BBC BLOGS - Magazine Monitor

Archives for September 5, 2010 - September 11, 2010

10 things we didn't know last week

16:50 UK time, Friday, 10 September 2010

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

1. The salary with optimum happiness is £50,000.
More details (Guardian)

2. Hull lost 85% of its buildings during the Blitz.
More details

3. Geoff Capes was a champion budgerigar breeder.
More details

4. Spiders eat birds. .
More details (Telegraph)

5. A hand dryer can increase germs.
More details (Telegraph)

6. Clint Eastwood turned down playing James Bond and Superman.
More details (Daily Mail)

7. The trapped miners in Chile are recycling.
More details (Guardian)

8. People who rise from their chair quickly are more likely to live longer.
More details (Guardian)

9. Diners pay more for desserts when they on a trolley.
More details (Telegraph)

10. Happy people give more to charity.
More details (Guardian)

Seen 10 things? Send us a picture to use next week. Thanks to Vic Barton-Walderstadt for this week's picture of 10 horse chestnut pods.

Your Letters

15:47 UK time, Friday, 10 September 2010

Regarding this story, can we please have some clarification? Is the judge saying that, of all the food on offer, only the rats and mice are fit for consumption? Or is he saying that only the rats and mice can dine safely? Thank you.
Sharon, Belfast

I suppose if you tandoori them, they probably taste like chicken.
Mike, Newcastle upon Tyne

What is going on in America? First an untraconservative leader called Palin, then Koran-burning pastor Terry Jones... what next? Neo-Nazi leader John Cleese?
Chris Thompson, rural Dorset

When I sat my dog at the keyboard, she tweeted - bztnqbtjvgunxrl obneq,jungarkg? - maybe I need to get her one of those special keyboards that allows a doggie to type in English. Note to editor: The doggie speak is a rot13 encrypted message - omg a dog with a keyboard, what next?
Alan Addison, Glasgow, UK

To Dr Reece Walker Ph.D (Thursday's letters), I disagree. Whilst the incident was nearly a hit, it was indeed a near miss. 'Near' is being used as a relative adjective showing that this incident was nearer than all the other misses that are going on all the time every day. If you are looking at two horses (one close, one far away) and you refer to the near horse, it is still a horse! It doesn't suddenly become only nearly a horse (a donkey?) just because it is closer than the other one!
Jo (neither Dr nor Ph.D), London UK

Paula of Canterbury (Thursday's letters), I am highly affronted by the implication that I, as a distinguished monitor devotee of long standing, should have a so-called 'healthy' sense of humour, or should tolerate the existence of one within the police force. The story referred to represents a terrible blow to the great tradition of po-faced officialdom which underpins such chersihed national institutions as political correctness, health & safety and car clamping. Don't let them go the way of park wardens and dog licenses! I'm only glad that it's not my taxes which are being frivolously frittered away in this jaw-droppingly cavalier fashion. I'm in such a high dudgeon, I will forget to take my coat with me.
Ray

Dear Paula of Canterbury (Thursday's letters), not everyone reading the Monitor daily is likely to be immune to pompous outrage. I was pompously outraged at reading someone from Surbiton calling a car an "automobile"!
J. Paul Murdock, Wall Heath, West Midlands, UK

Caption Competition

12:41 UK time, Friday, 10 September 2010

Comments

Winning entries in the Caption Competition.

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

Cat eyes up a squirrel

This week it's a cat eyeing a squirrel as it makes its way along a fence in Ormond Beach, Florida.

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

6. Clint75
Whiskas' new "as good as it looks" range was suprisingly authentic.

5. Bangledancer
"What has a hazelnut in every bite.....?"

4. SkarloeyLine
Cat: "I don't believe it - he's popped up AGAIN in the holiday snaps."

3. Mouch2000
News of the World trains new breed of snooping reporters now that phone messages are out of bounds.

2. Tristan
Ever since that cat-in-the-bin incident, I'm taking no chances!

1. Max S
What do you mean "Warning: May contain nuts"?

Paper Monitor

10:24 UK time, Friday, 10 September 2010

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

There are not many issues on which the UK's newspapers are united. But wrongness of burning books is one of them.

American Pastor Terry Jones' plan to set fire to copies of the Koran on the anniversary of the 11 September attacks - now, apparently, on hold - has thrust an obscure, sparsely-attended church in Florida into the international spotlight.

According to the Daily Mirror, the case is a "disturbing lesson in how an isolated religious idiot can wreak untold damage with the oxygen of publicity" - publicity facilitated, of course, by the Daily Mirror (and, indeed, by Paper Monitor).

The Guardian digs around Mr Jones' past and feature writer Jon Henley offers a potted history of book-burning:

There's something uniquely symbolic about the burning of books. It goes beyond the censoring of beliefs and ideas. A book, plainly, is something more than ink and paper, and burning one (or many) means something more than destroying it by any other means.

However, the Sun aims for the jugular. It carries the viewpoint of Patricia Bingley, who lost her son in the 2001 attacks, that the burning "would only have helped the extremists [in Afghanistan] justify their actions as they fight our brave soldiers".

Ms Bingley says it was "vitally important" that Mr Jones "was stopped somehow".

But as the Times notes, the only person capable of stopping Mr Jones was Mr Jones himself.

Alexandra Frean argues that the US constitution's First Amendment - which guarantees freedom of speech - is "what makes Americans American". The downside to this, as Professor Robert Goldman Goldstein of the University of Oakland tells Ms Frean, is "that a lot of dumb things get done in its name".

This point is drawn out in the Daily Mail by Richard Littlejohn, rarely a man hailed by the Twiteratti for his defence of tolerance and liberal values.

Mr Littlejohn regrets that a "crass stunt by an insignificant fire-and-brimstone preacher escalated into a major international incident".

But the columnist says the row is the flip side to that over the so-called "Ground Zero mosque" planned in Lower Manhattan, two blocks away from the former site of the Twin Towers. While most Americans would abhor both, Mr Littlejohn argues, "they also revere their constitutional freedoms".

For now, no Korans will be torched. However much Mr Jones' threatened stunt may have inflamed tensions around the world, it seems to have had the odd side-effect of uniting Fleet Street, for once, in agreement.

Friday's Quote of the Day

09:15 UK time, Friday, 10 September 2010

"I have just said that. You seem to be a bit dim, if you don't mind me saying so" - MP Chris Bryant responds to Sky News presenter Kay Burley's interrogation during a live interview about phone hacking.

In an exchange that has attracted much attention on YouTube and Twitter, Ms Burley asked Mr Bryant for evidence after he claimed hacking was "endemic" in newspapers. The MP cited a report by the Information Commissioner which identified over 1,000 cases, prompting the anchor to question whether he was "content to say that on telly". To which Mr Bryant responded as above.
More details (Daily Telegraph)

Your Letters

17:48 UK time, Thursday, 9 September 2010

Pedants' Corner: at first glance I thought this story (Nottingham patient death 'may have been prevented') was good news: "Looks like we were able to save lives" ... but no. "We messed up and someone died," which is generally considered the opposite. May v. might. It matters!!
Lucy Jones, Northwich

When I spotted the first line of this story, I assumed a writer hadn't quite finished off their first draft and got rid of the placeholder...
Helen, Lancs

I don't know about you, but to me this story's headline is a little over the top - "within half a mile" and "100 - 200 ft below" is NOT a near miss, even for something as large as jumbo jet! OK, they got closer than they should have done, but that's no need to try and panic the public!
LucyP, Ashford, Kent

Surely a near miss - coming close to missing, or just failing to miss - means they collided? Surely what happened here was a near hit?
Dr Reece Walker Ph.D., London UK

So for we have planes and trains. Therefore to complete the set - I saw a guy in an automobile this morning going through a red light at traffic lights narrowly missing oncoming traffic.
Tom Webb, Surbiton, UK

To Sue from London (Letters, Wednesday), I too have become my mother. I looked at that article and thought "Phwoar, wouldn't boot him out of bed for eating crackers."
Sophie, London

"Euro MPs backed the new EU directive after long negotiations and EU member states have two years to make it law." Looking at the video I have to ask, what MEPs?
Edd, Cardiff

Google Instant promises live search results; presumably by automatically searching every time you type a letter. Cross reference with "Carbon cost" of Google at 0.2g to 7g per search. One billion Google searches a day multiplied by an average search length of six letters is 1.2 to 42m kg each day. As a perspective, the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill was 7.9m kg of crude oil each day. I'll get my coat and walk home.
Dave, Essex

I was flabbergasted (in the style of the Telegraph piece) that the police and their dogs could have the audacity to enjoy their jobs. How dare they collectively share a little humour with the rest of the world. I'm sure the 51 seconds it would take to Tweet 140 characters (based on an average rate of 33words/min - thanks Wikipedia) could be successfully claimed back by such measures as docking 51 seconds from the break that I'm sure they don't take because they are working, or the few minutes overtime they don't claim for. (Although a guess at the demographic of those reading the Monitor daily, you're likely to be immune to pompous outrage and have a healthy sense of humour.)
Paula, Canterbury

Paper Monitor

11:58 UK time, Thursday, 9 September 2010

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

If a huge news story was to emerge that somehow questioned the integrity of Magazine Monitor, Paper Monitor would report the facts of the case dispassionately and fairly.

But it's a tricky business, reporting a story about a competitor.

The temptation might be to gleefully put the boot in, but on the other hand allowing malice to shape one's news agenda risks a reader backlash.

It's a tightrope currently being walked by the Guardian and Independent, which find their red-top rival, the Rupert Murdoch-owned News of the World, having a pretty bad week.

The phone-hacking story continues, and now John Higgins has been cleared of fixing snooker matches after a sting by the Sunday tabloid claimed he had.

Both papers prominently feature fresh allegations against ex-News of the World editor Andy Coulson, who has denied any knowledge of illegal practices while running the paper.

And the Guardian blog questions whether the Higgins ruling has brought the News of the World's journalism into disrepute.

It hasn't been all bad news at News of the World Towers. A story it broke five days ago is still setting the agenda right across Fleet Street, and that includes those papers that would usually be a bit sniffy about kiss-and-tells.

The discovery that two of the girls who were allegedly paid by Wayne Rooney for sex are middle-class has provoked much hand-wringing and angst among columnists at the Mirror, Mail and Guardian.

The Mail says the girls' background is further evidence of the "celebrity-mad, lascivious culture that has consumed the nation".

So disgusted is the paper about the media obsession with the lives of minor slebs, it plasters the latest woes of It Girl Tara Palmer-Tomkinson across page three.

Thursday's Quote of the Day

09:47 UK time, Thursday, 9 September 2010

"Back home soaking wet coat... dinner and a nice warm kennel" - tweet from a police dog with its own Twitter page

Two-year-old Labrador Smithy tweets several times a day. His owners at West Midlands Police have even given him a specially adapted keyboard. But Stephen Fry need not lose any sleep quite yet - Smithy only has 115 followers.

More details (Daily Telegraph)

Your Letters

15:14 UK time, Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Normal service is resumed today, but there is a bumper crop of letters to make up for their absence yesterday.

That's it - I have finally become my mother. I looked at this article and all I could think was: "Oooh, that shirt needs a good iron..."
Sue, London

Well done to everyone involved in this story: "Record hopes after 57-hour football match in Coventry". So, 779 goals in 57 hours, eh? It seems that amateur teams, even when exhausted having played through two nights, can produce almost 14 goals per hour. I wish professional football was this interesting!
Martin, Bristol, UK

Regarding: The unsung wisdom of people who tend to answer "I don't know'. What's worse, ignorance or apathy? I don't know and I don't care.
Gilbert Campbell @bbc_magazine

Re: The Sun's five-a-day gallery of peculiar produce in Tuesday's Paper Monitor .I have just got home from the pub and even in my tender state I can clearly see that the "Dog Yam" (photo 4 of 7) on the Sun's website is a fraud. I can see the cocktail sticks holding the legs on. Don't coax me in with the promise of miracle veg only to let me down so dramatically with photos of third-rate home made tat with stuck on legs. Please pass my comments onto the Sun as I am going to bed now. Good night.
Mike Hewer, Switzerland

So, a BBC presenter tells the BBC listings magazine about his opinion on the BBC, as reported by the BBC, but "the BBC was not immediately available to respond to Fry's comments". Brilliant!
Andrew, Erlangen, Germany

Is this picture supposed to show 'white lines'? How very misleading. And they look more yellow to me
Sarah, Nantwich

Diamond to be new Barclays chief: Slightly misleading but this headline gave me some funny mental images.
Francesca, Olney

"The cells simply assemble themselves from a mixture of the proteins, minute tubes of carbon and other materials." Now, I admit I don't visit the technology pages very often, but this doesn't sound at all simple to me.
Kaylie, Runcorn, UK

"Do our memories get better or worse with age?" Sorry, what was that you said?
JennyT, NY Brit

The letter from Rob (Monday's letters) in London reminds me of my dad, who is also blessed with an, ahem, haircut like Hague's. He used to wear an awful ... thing ... crocheted by my mum until it got washed away by a huge wave. After that, the baseball caps were a relief for us embarrassed teens, I tells ya.
M. Ross, Lancaster, UK

Ray (Monday's letters), I was once treated by a Dr Foster in Gloucester; probably not this one though, it was only an ear infection.
Tamsin, Exeter

Wednesday's Quote of the Day

11:16 UK time, Wednesday, 8 September 2010

"Patience" - Ann Widdecombe on what qualities her partner in Strictly Come Dancing will need.

The former Tory MP, 62, is among the 14 famous faces hoping to be crowned winner of the BBC One dance contest. She says she is looking forward to doing "a nice gentle waltz".

More details.

Paper Monitor

09:18 UK time, Wednesday, 8 September 2010

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Paper Monitor is spending the morning in Wayne's World... and what a topsy-turvy existence it is.

"Roo swine," screams the Daily Mirror's front page as it reports some salacious new claims about England star Rooney's private life.

Flip the paper over, however, and we are reminded with a Pythonesque nudge of how "Roo loves a quickie" - a reference to the striker scoring within 10 minutes of England kicking off against Switzerland last night.

It is a rare combination of praise and condemnation tackled by most of the tabloids by way of gleeful double-entendres.

The Star quotes the prostitute Rooney is alleged to have slept with during wife Coleen's pregnancy as having "Charged Wayne ugly tax".

Its sports page, meanwhile, notes how "Roo scores away from home".

Paper Monitor pictures the sub-editor turning to a colleague and asking, with a wink: "Is this headline a go-er?"

For the Sun, "Wayne's one-two" on the front - accompanied by a photo of two scantily-clad young women - is faced by "Roo takes Swiss to the Coleeners" on the back.

Inside it judges Rooney's match performance in terms of touch, stayin' power, tackle and penetration. Say no more.

Even the more innocent-sounding back pages have a hint of innuendo.

"Wayne's back on top," according to the Daily Express, which notes inside that "Rooney thinks of England". Nudge, nudge. Know what I mean?

The Daily Mail suggests Rooney is "A true pro", with its main match report headed by "Roo's up to his old tricks".

One wonders at this stage whether too much can be read into a simple sports headline.

So it is with relief that Paper Monitor notes the Independent gamely ploughing its own furrow by asking: "Is our tax system fit for purpose?"

Hang on, is that a reference to "ugly tax"?

Time for a lie down. Fnarr, fnarr.

Paper Monitor

12:21 UK time, Tuesday, 7 September 2010

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

After forgetting to water the tomatoes for almost a week, Paper Monitor sheepishly gave them a good feed this morning - noting how sad and bedraggled they looked.

But, as ever, there was an uplifting story to be found in the pages of the national press to cheer the most hapless of gardeners.

Even if your fruit and veg fails to thrive, is blighted by greenfly or withers on the vine, there is always the chance of hauling in a crop of edible art.

It started with a carrot in the form of Buzz Lightyear dug up from an Oxfordshire garden.

And the Sun didn't miss the chance to present its own five-a-day gallery of peculiar produce.

There is an "evil" parsnip in the shape of a witch, a yam that looks like a sausage dog, a rabbit-shaped tomato and a courgette with a striking resemblance to a duck.

Paper Monitor's favourite has to be the spud that looks like children's TV favourite Sooty.

But nature's creative instinct isn't limited to edible goods.

A Plymouth neighbourhood is getting hot under the collar about a leylandii hedge which, the Mail reports, has grown to 35ft in height and towers over the owner's three-bedroom semi.

From where Paper Monitor is sitting, the resulting growth bears more than a passing resemblance to the impressive barnet of premiership footballer Marouane Fellaini.

And Paper Monitor is delighted to note that it isn't just the tabloids having fun with plants, although the Daily Telegraph is operating on an altogether higher plane with its prize picture.

It reports:

An image of Jesus Christ on the cross has been "seen" in a telephone pole covered in vines next to a motorway in Louisiana.

Paper Monitor would consider a pilgrimage, were it not for travel options being limited by a strike on London's Tube.

Not that the capital's edition of the commuter's paper of record Metro seemed too concerned. It didn't mention the inevitable resulting transport chaos until page 11.

Not to worry. Paper Monitor fancies a stroll home - a chance to move at an easier pace, water the tomatoes on the way and check if there is moneymaker among them.

Tuesday's Quote of the Day

09:24 UK time, Tuesday, 7 September 2010

"Do they grow in the ground or on trees?" - Big Brother's Sophie Reade ponders the origin of potatoes during a Come Dine With Me special to mark the reality TV show's final series.

More details (The Sun)

Your Letters

15:22 UK time, Monday, 6 September 2010

Re: What does Mad Men tell us about the much mythologised 1960s? Not much as even if it was accurate in itself (as said in the article it's not a representation of NY ad agencies) it is still the 60's of a certain group of well off people in a major city. For everyone who tuned in and dropped out theres another 100,000 plus people who just got on doing what they were doing, farming, working in factories, running diners. It's like any youth movement in the UK, you didn't get every kid choosing between mods and rockers or punks and skinheads. Go away from the cities and you just had people going about their normnal business. Any subculture is only a small proportion of the population. It is slightly easier to pigeonhole people these days but not everyone can be so easily defined.
Kevin Symonds @BBC_Magazine

Re: What does Mad Men tell us about the much mythologised 1960s? There never really were "The Good Old Days."
Kat Russell @BBC_Magazine

As a man of a similar age, and sharing a similar haircut, to William Hague, I'd like to take issue with those who criticise his choice of headgear. Clearly, these people don't realise that those of us not blessed with a full head of hair sometimes need to protect our pates from the elements. And there's quite a dearth of suitable headgear out there for men. The days of the Fedora, Homburg and Trilby are sadly long gone, and besides, they look rather silly with a T-shirt. But the humble baseball cap has come to our rescue: it's casual enough to wear with almost anything, and ubiquitous to (normally) not excite undue attention. While it may not be appropriate enough for a Buckingham Palace garden party, it's just fine for most other outdoor occasions. So please leave Mr Hague alone: just be thankful he wasn't wearing it back-to-front.
Rob, London, UK

Can I make an emotional plea to the BBC (and others) over the use of the phrase "waiting on"? "Waiting on" is something that waiters do at a restaurant. For the rest of us, when we are expecting the results of something - for example a knee scan - we are "waiting for" the outcome. You know who you are - get it right!!
Robert Graeme, Llanfairfechan

Ben Hill (Friday's letters), what I want to know is, has Dr Foster ever been to Gloucester, and if so, is any trauma he may have experienced there at the root of this 'research' at home?
Ray, Turku, Finland

Re. J of Rotherham (Friday's letters), perhaps the 18,000 sausages are simply there as cannon-fodder.
Phil Warne, Nelson, NZ

Ben (Friday's letters), it may sound a lot but it isn't. On an average 90 day patrol that only equates to a little over 2 sausages and a little under 1/2 a Weetabix per person per day. Doesn't sound a particularly filling breakfast to me and I only work in an office!
Lucy P, Ashford, Kent

Paper Monitor

15:03 UK time, Monday, 6 September 2010

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Disappointed though it was to find scant coverage in yesterday's News of the World of the latest developments in the phone hacking story, there was at least the Wayne Rooney story to divert Paper Monitor's attention.

While the Rooneys may be occupied with their own issues, another division seems to be have opened up in this tale - between two rival PR gurus.

In the Coleen corner is PR expert Mark Borkowski who is nailing his colours firmly to Coleen's mast.

The Times canvasses Borkowski's opinion on Coleen's fortunes and concludes she "has come a long way since her first days of fame"... she is now "a brand, and a pretty big one at that".

The Mail also quotes Borkowski, who believes that Coleen will professionally go "from strength to strength".

Over in the Wayne corner is rival PR big cheese Max Clifford.

The Daily Telegraph wonders why Wayne didn't seek a privacy gagging order for the revelations about his private life.

Clifford concludes simply that he was badly advised.

And will this affect fans' opinion of the England striker?

Not a chance Clifford tells the Sun.

"Nobody in football gives a monkey's as long as he's winning on the pitch. Will it stop people drinking Tiger Beer? No. Will it stop people buying Coca Cola? No. Will it stop parents buying Nike for their children? No."

Monday's Quote of the Day

10:08 UK time, Monday, 6 September 2010

"Will it stop people drinking Tiger Beer? No. Will it stop people buying Coca Cola? No. Will it stop parents buying Nike for their children? No" - Max Clifford on the "impact" of Wayne Rooney's alleged personal problems

The revelations about the footballer's private life have prompted another bout of soul searching among commentators. PR guru Clifford, however, seems to have little time for such discussion.
More details (the Sun)

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