companions that, more often than not, they’ll eventually get a new one.
So yes, I miss my dog.
But I’m sure that I’ll be putting myself through this ordeal again in the years to come.
This story originally appeared on The Conversation and is printed here with permission.
Mercury is still in retrograde in Leo until August 18. For most signs this week it means you’re cursed to run late, forget appointments, and have your iCloud crap out and delete all of your contacts. It’s best to leave early, keep your schedule loose, and download a podcast or six in case theres a transportation snafu and you’re stuck somewhere for a long time with nothing to do. Here are your weekly horoscopes for July 30-August 3.
It will be hard to sync schedules with your friends this week. That really sucks, because you’re dying to connect with them about all the shit that’s gone down while Mercury has been in retrograde. Everyone is busy trying to squeeze in final summer trips and activities, so give your friends a break. They’re not being flaky or ignoring you; they’re just living their best lives and you should too so you have something to contribute when you all meet up and someone inevitably asks how your summer has been.
The Moon traveling through Pisces this week will ignite your intuition when it comes to social matters. You’ve been having a weird feeling that something is up with a friend, but know one seems to know anything about it. Follow your gut until you get to the truth. You might just have to call said friend out. Remind her that in the summer time, no one likes a shady beach.
Mercury is your ruler, so if you work things right, you can use its retrograde to your advantage, especially when it comes to work. While most signs appear to be stuck in a rut, you should harvest Mercury’s backward motion to double-check your work and the work of others. Maybe you’ll discover Jim in accounting made a huge mistake that could have cost your company thousands. By taking a second to go back over it, you’ll be a hero. Jim might hate you, but your boss sure won’t. Sorry, Jim.
Your emotions are supercharged right now. The intensity you feel, though, is definitely out of whack with what’s actually happening. So, if you sort of feel like you might be overreacting, you definitely are. Your date being a minute late to pick you up because he got stuck in traffic doesn’t mean he doesn’t respect you. Your friend having a party on a day you can’t go doesn’t mean she’s trying to sabotage you. MTA isn’t out to get you because the train is late. Damn girl, chill out.
You feel like you’re trying really hard to get along with people, but you can’t stop yourself from showing your ferocious Leo side. The Moon traveling through Pisces is heightening your sensitivity to the outside world, which can set you off quickly when you encounter a person or situation that causes you stress. Do your best to avoid the people who are likely to annoy or anger you. Yeah, mom, I saw your text about how I looked chubby in my last Insta, but I’ll call you back when Mercury isn’t in retrograde.
Like Gemini, you’re also ruled by Mercury. This puts you in an interesting position. You can let this retrograde ruin your life, or you can harness the energy into something that benefits you. Since this retrograde occurs in a hidden part of your chart, working on a secret project or keeping a love affair low key will serve your interests best until the planet starts rotating regularly again August 18. Use this reasoning to explain to your guy why you haven’t posted an Insta of you two together yet.
For some signs, Mercury in retrograde keeps them from being able to socialize. For the Libra betch, it makes you even more popular. It’s almost like your charming personality is what’s going to get you in the most trouble this week. What I’m saying is, if you’re late because you stopped to get coffee on the way to work and flirted with the barista for too long, just blame the retrograde. I’m sure your boss will understand.
Since Mercury in retrograde is happening at the top of your chart, it’s likely to bring up old shit from the past. Not just old flings sending you the “I miss you” text, either. Old issues you had with authority figures, bosses, or your parents will reemerge this week, seemingly out of nowhere. This is your chance to look at these past situations with more wisdom. From there, you’ll be able to move on. You know, like, maybe you should actually fill out your bi-annual self-evaluation instead of ignoring it until HR comes looking for you.
The Moon traveling through Pisces in your home sector offers a glimpse into your family relationships. This makes sense since Mercury in retrograde is likely to stir up sh*t from your past and present. Therapy or a good chat with a friend will give you the realization that you’re so screwed up because of something from your childhood. Like that time your brother told you that you were fat while eating s’mores and now the idea of camping makes you want to die. You know, something like that.
Since Mercury in retrograde has a habit of bringing up stuff from the past, you might as well put that to work by completing the tasks you’ve been putting off for too long. Whether you need to renew your passport or get your car serviced, it’s time to take care of the stuff that becomes a way bigger inconvenience when it’s too late. You could meet the man of your dreams who wants to fly you to Marbella tomorrow, but if your passport is expired you’ll be SOL with only yourself (and Mercury) to blame.
Sorry Aquarius betch, Mercury retrograde in Leo is opposite your sign. That guarantees hearing from ex-partners and old friends. The bright side is this could bring you some closure. Maybe you’ll find out why that guy you really liked just ghosted. Maybe a former friend will admit why she’s been so pissed at you. Get whatever you need to get over it and then get out. That is, unless sleeping with someone one last time gets you closer. In that case, do what you gotta do, boo.
Mercury in retrograde combined with the Moon traveling through your sign awakens your empathy for just about anyone or anything that crosses your path. Your sensitivity will skyrocket. Avoid your triggers that make you really emotional or vulnerable. So maybe don’t look up those old ASPCA Sarah McLachlan commercials unless you want to end up adopting a million cats and dogs from the shelter. It will seem great at the time, but when August 18 rolls around, you’ll have some major adopters remorse and probably a rug stained beyond repair.