Welcome to The Magazine Monitor, the 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 THINGS WE DIDN'T KNOW THIS TIME LAST WEEK
Snippets harvested from the week's news, chopped, sliced and diced for your weekend convenience.
1. Tony Benn has erected a plaque outside his London home in honour of his late wife Caroline. It's red, not the more conventional blue.
2. Elton John doesn't have a computer and doesn't send e-mails.
3. Boris Johnson's full name is Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.
4. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was taught by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's father.
5. People in the UK live an average of 29 miles away from a radioactive waste dump.
6. Indian households in the UK are more likely to be owner-occupiers than any other group.
7. The New York Times refers to singer Meat Loaf as Mr Loaf.
8. UK scientists have developed a clock which ticks 1000,000 billion times a second. Technically that's a quadrillion.
9. Until this week divorce was still illegal in Chile.
10. Over a year , the cumulative time spent picking up pillows after passengers have disembarked costs almost £500 per plane. American Airlines plans to save £320,000 a year by scrapping pillows from almost half its fleet.
FRIDAY CHALLENGE FRIDAY 19 NOVEMBER 1330GMT
Your mission, should you choose to accept it...
Bill Clinton has marked his eight years at the White House by opening a library. No surprises there. Every ex-American leader is honoured with a presidential library, given the associations with intellect, scholarship and hard work.
By the same token, would a long-serving dustmen be rewarded with a commemorative landfill site, or an industrious call-centre operator be remembered by a dedicated call box?
What sort of building would you like to see erected in honour of your last job, and why?
How about a prison cell for the school years?
Josh D, Leicstershire, UK
As I was an archaeologist in a previous job, I would like to see a building demolished in honour and covered in dirt
malcolm, Warsaw, Poland
A giant, working, interactive portaloo, so everybody can have hands-on experience cleaning it
J Bright, London UK
To commemorate my outstanding career a leading PR professional I would like to see a huge monument erected in my honour made of male bovine droppings.
David M, UK
Probably a key ring factory, as I am likely to get sacked because of the amount of time I'm wasting doing the LBQ in a quest for a key ring.
Michael Walmsley, leeds
A blood donation centre, I'm a taxman!!
A long serving MP could be commemorated by building a gasometer!
David Gorton, UK
Surely, our very best telephone call centre workers would be honoured with a dedicated phone box. Current trends would suggest that it should be located somewhere in Bombay.
Christian B, Truro, UK
An underground station as I am always being walked over.
Chris P, Shetland Islands
My last job was as a public affairs practitioner - a lobbyist; someone who seeks to influence others. I propose a brewery so that as many people as possible can be under the influence.
I am doctor who specialises in genito-urinary problems, specifically those problems related to pro-creation. Frankly any building being "erected" in my honour will mean a job well done.
Dr Alan Miller, Manchester, UK
I would like a large windmill covered in excrement, dedicated to my actions in the workplace.
Andrew Culley, Grantham, UK
A long pier, or, if you like, a boardwalk. To represent my time as a paper boy
Tony Sibley, Berkshire, UK
A dole office because despite much effort I'm unemployed.
A vast lake of water, with one handful removed to represent me.
any building with no outlook and low ceilings would commemorate my current situation nicely!
Anne R, UK
Maybe a folly: seems like a good idea on paper, looks quite good from afar but when you get up close serves no purpose.
Maria Waters, UK
A long, boring tunnel that people will be forced into and take six hours to cross, with the sole purpose of reaching the exit. I used to be in the Army.
Nik Papageorgiou, Bradford, UK
Entries now closed.
YOUR LETTERS FRIDAY 19 NOVEMBER 1230GMT
In a memo Prince Charles is alleged to have written: "What is it that makes everyone seem to think they are qualified to do things far beyond their technical capabilities?" Oh the irony...
Re. David Glover of Oxford's comments on 'Stiction' (Monitor letters, Monday). The preferred technique when I was learning my trade was to bang it hard on the leg of the table (while the owner wasn't looking of course), that way the drive started working long enough to remove the data, but was sufficiently damaged to ensure that a new one was needed thus reducing the likelihood of a return of the fault.
Interesting to see that in the Magazine's poll on who has lunch that fellow readers are very likely to take a break. This couldn't be because they completed the poll during lunch, could it?
Re: the hunt for the new 'x is the new y'. Private Eye's latest replacement for this type of phrase was recently started by one of their readers, who suggested sending in examples of the over-use of the word "solutions". So you could say, " 'Solutions' is the new 'x is the new y' "
"What X Did For Us" may be the new "X is the new Y". Thursday's BBC Four listings contain a programme called "What Leonard Cohen Did For Me", and when added to Adam Hart-Davis and Don Cruickshank's programmes (X=Romans, Tudors, Stuarts, Industrial Revolution or Victorians), I call it a trend.
Surely now hunt protesters are the new poll tax protesters?
So who's up for founding a satirical magazine called Exe and claiming that "Exe is the new Eye"?
The "new" debate is getting very old... The only problem is does that make 'Old' the new new ?
CAPTION COMPETITION FRIDAY 19 NOVEMBER 1230 GMT
Winning entries in this week's caption competition.
High jinks at this week's Kyushu Grand Sumo Tournament, as Hayateumi takes to the air after slapping down Buyuzan. But what's being said?
6. Stephen, Cardiff
Wait! I've dropped my contact lens, nobody move!
5. Glenn J, UK
The new advert for 'Agent Provocateur' did not quite grasp the imagination as previous ads had.
4. Mark Hawkins, East Sussex
Needles are sent flying at the Tokyo Knitting Circle meeting, when two members turn up similarly dressed.
3. Ian, UK
Right foot, yellow...
2. Chris K, UK
Yes! Your bum does look big in that.
1. Bob Spearing, Singapore
"Leave it Prezza, he's not worth it."
YOUR LETTERS THURSDAY 18 NOVEMBER 1200GMT
Another 'good' idea from the governemnt (Crackdown on school discipline, 18 November). You report: "This means all schools - including leading secondaries and selective grammars - would need to take in pupils expelled from other schools in their area." Does this not give you the option, if you're in a failing school, of getting expelled and hoping to get sent to a better one?
In the article about the celebrities (sic) chosen for the new I'm a Celebrity series ( Appleton tipped for jungle TV win, 17 November), you have a poll for who you want to win it? Without being crass, where's the option for "I don't care who wins as I'm sick of reality shows like this"?
To Stokey Sue, London, (Monitor letters, Wednesday). If you want to filter out listing sites when searching on Google, simply add "-waffle" to your search term. It works!
If x is the new y, where does this leave the Cartesian coordinate system?
Dave Godfrey, Swindon, UK
Is "suggest the new 'x is the new y'", the new LBQ?
St Samson-sur-Rance, France
YOUR LETTERS WEDNESDAY 17 NOVEMBER 1030GMT
The feature on search engines is interesting (Search wars - which is best, 12 November) but personally I'd award double points to any engine that screened out listing sites. For example if you look for the websites of companies selling a product on either Jeeves or Google the first page will consist entirely of third-rate commercial "shopping directories", which may or may not have links ot he sites you actually want.
In the Reading List, you recommended Dr Michael Fitzpatrick's article looking at comparisons between the government's anti-smoking campaign and the Nazis. You may also wish to read this Wikipedia article about Godwins' law. In mentioning comparisons with Nazi Germany in his first sentence it appears that Dr Fitzpatrick's argument has been made null and void before it was even begun.
And in reading the second part of Godwin's law, I have just realised that I myself have now also "lost".
The Oxford St Christmas lights this year (see picture seven in this CBBC Newsround picture gallery, 16 November). Am I missing something? I don't get it.
Oxford St, London, UK
Clive Gibson asks if Monitor readers should suggest a new formulation of the old "comedy is the new rock and roll" cliche, with a view to getting cited in Private Eye. Doesn't he realise, though, that looking for "the new 'x is the new y'" is the new Googlewhack?
PUNORAMA WEDNESDAY 17 NOVEMBER 0950GMT
It's time for Punorama, our pun-writing competition.
The rules are straightforward - we choose a story which has been in the news, and invite you to create an original punning headline for it. Originality is what counts.
So set your phasers to pun on the story about a Florida woman who was offered £11,000 for 10-year-old toasted cheese sandwich which has an image of the Virgin Mary burned into it.
Here is the judges' verdict.
There were a number of contorted concotions, but for us simplicity always stands out. Bread of heaven, said John, Waterloo. In bread with Madonna, said Martin. Toast makes bread said Dave Regan, sidestepping the obvious.
The temptation to be blasphemous is one we will resist (not least because of BBC Producer Guidelines), though we might just allow Geoffrey Scott-Baker, UK, with Cheeses crust!, but on double pun grounds alone.
The starting point for many was the obvious - Father Son and Holy Toast. Maggie, UK, took it a stage further, though, and wins this week's round, with Palaver, sum, and holy toast.
(Entries are now closed.)
UPDATE TUESDAY 16 NOVEMBER 1600GMT
Keeping tabs on stories past.
Bad luck to Tony Pluckrose, a young boxer from Folkestone, Kent, who told us last month how the noble art had helped him go on the straight and narrow (Coming off the ropes, 14 October). He was last night the losing finalist in the reality show Boxing Academy on Five.
READING LIST TUESDAY 16 NOVEMBER 1400GMT
Good things to read on other websites.
An interesting tale from Slate magazine about the closure of a part of the AOL empire. Sounds like it might be a bit dull, but it certainly gives a perspective on the history of the web.
One addition to the debate on health and smoking, from Spiked - the similarities between the government's health education campaigns and Nazi Germany. Riiiiiight..... Includes classic line: "There are of course also striking differences between the Nazi and New Labour anti-smoking campaigns.. many of Germany's leading anti-tobacco activists were also war criminals." It's a point of view, nonetheless.
But it's not just text that's worth reading. Overcompensating is a daily weblog done in cartoons, and is worth a minute or two's inspection.
Send your suggestions for next week's Reading List, using the form on the right. But woe betide anyone who should forget that the BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites.
YOUR LETTERS TUESDAY 16 NOVEMBER 1345GMT
I was disappointed to note that the Magazine was not included in the last issue of Private Eye's 'neophile's corner' (where people are cited for using variations on the "comedy is the new black" cliche, eg "mountain-top tiddliwinks is the new extreme ironing"), especially after several appearances in the last few months. Should Monitor readers, perhaps, launch a hunt for the new 'x is the new y'?
Clive Gibson, UK
To Hector Runcible-Spoon (Monitor letters, Monday): the answer to your question lies in your L3 button. Hit this and your homies will hear you.
West Yorkshire, UK
With the new non-smoking legislation white paper, banning smoking in all enclosed places, will this mean that children are banned from smoking in the school toilets?
Howden, East Yorkshire
I'd love to add my comments to your survey article (Excuse me, what do you think of opinion polls?, 15 November) but I don't like completing polls and surveys so I won't. Oh, b*gger!
Re: Lard lovers face national crisis, 15 November. Couldn't we melt down a few of those obese schoolchildren that the government keeps harping on about?
Regarding Si Griffin's last puzzle: I was dissappointed not to see "Pile of false teeth?". The answer, of course, would have been "Massachusetts".
YOUR LETTERS MON 15 NOVEMBER 1315GMT
In 10 things we didn't know, you mentioned "Dog whistling" - the sending out of political messages in the knowledge that only those who the message is aimed at will hear them. One presumes Margaret Hodge (Lab, Barking), John Mann (Lab, Bassetlaw) David Cairns (Glasgow and Inverside) and David Blunkett Liam Fox (Con, Woodspring) are involved in some way?
Jill from Brentford is right - there's nothing worse than an unnecessary, redundant tautology.
Re: How to smash a home computer, 14 November. Putting a hard disk in a freezer *can* fix one particular problem called "stiction". This is when the read/write heads become stuck to the surface of the disk, as can sometimes happen if the disk has been off for a long time. Freezing the disk causes the metal inside to shrink slightly and can sometimes pull the heads free.
Strange but true.
Hit game taking over the streets, 12 November). You see I'm fresh to these new-fangled things and although I managed to bust the crack dealers with my metal-alloy bat, take out 31 homies with my AK, and pop a cap in Uncle Sam's ass, I can't for the life of me find the horn on my low-rider. Any ideas?
Hinton St. George
The Tories want to provide bursaries for people studying sciences at university (Tories' bursary plan for maths, 12 November). If higher debts aren't supposed to put people off higher education, how will lower debts attract them?
SI'S RIDDLE MONDAY 15 NOVEMBER 1200GMT
Each Monday Si sets a riddle for you to puzzle over. Send your answers using the form below.
What name completes the following set:
CASSY MATTHEW GUY STU SARAH THORA BRYAN ROY IAN SIMON WAYNE AMY
The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published. Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.
The answer to last week's riddle was MISSOURI, COLORADO, INDIANA, FLORIDA , KENTUCKY, ALASKA, MARYLAND, MAINE, VERMONT, OREGON, NEW HAMPSHIRE, IDAHO, DELAWARE, CONNECTICUT, MICHIGAN, TEXAS, WISCONSIN, NEW JERSEY, RHODE ISLAND, WASHINGTON.
The winner, chosen at random from the correct entries, was Louise Heale, UK.
Si is a contributor to the Puzzletome website.