BBC BLOGS - Magazine Monitor

Archives for March 3, 2013 - March 9, 2013

Your Letters

15:59 UK time, Friday, 8 March 2013

Nice to see, in the article on national mourning, someone use the phrase "het up". I used to think it was a word my mum had made up, as no one else used it or knew it when I was younger.
Brian, Loughton, Essex, UK

Surely there is a bigger story here that the BBC should be investigating. How did the cat evade being detected on the airport's x-ray scanner? Surely some animal bones in the case might have prompted a search. Or is it that security at Egyptian airports is rather lax. What if it had been something malign?
David, Nottingham

You can call me a Philistine if you like, but is an apology
in the form of a long piece of
that doesn't rhyme
or scan
but just has random line-breaks
really poetry?
Just wondering.
Simon Robinson, Birmingham, UK

Along the same lines as the Wang company, there's also a well known test equipment manufacturer called "Wayne Kerr". Really.
Jeff Doggett, Thurnby, Leicestershire

I bet the British Antarctic Territory really is a lot more like Britain than most of our other overseas territories.
Rob Falconer, Llandough, Wales

10 things we didn't know last week

15:46 UK time, Friday, 8 March 2013

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

1. Monkeys avoid selfish people.
More details (Scientific American)

2. Lily pollen is poisonous to cats.
More details (Daily Mail)

3. Nigel Farage writes a column for Total Sea Fishing magazine.
More details (The Times)

4. Concrete can heal itself.
More details (Economist)

5. There are more deer in the UK now than at any time since the last Ice Age.
More details

6. Archbishop Justin Welby used to smuggle Bibles behind the Iron Curtain.
More details (The Times)

7.The renewable energy agency for the South West of England has a poet in residence.
More details (Regen SW)

8. Freezing an Android phone renders a user's confidential data accessible.
More details

9. "White" magic remains legal under Indonesia's revised criminal code.
More details (The Times)

10. People drum better in virtual reality when their avatar looks laid back.
More details (New Scientist)

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

Paper Monitor

13:25 UK time, Friday, 8 March 2013

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Multi-tasking makes the headlines twice in today's papers. First up, the Daily Mail seems to delight in debunking the "myth" that women are better at multi-tasking.

"Women aren't better at multi-tasking" is the headline, as if the underlining the "aren't" makes the statement conclusive. It's reporting a study, of course. The findings show that "in the war of the sexes", both are equally poor.

Then the Daily Telegraph thinks it's discovered "the ultimate in multitasking". It reports that we are now so obsessed with our mobile phones that three-quarters of us use them on the toilet, and half take of us use them in the bath.

Meanwhile Telegraph letter writers have come up with some alternative theories about the Duchess of Cambridge's possible slip of the tongue when she accepted a teddy bear from a well-wisher with the phrase "Thank you, I'll give that to my d..."

Val Lewis, from Shepperton, Middlesex has a revelation:

SIR - Not many people know this, but the Duchess of Cambridge has a pet name for her husband: Dukey, pronounced "Duckie". And he and Harry collect teddy bears.

Then Major Nigel Price, from Marple Bridge in Cheshire, wades in with:

SIR - Why assume that the Duchess of Cambridge meant "daughter"? She might have been going to say "for my Darren".

Paper Monitor was half expecting the next letter writer to suggest "Dad".

Caption Competition

12:55 UK time, Friday, 8 March 2013

Comments (144)

Winning entries in the Caption Competition.

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


This week the sculpture Cloud Gate, commonly known as "the bean", is covered in snow during a storm in Chicago. Thanks to all who entered. The prize of a small amount of kudos to the following:

6. ARoseByAnyOther:

I left my heart in San Francisco, and something quite different in Chicago I'm afraid.

5. Gurney Nutting:

But you've installed it upside down! It's meant to be a smiley.

4. Nick Fowler:

Gulliver was pleased he'd signed up for the Kidney Donor Scheme.

3. Raven Clare:

Thebes. Ancient Greece. I said I wanted a statue that was Thebean.

2. Martin Walter:

Looks like the Mayor's tortoise has escaped again.

1. Wonkypops:

If Apple designed bus shelters...

Your Letters

17:04 UK time, Thursday, 7 March 2013

What a cruel picture/story combination: "Processed meat 'early death' link". Mmm bacon!
Michael, Edinburgh, UK

"Deer: 50% cull 'necessary to protect country side" - I'm pretty sure that EXACTLY the same logic would support the culling of humans too. (Although I'm less sure the link to pubs and restaurants would still hold.)
Colin Main, Berkhamsted, UK

I agree about books. I love them, but dressing-up is going a little too far to encourage children to like reading (and to discourage those who already enjoy it). Why not try and stop the teachers doing it by sending your child as Fungus the Bogeyman (complete with really malodorous slime), The Naked Ape, or the lead role in Mein Kampf?
Rob Falconer, Llandough, Wales

Can I say how much I like the improved street view in my area? Thanks to technology, people can look right up my back alley.
Simon Robinson, Birmingham, UK

Emma, I remember Wang having an IT service contract where I work and their staff having polo shirts with "Wang Cares" emblazoned on the front.
Chookgate, Milton Keynes

I also have experience of bath holes and shower holes, although with the latter, plugs are not usually required.
Ralph, Cumbria

Paper Monitor

16:43 UK time, Thursday, 7 March 2013

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

It's an extra-terrestrial edition of Paper Monitor today.

When a celebrity acts like a fruitcake, the papers are quick to mop up the crumbs.

So Oscar-winning actor Mr Russell Crowe is quite rightly afforded a near full page of coverage in the Sun.

"Crowe's Encounters", puns the headline, after Crowe tweeted self-taken images of a bona fide UFO.

"THESE ARE REAL!", tweeted Crowe from his office in Woolloomooloo.

Yes, Woolloomooloo. Even fellow residents would admit that a UFO claim from Woolloomooloo requires a higher threshold of proof.

It's not helped by the fact that the image looks like a 1980s video game.

"Austr-alien life form", captions the image, which is about the most intelligent thing to come out of the whole story. Although it's unclear whether it refers to Crowe or the UFO.

But it does appear Crowe is intent on undoing his recent critical acclaim for Les Mis and not beating people up.

The Daily Star quotes him defending the image from ridiculing Twitter users: "Can't be a lens flare because it moves, camera is fixed."

Apparently the fruitcake was photographing fruit bats at the time.

The remaining question is what is more embarrassing - Crowe's protestations or the Star's headline:

"I've just seen U.F. CrOwe!"


Your Letters

16:57 UK time, Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Of course childhood ends at twelve. After that the youngsters are 13, and therefore TEENagers.
Basil Long, Nottingham

Does the BMI need fixing? I personally prefer the system proposed by my family doctor when my father had a medical a few years ago. The doctor told my dad his BMI was in the "overweight" zone, but that he didn't really hold with BMI, as he preferred "The Eyeball Method". He looked deliberately at dad's stomach before telling him he could do with losing a few pounds.
Adele, Portsmouth

I have encountered sinkholes for most of my life. I find that a plug works well to keep the water in.
Ralph, Cumbria

How disappointed was I, upon reading the "Sir Mervyn King writes to van man about bank loan" story, to discover that the Bank of England was not seeking help from the man who gave us "Brown Eyed Girl" and "Moondance".
Paul, Marlow, UK

I'm sure an expert in comedy having a pun for a name counts as nominative determinism...
Catherine, Windsor

Basil, I may be showing my innocence, but I thought Wang was an outdated computer? Is this wrong?
Emma, Jersey

Paper Monitor

15:54 UK time, Wednesday, 6 March 2013

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Part II for Wednesday.

The dramatic fallout from Justin Bieber's late show at his O2 Arena gig continues in The Sun today, with an "exclusive" story of what really happened.

But although they couldn't resist the title "Unbeliebable", this is no laughing matter.

In fact it feels like the type of investigative reporting in some war-torn country.

There's talk of "chaos" backstage. Even worse was to be found elsewhere.

"There were scenes of parents... carrying sleeping kids away."

The horror, the horror.

But even those that escaped the carnage could not feel free from danger.

Two girls would only speak anonymously, "too scared to be named for fear of reprisals from Bieber's loyal fans, known as Beliebers".

These Beliebers sound like a ruthless bunch of teenage extremists. We learn further down that:

Jealous fans also sent death threats to Brit Courtney Barrasford, 15, after he retweeted one of her posts - just because she caught his attention.

Suddenly the O2's 11pm curfew takes on a militaristic tone.

"I hope I never have to experience so many upset children," says one worker, understood to be under treatment for PTSD.

Meanwhile "hundreds of fans" were desperately getting rid of tickets for future shows, "fearing" a repeat.

Unsurprisingly the end of the article begins to question the state of mind of Bieber, the dear leader who seems to have turned on his own people and caused all this distress.

But it definitely doesn't help that he's been seen out and about wearing a gas mask.

Your Letters

17:23 UK time, Tuesday, 5 March 2013

I'm sure you're doing this on purpose now: Father Wang talking about celibacy
Basil Long, Nottingham

Maybe this is picky but doesn't 'all time high' suggest that previous levels have been surpassed rather than returned to?I'll get my portfolio
Paul, Ipswich

Re: this story, Hollywood fails yet again.
Dec, Belfast

Three stories in the "most read" about Justin Beiber? Really? Come on, own up. How many of you are thirteen year old girls?
Clare Slater, Guildford, UK

Can comedians ever be taken seriously as politicians? Why not? Boris Johnson seems to have done it.
Rob Falconer, Llandough, Wales

Paper Monitor

11:00 UK time, Tuesday, 5 March 2013

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

A special time-shifting service today.

Welcome to what Paper Monitor would have said on Tuesday about Tuesday's papers if we'd had Wednesday's papers.

It would have been only fair to comment on the pessimism of the Daily Mirror's weather predictions.

They predicted a mere 16C peak but Trawsgoed near Aberystwyth was basking in a positively Saharan 17.5C. Scorchio.

But the most important story in Tuesday's papers was the return of Batman.

"A real-life Batman delivered a crime-fighting KAPOW when he dragged a wanted suspect into a police station", exclaimed the Daily Express.

"Holy smoke, Batman... this is Bradford, not Gotham City!" ran the Daily Mail's headline.

The Sun opted for "Batman and Robbin'". Slightly more elegant than Metro's "Fatman and Robbing".

The "villain" was variously described as being "dragged" (Mail and Express), "collared" (Express), and "marched" (Sun) into the station before the Bradford Batman suddenly "disappeared into the night" (Express).

What great amusement all round.

And such a shame that by Wednesday's papers the mundane truth had surfaced.

Batman is a Chinese take-away delivery driver. He'd been asked by the wanted "villain" - actually a close friend - to drop him off at the police station after he returned from watching the Capital One Cup Final.

He told the Daily Telegraph:

"I told him as soon as I was home I would run him to Bradford central police station. We got back about 1am, and I picked Danny up in a minibus at 1.30am.

"I'd had a lot to drink and it was a great day out."

Surely something is amiss here.

Your Letters

14:59 UK time, Monday, 4 March 2013

Near perfect example of nominative determinism here.
Angus Gafraidh, London, UK

That costume's looking a bit tight. Looks like he's had a bit too much for dinner, dinner, dinner, dinner, din... oh, I'll get my cape.
M Kelly, Stockport

What do you mean "A man dressed as the caped crusader Batman"??!! Clearly that *is* Batman. I don't know, the cynicism around here...
Simon, Cambridge, UK

My money is on it being Del-Boy!
Colin Main, Berkhamsted, UK

The irony in this story is so beautiful - you just couldn't make it up...
Martin, Hemel Hempstead, UK

Quote from Paper Monitor "Oh well, maybe they deliver The Racing Post to the King Edward VII hospital..." Do they call it the menu?
Paul Robinson, York, UK

Paper Monitor

12:21 UK time, Monday, 4 March 2013

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Paper Monitor obviously wishes the Queen a speedy recovery from gastroenteritis, or as The Mirror puts it rather oddly, "Get well Maj".

One does wonder how "Maj" will greet the coverage of her illness (and it's safe to say she's got a bit more time on her hands to read the papers right now).

Because it's the Queen who's ill, any off-colour jokes about stomach bugs - which would have kept tabloid headline writers happy for hours if, say, David Cameron, had been laid low - are off.

"Her Majesty the Queasy" is about as near as we get from The Sun.

Other papers play up the Queen's sangfroid in the face of adversity, presenting the unpleasantness as a case of Keep Calm And Cancel Lunch With The Italian President. As The Daily Mail puts it:

Stoicism is what she is known for - and even as the Queen was taken to hospital for the first time in a decade last night, she insisted that there must be 'no fuss'.

The bit about "no fuss" hasn't quite percolated through to the Mail, which follows through with three full pages on the Queen's illness, including the inevitable "What is gastroenteritis?" fact box and half a page from the resident royal commentator.

Two other pieces of trivia emerge from this morning. The first is the reassuring fact that the Queen is being guarded at her hospital by Britain's tallest policeman - 7ft 2in tall Anthony Wallyn.

And the second? According to The Daily Star, the Duchess of Cambridge is related to Chris "Lady in Red" de Burgh. (Paper Monitor never said it was a GOOD piece of trivia.)

Oh well, maybe they deliver The Racing Post to the King Edward VII hospital...

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