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Last Updated: Friday, 13 August, 2004, 17:34 GMT 18:34 UK
The Magazine Monitor

MON: Si's riddle of the week
TUES: Good articles on the web
WEDS: The return of Punorama
THURS: Caption competition
FRI: Caption comp winners
FRI: The Friday Challenge
SAT: 10 things we didn't know
Welcome to The Magazine Monitor, the new all-on-one-page home for some of our most popular features, including the Caption Comp, 10 Things, and your letters. The Monitor is updated every weekday, with new stuff at the top.


10 arches in Salisbury Cathedral by Kenneth Pantling

Snippets harvested from the week's news, chopped, sliced and diced for your weekend convenience.

1. Laurel and Hardy spoke German - enough at least to get through a 40-minute film, Spuk um Mitternacht (Spook at Midnight), which premiered in 1931. The duo were billed as Dick and Doof.

2. African-Americans in the US, if considered as a separate country, would rank 11th in the world by gross national product.

3. Pink was a boy's colour while blue was thought better for girls - a "generally accepted rule" according to The Ladies Home Journal in 1918, which described pink as "more decided and stronger" while blue was "more delicate and dainty".

If you're in the UK, you can see 10 Things at the weekend on Ceefax, page 129 and also on cable, satellite and Freeview
4. Not unlike adolescent boys, the Tyrannosaurus Rex achieved his huge size through a growth spurt in their teenage years. Scientists found the quite large dinosaur gained an average of 2.07kg a day between the ages of 14 and 18.

5. The first sponsor of the Olympics, starting the trend at the 1928 Amsterdam games, was Coca-Cola.

6. Launching a mid-Atlantic rescue - the sort which helped save the crew of the Pink Lady - from the UK costs about 120,000,

7. The colour pink gets its name from the jagged-edged dianthus flower, commonly known as a pink, which in turn got its nickname from pinking shears, those serrated scissors used by seamstresses.

8. Liverpool, a city once synonymous with unemployment, is now facing a labour shortage. Under the banner "Give us back your Scousers" it wants workers who left in more troubled times to return.

9. Sir David Frost is the only interviewer to have quizzed all of the past six British prime ministers and the past seven US presidents.

10. Digital radios started outselling analogue models in the last quarter of 2003.

If you see something you think should be included next week, let us know using the form below. Thanks to Bryce Cooke.

Your e-mail address

Disclaimer: The BBC may edit your comments and cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published.


Should you choose to accept it...

Tony and Cherie Blair are on their summer hols. They're in Greece for the opening of the Olympics, and will then go to their beloved Tuscany.

San Gimignano poster
A poster in San Gimignano, helpfully printed in English
One of the attractions they may be tempted by in the ancient walled town of San Gimignano, near where they will be staying, is billed as "The most ancient spice pharmacy in Tuscany".

That's some considerable promotional effort - who knows what other, newer, spice pharmacies you could find? Or old pharmacies in Tuscany but not - crucially - spice pharmacies? And that's not promising that there might be even more ancient spice pharmacies elsewhere in Italy outside Tuscany.

So tempting suggestions, please, for attractions near you, in as exciting terms as possible without being misleading. The tallest collection of yellow cranes currently moving in East Kent (outside Dover), perhaps. Or the High Street in Northamptonshire with the largest number of former estate agents which are now used as charity shops .

The most irresistible suggestions will be added here throughout the afternoon. (Entries now closed.)

Your suggestions:

Buckfastleigh, Devon - the longest place name in the UK with no repeated letters, closely followed by Barnoldswick, Yorkshire

Portsmouth - Home of the demolition site where Europe's ugliest building once stood.

Visit Stoke on Trent, it's almost exactly half way between Manchester and Birmingham.
Gareth Edwards

Come back to Massachusetts - known the world over for inspiring more hits by the Bee Gees than any other state!

Visit Manchester - with the lowest density of resident Manchester United supporters in the UK, perhaps the world.

Wigan, the home of the only pier in the country that is nowhere near the sea (excluding Southport of course)

Visit London and experience the longest queue for a Ferris wheel anywhere in the world.
Amy, London

Visit Hartlepool - with more nuclear power stations per head of population than anywhere else in the Cleveland area. Also with more heads per head of population than anywhere else in the Cleveland area.
Barry Sewell

Imperial Britain, with more square inches per square mile than anything those metric foreigners can come up with.

My desirable desk space has a fantastic view of the last working power station in Oxfordshire.
Sarah Durham

Coventry, for the greatest number of historic and interesting old buildings in Coventry.

Visit England, with the highest concentration of Morris Dancers per capita, anywhere in the World!
John C

The largest density of foreign schoolchildren per square mile in the whole of the UK.
Andrew Collyer, Covent Garden

Morecambe - the town with the most rails of crimplene clothes for sale on the promenade.
Janet Bunting

Visit the UK's largest outdoor exhibition of static motorised vehicles. Vehicles of all makes and models on display every day. Free Entry. (The M25).

YOUR LETTERS Fri 13 Aug 1215 BST

Re:The terms they are a-changin', 11 August. The word 'gay' has not been assimilated into the language - sitting near the back of any bus full of school children around quarter to four in the afternoon, you will hear it used as a common term of abuse, similar to the word many people will have been familiar with when they were at school, "poof", but with a wider field of meaning. The word has taken the opposite trajectory to "queer".
Mark, London


Winning entries in The Magazine's caption competition. Nothing's changed about it, except that it is now part of the Magazine Monitor.

This week, what's going on when a Canadian bomb detection dog and his handler prepare a Toronto bookstore for the visit of former US President Bill Clinton?

6.Paul Johnson, UK
Pup fiction

5.Rowan Madsen, UK
Publishers forced to admit that the book is not dynamite

4.Michael Fotios, England
Best smeller

3.Rod MacLeod, Edinburgh
Fido: Look! There's that guy Buddy used to walk!

2.David Carr, US
His master's vice

1.Kevin Riggs, UK
"I'm not reading that! I age seven times as fast as you!"

YOUR LETTERS Weds 11 Aug 1200BST

Has anyone else noticed that Nick Sydney's makeup job (Many years from now, 10 August) leaves him looking alarmingly like William Hague?

YOUR LETTERS Weds 11 Aug 1200 BST

So Budapest has followed Paris' lead and has a fake beach too. When will London get one? Where will it be? Battersea? Dartford? Or how about Blackwall, near the defunct dome? Answers on a postcard please.
Ann Cooper

READING LIST Tues 10 Aug 1300 BST

Things worth reading on other websites.

  • The fear among many TV and film companies of net users swapping files of their shows in a Napster stylee - Must Download TV in Salon Magazine
  • A new way to foil car thieves in Australia - spraying thousands of dots no bigger than a grain of sand which contain ownership details: Spot on solutions for car thefts from Wired
  • How many people need to know who you are before you can be considered famous? Danny O'Brien ponders in his weblog Oblomovka

    (Send your suggestions for the Reading List using the form on the right of the page. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites.)

    YOUR LETTERS Tues 10 Aug

    Re: Pupils taught to speak 'properly', 9 August: Is it just me, or does the new handbook, "The Grammar of Talk" have a grammatically incorrect title?
    Andy Hewitt

    YOUR LETTERS Mon 1500

    In Grin and Bare It, 9 August, British Naturism "boasts that its own membership is up 20% over the last five years". Easy, tiger!


    Each week Lunchtime Bonus Question colossus Si is going to pose a riddle for you to puzzle over. The answer, and winner, will be revealed next Monday. Enter using the form below.

    A French Connection?
    Who is somewhat topically missing from the passage below?

    "Which brand would you like?" asked the salesman.
    "Has to be CK", Hamish replied.
    "Calvin Klein? Good choice."
    "How much do I owe now?"
    "10 for the lamp - Arden & Co. let me practically give it away! 25 for the aftershave and 15p for the biro - one young chap bought 50 the other day would you believe!"
    "Back in Galloway, they are just 10p."
    "That is nothing but an evil legend!"
    "How dare you! I'd like to speak to your manager, R. Arden, is he around?"
    "He's not in yet, the roads can be quite a jam, especially at this time of day."
    "Get him to call me. Here's my contact number at the camp", bellowed Hamish.

    Your e-mail address

    Disclaimer: The BBC may edit your comments and cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published.


    The Magazine Monitor has several of our most popular features, all on one page. Throughout the week, new items are added at the top of the page, with a note of when they were added.

    Among the items you will find here are the Caption Competition, the Friday Challenge, and 10 Things We Didn't Know This Time Last Week. Your letters, which we previously published in The Last Word, will now be added here each weekday. The Lunchtime Bonus Question will continue as normal.

    You can contact us using the form on the right hand side of the page.

    At the bottom of each item is "Link to this item" - this will give you a URL in your browser which you can use to link exactly to that item, wherever it is on the page.

    At the start of each week, we will start a new page. The previous week's entries will still be found via our search engine.

    The Magazine Monitor will always be found on the Magazine index, which you can bookmark using the address bbc.co.uk/magazine.

  • Contact The Magazine Monitor
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    Disclaimer: The BBC may edit your comments and cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published.


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