Friday, 9 November 2007

Friday Grab Bag

Oh let's begin with the Brit News Roundup, shall we? Prince Harry and a friend may or may not have shot a pair of endangered birds at the royal estate in Sandringham. The prince and family friend William van Cutsem were the only ones shooting on the day that a pair of hen harriers, a protected species, plummeted from the sky, in view of a nature reserve's warden and two visitors. Harry and van Cutsem were questioned and said they had no knowledge of the incident. Because the birds' bodies were not found, no forensic analysis could be performed and no one has been charged.

Kinda suspicious, no?

According to the Guardian, Britain's "blogging army" is 4 million strong.

Paul McCartney wants sole custody of his daughter Bea, according to the News of the World. Heather Mills, the former Beatle's estranged wife, is the tabloid media's favorite bete noire these days. She gave a disastrous interview on morning television recently, an act that just threw more chum in the water for a ravenous Fleet Street to gnaw upon.

McCartney is known as "Macca" in the tabloids. Because of the pornographic pictures Mills posed for early in her career the Sun, top of the red-tops, refers to her as "Mucca." I don't quite get it either. I guess it's from "muck"--rich irony indeed, given that the Sun regularly prints photos of zeppelin-chested "Page 3 beauties."

Then again, I don't get the British tabloids' penchant for nicknames at all. Or, rather, I get the penchant--who doesn't like a nickname? (mine is DJ GrandMaster T-Bone)--I just don't get the exact mechanism. McCartney is "Macca"--so far so good. Michael Jackson is "Jacko"--okay. Former British football great Paul Gascoigne is "Gazza." Using that logic, I expected Jeremy Paxman, host of the BBC's respected "Newsnight" program, to be "Paxxa," or maybe "Paxmo." But no, he's "Jezza." (Here's a great video of Jezza trying to winkle answers out of stonewalling British politicians.)

Shouldn't Heather Mills be "Mizza"? Or maybe "Hezza"? No, wait, that's the nickname of Tory politician Michael "Hezza" Heseltine. I can't decide whether my British tabloid nickname should be "Jozza" or "Kezza."

Gargoyle of the Week
Egads, I completely neglected to photograph one of Oxford's hundreds of gargoyles this week. Allow me instead to offer...

Amusing British Packaging of the Week

This is a plastic package of pork cutlets. I like the line that reads: "Packaged in a Protective Atmosphere." That must mean an atmosphere that is warm, supportive, nurturing, caring--right up until the time the pig was transformed into my dinner. Quite tasty it was, too.

Have a great weekend and thanks for reading.


suburbancorrespondent said...

"chum in the water"? You're going native on us - from the context, I picture chunks of raw meat functioning as shark bait; but I'm only guessing, as I've never heard that idiom on this side of the pond.

cktirumalai said...

You are quite right about the lack of consistency in the formation of nicknames in Britain (which probably sees rigid consistency as a European fetish). Kingsley Amis, whose "Lucky Jim" you list among your favorite books, was known to some as Kingers, but John Betjeman, who was once the best-selling Poet Laureate, was Betjers. I think these particular nicknames are of the English public (American private) school variety.

Henry said...

spot on (as usual) about nicknames, except that I always thought Jeremy Paxman was "Paxo" (possibly after the nasty premade sage-and-onion stuffing). Others for you: former Deputy Leader of the Labour Party John Prescott = Prezza; anyone called Sharon = Shazza; and His Royal Highness Charles, the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall = Chazza.

Glenda Cooper said...

I agree with Henry. Jeremy Paxman is definitely Paxo. The (soon to be ex) Lady Mills McCartney's nickname comes not so much from her glamour modelling days but from the photographs for a German manual entitled Die Freuden Der Liebe - The Joys of Love. The irony of the Sun taking an outraged stance on this remains....