BBC BLOGS - Magazine Monitor

Archives for March 11, 2012 - March 17, 2012

10 things we didn't know last week

17:00 UK time, Friday, 16 March 2012

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

1. Fifty-two per cent of male officers in the Metropolitan Police were overweight, 22% were obese and 1% were morbidly obese in 2011.
More details

2. Samantha Cameron was in New York during the 9/11 attacks.
More details (The Daily Telegraph)

3. Colossal squid have the biggest eyes in the animal kingdom, because they need to spot predatory sperm whales.
More details (New Scientist)

4. Thirty-two per cent of bread purchased by UK households is dumped when it could be eaten.
More details

5. Bees can overwhelm hornet invaders by cooking them inside huge ball of bodies.
More details (The Daily Mail)

6. Sex-starved fruit flies turn to drink.
More details

7. The part of a male bird's brain which deals with song shrinks at the end of the breeding season.
More details (The Daily Express)

8. Singer Sade was the top earning British musician in the US last year.
More details (The Independent)

9. Right Said Fred apparently feature in Bashar al-Assad's iTunes playlists.
More details (The Daily Telegraph)

10. A Bolivian judge has admitted to "reading" coca leaves to help him make decisions
More details

Caption Competition

15:00 UK time, Friday, 16 March 2012


Winning entries in the Caption Competition.

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

Member of staff at the Queen's Gallery, Edinburgh

This week, a member of staff at the Queen's Gallery in Edinburgh views a painting in an exhibition marking the Diamond Jubilee.

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

6. Pendragon
It's one of the great examples of pointerilliism

5. Peter N
"If I stand here, no-one can whippet."

4. Fi-Glos
Oh no! No!
Is that "The Monarch of the Glen" over there?
Fenton! Fenton!
Jesus Christ!

This painting is a fake. Its a sham O'Tanter.

2. Franc Bolero
I'm not wearing a kilt if there're any dogs with cold noses around.

1. ARoseByAnyOther
My left side's my best, too.

Your Letters

14:11 UK time, Friday, 16 March 2012

Oh, Paper Monitor, you tease. I saw the words "One Direction" and "hung from lamp-posts" and got all excited. What a let-down.
Philip Brien, Enfield
Re: Red meat: What is a 13% increase in the risk of death? Risk of Death 100% + 13% = 113%. Done - next question.

Would this article have seen the light of day were it not for Ms Lickerish?
Vicky S, East London

Black market foods. And who should comment? Fiona Lickorish. I bet she gets up to allsorts.
Basil Long, Nottingham

Rob Falconer there looks to be a little bit of Phantom of the Opera there as well. (Where's my red-lined black cape?)
Phil Warne, Nelson, NZ

I regularly do your 7 Days Quiz and find it fiendishly tricky, never scoring more than 4. You're far too clever by half - or so I thought. In this week's quiz it's the quizmaster who deserves to lose a point. Your answer to the question about Nike's new trainer describes the colour scheme as being like Guinness mixed with Harp 'pale ale'. In fact, Harp is a lager, not an ale. I do believe I've actually got one back on you and my satisfaction just goes to show how addicted I am to 7 Days!
Chris Matchett, Newtownards, Northern Ireland

Paper Monitor

12:19 UK time, Friday, 16 March 2012

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Paper Monitor knew the papers would have a field day after the Duchess of Cambridge played hockey with Team GB at the Olympic Park, and they didn't disappoint.

"Coy in coral pink, Duchess still cuts the mustard for Team GB," says the Times, which concludes that despite wearing "the tightest pair of coral pink jeans ever seen on the hockey pitch", the former captain of Marlborough College 1st XI hockey still has what it takes to score goals.

For the Daily Mirror, it's now "Team Kate Britain". The paper is already dishing out awards because the Duchess "certainly struck gold in the style stakes" too.

Devoting a double-page spread to the photo opportunity, the Daily Express says "Kate gives it some stick on the hockey pitch".

Meanwhile, the Sun surmises that Kate is "game for a laugh" under the headline "jolly totty sticks".

The Duchess' other public engagement of the day - and the first one with her father-in-law, the Prince of Wales - also provides plenty of media fodder.

"The Prince... appeared out of depth when he was handed an iron and asked to create a piece of art by heat transfer," says the Daily Telegraph, under a photo of them both with the caption: "Iron lady: Duchess shows how it's done".

The Daily Mail finds another angle. "Good shot, your royal higherness," it muses, next to a photo in which Kate "seems to tower over Prince Charles".

Finally a few of the papers embrace what is bound to be another fashion frenzy and focus on which shop supplied the much-coveted coral jeans.

The Daily Mail decides they are £39.99 numbers from Zara, while the Daily Mirror thinks they are J Brand jeans which coast an eye-watering £190.

Either way, Paper Monitor predicts they will be a sell out.

Your Letters

16:24 UK time, Thursday, 15 March 2012

Metal moles? Are they the modern day equivalent of the Iron Chicken?
Fi, Gloucestershire, UK

My Spanish-class buddy is off to Mexico, so instead of a lesson we are going to watch a Spanish movie together, real-time, and live-tweet to each other. Is there a less mouthy way to describe this sort of activity?
Rachel, Wayzata

Re: biscuits vs cookies (Wednesday's letters); I only know this because my dad used to design the packaging for a certain vulpine-inspired confectionaries manufacturer (other inspirations are available). Biscuits are baked twice; the etymological root of the word is exactly that. If you break a rich tea in half you can see the different colour and texture at the surface of the biscuit compared to the centre. Cookies are baked once (word derived from Dutch for "little cake"). Apparently for some time there was much anguish on the other side of the pond over the method for baking biscuits, as it was a European secret, and all biscuits had to be imported. I'll get my (chocolate) coat(ing).
Duncan, Hove

Does anyone else think this photograph looks like a cross between Piltdown Man and Darth Vader?
Rob Falconer, Llandough, Wales

Some beery nominative determinism here.
Bear, Purley Guv

Martin, Luxembourg (Wednesday's letters): you work for the EU, don't you?
Ross, London

Paper Monitor

14:16 UK time, Thursday, 15 March 2012

The Prime Minister's wife Samatha Cameron's has been charming Americans, with her outfits being among the most-talked about aspects of the Cameron US trip. President Obama, himself, was reported to have said, "Very pretty... They look better than us," as Samantha stepped out of the car for a White House dinner.

The Daily Mail can't get enough of the elegant blue gown Mrs Cameron wore for that dinner - and the seemingly co-ordinating dress worn by the First Lady.

The Daily Telegraph, however, is less impressed with a particular aspect of the Prime Minister's dress style - the polo shirt. "What is it with David Cameron and polo shirts?" the paper asks, while pointing out that he was "youthfully" dressed in one during a visit to a baseball game with the US president.

For this rendezvous Obama decided to dress rather like a man who'd lingered too late at the office to get changed before a date. Cameron's look was much less grown-up. Teamed with dark jeans, that polo (dark grey, with the tell-tale boxfresh sheen of a shirt bought especially) did everything a polo does: whilst adult of neckline (the collar) it is young of waistline (a tucked-in polo is a travesty).

Meanwhile, over in New York, another British export is bowling the Americans over. It's the boys from One Direction. The Daily Star reports that the "pop hunks" have been mobbed by US female fans during a tour and have been advised by "minders" to stay indoors.

But at the hotel the atmosphere was equally feverish, with some fans crying and shaking. One witness said: "They were banging on the windows and managers were worried they would smash the glass." When the band arrived in New York road signs were vandalised and girls hung from lamp-posts to get close to their heroes.

Speaking of young men in demand, the Daily Express, picking up on comments made by Prince Harry this week that the life of a prince can be a lonely one at times, lines up some potential lady friends for him. It features what the paper describes as "Europe's most eligible and beautiful aristocrats and party girls"

Among those featured are Charlotte Casiraghi, fourth in line to the throne of Monaco, British model Lily Cole, the triple-barrelled Gabriella Anstruther-Gough-Calthrope, who, as the paper points out, "If Harry took her down the aisle she would be the first member of the Royal Family ever to have appeared in Doctor Who - under her stage name Gabriella Wilde."

Paper Monitor wouldn't envy the person who would have to marry these two. Who wouldn't trip up with the following:

His Royal Highness Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales and Gabriella Zanna Vanessa Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe.

Your Letters

15:59 UK time, Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Today, at Starbucks, when the Lady asked for my name, I told her Lord Voldemort. When the guy called out the name for pick up he said, "Lord Vol-...He who must not be named."
Sharon Barrett

Oh dear Ian or Redditch (Tuesday's letters) haven't you heard, you should never read the online comments section of anything. As noted as this years SXSW it's a toxic place.
Jimmy, Nottingham

RG, (Tuesday's letters), surely a project on Jaffa cakes was more concerned about whether they are cakes or biscuits? Although as an expert, did your research happen to digress into when fairy cakes became cupcakes?
Marc, Oldham

Oh RG, RG (Tuesday's letters) your university life was wasted, because the nature of the jaffa cake was decided in 1991 by a VAT Tribunal. They are most definitely a cake, not a cookie or a biscuit. The Tribunal Chairman, Mr Potter, after considering the ingredients and cooking methods concluded that jaffa cakes (and I quote verbatim) "have sufficient characteristics of cakes to qualify as cakes...If it be relevant, I also determine that Jaffa cakes are not biscuits." (Case reference LON/91/160, other biscuit shaped cakes are also available).
Martin, Luxembourg

Crumbs, what a clever lot of cookies about biscuits/cakes. I was led to believe cake goes hard when stale but biscuits go soft but nowadays neither get the time to prove this theory. Got to dash or else the 'ginger' might 'snap'...
M McMahon, Martos/Spain

Oreos have just been launched in India, and because Kraft isn't known there, but Cadbury is, they are called "Cadbury Oreos". So, so wrong.
Laura, Maldives (yes, again!)

Paper Monitor

12:08 UK time, Wednesday, 14 March 2012

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Today's broadsheets have alighted on what they believe is the UK's latest musical phenomenon - the singer Sade, best known for her 1984 hit Smooth Operator.

Paper Monitor is not being arch. The reason journalists are turning their attention to the Cotswolds-based chanteuse is that it transpires she is the second biggest-selling British musical act in the US, beating the likes of Katy Perry, Britney Spears and Celine Dion in stateside revenue.

Perplexed? The Daily Telegraph's James Delingpole clearly is too.

Is there some kind of ironic, Eighties revival/nostalgia thing going on across the pond? Or are they so staid that it's as if the Nineties and Noughties never happened?

After pondering the vast gulf between American and British music tastes - and smugly suggesting Brits invent more genres in a decade than the US has managed in its entire musical history - Delingpole wonders whether the UK is also in for a Sade revival.

"That's how music works: yesterday's naff horror is tomorrow's forgotten classic," he concludes.

The Guardian's Sophie Heawood thinks Sade was always more of a US sweetheart than Britain's cup of tea.

Many original fans were unaware, given her mixed race looks and her soulful style, that she was British not American.

Surmising that the star's private persona might be her secret weapon, she thinks that both Sade and her songs are "in it for the long game".

Paper Monitor might just dig out a CD - ah hem, download her album - tonight.

Your Letters

17:38 UK time, Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Thanks for this article - it reminded me about that hummous that's been at the back of the fridge for three weeks.
Sue, London

Tina of Basingstoke (Monday's letters), even a cursory glance at a certain online encyclopaedia will inform you that Oreos are made by the Nabisco Division of Kraft Foods. They were first produced in New York City in 1912 and since Kraft took over Cadbury, Kraft have been trying to force "milk's favourite cookie" onto the more-than-suspicious British public. I'll get my black trousers and black rollneck jumper. Now where's that box of chocolates that a lady loves?
J. Paul Murdock, Wall Heath, West Midlands, UK

When does a cookie become a biscuit (or vice versa) is an unanswered question I tackled during my university project on Jaffa cakes. Both terms refer to distinctive types of food in American English that do not correspond neatly into British English. As a native speaker of the latter, I'd proffer Oreo becomes a cookie because of its US roots, whereas a digestive will always be a biscuit. Fancy a choccie biccie with your tea, anyone?
RG, Watford, Herts

Saw the headline South-east facing hosepipe ban I immediately went outside to check, but it was all right, our hosepipe faces north.
Betty Butler, Ystradgynlais Wales

Trenton City Council has "an obligation to keep the city running". With no toilet paper, it will probably succeed.
Simon Robinson, Birmingham, UK

Just read the article on wargaming, being a fan of playing and painting various games. It was very interesting. Then I thought I'd read the commments at the bottom...

I'm never leaving the Magazine Monitor Letters column again! If anybody wants me, I'll be hiding under a blanket with a hot chocolate.
Ian, Redditch

Paper Monitor

11:07 UK time, Tuesday, 13 March 2012

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Fashion has long been a favourite for Fleet Street fodder, but Paper Monitor can't help but notice that today's papers seem to be awash with style critics.

"Sophie's dish of the day... With feathers," says the Daily Mail, which awards the Countess of Wessex the prize for her "hat-trick" at a service for Commonwealth Day.

"From one angle it looks like she's got a satellite dish attached to her head. From the other the hat mimics a bird displaying its feathers in an extravagant courtship ritual," it muses.

The Daily Telegraph agrees that Sophie stole the show. "Hats off to the Countess," it declares.

In other style circles, the Daily Mail reports that Hollywood actress Joan Collins has been handing out some fashion advice.

"Over-40s shouldn't wear jeans (except me)" is its headline, which goes on to say the actress, 78, thinks jeans just makes everyone look the same.

"One of the things about being glamorous is that you have to find your own look," it quotes her as saying - next to a picture of her in a jeans and leather boots last year.

Meanwhile the Daily Express reveals age is just a number in the Queen's choice of new stylist.

"So Kate, does one look good in this?" it asks, saying the Queen has asked the Duchess of Cambridge for advice after becoming a fan of her taste for classic styles.

It reports the Monarch, 85, is to meet the Duchess of Cambridge, 30, and the Duchess of Cornwall to co-ordinate outfits for official Diamond Jubilee engagements.

The press is bound to have a field day.

Paper Monitor

15:52 UK time, Monday, 12 March 2012

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Paper Monitor subscribes to the old adage that "you are as young as you feel". But it did have more than a passing interest in a story in today's newspapers that suggests that our personal happiness increases once we pass the age of 45.

According to researchers at the University of Warwick, happiness levels throughout life form a U-curve, dipping to its lowest point in the mid-forties and climbing back up again after that.

Paper Monitor thinks that all that dipping and climbing sounds a bit exhausting - but onwards and upwards, to borrow from another cliche.

"The caricature of the grumpy old man as personified by misery guts sitcom character Victor Meldrew may not be that true-to-life after all," the Daily Mail reports.

According to the researchers, while the physical quality of life goes down, our mental satisfaction increases.

The headline in the Daily Telegraph interprets it as "getting older makes us happier, because we give up on our dreams".

According to the researchers, happiness might increase because we have developed "better coping abilities" to deal with hardship than younger people. The Telegraph states in its comment section:

This will be comforting for many of us, but how do you explain this apparent paradox? The researchers believe the older you are, the better you are able to cope when faced with the vicissitudes of everyday life. They also think that older people have lower expectations than the young and therefore don't push themselves so hard in either their personal or professional lives. All true, no doubt. But surely it's also the case that the older you get, the more likely you are to forget what's making you grumpy.

The Times, in its Times 2 section runs a feature entitled: "What to expect when you're 40". The author Emily King - who confesses to being 45 - laments the fact that there is no life-guide that warns about the road ahead. She would, she says, have appreciated something in the same vein as vein as the antenatal manual What to Expect when you are Expecting - WTEWY40.

With a little help from her friends King compiles her own quick guide.

Along with the obvious physical things, such as "force of gravity" and "lack of elasticity", there are issues such as "wittering" and "getting stuck in your ways". But Paper Monitor's favourite comes under a column called cultural. Under the sub-head "invisibility", the author writes:

A bit painful, but accounts range from being overlooked in the street to being written off in social and professional situations. In response, I will offer the only quick fix allowed in WTEWY40; go to Paris for a few days! You are never too old to be leered at in the French capital.

I'll get my mac.

Your Letters

14:50 UK time, Monday, 12 March 2012

From your article about The Voice, O'Donoghue says he was after "someone who has a unique, signature thumbprint". Doesn't everyone have two of them?
Simon Love, London

Sadly, I'll never be able to join the Freemasons as it appears you need six fingers (well, five and a thumb) to do the handshake.
Excluded, Peterborough, UK

Lewis Graham (Friday's letters), surely not. As it is the third forth bridge surely The Three Quarter Bridge would be more appropriate. I'll git ma' sporran.
Tim, Lichfield

In your article "10 things we didn't know last week" you refer to Oreos as cookies. As a British organisation, surely they should be called biscuits?
Tina, Basingstoke, UK

David Richerby, Liverpool, UK (Thursday's letters). It's actually better than you think. You probably only knew what to do with a drunken sailor early in the morning, whereas the whale advice doesn't seem to be time-specific.
John Bratby, Southampton

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.