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Last Updated: Friday, 17 June, 2005, 16:20 GMT 17:20 UK
The Magazine Monitor


Welcome to The Magazine Monitor, the home for many ever-popular features, including your letters and :

  • MON: Si's riddle
  • WEDS: Punorama
  • THURS: Caption comp
  • FRI: Friday Objective
  • SAT: 10 things we didn't know this time last week


    10 THINGS
    10 jackets by Tony Janes

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

    1. Deep Throat is reportedly the most profitable film ever. It was made for $25,000 (13,700) and has grossed more than $600m.

    2. Antony Worrall-Thompson swam the English Channel in his youth.

    3. The Pyruvate Scale measures pungency in onions and garlic. It's named for the acid in onions which makes cooks cry when cutting them.

    4. Since joining the EU, more than 98,000 Poles have signed the government's register of migrant workers, according to the Home Office.

    5. In 1975, Bill Oddie was the fourth best-selling chart songwriter in the UK.

    6. Hypothermia can make you feel you're too warm.

    7. Christopher Eccleston told Top Gear that he has only been driving for 14 months, and is only qualified to drive an automatic car.

    8. The Dalai Lama likes chocolate chip cookies and likes to meditate to a soundtrack of the BBC World Service.

    9. Status Quo say they can't remember much about playing at Live Aid, thanks to the excesses of rockers' lifestyle. "Apparently we were back on stage for the finale of Feed The World. I only know this because I've seen the film of it," said Francis Rossi.

    10. Toshiba is celebrating its 130th anniversary.

    If you spot anything that should be included next week, use the form below to tell us about it. Thanks this week to Simon Robinson and Karl Foster.

    Your e-mail address
    Your thing and where you saw it

    The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published. Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.


    Your mission should you choose to accept it...

    Lawyer Richard Phillips is today the subject of news reports after he sent an e-mail to a secretary in his firm asking her for 4 for the dry cleaning of his trousers. The secretary, Jenny Amner, had reportedly spilt tomato ketchup on his trousers. The e-mail found its way to others in the firm, then their friends, then the wider world, and finally into the news.

    Whatever the details of the case - and Mr Phillips is saying nothing - it's yet another case in a long line of incidents when an e-mail has come back to haunt the sender. Think Claire Swire. Think any one of thousands of office workers who have hit "reply" instead of "forward". Think a permanent record of fleeting thoughts.

    Well this is your chance to set things straight. Take a real, or imaginary situation, of your own. Now construct a response e-mail - how would you justify yourself if you had just one opportunity to "REPlY ALL"? What would you say to those thousands of people who, without knowing you, have already formed judgements on you? Start your e-mail with: "Dear Everyone, Look I know it doesn't look good, BUT.........."

    Use the form on the right hand side of the page. The best will be posted here throughout Friday afternoon.

    Dear Everyone,
    Look I know it doesn't look good, BUT I was really angry at his treatment of me.....especially as I had covered his affair up with Pauline from the accounts dept. so well.
    Glenn J, UK

    Dear Everyone,
    Look I know it doesn't look good, BUT you can understand me thinking they were offering free prawn. How was I to know I'd misheard the offer?
    Adam, Nottingham

    Dear Everyone,
    Look I know it doesn't look good, BUT I can explain. You see, I was halfway through saying 'Bob from accounting is an Arsenal fan' when I accidently hit send.
    S Murray, Chester, UK

    Dear Everyone,
    Look I know it doesn't look good, BUT it was most unfortunate that I was forced to remove all my clothing at the office party last night in order to remove a hornet that had secreted itself in my underwear.
    Jeff, Halesowen, UK

    Dear Everyone,
    Look I know it doesn't look good, BUT the email I seem to have sent you all yesterday was intended for my five a side team. Therefore when i said that i was "thinkin of coming out, if only i can ditch the missus" I did in fact mean a swift half in the Bat and Ball, and not a complete change of sexual orientation as appears to have been the common miconception. Dawn, if you get this, Im sorry, (but just to let you know, the message you scratched into my car should be spelt ..NKER and not ..NKAR.) Thanks. Oh, PS. Big Dave, thanks for the reply email, but I'm afraid youll have to 'go it alone' after all.
    Minty, Midlothian

    Dear Everyone,
    Look, I know it doesn't look good, BUT I got this haircut for a bet. Having now received the fifteenth sarcastic email comment of the day, I have won all of your yearly bonuses from the boss, who foolishly bet me I wouldn't be able to get such a response. Now who's looking stupid!
    Ginger Mullet
    Andy Hewitt, London, UK

    Dear Boss (CC CEO, CIO, and CFO)
    I understand that you all recently received an email from me meant for the BBC magazine. When I complained that my bosses are "evil, loathsome men who should sent to prison not only for their horrible sense of style including those cringe-inducing tight pants, but also for their collective condescending attitudes and use of the word 'hon,'" I was referring to someone else.
    Ainy, Baltimore, US

    Dear Everyone,
    Look I know it doesn't look good, BUT..........Look into my eyes, right into my eyes, not arround the eyes look into the eyes, you're under. You will all hit the "delete" button on that last e-mail and forget it was ever sent. three two one..... you're back in the room. Oh damn..... look in to my eyes, right into my eyes, not around the eyes, look in to my eyes. You will also delete THIS e-mail and forget about it.....three two one...you're back in the room"
    Angharad, Brixton, London

    Dear Everyone,
    Look I know it doesn't look good, BUT... It wasn't actually the Prince, and we knew what was going on all the time, and it wasn't a real bomb anyway.
    Kieran Boyle, Oxford, England

    Dear Everyone, Look, I know it doesn't look good, but I really do need your bank account details to transfer the $100 million dollars out of my Nigerian account by the end of today. Thanks.
    Brian Saxby, Gateshead, UK


    Letters logo
    Although I've never actually been to Britain (or closer than Montreal for that matter), I got 14 right on your citizenship test (Quiz: Can you pass a citizenship test?, 16 June). May I have my passport now?
    Calgary, Canada

    Having suffered the disgrace of being a qualified electrician and getting your question on electricity supply wrong, I feel I should put the record straight. According to the 16th edition wiring regulations, electricity is delivered at 230 volts RMS (root mean square) with a tolerance of plus or minus 6%. Therefore both the 220 volt and 240 volt answers are right. It used to be 240 volts, but money was saved by reducing the voltage. This is a standard across Europe thanks to EU legislation. Most equipment is marked up for 220-240 volt usage, probably because there's so much confusion over the real figure.
    John Airey,
    Peterborough, UK

    Surely only one question is needed to sort the true anglophiles from the imposters: "How do you get to Mornington Crescent ?"

    Whilst I enjoy the Daily Mini-Quiz, I can't help feeling the results are a little pointless. Today for instance you tell us that over half of respondents wrongly answered that Stan would have been 105, but you fail to tell us how many of us actually got it right. It's like spending all of the day after the election telling us that Lib Dems now have 62 MPs but without telling us how many Labour have.
    Christian B,
    Truro, UK

    Jonathan's comment on the alternative spellings of 'gay' seem pretty gay to me.
    Derbyshire, UK

    For the Queen's iPod playlist, perhaps 'Theme from ER'?
    New Jersey, US


    It's time for the caption competition.

    This week, actor David Schwimmer poses with Melman the Giraffe, the character he voices in the new animated film Madagascar.

    6. Jonathan Millar, N Ireland
    "What giraffe?"

    5. James Castle, Welwyn Garden City, UK
    "Another novelty tie? Auntie, you shouldn't have, no really..."

    4. Dave Appleby, UK
    The one with the Inappropriate Neckwear

    3. Jonathan Garland, UK
    Rod Hull's protege surprised everyone.

    2. Mark Hawkins, E Sussex
    Deep Throat is finally revealed.

    1. Lucy, UK and Wei, London
    "WE WERE ON A BREAK...!"


    Newspapers logo
    A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.
    Today's front pages

    The Sun gleefully reports that the Queen has got an iPod. Based on information from "a royal insider", it tells that Her Majesty sent "a flunky" to the Apple store in Regent Street who allegedly asked for a discount.

    Sun front page
    Displaying an easy fluency with the ways of technology, the paper reports: "Songs can be downloaded free of charge from the Queen's own CD collection using a personal computer."

    It adds a line from a "royal observer" saying: "Her Majesty and the rest of the Royal family are used to being waited on hand and foot and having everything done for them... So I'd say it is highly unlikely that the Queen would actually do any of the downloading on to the iPod herself."

    And of course there is the now obligatory playlist suggestions: One (U2), Elizabeth My Dear (Stone Roses), Common People (Pulp) and - showing signs of desperation - the Jam's A Town Called Palace.

    FRIDAY 17 JUNE 2005

    In Thursday's Mini-Quiz on the Magazine index, 50.27% of you thought that Stan Laurel would have been 105. In fact he would have been 115. Today's Mini-Quiz is on the index now.


    Letters logo
    Your story about Coldplay ( X&Y Coldplay album tops US chart, 16 June) states that X&Y is the second fastest selling album since records began in the late 1990s. I can remember buying singles in the 70s and albums in the 80s, and my parents assure me they were available long before then. Or am I missing something?

    Today's Quote of the Day is about Todd Christian, the Human Cannonball, being fired. So has he still got a job or not?
    Helsinki, Finland

    Since taking Tim from London's advice about answering the Daily Mini-Quiz, my success rate seems to have gone downhill. It isn't always "b".
    Ed Loach,
    Clacton, UK

    Just a note to say that I have been enjoying Alan Connor's Weblog Watch column over the past few weeks, particularly since I do not have the inclination or the time to spend reading loads of rubbish blogs. If Alan is prepared to do the dirty work for us, good on him.
    Bryan Jeffreys,

    What's happening with Going Postal? Are you going to file a lost item claim?
    Jessica Gregory,
    Llandeilo, UK

    Re: the debate about the word "gay". Whenever I have seen someone write it in the sense of being uncool or bad, it's usually spelt "ghaye" or "gaye".
    Bedford, England

    Regarding previous letters about the whearabouts of baby pigeons, I thought everyone knew that the pigeons we are accustomed to seeing ARE baby pigeons. Fully grown pigeons are ferocious beasts with a wingspan of some 30 meters and a body the size of a family car. Interestingly, it is these adult pigeons that seem so good at remaining hidden from view.....
    Barry Taylor,
    Fleetwood, Lancs


    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.

    This week, it's the story that a life-size chocolate statue of Sir Elton John has been unveiled at Madame Tussauds in London.

    Here's the judges' verdict.

    A chocolate box-style array of entries this week - quite rightly putting the "He Beat It" effort by Fleet St earlier this week to shame.

    Choc-it man, says Alison Tunks, UK. Song for Guylian, says Ian Cummings, England. Cadbury Knight's All Right (For Biting) says Geoffrey Scott-Baker, UK, with particular respect for brackets.

    It's a little bit runny..., says Elaine O'Neill, England. Don't let the sun beat down on me - I'm M-Elton says Jo French, which regular Punorama wit Maggie builds upon with Sir Melt an' Gone.

    James Fidler is assiduous in his duty by pointing out that no-one should use "Crocadile Choc", since that was used by the Metro newspaper. Anthony Finucan, Ireland, finesses it with Chocodile Rock, which is very acceptable to us.

    But even better - and the winner this week of huge box of expensive Belgian chocolate which she will have to buy for herself - is Anna in Herts: Chocophile Rock.


    Newspapers logo
    A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.
    Today's front pages

    Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has warned the media that it is "lethally damaging" and that it too often invades people's privacy under the guise of acting in the public interest. He has a go at newspapers, broadcasters, and also weblogs. So what do the papers make of this?

    The Guardian is generally supportive, but says the notoriously reporter-shy cleric should "talk about it with journalists more often...not just at them".

    Rowan Williams
    The Telegraph is slightly more pointed, saying "Dr Williams is clever man, and a good one, but, unlike the press, he does not present matters in black and white. The founder of Christianity spoke in simple parables but then he was a carpenter by trade, not a theologian."

    The Sun, though, is outwardly hostile: "What is the point of the Archbishop of Canterbury," it asks. "When three hospitals banned the Bible in case it offended non-Christians, he didn't utter a word...But suddenly he finds his voice to attack the media."

    And how does the Times report the speech? Relegating the criticisms of newspapers, it says "Archbishop hits out at web-based media 'nonsense'...for 'paranoid fantasy, self-indulgent nonsense and dangerous bigotry'." No cynicism there, then. And, presumably full details available on Times Online.


    In Wednesday's Daily Mini-Quiz (formerly known as the Daily News Question), 61% of you correctly identified the abolition of slavery as being the event which was not compared to Michael Jackson's acquittal on the singer's website. Thursday's Mini-Quiz is on the index now.


    Letters logo
    With regard to baby pigeons If you'd ever seen one, you'd understand why it's better they stay hidden. My friend had a pigeon's nest on her balcony in Bath. I quite like pigeons on the whole, but the baby pigeons were grey and pink, and I'm sorry to say, fairly ugly.
    Angharad Beurle-Williams,
    Brixton, London

    John Birch is mistaken. The word "gay" has come to mean anything that is bad or uncool. But that is simply an extension of its use as a insult relating to sexuality. It now brands situations, clothes etc, and not just people, as being bad because they're homosexual. It has merely evolved from a personal insult (calling the kid who doesn't fit in "gay") to a more general term.
    Brighton, UK

    Re John Birch's letter in the Monitor about his son's use of the word gay to mean something uncool. When I was young, the word gay had none of these offensive connotations that young people are giving it. Instead - and this might seem amazing to people like John's son - it meant homosexual. How times change!
    Clive Gibson,

    I almost hesitate to point this out, but Slate magazine's headline today is 'He Beat It' (see Tuesday's Paper Monitor below). I say I hesitate because if I'm not careful this will turn into a Hebeatitwatch, and that just looks weird.
    Helen Ward,

    If LS Lowry's sketch "Standing Figures" is a depiction of John Lennon, then he had remarkable foresight. In 1964, when the sketch was executed, John Lennon still had fairly short hair; the 1965 film "HELP!" bears witness to this.
    Kelly Mouser,
    Upminster, Essex

    Your report that Microsoft are planning on releasing an anti-virus and security subscription software. Seeing as I can't trust Microsoft to provide me with a secure operating system (or patches that don't mess up my computer), I'm afraid I cannot trust them to provide me with an anti virus service!
    Gordon Lawrence,
    Cambridge, UK

    Re, the daily news question, do you have a link to MJ's site where his acquittal is compared to the fall of the Berlin Wall? I have to see that one for myself!
    Bristol, UK

    It's http://mjjsource.com
    (The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.)

    In Letters below, anonymous stated "the indigenous people *in the UK* are the Celts, Picts, etc." I disagree with, the Celts and Picts along with the Jutes, Saxons, Romans, Normans etc. were all invaders, the ancient Brits had it pretty rough.
    Mal Walker,
    Adelaide, Australia


    Newspapers logo
    A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.
    Today's front pages

    The experiences of French journalist Florence Aubenas, released after five months as a hostage in Iraq, are undoubtedly disturbing. But the Times notes some faintly absurd moments during her captivity, relayed by Mme Aubenas in a press conference yesterday. During the making of recordings by her captors, the reporter was ordered to say she was ill and depressed and to cry. "The man overseeing this would get me to repeat it 20 times, and say 'You're not doing it right. I'm wasting my afternoons with you here'." On another occasion, she laughed at her captors' plans only to be told "You're a rubbish hostage. You don't know anything." On the day of her release, her guards gave her presents - two rings and a bottle of perfume, then served her tea and roast chicken.

    Elsewhere in the papers, the Jackson fiesta goes on, albeit mostly on the inside pages. The Daily Telegraph's pop critic Neil McCormick notes that Michael Jackson - "among the greatest self-dramatists in the history of pop" - is certain to use his acquittal as a springboard for a comeback. He assesses the options - an "unplugged" album of his hits, a reunion with Thriller producer Quincey Jones, or teaming up with a new, cutting edge producer. But Jackson's acquittal is also his fans acquittal, says McCormick, noting that it "gives all the 50 million who bought Thriller and the tens of millions who have danced to his hits the right to listen to those records again".


    Apologies for the fact that yesterday's question was disrupted by technical problems. A new daily news question is on today's Magazine index


    Every week, usually on a Monday, Si sets a riddle for you to puzzle over.

    Pieces of Eight

    Pets also bite real cats. Torn into pure crime hub, a sincere ill hides firm clue.

    Your answer should be two words.

    Submit your answer using the form below.

    Your e-mail address
    Town/city and country

    The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published. Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.

    Last week's riddle was called Odds and Ends and gave you these words SHOT DRIED ABORT AND SCALE ACID ME HEEL CLAD NEGLECT NOT SICK ACRES.

    The solution was to follow the first part of the title, taking odd letters gives: SO DID BRAD CLAIM HE CAN GET OSCARS. Then, as the second part of the title suggests, taking the last letters of the derived sentence spells ODDMENTS linking back to the title.

    Loads of entrants asked if Brad claimed he could get Oscars. But not so many took the final step - Jo Cordy of Leeds was one of those who did. Congratulations.


    With regard to Graeme's question about where do birds go to die, generally when ill they'll take shelter in hedgerows or other dense vegetation. Nature disposes of corpses very quickly through insects, or by scavengers such as members of the crow family, foxes etc.

    Birds intentionally seek secluded places in which to die. They are then either discovered and eaten by other animals or left undiscovered to rot. The only other explanation is that birds are secretly immortal.
    Morgan Wolf,
    Winchester, UK

    Following on from Graeme's question on where pigeons go to die, where do baby pigeons come from? I've only ever seen them in the movie Big Foot and the Hendersons.
    John Airey,
    Peterborough, UK

    As someone who works with teenagers a lot - and has a teenage daughter - I was surprised to see the omission in your lexicon of teen speak of a word that comes up all the time: "gay". Something that is "gay" is uncool, unfashionable or, simply something that does not work properly. A mistake by a referee can be "gay" if he gets it wrong - especially if it is a stupid or obvious error. It's rarely applied to people, but if it is it normally means a person who is uncool, or someone who doesn't fit in. It has nothing to do with sexuality whatsoever.
    John Birch,
    Letchworth, England

    Hang about, didn't JG Ballard invent spray on mud in his novel Millennium People? I hope life is only imitating art here.

    Re Quote of the day, if I follow the BBC's advice, and stay off the internet, how will I be able to check whether you have published this letter?
    London, UK

    Your piece today Home from home states "Hundreds of cultures live in the UK, among them a few indigenous people." It then refers to an Australian aborigine, a Native American Indian, and a Chilean Mapuche being in UK. But doesn't that, by definition, make them NON-indigenous? Being indigenous means belonging to the original inhabitants of the country one is in. Thus the indigenous people *in the UK* are the Celts, Picts, etc.


    Newspapers logo
    A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.
    Today's front pages

    A strange piece of synchronicity today on reporting the Jackson verdict. "HE BEAT IT!" screams the Mirror. And, strangely, "HE BEAT IT!" screams the Sun. Paper Monitor is sure that Punorama devotees could have done better - and wonders just how many song titles might have been lined up by the papers for headlines if things hadn't gone Jackson's way.

    Meanwhile, with England's victory over Australia yesterday it feels a bit like a News Carnival - one of those days when there's too much good stuff to fit into the papers. And everyone joins in the revelling at the Australian discomfort. "THRASHES" goes the Sun. "YOU SHEILAS" chimes the Mirror. "Warning: Readers are advised to enjoy this headline to the full. It is unlikely to be repeated this summer... Australia 79 all out" muses the Telegraph.


    In Monday's Daily News Question on the Magazine index, 67% of you thought that three-quarters of men would be obese or overweight by 2010, according to predictions from Men's Health Magazine. Tuesday's question is published now. (Apologies for delay - technical problems.)


    Letters logo

    In your 10 things we didn't know this time last week feature you state that the idea of road pricing was first proposed in 1964. Actually it was first proposed/mooted by Prof A. Pigou of Cambridge University in a book entitled 'Economics of Welfare' published sometime in the 1920s.
    Alan Collins,

    In 10 Things, you mention that most small UK birds live 2-3 years. This question has been bugging me since I was a kid, and I hope other Monitor readers can help out. Where do birds go to die? Any remains I find seem to be unfortunate victims of car bumpers, cats, or windows. Yet there are millions of pigeons in my town, and I've yet to see a dead one.

    RE: Martha Yuill reads the news, 10 June. I used to read the news on a local radio station and it really is not as easy at it would appear. Making it sound as though you know what you're talking about it pretty tough, pacing your speech so that people actually understand what you're saying and not speeeding up to normal converstion rate is a challenge too. You also have to make sure your tone of voice is just right: appearing concerned when you really couldn't care less, without sounding contrived is a difficult task. And, as with most things, it's a lot harder when you know there's a few thousand people listening to/watching you! Having said that, 110,000 would be nice.

    I am so grateful for your E-cyclopedia article on Teenspeak, 10 June. I can now communicate with my 14-year-old son, albeit for only a day or so until the words all change again. On second thoughts, maybe ignorance is bliss.
    Ann C,

    You forgot to include the word "Jamster" meaning annoying, as in "She was being well Jamster".


    Our ongoing interactive test of the Royal Mail's next-day delivery.

    No news.


    Newspapers logo
    A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.
    Today's front pages

    So what to make of Doctor Who after the weekend's much anticipated revelation with Bad Wolf? Reviewer Sam Wollaston in the Guardian is surprised that the episode's vision of reality TV gone mad (Big Brother housemates are disintegrated, Call My Bluff is played with real guns, Ground Force losers get turned into compost) will take place in the year 202005 and not, presumably, some time over the summer.

    In the same paper, Russell T Davies - the evil genius behind the Doctor's revival - writes that the success of the programme has taken even him by surprise.

    "I never expected any of this to work," he writes. "I'd watch rushes of Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper being so very, very, excellent and feel sad that all this hard work would be relegated to a Friday at midnight by week seven. But somehow, it seems to have worked."

    Other snippets which may interest Monitor readers: Willo the Wisp is being remade (Evil Edna will become digital widescreen - "A hundred new channels! A hundred new ways to be evil!") and John Simpson whistles along with the Crazy Frog advert.


    In Friday's Daily News Question, 67% of you thought that London was the least neighbourly part of the country. In fact the answer, according to a survey by Halifax, was the North East. Monday's question is on the index now.

    (Si's riddle will, we hope, appear on Tuesday.)

  • Send your letters to the Magazine Monitor
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