BBC BLOGS - Magazine Monitor

Archives for August 12, 2012 - August 18, 2012

Your Letters

17:15 UK time, Friday, 17 August 2012

I believe a certain Mr.Crapper is forever associated with our modern toilet.I wonder if Mr.Gates's true legacy will not be,as expected for his computer and software technology,but for something in the future that may be referred to as..."Where is the nearest gates?".
Martin Pearson, Hoosick Falls,Upstate NY,USA

Pedants such as myself will be racing to point out that the newsagent that sold the winning lottery ticket did receive a cut - of the original sale. They and Camelot had a modest but guaranteed income from every ticket sold, which is more than you can say for the purchasers!
Warren, Bristol

Memo to the gentleman near the top left - check the sign before you start waving it about! I'll get me taoc. Angus Gafraidh, London

Loved the pictures of the fans holding the 'Judas' sign in your article - bet the fellow with the sign upside down feels a twit now!
Mark, Reading, UK

"Barton has an extraordinary CV. In 2004, he stubbed out a lit cigar in the eye of a youth team player. In 2006, he dropped his shorts in front of opposition fans during a match. In 2008, he was jailed for six months for an assault in which one man was punched 20 times and a teenage boy was left with broken teeth. Barton received a suspended sentence for punching a team-mate on the training ground". If I were Joey Barton, I'd probably take this section out of my
Tom Webb, Surbiton, UK

Caption Competition

13:02 UK time, Friday, 17 August 2012

Winning entries in the Caption Competition.

The competition is now closed.

There is still no prize, except the traditional small quantity of kudos. Full rules can be seen here [PDF].

Here, two bodies pose with a huge heart during the unveiling of "Bodies...The Exhibition"

6. MightyGiddyUpGal
Of course we wear our hearts on our sleeves.

5. MorningGlories
"Dr Frankenstein will not be best pleased."

4. ARoseByAnyOther
Veni vidi ventricular.

3. penny-farthing
"Can anyone tell us the quickest way to the by-pass?"

2. MuteJoe
All hands to the pump.

1. RampagingRabbit
"We found this in San Francisco."

Thanks to all who entered.

Paper Monitor

11:14 UK time, Friday, 17 August 2012

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Everyone loves a pun to start the day. "It could be queue" offers today's Sun.

The tabloid pays a visit to the newsagent in Haverhill, Suffolk, where Adrian Bayford bought the winning Euro Millions lucky dip that landed him and wife Gillian their £148m windfall.

The paper manages to persuade the newsagent's co-owner Paresh Patel to show them CCTV footage of the ticket being bought. It is able, therefore, to publish a photo of "Britain's UNLUCKIEST man", the "mystery bloke" in a white shirt who was in the queue behind Bayford.

Paresh tells the paper: "That poor guy has no idea he was within touching distance of £148 million."

Paper Monitor doesn't like to quibble. Well, okay, we do. Did this mystery bloke actually buy a lottery ticket? There is no mention of this killer fact.

If not, and he just popped in for a loaf of Mother's Pride and a pint of milk, that's not unlucky. It's a whole different purchasing universe. His queuing position is irrelevant. As Mark Twain probably once said, you've got to be in it to win it.

Patel also reveals that "Adrian is a top guy" who comes in every day to buy sweets for his kids and "his favourite paper, The Sun." But of course, suddenly it all makes sense.

Paper Monitor particularly enjoys the line: "The Patels get no payment from Camelot for selling the winning ticket".

The paper seems to be implying that by dint of running the newsagent's, the Patels should get their cut of the £148 million.

Shouldn't they get something, though?

Erm, nope. I guess selling winning lottery tickets is an occupational hazard.

10 things we didn't know last week

17:55 UK time, Thursday, 16 August 2012

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

1. There is only half a road in the City of London.
More details (Londonist)

2. Gorillas can recognise each other after years apart.
More details

3. A dog can shake roughly 70% of the water from its fur in four seconds.
More details (The Atlantic)

4. Julian Assange has a sun lamp and a treadmill in his room in the Ecuadorean embassy.
More details (The Telegraph)

5. A 1972 Playboy picture of model Lena Soderberg is commonly used to test print quality.
More details

6. There is an architectural competition for zombie-proof housing.
More details (Economist)

7. Robots can camouflage themselves.
More details

8. Packing an impressive karate punch has more to do with brain power than muscle power.
More details

9. The US has the best-monitored climate in the world.
More details (Slate)

10. Psychedelic drugs are making a comeback in the field of psychiatry.
More details (The Spectator)


Your Letters

15:54 UK time, Thursday, 16 August 2012

"Galaxy cluster's 'starburst' surprises astronomers". Not all that surprising - both Galaxy and Starburst are made, appropriately enough, by Mars. (Other celestial-sounding confectionery also available.)
Edward Green, London

Re Paper Monitor's note: crisp sandwich as in a sandwich made with crisps as a filling or a toasted sandwich? I'm fasting, I deserve an explanation.
MF, Oxford

'Astronomers have seen a huge galaxy cluster doing what until now was only theorised to happen: making new stars. Is this Simon Cowell's latest attempt to publicise the new series of The X Factor?
John Whapshott, Westbury, Wiltshire

So, chocolate and nuts are good for you? All we need now is someone to tell us that fruit is good for you, and then I'll not feel so bad about that bar of Cadbury's Fruit and Nut (other types of confectionary are available, though not necessarily quite so healthy).
Basil Long, Nottingham

25,000 bottles of red wine, 67,000 cigarettes and 92 kg of tobacco? That'll be some party.
Sarah, Basel, Switzerland

How apt that the link "Bill Gates backs 'future' toilet" appears on the BBC website.
After years of finding my work sent down the pan by "blue screens of death" and unscheduled updates (followed by sudden reboots) when I'm away from my desk, I assumed that Mr Gates had finally given his operating system an appropriate new name...
Fi, Gloucestershire

Rob, you are right, even a 40 metre prescription would be hard to swallow, let alone a 40 mile one.
Susan, Newcastle

"Thames Town, Shanghai" looks fascinating. "Four miles of polluted rivers running through 1,000 acres of blighted semi-rural land will be restored and landscaped into scenic standards becoming of the English countryside." I'm sure it sounds authentic enough as it is, but they could ask Danny Boyle to arrange it all for them.
Rob Falconer, Llandough

Paper Monitor

11:49 UK time, Thursday, 16 August 2012

Paper Monitor has noticed references to certain foods with health benefits. People who wish to keep this summer's sporting spirit going strong will certainly want to cash in on healthy goodness.

But treating yourself to a nice, sweet treat may not be all bad. The Independent says that "Merely thinking of chocolate may set pulses racing, but research suggests it can actually lower blood pressure."

But Paper Monitor urges readers to note the following: "Although the effect was small, it was potentially enough to help protect people from heart disease, said experts."
Potential dads may wish to consider that according to the Daily Mail Walnuts may increase fertility. Not just fertility, sperm count. Again Paper Monitor is looking at the science more deeply and notes that the nuts are a source of polyunsaturated fats and are rich in omega 3 and omega 6 - as is found in oily fish.

Paper Monitor, therefore, suggests that those already eating lots of fish might want to check whether adding a daily dose of walnuts, might increase the sperm count even more. Paper Monitor has not scientifically verified this.
Now onto eggs. Although eggs are frequently reported to be good for you, The Sun cites research suggesting they are "almost as bad as smoking" - a truth which has been "unscrambled" by scientists.

New research has suggested regular consumption of egg yolks accelerates atherosclerosis, an effect which is more often linked to smoking cigarettes. Also known as coronary artery disease, it is a disorder of the arteries where plaques, aggravated by cholesterol, form on the inner arterial wall.

Paper Monitor notes the average age of participants in this study is 61.5. Scientists also note that more research should be done and only suggest regular consumption of egg yolk is avoided by those already at risk of cardiovascular disease.

Sometimes Paper Monitor just wonders if sticking to a crisp sandwich isn't just the simplest option.

Your Letters

16:26 UK time, Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Re: this story, I'm just wondering if anyone ever called their child Moniker.
Clare, Aylesbury, UK

To Basil Long (Tuesday's letters), I agree, but spookily (Mr) Derek also has its connections to Basil Brush. I'll get me deerstalker... boom, boom!
Fi, Gloucestershire, UK

Did Samantha realise her great pun when she asked if her ancestor was "instrumental in setting up the band"?
MCK, Stevenage

Now, this Twitter thing. You appear to follow Snoop Dogg/Lion and Peter Andre. Would you care to explain?
Basil Long, Nottingham

"Diabetes Prescriptions Rise to 40m." That's a shock. They could have sugared the pill a little.
Rob Falconer, Llandough, Wales

Paper Monitor

11:44 UK time, Wednesday, 15 August 2012

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

It's been a strange old summer. A rain-spattered June and July during which an England team lose on penalties and everyone says "oh well".

Then came the Olympics when all facets of British life seemed to be teleported to some kind of warm, Kurt Vonnegut universe in which everyone - even the Daily Mail - was nice to each other and won prizes. It's left Paper Monitor a little confused about what time of year it is.

But today's papers bring us back to typical August fare - the travel snaps of the Prime Minister.

Why, there's Dave and Sam drinking espresso in a foreign clime. Majorca this year. Sam is checking her phone and Dave is pointing at the mobile device.

"Now holiday Dave's really chillaxed" the Daily Express declares. As soon as the couple left the table, journalists must have swooped.

But all is well - unlike the prime minister's visit to Italy last year - for the waitress confirms, he had left a "nice tip".

Despite jettisoning his trusty black polo shirt the Daily Mail is unhappy with Cameron's "drab, uninspiring wardrobe".

The answer the paper suggests is for him to invest in "cotton tops by Derbyshire-based John Smedley, or linen shirts and tailored shorts by Orlebar Brown". And of course who could forget the Superga plimsolls.

It's all so much easier if you've just won the Tour de France and a cycling gold medal. Bradley Wiggins is also on holiday in Mallorca, as observed by the Daily Mirror. He doesn't bother with Smedley or Orelbar Brown. He's topless in one shot. And holding a fag in another. That's what holidays are for.

But think of Wiggins' pristine lungs. It must be like the first exhaust fumes in Antarctica.

Your Letters

17:04 UK time, Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Rail fares to increase. Syria to collapse. And someone called Chris Moyles apparently to leave a presenting job on the radio. Come back London 2012, my news feed is really missing you.
John Bratby

Hey,you Brits back home, that Olympic feelgood factor.....wink wink,nod nod,say no more......what's it like?
Martin Pearson, Hoosick Falls,Upstate NY,USA

Re early OMGs, how about 'Oh, my God, I feel my heart prone to slide back every moment!' in Memoir of the Rev. John Graham (1880)? But perhaps religious OMGs don't count?
Mark, Reading, UK

Monitor notes that the use of "OMG" in the 1917 letter to Winston Churchill actually contained the abbreviation OMG with Oh! My God in brackets.


"... the snake had feathers in its stomach that would help to identify the types of wildlife it was eating.". Now, I'm no expert; but might it possibly be birds? I'll get my boa.
David, Romford, UK

"Basil - 80th in 1904 - is today irreparably associated with Basil Fawlty or Basil Brush." People round these pages may beg to differ...
Basil Long, Nottingham

Paper Monitor

10:20 UK time, Tuesday, 14 August 2012

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

The Olympics is over, a fact the papers are having difficulty coming to terms with.

"JUBILANT Brits were lapping up the Olympic feelgood factor yesterday", proclaims the Sun, two days after the event's conclusion.

ALL GONG HOME, says the Daily Mirror, over a two-page feature about, well, British athletes going home.

The Daily Mail devotes six news pages to the aftermath, including a spread of British athletes' childhood photos.

Paper Monitor is also finding it hard to let go, but is consoled by the widely-voiced hope that a rejuvenated nation will be inspired by the success of Team GB's athletes to seek out and celebrate excellence and hard work.

And then again. That paper of record, The Independent, has a feature asking who will be the "'go-to' girl" for celebrity gossip magazines when they want to write about "'unhappy', single females" in the wake of actress Jennifer Aniston's engagement.

Come back Wiggo, Jess Ennis and Mo, your country still needs you.

Your Letters

16:46 UK time, Monday, 13 August 2012

Re "Team GB cover Queen's Don't Stop Me Now". Look, I admire the achievements of all these amazing athletes but please! They have NOT "made their own version of Queen's Don't Stop Me Now". They are miming to it. They are dancing and fooling around to it. BUT it is Queen, not anyone else. Pedantic rant finished, I'm going for a lie down.
Graham, Hayle, Cornwall

Regarding Number 2 in your list of 10 things we didn't know... I think you will find that there is an OMG in Charlotte Mew's poem, The Farmer's Bride (the final stanza)...And she wrote that some years before 1917.
R Allen, Hong Kong

Was just checking for news besides London 2012 when I came across your caption on skipping. As a German-American dual national with other languages, I'm well aware of semantic collisions between languages, especially across the transatlantic divide (Germans are taught what's purported to be the Queen's English). However, to derive "jump roper" from "Jump Rope Competition" is a surprise. In both variants of English the derivation of a verbal substantive from combined verbs should modify the main participatory verb, in this case 'jump' - and in any case, the rope in the competition is a noun. So the term 'rope jumper' should be used. On the other hand, I'm certain many rodeo fans got a kick out of imagining Olympics with guys'n gals chasin' bounding calves around the arena with lariats.
Eb Hoene

Nominative determinism ahoy. (Are you actually planting these now, MM? )
Sue, London

I couldn't believe the headline on the BBC News site: "David Bond: How can Rio follow London?" London may have heritage and pop culture, but where else but Rio would you go for partying?
Rob Falconer, Llandough, Wales

Paper Monitor

11:52 UK time, Monday, 13 August 2012

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Epic, inspiring, awesome - yes, your humble columnist's analysis of the papers' recent Olympics coverage has been pretty darn good. Or, at the very least, not bad. Passable/mildly diverting.

Paper Monitor is sad that it's all over (bring on the Paralympics!) - but enthused to see that the morning after the night before, the Olympics closing ceremony has produced plenty of fizz and copious exclamation marks on the nationals' front pages:

Daily Mail - "Out with a Bang!"
Daily Express - "Didn't we do well!"
Daily Star - "Best of British"
Daily Mirror - "Goldbye!"
Guardian - "Goodbye to the Glorious Games"

The Times is a bit more restrained - offering up an underwhelming headline in the shape of "17 Days Later" - although it gets going inside, while the Sun ("We're world beaters... Dream GB") kicks its Page Three lovely all the way to page 15 to make way for more Olympics spectacle.

Sam, 26, from Manchester, isn't bitter, though - she thinks we should be proud of the Games, apparently: "Britain has shown the world just what we can do. In the words of French philosopher Voltaire, 'The biggest reward for a thing well done is to have done it'."

So true, Sam.

Passable/mildly diverting coverage of the riches offered up by the daily press doesn't write itself, you know!

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