Welcome to the Magazine Monitor, the home for:
- Daily Mini-Quiz results
- Paper Monitor
- Your letters
- Punorama (Weds)
- Caption Comp (Thurs)
- 10 things we didn't know (Sat)
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. Dogs with harelips can end up with two noses.
2. Gabardine is a rival to modern, synthetic mountaineering clothes - being lighter, hardwearing and water-resistant.
3. Nearly five times as many people commit suicide in Japan as die in traffic accidents. In the UK, adult deaths by suicide outstrip all road traffic deaths by about 60%.
4. Children inherit a taste for meat and fish but acquire a liking, or loathing, for vegetables.
5. Private individuals can buy up parts of the Moon thanks to a loophole in the 1967 United Nations Outer Space Treaty that simply forbade any government from claiming a celestial resource such as the Moon.
6. Parents of toddlers spend an average of £406 a year on their child's clothing.
7. John Cleese flies from his home in Los Angeles to London to visit his dentist.
8. Clitoris derives its name from the ancient Greek word kleitoris, meaning "little hill".
9. A domestic cat can frighten a black bear to climb a tree.
10. Wrinkles can determine whether a smoker is more likely to develop lung disease - those with wrinkles have a five times higher risk of disease than those with smooth skin.
(Sources, where none are cited: 5 - Daily Telegraph, 16 June; 7 - the Times, 12 June.)
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YOUR LETTERS FRIDAY 16 JUNE 1711 BST
I am a Brit living in the USA and a Daily Magazine Monitor visitor. Who on earth is Jade Goody?
p, Wayland, USA
I was so intrigued by Ray Lashley's letter, that I had to Google his name to see the Canadian singing cowboy. However his namesake is a Canadian poet cowboy - what a disappointment!
I suspect a conspiracy. Every time I look at the BBC's "most popular" page, traffic to the site is 5% below normal. I may not be good at statistics, but it can't always be 5% below normal. Has anyone seen it at any other amount?
Abigail Orr, Oxford, UK
Re your front page article "Major Shift on whaling looms" I think you'll find they're called "harpoons". I suppose you could try to weave a whale to death but it sounds very inefficient.
Bob Peters, Leeds, UK
Two articles, one subject, two opposing statements. In Keep the noise down it says:
"However, the current wording of the bill only applies to longer journeys - and wouldn't benefit the short-haul bus users being subjected to music emanating from these new phones."
...yet in Plan to ban muzak goes to Lords it says:
"It calls for background music and showing television programmes to be banned in public areas of hospitals and on all public transport journeys of less than 50 miles."
Which is it?
DS, Bromley, England
Has the Monitor taken over writing game by game summaries for the tennis? TRN? Quips about Daley Thompson? They must be a Monitor letter writer at least.
My dad received the following email from Amazon the other day:
"Greetings from Amazon.co.uk, We've noticed that customers who have purchased Flanimals by Ricky Gervais have also ordered The Suicide Factory: Abu Hamza and the Finsbury Park Mosque by Sean O'Neill."
Is there a new cult of Ricky Gervais fans with an interest in Islamic fundamentalists? Can we illustrate it with a picture of Gervais?
Angharad Beurle - Williams, Bath
On the subject of textonyms, I always liked one of my local pubs 'The Pear Tree' that always came up as 'The Rear Used' in my phone. Not a great idea when organising a first date.
CAPTION COMPETITION ***UPDATED*** FRIDAY 16 JUNE 1229 BST
It's time for the caption competition.
This week, former Big Brother housemate Jade Goody signs copies of her autobiography. But what's being said?
Here's the shortlist, in no particular order. Over to you to vote for the winning entry. Thanks to all who took part.
1. Valerie Falconer, Llandough, Wales
"My book examines the whole Orwellian concept of Big Brother, innit?"
2. Mike, Gloucester
Valerie Falconer 9.77%
Helene Parry 10.23%
Karl Walde 6.75%
"Yeah, it's the same size writing on the inside."
3. Helene Parry, South Wales expat to Brentford Lock
"My original title was Waiting For Goody, but the publisher advised against it, given our target demographic."
4. Karl Walde, Witney, Oxfordshire
Jade's first foriegn trip - Canmbridge, East Angular.
5. Kip, Norwich
"No it ain't comin' out in paperback. I ain't got time to write it all out again."
6. Stig, London
"Who you calling a Trollope??"
PAPER MONITOR FRIDAY 16 JUNE 1047 BST
A service highlighting the riches of the popular press.
The discovery of a letter written by a young (29) Tony Blair in 1982 to the then-leader of the Labour Party, Michael Foot, must at first have looked like a gift for the PM's many critics.
Blair's political re-positioning, from Labour left to right, over the years, is no secret. But here we have a personal missive from a dewy-eyed ambitious political hopeful - one who has become renowned for his chameleon-like instincts - to a radically left-wing Labour leader. Scaffold? Check. Rope. Check...
So what a huge disappointment it must have been to discover the thoughts of the young and impressionable Blair are not so far removed from the man we know today.
Deprived of a hanging, Blair's enemies search for a clear line of fire in the hope of inflicting injury. The only problem is that these arrow slits have been well manned in the past.
The Daily Telegraph: "The word 'socialism' - which has long disappeared from the New Labour vocabulary - litters [the letter]." Yes, but Blair's cooling on the "S" word is well-known.
Strike two: Blair calls the Tories cynical. "...said the future employer of Peter Mandelson". Perhaps. But that's just a flesh wound.
Strike three: Nuclear disarmament - "Blair Mark One endorsed that policy as realistic, radical and profoundly relevant." True, but not new.
Over to the Daily Mail, where Edward Heathcoat Amory recites chosen tracts - at least the Telegraph prints the letter verbatim.
"THE MARXIST - Tony Blair wrote: 'Like many middle class people I came to socialism through Marxism... I found [Marx] illuminating in many ways." EHA offers a critique but fails to mention Blair's rejection of Marxism in the letter.
"THE BENNITE - [Tony Benn] is quite right in saying that the Right-wing of the party is politically bankrupt." Hypocrisy, surely, on Blair's part. But Blair's full sentence actually reads "In one sense [Tony Benn] is quite right in saying..."
There's no doubt Blair "Mark Two" would be reluctant to repeat today some of what he wrote 24 years ago - but the unearthing of this red letter is hardly a red letter day.
THURSDAY 15 JUNE
Thursday's Daily Mini-Quiz asked why Spider-man took off his mask for the first time ever in a Marvel Comic. It's in support of a new Superhero Registration Act, which just 18% of you got right. Half said it was taken off by doctors to save his life; 30% said because his identity was about to be revealed. Today's Daily Mini-Quiz on the Magazine index
YOUR LETTERS THURSDAY 15 JUNE 1632 BST
So the Royal Academy displayed just the plinth, and not the statue that was supposed to be on it [See full story here]. What a commentary on modern art. The late Fyffe Robertson (a well respected BBC TV reporter who is remembered with affection by us older readers) had a name for this sort of modern art: he called it Phoney Art, or Phart for short.
Alan, London UK
Regarding textonyms - words thrown up by predictive - I find it highly appropriate that "diy" and "fix" are textonyms.
Re Pete Hazell's letter - especially as real Scots don't wear any!
Neil, ex-pat Scot in London
To continue the bird song theme There's a type of dove in South Africa that sings the tune of Paul Simon's 'Under African Skies'. Does anyone know whether Paul stole it from the dove, or was it the other way round?
Peter Collins, Belfast
So when Betjeman said of the natives of Slough, "It's not their fault they do not know / The birdsong from the radio" he may even have been right?
Lorraine Plant in Australia asks how does Bjork say her name, I watched an interview where Bjork told the world in angry tones that her name is pronounced Biyerk, to rhyme with jerk.
Frances, Cannes, France
I'm still at work but I've apparently missed today's crostini. Jeremy, I'll swap you a packet of plantain crisps (non-foil) for some M&S sushi. (My e-mail address isn't too hard to find with a search engine and the knowledge that I'm not a Canadian Singing Cowboy)
Ray Lashley, Bristol, UK
For all those who missed a day of the crostine stickers - here's a handy cheating tip - nip down to your local M&S with a digital camera and make your own sticker! As an aside do M & S sell Portuguese custard tarts? I'm still suffering withdrawal symptoms from last year's hols.
Christine Bowles, Milton Keynes
In response to Jeremy Cruse - Come on over to The Magazine Monitor's fansite www.thelbiq.co.uk, and perhaps swap pictures?
Stephen Buxton, Coventry, UK, thelbiq.co.uk
With the Thursday letter publication patchy at best, I wait with anticipation to see the BBC's attitude to leaving early to watch the game. Not that I will be around to see it, I have a very important business meeting to attend to!
Richard Lucas, Northampton, UK
PAPER MONITOR THURSDAY 15 JUNE 1108 BST
A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.
Global warming, knife terror, junk food, life not meaning life - for those who can't see a way out of this constant barrage of doom and gloom, the Sun, somewhat ironically, sees a solution in the Moon. According to "the world's most famous" scientist, Professor Stephen Hawking, we need an exit strategy once everything goes belly up on Planet Earth and thanks to those brainy blokes at Nasa, the Moon looks like a viable option. We'll need to do a bit of mining for minerals and bring our own water, but otherwise what's stopping us?
The fact that the best neighbourhoods have been snapped up already, according to the Metro, which tells how a British couple have taken advantage of a loophole in American law to sell 81,000 hectares of the Moon through their company Moon Estates. Buyers receive a parchment "Lunar Deed".
So it seems that on the Day of Reckoning, those who never received a vaguely amusing novelty present during their time on Earth will be headed for a celestial sink estate.
Talking of novelty gifts, the Mail can't hide its distaste at the auction of Princess Margaret's belongings - something it calls the "Great Royal Clearance Extravaganza" or "GRoCE". In listing some of the items that went under the hammer at Christies on Wednesday, it highlights one national treasure the loss of which to a private buyer leaves a gaping hole in the nation's collective heart: a six-inch silver plated miniature saw used for cutting cucumbers and lemons (which sold for £12,000).
Finally, that story about the sculptor who attended the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition to see his work exhibited, only to find the empty slate plinth on display but not the exhibit itself, a jesmonite laughing head...
Artist laughs his head off at the RA (Daily Telegraph)
The art of illusion (Metro)
Artist has the last laugh (Daily Mail)
The lost laugh (Daily Mirror)
Nice plinth - shame about the sculpture: academy turns art on its head (Times)
Art experts make a real exhibition of themselves (Daily Express)
THURSDAY 15 JUNE
Wednesday's Daily Mini-Quiz asked which item sold for the most money at an auction of the late Princess Margaret's treasures? A paltry 27% anwsered correctly. It was the Faberge clock, which sold for £1.24m. Must try harder. Today's Daily Mini-Quiz on the Magazine index
YOUR LETTERS WEDNESDAY 13 JUNE 1600 BST
Re:Birds singing I'm a Barbie Girl in Amersham. (Tuesday letters). I'm sure that campanologists at our local church had learnt to ring out "Vindaloo, Vindaloo, La La"... possibly in honour of England's first match on Saturday!
In response to Jez Harvey's letter. (Tuesday letters). There is a thrush in my garden which sings the first line of Scotland the Brave over and over and over... Very confusing, since I am quite a long way south of Scotland... Perhaps a ringtone is to blame?
Jez Harvey's (Tuesday letters) about the blackbird's song, reminded me of an incident many years ago when I heard a flock of starlings. well known mimics, these birds duplicated perfectly the sound of the pub's Space Invaders machine!
I can't believe that the goverment's drug minister is Mr Vernon Coaker, Crystal meth to be class A drug
I doubt the inhabitants of Scotland are too thrilled that "Scots" is a textonym of "pants."
Re: Japanese sushi for today's World cup sticker album. It's not very Japanese, is it? The label clearly reads "Marks & Spencer". Surely in the BBC's massive photo archive you could have found something, instead of sending out your work experience lad to "find some sushi, Dave, here's a fiver".
I have downloaded my snack of the day from the World cup sticker album, but couldn't help but notice that unless Marks & Spencer are Japanese and we never knew it, that's British sushi, not Japanese sushi!
Come on Monitor. If I'm going to the trouble of downloading each day's snack I expect a bit more effort on your part. Popping down to M&S doesn't really cut it. What next: a Brazil nut?
Would anyone be interested in setting up a black market for crostini "stickers"? I was off work sick yesterday, and am already enough of a laughing stock in my office for having the thing on my wall, which will only be made worse by me having a big gap on Day 2...
Hmmphh... Still no vegetarian option for the crostini collection.
PUNORAMA ***UPDATED*** WEDNESDAY 14 JUNE 1337 BST
It's Punorama time.
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 was Swedish fans kitting their babies out with protective ear guards to wear while watching World Cup matches, to make sure their hearing isn't damaged.
Great minds think alike and a lot of them thought of Ear we go, ear we go, ear we go or something close. The suggestion came in from Allanson in Norwich, Anna in Herts, Thomas Steuart-Feilding in Bristol, Tom in Nottingham, Nat in Manchester and Daniel Powell in Manchester - to name just a few.
Other football puns included Silence is goal-den from Graeme Wilson in Dunfermline and Derek Behan in Blackburn. There's also the impressive Ooh, aah, can't hear, Ma! from Helene Parryin London, The group of deaf from Brian Gunn in Oman, Sweden's ear guard defence
from Steve and He shoots....he snores! from Smitty in Toronto.
Inspired by the baby theme were Mike Smith from Gloucester with Bawl control and Nappy days from Simon Rooke in Nottingham.
And an honourable mention for Silence of the fans from Candace in New Jersey, US, and No noise is good news from Gareth Jones in Anglesey.
Finally, keeping up a time-honoured tradition, is Pete with Super-cuddly fragile ears? Stick earplugs on your precious and David Dee in Mozambique with Super-cans-on-fragile-ears-trick-lets-the-laddie-doze, shush. It is a beautiful game indeed - punorama that is.
PAPER MONITOR WEDNESDAY 14 JUNE 1048 BST
A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.
Fame at last. Paper Monitor's friend and colleague - some might say boss - Magazine Monitor has been name-checked in the Times diary column alongside Damien Hirst, Gwyneth Paltrow and the Beckhams.
A plug for our World Cup snacks sticker album? No. A complaint that the best caption came third in last week's vote? No again.
A week after the event, it spots the MM letter urging Mr David Cameron to look to his own CD collection, after the Tory leader complained about the violent lyrics in hip hop.
Their comment on the knife 'n' gun songs of the Smiths and Radiohead? "This didn't exactly leave the Eton playing fields awash with blood and broken bones, did it?" No, but the Eton wall game involves an awful lot of shoving and a fair few scraped knees, old cove.
Meanwhile, Dave has another windmill to tilt at - the Daily Mirror's diary column reports that his neighbours have objected to plans to install a wind turbine. His application will be heard by the Tory-led council's planning committee next Tuesday. Watch this space.
PM reported in May on the tabloids tackling the real World Cup issue - what do the wives and girlfriends look like? Surely no-one can be left in any doubt a month on.
But what of their offspring? The Sun obliges with pics of the England youth team, cradled in the arms of their footballer dads. There's Lampard jr, 10 months, Owen jr, three, Carragher jr, two, and Gerrard jr, also two.
So could it be Lampard, Owen et al lifting the World Cup in 2026? We can but hope. The Women's World Cup, that is - they're all girls.
WEDNESDAY 14 JUNE
Yesterday's Daily Mini-Quiz asked the average price of a bearskin hat, revealed in recent government accounts. It's £650, which 52% of you got right - 36% said £460 and 12% said £320. Today's mini-question is on the Magazine index now.
YOUR LETTERS TUESDAY 13 JUNE 1717 BST
Now this would be an interesting story for Springwatch. Saturday morning I was having my first cigarette, and was happily listening to the bird call around me. I suddenly realised that one blackbird was twittering a familiar tune. Was it some delicate few bars from the Magic Flute? Eine kleine Dawnmusik? No, it was the first two lines of "I'm a Barbie girl". Even amongst the nations wildlife, standards are dropping!
Jez Harvey, Amersham
In answer to David Richerby's quest for a Flexicon about his predictive text experience, the obvious entry is "Dystextic"
Looking for a flexicon for predictive texts that don't work. I tried flexicon in my phone and was offered 'flexibnm'.
Stoo, Lancashire, UK
If 'ennui?' was a word it would be a paragram for footie, a paragram being a word produced with the same combination of key presses as another (also known as a textonym or cellodrome.)
To follow up David Richerby's comment, I tried to tell a friend to bring plates and cutlery camping but the predictive text told her to bring slaves and butlery. As I'm forever accusing her of being posh I think she thought it was on purpose. This phenomenon is known as serenpredictivity.
Michael Daw, Bristol UK
Footie-Ennui? Perceptive Text Input.
Helen, Ankara, Turkey
To Frances, from France. Well? how do you pronounce Bjork correctly?
Lorraine Plant, Perth, Western Australia
Well done on another all-noun headline with Tenby car ban human rights query
Philip Whitehead, Abingdon, UK
Regarding the DMQ,is the answer wrong when more people vote than took part in the source survey?
Paper Monitor, Tuesday quotes: "As Britain bakes, school forces pupils as young as thee to wear their jumpers... even during P.E." I wouldn't expect many to be affected then. I'm 36.
Ed, Clacton, UK
PAPER MONITOR TUESDAY 13 JUNE
A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.
Never mind the pleasantries, it's the peasantries that the Sun is most enraged about after a "sleazy German newspaper" issued a stinging attack on the family of England's football captain. It alleges, among other things, that David Beckham's mum, Sandra, has the smile of a "peasant".
And yet surely the elephant in the room - and that's meant strictly as an idiom - is the startling resemblance between Ms Beckham senior (see the picture here) and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, pictured right.
Ms Beckham senior, or the German Chancellor?
Back in Blighty, the hot weather is clearly frying some brains. And who should be suffering from such encumbered mental faculty syndrome - those number one tabloid enemies: the Health and Safety Killjoys. The Daily Mail means it so much it prints the words in red to mimic an inky stamp.
And how's this for a headline that scoops the story itself: "As Britain bakes, school forces pupils as young as three to wear their jumpers... even during P.E."
In another example of loony local bureaucrats, the Mail tells of three teenage girls suspended from school for wearing three-quarter-length trousers. Teenager Laura Avery dutifully poses for the cameras subtly off-setting her three-quarter length strides with one of those one-quarter length ties that are more giant, chunky knot than tie proper, and which children through the decades have deployed in an effort to subvert the rigours of uniform.
TUESDAY 13 JUNE
Cheapskates the lot of you. What's the typical amount left by the tooth fairy these days asked yesterday's Daily Mini-Quiz? £1 say 67% of you who responded. The right answer? £5. Today's Daily Mini-Quiz on the Magazine index
YOUR LETTERS MONDAY 12 JUNE 1617 BST
Yes, panini and crustini are the plural of panino and crustino. The problem is, as is often the case in language, knowing something to be correct doesn't always mean you feel comfortable using that form. It's a bit like knowing how to pronounce Bjork properly. People will 'correct' you!
frances , Cannes. France
Regarding Ian Rutt's question if "panini" is singular or not. In fact "panini" is plural, meaning "sandwiches" in Italian. The singular form is "un panino". Similarly, we can all look forward to our Crostino on Monday. And yes, "paninis" is awful Italglese or Engliano.
C. Hutchings, Kakinada, India
On Friday, you published The Devil's horoscopes. Shouldn't that be horrorscopes?
Stephen Buxton, Coventry, UK, thelbiq.co.uk
Regarding the More Sport headline "Cricket: Somerset toast win". I would like to win some toast too, but can't help thinking "what an unusual prize".
Stella Alvarez, Teesside UK
Over the weekend, I tried to text a friend about the footie but predictive text could only suggest 'ennui?' There ought to be a word for this.
David Richerby, Athens, Greece
Re3garding your Daily Mini-Quiz, £5 for a tooth means that schoolchildren will be being mugged for their molars. My children receive 1 euro (when the tooth fairy remembers). Incidentally, in Belgium it's a mouse which takes the tooth and brings the money, although what a mouse would do with all those teeth is beyond me.
John Brown, Belgium
I suggested that my boyfriend read the article Time for rethink on the clitoris but so far, he hasn't been able to to find it.
Sue Lee, Twickenham
The Times theatre critic, Benedict Nightingale, doubts if US audiences have heard of Richard Griffiths or Frances De La Tour. So those Harry Potter films they appeared in sunk without trace, didn't they?
I know I'm being picky, but I kinda thought you might take the food out of the tin before you took the picture of it. Feels a bit like being promised a David Beckham poster and getting a picture of his Porsche driving around Madrid with him inside.
Adrian , Manchester, UK
I noticed that the custard tart (dated 15/06/06) was quickly taken down -but not before I got my grubby paws on it!! I don't know if I feel pleased for being so speedy or if I have ruined the surprise of Thursday...unless you change it making this a collectors edition!
Apologies, World Cup excitement briefly went to the Monitor's head.
PAPER MONITOR MONDAY 12 JUNE 1218 BST
A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.
Proof, at last, that Britain's gone to the dogs in today's Sun. After all that fuss a few weeks ago about the Home Office failing to deport foreign criminals, comes the disturbing news that those very same incompetents are trying to deport "BRITISH lags". Turns out that 22-year-old James Ailmore, who is serving 16 months for affray and theft, has been threatened with deportation to Germany because he was born there. He could be deported on 7 July, the paper says, although quite how this would square with the current ban on British troublemakers entering Germany before the end of the World Cup (the final's on 9 July) isn't tackled.
Besides, it looks like the German authorities have got their work cut out keeping a lid on the raucous crowds already there - not the fans, so much as "our boys'" wives and girlfriends (or WAGs as the Mail calls them).
The Mirror, Sun and Mail lift the lid on the girls' rowdy antics at a bar in Baden Baden following England's lacklustre performance against Paraguay on Saturday. Both "redtops" picture the bar receipt for the celebrations - 643.50 euros, that's about £400 - although there's slight disagreement on quite how much booze was sunk. Was it 23 lemon vodkas (the Mirror) or 14 (the Sun)?
The Express's front page only adds to this sense of inconsistency. It's Monday, but wot no Diana headline.
MONDAY 12 JUNE
Friday's Daily Mini-Quiz asked for the nature of Victoria Beckham's foot problem. A stomping 65% correctly identified the answer as a bunion.
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