blueprint media

Month: May, 2014

Scanning Syllables

The writer and poet Robert Graves liked to present his listeners with a riddle.

What word can have its metrical quantity – simply, its number of syllables – lessened by the addition of a letter?

The answer is “beatified” [be-a-ti-fied (4)]which, with an added “u” become “beautified” [beau-ti-fied (3)].

Blueprint brief: 22nd May 2014
Source: The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books by John Carey


High Life Highs

Standards appear to be slipping in so many fields of human endeavour.

Recent well-publicised claims to membership of the Mile-High Club , writes a correspondent, have ignored the qualification rules demanded, unofficially, by the staff of Pan American Airlines in the 1960s.

To enjoy the benefits of authentic membership, the act had to be “with somebody new, not in the loo, and not with the crew”.

Blueprint Brief: 14th May 2014
Source: David Rodgers, letter to The Times, 12 May 2014.

Squillions from Steven

Bob Hoskins, the actor who died last week, is reported to have received a call some years ago from Steven Spielberg’s office asking about his availability for a planned film and whether they could send him a script. He said yes and the script duly arrived. Bob then told Mr. Spielberg’s office he liked it.

He heard no more until, a year or so later, a handwritten letter arrived from Mr Spielberg saying he was very sorry but after much deliberation another actor had been cast in the part. By way of apology for wasting Bob’s time a cheque for $250,000 was enclosed.

Bob replied: “Dear Mr Spielberg. Thank you very much for your letter. If there are any more films you don’t want me to be in, please let me know.”

Blueprint brief – 7th May 2014
Source: Giles Coren, The Times, 3rd May 2014

Media Memes

“Spain translates more books in one year than have been translated into Arabic in the last 900 years.”

“According to the United Nations, in 2012, the Gross Domestic Product of Russia was smaller than that of Italy.”

“In Estonia 99 per cent of people have blue eyes.”

Blueprint brief: 30th April 2014
Sources: Wikipedia.

Working Majority

In 1964 when Harold Wilson led the Labour Party to power, two thirds of the British electorate were working class.

By 2010, just three sevenths of the electorate were working class while four-sevenths – a majority – were middle class.

Blueprint Brief: 23rd April 2014
Source: Professor Vernon Bogdanor, The Spectator, 5th April 2014.

Citizen XLII

Since 2006 the British Government has stripped 42 people of citizenship, 20 of them in 2013.

Due process is not required; the Home Secretary need find only that depriving someone of citizenship would be “conducive to the public good”.

Even if they are born in Britain, most of those so treated have dual nationality and, typically, are living outside the country when the process takes place.

Britain, along with Israel, is one of the few countries with such legal powers. Attempts to install a similar system in the USA have failed.

A bill to provide for deprivation of an individual’s citizenship is now before the Canadian Parliament. Australia and the Netherlands are considering drafting legislation.

Blueprint brief: 16th April 2014
Source: New York Times, 10th April 2014.