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Work in the media? Struggle with statistics? Stan's irreverent (and often irrelevant) review of the latest media reports, news and gossip may not help at all... Stan the Statistician

Stan # 42: Quotes from the UK press January 2001

For those who missed the quiz on my last desk top (shame on you), can you name the nine orders or choirs of angels? Answers at the bottom.

A tip for those hopeful souls who think they can lose weight before putting it all back on and more during the festive season: the smell of vanilla appears to help people to lose weight by causing them to have less of a sweet tooth, a new study has found. Overweight research volunteers had vanilla-secented patches stuck on their hands - and shed an average 2.2 kg in a month. With so many remedies for fatties, how come there are so many fat people around?

A few stories from the UK press:

From The Gloucester Citizen:

'A sex line caller complained to Trading Standards. After dialling an 0891 number from an advertisement entitled "Hear Me Moan" the caller was played a tape of a woman nagging her husband for failing to do jobs around the house. Consumer Watchdogs in Dorset refused to look into the complaint, saying, "He got what he deserved."'
From The Guardian:
'After being charged 20 pounds for a 10 pounds overdraft, 30 year old Michael Howard of Leeds changed his name by deed poll to "Yorkshire Bank Plc are Fascist Bastards". The Bank has now asked him to close his account, and Mr Bastards has asked them to repay the 69p balance by cheque, made out in his new name.'

'Phreakers, or 'phone hackers, managed to break into the telephone system of 'Weight Watchers' in Glasgow, and changed the outgoing message to "Hello, you fat bastard".'

From the Churchdown Parish Magazine:
‘Would the Congregation please note that the bowl at the back of the Church, labelled "For The Sick", is for monetary donations only.'
From The Guardian concerning a sign seen in a Police canteen in Christchurch, New Zealand:
'Will the person who took a slice of cake from the Commissioner's Office return it immediately. It is needed as evidence in a poisoning case.'
From The Times:
'A young girl, who was blown out to sea on a set of inflatable teeth, was rescued by a man on an inflatable lobster. A coast-guard spokesman commented: "This sort of thing is all too common these days".'
From The Scottish Big Issue:
'In Sydney, 120 men named Henry attacked each other during a "My Name is Henry" convention. Henry Pantie of Canberra accused Henry Pap of Sydney of not being a Henry at all, but in fact an Angus. "It was a lie", explained Mr Pap, "I'm a Henry and always will be", whereupon Henry Pap attacked Henry Pantie, whilst two other Henrys - Jones and Dyer - attempted to pull them apart. Several more Henrys - Smith, Calderwood and Andrews - became involved and soon the entire convention descended into a giant fist fight. The brawl was eventually broken up by riot police, led by a man named Shane.'
From The Daily Telegraph in a piece headed "Brussels Pays 200,000 Pounds to Save Prostitutes":
'... the money will not be going directly into the prostitutes' pocket, but will be used to encourage them to lead a better life. We will be training them for new positions in hotels.'
From The Derby Abbey Community News:
We apologise for the error in the last edition, in which we stated that "Mr Fred Nicolme is a Defective in the Police Force". This was a typographical error. We meant of course that Mr Nicolme is a Detective in the Police Farce.'
From The Manchester Evening News:
'Police called to arrest a naked man on the platform at Piccadilly Station released their suspect after he produced a valid rail ticket.'

'An Austrian circus dwarf died recently when he bounced sideways from a trampoline and was swallowed by a hippopotamus. Seven thousand people watched as little Franz Dasch popped into the mouth of Hilda the Hippo and the animal's gag reflex forced it to swallow. The crowd applauded wildly before other circus people realized what had happened.'

'An elderly woman at a unit for sufferers of senile dementia passed round a box of mothballs thinking that they were mints. Eleven people were taken to hospital for treatment.'

The nine orders or choirs of angels are: seraphim, cherubim, thrones, dominations, virtues, powers, principalities, archangels and angels. Only members of the last two ranks can be seen by humans. You may be interested to learn that according to one medieval mind, there are 301,655,722 of them. However, the third century Jew, Simon ben Lakish, reckons there are 1.06434 quintillion. Sadly, I am unable to find any mathematical proof of either for these numbers or indeed any proof for the existence of these ethereal creatures outside of Hollywood. And how did they find out there were nine orders or choirs? Bewildering.

From Michael Stevens (I guess this is a nom de plume):

As you approach the Metrolink in Manchester's Piccadilly Railway Station (England), there is a sign on a door -


I shudder to think what used to happen before this sign was put up.

Check in again at my desk soon!

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