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. The giant gong at the start of J Arthur Rank films was made of papier mache, a fact that the gong-striker, Kenneth Richmond, who has died at 80, let slip to close friends.
2. Disposable nappies cost £67m in landfill use per year - a sum that the Local Government Association says nappy makers should help cover.
3. Water leaks waste the equivalent of 200 litres of water a day per household.
4. One in two women owns more than 30 pairs of shoes - with 8% having more than 100 pairs in their wardrobes.
5. Cantaloupe melons are a common source of food poisoning, in North America at least, and have killed at least two people. The rough skin is hard to clean and harbours bacteria which can infect the flesh when cut open.
6. Wayne Rooney loves Oliver the musical and his favourite song is Boy for Sale.
7. Almost a third of Americans (30%) can't remember what year 9/11 was.
8. The average commuter spends 139 hours a year travelling to and from work.
9. Allotment plots come in the standard measure of 10 poles - a pole is the length of the back of the plough to the nose of the ox.
10. Barbie has five sisters, called Skipper, Tutti, Stacie, Kelly and Krissy.
[1. Daily Mirror, 7 Aug; 2. The Times, 7 August; 3. - Panorama, Sunday; 5. Journal of Epidemiology and Infection, August 2006; 6. BBC Radio Five Live, 11 August; 7. Daily Telegraph, 10 August; 10. Press Association, 10 August.]
If you spot anything that should be included next week, use the form below to tell us about 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 LETTERS FRIDAY 11 AUGUST 1609 BST
Great news, buried in the article Greenland melt 'speeding up', I see a reference to changes in the earths gravity, I have been telling my doctor I am not getting fatter it's the earth's gravity getting stronger, finally I have the scientific evidence.
In the unsung landmarks picture gallery Neil Templeton notes the Harland and Wolff shipyard crane is "one of the two icons of Belfast". It then says: What's the other?" The "other" mentioned is the other crane - they are a pair, Samson and Goliath. Awesome.
MissB, My Ivory Tower
How stupid do I feel? It's only just clicked with me that Punorama is a play on Panorama.
John Coulthard, Bath, UK
Five chameleons, three fluffy dogs, a squirrel, two pandas and a lobster... who needs pets when you can just cut pages out of Metro?
Rob Foreman, London, UK
When I settled down to do the 7 days 7 questions quiz this morning, I was met by a question asking me the braking distance when travelling at 60 mph. That is not a news question! And I got it wrong - so I strongly protest to it being included! And it involved numbers - how am I meant to cope with that at 10am, before I've had my first sugary mug of Nescafe?
Re Lester Mak, London's request for a flexicon entry for adding superfluous words in sentences, how about "superverbosity"?
David, Maesteg, South Wales
With regards Lester Mak's comments about shopping days, I still don't understand why banks talk about so many working days for things to clear now they have seven-day phone and web banking in most cases. Surely at least some of each bank's employees are therefore at work on any given day.
Ed, Clacton, UK
Quote of the day: the next time Selina Scott watches Big Brother, can I sit next to her please?
Kip, Norwich UK
For anyone wanting more shortcut tips for MS Word or for a definition of Spike, try this. It is Friday, after all.
Em, Dundee, UK
Missed opportunity of the day: In the "Road hole swallows car and driver story, what the council spokesperson should have said is: "We're looking into it".
Mike C, Leeds, UK
CAPTION COMP *** UPDATED *** FRIDAY 11 AUGUST 1329 BST
It's time to vote for this week's picture caption.
This week, Neil and Christine Hamilton were pictured in Edinburgh launching the first-ever festival photography comptition, Fringe Framed, to celebrate the 60th Fringe Festival.
Here are the shortlisted entries - now vote for the winner.
1. Kip, Norwich
Beyond the Cringe
2. Sue Lee, Twickenham
When bad clothes happen to entirely deserving people.
Whose is the best caption?
Sue Lee 16.60%
Jim Neesweep 8.92%
Oli Beale 23.09%
John Coulthard 19.50%
3. Jim Neesweep, Norwich
At last some good news for the Labour party as their new election poster is unveiled.
4. Cayley, Santiago
Does this count as hand luggage?
5. Oli Beale, London
Damien Hirst creates his most tasteless piece to date.
6. John Coulthard, Bath
Cliche fans shocked as picture revealed to be not worth a thousand words.
PAPER MONITOR FRIDAY 11 AUGUST 1053 BST
A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.
Only one story dominating the papers today - Thursday's massive terror alert and arrests. But how do you illustrate a story about mass murder when no one has actually died, and which has already had a full day's outing on TV, radio and the net, so isn't exactly breaking news?
Each paper follows its own instincts and none is more baffling than the Times. Its front page carries a graphic which shows the seating plans of five Boeing 777 airliners. It's a remarkably underwhelming image, given the range of pictures of police activity and airport chaos they could have used, but, if nothing else, stands out from the crowd.
The Daily Express goes for the "reds under the bed" approach with: "24 SUSPECTS ALL BRITISH"; an angle the Daily Telegraph reflects through the prism of its own readers' obsessions with "Middle-class and British: the Muslims in plot to bomb jets".
The Independent summons the memory of 9/11 with a whopping "10/8 - was this going to be the next date in the calendar of terror"... er, probably not, as the consensus is that any bomb plot was still a few days off.
The Daily Mail is also in questioning mode - "Did they foil a new 9/11?" But its archive image of the blazing Twin Towers is frankly a bit unoriginal.
Amid all this, there appears to be some confusion about the facts behind this alleged plot. Five aircraft according the Times. Nine say the Sun and Mirror. Up to 12 - the Guardian. 10 - the Daily Star and stable mate the Express.
With pages and pages of this important story to get through, any unsuspecting reader might miss this gem of a headline from page 37 of the Daily Mail: "What makes otherwise sensible middle-class women dress like this and dance on a hilltop with only their animal 'spirits' for company? Welcome to the weird world of... the Golden Goddesses".
Those middle-classes again: you just can't trust them.
FRIDAY 11 AUGUST
The Thursday Mini-Quiz asked readers who worked the longest hours - people in London, Paris or Berlin. A hard-working 76% correctly identified London as the long hours capital, where people work longer hours and have fewer holidays.
YOUR LETTERS THURSDAY 10 AUGUST 1608 BST
On a day like today, when the world's filled with doom-mongering and war, I thought a story with the headline Pet goat taken on drunken joyride would bring a smile to my face. However, when I read on about the tragic outcome for Snowy I once again felt like all was lost, until I went to write to MM only to be greeted with a pair of gurning Hamiltons... what an emotional rollercoaster today is turning out to be! Suppose I should get back to work...
Mark, Shoreham-by-Sea, UK
Ok, while everyone is bashing the landmarks quiz, mine failed to load all the pictures and yet I still managed 8/10 (I missed the eden project and Liver building) I approached it from the point of which of these places has the most famous man made landmark.. go on try for yourself:
Felixstowe, Birkenhead, Portsmouth, Southampton. Did you get it?
Sarah Halifax, Canada waxes lyrical over the Eccles cake. It is but a pale imitation of the wonderful Chorley Cake. I suggest that Mr Blair eats them spread with lashings of salted butter.
Nigel, Walkden (near Eccles), UK
As an IT professional, and after extensive research, I can confirm that the shift-F3 trick does indeed work. Here's another little nugget, did you know that ctrl-F3 has a name, it's called Spike. Proof: highlight a word press ctrl-f3 then click on edit and you will see you can undo Spike, so ctrl-F3 must be Spike, QED.
Nigel, Salford, Uk
In response to Grace from London, a favourite of mine is Alt + F4. It's somewhere on the same level as, "You know they've taken the word gullible out of the dictionary"
Keyboard tips: Don't eat you lunch over it, crumbs and everything are really horrible for the next user.
Also Windows Key and M - minimises all open windows
JH, Tylers Green
As a side note to your caption competition, just thought I'd let you know that I saw Neil and Christine in Edinburgh the other day... signing each cheek of a man's *rse. Just thought I'd let you know.
PAPER MONITOR THURSDAY 10 AUGUST 1030 BST
A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.
The Daily Mail sounds a clear note about where it stands in the current fall-out between the press and the Royals, if its page three is anything to go by. To mark Princess Beatrice's coming of age, the Mail splashes a huge picture of the Duke and Duchess of York's eldest daughter with the headline: "At 18, beauty with a capital Bea..."
Although, read beyond the headline, and there's still a hint of characteristic tabloid tittle-tattle. The portrait, says the Mail, "was taken by [Beatrice's] childhood friend Nikolai von Bismarck, a choice that could fuel speculation that the teenagers are more than friends".
In a week when the Reuters news agency dismissed a photographer after he was found to have doctored two images from Lebanon, such rules clearly don't apply in the world of Royal photographic portraiture. The Mail refers to the "colour enhancement" which "gives the young princess even a turn-of-the-century air".
It even seeks the opinion of veteran photographer Terry O'Neill who says the picture is "spoilt by changing the colour. It just makes the picture look very unreal."
And there was Paper Monitor thinking the printers had forgotten to slot in a new tri-colour cartridge.
But hold on, here's the exact same portrait in today's Daily Mirror with none of the dramatic colour contrast.
So who's Bea-n busy on Photoshop then?
THURSDAY 10 AUGUST
The Wednesday Mini-Quiz asked readers how much the biggest ever newborn panda cub weighed - with 48% spotting the correct answer of 218gms.
YOUR LETTERS WEDNESDAY 9 AUGUST 1604 BST
I wonder if the researchers looking into digital tribes will update their thoughts based on how many people in different postcodes go online to see which group they are in? I checked and found that I am the type that would check. Very reassuring.
Jon , Bristol
I got 9/10 in the landmarks quiz. The one I got wrong was Newcastle.
Mike , Newcastle upon Tyne
So we don't recognise places without their landmarks? Of course we don't, that's how the mind works, we could recognise each other if we didn't have our facial features. This seems a case of pointless science!
Olly Bacon, Biggleswade
Re: PM's comment that there are (only) 138 shopping days until Christmas. I don't get why people still insist on including the "shopping" bit, as since Sunday Trading was introduced in 1994, everyday is a shopping day. Surely there's a flexicon entry for this kind of behaviour?
Lester Mak, London
OK, the Mirror shows awareness of 'what readers really want'by publishing pictures of cute creatures. So your picture of a likkle baby panda was erm, purely for scientific erudition then? By the way, over here in Pedant's Corner we spell it Wednesday.
vicky, east london
QJ, yes, money lenders were thrown out of the temple, but having a cash machine to let people get at their own money is a bit different, surely?
Sara, London, UK
Thank you for '7ft python turns up at neighbours. It had been nearly two whole weeks without a python story, since the one about the albino python in the post office. Will we continue to have python stories once the silly season is over?
After the success of the shift-F3 tips, can MM readers suggest other handy keyboard hints?
PUNORAMA WEDNESDAY 9 AUGUST 1533 BST
It's Punorama results time. The rules are simple - we give you a story in the news and invite you to write a playful punning headline.
This week it's a tale of defiance. Mel Smith captured the headlines with his threat to defy Scotland's smoking in public ban and light up on stage at the Edinburgh festival.
You punners really surpassed yourselves this time, all the creative people collected in Edinburgh would be so proud.
Focusing on the Churchill theme were Nick in London with Never, in the field of human comedy, was there so much puff over a smoker who smoked so few, Tall Tone from Essex with We shall fight them on the stages and John Coulthard in Bath with You Winston? You Lose Them.
Those taking the cigar as their inspiration are John Coulthard with Smokey And They Banned It, Smoky and the banned skit from David Dee in Maputo, Mozambique and
Russell in the Wirral with Smokey and the bandit. There was also Edinburgh Singe from Clive Burdall in Croydon, Cuban Missive Crisis from Pat Murphy in Wallasey,
Mel was just Havan a cigar from NJM in Edinburgh and Lights... Cuban... Ashtray from Elvis McGuire in Wigan - great name by the way.
And an honourable mention for Grahame Blanchard in Towcester with A crass Smith and moans, Alas, Smith and fumes from Sarah in London and Romeo y Julieta, a modern farce from Simon Rooke in Nottingham.
PAPER MONITOR WENESDAY 9 AUGUST 1217 BST
A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.
Political success comes at a price. David Cameron might be riding the crest of a political wave, but it means facing the ordeal of all leaders: being photographed on the beach on your holiday.
Mr and Mrs Cameron, staying in Corfu, appear across page three of the Daily Express - with David in floral trunks and Samantha in a bikini. And adding another detail, the Express says that they've brought "their own personal chef ... to give them more time to relax".
Maybe it's a warning shot, but the Daily Mail publishes a much less flattering beach shot of the Tory leader, showing him emerging squinting from the sea. The Mail also draws particular attention to his lack of chest hair. But what are they getting at? Is there a shaved chest debate about to break loose?
The seaside theme continues in the biggest picture of the day - a 58lb swordfish caught off the coast of Northumberland. As well as providing another chance to talk about the hot summer and global warming, it gave everyone a chance to publish great big colour picture of a very large fish.
The Daily Mirror was the only paper to cast any cold water, with the headline: "It's fishy. Experts' shock at swordfish caught in the North Sea."
But the Mirror, aware of what readers really want, needs no encouragement to publish pictures of cute creatures. Wednesday's edition also includes a picture of a baby panda and 16 different dogs.
Not to be out-cuted, the Sun, as well as the giant swordfish, retaliates with pictures of a hippopotamus and a zebra.
The zebra, appearing at Harrods, brought a grimmer message. It's only 138 shopping days until Christmas.
WEDNESDAY 9 AUGUST
The Tuesday Mini-Quiz asked readers for the length of Ellen Burstyn's Emmy-nominated film performance, with 47% correctly timing the appearance as 15 seconds.
YOUR LETTERS TUESDAY 8 AUGUST 1710 BST
Re Kay from London's comments about Catholicism and evolution. Most Catholics today (particularly in the Western world) do in fact believe in the scientifically-accepted theory of evolution. The Catholic Church is actually more lenient than many may assume when it comes to the Bible - more lenient, for example, than many evangelical Christian churches, whose members are more likely to disregard evolutionary theory in favour of the Biblical version of events.
I can clarify Kay's question, as a Catholic creationist evolutionist. The Catholic church (most of it) does teach that evolution is, as accepted by science, the most valid theory of how life evolved on Earth. However, it also teaches that, as Christians, we must believe that the driving force behind this evolution was God as creator. So the standard teaching, where the teaching is correct, is that both creationism and evolution can, and should, be accepted. Some Catholics don't believe in evolution, but that's personal choice, not Church teaching.
Anon, Chicago, USA
Can anyone tell me why press officer is an unusual job at the Edinburgh Festival? Seems quite mundane to me
Owain Williams, Munich
So a cleric suggests putting cash machines in churches. The cynic in me wonders if this might be related to recent returns from his collection plate?
Hang on, didn't someone famous once cast money-lenders out of the temple?
QJ, Stafford, UK
Does anybody else find it odd that 11% of people surveyed in Portsmouth were unable to identify a photo of their home town, even when it included the utterly distinctive, 170-metre tall Spinnaker Tower? Do these people never look up?
MJ Simpson, Leicester, UK
Oh my God! Is it really a year since Cabbaging (Monday letters). What am I doing with my life.
John Bates, London SE1
The picture caption in this storysays "The mouse looks the same but has an ancient gene" yet I've never seen a mouse like it, except in cartoons. Have they deliberately squashed its back-end flat with some sort of road-roller or has someone been busy with Photoshop?
To Norm Brown (Monday letters) - you can't "crash out" if you've reached the final. It is implicit in "crashing out" that the competition continues without you, something that dear old Tim didn't experience too often.
Re the growing controversy over mid-morning pastries, could I suggest that PM try an Eccles cake or a custard tart before angry Francophones start demanding a bilingual Monitor site? Besides, an Eccles cake is much nicer.
Sarah, Halifax, Canada
PAPER MONITOR TUESDAY 8 AUGUST 1018 BST
A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.
Another day, another drama in the McCartneys' increasingly acrimonious break up. As ever, the Daily Mirror has the uncanny foresight to have a photographer close by. The latest episode involves the police showing up as Heather Mills is locked out of estranged husband Sir Paul's London home after he changed the locks. Is the fact that the assisting female officer on the scene is a ringer for Heather Mills herself, a further corruption of nominative determinism - or just that glamorous celebrities get allocated their own glam law enforcers?
While the fall-out from the lock-out was unfolding on the street for all to see, where was Macca himself? Paper Monitor suspects he might have been busy penning a letter to the Daily Telegraph's new agony aunt, Lesley Garner. "We split up, but she won't leave," runs the headline across Ms Garner's inaugural problem to solve.
Not that the Telegraph would lower itself to have an agony aunt, as such. That's red-top tabloid territory. Ever since Virginia Ironside's Dilemma's column in the Independent, the qualities have taken a more highbrow approach to rubber-necking on other people's problems. Thus, Ms Garner "tackles the anxieties and dilemmas that beset modern life". As for a "photo casebook" (© the Sun's Deidre): no chance!
TUESDAY 8 AUGUST
To those people, not inconsiderable in number, who e-mailed about yesterday's Daily Mini-Quiz, to say there is no 31 November - yup, that was the point. The Scottish Executive, mistakenly highlighted it as the date for St Andrew's Day - an incorrectness that 52% of you were correct in spotting. Well done. Now, let's get back to Hollywood celebs... anyone remember Ellen Burstyn? She's the face of today's Daily Mini-Quiz.
YOUR LETTERS MONDAY 7 AUGUST 1700 BST
Your Faces of the Week on Mel Gibson said "although a practising Roman Catholic, he does not believe in evolution." Sorry, does being a Roman Catholic mean you DO believe in evolution? I wasn't aware that was a tenet of belief in the Catholic catechism. Rather the opposite I'd have thought. Perhaps the Catholics among us could correct me in this if I am wrong?
Re your article on the death of the electric car. Might it be that it wasn't the oil firms who killed off the electric car but the insurance companies worried about all the claims they would receive from people tripping over the leads which would be covering the pavements as the cars were being charged?
Mellowpuffs ready, browsers to BBC News, five clicks only... we're getting ready for the first anniversary of Cabbaging. PS Mellowpuffs are the kiwi version of teacakes.
A. Kent, Wellington, New Zealand
Picking up on this morning's Paper Monitor, I'm enthralled by the Pageant's gas strut assisted handbrake, dual action extractor fan and non-slip shower mat. But where's the music system for my James Blunt CDs?
Mike , Newcastle upon Tyne
Re today's mini-quiz (on 31 November) - there's more than one typing error there. Any Scot will know that the man whose birthday is celebrated on January 25 is Rabbie Burns - and it's Burns' night, not Burn's night.
Snippet 7 about leatherback turtles is a very sad reality. However a typical pun laced with unique British humour could be prevalent in the slogan of many supermarkets, which is :"A bag for life"
Tim McMahon, Pennar/Wales
The BBC Sport morning headline says Murray loses in Washington final. Why didn't he "crash out" like Henman always does?
norm brown, Branxton. NSW.OZ.
More oddities, this story appeared at No. 5. on the Most E-Mailed list on Saturday afternoon at half three. Why? Neither of them are even in the news!
Kirk Northrop, Manchester, England
PM, PM, it's pain aux raisinS! We discussed this weeks ago. Or are you trying to make everybody happy, using AUX in the plural and RAISIN in the singular?
Hélène, Lorraine, Québec
Re the note at the end of Friday's letters, thanks for the advice. I will make sure that I "ONLY INCLUDE THE HR TAG AT START OF NEW DAY" I'm sure I'm not the only one who found this very useful.
Adam G, Merstham
PAPER MONITOR MONDAY 7 AUGUST 1100 BST
A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.
It's a been a busy old year so far for Paper Monitor, so today its packing its camping stove, checking its PSI and hitting the road with Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett as she heads off on her summer holidays. After all, that's what the Daily Mail, Telegraph and Sun have done.
Is there anybody in the country who, by now, doesn't know that Mrs Beckett is a caravan devotee? Never mind the fact that she now holds one of the top jobs in government, or there's a war going on in the Middle East - nothing, it seems, can deter our "Marg" (the Sun) from her caravan holiday.
The Daily Mail, snaps Mrs Beckett preparing to set off, with a fearsome looking drill attachment that, with a little imagination, could probably be used to persuade the Israelis and Hezbollah to, as Mrs Beckett is wont to say these days, "pack it in".
We also learn from the pictures what model caravan Mrs Beckett owns: a Pageant Champagne. And from the guided tour offered of a similar model by this site, well caravanning has certainly come on in terms of comfort in recent years.
So what does the foreign secretary use to tow this mobile mansion? A gold-coloured Range Rover, no less... which is of passing interest in light of the call today from the Sustainable Development Commission to slap £1,800 vehicle excise duty on polluting 4x4s. Still, it's probably more eco friendly that flying.
Daily Mail readers get a double dose of New Labour holiday snaps - with Cherie Blair pictured sun bathing -without a sarong! - on a boat near Barbados. The Mail can hardly contain itself, pointing out that like "most women of a certain age, her approach to sunbathing is usually rather modest. But this summer... Cherie Blair is feeling a little more self assured".
Talking of shedding one's old attire - it's the second Monday in a row with no Diana splash in the Express.
MONDAY 7 AUGUST
Friday's Daily Mini-Quiz asked which UK drama series is exported to the most countries? The options: EastEnders, Agatha Christie's Poirot and Midsomer Murders. Poirot was the Magazine readers' choice - with 44% of vote - but the answer is Midsomer Murders. Well done to the 29% who got that. Today's Daily-Mini-Quiz is on the Magazine index.
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