Daily archives: April 11, 2003

Off the Record

A while ago I had a mini rant about the Daily Record front page. I sent them an email of complaint.

And they wrote back-

Dear Mr Pattinson

With regard to your email, can I firstly apologise for the delay in replying.

As editor of the day in charge of that particular edition, it was my decision to publish the pictures you found distasteful.

I can appreciate your concern over the graphic images and I apologise if they caused offence. The decision was not taken lightly.

The picture on the front page was of a captured American who, while injured, was not dead. That very point was made clear in the caption. However, I do agree that the image, taken in context with the headline “Executed”, would convey that the soldier had died.

Up to that point, all media coverage of the war had been extremely santitised and I used the image to illustrate the horrors of the conflict and the brutality of the Iraqi regime.

Had the soldier in question been British, I would never have considered publication as the image would have been too distressing for his family and freinds. Because he was an American, there was no question of the serviceman’s family ever seeing the Daily Record.

With hindsight, I would be extremely reluctant to use such an image again.

I hope you reconsider your decision to cancel your newspaper order and once again apologise if you were offended.

‘…there was no question of the serviceman’s family ever seeing the Daily Record.’ Oh good grief.

But he can rest assured that as I’ve never subscribed to the Daily Record, and didn’t even bother picking up the offending edition, they haven’t lost a reader.

Job Worth Dying For?

In the Birmingham Sunday Mercury:


Bosses of a publishing firm are trying to work out why no one noticed that one of their employees had been sitting dead at his desk for FIVE

DAYS before anyone asked if he was feeling okay. George Turklebaum, 51, who had been employed as a proof-reader at a New York firm for 30 years,

had a heart attack in the open-plan office he shared with 23 other workers. He quietly passed away on Monday, but nobody noticed until

Saturday morning when an office cleaner asked why he was still working during the weekend. His boss Elliot Wachiaski said: “George was always

the first guy in each morning and the last to leave at night, so no one found it unusual that he was in the same position all that time and

didn’t say anything. “He was always absorbed in his work and kept much to himself.” A post mortem examination revealed that he had been dead

for five days after suffering a coronary. Ironically, George was proof reading manuscripts of medical textbooks when he died.

You may want to give your co-workers a nudge occasionally.

And the moral of the story: “Don’t work too hard. Nobody notices anyway.”

Fertility Rites

So tonight we’re off out for Zoe’s birthday. Last week it was Emily’s and Fiona’s and two weeks before that Dave P’s and then there were Simon and Sabs, who I almost forgot. It strikes me that a lot of parents were getting jiggy in June and July of the respective years. Or maybe there’s just a strange clustering effect going on amongst the people I know- I was born on the 11th of January, Emma on the 12th and Tim the 13th (3 different years, natch). I decided to investigate.

Typing ‘What Month has the highest birth rate?’ into Ask Jeeves brings back a lot of results about teenage pregnancy and how to prevent it and decreasing overall birth rates and, indirectly, this piece about the spread of disease and disorder by birth month which does, briefly, allude to my theory of a Spring baby glut.

‘Birth Rate by Month’ in Google has a more useful spread of results. The first one out of the bag, however, tells me my Summer Lovin’ theory is wrong, at least in South Carolina– where April is the moribund month and August the fecund. There mustn’t be much else to do in South Carolina in December, which reminds me of the old line about Iceland- ‘There’s only two things to do around here- fishing and fucking. And in the Winter there isn’t any fishing.’ Most worrying statistic from South Carolina is that the youngest mother was only 11! (They should have given her a television set.)

Meanwhile,the rate of never married Japanese men has dropped, and it’s all because of the power of the Internet, Blueberries are good for the brain and sheep with hair are more efficient meat producers.

I can’t help coming back to the 11 year old mother. The world’s youngest mother was five years and eight months old when she gave birth. She was afflicted with a condition that brought on puberty ridiculously early, but the most important, and chilling, question is- who the hell was having sex with a four year old?

The world’s oldest mother was 63. Guinness doesn’t keep an oldest father record, but points to a 93 year old (there’s hope for me yet).

And finally, recommendations on the best positions for getting pregnant (it seems that the most fun positions- standing, sitting, woman on top- are also the least effective baby makers.)