BBC BLOGS - Magazine Monitor

Archives for January 20, 2013 - January 26, 2013

Your Letters

16:42 UK time, Friday, 25 January 2013

Nominative determinism here - Tam Fry speaks for the National Obesity Forum, as any fule kno (just for Dr Reece Walker of London).
Fee Lock, Hastings, East Sussex

A. Potts, I'm so sorry. I hadn't realized that I was extinct. Thanks for the heads up, though!
Dragon Paltiel, Concord, California

I read with interest your story on the haggis, and how Americans prefer to eat the better cuts of meat. If they do not like eating the offal that goes into the making of haggis explain why they would eat burgers from that well known brand they have exported world wide. Maybe we should ban burgers after all it seems we don't know whats in them according to recent events.
A Reardon, High Blantyre

Build a snowman to stop flooding: did they say "damn that's a good idea"?
Adrian, West Midlands

Re the High Heel article: contrary to what the author stated, high heeled platform shoes were quite popular among young men in their teens and twenties in the 70s (and older ones working in artistic professions or others for evening out wear), not just "dandies".
Markus , London

Why did men stop wearing high heels? Not all of us have, dear.
Mike, Newcastle upon Tyne

10 things we didn't know last week

16:05 UK time, Friday, 25 January 2013

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

1. Dung beetles are guided by the Milky Way.
More details

2. The Food Standards Agency has two classifications for burgers - standard and economy.
More details

3. China has hippies who drop out of the rat race.
More details (Financial Times)

4. Women started wearing high heels to look more like men.
More details

5. Only two presidential inaugurations have forced indoors by the cold.
More details

6. "Russian flu" got its name because of the Cold War rather than because it originated in Russia.
More details

7. Fares on the London-Shoeburyness line have gone up the least since privatisation.
More details

8. Fat drivers are more likely to die in crashes.
More details (Daily Telegraph)

9. Dogs evolved from wolves that could digest starchy food.
More details (Nature)

10. Women look their oldest every Wednesday at 3.30pm.
More details (Daily Telegraph)

Caption Competition

14:36 UK time, Friday, 25 January 2013


Winning entries in the Caption Competition.

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

Tiger with snowmen

This week, it's a tiger in the snow at Longleat Safari & Adventure Park. (See what's it's like to be eaten by a tiger with this video filmed on a camera inside the snowman.) There is still no prize, except the traditional small quantity of kudos.

6. funkyhorn:
Aahhhh - that's better. I must remember - 'After chopping chilli, always wash hands BEFORE going to the loo!'

5. Whatever Next:
"....and this is my mate Frosty, Heeeeee's great!"

4. Woundedpride:
"Is it art? Is it art? Listen, I eat critics for breakfast."

3. SkarloeyLine:
"And if you fob me off with a John Lewis scarf this year, I'll rip your head off too."

2. George Huber:
"Tastes like frozen chicken."

1. T8-eh-T8:
As with many sequels, Life of Pi II (Adventures in Narnia) wasn't as good as the original.

Paper Monitor

10:55 UK time, Friday, 25 January 2013

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

One of the sacred cows of journalism is today slaughtered by the Daily Telegraph. It's been a staple for years - men are wimps when it comes to colds. But now the myth of man flu is put to the sword.

Erm, perhaps that's going it a bit. The Telegraph has found one scientist who argues colds really are worse for men.

The fact that she's a woman helps.

"Dr Amanda Ellison's research found that men have more temperature receptors in the brain which causes them to experience the symptoms of coughs and colds more acutely than women," the story reports.

Paper Monitor, as befitting its noble role in life, can never declare its identity. It remains strictly neutral on matters gender. In effect one is a sexless being, watching from the wings with disinterested interest. If you follow.

Here's the theory from Dr Ellison, a neuroscientist at Durham University. The area of the brain that balances temperature is the same in boys and girls. But when boys reach puberty testosterone makes it larger. When you have a cold, your temperature goes up to fight the bugs.

"Men have more temperature receptors," says Dr Ellison. "So men run a higher temperature and feel rougher - and if they complain they feel rough then maybe they are right."

You can only remain impartial for so long.

Was Paper Monitor's reaction:

a) What a load of old bull to excuse self pitying men.


b) I knew it was worse for us blokes.

Or maybe there's a third possibility. That PM is a hermaphrodite.

On that bombshell, we'll get our handbag/manbag and make ourselves scarce.

Your Letters

15:48 UK time, Thursday, 24 January 2013

Sorry to be pedantic (that's a lie, I'm not sorry), but these are not lolcats. Lolcats are photos of cats with funny captions. Paintings of cats, or other art featuring cats, does not automatically fit into this 'genre' purely based on the presence of said cats.
The premise behind the exhibit is still valid - art with a theme of cats, some of which may have amusing captions but is not necessarily a requirement. But lolcats they are not.
Dave, Surrey

Re parental lies. At least my parents told me creative lies. Apparently dragons are extinct because they would have been a fire hazard on Noah's ark. And Unicorns died out because they were a recessive horse gene.
A. Potts, Manchester

Just as I was getting interested in the budding romance between Angus and Polly (Letters passim) it seems to have gone the way of all flesh. Chiz chiz chiz. More please.
Dr Reece Walker, London UK

My nomination for this weeks Bizarre Story of the Week!
Di Wright, The Castleton, North Yorkshire

MJ Simpson, Tuesday's Letters , it was speculated of Bernard Shaw that he had never tried to write any poetry, and it was not meant as a compliment. Late adolescence is a good time.
Rob Mimpriss, Bangor, Gwynedd

Loving all the puns recently. I'm collecting them in my punnet.
Ray Lashley, Colchester, UK

Paper Monitor

14:24 UK time, Thursday, 24 January 2013

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Paper Monitor is struck by the seemingly odd array of snaps in the Daily Telegraph today.

First up, under the headline "Sherlock goes blond", there's a picture of Benedict Cumberbatch with bleached hair. Apparently he's gearing up to play Julian Assange in The Fifth Estate, a film about the WikiLeaks founder. Surely dubiously newsworthy?

Then on page 12, there's a story about "Burglar Bill" - a supermarket thief who has been nicknamed Bill because of his likeness to the character in the children's books by Janet and Allen Ahlberg. The similarity? The burglar's "distinctive" jumper. The jumper in question? A black and white stripped number. Totally unlike the stereotypical image of a burglar, then.

And finally there's three pictures of a man dubbed "Captain Calamity" at sea. Harbour officials in Cornwall say they have made 15 rescue attempts - at a cost of about £2,500 a call-out - as a result of the man repeatedly capsizing his catamaran. They want him to quit the sport, but the sailor has refused, saying he is "pushing the boundaries of sailing," according to the paper. The pictures are pretty and scenic, but three?

Still, at least the eclectic ensemble makes a break from snow.

Your Letters

17:40 UK time, Wednesday, 23 January 2013

"'End in sight' for freezing weather", the BBC website tells us. Indeed. I believe it's also called "spring".
Darren, London

"There was also a selection of lies relating to 'fantasy characters', also used to enforce good behaviour, such as in the run-up to Christmas."
You mean to tell me that, despite the assertions from my parents, there is no Father Christmas?!
Ross (age 23), London

Re. parental lies. My mum used to tell me that ice cream vans played music when there was no ice cream left.
Ross McLaughlin, Belfast

In the days before AS-levels, we didn't spend our Lower Sixth year on "school plays, forming bands and writing bad poetry". We spent that year studying hard for our mock A-levels, which our teachers would use to make the predictions of A-level grades on which our university applications depended.
MJ Simpson, Leicester

Paper Monitor

12:40 UK time, Wednesday, 23 January 2013

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

The first scandal of President Obama's second term is how the Guardian puts it.

Was Beyonce miming? Or was her version of the Star-Spangled Banner at the inauguration ceremony for real? Another Watergate looms, the paper deadpans, as it becomes clear that her recital was recorded in a studio the day before.

The Times broke the story on its website and is keen to own it. A beatific picture of the singer dominates the front page with the headline: "Oh, say could you see Beyonce was just miming?"

Inside, the paper names its Deep Throat - the Marine Corps Band. Its musicians gave the game away by seeming to mimick "the action of blowing into their instruments".

When the paper contacted the band, a spokeswoman said. "We did pre-record it. It was Beyonce's decision at the last minute."

Beyonce's agent however, did not respond.

For some the news was just too much. "My life is over" wrote Ingrid Van Vizzle on Twitter.

Ed Potton's commentary puts forward a number of theories. Well three actually - money for old rope this writing business innit? - plunging temperature, nerves and being rusty after taking time out to have a child.

"The smart money says that this Texan girl was put off by the Washington chill," Potton writes.

But he has something else on his mind. "How did she manage to coax her hair into those gravity-defying curls? If her singing was artificially aided, her locks were positively supernatural."

Down boy.

Your Letters

17:19 UK time, Tuesday, 22 January 2013

James in Stockport, I think the 'winter of our discount tents' pun was rather lost on a local Farnham retailer who is currently displaying a prominent banner, 'Now is the winter of our discount sheds'
Sarah, Farnham

Funny how a simple typo implies it's okay for learner and professional drivers to drink 400 times as much as anyone else without falling foul of the law.
Alex, Birmingham, UK

As much as I sympathise with vegetarians for their difficulties in finding a meal, their choice to not eat meat is often a personal decision. As a member of a family with various food intolerances (dairy, citric acid, cabbage family) I can tell you that in some places it gets very difficult to find something to eat that won't make you ill, in this country let alone others!
Rachel, Birmingham, England

Snow on the eves, PM? Everyone I know called Eve went inside, or at least sheltered under the eaves...
Colin Edwards, Exeter, UK

Paper Monitor

15:57 UK time, Tuesday, 22 January 2013

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

It takes a big story to reorder Page 3 of the Sun.

But Prince Harry's return from Afghanistan means that Hollie and her News in Briefs have been booted back to page 7. Yes, the news blackout is over at last.

"Harry Home" screams the front page.

"Full Story - Pages 2,3,4 & 5."

He has killed people in Afghanistan, the Sun says. But there was no killer quote to back this up. Instead a more philosophical comment about how the Apache crews must operate: "We have to take a life to save a life."

The Mail was not so merciless. "Harry: I have killed". And it had the quote to prove it.

"Asked if he had killed from the cockpit of his £40 million aircraft, the 28 year-old prince said matter-of-factly: 'Yeah, so lots of people have. The squadron's been out there. Everyone's fired a certain amount.'"

You can just hear the news editor asking for a better quote. "It's not a clear admission". Before being reminded who Captain Wales is. The paper went on to say how he'd perfected his shooting accuracy by playing videogames at Camp Bastion.

The Mail website is now running with the latest angle: 'This isn't a game': Taliban labels Harry a 'coward' Erm, was that confession such a great idea, Harry?

The Independent takes a different line - Harry's unhappiness with the press, something he made no attempt to hide.

Talking about a news story that had upset him, he said. "I think it was probably the Sun newspaper, but because we haven't got mobile phones out there they obviously can't bug our phones so they don't know what we're saying."

Funnily enough that comment is missing from the Sun's five pages of coverage. Meanwhile a gag is being readied by Clarence House.

Your Letters

17:59 UK time, Monday, 21 January 2013

I am sure you will henceforth be inundated with punny company names, but my favourite, seen on the side of a van, is Lofts In Space.
Anne R, Fareham

Re: Saving Their Bacon, I realise that the stuff in the cartridge should probably be pronounced bio-ink, though prefer my own mis-read bi-oink.
Bryan Poor, Oxford

Reverse nominative determinism here?
Rik Alewijnse, Feering

Emma and Martin, re: punning advertisements. Outside a well-known outdoor goods shop in Stockport a few Januaries ago, there hung a banner reading, "Now is the Winter of our Discount Tents". Beat that.
James, Stockport

I just read the Atlantic article you link to with the outrageous claim that overbites are caused by eating with cutlery. This is utter nonsense. In India and much of Asia people eat with their hands and never use cutlery, yet still they have the same overbites as fork users.
Marc de Faoite, Langkawi, Malaysia

Paper Monitor

15:28 UK time, Monday, 21 January 2013

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

It's at times like these, with the snow banking up on the eves and an arctic wind blowing through the hall, that Paper Monitor turns to Boris Johnson for answers.

The blond-haired one has been on the blower to his old friend, the "learned astrophysicist" Piers Corbyn, who advises the London mayor and Telegraph columnist that we could be entering a "mini ice age". It's all to do with solar flares, apparently.

"It doesn't seem as nuts as it did five years ago," says Johnson.

What does, Boris? What does?

Boris's old friend and so-called rival David Cameron dominates the Telegraph front page (beneath a plug for the mayor's latest column).

The prime minister's warnings about a decade of al-Qaeda terrorism also take up prime position on the The Times and Guardian front pages, relegating the weather to the inside pages.

Barack Obama's inauguration provides a front page pic for the heavies, but the tabloids can't seem to decide what the top story is.

The Daily Mail tends to go its own way on days like this - and it does not disappoint, with its front page exclusive: Snoop on Your Child's Texts.

It is not immediately clear whether this is an order to concerned parents or an expression of outrage on civil liberties grounds.

But then PM remembered the Mail's latest campaign to protect children from dangers lurking online.

Claire Perry, the PM's "childhood guru", who says it is OK for parents to check their childrens' mobiles and computers for "harmful" content, gets the wholehearted backing of the Mail in an editorial.

The paper urges Mr Cameron, having given Mrs Perry the job, to "back her all the way".

It doesn't get any better than that for a junior minister.

Why is there no similar call for the PM to listen to reason about a new ice age, in the Daily Telegraph's snow-themed editorial, wonders PM.

Maybe next year.

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