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Archives for September 6, 2009 - September 12, 2009

10 things we didn't know last week

17:37 UK time, Friday, 11 September 2009

10ducks.jpgSnippets from the week's news, sliced, diced and processed for your convenience.

1. Married couples used to always sleep apart.
More details

2. Criminal trials in Japan have a 99% conviction rate.
More details

3. The world's oldest circle of church bells is in Ipswich.
More details

4. Both parties file for divorce in only one in 300 cases, on average.
More details

5. Peter Andre's surname is actually Andrea.
More details

6. The subject with the most GCSE passes this year was chemistry.
More details

7. Everyone once used the left-hand side of the road.
More details

8. There are so few redheads in Mexico that they often greet each other in the street.
More details

9. Silvio Berlusconi is the same height as Nicolas Sarkozy.
More details

10. "Posh" tea company Twinings is owned by Associated British Foods, which also own budget clothes chain Primark.
(Radio 4's Today, Monday)

Seen 10 things? Send us a picture to use next week. Thanks to Janet Worman, of Highworth, Wiltshire, and Ed, London, for things. And to Janet Cremetti of Redditch for this week's picture of 10 Indian runner ducks at a county fair in Warwickshire.

Your Letters

16:48 UK time, Friday, 11 September 2009

Re Ugandans 'killed' in king clashes - why BBC, why? These 'change' the 'whole' 'emphasis' of the article don't 'you' think? Were they not killed? Did they simply disappear into the ether? Or are they alive?
Templeton, Tempsville

Re Q1 in the 7 days quiz. Surely if you HAVE a tissue (as she clearly has in picture 1), this is preferable to using your sleeve? Or have Hygiene Standards in this Once Proud Country reached a New Low?
I remain,
Cheated out of a possible full score,
Sniffy and Miffed of East London
Monitor note: Please accept thi - ah... ah... CHOO! sorry *sniff* about that - extra point by way of apology. Oops, it's got a bit of sneeze on it.

What Paper Monitor actually asked for this morning was evidence of those who fall into the three-way intersection of Daily Mail-reading Peep Show watchers who also are PM devotees, which will have an even smaller footprint. No doubt this letter, if printed, will be followed by at least a couple of examples showing how wrong I am.
Matt Horrocks, London

I watch the Peep Show and read the Daily Mail.
Isabella, London, United Kingdom

I read the Daily Mail and watch Peep Show. But I also read the Sun, the Mirror, the Telegraph, the Independent, the Express, the Guardian, the Times and the FT, so the Venn diagram might start to be a bit more complex...
Helen S, London

I too un/fortunately fall into the Venn diagram intersection. Does that mean that there is something wrong with me?
Emma, Dublin
Monitor note: No. But aren't there a lot of you in the Daily Mail/Peep Show/Paper Monitor intersection.

Does Parent driver checks prompt row mark a change from all-noun headlines to ones having two verbs?
Paul Greggor, London

Children might read this letter. I'm appalled that the BBC has published it without checking whether I have a criminal record.
David Richerby, Leeds, UK

Take heart Rob (Thursday's letters), I *love* my visits to North Wales in the summer. Even the long drive up from the Westcountry is worth it for the fantastic scenery en route. (Incidentally, Monitor, note my use of asterisk when putting *emphasis* on a word. Which does make it *BOB* the Builder.)
Lauren, Taunton
Monitor note: But still not enough to be !BOB!. Which is how it's sung.

Rob, your letter will probably put me into therapy as I'm reminded of THE worst holiday ever in Pwllhelli. Rain. Rain. And the discovery of a dead frog in my shoe AFTER I'd walked around all day thinking it was just a bit tight. *shudder*
Daniel, London

I hate cats.
Tom, Yorks

Caption Competition

13:05 UK time, Friday, 11 September 2009

Comments

bobthebuilderfans_pa.jpgWinning entries in the caption competition.

This week, Bob the Builder meets some young fans. But what's being said?

The competition is now closed. Full rules can be seen here [PDF].

Thanks to all who entered. The prize of a small amount of kudos to the following:

6. Dodie_James
Ignore him Chloe, no way he's got a Ferrari..

5. DiceManCometh
Whilst the other children looked on in awe, little Suzie's eyes wandered to the half built Olympic Stadium in the background

4. SkarloeyLine
Sir Paul reluctantly went along with the gimmick to sell the remastered box set to a new generation.

3. grebehead
Now that Bob had arrived the kids party was going ok, but they'd had to wait in all day and he was meant to come last Tuesday. He might have to come back tomorrow to finish it off, but he couldn't say whether it would be morning or afternoon.

2. placey1
The latest "make Sarkozy look tall" audience received final approval

1. fandango2
"Right kids, you'll each need a hard hat, steel toe-cap boots and public liability insurance...THEN we can play conkers."

Paper Monitor

11:55 UK time, Friday, 11 September 2009

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Another day, another photo of Big Suze in the Daily Mail.

Now, this may be a rather broad-brush, sweepingly unscientific assumption, but surely the Venn diagram of Mail readers and Peep Show watchers has a vanishingly small intersection. (If you fall into that category, please let the Monitor know using the "Send us a letter" form on this page.)

OK, so it's not actually Big Suze, who is fictional, but the actress who plays her, Sophie Winkleman. She's making repeated appearances in the Mail, and sometimes the Daily Express, as she's about to marry Lord Freddie Windsor. And that makes her royal by marriage. Which is apt, as Peep Show fans will concur.

For the uninitiated, Big Suze is beautiful and posh, so marrying royalty fits right into her character arc. "[She] will be styled The Lady Frederick Windsor after she says 'I do'," points out the Mail.

Even better, from a news point of view, is that her future mother-in-law is Princess Michael of Kent. Or, to give her her tabloid name, Princess Pushy.

Anyway, today's coverage revolves around the happy couples' gift list, reprinted in all its £22,682.34 worth of glory. Given that she's 29, and he's 30, and neither lives with their parents, can it be true that they don't already have their own toaster... or perhaps two? And who, in this day and age, doesn't have a set of six silver-plated place card holders in the shape of tiny frogs? (Well, Paper Monitor, for one, having misplaced a froggy while moving house. And who has dinner parties for five?)

"The Mail understands that Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William and Prince Harry - who have all turned down invitations to the wedding citing previous engagements - have clubbed together to buy the couple a gift, although it is not clear whether it is from the official list. Other guests appear to be a little slower off the mark, however, and towels, cutlery and bed linen were still available for purchase yesterday."

One had hoped the Guardian's horseman-of-the-apocalypse-spotting celebrity column Lost in Showbiz might cast a gimlet eye over Big Suze's upcoming nuptials. Only it doesn't, despite Jez, Mark and even Big Suze herself seeming more Guardian than Mail types.

How about the Times' Lost in Showbiz/Celebdaq hybrid, Celebrity Watch? Nope, it neither.

Friday's Quote of the Day

10:48 UK time, Friday, 11 September 2009

"It was my son, at least we think. My wife told me, I believe her" - Tony Blair jokes with David Letterman about Leo's paternity.

The Late Show host pointed out that Mr Blair was the first serving prime minister for 150 years to have a legitimate child while in office. "He's yours?" Letterman asked.
More details (Daily Mail)

Weekly Bonus Question

09:11 UK time, Friday, 11 September 2009

Comments

Welcome to the Weekly Bonus Question.

Each week the news quiz 7 days 7 questions will offer an answer. You are invited to suggest what the question might have been.

Suggestions should be sent using the COMMENTS BOX IN THIS ENTRY. And since nobody likes a smart alec, kudos will be deducted for predictability in your suggestions.

This week's answer is TROLLEYS AND WARD FLOORS. But what's the question?

UPDATE 1711 BST: The correct question is, where did hospital night shift staff take photos of themselves playing the Lying Down Game. (More details - Independent)

Of your wilfully wrong suggestions, we liked:

  • ManxDave57's What did Bert Trolley and Fred Ward call their carpeting business?
  • Isacki's Where is the best place to look when visiting an STI clinic?
  • ironicbliss' According to the Environment Agency, what beat fish into third place as things your most likely to find in canals?
  • Candace9839's Where Drunk Girl holidays?
  • And SimonRooke's What are Bob Geldof's grandchildren called?

Your Letters

17:48 UK time, Thursday, 10 September 2009

Why is everyone always knocking Wales as a holiday destination? OK, perhaps a caravan holiday in Prestatyn might not be everybody's cup of tea, but we have enjoyed many caravan holidays in Pembrokeshire and Gwynedd. And we have superb attractions such as the World Heritage sites of Caernarfon and Beaumaris Castle, many plucky little narrow-gauge railways, much industrial archaeology, stunning scenery and beaches, and even Impressionist art. And the weather's improved of late too. Does anybody know if Harrison Ford enjoyed his stay?
Rob Falconer, Llandough, Wales

How did this article get away without explaining what on earth "Munros" or "Corbetts" are? Do Corbetts sit in a big chair?
Dan, Cambridge

The McCurry article reminded me once again of a letter I wrote to you a while back about the over-use of the word "row" in BBC headlines. Discussing this at work, we came up with "ding-dong" or "ruck" as alternatives to get you started. Plus, you could even get creative with them, such as "Rugby players in drugs ruck" or "Campanologists in tuning ding-dong".
Alex Knibb, Bristol, UK

Upon seeing the headline Boyle is 'edging closer' to Porno, please say it wasn't just me who thought this was a Britain's Got Talent spin-off show.
Alex, Bristol
Monitor note: Judging by our bulging mailbag, you most certainly were not.

Reading The Therapist's letter aloud poses the question, are you Sean Connery?
Charles, Sao Paulo

A, London (Wednesday letters), I hadn't read the article in question, but reading your letter triggered a yawn. Please don't take that personally.
Anna, Wendover, Bucks

Web Monitor, my personal favourite Downfall re-subtitling is "Hitler finds out Burnley beat Chelsea" after the league cup triumph last year.
allabouttowler, Burnley

Hitler also didn't take the news of the Oasis spilt very well.
Tim Dennell, Sheffield

I am not impressed with your twittering of the caption competition. The correct use of punctuation is *BOB*, not !BOB!
Tom Medley, Cambridge, UK
Monitor note: Beg to differ. *Bob* suggests Bob the Builder. !BOB! suggests a loud and hearty BOB the Builder. Try singing it.

Dear Paper Monitor: Thank you, thank you, thank you. Or rather, "merci" for informing the nation that Spiral (to give it its Anglophone title) will be back soon. Kisses on both cheeks, a la française.
Darren, London

Web Monitor

16:20 UK time, Thursday, 10 September 2009

A celebration of the riches of the web.

Web Monitor has become a junkie for hits. As such, we're mostly talking kittens, Hitler and asking who's the daddy as if we're trapped in an episode of The Jeremy Kyle Show.

Tony BlairTony Blair was on the David Letterman show last night questioning the paternity of his child Leo. After that bombshell, which Web Monitor assumes is Mr Blair's version of a joke, he told the story of an enterprising Irish colleague who has Leo to thank for a windfall at the bookies. The Irishman said to Mr Blair:

"Remember when I asked you that question about what the name of the child would be and you told me you would name it after your father?...Well the next day I went and put £1,000 down at the bookmakers and I had the best holiday of my life."

Interestingly the Late Show website refers to Tony Blair as the ex-Prime Minister of England. One can only assume the Blair's reference to Northern Ireland was completely lost on them.

• After a fascinating conversation about flyovers near Monitor Towers, Web Monitor was pleased to receive a link to the gloriously incongruous:

"Hollywood actress Jayne Mansfield cuts a tape as she opens the Chiswick Flyover."

So a challenge is brewing again. Send in your favourite archive flyover, road or motorway links. Among the places to mine for internet gold are the British Library's sound archive which has recently gone online free of charge and of course the BBC's archive.

Flossy the Hitler Cat

• Web Monitor went shamelessly lowbrow yesterday and got an accusation of being "appallingly lightweight and feeble." But what a result! An appeal for your favourite cat websites yielded the most responses Web Monitor has ever had. So, some highlights... Anna from Bognor Regis recommends Stuff On My Cat:

"How many household objects can you balance on your cat before it gets huffy and runs away?"

Mary Noyce in Melksham says her personal favourite is Infinite Cat:
"It's photos of cats watching cats watching cats watching cats watching cats watching cats watching... well I think you get the idea!"

Si in Leeds says the most inspired cat website of the moment has to be Average Cats:

"The perfect antithesis to all this lolcat madness."

Don't even get Web Monitor started on lolcat. No, seriously.

Lolcat is an idea which spread around the internet before Web Monitor's time. That doesn't normally stop WM from revisiting great stuff from around the internet - something not universally appreciated (sob). Mark in London, who says of yesterday's reference to the trend in subtitling a scene from Downfall - a drama about Hitler:

"Oh web monitor [er, initial capital letters Mark], I think you may have missed the boat on the downfall parody. So much so, that there is now a downfall parody about downfall parodies."

Incidentally, the photo to the right is of Paper Monitor's cat, who until now was an undiscovered Hitler Cat / Kitler. Internet fame awaits.

Paper Monitor

11:37 UK time, Thursday, 10 September 2009

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

On the train in, Paper Monitor divided its attentions between two products of the Murdoch empire - the Sun and the Times. And sharp-eyed readers may spot the fruits of these endeavours in today's quote and daily mini-quiz.

The Sun falls upon Rio Ferdinand's staycation with great enthusiasm, not least for the opportunity it affords to customise Duran Duran's searing masterwork:

"His name is Rio and he dances in the Sands
His name is Rio and he likes a caravan."

The bathos...

Meanwhile, Paper Monitor has long been a devotee of the People column in the Times. The departure of Hugo Rifkind, the former diarist for whom your columnist once nurtured an entirely unrequited friendship, hit Paper Monitor hard. But time is a great healer and under the new stewardship of Jack Malvern, Paper Monitor finds its heart is a-flutter.

Yesterday, People in no way at all condoned Derren Brown's plans for a dirty protest at Channel 4 HQ after he was ordered not to buy a lottery ticket before his televised attempt to predict the winning numbers. "Everyone put poo on their doorstep please," Brown tweeted.

"People would never condone such actions. (C4's office is at 124 Horseferry Road, London SW1P). "

DMQ SPOILER ALERT
And today, People doesn't just wonder why Sir David Attenborough has been recruited to make music with a - look away now if you haven't yet attempted the Daily Mini-Quiz on the Magazine page - floor polisher, it asks his wife if he has any particular expertise with this unlikely instrument. "She replied: 'Oh, no, no no.'"

On a not-dissimilar note, G2's Pass notes in the Guardian tackles the recession - is it over, or not?

Through the medium of questions and answers, it seeks to find out.

"When, oh when, will this terrible downturn end? It ended in May.
Hoorah! Can I have my job and my house back now? Unfortunately, unemployment and negative equity are still rising."

And finally, last week reader Jacob, of London, asked for recommendations TV-wise, as he shares Paper Monitor's enthusiasm for The Wire and Strictly Come Dancing. Here's another one: Spiral. A twisty turny French police procedural that's back for a second series shortly. Radio Times calls it Le Wire. And Paper Monitor concurs.

Thursday's Quote of the Day

10:12 UK time, Thursday, 10 September 2009

"You'd think someone like him would be in a place like, well, Rio. Not in a caravan at Prestatyn" - Holidaymaker at same Welsh holiday park as football's Rio Ferdinand.

The Manchester United and England defender - worth an estimated £30m - opted for a staycation in a "prestige" caravan at Presthaven Sands Holiday Park in Prestatyn, north Wales.
More details

Web Monitor

16:42 UK time, Wednesday, 9 September 2009

A celebration of the riches of the web.

Web Monitor reluctantly obliges to the readers' demands to explore the seemingly infinite amount of cat and Hitler content online. But first we go comparatively highbrow by pondering celebrities' plastic surgery prodedures.

Kathy Griffin• Comedian Kathy Griffin has her own reality TV show about her life as a D-lister. After a botched liposuction operation, Griffin reveals in Time Magazine why, even though celebrities seem to be followed everywhere, we never see them with bandages on after surgery:

"Oh, there's a whole system you need to know about. First of all, the plastic surgeons in Beverly Hills all have secret celebrity doors. After the surgery, you leave the plastic surgeon's office covered in a sheet that's not unlike a burka. Your assistant takes you to an upscale hotel where you hide in a dark room of shame until you're better. There are bandaged rich ladies walking around the hallways of the Four Seasons and the Peninsula in Beverly Hills right now. It's not unlike being a war criminal or a terrorist."

• If you want someone to blame for extending yesterday's rare foray into the usually forbidden online world of cats, blame Dave Williams who emailed in:

Hitler Cats

"WM - the web was late in realising the publicity value of cats. The late great Alan Coren wrote a book called Golfing for Cats back in the 1970s with a large swastika on the front cover thereby combining the three most popular subjects for books - sport, pets, and World War II."

Web Monitor is not quite sure of the connection between golfing cats and World War II. A more explicit link would be CatsThatLookLikeHitler.com. The site does what it says on the address bar.

Well OK, lets open the floodgates. Send your favourite cat websites in via the letters box to the right of this page. Ho hum.

• The First Post must have recognised Dave Williams' rules of publicity when they came up with the headline, "Aids advert shocks Germany with Hitler sex pictures". Has there been a better enticement to click on a story which didn't involve cats? Oh and here's the story - it's about a viral video of Hitler having sex which tries to get across the message that Aids can be a mass-murderer.

In another Hitler-still-alive make-believe world is the YouTube trend in subtitling a scene from Downfall - a German language drama following Hitler - to make out he's commenting about current events.

Most recent is Hitler's imagined outrage at Obama's speech telling kids to stay in school and study hard.
In a previous installment Hitler gets annoyed when he hears of Michael Jackson's death as he had planned for Jackson to perform at his party.

Your Letters

16:07 UK time, Wednesday, 9 September 2009

It's ririchardulous that people are complaining about Spotted Richard (and Tuesday letters). I richardtated a letter on my richardtaphone to inrichardate my displeasure but my secretary informs me that my richardtion is not very clear, so I told her she shouldn't abrichardate her responsibilities and should use the richardtionary to check any spellings. I certainly feel vinrichardated, and derichardate this message to anybody out there who feels like richarding about with the English language.
The Therapist, Portsmouth

Perhaps the word should be removed from the Richardtionary.
Richard Buchanan, Edinburgh

A few years ago I was browsing the desserts menu in a popular pub chain, and had to look twice after seeing "Raisin-Studded Richard".
Alex, Bristol

"Dermatologically-challenged, non-gender specific Richard", surely?
Clive DuPort, Vale, Guernsey

Sharing a bed may not be conducive for sleep? Judging by the picture, that seems to be the point.
Nuno Aragao, Aveiro, Portugal

It's another one of those contrasting stories days. On the one hand, we're encouraged not to make frivolous 999 calls; on the other hand, we're being encouraged to pretend to mug each other to test public reactions. Presumably, this includes a host of spurious 999 calls to report said pretend mugging.
David Richerby, Leeds, UK

As usual this morning I went straight to the BBC News front page and who should I see? Drunk Girl. However, when I tried to click on the link to the story I got the message "could not be found". I hope she's OK.
Paul Barratt, Bradford

"Among the questions straining Web Monitor's cerebral cortex today..." - should that be cerebral or cybereal? As I assume Web Monitor is non-carbon based life form, I vote for the latter.
Frank Eichler, Stuttgart, Germany

Talking of Enid Blyton's 1940s (Tuesday letters), I was in the new branch of the Ginger Pop shop in Poole last week and bought some Noddy cards (don't ask) and some World War II replica pieces. Considering all the 70th anniversary commemorations for start of WWII last week, don't you think it spooky that the bill came to £19.39...?
J Paul Murdock, Wall Heath, UK

Re Chimps 'catching' yawns from cartoons - was I the only one who yawned when reading the article?
A, London

Tut tut Paper Monitor, how on earth did you manage to miss this headline? (More details - Guardian)?
Katie, Nottingham

The one with "bottom" in the last paragraph (Tuesday letters). Sheesh, some people...
Ahem.
Pineapple onna stick?
M Ross, Lancaster, UK
Monitor note: Thanks, don't mind if I do.

If the Magazine is already online (i.e. it's an online magazine), then what's the advantage of following it on Facebook?
Patrick, Singapore

My daughter has finally returned to school after a mammoth 12-week holiday. I no longer have an excuse to make fairy cakes.
Rachel, Minnetonka
Monitor note: Fairy cakes are a favourite here at Monitor Towers, if you need a new excuse...

Paper Monitor

12:06 UK time, Wednesday, 9 September 2009

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

OK, so it's 9/9/9, but the real number today is 10. Your Guardian is costing you 10p more than you're used to and what are you getting for your extra wedge?

Well, the return of "Pass notes" to the new-look G2 for one thing. After a gap of several years - during which it temporarily shacked up with T2 in the Times - the series is back.

It's the same old format, and the numbering has picked up from where it left off. Today is 2,644 and it's on Derren Brown.

"Age: 38. Or whatever else he ­ subliminally suggests to you in the course of an apparently innocuous conversation. Appearance: In the tradition of all master magicians - David Blaine, Paul Daniels, Harry Potter - indefinably annoying. It's often something to do with the hair."

The only innovation is a byline at the bottom, which Paper Monitor doesn't remember featuring in the heyday. Today's question and answer isn't the funniest there has ever been, but it's good to see it back anyway.

Away from the salubrity of the Grauniad, over to the red tops and there's some beautiful headlineage.

In the Daily Star, who cannot thrill to the following?

"Fears of World Cup bloodbath as England's wildest soccer nutters line up a showdown".

In the Sun there is a one-par nib about tourists being banned from climbing Ayers Rock because so many go to the toilet on the top. Headline? "Didgeripoo".

A number of the papers have photos of an orange-jacketed worker lying fast asleep on a grass verge, but the Daily Mirror nails the headline. "CAUTION: Men at shirk".

And finally, there's a curious phenomenon in the Daily Star - a column with healthy eating tips underneath a logo for a discount supermarket, which gives the prices of various healthy foods at said supermarket.

But there's no indication it's an advert. What's going on?

Wednesday's Quote of the Day

09:55 UK time, Wednesday, 9 September 2009

"Spotted Richard" - New name for spotted Dick at Flintshire Council headquarters.

Because of "immature comments", the north Wales council has decided to rename the pudding - a move which, inevitably, came to be described as "political correctness gone mad".
More details

Web Monitor

16:47 UK time, Tuesday, 8 September 2009

A celebration of the riches of the web.

Web Monitor takes a day off from valiantly protecting you from the onslaught of cute kitten content online. But first, we ask if Lenny Henry is full of sound and fury.

Lenny Henry • In the most dramatic relationship since Romeo and Juliet, Lenny Henry is now declaring his love for Shakespeare. The stand-up comic used to be afraid of Shakespeare, as revealed in the Radio 4 documentary Len and Will, which investigated why he was Shakespearephobic. So it is a bit of a surprise that he mustered the courage to play Othello. Henry said in the Times that it wasn't his English teacher's fault - "bomber Nash", nicknamed due to his RAF-style moustache, even took the class to a performance of Romeo and Juliet which drove the toughest boy in the class to tears. Instead he puts it down to location:

"But the words were indecipherable to us, working class from Dudley. If you saw that on the telly you'd switch over and watch Rising Damp. We still didn't think, that's for us."

Wedding Dance• It seems viral videos are in their element in silly season, as charted by the Times' blog Comment Central's compilation of the 10 best viral video hits of the summer. As well as the silly wedding dance mentioned in Web Monitor previously, a highlight is the YouTube video of Hilary Clinton dressing down a Congolese journalist who asked her for her husband's opinion:

"Wait you want me to tell you what my husband thinks? My husband is not the Secretary of State. So you ask my opinion, I tell you my opinion, I am not going to be channelling my husband."

• Web Monitor normally braves the coalfront of constant clicking to give you the best bits of the web minus the cats. But the empire of kittens slowly taking over the internet have to be reported occasionally. Previously WM couldn't resist mentioning the "cute cat theory of censorship" put forward by Noam Cohen in the New York Times. The film Funny People proposed the "cute cat theory of publicity". In the film an amateur comedian gets millions of hits on his YouTube film by putting kitten in the title. This got Web Monitor wandering around the web and sure enough, the theory was confirmed. Whilst Re: Cat Talking, a Translation got over 12 million hits, cat-free comedy film Man Dates A Giraffe had only 700 hits at the time of writing and character comedian survivalist Peter Greves, a kind of northern Bear Grylls, had only 301 hits when Web Monitor checked.

Your Letters

16:12 UK time, Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Spotted Richard? Fantastico! I see almost limitless opportunities for similar suggestions. I'll make a start with the re-naming of Herman Melville's classic: Moby Richard.
Neil Franklin, Chandlers Ford, UK

mccurry_currys_afpgetty.jpgNot just McDonalds who should be taking an interest?
Dan Thomas, London

I must admit it made me chuckle to read the headline "We'll have to cut costs - Darling". I do hope you'll use the same formulation in your headline the next time an important announcement is made by the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families.
Adam, London, UK

Don't worry darling, we'll manage.
Sarah, UK

At nine minutes and nine seconds past nine in the morning the time will be: 09:09:09 09/09/09
Tom Ankrom, Sunny Plymouth

How times change. Back in Enid Blyton's 1940s, far from being a teacher's pet, Elizabeth was officially the Naughtiest Girl In The School (Teachers spot trouble in a name).
Helene Parry, South Wales expat to Brentford

I was about to leap to the conclusion that teachers believe intelligence is the best predictor of popularity in girls, whereas naughtiness is the best indicator of popularity in boys. But then I realised that I was inferring cause and effect from what can only be demonstrated to be a correlation.
(Is this upping my street cred?)
Kat Gregg, Coventry

Re T-Mobile and Orange in UK merger, I don't know about the business implications, but orange and pinky-purple have to be among the worst colour clashes going. How many other colours just don't go with orange?
Simon Robinson, Birmingham, UK

Let it KGB? Let it be, BBC - a whole Beatles bank holiday on Radio 2, a Beatles week on TV and now they're seeping into my last refuge of the BBC, the Magazine. Please give it a rest - we're not all 60-year-old blokes.
Kate, York

The sculpture of the Ibis bird in this picture is certainly a lot more elegant than the caption. Who wrote it - Ernie Wise?
Bob Peters, Leeds, UK

You've spelt "bottom" wrong in the last paragraph...
Joe Fonebone, London
Monitor note: Which last paragraph?

Paper Monitor

12:15 UK time, Tuesday, 8 September 2009

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

EXCLUSIVE

Jordan and Peter divorce today. Yes, you heard it here first.

Well, perhaps you didn't, but since the word EXCLUSIVE is bandied about with such enthusiasm these days, one wanted to get in on the act.

The Daily Star claims the latest twist in the Price-Andre split as an "exclusive". So does the Sun and its arch rival the Daily Mirror. Which does rather negate the meaning of the word, which the OED variously defines as:

"Not admitting of the existence or presence of (something); In which others have no share, esp. of journalistic news or other published matter"

Well, shared it certainly is, dominating page nine in the Sun, pages one and seven in the Mirror, and pages one, four and five in the Star.

Paper Monitor has no wish to go into the whys and wherefores of the whole unedifying and lavishly accessorised saga, except to note that the Star reprints the list of decrees in court today, which lists his surname as "Andrea". (Oh, and a possible thing for 10 things... a court insider tells the paper that both parties applying for divorce only happens in one in every 300 cases.)

And finally, a nugget of punning gold from the Sun. "DAVE'S DUNKED DUNCAN DONUT". Tasty!

Tuesday's Quote of the Day

09:29 UK time, Tuesday, 8 September 2009

"Just want to say thanks to all the understanding customers out there who make our lives easier, please continue to shop with us" - Facebook administrator for Currys tries to mend fences with customers.

Employees of shops owned by the Dixons Stores Group - Currys, PC World, the Link - have been discussing their customers in far from glowing terms on Facebook. An administrator belatedly stepped in an effort to make things better.
More details

Your Letters

15:44 UK time, Monday, 7 September 2009

Only while wearing a hoodie?
Kathryn, London

Re this story: You should see what us IT folk think/say about Currys employees.
Andrew Carr, Windsor, UK

Is there a new series of Being Human, or does Paper Monitor like it so much that it's watching repeats? Hopefully it's the latter, as I don't want to miss out...
Jane, Liverpool

Has Paperweight been made redundant? We deserve to be told.
Candace, New Jersey, US

How has her pregnancy got anything to do with this? And why don't you give her age? Normally everyone's age is stated, for reasons I also can't imagine.
Paul, Ipswich

Marvellous, we get all the best things.
Sarah Davies, Nantwich (from Edinburgh), UK

Paper Monitor

10:45 UK time, Monday, 7 September 2009

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

And today's papers, in ascending order, are:

Daily Star and Sun
Daily Express
Daily Mirror
Daily Telegraph and Times
Guardian and Independent
Financial Times

What's the list based on? Quality? No. Paper Monitor spreads its love equally. Pages? No. The Sun packs 60 pages and the Indy 48.

No, it's price. From 20p for the Star and Sun (note, reverse London weighting here - the respective cover prices in the rest of the UK are 25p and 30p) to £2 for the FT. (And the size of the pricetag is in inverse proportion to its value, as previously noted by Paper Monitor.)

But it's the Guardian that is the one mover - adding 10p to its price from today. The move puts it on level price pegging with the Indy, and leaves the Times and Telegraph (both 90p) as the cheapest of the "broadsheets".

Inside, Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger sets out to address the price hike, noting plunging advertising revenues and "recent and long-term pressures on the media industry" - by which, Paper Monitor assumes he means the internet. Rusbridger's message is notable by its absence from the Guardian's website - so, sorry, no link.

But there's a blow-softener, with what seems like an exceptionally heavy edition of the paper today - thanks, in large part, to the continuation of its World War II booklets.

At the bottom end of the market, the Sun continues its Sunemployment series by recruiting James Caan, the Godfather actor Dragons' Den star to give an employment masterclass to readers. And, it being the Sun, there's even a motivational pun to put employment seekers in the right frame of mind: "You Caan get a job".

Monday's Quote of the Day

09:31 UK time, Monday, 7 September 2009

"If I was a posh man with a red face and family then they would have loved me" - Confessional columnist Liz Jones on her rural neighbours.

Sales of Liz Jones's new book, the Exmoor Files, about her difficult move to the countryside, will have been done no harm by news that shotgun pellets were fired at her letterbox.
More details (Daily Mail)

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