“The following programme was made possible by people who must think you’re a gullible idiot”, is a message that blares out of a jagged speech-bubble in a Ziggy cartoon.

It is also the inspiration behind the homes-for-sale slot on Smash television. Why else would the same advertisement, with almost the same words, be broadcast back-to-back, in two different voices?

Yet it is not only the people at Smash who think they can fob us off with inane chatter or incorrect information. We were told, umpteen times, that bean sprouts are like ġulbiena (millet) for people to picture them mentally. The word im­nibta (sprouted) was never used – it is this that made all the difference.

We were also told that some women suffer from “an excess of tostersetrone (sic)” and that a traveller had had an “x-tray” taken.

Many columnists mentioned the two episodes of Father Castell shot in Malta, saying the scripts are by Dan Brown. As far as I know, the first screenplay Dan Brown will have written is the one for his book The Lost Symbol – A Beautiful Mind’s Akiva Goldsman wrote the script for The Da Vinci Code and co-wrote Angels and Demons with Spider-Man’s David Koepp. Moreover, in Brown’s bibliography, the name or work Castell do not appear.

Just for the record, the book behind the series, Ihr Auftrag (Your Mission), Pater Castell was written by Stefanie Boden. It was published by the Saint Benno Book and Magazine Publishing House.

But the Cherry Prize goes to the Apple iCentre in Pietà, one of the television adverts for which has Chrsyander Agius in the company of several chavvy young women, the couth value of whom is in inverse proportion to their vital statistics... This particular clip scratches the bottom of the sexist promotions barrel.

The foreign press is not immune to treating readers in an offhand manner, either – the Pitt-Jolies were said to have “rented a home five minutes away from the ocean”. A click of a cursor would have indicated that Malta is an island surrounded by... the Mediterranean Sea.

• Twanny Scalpello had been around forever, but as from last week his son Robert has temporarily replaced him.

A novel F’Idejn Tiberju (Radju Malta; Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays) (www.scribd.com/doc/2377981/At-the-Mercy-of-Tiberius-by-Evans-Augusta-J-Augusta-Jane-18351909) could not but be full of convoluted syntax and elaborate prose.

Scalpello Jr gilds the lily, and interspersed between conversational paragraphs are dramatised sections, occasionally in falsetto, with maudlin background music. He appears to be having the time of his life doing these readings, and is clearly putting his soul into them.

It is pertinent to point out that in about a month’s time, Gwida will soon be publishing the novel based on the award-winning drama F’Salib it-Toroq. Author Frederick Zammit says he is keeping loyal to the television series; however, as and where necessary he is making slight adaptations to make the written story flow more.

• Frank Zammit, who stormed into people’s living rooms as Hu, is now on Vibe FM at 88.7FM. His programme, Vibe Fm Beach Party, that began last Sunday, is in Maltese despite its title. I’m sure Zammit’s fans are thrilled at his comeback.

• The next series of Lilliput this summer will feature inventions. It goes on air on One from Monday to Sunday at 8 a.m. with a 1 p.m. repetition.

Called Lilliput Idea, it fits into the usual Pro.motion mould – didactic yet enjoyable. Ruth Frendo, Mary Anne Zammit and Mariah Mifsud Bonnici will be exploring the where, how, and why of inventions. The storytelling sessions will feature Enid Blyton tales. Another spot will feature interviews with local artists.

• Most of us would have received an electronic message with a clip showing how we can power a mobile device using an onion instead of an electricity outlet. Some of us who had the right paraphernalia for copying the experiment might even have tried it – unless we noticed that the cable from the onion to the device was not fully visible.

Inside Out, a pop-science programme on Rai Due (Mondays) showed that, in reality, it takes 2,500 apples (or other fruits and vegetables, the more acidic the better) to provide enough power for this scientific tomfoolery.

Such a programme is extremely expensive to produce, but perhaps someone could purchase the rights to it and have it dubbed into Maltese for E22. It would be infinitively better than the slapdash ‘fail’ sloshing of vinegar and sprinkling of bicarbonate of soda into a ‘volcano’ that fails to interrupt on cue.

• Dissett last week was one of the best editions so far, the topic being the landings of fighter jets for re-fuelling.

If this is a joke, it is a very sombre one. I recall a time when big protests were held if an aircraft carrier was rumoured to be heading this way for repairs at the Malta Drydocks, and I fail to see how gross miscalculations, faulty petrol gauges or any other excuse could counterbalance the fact that the international (or at least Nato) attitude remains, as it has always been, Malta ħanina. After all, it says so in the Bible that we are a nice people.

Occasionally, we get a discussion programme where people are not acting to the gallery, simply getting hot under the collar because their supporters expect it from them.

Meanwhile, the tragic-comedy of how many sittings are attended by this, that and the other MP lingers on. There is no way you can justify being Awol because you are doing work related to your duty.

Perhaps, the hullaballoo some MPs had made about whether or not CCTV cameras ought to be installed at Parliament might have something to do with this.


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