Showing posts from May, 2006

Interesting People # 53 - Adam Boulton

Allegedly, Sky's political editor Adam Boulton doesn't vote, and hasn't done since 1979.

(That should not surprise anyone who actually watches the Simpson's channel.)

Interesting Fact # 302 - Britain's Smallest Church

Britain's smallest church, near Malmesbury, Wiltshire, opens just once a year. It measures 4m by 3.6m and has one pew.

(A pew is a long bench that people sit on in church. Hence the expression "Take a pew", which means "Have a seat".)

Interesting Fact - Advertising

According to Advertising Age magazine, the combined advertising revenues of Google and Yahoo! are this year predicted to outstrip those of US TV networks ABC, CBS and NBC put together.

(At least Google shares their revenue with web site owners,even little ones like me. Thank you Google.)

Interesting People # 52 - Sir Paul McCartney

Sir Paul McCartney is only the second richest music millionaire in the UK - Clive Calder, is top.


Interesting Fact # 300 - A British obsession

The British buy almost twice as many celebrity magazines a week per capita as the Americans.

(I have never, ever, ever bought a celebrity magazine. I can't think of anything more tedious.)

Interesting Fact - Monopoly

According to a mathematical study, by Neil Thomson, the best properties to buy in the London version of Monopoly are the orange ones - Vine Street, Marlborough Street and Bow Street. He used probability matrices to come up with this.

(He also said that the key is to buy every street you land on, and to put hotels on one set before you put houses on another. He added that the stations are rubbish, but the utilities are even worse. - Now I know where I've been going wrong all these years.)

Interesting Fact # 298 - UK Elections

Parliamentary candidates can stand in more than one constituency at the same time.

(So you can hedge your bets, so to speak.)

Interesting People # 51 - Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder's real first name is not Stephen but Stevland.

(No "wonder" he changed it - grooooaaaan.)

Interesting People - Sir Hugh Beaver

Sir Hugh Beaver, the MD of the Guinness Brewery, commissioned the first edition of the Guiness book of records in 1955.

(Seemingly he was unable to settle an argument about the fastest species of game bird and realised that a book supplying the answers to this sort of question might prove popular. After all there is no limit to man's appetite for trivia.)

Interesting Places # 26 - Hyde Park

In the 1960s, the Home Office was inundated with complaints about how Hyde Park resembled a brothel because people were kissing or sunbathing in bikinis.

(I wonder what those people would say now. They'd probably be struck dumb.)

Interesting Fact # 297 - Mistranslation

The opening lines of the Communist Manifesto - "A spectre is haunting Europe - the spectre of Communism" - were initially translated as "A frightful hobgoblin stalks through Europe".

(A hobgoblin is a small grotesque supernatural creature that makes trouble for human beings. Oh Tony Blair!)


It's the Eurovision song contest! Something I have been looking forward to with the usual sense of trepidation and fear.

Interesting Fact # 296 - Eurovision Song Competition

NBC has acquired the rights to develop and screen a US version of the Eurovision Song Contest in which the 50 US states will compete against each other.

(Don't we ever learn? Are we doomed to repeat the same mistakes again and again?)

Interesting Animals # 44 - Bats

There are 16 types of bats in the UK and 13 of these can be found in Norfolk.

(I like bats. Or should that be, I am bats?)

Interesting Fact # 295 - UK Debt

UK families run up more than £76m a year in unpaid bills because they are afraid to look inside envelopes to see how much they owe.

(It's the brown envelopes you have to watch out for.)

Interesting Fact # 294 - Road deaths

Ten people die on the UK's roads every day.

(It's what you might call an everyday occurence.)

Interesting Animals # 43 - The Dolphin

Dolphins communicate like humans by calling - more accurately, whistling - each other by "name".

(You know how to whistle, don't you? You just put your lips together and... blow.)

Interesting People - Tony Christie

Singer Tony Christie is to release a World Cup version of his song, (Is This the Way to) Amarillo? It is to be called (Is This the Way to) the World Cup?

(Yeah mate. Two roads down, second on the left.)

Interesting Fact # 293 - Retirement

Retirement is viewed as a "time of happiness" by 82% of people in Britain - much higher than the global average.

(Where do all those grumpy old men and women come from then?)

Interesting Fact # 292 - Professions

The most popular employment destination for graduates is the media, followed by teaching, investment banking, marketing and accountancy.

Interesting Fact # 291 - The Internet

Londoners spend four more hours per week using the internet than the national average.

(They obviously didn't take my surfing time into account when they came up with that statistic.)

Interesting Fact # 290 - Household appliances

The best-value consumer purchase in terms of the price and usage is an electric kettle.

(Seemingly there are gadgets that we buy and hardly-ever use. Ice-cream makers, sandwich toasters, bread makers etc. But for obvious reasons, in the UK, the most widely used kitchen appliance is the electric kettle. Cup of tea anyone?)

Interesting People - Dan Brown

Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown says that when he needs inspiration for writing, he hangs upside-down in gravity boots.

(Now where did I put my pair?)

Interesting Fact # 289 - Household chores

Domestic chores take up an average nine years, two months and 25 days over a lifetime.


Interesting Fact # 288 - Camel's Milk

Camel's milk, which is widely drunk in Arab countries, has 10 times more iron than cow's milk.

(First catch your camel...)

Interesting People - Tom Cruise

Suri - the name of Tom Cruise's new daughter - means "pickpocket" in Japanese.

(Well, I hope our names don't really affect our futures.)

Interesting Fact # 287 - The Yellow Pages

Yellow, the Coldplay hit that ranked fifth in a recent roundup of Britain's favourite lyric, was inspired, in part by a copy of the Yellow Pages.

(Gives a whole new meaning to the lyrics, doesn't it?)

Interesting People # 46 - Vanessa Mae and Chris Martin

Vanessa Mae is worth more than Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin, according to the Sunday Times Rich List 2006, which estimates Ms Mae's wealth at £32m compared to Mr Martin's £25m fortune.

(Strangely I didn't appear on the list.)

Interesting Fact # 286 - UK Diplomats

British diplomats have a call-out rate of £84.50 an hour.

(Now if only English teachers could do that.)

Interesting Animals # 42 - Chickens

A hen can take on the characteristics of a cockerel - comb and wattle, crowing, trying to mate with hens - if the cockerel in their brood is removed. But they do not develop male sex organs.

(Well that's a relief.)

Interesting People # 45- Charles Webb

Charles Webb, who wrote "The Graduate" about himself and his female partner Fred, is still with her. The pair live in Hove, East Sussex, but are broke and facing eviction from their flat.

(So, you could say they are "flat broke".)

Interesting Fact # 285 - Pets in the UK

There are 2.5m rat-owning households in Britain, according to the Pet Food Manufacturers' Association.

(Eeew! As long as they stay in their cages that's fine, but I am part of the "Doomwatch" generation.)