Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Like Picking Your Nose With A Rubber Glove

And people say Pandas have a boring sex life.

Yes, my indulgent yeoman, August is a hard month for the information junkie. I plunge into my favourite news site, the BBC, and find that instead of engrossing news, I find engrossing journalism. The difference being that the news itself doesn’t spark as much interest as the presentation.

To be fair to good old Auntie, it is something I notice on a lot of media outlets all year round, but on the Beeb, it tends to be seasonal.

The media used to call August Silly Season, I don’t know if they still do. With all of the politicians off on their summer holidays the stream of political stories dries up. The media still needs stories to fill newspapers, air time and web pages. This sometimes leads to the inclusion of stories that normally would just be ignored. With editors sunning themselves, perhaps junior journalists and picture editors take the chance to see if they can get in their pieces noticed. (Note 1)

If it is good enough for the BBC it is good enough for me. Anything to pull in a few extra punters.

Still, it does have advantages. I started reading other bits and pieces and generally discovered a few wonderful phrases – like the title on today’s blog. Have a ponder about it and see if you can figure out the metaphor.

If I give you the source of the quote, then I will give the game away. So I’ll meander off. Yesterday, I spent a lot of time in my car. (Note 2) As is my habit, the radio was tuned to talk radio, BBC Radio Five Live (I give the link because even my Merkin friends can listen via the web – The Simon Mayo show is particularly good.).

I also picked up a couple of nuggets from the radio. The first was a definition of Genius.

Talent is the ability to a hit a target that nobody else can hit. Genius is the ability to hit a target that nobody else can see.

This was provided in response to a story about Grigory Perelman, an eccentric Russian mathematician who turned down a prestigious maths prize. The honour was in recognition of him solving the Poincare Conjecture. Even after reading that, I’m still no better off. (Note 3)

No, my good yeomen. Not a competitor at the World Beard and Moustache Championships, but the reclusive Grigory Perelman.

The second little definition came shortly before the radio was switched off for a while. They had this gushing Merkin woman come on who spouted on and on about finding her adopted daughter was actually a twin purely by chance on the internet. Shortly before the “Off” button was hit with some force, she used the phrase “Paper Pregnancy”. Apparently, this describes the time when a women is waiting for adoption papers to be processed.

I had intended to give you another little example of an August Silly Season news story, but Delectable Pet beat me to it. Normally, I wouldn’t that let that stop me, but rather annoyingly, she blogged about it rather too well to top.

At last, I come back to the origin of the title of my post. With news being a little thin on the ground, I found myself exploring other bits and pieces on the BBC News site. I noticed that there was a blog there being kept by the Editors. I found it a wonderful read. (Note 4) Not only has it got some thought provoking entries, it also provides links to some great blogs.

And of course, it gave me the title of today’s blog. It is a quote from within an entry by Rod McKenzie. The post is about attitudes towards safe sex and refers to using a condom. I think I need to have another chat to my kids about Percy never being allowed out to play without his overcoat…

From 14th June, the industry standard Crozzy Standard has been applied to footnotes.

NOTE 1: Certainly selecting a picture of a neon sign saying “SEX” seems to fit into this category. Read the headline and you’d think that a news channel suddenly started broadcasting porn. Read the article and you discover that a TV monitor behind the anchorman was tuned into a station showing adult content for 30 seconds. Still, it served the purpose. The BBC journalist got his piece to the top of the “Most Read” statistics on the BBC News website. Nuff said? Click to return

NOTE 2 : The merest mention of a car gives me the chance to do one of those annoying trivia bits. On the 17th August 1896, Bridget Driscoll (44) died and entered the history books. Poor Bridget was the first official road death in the UK. She was knocked over by Arthur Edsell who was driving his Mercedes at a whopping 4mph! The article hints that Arthur may have been tinkering under the bonnet to achieve double that. Click to return

NOTE 3: They wheeled out a Cambridge academic to add some depth to the story. The presenter asked him what the Poincare Conjecture was. The academic started his answer by saying “In laymen terms…” and then baffled 99.9% of the audience. When asked what an every day use of it would be, he started to get excited that everyone would now be able to produce models of the universe. OK, my practical yeomen, clear a space on the kitchen table and get started. Click to return

NOTE 4: No, I’m not just saying that because they occasionally give out links to bloggers who mention the BBC - honest. Besides, it proves that not all the BBC editors are on holiday. I can only assume that instead of checking that junior journalists and picture editors are up to no good, they are spending all their time reading blogs! Click to return

This is exactly what it looks like – a man with teeth growing in his nose. Excuse me while I shiver.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hmmm, so much for commenting on each other's blogs...