OK, we should be safe here

In Fort Walton Beach, Fla., early last week, something caused thousands of tiny young frogs to desert their home in a local wetland. And of all the possibilities in the area, where would you think they'd hop to? Right: the Panhandle Animal Welfare Society parking lot. There were so many that sympathetic employees didn't dare try to leave in their cars. A control officer was seen picking up the critters one at a time in a dustpan and nudging them into a water-filled basin for later relocation.

Now, the talent competition!

You've heard of Miss America and Miss Universe. But you may not be aware of the latest pageant to judge the appearances and style of a group of young women: Lithuania's Miss Captivity. Already, 36 of the 1,000 or so inmates of the Baltic state's only prison for females have applied to compete. The event is scheduled to be televised live next month. Contestants will wear fashions from top designers, and there'll be cash prizes for the winner and runners-up – payable once they've served their time. Said the organizer: "We'll attempt to find beauty where you might think there is none."

Is it as nice as Bag End?

Fanatic Norwegian fans of Tolkien and the Lord of the Rings trilogy began camping out in front of Oslo's Colosseum Cinema two weeks before the premiere of The Two Towers. Now a provisional village is being set up for them. Knut FalchDistributors SF Norge and Oslo Cinemas will set up a makeshift village with cabins and tents in order to protect diehard Tolkien fans from the bitter early winter. Fans willing to book a spot at the front of the premiere must check in, where they will be issued a number and a T-shirt.

Film promoters have found other ways to encourage Tolkien disciples. Fans who construct the most imaginative dwelling or costume will be eligible to win a trip to New Zealand. Last year's premiere of The Fellowship of the Ring attracted 600 willing to line up in frosty weather, but only 375 spent the night in line. Those numbers look likely to be broken, despite an early snowfall this October.

Greatest of Great Britons: Shakespeare? Princess Di?

The Elizabethan playwright and the late princess of Wales are among 10 finalists in a survey by the British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) of the greatest Britons. Voters chose from a list of 100 figures. A series of TV profiles is in the works, with viewers to pick No. 1. The BBC's top 10 Great Britons (in order by era):

Queen Elizabeth I
William Shakespeare
Oliver Cromwell (Puritan leader, 17th-century English Civil War)
Isaac Newton (mathematician)
Horatio Nelson (naval hero)
Isambard Kingdom Brunel (Victorian architect, engineer)
Charles Darwin (naturalist)
Winston Churchill (prime minister during World War II)
John Lennon (deceased Beatle)
Diana, Princess of Wales
– Associated Press

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