Check it out:
Pretty sweet, huh? Allow me to elaborate. Every week I have to find a topic for a discussion class and write a bunch of vocabulary and discussion questions about it. I basically trawl through a bunch of newspapers and online news sources until I find something that people can talk about for an hour and have at it. Luckily all of the British broadsheets are comprehensively represented online, and the BBC is an invaluable resource, so I can usually find something good although sometimes it takes me bloody ages.
A side result of this is that I've become pretty analytical about the style and level of English that the various newspapers use. Since I'm setting the articles for second language learners, even when they have excellent English understanding they can find flowery, idiom strewn prose really difficult. Because of this I have to basically steer clear of the Times and the Guardian, which are both fabulously well written, but just too acrobatic in their grammatical construction. The BBC is always simply written, partly because it's aimed at an international audience; and as a friend who studied some journalism pointed out to me ages ago, the Independent is generally pretty badly written, but not incomprehensible, so I can often use that. Interestingly the paper which I find most reliably well written, but pretty simple is the Telegraph. I mean, I wouldn't read it back in England, but for my purposes, as long as I avoid politics, it pushes the students' vocabulary and grammar without completely flumoxing them.
This week, hunting through the Telegraph site for something I could hang a discussion on, I was checking on the most read articles and noticed that today's no. 5 was "Giant spider eating a bird caught on camera". That's cool, I can understand how that could make no. 5 any day of the week, but then I clicked through to the top 5 for the week. "Giant spider eating a bird caught on camera" was at no. 1 for the week. Now, what with the US election and the global financial meltdown we are hardly in a slow news week, so that raised my eyebrow, but then, when I clicked on the top 5 stories for the month... well, guess what is the most read story on the Telegraph website this month. "Giant spider eating a bird caught on camera".
I'm gonna stop snobbing it up now, coz I gotta admit it's great stuff. That spider looks freakin' evil. And when you click through to the actual article you find a veritable treasure trove of animals eating other animals. Seriously it's like some kinda hidden bestial-snuff-porn microsite on the Telegraph server. Shark eats seal (see above). Seal eats duck. Leopard kills crocodile. Heron eats rabbit. Mouse bites snake to death (that one's a doozy).
So check it out, for the love of God. What are you still reading this for? THERE IS A PICTURE ON THE INTERNET OF A HERON SWALLOWING A BABY RABBIT WHOLE. Go look at it.