BBC BLOGS - Magazine Monitor

Archives for November 28, 2010 - December 4, 2010

10 things we didn't know last week

17:20 UK time, Friday, 3 December 2010

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

1. Mercury can cause birds to seek same-sex relationships.
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2. Penguin is a Welsh word.
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3. Coronation Street was going to be called Florizel Street.
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4. Coca has been chewed for 8,000 years.
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5. In the Arctic Circle you can take a mortgage out to buy a fur coat.
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6. The pavlova was invented in New Zealand.
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7. Temperatures in Qatar reach 50C in summer.
More details (Guardian)

8. Italy and Luxembourg are Eurovision Song Contest stayaways.
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9. Mick Hucknall had sex with 3,000 women in three years, he says.
More details (Guardian)

10. Driving a car with snow on the roof contravenes the Highway Code.
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Your Letters

15:36 UK time, Friday, 3 December 2010

Re: Woman dials 999 to report snowman theft. I assume she wanted the perpetrator slammed in the "cooler".
Carl Evans, Crepy, France

So the nation is heartbroken is it? Some of us are actually relieved that we won't have to spend the next 8 years hearing about the World Cup, and couldn't be more ambivalent. Sorry.
R Slack, Cambridge

A nice day off? Two snow days has enabled me to just about get on top of the marking and lesson planning and organising that I don't get a chance to do during the week when I'm actually teaching, despite working 15 hour days!
Jen, London

There seems to be an overwhelming number of people who think schools shut only because teachers struggle to get in. What about boilers breaking down meaning the building is left below the 16C legal limit? What about the lack of food in the canteen because the delivery hasn't arrived? What about the lawsuits you get from parents who slip on ice on the paths down? And by the way, if the majority of parents sent kids in my class to school wearing suitable clothes we CAN play outside in the snow. Unfortunately I saw several who arrived on Friday wearing plimsolls, skirts without tights and jumpers but not coats.
Emma, North East

To Max Grieve (Thursday's letters), who wonders how Finland manages to keep schools open in the winter: Constant ploughing, winter tyres, adequate clothing, and a different quality of snow, which is a good deal easier to shift. If we had the same amount as Britain has had in such a short time, we too would be struggling. It all costs enormously, but choices are limited when you have a winter that can last for six months. Closing down for that length of time compared to closing for a few days really speaks for itself.
Raymond Hopkins, Kronoby, Finland

Nice to see an article about the tramp that fooled the Nazis, makes a change from all the weather articles!
Kelly Morrison, Rochester, UK

Michael Hall (Thursday's letters), Croyden and Adam, London, both published on the same day in July and December. How lovely. If it's not the same Adam please don't spoil it for me by telling me so.
Helen, Norwich

Michael (Thursday's letters), I don't suppose you know the New Zealand Lotto numbers for tomorrow, do you?
Lee Pike, Auckland, NZ

Caption Competition

12:47 UK time, Friday, 3 December 2010


Winning entries in the Caption Competition.

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

This week it was a man making a call from a telephone box in Dunning, Scotland, surrounded by thick snow.

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

6. Dragndrop
NOW do you get my drift?

5. Perplexedponderer
The cold even has Superman dreading getting dressed for work in the morning...

4. wonkypops 
Hello, is it too late to change our application to host the 2018 Winter Olympics instead?

3. clint75
After his latest bust, Manford had to use a new tactic.

2. SkarloeyLine
"Is that Michael Fish? I'd like a word with you about the barbecue summer..."

1. Valerie Ganne
I'm phoning from inside that little red flat you're letting in the High Street - I'll take it

Paper Monitor

10:23 UK time, Friday, 3 December 2010

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Becks 4 Wills 3

In a contest between the two poster boys of England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup, football royalty beats genuine royalty.

The face of a disappointed Beckham adorns twice as many front pages as the prince. The third member of the so-called Three Lions in Zurich, David Cameron, never stood a chance.

Looking at the language of the coverage "DEVASTATED... HUMILIATED", it's as if the England team has been knocked out of the World Cup itself.

For those who prefer silver linings to clouds, the Magazine finds reasons to be cheerful amid the gloom.

Allegations abound about the reasons why Russia and Qatar were chosen by Fifa as host countries, some of which Paper Monitor can't repeat.

The Sun's columnist Ian Wright is in no doubt that the BBC's recent investigation into alleged corruption at Fifa was to blame.

Today, I wonder whether any of those involved in the Panorama programme can really look themselves in the mirror. These people must realise they have let us all down

It's a view echoed by many fans and football figures this morning - England captain Rio Ferdinand called the programme "bad taste" - but not one widely held by other newspapers, which widely condemn Fifa for conducting such an opaque process.

Jim White in the Telegraph describes it as "the most odious organisation in the world" and says it would be sickening spending eight years "kow-towing" to them.

One of the most depressing things about the bid process this week was the way it corroded the moral fabric of those involved. To see our elected prime minister or future king obliged to apologise any more for our nation's robust tradition of free speech to some unaccountable, self-appointed tin-pot dictator would be too much to take. But now - breathe a sign of relief across the nation - that will not happen.

And this from Oliver Holt in the Mirror:

What cost us the tournament in the end was not that we said too much. It was that we didn't say enough. That is why all the people who criticised the British media for exposing corruption within Fifa should shuffle away into a corner this morning and hang their heads in shame.

Some columnists are even hoping for a Wikileaks revelation to uncover some of the machinations behind the voting, which reflects the position that website now occupies in the mainstream media.

Elsewhere, the size and means of Qatar are under scrutiny. The Sun says it only has one stadium, and the Telegraph says the city that will host the World Cup final has yet to be built.

And even worse, the Daily Mirror says it has PINK, ear-screeching vuvuzelas.

But the Times offers a spirited defence of the Gulf state.

If, over the next 12 months or so, the little emirate with the big ideas helps to foster a greater understanding of the Muslim world among the rest of us - and vice versa - football will have done the world its greatest favour yet.

And at least one Briton is happy - the man who devised the PR strategy, Mike Lee, was also behind the successful bid by London 2012.

Your Letters

15:48 UK time, Thursday, 2 December 2010

"I have put out several severe weather warnings in my career, but this one I really must stress." Brilliant. So he admits they were just being melodramatic before, but THIS time. He's obviously never read The Boy Who Cries Wolf.
Sarah, Nantwich

Re: Why do schools shut when it snows? I am the head teacher of a village school, but I don't live in the village. It is only served by an irregular bus service (not currently running). Yesterday the chair of governors collected staff from their homes in his Land Rover, but today the snow is just too deep for that to happen. The only solution to this would be an official plan for teachers to work at their local schools during bad weather, but with the safeguarding agenda, it would be fraught with potential danger. Any other suggestions would be gratefully received!
Alison Coppitters, Dartford, Kent

Your article on why schools close when it snows may tell us some interesting things about health and safety, but ignores the fundamental economic reason why schools are different to most businesses. If businesses close when it snows, they lose money. If schools close, teachers get paid just the same, but get a nice day off.
Adam, London, UK

You ask why schools shut when it snows. Because if just one child died because they did not shut the media would go into a frenzy - including the BBC. Get real - their staff and pupils come from all over.
Richard Woods, Lyng, Norfolk, England

Re: Why do schools shut when it snows? We need to grow a pair, really we do. If snow makes school sites hazardous to the point of not being either "healthy" or "safe", and compromises the ability of children and teachers to get to school in a suitably risk-averse way - if at all - then how has Finland managed to keep its schools open long enough to provide an education system the UN has ranked the best in the world?
Max Grieve, London, UK

There are only two types of people working from home: those who have trouble starting and those who have trouble stopping.
Frances, Penzance, UK

Oh dear, I did warn them in July.
Michael Hall, Croydon, UK

Paper Monitor

12:21 UK time, Thursday, 2 December 2010

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

After weeks and months of frenzied speculation, England is about to learn whether its bid to host the World Cup in 2018 has been a success.

Prince William, Prime Minister David Cameron and David Beckham were among the big guns wheeled out to strengthen the bid with sprinklings of royal magic, political punch and football showbiz.

How things have changed.

When England last won the honour of hosting football's World Cup, in August 1960, the story was tucked away in the Times on page four of its sport section.

The page's main headline was "ENGLISH CAPTAIN BEATEN IN BOYS' GOLF" and the story that England would host the 1966 tournament was only five sentences long.

Today, the same paper carries 12 pages in previewing Thursday's vote.

The Sun devotes its front page to an open letter to the men casting their votes, pleading for an English victory.

Has the World Cup got bigger? Or just the hype?

Paper Monitor

10:02 UK time, Wednesday, 1 December 2010

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

It's the start of December, and Paper Monitor is surveying the daily press through the first open window of its advent calendar.

And what a pretty sight there is on the front page of the Independent, and its kid brother sidekick, i. Both papers have temporarily morphed into art galleries and carry on their fronts a commissioned painting of flowers to mark World Aids Day.

The Aids story doesn't stop there. Aids awareness campaigner Sir Elton John has been drafted in to guest edit the titles, which, in i at least, means a change of face in the daily "Letter from the editor" column.

There's a picture of Sir Elton chummily standing over the shoulder of a hack, the pair grinning as the pop star points to something on the computer monitor. (More pics here)

Oh, Caption Competition, if only you were here now...

Sadly, there's no hint of any outbreak of the balladeer's legendary histrionics. Instead, Sir Elton tells us:

"It's the first time I've had the privilege of editing a newspaper. In fact, I've never set foot inside a newspaper office before... It's been a proud achievement to spend a day in the editor's chair, right up there with playing gigs in all 52 states of America [sic]"

Hmm. What was it the late and great newspaper editor CP Scott said: "Comment is free, facts are sacred."

Your Letters

16:52 UK time, Tuesday, 30 November 2010

They're not snoods. As any respectable child of the 80s knows, snoods are a cross between a Scarf and a hOOD, cleverly designed to flit between the two uses as weather allows.
Sarah, Nantwich

Tim Evans (Letters, Monday) - it's for this very reason that I do all my calculations on the front of an envelope, just to confuse people.
John Airey, Peterborough, UK

Usually because the back of the napkin is blank so there's more space.
Patrick , Singapore

Forget Cable Gate. I've searched Wikileaks high and low and still can not find out if Monitor is male or female. Damn you, Monitor, for having greater security than the US government!
Lee Pike, Auckland, NZ

She's back!
Becca B, Hastings, England

McCoy 'can't talk about Hobbit' NEW Gosh, can't wait to read that bit of breaking news.
Chris Perry, London

As someone who absolutely hates hates HATES Christmas, could I pass on to Chichester Council that I will send them money if they don't put up Christmas lights this year?
Angus Gafraidh, London

I've already been to a Christmas party (we start early down here), but I am concerned that so far, there has been no mention of when Monitor Towers is having its Christmas bash? We really need to know time, date and venue and we also need some liaison over food. Remember last year? I like cheese and pineapple on sticks and Twiglets, but when that was all that was on offer, the party didn't really swing, did it?
Susan Thomas, Brisbane, Australia

Monitor note: I thought the party went quite well, sob sob...

Paper Monitor

12:49 UK time, Tuesday, 30 November 2010

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Two titans of Fleet Street do battle today, in a war of words.

The first shot was fired when the online edition of the Oxford English Dictionary listed all the sources for its three million quotations.

Amid the crossfire, both the Times and the Daily Telegraph are claiming to be the newspapers that have helped to cultivate the English language.

The Telegraph says proudly that there are 251 words in the OED that originated within its pages, including "aeonial" (1965), meaning "age-long, eternal" and "zedonk" (1971), the offspring of a zebra and a donkey. It has 9,744 mentions in the OED in total.

The Times has a much longer list of words it has coined, 1,634 among a total 36,204 quotations. This puts it top of the OED's list of sources, ahead of William Shakespeare in second place.

That's quite some achievement, and one graciously acknowledged by the Telegraph.

Paper Monitor looked for itself in the rankings but is taking the disappointment of not being there firmly on the chin.

Now, is there a word for that?

Your Letters

14:57 UK time, Monday, 29 November 2010

Re: Twitter name @theashes brings cricket fame to US woman. "The 22 year old said her boyfriend had been calling her "the ashes" for a long time, but that neither he or she could remember why he had given her this nickname." Ummm, call me Mr Obvious, but is it not because ashes is an abbreviation of Ashley Kerekes, her name?
Luke, Edinburgh

Whilst working as a Christmas casual in a well-known supermarket in Dorset, I was asked by a customer where she could find "biscuits for cheese ". I accompanied her to the correct aisle, lifted down a packet from the very top shelf, handed them to her and said: "Your crackers Madam." She didn't see the funny side of this and I was reported to the manager. Luckily, the manager did have a sense of humour - he reprimanded me in front of the customer but then slapped me on the back and gave me a huge grin when she'd gone.

Nigel Francis, Warrington, England

Regarding today's Random stat. Did he not take no for an answer?
Dodie James, London, UK

Re: The Shard was conceived on the back of a napkin. Why is it that you never hear about an idea/calculation/drawing appearing on the front of a napkin?
Tim Evans, Oxford, UK

Talking of funny names for buildings, here in Wellington we call our stadium the cake tin.
Al, Wellington NZ

It may be his real hair, but it is also a multi-billion dollar, world-class, 76-story solid-gold comb-over.
R Slack, Cambridge

Re: Ten Things: "2. A elephant's cracked tusk requires at least 47 tubes of resin to fill it." Surely this depends on the size of the crack and the size of the tubes - lets keep "at least" to mean "at least" not "on one specific occasion"
Tim Webb, Notts England

Paper Monitor is normaly peppered with links to outside sources, however today's story of "a bikini clad lovely massively displayed" contains no such hyperlink. Of this I am sure, having clicked (no euphemism intended) for some 40 minutes now. This omission is surely proof, if proof were needed, that Monitor is female.
Chairperson, Monitor's A Girlie Society, Vacillation, UK

John Bratby (Friday's Letters), unlike the man who left his money on the top of his car, who would have been better off leaving it in a shop, perhaps it might have been more constructive to have left your birdseed atop your motor.
Graham, Purmerend

Paper Monitor

13:01 UK time, Monday, 29 November 2010

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

If you drew a Venn diagram of Daily Telegraph and Daily Star readers there probably wouldn't be too much crossover.

The type of people who used to read the Telegraph were painted in the caricature of Colonel Bufton-Tufton. In Private Eye he could usually be found spluttering into his cornflakes in shock at what was in his morning paper.

He would be very surprised today to see the crossover between his august journal and the Star.

Turn to page three of the Telegraph and you encounter a picture of a bare-chested man rubbing his own nipples. The man is taking part in a pastiche of the Full Monty strip routine. To add context, it's from a trailer for the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing.

The same page has Ann Widdecombe dressed as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz and various other goings on.

The Star runs the same nipple-rub photo - of Eastender's Scott Maslen - although arguably gives it less prominence by burying it on page 27.

And speaking of scantily-clad people, it's rather surprising to see a picture of a bikini-clad lovely massively displayed on page nine of the Guardian. Admittedly, it's a Ryanair advert, but one wonders whether the Guardian's own feminist Julie Bindel also had a cornflake-spluttering moment on seeing it.

The Independent also has a Ryanair ad, on page seven, but it's an innocuous montage of Dublin.

So did they take a stand, or do Ryanair know something about the Guardian's readership that Paper Monitor doesn't?

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