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Flash
299829.  Fri Mar 21, 2008 6:40 am Reply with quote

If we asked:

Name a colour which was never used to paint a Spitfire.

... don't you reckon someone would be likely to say 'pink'?

 
MatC
299834.  Fri Mar 21, 2008 7:02 am Reply with quote

I would have thought so, yes. I wonder also if there’s some tie-up with the moustache stereotype shared by Village People gays and wing-co types.

 
Flash
299849.  Fri Mar 21, 2008 7:56 am Reply with quote

Just road-tested it on my son, and it didn't fly. He said 'yellow? black?'

 
MatC
299856.  Fri Mar 21, 2008 8:18 am Reply with quote

Perhaps we should include the colour in the question? "What use is a pink Spitfire?"

 
MatC
299867.  Fri Mar 21, 2008 9:16 am Reply with quote

Family Planning:

China’s family planning agency has launched a campaign against “crude and insensitive” slogans used by rural authorities to encourage adherence to population control. Amongst the slogans banned are “Raise fewer babies but more piggies,” and “One more baby means one more tomb.”

In their place, the agency recommends 190 approved slogans., including “Mother earth is too tired to sustain more children,” and “Both boys and girls are parents’ hearts.”

S: Morning Star, 6 Aug 07.

 
MatC
300238.  Sat Mar 22, 2008 8:16 am Reply with quote

Fat:

This planet weighs 5.972 sextillion tonnes. It’s been on a diet, it seems; this calculation is about 10 billion billion tonnes less than the last one.
S: Birds magazine, Aug 07.

Does my Australasia look big in this?

 
MatC
300316.  Sat Mar 22, 2008 11:47 am Reply with quote

Foundations:

The Bristol Basin is an area of Manhattan, so-called because it was filled in with rubble imported from the WW2 blitz of Bristol.

S: Western Daily Press, 20 Sep 07

Just going through this thread for another purpose and thought I'd slip this in, in passing:
Quote:
(Cary) Grant spoke about how he lost members of his family in the bombing raids over Bristol as he unveiled a memorial plaque in New York’s Bristol Basin in 1974, the inscription of which reads:

“BENEATH THIS EAST RIVER DRIVE OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK LIE STONES, BRICKS AND RUBBLE FROM THE BOMBED CITY OF BRISTOL IN ENGLAND… BROUGHT OVER HERE AS BALLAST FROM OVERSEAS. THESE FRAGMENTS THAT ONCE WERE HOMES SHALL TESTIFY WHILE MEN LOVE FREEDOM TO THE RESOLUTION AND FORTITUDE OF THE PEOPLE OF BRITAIN THEY SAW THEIR HOMES STRUCK DOWN WITHOUT WARNING… IT WAS NOT THEIR WALLS BUT THEIR VALOR THAT KEPT THEM FREE.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/bristol/content/articles/2005/11/15/pwaod_grant_feature.shtml

(Flash)

 
dr.bob
302024.  Tue Mar 25, 2008 5:32 am Reply with quote

MatC wrote:
Perhaps we should include the colour in the question? "What use is a pink Spitfire?"


I like that question, not least because "a pink spitfire" sounds like it really oughta be a euphemism for something.

 
Flash
302036.  Tue Mar 25, 2008 5:52 am Reply with quote

Agreed.

 
MatC
302117.  Tue Mar 25, 2008 7:54 am Reply with quote

I’m pleased to note that the idea for using Spitfires for photoreconnaissance came from an RAF intelligence expert named Flying Officer Maurice ‘Shorty’ Longbottom.

I’m even gladder to say that this writer confirms the pinkness - although the first, experimental pair of PR Spitfires (as the stripped-down planes were called) was painted “a pale shade of duck-egg green as camouflage.” This was in 1939, when Shorty himself flew the first trial flight.

However:

Quote:
In view of the Spitfire’s justified image of heroic masculinity, there is a mild incongruity in the fact that many of the most successful PR Spitfires were painted a pale shade of pink - a colour that helped their camouflage against the sky, if not the rugged self-esteem of their pilots.


S: “Spitfire: portrait of a legend” by Leo McKinstry (John Murray, 2007).

 
MatC
307984.  Tue Apr 01, 2008 4:36 am Reply with quote

FOOD:
Have we already discussed Professor Taniguchi’s vegetable lasers? I can’t find it through search, but it’s hard to believe all the weird science fans would have missed it.
www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/laser.html
If not, I’ll write it up.

 
Flash
308006.  Tue Apr 01, 2008 4:57 am Reply with quote

I've never seen that before, and I agree that luminous vegetables sounds like it ought to be a funny topic (shooting people with carrots, all that). My misgiving is that it's quite arcane science, maybe difficult to make sense of. But if you think you can do it ...

 
MatC
308836.  Wed Apr 02, 2008 6:11 am Reply with quote

Front, Home:

(Sorry, couldn’t find a legitimate F for these snippets, and since we’ve discussed Home Front matters in other threads ...)

This is all taken from a supplement to the radio newsletter “Tune Into Yesterday,” containing edited extracts from a book: “Waiting for Hitler: voices from Britain on the brink of invasion” by Midge Gillies (Hodder, 2006), which covers the memories of 1940 of various people.

Quote:
Jenny and Muriel, two young women in Norfolk who kept a diary for Mass Observation, switched to German radio because the reception was better, the programmes were more entertaining and they had started to doubt what the BBC was telling them. They were not alone. An estimated one in six adults listened regularly to enemy propaganda.


Then, of course, there were the people who were paid to listen to foreign radio stations, all the time: monitors at the BBC’s listening service. Most of them came to the service via an advert in The Times (naturally) in spring 1939 offering Ł300 per annum, plus board and lodgings, to native speakers of European languages. For many of the destitute refugees in London this must have seemed like a gift from heaven.

The first batch of recruits were picked up on a red double-decker in London, and driven to the Worcestershire market town of Evesham, just a few days before war was declared. At this stage, they still had no idea what the job was. Later recruits were issued with a travel warrant with “Somewhere in the country” printed on it (isn't that wonderful? That phrase was actually used officially!) which they were told to take to Paddington station, “where a ticket clerk punctured the subterfuge by confidently announcing, ‘That’s Evesham.’”

Amongst the refugee recruits was George Weidenfeld, an Austrian, later one of Britain's most famous publishers and a member of the House of Lords; he recalls that his letter of appointment gave him employment for “three months, or the duration of the National Emergency - whichever was shorter.”

The monitors found themselves at a Victorian mansion - the former home of a pretender to the French throne - which had been secretly bought by the BBC in 1939, as a potential bolt-hole if they had to leave London. It was on a hill, with excellent radio reception.

The staff was - as far as surrounding inhabitants were concerned - notoriously eccentric; “the shaggy White Russian in his ankle-length overcoat with astrakhan collar and galoshes; Weidenfeld in his riding breeches; a dashing Pole who frequently wore white tie and tails and the Scandinavian monitor who regularly appeared naked at his bedroom window.” The fact that these eccentric foreigners came and went from their village billets at all hours only added to the suspicion.

One monitor staying in a local billet was shocked at

Quote:
some of the unpatriotic remarks he heard at the breakfast table. Some farmers refused to carry out orders from the Ministry of Food about which crops to grow, preferring to plant more lucrative produce such as asparagus for their luxury hotel and restaurant customers. When it was suggested that crops might be destroyed ahead of a Nazi invasion the farmers were horrified, commenting “After all, the Germans would want to eat too, wouldn't they?”


Monitors would sit through their shifts with headphones clamped to their ears, making as many notes as possible based on the radio station (enemy or neutral) which they were monitoring. Their notes were then transcribed and reported to two supervisors, one who was interested in the “general gist,” and the “Flash Supervisor” who looked for anything of immediate news value.

During the first Christmas at Evesham, the man in charge arranged for headphones attached to ten-yard cables to be issued to the monitors on duty so that they could listen to the radio “while playing table tennis downstairs.”

One monitor recalled monitoring a talk for farmers about bulls servicing cows, and how to avoid wastage of semen - bull semen was a very valuable commodity during wartime. The monitor wrote later “My English sexual vocabulary was based more on what one can read on lavatory walls than on scientific animal biology.” The typist with whom he had to go through his notes was, luckily, a farmer's daughter, who told him to use the terms he knew, no matter how crude, and she would then translate them into technical jargon before passing his report onwards.

The house where the monitors worked (“Mrs Smith’s House,” though no-one knows why) was at the bottom of the hill; at the top of the hill, engineers sitting in shacks recorded the incoming radio programmes onto wax cylinders in case they were needed later. “Boys” (actually middle-aged men; the term came from Fleet Street) then carried the wax cylinders down the hill ... with predictably hilarious results: "Wet weather transformed the job into a Jack and Jill nursery rhyme as messenger after messenger slid down the muddy slope so that the cylinders arrived broken or cracked.”

The most popular shifts in Mrs Smith’s House were listening to German stations because they often played classical music - “as opposed to the BBC’s dreaded organ recitals” - which meant it was possible to read a book during your shift, while keeping half an ear out for any interruption to the music.

This was all during the phoney war - but by summer 1940, things were hotting up; the German invasion of Britain was clearly imminent.

Quote:
On Saturday, 7 September 1940 the codeword “Cromwell” was issued to the army and Home Guard. It was a warning that they should be in a state of highest readiness but was widely misinterpreted as proof that the Nazis had actually invaded. Church bells were rung in parts of the South and South East, householders prepared to defend themselves, saboteurs went to ground and at least one bridge was blown up to slow the invading army.

 
MatC
323198.  Wed Apr 23, 2008 3:05 pm Reply with quote

Freckles:

Quote:
The actor Ewan McGregor has had a cancerous mole removed

Quote:
McGregor told the BBC: “I just went to have them checked, you have to be careful if you have pale skin and you spend a lot of time in the sun with moles.”


S: Daily Telegraph, 23.4.08

 
MatC
325372.  Sat Apr 26, 2008 10:07 am Reply with quote

Food: Lettuce:

Caesar Augustus put up a statue to lettuce, believing it had saved his life (not from drowning, unfortunately, but from illness).

Links: Fame, Faith, Fundamentalism.

 

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