BBC BLOGS - Magazine Monitor

Archives for June 10, 2012 - June 16, 2012

10 things we didn't know last week

15:58 UK time, Friday, 15 June 2012


Snippets from the week's news, sliced, diced and processed for your convenience.

1. Corn saplings have their own language.
More details (Daily Mail)

2. LinkedIn passwords sell for one dollar or less.
More details (Mashable)

3. Gorillas use baby talk.
More details

4. It takes six and a quarter hours to read The Great Gatsby aloud.
More details

5. You need to walk at 4ft per second to successfully negotiate a pelican crossing.
More details (Daily Mail)

6. Irn Bru is the toughest stain to shift.
More details (Metro)

7. A cabbage costs $28 in northern Canada.
More details

8. A doctor on Captain Scott's polar expeditions concluded that penguins were sexually depraved.
More details (Daily Telegraph)

9. More new magazines were launched than closed in the US last year.
More details (Economist)

10. Roy Hodgson is in the acknowledgments of Sebastian Faulks's novel A Week in December.
More details (The Independent)

Seen a thing? Tell @BBC_magazine on Twitter using the hashtag #thingIdidntknowlastweek

Your Letters

14:00 UK time, Friday, 15 June 2012

"$100 for 12 litres of water" in Northern Canada. Wouldn't it be cheaper to melt the snow?
Henri, Sidcup

If, E S Holmans, you really were Mitt Romney's first cousin removed 13 times (Thursday's Letters) then you would be approximately 260 years (13 generations) older or younger than him. What I suspect you are is his 13th cousin.
Paul, Marlow, UK

Angus (Thursday's Letters), you're saying Henry Hotspur used to go to Hogwarts?! History is Awesome!
Ian, Bristol

Only 56 entries in this week's Caption Competition? Didn't you realise that there were hundreds of others waiting to be submitting, if only your website would have allowed us to enter?
Rob Falconer, Llandough, Wales

Monitor note: Apologies for the technical problems afflicting this week's Cap Comp. Kudos has duly been withheld from all responsible.

Caption Competition

13:06 UK time, Friday, 15 June 2012


Winning entries in the Caption Competition.

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

Dolly the dog gets take to work

Employees across the US were taking part in the annual Take Your Dog to Work Day. Dolly is one of millions of dogs that accompany their owners to dog-friendly businesses across the every day.

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

6. Camilla Bit My Finger wrote:
Canine to five.

5. Candace9839 wrote:
"Sitting, rolling over and playing dead, along with begging. You've a bright future ahead."

4. midge-de-zarquon wrote:
"If any one asks, you ate my report."

3. Dyeb51 wrote:
Following the success of Pudsey on Britain's Got Talent, applicants were being vetted for the next series of The Apprentice.

2. MightyGiddyUpGal wrote:
Walkies, yes, but no special treats for executive breeds.

1. ARoseByAnyOther wrote: Keep calm. 'Dog eat dog' is only an idiom.

Paper Monitor

10:34 UK time, Friday, 15 June 2012

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

"Legal high made me run naked in Tesco".

Reading that Metro headline, it's hard not to feel a sense of awe. Great headlines happen with reasonable regularity, take this one from the BBC, but Paper Monitor still feels the hairs go up on the back of the neck every time it sees one.

The story itself doesn't disappoint. A 19-year-old woman took something called Benzo or Benzo Fury and walked naked through the supermarket in Bourne, Lincolnshire.

Her own words are powerful.

"I was parading through the Tesco aisles like a catwalk diva. I was a disgrace. I had chewed a pen so it looked like I had black teeth and I had drawings all over my body."

The Daily Mail is also captivated by the story, and believes its readers would like to see several pictures of the woman in question. Several large pictures.

A less pictorial version can be found in the Rutland and Stamford Mercury, but it's enjoyable for the dead pan quotes from the defence lawyer.

This will be no doubt be on the humourous news aggregator Fark by the end of the day.

Your Letters

17:07 UK time, Thursday, 14 June 2012

I'm Mitt Romney's first cousin, removed 13 times. We are both descended from the Towne family, who reached the Colony of Massachusetts in the 1600s. I knos he admits to being descended from Rebecca Towne Nurse, so he must also claim Mary Towne Estes, and Sarah Towne Cloyce, all of whom were hanged as witches in the famous Salem Massechusetts Trials. Fortunately, I am descended from their older brother, who had the sense to die before the Puritans attacked the Towne sisters. I'm back now,and I have two sisters. As the colony belonged to Great Britain, does that mean that we are entitled to compensation from the government for an unfair trial?
E S Holmans

Alex from London, you wouldn't be the first to make that mistake. My legal team assures me that it is still "my" Facebook. I'll fetch my hoodie.
Mark Z., Palo Alto, California

Re: Life in a Cashless Society. So what happens to kid's pocket money if money goes totally electronic or digital? At what age can we expect our kids to take responsibility for a debit card or a phone app rather than just giving them a pound for some sweets?
Gordon, Newcastle

The home of Henry Hotspur is now called "Harry Potter castle"? O Monitor, thou hast robbed my of my youth!
Angus, London

Paper Monitor

13:34 UK time, Thursday, 14 June 2012

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Sometimes reporters are dismissive towards subs, production editors and page designers.

Paper Monitor once heard one mean sports reporter tell a designer: "We provide the picture. You provide the frame."

But, sneering is always unwise. You may mock the chief sub with his glasses on string, and the mole-like production editor. But these people are your last line of defence before embarrassment.

Take page three of today's Daily Telegraph. There's a story right in the middle of the page about somebody famous's great-grandson being charged with murdering his wife.

Like all serious stories, you don't want anything unfortunate juxtaposed with it. Oh dear.

Right above this story, there's another one with the headline: "Lessons in love, girls: choose the right husband". Now that's not ideal.

Sadly, for the Telegraph chaps, there's more. The right hand story is headlined: "A loving father is 'more important to children'".

And that's not the end. The bottom half of the page, right beneath the murder charge story is an advert for M&S inviting readers to "Celebrate Father's Day."

Oh dear, oh dear.

Your Letters

15:33 UK time, Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Who says that geography degree examinations are getting easier?
Ralph, Cumbria

Dear Monitor, We haven't met yet, but I hope we will. I have huge fondness for you and your articles and would be "utterly over the moon" if you print my letter.
Jenn, Porthcawl, Bridgend

Facebook has been down for six minutes. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaah, and yes this is newsworthy, it is *my* Facebook. I apologise unreservedly for my previous letter. This is serious.
Alex, London

Paper Monitor

15:12 UK time, Wednesday, 13 June 2012

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Every now and then the papers get preoccupied by the perennial media fodder favourite - odd animals - and today is one of those days.

So it is that Spider cat! is the Daily Mail's headline on page three. It celebrates a cat called Piggy, whose party trick has made her an internet sensation.

Her unusual skill? Being able to walk head-first down a gap between her owners' fridge and the wall.

What makes the story even better, is there is actually a term for this kind of talent. It's called chimneying, according to the British Mountaineering Council, and occurs where climbers put their back against one side of a crack and their feet against the other and edge themselves downwards.

Not content with one animal oddity, the paper also has snaps of a donkey that apparently thinks it's a goat. That's because the donkey, Moses, frequently rears up on his hind legs and waves his front hooves - and is also fond of headbutting. It turns out the strange behaviour is down to the fact the donkey was raised by a family of goats.

The Sun has other animal antics up its sleeve. It saves the tale of a 27st tiger that is a house pet for... page 27. "The Tiger who really did come to tea - and then moved in," the paper says, pointing out the big cat, Enzo, is just like the stripey hero of Judith Kerr's classic children's book.

"He lives as a normal pet, snuggling up on the bed and sprawling asleep on the sofa," the paper goes on, adding that as well as living with its owners, in South Africa, Enzo also lives alongside 14 dogs.

With such an appetite for animal antics out there, Paper Monitor is wondering about getting a pet.

Your Letters

17:52 UK time, Tuesday, 12 June 2012

The link on the front page to This article was phrased as, "Colossal telescope given go-ahead". Once I clicked through, the headline was the slightly downgraded, "European Extremely Large Telescope given go-ahead". I was expecting the final paragraph to be along the lines of "Although the pretty big telescope is not quite as big as first hoped, the engineers have promised scientists that it will be very, very shiny and definitely have that 'new telescope' smell when they take it out of the box."
Christian Cook, Street, Somerset

"Almost no-one would rather sit in silence than talk to a friendly person" I guess this person has never been on public transport in London, or even in a lift?
V Martin, Barnoldswick, Lancs

Is it the Higgs boson?!?
David Richerby, Liverpool, UK

Which astronauts got there first to draw those circles to allow the rover to land? Re - Nasa's curiosity rover targets smaller landing zone (see picture).
David Ranson, Willington

Re daily stat and dresses,one of my daughters had a Saturday job in a clothes shop in UK and every Saturday the assistants all took a new dress from the stock for the weekend and brought them back into display on the Monday. So much for buying a "new" dress ...only worn once.....
Tim McMahon, Martos/Spain

Goodness, this is becoming tedious! If you hadn't planned on leaving your child behind, but conveniently remembered to pick up your coat/keys/mobile (insert as appropriate), why titter about your collective forgetfulness? Unattended children do not know harm when they see it. Parental responsibility doesn't cease when you're not paying attention. Stop crying 'woe us' just because you have children. It's just boring. I'll get my coat - oh, and leave the child behind.
R.G, Watford, Herts

Paper Monitor

12:40 UK time, Tuesday, 12 June 2012

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Usually Paper Monitor knows what to expect from an international football tournament - jingoism, World War II analogies and feverish, unshakeable expectations of triumph.

How very different Euro 2012 seems. Expectations surrounding England, the only home nation represented at the tournament are best described as subdued.

Even the Sun is struggling to sum up much in the way of optimism in the wake of the team's opening fixture, a 1-1 stalemate with France.

"YIPPEE!," declares the front page, against a backdrop of unsmiling manager Roy Hodgson giving the thumbs-up. "A DRAW!"

Scots, Welsh and Northern Ireland fans may welcome this novelty, but Paper Monitor is somewhat discombobulated.

It falls to the Daily Mirror - which gave the world the notorious Achtung! Surrender! front page during the 1996 tournament - to offer a line that can be described as optimistic, but only by comparison with its rival.

"At least we can carry on dreaming" is the conclusion of its leader.

However, the Daily Mail does the unthinkable - it confines all football coverage to its back pages.

No doubt soccer-haters will rejoice. Paper Monitor does not fall into this category. But the purist in this column likes the notion of reading about news in the news section and sport in the sport section.

Your Letters

15:55 UK time, Monday, 11 June 2012

Krakow may well be hosting the England team, but not any Euro 2012 games. I'm sure the people of Poznan (POZ-nanyh) would appreciate it if you altered the How to Say: Euro 2012 article!
Louis Bridger, Watford

"The male performers' options are even more circumscribed" . . . for a moment I thought you'd said circumsized, which is on the whole probably more accurate. Not that I would know
Jimbob, Scotland

Ross, assuming a standard Routemaster length of 27 feet 6 inches, 2,000 buses is equivalent to 55,000 feet, or 16,764 metres. This equals approximately 10.42 miles (10 miles 33 chains) for those of us who prefer the old ways. I'll get my anorak.
Simon Robinson, Birmingham

Sorry love you been but dont think your links to find out more info on ten things should lead to pay for sites, I will never know now how rihana has sold more singled than the stones in the uk. Shucks.
Jeremy, Mill Hill, London

Looking at the BBC News site I brought 2 stories together. About 40 years ago I camped in Borth, scene of todays flooding. I always thought the place had a funny name, made even funnier by some wag who had scratched on the Durex machine in one of the pubs, Borth Control. Still makes me laugh.
Dennis Poole, Preston

Paper Monitor

11:51 UK time, Monday, 11 June 2012

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

The entente cordiale comes under pressure in today's tabloids.

Ahead of this afternoon's Euro 2012 "le crunch" between England and France, hostilities are renewed in the pages of the Sun.

The paper gleefully recounts how it flashed up a St George flag onto the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe at the weekend in a "cheeky" stunt that "caught the French defence napping".

There is more stirring stuff from England captain Steven Gerrard's press conference in Donetsk. When a "mickey-taking" French journalist asks how England can consider itself a serious football nation having not won a major tournament since 1966, the paper's depiction of his response is like something from Henry V.

"England skipper Gerrard then followed the historic example of the English archers at Agincourt who flicked a communal V-sign at their French counterparts on that famous day in 1415."

It was all something to do with showing your bow-drawing finger apparently, "fingers the French normally cut off when they took prisoners." Mmm, it's all so like international football in 2012.

The Daily Mirror worries it might be a bit hot for the players in Donetsk but consoles itself with the thought that there will be three times as many England as France fans. "Phew Are Ya!" goes the headline with the obligatory photo of fans dressed as crusaders. They just don't make chain mail like they used to though, do they?

The Daily Star gets down to brass tacks. "No sex till we beat France - oui can do, it says Roy." Apparently the WAGs are on standby to "join fun" if "our boys" get the right result.

Meanwhile some proper reportage in the Times and Paper Monitor's appreciation of David Brown continues unabated. The "fan in a van" has driven from Paris in his lumbering Fiat Aventura but finds himself stuck on the Ukrainian border. The van's rental agreement is insufficient to allow him to bring it in, an official tells him. "No entry. You take van back to the car park and walk through the border."

But an hour later as if by miracle - well actually thanks to paying the standard bribe - another official tells him. "You are going to have a very happy day. Only for the football, never come again."

Paper Monitor can almost hear the irony-laced dialogue. "Welcome to Ukraine, Mr Bond. We hope you have a pleasant stay."

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