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Last Updated: Friday, 23 June 2006, 14:39 GMT 15:39 UK
The Magazine Monitor


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 nappies on a line
10 nappies hung out to dry by Matthew, Brisbane, Australia

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

1. So much wine is produced in Europe that hundreds of millions of bottles are distilled into industrial alcohol each year to help drain the "wine lake".

2. Multiple births increased by about a third in the UK between 1984 and 2004 - thanks to IVF treatment and better diets.

3. More than 10% of new cars sold in Sweden run on alternative fuel.

4. Confucius's proper name was Kong Zi, and all the world's three million Kongs are popularly supposed to be his descendants.

5. The word "time" is the most common noun in the English language, according to the latest Oxford dictionary.

6. 41% of English women have punched or kicked their partners, according to a study.

7. Frank Lampard, Jodie Marsh, Jack Straw and Noel Edmonds all went to the same school - posh fee-paying Brentwood School in Essex.

8. The VC10 plane in the Queen's Flight fleet - used by Cabinet ministers and the Royals - has backward-facing seats, which exacerbate travel sickness.

9. John Prescott has never sent an e-mail.

10. Keanu Reeves doesn't own a computer and instead corresponds with friends by hand-written letters.

[Sources, where stories are not linked - 2 and 3: Daily Telegraph, 22 June. 7. G2, 16 June. 8: Times, 21 June. 10: Parade Magazine.]

If you spot anything that should be included next week, use the form below to tell us about it. Thanks this week to James Alexander.

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.


Letters logo

The BBC weather forecast for my region tomorrow predicts a southerly wind of 0 mph. How can I tell that apart from a northerly wind of 0mph?
Greenford, UK

Headline of the week: Pupils 'don't mind' teacher's sex. Blimey, I wish I'd been to a school like that.
Jack Hatfield,

Friday's quote of the day - Teri Hatcher on taped-up cleavage - confirms my long-held views of the four basic elements. They are Gaffer Tape, Swiss Army knife, WD40 and Mate called Dave.
Andy Elms,

Surely WAG can't be singular since it stands for "wives and girlfriends". The sole Ecuadorean significant other must therefore be "wife Or girlfriend" - and I think I see the problem with that particular acronym...
Neil Golightly,
Manchester, UK

Ian Rutt asks why the US ambassador to Hungry is called George Herbert Walker - the president's first three names (Thursday letters). Prescott Sheldon Bush married Dorothy Walker (she was born in Walker's Point, Maine, by the way) making her Dorothy Walker Bush and their first child was named George Herbert Walker Bush after Dorothy's father, George Herbert Walker. George Herbert Walker III is George Herbert Walker Bush's first cousin, making George Herbert Walker IV George W Bush's second cousin. They are all grandchildren of George Herbert Walker. Hope that clears it up.
Baltimore, US

Will Gordon Taylor stop voting for his own caption as I want Simon Rooke to win.
Lee Pike,
Cardiff, UK

Today is meant to be the happiest day in the year. Go on, make it complete for me.
Newcastle upon Tyne


It's time for the caption competition shortlist.

This week's picture showed Catherine Zeta Jones meeting "Matt the Magic Man" and attempting to make a balloon animal, during her visit to the Children's Hospital at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.

Here's the shortlist, in no particular order. Over to you to vote for the winning entry. Thanks to all who took part.

1. Sunil Bedi, Slough
"A bit of tomato sauce on top, bread roll and Michael thinks I'm great at cooking."

Which is the best entry?
Sunil Bedi
Gordon Taylor
Paul O'Neill
Julia Berris
Dave Dee
Simon Rooke
3011 votes cast.
2. Gordon Taylor, Newcastle
"... and then they stretched and pinched the skin on his face a bit like this before stitching it behind his ears ..."

3. Paul O'Neill, London
"What is it? It's a Posh Spice."

4. Julia Berris, London
Celebrity wife, Catherine Zeta Jones, delights Cardiff locals with a crude joke about husband Michael Douglas.

5. Dave Dee, Maputo, Mozambique
"It's just another gift I was born with. Like singing."

6. Simon Rooke, Nottingham
"Keep smiling and edge slowly towards the door."


Newspapers logo
A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

In a rare show of synchronicity with stable mate 7 days 7 questions, Paper Monitor turns its attention to the Wags, aka the England footballers' wives and girlfriends ("which promises to be this year's most tediously predictable new OED entry," says the Guardian).

For, as these lovely ladies might well say to their other halves, "enough about you, let's talk about me". Whereas reporters and snappers get but the occasional tightly-managed glimpse of the players, the press pack is not only staying in the same town as the Wags but in the same hotel.

High of heels, short of skirt and silicon of bosom to a woman, their antics are documented, from the endless shopping (football fans, that's what your eye-wateringly high ticket prices pay for) to the indignities of having to wait for one's private jet.

The Guardian, likening the Wags to the cool girls at the back of the bus and Mrs Beckham to opera diva Maria Callas with tapeworms, laments the lack of column inches provided by the latter. "[She] has mostly been having one of her Garbo weeks, preferring to restrict herself to the company of family and Cheryl Tweedy."

But the rest of the girls do not shirk their duties. "Wags spend 10,000 on flying three beauticians to Germany... to top up their TANS," says the Daily Mirror, which perhaps should have labelled its detailed and gushy article about the procedure "advertorial".

The Sun's attention turns to Ecuador's Wags - well, Wag, as the rest can't afford to make the trip. She's a pretty farmer's daughter with braces on her teeth, and spends her days playing with daughter Samantha in the park.

Hmm, who to cheer for in the Wags' World Cup?


Thursday's Daily Mini-Quiz was asking you which Cabinet minister had never sent an e-mail, and 47.34% guessed that John Prescott was the Luddite in question, while John Reid and Gordon Brown were the technocrats.


Letters logo
Michael Kelley from PricewaterhouseCoopers says here "Then we will start to see an uptick in that impact". Who in the what now? Does m'learned friend speak English?

Re the New York Times' "X is the new y"? I think they've been reading MM!
Baltimore, US

Replying to Alice of Hitchin surely she means "bear watch project?"
London UK

To Richard of Cardiff, I wouldn't have said Tuesday's activity in the Assembly was boring in the least, after the Welsh Minister for Health, Dr Brian "Funky" Gibbons, dropped his entire Ambulance Service deep into the doo-doo by voting with the Opposition for an enquiry into their management, and was seconded by his predecessor, Janna "the" Hutt, who failed to vote at all. Perhaps we can have a repeat performance at Westminster?

According to the report of Gordon Brown's Mansion House speech: "It is thought he wants anti-nuclear campaigners to know that he is just as committed to replacing Trident as Tony Blair". We all knew he was committed to replacing Tony Blair, of course, but Trident?
David Dee,
Maputo Mozambique

Re, M&S sandwiches vs your crostini, the M&S World Cup selection tastes much better than yours.
Phil B-C,

So, the US Ambassador to Hungary is called George Herbert Walker. Very curious, since these are the first three names of the first President Bush. Is this the basis on which US diplomatic appointments are made these days? Are the poems of George Herbert read at the White House? I'm perplexed.
Ian Rutt,
Bristol, UK

May I suggest this for Largest Handheld Device Picture of the Day. That is massive.
Lancashire, UK

Today's Paper Monitor mentions a cat-wearing-hoodie. Does this mean a cat in a hooded top, or a hoodie (being a youth prone to wearing hooded tops, ill fitting trousers, shuffling around slouched with hands in pockets and describing things as "gay") wearing a cat. If the latter, how exactly?
Clacton, UK

Re the occasional theme of people whose names suit their jobs, I see from today's Daily Telegraph that the Lib Dem's transport spokesman is called Alistair Carmichael.


Newspapers logo
A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Headline of the day: Nukey Brown - the Daily Mirror's take on Gordon Brown's plans to replace Trident missile submarines with a new nuclear deterrent.

Gratuitous picture of the day: the Sun's female Ascot-goer compromised in Marilyn Monroe-style blustery wind lifts dress in revealing manner embarrassment. (The Mail shows a tad more modesty, catching the same unfortunate woman with dress ever so slightly lower down.)

Fashion feature of the day: the Sun's "69.95 frock that transforms into 100 different designs" (available from Pitch TV - that's a channel available on Sky, which is all part of the same stable as the Sun).

Most unlikley industrial injury of the day: the Telegraph's report that Noel Edmonds has repetitive strain injury from lifting a telephone a lot in his show Deal or no Deal.

Headline-that-scoops-the-story of the day: the Mail's "A dead sheep sits on a toilet whith a hypodermic needle stuck in its leg. Just another work of 'art' from Damien". (Ok, you have to read further to find out it's Damien Hirst, rather than Damien the Omen).

Stunted up picture of the day: the Daily Star's hoodie-wearing-cat.

Most exaggerated speculation on Michael Owen's future: the Independent's "Is this the end for England's golden boy?" (Most of the others take the line that the Newcastle and England striker will be out for a season).


What a clever bunch Magazine readers are proving to be. Three quarters of you got the correct answer when we asked in yesterday's Daily Mini-Quiz what embarrassment the Prime Minister suffered recently with a last-minute hired plane? It was, of course, the fact the plane was flying an Austrian flag. Clearly some political anoraks out there - and they will appreciate today's DMQ on the Magazine index.


Letters logo
It was cruel to put the stories on boreholes and the National Assembly for Wales next to each other on Tuesday. Some of us have to work there, you know ...

As you're so good at reporting the Daily Express's Diana obsession... perhaps you could start a new section on the BBC News' "Brown as PM" obsession. We can't seem to go a day without it being mentioned somewhere... and it's not even 100% guaranteed to happen.
West Yorkshire

Re the TOTP theme tune: Surely you mean duh der di der duh di-di duh di-di duh duh der di der duh di-di duh di-di duh.
John Brown,

It appears that the Guardian's G2 has set up its own bear watch (with the porridge story making a guest appearance). Does this count as a "bear watch" spot, or does it technically fall under "bear watch watch"?

The M&S tribute to the Magazine's World Cup crostini album seems to be continuing. Today they were advertising Argentinian corn beef sandwiches, national flag plus sarni.
Gordon Comstock,

I've recently seen photographs of Princess Anne wearing what appears to be a military uniform with a row of medals. Does anybody know which campaigns she has fought in and what her heroic deeds were?
Dave Godfrey, Swindon

Knock! Knock!
Who's there?
Jade who?


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 the story of the Canadian woman who came home to find a bear eating porridge in her kitchen.

The most popular entry was along the lines of bear-faced cheek, put forward by contributors including Jamie in Edinburgh and Daniel Hassall, Newcastle.

Porridge was another popular ingredient for punners, such as the bear escapes after doing porridge from DS, Bromley.

Meanwhile Helene Parry (self-ascribed as South Wales expat to Brentford Lock) cut to the chase with trouble bruin. And taking a musical approach, Steve T in London, offered haul and oats.

Playing with the bear theme, Gareth Jones from Anglesey offered a serving of Teddy Brek. And combining cute with clever, Rachel in Cambridge threw in a literary reference with a bear of very little grain.

Honey, I'm home! was the suggestion of Mark in the Hague, Netherlands and full marks to PJ in West Yorks for the tasty concoction of oat cuisine.


Newspapers logo
A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Tony Blair has decided to pimp his ride by getting a Blair Force One (and Two), much to the ire of the Daily Telegraph. It thunders "Blair should check in like the rest of us". What, drop down to commercial first class, or should he get in touch with Stelios?

Paper Monitor is tickled by the thought of the Telegraph editor travelling like the rest of us, Ryanair to Charleroi with scratchcards on board. The Telegraph does score points however for comparing Lord Castlereagh's plain frock coat at the 1815 Congress of Vienna to Blair's desire for presidential pomp. Such erudition spoils us.

While England's footballers struggle, the pun-writers back home are suffering no such lack of form. In the Sun news of Michael Owen's injury rests under the headline "Woe de Cologne" while the Mirror prefers to emphasise the positive with "Joe de Cologne" and revels in "Ecuadorable". Only the Star disappoints, with "Ow-No" - the kind of effort that would not even make it into our very own Punorama.

The Guardian's G2 has an interview with Ariel Levy tackling the issue of consumerism driving the "supersexualisation of women" and women's role in making other women into sex objects. Paper Monitor is pleased to see a serious and topical piece illustrated on the front by a large picture of a woman in cleavage-displaying underwear. It's more satire of course. PM knows that.

Elsewhere in the papers, all is quiet.


Tuesday's Daily Mini-Quiz asked which type of passenger we most fear sitting next to while flying. You said the bawling baby, edging ahead with 49%. But the survey that inspired this question found it was the digusting drunk, which 47% of you picked. The remainder plumped for the demanding diva. Today's mini-question is on the Magazine index now.


Letters logo
I hate to disappoint people who genuinely believe they own part of the Moon. Private property rights rely on governments for grant and enforcement, and those governments are party to the Outer Space Treaty. Otherwise what is to stop someone else selling the same plot to a different buyer? The sellers get around trade description/false advertising rules with small print telling you that what you've actually bought is a novelty certificate. Similarly the "International Star Registry" has no authority to name stars on your behalf (except in its own catalogue, recognised only by itself), as names of astronomical bodies can only be granted under the auspices of the International Astronomical Union.
Neil Golightly, Manchester, UK

Re Hopes dashed over World Cup scam, your reporter seems to think travelling to watch a World Cup game is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I quote 'They returned home on Monday, with many said to be devastated they had missed out on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.' The World Cup takes place every four years and at less than 16-years-old I'm sure the majority of these pupils will live to see a few more World Cups yet and no doubt be successful in purchasing genuine tickets in the future.
Natalie, West Yorkshire, UK

Am I the only person who actually quite liked the supposedly 'criminal' blue and cream striped wallpaper? [see pop-up]
Jacqui Adams, London, UK

OK I give up. I've searched and searched and I cannot find where I can find out if the traffic is higher of lower volume than usual. Please put me out of my misery.
Alice, Hitchin

Indeed, it is a testament to the state of British education that despite James Savill's wide-ranging schooling, clearly none of the institutions he attended suceeded in teaching him how to spell correctly. What exactly is a 'grammer' school?
Lucy, Newcastle upon Tyne

Porridgewatch crosses the species barrier.
Dr Swift, Manchester

Can I be the first to suggest a bear-watch given the recent glut of ursine-related stories?
Bryn Roberts, Brizzle

I know she's 80, but is it quite polite to call the Queen "ageing"?
Caroline Devlin, Belfast

Air Force One is the air traffic control sign of any US Air Force aircraft carrying the US President, and not just the two customised Boeing 747-200B.
Andrew Carr, Isleworth, West London

What, pray, is the correct plural of Blair Force One... Surely it must be Blairs Force One? Or Blair Forces One...It can't possibly be Blair Force Ones, as your headline suggests?
Edward Higgins,

I was delighted to see that Marks and Spencer have taken a sticker out of your album with their own version of your World Cup crostini collection. M&S has adverts showing international sandwiches plus national flags. Are they in any way related?
Gordon Comstock, London

Who am I?
Jade Goody,


Newspapers logo
A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Time for another England game and time for more important questions. The Daily Mail takes a break from the usual WAG - players' Wives and Girlfriends - stories to ask if Sweden is the most boring country in the world? Its answer is an emphatic yes.

The evidence? A beer costs around 5, they dance around maypoles and sing songs about frogs. It probably sounds like a good night out to the average Daily Mail reader. And a little harsh? No, it's alright to ask such questions because the author of the piece was born in Sweden. That's alright then.

But the Sun sticks to what it knows best - WAGS. It compares them to FOFS - Fruar Och Flickvanner, which is Swedish for wives and girlfriends. A Swedish team source has apparently admitted its wives are the "underdogs beacuse the Wags are so famous". We've won then - well the most important match anyway.

The Times rues the loss of good manners. It says a civility survey of the world's biggest cities doesn't rate Londoners very highly. But the really shocking news is that they are now as rude - shock, horror - as Parisians. What is the world coming to?

Rising obesity levels in the UK are the focus of an article in the Daily Mirror. Is it looking at the health implications, the cost to the NHS? No, the need for bigger incinerators in crematoriums. Always good to see important issues treated sensitively.


Monday's Daily Mini-Quiz asked for the average price of a children's party - and it was clearly child's play for readers - with 70% getting the correct answer of 129.


Letters logo

Re: Beyond the grade. Confidence, privilege, money, contacts. All true I'm sure - but two hours homework every night for 8 years, exams at the end of every year, assignments in the holdays and no excuses for missing any of these; I think this might have had something to do with it as well.
jerry, London

Regarding Beyond the grade. At university I noticed those that went to the 'top' private schools were indeed more confident and cocky, definitly an advantage in life. Their disadvantage however appeared when it came to independent learning. They definitely found self motivation much harder. Personally I believe this is public schools disadvantage, pushing students so hard they struggle on their own. However this lack of work/final grade is completely offest by the old boy network or money backing landing them in the top jobs regardless.....
Fel, london

I went through the gamut, from good public to grammer to pretty poor state school. I was top of the class at the private school and just about bottom at the state school. What does it prove? Nothing. Its just a shame.
James Savill, Norwich

With 10 Things. I'm don't think number 5 - people being able to buy parts of the moon - should have been included. I've owned an acre of moon for about 6 years, although I have to admit that I've been rather lazy and I still haven't visited my property yet.
Robin, Edinburgh, not the Moon

The best (or worst, if you like) textonym I have ever used was when I sent a message to several friends and family members saying I had been turned down for a job I really wanted. I was rather upset when I started receiving congratulatory replies, thinking everyone was having a cruel, sarcastic day. It turns out that 'rejected' is a textonym for 'selected'!
Jen, London

For today's World cup sticker album insert, the emmenthal cheese, shouldn't it be 'in fromage' rather than 'in homage' to the Panini Sticker albums?
Andrew Lawrence, Sheffield, UK

To Abigail Orr: as of 10 o'clock on Saturday night, traffic was 10% above normal. I guess you're all having as exciting a weekend as me, then.
Jo, N. Ireland

Just saw the worldwide site traffic hit 2% above normal. My, this is gripping stuff.
Gary, Birmingam

Re: Jade Goody. I live in the UK. I don't know who she is either.
Simon Robinson, Birmingham, UK

To P, Wayland, USA, ignorance is bliss
Ian Downey, Watford


Newspapers logo
A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

The Daily Mail has discovered evidence that Prince William and Kate Middleton might be about to wed. The nugget of proof: she was seen carrying a walkie-talkie.

This means she has finally allowed her police protection to be upgraded from "Royal girlfriend" status to "Royal potential wife" apparently. Unless it's not a walkie-talkie at all. It might just be that Ms Middleton is into retro 1980s mobiles.

Anyway, Possible Future Queen (PFQ) is right to be careful, there are shadowy figures watching her. She should use that walkie-talkie: "This is Papa Foxtrot Quebec to Plod One. Can you get these nasty paps away from me please."

Over in the Daily Express, it's Monday, so it must be Diana time. Today's story, not gracing the front pages of any other papers, involves embalming, pregnancy tests, and a mysterious death in Djibouti. PM will let you work out the rest.

In the red-tops there are tales of a very different sort of aristocracy, the WAGS, or players' Wives and Girlfriends. While England bore the neutrals on the pitch, their other halves are impressing partygoers in the nightclubs of Baden-Baden.

Elsewhere it has been a quiet weekend, with few outbreaks of news for the papers to enjoy.

The Daily Telegraph leads off on "Anglican crisis as woman leads US church" failing to appreciate that "Anglican crisis" is as much of an oxymoron as putting "Crown Green Bowls" and "chainsaw rampage" in the same headline. The correct terminology should be "Anglican tiff" or "Anglican kerfuffle", PM muses.


Monday's Daily Mini-Quiz asked in whose footsteps actress Billie Piper would follow in a Jane Austen adaptation. The answer, spotted by 40% of readers, was Frances O'Connor.

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