BBC BLOGS - Magazine Monitor

Archives for September 9, 2012 - September 15, 2012

10 things we didn't know last week

16:18 UK time, Friday, 14 September 2012

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

1. Adult male killer whales are mummy's boys.
More details (Press Association)

2. There is a positive correlation between the number of craft breweries in each US state and electoral support for Barack Obama.
More details (

3. Kim Kardashian is a liberal Republican.
More details (The Guardian)

4. Only two flavours - chocolate and lavender - are interpreted the same way whether eaten or smelt.
More details (The Telegraph)

5. Distracted motorists have more accidents passing Stonehenge than any other British landmark.
More details (Daily Telegraph)

6. There have been 96 documented attempts to stow away in the landing gear of planes since 1947, of which 76% have proved fatal.
More details

7. Michael Owen has never made a cup of tea.
More details (The Times)

8. Some 69% of Europeans would not want to have their dog walked by a robot.
More details (Eurobarometer)

9. Oil spills can be cleaned up using magnets.
More details (The Guardian)

10. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is not a fan of Nickelback.
More details (Slate)

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

Your Letters

15:12 UK time, Friday, 14 September 2012

Howard (Thursday's letters), I'm afraid that's nothing. A restaurant local to me advertises booking their Christmas meals as early as May! There are also several local shops that have been selling Christmas cards and wrapping since July/August. Which reminds me, I must buy some Easter eggs. I'm so disorganised this year!
Kazbat, Merseyside, UK

Howard, my local has had a Christmas tree up for the last 3 weeks. Apparently it is to remind us that Christmas is coming. I pointed out that Christmas comes at the same time every year and we hardly needed a reminder but I was called Scrooge!
Sue, Birmingham

Howard, my local Co-Op has now got mince pies on display, next to the suntan lotion.
Jerome, London

Sue (Thursday's Letters), as a fellow former Staffordian, I too cannot stand the infuriating, disgusting, buttock-clenching, noises that some people make when they eat. I'm curious though: is it just us from Staffordshire raised this way? Can we add perfect table manners to our perfect accents?
Rob, London, UK

Richard Martin (Thursday's letters), who is to say a woman cannot promise to put up shelves? I have been promising myself for at least the last year that I will finally hang some pictures. Sorry - I'll get my hammer.
Clare Slater, Guildford, UK

Caption Competition

13:15 UK time, Friday, 14 September 2012


Winning entries in the Caption Competition.

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

This week it was a Mercedes-Benz employee with his dog Magic.

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

6. Maggiemaynotbe:
...and this little box here is the Catnav.

5. Gray Gable:
Well done! Right, now I want you to go a fetch that BMW.

4. John M: On the economy model the car alarm is now a little more low tech...

3. Lin Vegas:
"And the low, growling noise means the engine is off."

2. grazvalentine:
This model comes in three versions: two door, five door and labrador.

1. SivAngel:
"He's not that clever - it's only an automatic."

Paper Monitor

10:05 UK time, Friday, 14 September 2012

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Nick Love's big-screen remake of 1970s TV cop show The Sweeney receives a largely mediocre-to-negative reception from the critics.

Fortunately, their reviews are entertaining enough to make up for a disappointing night at the pictures.

Paper Monitor sniggered at Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian's description of Ben "Plan B" Drew, who plays Carter, the sidekick role made famous by Dennis Waterman: "His look of intense, silent menace often makes him look like a six-year-old secretly urinating in a swimming pool."

Meanwhile, Robbie Collin of the Daily Telgraph is dismissive of a romance between the film's lead, played by Ray Winstone, and co-star Hayley Atwell "despite the pair having the kind of age gap that is not often seen outside of a Santa's grotto".

The score, Collin adds, is largely composed of "sustained, vibrating bass notes that are oddly reminiscent of someone dragging a trestle table across a church hall".

Wendy Ide of the Times is slightly more taken with the film, however, awarding it four stars.

"In the role of Detective Inspector Jack Regan, Ray Winstone has a face like a clenched fist and blood pressure so high it threatens to blow off the top of his head," she writes approvingly. "He looks as though he is made of anger issues and extra Y chromosomes."

No doubt Mr Winstone will adopt a similar countenance when he reads most of this morning's reviews.

Paper Monitor

17:11 UK time, Thursday, 13 September 2012

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Poor Paper Monitor has had lovelorn summers in the past. Fortunately today's papers offer numerous nuggets of advice and implicit warnings for both sexes striving to follow the path to successful coupledom.

The Sun columnist Ulrika Jonsson is first up, with counselling for Hollywood A-lister George Clooney. Paper Monitor understands George specifically sought out her advice amid reports that he is breaking up with yet another stunning beauty did not seek out her advice amid reports that he is breaking up with yet another stunning beauty.

The thrice-married love guru urged him to find a "real" person, explaining that:

"These women are part superhuman, part one-dimensional - they offer him no taste of real life. So, if it now really is over between Clooney and the wrestler, might I make a proposal. Not of marriage you understand, but one of a relationship with a woman who has lived a little, one well versed in the doldrums of weekday life, a mature woman - perhaps who is a single parent."

Paper Monitor has duly noted the subtle single-mum of four's advice. "Real" people. Hmmmm.

There is nevertheless the danger of being too "real" perhaps. The Daily Star reports that Celebrity Big Brother winner Denise Welch is a self-confessed "hubby beater".

Of her ex-husband, Welch admitted to having "whacked him over the head with a lampshade" and caused an accident in which he nearly severed his arm.

Paper Monitor reverts to Britain's golden couple for some timely optimism. William and Kate's "we-are-the-perfect-couple" express shows no sign of slowing down with news that William wants two kids.

Paper Monitor assumes Kate was asked first. The key to the golden relationship between Kate and the press, however, seems to be fashion sense. Fortunately Nicole Mowbray of the Mail deems that "frizz aside, Kate deserves a gold medal".

Who doesn't these days?

Your Letters

16:09 UK time, Thursday, 13 September 2012

I can report that today, near Victoria Station in London, I saw a restaurant encouraging people to book their Christmas meal/party. Good grief. I'll get my Santa hat.
Howard, London, UK

Di (Tuesday's letters) and Dave (Wednesday's letters), there are other names as well as countries: Ria, Jan, Ada, Tia, An(n) and An(n)a. I doubt there've been many Othos since Marcus Salvius, but loads of Chads.
Rik Alewijnse, Feering, UK

Di and Dave, It could have been worse - I once knew a Dalmatian dog called Nik (short for Dubrovnik, the big city on the Dalmatian coast in Croatia in case you didn't get it.
Susan, Newcastle

Fred Beare? (Wednesday's letters). Oh please, please tell me you're a tailor.
Fi, Gloucestershire, UK

J Paul Murdock (Tuesday's letters), I'm originally from Staffordshire, and I regularly berate people for making 'mouthy noises' when eating so I don't think it extends to the southern half of the county, sorry.
Sue, London

I'm now very confused - Paper Monitor, Friday 7 September: Paper Monitor really has to get round to putting up those shelves as promised - equals Male Monitor. Paper Monitor, Wednesday 12 September: Paper Monitor describes effects of "post-carb bloating" - equals Female Monitor. Are there two of you, a sort of Neil and Christine Hamilton of the interweb world?
Richard Martin, Doncaster, UK

Your Letters

17:42 UK time, Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Did anyone else see the headline Ferguson sued by former managers and expect to read that sacked Premier League managers were getting their own back?
Fred Beare, London

Di (Tuesday's letters) - its just you. KazakhSTAN and STANley. Admittedly there are loads of other countries for which this works.
Dave, Greenford, UK

Re: J Paul Murdock (Tuesday's Letters). I can confirm that "chommeling" is definitely the right word in North Staffordshire, where I come from. I have often surprised (and confused) my southerner husband with words like this. He says I don't talk proper.
Jo, Derbyshire

If only there were some way of determining the scale of an unspecified nail.
Carl Evans, Crepy, France

Paper Monitor

15:37 UK time, Wednesday, 12 September 2012

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

And the front pages are "attractive other half"-tastic today - Andy Murray's girlfriend Kim Sears, looking delightful and fragrant while cuddling up to her US Open-winning beau, and the Duchess of Cambridge, looking delightful and fragrant while gazing/laughing raucously at orchids (aren't orchids just HILARIOUS?!) with Wills. Sigh.

The royal couple have kicked off their nine-day tour of south-east Asia by swinging by the Botanical Gardens in Singapore - "Kimono Kate blossoms in the Far East" proclaims the Daily Mail, cue lots of pretty pics of her, blossoming away.

The Duchess of Cambridge has enjoyed a warm welcome thus far - although the Mail's Catherine Ostler muses, ominously, ahead of the couple's trip to Sabeh's Danum Valley, in Borneo: "So what will tribal headhunters make of her?" Luckily, Ostler reassures us, said headhunters no longer target strangers "but, still, novices are advised not to walk out at night alone". Noted.

For now, all the princess has to worry about are critiques of her outfits - "a trifle dull" pronounces Nicole Mowbray of Kate's kimino-inspired gown. Also speculation about whether or not she is pregnant.

As the Daily Mail observes, at last night's state banquet, "intriguingly, given the constant speculation about the Duke and Duchess's plans to start a family", Kate twice made toasts by drinking from a water goblet instead of her wine glass. Royal-watchers have also noticed that "Kate is looking more fuller-faced", it adds.

Paper Monitor puts it down to a case of post-carb bloating. We all know how "blooming" that can make one look.

Your Letters

17:30 UK time, Tuesday, 11 September 2012

There was a guy from Chamber's Dictionary on BBC Breakfast this morning talking about new words. He mentioned one from the Midlands meaning to eatnoisily. It sounded very much like he said "chommeling". Could you please tell him the word is actually "to chobble"? Many thanks. I'll just get my can of vimto and bike wi' a wonky wayul...
J Paul Murdock, Wall Heath, West Midlands, UK

As Cuba and North Korea are the only two countries left in the world in which one cannot buy Coca-Cola, it seems strange to me that the colour most associated with Coke is red.
Rob Falconer, Llandough, Wales

"Stanley is named after Kazakhstan, where he is originally from". Did anyone else need this explaining to them, or was it just me?
Di, The Castleton, North Yorkshire

Michael (Monday Letters). Add to tax avoidance the line: "Staff have to be adequately rewarded for the work that they do." So it turns out they aren't even paid a salary!
David, Cannock, UK

Monkey nuts?
Matt, Hove

Paper Monitor

13:32 UK time, Tuesday, 11 September 2012

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Paper Monitor is far from alone in its enthusiasm for the newsprint stylings of one Caitlin Moran, of the Times.

And among her many fans is, aptly, the Times itself. It has dubbed this week Caitlin Week to mark her 20 years - T-W-E-N-T-Y - as one of its columnists. Well, it's not like there's anything else on at the moment.

As part of the celebrations, it is reprinting her favourite columns from down the years. Today's is a 2004 effort recalling a grunge-era rendezvous with Courtney Love for a Melody Maker interview.

"We met at 11pm - I turned up at the end of a photoshoot and the first words she screamed at me were: 'I used to be EXACTLY LIKE YOU! FAT! YOU'VE GOT TO STOP EATING CHEESE!' This in lieu of a 'Hello!' or 'Did you have a nice flight?' We then got into a battered van and drove, seemingly at random, until we came across a student house party in the suburbs. In a sheepskin coat she gatecrashed."

Yada yada yada...

Meanwhile, the papers - including the Times - devote many column inches to the victory parade for Team GB, ParalympicsGB and the Games Makers. There are wraparound covers, picture spreads and eyewitness colour pieces galore.


Your Letters

17:06 UK time, Monday, 10 September 2012

I've always objected to the concept of tipping (Mr Pink's rant was the only bit of Reservoir Dogs I enjoyed); now I discover it's a tax avoidance scheme contributing to the national debt I'm even less keen. "It actually works out better. If it was included in the price of the meal, the customer would have to pay VAT on it, and the restaurant would have to pay national insurance."
Michael, Edinburgh, UK

Re: Tesla, The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing wrote and released a song about Tesla this year, and they know the REAL Tesla.
Kevin Davis, Woking

So, Kevin Maher confesses to being a cat kisser. I think I can safely say that nobody in the UK will now be a Kevin Maher kisser.
Rob Falconer, Llandough, Wales

Shiz, are you telling us that Cheshire cinemas subject you to a search before allowing you in. I think I'd tell them where to stick their projector if they tried that here.
Dave, Greenford, UK

Rob Mullan, in our band of monitorites, let him be known as "Long Basil"... I'll get tunic of Lincoln Green.
Ray, Turku, Finland

Rob Mullan, Friday letters - No, but now I will!
Heather, Jersey

Whilst he isn't, I was pretty certain that Professor Mustard was a Cluedo character.
Basil Long, Nottingham

Paper Monitor

12:57 UK time, Monday, 10 September 2012

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Don't try this at home - honestly don't. Columnist Kevin Maher writing in today's Times confesses to being a cat kisser. Here's how the confession starts:

"There's no other way to put this, so I might as well just come out and say it. I kiss my cat. Oh yeah. Big time. And I'm not ashamed of it either."

Good, glad he's got that off his chest. Oh, and in case anyone was wondering (well you would wouldn't you) "certainly no tongues".

The reason Maher is letting us into this secret is because of the stories that abounded last week on the possible link between the cat parasite toxoplasma gondii and a potential for psychological disturbances in humans that are infected by it.

It's not a new discovery, but last week, the Food Standards Agency said current consumer advice on toxoplasmosis, which is spread by direct contact with cats or eating contaminated food, should be revised. It said more research should be carried out because of a lack of data on the condition.

So, apart from putting the scaremongering blame firmly at the door of the anti-cat lobby, Maher declares:

"It's the equivalent of reading a research paper that announces, 'Dogs! They'll fake your credit card details, steal all your money, sleep with your partner and then electrocute you in the bath! Honest! We've done a paper about it!'."

OK. We get the point.

To sum up, Maher says that it's going to take a lot more than "woolly scientific research" etc to stop him from "smooching" his kitty.

Paper Monitor suggests less of the smooching - is this normal? Perhaps simply rub noses, in the method of the traditional Inuit greeting.

Love Cats - The Cure's 1983 hit is now going round and round and round in Paper Monitor's head. It's infectious.

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